'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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Monday, June 30, 2014

End of the Line for Akil Mochtar as Disgraced Court Chief Jailed for Life

Jakarta Globe, Jun 30, 2014

The former chief justice of Constitutional Court Akil Mochtar was jailed on
 June 30 after being found guilty of selling election disputes to the highest
bidder. (EPA Photo/Maliq)

Jakarta. Akil Mochtar’s disgrace was complete late on Monday night after the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court sentenced the former chief justice of the Constitutional Court to life in prison. Akil was found guilty of having sold off Indonesia’s powerful local government seats to corrupt politicians.

“The defendant has been proved guilty beyond doubt of corruption,” the presiding judge at the court said, reading out the verdict.

Akil was also found guilty of corruption and money laundering during his term as the chief of Constitutional Court between 2010 and 2013. He was arrested at his house in October last year after Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators arrived with a warrant for his arrest. The commission would later say they had tapped his phone to confirm longstanding suspicions that he was taking bribes to issue favorable verdicts in election disputes.

The Constitutional Court is the highest authority in the country in such disputes. Its decisions are binding and complainants have no further recourse once it has ruled. Lawyer Susi Tur Andayani and businessman Tubagus Chaeri Wardana, better known as Wawan, were also brought in by investigators on graft charges. Wawan was caught red-handed, trying to bribe Akil to rule in favor of candidates loyal to his family in the Lebak district of Banten.

It was not long before the case widened to take in Wawan’s sister,  the governor of Banten province, Ratu Atut Chosiyah, a matriarch whose vice-like grip on the province’s finances allegedly extended to rigging just about every public contract for the province — which lies contiguous to both Jakarta and West Java — but did not include working to improve the down-at-heel province’s education system or better the lot of its citizens.

Indonesia’s highly decentralized political framework confers vast budgets and significant powers on provincial and district chiefs.

“The defendant has ruined public trust in the Constitutional Court, and it will take quite some time to revive it,” KPK prosecutor Pulung previously said in court, while Indonesia Corruption Watch said at the time of Akil’s arrest that the case was “a disaster for law enforcement in Indonesia.” ICW went on to accuse Atut of conducting graft on an industrial scale in Banten — again and again awarding tenders to companies owned by her and her family.

Several other cases against Akil have since come to light — including district seats in Central Kalimantan and the mayoralty of Palembang — and the disgraced former judge may face further charges as investigators work their way through a backlog of similar complaints.

Akil — who recently conceded he was “no angel” — was defiant prior to the ruling, insisting he would file an appeal “to heaven” if necessary.

Related Articles:

Wawan Gets Five Years for Bribing Top Judge
KPK Discovered Secret Cash Stash in Akil’s Karaoke Room: Mahfud
Top Judge’s Arrest Rattles Justice System

The Constitutional Court, once seen as squeaky clean, has been rocked
 by the arrest of its chief justice, Akil Mochtar, for bribery. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)

Former military leader expelled from CPC for graft


BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Xu Caihou, former vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and his case handed over to prosecutors, announced the CPC Central Committee on Monday.

The decision was made earlier in the day at a meeting of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, presided over by President Xi Jinping.

Investigation found that Xu took advantage of his post to assist the promotion of other people and accepted bribes personally and through his family members, said the statement issued after the meeting.

He was also found to have sought profits for others in exchange for money and properties, taken through his family members.

"His case is serious and leaves a vile impact," the statement said.

Xu had been under investigation for disciplinary violations from March 15 and his case has now been handed over to the military procuratorate.

Born in 1943, Xu was CMC vice chairman from 2004 to 2012 and was granted the military rank of General in 1999.

The investigation into him displayed firm resolve and zero tolerance of corruption in the Party and armed forces, according to the statement.

"The whole party and armed forces should be fully aware of the time-consuming, complicated and tough mission to fight corruption," it said.

"Anyone, no matter what authority and office he holds, will receive serious punishment if violating Party disciplines and laws. We will never compromise nor show mercy."

To carry out the CPC's political decisions, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) should follow a high and strict standard in terms of discipline, the statement said, vowing, "The Party will not harbor corrupt members nor will the armed forces."

For the Party and people, the PLA must always be trustworthy, the statement warned. The CPC leadership urged the armed forces to educate officers and soldiers to carry on good traditions, and maintain firm political status and high moral standards.

Party organs of all levels are asked to educate, manage and supervise their officials, especially senior ones, so that anti-corruption campaigns will continue making progress.

