'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march

'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march
Demonstrators arrive on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the 'Women's March on Washington' on January 21, 2017 (AFP Photo/Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide
Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of scienceThousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of science

Bernie Sanders and the Movement Where the People Found Their Voice

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


.
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini
FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) shakes hands with UEFA president Michel Platini after being re-elected following a vote in Zurich on May 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/Michael Buholzer)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018
The " Fearless Girl " statue on Wall Street is seen by many as a defiant symbol of women's rights under the new administration of President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY)



“… The Fall of Many - Seen It Yet?

You are going to see more and more personal secrets being revealed about persons in high places of popularity or government. It will seem like an epidemic of non-integrity! But what is happening is exactly what we have been teaching. The new energy has light that will expose the darkness of things that are not commensurate with integrity. They have always been there, and they were kept from being seen by many who keep secrets in the dark. Seen the change yet?

In order to get to a more stable future, you will have to go through gyrations of dark and light. What this means is that the dark is going to be revealed and push back at you. It will eventually lose. We told you this. That's what you're here for is to help those around you who don't see an escape from the past. They didn't get their nuclear war, but everything else is going into the dumper anyway. … “

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Monday, December 11, 2017

US judge clears way for transgender military recruits to enlist

Yahoo – AFP, Thomas WATKINS, December 11, 2017

Protesters demonstrated in front of the US Army career center in Times Square,
New York in July when the US moved to block transgender recruits (AFP Photo/
Jewel SAMAD)

Washington (AFP) - A US federal judge Monday denied a request from the Trump administration to delay allowing transgender people to join the military, clearing the way for them to sign up from January 1.

The move will be seen as a blow to President Donald Trump, who in July sent out three tweets saying that transgender troops could not serve "in any capacity," citing "tremendous" medical costs and disruption.

Those messages, later followed by a formal White House memorandum, set off a roar of protest -- with several service members and rights groups quick to sue. Already two federal courts have ruled against Trump's proposed ban.

Under a new policy originally announced last year by the Obama administration, the Pentagon was first supposed to start accepting transgender recruits on July 1 this year, but Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis pushed that back by six months to January 1 pending further review of the matter.

Then last week, the Justice Department asked a federal court to further delay the January date while the legal battle plays out.

But US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled Monday that the government had not shown it would be "irreparably harmed" if the military begins to accept transgender individuals on January 1.

Government lawyers cited Lernes Hebert, an acting deputy assistant secretary of defense, as saying that meeting the January deadline would "impose extraordinary burdens on the department and the military services" because "there are considerable requirements associated with implementing this significant and complex policy change."

Kollar-Kotelly said she was not convinced.

In her ruling, she wrote that the government had failed "to acknowledge the considerable amount of time defendants have already had to prepare for the implementation of this particular policy."

"Defendants have had the opportunity to prepare for the accession of transgender individuals into the military for nearly one and a half years," the judge wrote.

'Planning to prepare'

Pentagon spokesman Major David Eastburn said the military was getting ready for the January 1 deadline, in accordance with federal court rulings.

"DoD is planning to prepare to assess transgender persons into the military effective 1 January," Eastburn said.

The number of transgender troops among America's 1.3 million active duty service members is small, with estimates topping out at 15,000.

Trump's July 26 tweets caught observers and many in the military off guard, coming with little apparent coordination with the Pentagon.

The president's policy shift meant that transgender troops who were encouraged to come out under one administration suddenly faced getting booted under another -- opening up a legal quagmire for the Pentagon.

Several senior military officials voiced unease over the policy shift, and the head of the Coast Guard soon said he would not "break faith" with transgender personnel.

Trump has said he did the Pentagon a "great favor" by banning transgender troops, saying the issue had been "complicated" and "confusing" for the military.


Trump's accusers 'should be heard': Haley

Yahoo – AFP, December 11, 2017

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said "women who accuse anyone should be
 heard", when asked about sexual misconduct allegations against President Trump
(AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

Washington (AFP) - Women who accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct "should be heard," US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday, in an apparent divergence from the White House line.

Trump -- who was infamously caught on tape boasting about groping women -- has faced more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct, which he and the White House have rejected.

"Women who accuse anyone should be heard. They should be heard and they should be dealt with," Haley said on CBS' Face the Nation when asked how Trump's accusers should be assessed.

