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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 158,700

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Official: More than 20 companies bid for licenses to supply marijuana to Uruguay pharmacies

Official: More than 20 companies bid for licenses to supply marijuana to Uruguay pharmacies
Article by: LEONARDO HABERKORN , Associated Press
Updated: August 28, 2014 - 6:50 PM

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Uruguay's new market for legalized marijuana has attracted at least 20 companies bidding for the right to supply pot to the country's pharmacies, a government official said Thursday.

An official from President Jose Mujica's office says cannabis regulators will review and pick the best businesses from the competitors that passed initial scrutiny. It's not clear how many may eventually be granted licenses in the South American country.

The government official did not specify an exact number of bidders, saying only it was "more than 20 and less than 25." He spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Successful companies must identify everyone involved in their businesses, document the source of their financing and be cleared by Uruguay's anti-money laundering agency.


(Short article, no more at link.)

Breakthroughs and Hurdles in Colombia’s Peace Talks

Breakthroughs and Hurdles in Colombia’s Peace Talks
Analysis by Constanza Vieira

BOGOTA, Aug 25 2014 (IPS) - Three major advances were made over the last week in the peace talks that have been moving forward in Cuba for nearly two years between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, while the decades-old civil war rages on.

On Saturday Aug. 16, a group of relatives of victims of both sides met face-to-face in the Cuban capital. It was the first time in the world that victims have sat down at the same table with representatives of their victimisers in negotiations to put an end to a civil war. And on Thursday Aug. 21 an academic commission was set up to study the roots of the conflict and the factors that have stood in the way of bringing it to an end.

That day, the unthinkable happened.

High-level army, air force, navy and police officers flew to Cuba, under the command of General Javier Alberto Flórez, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In the 24-hour technical mission they met with their archenemies, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which emerged in 1964) to discuss “how to implement a definitive bilateral ceasefire, and how the FARC would disband and lay down their arms,” said President Juan Manuel Santos.

Santos described the participation of active officers in the talks, as part of a subcommission installed on Friday Aug. 22, as “a historic step forward.”


'Dumbo octopus,' other undersea oddities captured by Nautilus camera in Gulf

'Dumbo octopus,' other undersea oddities captured by Nautilus camera in Gulf
By Heather Alexander | August 25, 2014 | Updated: August 25, 2014 2:19pm

[font size=1]
Photo By Ocean Exploration Trust

This octopus is known as Dumbo because of its fins that flap like tiny elephant ears reminiscent of the Disney character. [/font]

The latest batch of photos are in from the expedition team aboard Exploration Vehicle Nautilus which has been deep sea diving in the Gulf of Mexico since the start of the summer.

The ship, led by Titanic discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard, has so far given us dramatic photos of World War II wrecks, including a Nazi submarine, plus countless images of bizarre marine lifeforms, perhaps most notably, the Vampire Squid of Hell.

The latest legs of their trip have focused of the relatively unexplored reefs of the Gulf off the coast of Belize and then on through the Windward Passage, which divides Cuba and Haiti.

There, the crew has found delights aplenty.


The link to the article's Nautilus live cam:

Nautilus is transiting from Montego Bay, Jamaica to San Juan, Puerto Rico to collect our next science team. We'll begin diving on underwater mountains of the Anegada Passage on Sept 4th! 1 hour 55 min ago - See more at:


Ecuador may ditch dollar with world’s first govt-issued digital currency

Ecuador may ditch dollar with world’s first govt-issued digital currency
Gonzalo Solano (AP) / 30 August 2014

Ecuador is planning to create the world’s first government-issued digital currency, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country’s existing currency, the US dollar, which the government cannot control.
The virtual currency, which central bank officials say they expect will start circulating in December, does not yet have a name and officials would not disclose technical details, though they said it would not be like Bitcoin. The amount of the new currency created would depend on demand.

Deputy director Gustavo Solorzano said it is to exist in tandem with the greenback and, by law, be backed by liquid assets. It would be geared toward the 2.8 million Ecuadoreans — 40 per cent of participants in the economy — too poor to afford traditional banking, officials say.

Users initially will be able to make and receive payments at minimal cost using their cellphones, Solorzano said. Such mobile payments schemes are already popular in African nations including Kenya and Tanzania, where they are privately run. The new currency was approved, and stateless crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin simultaneously banned, by Ecuador’s National Assembly last month.