Officials should uphold socialist values, establish a correct perspective about power, fame and gain as well as resist temptations, the statement urged.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wonga to pay £2.6m compensation for fake debt firm letters

FCA orders payday lender to compensate 45,000 customers after it sent threatening letters from non-existent companies

theguardian.com, Rupert Jones, Wednesday 25 June 2014

Wonga has apologised for the poor practice, which was uncovered by
the OFT Photograph: David Levene

Britain's best-known payday lender, Wonga, has been ordered to pay more than £2.6m compensation after it was found to have sent threatening letters to customers from non-existent law firms.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Wonga had been guilty of "unfair and misleading debt collection practices" after it emerged the lender had created fake law firms using the names of employees who in some cases still work for the company. The regulator said the firm would be compensating around 45,000 customers who received the letters, which threatened legal action over outstanding debts.

However, the firm escaped a potential financial penalty or worse because the FCA only started policing payday lenders in April 2014, and these practices occurred while the now-defunct Office of Fair Trading (OFT) was in charge.

Between October 2008 and November 2010, Wonga sent letters to customers in arrears under the names Chainey D'Amato & Shannon and Barker & Lowe Legal Recoveries – leading customers to believe that their outstanding debt had been passed to a law firm or another third party. Legal action was threatened if the debt was not repaid. The communications were typically headed up "Urgent message" and began: "We have been instructed by Wonga to recover from you a debt of £X ..." 
In fact, said the regulator, neither Chainey D'Amato & Shannon nor Barker & Lowe existed. Wonga was using this tactic "to maximise [its] collections by unfairly increasing pressure on customers", it added. In some instances, Wonga also added charges to customers' accounts to cover the administration fees associated with sending the letters. It is a criminal offence for anyone to call themselves a solicitor or act as a solicitor if they are not one, but it is thought the offending letters and emails from the fake firms did not use the word solicitor.

Wonga, which is well-known for its TV adverts featuring puppets of older people, is the UK's biggest payday lender; in 2012 it made nearly four million loans to more than one million customers.

Earlier this month it emerged that a founder of the company, Errol Damelin, had quit asa director, just seven months after stepping down as chief executive.

To compound the company's woes, it has also been disclosed that Wonga will have to pay compensation to many current and former customers after it discovered that "system errors" had resulted in the miscalculation of some people's balances. Almost 200,000 customers overpaid Wonga as a result, the majority by less than £5, the company said. This occurred over a period of several years, though "a greater number" underpaid and will not be asked to repay the shortfall, said a spokesman.

The use of fake law firms was uncovered by the former consumer credit regulator, the OFT, in 2011, after Wonga was asked to disclose information about its debt collection practices.

This is not the first time the firm has been in trouble for its debt collection activities.In 2012 the OFT told it to clean up its act after it sent letters to customers accusing them of fraud.

The agreement with the FCA states that the lender must identify and pay redress to all affected customers. Some customers will receive cash, while others are likely to have their outstanding balance reduced. The regulator has appointed a "skilled person" to oversee the process and ensure customers get what they are owed.

In terms of the compensation relating to the threatening correspondence, there will be a flat-rate £50 settlement offer to all 44,556 customers sent letters, to reflect the distress and inconvenience they have suffered. Some will also receive a refund of the charges incurred for being referred to Barker & Lowe or Chainey D'Amato, which has been estimated at £400,000, and will be provided to customers who paid these fees. In some cases there may be extra compensation payments based on individual circumstances.

Where customers have overpaid Wonga, this will be reimbursed with interest, though the 8% rate - in line with the rate used by the Financial Ombudsman Service, said the firm - contrasts starkly with the 5,853% "representative" APR that the lender charges, as quoted on its website.

The process will start by mid-July, and compensation payments are likely to be paid from the end of July. Wonga has also disclosed that some customers' credit ratings "may have been impacted" by the systems errors.

Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said: "Wonga's misconduct was very serious because it had the effect of exacerbating an already difficult situation for customers in arrears. We are pleased Wonga has been working with us to put matters right for its customers and ensure these historical practices are truly a thing of the past."

Tim Weller, Wonga's interim chief executive, said: "This is not the proudest day in Wonga's history ... We would like to apologise unreservedly to anyone affected by the historical debt collection activity and for any distress caused as a result. The practice was unacceptable and we voluntarily ceased it nearly four years ago."

