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Judi Lynn

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Number of posts: 145,914

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Oldest textile dyed indigo blue found

Oldest textile dyed indigo blue found

Researchers have identified a 6,200-year-old indigo-blue fabric from Peru, making it one of the oldest-known cotton textiles in the world and the earliest known textile decorated with indigo blue.

By: PTI | Washington | Published: September 15, 2016 2:12 PM

Researchers have identified a 6,200-year-old indigo-blue fabric from Peru, making it one of the oldest-known cotton textiles in the world and the earliest known textile decorated with indigo blue.

The discovery marks the earliest use of indigo as a dye, a technically challenging colour to produce, researchers said.

According to Jeffrey Splitstoser from George Washington University in the US, the finding points towards the sophisticated textile technology ancient Andean people developed 6,200 years ago.

“Some of the world’s most significant technological achievements were developed first in the New World,” said Splitstoser.


The heavy price of Santiago's privatised water

The heavy price of Santiago's privatised water

With water availability to Chile’s capital predicted to fall 40% by 2017, legislators are being called on to prioritise human and ecological needs over profit

Daniel Gallagher

PhD student, department of urban studies and planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Thursday 15 September 2016 01.41 EDT

When it comes to water, Chile is failing its citizens. In Santiago, the nation’s capital, millions of people are regularly left without running water for days at a time and experts are warning of water scarcity to come across the country as temperatures rise and glaciers retreat.

“What we need is a transformation away from the private model of water ownership and to recognise water as a human right,” says Francisca Fernández, spokeswoman for the Movimiento por la Recuperación del Agua y la Vida which campaigns for public ownership of water. The organisation emerged four years ago at a time of mounting climatic stress in Santiago.

A recent protest saw at least 2,000 people take to the capital’s streets to demand the repeal of laws that privatised Chile’s water supply. At the heart of the protest and others like it in recent years lies frustration that the privatisation of water has kept prices unnecessarily high, delivered poor service and done little to address concerns over insufficient supply in the future.

. . .

The process of water privatisation in Chile which began in 1981 under General Pinochet established a model for water management that strengthened private water rights, adopted a market-based allocation system and reduced state oversight. That model became emblematic of neoliberal reforms heavily promoted by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.


Opinion: Brazil’s “Fora Cunha!” Movement

Opinion: Brazil’s “Fora Cunha!” Movement
By Michael Royster on September 12, 2016

Cunha's worst fear is to be tried in Curitiba by Judge Sergio Moro rather than by the STF.

Opinion by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The most popular chant around Brazil today will not be “Fora Temer!” but rather “Fora Cunha!” The reason is that, starting (probably) at 7PM and stretching (surely) well into the wee small hours of Tuesday September 13th, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies will be voting on whether to remove from its ranks Federal Deputy Eduardo Cunha.

Mr. Cunha, who has a degree in economics and worked as an auditor before entering politics, has been an elected member of the federal Chamber since 2003 and in 2014 received the third highest number of votes in the state of Rio de Janeiro. He has long been associated with PMDB, and was elected its party leader in the Chamber in 2013; two years later, he was elected President of the Chamber.

In May 2016, however, Cunha was deposed from his position as President through an STF order because of allegations of criminal behavior against him connected to the Lava Jato scandal. After much protesting of his innocence, Cunha resigned the Presidency in July 2016. However, notwithstanding his efforts to the contrary, the investigations have continued, and the vote today will be to remove him from office entirely.

Cunha is uniformly loathed by the supporters of former President Dilma, who claim that he was the creator and artificer of the impeachment process. He has long been supported by Congressional backbenchers, many of whom belong to small satellite “parties for hire”. These parties have managed to stay alive through the practice of “fisiologismo” or the trading of favors among political cronies.

- See more at:

The U.S. Spends Millions Funding Central America’s Drug War. A New Report Says It Hasn’t Worked

The U.S. Spends Millions Funding Central America’s Drug War. A New Report Says It Hasn’t Worked

September 12, 2016

Militarized law enforcement may have done more damage to human rights than it has to crime rates.

