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Judi Lynn

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Santos hints new Colombia peace deal will be ratified by Congress, not through referendum

Santos hints new Colombia peace deal will be ratified by Congress, not through referendum

written by Adriaan Alsema November 2, 2016

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos hinted Wednesday that a newly negotiated peace deal with the FARC would be ratified by Congress and not through a referendum.

While meeting with business leaders in London, where the Colombian president is on a four-day state visit, Santos said “I will have the power to implement it through Congress.”

Santos earlier said that a second referendum to ratify the peace deal and allow the resumption of the peace process with the FARC.

The constitutional court ruling that set the rules for the ratification and the consequent implementation of the peace deal said the president could present an alternative version of the peace deal to congress in the event the people rejected the original deal.


How US policy in Honduras set the stage for today’s mass migration

The Conversation
01 Nov 2016 at 15:55 ET

. . .

U.S. roots of Honduran emigration

I first visited Honduras in 1987 to do research. As I walked around the city of Comayagua, many thought that I, a white male with short hair in his early 20’s, was a U.S. soldier. This was because hundreds of U.S. soldiers were stationed at the nearby Palmerola Air Base at the time. Until shortly before my arrival, many of them would frequent Comayagua, particularly its “red zone” of female sex workers.

U.S. military presence in Honduras and the roots of Honduran migration to the United States are closely linked. It began in the late 1890s, when U.S.-based banana companies first became active there. As historian Walter LaFeber writes in “Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America,” American companies “built railroads, established their own banking systems, and bribed government officials at a dizzying pace.” As a result, the Caribbean coast “became a foreign-controlled enclave that systematically swung the whole of Honduras into a one-crop economy whose wealth was carried off to New Orleans, New York, and later Boston.”

By 1914, U.S. banana interests owned almost 1 million acres of Honduras’ best land. These holdings grew through the 1920s to such an extent that, as LaFeber asserts, Honduran peasants “had no hope of access to their nation’s good soil.” Over a few decades, U.S. capital also came to dominate the country’s banking and mining sectors, a process facilitated by the weak state of Honduras’ domestic business sector. This was coupled with direct U.S. political and military interventions to protect U.S. interests in 1907 and 1911.

Such developments made Honduras’ ruling class dependent on Washington for support. A central component of this ruling class was and remains the Honduran military. By the mid-1960s it had become, in LaFeber’s words, the country’s “most developed political institution,” – one that Washington played a key role in shaping.

The Reagan era

This was especially the case during the presidency of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. At that time, U.S. political and military policy was so influential that many referred to the Central American country as the “U.S.S. Honduras” and the Pentagon Republic.


Breakthroughs in Colombia’s stalled peace process

Breakthroughs in Colombia’s stalled peace process

written by Adriaan Alsema October 30, 2016

While representatives of Evangelical Christians and FARC rebels announced agreement over gender-specific victim support, former President Alvaro Uribe had “constructive” talks with government peace negotiators.

Both the Evangelical Christians and Uribe represent significant minority constituencies that predominantly voted “No” in an October 2 referendum that suspended the ongoing peace process with the Marxist FARC, Colombia’s longest-living and largest guerrilla group.

Evangelicals resolve ‘gender ideology’ concerns

Liberal Party Senator Viviane Morales and her husband pastor Carlos Lucio, who both had claimed that gender-specific victim support was based on “gender ideology,” said Saturday that in direct negotiations with the FARC they had “resolved” the elusive issue.

President Juan Manuel Santos has been negotiating directly with other evangelical pastors about the alleged affronts to traditional family values in the peace deal, but so far with unknown results.


So evangelicals were happy to vote "no" to the peace agreement for Colombia because of their own gender identity issues? Let thousands more Colombians die because their unrelated issue is more important to them that actual life itself for others? A-HOLES.

Adorable but shy, pygmy anteaters are VIPs at Peru zoo

Adorable but shy, pygmy anteaters are VIPs at Peru zoo

By Moises Avila (AFP) 14 hours ago.

Paulina struggles to open her eyes, sees strange people in her space and raises her tiny claws in warning.

Despite the threat, it's hard not to want to cuddle the pint-sized furball and her mate Freddy, the only pygmy anteaters in the world to be kept in a zoo.

Since being rescued from animal traffickers a decade ago, when they were a year old, the pair have lived in the Huachipa Zoo in Lima, Peru.

