'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, April 27, 2015

The dangerous reality of corruption in the arms sector

In a new report, anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, revealed that two-thirds of international defense companies are not doing enough to counteract 
under-the-table arms deals.

Deutsche Welle, 27 April 2015

Saudi Arabian tanks (Photo: /AFP/Getty Images)

Corruption, by definition, implies risk, but in the context of the arms sector, it has a particularly dangerous undertone. Not only does it waste public funds and threaten the reputation and financial wellbeing of individual companies, but it can also harm, and indeed claim lives.

That, however, does not prevent it from happening on a magnificent scale. According to a new Transparency International (TI) report on the quality of corporate anti-corruption programs, two-thirds of defense companies fell far short of the mark.

Of the 163 arms manufacturers in 47 countries to volunteer information for the , 107 demonstrated little evidence of schemes designed to ensure good business practice, and a further 37 failed to provide any at all.

Far from being restricted to any particular region, these companies are based all over the world, from France to Russia, Japan to Finland, Romania to Singapore, with some countries represented at both ends of the index's six-band scale. The US, by way of example, is a mixed picture.

"All four companies in the top band are American," TI researcher Leah Wawro said in reference to Bechtel, Fluor, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. "But there are also seven US companies in the lowest band," she told DW.

On the upside

Many others US arms manufacturers feature throughout the index, painting a somewhat dubious picture of overall national business practices in the sector.

Corruption pushes up the price of global
 military spending and often hits the
"The lack of transparency among some big US companies," Wawro said "is concerning."

But shady arms deals are by no means confined to the far side of the Atlantic. Several European companies, including four German ones - Diehl, Rheinmetall, MTU Aero Engines, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann - performed poorly. A fifth, ThyssenKrupp, has made improvements since the first such index was published in 2012, and now ranks in the top end of the table.

It is one of 33 percent of companies to have make strides in the right direction, which Wawro says "shows that transparency in this sector is possible."

And that transparency is crucial, because corruption in the defense sector can itself prove to be a lethal weapon. An underhand procurement contract, for example, can leave soldiers in the field without the equipment they need to defend themselves and their country, and that in turn can compromise national security.

Acutely susceptible to corruption

That might read like an incentive for manufacturers to ensure good practice, but as Michael Littlewood, chief executive and co-founder of , which measures corporate responsibility and business ethics, explained, the very nature of the arms industry makes it vulnerable to corrupt players within it.

He cites the use of sales agents as one of the biggest problems on the road to transparency.

Several factors make the arms industry vulnerable

"If a company is selling all over the world but doesn't have offices in every country, they have representatives who know the market and the customer," Littlewood said. "That makes them reliant on the ethics of the agent, who might do a corrupt deal without the defense company knowing about it."

He says it is up to manufacturers to make sure they are using decent representatives, and that legislation such as the UK's 2011 Bribery Act is a useful tool in forcing companies take responsibilities for their own choices and decisions.

The murky waters of offsets

Unlike previous TI surveys looking at anti-corruption programs in the arms sector, this one asked companies to provide information on offsets, which Littlewood describes as a "peculiarity of the defense industry."

The practice - which requires companies bidding for national arms contracts to agree to invest in other areas of the importing country's economy - lends itself to below-board dealings.

"Their bids are measured by what companies propose," the business ethics expert said. As such, a contract might be awarded on the basis of a weapons manufacturer agreeing to plough money into an unrelated sector in which the buyer, however, has a vested interest. It is very difficult to track exactly what money goes where and how aboveboard that is.

Getting clean

Besides the obvious responsibility that individual companies are expected to assume for their arms deals, TI says national governments have a vital role to play in ensuring defense becomes a corruption-free industry.

Corruption in the arms industry
also puts soldiers' lives at ris
"Purchasing governments should require, in policy if possible, all defense companies to have an ethics and anti-corruption program in place," Wawro said, adding that the same should apply in reverse, and that exporting governments should expect their national defense companies to operate on an ethical basis. They should hide nothing they don't have to.