BY Parker Asmann

A new paper released last week by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) disputes data from a 2014 report on U.S.-funded anti-crime programs in Central America, suggesting these programs may not have been as effective as previously thought.

In 2007, then-president George W. Bush created the Merida Initiative, a security cooperation agreement between the United States, Mexico and Central America, as a regional response to rising drug trafficking and violence in Central America. Furthering this approach, in 2010 President Obama created the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), separating the Central American countries from the Merida Initiative.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), between 2008 and 2015, the U.S. has appropriated at least $1.2 billion to Central America through these two initiatives to provide equipment, training and technical assistance to support immediate law enforcement operations in the region, consequently leading to a more militarized violence prevention method that has been widely criticized.

A 2014 report conducted by the Vanderbilt University-based Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) found that CARSI seemed to be reducing crime. This was the only publicly available evaluation of CARSI programs.


Researchers find mysterious 9,000 year old structures in Western Australia

Researchers find mysterious 9,000 year old structures in Western Australia
September 7, 2016
by Chuck Bednar

Archaeologists from the University of Western Australia have discovered evidence of one of the continent’s oldest settlements – circular stone houses dating back to shortly after the last ice age, making them between 8,000 and 9,000 years old, various media outlets have reported.

The discovery was made by Professor Jo McDonald and her colleagues at a site on the Dampier Archipelago, a chain of islands located off the coast of Western Australia. The houses were dated using the shells of edible mangrove gastropods found inside, according to The Australian.
In a statement, Professor McDonald called this “one of the earliest known domestic structures in Australia,” adding, “This is an astounding find and has not only enormous scientific significance but will be of great benefit to Aboriginal communities in the area, enhancing their connections to their deep past and cultural heritage.”

According to ScienceAlert, the researchers discovered knee-high rock walls and believe that whoever built the structures may have used them and tree boughs to make a roof from branches or other plant materials. They added that the domiciles appeared to have individual rooms, such as a special area for sleeping and another for working.

Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113415743/structures-western-australia-090716/#mYssIMBGeCuhXfk9.99

Your avocado toast may be killing the Monarch butterfly

Your avocado toast may be killing the Monarch butterfly

Written by

Cassie Werber

September 04, 2016

Two things Americans really love are coming into conflict.

Avocados have become an increasingly popular food in the US in recent years, as they’ve been both linked with health benefits and also aggressively marketed. But most of the avocados consumed in the US are grown in Mexico, and as demand rises, so does the incentive to deforest swathes of land and plant avocado trees instead of the pines that grow there.

Those oyamel fir trees comprise the winter home for Monarch butterflies, which migrate from Canada, across the US, and many of which come to rest in the Mexican province of Michoacan. The butterflies have been identified as so important that the leaders of those three countries discussed them at a summit, deciding to create a “flyway” with special plants en route for the Monarch caterpillars to eat.


Brazilian police clash with protesters rejecting new leader

Source: Associated Press

Brazilian police clash with protesters rejecting new leader
Sep 4, 10:03 PM EDT

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Police in Brazil's biggest city clashed with protesters who marched to reject the new president Sunday, five days after Dilma Rousseff was ousted as leader of South America's biggest nation.

Sao Paulo authorities said they were forced to use tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons to stop vandalism after an "initially peaceful" demonstration against President Michel Temer.

In a statement, the public safety department said a group became violent at a subway station, destroying turnstiles and throwing rocks at anti-riot police after the demonstration ended.

Earlier in the day, people gathered on the Copacabana promenade in Rio de Janeiro to demand Temer's removal and call for new elections.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LT_BRAZIL_POLITICAL_CRISIS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-09-04-21-20-03

Behind the Bolivia Miner Cooperatives’ Protests and the killing of the Bolivian Vice-Minister

Behind the Bolivia Miner Cooperatives’ Protests and the killing of the Bolivian Vice-Minister

by Stansfield Smith / August 31st, 2016

The Bolivian cooperatives’ protests and their August 25 killing of the Bolivian Vice Minister of the Interior Rodolfo Illanes requires us to question our assumptions about cooperatives. What are the Bolivian mining cooperatives? Most began during the Great Depression as miners banded together to work a mine in common. However, like many cooperatives in the US that arose out of the 1960s, they have turned into small businesses. Regardless of their initial intentions, cooperatives existing in a surrounding capitalist environment must compete in business practices or go under.