Native to Central and South America, pygmy anteaters measure about 20 centimeters (eight inches) long -- the smallest anteaters in the world.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/adorable-but-shy-pygmy-anteaters-are-vips-at-peru-zoo/article/478284#ixzz4OPzdqQF2



World Bank tribunal dismisses mining firm's $250m claim against El Salvador

World Bank tribunal dismisses mining firm's $250m claim against El Salvador

OceanaGold ordered to pay $8m legal costs after claim that El Salvador’s refusal to let it mine gold caused huge loss in potential profits is thrown out

Claire Provost and Matt Kennard
Friday 14 October 2016 16.59 EDT
An international tribunal has dismissed a multinational mining company’s demand that the government of El Salvador pay $250m (£205m) in compensation for refusing to allow it to dig for gold in the tiny Central American country where the slogan, “No to mining, yes to life” has become a national rallying cry.

The tribunal, which ruled that OceanaGold’s case was without merit, also ordered the firm to pay the Salvadoran government $8m to cover the majority of the country’s legal costs.

“For the people of Cabanas who have been fighting to defend their environment, it is mission accomplished,” said El Salvador’s attorney general, Douglas Meléndez Ruiz. “It is an important step for the country to have been victorious in this lawsuit.”

While an OceanaGold statement expressed disappointment at the verdict, the outcome was celebrated by civil society groups from El Salvador to Canada, although they questioned why the ruling in a case dating back to 2009 had taken so long.


For Día de los Muertos, a beautiful Guatemalan kite festival honors the dead

For Día de los Muertos, a beautiful Guatemalan kite festival honors the dead

By Edna Rheiner
October 27, 2016

In Guatemalan culture, the Día de los Muertos — or Day of the Dead — is a time when the worlds of the living and the dead are believed to mesh together and spirits return to Earth from heaven. The celebration, which begins November 1, is also known as All Saints' Day, or Día de Todos los Santos.

To celebrate Día de los Muertos, Guatemalans across the country pay visits to cemeteries, prepare a special dish called fiambre and, among other traditions, fly kites.

The Kite Festivals of Santiago and Sumpango — both in the Sacatepéquez region — are about honoring the dead and communicating with them, but locals also compete to see who has the most beautiful kite and which of them can stay flying the longest. There are prizes for best design, but for the winners, the cheers and admiration of the crowd are rewarding enough.


Harvard’s Curious Fascination with Colombia’s Homophobic Leaders

Harvard’s Curious Fascination with Colombia’s Homophobic Leaders

By Laura Correa Ochoa and Julian Ripoli Urrutia, CONTRIBUTING WRITERS 7 hours ago

While the rest of the Harvard community is busy speaking out against gender-based violence and working to create a more inclusive campus, this past Saturday, Harvard Business School proudly hosted the man who has become the most visible leader of a powerful, procrustean movement against women and the BGLTQ community in Colombia: former president Alvaro Uribe, who gave a keynote speech at the 19th Annual Latin America Conference. This is his second invited speech at Harvard this year, and his fourth in five years. Less than two years ago, the Law School’s Program on Negotiation extended an invitation to another architect of this movement’s agenda to disenfranchise women and the BGLTQ population, former Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez. It seems as though some of Harvard’s institutions have a curious fascination with hearing from misogynistic and homophobic Colombian leaders. Unfortunately, this predilection may be getting in the way of its educational mission.

Since the end of his presidency in 2010, Uribe has been the undisputed leader of the opposition to the government, and a vocal critic of the peace process ever since it was first announced in 2012. Ordoñez—an unapologetic burner of "immoral magazines and books" and ardent opponent of sexual and reproductive rights who served as Inspector General from 2009 to 2016 (when he was deposed on charges of corruption and other irregularities)—is one Uribe’s closest political allies. Uribe and Ordoñez have rallied a militant, sexist, and homophobic constituency that has become a decisive political force in Colombia. Their movement proudly claims to have contributed over two million votes against the peace agreement between the government and the FARC guerrillas in the recent plebiscite. This constituency—which succeeded in bringing down the peace accords by a margin of less than 54,000 votes—galvanized around Uribe’s and Ordoñez’s propaganda that the agreement promoted gay marriage, “homosexual dictatorships,” and “gender ideologies.” However, “gender ideology” does not feature anywhere in the text of the agreement. Rather, Uribe and Ordoñez distorted its progressive gender focus, which seeks to address the specific forms of violence faced by women—the demographic most affected by the conflict—and BGLTQ victims during the country’s 50-year civil war.

