'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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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Thousands join anti-corruption march in Honduras

Tens of thousands of Hondurans have marched in Tegucigalpa to demand the president's resignation over a corruption scandal. They also want an independent probe into one of the country's worst corruption scandals.

Deutsche Welle, 27 Juni 2015

On Friday, tens of thousands of Hondurans marched in Tegucigalpa, many with torches in hand, calling for the resignation of President Juan Hernandez.

The protesters crowded onto the city's Suyapa Boulevard for more than a kilometer (0.62 miles), marching to the presidential palace from an impoverished neighborhood in the capital.

'This is no president, he's a criminal'

The crowd, which organizers estimated at around 50,000 people, sounded horns and carried candle-lit torches, demanding the creation of an anti-corruption commission and rejecting any dialogue initiative by the president.

According to AFP news agency, many of the protesters carried banners and held anti-government signs with slogans such as "Honduras is ours" and "This is no president, he's a criminal."

With torches in hand some 50,000
Hondurans have protested against
The opposition has accused the president of skimming $90 million (80.6 million euros) out of Honduras' public health system budget of more than $300 million for his 2013 election campaign.

Hernandez has denied wrongdoing and played down the amount. However, he admitted that his 2013 presidential campaign took some $150,000 from companies linked to the scandal, adding that he and his party were unaware of where the money had come from.

Asking for UN support

Following the allegations, Honduras has asked the UN for support to combat widespread corruption in the country.

According to the German news agency DPA, the Honduran Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales told the local news paper "La Tribuna" that a petition had been sent to UN secretary General Ban Ki-moon for this purpose.

With this petition they are asking UN officials to play the role of mediator in this process and to support a "national dialogue," German news agency EPD reported.

ra/ng (Reuters, EPD, AFP)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Seventh employee fired at ABN Amro Dubai

DutchNews.nl, June 23, 2015

Dutch state-owned bank ABN Amro has fired a seventh employee at its Dubai private banking desk following an internal probe into irregularities.

Six bankers were sacked in January for failing to comply with internal codes of conduct by enabling clients to use their personal accounts for illicit business transactions. 

The Financieele Dagblad said at the time this enabled the clients to use private banking accounts to carry out transactions which should have fallen under a much stricter compliance regime.

The latest sacking comes after an employee was discovered to have privately accepted a sum of money from a client, without informing the bank. According to ABN Amro, this is in conflict with the ‘appropriate rules and behaviour’. 

The bank says no client money is missing and there have been no complaints or claims, the NRC reports. 

Accounts closed

On Monday, ABN Amro said it has closed the accounts of several of its Dubai clients, the Financieele Dagblad reports. 

The bank has been re-evaluating 1,100 Dubai clients for some time, the paper says. It has now looked at 60% of its clients and closed a number of accounts. The paper does not say how many.

Related Article:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Across Europe, protesters call for solidarity with Greece

Brussels and Amsterdam have joined London, France, Germany and Italy in hosting mass rallies in support of cash-strapped Greece. Demonstrators said the financial sector must take responsibility for the damage it caused.

Deutsche Welle, 21 June 2015

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Brussels on Sunday at the same time as hundreds of similarly minded protestors crowded the streets of Amsterdam, rounding out a weekend of anti-austerity solidarity with Greece that also saw protests in France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The protests come on the eve of an emergency summit where Athens is scheduled to meet with its creditors in a last-ditch attempt to resolve its debt crisis before it's forced to default on its loans.

"This crisis was caused by the financial sector, not by the Greek people," Manolis Glezos, a Greek parliamentarian and World War II resistance hero, told the crowd in Amsterdam.

"It's the financial sector that has to pay, not the Greek people."

Sebastien Franco, the organizer of the Brussels demonstration, which attracted over 3,500 participants, expressed a similar sentiment. "Austerity is not working, it reduces the income of poor people in the name of reimbursement to creditors…who continue to enrich themselves," he told Belgian television.

Athens saw its second anti-austerity rally in the past week on Sunday, calling on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to reject pressure from creditors to accept continued austerity in exchange for bailout funds.

Carrying placards that read "the people will not be blackmailed" and "the country is not for sale," thousands of protesters filled the street in front of parliament.

es/cmk (AFP, Reuters)
Related Article:

Saudi Arabia tells citizens to ignore latest WikiLeaks release

61,000 leaked cables give rare insight into kingdom’s habit of buying influence and monitoring dissidents

The Guardian, Ian Black Middle East editor, Sunday 21 June 2015

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, who died in January. Photograph:
Hassan Ammar/AP

Saudi Arabia has warned its citizens to ignore thousands of its diplomatic documents leaked by the transparency site WikiLeaks, which give a rare insight into the kingdom’s habit of buying influence and monitoring dissidents.

The 61,000 Saudi cables, the first tranche of 500,000 promised by Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, also show the country’s sharp focus on its strategic rival Iran and the revolution in Egypt, and support for allies and clients in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Nothing yet published matches embarrassing revelations about the Saudis in WikiLeaks’ 2010 release of US diplomatic documents, which reported King Abdullah calling to “cut off the head of the [Iranian] snake” as well as drink- and drug-fuelled partying by minor royals in Jeddah.

But routine secret correspondence from the foreign ministry in Riyadh and embassies abroad, some from as recently as April this year, catalogues many of the preoccupations of the conservative monarchy, the world’s biggest oil exporter, especially during the turbulent period of the Arab spring from early 2011.

According to one document, Gulf states were prepared to pay $10bn (£6.3bn) to secure the release of the deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, which appears to support a previous claim about this by a leading Muslim Brotherhood politician.

A 2012 cable reveals concern that Iran was receiving “flirting American messages” that suggested the US did not oppose a peaceful Iranian nuclear programme so long as it had guarantees, including from Russia. Others from that period show Saudi plans for an anti-Iran satellite TV channel to broadcast in Persian from Bahrain, and plans to disrupt Iranian channels.

The cables show Riyadh often seems worried about any advantage for Tehran: one document explains that if an Arab summit conference were held as scheduled in Baghdad in 2012, it would mean “handing Iraq to Iran”. Cables also show efforts to back opponents of Nouri al-Maliki, the then Shia prime minister of Iraq, who was close to Iran.

Correspondence from the embassy in Beirut shows contacts with the Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea, over cash payments to ease financial problems. Geagea had publicly defended Saudi Arabia and opposed president Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and generally shown “readiness to do whatever the kingdom asks of him”, the cables say.

Al-Akhbar, the Beirut newspaper that is publishing the documents with WikiLeaks, is a supporter of Assad and Iran’s Lebanese militia ally Hezbollah. The documents examined so far do not mention Saudi backing for anti-Assad rebels, most likely because these are handled by the country’s intelligence service.

Correspondence from the Saudi embassy in London shows filming of protesters and a discussion of legal action against the Guardian over an article by Saad al-Faqih, an Islamist. An appearance by Faqih on Egypt’s ON TV channel brought a proposal to “find out how to co-opt it”. But the billionaire owner of the station, Naguib Sawiris, did not want to be “opposed to the kingdom’s policies” and he ordered that Faqih never be interviewed again.

“The extent of Egypt’s ruling establishment’s self-prostitution to Saudi money is both embarrassing and unsurprising,” commented the writer Iyad al-Baghdadi, in one of many weekend social media reactions since the documents were released. Ala’a Shehabi, a Bahraini dissident concerned by the Saudi intervention in her country, called the trove a “rare insight into the most opaque regime in the world”.

Toby Matthiesen, a Cambridge University academic, said: “For Saudi experts there is little surprising so far … but the details will hurt a lot of corrupt people.”

The documents include several references to “hostile” media. An undated note describes the influence of journalists sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood on the Qatar-owned channel al-Jazeera, which has often fallen foul of the Saudis. The papers also show how in 2010 they purchased hundreds or thousands of subscriptions to publications in Damascus, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Kuwait, Jordan and Mauritania in order to secure favourable coverage.

Influence and money are recurring themes. Reports from Sana’a state that the proceeds of the sale of 3m barrels of oil given to Yemen in 2012 never reached the country’s treasury. Another document accuses Qatar of paying a Yemeni sheikh to foment rebellion in the army and to prevent the 2012 presidential election of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The Sydney Morning Herald found documents with instructions from the Saudi government to its Canberra embassy relating to the payment of large subsidies to prominent Arabic newspapers and media organisations in Australia.

The Sunday Times reported that a document in the cache showed Saudi Arabia was prepared to pay the BBC correspondent Frank Gardner £1m in compensation after he was shot in Riyadh by al-Qaida. Gardner told the newspaper the compensation never materialised.

On Sunday the Saudi foreign ministry spokesman Osama Nugali warned citizens not to “allow enemies of the state to achieve their intentions in regards to exchanging or publishing any documents,” many of which, he said, had been “fabricated in a very obvious manner”.

WikiLeaks did not say where it obtained the documents, but it referred in a press release to Riyadh’s statement in May that it had suffered a breach of its computer networks – an attack later claimed by a group calling itself the Yemen Cyber Army.

The Guardian has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the documents.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Saudi Arabia executed 87 people in 2014, ranking it third in the world for use
of the death penalty (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)

Related Articles:

Saudi Arabia's punishment of blogger Raif Badawi -- who was sentenced to 1,000
 lashes for "insulting Islam -- has sparked international protests, such as this
rally in Paris on May 7, 2015 (AFP Photo/Stephane De Sakutin)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dutch insurance companies have €6.8bn invested in controversial arms traders

DutchNews.nl, June 18, 2015

Eight of the 10 biggest life insurance companies in the Netherlands are investing in the more unsavoury side of the arms trade, according to a new insurer comparison website set up by Dutch aid groups.

In total, the eight firms have €6.8bn invested in 15 arms manufacturers which sell to dictators and corrupt countries, the Eerlijke Verzekeringwijzer claims. 

The research is based on the 2010-2014 period. It focuses on life insurance companies which are active in the Netherlands and arms companies which break weapons embargoes, sell to governments in conflict zones or to what are considered corrupt regimes. 

Most of the sales centre on Saudi Arabia. ‘All eight insurance companies put money into companies which sell, for example, military helicopters, tanks, cluster bombs or radar systems to Saudi Arabia,’ Suzanne Oosterwijk of aid group PAX said.

‘This is a country which uses banned cluster bombs in Yemen and is known for its appalling human rights situation. No decent insurance company wants to be involved in that.’ 


Achmea and ASR are the only two insurance companies not to invest in the arms traders under investigation. 

Top of the list is Germany’s Allianz, followed by Britain’s Legal & General and Dutch civil service pension fund asset manager APG, which has almost €1bn invested in controversial arms manufacturers, the report states. 

Aegon, NN Group and Generali make up the next batch, while Delta Lloyd and SNS Real have minor investments. 

An accompanying opinion poll carried out by Motivaction shows two-thirds of the Dutch think it ‘unacceptable’ for their insurance company to invest in arms companies which trade with corrupt or otherwise suspect regimes.

Related Articles:

'People have finally had enough': middle England marches against austerity

Placard-waving protesters from across the country join to make their frustrations known in largest protest against cuts since the Tory election victory

The Guardian, Jamie Doward, Saturday 20 June 2015

Charlotte Church attends an anti-austerity demonstration, along with tens
of thousands of others, in London. Photograph: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

A single fiddle vied with the rumble of drums as a chorus of whistles filled the air. Two police helicopters loomed above the river of placard-carrying protesters that stretched from the Bank of England towards St Pauls.

Marijuana smoke drifted in the early afternoon drizzle as the chants began. Cheers went up when the poster girl of the anti-cuts movement snuck through the crowd to join the front of the march. Clutching an “End Austerity Now” placard, Charlotte Church stood smiling as the good-natured crowd counted down to the start of the largest protest against the cuts since the Tories won the election.

The singer was joined celebrities including Russell Brand and Julie Hesmondhalgh, the actor who played Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street. Politicians Martin McGuinness and Diane Abbott – one of Labour’s London mayoral hopefuls – also lent their support, along with Unite leader Len McCluskey.

Protesters set fire to placards in central London during a demonstration against
austerity and spending cuts. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Despite the sprinkling of showbiz and political glitter, it was a day when middle England came out to make its voices heard. The march was no urban-led, youthful demonstration. The placards told of long journeys made from the far corners of the country. They came from Shropshire, Suffolk, Chesterfield and Wiltshire. And while many carried banners urged “Defy Tory Rule” and “No Cuts”, there was a wide spectrum of agendas being pursued. “NHS Not Trident” was a popular placard. So too was a call for an end to war. Some signs were heavy on humour. “Heaven knows we’re miserable now” read one placard. “Fuck the fucking fuckers”, in fluorescent pink and yellow, was one that caught the eye.

There were groups opposing fracking and others attacking funding cuts faced by mental health services. Some sought to promote veganism or the rights of migrants. Some wanted a greater say for Cornwall, while others demanded respect for the transgender community. Finance was a major preoccupation. Many demanded an end to tax havens. “We are all Greeks” read one banner. “Banker Wanker” read another. Bottles of wine and cans of lager were passed around. People took selfies as they marched passed some of London’s most famous landmarks pushing buggies and wheelchairs.

Lending her support was Katie, 40, a teacher from Walthamstow, and her three young children, no strangers to anti-austerity protests. “I hope it will make a difference,” she said as thousands of people chanting “no ifs, no buts, no public sector cuts,” streamed past. “People have finally had enough. I’m hopeful that this is the start of something. This is definitely the biggest march I’ve been on.”

A red flare is kicked by a demonstrator as they march to protest against spending
cuts and austerity measures. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Her children looked a little tired. She had promised to take them for lunch somewhere as a treat. So had she any experience of the austerity the crowd was protesting against? “I’ve got less money now than I used to have,” she said. But the real impact, she said, was felt not in her home but at her work. “We’re sending kids home with leftover school dinners because they’re not getting fed at home. If I’ve got some spare kid’s clothes, I’ll bring them in for them. Lots of our teachers bring in breakfast for their pupils.”

Had it always been like this? She shook her head. “Only in the last four years have I noticed it. There’s just less and less support for low income families. Once they would have intervened to help them but not now.”

On the crowd ploughed. Up it went to the Royal Courts of Justice where those carrying banners defending the Human Rights Act gave their loudest cheer. As it passed a particular well-known bank on the Strand a chant went up: “Pay your taxes.” Diners in the restaurants near to Trafalgar Square waved, and Japanese tourists filmed the spectacle on their smart phones. Outside Downing Street the crowd halted to boo. Someone let off a few smoke cannisters. “David Cameron get out, we know what you’re about,” they sang, before marching on to Parliament Square. Along the Embankment fleets of coaches waited to take them back to the shires and market towns.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Swiss prosecutors probe 53 'suspicious' FIFA cases

Yahoo – AFP, Marie-Noelle Blessig, 17 June 2015

Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber (pictured) said the "suspicious" 
transactions had been reported by banks and that a "huge and complex" inquiry into
football's world body could take months if not years (AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)

Bern (Switzerland) (AFP) - Swiss prosecutors are investigating 53 cases of possible money laundering as they look into FIFA's handling of bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, officials said Wednesday.

Attorney general Michael Lauber said the "suspicious" cases had been reported by banks and that a "huge and complex" inquiry into football's world body could take months if not years.

Swiss authorities are investigating the 
2010 vote that awarded the 2018 and
2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar
(AFP Photo/Michael Buholzer)
Officials said the 53 are individuals and companies and that each case could involve many more transactions.

"We note positively that banks in Switzerland did fulfil their duties to file suspicious activity reports," he told a press conference.

"Partly in addition to the 104 banking relations already known to the authorities, banks announced 53 suspicious banking relations via the Anti-Money-Laundering-Framework of Switzerland," he added.

Swiss authorities have set up a special task force to look into the World Cup bids -- which went to Russia for 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

It is one of two major fraud investigations that have rocked FIFA.

US authorities last month charged 14 people in a separate bribery investigation.

Probe will take time

Julius Baer, which the US indictments listed among 26 banks through which the illegal transfers allegedly passed, said Wednesday tha it had "launched an internal investigation".

In a statement sent to AFP, the bank said it was "cooperating with the authorities".

Lauber meanwhile said he "does not exclude" questioning FIFA boss Joseph Blatter or general secretary Jerome Valcke, although neither is currently under suspicion.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (left) receives the World Cup 
trophy from Fifa chief Joseph Blatter after the controversial vote to host the 
2022 tournament (AFP Photo/Philippe Desmazes)

He said nine terrabytes of data had been seized, including at FIFA's Zurich headquarters and the probe would take time.

"The world of football needs to be patient... By its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary '90 minutes'," that a football match takes, said Lauber, who has just been re-elected for a four-year mandate.

FIFA told AFP Wednesday that Quinn Emanuel, the world's largest business litigation and arbitration law firm, was representing the football world body.

Jenny Durkan, a top US lawyer who has previously served as the state attorney for the western district of Washington, is part of the defence team, a FIFA spokesperson said.

Lauber said he did not feel under pressure with the next World Cup in Russia just three years away.

"I don't care about the timetable of FIFA, I care about my timetable," he said in response to a question.

Senior FIFA official Domenico Scala has said there could be a revote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups if there was evidence of wrongdoing in the bidding process.

FIFA, never far from controversy, is facing its biggest crisis because of the two corruption inquiries. Four days after being elected to a fifth term on May 30, Blatter announced that he would resign.

US authorities have charged 14 people from North and South America accused of involvement in more than $150 million of bribes for football deals.

Former FIFA executive Chuck Blazer 
worked secretly for US prosecutors from 
2011, court documents show (AFP Photo/
Sebastian Derungs)
Seven FIFA officials were detained at a luxury Zurich hotel as part the inquiry on May 27. They are now fighting extradition to the United States.

The European parliament has called on Blatter to quit immediately and allow for an interim leader to launch reforms in the organisation.

But FIFA has repeated that the 79-year-old Swiss will continue in office until a successor is designated, probably by the end of the year.

The FIFA Executive Committee will meet in Zurich on July 20 to fix a date for the congress to elect Blatter's successor.

The vote will not be before December.

The scandal-plagued body has lost several prestigious partnerships following the scandal, losing the support of key names such as Nobel Peace Centre and Interpol.

The Interpol deal was a 10-year partnership with FIFA worth 20 million euros ($22 million) for its "Integrity in Sport programme."

High-profile sponsors including Coca-Cola, Adidas, Visa, McDonald's and Hyundai -- have welcomed Blatter's announcement that he would resign and called for FIFA to embark on serious reforms.

Related Article:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

US authorities reveal Chuck Blazer's cooperation deal in FIFA probe

United States prosecutors have released a plea agreement made with former FIFA executive Chuck Blazer. It shows Blazer secretly fed authorities information in a corruption probe for almost two years.

Deutsche Welle, 16 June 2015

The cooperation agreement between Blazer and the US Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, New York - which was signed in November 2013 - was made public Monday following a ruling by a federal judge.

It outlined deals between Blazer and US authorities which went back as far as December 2011 - including agreements for the soccer functionary to turn over documents to investigators, participate in undercover activities and testify at trial - in exchange for more leniencies at sentencing.

Media outlets had requested to reveal the document following the May indictment of nine current and former FIFA officials as well as five corporate executives in a US probe into corruption in world soccer's governing body.

Federal prosecutors had opposed making Blazer's agreement public, arguing it would prejudice the investigation and jeopardize the witness' safety. However, that argument was rejected by the judge, Raymond Dearie, who said prosecutors had failed to meet their "high burden" to keep the document sealed.

"The nature of Blazer's cooperation – at least to the extent expressed in his cooperation agreement – should be removed from the shadows," Dearie wrote in a ruling released Monday.

Cooperation and guilty pleas

The agreement included that Blazer would "participate in undercover activities pursuant to the specific instructions of law enforcement agents or this office."

In exchange, authorities said they would not recommend a specific sentence for his crimes and accepted what would amount to a significant reduction in jail time. Blazer secretly pleaded guilty to 10 charges including wire fraud and money laundering in November 2013. The maximum jail sentences for the counts could have added up to 100 years.

Blazer, now aged 70 and reported to be in poor health, had been a member of FIFA's executive committee from 1997 to 2013 and was general secretary of CONCACAF, soccer's governing body in North and Central America and the Caribbean, from 1990 to 2011.

According to US officials, his cooperation helped build a complex corruption case that has led to charges against top FIFA figures and prompted FIFA President Sepp Blatter to announce he would step down – just days after his re-election.

Handshake initiative canned

In another blow to FIFA's prestige, the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo has said it's ending its cooperation with the organization in the "Handshake for Peace" initiative. Blatter had been an enthusiastic supporter of the campaign.

se/jil (AP, Reuters, AFP)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Murdoch unveils gradual exit from media empire

Yahoo – AFP, 11 June 2015

Rupert Murdoch is preparing to step down as chief executive of the
 media-entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox, CNBC television 
reports (AFP Photo/Jason Reed)

New York (AFP) - Rupert Murdoch presented a succession plan at media-entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox on Thursday, passing his chief executive job to his son James and another key role to son Lachlan.

A source close to the company confirmed the plan to AFP, saying James Murdoch would assume the CEO job while elder brother Lachlan would become executive chairman.

The plan is to be presented next week to the board of directors, the source told AFP.

James Murdoch is expected to
take over from his father as 
chief executive of 21st Century
Fox (AFP Photo/Scott Olson)
But the 84-year-old Australian-born US citizen who built the global empire does not plan a complete exit.

"Rupert Murdoch is expected to relinquish the CEO role but remain executive chairman and continue to drive the company's agenda," the person said.

"Lachlan Murdoch is expected to be named executive co-chairman and he will work in close partnership with James Murdoch... The two of them will be a team and run the company together."

View galleryJames Murdoch is expected to take over from his father …
James Murdoch is expected to take over from his father as chief executive of 21st Century Fox (AFP P …
The timing of the plan is not clear. But CNBC, which first reported the news, said the change would take place later this year or in early 2016.

James Murdoch, 42, will take over day to day management at the New York-based company, which operates the Fox studios in Hollywood, and Fox's television operations in the US and around the world.

The cable news channel, which competes with CNN and MSNBC, will continue to be run by its president Roger Ailes, "reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch," according to Fox News.

21st Century Fox was created two years ago when Murdoch split the struggling publishing operations from his News Corp. empire from the faster-growing media and entertainment operations.

No News at News Corp

Rupert Murdoch and his family remained in control of both companies after the split. He is executive chairman at News Corp. with his son Lachlan, 43, listed as co-chairman.

Fox News, the cable channel which competes with CNN and MSNBC, will 
continue to be run by its president Roger Ailes, pictured here on 
April 12, 2011, "reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch" (AFP Photo/
Stephen Lovekin)

At Fox, Rupert Murdoch holds the title of chairman and chief executive, with Chase Carey president and chief operating officer and James Murdoch the co-chief operating officer.

According to the source, Carey was expected to stay "in an advisory role" after the succession plan is implemented.

Rupert Murdoch has spent a lifetime building his News Corp empire from a single Australian newspaper he inherited.

He moved to London where his purchase of the weekly News of the World in 1969 gave him a high-profile foothold in the British market.

He went on to buy The Sun, a daily which he turned into a popular and big-selling tabloid.

The success of his popular newspapers helped finance his 1981 purchase of The Times and Sunday Times, prestigious broadsheets, despite intense opposition from parts of Britain's establishment.

He relocated to the United States where more bold acquisitions followed and where he became a naturalized US citizen in 1985.

Chase Carey, pictured on October 16, 2013, 
is expected to step down from his role at 
Fox while remaining an adviser to the
 company (AFP Photo/Kevin Winter)
The empire came under pressure in recent years from the slump in newspaper revenues and a scandal in Britain which led to the shutdown of News of the World after the revelation the tabloid hacked into the phones of a murdered teenager and the families of dead soldiers.

Murdoch shut the News of the World in July 2011 following public revulsion that it had hacked the voicemail of a schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered.

News UK has paid out millions in out of court settlements including £2 million to Dowler's family.

The News Corp split in 2013 was aimed at "unlocking value" in the print and entertainment operations.

In the latest quarter, Fox reported net income of $975 million on revenues of $6.5 billion.

The company also operates National Geographic Channels and local television stations, along with a stake in Britain's Sky satellite television service.

News Corp -- which owns Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones -- reported a profit of $23 million on $2 billion in revenues over the same period.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HSBC unveils radical overhaul to axe up to 50,000 jobs

Yahoo – AFP, Roland Jackson, Roland Jackson with Laura Mannering in Hong Kong, 9 June 2015

HSBC says about 25,000 jobs will be lost with the sale of operations in Turkey
and Brazil (AFP Photo/Ozan Kose)

HSBC will cut its global workforce by up to 50,000 as it exits Brazil and Turkey and mulls relocating headquarters back to Asia from London, the banking giant said Tuesday.

Europe's biggest bank aims to save up to $5.0 billion (4.4 billion euros) in annual costs within two and a half years as it seeks to boost profits and move past recent scandals that have scarred the British lender, including the rigging of foreign exchange markets.

HSBC said it wants to focus more on Asia, particularly in the Pearl River Delta region in southern China, amid an ongoing review of its London headquarters that will be completed this year.

Financial analysts predict that HSBC
 may relocate its headquarters from 
London to Hong Kong, owing to its low
tax regime (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall)
"We have reshaped HSBC, but it is clear it is insufficent," said chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who has implemented swinging cutbacks since becoming the bank's head in 2011.

With regard to the group's possible new base, Gulliver said "there is an opportunity to create another Hong Kong" in Guangdong.

"The world is increasingly connected, with Asia expected to show high growth and become the centre of global trade over the next decade," he added.

Philip Benton, an analyst at research group Euromonitor, said the bank was "redeploying their resources to where the most profit and the most revenue they can generate for the bank".

"HSBC is known as an Asian bank, that is what its heritage is. And I think the problem they faced in entering markets like Brazil and Turkey... it took them a while to be established and they were also up against strong competition from the local banks," he told AFP.

Headcount slashed

HSBC said there would be a 10-percent reduction in jobs with the shedding of between 22,000 and 25,000 positions worldwide.

A further 25,000 jobs would be lost with the sale of operations in Turkey and Brazil. However some or all of these staff could be kept on by potential buyers.

The group will meanwhile seek to axe its risk-weighted assets (RWA) by a hefty $290 billion, and also outlined plans to rebrand its British retail banking division.

The announcements sent HSBC's share prices dropping 0.97 percent to 613.50 pence in late deals on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was down half a percent.

HSBC said the latest job losses would include between 7,000 and 8,000 positions in Britain -- where its retail bank is being relocated from London to Birmingham, central England, by 2019.

It also aims to trim its worldwide network of branches by 12 percent, with Britain being one of seven major regions to be impacted.

HSBC has been hit by Britain's banking levy on the financial sector -- which last year cost it $1.1 billion -- as well as new industry rules to "ring fence" British banks' retail operations to protect them from riskier investment divisions.

The bank aims to save $4.5-$5.0 billion in annual costs by late 2017.

However, the initial overall cost of the restructuring is estimated at $4.0-4.5 billion.

Swiss prosecutors have closed an investigation into claims HSBC's Geneva
branch helped clients evade millions of dollars in taxes (AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)

'Strategic reset'

Investec bank analyst Ian Gordon described the news as "a positive announcement".

"Today’s strategic reset is focused on the delivery of cost and RWA efficiencies, and exiting unattractive markets," he said.

Nicolas Ziegelasch, head of equity research at broker Killik & Co, agreed.

"The announced restructuring is positive as the market had begun to question whether its sheer size and scale allowed it to generate strong returns," he said.

"The refocusing on the business on its Asian operations is in line with where future global growth will come from."

Founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865, HSBC has been based in Britain since 1992 when it took over Midland Bank and shifted its headquarters to London.

HSBC said it would change its brand name in Britain, with analysts saying it could turn current branches back into the Midland.

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