'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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Thursday, March 31, 2016

AP news agency rejects Nazi collaboration claim

Yahoo – AFP, March 31, 2016

A picture taken in June 1940 during World War II shows Nazi Chancellor Adolf
Hitler paying tribute to German soldiers fallen during the First World War (AFP Photo)

Washington (AFP) - The Associated Press on Wednesday defended its operations in Germany in the run-up to World War II after a researcher uncovered what was claimed to be evidence of collaboration with the Nazi regime.

The US news organization responded to a paper in the German-language journal Studies in Contemporary History claiming it supplied American newspapers with material selected by the Nazi propaganda ministry, and in turn allowed it to use AP images for anti-Semitic propaganda.

"AP rejects the suggestion that it collaborated with the Nazi regime at any time," said a statement from agency spokesman Paul Colford.

"Rather, the AP was subjected to pressure from the Nazi regime from the period of Hitler's coming to power in 1933 until the AP's expulsion from Germany in 1941. AP staff resisted the pressure while doing its best to gather accurate, vital and objective news for the world in a dark and dangerous time."

Colford added however that the AP is now "reviewing documents and other files in and beyond AP corporate archives, in the US and Europe, to further our understanding of the period."

Researcher Harriet Scharnberg, citing documents and interviews, said she found evidence of more cooperation from the AP than previously disclosed.

She noted that the Nazi regime gained control over the German subsidiary of AP in 1935 as other news organizations left the country.

By agreeing to a 1934 German law governing the press, the AP "ceded considerable influence over the production of its news photos to the propaganda ministry," the researcher wrote.

The Guardian newspaper, which first reported on Scharnberg's research, said the agreement enabled the US agency to keep its Berlin bureau open after most other international news organizations departed.

AP said it had shared a large amount of material from its archives with the researcher, but that she used materials from other sources as well.

The agency defended its reporting from Germany in the period leading up to the war.

"AP news reporting in the 1930s helped to warn the world of the Nazi menace," the statement said.

"AP's Berlin bureau chief, Louis P. Lochner, won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for his dispatches from Berlin about the Nazi regime. Earlier, Lochner also resisted anti-Semitic pressure to fire AP's Jewish employees and when that failed he arranged for them to become employed by AP outside of Germany, likely saving their lives."

Colford said much of Scharnberg's research concerned a German photo agency subsidiary of AP Britain that was created in 1931, and which in 1935 became subject to the Nazi press-control law.

US newspapers were supplied through the subsidiary with images taken in Nazi Germany -- including ones from the government or government-controlled sources that were clearly labeled as such, he said.

"Images of that time from Germany had legitimate news value as editors and the public needed to learn more about the Nazis," Colford said.

AP "did not engage in direct publication and until Ms. Scharnberg's research had no knowledge of any accusation that material may have been directly produced and selected by Nazi propaganda ministries," he added.

When Germany declared war on the United States and expelled all foreign news organizations in 1941, "AP lost control over its subsidiary and therefore the use of its photos," Colford noted in response to the claim it allowed its archives to be used for propaganda.

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Matthew Ward
With loving greetings from all souls at this station, this is Matthew. Earth is orbiting in astral planes wherein vibrations are impacting your society at a quickening pace. As linear time is “crunching up,” everything in your world is being pushed more swiftly toward remedy, resolution or final moment, and third density karmic experiences are moving faster toward completion.

This acceleration is causing the Illuminati to take irrationally desperate measures to cling to their remnants of control in New York City and Washington, DC. Often fingers have pointed at the United States for self-serving interference in other countries’ affairs, and with justification—all significant federal actions from Day One have been the work of individuals in the Illuminati’s Rockefeller faction within that nation’s government and military forces, all without the knowledge of the citizenry, who mistakenly thought their voices and votes counted.

Let us tell you what evolved civilizations have long observed about your world. People ruled by other corrupt governments knew they were captives of their political systems; however, only recently and only some United States citizens are realizing that they’ve been duped into believing they lived in “the land of the free” and what they’ve been told generation after generation: We must fight our enemies who want to destroy our freedoms and democratic way of life.

