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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,071

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If Panama's Anti-Corruption Hunt Continues, Miami Should Watch Out

10:47 pm Fri October 24, 2014
If Panama's Anti-Corruption Hunt Continues, Miami Should Watch Out

By Tim Padgett

This past summer I wrote an article about Panama’s ultra-corrupt judicial system. It looked at the case of a dead man whose will had left tens of millions of dollars to poor children – and how the Panamanian Supreme Court made the highly suspicious decision to nullify that will and hand the money instead to rich adults.

After reading the piece, one Miami business leader tweeted: "This is why Panama will NEVER supplant Miami."

Meaning: As long as Panama’s government insists on wearing a three-ton millstone of sleaze around its neck – out of 142 countries, the World Economic Forum ranks Panama’s courts 133rd on the integrity scale – it’s not a real threat to depose Miami as the commercial nexus of the Americas.

The Panama Canal may be expanding and the country may be enjoying an extraordinary economic boom. But institutional trust and rule of law, the tweet suggested, spell the difference between doing business confidently on the Florida peninsula and investing warily on the Central American isthmus. (To those appalled by Sunshine State corruption, I can only say: Yeah, that’s how comparatively bad things are in Panama.)

Moncada is accused of parlaying his cronyist ties to former President Ricardo Martinelli into a fortune that doesn’t square with a judge’s salary. The evidence includes multi-million-dollar luxury apartments.


Why Cuba Is So Good at Fighting Ebola

Why Cuba Is So Good at Fighting Ebola
Alexandra Sifferlin @acsifferlin
Nov. 5, 2014

It's the only country besides the U.S. to send substantial human resources to West Africa

As the first nation to dedicate hundreds of health care workers to West Africa, Cuba is an unlikely hero in the Ebola outbreak.

In spite of not being among the wealthiest countries, Cuba is one of the most committed when it comes to deploying doctors to crisis zones. It has offered more than 460 Cuban doctors and nurses to West Africa, and currently, 165 are working there under the direction of the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 50,000 health care workers from Cuba are working in 66 countries around the world.

“Cuba is world-famous for its ability to train outstanding doctors and nurses,” said WHO director Margaret Chan in a Sept. press conference announcing Cuba’s surge of health care workers. In the same meeting, Cuban Minister of Health Roberto Morales Ojeda called on all countries to “join the struggle against this disease.”

In 1998, Cuban medical teams discovered that they were treating a lot people who had never before had access to doctors, and they decided that leaving the health care systems as they found them was irresponsible. So Cuba founded the Latin American Medical School (ELAM), which offers scholarships to low-income students from around the world with the expectation that they will graduate and return to their home countries as health workers.


Dominican Republic quits OAS's human rights court

Dominican Republic quits OAS's human rights court
By PANKY CORCINO and DANICA COTO, Associated Press | November 4, 2014 | Updated: November 4, 2014 7:07pm

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The Dominican Republic withdrew as a member of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Tuesday, leading rights activists to raise concerns about the welfare of migrants in the Caribbean country.

The announcement came just weeks after the human rights court found the Dominican Republic discriminates against Dominicans of Haitian descent, angering the government, which called the findings "unacceptable" and "biased."

Last year, a Dominican court ruled that people born in the Dominican Republic to migrants living there illegally were not automatically entitled to citizenship, basically rendering thousands of people stateless. The government has since pledged to resolve their status but has only offered residency and work permits under a new program.

The Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court had given the Dominican government six months to invalidate the Dominican court's ruling.

In a 59-page ruling issued Tuesday night, the Constitutional Court said the country had to withdraw from the rights court because the Senate never issued a resolution to ratify the February 1999 agreement with the rights court as required by the Dominican constitution. Ten judges voted in favor of the ruling, while three judges voted against it.


Man won't face charges for taking gun into airport

Source: Associated Press

Man won't face charges for taking gun into airport
| November 5, 2014 | Updated: November 5, 2014 2:29pm

PHOENIX (AP) — A medical researcher at a renowned neurological hospital accused of pointing a loaded rifle toward a woman and her teenage daughter inside Phoenix's main airport won't face charges.

