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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,066

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'Climate Criminality': Australia OKs Biggest Coal Mine

Published on Monday, July 28, 2014 by
Common Dreams
'Climate Criminality': Australia OKs Biggest Coal Mine

Environmental groups slam decision that will 'dump on' Great Barrier Reef, fuel climate crisis

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer

In a decision criticized as "climate criminality," Australia's federal government announced Monday that it has given the OK to the country's biggest coal mine.

The announcement comes less than three months after the state of Queensland gave its approval to the project.

"With this decision," wrote Ben Pearson, head of programs for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, "the political system failed to protect the Great Barrier Reef, the global climate and our national interest."

“Off the back of repealing effective action on climate change," stated Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters, referring to the scrapping of the carbon tax, "the Abbott Government has ticked off on a proposal for Australia’s biggest coal mine to cook the planet and turn our Reef into a super highway for coal ships.”

Adani Mining expects its Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project in Queensland's Galilee Basin to produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal a year, most of which will be sent to India. A rail line will be created from the mine to a new coal port terminal, an expansion which means up to 3 million meters of dredging waste will be dumped in the area of the World Heritage-listed Reef.

UNESCO "noted with concern" (pdf) in April the prospect of additional dredging that would negatively impact the Reef and warned that the site could be added to the List of World Heritage in Danger.

More:
http://commondreams.org/news/2014/07/28/climate-criminality-australia-oks-biggest-coal-mine

Brazil Farmers Say GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Bugs

Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
by Common Dreams
Brazil Farmers Say GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Bugs

Farm lobby group calls on Monsanto and other biotech companies to reimburse for additional pesticide treatments

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Brazilian farmers say their GMO corn is no longer resistant to pests, Reuters reported Monday.

The Association of Soybean and Corn Producers of the Mato Grosso region said farmers first noticed in March that their genetically modified corn crops were less resistant to the destructive caterpillars that "Bt corn" — which has been genetically modified to produce a toxin that repels certain pests — is supposed to protect against. In turn, farmers have been forced to apply extra coats of insecticides, racking up additional environmental and financial costs.

The association, which goes by the name Aprosoja-MT, is calling on Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, and Dow companies to offer solutions as well as compensate the farmers for their losses. In a release posted to the Aprosoja-MT website, spokesman Ricardo Tomcyzk said farmers spent the equivalent of $54 per hectare to spray extra pesticides, and that the biotech companies promised something they didn't deliver, "i.e. deceptive advertising." (via Google Translate)

But Monsanto, et al are unlikely to accommodate the farmers. According to Reuters, "seed companies say they warned Brazilian farmers to plant part of their corn fields with conventional seeds to prevent bugs from mutating and developing resistance to GMO seeds."

More:
http://commondreams.org/news/2014/07/29/brazil-farmers-say-gmo-corn-no-longer-resistant-bugs

Victims of 1982 Guatemala massacre laid to rest

Victims of 1982 Guatemala massacre laid to rest
Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 3:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 3:44 p.m.

SANTA MARIA NEBAJ, Guatemala (AP) — The remains of 31 Ixil Mayans killed more than three decades ago during the height of Guatemala's civil war were laid to rest Wednesday in the country's western highlands amid the sounds of a violin and wafts of incense.

Hundreds of people joined in a procession that carried small wooden boxes containing the remains to a cemetery in Xecax, the village in Quiche province where the massacre happened.

Villagers have blamed the army for the attack on Feb. 4, 1982, but no one has ever been prosecuted.

Forensic experts first exhumed the remains four years ago but were able to identify only eight of the victims through DNA tests. The bodies of those identified were returned to their relatives' homes in the village for a traditional memorial service before the mass burial.

More:
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20140730/API/307309703

Ohio: 2nd fine levied against prison food vendor

Source: Associated Press

Ohio: 2nd fine levied against prison food vendor
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer | July 30, 2014 | Updated: July 30, 2014 4:46pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state on Wednesday announced a second fine against the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year as the company defended its operations before a prisons oversight committee.

The $130,200 fine against Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services covered continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five prisons this month and last, according to Ohio's July 23 letter to the company.

"There were and there are remaining concerns," Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, told members of the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee.

Mohr emphasized that problems are largely limited to seven prisons. He said some of the fine will be used to increase the training Aramark employees receive. "What was going on was just not adequate," he said.


Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/us/article/Oversight-official-Prison-food-problems-are-real-5657156.php

How US Immigration Policies Endangered Central American and Cuban Children

July 30, 2014
How Can Americans Turn Their Backs on These Kids?

How US Immigration Policies Endangered Central American and Cuban Children

by W.T. WHITNEY, Jr.


Leaving parents behind, 57,000 children crossed into the United States without papers between October 2013 and June, 2014. They were fleeing deadly violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Numbers have been up for three years. No arrangements were in place along the U.S. southwest border for quick and certain refuge and children now languish in detention centers. Having faced one humanitarian crisis, they were confronting another.

