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Judi Lynn

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Colombia releases controversial general ahead of transitional justice


written by Adriaan Alsema September 28, 2017



A Colombian judge ordered the release of former army General Rito Alejo del Rio, a close ally of former President Alvaro Uribe and the now-defunct paramilitary umbrella organization AUC.

Del Rio was convicted to 25 years in prison in 2012 for his role in the 1997 murder on a social leader by paramilitary forces in the Uraba region in the northwest of the country.

The disgraced former general is also investigated for the assassinations of anti-corruption presidential candidate Alvaro Gomez (Conservative Party) in 1995 and comedian Jaime Garzon in 1999.

. . .

The former commander of the National Army’s 17th Brigade is one of the most prolific military war criminals and a long-time ally of Uribe, who has fiercely opposed the transitional justice system agreed with the FARC to end more than half a century of armed conflict.

More:
https://colombiareports.com/colombia-releases-controversial-general-ahead-transitional-justice/

Zealandia: Sunken 8th Continent Reveals Its Buried Secrets


By Tia Ghose, Senior Writer | September 27, 2017 01:21pm ET

- click for image -

https://img.purch.com/h/1400/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA4OS82MDcvb3JpZ2luYWwvd29ybGQtY29udGluZW50cy1tYXAuanBn

A proposed world map showing the eighth continent Zealandia. Though most of this continent is submerged beneath the ocean, scientists say it has all the geologic hallmarks of a separate continent.
Credit: Nick Mortimer/GNS Science


A journey to plumb the remote ocean depths has revealed that Earth does indeed have an eighth continent.

A nine-week voyage took scientists from around the world to drill and explore the seafloor off New Zealand and Australia. They found evidence of land-based fossils, revealing that the ancient landmass wasn't always buried beneath the waves.

"Zealandia, a sunken continent long lost beneath the oceans, is giving up its 60 million-year-old secrets through scientific ocean drilling," Jamie Allan, program director in the U.S. National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences, said in a statement. [Photos: The World's Weirdest Geological Formations]


Zealandia: Sunken 8th Continent Reveals Its Buried Secrets
A proposed world map showing the eighth continent Zealandia. Though most of this continent is submerged beneath the ocean, scientists say it has all the geologic hallmarks of a separate continent.
Credit: Nick Mortimer/GNS Science
A journey to plumb the remote ocean depths has revealed that Earth does indeed have an eighth continent.

A nine-week voyage took scientists from around the world to drill and explore the seafloor off New Zealand and Australia. They found evidence of land-based fossils, revealing that the ancient landmass wasn't always buried beneath the waves.

"Zealandia, a sunken continent long lost beneath the oceans, is giving up its 60 million-year-old secrets through scientific ocean drilling," Jamie Allan, program director in the U.S. National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences, said in a statement. [Photos: The World's Weirdest Geological Formations]

Lost 8th continent

Earlier this year, scientists argued that the known seven continents had a long-lost brother – Zealandia, a narrow strip of land that encompasses New Zealand and lies off the east coast of Australia, and whose landmass is mostly 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) below sea level beneath the ocean's surface. Among the evidence for Zealandia: The crust that makes up Zealandia is much shallower than the surrounding oceanic crust, and its geologic makeup looks more like continental versus oceanic crust. What's more, a narrow strip of oceanic crust separates Australia from Zealandia, which suggests the two landmasses were separate.

More:
https://www.livescience.com/60538-zealandia-eighth-continent-once-above-ocean.html?utm_source=notification

Curiosity saves the cat: How tourist interest in spotting jaguars could help preserve the species

Curiosity saves the cat: How tourist interest in spotting jaguars could help preserve the species

A recent study found that the value of jaguars to tourism was far in excess of the cost to ranchers from depredation of their cattle.



skeeze/via Pixabay [Licensed under CC BY CC0]

Sep 17, 2017 · 09:30 pm
Jack Elliot Marley

From villain to hero, the jaguar (Panthera onca) stands at the cusp of a radical overhaul in its public image. As the largest cat in the Americas, the species commands a dominant role in the food chain of its native Pantanal – a vast swathe of tropical wetland that encompasses parts of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. Once hunted for its fur, the jaguar’s appetite for the abundant prey in the Pantanal has led it into deadly conflict with ranchers in recent decades, casting it as the stalking menace of livestock and livelihood in a region where much of the land is reserved for cattle rearing. However, in a hopeful development for conservationists, researchers have revealed in a new study published in Global Ecology and Conservation that jaguars are worth 60 times more to tourism than the cost the big cats inflict on ranchers.