The company said "all the people directly involved in those practices are no longer with the business and have not been here for some time". It revealed that some of the names used to create the fake law firms "were people at the time who were in the business ... In some cases they are still at the company but they have no responsibility for this at all".

Weller added: "I would also like to apologise to customers affected by our system errors. We fully accept the impact on customers was negative in many cases and our priority is to ensure we deal quickly and fairly with customers who've been impacted, again in conjunction with the FCA."

Martin Lewis, founder of consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com, said he welcomed the action being taken, adding: "Using lawyers as fake as its puppets, then having the stomach to charge people for it, is a thuggish tactic, aimed at scaring and intimidating people who are already struggling."

It appears some sharp-eyed customers may have rumbled Wonga's tactics years ago; a MoneySavingExpert post dating from February 2010 states: "I have received an email from Wonga's email address saying they are Barker & Lowe, but when I googled their number and name, nothing is found. Just wondered if anyone had heard of them or whether my suspicions are right, that this is just Wonga's own made-up company to try to scare people a little."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tens of thousands march in London against coalition's austerity measures

An estimated 50,000 people in London addressed by speakers, including Russell Brand, after People's Assembly march

theguardian.com, Kevin Rawlinson and agencies, Saturday 21 June 2014

Russell Brand told the marchers there will be a 'peaceful, effortless, joyful
revolution' against austerity in the UK. Photograph: Rex Features

Tens of thousands of people marched through central London on Saturday afternoon in protest at austerity measures introduced by the coalition government. The demonstrators gathered before the Houses of Parliament, where they were addressed by speakers, including comedians Russell Brand and Mark Steel.

An estimated 50,000 people marched from the BBC's New Broadcasting House in central London to Westminster.

"The people of this building [the House of Commons] generally speaking do not represent us, they represent their friends in big business. It's time for us to take back our power," said Brand.

"This will be a peaceful, effortless, joyful revolution and I'm very grateful to be involved in the People's Assembly."

"Power isn't there, it is here, within us," he added. "The revolution that's required isn't a revolution of radical ideas, but the implementation of ideas we already have."

A spokesman for the People's Assembly, which organised the march, said the turnout was "testament to the level of anger there is at the moment".

He said that Saturday's action was "just the start", with a second march planned for October in conjunction with the Trades Union Congress, as well as strike action expected next month.

People's Assembly spokesman Clare Solomon said: "It is essential for the welfare of millions of people that we stop austerity and halt this coalition government dead in its tracks before it does lasting damage to people's lives and our public services."

Sam Fairburn, the group's national secretary, added: "Cuts are killing people and destroying cherished public services which have served generations."

Activists from the Stop The War Coalition and CND also joined the demonstration.

The crowds heard speeches at Parliament Square from People's Assembly supporters, including Caroline Lucas MP and journalist Owen Jones. Addressing the marchers, Jones said: "Who is really responsible for the mess this country is in? Is it the Polish fruit pickers or the Nigerian nurses? Or is it the bankers who plunged it into economic disaster – or the tax avoiders? It is selective anger."

He added: "The Conservatives are using the crisis to push policies they have always supported. For example, the sell-off of the NHS. They have built a country in which most people who are in poverty are also in work."

The People's Assembly was set up with an open letter to the Guardian in February 2013. Signatories to letter included Tony Benn, who died in March this year, journalist John Pilger and filmmaker Ken Loach.

In the letter, they wrote: "This is a call to all those millions of people in Britain who face an impoverished and uncertain year as their wages, jobs, conditions and welfare provision come under renewed attack by the government.

"The assembly will provide a national forum for anti-austerity views which, while increasingly popular, are barely represented in parliament."

The Metropolitan police refused to provide an estimate. A police spokesman said the force had received no reports of arrests.

A spokesman for the prime minister declined to comment.

Related Article:

FIFA chiefs pocketed ‘secret 100% pay rise’

Al Arabiya News, Staff writer, Sunday, 22 June 2014

FIFA President Sepp Blatter at a news conference after the Executive
Committee meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zurich. (File photo: Reuters)

Members on FIFA’s Executive Committee have secretly doubled their pay after newly imposed ethics rules banned their fat six-digit World Cup bonuses, The Sunday Times revealed this week.

Secret documents leaked to the newspaper showed that the 25 powerful members on the Executive Committee of football's top governing body saw their $100,000 salary double this year, and the money was paid to Swiss banks controlled by the organization, allowing the top members to withdraw the amounts in cash, and dodge taxes, added the British newspaper.