Leftist President Rafael Correa has said the project’s only problem is that it has taken this long, defending it against ‘‘pseudo-analysts who have appeared in the media trying to smear [it].” He denies any plan to replace the US dollar, which Ecuador set as its currency in 2000 after a crippling banking crisis. The official in charge of the new currency, Fausto Valencia, said the software is already used in Paraguay by cellphone companies.


El Salvador has extradited few criminal suspects under treaty

El Salvador has extradited few criminal suspects under treaty
Posted Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014
By Bill Miller
Star-Telegram staff writer

The United States and El Salvador have a “bilateral extradition treaty,” signed in 1911, that lists a number of offenses for which criminal suspects can be extradited. Intoxication manslaughter is not on the list. Very few extraditions have actually resulted from the treaty, even for crimes listed, according to government news releases.

Despite having the treaty in place for 89 years, there were no extraditions until after the year 2000. That’s when El Salvador amended its constitution to allow the extradition of Salvadoran nationals, U.S. officials said.

The first extradition from that country was in 2010, and it was for a Texas case. Jose Marvin Martinez, a Salvadoran national, was convicted in 2006 in Brazoria County of one count of sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child. The child was his daughter.

He was released on bail and left the country before the jury began deliberating, the Justice Department said in a news release at the time. When El Salvador extradited him, however, it was just for the sexual assault charge because the charge of indecency with a child was not on the list, the news release said.

Lanny A. Breuer, then an assistant U.S. attorney, said in the release that Martinez’s extradition “paves the way forward in our law enforcement partnership with El Salvador.”

“The long arm of the law reaches farther with every successful extradition to and from the United States, as we work with our partners around the world to make sure criminals cannot find safe haven from justice,” he wrote.


Bolivia's search for truth, justice and reparation

Bolivia's search for truth, justice and reparation
Posted 29 Aug 2014, 4:39pm

For over 150 years between its independence from Spain and the mid-1980s, Bolivia was characterised by a history of coups, counter-coups and the occasional revolution.

Since 1985, however, despite various outbreaks of social unrest, there has been continuous democratic government, with power regularly changing hands. Major social and economic reforms after 2005 have lead to a marked reduction in poverty and inequality.

Now that the country has entered a period of relative calm, I can understand why some would prefer to avoid stirring up old antagonisms and to consign to history the abuses that took place under the military regimes of earlier decades. However, for the relatives of those who suffered under these regimes, history cannot be swept under the carpet. They remind us that truth, justice and reparation are long overdue.

During the coup that brought General Luis Garcia Meza to power in 1981, an attack on the Bolivian Workers' Centre’s headquarters led to the detention and killing of Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz and Juan Carlos Flores Bedregal, both leaders in the Socialist Party. To date, their whereabouts remain unknown. In the same year, another nine leaders of the Revolutionary Left Movement were killed in the “Harrington Street massacre” in La Paz.

The Garcia Meza regime was one of a series of authoritarian and military governments that were in power in Bolivia between 1964 and 1982. In 18 years, more than 150 people ‘disappeared’ by the authorities, and at least 200 were executed without trial. Thousands more were arbitrarily detained, tortured, went into exile or were deported.


Colombian accused in 5,000-plus killings arrested

Aug 29, 5:06 PM EDT
Colombian accused in 5,000-plus killings arrested

PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) -- Panamanian authorities say they have arrested a fugitive Colombian right-wing militia leader accused in more than 5,000 murders who officials say was posing as a construction company owner.

National police chief Omar Pinzon said Armando Alberto Perez was captured in Veraguas province last weekend.

In Colombia, police director Gen. Rodolfo Palomino said Perez had led 1,500 militiamen who killed at least 5,200 people at the end of the 1990s, burying them in unmarked graves. He said Perez was also accused of ordering the sexual abuse of 39 women.

Perez surrendered to authorities in 2004 as part of a peace pact that then-President Alvaro Uribe forged with Colombia's far-right militias. But he later fled. Officials said Perez drew suspicion in Panama with his a luxurious home and expensive automobiles.


(Short article, no more at link.)