Thus, as your world reels from aerial strikes on Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, a tragedy stemming from Illuminati madness, the blame falls on the United States via the wrongful assumption that the country’s Commander-in-Chief authorized the unconscionable attack. The fact is, behind the scenes President Obama and others in positions of influence—primarily individuals in the US and in China; Israelis who know Netanyahu’s dark intentions to foment WWIII; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; and Pope Francis—have been collaborating to uproot all of the far-reaching tentacles of the Illuminati’s Rockefeller and Rothschild factions.

That attack on the hospital; explosions at a peace rally in Ankara, Turkey; clashes between Israelis and Palestinians; the situation in Syria; and shootings in the United States have caused some to view deadly violence and other prevalent conditions globally as “unsolvable problems.” Dear ones, none of the issues of your concern, which also include effects of climate change, lack of clean water, deforestation, near extinction of some animals, diminishing bee population, widespread surveillance, unjust legal and justice systems, enforced vaccinations, massive impoverishment and rampant pollution as well as war mentality, bigotry, greed and ignorance of truths is unsolvable!

Everything happening in your world is due to Earth’s ascension into increasingly lighter energy planes wherein negatively-based activity is more quickly and emphatically running out its energetic course. However, in some circles this is deemed evidence that “end times” are at hand. We know this isn’t your belief, but we think you will enjoy knowing what God told my mother about that concept several years ago:

“Those souls who are intent upon having an Armageddon, so they shall! But for you who aren’t intent upon having that sort of ‘future,” you WON’T! You can stay within the light and rise into higher and higher dimensions of closeness, understanding, awareness. There are no strict rules that are so complex or rigorous that you and anyone else aren’t capable of adhering to them. All that is required is to live within the light! Or in simplest terms: BE KIND.”

And, with thanks to the light—the same energy as love and the most powerful force in the cosmos—your world is overflowing with kindness and godly works as more and more people are “seeing the light.” Joyously greet this unfolding of consciousness connecting with soul-level knowledge—this, not bodies rising into the skies, is personal ascension—the shedding of all of third density’s negative characteristics and harmful behavior to self and others.

As for other aforementioned issues of concern, first we say, do not be fearful about anything! We cannot say too often that the energy of fear refuels those with dark tendencies and the universal law of attraction is in constant operation!

Now then, to address those issues. Harsh effects of climate change will ease as Earth gets closer to attaining her once-moderate climate worldwide; if necessary, residents of sea-level island areas will be relocated in plenty of time to avert danger. Ongoing assistance of your universal family includes neutralizing or ameliorating harmful effects of toxic elements in vaccines and all sources of pollution; and, added to your own technologies that are emerging from Illuminati suppression, your family will introduce advanced technologies that can remedy environmental damage so quickly that you will be astounded. Bees will return and eventually wildlife will rebound to sustainable numbers except for the few species in arctic climes that will not adapt to those areas’ rising temperatures. Peaceful, trustworthy behavior in your society will end the need for surveillance; all unfair or injurious national laws, justice systems, regulations, and cultural traditions will end incrementally; and, as your world’s resources are fairly allocated, poverty will be eliminated.

It is Gaia’s desire and intention that her planetary body be restored to its original health and beauty and Earth’s humankind flourish in abundance and live in harmony with each other and all of Nature. And so it shall be! Planetary ascension—the world transformation process that you went to Earth to assist in—is assured! Personal ascension is a choice that each person makes, and part of attaining spiritual and conscious enlightenment is knowing the soul you are. Most heartily we have welcomed all of your relevant questions and now shall answer those for which there was no space in previous messages.

“How do I ‘go within’ to ask a question and how will I know if the answer is from soul level or my conscious thought?” In solitude and comfort, visualize yourself in the midst of golden white light, think or say aloud what you want to know, then quiet your mind and simply BE. You may want to see if meditative music is relaxing or a distraction, and it could be helpful to ask first a question that can be answered “yes” or “no.” The answer may come immediately or take a few moments, and when it does, it may be a word, phrase or sentence, which may be audible or appear as a printed sign or move in tickertape fashion; or one or more mental images; or a sensation that clearly indicates “yes” or “no.”