In addition, the executives enjoyed a VIP treatment of free Business Class air travel, five-star hotel stays, and luxury meals - all to complement their high end social status.


FIFA had pledged this year to scrap its practice of awarding its executives bonuses ranging from $75,000 to $200,000 during World Cup years, as a new audit signaled unethical behavior in the practice.

But with the announcement, the Zurich-based organization failed to mention the 100% pay raise it agreed with its committee members as remuneration.

A current member reportedly confirmed the raise last week to The Sunday Times. “It has been doubled to take account of the dropping of the bonus,” the unnamed alleged member was quoted as saying.

Bribery and corruption

FIFA recently came under fire over a controversy that had allegedly “proven” bribery allegations surrounding Qatar’s winning bid to host the World Cup 2022.

Qatar allegedly paid $5 million to help raise its chances in winning the bid, The Sunday Times also revealed earlier this month.

The new outlet claimed it had obtained a “bombshell” cache of millions of leaked emails and documents, relating to payments made by Mohammad Bin Hammam, Qatar’s former top football official, who was an executive member of FIFA at the time.

The Qatar World Cup organizing committee denied all the allegations, however the revelations could see the tournament be withdrawn from the Gulf state.

James Dorsey, author of a blog and related book entitled The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, told Al Arabiya News earlier this month that the potential fall-out of The Sunday Times revelations could be massive.

“A possible retraction of Qatar’s right to host the 2022 World Cup,” he said, adding: “But we’ve got a fair way to go in legal terms before we see any legal action which could see a withdrawal of the hosting rights and a re-running of the bid.”

The boardroom of Fifa’s headquarters in Zurich (The Sunday Times)

Related Article:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

US Presbyterians vote to divest from firms to pressure Israel

Yahoo – AFP, 21 June 2014

Israeli soldiers patrol a street in the West Bank village of Beit Furik,
southeast of Nablus, early on June 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Washington (AFP) - The nearly 1.9 million member Presbyterian Church USA voted Friday after a contentious debate to divest from three companies that provide supplies to Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The 310 to 303 vote at the influential Protestant denomination's meeting in Detroit, Michigan, means the group will pull any financial investments out of Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, according to the church's official news service.

Israeli soldiers arrest a young Palestinian
 boy following clashes in the West Bank
 town of Hebron, on June 20, 2014 (AFP
Photo/Thomas Coex)
Assembly moderator Heath Rada emphasized the decision "in no way reflects anything but love for both the Jewish and Palestinian people," the news service said.

The measure also included a reaffirmation of Israel's right to exist, an endorsement of a two-state solution and encouraged interfaith dialogue, The New York Times reported.

It also included a provision to encourage "positive investment" to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, the Times said.

The close vote came after a week of intense lobbying and "most contentious debate of this assembly," the church's news service said, noting that divestment has historically been seen as a "last resort" after "other engagement tools have failed."

In a statement ahead of the vote, Presbyterian Church USA said it was considering divestment in Caterpillar because its responsible investing committee found the company provides the bulldozers "used in the destruction of Palestinian homes, clearing land of structures and fruit and olive tree groves, and in preparation for the construction of the barrier wall."

Hewlett-Packard, it said, "provides electronic systems at checkpoints, logistics and communications systems to support the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, and has business relationships with illegal settlements in the West Bank."

And Motorola Solutions "provides military communications and surveillance systems in the illegal Israeli settlements," the Church added.

HP spokeswoman Kelli Schlegel insisted, however, that "respecting human rights is a core value at HP and is embedded in the way we do business."

The HP systems used at checkpoints help expedite "passage in a secure environment, enabling people to get to their place of work or to carry out their business in a faster and safer way," Schlegel added.

Motorola Solutions emphasized in a statement the "company has a long record of working with customers" throughout the Middle East and "supports all efforts in the region to find a peaceful resolution" to conflict.

The company added it has "a comprehensive set of policies and procedures that addresses human rights, which is designed to ensure that our operations worldwide are conducted using the highest standards of integrity and ethical business conduct applied uniformly and consistently."

Caterpillar did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

At the 2012 General Assembly, Presbyterian USA voted to boycott products made in the Israeli settlements and to "begin positive investments in Palestinian businesses."

