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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 146,998

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Bolivia's Morales to return to Cuba for throat surgery

Bolivia's Morales to return to Cuba for throat surgery
March 28, 2017, 11:38:00 AM EDT By Reuters

LA PAZ, March 28 (Reuters) - Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Tuesday he is returning to Cuba to have a small nodule in his vocal cords removed, in what would be the socialist leader's second trip to the communist-ruled nation for medical attention this month.

"Tomorrow night I will travel with urgency. I don't feel pain, it's hoarse," Morales, 57, told a group of coca farmers in the Bolivian capital La Paz. "I feel that everyday it's getting worse, and it's better to quickly have this minor surgery." Morales, who has led the Andean nation for 11 years, went to Cuba for treatment earlier this month after he was forced to cancel public appearances due to a severe sore throat.

[nL2N1GE2FM] He had initially planned to return to Cuba in April for minor throat surgery expected to last 15 to 20 minutes, Cuban state media reported during his visit earlier this month.[nL5N1GK172]


The very edge of a city: Mexico City's deepest hinterlands in pictures

Feike de Jong walked the entire perimeter of one of the biggest cities in the world, to capture the strange scenery of the fringes of Mexico’s capital

Feike de Jong is the creator of the app Limits: On Foot Along the Edge of the Megalopolis of the Valley of Mexico
Feike de Jong
Tuesday 28 March 2017 08.00 EDT


Amazon tribe has the healthiest hearts ever studied

Katherine Martinko (@feistyredhair)
Living / Health
March 27, 2017

CC BY 2.0 Eli Duke
Heart attacks and strokes are virtually unknown among the Tsimane people of the Bolivian rainforest. What can we learn from this?

The Tsimane people of the Bolivian Amazon have the world’s healthiest hearts. A study published earlier this month in The Lancet says that heart attacks and strokes are virtually unknown among this population that follows a pre-industrialized lifestyle. Heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose are also impressively low. When calcium plaque buildup is used as a measure of arterial age, Tsimane arteries look thirty years younger than ours. In other words, an 80-year-old Tsimane man has the heart of a 50-year-old American.

While much of the Western world struggles with sickly hearts and their consequences, this research is particularly relevant. It could hold valuable clues to improving the health of people in industrial nations, where more than 50 percent of the population is at moderate to high risk of heart disease.

Says senior anthropology author Professor Hillard Kaplan of the University of New Mexico:

“Our study shows that the Tsimane indigenous South Americans have the lowest prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis of any population yet studied. Their lifestyle suggests that a diet low in saturated fats and high in non-processed fiber-rich carbohydrates, along with wild game and fish, not smoking and being active throughout the day could help prevent hardening in the arteries of the heart.”


The return of Colombias paramilitary nightmare

Organised criminal gangs — offshoots of the brutal groups that were formed to fight Farc — are taking over areas abandoned by their former enemy

By Reinaldo Spitaletta
Published: 17:52 March 26, 2017

Is paramilitarism finished in Colombia? Or did it simply change shape and morph into the so-called “bandas criminals” (criminal gangs) — Bacrim for short — which are known to involve old-guard paramilitary fighters and are responsible for a new wave of crime and terror?

These are just some of the questions being posed in light of recent reports about the forced displacement of civilians in the department of Choco, in western Colombia, where clashes have been reported between guerrillas from the National Liberation Army, or ELN, and members of the Gaitanista Self-Defence Groups, a criminal offshoot of the now defunct United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia paramilitary organisation.
The paramilitary phenomenon, that horrific project of the 1980s created in a backward country dominated by landowners, remains a threat, especially now that Colombia’s largest guerrilla army — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc — has agreed to dismantle. This is especially true is rural areas.

. . .

Paramilitarism as it exists in Colombia was cruel and blood-thirsty from the outset. The pretext for its creation was to fight the guerrillas. But beyond that, it was a political project designed to seize control of the country’s best lands. It used terror as a key mechanism of expropriation and, as it metastasized, resulted in wholesale massacres. Little by little, paramilitary groups formed alliances with state forces and politicians of the traditional parties, the Liberals and Conservatives.

‘Nobody dares report’

In his 1983 column, titled ‘Which country are we dying in?’, Garcia Marquez argued that the only point of clarity with regard to the violence was that “the material authors are gangs of mercenary gunmen who kill in broad daylight, sometimes with their faces uncovered and at other times painted, and whom everybody knows but nobody dares report”. The public prosecutor in the district of Aguachica, he added, “bluntly declares that the gangs are paid by big landowners to steal the lands of poor peasants”.

Worldcrunch 2017/New York Times News Service

Palace remains in Mexico point to ancient rise of centralized power

Ruler ruled, lived in, maybe even performed ritual sacrifices in 2,300-year-old structure

ROYAL DIGS An aerial view shows an excavated section of a ruler’s palace in southern Mexico that dates to as early as 2,300 years ago. This structure contained areas for conducting government business. The ruler’s living quarters, above and to the right of the exposed area, were filled in with dirt after being excavated.

Remnants of a royal palace in southern Mexico, dating to between around 2,300 and 2,100 years ago, come from what must have been one of the Americas’ earliest large, centralized governments, researchers say.

Excavations completed in 2014 at El Palenque uncovered a palace with separate areas where a ruler conducted affairs of state and lived with his family, say archaeologists Elsa Redmond and Charles Spencer, both of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Only a ruler of a bureaucratic state could have directed construction of this all-purpose seat of power, the investigators conclude the week of March 27 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The royal palace, the oldest such structure in the Valley of Oaxaca, covered as many as 2,790 square meters, roughly half the floor area of the White House. A central staircase connected to an inner courtyard that probably served as a place for the ruler and his advisors to reach decisions, hold feasts and — based on human skull fragments found there — perform ritual sacrifices, the scientists suggest. A system of paved surfaces, drains and other features for collecting rainwater runs throughout the palace, a sign that the entire royal structure was built according to a design, the researchers say.

El Palenque’s palace contains no tombs. Its ancient ruler was probably buried off-site, at a ritually significant location, Redmond and Spencer say.


Heiltsuk First Nation village among oldest in North America: Archeologists

(Vancouver Sun)
Published: March 26, 2017
Updated: March 27, 2017 7:49 PM

A Heiltsuk village site on B.C.’s mid-coast is three times as old as the Great Pyramid at Giza and among the oldest human settlements in North America, according to researchers at the Hakai Institute.

The excavation on Triquet Island has already produced extremely rare artifacts, including a wooden projectile-launching device called an atlatl, compound fish hooks and a hand drill used for lighting fires, said Alisha Gauvreau, a PhD student at the University of Victoria. 

The village has been in use for about 14,000 years, based on analysis of charcoal recovered from a hearth about 2.5 metres below the surface, making it one of the oldest First Nations settlements yet uncovered. Dates from the most recent tests range from 13,613 to 14,086 years ago.

“We were so happy to find something we could date,” she said. What started as a one-metre-by-one-metre “keyhole” into the past, expanded last summer into a three-metre trench with evidence of fire related in age to a nearby cache of stone tools.


[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Sifting Evidence with BC's Ancient Civilization Sleuths
For people roaming 10,000 years ago, the Central Coast was a great place to settle down, as excited researchers are proving. Part of a series.
By Jude Isabella 30 Oct 2012 | TheTyee.ca

. . .

The landscape looks like a giant's bonsai garden. Gnarled trees twist out of the boggy ground; a shallow pond sits in what's left behind of the giant's footprint. The image grows more fantastical when a group of men glide into the picture hauling a canoe, another two trudge through carrying plywood, and a third lopes by shouldering a ladder.

Archaeology on British Columbia's coast is never dull. In this instance, the group is following Duncan McLaren, a University of Victoria (UVic) archaeologist preoccupied with the past of this remote and soggy place, costly to reach and formidable to researchers used to milder landscapes. But it's also a rich place, where the buried past presses close to the surface, evidence of a people's home since the end of the last glacial period over 11,000 calendar years ago.

The discipline of archaeology has traditionally viewed the islands and fjords of the Central Coast as a corridor to somewhere else, imagining it as the route out of Asia to the Americas, speeding travelers on their way to what would become California, Texas, and southern Chile -- a faceless service area on the turnpike heading south.

McLaren belongs to a group of scientists with a different perspective. Their question is not the familiar "Where did people come from and where did they go?" Rather, it's, "How did the people live here so well?"


AP Exclusive: Colombia 'panic buttons' expose activists

Frank Bajak, Ap Technology Writer Updated 5:47 pm, Monday, March 27, 2017

It is supposed to help protect human-rights activists, labor organizers and journalists working in risky environments, but a GPS-enabled "panic button" that Colombia's government has issued to about 400 people could be exposing them to more peril.

The pocket-sized devices are designed to notify authorities in the event of an attack or attempted kidnapping. But the Associated Press, with an independent security audit , uncovered technical flaws that could let hostile parties disable them, eavesdrop on conversations and track users' movements.

. . .

"This is negligent in the extreme," said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, calling the finding "a tremendous security failure."

Over the past four years, other "distress alarms" and smartphone apps have been deployed or tested around the world, with mixed results. When effective, they can be crucial lifelines against criminal gangs, paramilitary groups or the hostile security forces of repressive regimes.