If what you see, hear or strongly sense is similar to what you had been thinking, or hoping for, prior to “going within,” it doesn’t mean that the answer is your own thought; it could be confirmation that your conscious thought and soul knowledge expressed as intuition are closely connected. And, please don’t be disheartened if nothing happens at first try, or even a few times—like every other worthwhile endeavor, practice leads to improvement.

“Was it the person Jesus or his soul who knew how to walk on water and turn a few fish and bread loaves into enough food for the multitudes or were those stories made up to substantiate the claim that he is ‘the only son of God’?” Jesus and his soul were one and the same being, just as every other soul-self is. He knew that everyone has the innate capacity to manifest whatever the person desires and can visualize; that’s why his teachings included that whatever he could do, everyone else could, too. He did walk slightly above water on an occasion when there was a need to do so, and one time there was a need to turn a small amount of food into enough for a hungry crowd. I noted both in my journal.

A conversation with my mother soon after we started communicating in 1994, when I was still living in Nirvana, answers a number of queries about the soul’s origin and its relationship with the cumulative soul, and I’ve asked her to copy those parts.

The soul is the very essence of life as it first sprang from Creator. It is an indestructible living entity of light energy that may have a physical body, etheric body or astral body, or it may exist in free spirit only. Our souls, manifested by God through His co-creating powers with Creator, are expressions of the love and light of God and contain in microcosm every essence of God. In any of its forms, the soul is an inviolate independent being at the same time it exists inseparably with God and Creator and all other souls.

The soul is the power behind everything that exists on Earth. It is the life force of all its parts that it creates for ever-greater experiencing. At every level of evolvement, each soul part is an independent self with intelligence, characteristics, choices, goals and all the other life elements that make each person a unique being.

Each individual lifetime of a soul is its personage. The sum of a soul's personages is the cumulative soul, and all knowledge gained by each personage is available to all. Thus, as each one melds into the cumulative soul, bringing the wisdom of that lifetime’s experiences, every individual personage evolves just as the cumulative soul does. I believe the simplest explanation of the cumulative soul is this: It is the composite of all its parts starting with the very first division of itself into an independent lifetime for diversity in experiencing.

Where do cumulative souls reside?

There is no specific place of residence because a cumulative soul is not an individual entity, but rather the indivisible sum of all its personages wherever they are living, and it grows as each one adds its lifetime experiences to the ever-changing composite. Actually, a better description of a cumulative soul than I first gave you is that it is a force field that derives its entire essence from all its aspects wherever they are throughout the universe.

Do you personally know the other personages in your cumulative soul or do you only have access to their knowledge?

I know those who are in this realm and some of us have become friends. Some are spending a lifetime on Earth, and I know very well who they are! Some have moved so far toward the light that our energy densities are incompatible, so a meeting isn’t possible, and others have regressed far from the light into lower densities, and I’m surely not interested in going there! Some have chosen lifetimes out of this galaxy, where I don’t travel often, so I’m barely acquainted with them.

Each has its own soul growth to accomplish, Mother. Wherever the other personages are experiencing for their individual growth, we’re always within the familial bonding of our cumulative soul. But it isn’t necessary that we meet or share lifetime interests or know all the details of each other’s lives. What we do share is the essential knowledge of our collective awareness, otherwise all the individual souls’ learning would be wasted.

The cumulative soul can advance from its station toward the light only by the advancement of its personages. Therefore, each one not only has the benefit of the cumulative soul’s composite knowledge, but it is continuously given encouragement at soul level to master its chosen lessons so the cumulative soul can evolve. However, that is not self-serving—with that soul’s advancement, all of its personages also have the opportunity to evolve. But, depending upon the free will choices of each, the personage can either grow toward the light or regress so far as to become trapped in base energy.

If a personage becomes trapped, how does that affect its cumulative soul's energy?

The lifetime energy registration that consigns a personage to the base energy placement does not affect its cumulative soul because that personage's unique energy stream made its own way entirely by its free will choices. The cumulative soul may encourage its personages, but it can't ever interfere with their free will. However, out of love for all its personages, the cumulative soul may request divine grace to assist any that become trapped in base energy.

Are the individual souls always aware of everything their cumulative soul knows?