The official line from the White House has been that Trump's election victory was the final word on the accusations.

"I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up," Haley said.

When asked if the vote meant the issue was settled, Haley responded: "That's for the people to decide. I know that he was elected, but ... women should always feel comfortable coming forward, and we should all be willing to listen to them."

Accusations of rape and sexual harassment against now-disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein have opened the floodgates, prompting scores of women to speak up not just about abuse in the entertainment industry, but also in Washington.

Three members of Congress have resigned over sexual misconduct allegations in recent days, and US Senate candidate Roy Moore has seen a race he was once expected to handily win become contested following accusations that he molested minors decades ago.

Moore has denied the allegations.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Franken resigns from US Senate after sexual misconduct claims

Yahoo – AFP, Michael Mathes, December 7, 2017

Senator Al Franken, shown with his wife Franni Bryson (L) as they arrived
 at the US Capitol, has said he will resign in the coming weeks, but added he
was shocked at the allegations against him (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

Washington (AFP) - US Senator Al Franken said Thursday he will resign in the face of multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against him, becoming the second prominent Democrat to be forced out in a week over the snowballing harassment allegations convulsing the country.

Franken -- a former comedian who made his name on the popular late-night show "Saturday Night Live" -- announced his decision in an emotional yet somewhat defiant address from the floor of the Senate, where dozens of his colleagues had demanded he step down.

The once-popular 66-year-old Minnesota lawmaker apologized last month after acknowledging one incident of misconduct, vowing to work to regain public trust.

But with six other women now reportedly coming forward to accuse Franken of touching them inappropriately, a chorus of Democratic senators said it was time for him to go.

"Serving in the United States senate has been the great honor of my life," Franken said, with only a handful of his colleagues in attendance.

"I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a Senator -- nothing -- has brought dishonor on this institution," he added, noting he was shocked at the allegations against him, and painting himself as "a champion of women."

"Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate."

Franken also took a parting shot at Donald Trump -- who himself has faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment -- and at Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore, who has received the president's endorsement despite being accused of molesting several teenaged girls.

US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) unveiled bipartisan legislation to help
prevent sexual harassment (AFP Photo/ALEX WONG)

"I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact I am leaving while a man who bragged on tape about his history of the sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party," Franken said.

The first allegation against Franken -- for which he has apologized -- was made by sports broadcaster and former model Leeann Tweeden, who said he forcibly kissed her, and touched her without consent as she slept, during a 2006 tour entertaining US troops deployed in Afghanistan.

But several other women have since come forward to say he groped them, triggering the revolt by female lawmakers against their own colleague.

'Moment of reckoning'

In a well-coordinated social media attack, 12 of the Senate's 16 Democratic women took to Twitter or Facebook to demand Franken's resignation.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's Facebook post sounded the opening salvo Wednesday, as she declared that the nation -- and Congress -- faced a "moment of reckoning" regarding sexual misconduct.

"We should demand the highest standards, not the lowest, from our leaders," she said.

Seventeen male colleagues followed, including top Democrat Chuck Schumer, who heaped major pressure on Franken by issuing a statement saying he should step down "immediately."

It marked a dramatic and sudden show of unity against one of their own in the 100-member chamber, where the Republicans hold a slim majority.

"We must commit to zero tolerance," Senator Heidi Heitkamp said in a tweet. "And that means Senator Franken should step down."

With support from fellow Democrats vanishing, Franken had a stark decision to make: heed the calls to leave, and allow the party to close ranks and try to gain the moral high ground amid a tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations that have lashed the political world -- or stay and fight.

Wave of accusations

Franken's resignation came just two days after Democrat John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, left the House of Representatives after several female former staffers accused him of sexual misconduct.

And it follows a wave of accusations of harassment against titans in the worlds of entertainment, the media and politics, which began with claims targeting movie mogul Harvey Weinstein earlier this year.

Rocked by the unfolding scandals, the Senate and House both voted to make anti-harassment training mandatory for all lawmakers and staff.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time names sexual abuse 'Silence Breakers' as Person of the Year

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine TRIOMPHE, December 6, 2017

This image obtained courtesy of Time magazine, shows
the 2017 Time Person of the Year: "The Silence Breakers"

Time magazine named as Person of the Year Wednesday "the silence breakers" who triggered a national reckoning by revealing the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, assault and abuse in US life.