Armando Alberto Pérez [/center]
Google translation:

Armando Alberto Pérez Betancourt was a retired Army captain and fleeing charges against him when he entered the Catatumbo Bloc, created in 1999 by Carlos and Vicente Castaño brothers to fight the ELN and control the drug trade in this part of North Santander.When the paramilitaries decided to enter this year Tibú Perez alias Betancur 'Buck' was in charge of transporting 200 paramilitary truck to start fighting with the guerrillas on 22 May 1999 Since then, 'Camilo' is He became the military leader of the Catatumbo and the right hand of Salvatore Mancuso, who took control of the area after Brown.
El Catatumbo Bloc consisted fronts La Barge, block Mobile Catatumbo and Frontera committee and was present in the municipalities of El Tarra, Hacarí, San Calixto, Teorama, Convention, El Carmen, Tibú Sardinata, Puerto Santander, El Zulia, Cúcuta, Chinacota, Pamplona and Rangonvalia, in the department of Norte de Santander.
'Buck' was the Front commander La Barge, composed of 800 men, and giving orders to other commanders as 'Mountains', 'The Iguano', 'Mauro' and 'El Gato', with whom committed massacres, disappearances, forced displacement, targeted killings and violence against women between 1999 and 2004.
According to the accounts of some demobilized paramilitaries remained the most time in the El Chorro del Indio, in the township of La Barge, protected by 20 bodyguards. He frequented the town and was traveling by helicopter.
demobilized Block on December 10, 2004, in the village of Campo Dos, Tibú (Norte de Santander), with 1,434 members and 1,115 weapons handed. Along with Vincent Brown, 'Camilo' left the Justice and Peace process and no one knows if he is alive.

Used Alias: Camilo, Omega or Hierarch.
structure. Bloque Catatumbo which was part of the North Block
Location: North of Santander: The Barge, Tiwu, Tarra, Cúcuta.
Victims assigned to Justice: The block has registered 8183 victims in the Information System of Justice and Peace (SIJYP)
Number of crimes confessed: In free version confessed 19 facts, including murder, escape prisoner and forced disappearance highlights.
Goods delivered: On his demobilization block delivered 1,114 Weapons (998 long, 71 short, 55 support), 287,444 rounds of ammunition of different calibers, 1,335 grenades, 200 portable radios, 11 vehicles, 2 boats, canoes 8, 15 engines, 45 mules, 19 livestock, 56 rural properties and about 105 plots used by the block as logistical support.
Known crimes: He ordered an inquiry into the death of a dispenser, the slaughter of the Barge and Tibú (1999)
Demobilization Date: December 10, 2004.
Status as of September 2010. Today is a fugitive from justice September 23, 2010


[center]~ ~ ~

Google translation:

Police started off Panama Armando Alberto Pérez Betancourt, alias 'Camilo', and with the support of the authorities of that country, was captured in a commercial area of ​​the city de Veraguas.

Intelligence work helped establish the exact place where the excabecilla Catatumbo Bloc of the AUC and routines that managed to avoid being discovered hiding. With that information the group of National Security Council of Panama stopped pursuant to a circular issued by Interpol red and left it available to Colombian investigators who sought a decade ago.

Against 'Camilo' there are 81 current arrest warrants for crimes including murder, enforced disappearance and other crimes against humanity, also has four executory sentences totaling 120 years in prison for his involvement in the massacres of Tibú and Barge, occurred between 1999 and 2000.

In the northwest of the country was regarded as "The Monster Catatumbo" because the command of 1,500 paramilitaries, killed at least 5,200 people and buried in mass graves on farms of Norte de Santander.

'Buck', second in the criminal structure of Catatumbo Bloc, after Salvatore Mancuso led the war thousands of paramilitary training in something called the school "Watercolor". From there he prepared his subordinates to armed incursions into the districts of La Union, February 11 and El Triunfo Tibú, in which 21 people were killed and 5 more wounded. It also imposed the familiar "torture chambers" used by the paramilitaries in several areas of the country, as a way to show their power and silencing alleged guerrilla collaborators.

"The Monster Catatumbo" had ordered his men to sexually abusing 39 women and undergo domestic work in the municipalities of La Barge, Campo Dos, El Tarra, Puerto Santander, Sardinata and some rural areas of Cúcuta. In this cruel practice have testified several former members of the AUC.

