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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 146,597

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Source: Newsweek


President Donald Trump’s company appealed to Panama's president to intervene after its hotel business management team was evicted from a luxury hotel in the country.

Britton & Iglesias, the firm representing the Trump Organization, on March 22 sent a letter, obtained by The Associated Press Monday, to Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela stating that they “URGENTLY request your influence in relation to a commercial dispute involving Trump Hotel aired before Panama’s judiciary.”

The move has struck further alarm bells with ethics experts already concerned by conflicts of interest within the Trump administration.

“This could be the clearest example we’ve seen of a conflict of interest stemming from the president’s role as head of state in connection with other countries and his business interests,” Danielle Brian, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, told the AP.

Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/trump-organization-panama-hotel-president-conflict-878147?piano_t=1

Under Uribe, Colombias military killed more civilians than guerrillas: study

Under Uribe, Colombia’s military killed more civilians than guerrillas: study
by Adriaan Alsema April 8, 2018

Colombia’s military executed far more civilians than guerrillas when former President Alvaro Uribe led the country between 2002 and 2010, according to new study.

According to former police colonel and sociologist Omar Rojas and historian Fabian Leonardo Benavides, the security forces executed approximately 10,000 civilians.

The two researchers published their findings in the book “Extrajudicial Executions in Colombia, 2002-2010 – Blind Obedience in Fictitious Battlefields.”

This would mean that the majority of the 16,724 combat kills reported by the military between 2002 and 2010 were civilians, and not guerrillas as the Colombian people were made to believe.


One of the last living witnesses against Uribe survives two assassination attempts

One of the last living witnesses against Uribe survives two assassination attempts
by Adriaan Alsema April 9, 2018

Colombia’s Supreme Court ordered increased protection for one of the last living witnesses in a criminal case over the violence-ridden past of former President Alvaro Uribe after multiple assassination attempts.

Juan Guillermo Monsalve was taken to a safe house after the son of one of Uribe’s former employees survived a stabbing and a poisoning attempt in prison, local media reported.

The former president is investigated by the Supreme Court over attempts to manipulate Monsalve who has claimed Uribe and his brother Santiago formed their own death squads in the 1990s.

Other possible key witnesses died in suspicious circumstances or were murdered as the Uribe family’s political and economical power grew.


Why Antarcticas Prehistoric Forests Might Foreshadow Its Future

Hidden on the frozen continent are clues to its greener past.
SARAH LASKOWAPR. 8, 2018 6:00 AM

Antarctica was once covered in forests instead of ice. Vincent van Zeijst

This story was originally published by Atlas Obscura and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

On their way back from the South Pole in 1912, Robert Falcon Scott and his team discovered the delicate lines of plant leaves pressed into the hard rock of Antarctica. They were “beautifully traced” fossils, Scott wrote. Despite the explorers’ fatigue and dwindling supplies, they collected samples, evidence that the icy expanse around them had once been far greener. When their bodies were discovered months later, so were the fossilized leaves of Glossopteris indica, a prehistoric tree that no longer exists, along with the preserved wood of a conifer.

The samples are some of the earliest bits of evidence that the frozen continent was once lush and covered in tall, thriving forests. They date back to the Permian period, more than 250 million years ago, when the planet was warmer than it is today. Though the land that would become Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana, it was still located at same extreme latitudes , where long stretches of light are followed by months of darkness. In those conditions a forest grew and, before it disappeared, left behind some of the best-preserved evidence of prehistoric plant life. By searching for the remains of Antarctica’s forests, scientists today are trying to discover what the world looked like all those years ago, just before one of Earth’s most dramatic extinctions wiped out most of the species living on the planet.

Because Glossopteris leaf fossils had also been found in South America, Africa, India, and Australia, they provided key evidence that the continents had once been connected as Gondwana—an idea that was a new theory at the time. Today, when researchers go fossil-hunting in Antarctica, Glossopteris leaves are among the most common finds.

“If you spend three or four hours at one site and you continually pull out materials, it’s usually the same type of plant,” says Rudolph Serbet, the collection manager in paleobotany at the University of Kansas. At most of the sites that Serbet and his colleagues visit, as part of a National Science Foundation research grant led by university professor Edith L. Taylor, they have just a few hours to sample and collect, during what will likely be their only visit to that particular site. “The chance of going back there ever again is pretty slim,” Serbet says. Only when they start to find something novel among the common—parts of plants that no one has ever seen before—do they return for more extensive work.