President Donald Trump was runner-up in the prestigious ranking, ahead of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Time designated as "silence breakers" the individuals, mostly women, who came forward this year to publicly expose patterns of sexual harassment, assault and even rape by some of society's most powerful public figures.Those recognized by Time range from famous actresses who took on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to everyday women who shared their stories of abuse using the hashtag #MeToo and its foreign language equivalents.

The accusations against Weinstein, who has denied engaging in non-consensual sex, proved a tipping point for a flood of sordid revelations involving other titans of Hollywood, big business, politics and the news media.

Many once-admired leaders in their fields have been fired or suspended, their careers left in tatters.

One of the figures singled out by Time, Ashley Judd, was the first actress to come forward on the record to make accusations against the 65-year-old Weinstein.

She was followed by more than a hundred others, and a watershed moment began.

"When a movie star says #MeToo, it becomes easier to believe the cook who's been quietly enduring for years," a Time article read.

"This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries.

"These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought."

The Person of the Year announcement came as The New York Times published a report detailing a widespread "complicity machine" of powerful relationships that enabled Weinstein to silence or intimidate his accusers for years.

Weinstein has denied via his lawyers and spokespeople that he engaged in any non-consensual behavior. He has not been charged with any crimes, though investigations have been launched in London, Los Angeles and New York.

'Open secrets'

A number of men also have revealed they were victims of sexual abuse, including Anthony Rapp, who accused Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey of making sexual advances on him when he was a teenager.

More than a dozen men have since come forward with similar accusations against Spacey, some of whom were teens at the time of the alleged abuse.

The wave of allegations has also hit the US Congress, where the longest serving member of the House, Democrat John Conyers, announced his retirement Tuesday and pressure is mounting on Democratic Senator Al Franken to resign. Both men have been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct.

The scope of the problem nationwide is reflected in a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday: it said 47 percent of American women say they have been sexually assaulted.

On Time's cover is a composite group photograph featuring Judd, along with singer Taylor Swift and ex-Uber engineer Susan Fowler.

"The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover... along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s," Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said in a statement.

Calling #MeToo a "powerful accelerant," Felsenthal noted that the hashtag has been used millions of times in at least 85 countries.

"The idea that influential, inspirational individuals shape the world could not be more apt this year," Felsenthal said.

"For giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable, The Silence Breakers are the 2017 Person of the Year."

Time has designated an individual or group who has most influenced the year's news and events as Person of the Year since 1927.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who won the Time honor in 2015 at the height of the refugee influx into her country, paid tribute to the "Silence Breakers."

"We must thank them for their courage in breaking the silence about sexual assault and for the global discussion they sparked," she said, according to her spokesman Steffen Seibert on Twitter.



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Most detained in Saudi purge agree to cash settlements

Yahoo – AFP, December 5, 2017

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, shown here attending an investment
forum in October, has launched a sweeping purge (AFP Photo/FAYEZ NURELDINE)

Riyadh (AFP) - Most of those detained in a sweeping anti-corruption purge of the Saudi elite have struck monetary settlements in exchange for their freedom, the attorney general said Tuesday, a month after they were locked up in a 5-star hotel.

Dozens of high-profile figures including princes, ministers and tycoons are being held in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel, now a makeshift luxury prison, in the biggest sweep of the kingdom's elite in its recent history.

Some 320 people were called in for questioning and 159 people are currently being detained, many of whom have agreed to a "settlement", or handing over allegedly ill-gotten gains to the Saudi state treasury, attorney general Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said.

"The necessary arrangements are being finalised to conclude such agreements," Mojeb said in a statement.

The attorney general has previously said he estimates at least $100 billion has been lost in embezzlement or corruption over several decades.

His latest statement comes after Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the former National Guard chief once seen as a contender to the throne, was released last week following a settlement reportedly exceeding $1 billion.

Some analysts saw Prince Miteb's removal as an attempt by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defence minister, to consolidate his control over the security services.

But Saudi authorities insist the purge was meant solely to target endemic corruption as the kingdom seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

In a recent interview to The New York Times, Prince Mohammed described as "ludicrous" reports equating the crackdown to a power grab, saying that many of those detained at the opulent Ritz-Carlton had already pledged allegiance to him.

