'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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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Greek shipping tycoons threaten to set sail over tax privileges

Austerity-hit government has called an end to preferential tax treatment for industry built by tycoons including Aristotle Onassis

The Guardian, Helena Smith in Athens, Wednesday 26 February 2014

Greek shipowners have reacted with anger over a move to scrap preferential
tax rates for their industry. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

They are some of the richest people in Greece, the owners of the world's largest commercial fleet with bank accounts and property portfolios that, even by the standards of the super-rich, elicit awe. But in the high-risk business of trading the high seas, Greek ship-owners – in line with international maritime tradition – have also been granted special tax status on their vessels.

This week, the cash-strapped government in Athens insisted the preferential treatment – enshrined in the Greek constitution and respected by every government since the 1940s – was finally over. And shipowners are up in arms.

As it tries to steer Greece out of its worst recession on record, prime minister Antonis Samaras' fragile two-party coalition has suddenly found itself at war with the influential plutocrats who control one of the few thriving sectors of the Greek economy.

The imposition of extra taxes amounted to nothing less than a "constitutional deviation" warned Theodore Veniamis, the president of the Union of Greek Shipowners. "A negative climate has been created for any type of business investment in Greece," he said.

Samaras' conservative-dominated alliance rushed legislation through parliament, imposing a triple tax on ships managed out of Greece, as the 300-seat House held its last session before the Christmas break in December.

This week, the country's merchant marine minister said that the levy was an emergency measure that would last no longer than the next three years.

But while ordinary Greeks have been hit by a barrage of taxes since the debt-stricken nation was forced to accept international aid to avert bankruptcy, the country's famously secretive shipping community is digging in its heels.

The new tax law overturned a previous accord, signed after several months of talks last year, that had allowed ship-owners to make voluntary tax payments to help the nation's economic recovery. Most of the shipping companies run out of Athens' port of Piraeus – the industry's base in Greece – had agreed to back the voluntary scheme.

But with unemployment at a record 28%, the highest in the European Union, and worsening social and economic marginalisation, the legislation has won praise. In its fourth year of bailout funds from the EU and International Monetary Fund, Greece faces fiscal shortfalls this year and next. Samaras has refused to take further unpopular spending cuts to plug the gap.

In a rare display of concord with the government, the shadow minister for development in the radical left main opposition Syriza party told the Guardian: "It's a positive step."

Yet the strength of reaction from shippers appears to have taken the Samaras administration aback. The industry, which provides up to 200,000 jobs and sustains close to 500,000, has warned that the new tax regime could force it to move elsewhere – potentially wreaking havoc on the economy.

"The fear is that the lack of trust between the maritime community and our legislators may lead to an exodus from the Greek flag and perhaps Greece itself," warned Haralambos Fafalios, who chairs the London-based Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee.

As a pillar of the Greek economy, shipping rivals tourism in attracting foreign exchange: experts estimate it has brought over ¤140bn (£115bn) into the country in the past decade alone.

"The shipping industry is a significant contributor to Greece in terms of jobs, cash and economic activity, and it stands to lose all three if it changes the regime for attracting shipping companies to the country," said Vassilis Antoniades, managing director of the Boston Consulting Group, which recently conducted an in-depth study into the impact of shipping on the Greek economy. "To a great degree the Greek economy thrives on the shipping industry."

Since the 1960s, shipping tycoons, such as Aristotle Onassis (pictured), have established airlines, shipyards, refineries and hotels in Greece. Indicative of their pre-eminent role in a sector now worth about $660bn (£400bn), this year Greek shipowners placed a record number of orders to build new vessels in shipyards around the world, outstripping any of their global competitors.

With earnings from shipping accounting for around 7% of GDP, fears are growing that the government's step could ultimately be counter-productive – even if, in poverty-stricken Greece, many also accept that may also seem rampantly unfair.

"There are alternatives with other countries offering competitive tax regimes. People will simply register their ships elsewhere," said shipping expert David Glass, who said that the sector had been unfairly reviled. "Shipowners give a lot to this country. They've built half the hospitals on the islands. They're the ones building schools and handing out over 50,000 meals to the needy every month. People forget that."

Related Articles:

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, 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 Illuminati

One more. "Kryon, what about the Illuminati?" OK, I'll tell you, for these things are already known by many.