Oregon Wants to Kill More Endangered Sea Lions to Save Endangered Fish

Leslie Nemo

Apr 7 2018, 9:00am
A case study in the unforeseen consequences of well-meaning attempts at wildlife conservation in the Pacific Northwest, so protective as to be counterproductive.

Every day at 6 AM, a team of Oregon Fish and Wildlife officers check the traps. The cages encircle docks—sea lions love sunbathing—throughout the Columbia River Basin, at a strategic point just before the Willamette Falls, a natural feature in a tributary of the same name. If a trap door is closed, officers barge the sea lion out of the river and wrangle the agitated mammal into yet another trap, before driving it 230 miles to the California coast, only to have the same sea lion virtually beeline back to the same stretch of the Columbia.

At which point, the cycle begins all over again.

For a decade now, OFW has been caught in this capture-release-recapture loop of trapping sea lions. Hauling a 500-pound pinniped from its watery perch can be dangerous, though it’s one of the only intervention strategies the wildlife team has had since the sea lions first moved into the Columbia River to pursue steelhead trout and Chinook salmon. The mammals are considered endangered and have extremely strict kill regulations, but those two fish types they’re eating through, the trout and salmon, are likewise both threatened and endangered species. If the trap-release-retrap circle continues, OFW thinks there’s a high likelihood one of those fish populations will go extinct.

It’s a case study in the unforeseen consequences of well-meaning attempts at wildlife conservation, so protective as to be counterproductive. As more and different kinds of nonnative sea lions have arrived in the Columbia River Basin over the years, state, federal, tribal, and animal rights organizations remain locked in negotiations over legal precedents and predicted ramifications. Things came to a head at the end of January when the governors of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon asked Congress to lift some restrictions on the lethal removal of the endangered sea lions.


The Making of 'Pillars of Creation,' One of the Most Amazing Images of Our Universe

The Making of 'Pillars of Creation,' One of the Most Amazing Images of Our Universe
By Ryan F. Mandelbaum on 07 Apr 2018 at 9:00AM

Three pillars of gas and dust sit among stars like towers of billowing smoke. It would take several years for light to cross from the top to the bottom of these dusty columns. This striking image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope remains, to this day, one of the most well-known astronomical images ever taken.


An updated image of the Pillars of Creation taken by the Hubble Space Telescope with a newer camera in order to celebrate Hubble’s 25th anniversary in 2015. Image: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)

But if you were to peer at the Pillars of Creation, part of the Eagle Nebula, through your own telescope, you wouldn’t see the same thing. The images you typically see of outer space are colourised and processed in order to bring out the detail and highlight the most relevant parts for scientific study. The popularity of the Pillars of Creation may have forever changed how astronomers present images of space to the public.

“Because of the public desire to see pictures like this, an awful lot of people started rendering their press releases using these kinds of images,” Paul Scowen, Arizona State University astronomer and one of the image’s creators, told Gizmodo. “It had an impact on the way the data of Hubble was seen and digested by the public as a general result.”

The original Pillars of Creation image used to study star formation in the Eagle Nebula. Notice the “stealth bomber” effect on the top right, due to one of the four cameras designed to take more zoomed-in images. That image has been shrunk down to match the zoom of the other three panels, leaving the black shape.


Both Men Were Innocent But They Were From Mississippi

Photographer Isabelle Armand spent five years documenting the lives of two black men unfairly convicted of murder. Her images weld a horrible past to a painful present.
04.06.18 10:34 PM ET

- click for image -


The bodies of Christina Jackson and Courtney Smith were discovered in the waters around Noxubee County, Mississippi, in 1990 and 1992. It appeared that both three-year-olds had not only been kidnapped and murdered but also sexually assaulted while in captivity. The crimes were so horrific that life imprisonment and even execution could sound like just punishments. Indeed, those were the sentences passed down on Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, who were independently found guilty of each girl’s death. There was only one problem: Both men were innocent.

French photographer Isabelle Armand's forthcoming book, Levon and Kennedy: Mississippi Innocence Project, is ostensibly the story of Brooks and Brewer and their experiences with the U.S. criminal justice system. Each man served over a dozen years in prison before the Innocence Project was able to exonerate them by finding the real perpetrator who had committed both crimes.

