'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, June 18, 2018

Audi boss arrested in diesel probe

Yahoo – AFP, June 18, 2018

Stadler's arrest is the most high-profile yet in the dieselgate crisis (AFP Photo/

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) - Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler has been arrested in connection with parent company Volkswagen's "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal, German prosecutors said Monday.

The dramatic development comes a week after Munich prosecutors raided Stadler's home after charging him with fraud and the falsification of documents that allowed diesel vehicles equipped with cheating software to be sold to European customers.

Prosecutors said the arrest was justified because of the "risk of concealment of evidence".

Audi confirmed the arrest to AFP, declining to give further details.

"For Mr Stadler, the presumption of innocence continues to apply," a spokesman said in a statement.

Stadler's arrest is the most high-profile yet in the dieselgate crisis, which started when the Volkswagen group admitted in 2015 to equipping some 11 million diesels worldwide with "defeat devices" designed to dupe pollution tests.

VW's luxury subsidiary Audi has long faced suspicions that its engineers developed the software used in the scam.

Audi's former head of engine development was taken into custody in September 2017.

German authorities earlier this month ordered the recall of some 60,000 Audi A6 and A7 cars across Europe to remove illegal emissions control software, using a different technique however than the one at the heart of dieselgate.

Former VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn stepped down soon after the scandal broke in September 2015, while successor Matthias Mueller was hastily replaced earlier this year.

Both are suspected of knowing earlier than they have so far admitted about the cheating, meaning they may have failed in their duty to inform investors in the car giant about the financial risks.

US prosecutors also indicted Winterkorn last month, saying he knew of the company's emissions cheating as early as May 2014 but decided to continue.

Present boss Herbert Diess has been accused of knowing about diesel cheating before it became public -- an allegation rejected by the firm last month.

The scandal has so far cost the VW group more than 25 billion euros ($29 billion) in buybacks, fines and compensation, and the company remains mired in legal woes at home and abroad.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Former Trump campaign chief sent to jail after bail revoked

Yahoo – AFP, 15 June 2018

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, has been
ordered to jail pending trial

A US federal judge sent Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, to jail on Friday ahead of his trial on money laundering, tax and bank fraud charges.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson revoked Manafort's bail over claims he was tampering with witnesses in the case against him brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia.

Manafort, 69, had been under house detention while awaiting trial later this year in Washington and in Virginia.

"You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago," The Washington Post quoted Jackson as telling Manafort. "The government motion will be granted and the defendant will be detained."

Manafort is the first former member of Trump's presidential campaign to be jailed in connection with the Mueller investigation.

Mueller filed new obstruction of justice charges last week against Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty to the multiple counts against him.

The new indictment came four days after prosecutors said Manafort had tried to contact two witnesses in his money laundering and bank fraud case via Russian fixer Konstantin Kilimnik to persuade them to make certain representations to investigators.

Kilimnik, a former army-trained linguist with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, was included in an updated indictment of Manafort that accused both of witness tampering.

It took the number of people indicted by the 13-month-old investigation by Mueller to 20, with three companies also facing charges.

'Very unfair'

Trump has denounced the Mueller probe as a political "witch hunt" and denied there was any collusion with Russia by members of his election campaign.

Trump said Friday that the ruling that sent Manafort to jail was a "tough sentence" and "very unfair."

"Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns," Trump tweeted.

"Didn't know Manafort was the head of the Mob," he said. "Very unfair!"

Speaking to reporters earlier, Trump sought to play down Manafort's influence on the campaign, saying he "worked for me for a very short period of time.

"He worked for me, what, for 49 days or something?" he said.

The Manafort case focuses on his work between 2004 and 2014 in Ukraine for pro-Russia politicians including former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Kilimnik worked with Manafort in Ukraine during that time, and during the 2016 election they were reportedly in regular contact.

According to a Washington court filing earlier this week, Manafort contacted Kilimnik recently to get his help to influence two unnamed people -- said to be European-based public relations consultants -- in their testimony to Mueller on the so-called Hapsburg Group.

The Hapsburg Group were onetime European politicians Manafort allegedly secretly paid more than two million euros ($2.5 million) to lobby for Yanukovych in 2012-2013. The group included one unidentified former European chancellor.

