'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.)

Hong Kong's grandpa protesters speak softly but carry a stick

Hong Kong's grandpa protesters speak softly but carry a stick
'Grandpa Wong' is a regular sight at Hong Kong's street battles (AFP Photo/VIVEK PRAKASH)
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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Friday, August 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood Mocked for Republican Appearance

Jakarta Globe, August 31, 2012

Actor Clint Eastwood addresses an empty chair and questions it as
if it were President Barack Obama as he endorses Republican presidential
 nominee  Mitt Romney during the final session of the Republican National
Convention in Tampa, Florida on Thursday. (Reuters Photo/Mike Segar)

Related articles

Los Angeles. Clint Eastwood earned plenty of bad reviews for his latest performance: A bizarre, rambling endorsement of Mitt Romney.

“Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic,” tweeted film critic Roger Ebert as Eastwood ad-libbed Thursday night to an audience of millions — and one empty chair — on stage at the Republican National Convention. “He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”

Eastwood carried on a long-winded conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama, telling him that he failed to deliver on his promise and that it’s time for Romney and running mate Paul Ryan to take over.

“Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people?” he said at one point to the empty chair.

Twitter was instantly ablaze with comments mocking the Oscar-winning director of “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby.”

“Clint has now eclipsed the total word count of his last three films,” tweeted film critic Richard Roeper during the speech, which was intended to last five minutes but went on for nearly 12.

Howard Kurtz, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” said “Clint’s empty chair act” was the “weirdest convention moment I have ever seen.” Joe Scarborough, the conservative host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” declared that “a great night for Mitt Romney just got sidetracked by Clint Eastwood.”

Minutes after Eastwood began his speech, someone created an (at)InvisibleObama account on Twitter. It has already amassed 30,000 followers and counting.

“I heard that Clint Eastwood was channeling me at the RNC,” tweeted comic actor Bob Newhart, known for his one-sided conversation bits. “My lawyers and I are drafting our lawsuit.”

The 82-year-old actor and director, a fiscal conservative who takes left-leaning stands on social issues, also talked about Oprah Winfrey, Obama’s unfulfilled promise to close the US prison at Guantanamo, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and lawyers.

“When somebody doesn’t do the job, you gotta let ‘em go,” Eastwood said. The tough-guy actor of “Dirty Harry” fame then drew a finger across his throat.

The Obama campaign shot back afterward by tweeting a photo of the back of the president’s chair, with Obama’s head peeking over it, along with the line: “This seat’s taken.”

A top Obama adviser, David Axelrod, told MSNBC that Republicans must be regretting Eastwood’s rambling speech.

Inside the convention, the crowd cheered the actor’s entrance and shouted his famed catchphrase, “Go ahead, make my day.” But backstage, stern-faced Romney aides winced at times as Eastwood’s remarks stretched on.

After his speech, Romney’s camp defended Eastwood.

“He’s an American icon,” Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told CNN’s Piers Morgan. “You can’t look at him at through the same political lens that you would other politicians. He’s Clint Eastwood.”

Romney’s wife, Ann, was peppered with questions on morning news shows about whether Eastwood’s appearance was a distraction. She said Eastwood is “a unique guy and he did a unique thing last night.”

Associated Press

German drug firm makes 1st apology for thalidomide

The Houston Chronicle, Frank Jordans, Maria Cheng, Associated Press, August 31, 2012

FILE - An April 21, 1969 photo from files showing a view of a laboratory of
 the pharmaceutical company "Chemie Gruenenthal", in Stolberg, near Aachen,
 West Germany, during an animal experiment April 21, 1969 as prosecutors came
 to inspect the manufacturer of the drug Thalidomide, which was prescribed by
 doctors as harmless sleeping drug to pregnant women and caused the miscarriage
 and birth of thousands of crippled children. Photo: File / AP

BERLIN (AP) — The German manufacturer of a notorious drug that caused thousands of babies to be born with shortened arms and legs, or no limbs at all, issued its first ever apology Friday — 50 years after pulling the drug off the market.

Gruenenthal Group's chief executive said the company wanted to apologize to mothers who took the drug during the 1950s and 1960s and to their children who suffered congenital birth defects as a result.

"We ask for forgiveness that for nearly 50 years we didn't find a way of reaching out to you from human being to human being," Harald Stock said. "We ask that you regard our long silence as a sign of the shock that your fate caused in us."

