All posts tagged: Americas

Cradle of Civilization in the Americas

Cradle of Civilization in the Americas

  Cradles of civilization are societies where humans developed complex social systems independently. Of the six, Egypt, India, Mesopotamia, China, and the Olmec civilizations undoubtedly formed thanks to agriculture. Yet Caral-Supe, on the coast of Peru, is neglected in traditional histories and may demonstrate a unique path to advanced development.   One hypothesis among the archaeological and historical community proposes that coastal communities with maritime foundations were the progenitors of this civilization. Caral-Supe was centered upon a sacred capital city originating 5,000 years ago, the oldest urban site in the Americas. Seventeen nearby settlements were part of this civilization, which controlled almost 700 square miles. Could a society without mass agriculture achieve these monumental feats?   What Is a Civilization? The Origins of Caral-Supe  Early River Valley Civilizations. Source: Radford University   Anthropologists have various qualifications for a group to be called a civilization. In the past, “civilization” was applied to divide societies seen as superior from those considered inferior. Now, standards of development are used as a metric. Generally, civilizations consist of urban, sedentary …

UNRWA Chief Says Israeli Pressure, Funding Freeze Threaten Agency

UNRWA Chief Says Israeli Pressure, Funding Freeze Threaten Agency

United Nations —  The head of the embattled U.N. agency that assists Palestinian refugees warned Thursday that it is at a “breaking point,” and its ability to assist millions of Palestinians is “seriously threatened.” “It is with profound regret that I must now inform you that the Agency has reached breaking point, with Israel’s repeated calls to dismantle UNRWA and the freezing of funding by donors at a time of unprecedented humanitarian needs in Gaza,” Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini wrote in a letter to the president of the U.N. General Assembly. Without new funding, he said UNRWA’s operations across the region will be severely compromised starting in March. The General Assembly established the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA, in 1949 to assist some 700,000 Palestinian refugees displaced in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that broke out after Israel became a state in May that year. Today, it operates not just in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, but also in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, where there are large Palestinian …

Biden calls Putin a ‘crazy SOB’, says climate change is an ‘existential threat’ at fundraiser

Biden calls Putin a ‘crazy SOB’, says climate change is an ‘existential threat’ at fundraiser

President Joe Biden called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a “crazy SOB” at a public fundraising event Wednesday in California.  Issued on: 22/02/2024 – 04:04 1 min “We have a crazy SOB like that guy Putin, and others, and we always have to worry about nuclear conflict, but the existential threat to humanity is climate,” Biden said in a brief speech at the event in San Francisco that was attended by a small group of reporters. In a hot mic slip in January 2022, Biden similarly called a Fox News journalist a “son of a bitch.” Biden’s burst of strong language follows other occasions in which he has called the Russian president, who ordered the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, a “butcher” and a “war criminal.” Biden has said the United States will announce a package of tough new sanctions Friday against Russia over the death in prison of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. At the fundraising event, Biden also attacked his presumed November election rival Donald Trump for comparing his legal woes to the fate …

Boeing ousts head of 737 MAX program after January mid-air scare

Boeing ousts head of 737 MAX program after January mid-air scare

Boeing announced Wednesday that the head of its 737 MAX program is departing the aviation giant less than two months after a major safety incident temporarily grounded 171 planes. Issued on: 21/02/2024 – 22:19Modified: 21/02/2024 – 22:17 2 min Ed Clark, an 18-year Boeing veteran is “leaving the program,” Boeing Commercial Aviation (BCA) chief Stan Deal said in a memo released by the company. Katie Ringgold has been named as his replacement. The move comes after a 737 MAX operated by Alaska Airlines suffered a mid-flight blowout of an air panel on the fuselage on January 5, triggering an emergency landing with the plane left with a gaping hole in the cabin. While there were no serious injuries, safety inspectors said the incident could have been catastrophic. “Ed departs with my, and our, deepest gratitude for his many significant contributions over nearly 18 years of dedicated service to Boeing,” the memo said. Clark had ascended to the role in March 2021, shortly after a 20-month grounding of the MAX program following two fatal crashes in …

As Latin America’s Prison Population Explodes, Gangs Seize Control

As Latin America’s Prison Population Explodes, Gangs Seize Control

Ecuador’s military was sent in to seize control of the country’s prisons last month after two major gang leaders escaped and criminal groups quickly set off a nationwide revolt that paralyzed the country. In Brazil last week, two inmates with connections to a major gang became the first to escape from one of the nation’s five maximum-security federal prisons, officials said. Officials in Colombia have declared an emergency in its prisons after two guards were killed and several more targeted in what the government said was retaliation for its crackdown on major criminal groups. Inside prisons across Latin America, criminal groups exercise unchallenged authority over prisoners, extracting money from them to buy protection or basic necessities, like food. The prisons also act as a safe haven of sorts for incarcerated criminal leaders to remotely run their criminal enterprises on the outside, ordering killings, orchestrating the smuggling of drugs to the United States and Europe and directing kidnappings and extortion of local businesses. When officials attempt to curtail the power criminal groups exercise from behind bars, …