The attorney general said the bank accounts of 376 people have been frozen, all of whom are detained or linked to corruption allegations.

Saudi forces also grounded private jets at airports, possibly to prevent high-profile figures from leaving the country, an aviation source told AFP.

The purge has triggered uncertainty among businesses that could lead to capital flight or derail reforms, experts say, at a time when the kingdom is seeking to attract badly needed investments to offset a protracted oil slump.

Other high-profile targets of the crackdown include billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia. The government has not commented on his current status.

The crackdown has exposed the kingdom's once-untouchable elite to rare public scrutiny -- Saudis on social media have quipped that the Ritz-Carlton was not the worst place to be trapped.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Star newsman Matt Lauer fired over sexual misconduct claims

Yahoo – AFP, Daniel WOOLLS, November 29, 2017

Matt Lauer, a fixture among American early morning news anchors, has been
fired by NBC for alleged sexual misconduct (AFP Photo/Slaven Vlasic)

Washington (AFP) - Star US morning news anchor Matt Lauer has been sacked over allegations of sexual misconduct, broadcast giant NBC announced Wednesday, in the latest fall from grace of a power player in the media and entertainment industry.

Lauer, 59, is a familiar face to American television viewers as the host of NBC's popular morning news show "Today" for more than 20 years.

He also led the network's coverage of many major news events, from the September 11th attacks to presidential campaigns and the Olympics.

His co-host Savannah Guthrie announced his termination on air as their program began.

"This is a sad morning here at 'Today' and at NBC News," Guthrie said.

The network said it fired Lauer after receiving a detailed account from one of his colleagues of what it called inappropriate sexual behavior on the job.

Lauer thus joins the ranks of other giants of American film, television and journalism who have fallen amid allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment or assault in a groundswell of outrage that began weeks ago with a flood of charges against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The wave of allegations has reached Capitol Hill, where several lawmakers stand accused of inappropriate behavior, and nearly every day seems to bring another stunning case involving a well known public figure.

In a memo to staff, NBC chairman Andrew Lack said that on Monday night, the network received a detailed complaint accusing Lauer of inappropriate behavior.

"It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment," Lack wrote.

NBC said it was provided with evidence suggesting this may not have been an isolated incident.

Veteran journalist Katie Couric, who was Lauer's co-host for years, said in 2012 during an interview with the showbiz gossip news outlet TMZ that "Matt pinches me on the ass a lot."

She was responding to the question of what Lauer's most annoying habit was.

But Couric, the interviewer and the studio audience all laughed after her remark.

O'Reilly, Rose... and now Lauer

President Donald Trump, himself accused of harassment by more than a dozen women, seized on the Lauer news hungrily.

"Wow," he said on Twitter, adding that executives at NBC and its parent company Comcast should be fired for "putting out so much Fake News."

Trump was embarrassed in the final stretch of last year's presidential campaign by the release of audio in which he is heard boasting that his fame allowed him to grab women's genitals and get away with it.

At the time, he acknowledged the veracity of the so-called "Access Hollywood" tape and apologized publicly.

Trump has since changed his tune, and told a Republican senator shortly after his election victory that "we don't think it was my voice," The New York Times reported Wednesday, quoting a person familiar with that conversation.

And Trump has continued to suggest that the voice on the tape was not his, the Times said, quoting three people close to the president.

Firestorm in media world

Lauer was an NBC veteran, equally called upon to present serious news stories and lighter morning fare.

On the morning of the September 11, 2001 attacks, it was he who interrupted an interview to break news of the suicide airliner attacks against New York's World Trade Center.

During the 2016 election campaign, he oversaw a forum featuring Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Lauer's sacking comes a week after CBS fired Charlie Rose, one of America's most respected TV journalists, after eight women told The Washington Post he had made unwanted sexual advances toward them.

Rival television giant Fox News has long been rocked by allegations that its late former chairman Roger Ailes and ex-star presenter Bill O'Reilly, who was fired this year, settled multiple cases of sexual harassment brought by female colleagues.

Former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who has said she was sexually harassed at that network and now hosts an NBC show that comes on right after "Today," struck a firm tone in defense of harassment victims as she addressed Lauer's firing.

Lauer's NBC colleagues may be distressed at his ouster, Kelly said, "But when this happens what we don't see is the pain on the faces of those who found the courage to come forward, and it is a terrifying thing to do."

