'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.)


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

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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



“… The Fall of Many - Seen It Yet?

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

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

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Trump's comms director Scaramucci out as new chief of staff takes reins

Yahoo - AFP, July 31, 2017

Anthony Scaramucci, named Donald Trump's new White House communications
director 10 days ago, did not last long (AFP Photo/JIM WATSON)

Washington (AFP) - White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was forced out Monday after barely 10 days in his post, as Donald Trump's new chief of staff asserted his authority on his first day in office.

John Kelly, who had served as Trump's secretary of homeland security for six months, has been brought in as chief of staff to bring order and discipline to a White House beset by scandal, infighting, low approval ratings and legislative defeats.

After an Oval Office swearing-in ceremony, Trump confidently predicted the 67-year-old combat veteran -- one of a group Trump has dubbed "my generals" -- will do a "spectacular job."

And Kelly got straight to work, as reports emerged that Trump dismissed Scaramucci -- the fast-talking New York financier -- at Kelly's request.

"Mr Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best," the White House said in a terse statement.

Scaramucci had courted controversy with an expletive-laden attack on his colleagues -- then chief of staff Reince Priebus, who was forced out last week, and chief White House strategist Steve Bannon.

'Record-shattering'

Kelly inherits the day-to-day running of a White House staff that -- far from marching in lockstep -- look like a regiment pinned down by heavy fire, getting conflicting orders from their commander and squabbling over the way forward.

US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with newly sworn-in White House 
Chief of Staff John Kelly (AFP Photo/JIM WATSON)

"I predict that General Kelly will go down as, in terms of the position of chief of staff, one of the great(est) ever," Trump said.

"What he has done in terms of homeland security is record-shattering, if you look at the border, if you look at the tremendous results we've had."

Kelly replaces Priebus, a Republican Party operative who was ousted last week after the spectacular failure of Trump's bid to repeal Obamacare and as his ugly feud with Scaramucci spilled into the open.

The chief of staff is the highest ranking White House employee -- a chief operating officer who organizes staff, manages the president's schedule and decides who gets access to him and when.

That is no small mission in Trump's White House, where a rotating cast of family and staff with unclear roles and opaque job titles walk into the Oval Office seemingly at will.

Many question whether anyone can rein in the mercurial, Twitter-happy Trump, who has appeared to encourage the infighting among various factions vying for influence in his administration.

No chaos

Trump -- ever determined to project success -- insisted Monday that there was no "chaos" at the White House, which was instead running as a finely tuned machine.

"I think we’re doing incredibly well. The economy is doing incredibly well, and many other things. So we're starting from a really good base," he told a cabinet meeting.

"We have the highest stock market in history," Trump said, adding that US economic growth in the last quarter stood at 2.6 percent and was approaching the three percent target he once set.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a red tie, has been one of President Donald 
Trump's many targets in recent weeks (AFP Photo/JIM WATSON)

"Unemployment is the lowest it's been in 17 years. Business enthusiasm is about as high as they've ever seen it."

But aside from the economy, there has been little reason for Trump to cheer.

Under pressure from a widening probe into his campaign's contacts with Russia last year, Trump last week attacked his own attorney general Jeff Sessions for disloyalty, alarming his conservative base, before turning on Priebus.

In another tweet Monday, Trump hinted that Congress's own health insurance plan should be replaced for its failure to repeal Obamacare, his predecessor's signature reform of the US health care system.

"If Obamacare is hurting people & it is, why shouldn't it hurt the insurance companies and why should Congress not be paying what public pays?"

Since taking office six months ago, Trump's tumultuous administration has seen a succession of negative headlines and brewing scandals.

Fueling the fire, the billionaire Republican has parted with a number of top officials including his national security advisor, deputy national security advisor and FBI director, among others -- an unparalleled turnover for such a young presidency.

On the global stage, Trump faces the stark challenge of a North Korea that could be on the verge of marrying nuclear and ballistic missile technology.