"There tend to be high levels of secrecy in the defense sector," Wawro said. "Sometimes there are genuine national security concerns that require secrecy, but too often 'national security' can be a veil for corrupt activities."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Deutsche Bank fined $2.5 bn for rigging key interest rates

Yahoo – AFP, 23 April 2015

Deutsche Bank pleaded guilty to a US charge of wire fraud in connection 
with the scam and admitted to participating in the price-fixing conspiracy
(AFP Photo/Daniel Roland)

New York (AFP) - German banking giant Deutsche Bank will pay a record $2.5 billion for rigging interest rates in a multi-bank conspiracy that undermined global financial markets, US and British authorities said Thursday.

"Deutsche Bank secretly conspired with its competitors to rig the benchmark interest rates at the heart of the global financial system," said US Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department's antitrust division.

"Deutsche Bank's misconduct not only harmed its unsuspecting counterparties, it undermined the integrity and the competitiveness of financial markets everywhere."

Germany's biggest bank agreed to pay the record fine for manipulating the London InterBank Offered Rate, used to peg millions of interest rate-sensitive contracts and loans around the world, to boost its trading positions.

The Frankfurt am Main headquarters of
 Deutsche Bank, which will pay $2.5 billion
 in fines after admitting its guilt in a
multi-bank conspiracy to rig LIBOR
interest rates (AFP Photo/Daniel Roland)
Deutsche Bank's London subsidiary DB Group Services, where most of those who manipulated the rate worked, agreed to plead guilty to one US count of wire fraud in the case.

Deutsche Bank will pay a $775 million penalty to the Justice Department, the largest criminal penalty yet imposed in the LIBOR resolutions, and agreed to a corporate monitor, the first time that has been imposed.

The monitor is part of a US three-year deferred prosecution agreement in which Deutsche Bank admitted its role in rigging LIBOR and participating in a price-fixing conspiracy with other banks by rigging the Japanese yen LIBOR.

Deutsche Bank will continue to cooperate in the Justice Department's continuing investigation.

The deal allows Deutsche Bank to keep its operating license in the United States. The bank's New York branch has more than 1,700 employees and total assets exceeding $152 billion.

In addition, Deutsche Bank will pay $800 million to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $600 million to the New York Department of Financial Services and $344 million to Britain's Financial Conduct Authority.

Deutsche Bank is the sixth bank to resolve LIBOR charges in the long-running US investigation into the scandal, which emerged in 2012 when Barclays was fined by US and British regulators for rigging the benchmark rates.

The bank's misconduct occurred from at least 2003 through early 2011, according to the Justice Department.

For Britain's Financial Conduct Authority, Deutsche Bank will pay a record fine of 227 million pounds for manipulation conducted between 2005 and 2010.

"Deutsche Bank’s failings were compounded by them repeatedly misleading us," said Georgina Philippou, the FCA's acting director of enforcement and market oversight.

Leslie Caldwell, the US assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division, said that the bank's cooperation at the outset of the government's investigation was "not full and complete" but subsequently improved.

Damning exchanges

Internal communications -- in emails, telephone calls and electronic chats -- revealed how Deutsche Bank employees defrauded counterparties and conspired to manipulate rates.

A 2007 email showed a Deutsche Bank employee bragging about LIBOR manipulations by the Frankfurt and London offices to the head of the bank's global finance unit: "HAVE U SEEN THE 3MK FIXING TODAY? THAT WAS AN EXCELLENT CONCERTED ACTION FFT/LDN. CHEERS."

In a September 2006 exchange, the bank's London desk head pleads with an external banker at Barclays for a reduction in the EURIBOR rate, and apparently got it.

"I’m begging u, don't forget me… pleassssssssssssssseeeeeeeeee… I’m on my knees…," the desk chief wrote.

The external banker eventually agreed, "ok, I'm telling him."

Deutsche Bank said it would book an additional charge of 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in the first quarter for litigation costs related to the LIBOR case and other issues.

"We have disciplined or dismissed individuals involved in the trader misconduct; have substantially strengthened our control teams, procedures and record-keeping; and are conducting a thorough review of the bank's actions in addressing this matter," said co-chief executives Jurgen Fitschen and Anshu Jain in a statement.

Related Article:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

UK trader Navinder Singh Sarao arrested over role in 'Flash Crash'

A high frequency trader in the UK has been arrested on charges he manipulated financial markets and helped precipitate the 2010 "Flash Crash," which saw US markets inexplicably plummet hundreds of points within minutes.