Hours after word of Lauer's firing broke, National Public Radio said its chief news editor, David Sweeney, had left the company over allegations of sexual harassment. NPR senior vice president of news Michael Oreskes resigned early this month, also over sexual misconduct allegations.

Then came yet another case Wednesday: Garrison Keillor, a writer and long-time radio host, saw his ties with Minnesota Public Radio severed over what it called inappropriate behavior with a co-worker.

The 75-year-old Keillor said in an email to the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had inadvertently "put my hand on a woman's bare back" and later offered an apology that was accepted.

Monday, November 27, 2017

US Congress moves to tackle sexual harassment

Yahoo – AFP, Michael Mathes, November 27, 2017

Democratic comedian-turned-senator Al Franken returned to Washington Monday
after apologizing for allegations he harassed a colleague during an entertainment
tour a decade ago (AFP Photo/JIM WATSON)

Washington (AFP) - The US Congress returned to Washington Monday after the Thanksgiving break determined to tackle sexual harassment within its ranks, following a string of allegations targeting sitting lawmakers.

Comedian-turned-Democratic-senator Al Franken, under scrutiny over multiple allegations of misconduct, offered a fresh apology as he arrived on Capitol Hill, while veteran Democrat John Conyers has stepped down from a leadership position over similar claims.

Compounding the discomfort on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump -- who himself has faced multiple accusations of harassment -- has doubled down on his support for Roy Moore, the embattled Republican Senate candidate from Alabama who stands accused of molesting or harassing teenage girls as young as 14.

As Washington began coming to grips with the extent of the problem in its midst, following broader revelations of endemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and the media, Congress has taken steps to right a listing ship.

The Senate recently approved a resolution calling for mandatory anti-harassment training for all senators and staff. The House of Representatives votes on a similar measure this week.

With fresh allegations targeting two unnamed lawmakers, a congresswoman introduced a House bill that would overhaul the antiquated process for filing sexual harassment complaints in Congress to allow for greater transparency, accountability, and victim support.

The Congressional Office of Compliance acknowledged last week that it has paid victims over $17 million in more than 260 settlements since 1997.

But under current rules, accusers are required to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to initiate complaints, and any financial settlement reached is secret and paid for by US taxpayers.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier's ME TOO CONGRESS Act would do away with such requirements, and force a lawmaker who settles a harassment claim to repay the government for the amount of the award.

"This is not a victim-friendly process," Speier, herself a victim of harassment as a young congressional staffer, told ABC Sunday, referring to the existing system.

Speier's legislation appears to have the support of top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who called for "an end to the days of secret settlements paid for by taxpayer dollars."

'No magic words'

On Monday, Senator Franken returned to Washington to face the scrutiny of his colleagues -- including fellow Democrats who have long called out the president over the allegations of misconduct levied against him.

Franken has apologized repeatedly after a sports broadcaster and former model, Leeann Tweeden, accused him of kissing her, and touching her without consent as she slept during a tour entertaining US troops deployed in Afghanistan.

Three women have since come forward to say Franken touched their buttocks inappropriately.

"I know that I have let a lot of people down," Franken told reporters outside his office in Congress. "To all of you, I just want to again say I am sorry.

"I know there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust and I know that's going to take time. I'm ready to start that process and it starts with going back to work today."

Long a darling of the political left, Franken previously described a photograph that appeared to show him groping Tweeden's breasts while she was asleep in body armor, as "inexcusable" -- but has also insisted he would not leave the Senate.

Democratic leader Pelosi has also been forced to contend with one of her party's major figures, congressman Conyers, who stands accused of sexually harassing staff members.

Targeted by a House Ethics Committee investigation, the 88-year-old Conyers, the longest-serving lawmaker currently in Congress, has left his post on the leadership of the Judiciary Committee.

"No matter how great an individual's legacy, it is not a license for harassment," Pelosi tweeted.

For Republicans, the broader debate on harassment is tied up with the allegations targeting Moore, who has refused to exit his Senate race despite the accusation he assaulted several teenaged girls.

The leadership of Trump's Republican Party has withdrawn support for Moore, as have a number of senators, but the president himself has redoubled his support for the former Alabama judge.

