'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, May 31, 2013

Europeans 'Blockupy' the ECB in Frankfurt

Deutsche Welle, 31 May 2013


Thousands have converged on Frankfurt to shut down the European Central Bank for a day. Their reasons may vary, including frustration with banks and the EU, but Europeans are uniting around the Blockupy movement.

Among the estimated 2,500 people taking part in Blockupy Frankfurt on May 31 was Elanora, who traveled there from her home in Naples, Italy. The young woman, who preferred to withhold her surname, is a member of an Italian social action group called Global Project. The group flew to Frankfurt to protest EU-wide austerity measures in front of the European Central Bank.

"You look at the statistics of unemployment and welfare in south Italy and you discover that we are poorer than the Greeks. So we're suffering under austerity very much," she told DW, explaining why she and her fellow Italians were joining the protests.

The Italians were flanked by representatives from other countries in southern Europe, all who came to voice frustration over EU economic policies, which they feel have resulted in deteriorating social conditions back home.

Where the money is

For the 42-year-old professor Nicole, currently residing in Lieges, Belgium, the trip to Germany's banking capital served as a demonstration of solidarity for friends and family back in his home country Spain. "Fifty percent of youths are unemployed there," he told DW. "People are eating trash. They're self-immolating. Last week there was a police officer who stabbed a banker."

Previously, Nicole took part in a demonstration that blocked the European Commission in Brussels. But Frankfurt, he said, was an important location. "In Brussels you have the politicians. Here is where the money is."

Participants at Blockupy Frankfurt are proud to attend the event and speak up for those who couldn't afford to travel the distance. For 25-year-old Antonia from Thessaloniki, Greece, it was important to participate on behalf of her countrymen.

"For me it's important to speak up. Being Greek, I can understand how the people of my country feel."

Blockupy, not Occupy

Founded in 2012, Germany's Blockupy is not a movement in itself but an alliance of national European movements. Its primary annual event, Blockupy Frankfurt, brings those groups together for six days. The climax includes the attempted shuttering of the ECB.

"What's unique about Blockupy is that it's not organized from anyone above - that every possible group, with different topics that are related to the crisis somehow - that they come to Frankfurt and bring those protests with them," said Ani Dießelmann, a volunteer spokesperson for Blockupy, in an interview with DW.

Anti-capitalism slogans are common. But it is not always clear what kind of
reforms the activists want

As a result of its open mandate, Blockupy suffers the same criticisms as Occupy - namely, that it lacks a unified message or clear set of policy proposals. Anti-capitalism slogans are common. But while few appear to want a return to national currencies and abolition of the euro, it is not always clear what kinds of reforms they would like to see.

Dießelmann views things differently. Though she's quick to point out that her own involvement in Germany's Interventionistische Linke ["Interventionist Left"] means that she can't always speak objectively on behalf of all groups participating in Blockupy, she does see a common theme.

"Beyond questions of 'crisis' and fiscal policy, we're asking how political power can be organized so that it can be called democratic," she said.

Mobilizing protests across Europe

Yet beyond that desire for greater democratic accountability in the European Union, Blockupy Frankfurt plays a more important role for the groups involved. With more than 30 lectures, roundtables, workshops and a handful of concerts to boot, it provides an annual exchange of pan-European grassroots political ideas and tactics, something many national groups feel has been missing.

"You can block [the ECB] for a day and you create a precedent for other groups to direct action like that," said Avout, a Dutch member of the International Socialists group who traveled to Frankfurt for the event. "On the other hand, it's also important to have communication with each other and build networks. Because the crisis is coming from Europe, we should also organize Europe-wide all and Blockupy is a very good reason to do that," he told DW.

In addition to networking, Professor Nicole views the gathering as an effective show of solidarity. "If you go to the gatherings in the camps, that's where you'll see people from Italy, Belgium, from France. Of course there are a lot of Germans. But people have come from everywhere."

He also views June 1 protests that will take place in 70 European cities, as a kind of "Thank you" from countries in Southern Europe. "People have said, 'First we're going to take on Frankfurt.' And then the Portuguese and Spanish said, 'OK, on the 1st of June, since we don't have the money to travel, let's take to the streets in our own city."

