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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,125

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We Can't Repress Our Own People: Honduran Police Respond


by Jeff Abbott
December 11, 2017

The normally chaotic streets of San Pedro Sula, Honduras’s second largest city, were abnormally quiet. Only a few sex workers and others, and the occasional passing car, were in the streets at 9:30 p.m.

“This is not normal,” the clerk at my hotel near San Pedro Sula’s central park told me as we stood on the deserted main street on December 5. “This is because of the state of siege.”

Just days earlier, on December 2, the Honduran government announced this state of siege to put down the mobilization of angry citizens over the election. The government deployed the military, suspended the constitution, and established a curfew for the hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. But the government quickly was forced to change the curfew to 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., because no one was respecting the curfew.

Just days later, on December 7, the government changed the curfew yet again to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. And by December 9, the government had decided to end the state of siege.

More:
http://progressive.org/dispatches/we-cannot-repress-our-own-people-”/

3,500-Year-Old Tombs Uncovered in Egypt. One Has a Mummy


The final resting places of two ancient officials contain colorful grave goods, an elaborate mural, and linen-wrapped human remains.

By Nariman El-Mofty
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 9, 2017

LUXOR, EGYPTEgyptian officials today announced the discovery and excavation of two tombs found in the necropolis of Dra' Abu el-Naga in Luxor. The tombs, dated to the 18th Dynasty (1550-1292 B.C.) belonged to officials who likely served here at the ancient capital of Thebes, now a UNESCO world heritage site.

The tombs were surveyed and numbered by German Egyptologist Friederike Kampp-Seyfried in the 1990s. At the time, the tomb known as Kampp 161 was never opened, while the tomb identified as Kampp 150 was only excavated to its entrance. The tombs were recently re-discovered and excavated by Egyptian archaeologists.



The names of the officials buried in the tombs remains unknown, as no inscriptions bearing the names of the tombs' occupants have yet been found. In April, the tomb of an 18th Dynasty magistrate named Userhat was discovered in the same necropolis.

Kampp 161 likely dates to the reigns of Amenhotep II or Thutmose IV, based on stylistic and architectural comparisons with other tombs in the area, making it around 3,400 years old. The western wall of the tomb features an elaborate depiction of a social event, possibly a banquet, with a figure presenting offerings to the tomb's occupant and his wife. Wooden funerary masks, the remains of furniture, and a decorated coffin were discovered in the tomb.

More:
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/12/egypt-tomb-mummy-naga-archaeology-ancient/

Why Canadians should care about whats happening in Honduras Canadas ongoing support to Canadian mi


Canada’s ongoing support to Canadian mining companies in the Northern Triangle region of Central America needs to be held up to scrutiny.
By PATRICIA ALDANAOpinion
Fri., Dec. 8, 2017

People in Honduras are taking to the streets to demand a recount in their recent election. One young woman has been killed by the Military Police. Even elite police units are withdrawing to their barracks in protest over being asked to shoot at their fellow citizens.

Why should Canadians care?

Though most Canadians don’t know it, Canada has played a major role in what’s called the Northern Triangle of Central America. Its three countries – Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – are three of the highest per capita homicide countries in the world.

Since the early 1960s proxy wars—first against Communism, then against the drug trade, have played out across these countries. Over 300,000 people died in the first war from 1960 to 1996, of whom 200,000-plus were Guatemalans (mostly Maya), with 85 per cent killed by government forces trained and abetted by the United States, South Africa, Israel, Taiwan and others. This figure comes from the Commission for Historical Clarification of the United Nations.

What most Canadian don’t know is that one of the roots of this war was an agreement between the then Guatemalan government and the Canadian company INCO to strip-mine large regions of the country’s northeast.

More:
https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2017/12/08/why-canadians-should-care-about-whats-happening-in-honduras.html

Mountaintop planet hunter turns on



By Daniel Clery Dec. 6, 2017 , 6:00 AM

A new exoplanet-hunting instrument, attached to one of the world’s largest telescopes, has seen its first glimpse of the sky, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced today. The Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) detects exoplanets by measuring shifts in the spectrum of light from stars caused by the gravity of planets tugging on them. For this technique, the signal of the stellar wobble is bigger for more massive planets in closer orbits. ESPRESSO, with improved spectral resolution, a wider wavelength range, and fixed to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal in Chile, hopes to discern the fainter tugs of planets with Earth-like masses and orbits.

“It’s the most mature facility in the world of this kind,” says astronomer Didier Queloz of Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, co-discoverer of the first exoplanet around a normal star in 1995.

