'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march

'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march
Demonstrators arrive on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the 'Women's March on Washington' on January 21, 2017 (AFP Photo/Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide
Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of scienceThousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of science

Bernie Sanders and the Movement Where the People Found Their Voice

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


.
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini
FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) shakes hands with UEFA president Michel Platini after being re-elected following a vote in Zurich on May 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/Michael Buholzer)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018
The " Fearless Girl " statue on Wall Street is seen by many as a defiant symbol of women's rights under the new administration of President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY)



“… The Fall of Many - Seen It Yet?

You are going to see more and more personal secrets being revealed about persons in high places of popularity or government. It will seem like an epidemic of non-integrity! But what is happening is exactly what we have been teaching. The new energy has light that will expose the darkness of things that are not commensurate with integrity. They have always been there, and they were kept from being seen by many who keep secrets in the dark. Seen the change yet?

In order to get to a more stable future, you will have to go through gyrations of dark and light. What this means is that the dark is going to be revealed and push back at you. It will eventually lose. We told you this. That's what you're here for is to help those around you who don't see an escape from the past. They didn't get their nuclear war, but everything else is going into the dumper anyway. … “

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dutch health service pension fund calls for ARCP board to quit

DutchNews.nl, February 27, 2015

Dutch health service pension fund manager PGGM has called on property investment firm American Realty Capital Properties to remove its entire board in an effort to regain investor confidence in the company. 

PGGM, the second biggest Dutch pension manager with over $200bn in assets, says it has been monitoring the investment firm closely since it deliberately issued inaccurate financial statements in October 2014. The scandal led to the resignation of the firm’s founder Nicholas Schorsch in December.

‘It is essential that the board demonstrate its commitment to the highest standards of corporate governance, in light of the fiduciary duty it owes to all shareholders,’ the PGGM letter said

ARCP needs a truly independent board to choose a new management team, PGGM said. ‘This selection process will be of crucial importance in ensuring that all successful candidates are free from any real or perceived conflicts of interest.’ 

PGGM, which has over 11.6 million shares in ARCP, or a 1.3% stake, said it is urging fellow shareholders to ‘contribute to a meaningful and lasting change’.

Related Articles:






Dutch pension fund ABP sues Goldman Sachs

California calls on pension funds to divest from coal in climate change push


"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 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. …”

Friday, February 27, 2015

Biggest Global Banks Go to Pieces Under Pressure From Regulators

Jakarta Globe - Bloomberg, Michael J. Moore, Yalman Onaran & Nicholas Comfort, Feb 27, 2015

The logo of HSBC Private Bank in Geneva, Switzerland, 18 February 2015.
(EPA Photo/Martial Trezzini)

Global regulators have issued dozens of rules aimed at making the biggest banks safer. That’s leading to another result some wanted: making them shrink.

HSBC Holdings, Europe’s biggest bank by market value, said this week it’s considering “extreme solutions” for some of its units. Royal Bank of Scotland Group is reducing its US trading staff and getting out of two-thirds of the countries where it operates. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is closing branches, raising fees on some institutional deposits and looking for ways to shrink its trading businesses.

Increasingly strict capital rules over the past three years may be forcing the breakup of the financial supermarkets built in the decade before the financial crisis. Lenders, unable to use borrowed money to fund as much of their business as they once did, have cut profitability targets and are weighing more drastic actions to meet them.

“We’re beginning to see discussions that these capital charges are sufficiently large it’s causing those firms to think seriously about whether or not they should spin off some of their enterprises to reduce their systemic footprint,” Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen told the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. “And frankly, that’s exactly what we want to see happen.”

Bank capitulation

Banks have been cutting assets since the financial crisis, selling smaller units and unwinding derivatives that carried high capital charges. The latest moves represent a capitulation in which many of the largest banks may be ending their ambitions of offering all services in all regions.

Regulators’ tools have included minimum capital ratios, stress tests and demands that more bank assets be the types that are easy to sell in a crisis. That combination, along with tepid economic growth and low trading levels, drove return on equity, a measure of profitability, to an average of 3.3 percent last year at 10 of the largest banks from 17 percent in 2006.

“Banks certainly anticipated the direction of travel on capital rules, but with hindsight not the severity, which is why combined with low economic growth we are seeing repeated changes to strategies to try to improve return on equity,” Jon Peace, an analyst at Nomura Holdings, wrote in an e-mail.