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Swiss strike bank deal with US over tax evasion

Google – AFP, Jonathan Fowler (AFP), 29 May 2013

Swiss pedestrians walk past an embossed bank sign in Zurich, on October 13, 
2012 (AFP/File, Fabrice Coffrini)

GENEVA — Switzerland has accepted a United States demand to settle a dispute over the alleged complicity of Swiss banks in tax evasion by Americans, Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said Wednesday.

"This is both a good and a practical solution," Widmer-Schlumpf told reporters after a cabinet meeting approved the draft accord.

The deal, which will require approval by parliament, frees up Swiss banks to circumvent some elements of secrecy laws and turn over key information to US authorities.

She declined to give details of the sum that the banks will have to pay US revenue authorities in order to win legal closure, though Swiss media have reported that the overall figure could hit 10 billion Swiss francs ($10.3 billion, 8.0 billion euros).

Washington has repeatedly accused Swiss banks of complicity in tax evasion, since they hold billions of dollars belonging to American citizens accused of hiding away taxable income from the US revenue service.

"If a bank has done a lot of business involving undeclared American funds, it will have to deal with the problem," Widmer-Schlumpf underlined.

"We hope that it will enable this chapter to be closed," she said, saying that it was nonetheless up to individual banks to decide if they wanted to cooperate with US authorities.

However, any bank failing to toe the line risks being barred from the US market.

Widmer-Schlumpf indicated that the government had been presented with a take it or leave it offer by Washington.

"It was a unilateral offer, one that we couldn't negotiate," she said.

She rejected reports that the Swiss taxpayer would have to come up with at least part of the funds.

"Switzerland will pay nothing," she insisted.

Widmer-Schlumpf underlined that the goal of the deal was to create a legal framework under which the banks themselves could win legal closure of their disputes with the United States.

A bill on the deal will be put to parliament next month, and the implementation of its provisions will be limited to one year.

In a statement, the government said the bill "authorises banks to cooperate with the US authorities and to make available the information necessary to safeguard their interests".

"This includes in particular information about business relationships concerning US persons and details on people who were involved in the US business of the respective banks," it said.

With the global economic crisis having put tax havens into sharp focus, Switzerland has fought to defend its long-cherished principle of banking secrecy by giving ground in some areas but declining to allow the automatic handover of account details.

The government said that while the names of US clients can be handed over automatically, their account details can only be disclosed if Washington makes a specific request under rules related to the pursuit of tax dodgers.

Previous reports have said the 300 banks in Switzerland would be ranked by their level of alleged complicity in tax evasion.

The dozen seen as the main offenders would reportedly be forced to make individual deals, while a second category, comprising those with American clients but which have not yet faced legal action in the United States, would have to pay a set fine.

Under the accord agreed Wednesday, Swiss banks will give details of employees who deal with American clients.

In April 2012, Washington won the handover of the names of 10,000 such employees from some Swiss banks.

That came after a green light from the government, which faced criticism from banking sector employees for potentially exposing them to charges of abetting tax evasion.

The new deal would be far larger in scope, and the government said banks "will be obliged by law to provide maximum protection for their employees", including against dismissal, with a 2.5-million-Swiss-franc fund has been created by the banks for this purpose.

Offshore Secrets

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100 of UK's richest people concealing billions in offshore tax havens

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Dutch savers have €1.1bn in Luxemburg and Austria: tax office

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The nation at the heart of the offshore scandal: Britain

Leaks reveal secrets of the rich who hide cash offshore

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Huge US fraud probe targets digital currency

Google – AFP, Sebastian Smith (AFP), 28 May 2013

Customers would go to Liberty Reserve's website to buy online currency
used in transactions with other LR users (DPA/AFP/File, Marius Becker)

NEW YORK — The United States on Tuesday unveiled what it called the world's "largest" money laundering probe against the digital currency operator Liberty Reserve.

The Costa Rica-based entity, which handled huge amounts of money outside the control of national governments, is charged with running a "$6 billion money laundering scheme and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business," the US Attorney's office for New York said.