In the early years of exoplanet science, this “radial velocity” method was the technique of choice, because dim planets are too faint to see so close to the glare of their stars. As an orbiting exoplanet pulls its star back and forth from the perspective of an observer on Earth, the periodic change in the star’s velocity is detectable as a Doppler shift in the frequency of its light. Hundreds of exoplanets have been found in this way. But in recent years, the technique was eclipsed by transit detection, when a planet passes in front of its star and temporarily dims it. Since 2009, NASA’s Kepler satellite has detected several thousand exoplanets using the transit method.

Because of the way they work, the two methods reveal different characteristics of an exoplanet. Both reveal orbits, but radial velocity points to a planet’s mass, while transits reveal its size. Ideally, astronomers want to know both. Researchers came to “understand that radial velocity was essential for masses, and that created an appetite for these measurements,” Queloz says. A few ground-based instruments had been churning away measuring radial velocities, including ESO’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) and the Automated Planet Finder at the University of California’s Lick Observatory in Mt. Hamilton, but astronomers wanted more.

More:
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/12/mountaintop-planet-hunter-turns






Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal in Chile

More images:

https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrTcX.GGCpaMkYAvAqJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBsZ29xY3ZzBHNlYwNzZWFyY2gEc2xrA2J1dHRvbg--;_ylc=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?gprid=AXj8wR54QDqYCd.3nrvP9A&pvid=acVsXTEwLjLlO2d6WQqJMA9EMjYwMgAAAADUv_zR&p=Cerro+Paranal+in+Chile&fr=sfp&fr2=sb-top-images.search.yahoo.com&ei=UTF-8&n=60&x=wrt#id=76&iurl=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.eso.org%2Fimages%2Fwallpaper4%2Fgordon-gillet_2.jpg&action=close

In Honduras, a tense time as elections put democracy through the test


There is growing recognition that democracy is not working well following irregularities and possible fraud in the recent elections.
by María Martin / Dec.07.2017 / 1:33 PM ET

ANTIGUA, Guatemala — This Sunday, it will be two weeks since Hondurans went to the polls to elect a president, all members of Congress, and almost 300 mayors in the impoverished Central American country with among the world's highest rates of murder, violence and corruption.

Still, there is neither a declared winner nor official results in that election, the eighth since the country returned to civilian rule 25 years ago.

Instead, there are protests, turmoil and a growing international recognition that democracy is not working well in Honduras and that this election was fraught with irregularities and possible fraud, according to press accounts and international observer groups including those representing the European Union and the Organization of American States.

“Hondurans are full of rage and grief,” said Honduras expert and history professor Dana Frank of the University of California at Santa Cruz. “Was it too much to ask that democracy be allowed to work in Honduras and that the Honduran people have a free and fair election?”

More:
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/honduras-tense-time-elections-put-democracy-through-test-n827426

Brazil groups look to channel anger into political action

Sarah Dilorenzo, Associated Press
 Updated 3:57 am, Thursday, December 7, 2017

Brazil groups look to channel anger into political action
Sarah Dilorenzo, Associated Press

 Updated 3:57 am, Thursday, December 7, 2017

SAO PAULO (AP) — 

After one of the deepest recessions in its modern history, the largest corruption scandal in Latin America and more than a year under what may be the most unpopular president in the world, Brazilians are desperate for something different — so desperate that some are calling for the return of a military dictatorship.

. . .

Even though President Michel Temer's popularity ratings have dipped close to the margin of error above zero, his allies in Congress have twice been able to block efforts to have him tried on corruption charges sought by federal prosecutors. Many lawmakers are wary of such trials because many of them, too, have been implicated in corruption scandals.

. . .

Party leaders keep tight control over who can run, as well as the funds they need to campaign, making it nearly impossible for newcomers who challenge the status quo. Existing politicians often designate a successor — many times a child or at least a protege, as was the case when former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva championed Dilma Rousseff. The byzantine party system and rampant corruption have also turned off many younger Brazilians, leaving the country still largely in the hands of the generation that took power when Brazil returned to democracy in the 1980s.

. . .

The growing fury at traditional politicians has helped lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro, who lauds the country's 1964-1985 military regime and has been ordered by courts to pay fines for racist, homophobic and sexist comments. He has risen to second place in preference polls ahead of next year's presidential election.

http://www.chron.com/news/world/article/Brazil-groups-look-to-channel-anger-into-12411927.php

Trump administration praises Honduras amid election crisis

Source: Associated Press


Christopher Sherman, Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press
 Updated 12:51 pm, Thursday, December 7, 2017


TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Amid a deepening electoral crisis in Honduras, the administration of President Donald Trump on Thursday certified the country's progress in protecting human rights and attacking corruption.

. . .
 
Troops and police units, some trained by U.S. forces, are patrolling the streets of the capital and have been accused of killing and wounding demonstrators after Hernandez declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew and suspended some constitutional rights to tamp down pro-opposition protesters.
 