While RBS’s decisions were driven by seven straight annual losses, other banks may face pressure to downsize based on profits that aren’t high enough to meet investors’ demands. Bank of America and Citigroup, each with more than $1.8 trillion in assets, haven’t topped a 7 percent return on equity since the financial crisis.

‘Intense pressure’

Deutsche Bank is weighing job cuts, winding down business lines at its investment bank and selling assets, including consumer-lending unit Postbank in Germany, as part of a strategy review at the Frankfurt-based lender, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month.

“In 18 to 36 months, there will be a much more intense pressure on some number of banks to break up,” Lazard Vice Chairman Gary Parr said in an interview last month with Bloomberg TV. “It’s a Darwinian exercise, and what’s fascinating to me is how slowly it’s going.”

JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, who runs the most profitable of the 10 banks, has taken the strongest stand against radical change. Dimon has defended his bank against analysts’ suggestions that it would be worth more broken up, saying the lender’s structure is what clients want and offers $18 billion in additional revenue and cost savings.

Black knight

A year ago, JPMorgan said it could earn a 15 percent return on tangible equity, which excludes items such as goodwill, even though it would have to maintain a 10 percent common-equity ratio. In December, the Fed proposed stricter capital rules for the biggest banks. JPMorgan said this week that it will cut more costs and earn 15 percent with a 12 percent common-equity ratio.

“Jamie Dimon is playing the role of the Black Knight in ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’: He’s saying it’s just a flesh wound,” said Mike Mayo, an analyst at CLSA, referring to the 1975 British film in which the knight loses his limbs. “If this is just a flesh wound and they can get a 15 percent ROE with all the additional regulatory impediments, then the call from investors to break up subsides.”

Still, JPMorgan acknowledged at its annual investor day this week that it’s trading at the biggest discount among the eight largest US banks relative to analysts’ estimates of future profitability. Glenn Schorr, an analyst at Evercore ISI in New York, asked if tinkering at the margins failed to grasp the message regulators are sending.

“Are we missing the forest for the trees?” Schorr asked JPMorgan Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake. “You’re optimizing, but is the Fed going to look at that and say, ‘I don’t get it, how many ways do we need to tell you you need to shrink, both in size and complexity?’”

Onerous rules

It isn’t only the rules forcing banks to cut their reliance on borrowing that have limited profitability. So-called return on assets, which measures how much profit a bank can make for every dollar of assets it holds, has also fallen.

For 10 of the largest European and US banks, profit on each $100 of assets on the balance sheet fell to 22 cents last year from 81 cents in 2006.

With all the capital rules, banking is still highly leveraged compared with other industries. The risk arising from that model has led regulators to attempt to ensure that banks can be wound down in a crisis.

‘Safer system’

“They are saying we’ve got to go back to a much safer system and that means everyone needs to shrink,” said David Ellison, a Boston-based money manager at Hennessy Advisors, which oversaw $5.9 billion at year-end. “They are using Basel, the CCAR stress test, to say this is what we want you to do. They have effectively nationalized the banking system.”

At first, it looked as if the rules wouldn’t be that onerous. Capital requirements revised in 2010 after the crisis were watered down under pressure from some European governments. So were the harshest elements of the US Dodd-Frank Act the same year after intense industry lobbying.

The failure of more European banks and the emergence of scandals that revealed rate-rigging and tax-dodging by others changed the political climate, leading to increased desire for stiffer measures. Global regulators added capital surcharges for the largest institutions. US supervisors almost doubled those.

Winding down

There’s nothing in Dodd-Frank or the global capital rules that tells banks to break up, according to Thomas Hoenig, vice chairman of the US Federal Deposit Insurance. The law says they should be capable of being wound down in a crisis, which is pushing some firms to shrink, he said.

“We’re not going to break you up, but we want you to structure yourself so that your failure doesn’t bring the economy down next time,” Hoenig said. “If you can’t get to that point with your current organization structure, then you should sell assets to get to that state.”

That message is finally getting through.

“Everybody knew capital levels would have to rise, but the magnitude of what regulators plan now probably exceeds most people’s expectations,” said Carola Schuler, co-head of European bank ratings at Moody’s Investors Service. “These higher capital requirements could be interpreted as an acknowledgment that the too-big-to-fail containment framework that was in place isn’t working properly.”