Thai king granted full ownership of crown billions

Yahoo – AFP, June 16, 2018

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn inherited one of the world's great fortunes when he
ascended the Thai throne following the October 2016 death of his father (AFP Photo/

Thailand's king has been granted full ownership of the palace's multi-billion dollar assets under a law passed last year, according to a rare "explanatory note" published by the financial arm of the powerful but secretive monarchy.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn inherited one of the world's great fortunes when he ascended the Thai throne following the October 2016 death of his father, who ruled for seven decades.

Analysts say the Chakris are one of the world's richest royal dynasties, with estimates varying between $30-60 billion, although the monarchy does not publicly declare its wealth and is shielded from scrutiny by a draconian lese majeste law.

Most of the money is controlled by the opaque Crown Property Bureau (CPB), a vast portfolio that includes massive property ownership and investments in major companies.

But last July the Thai junta amended a royal property law for the first time in 69 years to give Vajiralongkorn full control over the CPB.

It is one of several steps taken by Vajiralongkorn to increase his personal control over the palace bureaucracy and its wealth since taking the throne.

The amendment means "all 'Crown Property Assets' are to be transferred and revert to the ownership of His Majesty, so that they may be administered and managed at His Majesty's discretion," according to a note featured prominently on the front page of the CPB's website.

The document was not dated and the CPB, which rarely grants interviews, could not be reached for further comment.

The note clarified that all of the CPB's shareholdings will also "be held in the name of His Majesty."

The CPB has major investments in some of Thailand's largest companies, such as Siam Commercial Bank and Siam Cement Company.

The note also said that previously tax exempt CPB assets will now be liable to taxation "in line with His Majesty's wishes."

Public discussion of the monarchy's actions remains taboo due to Thailand's lese majeste law, which punishes any perceived criticism with up to 15 years per offence.

All media based in Thailand must self-censor when reporting on the monarchy to avoid violating the lese majeste law.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Trump widens the cracks in world order's foundations

Yahoo – AFP, Aurélia END, June 9, 2018

Leaders of the G7 participate in a working session of the G7 Summit in La Malbaie,
Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018; US President Donald Trump has shown skepticism
and downright hostility toward multilateral institutions (AFP Photo/Ludovic MARIN)

Quebec City (AFP) - For decades, multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization and Group of Seven were widely accepted by Western governments as the best way to shore up world order.

Now, with Donald Trump in the White House and his "America First" foreign policy echoed in rise of nationalist and populist movements in Europe, the cracks in the concrete are growing ever wider.

Whether circumventing the WTO by imposing tariffs on its signatories, withholding funds from the UN or going it alone at an ongoing G7 summit in Canada, Trump has shown his disdain for organizations where American leadership was once a given.

"What worries me most is the fact that the rules-based international order is being challenged, quite surprisingly not by the usual suspects but by its main architect and guarantor, the US," European Council President Donald Tusk said in Quebec on Friday as the rest of the G7 awaited the arrival of Trump.

The US president's skepticism and in some cases hostility towards international institutions was evident throughout his electoral campaign, even at one state declaring the NATO military alliance "obsolete."

'Very unfair'

While his views of NATO have softened -- at least in public -- since he took power in January last year, he has accused the WTO of having been "a disaster for us" and "very unfair" in its policing of global trade.

Similar arguments were used to justify the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, a painstakingly negotiated agreement that had been signed by every country bar Syria and Nicaragua by the time Trump announced his decision a year ago.

Trump's ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has warned that the world body's criticism of the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital will lead to a reduction in its funding.

Around the same time that the United Nations was created in 1945 -- an organization headquartered in New York and which relies on Washington for the lion's share of its funding -- other multinational organizations also began taking root.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which began work in 1948, was the precursor to the modern-day WTO, which now has more than 160 members.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank both emerged from an agreement signed in 1944 at Bretton Woods in the northeastern US state of New Hampshire and soon became the main planks of the international finance system.

By tradition, the World Bank is led by an American while a European is at the helm of the IMF.

Multilateral institutions also began taking root on the other side of the Atlantic, including the Brussels-based NATO alliance which includes the United States and nearly all of Europe. Its birth came at a conference in Washington in 1949.

Its creation was followed soon after by the European Coal and Steel Community which initially included only six member nations but later morphed into the European Union, which is now a bulging club of 28 countries.