Deutsche Welle, 22 April 2015

Navinder Singh Sarao is alleged to have made $40 million trading off the plunge he helped initiate. The May 2010 "Flash Crash" saw the US Dow Jones Industrial Index plunge more than 1,000 points before recovering toward the end of the trading day.

The US Justice Department has charged the 37-year-old, of Hounslow, UK, with wire fraud, commodities fraud and manipulation.

Sarao also faces civil charges from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which called him "a very significant player in the market."

"His conduct was at least significantly responsible for the order imbalance that in turn was one of the conditions that led to the flash crash," CTFC head of enforcement head Aitan Goelman said on a conference call with reporters.

Sarao "allegedly traded in a manner designed to profit from this temporary artificial volatility," the CFTC said.

Extradition request

The case against Sarao is the first time US regulators have alleged that market manipulation played a role in the crash, which is still being investigated.

Sarao will appear in a London court on Wednesday. The US Justice Department will request he be extradited to the United States to face the charges.

A defense attorney has not yet commented on the allegations against Sarao.

High frequency traders use automated computer systems to purchase and sell securities in fractions of a second, making small profits that rapidly accumulate on account of the large volume of trades made.

The May 6, 2010 "Flash Crash" damaged investor confidence and led to a series of federal regulations designed to prevent a repeat.

bw/cmk (AP, Reuters, AFP)

Navrinder Sarao at Westminster magistrates’ court. Photograph: 
Priscilla Coleman/MB Media

Related Article:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

WikiLeaks dumps data from Sony hacking scandal

Yahoo – AFP, April 17, 2015

WikiLeaks published thousands of documents from last year's Sony hacking
scandal, calling them an insight into the inner workings of a "secretive" firm

New York (AFP) - WikiLeaks published thousands of documents on Thursday from last year's Sony hacking scandal, calling them an insight into the inner workings of a "secretive" firm.

The website said the searchable data dump includes 30,287 documents from the US-based Sony Pictures Entertainment and 173,132 emails to and from more than 2,200 company email addresses.

The same data was released online after hackers attacked Sony Pictures last November and threatened the company over the release of the comedy film "The Interview," which depicts a fictional CIA plot to kill North Korea's leader.

The threats saw Sony cancel the public debut of the movie and led to the resignation of chairperson Amy Pascal. The leaks showed that Pascal had swapped racially insensitive jokes about President Barack Obama over email.

Washington blamed North Korea for the hack.

"Now published in a fully searchable format The Sony Archives offer a rare insight into the inner workings of a large, secretive multinational corporation," WikiLeaks said in a statement.

It said the original release was not searchable and was removed before the public and journalists could scrutinize them.

Sony data was released online after hackers threatened the company over the release
of "The Interview," which depicts a fictional CIA plot to kill North Korea's leader

WikiLeaks described Sony as an influential corporation with ties to the White House, able to impact laws and policies, and with connections to the US military-industrial complex.

"It is newsworthy and at the center of a geo-political conflict," said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who lives at Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid prosecution for alleged rape in Sweden.

"It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there," the Australian former hacker said.

Sony condemned the re-release of the data, saying the private information does not belong in the public domain and WikiLeaks is helping the hackers' efforts to harm employees.

"The cyber-attack on Sony Pictures was a malicious criminal act, and we strongly condemn the indexing of stolen employee and other private and privileged information on WikiLeaks," Sony said in a statement.

The data indicates company CEO, Michael Lynton, dined with Obama and Sony employees raised money for the Democratic Party and incumbent Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, WikiLeaks said.

Sony Pictures Entertainment is a multi-billion-dollar US subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. It handles film and TV production, acquisition and distribution.

Related Article:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Former IMF chief Rato in fraud investigation

Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato has been detained by police following a search of his home in Madrid. He is already under investigation for alleged fraud and misusing company credit cards.

Deutsche Welle, 16 April 2015

Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) boss Rodrigo Rato was escorted from his apartment in Madrid's wealthy Salamanca neighborhood on Thursday night and driven off in an unmarked police car.

Officials spent three hours searching the property as part of an investigation into tax paid on the 66-year-old's personal wealth, Spain's state prosecutor said.

Rato, a former Spanish economy minister with the ruling conservative Popular Party (PP), served as head the IMF from 2004 to 2007.

Rato is already under investigation for alleged fraud, embezzlement and forgery in his former role as chief executive of Spanish bank Bankia, which came close to collapse in 2012 and had to be bailed out by Spanish authorities for 24 billion euros ($26 billion).