FILE - In a 1965 file photo provided by the U.S.
Department  of Health, a three-year-old girl, born
 without arms to a German mother who took the drug
 thalidomide, uses power-driven artificial arms fitted
 to her by Dr. Ernst Marquardt of the University of
 Heidelberg in Germany. Photo: File / AP
Stock spoke in the west German city of Stolberg, where the company is based, during the unveiling of a bronze statue symbolizing a child born without limbs because of thalidomide. The statue is called "the sick child" — a name German victims group object to since all the victims are now adults. In German, the name also implies cure.

The drug is a powerful sedative and was sold under the brand name Contergan in Germany. It was given to pregnant women mostly to combat morning sickness, but led to a wave of birth defects in Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan. Thalidomide was yanked from the market in 1961 and was also found to cause defects in the eyes, ears, heart, genitals and internal organs of developing babies.

Thalidomide was never approved for use in pregnant women in the United States.

Freddie Astbury, of Liverpool, England, was born without arms or legs after his mother took thalidomide. The 52-year-old said the apology was years long overdue.

"It's a disgrace that it's taken them 50 years to apologize," said Astbury, of the Thalidomide U.K. agency, an advocacy group for survivors. "I'm gobsmacked (astounded)," he said. "For years, (Gruenenthal) have insisted they never did anything wrong and refused to talk to us."

Astbury said the drug maker should apologize not just to the people affected, but to their families. He also said the company should offer compensation. "It's time to put their money where their mouth is," he said. "For me to drive costs about 50,000 pounds ($79,000) for a car with all the adaptations," he said. "A lot of us depend on specialist care and that runs into the millions."

Astbury said he and other U.K. survivors have received some money over the years from a trust set up by thalidomide's British distributor but that Gruenenthal has never agreed to settle.

"We invite them to sit around the table with us to see how far their apology will go," he said. "I don't think they've ever realized the impact they've had on peoples' lives."

Gruenenthal settled a lawsuit in Germany in 1972 — 11 years after stopping sales of the drug — and voiced its regret to the victims. But for decades, the company refused to admit liability, saying it had conducted all necessary clinical trial required at the time.

Stock reiterated that position Friday, insisting that "the suffering that occurred with Contergan 50 years ago happened in a world that is completely different from today" and the pharmaceutical industry had learned a valuable lesson from the incident.

"When it developed Contergan Gruenenthal acted on the basis of the available scientific knowledge at the time and met all the industry standards for the testing of new drugs that were known in the 1950s and 1960s," he said.

A German victims group rejected the company's apology as too little, too late.

"The apology as such doesn't help us deal with our everyday life," said Ilonka Stebritz, a spokeswoman for the Association of Contergan Victims. "What we need are other things."

Stebritz said that the 1970 settlement in Germany led to the creation of a €150 million fund for some 3,000 German victims, but that with a normal life expectancy of 85 years the money wasn't enough. In many other countries, victims are still waiting for compensation from Gruenenthal or its local distributors.

In July, an Australian woman born without arms and legs after her mother took thalidomide reached a multimillion dollar settlement with the drug's British distributor. Gruenenthal refused to settle. The lawsuit was part of a class action and more than 100 other survivors expect to have their claims heard in the next year.

Thalidomide is still sold today, but as a treatment for multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer and leprosy. It is also being studied to see if it might be useful for other conditions including AIDS, arthritis and other cancers.

Maria Cheng reported from London.

Australians Outraged by Billionaire’s Rant at the Working Poor

Jakarta Globe, August 31, 2012

This 2011 file photo shows Gina Rinehart, Chair of Hancock
Prospecting, speaking during a business session in Perth,
Australia. (EPA Photo/TONY MCDONOUGH) 
Related articles

Sydney. Australia’s Labor government on Friday condemned the world’s richest woman for claiming her fellow Australians were “lazy workers who drink and socialize too much.” Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart caused an uproar this week when she wrote in an industry magazine that anyone could make millions if they simply worked harder and spent less time drinking with friends.

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said Rinehart had insulted Australian workers by telling them to “get out of the pub and go and make billions.” Former prime minister Kevin Rudd said Rinehart was “just plain wrong” and that her call for a cut in the minimum wage would not reduce unemployment because “life is more complex than that.” Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said Rinehart should try living on the minimum wage before suggesting it should be cut.

Rinehart, 58, is the richest Australian with an estimated personal fortune of 29 billion Australian dollars ($28 billion).

When she took over the family firm in 1992, it had a handful of mining leases but not much else. Through astute joint ventures, Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd was valued last year at more than 10 billion Australian dollars.