Brexit looms

That number should be reduced to 27 within the next 12 months when Britain leaves and the resentments towards the EU which prompted the British public to vote for Brexit are widespread.

Italy's new Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who made his international entrance at the G7 summit, was propelled into office after the Eurosceptic Five Star movement joined a right-wing coalition in Rome that has evoked comparisons with Trump's rise.

French President Emmanuel Macron is among those who insist that multinational institutions are the best way to address grievances in the era of globalization as long as the bodies adapt and reform.

Ella Kokotsis of Toronto University's Munk School of Global Affairs said that Ronald Reagan also clashed with his peers at the start of his tenure in the White House four decades ago but he soon made common ground with his fellow Western leaders at the height of the Cold War.

But the differences appear more profound this time round.

"They (the other G7 leaders in the 1980s) were able to integrate Ronald Reagan into the fold quite quickly and he bought into the views of the rest of his G7 counterparts," she told AFP.

"Here we are seeing a different mood -- it's very unpredictable with Trump."

Related Article:

A large video screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands with
Russia's President Vladimir Putin before the summit

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

California voters remove US rape case judge

Yahoo – AFP, June 6, 2018

Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky was recalled by a majority of voters in Santa
Clara County, south of San Francisco, during primary elections held in the state
June 5, 2018 (AFP Photo/Gregg Newton)

Los Angeles (AFP) - A US judge who came under seething criticism for sentencing a Stanford University student to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman has been ousted from office by voters in California.

Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky was recalled by a majority of voters in Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, during primary elections held in the state on Tuesday.

Persky, who has served on the bench for 15 years, is the first California judge to be recalled since 1932.

He set off a storm of outrage in 2016 after he handed down what was perceived as a far too lenient sentence in the sexual assault trial of Stanford student Brock Turner.

Turner, who was 19 at the time, was arrested after two students discovered him lying on top of an unconscious 22-year-old woman near a dumpster.

He denied having assaulted the woman and said they had consensual sex after meeting at a fraternity party where there was heavy drinking.

A jury, however, rejected his defense and he was convicted of three felonies.

The case drew international attention after the victim -- identified as "Emily Doe" -- read an emotionally charged 12-page letter at the sentencing, telling Turner he had taken away "my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today."

The letter, which went viral, threw the spotlight on the problem of rape and sexual assault on US college campuses and galvanized women's rights groups.

The case also sparked a national debate about judicial independence.

"This is a sad day for the California judiciary," LaDoris Cordell, a former Santa Clara County judge who was active in the campaign against the recall, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The voters' message to judges, she added, was that "if they don't go along with popular opinion... they can lose their job."

However, supporters of the recall said Persky's ouster was a clear message that perpetrators of such crimes would no longer get impunity.

"We're in the middle of a historic moment, when women across all sectors of society are standing up and saying, 'enough is enough'," Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor who led the campaign for Persky's recall, told local media.

"And I think there is a sort of national reckoning with the fact that women aren't going to experience equality as long as we're subject to high rates of sexual violence and sexual harassment."

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Billionaire conservative US donor David Koch retires

Yahoo – AFP, June 5, 2018

David Koch, pictured in 2011, will retire due to "declining health" (AFP
New York (AFP) - Powerful US political donor David Koch, who with his brother Charles built an industrial empire and became kingmakers of conservative American politics, will retire from his company and political activities for health reasons, according to a letter obtained Tuesday by AFP.

In this message to employees of Koch Industries on Monday, Charles Koch said David, 78, has been in "declining health" since 2016 and "continues to deteriorate," so he "is no longer able to get involved in management of the company and other organizations."

"We are deeply saddened by this as we miss David's insightful questions and his many contributions to Koch Industries," the letter said.

The conglomerate, based in Wichita, Kansas, which includes chemicals, energy and finance, helped him build a fortune exceeding $50 billion, according to Forbes.

The brothers used their wealth to fund dozens of political organizations, causes and candidates, including founding the political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity to promote tax cuts, reduced regulation and fiscal responsibility from the government.

They played a pivotal role in the rise of the Tea Party movement, which some credit as a forerunner to the emergence of Donald Trump's candidacy.

However, the Koch brothers, who are supporters of free trade, also are funding a campaign against Trump's protectionist policies and tariffs on key products like steel and aluminum.

