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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 139,931

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Chile aims to end dictatorship-era election rules

Chile aims to end dictatorship-era election rules

Eva Vergara, The Associated Press, Santiago, Chile | World | Thu, April 24 2014, 9:26 AM

President Michelle Bachelet is determined to make Chile's democracy more representative, and for the first time in a quarter century, there may be just enough votes in Congress to achieve it.

Bachelet wants to end an electoral system that has squeezed out independent candidates and guaranteed an outsized presence in Congress for the center-right coalition ever since the end of the 17-year dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 1990.

The system distorts the vote by giving half the seats in each district to the trailing coalition as long as it gets at least a third of the votes. In practice, that has meant many elections are decided behind closed doors, with the center-left and center-right blocs hand-picking candidates to ensure neither side will get its way in Congress.

Pinochet also did away with proportional districts, which denied equal representation for people living in Chile's biggest cities.

"Let's call things what they are: The binomial system is a thorn pounded into the center of our democracy. It's a system that owes its life to the dictatorship and that has perpetuated itself through exclusion," Bachelet said Wednesday as she signed the proposal, which now will be debated in Congress.

More:
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/04/24/chile-aims-end-dictatorship-era-election-rules.html


Honduras: longtime campesina leader murdered

Honduras: longtime campesina leader murdered
Submitted by Weekly News Update... on Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:14

Some 200 campesinos have been murdered in ongoing land disputes in Honduras over the past years; a veteran leader of campesinos appears to be the latest victim.

Masked men shot and killed Honduran campesino movement leader Margarita Murillo the night of Aug. 26 on land she farmed in the community of El Planón, Villanueva municipality, in the northern department of Cortés. Murillo reportedly began working for campesino rights at the age of 12. During the 1980s she was a founder of the Campesino National Unity Front (FENACAMH) and the General Confederation of Rural Workers (CNTC). After the military removed then-president José Manuel Zelaya Rosales (2006-2009) from office in June 2009, she was both a local and a national leader in the broad coalition resisting the coup, the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP [4]), and then in the center-left party that grew out of it, the Freedom and Refoundation Party (LIBRE [5]). The National Congress observed a moment of silence after reports of Murillo's death were confirmed.

As of Aug. 28 the police said they had no indication of the murder's authors. Murillo was leading a small cooperative, The Windows Campesino Associative Production Enterprise, that was engaged in a land dispute in the area where she was working at the time of her death. Soldiers had carried off her grown son Samuel from the house where the family lives in Marañón community, south of San Pedro Sula, on July 26; he was reportedly still missing as of Aug. 30. According to Rafael Alegría, a legislative deputy and campesino leader, some 200 campesinos have been murdered and about 700 campesinas face legal charges in cases involving land disputes. (La Prensa [6], San Pedro Sula, Sept. 28; El Ciudadano [7], Chile, Aug. 29, from TeleSUR; Vía Campesina [8], Aug. 30)

http://ww4report.com/node/13516

(Short article, no more at link.)

Lost frogs: finding the world's rarest amphibians – in pictures

Lost frogs: finding the world's rarest amphibians – in pictures


In Search of Lost Frogs is the story of conservationist and photographer Robin Moore’s journey from Colombia to Costa Rica and Israel to India to find lost species, a quest he embarked upon – later joined by 126 researchers in 21 countries – in 2010. He has founded the Amphibian Survival Alliance and is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. The expedition and its discoveries give hope that it is still not too late to save some species, and they are all remarkable as is illustrated by Moore’s stunning photographs here

theguardian.com, Thursday 11 September 2014 06.29 EDT


[font size=1]
Cuchumatan golden toad, Incilius aurarius, from the Cuchumatanes mountains of Guatemala. The toad, discovered in
2012, was photographed during a search for the lost Jackson’s climbing salamander
[/font]
More:
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2014/sep/11/lost-frogs-finding-the-worlds-rarest-amphibians-in-pictures

Meet the Company Suing El Salvador for the Right to Poison Its Water

Meet the Company Suing El Salvador for the Right to Poison Its Water

In an obscure World Bank court, a multinational mining firm is suing El Salvador for attempting to protect its citizens from deadly mining pollution.

By Robin Broad and John Cavanagh, September 3, 2014.

An obscure tribunal housed at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. will soon decide the fate of millions of people.

At issue is whether a government should be punished for refusing to let a foreign mining company operate because it wants to protect its main source of water.

The case pits El Salvador’s government against a Canadian gold-mining company that recently became part of a larger Australian-based corporation. When OceanaGold bought Pacific Rim last year, it identified the Salvadoran mining prospects as a key asset, even though gold prices have sunk by more than a third from their 2011 high of more than $1,900 an ounce.