"We'll handle North Korea. We're going to be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything. Thank you very much," Trump said.

Kelly's arrival is likely to signal a renewed focus on border security and immigration.

"As the coils of the Russia investigation grow tighter, as his failures in Congress mount, Trump reaches for what he knows -—demagoguery of the rawest sort," predicted Eliot Cohen, a former State Department official once tipped to join the Trump White House.

"Trump will remain Trump, and the various denizens of the White House are unlikely to treat Kelly with much more deference than they treat one another," he wrote in the Atlantic magazine. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trump says transgender people barred from US military

Yahoo – AFP, Thomas WATKINS, July 26, 2017

Trump's announcement banning transgender people from serving in the US
military was a stunning reversal from Obama-era policies (AFP Photo/
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI)

Washington (AFP) - President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that transgender people may not serve "in any capacity" in the US military, citing the "tremendous medical costs and disruption" their presence would cause.

The announcement served as a stunning reversal for the US military, which has been working with the heads of service branches to implement a plan put in place under Barack Obama's administration to start accepting transgender recruits.

"After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military," Trump tweeted.

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."

Pentagon officials appeared blindsided by Trump's tweets, with spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis referring questions to the White House.

"We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future," Davis said.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is currently on vacation. When pressed on the extent to which Trump consulted with him or the Pentagon, Davis said only: "This was something that was the product of consultation."

Last month, Mattis said the five armed service branches could delay accepting transgender recruits until January 1 because the different services were not in agreement on when to accept transgender recruits.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was on vacation as Trump made his announcement, but 
the Pentagon said the decision was the result of "consultation" (AFP Photo/JOHN THYS)

Unanswered questions

Trump's announcement left unanswered a slew of questions, including whether transgender personnel currently serving could soon face getting booted from the military.

Estimates of the number of transgender troops vary widely. A much-cited study by the Rand Corporation in June 2016 found there are between 1,320 and 6,630 among the 1.3 million active duty service members.

But the Human Rights Campaign civil rights organization said there are currently about 15,000 active transgender troops.

The RAND study noted that only a small portion of service members would ever seek gender transition that would affect their deployability or health costs, adding between $2.4 million and $8.4 million to the Pentagon's vast budget.

Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler called the study "very flawed" and said Trump's announcement would improve military readiness.

We need to be "focused on ... those who are able to fight tonight. When you have this (gender reassignment) surgery, you can't be deployed for almost 300 days and somebody else has to go in your place," Hartzler told CNN.

Transgender rights in America have increasingly been in the spotlight in recent months, especially over how states regulate the use of public restrooms.

The Trump administration faced protests earlier this year after it reversed Obama-era federal protections urging schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity, not the gender on their birth certificate.

Mattis's predecessor Ash Carter (L), the last defense secretary of US President 
Barack Obama (R), said the decision would "send the wrong signal" (AFP Photo/
JIM WATSON)

'Every patriotic American'

Trump's announcement drew swift condemnation from critics and rights groups.

"Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop," former vice president Joe Biden said on Twitter.

Ash Carter, who was Obama's last defense secretary and oversaw the policy shift allowing transgender troops to sign up and serve openly, said the decision would send "the wrong signal" to potential new recruits.

"What matters in choosing those who serve is that they are best qualified. To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military," Carter said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the move "outrageous and desperate," and Republican Senator John McCain blasted Trump for announcing a major policy shift on Twitter.

"Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving," he said.

Transgender former soldier Chelsea Manning is one of many activists speaking
 out about President Donald Trump's decision to bar trans people from serving
in the US military (AFP Photo/HO)

'Cowardice'

Perhaps the most famous transgender US soldier is former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who served seven years in prison for one of the largest dumps of classified documents in US history.

During her incarceration at the Fort Leavenworth military prison, Manning battled for -- and won -- the right to begin hormone treatment to begin transitioning toward her female identity.

Manning, who is still employed by the Army and retains its insurance coverage, has become an icon for transgender activists.