The Texas governor mobilized the National Guard, anti-immigrant protesters targeted the children, and on July 14 the first plane carrying exclusively mothers and children returned 22 children to San Pedro Sula in Honduras.

Restrictive immigration policies applying to Latin Americans dovetail with other U.S. measures harmful to poor people in the region, and elsewhere, among them free trade agreements, U.S. aid to the region’s repressive military and police forces, a green light for multi-national corporations, and alliances with wealthy classes of many countries.

Children are the losers. U.S. assumptions as regards immigration that strategic goals come first relegate children’s needs to an afterthought. That this is so even for would-be Cuban migrants, whose emigration experience has been radically different, bolsters that argument.

Cubans about to migrate can count on U.S. acceptance. No one else in the world enjoys such welcome. The Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) of 1966 enables all Cubans to gain permanent residence a year after their arrival, and expect citizenship. The legislation’s purpose was propaganda. The U.S. open door encouraged many Cubans to leave as economic migrants, but the official line was that they were refugees from so-called “communist tyranny.”

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/30/how-us-immigration-policies-endangered-central-american-and-cuban-children/

How the U.S.-Backed Genocide in Guatemala Drove the Child Refugee Crisis

AlterNet / By Gabriel M. Schivone

How the U.S.-Backed Genocide in Guatemala Drove the Child Refugee Crisis

American policy in Guatemala has turned the country into a land of wreck and ruin.

July 28, 2014 |


For once the Republicans got it right. But not in the way they think. Indeed, President Obama carries the representative blame for the debacle (including reports of sadistic abuse by U.S. Border Patrol) of largely Central American migrant children long overwhelming shelters at the border. But the guilt is much broader, ranging from successive administrations all the way down to us, as American taxpayers.

Decades of U.S. policy in Guatemala alone have turned the country into a land of wreck and ruin. This is the ultimate reason migrants have been crossing into the United States in increasing numbers in recent months. Harsh immigration enforcement policies, such as the ones the Obama administration has been championing, add insult to injury as the U.S. punishes migrants when they arrive when it should be paying people like those of Guatemala massive reparations.

"They Owe It to Us"

It is indisputable that the U.S. shares significant responsibility for the genocide of tens of thousands of Guatemalans--mainly indigenous Mayans who comprised a majority of the (at least) 150,000 killed in the 1980s alone. A 1999 UN Truth Commission blamed Guatemalan state forces for 93 percent of the atrocities. That same year, former President Bill Clinton admitted the wrongness of U.S. support support for Guatemalan state violence.

U.S. culpability for Guatemala's plight endures to this day. The problem is--then and now--the United States is in denial as a nation over what to do about its complicity.

More:
http://www.alternet.org/world/how-us-backed-genocide-guatemala-drove-child-refugee-crisis

Colombia’s women victims ‘terrified’ over pending release of paramilitaries

Colombia’s women victims ‘terrified’ over pending release of paramilitaries
Jul 30, 2014 posted by Nicolas Bedoya

Thirty-six Colombian and international human rights groups and peace advocates presented a document on Monday expressing serious concerns over the disregard of victims’ rights in light of the imminent release of over 200 paramilitaries starting on August 15.

The Lawyer’s Collective Jose Alvear Restrepo (CAJAR) published a communique in which dozens of organizations expressed concerns over the release of paramilitaries who committed crimes against humanity.

Paramilitaries who submitted themselves to the first two demobilizations that happened under the Justice and Peace Law in August and December of 2006 are due to be released within the coming months. The demobilization of paramilitaries under former President Alvaro Uribe’s Justice and Peace Law in 2006 allowed for a maximum sentence of eight years to those who cooperated with authorities.

Jomary Ortegon, the vice-president of the Collective, told Colombia Reports that up to 60 paramilitaries could be released in August and another 105 in December after serving the maximum sentence of eight years under the Justice and Peace Law.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/colombias-invisible-victims-neglected-ignored-state/

Debate over Uribe’s alleged paramilitary past shot down in Senate

Debate over Uribe’s alleged paramilitary past shot down in Senate
Jul 29, 2014 posted by Daniel Medendorp Escobar

A debate on Senator Alvaro Uribe’s alleged links to now-defunct paramilitary groups was shot down by Colombia’s Senate on Tuesday, after days of the debate monopolizing the first week of the former president’s new political playground.

Senator Ivan Cepeda from the Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo Democrático Alternativo — PDA), a fierce opponent of the the president-turned-senator, proposed a debate over the topic but saw it shot down by the Senate in a 52-30 vote.