The case’s implications are chilling. If the company wins, this small country will have to either let the company mine or pay hundreds of millions of dollars.

More:
http://fpif.org/meet-company-suing-el-salvador-right-poison-water/

With detention center overflowing, detainees kept handcuffed in park in Colombia's capital

With detention center overflowing, detainees kept handcuffed in park in Colombia's capital
Article by: CESAR GARCIA , Associated Press
Updated: September 11, 2014 - 11:05 PM

BOGOTA, Colombia — It was a day in the park for about 40 prisoners — handcuffed to each other, a fence and even a children's slide.

Authorities have been holding some crime suspects in a public park in western Bogota's La Granja neighborhood because they say there is no more room at a local detention center.

Prisoners kept at the park, who are suspected of crimes ranging from robbery to drug trafficking, are guarded by groups of six police officers who switch after eight-hour shifts. Thursday's crop of detainees huddled under tarpaulins, slumped beside park play equipment and chatted in groups, their arms linked by handcuffs.

The practice has been going on for more than two months in Colombia's capital. Human rights groups are calling it inhumane and parents are complaining they can't take their kids to the park anymore.

"We worry about safety. The children and my 9-year-old daughter can't come to the park and see this spectacle," said engineer Jaime Rojas, who lives nearby. "There are criminals who have committed all types of crime here."

More:
http://www.startribune.com/world/274850811.html

US considered offering asylum to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet

US considered offering asylum to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet

Documents detail high-level Ronald Reagan administration debates on policy options to ease Pinochet out of power

Jonathan Franklin in Santiago
The Guardian, Thursday 11 September 2014 14.48 EDT

The government of Ronald Reagan was so worried that leftwing opposition to General Augusto Pinochet might erupt into open civil war that in 1986 the US government considered offering political asylum to the Chilean dictator.

Documents recently discovered in US archives reveal that a mission headed by US army general John Galvin went to Chile in 1986 to assess the growing street protest and guerrilla efforts to upend the unpopular Pinochet regime.

As the US began to understand the depth and passion of the opposition, fears of civil war forced Reagan officials to look for alternatives including, as one document stated, "An honorable departure for President (Pinochet), who would be received as a guest of our (US) government."

The documents, unearthed by Chilean journalist Loreto Daza at the US national archives and records administration in Maryland, detail high-level Reagan administration debates on policy options to ease Pinochet out of power.

More:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/11/augusto-pinochet-asylum-united-states-ronald-reagan

Chile President Urges Justice on Coup Anniversary

Source: Agence France-Presse

Chile President Urges Justice on Coup Anniversary
World | Agence France-Presse | Updated: September 12, 2014 10:03 IST

Santiago: Chile's president marked the 41st anniversary on Thursday of the coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power by urging those with details about crimes committed during the dictatorship to come forward.

The September 11, 1973 coup led to the overthrow of socialist president Salvador Allende.

The day of commemoration ended with clashes between protesters and police in at least seven districts of the capital Santiago.

Six police were hurt, one of them shot in the foot, and 10 demonstrator were detained, police said in a preliminary tally.

Indeed, the date remains divisive 24 years after the return of democracy in the South American country. The late Pinochet still has fervent supporters despite his regime's "dirty war" against leftist opponents, when 3,200 people were killed and 38,000 tortured.

"Enough of the painful waiting and unjustified silences," President Michelle Bachelet said at an emotional ceremony in the La Moneda Palace.

"It is essential that those who have relevant information surrender it, whether they're military or civilian."



Read more: http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/chile-president-urges-justice-on-coup-anniversary-590557?curl=1410502013



The other September 11th: Chile, Cuba and the United States
By Katie Halper
Thursday, September 11, 2014 14:27 EDT

Today is September 11th. As almost everyone in the world knows, on this day, thirteen years ago, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, tragically killing nearly 3,000 people. The aftermath of these attacks had national ramifications– racial profiling, stifling of dissent, squashing of civil liberties– as well as international ones– an invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with September 11th, and Afghanistan.

In the United States, we mourn those that were lost on September 11. However, many of us are unaware that for Chileans, September 11th had become a day of tragedy decades before. In 1973, the Chilean army flew fighter jets over Santiago and bombed its own presidential palace during a coup to overthrow its own legal eleceted president, Salvador Allende.​ Augusto Pinochet, who Allende had appointed to Commander-in-Chief, seized power, put all political parties “in recess” and killed, tortured, disappeared and forced into exile thousands of Chileans. He would remained in power until 1990.