The former paramilitary demobilized in 2004 with the Catatumbo Bloc, linked to the process of justice and peace, and then to work for a year with justice, escaped from the concentration point in Ralito (Córdoba), and together brothers Miguel Angel and Victor Manuel Mejia Munera "The Twins", he formed the band "Los Nevados" and went on to control drug trafficking routes from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

After neutralization of 'The Twins', alias 'Camilo' fled to Venezuela, and 4 years ago he moved to Panama, where he set up the facade builder, and began to show some eccentricities that caught the attention of the people. Although he never met a development project, the offender acquired luxury cars and lived in a luxurious home.

According to research by the National, Armando Alberto Pérez Betancourt, Police coordinated from abroad through-out with drugs, which were put up in the center of the country and traveled Eldorado Airport bound for Europe and Central America.


A Perfect Example of a Capitalist Abuser: Coca-Cola and Its Egregious History

Weekend Edition August 29-31, 2014
A Perfect Example of a Capitalist Abuser

Coca-Cola and Its Egregious History


Note: Years ago, Alex Cockburn tried to encourage me to write a book about The Coca-Cola Company. I haven’t done this yet. But he would be pleased, however, about me mentioning the recent victory reported by the India Resource Center regarding “Coca-Cola Expansion Plans Rejected” in India. This was followed by Coca-Cola announcing that it was removing its application for its creation of a facility in a water starved area in India “Coca-Cola Forced to Abandon $25 Million Project in India”. While traveling in East Asia years ago, Alex had linked up with the India Resource Center in their efforts to address Coca-Cola’s abusive behavior in India’s rural communities that primarily impacted increased water loss and pollution. This week I also received a notice about the need to boycott The Coca-Cola Company because of it’s affiliation with Monsanto to prevent efforts in various states to label GMO products. It seems wherever I go and whatever I do for some reason I am confronted with The Coca-Cola Company and its oppressive arrogant behavior.

The Coca-Cola Company is, of course, a capitalist company meaning that its goal is to make money virtually any way possible. It’s good at this. Its market cap today is $168.7 billion according to Forbes. Since it’s founding in the late 1800’s it is now known to be the most recognized product in the world. Its goal of making money is accomplished regardless of the consequences be it environmental degradation, pollution, abuse of and destabilizing water use, worker assassinations, discrimination in the work place, or the health of individuals drinking its product, to name but a few. Promoting a product that requires purchase by huge numbers of individuals in order to make a profit necessitates deliberate efforts at creating a positive public image. It’s good at that also but it is simultaneously considered by some as one of the most evil corporations in the world – a designation that suits it well.

Living in Atlanta, the home of Coca-Cola, the time has come for me to begin writing about the company, as Alex Cockburn had wanted. The purpose of this article on Coca-Cola is to share an assortment of some of my personal experiences with the corporation in the past few decades in reference to Atlanta, South Africa and the Philippines. For a fairly comprehensive list of criticisms against The Coca-Cola Company throughout the world that I won’t be referring to please go to: Killer Coke.

Coke in Atlanta

Asa G. Candler (1851-1929) was the founder of “The Coca-Cola Company” in 1892. He managed to purchase the rights to use the formula, but not the name “Coca-Cola”. So, at first, the drink by Candler was called “Yum Yum” and “Koke”.

John Pemberton, a pharmacist from Georgia, was the creator of Coca-Cola formula who died in 1888. And yes, it did contain cocaine initially. He was wounded in the civil war, as part of Confederate Army, and like many others became addicted to morphine while trying to relieve the pain. He created this non-alcoholic drink to help diminish the pain and his addiction. Pemberton gave his son Charles the right to the name “Coca-Cola”.


Excerpt for Afro-Cuban fans: Human Needs, Dirty Deeds

Weekend Edition August 29-31, 2014
Making Music, Making History, Making Money

Human Needs, Dirty Deeds


Rock & roll then was not just a new thing but an art form that sometimes still bore the imprint of the big bands and orchestras which had preceded it. Berns embraced this in the music he shepherded to wax and so helped to usher in the first era of symphonic R&B, which ultimately helped to define the music of Isaac Hayes (using the Memphis Symphony as part of his palette), Gamble and Huff with Philadelphia International, and Johnny Pate with Curtis Mayfield. Berns was also in the middle of the epochal shift of gospel into the secular realm, bringing sanctified sounds onto the hit parade with the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” and “Twist and Shout.”

