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Leherensuge was replaced in October 2010 by two new blogs: For what they were... we are and For what we are... they will be. Check them out.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Raise salaries to tackle the crisis

Interesting quasi-Keynesian economical theory the one
explained by Alberto Garzón Espinosa at Altereconomía and developed originally by A. Badhuri and S. Marglin: European economies are in fact wage-led, not profit-led, hence destroying salaries will only sunk the economy further, what the system needs therefore is higher salaries.

The problem is that the Economic Doctrine, as in the seminaries... oops, I mean faculties of economics of virtually all universities ignores such fundamentals. The Doctrine says, erroneously, that economies are by definition profit-lead.

Demand is obviously driven mostly by the purchasing power of the people and if you destroy this purchasing power in order to minimize costs you destroy the demand and hence the economy. It doesn't matter how much the capitalist saves because he won't find a market for his super-cheap products if there is no demand.

This is, by the way, the fundamental contradiction of Capital as described by Marx more than a century ago. And that's why The Capital developed the now deprecated Keynesianism, as mechanism of defense when it faced its first structural crisis in the 1930s. But then came Thatcher and Reagan and their hordes of neoclassical priest-economists and decided that somehow the remedy was worse than the illness (was it?) and launched Reaganomics: plunder today that, in the immortal word of Keynes himself, "the future will take care of its own business".

Problem is that the future is today. Meh!

Meanwhile they created The Bubble, temporarily replacing the wage-based demand by a credit-based one. It could not last of course and millions of people and even whole nations were pushed into irrational indebtment in order to generate a spurious demand not sustained by the economy itself, i.e. by the salaries. It was nothing but a pyramid scam (Madoff? Thousands like him rule the world today!)

Whatever the case, the thesis defended by Garzón Espinosa is solid (not in vain it's consistent with the methodical analysis of the only economist worth that name ever: Karl Marx) and shows that the neoclassical remedies promoted by the FMI and acolytes, demanding salary reduction in order to reduce costs of a production that will nevertheless not find any significant demand, are fundamentally wrong. This is probably the case for any large economy anywhere but it's clearly true for Europe, which lives essentially on internal demand.

However, and this is my criticism, in order to make it work properly, a good deal of protectionism would be needed as well, at least while other countries/regions resort to the neoclassical recipes of the FMI. Otherwise the regional demand would be largely "wasted" in foreign products, not supporting the local economies. This is contrary to the interests of the Global Capital, particularly in the Toyotist paradigm, so the recipe cannot in fact be implemented within the system.

A change of system, a change of socio-economical paradigm is needed in order to save the economy, which is, let's not forget it, our very survival.

The Crisis is far from over

I just read Andrew Gavin Marshall's latest article at Global Research: Debt Dynamite Dominoes: The Coming Financial Catastrophe.

And I fear he's way too correct in his evaluation.

Some paragraphs at the beginning are really descriptive of what awaits to the still too quiet citizens (every day more like denizens in fact) of the so-called Western World:

When the crisis is over, the middle classes of the western world will have been liquidated of their economic, political and social status. The global economy will have gone through the greatest consolidation of industry and banking in world history leading to a system in which only a few corporations and banks control the global economy and its resources; governments will have lost that right. The people of the western world will be treated by the financial oligarchs as they have treated the ‘global South’ and in particular, Africa; they will remove our social structures and foundations so that we become entirely subservient to their dominance over the economic and political structures of our society.

This is where we stand today, and is the road on which we travel.

The western world has been plundered into poverty, a process long underway, but with the unfolding of the crisis, will be rapidly accelerated. As our societies collapse in on themselves, the governments will protect the banks and multinationals. When the people go out into the streets, as they invariably do and will, the government will not come to their aid, but will come with police and military forces to crush the protests and oppress the people. The social foundations will collapse with the economy, and the state will clamp down to prevent the people from constructing a new one.

The road to recovery is far from here. When the crisis has come to an end, the world we know will have changed dramatically. No one ever grows up in the world they were born into; everything is always changing. Now is no exception. The only difference is, that we are about to go through the most rapid changes the world has seen thus far.

This is a truth as big as the Burj Khalifa, the babel tower of Dubai's debacle. This is where we stand now.

But the article has a lot more substance than this "apocalyptic", yet too real, forecast. Marshall dwells on the many facets of the ongoing crisis, from the ineffective bailouts and "stimulus packages" China's "vote of no confidence" to US debt (Japan is now the largest US bondholder) and the failed economies of Europe (Iceland, Latvia, Greece, etc.). It also goes to criticize those who say that some economic policies are "socialist": they are nothing but fascist economics, which is designed to make the rich richer at the expense of the workers and even the middle classes.

But, of course, the greatest threat ahead is US debt, which is the usual case of overstretching empires (cf. Spain under the Habsburgs). This means that somehow the hegemonic power held by the USA must (at least in what regards to capitalist interest) pass to some other institution. Something like a global totalitarian empire, oddly enough inspired in the successful Chinese model of capitalism, he thinks. In other words: globalized fascism, the triumph of Hitler long after his death and, again oddly enough, under Zionist leadership.

The fear of a Marxist renaissance is not absent from such totalitarian plans:

In 2007, the British Defense Ministry released a report in which they analyzed future trends in the world. It stated in regards to social problems, “The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx.”
This, notice, is not too different from the concept of the Social Worker, predicted by Marx and reclaimed by Negri. The term "middle classes" is surely misleading in this context but anyhow they will not exist anymore soon, thanks to Goldman Sachs and co.

In this sense, Marshall reminds us that none of the highly controversial plans to impose martial law and suppress civil rights in the USA have been revoked by the Obama administration.

The last paragraphs are an appeal to fight back at global level and build truly worthy world in which we, as well as the future generations, can live with dignity and freedom:

The people of the world must pursue and work for peace and justice on a global scale: economically, politically, socially, scientifically, artistically, and personally. It’s asking a lot, but it’s our only option. We need to have ‘hope’, a word often strewn around with little intent to the point where it has come to represent failed expectations. We need hope in ourselves, in our ability to throw off the shackles that bind us and in our diversity and creativity construct a new world that will benefit all.

No one knows what this world would look like, or how exactly to get there, least of all myself. What we do know is what it doesn’t look like, and what road to steer clear of. The time has come to retake our rightful place as the commanders of our own lives. It must be freedom for all, or freedom for none. This is our world, and we have been given the gift of the human mind and critical thought, which no other living being can rightfully boast; what a shame it would be to waste it.