Prosecutors said Liberty Reserve processed at least 55 million illegal transactions for at least one million users "and facilitated global criminal conduct."

The probe involved law enforcement in 17 countries and "is believed to be the largest money laundering prosecution in history," the prosecutor's office said.

Liberty Reserve's principals were arrested on Friday in a round-up launched simultaneously in Costa Rica, Spain and in New York, sealing the fate of a company that had been one of the most successful in the wildly popular but increasingly scrutinized world of unofficial banking and virtual currencies.

The unsealed indictment accuses founder Arthur Budovsky -- a former US citizen who took on Costa Rican nationality -- and his partners of creating a firm that masqueraded as a convenient and legitimate money transfer system.

In reality, the organization turned itself into the "financial hub of the cyber-crime world," the indictment said.

Customers would go to Liberty Reserve's now shut-down website to buy the online currency, known as LRs, that could then be used in transactions with other LR users.

The system was not registered with the US authorities and unlike some other non-state currency systems did not require proof of identity for users.

Adding another important layer of anonymity, Liberty required customers to buy or sell their LRs via third party exchangers, meaning that there was no direct link between a customer's traditional bank account and Liberty's system.

An extra service would allow a user to hide "his own Liberty Reserve account number when transferring funds, effectively making the transfer completely untraceable, even within Liberty Reserve's already opaque system."

The system, the indictment says, was tailor-made for criminal transactions and money-laundering, facilitating "a broad range of online criminal activity, including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking."

"The scope of the defendants' unlawful conduct is staggering," the indictment said.

"With more than 200,000 users in the United States, Liberty Reserve processed more than 12 million financial transactions annually, with a combined value of more than $1.4 billion."

Budovsky and his partners started Liberty Reserve after an earlier similar venture, Gold Age Inc, which traded the E-Gold digital currency, was shut down by US authorities.

It was then that Budovsky emigrated to Costa Rica, later renouncing his US citizenship.

Virtual currencies have grown exponentially, but face pressure on numerous fronts. The popular Bitcoin system has come under scrutiny by financial authorities and seen growing trading volatility.

US fines Total $398 mn over bribes in Iran

Google – AFP, Paul Handley (AFP), 29 may 2013 

French oil group Total's logo is seen in Paris on November 23, 2012
(AFP/File, Eric Piermont)

WASHINGTON — French oil giant Total has been fined $398.2 million under US foreign corruption laws to resolve charges it bribed officials in Iran to secure oil and gas concessions, US authorities announced Wednesday.

Total was fined $245.2 million by the Department of Justice for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), while the Securities and Exchange Commission penalized it another $153 million in disgorgement and interest in the case.

The charges stemmed from some $60 million in bribes that Total intermediaries paid Iranian officials between 1995 and 2004 to obtain the rights to develop several oil and gas fields, the Justice Department said.

US Attorney Neil MacBride answers reporters' 
questions on June 23, 2011 in Washington, DC
(Getty Images/AFP/File, Chip Somodevilla)
US authorities worked together with French officials in the lengthy probe.

In tandem Wednesday French authorities recommended that Total, the company's chairman and chief executive be prosecuted for violating French bribery laws.

Total agreed to pay the US fines under a deferred prosecution agreement which requires the company over the next three years to retain an independent corporate compliance monitor and to implement controls to prevent FCPA violations,

"Today's deferred prosecution agreement, with both its punitive and forward-looking compliance provisions, dovetails with our goals of bringing violators to justice and preventing future misconduct," said US Attorney Neil MacBride.

The Justice Department said the bribes began in 1995 when Total tried to reenter the Iranian market by obtaining rights from the National Iranian Oil Company to develop two fields known as Sirra A and Sirra E.

Total paid around $16 million to an Iranian official via a fake consulting agreement to make the deal happen, the department said.

In 1997 Total began paying another $44 million via a second consulting arrangement for rights to develop part of the South Pars gas field, the world's largest.

"Total mischaracterized the unlawful payments as 'business development expenses' when they were, in fact, bribes designed to corruptly influence a foreign official," the department said.