He has also been questioned in court as part of a separate investigation into widespread misuse of corporate credit cards during his time at Bankia - a scandal that led to his expulsion from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's PP last October.

Rato has denied wrongdoing in both these cases.

The reputation of the PP has been tarnished by a series of graft scandals in recent years.

News of the latest investigation into Rato comes ahead of regional and local elections next month, and a general election in December.

nm/bw (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ex-Satyam chief gets seven years for 'India's Enron'

Yahoo – AFP, Vivek Nemana, 9 April 2015

Then chairman of India's Satyam Computer Services Limited Ramalinga Raju,
pictured in 2008 (AFP Photo/Noah Seelam)

An Indian court on Thursday sentenced the former chief of outsourcing giant Satyam to seven years in jail over a $2.25 billion accounting fraud scandal dubbed "India's Enron".

Byrraju Ramalinga Raju, his brother and eight others were found guilty of manipulating Satyam's books in a 2009 case that shook the industry and raised questions about the country's regulators.

"All the accused have been convicted of almost all charges," prosecutor K. Surender told reporters outside the court in Hyderabad, capital of southern Andhra Pradesh state.

Byrraju Ramalinga Raju (C), the former
 chairman of outsourcing giant Satyam,
 leaves the Metropolitan Criminal Courts 
in Hyderabad, on March 9, 2015 (AFP
Photo/Noah Seelam)
Raju was charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and breaching public trust in a fraud during India's IT boom that prosecutors told the court caused 140 billion rupees ($2.25 billion) in losses to shareholders.

Raju and the others refused to comment to reporters and television crews as he was led by a throng of officers into a police van after sentencing.

"It goes without saying that we will appeal the judgement," one of his lawyers, E. Uma Maheshwarao, said before his client was taken to Hyderabad's Cherlapally Jail.

The court imposed seven-year jail sentences and fines of 50 million rupees on Raju and his brother following a trial in which prosecutors produced thousands of pages of financial documents and 200-odd witnesses.

The eight other defendants were sentenced to seven years in jail and given fines of 2.5 million rupees, according to V. Chandrasekhar, deputy inspector general of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

"India very rarely prosecutes corporate fraud. And this is the biggest corporate fraud case in South Asian history. So for us, getting a conviction is a big victory," one of the investigating officers told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The Satyam scandal erupted in 2009 after Raju admitted in a letter to shareholders to overstating profits for years and inflating the company's balance sheet, a confession that saw the company's share price plummet.

Tech Mahindra, a unit of Indian vehicle and farm equipment manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra, bought Hyderabad-based Satyam in April 2009, saving it from collapse.

File photo of Satyam Info-City office
 building in Hyderabad, taken in 2009
(AFP Photo/Noah Seelam)
Raju, who was educated in India and the United States, was one of the stars of India's software boom -- a key driver of the country's economic growth over the previous decade.

"The concern was that poor performance would result in a takeover," he said in his letter to shareholders.

"It was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten."

'Messiah of IT'

The confession sent shockwaves through the industry, which had put Raju's success down to dedication and hard work in Hyderabad, an IT hub that acts as the Indian headquarters of Google and Microsoft.

"Raju was like the messiah of IT for Andhra Pradesh back then," said KV Kurumanath, an editor at the Hindu BusinessLine newspaper.

"He was looked upon as a god, and a big achiever," said Kurumanath, who has been closely following the case.

Raju has been out on bail since November 2011 after spending nearly three years behind bars during the trial.

Founder and former Chairman of fraud-hit
 Satyam Computers, B. Ramalinga Raju is 
escorted from Chenchalguda Jail in
 Hyderabad, in April 2009, enroute to a 
court appearance (AFP Photo/Noah Seelam)
His brother, Satyam's former managing director B Rama Raju, was also convicted, along with other employees and two former staff at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the firm's auditors.

PwC said it was "disappointed" by the verdict, and its former staff were considering an appeal.

"As we have said many times, there has never been any evidence presented that either of our former partners S Gopalakrishnan or Srinivas Talluri were involved in or were aware of the management-led fraud at Satyam," said PwC in a statement.

Raju's lawyers had told the court that he was not responsible for the losses and that documents filed during the trial were fabricated.

