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25625 Posts in 9818 Topics by 981 Members Latest Member: - amandalewis Most online today: 66 (July 03, 2005, 11:25:30 PM)
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 on: April 07, 2018, 02:45:51 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
Faces Of Africa- Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah was born on September 21, 1909, in Nkroful, Gold Coast (now Ghana), and shepherded the country in its struggle for independence from Great Britain. He went on to be named life president of both the nation and his party, until the army and police in Ghana seized power in 1966 and he found asylum in Guinea.

 on: March 31, 2018, 01:52:48 PM 
Started by Iniko Ujaama - Last post by Tyehimba
The concept of sustainable development is one of the current buzzwords around. In 2015 the United Nations approved a 2030 Development Agenda "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, thereby replacing the Millennium Development Goals. This agenda aims to end poverty in all forms and to facilitate the sustainable use of resources. Governments, NGOs and global financial organisations have incorporated this concept into their policy frameworks.

I quite agree that it is Eurocentric... It uses ideas of development that do not challenge power structures or address the subservient place of the Caribbean and global south in world affairs. It makes fancy promises to end poverty while not addressing the historical and structural causes of power. Also, talking about the environment, while ignoring the injustices of various peoples, is part of what contributes to environmental damage. Sustainable development  is a distraction from other issues that people should be paying attention to.

 on: March 26, 2018, 08:09:01 AM 
Started by News - Last post by News
Liberal Ire at Trump and Cambridge Analytica is Misdirected From Billionaires Who Own Your Data

By Bruce A. Dixon
March 22, 2018 - blackagendareport.com

Liberals this week want to drum us into an outrageous fury over the fact that Facebook, with almost 2 billion accounts worldwide, handed over user data of millions of people to Cambridge Analytica, a firm retained by the Trump campaign.

Cambridge Analytica, or CA for short is part of the Robert Mercer empire, which funds an entire zoo of nonprofits from Citizens United to the Cato and Heritage Foundations, and which sponsored Steve Bannon’s career and Breitbart News after the death of its founder Andrew Breitbart. CA’s claim to fame was the supposed identification of 5,000 data points on millions of people by which they could supposedly distinguish firm supporters from wavering ones, identify potential contributors and much more. Of course, the millions whose data is being sold to marketers have nothing to say in the matter. This should be no surprise to anybody. Aggregating and selling user data to marketers of all kinds has always been at the core of Facebook’s business model, and US political campaigns were widely recognized and conducted as marketing operations for a generation or two before Facebook or even the internet came along.

The angry liberals have forgotten that eight years earlier the Obama campaign hired Mark Zuckerberg’s college room mate and former Facebook architect Chris Hughes to run their web operation, and to deploy and use the social networking data of millions of users and their Facebook friends purchased the same way Trump got it. The Obama crew was so good at using the stuff that a couple months before the election Advertising Age named the Obama campaign its 2008 “Marketer of the Year” beating out the likes of Apple, Amazon and Nike.

It’s true that Cambridge Analytica, technically the offshoot of a British firm is under investigation in the UK behind recordings of an exec boasting of their ability to invent and sell imaginary but widely believed bribery, buggery, prostitution or other scandals as needed. But they’re not the biggest villains in this drama, and what would you expect from an outfit which until recently had Steve Bannon on its board of directors?

As usual, the villains in this piece are NOT the ones the liberals want identified. Trump isn’t uniquely evil, he did and is doing exactly what his darling liberal predecessor did, and what a host of commercial firms do, buying and selling your personal online history and information. CA are certainly bad guys, but the only useful difference between them and a half dozen others is that Trump hired the one with Bannon on its board instead of a Democrat.

The issue at the bottom of all this evil mess is that Facebook, the data mining companies and the marketers they sell our data to are NOT just entirely unregulated – they’ve been allowed to write what laws do exist. Like Monsanto and the agribusiness crooks who bribed judges and maybe presidents too into creating laws which patent genetic material and ban labels identifying non-GMO products. Facebook, Twitter, the data miners and the marketers have purchased laws that prohibit programmers from writing the simple browser plug-ins that would enable users to easily choose whether to share their data with Trump, Obama, Steve Bannon, Amazon, and a host of other players whose names many of us wouldn’t recognize.

Late stage capitalism has transformed our human social interactions into the private property of a handful of billionaires. In a better world, the social networks and the internet itself would not be privately owned marketing contraptions, they would be public property, democratically managed in the people's interests, and users would to able to easily withhold their personal information and that of their friends. But democratic management of public property is socialism, and we can’t have that.

