Argentine dictatorship torture general sentenced

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Argentine General Sentenced to Life

26 August 2016

The ruling [about] former Argentine General Menendez brought thousands to the streets. A general during the horrific US-backed Dirty War, Menendez has been sentenced to life in prison after being charged with 600 cases of torture and over 300 murders.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Menendez gets life for dirty war role

Saturday 27th August 2016

ARGENTINA: Former General Luciano Benjamin Menendez was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for crimes committed at secret dirty war-era detention centres.

Thousands gathered outside the Cordoba court to await the judgement.

Gen Menendez stood trial with 42 other defendants, set to be sentenced yesterday after a nearly four-year so-called “mega-trial,” for more than 300 murders and 600 cases of torture between 1976 and 1978.

Bird conservation in Argentina, 100 years

This video is about birds and other animals in Argentina.

By Aves Argentinas, 28 July 2016:

The early days of Aves Argentinas

Today Aves Argentinas turns 100 years old. Where does the organization come from? What was the vision of its founders? And, given the colourful variety of birds living in the country, how did the dull-looking Rufous Hornero become the national emblem of the country? We take a look back in time.


28 July: With the Great War raging across continents, a group of 21 scientists and naturalists meet in the Montserrat neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. They discuss a future where people are aware of the importance of conserving biodiversity.

They imagine a world where people, thanks to information, education and research, come to fully understand that birds are indicators of the health of our environment and that by conserving birds’ habitats, we secure the planet for generations to come.

On that day Aves Argentinas is founded: it will become a pioneer in bird conservation in the Americas.


One year after its foundation, Aves Argentinas chooses the Hornero as the ambassador for their mission, with the first issue of their scientific journal El Hornero. What started as a few articles defining the character and aims of the organisation is now considered a benchmark in the area of neotropical ornithology in Latin America. Why choose the hornero as the name of their magazine?

The Rufous Hornero Furnarius rufus is not your regular brown bird. Its seemingly dull plumage hides a fascinating behaviour. This tiny bird builds mud nests that resemble old wood-fired ovens (the Spanish word horno, means “oven”, giving rise to the English name Ovenbird).

This unique chambered construction is built in many stages, allowing the materials to dry and form a highly weather resistant home that will eventually survive storms and winds. Since their nests are so sturdy, horneros happily build them in the strangest of locations: rooftops, powerlines, street lamps or statues.

Inevitably, their omnipresent visibility has fuelled people’s imagination. Ovenbirds are the harbingers of good luck. Their unique sound announces upcoming times of prosperity. As a South American proverb goes “No thunder ever fell where horneros have nested”.


The first issue of El Hornero opens with an article that might well be written today. Attributed to the founder and former president Roberto Dabbene, the following commentary is published:

“Nobody can debate that the study of birds constitutes one of the most rich chapters in the history of the natural sciences. Once we know the name of the species, we must discover their behaviour, nesting habits, migrations, diet. Few animals provide, in this respect, so much charm to discover.

”The beauty of their forms and colourful exterior blends with their impressive instinct and intelligence. From their songs, expressions of love, to the artistic appearance of their nests, they are not only a study subject but also worthy of admiration.

”But the interest for birds does not end there. There’s also the practical aspect. It’s proven that birds provide indirect services to people. Many feed themselves off insects and small mammals that could wreak havoc in our crops.

“Ornithological societies build a bridge between science and education. Aves Argentinas aims to gather support from all over the country and with the collaboration of members hopes to bring about, in time, a cause that is meaningful and useful for society.”


The year has been described as a mirabilis for many reasons: literary, political and technological. Perhaps most importantly, it was the year that public radio hit the global airwaves. Suddenly, it became possible to reach vast audiences with new ideas and information, and for people to take an active interest in the world beyond their provincial and national borders.

However, sharing ideas on new global perspectives can change the world only if people act on them. That’s exactly what happened at midday on 20 June, 1922, when a group of people from different countries met at the London home of the then UK Minister of Finance to found the International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP).

This was the world’s first international conservation organisation, as renowned Swedish zoologist Professor Kai Curry-Lindahl described decades later. It’s where the BirdLife International Partnership has its roots. The group, united by their passion for birds, decided that co-ordinated international action was the answer to the various threats birds faced.