Bloomberg
Related Articles:

Swiss account secret of HSBC chief Stuart Gulliver revealed


"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 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. …”

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Coutts' Swiss operation faces German investigation over tax evasion claims

Bank’s subsidiary in Switzerland is already being investigated by the US authorities about whether it helped American citizens evade tax

The Guardian, Angela Monaghan and Jill Treanor, 26 February 2015

The clients’ entrance of Coutts in Zurich. Parent RBS has put Coutts’ international
operations up for sale and will indemnify any buyer of the business against regulatory
action. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

The Swiss operation of Coutts is under investigation by the German authorities for allegedly helping clients to evade tax.

Coutts is one of Britain’s most venerable banks, with a clients list that includes the Queen.

The bank’s Swiss operation is already under investigation by the US authorities about whether it helped American citizens evade tax.

But the parent of Coutts, Royal Bank of Scotland, said the investigation into the Swiss arm of Coutts had now widened to Germany. The activities of Swiss banking operations have come under intense scrutiny following the revelations about HSBC and the leak of 100,000 account details of its subsidiary in Switzerland, which showed it helped clients avoid tax. In order to become a client of Coutts, customers must have more than £1m in investable assets.

In the pages of legal warnings attached to RBS’s annual report, RBS said: “A prosecuting authority in Germany is undertaking an investigation into Coutts & Co Ltd in Switzerland, and current and former employees, for alleged aiding and abetting of tax evasion by certain Coutts & Co Ltd clients. Coutts & Co Ltd is cooperating with the authority.”

RBS – which is 79% owned by the taxpayer – had already put the international operations of Coutts up for sale and will indemnify any buyer of the business against any regulatory action.

Ross McEwan, the chief executive of RBS, said on Thursday that the business was being sold because it did not make money and that private banks had taken too long to clean up their activities.

“I want to be very clear if we find anything that has evidence of wrongdoing we will come down incredibly hard on any of those issues,” he said. “Any situation like this we take seriously … it is the reputation of our business. This is what has tarnished the banking industry and in my view private banks have taken far too long to catch up with the public’s expectations.”

Related Article:


Ex-Yemen President Saleh amassed 'up to 60 billion,' UN reports

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president of Yemen, allegedly siphoned billions of dollars into his own coffers while in power. The evidence stems from a UN report about the deposed leader.

Deutsche Welle, 26 Feb 2015


An expert panel presented the UN Security Council with a report this week outlining the alleged corruption practices of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The main finding of the report highlighted the fortune - estimated to be between $32-$60 billion (28 billion-53 billion euros) - which the former strongman amassed during his 33 years in power.

"These assets are said to take the form of property, cash, shares, gold and other valuable commodities," the expert report said, adding that he had transferred the majority of those assets to roughly 20 countries under false names.

According to the findings of the UN probe, Saleh was able to hide the funds with the help of five prominent Yemeni businessmen. Using companies and other individuals as fronts also helped shield him from assets freezes.

"The origin of the funds used to generate [Saleh's] wealth is believed to be…particularly [related] to gas and oil contracts where he reportedly asked for money in exchange for granting companies exclusive rights to prospect for gas and oil in Yemen."

The investigators estimated that he earned nearly $2 billion annually during his presidency.
"Many have argued that the country's spiraling debt and economic problems would be alleviated with a repatriation of these alleged stolen assets," it added.

Saleh and Yemen's political turmoil

Yemen has devolved into economic instability and political turmoil in the time since Saleh's forced resignation in 2012 after Yemen's Arab Spring uprising. Most recently, Shiite Houthi rebels have solidified their power in Yemen's north and taken over the capital city, Sanaa. The political crisis resulted in house arrest for President Abd Rabu Mansour, who recently fled to the south and rescinded his resignation.

Wednesday's report included information from sources who alleged that Saleh has been stockpiling weapons since being deposed, supporting allegations that he has played a role in the current unrest.