"So, biggest baddest most $$ military on earth cries about a few trans people but funds the F-35? Sounds like cowardice," Manning tweeted after Trump's announcement, referring to the US military's most expensive, state-of-the-art warplane.

Retired Navy SEAL Kristin Beck, who came out as transgender after spending 20 years with the elite commandos, challenged Trump.

"Let's meet face to face and you tell me I'm not worthy," Beck told Business Insider.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rise and fall of General Manas: Thailand's top trafficker

Yahoo – AFP, Aidan JONES, Sally MAIRS, 23 July 2017

Rise and fall of General Manas: Thailand's top trafficker

Bangkok (AFP) - An army 'Big Shot' whose influence seeped across the south, Lieutenant-General Manas Kongpan sat at the apex of Thailand's grisly trade in humans, raking in an untold fortune to keep prying eyes off the trafficking route.

As the number of desperate Rohingya and Bangladeshis shuttled through the trafficking operation shot up, so did Manas' rank in the Thai military.

But the silver-haired general was condemned to 27 years in prison on Wednesday for profiting from the trade, an extraordinarily rare conviction of a senior member of an army that dominates the kingdom.

The 61-year-old's downfall was hastened in 2015 after investigators uncovered secret jungle prisons in the south where traffickers starved and tortured migrants while holding them for ransom.

The discovery exposed Thailand's horrifying role in a criminal operation that shifted victims from Myanmar to Malaysia, and forced the ruling junta to launch a belated crackdown.

Police followed a money trail that lead straight to Manas, an army hardliner with a passion for bullfighting.

"He was involved in such an obvious way...at a time when the junta was really trying to show themselves to be clean," said Paul Chambers, an expert on Thailand's military.

"He is going down because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Money trail

Manas was first highlighted as a suspect in early 2015 after 98 famished Rohingya were found in trucks in Nakhon Si Thammarat, stopped by a random police checkpoint.

Provincial police -- aided by anti-trafficking NGO Freeland -- used the drivers' cell phones to trace their regular route.

The trail carved through Thailand's southern neck from coastal Ranong, where boatloads of migrants arrived from Myanmar, to malaria-infested camps near the Malaysian border, where they were held in appalling conditions.

Phone and e-banking records from the drivers led to key trafficker Sunan Saengthong, a Ranong politician and businessman who had deposited nearly $600,000 in accounts belonging to Manas.

In May 2015 police found more bank slips revealing that Sunan's nephew had also transferred huge sums to Manas, including some $400,000 in just over a month.

Sunan was jailed for 35 years in a separate trial but his nephew Nattaphat Saengthong and others remain at large.


Around the time of the money transfers, Manas served as a top commander of Thailand's southern security arm.

His job was to enforce its controversial "push-back" policy -- which meant turning around boats of stateless Rohingya who were trying to flee persecution in Myanmar.

But he used this position to do just the opposite, according to last week's verdict, which exposed a matrix of collusion between state officials and businessmen who profited from trafficking.

Witnesses said Manas instructed officers to force back a boat of 265 Rohingya in 2012 -- only to covertly re-route the ship to shore and truck the human cargo south to the jungle prisons.

Manas "had direct responsiblity in the push-back mission and must have been part of this human trafficking network, otherwise the Rohingya would not have been able to return to Thailand so quickly," the verdict read.

Southern 'Big Shot'

The trafficking operation flourished until the 2015 crackdown, with tens of thousands of victims funnelled through a trade worth an estimated $250 million dollars.

Many were lured from the Myanmar-Bangladesh border by brokers who promised jobs, while others were violently kidnapped and forced onto the boats.

The big money was made in Thailand, where jungle camp wardens phoned relatives of the weakest migrants and threatened to kill them if they didn't send more cash.

The young and strong were sold off as labour to Malaysian palm oil plantations or fishing boats, according to Freeland.

All the while, Manas' seemingly inexorable rise up the army ranks continued, with his command stretching over increasingly large chunks of the south.