Let me compare this with your memory, Mother. Nothing you have learned or experienced is ever lost in your memory system, but you can't remember everything at the same time–it would be overwhelming! Furthermore, many of your experiences were so trivial that they were irrelevant to subsequent happenings and never returned to your conscious mind, yet all are in your memory bank. It's the same with the personages of the cumulative soul as they experience their respective lifetimes.

That makes sense. Matthew, with all these parts of your cumulative soul, I just want to be absolutely sure that you are ONLY my Matthew and nobody else!

Oh, Mother, absolutely I am Matthew and no one else! Every personage is its own soul and no one else! The cumulative soul is the synthesis of all its independently functioning soul-selves.

But it sounds as if every soul that divides itself becomes a cumulative soul, so you could do the same and become one, too.

Mother, I realize that in my eagerness to answer your questions, sometimes my efforts result in confusion rather than clarification. The terms I've given you for the various aspects of soul expression—cumulative soul, personages, soul fragments or sparks and such—are meant only to show the soul's long journey striving through multiple lifetimes to return to its beginning in the perfect love and light of Creator.

In this realm we don't need differentiation of terms, as the soul's energy registration in the universe is evidence of its evolutionary station. Since each soul is its own inviolate self regardless of its station or the number of its progeny, we think of each simply as "soul." And that is how we speak of each one to you unless we are trying to explain the soul growth stages through its independently functioning aspects, or the inextricable and eternal connection of each soul with God and all other souls in the universe.

Thank you, Mother, and yes, I see that once again must leave remaining questions about the soul for the next message. We hope that our answers thus far have been convincing: You are limitlessly powerful, unconditionally loved divine beings in the eternal Oneness of All.

LOVE and PEACE

Suzanne Ward

Website: The Matthew Books
Email: suzy@matthewbooks.com

Monday, March 28, 2016

Honduran ex-president pleads guilty in NY

Yahoo – AFP, Jennie Matthew, 28 March 2016

Former Honduran president Rafael Callejas leaves the Brooklyn federal court in 
New York, March 28, 2016 after pleading guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy
 and wire fraud conspiracy in connection with the FIFA corruption scandal (AFP Photo/
Kena Betancur)

New York (AFP) - Former Honduran president Rafael Callejas pleaded guilty in New York Monday to conspiracy to commit racketeering and wire fraud in connection with the FIFA corruption scandal rocking world football.

The 72-year-old, who has been free on a $4 million bail in the United States since leaving Honduras by private jet last December to face American justice, will be sentenced on August 5.

The two counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

"Guilty," Callejas told Magistrate Judge Robert Levy in a federal court in Brooklyn, entering his plea. He spoke calmly in fluent English with a US accent, and was dressed in a dark suit.

Callejas served as president of Honduras from 1990 to 1994. He was head of the country's football federation from 2002 to 2015, and is also a former member of FIFA's Television and Marketing Committee.

He originally faced eight charges of racketeering, fraud and money laundering, to which he pleaded not guilty on December 15.

"I knew it was wrong," he told court Monday, admitting to receiving bribes for awarding media and marketing rights contracts to a Florida-based company for Honduran FIFA World Cup qualifier matches.

As part of his plea, he agreed to forfeit $650,000 -- $180,000 to be paid within one week and the balance due within 12 months.

He is one of 39 officials and marketing executives accused of soliciting and receiving tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks in a case that has sparked an unprecedented crisis at FIFA.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter looking on with fake dollars note flying around him thrown 
by a protester during a press conference at the football's world body headquarter's on 
July 20, 2015 in Zurich (AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)

Extradition

US prosecutors accused Callejas of receiving $1.6 million in bribes between March 2011 and January 2013 for broadcast rights of games played by the Honduran national team.

They said Florida company Media World paid these bribes from its US bank accounts through an intermediary, to overseas accounts of Callejas and a co-conspirator.

Monday's plea brings to 14 the number of individuals to have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with US prosecutors in the FIFA case in exchange for a possible reduction in sentence.

Callejas told the judge that he had been under treatment from a cardiologist and was currently taking medication.

Last Tuesday, Costas Takkas, the former Cayman Islands Football Federation general secretary, became the latest FIFA suspect extradited from Switzerland to appear in a New York court.