India's equity market regulator last year slapped multi-million-dollar fines on Raju for manipulating the firm's shares during the scandal.

But the case raised concerns about why regulators, who were only prompted to act after Raju confessed, failed to spot the scam earlier, along with corporate governance issues and accounting standards.

"The biggest thing this reveals is the failure of India's regulatory system," said S. Nagesh Kumar, a news analyst and former editor based in Hyderabad.

US energy giant Enron collapsed in 2001 in the wake of massive false accounting revelations.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Michael Slager fired from South Carolina police force after killing of Walter Scott

The white officer who shot black man Walter Scott in the back as he was running away has been fired, mayor announces - adding that now all officers will wear bodycams

The GuardianAmanda Holpuch in North Charleston, Oliver Laughland in New York and agencies, Wednesday 8 April 2015

South Carolina police officer, Michael Slager, appears to shoot a 50-year-old black
man, Walter Scott, in the back at least eight times as he runs away. Watch thevideo

The white police officer who fatally shot 50-year-old black man Walter Scott has been fired by the North Charleston police department, city officials confirmed on Wednesday.

Mayor Keith Summey said that officer Michael Slager, 33, had had his contract terminated, though the city will continue to cover his insurance until his wife, who is eight months pregnant, gives birth to their baby.

Slager, who has been charged with murder, shot at Scott while he was running away from the officer. Video of the incident became public on Tuesday, though there is also at least one dashcam video of the incident, the mayor said. “There’s the car video ... what I understand, the video that I saw was not all of the video that exists,” he said.

Summey said that the city had received a grant to order 101 body cameras and that he had ordered an additional 150 cameras that officers would be trained to use.

He, his wife and police chief Eddie Driggers met with Scott’s family on Wednesday morning. “A wonderful, down to earth family, a wonderful group of people,” he said.

“I have watched the video, and I was sickened by what I saw,” said Driggers.

Both men deflected most of the questions and directed people to the state law enforcement division (SLED), which is investigating the incident. “There are questions that I have in my mind, that I can’t answer right now,” said Driggers.

The press conference was frequently interrupted by demonstrators chanting things including: “We want Driggers,” and: “The mayor has got to go.”

Summey said that the city was looking at how the police department could have a closer relationship with the community. “We’ll be having some good open dialogue in the next 30 days,” he said, and invited anyone interested in joining to contact his office.

He said that the city would also investigate previous incidents involving Slager, if the public or media requested it.

He also confirmed that it was department policy to handcuff a dead body, as Slager can be seen doing in the video of Scott’s death.

Summey said Driggers was not allowed to answer questions about the investigation because it is being investigated by SLED. The police chief was allowed to speak briefly about his discussions with Scott’s family.

“I have been praying for peace,” said Driggers. “Peace for the family and peace for this community and I will continue to stand on that as I continue to protect and serve”

Protests continued outside city hall after the press conference on Wednesday. Demonstrators had gathered there around 9.30am and continued through the day, with a brief recess before the press conference.

Activist Muhiyidin d’Baha walked into the conference room chanting into a megaphone.

“What would you do if a camera wasn’t there?” he asked, echoing concerns in the community that there would not have been furor over the killing without such stark proof that Scott was fleeing.

The mayor’s explanations were repeatedly interrupted by shouts of “No justice, no peace!” and other questions that he said he couldn’t answer.

Protests began within hours of the murder charge against Slager, which was announced on Tuesday, the same day the video was released to the media. About 75 people gathered outside city Hall in North Charleston, led by Black Lives Matter, a group formed after the fatal shooting of another black man in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Eight shots in the back!” local organizer D’Baha hollered through a bullhorn, and the crowd yelled “In the back!” in response.

The video recorded by an unidentified bystander shows North Charleston patrolman Michael Thomas Slager dropping his stun gun, pulling out his handgun and firing at Walter Lamer Scott from a distance as he runs away. The 50-year-old man falls after the eighth shot, fired after a brief pause.

The dead man’s father, Walter Scott Sr, said on Wednesday that the officer “looked like he was trying to kill a deer running through the woods”. He also told NBC’s Today show that his son may have tried to flee because he owed child support and didn’t want to go back to jail.

The video is “the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen,” said Judy Scott, the slain man’s mother, on ABC’s Good Morning America.

“I almost couldn’t look at it to see my son running defenselessly, being shot. It just tore my heart to pieces,” she said.

