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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Argentina poverty rate climbs to 33%

Argentina poverty rate climbs to 33%
Source: Xinhua 2017-03-10 05:06:18

BUENOS AIRES, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The poverty rate in Argentina climbed to 32.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016, according to a study released on Thursday.

The report compiled by the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) shows 1.5 million people slipped under the poverty line, increasing the number of poor to nearly 13 million, the largest since 2010.

Extreme poverty reached 6.9 percent of the population over the same period, meaning 600,000 more people joined the ranks of the indigent, to bring the total number to 2.7 million.

"The economic belt-tightening measures, the adverse global situation, the anti-inflationary policy and the lack of private and public investment worsened the crisis," Agustin Salvia, the director of the UCA's Social Debt Watch, said in presenting the report.



Mar 9, 5:21 PM EST


MEXICO CITY (AP) -- A gang of dozens of fishermen overturned inspectors' vehicles, burned 15 trucks and patrol boats, and beat three inspectors from the office for environmental protection in a town on Mexico's Gulf of California.

The fishermen were angered by Mexico's attempt to save the vaquita porpoise by banning some types of net fishing in the Sea of Cortez, where only about 30 of the elusive animals are believed to survive.

The office said Thursday that the inspectors managed to escape, but that criminal charges were being filed.

Fishermen lured by Chinese demand for the swim bladder of a fish known as the totoaba, which inhabits the same waters as the vaquita, have decimated the porpoise population.

Vaquitas are caught in the same kind of nets that illegal totoaba fishermen use.


(Short article, no more at link.)

Environment & Energy:


vaquita porpoise

56 arrested in Colombia over community leader killings: report

56 arrested in Colombia over community leader killings: report
written by Mira Galanova March 9, 2017

Colombia has made 56 arrests in investigations into the killings of 133 community leaders and rights activists that have taken place since the beginning of 2016. Assassins of four leaders have been convicted, prosecution sources told newspaper El Tiempo.

A court delivered the first verdict in the killing of an activist in 2016 for defending human rights, according to the source close to the investigations.

Prosecutors were able to prove that William Castillo Chima was killed because he defended families in Bajo Cauca, Antioquia, against threats from paramilitary group Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a dissident faction of the now-defunct AUC paramilitary umbrella group.

According to conflict monitoring NGO Indepaz, 116 social leaders were assassinated in 2016. Colombia Reports has counted another 17 so far this year.


(As you may remember, the paramilitary death squads are radical right-wingers, and worked occassionally in connection with the Colombia military, and Colombian right-wing politicians from local to national levels.)

Farmers sue World Bank lending arm over alleged violence in Honduras

Farmers sue World Bank lending arm over alleged violence in Honduras

Complaint lodged with US federal court claims World Bank’s private sector lending arm is ‘knowingly profiting from the financing of murder’

Claire Provost
Wednesday 8 March 2017 09.28 EST

Peasants in Honduras have sued a branch of the World Bank over its financing of the corporation Dinant, which has vast palm oil plantations in Bajo Aguán valley in the country’s north. Lawyers for the farmers say they are seeking compensation for alleged attacks and killings, including actions by the company’s private security forces.

Attorneys for the NGO EarthRights International (ERI) filed the suit on the farmers’ behalf on Tuesday, at a US federal court in Washington DC, where the World Bank is headquartered.

The suit’s plaintiffs include more than 15 individuals. There are two class action claims: one regarding roughly 200 members of the Panamá community, the second representing roughly 1,000 people and focused on allegedly “unjust” profit-making from contested land acquisitions in the past.

The 132-page legal complaint says the plaintiffs are seeking compensation for “murders, torture, assault, battery, trespass, unjust enrichment and other acts of aggression”. Ultimately, it says, the case is about World Bank entities “knowingly profiting from the financing of murder”.