In Paris Total told AFP that the company would challenge the French accusations.

"In the event of a trial, Total and its chief executive for the Middle East at the time, will argue that the behavior that they are accused of was completely legal under French law," the company said.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ex-KPMG senior partner to plead guilty to insider trading

BBC News, 29 May 2013

Related Stories 

Scott London, the former KPMG senior
partner, faces a 20-year prison sentence
and a $5m fine
A former senior partner at accountancy giant KPMG has agreed to plead guilty to insider trading.

US authorities had charged Scott London in April for allegedly passing information to a golfing friend, who then traded on the share trips.

His plea agreement was announced on Tuesday at the US Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

It came a week after the friend, Buddy Shaw, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

In his plea agreement, Mr London admitted giving Mr Shaw insider information about KPMG's clients on at least 14 different occasions.

It includes US company Herbalife's 2 May 2011 earnings release and United Rentals' 16 December 2011 announcement to take over RSC Holdings.

Mr London, 50, faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5m (£3.3m), according to the plea agreement.

"Behaviour like this is an affront to people who follow the law and compromises the public perception in the inherent fairness of the markets by creating an uneven playing field," said US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr.

Separately, Mr Shaw agreed to pay around $1.3m in restitution and will continue to co-operate with the investigation as part of his plea.

According to the criminal and civil charges filed in April, in addition to telling Mr Shaw, a jeweller, about the merger between RSC Holdings and United Rentals, he also told him about a takeover of Pacific Capital Bancorp by Union Bank.

In return for the information, Mr London allegedly received bags of cash and jewellery, including a $12,000 Rolex watch. According to prosecutors, the tip-offs helped Mr Shaw earn more than $1m in illegal profits.

It is thought that the authorities were first alerted to possible wrongdoing when Mr Shaw's stockbroker noticed unusual share trading patterns.

Investigators then reportedly tape-recorded Mr London passing on information.

The scandal has hit the accountancy firm's reputation. It resigned as auditor from a number of US companies including Herbalife and Sketchers soon after the claims emerged.

Mr London is scheduled to appear in federal court on Friday, while Mr Shaw has a sentencing hearing on 16 September.

Related Article:


Walmart pleads guilty to dumping hazardous waste in California

Walmart to pay $81m as part of the plea after admitting dumping pollutants from stores into drains in 16 California counties

guardian.co.uk, Paul Harris in New York, Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The fine also covers allegations of misdoings in Missouri. Photograph:
Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Walmart, which has endured a year of bad publicity around its US labour relations and working conditions in its overseas supply chain, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to dumping hazardous waste in numerous sites in California.

The retail giant will now pay a fine of $81m to settle misdemeanour charges around the issue, which also covers allegations of misdoings in Missouri. It brings an end to an investigation that has lasted nearly a decade.

Walmart admitted that it had negligently dumped pollutants into sanitation drains across California, and also tossed waste into local trash bins. Some material was also improperly taken to product return centers throughout the US without proper safety documentation.

Officials at Walmart pointed out that the case covered incidents that had happened between 2003 and 2005, and insisted it had now changed its procedures. "We have fixed the problem. We are obviously happy that this is the final resolution," company spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told the Associated Press.

The illegal dumping covered by this plea took place in 16 Californian counties and was brought to light after a health department official in San Diego noticed a Walmart worker pouring bleach down a drain. Walmart, which in 2010 agreed to pay $27.6m in a similar case, says that its entire national system for dealing with hazardous waste has been comprehensively overhauled.

The guilty plea is the latest piece of bad news to put Walmart into the headlines. Earlier on Tuesday, the union supported Walmart worker organisation Our Walmart began the latest in a series of strikes aimed at highlighting what it says are low wages and abusive working conditions. Walmart workers walked out in Florida, Massachusetts and California with some aiming to stay off work until the firm holds its annual general meeting at its Arkansas headquarters on June 7.

The protests follow a series of strikes last year, including ones aimed at disrupting Black Friday – one of the the busiest shopping days in the US.