Sure, what a shame!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Polyamory prevents extinction

... in fruit flies at least.

Tom A.R. Price et al, Polyandry Prevents Extinction. Current Biology, 2010.

There's also an article at Science Daily.

There seems to be a sex-ratio distortion (SR) X chromosome among some males that kills all the Y chromosome sperm before it can fertilize the egg, hence tending to produce an all-female offspring. By mating with various males, females prevent that this SR chromosome can become dominant up to the point of becoming a female-only population bound to extinction.

From the paper:

SR is a naturally occurring X chromosome meiotic driver that kills the Y chromosome-bearing sperm of male carriers [9,17]. SR therefore results in all-female broods and is inherited by all of the offspring of females that mate with male carriers [18,19]. This transmission advantage allows SR to spread through populations. However, the loss of half of the sperm produced by SR carriers makes them poor sperm competitors, with SR males...

Fruit fly populations in which females were forced by researchers (who acted as some sort of religious police, like in Saudi Arabia) to mate only with one male each, ended up after just 15 generations too crowded with this SR chromosome and five out of twelve (almost 50%) went extinct. Instead the control populations where free mating was allowed, remained healthy and kept the SR chromosome under control.

This seems to have implications beyond Drosophila pseudoobscura, the species used in this research, because both the "selfish" SR chromosome and the existence of promiscuity seem to be widespread through the animal kingdom.

It is quite curious how selfish genes, or in this case full chromosomes, do seem to exist but nevertheless they are not advantageous to their carriers. It is also curious how a mere drive in favor of diversity, such as promiscuity, helps to keep such genetic nuisances under control.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New research may reinforce human continuity through the Toba event in India

Found first
via but ratified and complemented through search engines on my own.

The international archaeological team lead by Michael Petraglia, Ravi Korisettar and J.N. Pal, seem to be on the path of reinforcing with hard data the theory that humankind would have survived in India through the Toba supervolcano event, c. 74,000 years ago, as reported by Oxford University.

No human remains seem to have been found yet but the data on lithic tools and the remains of other animal species all point to continuity and not the massive destruction that the thick ash layer would have suggested.

All this suggests that the ancestors of Eurasians (and by extension also the native peoples of Oceania and America) were alive and kicking at least 74,000 years ago in India, more than 15,000 years before that the often misleading "genetic clocks" tend to suggest.

In the words of Michael Petraglia:

This exciting new information questions the idea that the Toba super-eruption caused a worldwide environmental catastrophe. That is not to say that there were no ecological effects. We do have evidence that the ash temporarily disrupted vegetative communities and it certainly choked and polluted some fresh water sources, probably causing harm to wildlife and maybe even humans.

See also:
· Petraglia's team website.
· M. Petraglia et al., Middle Paleolithic Assemblages from the Indian Subcontinent Before and After the Toba Super-Eruption. Science 2007.
· James B. Harrod, Synopsis of Paleo-India., 2007 (PDF).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Navarro on how to solve the Eurocrisis.

Economist Vicenç Navarro deals
at Rebelión[es] with the difficult economical and political situation of EU under the euro.

He first considers how the implementation of the single coin with its draconian budgetary demands, was meant to damage the popular classes, which are almost invariably those who benefit from public expenditure, perpetuating, in the case of Spain, the inequalities established by the fascist dictatorship.

Then he travels to other EU states such as Letonia (GDP down 25%, unemployment up to 22%) or France (69% against the euro), while despising IMF's and Krugman's suggestions of reduction of salaries (how do you expect people to pay for the cost of life, if they can't already?)

Then it goes to offer a constructive alternative, that I detail here:

1. Creation of a true European federation, really democratic and participative, including a real instance of economic and monetary coordination at EU level, which does not exist now.

2. A EU budget that, as suggested by the "founding fathers", should be at least 7-9% of the GDP.

3. A Central Bank that is dependent of political institutions: European government and parliament.

4. A pan-European Social Pact, producing pan-European workers' statutes with legal weight.

5. A radical change of the criteria of Maastrich and the Stability Pact, emphasizing the Development component and prioritizing economic growth and employment creation.

6. Alter the draconian limits on deficit, allowing for more deficit than just 3% of GDP and for more debt than just 60% of the state's budget.

7. Instruct the Central Bank to have a role in the generation of European bonds that would help states to solve their punctual budgetary crisis in harsh times like these.

8. Do not allow that any state can be brought to the limit of not being able to pay its debt: creating a EU common front against such eventualities.

9. Establish a EU tax that would feed a common fund with purposes such as redistribution policies that stimulate economic growth, employment generation, etc.

My opinion:

However, I'd say this is not enough. This would have worked if implemented in the 90s or early 2000s but now it is already too late: the only solution for EU (and all capitalist regimes throughout the world) is true socialism. European federation? Sure but under a red banner (and of course with a real red policy).

Of course in the meanwhile, we will witness some of this, with a likely devaluation of the euro in order to allow some competition. Getting out of the common coin is not any realistic option (people would continue using, or at least treasuring, the euro while it exists, because it's stronger and would not get devaluated every other day: think Milosevic's Serbia, where salaries used to be named in German marks) and kicking a country out of it is not either (same reasons, plus political tensions).

This context really only allows for one exit: the creation of a European super-state that rules the economy somehow. But liberals (capitalists) don't want that: their whole (misguided) goal was to create a common market without efficient, much less democratic, federal institutions. This is a total nonsense proper of that engender known as Reaganomics (less state, more "market"). No "market" solutions, of the likes of the IMF, are really possible in this context. Blowing up the euro is not an option either (if it ever happens it will cause much more grief and problems than anything else, not just locally but at the whole EU level).

However a social-democrat federal EU as Navarro suggests is totally inviable, first of all because there are not anymore any social-democrats around. Sure there are a lot that call themselves that way but the only thing they do is to bow their heads to the IMF and the liberal policies of Brussels. And they don't have anymore any project of their own. In the past even the right used to be somewhat social-democrat, now it's the opposite and it doesn't look like the minds involved would ever be able to challenge their "market" fetishes, much less the mega-corporations that rule them, in order to achieve a viable Europe for the people.