Months before his arrest in 2015, he was promoted to Lt-General and given the sweeping role of "military advisor".

It wasn't the first time the hawkish officer had hurdled controversy.

He was linked to a 2004 raid on a mosque that left more than 30 Muslim rebels dead in Thailand's far south, one of the early sparks of an insurgency still burning today.

"He had a reputation for often going beyond the law," said Chambers, adding that he was known as a "big shot" in the region.

Manas was the only military man convicted in last week's trafficking trial, which saw more than 60 people sent to jail.

Rights groups welcomed the verdict but warned that many perpetrators remain at large.

"We know not everyone has been accounted for in this trial," said Amy Smith from Fortify Rights, which closely tracked the investigation.

"More needs to be done to account for the horrific crimes that took place... and to ensure this never happens again."


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Public prosecutor settles KPMG office tax evasion case

DutchNews, July 19, 2017

The public prosecution department has reached deal with accountancy firm KPMG about a fine for tax evasion in relation to the construction of its current head office in Amstelveen. 

KPMG has agreed to pay a fine of €8m on top of repayment of the tax that it failed to pay, the public prosecution department said in a statement. Five people connected to the case will also face legal action, the department said. 

Two former KPMG executives, a civil-law notary, the property developer with whom KPMG did business at the time and an indirect shareholder of the property company will face trial and the case will start on October 3. 

The case dates back to 2009 to 2011 when KPMG II – a joint venture between KPMG and the owner of the land – saved itself a major tax bill by effectively deducting the cost of the new office in one go, rather than in installments. 

It was also one of the incidents which led to the resignation of the company’s chairman in 2014.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spain's federation chief held in fraud probe

Yahoo – AFP, Gabriel RUBIO GIRON, Jul 18, 2017

Angel Maria Villar, president of the Spanish Football Federation, is being
held on suspicion of abusing his position to embezzle funds from the
federation, among other charges, judicial sources say (AFP Photo/
JAVIER SORIANO)

Madrid (AFP) - Police raided the headquarters of Spain's football federation on Tuesday and arrested its president Angel Maria Villar as part of an anti-corruption probe.

Villar, 67, a senior vice president of FIFA, world football's governing body, was being held on suspicion of abusing his position to embezzle funds from the federation, among other charges, a judicial source said.

FIFA declined to comment on the arrest, with a spokesman saying it was an "internal affair" for Spain despite Villar's years as a top international football administrator.

His son Gorka along with federation vice president and financial chief Juan Padron were also held in connection with the probe which notably focuses on allegations of skimming profits from international matches, the source told AFP.

An investigating magistrate from Spain's political and financial crimes court is leading the investigation into allegations of "collusion, fraud, embezzlement and presumed forgery."

Police who carried out raids on the federation headquarters in the upscale Madrid suburb of Las Rozas and other locations said that Villar is suspected of organising international football matches as part of a scheme to embezzle funds for the benefit of his son.

Spanish media said a friendly between Spain and South Korea held in June 2016 is among the matches that are believed to have been staged as part of the scheme.

Police agents escorted Villar, who was dressed in casual clothes, into the federation offices several hours after he was arrested.

Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo told public television in response to the Villar arrest that "no-one is untouchable and everyone must obey the law".

Villar, a former acting president and current vice president of UEFA, which runs European football, has headed the Spanish federation since 1988.

He was reelected unopposed for an eighth term in May.

Following his re-election in May, El Pais newspaper denounced his "despotic" management and bemoaned his close ties to FIFA and UEFA leaders embroiled in corruption probes.

Ethical questions

His son Gorka Villar is a former director general of CONMEBOL, the South American football confederation, a post he quit in July last year. He also served on a FIFA advisory panel aimed at reforming the organisation mired in corruption allegations.

Villar senior has overseen a glorious period in the Spanish national team's history as they won three consecutive major tournaments, triumphing at Euro 2008 and 2012 either side of a first ever World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

But his critics say his period in charge has also been undermined by ethical questions and an autocratic management style.