Trump tweeted Sunday that "the last thing" Republicans need in the closely divided Senate is a Democrat like Moore's rival Doug Jones, who he described as "WEAK" on crime, immigration, gun rights and tax reform.

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

'Smoking kills,' US tobacco firms say in court-ordered ads

Yahoo – AFP, November 26, 2017

Court-ordered tobacco company "corrective statements" about the health dangers
 of smoking, which have begun appearing in newspapers, were hailed by the American
Cancer Society (AFP Photo/PAUL J. RICHARDS)

Washington (AFP) - Smoking kills an average 1,200 Americans daily, US tobacco companies admitted Sunday in court-ordered "corrective statements" published in newspapers.

The ads began appearing 11 years after District Judge Gladys Kessler, in a 1,682-page opinion, ruled in 2006 that the companies violated racketeering laws by deceiving the public for decades on the health dangers of smoking.

She ordered them to publish corrective statements on five health topics, but the exact wording of those statements was held up pending tobacco company litigation.

In 2014 the companies and the government reportedly reached agreement that the ads would be published in major Sunday newspapers as well as on prime-time television for a year, and elsewhere including on cigarette packages.

"A Federal Court has ordered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Philip Morris USA, Altria and Lorillard to make this statement about the health effects of smoking," said the full-page newspaper ad, consisting simply of plain black type on an otherwise bare newspaper page.

"Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day," it said.

The ad continued that "more people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol, combined," with the last word highlighted.

It also listed various diseases and health conditions that "smoking also causes."

'A significant victory'

Kessler's ruling was part of a government racketeering case against major cigarette companies originally brought in September 1999.

Further court-ordered ads with additional health messages will continue appearing in the newspapers of more than 50 major cities through April, said the American Cancer Society.

Along with other health groups, the Cancer Society intervened in the case and made recommendations about the corrective statements.

Their publication is "a significant victory for public health," the Cancer Society said on its website.

"What this case has succeeded in doing is to finally force the tobacco industry to ’fess up to what it has known and done for the past 50 years," said Cliff Douglas, director of the Cancer Society's Center for Tobacco Control.

"The industry has deliberately addicted millions of people with a product it knew would kill as many as half of them years before their time."

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"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, MediaDemocracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“…  The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. ...

Friday, November 24, 2017

Nobel literature academy shaken by #MeToo sex scandal wave

Geotv - AFP, 24 November 2017


STOCKHOLM: The Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Literature Prize, has been rattled by a sex scandal as several members, their wives and daughters accused an influential person with close ties to the prestigious institution of assault.

The #MeToo wave exposing sexual misconduct which began in Hollywood has shaken artistic, media and political circles in Sweden, one of the most gender equal countries in the world, as thousands of women have spoken up and campaigned against harassment.

Sweden´s prestigious literary scene was drawn into the fray on Tuesday when newspaper of reference Dagens Nyheter published the testimony of 18 women claiming to have been assaulted or raped by one of the most influential figures in Stockholm´s cultural scene.

The accused man´s name has not been published in the media due to Swedish laws on the presumption of innocence. But his identity is generally known by the public as he is a high-profile person in cultural circles and his name has appeared in online chat forums discussing the issue.

The man did not respond to AFP´s request for a comment, though he told Dagens Nyheter he was innocent.

Married to a writer with "close links to the Swedish Academy", the man runs a cultural club showcasing exhibitions, readings and performances by both the cultural elite and hopefuls -- including Nobel literature laureates -- and dubbed by some as "the Academy´s living room".

The club was partly funded by the Academy.

'Everyone has always known'

The alleged sexual assaults occurred between 1996 and 2017, some of them in the club´s premises, according to Dagens Nyheter.

Several women spoke openly, allowing the newspaper to reveal their identities, and their stories were corroborated by eyewitnesses, the paper said.

One of them claims to have been raped in an apartment in a posh Stockholm neighbourhood.

"Everyone knows and everyone has always known," that he was attacking young women, she says.

The women said they remained silent out of fear of jeopardising their careers because of the man´s connections and close relations with leading publishers, producers, directors and composers.

After a "crisis meeting" on Thursday evening, the Swedish Academy announced that it was cutting all ties with the accused, whom it had funded and allowed to manage an apartment it owns in an upscale Paris neighbourhood.