Everything you thought about the Illuminati of the past is correct. This was not conspiracy, but fact. However, in the light of what I just said above, it could not sustain itself in an energy where everyone talks to everyone, and has since gone dormant.

The Illuminati was based in Greece, and it started by controlling the most potent economic attribute that could manipulate the strings of commerce on the earth - shipping. Once they had control of shipping, what followed was financial markets. This, then, worked its way to insurance, world stock markets and banking. This was prevalent for decades, right up to the mid '80s.

I have a question for the elders in the room. Look back in your lifetime, dear ones. What was the stock market like when you were younger? If you remember, you will say it had incremental changes up and down, except for occasional major shifts - which, by the way, were also controlled. It was steady, up or down. It didn't vacillate wildly, with hundreds of point-shifts from month to month. It never did. That's what a controlled market looks like. Now take a look at your current stock market. Does it look controlled? It is not! It is free-wheeling and it can go wherever it is driven by normal financial activity.

This should tell you something, dear ones. The Illuminati is no longer in control. It lost in banking, in tobacco, and it's about to lose in big pharma and insurance because awareness lets people know what is controlled and what is not. Awareness of truth will trump any other energy, and integrity will win some major battles.

So, did the Illuminate die? No. They simply lost their method of control.

The Future of the Illuminati

Now, I want to tell you something that you didn't expect and something I've reported only one other time. What about all of the money that the Illuminati has? There are trillions and trillions of euro in banks, under their control, waiting. What are they going to do with it and where are they going to use it? It's still here. They're waiting.

This group is waiting for something to happen that they know is going to happen, for they see it coming as much as I do. However, I would like to tell you something that they don't expect. With awareness comes generational shift. Those in charge of this money will not always be elders. The indigos eventually will have it.

They are waiting for something to happen in Africa - the building of a new civilization, a continent that has nothing to unlearn. Once Africa is cured, once it's ready, a new civilization can be created from the ground up. Africans will be ready to learn everything about building a foundation for the most advanced civilization ever and will do it with the most modern and inventive systems available. Eventually, this new continent will even beat the economics of China.

This is the prediction and always has been, and the Illuminati's money will fund it. Did I say the Illuminati will fund it? [Kryon laugh]The Illuminati's money will fund it, but there is a difference from the past, dear ones. The ones who inherit the positions in the Illuminati will be a different consciousness. Listen, they are not suddenly going to be the ones who have the good of everyone in their hearts - hardly. They want to make money, but what they will see instead is a way to make a great deal of money through this investment. In the process, it will automatically help hundreds of thousands, and they will be at the beginning, the foundation, that builds the new Africa. The new African states of unification eventually will create a continent stronger than any of the others, and it will have one currency. The resources alone will dwarf anything in the world.

"Wow, Kryon, how long is that going to take?"

The Humans in the room control that and those listening later and reading. When you leave this room, what are you going to do? Go home, report this, rub your hands together, and wait for it to happen? It won't. For the Humans in the room and the old souls hearing and reading have got work to do, and I've told you this before. You've got work to do.

There's an alliance that you're going to have to create with one another and with another group - the young people of Earth. The youth of this earth are changing the way things work. Can you see it? You're not supposed to sit around and watch them either, because they need you, old soul.

It's time for you to align with the indigos and the concepts of the youth of the planet. Do not think for a moment that their age shows their wisdom. These two attributes are not commensurate with one another; they're not linear. These young people may be older souls than you are! Don't think that because they've got technology that you don't understand that you can't be one with them. Their technology is social networking, the very thing we are talking about, where everyone can talk to everyone. The new consciousness on the planet starts in two areas - the children and the old souls. ..."




Swiss bank accused of helping clients evade US taxes

Google – AFP, 26 February 2014

The sign of Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse is seen on November 2, 2013
in Zurich (AFP/File, Fabrice Coffrini)

Washington — Switzerland's second largest bank, Credit Suisse, used elaborate measures to find wealthy clients and help an estimated 19,000 US customers evade American tax authorities, a scathing report from a Senate inquiry said.

The report contains the results of a two-year Senate investigation and comes a day before the heavily-anticipated questioning of Credit Suisse chief Brady Dougan and other top bank officials before the panel.

Bank figures suggest there were "nearly 19,000 US customers with hidden Swiss assets totaling nearly $5 billion" as of 2006, the Senate report said.