Belgian police detain 13 in tennis match-fixing probe

Yahoo – AFP, Jun 5, 2018

Belgian prosecutors said the tennis matches involved were on the low-level
Futures and Challenger circuits (AFP Photo/Timothy A. CLARY)

Brussels (AFP) - Belgian police on Tuesday held 13 people in an investigation into match-fixing in tennis, prosecutors said, barely a month after a major independent report warned of a "tsunami" of corruption in the lower levels of the sport.

Officers swooped on 21 addresses in Belgium while simultaneous raids were launched on properties in the US, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Netherlands as part of an international probe into an Armenian-Belgian criminal network suspected of bribing players to throw games.

Belgian prosecutors said the matches involved were on the low-level Futures and Challenger circuits, away from the gaze of television coverage and where prize money is low enough that players are susceptible to backhanders.

"This judicial investigation showed that an Armenian-Belgian criminal organisation actively would have bribed professional tennis players from 2014 to the present day in order to obtain a pre-arranged match result with the aim of betting on these fixed matches based on insider information, thereby fraudulently boosting winnings," the prosecutors said in a statement.

The suspects mostly fit the same profile, prosecutors said -- no income, no job and facing financial problems. They would be given money to bet on lower-division matches where prize money was around $5,000 to $15,000.

"These tournaments are usually not filmed, which would make the players easier to corrupt and the organisers of fixed matches generate a lot of cash, making themselves guilty of match fixing, corruption, money laundering, participation in the activities of a criminal organisation," the prosecutors said.

In April, the Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis report said the lower levels of the sport were engulfed in betting-related corruption.

The report said the problems stemmed from too many players in the likes of the Futures and Challenger circuits not earning enough to make a living, coupled with the rise of online betting.

There are around 15,000 professional tennis players but only the top 250 women and the top 350 men even manage to break even before coaching costs, lawyer Adam Lewis, who chaired the review panel, warned in April.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Defence ministry will compensate technical staff made ill by carcinogenic paints

DutchNews, June 4, 2018

Photo: Ministry of Defence 

The defence ministry said on Monday that it will give financial compensation to hundreds of people who became ill after using highly carcinogenic paints. 

A deal has been worked out with the military unions and defence ministry workers who developed cancer and other ailments are now able to claim up to €40,000 for immaterial damage and €3,850 towards medical costs. 

‘The defence ministry has failed. I am sorry but I cannot turn back the clock,’ junior defence minister Barbara Visser told MPs. 

Last week it emerged that the government is liable for the health issues which hundreds of armed forces engineers have reported after being exposed to paint containing high levels of toxic Chromium 6. 

They had been involved in maintaining American Nato equipment at five bases between 1984 and 2006. 

The research, by the public health institute RIVM, showed that the defence ministry was aware of the health problems since 1973 but had had not shared this with doctors or soldiers. The RIVM began its research in 2014 after the scandal became public. 

In addition, the safety standards at the five locations where the equipment was maintained were not up to scratch. ‘The defence ministry’s prevention and care strategies did not meet the regulations,’ the RIVM report stated. 

More than 350 former defence workers have so far come forward to make a claim against the ministry.

Related Articles:

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Pope to Chileans: 'We did not react in time' on sex abuse

Yahoo – AFP, May 31, 2018

Pope Francis prays during a weekly general audience in St Peter's square on
May 23, 2018 in Vatican (AFP Photo/Alberto PIZZOLI)

Santiago (AFP) - Pope Francis voiced "shame" that the Catholic church failed "to listen and react in time" to allegations of sexual abuse by Chilean clergy, in a letter to Chileans released Thursday.

Several members of the Chilean church hierarchy are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by pedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

Francis earlier this month promised "changes" to the Chilean church to "restore justice" after reading the conclusions of an investigation into the abuse.

"I must say with shame that we did not listen and react in time" over the allegations, the pope said in the letter, released by Chile's Episcopal Conference at a news conference.

The Argentine pope also announced a new trip soon to Chile by Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Father Jordi Bertomeu, who visited Santiago in February to talk to the victims.

Francis has apologized to the victims, three of whom he met with recently.

On Friday and Sunday, he is to receive seven more victims of Karadima, who was suspended for life by the Vatican.

On May 18, 34 Chilean bishops announced their resignation over the scandal, after Francis summoned them.