It also comes after Walmart's role in sourcing goods from poorer countries has come under intense scrutiny. After a series of lethal disasters in the Bangladeshi garment industry, Walmart and fellow US retailer Gap have been the subject of condemnation after they resisted joining other large firms in forming a group aimed at tightening and enforcing safety regulations.

Instead, Walmart has said it will carry out its own investigations of the factories and suppliers that it uses in the country.

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SNC-Lavalin offers amnesty to whistleblowers

Engineering giant won't seek damages against employees to report potential corruption

CBC News, May 27, 2013

SNC-Lavalin says it will not prosecute employees who come forward with
evidence of fraud in the company. (Christine Muschi/Reuters)

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is offering whistleblowers within its workforce a limited offer of amnesty from being fired if they come forward now about any misdeeds within the company.

The Montreal-based engineering giant says it won't seek damages or unilaterally fire employees who voluntarily provide a full, truthful report about potential corruption and anti-competitive activities.

To qualify, an employee has between June 3 and August 31 to file a formal request with SNC's chief compliance officer.


“While the vast majority of SNC-Lavalin’s employees will have nothing to report, this offer of amnesty will allow us to uncover and quickly deal with any remaining issues," said Andreas Pohlmann, the company's chief compliance officer. "Our goal is to turn the page on a challenging chapter in the company’s history, so we can focus all of our attention on creating value for our stakeholders."

The amnesty won't cover executives in SNC's office of the president, its management committee groups or anyone who directly profited from a violation.

SNC is undergoing both internal and police investigations for alleged fraud and corrupt practices in Canada and abroad by some former employees.

The company says that to its knowledge, it's the first time any Canadian company has implemented such an amnesty program.

Deloitte appoints official criticised over 'sweetheart' tax deals

Dave Hartnett has been hired by accountancy firm which faced tax avoidance allegations during his time as head of HMRC

The Guardian, Simon Neville, Monday 27 May 2013

Dave Hartnett's hiring was approved by David Cameron and the advisory
committee on business appointments. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

The row over tax avoidance by multinational companies escalated on Monday night as it emerged that Dave Hartnett, until 10 months ago the country's leading tax official, has been appointed to a new position with a leading accountancy firm mired in the controversy.

Hartnett will work one day a week with Deloitte, the auditors for Vodafone and Starbucks, which faced tax avoidance allegations during his time as head of HM Revenue & Customs.

The appointment was approved by David Cameron and the advisory committee on business appointments last week, although Deloitte did not announce the high-profile signing.

The appointments committee added a list of six caveats to its approval letter, designed to ensure Hartnett does not share any information about how to avoid UK tax and to guard against potential conflicts of interest.

But tax campaigners and MPs criticised the appointment and suggested that although Hartnett cannot advise UK organisations, he could use his knowledge to strengthen the positions of offshore tax havens.

Hartnett, 62, will advise overseas governments on how to implement "effective tax regimes".

An HMRC lifer until his retirement, Hartnett was heavily criticised for agreeing a number of "sweetheart deals" with major corporations including Vodafone and Goldman Sachs in the UK.

Earlier this month, a judge found that a deal brokered by Hartnett with Goldman Sachs, which saved the US bank £20m in interest payments, was lawful but "not a glorious episode in the history of the revenue".

Mr Justice Nicol said the deal had been agreed by Hartnett to save the chancellor, George Osborne, from potential embarrassment, and criticised the fact that it had been done behind closed doors and without proper approval or reference to lawyers. Hartnett was said to have personally negotiated a deal with Vodafone, which saw the telecoms business pay £1.25bn of an alleged £6bn tax bill. Vodafone disputes this figure.

A spokesman for Deloitte said: "Dave Hartnett will work as a consultant to Deloitte advising foreign governments and tax administrations, primarily in the developing world. He has significant experience in advising such countries on the development of effective tax regimes, necessary to ensure their continued economic growth. He will not work with UK companies or with HMRC."

The new job comes four months after Hartnett was appointed as an adviser to banking group HSBC on financial risks and crime. The bank was fined $1.9bn (£1.3bn) by US authorities last year for laundering Mexican drug money.