If accepted by U.S. congressional appropriations committees, the certifications by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would ensure that Honduras receives millions of dollars in U.S. funds that are conditional on progress in human rights and corruption.

. . .

"We were really surprised that in the middle of this crisis the State Department comes out with this kind of statement when the government of Honduras is not meeting the conditions," said Carlos Sierra, a security and human rights investigator with the Center for Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights in Honduras. "It came right in this institutional and political crisis."    




Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/world/article/Trump-administration-praises-Honduras-amid-12413250.php

Bolivia's Afro king leads a long-neglected group stepping out of the shadows


King Julio I, who runs a grocery store in a jungle village, has no plans to celebrate his 10 years as monarch but he represents ‘what our Mother Africa left us’

Laurence Blair in Mururata
Wednesday 6 December 2017 02.30 EST

The last king in South America boasts a lineage dating back centuries. Yet Julio I’s crown and leopard-trimmed robe are rarely seen in the humble grocery shop he runs with his wife, Queen Angélica, in a small jungle village in rural Bolivia.

The 10th anniversary of the reign of Julio Piñedo, 75, falls this December, but, he says, “there’s nothing special planned” for the occasion. His symbolic dominion extends to a few dozen rural communities and the city dwellers that make up the 25,000-strong Afro-Bolivian community. But now, partly thanks to Piñedo’s offices, this long-neglected group is stepping out of the shadows.

“Without doubt the king’s role is important,” says Zenaida Pérez, 25, coordinator of the Afro-Bolivian Language and Culture Institute, part of umbrella organisation Conafro. “He represents much of what our Mother Africa has left us.”

From the 16th century, Europeans shipped west African slaves in their thousands to colonial Bolivia. Many perished in the deadly conditions of the infamous Cerro Rico silver mine, the churning motor of Spain’s imperial economy. “Of those they brought to work in Potosí, half of them died,” Piñedo reflects.

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/06/bolivia-afro-king-julio-afro-bolivians

Farmers in Mexico's avocado heartland are relying on vigilantes to protect their 'green gold'

Farmers in Mexico's avocado heartland are relying on vigilantes to protect their 'green gold'
Christopher Woody
2h

Global demand for avocados has grown considerably in recent years, and Mexican farmers have been a major beneficiary, declaring the crop "green gold."

Mexico produces about 45% of the world's avocados, and the western state of Michoacan is the country's top producer. But Michoacan has also been a locus for organized crime, and the state's residents have suffered as criminal groups overwhelmed and corrupted authorities.

Vigilantes, called self-defense groups or autodefensas, cropped up in the state to fight off criminal groups when local and federal authorities were unable or unwilling to do so.

Many of those autodefensas have been dismantled by the government or co-opted by criminal groups. But in the municipality of Tancitaro — home to 30,000 people in western Michoacan — residents set up their own specialized police force: the Tancitaro Public Security Corps.

More:
http://www.businessinsider.com/mexican-farmers-in-michoacan-rely-on-vigilantes-to-protect-avocados-2017-12

"We Don't Want to Repress": Police in Honduras Refuse Orders to Stamp Out Pro-Democracy Protests

Source: Common Dreams

Published on
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
byCommon Dreams

"We are tired. And our job is to give peace and security to the Honduran people, not repress them. We want all Hondurans to be safe."
byJon Queally, staff writer


Amid widening violence and ongoing protests, members of the Honduras National Police force—including those within the U.S.-trained units known as the Cobras—say they are refusing to obey orders from the right-wing government of the incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernández, who has used the security forces to crackdown on demonstrators and imposed a curfew amid allegations of voter fraud in recent elections.

"We want peace, and we will not follow government orders – we're tired of this," a spokesperson for the police told reporters outside the national police headquarters on Monday. "We aren't with a political ideology. We can't keep confronting people, and we don't want to repress and violate the rights of the Honduran people."

On Monday night, demonstrations in the streets continued as opponents of Hernández poured into the streets with pots and pans—now with the tacit support of the police forces who had earlier been sent disperse them—as they called for transparency in the counting of votes and the ouster of the ruling party. As Reuters reports, "Some police officers abandoned their posts and joined carnival-like demonstrations that erupted across the city hours after night fell and the curfew was supposed to have begun."

While reporting indicated that police officers were also striking in order to receive better wages and treatment from their superiors, a member of the elite Cobras unit—many of whom have been trained by U.S. military operators at the infamous School of the Americas or its descendants—said there was more to their refusal than working conditions for themselves. "This is not a strike, this not about salaries or money," the officer told the Guardian. "It's that we have family. We are tired. And our job is to give peace and security to the Honduran people, not repress them. We want all Hondurans to be safe."

Read more: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/05/we-dont-want-repress-police-honduras-refuse-orders-stamp-out-pro-democracy-protests
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