Since 2000, about 80 Roman Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

Some analysts note that Chile's long tradition of having the church not subject to civilian law lent itself to impunity and cover-ups.

In a statement, the 34 Chilean bishops asked "forgiveness for the pain caused
to the victims" 

Related Articles:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Malaysian playboy financier in cross-hairs after poll upset

Yahoo – AFP, Sam Reeves, 27 May 2018

Jho Low led a high-rolling lifestyle after allegedly stealing huge sums from
1MDB, reportedly spending vast sums in New York's hottest nightspots

Baby-faced playboy Jho Low, a financier at the centre of Malaysia’s 1MDB mega-scandal, may find his days of hobnobbing with celebrities and splurging on property and art are numbered as the new government pledges to bring him to justice.

Suspected of being a key figure in one of the world's biggest frauds along with ousted leader Najib Razak and his cronies, the chubby, bespectacled businessman has become a lightning rod for public fury at the controversy.

He led a high-rolling lifestyle after allegedly stealing huge sums from 1MDB. He hung out with celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, partied with Paris Hilton, and reportedly spent vast sums in New York's hottest nightspots.

As investigations into the controversy accelerated, the Malaysian took to a luxury yacht allegedly bought with stolen cash and sailed around Asia, until the vessel was seized off Bali recently as part of 1MDB-linked probes.

The Wall Street Journal reported that he was on the Thai holiday island of Phuket earlier this month awaiting the election results. His current whereabouts are unclear.

But time could be running out for the flamboyant 36-year-old after Najib's scandal-mired coalition suffered a shock defeat at the May 9 poll in large part due to public anger at 1MDB.

The new government, headed by Najib's ex-mentor Mahathir Mohamad, has reopened probes into the sophisticated fraud and wants to haul Jho Low -- whose full name is Low Taek Jho -- back to Malaysia.

Abdul Razak Idris, a former senior officer from the anti-graft agency which led probes into the scandal until they were shut down under Najib, said he believed Low was the mastermind.

"He must be arrested and brought back to Malaysia so that we can bring back all the money parked abroad," he told AFP.

Low, who held no official positions at 1MDB but is believed to have exerted great influence over the fund, has previously denied any wrongdoing. He could not be contacted for this article.

Jho Low took to luxury yacht Equanimity, which was allegedly bought with stolen 
cash, and sailed around Asia until the vessel was seized off Bali recently as 
part of 1MDB-linked probes

Precarious position

In a first move aimed at pressuring him, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng on Friday instructed tax authorities to probe Low and his family -- many of whom remain in Malaysia -- over 1MDB.

Malaysian social media lit up with delight at the prospect that a man who allegedly plundered state coffers was now being aggressively pursued.

"Jho Low is the key to all this 1MDB debacle," read one post on Facebook. "Catching him is like catching the one ring that rules them all."

Low's current precarious position is a far cry from the image he once projected of an urbane, well-connected investment manager.

He was educated at elite British school Harrow, and during his time in England befriended Riza Aziz, Najib's stepson, a friendship that helped him get close to Malaysia's former ruling family.

He studied in the US and moved to New York, where reports of his profligate spending began to multiply.

The Department of Justice, which has launched lawsuits to seize assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB cash in the US, alleges $400 million from the fund was sent to America "for the personal gratification of Low and his associates".

This is just one part of the vast fraud. The DoJ claims that some $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund, which was set up in 2009 and overseen by Najib. Najib and 1MDB deny any wrongdoing.

As well as the yacht, Low is alleged to have used stolen cash to buy artworks by Monet and Van Gogh, high-end real estate and to give gifts to celebrities including DiCaprio and Australian model Miranda Kerr.

They have both turned the gifts over to US authorities and are not accused of any wrongdoing.

In a rare media interview with Malaysia's Star newspaper in 2010, Low complained of being depicted as someone who led "an excessive kind of lifestyle".

"Ultimately, I am Malaysian," he said. "I am one who does not forget my country and I think there is a lot we can do for Malaysia."

Starbucks to educate staff against racial bias, set example

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine TRIOMPHE, 27 May 2018

Starbucks has sought to contain outrage after the arrest of two young black
men at one of its outlets in Philadelphia

Can you teach employees not to be racist? Coffee giant Starbucks will shut stores around the United States on Tuesday to conduct an unprecedented training exercise at its more than 8,000 American outlets.