Related Articles:

Also in the garden of the Vatican embraced Peres
and Abbas together. (NOS/AFP)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Telegraph axes former deputy editor in shift towards digital

Several senior journalists leave suddenly after Telegraph shakeup

The Guardian, Roy Greenslade and Josh Halliday, Wednesday 18 June 2014

At least 10 writers axed as part of an online strategy from Telegraph Media
Group's editor in chief, Jason Seiken. Photograph: Frederick M Brown/Getty Images

The Daily Telegraph has axed several prominent journalists, including former deputy editor Benedict Brogan, as part of a renewed shift towards digital at the title.

Brogan was among a number of senior journalists to leave the paper suddenly on Wednesday, including the blogs editor Damian Thompson. Thompson, a regular columnist for the Daily Telegraph, confirmed on Twitter his "entirely amicable parting of the ways" with the paper. At least 10 other writers are also leaving.

The departures came as Telegraph Media Group, the paper's publisher, said it was hiring 40 recruits as part of a "significant new investment in quality journalism". Many of the 40 job vacancies are in the publisher's digital division, which it has looked to strengthen since the arrival of the former PBS and Washington Post executive Jason Seiken in September.

Seiken, the chief content officer and editor in chief of Telegraph Media Group, said: "I strongly believe that, in the long run, quality journalism wins. That is why we are focused relentlessly on two things: producing truly distinctive quality journalism; and ensuring this journalism is seen by the largest possible audience.

"Our investment in areas such as investigative reporting and data journalism will enhance the former, while our new positions focused on SEO and social media will power the latter."

The publisher said it was forming a breaking news team to speed up the delivery of stories to mobile and web. It is also attempting to form a "cross-functional team of journalists, engineers and designers focused on innovation in digital journalism", a spokeswoman for TMG said.Brogan, a former political editor of the Daily Mail, was widely admired in Westminster for his political blog and morning briefing email, which he launched in 2006. The Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, said on Twitter: "Sorry to hear @benedictbrogan is leaving the Telegraph. A real class act and will be missed. His memo & blog was always a must read."

Daniel Finkelstein, the Times columnist, told Brogan on Twitter: "Am sorry to hear you're leaving the Telegraph. I gain a lot from reading your journalism and look forward to your next move."

Bronwen Maddox, the editor and chief executive of Prospect magazine, added: "Shock that @benedictbrogan leaving the Telegraph. Their loss. Don't agree with it all, but read it every day."

Related Articles:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Finance minister to press ahead with banking bonus crackdown

DutchNews.nl, Saturday 14 June 2014

Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is to stick to his plan to limit financial services sector bonuses for at 20% of basic salary despite criticism from banks.

‘Perverse incentives such as high compensation and bonuses are globally seen as one of the causes of the financial crisis,’ Dijsselbloem said in an e-mailed statement, news agency Bloomberg reported.

‘For everyone working in the Dutch financial industry, possible bonuses will be capped at 20% of fixed pay as of 2015.’

The Dutch government, a coalition of the right wing VVD Liberals and the Labour party (PvdA) said in their coalition agreement they would limit bonuses to 20%. Brussels is planning to ban bonuses of more than one times fixed pay from 2015 for most senior bankers.


On Thursday it emerged the Council of State – the government’s most senior advisory body – opposes the 20% ceiling.

According to the Telegraaf, the Council of State sees numerous legal problems with Dijsselbloems plans, both in the Netherlands and in Brussels. In addition, economic affairs minister Henk Kamp thinks the plan will hurt Amsterdam’s financial services industry, the Telegraaf said.

The legislation also includes a ban on guaranteed bonuses and limits golden handshakes to a year’s salary.


According to website Z24, Dijsselbloem has softened his original plans slightly. For example, banks will be able to increase bankers fixed salaries to compensate for lower bonuses, the website said.

The Dutch banking association also opposes the change, saying banks are already making progress on reducing excessive pay deals.

A specific Dutch remuneration policy 'will deviate sharply from European policy and we don't need that,' chairman Chris Buijink said.

Dutch health authority accepts foreign trips from drugs firms: NRC

DutchNews.nl, Saturday 14 June 2014

Theo Langejan, chairman of the NZA.
The Dutch healthcare authority NZa accepts foreign travel trips from companies which do business with the organisation or which the authority supervises, the NRC said on Saturday.

The paper has carried out research into Theo Langejan’s expenses claims and concludes the NZa has broken its own guidelines on foreign travel.

Other regulators, such as the financial services authority AFM and consumer and markets authority ACM do not accept paid trips on principle, the paper says.