Or can we?

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us every week at blackagendareport.com for the latest news, commentary and analysis from the black left. Our audio pieces are also at Soundcloud.com. Please follow and share our stuff from those places on all your favorite social media. And when you visit us at blackagendareport.com, you can subscribe to our direct and free weekly email of each week’s new content. Email is called dark social media because Google, Facebook, Twitter cannot track or block it.

Reproduced from: https://blackagendareport.com/liberal-ire-trump-and-cambridge-analytica-misdirected-billionaires-who-own-your-data

 on: March 18, 2018, 07:27:47 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
Neanderthals weren’t the only ones modern humans liked to sleep with.

By Mary Papenfuss
March 18, 2018 - huffingtonpost.com

It turns out that modern humans have a more complicated past than scientists realized. Researchers have discovered that populations of Homo sapiens swapped DNA in at least two regions of the world with a mysterious group of hominids known as Denisovans.

The Denisovans appear to have made a contribution to the modern human gene pool ? not nearly as significant as the Neanderthals, but notable.

Denisovans date back as far as 50,000 years ago, based on tests of a little Denisovan girl’s finger bone and a bit of molar discovered in a Siberian cave in 2008. The new species was called Denisovan after the name of the cave in the Altai mountains.

Scientists managed in 2016 to trace DNA of the Denisovans to some Melanesians —  who live in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific islands — who were found to have 5 percent of Denisovan ancestry. Some East and South Asians have close to 0.2 percent. (Neanderthals have contributed between 1 percent and 4 percent of the genome in people in several continents.)

But after a new DNA survey of humans, scientists from the University of Washington in Seattle were surprised to discover a new distinct set of Denisovan ancestry among some modern East Asians — particularly among Han Chinese, Chinese Dai and Japanese. This Denisovan DNA is more closely related to the sample from the fossils discovered in Siberia, according to the study published in the journal Cell.

The discovery demonstrates that there were at least two distinct populations of Denisovans living in Asia, and likely somewhat geographically distant.

Full Article: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-homo-sapiens-mix-with-denisovans_us_5aadd747e4b0c33361b0fc72


Why Am I Neanderthal?

When our ancestors first migrated out of Africa around 70,000 years ago, they were not alone. At that time, at least two other species of hominid cousins walked the Eurasian landmass—Neanderthals and Denisovans. As our modern human ancestors migrated through Eurasia, they encountered the Neanderthals and interbred. Because of this, a small amount of Neanderthal DNA was introduced into the modern human gene pool.

Everyone living outside of Africa today has a small amount of Neanderthal in them, carried as a living relic of these ancient encounters. A team of scientists comparing the full genomes of the two species concluded that most Europeans and Asians have approximately 2 percent Neanderthal DNA. Indigenous sub-Saharan Africans have none, or very little Neanderthal DNA because their ancestors did not migrate through Eurasia.

On one level, it’s not surprising that modern humans were able to interbreed with their close cousins. According to one theory, Neanderthals, Denisovans, and all modern humans are all descended from the ancient human Homo heidelbergensis. Between 500,000 to 600,000 years ago, an ancestral group of H. heidelbergensis left Africa and then split shortly after. One branch ventured northwestward into West Asia and Europe and became the Neanderthals. The other branch moved east, becoming Denisovans. By 250,000 years ago H. heidelbergensis in Africa had become Homo sapiens. Our modern human ancestors did not begin their own exodus from Africa until about 70,000 years ago, when they expanded into Eurasia and encountered their ancient cousins.

The revelation that our ancient ancestors mated with one another could help explain one of the great mysteries in anthropology: Why did the Neanderthals disappear? After first venturing out of Africa, Neanderthals thrived in Europe for several hundred thousand years. But they mysteriously died out about 30,000 years ago, roughly around the same time that modern humans arrived in Europe.

Some scientists have suggested modern humans out-competed or outright killed the Neanderthals. But the new genetic evidence provides support for another theory: Perhaps our ancestors made love, not war, with their European cousins, and the Neanderthal lineage disappeared because it was absorbed into the much larger human population.