That figure represents some 85 percent of the bank's more than 22,000 US customers in 2006 with Swiss accounts whose assets, at their highest, exceeded $13.5 billion, the report said.

Among the bank's cloak-and-dagger practices, Swiss bankers were sent to the United States to secretly find clients, leaving no paper trail, at events sponsored by the bank -- such as at golf tournaments in Florida.

The bank also helped its clients find "intermediaries" who could help them create offshore shell companies to hide the money trail from the Internal Revenue Service.

"One former customer described how, on one occasion, a Credit Suisse banker traveled to the United States to meet with the customer at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and, over breakfast, handed the customer the bank statements hidden in a Sports Illustrated magazine," wrote the investigators.

Third-party companies were also engaged by the bank to provide credit cards permitting clients to secretly use their hidden funds.

"The battle against tax havens using secrecy laws to facilitate US tax evasion has bogged down, causing a huge loss to our treasury? said Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that led the investigation.

By 2008, the report says, there were more than 1,800 Credit Suisse bankers employed to manage US client accounts, many of which were never declared to the IRS, and whose transactions were structured to avoid US tax reporting requirements.

From 2008 to 2011, after the break of a tax evasion scandal at fellow Swiss bank UBS, Credit Suisse starting putting an end to its evasive practices, asking clients to close their accounts or declare them.

"The Department of Justice has failed to use the US legal tools that won the UBS case," Levin said.

"It's time to ramp up the collection of taxes due from tax evaders on the billions of dollars hidden offshore," he added.

In total, by the end of 2013, the number of Swiss accounts held by US clients at Credit Suisse fell by 85 percent, or the 19,000 clients believed to have had hidden assets, the report said.


Offshore Secrets



EU Offshore Secrets



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

JPMorgan Chase to cut 5,000 jobs in 2014

Google – AFP, 25 February 2014

A JPMorgan sign is seen outside the office tower housing the financial services
firm's Los Angeles, California offices, on August 8, 2013 (AFP/File, Robyn Beck)

New York — US banking giant JPMorgan Chase Tuesday said it would eliminate 5,000 jobs from its global workforce this year.

JPMorgan forecast its total headcount in 2014 at 260,000, down from 265,000 in 2013 and 280,000 in 2011, according to a presentation posted to the JPMorgan website ahead of an investor day.

A major unit that is targeted is JPMorgan's consumer and community banking, where workforce will be cut by 8,000.

Offsetting some of these cuts will be hiring in other bank divisions. Bank slides listed commercial banking and asset management as divisions with "ongoing" expansion efforts.

The bank plans 6,000 fewer jobs in mortgage banking and 2,000 fewer in card merchant services and auto services.

The bank is also transitioning to smaller consumer branches that will have more automated services and an average of six employees instead of nine in a traditional branch.

JPMorgan in 2013 reported net earnings of $17.9 billion, down from $21.3 billion the year earlier.

The results were hit by a series major legal settlements, the biggest a $13 billion agreement to resolve charges it misled investors on the sale of mortgage-backed securities.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Offshore tax evaders targeted with new ad campaign of warnings

Campaign to be launched by George Osborne warns of fines double to amount of tax evaded and possible prison sentences

theguardian.com, Rowena Mason, political correspondent, Sunday 23 February 2014

The chancellor said the net was closing on those who thought they did
not have to play by the rules. Photograph: Bobby Yip/AFP/Getty Images

George Osborne is to launch a new campaign warning people who hide their money offshore that they risk going to prison.

The new advertisements feature a pair of eyes peering through a torn map of the world, saying: "We are closing in on you."

It comes after the chancellor attended the G20 finance ministers' meeting, where countries agreed new standards on exchanging information about offshore bank accounts.

The government said most people had nothing to fear, but those hiding money from the tax man would have to pay penalties of up to twice as much as the amount evaded and could end up in jail.

"By taking global action to reform the system alongside a tough approach to enforcing the law at home, we will close the net on those who think they do not have to play by the rules," Osborne said.

Jennie Granger, HMRC's director for enforcement and compliance, said: "If you have assets offshore you need to get in touch with us urgently, because we will catch up with you. That can mean a fine of 200% of the tax that you owe, and the possibility of criminal prosecution and a prison sentence.

"The days of hiding money in another country to cheat the UK are coming to an end."