It's a dramatic story of justice and injustice, but Armand's book examines much more. Her black-and-white photographs, taken over the last five years, focus on Brooks' and Brewer's lives since their release in 2008, their families, and, especially, their homes. Both men were born, raised, and still live in Noxubee County. The region has a history of oppressing African Americans, from slavery to vigilante white supremacist violence to segregation. That grim past is captured in the plantation buildings that still stand in Noxubee and, as Armand's photos seem to argue, in the trials of Brooks and Brewer.

I recently spoke with Armand about the relationship Brooks and Brewer have to their home in rural Mississippi, how the United States’ ugly history of slavery, segregation, and bigotry continues to inform its present tragedies, and how anti-racist movements still have far to go.


Scientists harvest 1st vegetables in Antarctic greenhouse

Source: Associated Press

Updated 3:37 pm, Thursday, April 5, 2018

BERLIN (AP) — Scientists in Antarctica have harvested their first crop of vegetables grown without earth, daylight or pesticides as part of a project designed to help astronauts cultivate fresh food on other planets.

Researchers at Germany's Neumayer Station III say they've picked 3.6 kilograms (8 pounds) of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes grown inside a high-tech greenhouse as temperatures outside dropped below -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit).

The German Aerospace Center DLR, which coordinates the project, said Thursday that by May scientists hope to harvest 4-5 kilograms of fruit and vegetables a week.

While NASA has successfully grown greens on the International Space Station, DLR's Daniel Schubert says the Antarctic project aims to produce a wider range of vegetables that might one day be grown on Mars or the Moon.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/business/technology/article/Scientists-harvest-1st-vegetables-in-Antarctic-12807451.php

Exclusive: Massive Ancient Drawings Found in Peruvian Desert

Armed with satellites and drones, archaeologists discover new Nasca lines and dozens of other enigmatic geoglyphs carved into the earth.

By Michael Greshko

Etched into the high desert of southern Peru more than a millennium ago, the enigmatic Nasca lines continue to capture our imagination. More than a thousand of these geoglyphs (literally, 'ground drawings') sprawl across the sandy soil of Nasca province, the remains of little-understood ritual practices that may have been connected to life-giving rain.

Now, Peruvian archaeologists armed with drones have discovered more than 50 new examples of these mysterious desert monuments in adjacent Palpa province, traced onto the earth's surface in lines almost too fine to see with the human eye. In addition, archaeologists surveyed locally known geoglyphs with drones for the first time—mapping them in never-before-seen detail.

Some of the newfound lines belong to the Nasca culture, which held sway in the area from 200 to 700 A.D. However, archaeologists suspect that the earlier Paracas and Topará cultures carved many of the newfound images between 500 B.C. and 200 A.D.

Unlike the iconic Nasca lines—most of which are only visible from overhead—the older Paracas glyphs were laid down on hillsides, making them visible to villages below. The two cultures also pursued different artistic subjects: Nasca lines most often consist of lines or polygons, but many of the newfound Paracas figures depict humans.


U.S. Court Finds Former Bolivian President Responsible for Civilian Deaths

U.S. Court Finds Former Bolivian President Responsible for Civilian Deaths

Bolivia's former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada leaves a federal courtroom in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on
March 20, 2018. Noah Friedman Rudovsky—Reuters

By CURT ANDERSON / AP April 4, 2018

(MIAMI) — A U.S. jury on Tuesday found a former president of Bolivia and his defense minister responsible for killings by security forces during 2003 unrest in the South American nation, awarding $10 million in damages in a lawsuit filed by Bolivians whose relatives were among the slain.

The jury verdict came Tuesday after a nearly three-week trial of the civil suit in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The jury found against former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, and his former defense minister, Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain. Both have been living in the U.S. after fleeing Bolivia in 2003.

Lawyers for the two former officials vowed to seek to have the verdict overturned.

In the lawsuit originally filed in 2007, relatives of eight Bolivians who died claimed the two officials planned to kill thousands of civilians to crush political opposition during a time of civil unrest known as the “Gas War.” The lawsuit was filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act, which authorizes suits in the U.S. for extrajudicial killings.


Has been living well in the US all this time until Bolivians found a way to sue his US-raised and educated @$$.
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