That is not their goal anymore: they are all too corrupt, too involved with the global capitalism to dare think in terms of Europe.

Hence the only alternative is to break the molds and forge a new Europe of the people. But this, admittedly will not happen in the next few years, so I foresee a steep path of decline and further chaos, not only affecting EU but all Earth (after all EU is a major market and supplier for nearly everybody else). Eventually the European working class will realize their situation, get organized and take over. But it will take some time for the whole process to complete, sadly.

Latin America buries OAE

33 Latin American and Caribbean countries have decided at Cancún, Mexico, to create a new continental
bloc without the USA and Canada, but with Cuba.

This is the first international organization including all or most of Latin America that is not overseen by the USA or Spain. It is continuation of the Rio Group but it aims to establish a real organization, which will be outlined at next year's meeting at Venezuela.

Full Declaration of Cancún at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs [es].

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The genocide in Colombia

Azalea Robles denounces
at Rebelión the existence of a mass burial, with at least 2000 corpses at the municipality of La Macarena, Meta department, Colombia. She also shows outage that its existence, repeatedly denounced by human rights groups from Spain and Britain, as well as by the neighbours, alerted by missing people and leakings to drinking water, has been ignored by the media both in Colombia as elsewhere.

She reports worry for the danger that the Army, that is clerly behind it, is trying to dismantle it before it's researched.

The Asturian Committee for Human Rights also report of another mass burial at Argelia, Valle del Cauca, which they describe as a slaughterhouse for human beings. Some 4200 mass burials are known to exist in Colombia.

Azalea Robles has also reported previously of c. 50,000 murdered (of which more than 2500 labor unionists) by the army and death squads, many of them made to totally vanish by throwing them to the caymans or burning them in ovens, like the Nazis.

She reports vividly, from the words of a death squad member, how truckloads of innocent civilians were used en masse for the most macabre practices of how to dismember people alive back in 1994.

Besides the 50,000 murdered, some four million have been forcibly displaced and their lands (c. 6 million hectares) robbed to sell them to the multinational corporations, landowners and the very military officers in charge of these crimes.

The following companies are considered to be accomplices of the Colombian state terrorism: Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Chiquita Brands, Drummond, Cemex, Holcim, Muriel Mining Corporation, Glencore-Xtrata, Anglo-American, BHP, Billington, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Kedaha, Smurfit Kappa - Cartón de Colombia, Pizano S.A., Maderas de Darién, Urapalma S.A., Monsanto, Dyncorp, Multifruit S.A. (branch of Del Monte multinational), Occidental Petroleum Corporation, British Petroleum, Repsol YPF, Unión Fenosa, Endesa, Aguas de Barcelona, Telefónica, Canal Isabel II, Suez, Ecopetrol, Petrominerales, Gran Tierra Energy, Brisa S.A., Empresas Públicas de Medellín, B2 Gold - Cobre y Oro de Colombia S.A.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Case study: Spanish media and Basque reality

A couple of hours ago I was watching The Simpsons at Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 and, at the publicity break, they included a mini-informative, which opened with the presenter saying: "Police arrest ETA member Zigor Goikoetxea in Getxo, who was sentenced to two years of prision for death threats against PP councilor Marisa Arrue".

My first reaction: increased attention. Another arrest in a nearby town, maybe someone I know?

Second reaction: What, two years?! This must be totally unrelated to ETA, because they get between 10 years and de facto life sentences. Also, he seems already sentenced and not any runaway.

Third reaction: What the heck! It's that poor guy who was defamed by that fascist and could not defend himself in court in spite that not even police would support the accusation. Wait, isn't the same one whose farmhouse was graffittied with death threats by anonymous cowards?


Zigor Goikoetxea was accused of "death threats" in a public event some years ago by local councilor Marisa Arrue. She could not present any witness.

Not only that: her own testimony was self-contradictory: initially she declared she had been called "torturer" but two days later she instead claimed "death threats". In the trial, at the Spanish special tribunal Audiencia Nacional, nobody could confirm her account, no matter the supposed threats would have been made in a public market full of people, including many policemen. But the Neoinquisition did not care and considered the threats "proven" anyhow.

Zigor Goikoetxea at his trial

However the tribunal declared him innocent of ETA membership.

In fact, he would not have been free otherwise and no arrest would have happened yesterday night.

But the Spanish media don't care: for them, as for the major political parties and the inquisitorial tribunals, "all is ETA" and dare sue them if you think they are wrong. The last one who sued the Ertzaintza was followed, arbitrarily arrested at a tavern and falsely accused of attack against authority... and, of course, gratuitously beaten.

I also have personal experience on such matters (arbitrary arrest, false accusations upheld by court against evidence). It's the daily bread of the Basque commoner. But I got just a fine, while the case of this poor guy is extreme.

And the Spanish media even defame him, presenting this abuse as some sort of "police success in the war against terrorism". Please!

And then they will fill their dirty corrupt mouths with words like "democracy" and "human rights"
... I can't stand this ugly lie anymore!

Sources for the details of Goikotxea's case and photo: Gara (link 1, link 2).

Spain: Supreme Court defend corrupts, attacks freedom of speech

No wonder Spain is, along with Italy and other countries a headache for EU: while the head of the Supreme Court lamented some time ago that citizens seldom denounce corruption, they now sentence to a huge fine of 15,000 euros to journalists reporting on corruption in the Canary island of Lanzarote.

It seems obvious that corruption is upheld from the highest instance of the state, which do not stop just at persecuting innocent Basque citizens, hiding systematic tortures, interpreting that the state-backed death squads are not "terrorist" or even bringing to court their colleague Baltasar Garzón for daring to dig too much in the dirty fascist past of the Spanish rotten political system.

They also let go clear cases of corruption such as that of judge José Antonio Martín, former president of the provicial court of Las Palmas (Canary Islands), when he put his legal knowledge at the service of a well known narcotraffic capo and pressed his colleagues for him to be set free. And now they even go further, persecuting media (Cuadernos del Sureste) for reporting that Felipe Fernández Camero, then Secretary of the Town Hall of Arrecife (Canary Islands) doubled as legal representative for for real state companies, which is illegal as well as highly suspicious, suspicions that they emphasized by his thesis as Town Secretary which were usually coincident with the interests of the real state corporations.

