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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 149,880

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Weekend Read: He said he'd be murdered if deported. He was.

Weekend Read: He said he'd be murdered if deported. He was.
December 15, 2018

Nearly a year after a judge rejected Santos Chirino’s case for asylum, his 18-year-old daughter and 19-year-old son returned to the very same courtroom to plead their own.

“Your honor, this is a difficult case,” their father’s lawyer, Benjamin Osorio, told Judge John Bryant. “I represented their father, Santos Chirino Cruz. … I lost the case in this courtroom. ... He was murdered in April.”

As Maria Sacchetti described for TheWashington Post, “Osorio paused, and the judge blanched and stammered.”

“You said their father’s case — did I understand I heard [it]?” Bryant asked, eyes wide.


Colombia's ruling party calls on divine support after protest raises witchcraft fears

by Billy Wallace December 14, 2018

Former President Alvaro Uribe said Wednesday that Colombia’s ruling party has carried out religious rituals in response to protest against its senators earlier some believed was an act of witchcraft.

Protesters on Tuesday threw confetti and mice at the senators of the hard-right Democratic Center (CD) party and their leader, who is investigated by the Supreme Court on charges related to his alleged formation of a death squad in the 1990s.

Opposition Senator Gustavo Bolivar apologized for the incident after suspicions that one of the protesters was an activist of Gustavo Petro‘s Humane Colombia movement.

But this was not enough for the CD, which was told that the protest action by the alleged environmental activists could have been an act of witchcraft targeting the party behind President Ivan Duque.


Ancient coloured 'pencil' up to 50,000 years old found in Siberia

By The Siberian Times reporter12 December 2018
Cave-dwellers used hematite crayon for art work in Altai Mountains, say archeologists.

The pre-historic artists were not Homo sapiens but Denisovans - a long-extinct branch of ancient man - or possibly Neanderthals, another vanished sub-species, believe scientists.

The crayon was used to make reddish brown marks.

It was found in a layer of the world famous Denisova Cave this summer.

This layer dates to between 45,000 and 50,000 years ago and was occupied mainly by the long-gone Denisovans whose closest modern-day descendants live thousands of miles away as the native peoples of Australia and Papua New Guinea.


Brazil's New President Isn't Even in Office Yet and He's Already Damaged Our Health Care

Brazil’s New President Isn’t Even in Office Yet and He’s Already Damaged Our Health Care
Our public health system is a jewel. Can it survive four years of recklessness?

By Vanessa Barbara
Ms. Barbara is an author and a contributing opinion writer based in Brazil.

Dec. 11, 2018

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — A few weeks ago, the Cuban government announced it would withdraw from the Brazilian medical program Mais Médicos, which sends doctors to remote, underserved areas in Brazil. It’s estimated that millions of citizens could be deprived of primary health care after the departure of roughly 8,600 Cuban doctors from the country. The decision was prompted by demeaning remarks made by Brazil’s right-wing president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro.

Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly questioned the qualifications of Cuban doctors: “We have no proof that they are really doctors and able to take on these functions,” he said recently. This is false: All foreign doctors working for the program need to present their degrees and their licenses to practice medicine abroad. However, they are exempt from taking a national exam to revalidate their degrees while serving in the program; Mr. Bolsonaro intends to remove this dispensation. He has also repeatedly questioned the ethics of Cuba’s doctors-abroad program, saying that the doctors should be able to bring their families to the country and that they should receive their full wages directly from the Brazilian government. (Because all Cuban doctors work for the state, the government keeps around 70 percent of their salaries, and families are only allowed to visit them.)

Mr. Bolsonaro’s objections are both idealistic and ideological: He may well want to see Cuban doctors get paid, although it’s difficult to believe that these humanitarian impulses don’t have something to do with his feelings toward Cuba’s Communist government. Perhaps, to some his requirements will even seem reasonable. But the problem is that the Cuban government, which understandably took Mr. Bolsonaro’s comments as “derogatory and threatening,” has already begun bringing health care workers home. As a result, Brazil’s indigenous population will reportedly lose 81 percent of its doctors. More than 1,500 municipalities could be deprived of all medical assistance. (As of late last month, the Health Ministry said it had filled many of the vacancies, though it was not clear that new doctors would be prepared to go into rural areas.)