Her other wealth is tied up in other leases for mining iron ore and coal, Australia’s top two exports.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Occupy Wall Street Plans to Block NYSE

Jakarta Globe, August 31, 2012

NYPD officers clash with members of the Occupy Wall St movement
at Zuccotti park in New York in March. (Reuters Photo)
Related articles

Occupy Wall Street will mark its first anniversary this September by trying to blockade the New York Stock Exchange and perhaps carry out citizen’s arrests of bankers, organizers of the social protest movement said Thursday.

Occupy has seen a steep drop in support since its founding a year ago when hundreds of people camped in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street to protest bank bailouts and what they called the ruling “one percent” of America’s most wealthy.

However, activists promise a resurgence on the September 17 anniversary, about six weeks before Americans decide whether to reelect President Barack Obama or bring in his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

The highlight of several days of street actions will be a “people’s wall” at the NYSE, Dana Balicki, a spokeswoman for the group, told AFP.

“That will be a pretty substantial act of civil disobedience,” she said. Protesters will stage a sit-in outside the heavily guarded building and there are plans to attempt citizen’s arrests of bankers.

“That’s still on the table. That’s been talked about a lot. They’ve been planning some citizen’s arrests for some time,” she said.

“There’ll be a mass of people converging on the Stock Exchange to deliver our message: that we’re the 99 percent and we’re not going to take it,” Balicki, 31, said.

Balicki said Occupy leaders had learned from past mistakes and were ready to get around any police crackdown.

Previous Occupy events in New York’s tightly policed financial district have drawn a huge law enforcement response, often resulting in dozens and occasionally hundreds of arrests for disorderly behavior.

Agence France-Presse

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Serious Fraud Office investigating Barclays payments to Qatar

Barclays faces criminal investigation into payments made to Qatar Holding after bank sought emergency funding in 2008

The Guardian, Simon Goodley, Thursday 30 August 2012

Barclays is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over payments
made to Qatar Holding in 2008. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

The Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into payments made after Barclays tapped Middle Eastern investors for emergency funds in 2008.

The inquiry – which relates to the disclosure of fees paid to the sovereign investor Qatar Holding – represents the latest blow to the bank, which has just lost its chief executive Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius after being fined £290m by US and UK regulators for its role in the Libor fixing scandal.

In a statement issued after the stock market had closed last night, the bank said: "Barclays confirms that the Serious Fraud Office has commenced an investigation into payments under certain commercial agreements between Barclays and Qatar Holding LLC". It declined to add further comment.

News of the formal SFO investigation comes after Barclays confirmed in July that the Financial Services Authority had begun a separate probe into Barclays on the same topic, when the bank admitted its finance director Chris Lucas was one of four current and past employees being scrutinised over the fundraising. The bank said at the time that it had satisfied its disclosure obligations and that it will co-operate fully with the FSA.

The investigation by the FSA – which does not have any powers to investigate alleged crimes apart from insider dealing and share scams – will now run alongside that of the SFO, which is understood to involve a broad look at the company's conduct with the Qataris. A source close to the inquiry said: "The SFO is looking into the role of the company [Barclays]. I wouldn't discount anything".

The SFO has already received information from the FSA and it is understood to have requested further documents from the bank. Both the SFO and the FSA declined to comment.

In June 2008, Barclays raised £4.5bn through an issue of new shares and in November 2008 it raised more than £7bn. Much of the focus appears to be on information provided in the June 2008 fundraising that describes "an agreement for provision of advisory services" by Qatar to Barclays in the Middle East.

The June fundraising outlined an agreement "to explore opportunities for a co-operative business relationship" with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation of Japan. The fees disclosed for this fundraising totalled around £100m.

In the November 2008 fundraising, Barclays provided five separate disclosures of fees that amounted in total to around £300m.

Qatar Holding is a unit of the Qatar Investment Authority, which is the largest shareholder in Barclays with a 6.65% stake, according to data compiled by Reuters.

While the investigation into the fees does not involve other banks, Barclays was far from being alone in the Libor scandal. Last month, Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester warned that his bank faced a huge fine for its role.

Related Article:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Murder case reveals alleged terrorist plot

Prosecutor says soldiers killed 2 to protect plans

The Boston Globe, By Russ Bynum,  Associated Press, August 28, 2012

Anthony Peden (left) and Isaac Aguigui are charged in the killings of a former
comrade and his girlfriend. (Lewis Levine, Associated Press/File 2011)

LUDOWICI, Ga. — Four Army soldiers based in southeast Georgia killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect an anarchist militia group they formed that stockpiled assault weapons and plotted a range of antigovernment attacks, prosecutors told a judge Monday.

A prosecutor in Long County, near the Army post Fort Stewart, said the militia group composed of active duty and former US military members spent at least $87,000 buying guns and bomb components.