The Academy said in a statement that during the meeting, "it emerged that members of the Academy, daughters of Academy members, wives of Academy members and staff of the Academy have experienced unwanted intimacy or inappropriate behaviour" by the man.

The prominent institution said it would launch an internal inquiry to find out if the man "has had any direct or indirect influence on the Academy´s prizes, scholarships, and fundings of any kind".

Culture Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke said she regretted honouring him with the 2015 Order of The Polar Star, awarded to members of the Swedish royal family and foreigners for services to Sweden.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Former US gymnastics doctor pleads guilty to sex abuse

Yahoo – AFP, Jeff KOWALSKY, Nov 22, 2017

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar admitted to seven counts of sex
abuse -- and apologized to his victims in court (AFP Photo/JEFF KOWALSKY)

Lansing (United States) (AFP) - Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Lawrence Nassar, accused of molesting more than 100 female athletes over several decades, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Nassar -- who was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country's gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games -- could be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison on the charges brought in Michigan.

Nassar faced 22 criminal counts of sexual assault in the Midwestern state, for abusing athletes under the guise of offering them medical treatment.

As part of a plea agreement, Nassar admitted to seven counts of abuse. Three of his victims were under 13 years old, and the others were between 13-15 years of age.

A handcuffed and seemingly gaunt Nassar appeared in court in an orange prison jumpsuit. Speaking softly and at times with heavy sighs, he pleaded guilty with a simple "yes" as each charge was read.

He then addressed the court with a statement.

He said he prayed for his victims and was "horribly sorry" for his crimes, which relate to events in Michigan that took place between 1998 and 2015.

"I want them to heal. I want this community to heal," Nassar said.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, addressing both Nassar and victims in the packed courtroom, said the former doctor's words "fall very short."

"You used that position of trust that you had in the most vile way -- to abuse children," Aquilina said.

"I agree that now is a time of healing. But, it may take them a lifetime of healing, while you spend your lifetime behind bars."

A 'monster'

Olympic gold medal-winning gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among those who have said Nassar abused them.

Raisman reacted to the court hearing on Twitter by calling Nassar "a MONSTER not a doctor."

Rachael Denhollander, the first to publicly accuse Nassar, doubted his courtroom apology.

US 2012 Olympic gold medal winning gymnastic team members(L-R) Aly 
Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Gabby Douglas are among those who have 
said Larry Nassar abused them (AFP Photo/TOBY JORRIN)

"He's a consummate narcissist. He's a master manipulator," Denhollander said at a post-hearing news conference.

"I don't believe there was anything sincere in what Larry said, other than his desire to refocus the attention on the good that he believed he did today."

The Michigan charges stemmed from Nassar's practice based at Michigan State University, where prosecutors said 125 victims have come forward alleging abuse.

Prosecutors told the court all of the victims had approved of the plea agreement, under which eight charges were dropped.

New 'safe sport policy'

Nassar's case was part of a wide-ranging scandal which forced the resignation of USA Gymnastics chief Steve Penny in March.

Penny was accused by victims of failing to quickly notify authorities about abuse allegations.

USA Gymnastics adopted a new "safe sport policy" in response to the Nassar scandal that requires "mandatory reporting" of suspicions of sexual abuse.

With Nassar now being held accountable for his crimes, three of his victims and their lawyers demanded additional accountability from officials who were aware of prior accusations.

Denhollander accused the university, and the US Olympics and gymnastics organizations of being "unable to acknowledge" past failures.

"You have failed to hold anyone accountable for allowing a pedophile to flourish for decades," she said.

A civil lawsuit has been filed on behalf of about 100 of Nassar's alleged victims. Their attorney John Manly estimated that the total number could be as high as 160.

Manly accused Michigan State University of "stonewalling" his efforts to find out how university officials dealt with past allegations against Nassar, which had prompted a 2014 internal investigation.

The university did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but earlier this year announced policy reforms to address campus sexual assault.

Nassar has previously pleaded guilty to separate federal child pornography charges.

The judge in the state case set a January 12 sentencing hearing, during which victims will be given an opportunity to speak.

Nassar is also scheduled to appear in a separate plea hearing Monday on the remainder of the charges against him.

US gymnast Aly Raisman is the latest member of the USA Gymnastics team to
 reveal being sexually abused by former team doctor Larry Nassar
(AFP Photo/
Toshifumi KITAMURA)

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