Even though Neanderthals and Denisovans are both extinct, modern humanity may owe them a debt of gratitude. A 2011 study by Stanford University researchers concluded that many of us carry ancient variants of immune system genes involved in destroying pathogens that arose after we left Africa. One possibility is that these gene variants came from other archaic humans.


 on: March 18, 2018, 07:11:39 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
By Ann Gibbons
April 02, 2015 - sciencemag.org

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—Most of us think of Europe as the ancestral home of white people. But a new study shows that pale skin, as well as other traits such as tallness and the ability to digest milk as adults, arrived in most of the continent relatively recently. The work, presented here last week at the 84th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, offers dramatic evidence of recent evolution in Europe and shows that most modern Europeans don’t look much like those of 8000 years ago.

The origins of Europeans have come into sharp focus in the past year as researchers have sequenced the genomes of ancient populations, rather than only a few individuals. By comparing key parts of the DNA across the genomes of 83 ancient individuals from archaeological sites throughout Europe, the international team of researchers reported earlier this year that Europeans today are a mix of the blending of at least three ancient populations of hunter-gatherers and farmers who moved into Europe in separate migrations over the past 8000 years. The study revealed that a massive migration of Yamnaya herders from the steppes north of the Black Sea may have brought Indo-European languages to Europe about 4500 years ago.

Now, a new study from the same team drills down further into that remarkable data to search for genes that were under strong natural selection—including traits so favorable that they spread rapidly throughout Europe in the past 8000 years. By comparing the ancient European genomes with those of recent ones from the 1000 Genomes Project, population geneticist Iain Mathieson, a postdoc in the Harvard University lab of population geneticist David Reich, found five genes associated with changes in diet and skin pigmentation that underwent strong natural selection.

First, the scientists confirmed an earlier report that the hunter-gatherers in Europe could not digest the sugars in milk 8000 years ago, according to a poster. They also noted an interesting twist: The first farmers also couldn’t digest milk. The farmers who came from the Near East about 7800 years ago and the Yamnaya pastoralists who came from the steppes 4800 years ago lacked the version of the LCT gene that allows adults to digest sugars in milk. It wasn’t until about 4300 years ago that lactose tolerance swept through Europe.

When it comes to skin color, the team found a patchwork of evolution in different places, and three separate genes that produce light skin, telling a complex story for how European’s skin evolved to be much lighter during the past 8000 years. The modern humans who came out of Africa to originally settle Europe about 40,000 years are presumed to have had dark skin, which is advantageous in sunny latitudes. And the new data confirm that about 8500 years ago, early hunter-gatherers in Spain, Luxembourg, and Hungary also had darker skin: They lacked versions of two genes—SLC24A5 and SLC45A2—that lead to depigmentation and, therefore, pale skin in Europeans today.

But in the far north—where low light levels would favor pale skin—the team found a different picture in hunter-gatherers: Seven people from the 7700-year-old Motala archaeological site in southern Sweden had both light skin gene variants, SLC24A5 and SLC45A2. They also had a third gene, HERC2/OCA2, which causes blue eyes and may also contribute to light skin and blond hair. Thus ancient hunter-gatherers of the far north were already pale and blue-eyed, but those of central and southern Europe had darker skin.

Then, the first farmers from the Near East arrived in Europe; they carried both genes for light skin. As they interbred with the indigenous hunter-gatherers, one of their light-skin genes swept through Europe, so that central and southern Europeans also began to have lighter skin. The other gene variant, SLC45A2, was at low levels until about 5800 years ago when it swept up to high frequency.

The team also tracked complex traits, such as height, which are the result of the interaction of many genes. They found that selection strongly favored several gene variants for tallness in northern and central Europeans, starting 8000 years ago, with a boost coming from the Yamnaya migration, starting 4800 years ago. The Yamnaya have the greatest genetic potential for being tall of any of the populations, which is consistent with measurements of their ancient skeletons. In contrast, selection favored shorter people in Italy and Spain starting 8000 years ago, according to the paper now posted on the bioRxiv preprint server. Spaniards, in particular, shrank in stature 6000 years ago, perhaps as a result of adapting to colder temperatures and a poor diet.

Surprisingly, the team found no immune genes under intense selection, which is counter to hypotheses that diseases would have increased after the development of agriculture.

The paper doesn’t specify why these genes might have been under such strong selection. But the likely explanation for the pigmentation genes is to maximize vitamin D synthesis, said paleoanthropologist Nina Jablonski of Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), University Park, as she looked at the poster’s results at the meeting. People living in northern latitudes often don’t get enough UV to synthesize vitamin D in their skin so natural selection has favored two genetic solutions to that problem—evolving pale skin that absorbs UV more efficiently or favoring lactose tolerance to be able to digest the sugars and vitamin D naturally found in milk. “What we thought was a fairly simple picture of the emergence of depigmented skin in Europe is an exciting patchwork of selection as populations disperse into northern latitudes,” Jablonski says. “This data is fun because it shows how much recent evolution has taken place.”