In words very similar to those BirdLife still uses 90 years later, their declaration of principles stated: “…by united action, we should be able to accomplish more than organisations working individually in combating dangers to birdlife.”


In April national newspaper La Razón surveys primary schools, asking which could be the most representative bird of Argentina, to become the National Emblem. The hugely successful survey initially seems to show that the majestic Andean Condor Vultur gryphus will be the winner. At the last minute, however, it is the dull-looking Rufous Hornero who becomes the National Emblem.

This is thanks in great part to the efforts of Aves Argentinas: taking interest in the survey, the then president Roberto Dabbene writes to the newspaper, explaining the reason why as the Hornero’s name had been chosen for their scientific journal. More letters follow. The author Leopoldo Lugones writes a poem dedicated to this singular bird, declaring it to be the true symbol of the country.

In the end, the Rufous Hornero is chosen as the National Bird of Argentina.


Former Audubon founder, Gilbert Pearson, finally invites Aves Argentinas to join the ICBP, which years later would become BirdLife International. It takes them one year to become an official member of the BirdLife family, expanding its impact beyond Argentinian borders.


A century later, Aves Argentinas has grown from two dozen founders to a nationwide project, with citizens and scientists alike coming together to save biodiversity. It is important to look back to see what we have achieved, to inspire us to continue tackling the threats with renewed energy.

In 1916 the Sociedad Ornitológica del Plata was founded by a small group of visionaries. Today it counts 3,000 members and works on over 1,000 species. Hernan Casañas, CEO of the organization, reflects on a century of conservation work. A century ago, on July 28 1916, the Sociedad Ornitológica del Plata was born. Leading researchers and naturalists of the time, including the great writer and ornithologist William Hudson, founded the first environmental NGO of Latin America. Today, its name is Aves Argentinas, Latin America’s oldest environmental organisation and BirdLife Partner: here.

10 stunning portraits of Argentinian birds [PHOTOS]: here.

Unusual carnivorous dinosaur described

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13 July 2016

A newly discovered meat-eating dinosaur that prowled Argentina 90 million years ago would have had a hard time using strong-arm tactics against its prey. That’s because the beast, though a fearsome hunter, possessed a pitifully puny pair of arms.

Scientists said on Wednesday they have unearthed fossils in northern Patagonia of a two-legged, up to 26-foot-long (8-meters-long) predator called Gualicho shinyae with arms only about 2 feet (60 cm) long, akin to a human child’s.

The fossils of Gualicho, named after an evil spirit feared by Patagonia’s indigenous Tehuelche people, were discovered in Argentina’s Rio Negro Province.

Gualicho and other carnivorous dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex are part of a group called theropods that included Earth’s largest-ever land predators. But a curious thing happened during their many millions of years of evolution. For some, as they acquired huge body size and massive skulls, their arms and their number of fingers shrank.

From the Christian Science Monitor in the USA:

T. rex wasn’t the only one with those strange little arms

Paleontologists discover a new dinosaur with T. rex-like arms, but it’s not a tyrannosaur.

By Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Staff writer

July 13, 2016

Quick! Make like a T. rex.

What is the first step to mimicking the famous, fearsome dinosaur? After roaring, a person probably pulls both arms in, contorting them to make them tiny relative to the rest of the body, mashing the five fingers together to have just two digits on each hand. One of the most characteristic features of the iconic tyrant lizard dinosaur is its strange, seemingly uselessly small forelimbs.

But Tyrannosaurus rex wasn’t the only two-legged carnivorous dinosaur to sport such teeny, two-fingered arms.

“Theropods in general do this quite often,” Lindsay Zanno, head of the Paleontology Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview. “There are a lot of different groups of theropods that tend to reduce the size of their hands and their arms or change the way that they’re used.”

And another one is joining the bunch.

Gualicho shinyae, discovered in Argentina in 2007, is named and described in a paper published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

This new dinosaur’s “arms are short – about 2 ft long – which is less than the length of the thigh bone, and they have weak muscle attachments and poorly developed articulations indicating they had little strength,” Peter Makovicky, associate curator of dinosaurs at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago who co-led the team that discovered Gualicho, describes in an email to the Monitor.