The Bolivian mining cooperatives themselves underwent this process, and have become businesses whose owners hire labor. Roughly 95% of the cooperative miners are workers, and 5% are owners. It is common for the employed workers to be temps, or contracted out employees as we refer to them here. They have no social security, no job security, no health or retirement benefits.

. . .

The three most significant demands included rejection of the General Law of Cooperative Mines, which guaranteed cooperative employees the right to unionize, since they are not cooperative co-owners. The cooperatives owners did not want their workers represented by unions.

Reuters, and the corporate press, true to form, falsely claimed the opposite, that the cooperative miners were protesting against the government and demanded their right to form unions.


'Finding Oscar' documents 1982 Guatemala massacre, fallout

'Finding Oscar' documents 1982 Guatemala massacre, fallout

Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- Ramiro Osorio still has vivid memories of the day that death came to his village of Las Dos Erres over 30 years ago at the height of Guatemala's decades-long civil war.

Soldiers massacred more than 200 people at the town in the remote northern region of Peten. The 5-year-old Osorio's life was spared, but he was abducted by a soldier who he says kept him as a slave for years, tortured him and even tried to kill him.

"He always told me that if I thought of running away from the house there was no way, that he could find me even five meters below ground," Osorio said. "I was very afraid."

. . .

During the 1980s, the Reagan administration had direct contact with Guatemala's then-dictator Efrain Rios Montt. A month after the massacre - when the army's atrocities were already known, according to declassified U.S. diplomatic cables - the Reagan administration asked Congress for more economic support for the Guatemalan military.


Deep in the Swamps, Archaeologists Are Finding How Fugitive Slaves Kept Their Freedom

Deep in the Swamps, Archaeologists Are Finding How Fugitive Slaves Kept Their Freedom

The Great Dismal Swamp was once a thriving refuge for runaways

By Richard Grant; Photographs by Allison Shelley

Smithsonian Magazine September 2016

The worse it gets, as I wade and stumble through the Great Dismal Swamp, the better I understand its history as a place of refuge. Each ripping thorn and sucking mudhole makes it clearer. It was the dense, tangled hostility of the swamp and its enormous size that enabled hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of escaped slaves to live here in freedom.

We don’t know much about them, but thanks to the archaeologist hacking through the mire ahead of me, we know they were out here, subsisting in hidden communities, and using almost nothing from the outside world until the 19th century. The Dismal Swamp covered great tracts of southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina, and its vegetation was far too thick for horses or canoes. In the early 1600s, Native Americans fleeing the colonial frontier took refuge here, and they were soon joined by fugitive slaves, and probably some whites escaping indentured servitude or hiding from the law. From about 1680 to the Civil War, it appears that the swamp communities were dominated by Africans and African-Americans.

Thigh deep in muddy water, wearing Levis and hiking boots rather than waterproof waders like me, Dan Sayers stops to light a cigarette. He’s a historical archaeologist and chair of the anthropology department at American University in Washington, D.C., but he looks more like an outlaw country singer. Long-haired and bearded, 43 years old, he habitually wears a battered straw cowboy hat and a pair of Waylon Jennings-style sunglasses. Sayers is a Marxist and a vegan who smokes nearly two packs a day and keeps himself revved up on Monster Energy drinks until it’s time to crack a beer.

“I was such a dumb-ass,” he says. “I was looking for hills, hummocks, high ground because that’s what I’d read in the documents: ‘Runaway slaves living on hills....’ I had never set foot in a swamp before. I wasted so much time. Finally, someone asked me if I’d been to the islands in North Carolina. Islands! That was the word I’d been missing.”

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