The G20 is also trying to stop multinational companies shifting their profits around different jurisdictions to avoid paying tax, signing a pledge to deliver ''effective, practical and sustainable measures'' before the leaders' meeting in Brisbane in November.


Offshore Secrets



EU Offshore Secrets





Saturday, February 22, 2014

Venezuelans on streets again as protest leader awaits trial

Opposing marches on Saturday come after president Nicolás Maduro played down protest movement on Friday

theguardian.com, Virginia López in Caracas,  Saturday 22 February 2014

Opposition supporters march against the Maduro government in Caracas
on Saturday. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters

Venezuelans have taken to the streets for the second time in ten days in opposing marches for and against the Maduro administration. The government has asked women to rally around the presidential palace, while the opposition has called on supporters to protest against the country's mounting street crime and to demand the disarmament of violent pro-government groups.

What began two weeks ago in the western state of Táchira as a student-led street movement demanding that the government address safety concerns on a university campus following the assault of a student soon spread to other cities. In the capital, Caracas, the street marches were spearheaded by opposition leader Leopoldo López, who called for protests to continue until the president, Nicolás Maduro stepped down from power. López currently awaits trial in a military jail.

Since the protests began, 10 people have died, 137 have been injured and 104 arrested, according to government figures.

In a press conference with foreign media on Friday, Maduro said the protests – the worst since his razor-thin election victory against Henrique Capriles last April – are only occurring in 18 of the country's 335 municipalities, all of which, he contends, are under opposition rule.

Maduro reiterated that the events of the last two weeks are a coup-in-the-making backed by the US and financed by Colombia's ex-president Álvaro Uribe, whom Maduro accuses López of working closely with. The proof of his allegations, he says, "will soon come to light".

But as Venezuelans take to the streets again it is hard to predict whether the march will be the last, or if it will serve to inject new energy into an opposition that has been dispersed over the last couple of nights by National Guard troops firing rubber bullets and teargas and tearing down the camps students set up on street corners.

In San Cristóbal, the state-capital of Táchira, where military action was felt the strongest, troops and tanks took to the streets on Wednesday to disperse crowds and to clear debris that was blocking the city's main roads. According to locals, the internet remained down until Friday.

In another effort to neutralise mounting tensions, the minister of energy, Rafael Ramirez, has banned fuel distribution to areas he considers "under-siege".

Human Rights Watch has issued a statement condemning the systematic violation of personal freedom and the unlawful imprisonment of civilians.

Adding to the uncertainty reigning in the streets of Venezuela is the complete media blackout. Private and public TV stations in the country have given little coverage to the street protests, or even to the incarceration of López, who now awaits trial in a military prison on the outskirts of Caracas on charges of sedition.

In the most flagrant demonstration of state censorship yet, several members of a CNN team had their journalist accreditation revoked and left the country amid accusations of "contributing with their coverage to psychological warfare".

But despite accusing the US of meddling in the country's internal affairs and expelling three US diplomat, Maduro has invited Obama to "a sincere dialogue between equals".

"Accept the challenge and we will start a high-level dialogue and put the truth on the table," Maduro said in a nationwide TV address.

Michael Shifter, head of the US thinktank Inter-American Dialogue, says that despite the government's severe weaknesses, it does not appear to be on the verge of collapse.

"Given the gravity of the current situation, it is not surprising that more and more Venezuelans are prepared to take to the streets to express their profound discontent with the government's ineptitude and the country's rapid descent," he said.

"It is not clear what can be accomplished through this approach.  It depends very much on what the government does now – both in dealing with sustained protests and Venezuela's deepening economic distress. If there is no relief on the economic front, it is likely that the protests will only intensify… Any reconciliation or even meaningful dialogue between the government and opposition forces seems like a long way off."

Related Article:


Protesters hail freed Tymoshenko but Ukraine leader defiant

Google – AFP, Dmitry Zaks (AFP), 22 February 2014

Newly freed Ukrainian opposition icon Yulia Tymoshenko speaks at Independence
 Square on February 22, 2014, moments after parliament voted to hold early
presidential elections in May (AFP, Bulent Kilic)

Kiev — Ukrainian protesters seized control of the capital Kiev on Saturday in a historic cascade of events that saw jailed opposition icon Yulia Tymoshenko walk free while marginalised President Viktor Yanukovych defiantly claimed to still wield power.

The situation in the ex-Soviet nation -- deeply divided between aspirations towards the European Union and loyalty to Russia -- was still fluid and uncertainty reigned over whether the opposition had definitively triumphed over Yanukovych on a day of high drama exactly three months into the country's crisis.

But there was clearly no more evidence of the brutal violence that had charred the heart of Kiev for much of this week and left nearly 100 people dead.

Yulia Tymoshenko leaving hospital in
 Kharkiv (Batkivshchyna Party Press
Service Pool/AFP, Inna Petrikova)
The tens of thousands of protesters who had occupied the city's central Independence Square discovered that security forces had all but abandoned government and presidential buildings and that anyone was now free to enter unchallenged.

They and other city residents gawped in awe and anger at the ostentatious luxury Yanukovych had built up inside a private estate that featured everything from a private zoo to a replica galleon floating on an artificial waterway.

Yanukovych gave a television interview from the pro-Russian eastern bastion city of Kharkiv denouncing the "coup" against him and branding his political foes "bandits" -- comments that won firm support from his backers in Moscow.

But the army issued a statement saying it "will in no way become involved in the political conflict" and the police force declared itself in support of "the people" and "rapid change".

British Foreign Secretary William Hague sounded an encouraging note about the "extraordinary developments" in Ukraine.

"Events in the last 24 hours show the will of Ukrainians to move towards a different future, and ensure that the voices of those who have protested courageously over several months are heard," Hague said in a statement.

The parliament in Kiev stepped into the power vacuum left by Yanukovych's departure by voting to oust the embattled president and setting new elections for May 25.

Lawmakers followed that up with an equally dramatic move ordering the release of Tymoshenko -- a former premier and stalwart supporter of close EU ties who remained Yanukovych's nemesis even when she was sent to prison in 2011 on a seven-year sentence for "abuse of power".

Anti-government protesters react after the
 vote of the Ukrainian Parliament as they
rally outside the parliament building in 
Kiev on February 22, 2014 (AFP, 
Bulent Kilic)
The fiery 53-year-old co-leader of the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution then appeared in a wheelchair on Independence Square's main stage to a rapturous welcome from a 50,000-strong crowd.

"You are heroes, you are the best of Ukraine," she said before breaking down in tears.

Priests conducted a religious ceremony for one of the protesters killed this week before she arrived, and many in the crowd lit up their mobile phones to create a sea of light.

The US government welcomed Tymoshenko's release and wisher her "a speedy recovery as she seeks the appropriate medical treatment that she has long needed and sought" while incarcerated.

The developments showed the balance of power in Ukraine swinging in the opposition's favour and seemingly superseding a Western-brokered pact Yanukovych had signed just a day earlier with the opposition to resolve the country's bloodiest conflict since its independence in 1991.

The crisis had erupted in November when Yanukovych had dumped a pact promising closer ties with the European Union in favour of hewing closer to Soviet-era master Russia.

- Yanukovych refuses to resign -

"This is a political knockout for Yanukovych," charismatic former-boxer-turned-opposition-leader Vitali Klitschko said in a statement Saturday.

"Yanukovych is no longer president."

But Yanukovych vowed flatly to fight any attempt to topple him.

Anti-government protesters stand guard in
 front of the parliament building in Kiev on
February 22, 2014 (AFP, Bulent Kilic)
"I am not leaving the country for anywhere. I do not intend to resign. I am the legitimately elected president," the 63-year-old leader, who took office in 2010, said in a firm voice.

Yanukovych added with a hint of outrage that "everything happening today can primarily be described as vandalism, banditry and a coup d'etat".

Yet the president's grasp on power appeared limited on Saturday. Government buildings stood without police protection and baton-armed protesters dressed in military fatigues wandered freely across his once-fortified compound.

"We have taken the perimeter of the president's residence under our control for security reasons," Mykola Velichkovich of the opposition's self-declared 'Independence Square defence unit' told AFP.

Thousands of mourners meanwhile brought carnations and roses to dozens of locations across central Kiev at which people were shot dead by police in a week of carnage.

Coffins draped with Ukraine's blue-and-yellow passed from shoulder to shoulder through the crowd before being taken outside the city for burial.

Thousands of residents also took their first-ever tour of Yanukovych's lavish private residence just north of Kiev, gaping at a zoo, a galleon and other extravagances the leader had enjoyed behind high walls.

"I am in shock," a retired military servicewoman named Natalia Rudenko said as she inspected the president's rare pheasant collection and a banquet hall built inside the galleon replica.

"In a country with so much poverty, how can one person have so much?"

- Russia unsettled -

People cheer in front of the parliament
 building in Kiev on February 22, 2014
(AFP, Bulent Kilic)
The months of Ukrainian protests had escalated into a Cold War-style confrontation, pitting attempts by the Kremlin to keep reins on its historic fiefdom against EU and US efforts to bring the economically struggling nation of 46 million into the West's fold.

Russa's foreign ministry accused the opposition of "submitting itself to armed extremists and looters whose actions pose a direct threat to the sovereignty and constitutional order of Ukraine".

Yanukovych's ruling Regions Party, that had previously pushed Ukraine closer toward Russia, stood in disarray amid mass defections by lawmakers to opposition ranks.

More than 40 lawmakers had already quit the Regions Party -- once in control of 208 votes in the 450-seat Rada -- since the deadly unrest first erupted on Tuesday.

Deputies also named Tymoshenko ally Arsen Avakov as interior minister in place of Vitaliy Zakharchenko -- a figure hated by the opposition who is blamed for ordering the police to open fire on unarmed protesters.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Turkey set to amend contentious Internet law

Google – AFP, Fulya Ozerkan (AFP), 18 February 2014

A protester holds a placard reading, "Everywhere blackout, everywhere filter", during
a protest against Turkish government's newly proposed restrictions on the use of
Internet, on Istiklal avenue in Istanbul, on February 8, 2014 (AFP/File, Ozan Kose)

Ankara — Turkey's government is planning to amend a contentious bill tightening controls over the Internet in an apparent backtrack in the face of widespread opposition.

Transport Minister Lutfi Elvan signalled changes to the legislation at a meeting with political parties in parliament on Tuesday, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

An opposition lawmaker confirmed the planned amendments to aspects of the bill concerning some powers of Turkey's telecommunications authority.

"The steps are positive but not enough," Akif Hamzacebi of the Republican People's Party (CHP) was quoted as saying by NTV television.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan gestures at members of parliament
 from his ruling AK Party during a meeting at
 the Turkish parliament in Ankara on
February 18, 2014 (AFP, Adem Altan)
Under the bill, the Telecommunications Communications Presidency (TIB) can demand that Internet providers block pages deemed insulting or considered an invasion of privacy.

But the government is now proposing that the TIB will have to inform a judge about any decision to block a web page.

The judge would then have to issue a ruling within 48 hours or the TIB move would be deemed invalid, Hurriyet said.

The Internet bill has sparked outrage both at home and abroad and fuelled concerns over the state of democracy in the EU-hopeful country under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The legislation came on top of moves to curb the judiciary and a government purge of police and prosecutors in the face of corruption probe that has targeted close Erdogan allies.

The Internet bill could now either be vetoed by President Abdullah Gul and sent back to parliament to include the planned amendments, or it could be approved by the president and the amended clauses could be inserted in a separate batch of laws.

Observers say the second option appears more likely because Gul has indicated that he will sign into law both the Internet and judiciary measures.

Gul said that while he intended to raise concerns over "problematic clauses" in both bills, it was not his place to challenge the legislation.

- 'News will self-destruct' -

"As president, I cannot put myself into the position of the constitutional court," Hurriyet quoted him as saying, referring to opposition plans to challenge the legislation in Turkey's highest court.

Leading daily Radikal launched an online campaign to protest at the Internet curbs, erasing news stories, pictures and columns from its website once every four hours.

The campaign refers to the timeframe initially proposed for the TIB to be able to block a webpage under emergency measures.

"We will have a new motto like in the Mission Impossible movie," Radikal editor-in-chief Eyup Can wrote in his column, referring to the film's catchphrase "This message will self destruct in five seconds".

"This news story will self destruct by TIB in four hours," he said.

Erdogan has vehemently denied accusations of online censorship, and said Tuesday the proposed Internet curbs were aimed at countering "blackmail" and "threats".

"The Internet will not be censored, freedoms will not limited," Erdogan told his lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliament.

He said the number of Internet subscribers in predominantly Muslim Turkey had swelled to 34 million from 20,000 since the AKP came to power in 2002.

Defenders of the law say the new restrictions protect individual rights while critics argue they amount to nothing more than a fresh assault on freedom of expression and an attempt to stifle dissent.

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