Prosecutor Isabel Pauley said the group was serious enough to kill two people — former soldier Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York — by shooting them in the woods last December in order to keep its plans secret.

‘‘This domestic terrorist organization did not simply plan and talk,’’ Pauley told a Superior Court judge at a hearing Monday.

‘‘Prior to the murders in this case, the group took action,’’ she said. “Evidence shows the group possessed the knowledge, means, and motive to carry out their plans.’’

One of the Fort Stewart soldiers charged in the case, Private First Class Michael Burnett, also gave testimony that backed up many of the assertions made by prosecutors. The 26-year-old pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter, illegal gang activity, and other charges. He made a deal to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against the three other soldiers.

Prosecutors said the group called itself FEAR, short for Forever Enduring Always Ready. Pauley said authorities don’t know how many members the militia had.

Burnett said he knew the group’s leaders from serving with them at Fort Stewart. He agreed to testify against Private Isaac Aguigui, identified by prosecutors as the militia’s founder and leader, Sergeant Anthony Peden, and Private Christopher Salmon.

All are charged by state authorities with malice murder, felony murder, criminal gang activity, aggravated assault, and using a firearm with committing a felony. A hearing for the three soldiers was scheduled Thursday.

Prosecutors say Roark, 19, served with the four defendants in the Fourth Brigade Combat Team of the Army’s Third Infantry Division and became involved with the militia. Pauley said the group believed it had been betrayed by Roark, who left the Army two days before he was killed, and decided the former soldier and his girlfriend needed to be silenced.

Burnett testified that on the night of Dec. 4, he and the three other soldiers lured Roark and York to some woods a short distance from the Army post under the guise that they were going target shooting.

He said Peden shot Roark’s girlfriend in the head while she was trying to get out of her car. Salmon, he said, made Roark get on his knees and shot him twice in the head. Burnett said Aguigui ordered the killings.

‘‘A loose end is the way Isaac put it,’’ Burnett said.

Aguigui’s attorney, Daveniya Fisher, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Attorneys for Peden and Salmon both declined to comment Monday.

Also charged in the killings is Salmon’s wife, Heather Salmon. Her attorney, Charles Nester, also did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Pauley said Aguigui funded the militia using $500,000 in insurance and benefit payments from the death of his pregnant wife a year ago. Aguigui was not charged in his wife’s death, but Pauley told the judge her death was ‘‘highly suspicious.’’

She said Aguigui used the money to buy $87,000 worth of semiautomatic assault rifles, other guns, and bomb components that were recovered from the accused soldiers’ homes and from a storage locker. He also used the insurance payments to buy land for his militia group in Washington state, Pauley said.

In a videotaped interview with military investigators, Pauley said, Aguigui called himself ‘‘the nicest cold-blooded murderer you will ever meet.’’ He used the Army to recruit militia members, who wore distinctive tattoos that resemble an anarchy symbol, she said. Prosecutors say they have no idea how many members belong to the group.

‘‘All members of the group were on active duty or were former members of the military,’’ Pauley said. ‘‘He targeted soldiers who were in trouble or disillusioned.’’

The prosecutor said the militia group had big plans. It plotted to take over Fort Stewart by seizing its ammunition control point and talked of bombing the Forsyth Park fountain in nearby Savannah, she said. In Washington state, she added, the group plotted to bomb a dam and poison the state’s apple crop. Ultimately, prosecutors said, the militia’s goal was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president.

Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said the Army has dropped its charges against the four soldiers in the slayings of Roark and York. The military authorities filed their charges in March but never acted on them. Fort Stewart officials Monday refused to identify the units the accused soldiers served in and their jobs within those units.

Related Article:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Facebook Israel-Arab youth group has rare meeting

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Jerusalem, August 27 2012

A Facebook-based movement for Mideast youth says the group has held its first gathering, bringing young activists from Israel and Arab countries to Germany to promote peace.

Nimrod Ben-Zeev of the YaLa-Young Leaders group says 18 members from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq and Kuwait met in Berlin over the weekend.

Ben-Zeev, an Israeli, said the group was selected from the most active of YaLa's 162,000 Facebook members.

Meetings between Israelis and citizens of Arab nations are rare. Except for Egypt and the Palestinians, none of those represented have diplomatic ties with Israel.

Ben-Zeev said Monday the movement wants to empower Middle Eastern youths to work together to improve their communities. It plans an online university next year.