Takkas pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky and was released on a $1 million bond with a $25,000 cash deposit, court documents show.

The 57-year-old accountant, who has British and Greek citizenship, will be confined to house arrest in Florida, allowed to leave only to see his doctors, lawyers, go to court or to attend religious services.

Takkas, who was born in Cyprus, was one of six FIFA officials arrested in May 2015 in Zurich at the request of US authorities.

The US judge granted him 60 minutes of exercise a day in a gym in the building of his Florida residence.

The US corruption investigation precipitated the downfall of longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his former heir apparent, Michel Platini, who have both been banned from the sport for six years for ethics violations. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Accountancy firms fined, improve their auditing

DutchNews, March 24, 2016

Photo: Depositphotos.com 
The four biggest accountancy firms operating in the Netherlands have been fined a total of €6m by the financial services regulator AFM

The fines follow an earlierinvestigation by the AFM which said Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC did not achieve the required duty of care and were lax in checking corporate accounts in 2012 and 2011.

In many of these cases, the accountant had already provided a final statement before receiving all the necessary information from the client. This is against the law, the regulator says. 

The biggest fine – €2.2m, went to EY.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bangladesh heist exposes Philippine dirty money secrets

Yahoo – AFP, Karl Malakunas, 20 March 2016

The $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank's American accounts
 last month was immediately sent via electronic transfer to the Philippines' 
RCBC bank (AFP Photo/Noel Celis)

When mystery hackers launched a stunning raid on Bangladesh's foreign reserves, a plot worthy of a John le Carre spy novel was sparked in the Philippines, exposing the Southeast Asian nation as a dirty money haven.

The $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank's American accounts last month was immediately sent via electronic transfer to the Philippines' RCBC bank, with the thieves deliberately targeting their laundering location.

Maia Deguito, manager of the
RCBC branch in Manila's financial
district, attends a senate hearing
in Manila on March 17, 2016
(AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe)
The Philippines has some of the world's strictest bank secrecy laws to protect account holders, while its casinos are exempt from rules altogether aimed at preventing money laundering.

"The Philippines is very attractive (for dirty money) because our laws have gaping holes. It's easy to launder money here," Senator Sergio Osmena, who is pushing for stronger anti-money laundering laws, told AFP.

Still, if the thieves were to get away with their audacious heist, the money had to be moved quickly through the banking system and into the casinos.

And it did.

Authorities took four days to order a recall of the money.

But by then it had vanished -- leaving in its place a tale of death threats, bribes, shady business figures and a bank manager who could be the villain or a victim.

"I did not do anything wrong. If this is a nightmare, I want to wake up now," the manager of RCBC bank, Maia Deguito, told ABS-CBN television this week after authorities stopped her at Manila airport from trying to leave the country.

"I live everyday in fear."

Lorenzo Tan, RCBC president and chief executive
 officer, gives a statement during a senate hearing
in Manila on March 15, 2016 (AFP Photo/Noel Celis)
With authorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere bamboozled over who masterminded the cyber-heist, Deguito's role as manager of the bank that accepted and shifted the money has come under intense scrutiny.

She has accused the bank's president, Lorenzo Tan, of ordering her to move the money. He has fiercely denied the accusations.

Philippine senators who launched an inquiry this week into the affair are yet to determine whether she was a scapegoat or not, but are convinced she was not the mastermind.

"It's a big operation. This could not have been done out of the Philippines alone," Senator Ralph Recto said.

The Senate inquiry and another probe by the Philippines' Anti-Money Laundering Council have hit several major hurdles, including a security camera at the bank not working when the money was shifted.

Accusations and counter-accusations between Deguito and RCBC management have further confused investigators.

'Money trail'

A final roadblock has emerged at the casinos, with the money apparently vanishing in mountains of gambling chips and mysterious middlemen.

Julia Abad (R), deputy director of the anti-money laundering council, speaks
at a senate hearing in Manila on March 17, 2016 (AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe)

"Our money trail ended at the casinos," Julia Abad, deputy director of the anti-money laundering council, told senators Tuesday.

On February 5, the same day Bangladesh Bank was hacked, the money was sent electronically to four accounts in Deguito's RCBC branch in the financial capital of Makati, according to testimony to the Senate inquiry.

Those accounts appeared to have been set up solely for that purpose because they were done using aliases, the Senate inquiry heard.

After that, the bulk of the money was transferred into accounts of a local ethnic Chinese businessmen, William Go, who has since protested his innocence. He said his signature was forged to set up the accounts.

From there, the money was briefly held by Philrem, a foreign exchange brokerage.

Philrem President Salud Bautista told the Senate inquiry $30 million went to a man named Weikang Xu.

Maia Deguito, manager of the
RCBC branch in Manila's financial
district, confers with one of her
lawyers during a senate hearing
in Manila on March 17, 2016
(AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe)
He was described as a casino junket operator but senators have said they know little more about him other than he is of Chinese origin.

The anti-money laundering council said another $29 million ended up in Solaire, a casino on a glittering Manila bayside strip that the Philippines hopes will become one of the world's biggest gambling destinations.

That money was exchanged into chips but could only be turned back into cash after being played in the casino, its management told the Senate inquiry.

Another $21 million was sent to Eastern Hawaii Leisure, which runs a sparsely furnished casino with Chinese-only television in Santa Ana, a sleepy town in the far northern Philippines, according to the council.

Senator Osmena said the case was likely just the tip of the iceberg.

"This could have happened hundreds of times already," he said.

"We discovered this one only because someone complained. But normally, if a drug dealer from Burma (Myanmar) or China would send money here, no one would complain."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Many Catholic church sexual abuse cases dealt with in secret: NRC

DutchNews, March 19, 2016

One third of the sexual abuse cases involving the Dutch Catholic church have been dealt with behind closed doors, the NRC said on Saturday.

In total, 342 of the 1,045 proven cases were dealt with outside the official complaints procedure and the amount of financial compensation paid to the victims was kept secret, the paper said.  The paper bases its claim on church documents. 

The official committee set up to investigate the abuse claims had called for total transparency. 

Officially, 703 cases have been closed, with total compensation payments of €21.3m. According to the NRC, the secret cases – settled either with or without a mediator – involved further payments of €10.6m. 

Abuse victims who went through the ‘secret’ procedure had to sign a contract pledging to keep quiet about their case and to refrain from making negative comments about the church and the perpetrators, the NRC said. 

A spokesman for the Catholic church in the Netherlands told the paper victims were offered three options: mediation, a settlement and the official procedure. ‘Every victim made a choice and the level of secrecy depended on that,’ the spokesman said.

Cardinal Ad Simonis: "wir haben es nicht gewusst"

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Friday, March 18, 2016

British welfare minister resigns over disability cuts plan

Yahoo – AFP, 18 march 2016

Iain Duncan Smith leaves after attending a pre-Budget cabinet meeting at 
Downing Street in London, on March 16, 2016 (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)

London (AFP) - Britain's welfare minister Iain Duncan Smith resigned on Friday over planned reductions in welfare payments for people with disabilities unveiled by the finance minister this week.

"Changes to benefits to the disabled and the context in which they've been made are a compromise too far," he wrote in a letter following uproar against the plans, including from lawmakers in his own governing Conservative Party.

"While they are defensible in narrow terms, given the continuing deficit, they are not defensible in the way they were placed within a budget that benefits higher-earning taxpayers," said Duncan Smith, a former party leader and one of six senior ministers supporting a vote for Britain to leave the EU.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told parliament on Wednesday the planned changes would cut around £1.3 billion (1.7 billion euros, $1.9 billion) a year off the bill for so-called Personal Independence Payments (PIP), which aim to help people with long-term ill health or disabilities with extra costs.

The main opposition Labour party has criticised the proposals as "appalling" and a government source on Friday said they would be "kicked into the long grass".

"We need to take time and get reforms right and that will mean looking again at these proposals," the sources.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We are going to discuss what we've put forward with the disability charities and others."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn earlier said that 200,000 of the 640,000 people affected by the proposed changes would lose out altogether as a result.

Duncan Smith was one of six cabinet ministers who last month broke ranks with the rest of Cameron's government and said they would support a "Leave" vote in Britain's EU membership referendum on June 23.

He was head of the Conservative Party between 2001 and 2003.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Iran billionaire sentenced to death for corruption

Yahoo – AFP, Arthur MacMillan, 6 March 2016

Iran's billionaire tycoon Babak Zanjani (C), pictured in a court in Tehran where he
was convicted of fraud and economic crimes (AFP Photo/Meghdad Madadi)

Tehran (AFP) - Iran has sentenced billionaire tycoon Babak Zanjani, reportedly one of the country's richest men, to death, convicting him of corruption after a long trial on accusations he fraudulently pocketed $2.8 billion.

A justice official announced the punishment Sunday, noting that Zanjani, who became notorious for finding ways to channel hard currency from oil sales during the sanctions-ridden era of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from 2005 to 2013, could appeal.

Zanjani rose to prominence after sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic's banks as punishment for its nuclear programme hit the country's finances hard.

Having taken commissions, he said he was at all times working with the knowledge and backing of Ahmadinejad's government and he boasted in media interviews of his skills and wealth amassed by managing to subvert the banking restrictions.

He said he did so using a web of companies in various countries including the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Malaysia, selling millions of barrels of Iranian oil.

But he was arrested in December 2013, three months after current President Hassan Rouhani took office, having pledged to crack down on corruption.

Zanjani, 41, was convicted of fraud and economic crimes and must repay money to the state as well as face the death penalty, judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie said.

The trial was public, a rarity for such a major case in Iran, and two other accused were also convicted of "corruption on earth", the most serious offence in the Islamic republic, meaning they too will face the death penalty.

"The preliminary court has sentenced these three defendants to be executed, as well as paying restitution to the plaintiff," said Mohseni-Ejeie, adding this was the oil ministry.

They must also pay a "fine equal to one fourth of the money that was laundered", the spokesman said, without specifying the sum.

Zanjani had denied wrongdoing, insisting the only reason the money had not been paid to the oil ministry was that sanctions had prevented a planned transfer from taking place. That claim was disputed in court.

The case follows repeated declarations from Rouhani's government that corruption and the payment of illegal commissions thrived under Ahmadinejad's rule. Other trials are ongoing.

Iranian tycoon Babak Zanjani was convicted of fraud and economic crimes over
oil sales during the long period of economic sanctions against Tehran (AFP Photo)

'Corrupt parasites'

Zanjani told the media that in return for commissions he was tasked with circumventing sanctions to get money back to Iran. He did so at a time of record high oil prices, meaning tens of billions of dollars were at stake.

In October last year, however, Rouhani's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh hit out at the use of middlemen such as Zanjani.

Iranian media have put the tycoon's fortune as high as $13.5 billion, with public opinion split on whether he was indeed helping the government or enriching himself at the country's expense.

Zanganeh and other officials said the latter was the case.

Speaking after Iran concluded a nuclear deal with world powers in July, paving the way for increased foreign activity in Iran's energy sector, the oil minister urged investors to deal directly with the government and avoid third parties.

"We despise the corrupt parasites that want to suck the nation's blood even in this situation," Zanganeh said to loud applause at an industry event in the capital while Zanjani's trial was under way.

"I recommend foreign companies stay away from these corrupt individuals" who know nothing but "deceitfulness".

Zanjani was among Iranian individuals blacklisted under US and European sanctions.

The nuclear deal saw a large part of these sanctions lifted at the beginning of 2016 in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme.

Defending the nuclear talks in 2014 before the deal came about, Rouhani said "a small, fringe group is very angry about it because they will suffer losses" and referred to Zanjani as such a person.

In parliamentary elections last month, the president secured his goal of a more moderate parliament, signalling strong public support for the nuclear accord and creating an opening for domestic reforms.

As of 2015, Iran ranked first in the world in natural gas reserves and fourth in proven crude oil reserves, according to energy giant BP.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Malaysia cross-party alliance demands removal of PM

Yahoo – AFP, M Jegathesan, 4 March 2016

Malaysian PM Najib Razak has been under fire over allegations that billions of dollars
 were stolen from a state firm he founded, and his own admitted acceptance of a
murky $681 million overseas "donation" (AFP Photo/Mohd Rasfan)

Leaders from across Malaysia's political spectrum joined forces Friday to call for the removal of scandal-hit premier Najib Razak, in a sharp escalation of a festering corruption crisis.

"We call upon all Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion, political situation, creed or parties, young and old, to join us in saving Malaysia from the government headed by Najib Razak," read a joint statement endorsed by heavyweights from the ruling party, opposition, and civil-society groups.

The alliance brought together previously bitter political foes and was led by 90-year-old former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who has spearheaded calls to remove Najib over allegations of corruption and misrule.

 Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir 
Mohamad (C) speaks during a press 
conference with members of the opposition
 party in Kuala Lumpur on March 4, 2016
(AFP Photo/Mohd Rasfan)
"We must rid ourselves of Najib as prime minister," Mahathir, who quit the Najib-controlled ruling party earlier this week in protest, said at a Kuala Lumpur press conference.

The call is the biggest challenge yet to Najib and gives voice to a growing sense of public disgust with his tenure.

'Badly tarnished Malaysia'

Najib, 62, has been under fire for a year over allegations that billions of dollars were stolen from a state firm he founded, and his own acceptance of a murky $681 million overseas payment.

Reports have also emerged of the luxurious lifestyles, lavish spending and jet-set travel arrangements of his family.

Even before the graft allegations emerged, Najib had faced mounting criticism for eroding civil liberties, allowing multi-racial Malaysia's ethnic divisions to widen, and poor economic stewardship.

Najib denies wrongdoing, saying the corruption accusations are part of an unspecified political conspiracy.

Responding to the fresh call for his removal, a Najib spokesman said it revealed "political opportunism and desperation" by Mahathir and others, and that only elections could change the leadership.

Najib has curbed investigations into the scandals and purged his ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) of critics, essentially shutting off internal party challenges.

Whistle-blowers have been arrested, while media outlets reporting on the allegations have been muzzled, raising concerns over rights and freedom speech.

"Today Malaysia is badly tarnished," the joint statement said, calling for political reforms.

Those present included former deputy premier Muhyiddin Yassin, whom Najib sacked last year after he urged a probe into the funding questions.

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (C) reads a citizens' declaration
 during a press conference with members of the opposition party in Kuala Lumpur on
March 4, 2016 (AFP Photo/Mohd Rasfan)

They also included top leaders of Malaysia's opposition parties and of an electoral-reform movement that staged huge demonstrations last year over the scandals.

Critics say perhaps billion of dollars were skimmed from state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in complex overseas transactions.

1MDB, established in 2009 by Najib, denies wrongdoing.

But US authorities are reportedly looking into 1MDB-related fund flows, while Swiss, British, Singaporean and Hong Kong authorities also are scrutinising them.

Swiss authorities said recently up to $4 billion may have been stolen from Malaysian state firms and that they were investigating possible fraud and money-laundering.

Najib at first hotly denied allegations that the mysterious $681 million payment was transferred to his personal bank accounts in 2013.

But the government now claims it was a gift from the Saudi royal family, most of which was returned.

The Saudis are yet to officially confirm that claim, which is broadly ridiculed in Malaysia as far-fetched.

A Wall Street Journal investigative report this week said the money originated from 1MDB, not the Saudis.

The anti-Najib group's statement repeated allegations that perhaps billion of dollars
 were skimmed from the Najib-linked company, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB),
in an array of complex overseas transactions (AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyayana)

'Momentum is building'

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, head of Malaysian think tank IDEAS, said pressure on Najib was increasing.

"The momentum is building against Najib and is stronger than before. It can possibly snowball into bigger pressure, but the resistance from the government and UMNO will be strong as well," he said.

Najib has weathered the pressure by rallying loyal UMNO leaders and using the party's tight grip on the country to secure his position.

The new movement announced no plans for public protests and its future strategy was not clear.

The escalating crisis has brought warnings that fears of political instability could impact foreign investment just as the Malaysian economy's reliance on energy exports is being strained by low oil prices.

UMNO has dominated Malaysia since independence in 1957 by championing the rights of Muslim Malays, Malaysia's majority ethnic group.

But voters have increasingly rebelled against its divisive racial politics, authoritarian tactics, corruption, and an electoral system seen as tilted in its favour.

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