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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 144,915

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Journalists meet to protest threats from criminal gangs (Neo-paramilitaries)

Journalists meet to protest threats from criminal gangs
Published on Thursday 11 December 2014. Updated on Friday 12 December 2014.

Journalists threatened by the paramilitary group “Bloque Capital - Águilas Negras” were holding a meeting in Bogotá today to publicize the dangers they face. The group has given news outlets a deadline of 1 January to leave the cities where they operate, but the government has yet to respond. Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the dangers to freedom of information and pluralism in Colombia.

Águilas Negras issued three blacklists in less than four days in early December, a clear sign that it wants to silence journalists that they find troublesome. It describes the targets as “terrorists directed by FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (National Liberation Army)” whom the group vowed to “silence with lead”.

They comprise 14 journalists and 12 media organizations, most of them community-based or alternative outlets that cover the peace talks or investigate human rights abuses, organized crime and corruption.

The allegations by Águilas Negras bear a disturbing resemblance to those made by the former president, Senator Alvaro Uribe, during a debate in September this year in which he accused the public television station Canal Capital of being “an accomplice of terrorism”.


Victims of Venezuela's Right-Wing violence take case to OAS

Victims of Venezuela's Right-Wing violence take case to OAS
By Staff Writers, teleSUR
Saturday, Dec 13, 2014

Advocates for the victims of this year’s Venezuelan right-wing opposition violence have visited the Organization of American States to demand justice for their relatives.

The Committee of Guarimba Victims delivered a detailed document explaining the crimes against their loved ones. They demand that the perpetrators of the wave of violence do not go unpunished by the international community.

From February this year, at least 43 people were killed in the wave of right-wing violence. Many fatalities were caused by barricades made up of barbed wire which motorcycle drivers crashed into. Others were killed by gunshots.

The large majority of the international and mainstream media portrayed the Guarimbas as government-perpetrated. This group of victims are determined to expose the truth.


US embargo stalled payment to Cuban Ebola doctors

US embargo stalled payment to Cuban Ebola doctors
Published: Dec 12, 2014

HAVANA (AP) - Cuba had to cover food and lodging expenses for dozens of its doctors fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone after the U.S. embargo delayed payments from the World Health Organization, an official at the U.N. agency said.

U.S. officials as high as Secretary of State John Kerry have praised the Cuban effort against Ebola. But the longstanding embargo affects virtually all dealings with Cubans, even for banks outside the U.S., because they depend on dollar transfers through U.S. institutions.

Jose Luis Di Fabio, the health agency's representative for Cuba, told The Associated Press it had to request special licenses from the U.S. Treasury Department to transfer money to the doctors in Africa.

The licenses were eventually granted and the government-employed doctors only recently received payments dating as far back as October, he said.

"The fact that they're Cubans greatly limited the funds transfers and the payment," Di Fabio said. "It's not that the WHO didn't want to pay, it's that they weren't able to."


Uruguay Takes on London Bankers, Marlboro Mad Men and the TPP

Uruguay Takes on London Bankers, Marlboro Mad Men and the TPP
Friday, 12 December 2014 10:03
By Michael Meurer, Truthout | News Analysis

What the hell is happening in tiny Uruguay? South America's second smallest country, with a population of just 3.4 million, has generated international headlines out of proportion to its size over the past year by becoming the first nation to legalize marijuana in December 2013, by welcoming Syrian refugees into the country in October 2014 and by accepting the first six US prisoners resettled to South America from the Guantánamo Bay prison on December 6, 2014.

Outgoing President Jose Mujica, a colorful former Tupamaros rebel who was imprisoned and brutally tortured by the military during the era of the disappeared in the 1970s under US-supported Operation Condor in Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and other nations of the Southern Cone, is a favorite media subject and has been at the center of these actions.

Yet an even larger story with deeper historical roots and global implications is unfolding simultaneously in Uruguay with minimal media attention. Uruguay has spent the last decade quietly defying the new transnational order of global banks, multinational corporations and supranational trade tribunals and is now in a fight for its survival as an independent nation. It is a rich and important story that needs to be told.

The 2014 Presidential Election

For the past 10 years, Uruguayans have been conducting a left-leaning experiment in economic and social democracy, turning themselves into a Latin American version of Switzerland in the process. Under the leadership of the left-leaning Broad Front party, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that Uruguay has enjoyed annual economic growth of 5.6 percent since 2004, compared to 1.2 percent annual growth over the last five years in Switzerland. The Swiss have decriminalized marijuana and gay marriage. Uruguay has legalized both. Prostitution is legal in both countries, and each provides universal health care. According to the Happy Planet Index, Uruguay has the same low per capita environmental footprint as Switzerland, with a similarly widespread sense of well-being among its people in spite of significantly lower per capita GDP.


Civil Society Support for Marshall Islands Against Nuclear Weapons

Civil Society Support for Marshall Islands Against Nuclear Weapons
Friday, 12 December 2014 10:00
By Julia Rainer, Inter Press Service | News Analysis

Vienna - Ahead of the Dec. 8-9 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, activists from all over the world came together in the Austrian capital to participate in a civil society forum organised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on Dec. 6 and 7.

One pressing issue discussed was the Marshall Islands' lawsuit against the United States and eight other nuclear-weapon nations that was filed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in April 2014, denouncing the over 60 nuclear tests that were conducted on the small island state's territory between 1946 and 1958.

The location was chosen not only because it was an isolated part of the world but also because at the time it was also a Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands governed by the United States. Self-government was achieved in 1979, and full sovereignty in 1986.

The people of the Marshall Islands were neither informed nor asked for their consent and for a long period did not realise the harm that the testing would bring to the local communities.