“The study represents a regional reality in the Pantanal,” said Fernando Tortato, research fellow at Panthera, the global wild cat conservation group that helped lead the study. “Where the jaguar brings in far more revenue than the potential damage it can cause.”

Jaguars once abounded from the southwestern US to Argentina, but their numbers have fallen due to hunting and habitat loss. In the Amazon rainforest, deforestation is an ongoing threat, even while the dense foliage often precludes human encounters with jaguars. In the absence of benign tourism opportunities there is demand for jaguar teeth, paws and claws as souvenirs.

The jaguar’s predilection for lush and low-lying forest makes the Pantanal a stronghold for the species. But wetland’s web-like tributaries also open the wild cat’s home to human exploration, allowing tourists to share in their company.

More:
https://scroll.in/article/850658/curiosity-saves-the-cat-how-tourist-interest-in-spotting-jaguars-could-help-preserve-the-species

Thousands of Haitians find 'Mexican dream' near US border


Elliot Spagat, Associated Press
Updated 2:55 pm, Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Jose Luis Millan found a new crop of star employees at an upscale Tijuana car wash where customers cross the border from the U.S. to pay up to $950 to have their prized possessions steamed and scrubbed for hours. They're never late, always hustle and come in on days off to learn new skills, traits that he says make them a model for their Mexican counterparts.
 
They are among several thousand Haitians who came to Mexico's northwest corner hoping to cross the border before the U.S. abruptly closed its doors last year. The Mexican government has welcomed them, with a visa program that helps them fill the need for labor in Tijuana's growing economy.

In a country whose population is 1 percent black, Tijuana's Haitians stand out. They share tight living quarters, sending much of their meager wages to support family in Haiti. Haitians earn far less than they would in the United States but enough to forsake the risk of getting deported by heading north.
 
Two new Haitian restaurants downtown serve dishes with mangoes and mashed plantains. Dozens of Haitian children attend public schools. Factories that export to the U.S. recruit Haitians, who can also be found waiting tables and worshipping at congregations that added services in Creole.

More:
http://www.chron.com/news/politics/article/AP-Exclusive-Haitians-halted-at-US-border-settle-12207975.php

The ones who swagger dont last as long: Jane Goodall doubles down on Trump-chimp comparison


Noor Al-Sibai NOOR AL-SIBAI
18 SEP 2017 AT 16:00 ET



amed primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall has once again compared President Donald Trump to a chimp in a new Jezebel interview.

“It’s certainly true,” Goodall told Jezebel. “When chimps are competing for dominance, they do a lot of blustering, swaggering, and intimidation.”

Almost exactly a year ago, Goodall told The Atlantic that then-candidate Trump’s debate style reminded her of “dominance rituals” performed by chimps.

“In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks,” she told The Atlantic last September. “In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance ritual.”

More:
http://www.rawstory.com/2017/09/the-ones-who-swagger-dont-last-as-long-jane-goodall-doubles-down-on-trump-chimp-comparison/

Pic of Cubans at dominoes in Irma floodwaters sparks debate


Michael Weissenstein and Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press
Updated 1:36 pm, Friday, September 15, 2017



HAVANA (AP) — As Hurricane Irma flooded the working-class neighborhoods behind Havana's seaside Malecon, a photographer for the Cuban Communist Party newspaper watched two men pulling broken furniture out of the calf-high water.

Nearby four others sat on plastic chairs playing dominoes in the filthy water, which reached halfway up their legs to a makeshift wooden table balanced on their knees. Juvenal Balan snapped a photo and posted it online with a comment declaring it "incredible" that the four were playing while "others work together to mitigate the damage."
 
Then, something unexpected happened. The photo went viral and ignited a furious and complicated debate about the state of Cuban society.

Many on the island and in Cuba's sprawling international diaspora saw Sunday's scene as a textbook example of "social indiscipline," a commonly heard phrase in the country that's used to bemoan the flouting of prized civic values like cleanliness, politeness and helping one's neighbors. But for others the photo symbolized another, equally Cuban quality: good-humored resilience in the face of difficulty, even disaster.