The bystander is assisting investigators after providing the video to Scott’s family and lawyers.

Police initially released a statement that promised a full investigation but relied largely on the officer’s description of the confrontation, which began with a traffic stop Saturday as Slager pulled Scott over for a faulty brake light.

Slager’s then-attorney David Aylor released another statement Monday saying the officer felt threatened and fired because Scott was trying to grab his stun gun.

Aylor dropped Slager as a client after the video surfaced, and the officer, a five-year veteran with the North Charleston police, appeared without a lawyer at his first appearance Tuesday. He was denied bond and could face 30 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers’ Association [SCLEOA] confirmed that Slager had been a member of the organisation, which provides legal representation to its affiliates.
But a spokesman told the Guardian that Slager would not be provided any assistance as his case “does not meet the SCLEOA criteria of a meritorious defense case”.
In a statement the SCLEOA said: “It is a sad for us when a police officer makes what appears to be a very bad decision that resulted in unnecessary death. Working with the community and elected officials we can overcome this tragedy. The swift decision to charge the officer demonstrates that law enforcement will not tolerate the tarnishing of the badge and oaths we all take so seriously.”
Slager had initially hired an attorney in North Charleston, David Aylor, who later said he had dropped the case.

The shooting comes amid a plunge in trust between law enforcement and minorities after the officer-involved killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York. Nationwide protests intensified after grand juries declined to indict the officers in both cases.

“We have to take a stand on stuff like this ... we can’t just shake our heads at our computer screens,” said Lance Braye, 23, who helped organize Wednesday’s demonstration.

Scott’s family and their attorney, L Chris Stewart, appealed to keep the protests peaceful, saying the swift murder charge shows that the justice system is working so far in this case.

But Stewart said the video alone forced authorities to act decisively.

“What if there was no video? What if there was no witness, or hero as I call him, to come forward?” asked Stewart, adding that the family plans to sue the police.

The video, shot over a chain link fence and through some trees, begins after Scott has left his car. Slager follows him, reaching at the man with an object that appears to be a stun gun. As Scott pulls away, the object falls to the ground and Slager pulls out his handgun as Scott runs away.

The final shot sends Scott falling face-down about 30 feet away. Slager then slowly walks toward him and orders Scott to put his hands behind his back, but the man doesn’t move, so he pulls Scott’s arms back and cuffs his hands. The officer then walks briskly back to where he fired the shots, speaking into his radio. He picks up the same object that fell to the ground before and returns to Scott’s prone body, dropping the object near Scott’s feet as another officer enters the scene.

Scott had four children, was engaged and had been honorably discharged from the US coastguard. There were no violent offenses on his record, Stewart said. He also speculated that Scott may have tried to run because he owed child support, which can lead to jail time in South Carolina until it is paid.

The FBI and the justice department’s civil rights division are investigating as well. Proving that an officer willfully deprived an individual of his or her civil rights has historically been a tough burden for federal prosecutors, particularly when an officer uses force during a rapidly unfolding physical confrontation in which split-second decisions are made.

The justice department spent months investigating the Ferguson shooting before declining to prosecute Officer Darren Wilson in that case. But it’s easier to make cases against officers who use force as an act of retribution or who can make no reasonable claim that their life was in jeopardy when they took action.

North Charleston is South Carolina’s third-largest city, and its population is about half black. Its economy slumped after the Charleston Naval Base on the city’s waterfront closed in the mid-1990s, but the city has bounced back with a huge investment by Boeing, which now employs about 7,500 people in the state and builds 787 aircraft in city.

Braye accused North Charleston police of habitually harass blacks for minor offenses. He hopes the video will help people understand that some officers will lie to save themselves when they do wrong.

“This needs to be the last case,” Braye said. “All you have to do is look at the story that was told before the video came out.”

North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey (C) and Police Chief Eddie
 Driggers (L) speak during a press conference at City Hall in Charleston,
South Carolina on April 8, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dutch wholesaler jailed for selling horsemeat as beef

Yahoo - AFP, Charles Onians, 7 April 2015

File picture taken on March 24, 2015 shows 
Dutch meat trader Willy Selten arriving at
 court in the city of Den Bosch before
his trial (AFP Photo/Martijn Beekman)
The Hague (AFP) - A Dutch court on Tuesday jailed wholesaler Willy Selten for two-and-a-half years for selling horsemeat passed off as beef during Europe's massive 2013 meat scandal.