Drugs firms

Since 2010, Langejan has been on at least 16 trips paid for by companies and healthcare institutions. In April 2012 he spent four days in a hotel on the French Rivièra, courtesy of drugs company Pfizer. The suite where he stayed cost €700 a night, the paper says.

The NZa decides which medicines are covered by Dutch health insurance, and that includes Pfizer drugs, the NRC points out.

Accountancy and consultants PwC has funded all in trips to Singapore, Washington, South Africa and Mexico. Langejan made these trips as an ‘advisor’ to a PwC think tank but in NZa time, the NRC says.

KPMG, which did €420,000 worth of advisory work for the NZa in 2012. It also paid for Langejan to attend a KPMG European Health Summit in Brussels, even though he had no role in the programme.

The NZa’s policy is to have sponsors pay travel and hotel expenses if an NZa official is speaking at a congress. Langejan’s predecessor Frank de Grave distanced the organisation from this policy.

The NZa said in a reaction that none of the trips the NRC has written about break the NZa’s internal rules.

Whistleblowing heart doctor who aired hospital safety fears wins tribunal case

“…I'm in Canada and I know it, but I will tell those listening and reading in the American audience the following: Get ready! Because there are some institutions that are yet to fall, ones that don't have integrity and that could never be helped with a bail out. Again, we tell you the biggest one is big pharma, and we told you that before. It's inevitable. If not now, then in a decade. It's inevitable and they will fight to stay alive and they will not be crossing the bridge. For on the other side of the bridge is a new way, not just for medicine but for care. Paradigms that have not yet been thought of, which don't represent any system that currently exists, will be created and developed by young minds who have concepts that the seniors don't know about. Things that don't have integrity today will fall over tomorrow. Just get ready. It's all part of what's on the other side of the bridge. And the old energy won't like it, and they will object. …”

Thursday, June 12, 2014

BNP Paribas bank says senior executive to quit amid US probe

Yahoo – AFP, Septime Meunier, 12 June 2014

The bank says Chodron de Courcel, aged 64, was taking retirement at his
own request.

A major dispute between the United States and France over penalties threatening BNP Paribas took a sudden turn on Thursday with the removal of a top executive at the French bank.

The departure of chief operating officer Georges Chodron de Courcel signals a concession to ward off a massive fine, reported possibly to exceed $10 billion (7.4 billion euros).

At the beginning of June, various sources told AFP that the bank would sack Chodron de Courcel to placate US judicial authorities.

The New York banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky called several months ago for him to be dismissed, AFP has learnt.

The Wall Street Journal newspaper has reported that US authorities had also obtained the removal of another senior executive at the bank, Vivien Levy-Garboua, former head of internal controls in North America and now an adviser to the top management.

Altogether, Lawsky is said by various sources to have demanded that a dozen bankers should lose their jobs over the incriminated transactions.

The announcement on Thursday is a crucial development in the case, since France has said that what it considers the threat of "disproportionate" penalties against the bank on charges of sanctions busting could upset talks on a vast free-trade pact between the 28-member European Union and United States.

But the bank presented the sudden ending of Chodron de Courtcel's functions, on June 30, as retirement with effect from September 30 after a lifelong career of 42 years at the bank, without mentioning the charges by US judicial officials.

The dispute is a hot subject for France, and Chodron de Courcel, aged 64, is a high-profile figure in French banking and industry, and is also a cousin of Bernadette Chirac, wife of former French President Jacques Chirac.

President Hollande has raised the matter several times with US President Barack Obama, the latest occasion being over a dinner in Paris last week even though Obama has made clear he cannot intervene in a judicial process.

The case turns on charges that between 2002 and 2009 BNP Paribas, a leading French and European bank, broke sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba by carrying out dollar transactions with those countries.

High stakes

The stakes are high for the bank, which risks a huge fine, and maybe a temporary suspension of dollar transactions or even of its US banking licence.

France argued that the stakes are high also for the international financial system, and for bank lending and economic recovery in Europe, saying that the knock-on effects of such penalties, and possibly against other banks under investigation, would be widespread and deep.

The governor of the Bank of France, Christian Noyer, who says that the bank did nothing wrong, has also warned of knock-on effects.

And the former president of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet has said that a huge fine could trigger shock waves through the financial system.

The share price of BNP Paribas, which has provisioned only about 1.1 billion euros for the case, has not been unduly affected by the recent developments.