Naturally (for Spanish standards of democracy and transparency), the provincial tribunal sentenced, without even proper trial, the magazine and its speaker to pay 6000 and 9000 respectively to the corrupt politician. However this sentence was revoked by the Provincial Court, that decided that the use of the term "corruption" was appropriate (there seems that there are some honest judges who like transparency and free speech too). The issue of course had political repercusions and Fernández Camero was fired by an order issued directly from Madrid and is now being persecuted in two different trials for corruption, along with two former majors.

But the issue did not end there for the Canarian magazine and the prevaricator appealed nothing less than to the Supreme Court. Now it's been known that they initial sentence that fined them has been upheld at the highest tribunal of the Kingdom of Spain.

Antonio Marsá, speaker of the magazine and the main victim of this judiciary abuse, recalled in his declarations to the press, that the behaviour of the Spanish tribunals is worrying. He explicitly metioned the sentence by the Madrid Provincial Court against media corporation SER and specifically its journalists Daniel Anido and Rodolfo Irago for reporting on irregular affiliations of conservative politicians.

In brief: it's clear that Spain is the private ranch of a petty oligarchy and that judges are there to defend their priviliges.

Source: Rebelión.

Greece accuses US and British speculators, Greenspan involved

It has been known yesterday that the Greek intelligence services have discovered that four multinational corporations based in the USA and UK were behind the artificial devaluation of its bonds, selling them "massively" and "buying them again at reduced prices at the end of the day". This information was published yesterday by To Vima newspaper (though I gather it from Gara).

The financial corporations accused are: Moore Capital, Fidelity International, Paulson & Co (these three from the USA) as well as Brevan Howard from the UK. All them are described in Wikipedia as "hedge funds", so it seems just another case of speculative attack by the usual financial criminals against the real economy. It is noticeable that former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan is nowadays "adviser on economic issues and monetary policy" for Paulson & Co.

So guess I would not be too wrong if I'd directly blamed Greenspan for the financial attack against Greece and more in general for the speculative attacks against the periphery of the Eurozone. However blaming the speculators alone would be naive, as it's obvious that EU played it wrong when it did not provide the euro with the appropriate political resorts and is playing it wrong now when it does not allow for a devaluation of the european currency, which would only help the continental economy, favoring much needed exports.

Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreu explained that these attacks are not directed against just Greece but that have a further goal: the euro.

Meanwhile the class conflict in Greece, sparked by the FMI-style draconian measures, is reaching extremes that will probably force a rethink of the policy because the strike public workers of the customs sector is leaving Greece without gasoline and other first need products. This upcoming wednesday a general strike has been called.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Class struggle pays off: Auchan corporation defeated by workers

After nothing less than 16 months of strike, the workers of Sabeco supermaket at Arrasate (Gipuzkoa, Basque Country) have achieved their goal of getting a decent salary and working conditions, in agreement with the Basque statutes and not the Spanish ones, which the French multinational
Auchan wanted to implement.

By the Spanish statutes the workers were getting a misery salary of just 730 euros per month, just slightly above welfare payment levels and clearly insufficient for the cost of life in the Basque Counrty, where most home rentals are at those prices or higher.

The 52 workers of the Basque supermarket have therefore achieved a salary increase of 38% (from 13,113 to 18,118 euros/year), got a reduction in their journey of 53 hours/year and secured that in case of incpacity for any health reason, workers get 100% of their salary from the very first day.

Source: Gara.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paleolithic script?

Pileta de Prehistoria I just came to read this more than curious article at New Scientist.

Genevieve von Pretzinger has cataloged the abstract signs found at caves and mural sites through the world and found that most are surprisingly similar. She thinks that they are a symbolic or pictographic language that must have existed since before the migration out of Africa. However, sadly enough, we can't yet understand it.

Full Khoi-San genomes published

Found via
Science Daily.

Stephan C. Schuster, Web Miller et al., Complete Khoisan and Bantu genomes from southern Africa. Nature 2010. Open access.

Four Khoi-San elders and archbishop Desmond Tutu (representing the rest of humankind and in particular South African Bantus) were scanned for their full genomes in order to overcome the limitations of the HapMap samples. The fact that any two Khoi-San are more different among them than any two Eurasians underlines the great importance of this extension to the human genetic database.

Most of the interesting details are available at the supplementary material (PDF). Among them, what most called my attention was the age estimates for mitochondrial DNA lineages (table 5).

They use a calibration point at the MRCA of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis, which is estimated at 660 Ka ago, with CI of 520-800 Ka (following Green 2008), however Noonan 2006 had an older estimate of 706 Ka ago (CI: 468-1015 Ka) and I have good archaeological reasons to consider an age of c. 900 Ka ago.

Hence I will review here Schuster's and Miller's median estimates but also emphasize the oldest CI dates, which I believe are closer to reality:

The Human MRCA ("mitochondrial Eve") is now dated to 205 Ka ago (or 296 Ka with the oldest CI, whch I think is best).

For the particular mtDNA lineages, the dates are:
  • L0 159 (232) Ka
  • L0d 107 (170) Ka
  • L0a'b'f'k 148 Ka (no CI)
  • L0k 79 (122) Ka
  • L0a'b'f 119 (176) Ka
  • L0f 94 (140) Ka
  • L0a 61 (95) Ka
  • L1''6 173 (250) Ka
  • L3 96 (137) Ka
Dates in parenthesis are all oldest CIs, which I fear could still be slightly younger than archaeological realism demands.

The latter date, L3, is particularly important because it signals the beginning of the Out of Africa episode. A date of c. 137 Ka ago (or even older) would be roughly coincident with the colonization of some of Palestine by H. sapiens (Skhul, Qafzeh) and could be speaking of such an old migrational event, maybe ratified by some unclear elements in the archaeology of India (see also Petraglia 2007), China and Japan (and also Crete maybe but this one without continuity).

Macrolithic Epipaleolithic in NE Iberia

I have just found about a very interesting and intriguing phase of the Epipaleolithic in the NE Iberian peninsula, which I did not know about before. Thanks to
Millán Mozota for the reference.

It seems that what used to be thought as a facies of Mousterian, defined by the saw-like edges of the tools, was eventually dated with radiocarbon to a very narrow period of the Epipaleolithic, between 10 and 8 thousand years ago.

The following papers (all in Spanish) deal with the issue:

A. Alday Ruiz, El Mesolítico de muescas y denticulados en la Cuenca del Ebro y el litoral Mediterráneo peninsular: síntesis de los datos. 2006.