Records show the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has agreed not to pursue criminal charges against 54-year-old Peter Nathan Steinmetz.

He carried an AR-15 rifle into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on July 25 and says he was just trying to make a political statement.

Steinmetz does research at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. He was placed on administrative leave following his arrest.

Police also questioned Steinmetz last Nov. 13 when he picked up his wife from the airport armed with an assault rifle. He told police he was exercising his right to bear arms and wasn't arrested in that incident.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/crime/article/No-charges-for-man-who-took-rifle-to-Ariz-airport-5873427.php

The Left’s Unsung Success Story

November 05, 2014
Evo Morales's Big Win

The Left’s Unsung Success Story


In times of crisis, a head of state who gets re-elected in the first round, having already served two terms, is a rarity indeed. One such is Evo Morales, whose win, with 61% of the vote, should have received more attention than it did. All the more so since he pulled off this electoral feat in Bolivia — which had five different presidents between 2001 and 2005. His victory follows a 25% reduction in poverty, an 87% real-terms increase in the minimum wage, a lowering of the retirement age (1) and an annual growth rate of over 5% — all since 2006. Given how often we’re told we need to overcome our disenchantment with politics, why hasn’t this good news been more widely reported? Could it be because it stems from progressive reforms implemented by leftwing regimes?

The mainstream media are as reluctant to talk about leftwing Latin American governments’ success stories, they also, to be fair, omit the failures of conservative regimes, including in the security arena. This year, for example, five journalists have been assassinated in Mexico, including Atilano Román Tirado, who was killed while recording a radio programme last month. Tirado had often demanded compensation, on air, on behalf of 800 families who lost their homes through the construction of a new dam. His willingness to get involved carried a deadly risk in a country where abductions, torture and assassinations have become everyday occurrences, especially for those who question the rotten, mafia-infested social order.

On 26 and 27 September, 43 students from the town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero, 130km from Mexico City, held protests against the neoliberal education reforms introduced by President Enrique Peña Nieto. Local police intercepted their bus and took them to an unknown destination. There they were probably handed over to a drug cartel, who were to execute them and conceal their remains in clandestine graves. There have been many discoveries of such graves in Mexico in the past few weeks, some full of burnt, dismembered bodies. Iguala’s mayor and security director have fled and the authorities are now looking for them.

Peña Nieto has won adulation in the business press (2) for opening up the energy sector to the multinationals. France has awarded him the Légion d’Honneur. Will his admirers question him one day over the almost complete impunity that corrupt policemen and elected officials in Mexico enjoy? Perhaps the major western print media, intellectuals, the US, Spain and France are hesitant about what questions to ask the Mexican president. In which case they only have to imagine what would have leapt to mind had the student massacre had taken place in Ecuador, Cuba or Venezuela. Or indeed in Bolivia, where President Morales has just been re-elected.


A Boon for the Women of Ecuador

A Boon for the Women of Ecuador

[font size=1]
The share of Cañar's people leaving the country is greater than that of any other district in Ecuador. While the costs of migration can
be high, for women there are many benefits. Credit Bear Guerra
CAÑAR, Ecuador — For the 60,000 residents of this rural county of green hills and small villages, migration is something of a rite of passage. The share of Cañar’s people leaving the country is greater than that of any other district in Ecuador. More than 70 percent of its households receive remittances every month, and rely on them to cover basic necessities.

The costs can be great, especially on children, who are left behind by their parents or also embark on the perilous treks, sometimes alone. And the economic effects are sometimes perverse: In Cañar, big houses built with money from abroad stand unfinished or abandoned as more residents leave.

But beyond the cautionary tales, Cañar also stands for one of the great overlooked benefits of migration: unprecedented access to education and jobs, freedom of movement and financial independence for women, especially indigenous women, whether they left and returned, or never left.

Emigration from Cañar started in the 1960s, after a drop in the export price of locally produced straw hats pushed local men to move to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. Falling oil prices gave way to debt and inflation in the 1980s, and by the 1990s, many peasants had lost both their meager savings and their livelihoods. Over the next 15 years, about half of Cañar’s population, mostly men, went abroad, especially to the United States and Spain, looking for jobs.