The United States played a significant role in both the coup and the dictatorship. In his book Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability, Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Chile documentation project at the National Security Archive, uses archival material and declassified documents to expose the complicity of the United States:

"eight days after Allende’s election (in 1970), Kissinger initiated discussion on the telephone with CIA director Richard Helm’s about a preemptive coup in Chile. “We will not let Chile go down the drain,” Kissinger declared… "

• " Three days before President Nixon, in a 15-minute meeting that included Kissinger, ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream,” and named Kissinger as the supervisor of the covert efforts to keep Allende from being inaugurated. "


More:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/09/11/the-other-september-11th-chile-cuba-and-the-united-states/

Chile President Urges Justice on Coup Anniversary

Chile President Urges Justice on Coup Anniversary
World | Agence France-Presse | Updated: September 12, 2014 10:03 IST

Santiago: Chile's president marked the 41st anniversary on Thursday of the coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power by urging those with details about crimes committed during the dictatorship to come forward.

The September 11, 1973 coup led to the overthrow of socialist president Salvador Allende.

The day of commemoration ended with clashes between protesters and police in at least seven districts of the capital Santiago.

Six police were hurt, one of them shot in the foot, and 10 demonstrator were detained, police said in a preliminary tally.

Indeed, the date remains divisive 24 years after the return of democracy in the South American country. The late Pinochet still has fervent supporters despite his regime's "dirty war" against leftist opponents, when 3,200 people were killed and 38,000 tortured.

"Enough of the painful waiting and unjustified silences," President Michelle Bachelet said at an emotional ceremony in the La Moneda Palace.

"It is essential that those who have relevant information surrender it, whether they're military or civilian."

More:
http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/chile-president-urges-justice-on-coup-anniversary-590557?curl=1410502013

Mexico reaches out to Cuba ahead of Ibero-American Summit

Mexico reaches out to Cuba ahead of Ibero-American Summit

Mexican foreign minister says the Peña Nieto administration will extend its line of credit to Cuba

Mexico and Cuba seal their reconciliation
México extiende el brazo a Cuba a unos meses de la Cumbre Iberoamericana

Verónica Calderón México DF 10 SEP 2014 - 17:27 CEST

The Mexican government will extend its line of credit to Cuba, Foreign Minister José Antonio Meade said in Havana on Tuesday. He also emphasized Mexican business leaders’ interest in investing in the island to boost the Cuban economy.

According to the Mexican government, the two countries currently hold bilateral agreements on trade, investment, tourism, energy, fishing, airlines, mining and customs. These deals are worth more than $297 million. Still, their business is only a third of Mexico’s commercial deals with the Dominican Republic (around $1 billion in 2012). According to estimates from Mexico’s foreign trade bank, Bancomext, investments in Cuba reach $730 million.

Meade’s announcement comes nine months after the administration canceled 70 percent ($500 million) of Cuba’s debt to Mexico. Bancomext director Enrique De la Madrid Cordero has said that Mexico was not giving the island “even one peso” for free.

During remarks made in Havana, the foreign minister emphasized the “historic brotherhood” between Mexico and Cuba – at least during the 20th century. The relationship between the two nations suffered through a 12-year diplomatic freeze during the conservative governments of the National Action Party (PAN) from 2000 to 2012. But Foreign Minister Meade has already made three trips to the island during the current administration. Since taking office in December 2012, President Enrique Peña Nieto (Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI) has met with Raúl Castro on two occasions: in Santiago de Chile and in Havana, where he participated in the second Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit.

More:
http://elpais.com/elpais/2014/09/10/inenglish/1410362311_224060.html

Chevron Racism Toward Ecuador Highlighted by BP Case

Chevron Racism Toward Ecuador Highlighted by BP Case
Friday, 12 September 2014, 11:33 am
Article: The Chevron Pit

A legal decision handed down last week by U.S. federal Judge Carl Barbier found that BP's "gross negligence" caused the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

The decision increased the company's liability to roughly $50 billion. For our purposes, Judge Barbier's decision – which sets an important benchmark for corporate accountability – has a deeper meaning.

Judge Barbier's finding underscores the obvious racism behind Chevron CEO John Watson's claim that the company's $9.5 billion judgment in Ecuador represents some sort of gouging by that country's courts. While BP pays for its spill, Chevron has managed to obtain effective impunity for decades of contamination resulting in disease and death in the rainforest of Ecuador.

Chevron has steadfastly refused to pay any part of the judgment whatsoever. The company chooses instead to spend countless millions on law firms to carry out its threat of a "lifetime of litigation" for the villagers.

It gets worse. BP's liability for the less impactful Gulf spill in the U.S. is now five times higher (and still growing) than Chevron's in Ecuador. Yet Chevron's contamination in Ecuador is more widespread, has lasted far longer, was deliberate, has severely impacted indigenous groups, and is afflicting the world's most delicate ecosystem. Further, responsibility was adjudicated after an eight-year trial.

More:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1409/S00091/chevron-racism-toward-ecuador-highlighted-by-bp-case.htm
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