Meet the 70-Year-Old Japanese Women Who Freedive for Seafood

Meet the 70-Year-Old Japanese Women Who Freedive for Seafood

MAR 8 2017, 3:00PM

For over 2,000 years Ama have been freediving along the coast of Japan. Once renowned as powerful, half-naked women of the sea, time is catching up with them.

In a smoke-filled metal shack, three women cook freshly caught seafood on a simple metal screen over an open charcoal fire. The shells of awabi (abalone), Ise ebi (Japanese spiny lobster), sazae (turban shell), and uni (sea urchin) blacken and juices bubble from within. The purpose of the fire isn't only to cook the freshly caught seafood, but to warm the three women after they spent the morning in the sea catching today's meal. It's November and the water is frigid, and now that they're in their 60s and 70s, it takes more time for their aging bodies to recover.

They are part of a five-woman diving crew, and three of the 700 Ama divers remaining in the Toba and Shima area of Mie prefecture—three of only 2,000 remaining in all of Japan. There used to be thousands more.


Scott Pruitt's new version of the EPA, fossil fuel companies will no longer be required to divulge i

Scott Pruitt's new version of the EPA, fossil fuel companies will no longer be required to divulge information pertaining to their greenhouse gas emissions.


Sarah Emerson

@motherboard Website
17 mins ago


Under Scott Pruitt's new version of the EPA, fossil fuel companies will no longer be required to divulge information pertaining to their greenhouse gas emissions.
The agency charged with protecting the environment is perhaps the most vulnerable agency in the federal government under the new administration.


Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will no longer ask fossil fuel companies to reveal their emissions of certain greenhouse gases. The decision bears the mark of new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has fought the agency on behalf of oil and gas companies for years.

Last year, pursuant to the Clean Air Act, the EPA sent letters to more than 15,000 oil and gas companies. The letters requested information about methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) sources to inform future industry standards. This data would’ve helped the agency to fight climate change, protect air quality, and safeguard human health across the nation.

As if the need for emissions reporting was ever questionable, Pruitt has given companies free reign to pollute with plausible deniability. Several attorneys general from fossil fuel-producing states sent a letter to Pruitt yesterday, urging him to withdraw the EPA’s request. Today he made the change.

“It’s absurd that one of Scott Pruitt’s first acts is to refuse information on a dangerous pollutant,” said Melinda Pierce, legislative director at the Sierra Club.


Thousands of protesters in Guatemala demand president's resignation

Tue Mar 7, 2017 | 3:49pm EST

Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of the Guatemalan capital on Tuesday to demand the resignation of President Jimmy Morales, whose popularity has dropped since his brother and elder son were caught up in a graft investigation.

Jimmy Morales, a former comedian, was elected president in 2015 on pledges to clean up Guatemalan politics. He came to power after protests over a widespread corruption scandal that toppled his predecessor, retired General Otto Perez, who remains in jail.

The predominantly rural protesters, who headed to the main Constitution square, said they had been tricked by Morales.

"About a year ago, Jimmy Morales won with his slogan, 'Neither Corrupt, nor a Thief,'" said Estuardo Batz, one of the leaders of the march called by the Committee of Rural Development. "He lied to us, so he has to go."



Pre-Presidential Jimmy Morales,

pretending to be a funny prisoner.

Once again, Jimmy Morales.

Morales, impersonating a poor Guatemalan.[/center]
"According to his official biography, Jimmy Morales, an Evangelical Christian, has a university degree in business administration, a masters in media and communication and another in strategic studies with a specialization in security and defense."


Remembering Sandino

The Nicaraguan nationalist was assassinated eighty-three years ago last month.
by Jonah Walters

Augusto Sandino (center) being interviewed by Mexican journalists in 1930. Institute for the History of Nicaragua and Central America

Come, morphine addicts, come and kill us in our own land. I await you before my patriotic soldiers, feet firmly set, not worried about how many of you there may be. But keep in mind that when this happens the Capitol Building in Washington will shake with the destruction of your greatness, and our blood will redden the white doom of your famous White House, the cavern where you concoct your crimes.