(Subjects: Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, ArabsEU, USIsrael, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

" ..... If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening. ....."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Britain 'committed to diplomatic solution' over Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder has been living in Ecuador's London embassy for more than two months

guardian.co.uk, Reuters in London, Sunday 26 August 2012

A policeman stands outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where
Julian Assange has been living for more than two months. Photograph: Max Nash/PA

Britain says it remains committed to reaching a diplomatic solution to the presence of Julian Assange in Ecuador's London embassy, after both countries took steps to defuse a row over his action in taking refuge.

The WikiLeaks founder has been living in the embassy's cramped quarters for more than two months in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations.

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, said on Saturday that Britain had withdrawn a threat to enter the embassy to arrest Assange, to whom Ecuador has granted asylum, and that he now considered the "unfortunate incident" over.

Correa was responding to a British assurance that it was not threatening the embassy and that Britain was committed to the Vienna convention, which protects the inviolability of diplomatic premises.

"We remain committed to the process of dialogue we have entered into and we want that to resume with the government of Ecuador," a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

There was a furious reaction in Ecuador when the UK said that an obscure domestic law allowed it, under extreme circumstances, to remove the embassy's diplomatic status, exposing Assange to immediate arrest by police.

Ecuador accused Britain of planning to storm the embassy and demanded it withdraw the threat.

Britain said it had not meant to threaten Ecuador, a plea that fell on deaf ears, prompting it to send Ecuador a formal communication on Thursday confirming that the embassy was safe.

The communication was copied to diplomats at a meeting on Friday of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Washington, which discussed the spat.

A British diplomat attending the meeting invited Ecuador to resume "constructive discussions" on Assange, the Foreign Office said. "We believe that our two countries should be able to find a diplomatic solution," the diplomat added, according to a transcript issued by the Foreign Office.

Britain says it is determined to fulfil a legal obligation to send Assange to Sweden.

Correa responded to the British diplomatic approach by saying in his weekly media address on Saturday: "We consider this unfortunate incident over, after a grave diplomatic error by the British in which they said they would enter our embassy."

The OAS had condemned the British threat, and South American foreign ministers backed Correa's position that Britain's warning was unacceptable and could set a dangerous precedent.

Correa says he shares Assange's fears that, if handed over to Sweden, he might be extradited to the United States to face charges over WikiLeaks' 2010 publication of US cables.

US and European government sources say the United States has issued no criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder and has made no attempt to extradite him.

Anti-Nuclear Protests Signal New Activism in Japan

Jakarta Globe, August 26, 2012

In this June 29 file photo, protesters stage an anti-nuclear protest rally near
 Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's office in Tokyo when at least 10,000 protesters
 demanded Noda's government to stop the resumption of two reactors in western
Japan. Japan’s nuclear crisis (and the government’s handling of it) has spawned
 a new breed of protesters. Drawn from the ranks of ordinary citizens rather than
 activists, they are a manifestation of a broader discontent with government and could
 create pressure for change in a political system that has long resisted it. (AP Photo/
 Koji Sasahara, File)
Related articles

Tokyo. This is Japan’s summer of discontent. Tens of thousands of protesters — the largest demonstrations the country has seen in decades — descend on Tokyo every Friday evening to shout anti-nuclear slogans at the prime minister’s office. Many have never protested publicly before.

“I used to complain about this to my family but I realized that doesn’t do any good,” said Takeshi Tamura, a 67-year-old retired office worker. “So I came here to say this to his office. I don’t know if we can make a difference but I had to do something, and at least it’s a start.”

The government’s much-criticized handling of the Fukushima nuclear crisis has spawned a new breed of protesters in Japan. Drawn from the ranks of ordinary citizens rather than activists, they are a manifestation of a broader dissatisfaction with government and could create pressure for change in a political system that has long resisted it.

What started as relatively small protests in April has swollen rapidly since the government decided to restart two of Japan’s nuclear reactors in June, despite lingering safety fears after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

As many as 20,000 people have gathered at the Friday rallies by unofficial police estimates, and organizers say the turnout has topped 100,000. Officials at the prime minister’s office say their crowd estimate is “several tens of thousands.” Either way, the two-hour demonstrations are the largest and most persistent since the 1960s, when violent student-led protests against a security alliance with the United States rocked Japan.

The protesters include office workers, families with children, young couples and retirees.

“No to restart!” they chant in unison without a break.  “No nukes!”

Despite the simple message, the anger runs much deeper, analysts say.

“It’s not only about nuclear,” says writer and social critic Karin Amamiya. “It mirrors core problems in Japanese society, and the way politics has ignored public opinion.”

Distrust of politics runs deep in Japan, and many think politicians are corrupt and only care about big business. Some voters were angered when the government rammed through a sales tax hike in July that had divided public opinion and the ruling party. The government has also done little to reduce the US military presence on the southern island of Okinawa despite decades of protests there, under the security alliance that had initially triggered violent student protests.

In a country not known for mass protests, the nuclear crisis has galvanized people to an unusual extent. Unlike other issues, it cuts across ideological lines. For Japanese from all walks of life, it has shattered a sense of safety they felt about their food, the environment and the health of their children.

That helps explain why the long-standing frustration with government exploded in protests after the restart of two reactors in Ohi in western Japan. They were the first of Japan’s 50 reactors to resume operation under a new regime of post-tsunami safety checks.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was criticized for making the restart decision behind closed doors and calling the weekly chanting and drum-beating outside his office “a loud noise.” An apparently chastised Noda met with rally leaders, who have proposed talks, allowing them inside his office compound for the first time Wednesday. Noda also met with leaders of Japan’s influential business lobbies afterwards.

“It’s not a loud noise that we are making. It’s desperate voices of the people,” said Misao Redwolf, an illustrator who heads the weekly protests, as she demanded Noda immediately stop the two recently resumed reactors and eventually abandon nuclear energy. “We’ll continue our protests as long as you keep ignoring our voices.”

Noda promised to listen to the people’s voices carefully before deciding Japan’s long-term energy policy, but refused to stop the two reactors.

Protest leaders said they don’t expect anything to happen just because they met Noda, but at least hold on to their hope for a change.

“All these years, lawmakers have only cared about vested interests, and that was good enough to run this country,” Kiyomi Tsujimoto, an activist-turned lawmaker, said at a recent meeting with protest organizers. “The government is still seen doing the same politics, and that’s what people are angry about. I think (the demonstrations) are testing our ability to respond to the changes.”

Masanori Oda, cultural anthropologist at Chuo University who heads a drum section of the protest, said many Japanese also contributed to prolong such a system “very convenient” to politicians by not getting angry or standing up against unfavorable policies.

“Now more Japanese are learning to raise their voice. Japanese politicians should develop a deeper sense of crisis about the situation,” Oda said.

Separately, an even larger rally, joined by rock star Ryuichi Sakamoto and Nobel laureate author Kenzaburo Oe, drew 75,000 by police estimates on July 16, a public holiday. Organizers put the crowd at Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park at nearly 200,000. Thousands also ringed Japan’s parliament after sunset on July 29 and held lit candles.

Smaller rallies have sprung up in dozens of other cities, with participants gathering outside town halls, utility companies and parks.

“Obviously, people’s political behavior is changing,” says Jiro Yamaguchi, a political science professor at Hokkaido University. “Even though a lot of people join demonstrations, that won’t bring a political change overnight. The movement may hit a plateau, and people may feel helpless along the way. But there could be a change.”

Already, there are signs of change. Many lawmakers have converted to supporting a nuclear-free future amid speculation that a struggling Noda will call an election in the coming months and that nuclear policy will be a key campaign issue.

A new party, established by veteran lawmaker Ichiro Ozawa and about 50 followers who broke away from Noda’s ruling party after opposing the sales tax hike, has promised to abolish atomic energy within 10 years. Some lawmakers have launched study groups on phasing out nuclear power. A group of prefectural, or state-level, legislators has formed an anti-nuclear green party.

The government was also forced to step up transparency about the method and results of town meetings to better reflect public views on energy policy to determine the level of Japan’s nuclear dependency by 2030. The options being considered are zero percent, 15 percent and 20-25 percent.  That already delayed the energy report for several weeks, and officials set up a new panel Wednesday to discuss how to factor in public opinion in policies.

“If we carry on, we could get more people to join in the cause around the country,” said Mariko Saito, a 63-year-old homemaker from nearby Kamakura city, who joined the protest outside the prime minister’s office on a recent Friday. “I’ll definitely vote for an anti-nuclear candidate. Their nuclear stance would be the first thing I’ll look at.”

The rallies are peaceful compared to the 1960s, when activists wearing helmets and carrying clubs threw stones and burst into the parliament complex. One died and dozens were injured.

Today’s protesters hold flowers or handmade posters and even chat with police officers.

“It’s almost like a festival,” journalist and TV talk show host Soichiro Tahara wrote in his blog. “The people have finally found a common theme to come together.”