More:
http://www.chron.com/news/world/article/Pic-of-Cubans-at-dominoes-in-Irma-floodwaters-12200699.php

Trump quietly extends Cuba trading with the enemy embargo just as Irma pummels island


TOM BOGGIONI
09 SEP 2017 AT 09:20 ET

In a late Friday news dump, President Donald Trump issued a memorandum announcing the extension of the trade embargo against Cuba for another year just as Hurricane Irma was headed to pummel the island nation.

The White House issued the presidential memorandum Friday, under the Trading with the Enemy Act on Cuba, extending it until September 14, 2018.

More:
http://www.rawstory.com/2017/09/trump-quietly-extends-cuba-trading-with-the-enemy-embargo-just-as-irma-pummels-island/

Colombias transitional justice system possibly bribed by paramilitary chiefs


written by Stephen Gill September 11, 2017

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating suspicions that demobilized paramilitary commanders bribed the transitional justice system that was supposed to try their crimes, newspaper El Tiempo reported.

According to the daily, paramilitary commanders “El Mellizo” and “Diego Vecino” had received judicial benefits that could’ve been the result of bribery.

The country’s top prosecution office began investigations into the country’s justice system after receiving audio in which its own top anti-corruption chief appeared to be conspiring with Supreme Court judges to fix rulings.

. . .

One of the prosecutors investigating the suspicions told El Tiempo that the possible compromise of the transitional justice system was “serious” and could amplify to include other court decisions that ended up favoring paramilitary war lords.

More:
https://colombiareports.com/colombias-transitional-justice-system-possibly-bribed-paramilitary-chiefs/

Uribes 1st intelligence chief convicted for setting up illegal wiretap operation


written by Adriaan Alsema September 12, 2017



Colombia’s Supreme Court on Monday convicted former President Alvaro Uribe‘s initial intelligence chief for setting up an illegal spy unit that would eventually wiretap the court, journalists and human rights defenders.

The court additionally ordered the investigation of the former president, who has seen three of his four former intelligence chiefs disappear behind bars because of the illegal spying practices by now-defunct intelligence agency DAS.

The first of Uribe’s intelligence chiefs, Jorge Noguera, is already serving a 25-year prison sentence for other crimes, but was called to trial again for spying on now-House Representative Alirio Uribe and journalist Claudia Duque.

. . .

Both Noguera and Narvaez at the time made the connection between the Uribe administration and the AUC, the paramilitary umbrella group Uribe allegedly colluded with.

More:
https://colombiareports.com/uribes-1st-intelligence-chief-convicted-setting-illegal-wiretap-operation/

Forgotten El Salvador, Again


By RUBEN E. REYES JR., CRIMSON OPINION WRITERan hour ago

If you go to the room on the second floor of The Crimson, fondly called the Sanctum, you’ll find our archives. Decades worth of the daily print version of the newspaper line the walls of the room. Critical moments in which Americans learned to understand themselves are immortalized in its pages: South African divestment, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Iraq. But among the pages and pages of thin newspaper paper, one story has been remembered in the archives and forgotten by American memory.

Last week, I opened one of these bound books to find a story from December 14, 1981. It spread across an entire page of the paper, included two photographs, and had the glaring headline: Forgotten El Salvador. It rebuked the American public for ignoring the escalating state violence against Salvadoran citizens, even though Americans had just held protests in response to the killing of an American missionary and three American nuns by the Salvadoran National Guard just a year before. As the article claims, “It is an old axiom that only the threat of American deaths will arouse American concern; El Salvador seems a case in point.”

What the Crimson editor who wrote 35 years before me might have guessed, but couldn’t have known for sure, is that America would continue to forget El Salvador. The Reagan Administration continued funneling hundreds of millions of dollars towards a repressive El Salvadoran government that killed over 1,000 peasants in a single day in 1981, a fact that the Salvadoran Ambassador in Washington then falsely denied.

The final death toll of the conflict was over 750,000 Salvadoran men, women, and children and millions more displaced. Despite its heavy involvement in the Salvadoran Civil War, the United States government has not apologized for training murderers, and the American public has largely forgotten its repulsive involvement in the Salvadoran Civil War.

More:
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/9/12/reyes-forgotten-el-salvador-again/
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