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[LINK] On evidence of Australian Aborigine ancestry in Amazonia

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The Nature paper “Genetic evidence for two founding populations of the Americas” has a remarkable abstract.

Genetic studies have consistently indicated a single common origin of Native American groups from Central and South America. However, some morphological studies have suggested a more complex picture, whereby the northeast Asian affinities of present-day Native Americans contrast with a distinctive morphology seen in some of the earliest American skeletons, which share traits with present-day Australasians (indigenous groups in Australia, Melanesia, and island Southeast Asia) Here we analyse genome-wide data to show that some Amazonian Native Americans descend partly from a Native American founding population that carried ancestry more closely related to indigenous Australians, New Guineans and Andaman Islanders than to any present-day Eurasians or Native Americans. This signature is not present to the same extent, or at all, in present-day Northern and Central Americans or in a ~12,600-year-old Clovis-associated genome, suggesting a more diverse set of founding populations of the Americas than previously accepted.

The Smithsonian goes into more detail.

Genetic studies have since connected both these ancient and modern humans to ancestral populations in Eurasia, adding to the case that a single migratory surge produced the first human settlers in the Americas. Aleutian Islanders are a notable exception. They descend from a smaller second influx of Eurasians 6,000 years ago that bear a stronger resemblance to modern populations, and some Canadian tribes have been linked to a third wave.

[David] Reich’s group had also previously found genetic evidence for a single founding migration. But while sifting through genomes from cultures in Central and South America, Pontus Skoglund, a researcher in Reich’s lab, noticed that the Suruí and Karitiana people of the Amazon had stronger ties to indigenous groups in Australasia—Australians, New Guineans and Andaman Islanders—than to Eurasians.

Other analyses haven’t looked at Amazonian populations in depth, and genetic samples are hard to come by. So the Harvard lab teamed up with researchers in Brazil to collect more samples from Amazonian groups to investigate the matter. Together they scrutinized the genomes of 30 Native American groups in Central and South America. Using four statistical strategies, they compared the genomes to each other and to those of 197 populations from around the world. The signal persisted. Three Amazonian groups—Suruí, Karitiana and Xavante—all had more in common with Australasians than any group in Siberia.

The DNA that links these groups had to come from somewhere. Because the groups have about as much in common with Australians as they do with New Guineans, the researchers think that they all share a common ancestor that lived tens of thousands of years ago in Asia but that doesn’t otherwise persist today. One branch of this family tree moved north to Siberia, while the other spread south to New Guinea and Australia. The northern branch likely migrated across the land bridge in a separate surge from the Eurasian founders. The researchers have dubbed this hypothetical second group “Population y” for ypykuéra, or “ancestor” in Tupi, a language spoken by the Suruí and Karitiana.

When exactly Population y arrived in the Americans remains unclear—before, after or simultaneously with the first wave of Eurasians are all possibilities. Reich and his colleagues suspect the line is fairly old, and at some point along the way, Population y probably mixed with the lineage of Eurasian settlers. Amazonian tribes remain isolated from many other South American groups, so that’s probably why the signal remains strong in their DNA.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 22, 2015 at 10:42 pm

[PHOTO] Pan Am Games without Portuguese

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Pan Am Games without Portuguese #toronto #panamgames #portuguese #dufferinstreet #ttc #subway

A May report from Metro Toronto noted the lack of Portuguese-language signage at the Pan Am Games here in Toronto. The relevant Wikipedia page suggests that this is a matter of convrention, English and Spanish being the official languages of the Games to be joined by additional local languages. (This explains the presence of French.)

Even so, this does not seem justifiable. Portuguese is spoken only in one country of the Americas, true, but there are two hundred million people in Brazil! More, Toronto is itself hardly without speakers of the language. I took this picture of a sign at Duffering station, the TTC station located on the street that is a historical anchor for Toronto’s Portguese-speaking communities. Rules are rules, but sometimes rules are pointless.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 19, 2015 at 8:01 pm

[ISL] “Is East Timor Illegally Putting Together a National Soccer Team With Brazilian Players?”

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Jack Kerr of Vice reports on something that actually does look quite sketchy.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation may be turning a blind eye to the illegal movement of players into Asia.

Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor has been improving steadily in recent years, and just recently moved ahead of Indonesia, the country it broke away from at the turn of the century, in the FIFA rankings.

[. . .]

A large part of Timor’s improvement has been done through the recruitment of Brazilians with no discernable links to this poorest nation in Asia. And neither FIFA, the AFC or the local FA will say how they qualify.

According to FIFA regulations, a player born in one country can play for another country if they have lived there for five years as an adult, and get citizenship. But none of Timor’s Brazilian contingent appear not to have lived or played in the half-island nation as adults—if at all.

[. . .]