Confirming his appointment, the advisory committee on appointments said it was noted that "whilst working in government, Mr Hartnett did have official dealings with Deloitte, and he also dealt with a wide range of major accountancy and law firms during his time in HMRC and the Inland Revenue before that".

Labour MP John Mann, who sits on the Treasury select committee and questioned Hartnett on several occasions, criticised the appointment. "It shouldn't be allowed. It is all-too-cosy relationships that is the problem at the heart of HMRC.

"It would be a strange government that would employ him considering the problems we've had trying to get our tax system in order, especially when he personally negotiated the deal with Vodafone.

"It gives the wrong message to a group of staff [at HMRC] who are already some of the most demoralised workers in the country."

Deloitte and the other "big four" accountancy firms – KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young – have all been criticised for using knowledge gained from staff seconded to the Treasury to help wealthy clients avoid paying UK taxes. Richard Murphy, of Tax Research UK, called the latest switch from the state to the private sector "the creeping control of the state by the big business elite".

He said: "We've had people who are very senior who have moved over to big business, but never the very top. He was meant to be the taxman's taxman."

He suggested that Hartnett may be called upon "to advise on tax avoidance in offshore locations".

The prime minister accepted the committee's recommendation that Hartnett be allowed to join Deloitte, but set a series of rules on what he can and cannot advise upon while working for Deloitte.

The rules laid down state that Hartnett should "not draw on any privileged information" from his time at HMRC. He must also not advise "any taxpayer that he has been involved with whilst at HMRC" and must ensure he "has no involvement in discussions with other fiscal authorities of UK's confidential tax policy".

He is also not allowed to personally lobby the government for at least a year.

Hartnett had a close relationship with Deloitte during his time at HMRC and met senior British partner David Cruickshank 48 times between 2007 and 2011, including meetings about Vodafone, one of Deloitte's clients.

Deloitte also signed off the accounts for coffee company Starbucks. The chain faced a backlash among customers last year when it emerged that it had, quite legitimately, paid no corporation tax in the past three years by channelling its revenues through Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Murray Worthy, a spokesman for UK Uncut, who recently brought an unsuccessful court case against HMRC for the sweetheart deal with Goldman Sachs, said Hartnett had been "welcomed with open arms by the people he was supposed to have been regulating".

Related Articles:


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Storm brews over control of US newspaper group

Google – AFP, Rob Lever (AFP), 26 May 2013

Protesters demand the Los Angeles Times not be sold to the Koch Brothers,
May 23, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California (AFP, Joe Klamar)

WASHINGTON — With a sale likely of a prominent group of US newspapers, the interest of a potential buyer tied to right-wing causes has galvanized opponents fearing the dailies could become political tools.

The Tribune Co. dailies, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and five others could be sold in what may be one of the biggest newspaper deals in US history.

Although no official bids have been announced, the mere hint of interest from billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch -- famous for bankrolling conservative causes -- has some activists in a frenzy.

Protests have taken place in Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore, and more are planned.

"It's unlikely the Koch brothers would take over these papers and not try to use them to advance their conservative agenda," said Angelo Carusone of Media Matters, a watchdog group with the avowed mission of countering "conservative misinformation" in the news media.

"These are not just run-of-the-mill papers," Carusone said. "We are talking about eight publications which are either exclusive or influential in the local communities."

The Los Angeles Times building is seen
 on June 7, 2012 in Los Angeles, California
(Getty Images/AFP/File, Kevork Djansezian)
Rick Jacobs of the progressive advocacy Courage Campaign, which has organized some of the protests, said the group is working on a coalition to block a sale to the Koch brothers.

"We want genuine journalists to have good jobs and be free to report the news," Jacobs said.

"The Koch brothers have never been involved in newspapers," he said. "The only reason they would be interested is to further their political goals."

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, some 40 potential buyers have expressed interest in one or more of the newspapers, but the company would like to sell the group in a single transaction.

Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University, said that by selling the newspapers in a single deal, "you end up with only very wealthy potential buyers," such as the Koch brothers or Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

"Local people who are more invested in their communities are likely to be better stewards of community journalism in the long run," Kennedy said, noting that "people buying newspapers to advance a political agenda is nothing new."