He was the first American producer to work in a British studio and British invasion groups such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals, and Yardbirds cut his songs. The one track Led Zeppelin didn’t release from the sessions for their first album was a cover of Berns’ “Baby Come on Home.”

At a time when the U.S. government was enforcing an embargo of Cuba, Berns was undermining it with his use of Cuban rhythms and song forms. Selvin writes about Berns’ work with preacher/R&B star Solomon Burke: “’Tonight My Heart She is Crying’ floats on a gentle Afro-Cuban danzon with xylophone, flute, and a bed of tinkling percussion.” Berns made an albumherecomes with groundbreaking Cuban bandleader Arsenio Rodriguez while “Twist and Shout” had “the Cuban guajiro rhythm….It was Afro-Cuban rock and roll. The mystery of the mambo lurked at the heart of this record.”

Berns worked closely with such great Brill Building songwriting teams as Leiber and Stoller, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. He collaborated with fellow musical pioneers such as Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic Records. In 1964, the year that the Beatles began their conquest of America, Berns put 19 singles on the pop charts, a big slice of the 51 he racked up in his seven year career.

“Berns wasn’t the greatest of the era, although his best work was as good as anybody’s,” writes Selvin. “But his unique voice as a songwriter, producer, and record man is so deeply ingrained in the vocabulary of pop music it has become common parlance….[His] songs have been covered, quoted, cannibalized, used as salvage parts, and recycled so many times, his touch has just dissolved into the literature.”

Author/musician Ned Sublette adds: “Bert Berns is to me the great rock and roll producer, the one who best combined the Afro-Cuban groove with the gospel shout.”



Solomon Burke and Bert Berns (woman in the not identified)[/center]
Rock Against Racism

“When they say ‘we want our America back,’ what the fuck do they mean?” So goes the chorus of a Jill Sobule song. Many rock-and-roll fans have long believed that America’s true soul is very different from the narrow America of the Tea Party’s imagination. Instead, they believe in what Bruce Springsteen once called “the country we carry in our hearts,” a place where personal freedom exists in harmony with egalitarian inclusiveness—a place that is best glimpsed through some of America’s music.

Over the decades the rock-and-roll business grew to encompass all sorts of dark and misogynistic pretenders (and even a few right-wingers such as Ted Nugent), but rock romanticists see the rock culture of the 1950s and ‘60s as both a reinvention of American popular music and a force for self-expression and liberal culture. This idea is richly explored in two new books: Joel Selvin’s Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues and Robert Hilburn’s Johnny Cash: The Life.

Selvin’s downbeat title is somewhat deceptive because his book is really an exhaustively researched love letter to an era of R&B and rock and roll in the early 1960s that created pop classics and directly inspired the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and subsequent decades of rock-and-roll musicians. Rock and roll’s influence over western values included a celebration of all forms of sexuality and an embrace of marginal figures, which in turn broadened cultural definitions of success and glamour. But during its early decades, there was no more important subtext to rock culture than its frontal assault on American racism.

Selvin notes that 1954, the year of Brown v. Board of Education, was “the same year that rock and roll emerged as a force. Rock and roll was the desegregation of the Hit Parade.” 1954 was indeed the year of Elvis Presley’s first single “That’s All Right (Mama)” and Bill Haley and the Comets’ transformative “Rock Around the Clock,” but the first African-American rock-and-roll musicians who also pulled in white listeners actually emerged the following year, in 1955, when Chuck Berry and Little Richard had their first pop hits.


Imagine: Cuba

Weekend Edition August 29-31, 2014
Time for a Little Anarchy in America?

Imagine: Cuba


Imagine living in the world’s most literate nation—a nation where health care is free and universal, and of the highest quality by world standards.

Imagine that, in this nation, education (also free and universal) is not only considered a human right, but it is also higher in quality than that of the wealthiest, most super industrialized country the world has ever known.

Imagine that this nation actively seeks—from social to governmental dimensions—to correct and eradicate racism, and racist proclivities, so as to ensure a truer, more democratic inclusion for all.

Imagine its dedication to gender equality and women’s rights: more than forty percent of its parliament is female; more than sixty percent of its university positions are occupied by women; and all its women receive maternity leave for eighteen weeks with full pay.

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