Many countries, including Germany, the United States and Middle Eastern nations have closed their embassies in Yemen amid security concerns. Late last week, rival factions in Yemen agreed to create a transitional council under UN oversight in order to help govern the country along with the parliament. The council is to include representatives from social groups that have traditionally lacked a voice in Yemeni politics.

kms/sms (AP, dpa)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Morgan Stanley to pay $2.6 bn to settle mortgage bond probe

Yahoo - AFP, 26 February 2015

Morgan Stanley said Wednesday it had reached a preliminary agreement with
 the Justice Department to pay $2.6 billion to settle a probe into its marketing
of mortgage-backed securities (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)

New York (AFP) - Morgan Stanley said Wednesday it had reached a preliminary agreement with the Justice Department to pay $2.6 billion to settle a probe into its marketing of mortgage-backed securities.

The settlement resolves claims the civil division of the Justice Department "indicated it intended to bring against the company," Morgan Stanley said in a securities filing.

The investment bank previously described regulatory probes as focusing on the bank's packaging of securities linked to subprime and non-subprime residential mortgages ahead of the housing bust and financial crisis.

The probes focused on issues including "the Company's due diligence on loans that it purchased for securitization, the Company's communications with ratings agencies, the Company's disclosures to investors, and the Company's handling of servicing and foreclosure related issues," the bank said in a November 2014 filing.

On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley trimmed its 2014 earnings from continuing operations by $1.35 per share from the $2.96 per share previously reported in light of the settlement.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Swiss account secret of HSBC chief Stuart Gulliver revealed

Leaked files covering 2005-2007 show bank chief executive sheltered £5m of his own money at Panamanian company with Swiss HSBC account

Stuart Gulliver in Hong Kong in 2012: leaked files show that the HSBC chief
 executive was a client of the bank’s Swiss subsidiary at the centre of the scandal.
Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Stuart Gulliver, the HSBC chief executive who has vowed to reform the crisis-hit bank, sheltered millions of pounds in a Swiss account through a Panamanian company and remains tax domiciled in Hong Kong.

Leaked files show that the Derby-born Gulliver, who is due to present HSBC’s annual report on Monday in the wake of the international controversy over its Geneva-based private bank, was also one of its clients, holding about £5m in a Swiss account.

The bank executive was listed as the beneficial owner of an account in the name of Worcester Equities Inc, an anonymous company registered in Panama, containing a balance in 2007 of $7.6m. It was through this entity that Gulliver’s HSBC bonuses were paid until 2003. He also held a second account in the name of Worcester Foundation, which had been closed before 2007.

Although now based in the UK, where HSBC has its headquarters, Gulliver is domiciled in Hong Kong for legal and tax purposes.

The banking details have emerged as the 55-year-old Oxford University graduate, who became chief executive in January 2011, is due to face questions from reporters and investors for the first time since the Guardian and other media outlets published the leaked HSBC files, which revealed misconduct at the bank’s Swiss subsidiary.

The documents, covering 2005-07, detailed how the private bank was complicit in tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, doled out bricks of cash in mixed currencies to clients, and provided banking services to criminals, drug smugglers, and friends and families of dictators.

Gulliver has already personally signed a “sincere apology” which appeared in three newspapers last Sunday, saying “the standards to which we operate today were not universally in place in our Swiss operations 8 years ago”.

The bank is expected to announce on Monday full-year profits for 2014 in excess of £13bn – and Gulliver’s total compensation package has been predicted to be around £7.5m, although it was reported over the weekend that he may surrender some of his remuneration because the bank agreed to pay fines to settle unrelated allegations of foreign exchange rigging last year.

In response to queries from the Guardian about his personal account as revealed in the leaked files, a representative for Gulliver said he had made use of HSBC Suisse to hold his bonus payments prior to 2003, when he moved from Hong Kong to London.

Lawyers for Gulliver said that Hong Kong tax had been paid on this income – and explained that he “followed this procedure because he wanted his taxed bonus earnings to remain private from his then colleagues in Hong Kong, which they would not have done if he had kept them in an HSBC Hong Kong account”.

The Guardian asked Gulliver why he used a Panamanian company to hold the funds, given Swiss accounts already offer secrecy. His lawyers declined to answer.

Gulliver’s legal representatives added that his Swiss accounts have “for a number of years” been voluntarily declared to UK tax authorities. They declined to specify the exact date they were first declared.

Gulliver is also among those current and former clients of HSBC Suisse to take advantage of non-dom status. Gulliver is a registered non-dom based on his long residence in Hong Kong – now a special administrative region of China – which he considers to be his home, despite his UK-based position.