"As boss of two companies he (Selten) was guilty of forging invoices, labels and written declarations and using these forged documents to trade meat," the court in Den Bosch said in its judgement.

Selten, 45, was arrested in May 2013 for allegedly selling 300 tonnes of horsemeat labelled as beef, during one of Europe's biggest ever food scandals.

Dutch prosecutors -- who asked for a five-year-sentence -- suspected Selten of major involvement in the consumer scandal, which prompted recalls of meat products from Ireland to Greece.

Of 167 samples taken by Dutch authorities from Selten's meat supplies in February 2013, 35 tested positive for horse DNA, the court said.

"All these products were sold as pure beef," it added.

Selten's businesses processed at least 336 tonnes of horsemeat between 2011 and 2012 although no horsemeat was mentioned on the books, the court said.

File picture taken on March 24, 2015
 shows Dutch meat trader Willy Selten
 arriving at court in Den Bosch before
his trial (AFP Photo/Martijn Beekman)
The sentence was based on the fact that Selten misled butchers that he supplied and, ultimately, consumers.

"Butchers had problems and their reputations were damaged," the court said, adding that because Selten also traded internationally, he had damaged the Dutch meat industry's image.

"He saved money by buying cheaper horsemeat, mixed it with beef fat and sold it as more expensive beef," the court said.

Selten's businesses are now bankrupt and the administrator has laid a claim of 11 million euros ($12 million) against him, the court said.

Selten's lawyer did not return phone calls on Tuesday.

At the end of his trial last month, an emotional Selten protested his innocence, saying "mistakes were made in our bookkeeping".

"I am not the big horsemeat swindler they're all looking for. I was careless with my administration, but not intentionally," he said in March.

The scandal erupted in Ireland and Britain in January 2013, when it was found that frozen burgers supplied to several supermarkets, including the Tesco chain, contained horse DNA.
Meatballs in Ikea stores, sausages in Russia and frozen burgers in Britain were pulled from the shelves by the millions as a result.

Dutch food and consumer watchdog NVWA arrested Selten on charges of "false accounting and fraud" after an extensive probe.

The NVWA then asked hundreds of companies across Europe supplied by Selten -- who sourced the horsemeat from Ireland and Britain -- to check their products.

In April 2013, Selten failed to quash a massive order by the NVWA recalling 50,000 tonnes of potentially contaminated meat that had passed through his plant.

Thousands of DNA tests on European beef products after the scandal revealed extensive food fraud across the European Union, with almost one in 20 meals marked as beef likely to be tainted with horsemeat.

Related Article:

Friday, April 3, 2015

China's ex-security chief Zhou charged with corruption

Zhou Yongkang, China's former security boss, has been charged with corruption and leaking state secrets. He is the highest-level official to be prosecuted in decades.

Deutsche Welle, 3 April 2015

Zhou Yongkang AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File

Zhou's indictment, which had been long expected, was announced on Friday by China's procuratorate on its website.

"The defendant Zhou Yongkang... took advantage of his posts to seek gains for others and illegally took huge property and assets from others, abused his power, causing huge losses to public property and the interests of the State and the people," the indictment said.

It added that Zhou "intentionally leaked state secrets."

Zhou, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee - the most powerful body in China - had been under investigation since 2013. He was expelled from the Communist Party and arrested in December.

High-profile trial

The indictment makes him the highest-level official to be charged as part of President Xi Jinping's much-vaunted anti-corruption drive. It sets the stage for the most prominent trial in China since that of the Gang of Four, who included Mao Zedong's widow Jiang Qing, in 1981, in which the defendants were accused of persecuting political opponents during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.

As the Chinese courts are under the close supervision of the ruling Communist Party, a guilty verdict is almost certain, with the Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, already branding him a "traitor."

The investigation into Zhou also scrutinized his allies in government and the oil industry, where he held a high position as head of the China National Petroleum Corporation.
Among them is Jiang Jiemin, also a former head of the same organization.

Judging by former trials of prominent figures, Zhou's trial - despite official promises that it will be open in accordance with Chinese law - seems likely to be a relatively closed affair to conceal political infighting at the highest level of the Party.

tj/sms (AFP, AP)