Chilean Court Says 1973 Death of Pablo Neruda Should Be Reinvestigated

Chilean Court Says 1973 Death of Pablo Neruda Should Be Reinvestigated

SANTIAGO, Chile —  The death of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda days after Chile’s 1973 military coup should be reinvestigated, an appeals court ruled Tuesday, saying new steps could help clarify what killed the poet. Last December, a judge rejected a request by Neruda’s nephew to reopen the case to look for causes other than cancer, which was listed on his death certificate. The nephew, Rodolfo Reyes, said forensic experts from Canada, Denmark and Chile had found evidence pointing to Neruda being poisoned. Reyes said forensic tests carried out in Danish and Canadian labs indicated Neruda’s body had “a great quantity of Cloristridium botulinum, which is incompatible with human life.” The toxin can cause nervous system paralysis and death. The ruling was the latest turn in one of the great debates of post-coup Chile. The long-stated official position has been that Neruda died of complications from prostate cancer, but his driver argued for decades that he was poisoned. In December, a judge ruled that the forensic results had already been carried out or were “late,” and …

Alberta Wildfire Season Starts Early as Canada’s Mild Winter Persists

Alberta Wildfire Season Starts Early as Canada’s Mild Winter Persists

The western Canadian province of Alberta on Tuesday declared an early start to wildfire season as a result of an unusually dry and mild winter, allowing the government to put more money and resources into tackling blazes. Canada endured its worst wildfire season on record last year as 18.5 million hectares (45.7 million acres) burned, nearly seven times the 10-year average, according to the federal government. Alberta is also suffering from drought, and 52 wildfires are still burning from last year, as well as 17 new blazes so far in 2024. Wildfire season in Alberta tends to peak in the spring and usually officially kicks off on March 1. The province declared an early start this year to better direct resources to those fires already underway, the provincial government said in a news release. “Alberta is experiencing warmer than normal temperatures and below average precipitation in many areas of the province, leading to heightened wildfire risk,” the provincial government said. The official start of the season allows Alberta Wildfire to use additional tools like fire …

Blinken and Lavrov to attend G20 talks with Ukraine, Gaza on the agenda

Blinken and Lavrov to attend G20 talks with Ukraine, Gaza on the agenda

G20 foreign ministers open a two-day meeting Wednesday in Brazil, with the outlook bleak for progress on a thorny agenda of conflicts and crises, from the Gaza and Ukraine wars to growing polarization. Issued on: 21/02/2024 – 02:33Modified: 21/02/2024 – 02:31 3 min US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are both expected in Rio de Janeiro for the first high-level G20 meeting of the year — though not China’s Wang Yi. In a world torn by conflicts and divisions, Brazil, which took over the rotating G20 presidency from India in December, has voiced hopes for what President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva calls “the forum with the greatest capacity to positively influence the international agenda.” But Lula’s bid to make the G20 a space for finding common ground suffered Sunday when the veteran leftist ignited a diplomatic firestorm by accusing Israel of “genocide,” comparing its military campaign in the Gaza Strip to the Holocaust. The comments drew outrage in Israel, which declared him “persona non grata,” and could overshadow …

Two charged with murder over shooting at Kansas City’s Super Bowl parade

Two charged with murder over shooting at Kansas City’s Super Bowl parade

Two men have been charged with murder over the shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade which left one person dead and 22 wounded, officials said Tuesday. Issued on: 20/02/2024 – 22:21Modified: 20/02/2024 – 22:19 1 min Dominic Miller and Lyndell Mays, both local residents, were charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker told reporters. Peters Baker said Mays got into a verbal altercation with other individuals at the parade that “very quickly escalated.” She said Miller allegedly fired the shots that killed a local DJ, Lisa Lopez-Galvan. Peters Baker said both men were being held on $1 million bond and face a potential sentence of life in prison on the murder charges. The prosecutor said the arrests of Miller and Mays were in addition to those of two juveniles whose arrests were announced last week. The pair, who were not identified because of their ages, are facing gun-related charges and are accused of resisting arrest. The shooting took place on …

One of America’s most-hated Jews says we’re getting antisemitism wrong

One of America’s most-hated Jews says we’re getting antisemitism wrong

There’s grave danger in conflating legitimate political criticism of Israel with outright antisemitism, according to one man whose family has seen more than its share of the latter. And he sees serious risk in policing anti-Zionism more than antisemitism. The man issuing this warning is Mikey Weinstein, a Jewish man who probably experiences more antisemitism than any non-famous American. Because he’s quite famous among antisemites. For the last two decades, Weinstein has fought for the separation of church and state. A veteran of the Air Force and the Reagan White House, Weinstein founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to protect men and women in uniform from unconstitutional proselytization. He spends the vast majority of his time helping Christians. The vast majority of the hate he gets is also from Christians.  The MRFF claims 87,000 clients, 95% of them Christian. Just not Christian the way some superiors want them to be. So Weinstein and the MRFF swat down unconstitutional prayer sessions, Bible displays, and other — almost always Christian — violations of the Constitution’s prohibition …