Through his remarks, Mr. Bolsonaro, who has not yet taken office, has managed to damage a program that has been praised by two independent bodies and by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation for having “contributed to a lower infant mortality rate and a decrease in hospitalizations as a result of the availability of primary health care.” He has no plan to patch things up. Indeed, this may be the first official demonstration of Mr. Bolsonaro’s style of government: strong opinions, but no actual solutions. And when it comes to our health care system in particular, this style of governance is dangerous.


Chilean police break up blockade of Chuquicamata copper mine: union

Chilean police break up blockade of Chuquicamata copper mine: union

Editor Tom Azzopardi
Commodity Metals

Santiago, Chile — Police have broken up a blockade of the state-owned Chuquicamata copper mine in northern Chile after unions protested over health benefits and the lack of union consultation, the mine's union said Thursday.

Members of three unions, which represent around 4,500 employees at the mining and smelting complex, seized the main access roads from midday December 12, claiming that clauses in their collective wage agreement had been breached.

. . .

Chile's state mining giant Codelco said that the protests did not affect operations at the division which produced 330,910 mt of copper last year.

Codelco is striving to cut the workforce at Chuquicamata through early retirement as the mine transitions from open pit to underground mining, but workers have demanded improved conditions.


~ ~ ~

One photo could never do this vast copper mine justice.

Chuquicamata cemetery, Chile

Every photo on this page of thumbnail picture concerns Chuquicamata copper mine:



Chuquicamata (/tʃuːkiːkəˈmɑːtə/ choo-kee-kə-MAH-t?, or "Chuqui" as it is more familiarly known, is by excavated volume the largest open pit copper mine in the world, located in the north of Chile, just outside Calama at 2,850 m (9,350 ft) above sea level, 215 km (134 mi) northeast of Antofagasta and 1,240 km (770 mi) north of the capital, Santiago. Flotation and smelting facilities were installed in 1952, and expansion of the refining facilities in 1968 made 500,000 ton annual copper production possible in the late 1970s. The mine is owned and operated by Codelco, a Chilean state enterprise, since the Chilean nationalization of copper in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its depth of 850 metres (2,790 ft) makes it the second deepest open-pit mine in the world (after Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah, United States).


'Americans Should Know Their Government Had a Hand in the Return to Fascism'

DECEMBER 12, 2018

CounterSpin interview with Brian Mier on Brazil's election

* * *

Looking back at the recent Brazilian election, it’s hard not to focus on Jair Bolsonaro himself, with his defense of a brutal dictatorship and his encouragement of violence against perceived Others. But journalists should spare some critical attention for the election itself, which saw the leading candidate, former President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva of the PT, or Workers Party, jailed and bumped from the race, under circumstances that warrant more attention than US media have seen fit to provide. You may have heard that Bolsonaro is a Trump admirer, but the relationship between anti-democracy in Brazil and the US goes well beyond that.

Here to help us understand some of this is Brian Mier. He’s an editor at Brasil Wire and editor of the book Voices of the Brazilian Left. He’s a regular correspondent for the radio show This Is Hell, as well as a freelance writer and producer. He joins us now by phone from São Paulo. Welcome to CounterSpin, Brian Mier.

Brian Mier: Hi, how are you?

JJ: When twice-elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was being pushed out, in what many called a legislative coup, US readers weren’t reading quotes from the Organization of American States, for example, that was saying that this was not kosher, nor were they hearing about the objections of neighboring countries, some of whom pulled their ambassadors in protest, except perhaps via headlines like USA Today‘s “Leftist Leaders Leap to Defense of Ousted Brazilian President.”

So US readers were set up kind of weirdly for this election. Corruption was associated, if vaguely, with Dilma. And then, when her successor, Michel Temer, was clearly embroiled in stuff, Brazil was dismissed, as the New York Times put it, as just a “turmoil-prone nation.”


Scientists Virtually Reconstruct Magnificent Pre-Incan Temple

George Dvorsky
Yesterday 8:00pm


Virtual reconstruction of the building’s northernmost section.
Image: Castro Vocal

The 1,500-year-old Pumapunku temple in western Bolivia is considered a crowning achievement of Mesoamerican architecture, yet no one knows what the original structure actually looked like. Until now.

Using historical data, 3D-printed pieces, and architectural software, archaeologist Alexei Vranich from UC Berkeley has created a virtual reconstruction of Pumapunku—an ancient Tiwanaku temple now in ruins. Archaeologists have studied the site for over 150 years, but it wasn’t immediately obvious how all the broken and scattered pieces belonged together. The surprisingly simple approach devised by Vranich is finally providing a glimpse into the structure’s original appearance. Excitingly, the same method could be used to virtually reconstruct similar ruins. The details of this achievement were published today in Heritage Science.