The initiative, which is expected to last four hours and reach 175,000 employees, was announced by Starbucks management on April 17, as it sought to contain outrage over the arrest of two young black men at one of its cafes in Philadelphia.

The incident five days earlier sparked outrage, protests and anguished soul-searching about America's lingering problems of discrimination and racial tensions that have deteriorated under the presidency of Donald Trump.

After the two black men arrived at the Starbucks one of them asked to use the bathroom but was told it was for paying customers only. The pair then sat down to wait for a third person before ordering drinks.

The manager called police.

A video that went viral showed uniformed officers questioning then handcuffing the two men, who put up no resistance, while a white client repeatedly asks an officer, "What'd they do? What'd they do?"

"Whether in stores, on trains, implicit or explicit bias, you see it all the time," says James Bell, 47, a counsellor in a mostly black school in Brooklyn and a Starbucks customer.

"As a black male, you have workers in the stores excessively asking, 'Do you need anything, may I help you?'" he tells AFP. "You see a young black man and you immediately think crime."

Bell points to other recent examples of discrimination broadcast on social networks, such a student calling the police in May when a black graduate student at Yale University fell asleep in a common room.


Then there are instances of police brutality toward, and killings of, black male suspects, also often captured by witnesses armed with smartphones, that in recent years have spawned protests.

Given the context, Bell isn't convinced that the Starbucks initiative will change much, but says it's "good they are trying." "At least they make the effort," he said.

Camille Hymes (C), a Starbucks regional vice-president, addresses media and 
protestors in a Philadelphia outlet of the coffee chain on April 15, 2018 after the 
police arrest of two black men sparked outrage and the company apologized

Like him, there has been a cautious welcome from black officials and activists, who are nonetheless waiting to see what happens and whether anything actually changes as a result.

"I do think this is historic," Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, America's first civil and human rights law firm, has said.

"I don't know of another company as ubiquitous as Starbucks... that has stated their willingness to directly confront racism and bias within their own company."

In taking responsibility, she said, Starbucks has "created an important window for retail corporations in America to begin to honestly and forthrightly tackle racial inequality."

Ifill is one of those from whom Starbucks sought advice in drawing up the curriculum. As with the others, it was conditional assistance.

"We've made it clear that we wont be a rubber stamp to validate their programming if we don't believe it's not effectively delivering," said Heather McGhee, president of Demos, a public policy organization that works to reduce political and economic inequality.

"We are going to be issuing a report later on at the beginning part of this summer about a more comprehensive set of items that we think they need to address to really lead on this issue," she said.

Starbucks seems to have heeded concerns.

'First step'

"May 29 isn't a solution, it's a first step," says the company on its website.

"This first training will focus on understanding racial bias and the history of public accommodations in the United States, with future trainings addressing all aspects of bias and experiences," it added.

So what will employees actually be taught on Tuesday? Starbucks has refused to grant media access to the training sessions, but has released a short video ahead of time.

They are due to watch a film from documentary maker Stanley Nelson on the history of African Americans, and discuss in small groups their experience of racial discrimination.

There will also be taped addresses from Howard Schultz and Kevin Johnson, the chairman and CEO of Starbucks respectively.

Sharon Rush, a law professor and expert in race relations at the University of Florida, is another of those who is uncertain -- even if she applauds Starbuck's initiative.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Jehovah’s Witnesses reject calls for independent inquiry into sexual abuse

DutchNews, May 22, 2018

The Jehovah’s Witnesses community in the Netherlands will not hold an independent inquiry into the sexual abuse of members, despite being urged to do so by justice minister Sander Dekker. 

By last month, 267 reports of sexual abuse involving Jehovah’s Witnesses had been made to a hotline set up by the Reclaimed Voices foundation in 2017 after Trouw published a report on the growing scandal. 

Dekker told RTL Nieuws on Tuesday that the organisation’s decision is ‘disappointing’ and that it is ignoring the victims who want to be heard. He has no powers to force the organisation to hold an inquiry. 

A spokesman for the Reclaimed Voices foundation said that the victims had not expected much from the church itself. ‘But we are very disappointed in the minister,’ Raymond Hintjes said. ‘We had expected him to apply more pressure and make sure that there would be an independent inquiry.’ 