Carlos Mazo Pérez et al., El Epipaleolítico macrolítico en Aragón en el contexto del valle del Ebro y la Cataluña costera. 2006.

Manuel Vaquero Rodríguez, El Mesolítico de Facies Macrolítica en el centro y sur de Cataluña. 2006.

All these articles, as well as others, are gathered in a book.

This map (from Mazo's paper, dates in thousand years ago) explains a bit how it happened:

Group 1: the macrolithic industries close the ocupation of the site after a period of abandonment

Group 2: the macrolithic industries are intercalated between early Epipaleolithic levels (Azilian/Sauveterrian) and late Epipaleolithic levels with geometrics of Cocina style (Tardenoisian of Iberian facies).

Group 3: the macrolithic industries initiate the occupation of the site, continued later with geometrics of Cocina style.

This other graph, from Vaquero's article illustrates the chronology in Catalonia:

Above: dated levels by millennium (in Roman numbers, often used in Spanish for ordinals). Below total of dates by millennium. The patterns indicate: Upper Paleolithic Magdalenian industries (black), Early "Sauveterroid" Epipaleolithic industries (horizontal stripes) and Macrolithic Epipaleolithic industries (vertical stripes).

I won't extend much on the matter as of now, as I'm still learning about it. But I find important the fact that this strange industry, allegedly related to a temporary and dramatic increase of the forests (Alday), seems to indicate the end of the so-called Microlaminar Epipaleolithic (Azilian/Sauveterrean) and precedes the establishment of the Geometric Epipaleolithic (Tardenoisian-derived).

As I have mentioned recently this last industry, though widespread, did not achieve full implantation in all the Iberian peninsula. It seems almost non-existent in Ronda (Andalusia) and as far as I know also in Murcia, where the Neolithic transition happened with the oldest Epipaleolithic facies (Microlaminar) still in use.

Instead in all this North/NE area, the Neolithic transition happens in a context of Geometric industries, also older than Neolithic itself but more recently arrived from France than the Microlaminar industries.

I wonder therefore if the Y-DNA lineage R1b1b2a1a2 (of which three subclades are found in the area described here, the others present in mainland Europe and Ireland, but very rare in West or South Iberia) may be related to the Tardenoisian spread, with the other major sublcade of R1b1b2a1, R1b1b2a1a1, being maybe related to Maglemosean and related epi-Magdalenian industries of the North Sea basin. It would make good sense if one accepts that R1b1b2a1 as a whole spread with Magdalenian culture.

Paleolithic Europeans did not burn the vegetation as in SE Asia or Australia

While it seems that in SE Asia and Australia newly arrived H. sapiens extensively used fire to transform the landscape since 60-50,000 years ago, this was not the case in Europe, neither by Neanderthals nor our species.

Anne-Laure Daniau et al., Testing the Hypothesis of Fire Use for Ecosystem Management by Neanderthal and Upper Palaeolithic Modern Human Populations. PLoS ONE, 2010. Open access.


Extensive use of fire for ecosystem management was probably a component of the technical package of Modern Humans during their colonisation of Southeast Asia. Our study shows that fire regimes in Western Europe between 70 ka and 10 ka were mainly driven by the D-O millennial-scale climatic variability and its impacts on fuel load. At a macro level at least, the colonisation of Western Europe by Anatomically Modern Humans did not have a detectable impact on fire regimes. This, however, does not mean that Neanderthals and/or Modern Humans did not use fire for ecosystem management but rather that, if this were indeed the case, the impact on the environment of fire use is not detectable in our records, and was certainly not as pronounced as it was in the biomass burning history of Southeast Asia.

Phoenicians don't seem to have practiced ritual infanticide often

This research seems to largely contradict the propaganda by Jews and Romans, their historical enemies.

Jefferey H. Schwartz et al. Skeletal Remains from Punic Carthage Do Not Support Systematic Sacrifice of Infants. PLoS ONE 2010. Open access.


Two types of cemeteries occur at Punic Carthage and other Carthaginian settlements: one centrally situated housing the remains of older children through adults, and another at the periphery of the settlement (the “Tophet”) yielding small urns containing the cremated skeletal remains of very young animals and humans, sometimes comingled. Although the absence of the youngest humans at the primary cemeteries is unusual and worthy of discussion, debate has focused on the significance of Tophets, especially at Carthage, as burial grounds for the young. One interpretation, based on two supposed eye-witness reports of large-scale Carthaginian infant sacrifice [Kleitarchos (3rd c. BCE) and Diodorus Siculus (1st c. BCE)], a particular translation of inscriptions on some burial monuments, and the argument that if the animals had been sacrificed so too were the humans, is that Tophets represent burial grounds reserved for sacrificial victims. An alternative hypothesis acknowledges that while the Carthaginians may have occasionally sacrificed humans, as did their contemporaries, the extreme youth of Tophet individuals suggests these cemeteries were not only for the sacrificed, but also for the very young, however they died. Here we present the first rigorous analysis of the largest sample of cremated human skeletal remains (348 burial urns, N = 540 individuals) from the Carthaginian Tophet based on tooth formation, enamel histology, cranial and postcranial metrics, and the potential effects of heat-induced bone shrinkage. Most of the sample fell within the period prenatal to 5-to-6 postnatal months, with a significant presence of prenates. Rather than indicating sacrifice as the agent of death, this age distribution is consistent with modern-day data on perinatal mortality, which at Carthage would also have been exacerbated by numerous diseases common in other major cities, such as Rome and Pompeii. Our diverse approaches to analyzing the cremated human remains from Carthage strongly support the conclusion that Tophets were cemeteries for those who died shortly before or after birth, regardless of the cause.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mitochondrial DNA "stars" (working note)

One "detail" that seems quite important when analyzing the structure of human dispersal are those moments of sudden very dynamic expansiveness that leave a mark in form of star-like structure, that is when many subclades diverge from a common core node. This is a clear signature of very rapid expansion.

Following the phylogeny, I can detect the following star-like structures in human mtDNA:

Large stars:

These are only two: M and H.

M has 43 basal sublineages and surely signals the beginning of the Great Eurasian Expansion after the out of Africa episode.

H has 34 basal sublineages and may signal the colonization of Europe arguably.

Medium stars:

There are three star-like structures with 15-16 sublineages. These are R, H1 and D4.