Some analysts are sceptical about the extent of such repercussions. And US authorities have imposed higher fines on banks.

In 2012, about 10 US banks paid a total of $78 billion in fines to settle litigation on a wide range of charges.

Some reports had said that the BNP Paribas board was split over how to ward off the US authorities.

Some top executives argued that the bank had done nothing wrong under French and European law, a line backed by Noyer, and others saying that the bank should not have ventured into such transactions.

In the statement Chodron de Courcel, who had spent his entire 42-year-career at the bank, said: "I am proud to have contributed to building this outstanding group, which has now become one of the European leaders in its industry."

Monday, June 9, 2014

Two Israelis charged over racist, anti-Arab vandalism

Yahoo – AFP, 9 June 2014

An Arab-Israeli man speaks on his mobile phone as he looks at the punctured
 tyres of his vehicle in the Arab-Israeli town of Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem
on June 18, 2013 (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli prosecutors have charged two young Israelis with a racially-inspired attack in 2013 on dozens of Arab-owned vehicles in a village just outside Jerusalem, the justice ministry said on Monday.

During the incident in June last year, the tyres of 34 cars were punctured and racist slogans were scrawled on a wall in Abu Ghosh, an Arab-Israeli village west of Jerusalem.

A statement from ministry said Arye Pearl, a 21-year-old from the extremist settlement of Yitzhar in the northern West Bank, was charged with vandalism of property and cars with a racism motive at Jerusalem District Court on Monday.

The second suspect, whose identity could not be divulged since he was a minor at the time of the attack, was indicted on the same charges on Sunday at Jerusalem juvenile court, the ministry said.

An Arab-Israeli man points to graffiti that reads in Hebrew "Arabs out" (L) 
and "assimliation" (R) a negative reference to Jews and non-Jews mixing, on the
 wall of a house in the Arab-Israeli town of Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem on June 18,
2013 (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

According to the indictments, the suspects scrawled Hebrew graffiti on a wall reading: "Arabs out," and: "Racism or assimilation." Assimilation is a negative reference to Jews and non-Jews mixing.

Abu Ghosh is a village known for its good relations with Israel's Jewish majority which tends to attracts hordes of Israelis to its restaurants famed for their hummus and grilled meats.

Such attacks are known by the term 'price tag' - a euphemism for nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists aimed at Palestinian and Arab property, but have also targeted non-Jews and occasionally leftwing Israelis and the security forces.

Related Article:

Vietnam banking tycoon given 30-year jail term

Yahoo – AFP, 9 June 2014

A Vietnamese court on Monday sentenced a disgraced banking tycoon to 30 years in jail over a multi-million dollar scandal that shocked the nation's already fragile financial markets.

Nguyen Duc Kien, 50, was found guilty of fraud, tax evasion, illegal trade and "deliberate wrongdoing causing serious consequences", according to the verdict read at the Hanoi People's Court.

"The accused was not honest and so must be given serious punishment in line with his crime," court president Nguyen Huu Chinh said at the end of the two-week trial Monday.

Kien, who denied the charges against him, was given 30 years in jail and handed a 75 billion dong ($3.5 million) fine.

The flamboyant multi-millionaire went on trial alongside seven other defendants, all top bankers at Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), which counts global banking giant Standard Chartered (HKSE: 2888.HK - news) as one of its "strategic partners".

The other defendants were given sentences of between two and eight years. The most senior of the other defendants, the former director of ACB, Ly Xuan Hai, was given eight years.

According to the verdict, Kien -- a shareholder in some of Vietnam's largest financial institutions and a founder of ACB -- and his accomplices caused losses of $67 million through illegal cross-bank deposits and investments.

Most of the cash vanished when Kien ordered his staff to make deposits at the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank).

An employee from that bank has already been sentenced to life imprisonment for fraud.

Prosecutors also accused Kien of forging documents to defraud the top steel firm Hoa Phat Group of $12.5 million.

The banker rose to public prominence as a vocal critic of corruption in Vietnamese football, using his role as chairman of Hanoi Football Club to sound off against Vietnam's Football Federation.

When Kien was arrested in August 2012 it sent "shockwaves across the country", state media reported at the time, and caused ACB's share price to plunge.

Experts interpreted the arrest of the high-profile banker as part of bitter infighting within the ruling Communist Party.

Kien had been seen as an ally of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and has become the subject of intense speculation on blogs over his business dealings with Dung's daughter.

Related Article: