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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Young Cubans make pedal-powered Model T for transport, fun

Young Cubans make pedal-powered Model T for transport, fun
Associated Press Updated 11:58 am, Tuesday, February 21, 2017

HAVANA (AP) — In a country where few can afford a car, some Cuban high school students have built a replica of a Model T Ford propelled with pedals instead of a gasoline engine. They've painstakingly acquired and installed thousands of nuts, bolts and used car parts to complete the creation.

Transportation can be daunting for many Cubans, with old cars selling for more than $30,000 and new cars more than $50,000. The state-run bus system is overburdened and unreliable.

Eighteen-year-old Dany Gomez was the mastermind behind the homemade pedal car, which gets four people to nearby beaches and onto the coastal Malecon boulevard at night. Gomez says it's not perfect, but allows him and his friends to get around. And they can get a little exercise while doing so.


AP Exclusive" Malnutrition killing inmates in Haiti jails

AP Exclusive" Malnutrition killing inmates in Haiti jails
David Mcfadden, Associated Press Updated 10:56 am, Monday, February 20, 2017

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Dozens of emaciated men with sunken cheeks and protruding ribs lie silently in an infirmary at Haiti's largest prison, most too weak to stand. The corpse of an inmate who died miserably of malnutrition is shrouded beneath a plastic tarp.

Elsewhere, prisoners are crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in cellblocks so overcrowded they have to sleep in makeshift hammocks suspended from the ceiling or squeeze four to a bunk. New arrivals at Haiti's National Penitentiary jostle for space on filthy floors where inmates on lockdown 22 hours a day are forced to defecate into plastic bags in the absence of latrines.

"Straight up: This is hell. Getting locked up in Haiti will drive you crazy if it doesn't kill you first," said Vangeliste Bazile, a homicide suspect who is among the about 80 percent of those incarcerated who have not been convicted of a crime but are held in prolonged pretrial detention waiting for their chance to see a judge.

Overcrowding, malnutrition and infectious diseases that flourish in jammed quarters have led to an upsurge of inmate deaths, including 21 at the Port-au-Prince penitentiary just last month. Those who monitor the country's lockups are sounding an alarm about collapsing conditions.


Editorials and other articles:

Bomb near bogota bullring injures more than 30

Bomb near bogota bullring injures more than 30

Police have made 12 arrests in connection with the explosion but it remains unclear who is responsible for it.
By Stephen Feller | Feb. 19, 2017 at 9:21 PM

Feb. 19 (UPI) -- One person died and more than 30 people were hurt Sunday, many of them police officers, after a bomb detonated down the street from a crowded bullfighting ring in Bogota, Colombia.

An explosion rocked the La Macarena neighborhood of Bogota on Sunday down the street from the Santamaria bullfighting ring just before the last fight of the season, killing a police officer and injuring 3There no claim of the bombing, but some speculated that a group opposed to bullfighting in Colombia -- the sport is controversial and has triggered violent protests in the past -- was responsible for the explosion.

. . .

Hundreds of people protested Bogota's first bullfights in four years when they started at the Santamaria in January.1.


Bolivia seizes arsenal of weapons from U.S.

Bolivia seizes arsenal of weapons from U.S.
Source: Xinhua 2017-02-18 06:45:09

LA PAZ, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Bolivia's customs office (ANB) announced Friday that it had seized and decommissioned an arsenal of weapons in the city of Santa Cruz, including assault rifles, side-arms and other military hardware.

In a press conference, ANB president Marlene Ardaya said that the arsenal had been found in a container on board a truck, with the shipment originating from the United States.

"This container was prepared and loaded but had a tractor camouflaging it. It originated from Miami, passed through Santo Domingo (capital of the Dominican Republic), Peru, Chile, and was in Tambo Quemado (a mountain pass on the Chilean border) when we followed its transfer to the city of Santa Cruz," Eshe explained.

After it arrived in Santa Cruz, "an X-ray check identified long-barrel weapons of various calibers camouflaged inside a light-vehicle trailer," added Ardaya.


Stunning Scenes Dazzle in Underwater Images (Photos)

Stunning Scenes Dazzle in Underwater Images (Photos)
By Live Science Staff | February 16, 2017 01:47pm ET

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Dancing Octopus
Credit: Copyright Gabriel Barathieu/UPY 2017

During spring low tides in a lagoon of the Mayotte archipelago near Madagascar, there is very little water on the flats. This picture was taken in water at a depth of about 11 inches (30 centimeters). The photographer used a 14 millimeter, ultra-wide-angle lens and natural light.


Earth Has a Hidden 8th Continent

Earth Has a Hidden 8th Continent
By Tia Ghose, Senior Writer | February 17, 2017 12:46pm ET

Based on geological definitions of a continent, the Earth actually has a lost
eighth continent, known as Zealandia. Most of this continent is submerged
beneath the sea, while a tiny sliver, including New Zealand, is above the
Credit: GSA Today 2017

Earth has eight continents, and world maps should reflect this, geologists say.

The eighth, a lost continent called Zealandia, isn't a huge landmass that geographers have somehow missed. Rather, only small bits — including New Zealand, New Caledonia and a few other specks of land in the vast Pacific Ocean — are above sea level. The rest of this continent lies beneath the waves, a new study suggests

"I hope Zealandia will now start to appear on world maps which show the other continents," said Nick Mortimer, a geologist with GNS Science in Dunedin, New Zealand. "There is an extra one, and it is as real as all the others." [Photos: The World's Weirdest Geological Formations]

Decades of evidence

The new study synthesizes decades of evidence for a hidden continent lying beneath the ocean surrounding New Zealand. The first line of evidence comes simply from looking at the ocean floor around New Zealand: The continental shelves of Zealandia lie at a depth of about 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) below sea level, while the nearby oceanic crust is about 9,800 feet (3,000 m) below that, Mortimer said. Just like other continents, Zealandia has a huge range in altitude, from the sub-ocean depths to Aoraki/Mount Cook at 12,217 feet (3,724 m) above sea level.