R has 16 basal sublineages and seems to mark the final episode of the Great Eurasian Expansion.

H1 has 15 basal subclades and would seem to be the largest continuation of the H expansion in Europe.

D4 has 16 basal subclades and would indicate, along with other lineages the colonization of NE Asia and eventually America as well.

Additionally, macro-haplogroup N, with 12 branches, can also be considered in this group, participating in the Great Eurasian Expansion, along with its "sister" M and its "daughter" R.

Small stars:

I arbitrarily decided that the smallest size for a star-like structure in this mini-research would be of 5 sublineages. Why not 4 or 3? Just because I'm lazy enough. You can if you wish consider those as "tiny stars" or whatever but I'm not bothering listing them here.

Hence my small stars have between 5 and 9 basal branches. I have found a good deal mtDNA structures of this kind and will list them with a geographic logic:

In Africa we find only four of these star-like structures, all small. They are L3 (7 branches, two of them being the Eurasian macro-haplogroups M and N) and its subclade L3e1 (Central and East Africa), L1b1a (West Africa mostly) and L2a1c'd'e'h'i'j'k (East Africa basically). All them but L3 have just 5 branches. The lack of many and large star-like structures suggests that the demic growth in Africa was pretty much continuous, without many sudden expansive episodes like those we can detect in Eurasia, surely as signal of colonization of new frontiers in most cases.

In South Asia there are just three small stars: M4''64 (7 branches) and its sublineage M30 (5). Also M5a (5 spikes). M4''64 and M30 were probably sequential "aftershocks" of the M explosion itself. M5 instead seems more recent in time to my eye.

In East Asia, Siberia and/or America I find 7 star-like structures, which are: A (7 branches), M7a1a (7), C1b (6), D1 (6), D4a1 (5), D4h3a (5) and Z1'2'3'4'7 (5). All but A are derived from macro-haplogroup M (subclades: M7, M8 and D). Also all seem related to the colonization of the Northern fringes of Asia and/or America itself (except M7a1a1 if you wish, that seems mostly related to Japan instead).

It gives the impression that, barring macro-haplogroup N as such node, there were no large sudden demic expansions in South East Asia but rather a scatter of colonizations by diverse groups, leaving the signatures of rapid demic expansion for when some of these groups finally faced the Far North or the American new frontier: D1, D4h3 and C1b are exclusive of Native Americans.

In West Eurasia (and in some cases also parts of Africa or America) there are a lot of small stars, exactly 18: J1c (8 branches), H3 (7) X2 (7), T2 (7) and its subclade T2b (6), HV (6) and its subclade V (9), U5b3 (6), U6a (6), M1a (5), H1b'f'g'k'q (5), H2a (5), I (5), W(5), U2'3'4'7'8'9 (5) and its distant sublineages K1a1 (9) and K2a (6), R0a2 (5).

One third of these starlike structures belong to haplogroup R0, being surely related to the impressive spread of haplogroup H. Almost as many (5) belong to its "sister" haplogroup U, which probably spread in parallel, in my opinion.

In Oceania we only see one starlike structure and corresponds to haplogroup P (7 branches).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Actual lactase persistence more common than genes predict

Yan Klimentidis' blog.

Yuval Itan et al. A worldwide correlation of lactase persistence phenotype and genotypes. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2010. Open access PDF.

The authors explore the differences between actual lactase persistence phenotypes, i.e. the real apportions of adults who can digest milk, and the presence of alleles thought to cause this phenotype. They find that in many parts of the world, notably SE Europe, West Asia and most of Africa, the number of actual milk drinkers is often very different than known genetics could predict.

Some striking examples:
  • Central Italians: actual LP: 82% - predicted by genetics: 21%
  • Afghan Tajiks: actual LP: 18% - predicted: 51%
  • Jordanians: actual LP: 76% - predicted: 20%
  • Balochis: actual LP: 38% - predicted: 0%
  • Wolof (Senegal): actual LP: 51% - predicted: 0%
  • Sudanese: actual LP: 88% - predicted: 45%
Actual lactase persistence (phenotype):

Predicted lactase persistence (known alleles):

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Neolithic cave destroyed by landowner in Aragon

Via Pileta en Blogger comes this video of the only mention in the Spanish media of the brutal destruction of the archaeological site of Chaves cave (Huesca province, Aragon, Spain) by a landowner who has emptied and dumped the sediments to make it a place to feed the animals of his hunting property. The landowner does not allow anyone to enter, even with the appropiate permits the patrimony authorities and has even fenced public paths.

The report ends with the question of which would be the appropriate punishment for such a criminal. I say that nothing less than death penalty and expropriation of all.

Reconstruction of mtDNA spread in Eurasia (again)

I have been working for some time in yet another attempt of reconstruction of the mtDNA spread in Eurasia, this time focusing only on coding region mutations, because the hyper-variable or control region (also D-loop) is much less reliable. What follows is the result until I got bored of checking the regional adscription of the most rare lineages.

The maps are a plausible sequence of the Eurasian mtDNA spread, based on how many CR mutations separates them from the most common recent ancestor: L3. Each map represents one coding region mutation further away from L3.

1. The M explosion:

Macro-haplogroup M has right now 43 basal sublineages (per PhyloTree), being the largest starlike structure in all humankind. This is the signature of a brutal expansion that probably happened upon the arrival of the first Homo sapiens to South Asia, where this lineage has its highest diversity by far.

2. The M explosion (cont.):

Not only M as such shows clear signs of expansiveness early on, many of its sublineages bi-/multifurcated just after it. Most did in South Asia itself but a handful expanded in Eastern Eurasia (i.e. everything that is East of Bangladesh), reaching already as far as Melanesia and maybe Japan, it seems. It was no doubt the time of the rapid coastal migration.

3. The N explosion:

For centrality and diversity reasons, mainly, I have decided that the only surviving "sister" clade of M probably expanded at SE Asia. I am not 100% sure but makes better sense than other options anyhow. In comparison with the huge starlike structure of M, the one of N is quite modest. It is still pretty large.

I am not sure either that the N explosion only happened this late. I have not been able to properly apportionate all lineages and hence I'm using only the mutation count to the parental node (L3) but the impression exists that, on average, N-derived lineages host more mutations than M-derived ones. So it's possible that the molcular clock has been ticking slightly faster for N than for N (but large starlike lineages within N, like H, are definitively out of this conjectural rule, so I really can't say for sure).