He said the furor over the Koch brothers owes to the fact that "not only are they extreme libertarians, but because they seem to hate the media."

Murdoch, on the other hand, despite criticism over his political views, has a long history in the newspaper industry in Australia, Britain and the US, where he owns The Wall Street Journal and New York Post.

"If I were at one of those newspapers, I would find myself rooting for Murdoch rather than the Koch brothers," Kennedy said.

The intense reaction to the Koch brothers highlights a bitterly partisan political landscape, with the family in focus for backing policy groups such as the libertarian Cato Institute think tank in Washington.

The Koch brothers also were behind the formation of the Americans for Prosperity political action group, which supports many causes backed by the ultra-conservative Tea Party, although they are not formally affiliated.

Koch Industries, which focuses on petroleum refining and chemicals and pipelines, said in a statement that it was "constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors."

Critics of the Koch brothers accuse them of funding efforts to quash labor unions, especially in a highly contentious battle over public sector unions in Wisconsin.

Koch Industries' Melissa Cohlmia said in a statement that about 30 percent of the company's employees are represented by a union.

"Koch has mutually respectful and productive relationships with the unions that represent its employees -- this has been true for more than 50 years," she said.

File photo of the Chicago Tribune building
 in Chicago, Illinois (Getty Images/AFP/
File, Tasos Katopodis)
Some civic organizations have been seeking to raise funds for alternative bids. A group called "The Other 98 Percent" has launched a crowdfunding effort for the newspapers.

"This is a way for Americans to say that they're tired of billionaires fighting over who gets to control our media," said the group's Nicole Carty.

Politics aside, the economics for any buyer of any of the newspapers will be daunting.

The publishing operations had been valued at $623 million during Tribune Co. bankruptcy proceedings, but media analyst Ken Doctor said "the value of these properties is dropping month by month, year by year."

"We know revenue is down, and they are struggling with circulation.

"If they are maintaining their profits they are only doing that by significant cutting," including of newsroom staff, Doctor said.

There could be pitfalls for any new owners, be they politically motivated investors or civic organizations.

"There is a three- to five-year turnaround at this point," Doctor said, as newspapers find a way to manage a transition to digital. "They will need to beef up news coverage and digital innovation."

But if the Koch brothers make the newspapers "plainly partisan," it would drive away subscribers "and they turn more quickly into irrelevance."

Charles Koch  and David Koch

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"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…6 - The News

Number six. I'll be brief. Watch for your news to change. It has to. When the media realizes that Human Beings are changing their watching habits, they're going to start changing what they produce for you to watch. Eventually, there's going to be something called "The Good News Channel," and it will be very attractive indeed. For it will be real and offset the drama of what is today's attraction. This is what families at night, sitting around the table, will wish to watch. They'll have something where the whole picture of a situation is shown and not just the dramatic parts. You will hear about what's happening on the planet that no one is telling you now, and when that occurs [we have no clock, dear one], it's going to compete strongly with the drama. I keep telling you this. Human nature itself is starting to be in color instead of black and white. Watch for it. And that was number six ….”

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Seeds Of Death - Full Movie

Published on May 24, 2013


In preparation of the global March Against Monsanto, you are invited to watch our award-winning documentary Seeds of Death free.


The leaders of Big Agriculture--Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta--are determined that world's populations remain ignorant about the serious health and environmental risks of genetically modified crops and industrial agriculture. Deep layers of deception and corruption underlie both the science favoring GMOs and the corporations and governments supporting them.

This award-winning documentary, Seeds of Death, exposes the lies about GMOs and pulls back the curtains to witness our planet's future if Big Agriculture's new green revolution becomes our dominant food supply.

A Question and Answer fact sheet deconstructing Monsanto's GM claims and Big Agriculture's propaganda to accompany the film is available online.


Protesters make their point to Monsanto in Los Angeles, California,
May 25, 2013. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

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Millions march against GM crops - New

Washington County Bans Growing of GMOs