Economists From US and 10 Other Countries Warn of Danger of Return to Neoliberalism in Ecuador

Sunday, March 26, 2017
By 55 economists, Speakout

Over the past ten years, Ecuador has achieved major economic and social advances. We are concerned that many of these important gains in poverty reduction, wage growth, reduced inequality, and greater social inclusion could be eroded by a return to of the policies of austerity and neoliberalism that prevailed in Ecuador from the 1980s to the early 2000s. A return to such policies threatens to put Ecuador back on a path that leads not only to a more unequal society, but to more political instability as well. It is important to recall that from 1996 to 2006, Ecuador went through eight presidents.

Unfortunately, there is much confusion and misinformation about Ecuador's achievements in recent years. It has all but become conventional wisdom that the economic and social progress in Ecuador, such as it is recognized, resulted simply from a commodities boom and a spike in oil revenues. This explanation ignores the innovative and important reforms that the Ecuadorian government has enacted that have played an instrumental role and allowed the country to emerge, relatively unscathed, from the 2009 Global Recession and the more recent collapse in oil prices. These reforms included bringing the central bank into the government's economic team, a tax on capital exiting the country, a large increase in public investment, re-regulation of the financial sector, and countercyclical fiscal policy.

Neoliberal economic policies have been tried in Ecuador, and have failed to deliver. Compared to 1.5 percent annual per capita GDP growth from 2006 to 2016, per capita GDP growth averaged just 0.6 percent from 1980 to 2006. From 1980 to 2000, a period during which Ecuador had a number of loan agreements with the International Monetary Fund, Ecuador experienced a considerable economic failure, as GDP per capita fell by 1.5 percent over those two decades. This failure almost certainly resulted at least in part from the neoliberal policies of cutting spending, privatization, inflation-targeting, deregulation, and others that also made the Ecuadorian economy increasingly vulnerable to external shocks. In the 1960-1980 period, by contrast, per capita GDP growth was 110 percent.

Similarly, poverty increased by one-third between 1995 and 2001, when it reached 45 percent. Poverty did decline overall from 1995 to 2006, but by just 2.7 percent; by contrast, poverty fell by over 32 percent from 2006 to 2014. According to Ecuadorian government statistics, the Gini coefficient for net household income (a common measurement of inequality) decreased by over 10 percent between 2006 and 2014, after having increased by more than 7 percent from 1995 to 2006. The indicators from the pre-Correa years, as bad as they are, are bolstered by the fact that emigration of people from Ecuador under prior governments artificially held down Ecuador's inequality, poverty, and unemployment rates.


King Tut's Grandmom? Huge Alabaster Statue Unearthed Along Nile

By Jeanna Bryner, Live Science Managing Editor | March 24, 2017 11:23am ET

- click for image -


A "unique" carved alabaster statue that may represent King Tut's grandmother ― Queen Tiye ― has been unearthed on the west bank of Luxor along the Nile River, archaeologists with Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities announced yesterday (March 23).

The statue, which looks to be life-size in images released by the ministry, was found accidentally when workers lifted the lower part of the colossal statue of King Amenhotep III, the ninth ruler of ancient Egypt's 18th Dynasty, who lived from about 1390 to 1352 B.C. The statue, dating back around 3,400 years, was situated next to the king's right leg, according to the mission leader, Hourig Sourouzian.

Queen Tiye, who died around 1340 B.C., was the wife of King Amenhotep III and the paternal grandmother of King Tut; as the identity of the boy king's mother is a source of debate among scholars, his maternal grandmother is not known for certain.

Found within the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III at Kom Al-Hittan, the statue is "beautiful, distinguished and unique," Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany said in a statement. [In Photos: 3,300-Year-Old Egyptian Carving]


Cuba Offers Medical Training To Colombians Affected By Civil War

MAR Saturday 25TH 2017 posted by Morning Star
by WT Whitney Jr

THE communication that Cuba’s ambassador sent to the Commission for Followup, Impetus, and Verification in Colombia on March 13 was no routine matter.

Ambassador Jose Luis Ponce Caballero informed the commission of “the Cuban government’s offer of one thousand scholarships to pursue studies for a medical career in Cuba as [a] contribution to the process of implementation of the agreement in Havana and to the post-conflict.”

On November 24 2016 Colombia’s government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) signed an agreement ending decades of civil war.

The commission was a product of that agreement. Cuba’s offer of medical scholarships is symbolic of the nation’s enduring commitment to peace in Colombia. The country had already hosted the negotiations leading to the agreement, talks that stretched over four years.

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