The consequences were severe, ranging from displacement of people to islands that were strongly radiated and cannot be resettled for thousands of years, besides birth abnormalities and cancer. The states responsible denied the harm of the practice and refuse to provide for adequate amount of health care.


Mexico's search for bodies reveals a history of hidden deaths

Mexico's search for bodies reveals a history of hidden deaths
By Joshua Partlow,
Washington Post
December 13, 2014, 9:57 AM|IGUALA, Mexico

They picked up spent shotgun shells and placed them in plastic baggies for safe keeping. They examined discarded bottles, charred sticks, crusted weather-worn clothes. Over rocks and ridges, to the tops of trees and down in bone-dry riverbeds, the parents were searching for their children's graves..

"Fifteen minutes more," a father in dusty camouflage said before trudging farther up into the thick Mexican forest, hacking the thorny branches with his machete. "Just a little farther."

Forty-three students went missing here in September, and for all the attention that received, they were hardly the first. Their abduction by police has loosed a flood of new accusations and begun to reveal a history of hidden deaths.

Before that crime, many people had been too afraid of the police to report the disappearances. Last month, just seven parents attended the first meeting in the basement of a Catholic church here for relatives of the missing. But as the national uproar over the students has grown, plus the arrest of the Iguala mayor, the dissolution of the town's police force and the torching of city hall, the scope of the brutalities began to become clear. Dozens, then hundreds, of people came to subsequent meetings at the San Gerardo church, which has become the gathering point for a citizen movement to search the surrounding hills and fields for the students' remains.


Uruguay prison diary preserved by Unesco

12 December 2014 Last updated at 14:54 ET
Uruguay prison diary preserved by Unesco

The UN's cultural organisation, Unesco, has formally adopted an extraordinary account of prison life in a Uruguayan jail under military rule.

Written on tiny cigarette papers, it is a diary written by a left-wing guerrilla, Jorge Tiscornia.

He hid the diary for nearly 13 years in the 1970s and 80s in his wooden prison clogs until he was released.

It's been added to Unesco's Memory of the World programme, which rescues historic objects from destruction.

In a statement, Unesco said it was "a living memory of long isolation, revealing the strength of perseverance".

"When you're in a prison cell with no natural light, you don't know what time it is, and after a few days pass you start to lose your sense of what day it is," Mr Tiscornia told AFP news agency.


How loyal is Colombia’s army to Santos’ peace efforts?

How loyal is Colombia’s army to Santos’ peace efforts?
Dec 11, 2014 posted by Robin Llewellyn

Following two official warnings to maintain discipline and respect civilian authority, and further corruption revelations from within the armed forces, has the Colombian military developed a habit for stepping beyond its power?

The military continue to provide embarrassments to their civilian commanders, from illegal wiretapping of peace talks with the FARC by army personnel, to General Ruben Dario Alzate supplying a deliberately misleading travel plan before setting off unarmed and in his Bermuda shorts into the waiting arms of FARC guerrillas, to the military’s embezzling of funds in Antioquia.

The first warning to the army was delivered last week by President Juan Manuel Santos, who told Canal Capital Radio: “Any official, regardless of how important he is, who shows lack of loyalty and discipline will have to leave the Armed Forces.” Days later Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon renewed the order. In what was described as a “scolding” by newspaper El Espectador, Pinzon told newly promoted officers at a Senate plenary.

“I want to give a clear public order in compliance with the orders of the President of the Republic: Gentlemen generals, admirals, colonels and captains of the navy, your mission is to comply with the Constitution and the law,” the minister said loud and clear.

Military forced to face own crimes

The Colombian army, unlike other Latin American military forces hardly have a history of overthrowing governments. However, it is no secret that many in the military are unhappy with the peace talks with their 50-year-long enemy in Cuba, and concerned that many of their own actions could come under the scrutiny of any results that might emerge from the current investigation of a truth commission, which is expected to put the responsibility of thousands of human rights violations with the army.


Barbaric footage of foie gras duck torture sees TV chef Heston Blumenthal dump supplier (Graphic)

Barbaric footage of foie gras duck torture sees TV chef Heston Blumenthal dump supplier

Dec 11, 2014 22:30
By Andy Lines, Simon Lennon

WARNING: Video contains footage some might find disturbing

Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal has dumped his supplier of foie gras after the Mirror obtained shocking undercover film footage.

The videos show ducks caked in filth and vomit from overfeeding. Some of the birds were writhing in agony from damaged throats and bloodied feet.

Campaigners described the conditions and treatment of the ducks as “torture”.

Experienced vet Amir Kashiv called the film footage a “representation of hell”.


(I could not bear to try to watch the video. I wanted to let people know this has been an ongoing practice. That's why I posted it.)

Peru's melting glaciers a deadly threat as temperatures rise

Peru's melting glaciers a deadly threat as temperatures rise
ReutersBy By Mitra Taj | Reuters – 1 hour 0 minutes ago.

By Mitra Taj

CARHUAZ, Peru (Reuters) - High in the Peruvian Andes, the glacier-fed lake Laguna 513 brims with meltwater atop a populated valley in a region prone to earthquakes.

Scientists warn that if a giant chunk of ice from the Hualcan glacier breaks off it could trigger a tsunami-like wave in Laguna 513 and send a lethal torrent of water cascading down the valley.

It has happened before in the Andean nation. In 1970, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake shook ice blocks into highland lakes and unleashed an avalanche that buried the town of Yungay and killed more than 20,000 people.

Peru has more tropical glaciers than any other nation but rising temperatures linked to global warming have helped shrink the ice masses by up to 40 percent, filling existing lakes to the brim and spawning hundreds of new ones. As the glaciers retreat, the ice contorts and fissures and lumps fall off.

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