Associated Press

Friday, August 24, 2012

IMF Says Bailouts Iceland-Style Hold Lessons in Crisis Times

Bloomberg News, By Omar R. Valdimarsson on August 13, 2012 

Iceland holds some key lessons for nations trying to survive bailouts after
the  island’s approach to its rescue led to a “surprisingly” strong recovery,
International Monetary Fund’s mission chief to the country said.
Photographer: Arnaldur Halldorsson/Bloomberg

Iceland holds some key lessons for nations trying to survive bailouts after the island’s approach to its rescue led to a “surprisingly” strong recovery, the International Monetary Fund’s mission chief to the country said.

Iceland’s commitment to its program, a decision to push losses on to bondholders instead of taxpayers and the safeguarding of a welfare system that shielded the unemployed from penury helped propel the nation from collapse toward recovery, according to the Washington-based fund.

“Iceland has made significant achievements since the crisis,” Daria V. Zakharova, IMF mission chief to the island, said in an interview. “We have a very positive outlook on growth, especially for this year and next year because it appears to us that the growth is broad based.”

Iceland refused to protect creditors in its banks, which failed in 2008 after their debts bloated to 10 times the size of the economy. The island’s subsequent decision to shield itself from a capital outflow by restricting currency movements allowed the government to ward off a speculative attack, cauterizing the economy’s hemorrhaging. That helped the authorities focus on supporting households and businesses.

“The fact that Iceland managed to preserve the social welfare system in the face of a very sizeable fiscal consolidation is one of the major achievements under the program and of the Icelandic government,” Zakharova said. The program benefited from “strong implementation, reflecting ownership on the part of the authorities,” she said.

Euro Aid

As of March this year, the IMF had program arrangements with 11 European countries, representing about 65 percent of its funds, according to its website. Governments inside the euro zone have struggled to comply with the austerity terms prescribed in joint aid packages provided by the IMF and the European Union, leading to revised terms and extended deadlines for nations such as Greece.

At the same time, bond markets have reflected a lack of confidence in recovery programs, sending debt yields higher and adding to pressure on government finances. Countries inside the euro area or with pegged currencies such as Latvia have relied on wage cuts and reduced welfare services as a means toward delivering on bailout goals.

In Iceland, the krona’s 80 percent plunge against the euro offshore in 2008 helped turn a trade deficit into a surplus by the end of the same year. Unemployment, which jumped nine-fold between 2007 and 2010, eased to 4.8 percent in June from a peak of 9.3 percent two years ago.


“Each program is different and responds to a different situation so one cannot compare them directly,” Zakharova said. “Of course, considering the depth of the crisis in late 2008, Iceland’s recovery has been impressive.”

Iceland, which the IMF estimates was the world’s third- richest nation per capita in 2005 before slumping to rank 20th by 2010, ended its 33-month program in August last year. The $13 billion economy will expand 2.4 percent this year, the IMF said April 17. That compares with an estimated 0.3 percent contraction in the 17-member euro area.

Iceland’s growth “is driven by private consumption, investment has picked up strongly and even though, when you look at net exports, those have a negative contribution to growth, it is mainly because imports have been strong, reflecting strong consumption and an increase in income and the healthy expectations of households,” Zakharova said. “Still, exports have been increasing very strongly. Last year was a banner year for tourism. These are all really positive things.”

‘Key Challenge’

Iceland, which started EU membership talks in 2010 with euro-area membership an ultimate goal, is starting to question whether accession to the trade and currency bloc is the right way forward as the region’s debt crisis deepens. Thirty-nine of the Reykjavik-based parliament’s 63 lawmakers oppose continuing EU membership talks and may push to have the process shelved before elections next year, newspaper Morgunbladid said today.

The island still needs to show it can unwind its capital controls successfully, Zakharova said. About $8 billion in offshore kronur are locked behind the restrictions. The central bank has said the plan to ease controls is likely to be completed by the end of 2015. The law allowing the government to maintain the controls expires next year, requiring a parliamentary extension. Former Economy Minister Arni Pall Arnason said in a September interview that Iceland has no plans to return to a free floating currency before entering the euro.

Krona Gains

The krona has gained about 15 percent against the euro since a March 28 low and was trading little changed at 147.27 per single currency as of 12 noon in Reykjavik today.

“The lifting of the capital controls is a key challenge for Iceland and it’s not an easy task,” she said. At the same time, “the government has regained access to international capital markets; the cleaning up of the balance sheet of banks has been proceeding at good speed. So going forward it’s important that the gains are sustained and consolidated,” she said.

As the central bank prepares to ease capital controls, policy makers are also raising interest rates in part to protect the krona from any weakening that might ensue. The bank increased its benchmark rate a quarter or a percentage point on June 13, bringing it to 5.75 percent. It was the fifth interest- rate increase since August last year.