A representative for Gulliver said: “Having lived there since the 1980s, our client has become a permanent Hong Kong resident with right of abode, as has his wife who is an Australian national. Hong Kong continues to be their home albeit that our client now works primarily in the UK. As a matter of law, our client is domiciled in Hong Kong.”

Non-dom status can confer several tax advantages on those who claim the status compared with those domiciled in the UK. These include advantages in how inheritance tax is applied, but can also exempt worldwide income earned from outside the UK from incurring UK taxes – a system known as the remittance basis.

Gulliver’s lawyers confirmed he was “entitled to claim the benefit of the remittance basis”, but did not say whether or not he did so. If Gulliver were on the remittance basis, he would not need to pay tax on investment income held outside the UK – which would include holdings in Swiss bank accounts.

A representative for Gulliver said that he had paid all relevant income taxes: “Full UK tax has been paid on the entirety of his worldwide earnings less a credit for tax paid additionally in Hong Kong (where he is also tax resident) on that part of the same earnings doubly taxed.”

John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, which has campaigned for abolition of non-dom tax benefits in the UK, said the non-dom quirk was particularly attractive for anybody who had accumulated assets such as homes and bonuses offshore, because any gains on offshore assets would be sheltered from UK tax.

“For my part I think it illustrates the absurdity of the rule, which should have been abolished many years ago. It serves no useful purpose and is hugely discriminatory against ordinary UK taxpayers,” he said.

Separately, Gulliver did not become employed by HSBC’s main holding company when he took over as chief executive of the bank in 2011. Documents seen by the Guardian at the time showed that Gulliver took the job of chief executive officer as a secondment from the Dutch-headquartered HSBC Asia Holdings, rather than take a straightforward appointment to the UK parent company.

A spokesman for HSBC said around 350 of its staff were employed through the Netherlands. “About 350 of the bank’s most internationally-mobile employees are employed by HSBC BV,” he said. “This enables them to be employed/seconded to any part of the global group without the need to change contracted employer.”

Representatives for Gulliver declined to explain for what purpose he was employed through the Netherlands subsidiary.

Gulliver has repeatedly emphasised to the public and to lawmakers that the culture of the bank, as well as its safeguards, has changed – both in the wake of the HSBC Files, and previous scandals including Libor rigging, and involvement with Mexican money laundering.

Since the publication of the HSBC files, the bank has been keen to stress that it has downsized the Swiss business, reducing the number of clients by 66%, to around 10,000. However, the total value of assets in those accounts – $68bn (£44bn) – has fallen by only 42%.

Douglas Flint and Stuart Gulliver appear before the Treasury select committee. 
Photograph: Reuters TV


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Obama adviser John Podesta's biggest regret: Keeping America in dark about UFOs

Yahoo News, Caitlin Dickson, February 13, 2015

In this Nov. 19, 2014 file photo, Counselor to the President John Podesta speaks in
 Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. In the year that will pass before the 2016 
campaign for president formally kicks off with the votes in the Iowa Caucus, any
 number of candidates, donors, political operatives — and people who have nothing
 to do with American politics — will shape the race for the White House. (AP Photo/
Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Outgoing senior Obama adviser John Podesta reflected on his latest White House stint Friday, listing his favorite moments and biggest regrets from the past year. Chief among them: depriving the American people of the truth about UFOs.


Podesta’s longtime fascination with UFOs is well-documented, as his brief political hiatus following four years as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff freed him up to pursue his otherworldly passion.

At a 2002 press conference organized by the Coalition for Freedom of Information, Podesta spoke on the importance of disclosing government UFO investigations to the public.

“It’s time to find out what the truth really is that’s out there,”  he said. “We ought to do it, really, because it’s right. We ought to do it, quite frankly, because the American people can handle the truth. And we ought to do it because it’s the law.”


Following Podesta’s tweet, Friday, the Washington Post recalled an exchange one of its reporters had with Podesta in 2007. Karen Tumulty had asked Podesta about reports that the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, had been bombarded with Freedom of Information Act Requests specifically seeking email correspondence to and from the former chief of staff including terms like “X-Files” and “Area 51.” Podesta’s response, through a spokesperson, was “The truth is out there,” the tagline for the TV show “The X-Files” of which Podesta was known to be a fan.

A 2010 editorial in Missouri’s Columbia Tribune disparaged reports that Podesta had asked an outspoken UFO photographer to stop discussing his knowledge of extraterrestrial activities in public.