Anthropological geneticist George Perry, also of Penn State, notes that the work reveals how an individual’s genetic potential is shaped by their diet and adaptation to their habitat. “We’re getting a much more detailed picture now of how selection works.”


 on: March 01, 2018, 05:16:25 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
This topic has been moved to GENERAL FORUM.


 on: March 01, 2018, 05:16:10 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
This topic has been moved to GENERAL FORUM.


 on: March 01, 2018, 04:25:39 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
March 01, 2018

South Africa’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to redistribute land by taking it from white farmers and giving it to black people. But why is the millionaire pursuing such a drastic course of action and how will it work?

How did white farmers get the land in the first place?

Dutch Calvinist settlers first landed on the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 and soon began setting up farms in the arable regions around Cape Town. Over the following decades the number of Dutch (and some German and French) settlers grew. They continuously claimed land from the local Khoikhoi until the entire cape was colonized.

The British seized the region in 1795, sparking a long running conflict with the original Dutch settlers, now known as the Boers. To escape British rule the Boers pushed deeper north and northeast, claiming land in the present-day provinces of Free State and Natal. Eventually they established independent Boer republics.

Numerous wars and conflicts between colonists, both British and Boer, and local people including the Xhosa, Zulu, Basotho and Ndebele broke out over the intervening years, particularly as gold and diamonds were discovered. The colonists took advantage of their superior weaponry to claim further territories.

Eventually tensions between the Boers and the British boiled over, resulting in two Anglo-Boer wars. In the aftermath of the second war the British unified the colonies into a single country called the Union of South Africa.

The country’s 1913 Natives’ Land Act earmarked only eight percent of the land for black people. White people, who made up about 20 percent of the population, owned 90 percent of the land. The act set the legal framework for the control of South African land up until the fall of Apartheid in 1991.

Who actually owns the land

The amount of land actually owned by whites is a contentious and much-debated issue. The statistics remain unclear. Many South African politicians in favor of land reform claim that, in a country of 55 million people, a mere 40,000 white farmers own 80 percent of the country’s agricultural land. However, a study by fact-checking website Africa Check found that the claim isn’t supported by any dataset, labelling it incorrect.

“Land ownership is still deeply skewed along racial lines, but these figures do not illuminate the current land dispensation,” Professor Cherryl Walker said.

Walker, author of ‘Landmarked: Land Claims and Land Restitution in South Africa,’ prepared a fact sheet on land distribution for the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) last year. It revealed that 67 percent of South Africa is used for agriculture and that, while the vast majority of this is indeed owned by white farmers, “small numbers” of black people with access to capital have managed to acquire land independent of land reform.

Why is the government doing it now?

The African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled South Africa since the fall of apartheid, has long promised reforms to redress racial disparities in land ownership. Despite more than 20 years of ANC rule whites still own most of South Africa’s land.

Land redistribution was the key talking point ahead of last year’s ANC national conference where Cyril Ramaphosa was chosen to replace Jacob Zuma as party leader. The party appeared deeply divided in the run up to December’s vote and, while it still dominates the South African political landscape, it had its worst result since 1994 in last year’s local elections.

On Tuesday the radical left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, who control only 25 of the parliament’s 400 seats, brought a motion seeking to change the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation. Crucially the move was backed by the ANC, which controls 249 seats, and was passed.

Speaking in parliament, EFF leader Julius Malema said “it was time for justice” on the land issue. “We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land,” he said.

The official opposition Democratic Alliance party (DA) has come out against land redistribution. The DA’s Thandeka Mbabama told parliament that the efforts are merely a way to divert attention from the failure of successive ANC-led governments.

How will it be done?

Redistribution moved a step closer after Tuesday’s vote, yet how the process would work in reality remains to be fleshed out by the government. After taking up the presidency, Ramaphosa said expropriation without compensation will be one of the measures used by the government to speed up redistribution.

But the new president stressed that the process will be handled properly and not in a “smash and grab” manner. “We will handle it with responsibility. We will handle it in a way that will not damage our economy, that is not going to damage agricultural production,” he said.