During the preliminary debate about whether or not to approve the debate, prominent left-wing and centrist members of congress including Jorge Enrique Robledo, Luis Fernando Velasco and Claudia Lopez spoke in favor of the initiative. Senators Ernesto Macias and Roy Barreras were included in those who spoke against the debate.

Uribe, supported by his bench and numerous senators from other parties, spoke out against the debate. Uribe, despite his apparent opposition to the debate on the Senate floor, voted in favor of the motion. Uribe’s party, the Democratic Center (Centro Democrático — CD) voted against the motion.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/debate-uribes-alleged-paramilitary-past-shot-senate/

LGBT rights defenders receive death threats in northern Colombia

LGBT rights defenders receive death threats in northern Colombia
Jul 29, 2014 posted by Gabrielle Mentjox

The systematic violence against Colombia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) population has worsened in recent years, according to a recent report released by the Ministry of the Interior.

According to the report, the vulnerability of the LGBT community at the hands of armed groups is most severe in Colombia’s Caribbean coastal region. There, LGBT rights defenders have received numerous death threats by illegal armed groups, reported Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper on Tuesday.

MORE: Colombia: Liberal in theory, homophobic in practice

On July 9, the Rastrojos drug trafficking organization sent death threats to various human rights defenders – including LGBT rights defenders – in Colombia’s northern Atlantic state declaring them “military targets.” According to the Rastrojos, such people would be assassinated “for defending farmers, displaced people, gays, lesbians, and rape victims,” and for “not supporting the advance of democracy,” reported LGBT advocacy organization Caribe Afirmativo.

Hide or confront us

The Rastrojos’ statement ended with the warning that “these whores have 72 hours to hide or confront us.”

In another pamphlet received earlier this year by LGBT community leaders, the Rastrojos deemed “lesbians and homosexuals” targets because they “degraded morals and set a bad example for children,” reported El Espectador.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/lgbt-rights-defenders-receive-death-threats-northern-colombia/

Escaping a Failed State

July 28, 2014
After Decades of Civil War Followed by Neoliberal Reforms, Guatemala's Children are Fleeing Escalating Violence

Escaping a Failed State

by COSME CAAL


Gate 31 of the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angeles is packed with white American tourists, volunteers and missionaries, waiting in little huddles. And there too are Guatemalans and American/Guatemalan children waiting to depart for Central America. Everyone chit chats. In English. In Spanish. In Spanglish. The tourists and volunteers pay us Guatemalans no mind. They exercise their civil inattention, a practice we Guatemalans consider rude and contemptuous. But no one really seems to care. We all want to go to Guatemala. I hear whispers and conversations about “dangerous Guatemala,” the incessant killings, and the deportations. Yet, here we are. Here I am, going home one more time as a transnational American.

Six hours later at the Guatemala International Airport, La Aurora, families jubilantly gather at the main gate. One by one Guatemalans get picked up by their families and go home. My ride is late. It is a chance for me to sit and observe. The white American tourists and volunteers huddle even tighter. Their faces reveal worry, even here at this very militarized airport, militarized for their safety. Their very presence is important for the Guatemalan government. They must be protected. They get picked up in a late model Mercedes Benz bus with tinted windows and an armed guard. There is a small placard on the windshield that says “Antigua,” the most secure city in the entire country. For two decades Antigua has been the main destination for white tourists from the United States and Europe. But between the airport and Antigua exists a Guatemala most tourists and volunteers never get to see. Especially white Americans.

Another world unfolds as soon as you walk out of the airport. A world buzzing with hard working people who live in perpetual fear. Extortion by well-armed and highly organized gangs is now a national problem. Most small businesses, corporations, and even sex workers and tortilla makers must pay up to these gangs upon threat of death. And there are many who refuse to pay, and even risk reporting them to the authorities. Murder is a common occurrence. Bus drivers are shot dead in broad daylight. Small storeowners or their relatives are shot on the spot. Body dumping has become commonplace.

Killing styles have become standardized. Incarcerated gang leaders dispatch two-men teams on motorcycles. The passenger is the shooter. Five to ten shots to the head and torso with a semi-automatic gun is the preferred execution method. According to the National Institute of Forensic Sciences 1,747 people have been murdered between January and May 31st of this year. Corrupt prison guards smuggle cell phones to organized crime leaders, along with any other tools they might need to guide the mayhem from behind bars.

Guatemala is virtually a war zone. Police from different federal agencies patrol in late model trucks armed with military weaponry. They swarm poor zones of the cities and countryside. Teams of soldiers led by police captains are dispatched every morning to most zones, including wealthy areas that are now fair game to extortion and kidnapping gangs. Fifty percent of the National Police patrols the capital city. Private security guards stand alert at virtually every successful business. They carry fully loaded shotguns with the safety switch off. Badly trained and under-paid, these guards have killed innocent civilians by mistake. Their fear for their own lives keeps them on edge.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/28/escaping-a-failed-state/
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