The second line of evidence supporting Zealandia's designation as a separate continent comes from extensive study of the rocks beneath the ocean. Over the past 20 years, geologists have set sail on ships to dredge rocks from the seafloor. Unlike the nearby oceanic crust, which is made up of basaltic rocks from the fairly recent geologic past, the crust surrounding New Zealand is composed of a variety of different rock types, including granite, limestone and sandstone, some of which are incredibly ancient. That is typical of continental crust, the researchers reported in the March/April issue of the journal GSA Today.


Despite charges, Brazil's Lula eyes another run

Sarah Dilorenzo, Associated Press Updated 6:54 am, Friday, February 17, 2017

SAO PAULO (AP) — He is facing several corruption charges, Brazil's largest-ever graft probe has decimated the political party he founded and his hand-picked successor was impeached and ousted from office.

Yet former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known to Brazilians simply as Lula, is topping polls for next year's presidential race and traveling the country to make the case that he can bring the boom times back to Latin America's largest nation.

"Lula has the 'I can make Brazil great again'" angle, said Monica de Bolle, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, based in Washington.

The political return of Silva seems as inevitable to Brazilians as it is strange to outsiders. Despite the charges against him, the charismatic ex-president remains a larger-than-life figure here: a folksy former union leader and workingman who fought for democracy during the country's dictatorship and then oversaw its rise to economic global power. His time in office, from 2003 to 2010, coincided with Brazil's unprecedented boom, and he is revered by many for using those gains to pull millions out of poverty.


Argentine ex-military chief arrested in torture, kidnap case

Source: Associated Press

Updated 1:28 pm, Friday, February 17, 2017

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Former Argentine army chief Cesar Milani was arrested Friday for his alleged role in the kidnapping and torture of two men and a woman during the country's military dictatorship.

A court office confirmed that Milan was transferred to a jail after testifying Friday before Judge Daniel Herrera Piedrabuena about the case of Pedro Olivera, his son Ramon and Veronica Matta in the late 1970s.

Milani was a lower-ranking officer during the 1976-1983 dictatorship and later rose to head the armed forces during the 2007-2015 term of former President Cristina Fernandez.

The court statement did not specify what role Milani played in the case of the Oliveras in 1977 or that of Matta a year earlier. He was charged with aggravated torture, illegal search and kidnapping.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/crime/article/Argentine-ex-military-chief-arrested-in-torture-10940944.php

Americas Role in Argentinas Dirty War

Daniel Garcia/Agence France-Presse Getty Images

A few months after a military junta overthrew President Isabel Pern of Argentina in 1976, the countrys new foreign minister, Adm. Cesar Guzzetti, told Henry Kissinger, Americas secretary of state, that the military was aggressively cracking down on the terrorists.

Mr. Kissinger responded, If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly, an apparent warning that a new American Congress might cut off aid if it thought the Argentine government was engaging in systemic human rights abuses.

The American ambassador in Buenos Aires soon reported to Washington that the Argentine government had interpreted Mr. Kissingers words as a green light to continue its brutal tactics against leftist guerrillas, political dissidents and suspected socialists.

Just how much the American government knew about Argentinas repressive Dirty War, which lasted from 1976 to 1983 and the extent to which it condoned the abuses has remained shrouded in secrecy.


Collapse of Aztec society linked to catastrophic salmonella outbreak

DNA of 500-year-old bacteria is first direct evidence of an epidemic — one of humanity's deadliest — that occurred after Spanish conquest.

Ewen Callaway
16 February 2017

One of the worst epidemics in human history, a sixteenth-century pestilence that devastated Mexico’s native population, may have been caused by a deadly form of salmonella from Europe, a pair of studies suggest.

In one study, researchers say they have recovered DNA of the stomach bacterium from burials in Mexico linked to a 1540s epidemic that killed up to 80% of the country's native inhabitants. The team reports its findings in a preprint posted on the bioRxiv server on 8 February1.

This is potentially the first genetic evidence of the pathogen that caused the massive decline in native populations after European colonization, says Hannes Schroeder, an ancient-DNA researcher at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen who was not involved in the work. “It’s a super-cool study.”

Dead bodies and ditches

In 1519, when forces led by Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés arrived in Mexico, the native population was estimated at about 25 million. A century later, after a Spanish victory and a series of epidemics, numbers had plunged to around 1 million.


Ex-banker, Correa ally battle in Ecuador

Ex-banker, Correa ally battle in Ecuador
February 16 2017 10:41 PM

Moreno gives a speech during a campaign rally in Quito on Wednesday.


An ally of leftist President Rafael Correa and a conservative former banker are battling to become Ecuador’s next president in Sunday’s election amid corruption scandals and a lacklustre economy.

Polls show 63-year-old former vice-president Lenin Moreno ahead, but the ruling party candidate, who has used a wheelchair since being shot during a 1998 robbery, appears to be just short of the minimum needed to win outright in the first round.

That would trigger an April 2 run-off, probably against opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso, a 61-year-old former executive president of Banco de Guayaquil.

Disparate opposition factions in the oil-producing country of 17mn people, which stretches from the Andes to the Galapagos Islands, may then unite to support Lasso, giving him an edge over Moreno, analysts said.

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