Whatever the case, if the premises are correct, at this third phase, while N explodes, there is still a host of M sublineages (in italic type those that are not basal) showing their own signatures of expansion in Southern and Eastern Eurasia.

Notable maybe are M60 (found in NE India tribes) and M17 (Philippines). It's also notable that at this phase Australia is already being colonized.

4. The R explosion:

If N was said to be "modest", its daughter R would ammend that. Again we are not in front of any massive starlike spread of the type of M (only H approaches such dimensions, R has 16 basal sublineages) but the success of mtDNA R is unusual in spite of that.

At the time of the R "bang", other lineages also show signals of expansion in South Asia, notably M4''64, which already began expanding in the previous phase. In the East, the flow of diverse lineages to Melanesia continues, while the expansion in NE Asia seems to slow down (a signal of a cold period?)

Notice how it is still M the macro-lineage dominating the scene, as N subclades show only scattered signs of expansion, with many just lurking for their opportunity (later).

5. The R explosion (cont.):

As happened with M early on (but unlike N), the explosion of R is followed just one mutation downstream by signatures of expansion of almost half of its basal sublineages. The dynamism is again very strong and it's also geographically, with expansion in all directions: West Asia (having to face the extremely strong Neanderthals, as well as some very arid regions), SE Asia, Melanesia, and of course in South Asia itself.

M sublineages are still expanding and it's notable that the dynamism seems to return to NE Asia and that the first signature of expansion in Andaman islands appears now.

Notice that R2'JT may be considered a West Eurasian lineage: the center of gravity of R2 seems to be at Balochistan, while that of JT is further west. But it doesn't change things too much.

6. Slow down:

I had to stop at some point and I decided to do it here, mostly because nothing too interesting seems to happen anymore. Sure, would I have continued with two more maps, I could have placed the defining nodes of some important lineages like U, H, V, F, X, A or Z. But R9 is already the ancestor of F and the outline of the colonization of West Eurasia and NE Asia has already been visible. Maybe tomorrow (stay tuned for possible updates).

So maybe the most important feature in this map is precisely the signature of expansion of R9, which together with B (see previous map) makes about all East Asian R. This is important in my opinion because I suspect that the expansion of mtDNA R may have been associated in the East with that of Y-DNA MNOPS. It's quite speculative at the moment, I admit, when we still know so little about this newly proposed patrilineage.

(Update: Feb 19) - I just noticed that the expansion D4 and D5 would correspond with this last episode. They are important because D, as D4 after it, have star-like structures: signals of rapid demic expansion.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Neolithic transition in Ronda (Andalusia)

at Pileta en Blogger [es].

Natalia González Hidalgo, PROCESOS DE NEOLITIZACIÓN. EL CASO DE LA MEDIA MONTAÑA SUBBÉTICA OCCIDENTAL: LA DEPRESIÓN DE RONDA. Arqueología y territorio, nº6. 2010. (PDF - open access - [es]).

The author reviews the transition from Epipaleolithic to Neolithic in the Ronda Depression, Andalusia, Spain. The archaeology of the area is dominated by extensive prospections but few detailed excavations, what make a comprehensive analysis somewhat more difficult. In any case, I gather two important elements from this synthesis:

1. There was very limited impact of the Geometric microlithism (Tardenoisian-related), remaining the area essentially in the Laminar stage (Azilian-related) for all the Epipaleolithic.

2. There was clear continuity between Epipaleolithic and Neolithic, with gradual incorporation of agriculture and cattle to an economy that remained basically hunter-gatherer at first.

Above: stratigraphic sequence of La Pileta cave, presented as example of the Ronda sites. Notice the continuity between the Upper Paleolithic (Paleolítico Superior - D) and Neolithic (Neolítico - C), while there is a sterile layer (B) on top this phase separating it from the Chalcolithic period (A), being this the only moment of discontinuity that can be spotted in all the sequence from Gravettian to the Middle Ages.

The recolonization of India?

India (then also including other countries, like Pakistan and Bangladesh) used to be considered the central piece of the British empire, the jewel of the crown. It was not, of course, to the benefit of Indians themselves but to the benefit of the British Empire and more precisely of the British capitalists. It was such a common place that when the Nazis outlined their plans for the conquest and colonization of Russia, they said they wanted it to become "the India of Germany".

Since independence however India has maintained a highly protectionist policy, for good or bad. This has to some extent favored the national capital up to the point that some years ago Mittal bought European steel industries becoming a global number one in the sector. Any pragmatic economist will have to admit that protectionism, even if it has some downs, is generally beneficial for the national capital and hence for the nation as whole, very specially if such country is not in a hegemonic position. Neither France nor Germany, much less Russia, Japan or China would have developed their economies without some level of protectionism. The situation might have been slightly different for the great powers of the Capitalist era, Britain first and the USA later, but even these have practiced protectionism to some extent and continue to do so.

Now I read at Asia Times Online that India is yielding to the pressure by USA and specially EU to broadly open its market. An Indian diplomat, speaking anonymously, seems to have declared that there is an understanding between the EU and his government that tariffs should be removed from 90% of all goods traded by both sides.

Is this good for India? On one side, Indian products would have an increased and comparatively affluent market, on the other, European capitalists may find interesting to outsource part of their production to the Asian giant, where salaries are much much lower and de facto regulations on workers' rights and environmental issues are much lower in general. On first sight, it might even look beneficial for India and perilous for Europe, at least for the European working class, mostly unable to compete with a huge and overexploited labor force, sometimes highly qualified.

But there are serious issues for India too: European subsidized food producers, heavily reconverted by the dark magic of Brussels' policies into large mechanized landowners can totally disrupt the Indian primary sector, dumping masses of farmers into increased misery. EU also has a GNP that is 14 times that of India, which means that, even if it may be a good market for certain Indian products, it will also have the upper hand in all negotiations: it won't be an equal partnership for sure.

Finally there is serious concern over all social issues, including ecology and labor rights. It is well known that labor in India, specially unqualified labor and notably large numbers of children, are exploited in very poor conditions. Certifications exist denying such practices but they are generally not worth the paper they are written on. Of course, neither Brussels nor New Delhi are paying any attention to such concerns: they are only interested in what may benefit their respective capitalist classes. For example a business lobbyist grunted at a draft of such treaty because it would include products considered to be of critical importance to the exporters he represented. This means that EU will pressure for a deal that is not as good for Indian exporters and is better for European capitalist interests.