“Further monetary tightening is needed, over the next few quarters, in order for Iceland to get to the target,” Zakharova said. “But we’ve also seen that the central bank has made strong statements about a hawkish monetary policy stance, indicating that the monetary policy will be tightened over time. So we think that the stance is appropriate at this point.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Omar R. Valdimarsson in Reykjavik valdimarsson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net

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Iceland Was Right, We Were Wrong: The IMF

What We Can Learn From Iceland

“… Your nation of Iceland is being used as a testing ground for the rolling out of financial strategies for the betterment of your planet. It would be wise to follow their progress in this respect, as it will be the fate of all nations in a very brief period of time. We have always advised you that such an action would never come from the larger powers and nations of the world, but they will follow in lockstep once the actions begin their domino effect…..” 

Struggling borrowers in Ireland could claim debt forgiveness

Let's not forget the miners in DR Congo

RNW, Mélanie Gouby, Goma, 24 August 2012

(Photo: AFP)

Last week's tragedy at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in South Africa has drawn international attention on the deplorable working conditions of miners in that country. But was there any media coverage of the sixty people who died two weeks ago in a gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)? Barely. 

Stretching into the depths of the mountain, a tunnel, carved by hand, is supported by a wooden structure like that on a set of an old Western movie. It gets dark very quickly as we move heads down into the tunnel. It’s hard to tell if our shortness of breath comes from the slight but unavoidable claustrophobic anxiety or the actual lack of oxygen down the well.

“With time, we actually forget about the dangers, even though they are real,” says Bisima, a 33-year-old miner working at the Nyabibwe pit in eastern DRC. “Mine collapse remains the greatest danger,” he says.

While Lonmin's Marikana mine carnage in South Africa got an incredible amount of coverage last week, only two weeks ago, 60 people died following a mine collapse in Pangoyi, in Ituri Province. However, there were barely any reports about the incident.

No safety measures

In the DRC, no one protests for better living conditions. Between the constant conflicts and extreme poverty, a human life does not hold much value.

“People risk their lives. This is our daily reality here in the DRC. In Nyabibwe, no miner wears a protective helmet or gloves,” says Fidel Bafilemba, a researcher for the American NGO Enough Project in the DRC.

Conditions are no better in the Ituri gold mine. “When we descend into the wells, there are no safety measures. The mine can collapse at any moment. And we work very hard, even at night. Those are not conditions for human beings to work in,” complains Patrick, a 20-year-old miner from Mubi in the Walikale region.

Abundant resources

Although the DRC has mineral resources that would make any Western country pale with envy, it remains one of the world's least developed countries. The nation is Africa's leading tin exporter and the fifth one in the world. Congo's subsoil holds 80% of the world’s coltan reserves. The metal is used in the manufacture of almost all electronic devices. Gold and diamonds are also present in abundance.

But miners often dig using only pickaxes and shovels, without any motorised tools. A number of mines have virtually no infrastructure whatsoever because they are informal and don't belong to any large industrial corporation. The miners sell the minerals to traders who take them to the cities of Goma or Bukavu, where they are purchased in bulk by foreign companies.

Blood minerals

Although few human rights organisations tackle the issue of working conditions in Congolese mines, many nevertheless campaign against the use of the infamous “blood diamonds” which are believed to finance armed rebel groups in the eastern part of the country.

In 2010, a coalition of non-governmental organisations, including Enough Project and Global Witness, successfully lobbied the US Congress to pass a law on blood diamonds. However, with the enforcement of the law, the mineral trade in the DRC has almost come to a standstill. Instead of investing in a system of traceability that would guarantee the “cleanness” of the minerals they purchased, American companies simply withdrew from the DRC.

As a result, the sales of minerals like coltan and cassiterite has dropped by 90%, and the living and working conditions of the miners have deteriorated further.

“We feel forsaken. People say that this law will help our country and stop the war, but we don’t see any difference. In fact, things are even worse today: there is still insecurity and we have no income,” says Safari, a 50-year-old miner in Nyabibwe.


In the last two years, numerous projects to “clean” the Congolese mining sector and guarantee the origin of the minerals have been launched by the United Nations, the United States of America and the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region. But these efforts were stumped by the M23 rebellion.

The rebellion takes its name from a 2009 peace accord which the rebels say was violated by Kinshasa. They were joined by hundreds of defectors from the Congolese army who walked out into the bush in support of fugitive Congolese General Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.

In Katanga, a province spared by the conflicts in southern DRC, a system of traceability has been put in place, allowing the trade of minerals to continue uninterrupted. However, working conditions in the Katanga mines have not improved.

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