Dekker said last year that the church should look to the example of the Catholic church to dealing with complaints about sexual abuse. In total, 3,712 people have reported being victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic church to a special hotline set up in 2010. There are some 30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Netherlands.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Graft-busting journalist returns to new Malaysia

Yahoo – AFP, Dan Martin, May 21, 2018

British journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown has been a thorn in the side of
Malaysia's ruling elite for years (AFP Photo/Mohd RASFAN)

Clare Rewcastle Brown was harassed and vilified for years for waging a quixotic campaign to expose Malaysian corruption that helped topple the country's long-ruling regime.

The British investigative journalist is now back in the country of her birth after being blacklisted for years, and being treated as a celebrity in a sign of the whirlwind changes since historic May 9 elections.

No one is more stunned than Rewcastle, who said she expects to see further startling revelations of corruption and misrule emerge as a reformist administration cleans house.

"There is so much that’s going to come tumbling out now," she said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

"Everyone is gob-smacked as they see these things happening. There are going to be more amazing scenes to come."

Rewcastle, now 58, has been a thorn in the side of Malaysia's ruling elite for years, working from abroad to expose larceny and misrule centring mostly on the rainforested state of Sarawak where she was born and spent her early years.

But her biggest bombshell may have been the 2015 revelation by her website Sarawak Report that nearly $700 million was funnelled into the bank account of ex-premier Najib Razak.

That helped super-charge allegations that Najib and his entourage plundered billions from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, in a scandal that led to his electoral defeat, ending six decades under an increasingly corrupt government.

He is now under investigation and expected to be charged.

Smear campaign

Rewcastle's work over the years triggered Malaysian arrest warrants, lawsuits, threats, and a sustained campaign of online vilification that she suspects was orchestrated by Najib's government using western PR firms.

The sister-in-law of former British prime minister Gordon Brown, Rewcastle was still recently being approached by shadowy characters offering pay-offs if she'd publish juicy "revelations" for them -- ham-fisted attempts to entrap and discredit her, she says.

"Millions have gone into trying to destroy my reputation, which could have been spent on something useful," she said. "But all they did was help make me famous, the stupid idiots."

Never welcome, and officially barred from Malaysia in 2015, Rewcastle has gone almost overnight from persona non grata to welcome guest.

British journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown has been a thorn in the side of 
Malaysia's ruling elite for years (AFP Photo/Laurence CHU, John SAEKI)

She met AFP following an interview with a state-aligned newspaper that formerly maligned her but gave her glowing front-page treatment on Monday.

She was halted repeatedly by ordinary Malaysians who recognised her distinctive ginger locks, stopping to thank her and snap selfies.

Many more have praised Rewcastle on social media after learning of her arrival. "It's extremely gratifying," she said.

Few foreigners were as feared by Malaysia's government.

Born in Sarawak when it was a British crown colony, she spent several years there, often following her mother -- a midwife for indigenous people -- on jungle jaunts to remote clinics.

She later worked for the BBC and others in London in investigative journalism before devoting herself to publicising Sarawak corruption, deforestation, and eviction of native peoples from traditional lands.

"I did this partly because I was mad, and partly because I thought there was a slim chance something could be done," she said of the state which environmentalists believe has lost nearly all of its original rainforest.

In 2010, she started Sarawak Report and short-wave broadcaster Radio Free Sarawak -- operated in secret from London, and later Bali, Brunei and Sarawak itself.

Rewcastle drew on a network of contacts in Malaysia to repeatedly expose the plundering of Sarawak. Najib's regime eventually blocked the website -- a move the new government has reversed -- and radio signals were jammed.

Winding down

With Malaysia on a reform path, Rewcastle expects to wind down her anti-graft work, which she said was a money-losing project reliant on financial backers she won't name.

But she pledged to "do my darnedest" to continuing advocating for Sarawak.

That includes pushing for investigations into its former chief minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud.

The retired 82-year-old, who was loosely aligned with Najib's regime, is accused by indigenous activists of ruling Sarawak like a family fiefdom for 33 years, plundering its timber and building ecologically harmful dams.

Sarawak Report, along with the Bruno Manser Fund, a Swiss NGO, has documented huge investments around the world by Taib's circle.

"Taib needs to be taken by the ankles and shook, so the money falls out," Rewcastle said.

"There's still a lot to be done. But we're in a terrific position now to really campaign for what this was originally about."