The fingers on the 90-million-year-old fossil are similar to those of tyrannosaurs. The thumb has a large claw while the second finger is more slender. A third finger has become so reduced that it is just a tiny bone in the flesh of the animal’s hand. …

Gualicho has weak little arms with just two functional fingers like T. rex, but the similarities pretty much stop there.

“This animal has a kind of mosaic of features. There are aspects of its skeleton that show some affinities with some groups of dinosaurs and some affinities with other groups of dinosaurs, although none of those are really tyrannosaurs,” study co-author Nathan Smith, associate curator in the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, tells the Monitor in a phone interview.

But the “oddball” dinosaur, as Dr. Smith describes it, could help researchers figure out why so many diverse theropod dinosaurs have evolved similar, reduced forelimbs. …

Some scientists have suggested that humongous predatory dinosaurs would have evolved smaller arms because their skulls were used more readily to wrangle prey, she says.

There seems to be a pattern among tyrannosaurs, for example, in which the arms became shorter and the fingers fewer as the animals’ skulls and bodies became larger over generations, says Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh who was not part of the study, in an email to the Monitor. This would suggest that “the head was taking over many of the duties that the arms once had, like procuring and processing food.”

“Most theropods with reduced forelimbs, like tyrannosaurs, ceratosaurs, and carcharodontosaurs are clearly macropredators that rely on their massive skulls for hunting, so it seems likely that the same was true of Gualicho,” Makovicky says.

These diverse dinosaurs were likely under similar evolutionary pressures that lead to similarly reduced forelimbs. The feature would have evolved independently in the different groups, in a process called convergent evolution. …

The mosaic features of Gualicho “makes figuring out the evolutionary placement of this animal a little difficult,” Smith says.

Weighing an estimated 1,000 pounds, Gualicho appears to fit into the family neovenatoridae, a large-bodied branch of carnivorous theropod dinosaurs, Smith says, but it also seems to bear the closest resemblance to Deltadromeus, a large theropod from Africa.

But could a South American dinosaur be closely related to an African one?

Possibly. Scientists have previously noted a lot of similarities between dinosaurs unearthed in the Kem Kem Beds on the border of Morocco and Algeria, where Deltadromeus has been found, and the Huincul Formation in Argentina, where Guialicho was discovered, Smith says. “So it may not be surprising that these two carnivorous dinosaurs are close relatives.”

And at the time when Guialicho roamed the Earth, the two continents had only recently, geologically speaking, begun to separate as the supercontinent Gondwana broke up.

Argentinian Falklands war veterans won’t march with dictatorship’s torturers

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Argentina: Former President Fernandez Slams Judicial Harassment Against Her

12 July 2016

In Argentina, former president Cristina Fernandez flew to Buenos Aires last weekend to make a court appearance in an investigation for allegedly harming the finances of the Argentine state through her economic policies. Many have denounced the court case as trying to turn a routine political measure into a crime. TeleSUR‘s Laureano Ponce explains.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Argentina: Falklands veterans refuse to march with torturers

Tuesday 12th July 2016

ARGENTINIAN Falklands war veterans refused to march beside “those who tortured” during the dictatorships of the 70s and 80s during Sunday’s 200th independence day celebrations.

“Today they’ve called us to march all together, together with those who tortured,” the Association of Malvinas Combatants for Human Rights said in a statement.

“With those who humiliated soldiers in the war for being Jewish, for being indigenous, or simply for the colour of their skin, together with those responsible for famine and those who fled from combat.”

The association also called for its government to investigate the “terrible human-rights violations committed in the Malvinas against soldiers,” saying they still hope for justice after 34 years.

About 1,000 military personnel marched in the capital Buenos Aires on Sunday, along with military delegations from 11 countries including the US, Telesur reported.

Washington backed Argentina’s “dirty war” against leftwingers as part of the continent-wide Operation Condor campaign of political repression and state terror.

Argentine torture dictatorship, no rehabilitation

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Argentina: Human Rights Movements To Preserve Achievements

20 June 2016

Human Rights movements in Argentina have launched an initiative to confront what they believe is an attempt to destroy the achievements made during the last decade in the investigation of state terrorism during the country’s last dictatorship. The move comes after an official of the government of Mauricio Macri questioned the number of forcefully disappeared people during Argentina’s last dictatorship. from Buenos Aires, Laureano Ponce, with the details.