The defeat of the accords is largely the culmination of a programmatic agenda to roll back hard-won minority rights. Earlier this year, in reaction to a decision by Colombia’s Constitutional Court legalizing same-sex marriage and making it easier for same-sex couples to adopt children, Uribe and his supporters organized massive protests across the country denouncing gender-inclusive education programs and other “sexual garbage” in public schools, and demanding a return to “traditional” family values. As Inspector General Ordoñez defied the Constitutional Court’s rulings by obstructing women’s rights to an abortion in cases involving rape, danger to the mother’s health, or fatal fetal abnormalities, and initiating judicial actions against judges and public notaries performing same sex marriages. Both men used the fear generated by the peace process to advance discrimination and promote their political agendas for the 2018 presidential election. These actions are in opposition to Harvard’s mission—as stated by the Office of BGLTQ Student Life—to create a more inclusive campus by engaging and educating the University community “about the multiplicity of sexual and gender identities.”

Most troubling about Harvard's evident fascination with hearing from Uribe and Ordoñez is the apparent lack of interest in examining their controversial views and their illiberal agenda. Advertisements of their visits celebrate Uribe’s apparent successes in promoting economic growth and Ordoñez’s ostensible achievements at combating corruption. No mention is made about the fact that their political capital is largely built on misogyny, homophobia, bigotry, and human rights abuses, despite the fact that Colombian students and allies have consistently highlighted these silences.


Peru's royal pedigree: direct descendants trace roots to Incan emperor and kin

Peru's royal pedigree: direct descendants trace roots to Incan emperor and kin

New research has uncovered noble bloodlines that lead to emperor Atahualpa – often among the most humble families of modern Peru

Dan Collyns in Lima
Tuesday 25 October 2016 05.00 EDT

When the last Inca emperor, Atahualpa, was executed by Francisco Pizarro in 1533, the conquistadores moved quickly to obliterate all traces of what had been the largest empire of its time.

Temples were sacked and stripped of gold; on holy days, Inca nobles were forced to parade Christian saints instead of the mummies of their ancestors; the engineering skills behind Machu Picchu and a 25,000-mile network of roads stretching from Colombia to Argentina were forgotten.

And in this new society that oppressed all of Peru’s indigenous population, the names of noble families – the “children of the sun” who had once lived as demigods – were gradually erased from history.

But new research in genetics and historical records is tracing noble Inca bloodlines to the direct descendants of Atahualpa and his kin – often among the most humble families of modern Peru.


Stand Up to Big Pharma Greed. Vote Yes on Proposition 61

Published on Monday, October 24, 2016
by The Los Angeles Times

Stand Up to Big Pharma Greed. Vote Yes on Proposition 61

by Bernie Sanders

Prescription drug prices in the United States are the highest in the world — by far. Californians on Nov. 8 have a chance to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry’s greed and spark a national movement to end this price-gouging.

Today, no laws prevent drug companies from doubling or tripling prices. So they just do it. The most recent flagrant example is the emergency allergy injection, EpiPen. Its maker, Mylan, jacked up the price of this 40-year-old medication by 461% between 2007 and 2015. During that same period, compensation for Mylan’s CEO rose 671%. And that’s just one company and one drug.

Proposition 61, the California Drug Price Relief Act, would bar the state from paying more than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does for the same drugs. That would include medicine purchased for state employees and retirees, university students, prison inmates, uninsured people with HIV/AIDS and Californians covered by the public insurance program Medi-Cal.

The VA pays an estimated 24% less for drugs than most government agencies and about 40% less than Medicare Part D. Those are significant savings. In California, Proposition 61 would make drugs more affordable and accessible for about 6 million people.


4,000 year old children's rattle beautifully crafted as bear cub's head: and it still rattles!

4,000 year old children's rattle beautifully crafted as bear cub's head: and it still rattles!

By Tamara Zubchuk21 October 2016

Find-of-the-year by Novosibirsk archeologists is a toy that entertained prehistoric babies.

The remarkable discovery of one of the oldest toys in the world came from excavations at a Bronze Age settlement in modern-day Novosibrirsk region.

Inside it - and it remains sealed - are little stones 'that make a jingling sound', said Professor Vyacheslav Molodin, deputy head of Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography.

He told The Siberian Times: 'This is a clay rattle with a visible well-made handle - handy for a child to hold it. It was constructed by clay firing, it is hollow inside. There are little stones inside. We don't know what kind of stones these are, but we will be doing an X-ray to find out. The rattle is still working.'


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