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Judi Lynn

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Alicia Alonso, the grande dame of Cuban ballet, has died

Peter Orsi and Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press
Updated 1:16 pm CDT, Thursday, October 17, 2019

Photo: Ramon Espinosa, AP
FILE - In this March 20, 2019 file photo, Cuba's Prima Ballerina Alicia Alonso receives the Star of the Century award from the Latin Music Institute in recognition of her contribution to ballet and culture, during a ceremony in Havana, Cuba. Cuba's national ballet has reported that Alonso has died on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019.

HAVANA (AP) — Alicia Alonso, the revered ballerina and choreographer whose nearly 75-year career made her an icon of artistic loyalty to Cuba's socialist system, died Thursday at age 98.

Miguel Cabrera, an official at the National Ballet of Cuba founded by Alonso, said she died at a hospital in Havana.

As founder and director of the National Ballet of Cuba, Alonso personified the island's arts program under Fidel Castro's communist rule and she kept vise-like control over the troupe past her 90th birthday despite being nearly blind for decades.

In New York in the 1940s and '50s, Alonso was one of the earliest members of the company that became the American Ballet Theatre, helping it develop into one of the more important ballet troupes in the U.S. She was recognized the world over for the stylized beauty of her choreography and was named prima ballerina assoluta, the rarely bestowed highest honor in dance.

The ballet company announced it would dedicate Thursday evening's performance at Lincoln Center of the George Balanchine classic "Theme and Variations" to Alonso's memory. Balanchine created the work for ABT and Alonso performed at its world premiere on November 25, 1947, partnered with Igor Youskevitch.


Harnessing the healing power of cultural tradition in Colombia - in pictures

Global development is supported by
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Legend has it that Faroto tribesmen once defended their community in north Colombia by dressing as women to lure Spanish conquistadors into an ambush. In a country ravaged by civil conflict, the annual ‘danza de las Foratas’ keeps the indigenous tradition alive and contributes to dialogue and peace-building

All photographs by Louise Norton for Cafod

Kate Hodal
Mon 14 Oct 2019 04.00 EDT



Public-private initiative creates Chile's first water fund

Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Environmental group the Nature Conservancy has established Chile's first water fund, for Santiago's Metropolitan region.

The Santiago water fund counts with the cooperation of the regional government, local water utility Aguas Andinas, Nestlé, Anglo American and other NGO’s. It will create and finance solutions like infrastructure works and legislative changes to prevent shortages, the regional governor’s office said in a press release.

“We have created a public-private partnership with NGO’s, with scientists and international organizations, to find these solutions,” Metropolitan region governor Karla Rubilar said on Tuesday.

Public works minister Alfredo Moreno (pictured) told BNamericas that, aside from the water fund, the government has created working groups focusing on the six regions for which an agricultural emergency has been declared in response to the current drought.


~ ~ ~

Chile's President Sebastián Piñera appears to be determined to maneuver Chile into privatizing its water, exactly as anyone would suspect for a supporter of the Nixon-supported torturer/murderer General Augusto Pinochet.

Earlier article:

Chile president-elect reveals hardline cabinet with ties to Pinochet
This article is more than 1 year old
Conservatives to join Sebastian Piñera, who campaigned as centrist
New interior minister was vocal supporter of Pinochet’s dictatorship

Piotr Kozak in Santiago

Tue 23 Jan 2018 18.20 EST

Chile’s president-elect, the billionaire businessman Sebastian Piñera, has unveiled a new hardline cabinet, including prominent conservative figures and some politicians once closely aligned with the Pinochet dictatorship.

The new interior minister, Andrés Chadwick, was a vocal supporter of Augusto Pinochet during his 1973-1990 regime, which named him president of the Catholic University Students Federation.

Chadwick and the new justice minister, Hernán Larraín, were also supporters and defenders of the secretive German enclave Colonia Dignidad, which was established by the fugitive Nazi officer and paedophile Paul Shäfer in the early 60s. It later emerged that the enclave was used by security officials to torture and murder opponents of the regime.

. . .

Piñera’s victory in December’s runoff ended eight years of government by a centre-left coalition under Michelle Bachelet (two non-consecutive four-year terms), and marked the latest in a string of electoral gains for the right in Latin America.


Incredible, Rare Underwater Footage Shows Whales Using Bubble 'Nets' to Hunt

(University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa/Permit Number: NOAA #19703)



Did you know some cetaceans use "nets" to catch their food? Like humpback whales. They'll dive down and swim in a ring around their prey, blowing out bubbles as they go.

That rising ring forms a column that traps fish, allowing other whales in the group to swim up from below, mouths agape, through the bubble cylinder to feast.

It's an absolutely fascinating and beautiful thing to watch - and scientists have caught it on camera in a rare whale's-eye view.

In addition to drone footage showing a stunning overhead view of a pair of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) creating the bubble nets, marine biologists at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa stuck cameras and sensors on whales using suction cups to collect a wealth of data on the fascinating behaviour.


The state of Colombia vs Alvaro Uribe Part 2: the disinformation offensive

The state of Colombia vs Alvaro Uribe | Part 2: the disinformation offensive
by Adriaan Alsema October 14, 2019

Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe has begun a political offensive while his attorneys prepare the legal defense against fraud and bribery charges filed by the Supreme Court.

The legal defense strategy seeks not just to squash the fraud and bribery charges, but also prevent the accumulation of evidence that could be used to sustain more serious accusations made against the former president.

The political offensive seeks to discredit the judiciary and the witnesses who got him in court in the first place using classic disinformation tactics borrowed from the nazis, the KGB and more recently US President Donald Trump.