They would also qualify to play for the Asian side if they had parents or grandparents from there. However, despite a Portuguese colonial legacy in Timor-Leste, there is no strong history of immigration between the two countries.

“Until 2000, I would say there was no migration, and since then it has been limited, mostly via marriage,” says Damien Kingsbury, a Melbourne professor who specialises in politics and security in Southeast Asia, particularly Timor-Leste.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 16, 2015 at 9:31 pm

[LINK] “‘Je Suis Favela’ – Bringing Brazilian Books to the French”

At the Inter Press Service, A.D. Mackenzie has a fascinating article describing the workings of Éditions Anacaona, a French publishing house specializing in the publication of Brazilian works of literature from the favelas.

Educated as a translator of technical texts, Paris-born [Paula] Anacaona, 37, became a literary translator and publisher by chance. On holiday in Rio de Janeiro in 2003, she happened to start chatting with a woman who revealed she was a writer and who promised to send her a book.

Back in Paris, Anacaona received the book two months later and “loved it”, as she told IPS in an interview. She translated the work, written by Heloneida Studart and later called Le Cantique de Meméia, and managed to get a Canadian company to publish it.

Studart, who died in 2007, was also an essayist, journalist and women’s rights activist, and the book caught the attention of French-speaking readers in several countries.

Other writers got in touch, and Anacaona found herself becoming a literary translator. But by sending out the works to publishing companies, she was also taking on the role of agent, a time-consuming task.

“With all that was involved, I thought why not publish the books myself?” she recalls. She set up Éditions Anacaona in 2009 and decided to focus initially on literature from and about the ghetto or favela in Brazil, because “no one else was doing it.”

Written by Randy McDonald

June 18, 2015 at 11:00 pm

[LINK] “A Chimera in Growing Cooperation Between China and Brazil”

Mario Osava of the Inter Press Service is critical of the emergent China-Brazil relationship, noting critics who argue that Brazil’s exports to China are overdominated by commodities, with few value-added goods.

Oil and iron ore make up nearly 80 percent of Brazil’s exports to China. Hence China’s interest in improving this country’s transport infrastructure, to reduce the cost of Brazil’s exports, besides providing work for China’s construction companies now that domestic demand is waning.

Another agreement opens up the Chinese market to exports of cattle on the hoof from Brazil.

Brazil has exported some industrial products to China, mainly from the aeronautics industry. The sale of 22 planes from the Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica (Embraer) to a Chinese company was finalised during Li’s visit. A prior accord had established the sale of a total of 60.

Bilateral trade amounted to 77.9 billion dollars in 2014, with a trade surplus for Brazil, although it is shrinking due to the fall in commodity prices. The goal is to reach 100 billion dollars in trade in the near future, according to the Chinese prime minister.

The stronger relations, especially the increase in Chinese investment, “could be positive for Brazil, but we have to control our enthusiasm over the closer ties,” said Luis Afonso Lima, president of the Brazilian Society of Transnational Corporations and Economic Globalisation.

“China may have more to gain than us in this process: they are seeking suppliers (of raw materials) throughout Latin America, but without any urgency because their economy has slowed down; they can think things through strategically, with a view to the long term,” the economist told IPS.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 11, 2015 at 10:42 pm

[DM] “Some migration-related news links”

I’ve some links up at Demography Matters, reporting on some interesting migration-related news articles.

[LINK] “Latin America Already Has the Trade Deal It Needs”

Bloomberg View’s Mac Margolis writes about poor Mercosur. Is the Common Market of the South, founded on a deal between Brazil and Argentina, salvageable at this stage?

When it kicked off in 1991, Mercosur, the abbreviated name for the Mercado Comun del Sur, or the “South American Common Market,” looked like a winner. Latin America had cashiered its dictators and begun to open its borders. Free trade winds were blowing, and the region’s emerging democracies wanted to join forces to cash in on the global bonanza.

[. . .]

A renewed Mercosur would lead the way. On paper, the trade bloc is a juggernaut. If it were a country, it would have the world’s fifth-largest economy and a population of 295 million.

Solidarity made a good bumper sticker, but it didn’t translate easily into good trade policy. As the raw materials boom subsided, markets retracted and protectionism returned. Governments raised non-tariff barriers and imposed import quotas against their neighbors.

The customs union announced in 1994 ought to have been completed by 2006. With luck, said Lia Valls, trade expert at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, “the agreement will be in place by 2018 or 2019.”

Meantime, just about anything goes. Some trade analysts estimate that up to half of the goods traded between Mercosur partners do not benefit from the reduced common tariff. “Uruguay does what it wants. Argentina doesn’t want free trade, and Brazil doesn’t lead,” Mauro LaViola, head of Brazil’s Export Association, told me.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 2, 2015 at 10:19 pm

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