Venezuela Celebrates 200 Years of the Anti-Colonialist Battle of Carabobo

Andreína Chávez Alava | June 24, 2021

Guayaquil, Ecuador, June 24, 2021 ( – Venezuela celebrated the 200th anniversary of the decisive anti-colonialist Battle of Carabobo with a civic-military parade and a number of cultural events.

The Battle of Carabobo was the climax of the Venezuelan Independence War (1810-1823). Fought on June 24, 1821, Simón Bolívar and the patriotic army’s victory secured the country’s liberation from Spanish rule after over 300 years of constant indigenous resistance and slave rebellions against the colonizers.

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Imperial roots of the global food system

Chris Otter
Industrial Britain, Food Systems, and World Ecology

University of Chicago Press, 2020

Reviewed by Amy Leather

Tea workers in colonial India

Why do we eat what we do? This is the question Chris Otter seeks to answer in Diet for a Large Planet. It is very timely. In recent years there has been growing anger and horror at a food system that delivers both unhealthy and environmentally destructive diets. Food has become deeply politicized.

In 2019 the medical journal The Lancet published what it called a “planetary health diet.” Their conclusion was that “the world’s diets must change dramatically” to save the planet and ourselvesThey argued that a Great Food Transformation is required — a move away from what is often called the Western Diet, high in red meat, refined grains, saturated fat and sugar, to a more plant based diet.

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Alfred Sohn-Rethel
Intellectual and Manual Labour: A Critique of Epistemology

Brill, Leiden and Boston, 2020. 224 pp., €140.00 hb
ISBN 9789004279100

Reviewed by Fabian Van Onzen

People who have studied Marxist philosophy will probably at some point have learned of Alfred Sohn-Rethel, either through the work of Slavoj Žižek or in surveys of the Frankfurt School. It is less likely that they will have had an opportunity to read his Intellectual and Manual Labour, for it has long been out of print and is hard to acquire. Fortunately, the Historical Materialism series has released a new edition of Intellectual and Manual Labour, which contains a useful introduction discussing the context in which the book was written and its impact on Western Marxism, as well as a collection of articles from the Italian autonomist journal Lotta Continua that show how Sohn-Rethel was received by leftist circles in Italy. Upon reading Sohn-Rethel it becomes clear that his work is important for contemporary debates on ecology, the Marxist critique of science and debates on post-revolutionary societies such as the former Soviet Union.

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It’s official: China has eliminated malaria

Dennis Normile

A lab worker holds up blood smears that will be examined for malaria parasites under a microscope at the Yunnan Institute for Parasitic Diseases in April 2019. WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION/C. MCNAB

The World Health Organization (WHO) today is certifying China as free of malaria, after a decadeslong effort drove an estimated annual toll of 30 million cases in the 1940s, including 300,000 deaths, to zero in 2017. Along the way, China developed new surveillance techniques, medicines, and technologies to break the cycle of transmission between the Anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria parasites and humans.

Antimalaria efforts started in the 1950s with programs to distribute antimalarial medicines to people at risk, reduce mosquito breeding grounds, and spray insecticides. China launched a program to identify new malaria drugs in the late 1960s. As part of that effort, pharmaceutical chemist Tu Youyou screened traditional Chinese medicine concoctions for compounds active against malaria, eventually isolating artemisinin from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua). Artemisinin became the key compound in the front-line drugs now used against malaria and won Tu a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015. China was also among the countries pioneering the use of insecticide-treated nets in the 1980s.

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Mysterious skull fossils expand human family tree — but questions remain

Nicola Jones

Nature | June 25, 2021

Field excavation at Nesher Ramla
Excavation site near Nesher Ramla in central Israel.Credit: Yossi Zaidner

Fossils found in China and Israel dating from around 140,000 years ago are adding to the ranks of hominins that mixed and mingled with early modern humans.

The fossils from Israel hint that a previously unknown group of hominins, proposed to be the direct ancestors of Neanderthals, might have dominated life in the Levant and lived alongside Homo sapiens1,2. Meanwhile, researchers studying an extremely well-preserved ancient human skull found in China in the 1930s have controversially classified it as a new species — dubbed Dragon Man — which might be an even closer relative to modern humans than are Neanderthals3,4.

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The 2,000 stars where aliens would catch a glimpse of Earth

Alexandra Witze

Nature | June 23, 2021

A view of Earth and Sun from thousands of miles above our planet.
An illustration of Earth from space illuminated by the Sun. Stars with a past or future view of Earth as a transiting exoplanet appear brightened.Credit: OpenSpace/American Museum of Natural History

Astronomers have pinpointed more than 2,000 stars from where, in the not-too-distant past or future, Earth can occasionally be detected transiting across the face of the Sun.

If there are aliens living on planets around those stars, with at least a similar level of technological advancement to our own species, then they would theoretically be able to spot us. They could even have observed as the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere increased over the past several hundred years, since the industrial revolution.

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