Reversing the truth
The reversal of truth tactic was initially invented by the Nazis and later modernized by the KGB. This tactic basically seeks to neutralize an accusation by reversing it.


The state of Colombia vs Alvaro Uribe Part 1: the legal defense

by Adriaan Alsema October 14, 2019

Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe, his attorneys and his allies have given hints about their legal defense strategy and political offensive.

The legal defense strategy seeks not just to squash the fraud and bribery charges, but also prevent the accumulation of evidence that could be used to sustain more serious accusations made against the former president.

The political offensive seeks to discredit the judiciary and in particular the magistrate presiding over the case.

The legal defense
Uribe’s attorneys have a mammoth task before them; the defense against the fraud and bribery charges is severely complicated by the other criminal accusations that are also at the court.

These charges include the former president’s alleged complicity in homicides and massacres, and could put Uribe away for life, the fraud and bribery charges cannot.


La Guajira's desert and its legendary Wayuu people

by Adriaan Alsema September 25, 2019

La Guajira is the driest and hottest place you will find in Colombia and the home of the legendary Wayuu people.

The Wayuu are particularly legendary because the Spanish were never able to conquer them or colonize the territory of the “savages” from the northern peninsula.

The arrival
According to archaeologists, the Wayuu’s ancestors began settling in La Guajira some 10,000 years ago.

These people originally came from Central America and gradually settled along the Caribbean coast and the Antillean islands north of Venezuela.


~ ~ ~

Colombian clans who speak no Spanish mocked with joke names on ID cards

Backlash against officials from members of Wayúu people labelled as Tooth Puller, Big Head, Gorilla and Marilyn Monroe

Sibylla Brodzinsky in Bogotá
Mon 3 Oct 2011 11.36 EDT

Rapayet Pushaina thinks he is about 80 years old; he is pretty sure he was not born on 31 December, and he is absolutely certain his name is not Iron Scraper.

"I don't want to be Raspahierro [Iron Scraper], I am Rapayet," he said through his Spanish-speaking granddaughter.

But that is the information that appeared on his Colombian national ID card for more than 50 years.

Pushaina, an elder of his clan of Wayúu Native Americans, who live in the deserts of the north-western Guajira peninsula, chafes at the mockery of a name that was given to him by an official of the national registry office who went to his remote village 50 years ago.

He is one of thousands of Wayúu Indians who were given derisive names, according to Estercilia Simanca, a Wayúu lawyer.

"In some cases there may have been a misunderstanding but in others it was clearly intentional," she said.


Uribe's fixer leaves Colombia after prosecution announces 'decisions' in criminal probes

Uribe’s fixer leaves Colombia after prosecution announces ‘decisions’ in criminal probes
by Adriaan Alsema October 11, 2019

Former President Alvaro Uribe‘s fixer left Colombia on Thursday, one day after the prosecution announced steps in criminal investigations against the self-proclaimed “gangstattorney.”

Lawyer Diego Cadena told W Radio that he had gone to Miami and stressed he would continue to cooperate with Colombian justice if required to do so by the prosecution.

Acting Prosecutor General Fabio Espitia told press on Wednesday that “decisions” in the multiple criminal investigations against Cadena “will be taken relatively soon.”

A day later, the mafia lawyer left the country.

The mafia lawyer’s alleged tampering of witnesses in the case against the former president has put Cadena in tremendous legal trouble.

On Tuesday, Uribe admitted publicly that his fixer paid a witness after the Supreme Court opened a criminal investigation against the former president on fraud and bribery charges.


Diego Cadena

Diego Cadena

El jet privado de Diego Cadena

Former President Álvaro Uribe

Offices of leftist parties attacked in Bogota

by Adriaan Alsema October 11, 2019

The offices of leftist parties were attacked in Bogota on Friday, two weeks before Colombia’s local elections.

The office of the FARC, the political party of demobilized guerrillas, and the office shared by the Colombian Communist Party (PC) and the Patriotic Union (UP) were attacked.

The attackers opened fire at the PC / UP office and threw a firebomb through the window that failed to go off. From the FARC’s office, the attackers took propaganda material, according to a representative.

The attackers left pamphlets signed with a skull saying “We’re back” at both offices.

A Celtic cross, a symbol used by neo-nazi groups Third Force and the National Socialist Union of Colombia, was spray-painted on the front of the FARC office.


Upcoming Elections Represent Testing Time for Bolivia's Socialist Government

OCTOBER 11, 2019

Bolivian President Evo Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera are presently campaigning for their fourth terms in office. In elections set for October 20, Morales, candidate of the Movement to Socialism Party (MAS), is polling 15 points ahead of ex-President Carlos Mesa of the Citizen Community Party. Seven other presidential candidates are competing. The odds favor a first round victory for Morales. The voting will also determine the make-up of Bolivia’s Congress.

Elected in 2005, Morales became Bolivia’s first indigenous president. Indigenous people make up some 50 percent of Bolivia’s population, according to varying estimates.

Bolivia’s socialist government has scored successes: improved lives for the previously marginalized, a stable and growing economy, and President Morales’s leadership role in defending the planetary environment. With U.S. assistance, right -wing opposition forces have battled the socialist government since its inception in 2006.

Between 2005 and 2018, according to analyst Javier Tocachier, extreme poverty dropped from 39 percent to15.2 percent, the minimum monthly salary rose from $54 to $305, mortality rates during the first five years of life fell 61 percent, the infant mortality rate fell 56 percent, and life expectancy at birth increased by nine years, The Gini index, which measures income inequalities, demonstrates the greatest equalization trend in Latin America. One hundred percent of older citizens receive pensions (the regional average is 59 percent). The government provides direct payments to all pregnant women, to all families with infants, and to families with school-age children – for the sake of school supplies and transportation.

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