The perils of land redistribution are seen in the program carried out by then-Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The plan saw thousands of white farmers stripped of their lands and, in the years that followed, food production plummeted and the country’s economy collapsed. Likely referring to their neighbor to the north Ramaphosa said that “in dealing with this complex matter” South Africa would not “make the mistakes that others have made.”


 on: February 27, 2018, 11:14:39 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
National Assembly adopts motion on land expropriation without compensation
Opening the debate on his motion, Malema said: "The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice." He said they did not seek revenge on white people, but a restoration of black people's dignity, which was deeply rooted in the land.


The legislation, approved by an overwhelming majority, was proposed by the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters party.

South Africa’s parliament passed Tuesday a motion brought by the leftist party Economic Freedom Fighters, or EFF, to carry out land expropriation without compensation, a key pillar of the ruling ANC government and new President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The motion, which would include a review of the constitution, was sponsored by leader of the EFF Julius Malema and was passed by an overwhelming majority of 241 votes in favor versus 83 votes against the proposal.

“We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land,” Malema told parliament while presenting the motion.

The African National Congress, or ANC, amended the motion, but supported it, with its deputy chief whip, Dorries Eunice Dlakude saying the party “recognizes that the current policy instruments, including the willing-buyer willing-seller policy and other provisions of section 25 of the constitution may be hindering effective land reform.”

In his first state of the nation address two weeks ago, Ramaphosa made a direct appeal to poorer Black voters, who are the core of the ANC’s electoral support base, saying he would aim to speed up the transfer of land to Black people.

Two decades after the end of apartheid, the ANC is under pressure to redress racial disparities in land ownership where whites own most of the land.

Ramaphosa said earlier Tuesday he would pursue expropriation of land without compensation, but said this should be done in a way that increases agricultural production and improves food security.

The national assembly, in concurrence with its upper house, instructed its constitutional review committee to review the constitution in line with the successful motion and report back to it by Aug. 30, 2018.


 on: February 05, 2018, 08:15:10 PM 
Started by News - Last post by News
'Think about this': Beyonce's father Mathew Knowles says she wouldn't be as famous if she had darker skin

By Dailymail.com Reporter
February 05, 2018 - dailymail.co.uk

He masterminded his talented daughter's rise to fame in Destiny's Child, before helping her get started on a solo career.

Now Beyonce's father Mathew Knowles has spoken out about colorism in the music industry, saying that his superstar daughter and her sister Solange wouldn't be as famous if they had darker skin.

Talking to Ebony, he said the biggest black female stars all had lighter skin.

'When it comes to Black females, who are the people who get their music played on pop radio? Mariah Carey, Rihanna, the female rapper Nicki Minaj, my kids [Beyonce and Solange],' he told Ebony magazine.

Since parting ways with Beyonce professionally in 2011, African-American Knowles has reinvented himself as a college professor, and is promoting a new book about race relations, titled Racism: From the Eyes of a Child.

In his interview the 66-year-old also addressed his own deep-rooted attitudes to skin color, saying that when he first met Beyonce's mother, his ex-wife of 31 years, he assumed she was white.

'I actually thought when I met Tina, my former wife, that she was White. Later I found out that she wasn’t, and she was actually very much in-tune with her Blackness.'

He said that his preference for white or light-skinned black women was embedded in his childhood in Gadsden, a small town near the city of Birmingham, Alabama.

Said Knowles: 'When I was growing up, my mother used to say, "Don’t ever bring no nappy-head Black girl to my house." In the deep South in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, the shade of your Blackness was considered important. So I, unfortunately, grew up hearing that message.'

And this had a lasting effect. 'I used to date mainly White women or very high-complexion Black women that looked White... I had been conditioned from childhood.

'With eroticized rage, there was actual rage in me as a Black man, and I saw the White female as a way, subconsciously, of getting even or getting back. There are a lot of Black men of my era that are not aware of this thing.'

Beyonce's rise to stardom began in 1988 when she won the Baby Junior Award at the Sammy Awards, a ceremony held to honour Sammy Davis Jr.

She signed up to join a girlband, Girls Tyme, when she was eight, with Knowles quitting his full-time sales job to co-manage the band two years later.

The band became Destiny's Child, which three years later signed a seven-album deal with Columbia/Sony.

Knowles co-managed Destiny's Child throughout, and was also credited as executive producer on Beyonce's first solo album Dangerously In Love, before she ended her working relationship with her father in 2011.


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