“One wonders why Podesta would do such a radical reversal, given his former plea for UFO disclosure,” the editorial implored.

But contrary to the Columbia Tribune’s concerns, Podesta had clearly not abandoned the cause. He wrote an introduction to the 2010 book “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.”

Unfortunately, Podesta will likely have little time to fill out FOIA requests in his new job at Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Perhaps, as his tweet suggests, he’s passing the torch to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

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"... Question Three: Is there life on other planets?

Are you kidding? There's life everywhere. Everywhere! Right now, your scientists are searching for microbial life on all the planets and their moons in your solar system, and they will eventually find it. They expect to find it. They will eventually understand that the seeds of life are everywhere.

How much life might there be? How long has it been "out there"? When science starts to realize the scope of how long life has been in your galaxy, they will begin to see something counterintuitive to evolution - their own Human history. How old is your Universe? Ask your scientists and they will say about 13 billion years. That's OK. Let's use their numbers. How old is your own planet - 4 or 5 billion, perhaps? Correct. But how old is humanity? Why weren't you here with the dinosaurs? You think the earth wasn't ready? Do you think that perhaps that which controls evolution was a little too stupid to make a Human sooner, but the process could make a dinosaur? Have you ever thought about these things?

If you put the earth's entire history into a 24-hour clock, life itself only started in the last hour and humanity, all of civilization, happened the last few seconds. Isn't that odd to you? Therefore, in a Universe that may be 13 billion years old, you arrived in the last few seconds. Did you ever think maybe you're the newest ones on the block? Well, you'd be right.

If the Universe is really that old, do you think perhaps there are civilizations in your galaxy that might be a billion or more years older than you? If that's the case, do you think perhaps they have gone through anything you're going through? Do you think any of them might have had your DNA attributes? Perhaps they also went through what you are going through spiritually? Perhaps they even went into a quantum ascension status? The answer is dozens of them.

You already know them and you've listed them in your publications. The ones who directly seeded you are called Pleiadians. The ones who seeded them might be Octurian and the ones who seeded them may be even Orion. They're everywhere, and they're all here as well. They're looking at you, for you are the ones who are next, and you are passing this marker of the shift

Oh, dear ones, it's going to be a long time before you really know any of these things to be your reality. The first step is peace on Earth. The next is a new kind of Human evolution that is going to increase your DNA efficiency to 100% and you're going to live a long time. Every time I say that, there are Humans in their intellectual mind saying, "Well, there is a geometric birth rate going on. We're not going to make it. It's going to over-crowd and we are going to run out of food. So what you're saying, Kryon, can't be a good thing. We're all going to be suffering and killing each other for food."

Let me address this, for if that is your thought, Human, you are assuming Humans are stupid and haven't figured out what's going on and why there's so much birth. You assume they can't control it because they haven't figured it out? I want to tell you, you're going to see something you didn't expect. You're going to see a decline in birth rate because Humans are smart and they're getting smarter. They're going to see that quality of life is linked to the number of children they have, and they're going to figure out the solution. It won't be how many children their church says they should have. They are going to do it intuitively. You're going to see it sooner than not.

You are going to see wisdom on the planet in many areas that no sociologist would ever have predicted. You will surprise them all, and it's going to happen without a government program. It's going to happen because you decide you want it. It's going to happen collectively, and you may even see it soon. Look for negative birth rates in first-world countries. Where Humans are able to see a larger picture and have freedom of information, the situation will not be what you have predicted.

Is there life on other planets? The scientists are saying, "It's going to be a long time before we get to the stars, you know? We have to get in this little metal can and put air in it, and then travel in it for years and years before we ever get to the next star." Meanwhile, a Pleiadian can do it in the blink of an eye! What do you think is going on there? Do you even believe me?

Not long ago, if you wanted to communicate to someone far away, you sent a letter. It was carried by a horse. It took a month to get a response. Now you communicate instantly!  Why is this so unbelievable to you about travel?

I will tell you, as long as you stay in 3D, you'll still be getting in little metal cans and air suits and going to planets. As soon as you begin the quantum age, however, you will simply wish yourself there, because you will be entangled with everything and can go with intent. If you don't believe this now, you will later, for what I give you is true. It may be lifetimes and lifetimes from now, but the group that is before me is the group that is going to come back over and over and over. The difference is that you're done coming back in an old energy. This is a new energy. ..”