Meanwhile social and environmental pressure groups are kept at bay from the halls of the EU decision-makers. And that's surely the case also in India.

Is this part of the price (price or prize?, hard to say: look at poor Mexico for comparison) that India gets for sliding towards the Atlantic bloc? How good or bad is it going to be for India and particularly for the Indian people? And for Europeans too, barring a few capitalists: is it going to be any good? After all commodity prices are relatively low in Europe and quality standards are generally high, so one wonders what will India export: pieces for car makers, some textiles, raw steel and loads of tea and other "exotic" commodities that can't be produced in Europe.

I would like second opinions, of course, but I'm under the impression that any such treaty will leave India too dependent on EU for a balanced national development.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Eurasian Y-DNA note

Just a brief working note on my current understanding of Eurasian Y-DNA diffusion and diversification patterns after the out of Africa migration.

I am assuming here that the newly proposed Y-DNA macro-haplogroup MNOPS (downstream of K) is for real and that it includes (for parsimony reasons) haplogroups K2, K3, K4, M, NO, P and S. This is not sure at all but is a quite reasonable possibility.

I used color codes for the main lineages (blue for DE, orange for C and red for F). The pink line represents the main route of the Eurasian migration, the red arrows represent the main flows of F and K derived lineages, which are the most complex ones. The light red dotted ellipse represents the most likely urheimat of F, IJK and K, as well as other derived lineages such as H and P. For simplicity reasons I have not depicted the expansions of C and D, nor of P and NO.

In order to infer the possible homelands of each of the lineages I used common sense, of course, but specially I used the following method: halfway point between the centroid of the lineage and the estimated homeland of upstream clades, when no centroid was available, midpoints between downstream centroids were used. It's notable that Northwest South Asia seems to be the homeland of the most important Eurasian Y-DNA lineages, not just of F but of several major nodes downstream of it (H, IJK, L, K, P, R), however the MNOPS "boomerang" migration, if confirmed, also has its own significance - and not just for Eastern Asia and Oceania. I wonder if this peculiar Y-DNA flow into SE Asia and back into South Asia is related with the flows of mtDNA N and R.

Kurdish journalist jailed

A Turkish tribunal has sentenced Ozan Kilinc, editor of Kurdish-language newspaper Azadiya Welat, to 21 years for "support of the PKK". His actual "crime" seems to be to have dared to mention or allow to mention the illegal (but highly popular) party's name in the newspaper, allowed mentions to Abdullah Ocalan as "leader of the Kurdish people" and not licking the boots of the Turkish conscription Army by calling its casualties "martyrs" as seems to be standard among Turkish media.

Ozan Kilinc (image from Azadiya Welat)

As BBC reports, this kind of brutal repression seems way too common: a 15 year old girl sentenced to 8 years for hurling stones to the police, a journalist asked 32 years for writing a book critical of the police investigation in the murder of another journalist...

In other words: more or less like in Spain. They should definitively allow them into EU, but first let Basques and Kurds get out of it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Increase in rickets among young Britons

It seems that sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and lack of exposure to sunlight is taking its toll on the last generation of Britons: rickets are on the rise again, causing a debate on whether to implement laws forcing food companies to supplement their products with vitamin D. Ol' good cod liver oil is also being missed.

According to Times Online, some 50% of British adults have vitamin D deficiency in winter and spring, one of six severely so. People of "Asian" origin and in particular those who cover much of their body because of religious reasons (read: Muslims particularly) are at increased risk.

The article also blames television and videogames for this epidemic.

Sources: The Register, Times Online.

Is there a G-spot?

Debate rages on the issue... at least at
El Reg, where they seem to find it quite amusing.

While early last month a research by King's College's fellows demonstrated that the G-spot is nothing but "a figment of women's imagination", based on self-reporting by twins, some week later French scientists criticized the findings questioning why the G-spot should be something genetic. These criticisms were made at the G-Day conference, whose organizer, Sylvain Moumain suggested that, while the G-spot exists in some 60% of women, the British are just unable to find it. In the words of gynecologist Odile Buisson:

I don't want to stigmatise at all but I think the Protestant, liberal, Anglo-Saxon character means you are very pragmatic. There has to be a cause for everything, a gene for everything. It's totalitarian.

The debate seems to be far from closed.

Spanish judge feels threatened by anti-terrorist laws

Judge Manuel Díaz de Rábago, member of the Superior Court of Justice of the Basque Country, appointed by the Spanish Judicial Power government organs at Madrid (not any autonomous court), declared to online judicial magazine Res Publica that:

ETA and the way the State reacts to it cause me, in these last years, some uncertainty on what can happen first to me: that ETA murders me or that the State accuses me of being part of ETA's structures. This reveals to me the madness of both in the persecution of their goals under the perverse logic of "everything is valid".
Judge Díaz de Rábago was, among others, in charge of the political trial against two Basque lehendakaris (autonomical presidents) and the spokesman of the Basque Nationalist Left, Arnaldo Otegi, accused of dialoguing with ETA (or with each other, not really sure, as it's all so Kafkian and absurd).

Originally a labor attorney, he was proposed as president of the regional court but only achieved nine votes (out of 20) at the Spanish General Council of the Judicial Power (organ appointed by the Spanish Parliament). The above declarations were made in reply to a question on his opinion on the Egunkaria case.

Source: Gara.

Spanish "Chernobyl" fails again

The highly controversial nuclear power plant of
Garoña (NE Burgos province, near Miranda de Ebro) has failed again causing the central to stop. According to Greenpeace, a valve failed, while according to the owners, Nuclenor, the stop was caused by mere "maintenance".

The obsolete plant has been working since 1971 and for long has been subject to popular demand for clausure on serious safety and environmental concerns. Greenpeace denounces that the last extension of its lifetime (was due to close in 2009) was granted on a very strict regime, including the total replacement of the electric wiring and the fixing of the systematic problems of ventilation, that has been systematically unfulfilled by the owners.

The "programmed" stop was announced only the very day it had to stop.

A disaster in this obsolete nuclear central would severely affect large areas of Spain and, notably, the Basque Country, including my hometown of Bilbao.

Source: Gara.