–Augusto César Sandino, San Albino Manifesto. 1927

On February 21, 1934, thirty-one years to the day before Malcolm X was gunned down at Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom, a similarly historic assassination took place in a much smaller country a few thousand miles to the south.

That evening, General Augusto César Sandino was attending a banquet held by the new president of Nicaragua to celebrate the end of a decades-long civil conflict. Presumably, Sandino felt confident that his movement’s success had secured him a degree of influence in the recently reunified nation. After all, he was visiting the presidential palace to further negotiate the terms of an ongoing ceasefire that the new government had eagerly endorsed.

For the previous six years, Sandino had led a violent insurgency in the Nicaraguan highlands. Derided as a bandit, he was in fact the head of an internationally recognized revolutionary movement against the prolonged American occupation. And, in 1933, his rebels succeeded — a civilian president took office following a smooth election, the last Marines withdrew, and a new era of peace and political stability seemed imminent.

In the decades leading up to that February evening, twin assailants had menaced Nicaragua. On the one hand, the people faced the homegrown threat of petty despotism, embodied in this era by Anastasio Somoza, an American ally who commanded a domestic paramilitary closely aligned with the Marines — the despised National Guard.


NEW: Colombias war crime disappearing act

NEW: Colombia’s war crime disappearing act
written by Jamie Vaughan Johnson March 7, 2017

Colombia’s Supreme Court on Monday sentenced a former prosecutor to six years in prison for failing to file charges against soldiers who were later sentenced for assassinating a civilian and presenting him as a guerrilla killed in combat.

Former Prosecutor Luz Angela Lopez precluded the investigation into the actions of the accused two soldiers, despite the fact that there was clear evidence to call them to trial.

The men were responsible for the 1993 murder of Dagoberto Florez in Necocli, a municipality in northwest Colombia. The soldiers then dressed the victim as a guerrilla in order to present him as a combat kill, a military practice that cost more than 4,000 Colombians their lives.

. . .

This is the latest breakthrough in the crack-down on those involved in the “false positives” scandal that became systematic during the administrations of former President Alvaro Uribe (2002 – 2010), especially when Colombia’s current President Juan Manual Santos was Minister of Defense between 2006 and 2008.


Ex-police commander jailed for 30 years for murder of Oaxaca journalist

Ex-police commander jailed for 30 years for murder of Oaxaca journalist

New York, March 6, 2017--A court in the Mexican state Oaxaca convicted Jorge Armando Santiago Martínez of murdering Marcos Hernández Bautista, a reporter for the daily Noticias, Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed the March 3 conviction and called on authorities to prosecute all involved in the crime.

Marcos Hernández Bautista was shot dead in
January 2016. A court has jailed a former
police commander for his murder. (Noticias)

The court in Puerto Escondido sentenced Santiago Martínez, the former commander of the Santiago de Jamiltepec municipal police, at the same hearing to 30 years in prison for shooting Hernández multiple times outside a bar owned by the journalist on January 21, 2016, according to a statement by Oaxaca's attorney general's office. Santiago Martinez was ordered to pay 178,000 Mexican pesos (US$9,100) in damages to the journalist's family, according to the statement.

"We applaud Mexican authorities for this conviction in the murder of journalist Marco Hernández Bautista," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior program coordinator for the Americas. "While this is an encouraging first step toward addressing anti-press violence, justice will remain incomplete until the mastermind has been apprehended. We urge Mexican authorities to identify and prosecute the intellectual author of the crime and break the cycle of deadly violence against the media."

. . .

Hernández, who was also a freelance correspondent at La Ke Buena radio in the municipality of Pinotepa Nacional, reported on social issues and had written about protests over a planned hydro-electric dam, according to press reports. His editor at Noticias, Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca, María de los Angeles Velasco, told CPJ that he also denounced officials for land theft and corruption.


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