Friday, February 20, 2015

Retail giant Walmart to raise wages for US staff

Yahoo – AFP, John Biers, 19 Feb 2015

The biggest retailer globally, Walmart said the wage and education initiatives would
 affect 500,000 US full- and part-time staff. Salaries will be raised this year, with
another hike coming in 2016 (AFP Photo/Scott Olson)

New York (AFP) - Global retail giant Walmart, which has faced criticism over low salaries and skimpy benefits for years, announced Thursday it would raise wages for 500,000 workers in the US.

The largest private single employer in the United States said salaries for about 40 percent of its US staff would be lifted to at least $9 per hour in April, $1.75 above the federal minimum wage. By February 1, 2016, US staff will be paid at least $10 an hour.

The move follows mounting criticism by labor unions and other groups that the company's low wages have locked workers into poverty and pressured some of them to seek public assistance to make ends meet.

President Barack Obama has also made the issue of low pay and a growing income gap across the country a key focus of his economic policy.

In a video address to employees,
Wal-Mart Stores chief executive
Doug McMillon acknowledged
that "sometimes we don't get it
all right"  (AFP Photo/Alex Wong)
On Thursday, the White House amplified its call for the federal minimum wage, a base level for the whole country, to be raised to $10.10 per hour. The minimum was last raised in 2009.

"Good to see Walmart raising wages for about 500,000 employees. Now it's time for Congress to #RaiseTheWage," the White House tweeted.

In a video address to employees, Wal-Mart Stores chief executive Doug McMillon acknowledged that "sometimes we don't get it all right."

"As a team, we really wanted to demonstrate this year that we really care about you as associates and appreciate the work you do every day," said McMillon.

Last year a coalition of progressive and pro-labor groups, Americans for Tax Fairness, issued a report claiming that the government provides $6.2 billion a year in poverty-based assistance to Walmart workers because of their low wages.

The group also attacked the tax benefits earned by the family which controls Walmart, the Waltons, called the world's wealthiest family by Forbes with a $152 billion fortune.

States enacting wage hikes

The move came as a number of states have increased their minimum wages in recent years to address what economists say is a growing gap between what the average and wealthiest American households earn.

As of January, 29 states plus the District of Columbia have minimum wages above the federal standard, according to the National Conference of State Legislature.

Emily Wells, a member of OUR Walmart, an labor union-backed employee group that seeks higher wages, said she was "proud" their campaign had yielded a raise, but that more is needed.

"Especially without a guarantee of getting regular hours, this announcement still falls short of what American workers need to support our families," said Wells, who works in Florida.

"With $16 billion in profits and $150 billion in wealth for the owners, Walmart can afford to provide the good jobs that Americans need -– and that means $15 an hour, full-time, consistent hours and respect for our hard work."

But the National Retail Federation, a leading trade group, said Walmart's decision reflected the power of the marketplace as it took a swipe at policies such as government mandates to hike wages.

"Like many other retailers, Walmart made its decision based upon what is best for their employees, their customers, their shareholders and the communities in which they operate," it said..

"Government mandates that arbitrarily require businesses to implement politically driven policy are unnecessary and, in fact, create hurdles to job creation, curtail capital investment and pose as barriers to a sustained economic recovery."

McMillon told the network CNBC that Walmart would stay out of the political debate on the minimum wage.

Walmart said increased spending on wages and on a new program to promote employee education would weigh on future profits. The new program will shave 20 cents per share from earnings in fiscal 2016.

Walmart projected fiscal 2015 earnings of $4.70-$5.05 a share compared with the $5.19 expected by analysts.

Morgan Stanley said the company's outlook was disappointing, but that the wage announcement was positive "for how it should enhance morale, attract and retain labor, and lead to better customer engagement."

The wage hike could also prompt competitors to follow suit, which could give lower-income Americans more spending power, eventually feeding back into Walmart results, Morgan Stanley added.

In afternoon Thursday Walmart shares fell 2.9 percent to $83.77.

Alec has urged conservatives to launch populist campaigns against wage increases
 by adopting the mantra that higher pay hurts ordinary Americans. Photograph: 
Seth Perlman/AP

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Protesters in New York call for higher wages for fast-food 
workers. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images