First, some background on the structure. Pumapunku, which means “door of the puma,” was a temple designed and built by the pre-Incan Tiwanaku culture, who lived and thrived in what is now western Bolivia from 500 AD to 1,000 AD. Hundreds of years later, the Inca (1300-1570 AD) came across the Pumapunku ruins, deeming them important and worthy of restoration. And in fact, the Incas believed it was at Pumapunku that the world began. Inspired, the Incas attempted to integrate the style of the Tiwanaku stonework in their own architecture, as seen in structures at the capital city of Cusco and the “lost city” of Machu Picchu.

Indeed, the Incas had a right to be impressed—the Pumapunku temple was an advanced Mesoamerican architectural achievement. Spanish Conquistadors and others who visited the site during the 16th and 17th centuries described it as a “wondrous, though unfinished, building with gateways and windows carved from single blocks,” as Vranich wrote in his new paper. Pumapunku displayed a level of craftsmanship that was largely unparalleled in the pre-Columbian New World, and it’s often considered the architectural peak of Andean lithic technology prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Even today, the stonework of the temple is considered so precise that ancient alien enthusiasts claim it was made by lasers and other extraterrestrial technologies.


Washington state combats collisions with new wildlife bridge

December 12, 2018 by Manuel Valdes

In this photo taken Oct. 4, 2018, eastbound Interstate 90 traffic passes beneath a
wildlife bridge under construction on Snoqualmie Pass, Wash. The stretch of highway
crossing the Cascade Mountains cuts through old growth forest and wetlands,
creating a dangerous border for wildlife everything from an elk down to a small
salamander. The new crossing gives animals in these mountains a safer option for
crossing the road: They'll be able to go above it. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Before descending the Cascade Mountains on its final stretch to Seattle, Interstate 90 cuts through a mountain pass of old growth forests and wetlands.

For countless wildlife species, the busy highway is a border, constraining their movements and posing a fatal risk should they dare to cross it.

"Everything from an elk down to a small salamander, they need to move to find food, to find mates, to find new places to live as their populations expand or just when conditions change, like a fire breaks out," said Jen Watkins of Conservation Northwest.

Soon, animals will have a safer option for crossing the road: They'll be able to go above it.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-12-washington-state-combats-collisions-wildlife.html#jCp

Black Toronto residents 20 times more likely to be shot dead by police, study says

Black people made up 61% of cases where police used force that resulted in death, Ontario human rights commission report said

Leyland Cecco in Toronto
Mon 10 Dec 2018 16.16 EST

Black residents in Canada’s largest city are 20 times more likely to be shot dead by the police than white residents, according to a landmark report from the province’s human rights watchdog.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission studied seven years of data surrounding interactions between police and black residents in Toronto, for the report, which found that black residents face disproportionate discrimination and violence at the hands of the police.

While black residents make up less than 10% of the city’s population, they accounted for 61% of all cases where police used force that resulted in death and 70% of police shootings that resulted in death.

“When it comes to law enforcement, when it comes to the police, there is an overarching reality of violence that is often a part of the fabric of everyday life for black people in this country,” said Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives. “I think this data is absolutely damning and reveals something very important.”


Colombia journalism project aims to bring untold stories of war to light

Reporting was restricted by the remoteness of the war zones and the military’s control of access. Peace is allowing a new approach

Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá
Tue 11 Dec 2018 03.00 EST

Like many urban Colombians, Nicolás Sánchez – a young journalist from the country’s capital, Bogotá – never saw the country’s civil war firsthand. Instead, he grew up watching it from afar, in television reports of massacres and gun battles deep in the countryside.

Reporters would often only show the point of view of the military – the only group who could regularly grant them access to the battlefield. Rural Colombians, who bore the brunt of conflict, were often ignored; coverage instead focused on urban incidents such as kidnappings of public figures and attacks against government buildings.

Media would also turn a blind eye to military atrocities. When members of the army in 2002 began abducting and murdering civilians in an effort to boost their body counts, it went largely unreported for six years.

A peace deal signed with the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or Farc) rebel group in late 2016 formally ended 52 years of bitter war that left 260,000 dead and more than 7 million displaced. But unrest continues, as other armed groups seek to muscle in on former Farc territory.

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