(What ARE the chances the New York Times and the Washington Post would decide to do feature articles on indigenous women of Ecuador at the very same time?)

Guardians of life: The indigenous women fighting oil exploitation in the Amazon

Guardians of life: The indigenous women fighting oil exploitation in the Amazon
Nicole Crowder November 3

On Oct. 12, 2013, a group of nearly 300 women from seven indigenous nationalities marched to Quito, Ecuador, arriving in the capital four days later with their children in their arms, the sharp angles of their faces — young and old — decorated with vegetable ink designs, covered in the same strength and determination with which they began their journey. They were marching to Quito to ask the central government to respect their ancestral lands, to refrain from exploiting the oil that lies beneath his Kawsak Sacha, a living jungle. In November of that same year, a smaller delegation of women peacefully protested during the 11th Oil Licensing Round, an auction of 6 million acres of ancestral indigenous land for oil exploitation. The protests, however, turned sour when oil executive and politicians scolded protesters, and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa subsequently demanded the closing of the NGO Fundación Pachamama and indicted 10 indigenous leaders on charges of terrorism.

While women have always played an active role in historic marches that marked the struggle for the rights of indigenous peoples in Ecuador, this was the first walk organized and led by women.

Felipe Jacome’s set of photos Amazon: Guardians of Life documents the struggles of indigenous women defending the Ecuadoran Amazon through portraits combined with the powerful written testimonies. The words across each photograph are a self-reflection of the lives of women, their culture, history and traditions, and especially about the reasons for fighting oil drilling on their ancestral lands. The color designs framing each portrait use the same natural dyes found in face paint to expand on the symbols and designs that reflect their personalities, courage and struggle.


Colombia’s ombudsman warns for neo-paramilitary expansion

Colombia’s ombudsman warns for neo-paramilitary expansion
Nov 4, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin

Colombia’s Ombudsman announced on Tuesday that paramilitary successor groups are active in approximately 15% of the country’s national territory, spread out over 27 of 32 states.

The presence of these groups has been registered in some 168 municipalities throughout the country, as the Ombudsman tweeted Tuesday.

The criminal organizations are the successor groups of the infamous paramilitary organization known as the United Self-Defense Forces (AUC), which supposedly demobilized from 2003-2006 and was responsible for massive atrocities against civilians.

The Ombudsman issued a warning over the rise in child sex exploitation and human trafficking, while also calling on the authorities to strengthen their operations to dismantle the criminal structures.

The Ombudsman noted a recent attack from the Urabeños — officially called ” The Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces” — in the southwestern state of Nariño, in which a mother was shot dead in front of her six children, who were then relocated to a different state.


The story of La Cocha lake and Colombia’s ‘Little Switzerland’

The story of La Cocha lake and Colombia’s ‘Little Switzerland’
Nov 2, 2014 posted by Adriaan Alsema

La Cocha, also called Lake Guamez, is not just one Colombia’s largest and most beautiful lakes. It is also one of the Andean water reserves that make up the birthplace of the majestic Amazon river.

Located on the eastern side of the Andes mountain range, La Cocha — cocha means lake in the native quechua language — receives its water from several streams and rivers coming from glaciers located higher up.

Having passed the lake, the water does not flow to the nearby Pacific Ocean, but travels through the Guamez and Putumayo rivers into the Amazon, after which it heads to the Atlantic, more than 1,500 miles east of La Cocha.

Because of its importance to the water supply of the Amazon, the lungs of the world, La Cocha was declared a Wetland of International Importance in the year 2,000.


Day of the Dead - in pictures

Day of the Dead - in pictures

Observer photographer Antonio Olmos takes a selection of images of Mexicans visiting their dead relatives, lighting candles, decorating their graves and generally dressing up for the Day of the Dead celebrations in San Andrés Mixquic and Mexico City for the Sony RX100 III Celebrate The Streets series

Monday 3 November 2014 09.04 EST

A couple dressed as skeletons visiting Mixquic cemetery during Day of the Dead celebrations

Large dressed skeletons greet visitors when arriving in San Andrés Mixquic

Papier-mâché skulls in front of the Bellas Artes building, Mexico City

A child’s grave traditionally decorated in cookies and candy

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