Javier Tebas, the head of the Spanish league, has had a long-running feud with Villar and refers to him as a feudal baron.

Villar survived the massive corruption scandal that engulfed FIFA in 2015 and ultimately led to the downfall of former president Sepp Blatter.

He rose to become stand-in UEFA head for almost a year from October 2015 when Michel Platini was fighting to keep his job before he was banned from football for corruption.

But the former Athletic Bilbao midfielder, capped 22 times for Spain, has been dogged by ethical issues over the years.

He has been under investigation after the federation received a 1.2 million euros ($1.4 million) subsidy to set up a football academy in Haiti that was never built. The federation returned the money but the plan is still the subject of court proceedings.

In early 2016 the government's sports council also ordered the opening of a disciplinary probe into his alleged misconduct in dealings with a third division club.

Most notably he was fined 25,000 Swiss francs ($25,700) by FIFA's ethics committee in 2015 for failing to cooperate during an investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Venezuela opposition calls nationwide strike against Maduro

Yahoo – AFP, Maria Isabel SANCHEZ, July 17, 2017

"Venezuela wants to live better" -- voters celebrate in Caracas after taking part in
 an opposition-organized ballot challenging embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas
Maduro's plan to rewrite the constitution (AFP Photo/FEDERICO PARRA)

Caracas (AFP) - Venezuela's opposition called a nationwide strike for Thursday to press President Nicolas Maduro to back off a rewriting of the constitution, ratcheting up tensions after an unofficial vote rejecting Maduro's plan and amid months of deadly protests.

The strike call, issued on Monday, was part of what the opposition called a "final offensive" aimed at forcing Maduro out through early elections before his term ends in 2019.

On Sunday, in an event organized by the opposition, more than a third of Venezuela's 19 million voters rejected Maduro's bid to have a citizens' body called a "Constituent Assembly" elected on July 30 to redraft the constitution.

Several countries lauded the balloting. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday it sent an "unmistakable statement" to Maduro and his government.

The EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said that Maduro should suspend his plan, or he "risks further polarizing the country and increasing confrontation."

However Maduro and his government, backed by a loyal military, have dug in against the opposition tactics and the international criticism.

Despite growing public anger at food and medicine shortages under a spiralling economic crisis that has fed into the opposition movement, authorities in Caracas portray the efforts against them as illegitimate and the result of interference from the "imperialist" United States.

Julio Borges (C), leader of Venezuela's opposition-controlled legislature, says
 the vote result shows a public desire to see President Nicolas Maduro leave 
power before the end of his term in 2019 (AFP Photo/RONALDO SCHEMIDT)

'Escalation' to follow

"We are calling all the country to take part in a massive and violence-free protest through a nationwide civic strike for 24 hours," said one leader in the opposition coalition, Freddy Guevara.

He said the stoppage was a "mechanism for pressure and to prepare for the definitive escalation to take place next week."

There were fears, however, that the stepped-up confrontation could worsen violence in Venezuela's streets. Since April, when anti-Maduro protests and police pushback turned bloody, 96 people have died.

The opposition set the scene for the strike with its vote Sunday, which it called a "plebiscite" but which the government dismissed as "illegal."

Electoral authorities, who have systematically sided with Maduro against the opposition-controlled legislature, denied authorization for the balloting.

Academics who oversaw the symbolic poll as guarantors of its credibility counted a turnout of more than seven million voters, undermining legitimacy for Maduro's future Constituent Assembly.

Brazil's foreign ministry said in a statement "the high turnout in the plebiscite... was an unmistakable sign the Venezuelan people want democracy quickly restored." It, too, called on Maduro to shelve his Constituent Assembly idea.

Volunteers count the ballots in Caracas during the opposition-organized vote 
challenging Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his plan to rewrite
the constitution (AFP Photo/FEDERICO PARRA)

Change wanted

Venezuela's opposition, invigorated by the voter support and the international reactions, clearly was keen to seize the moment.

"The mandate the people have given us is clear," said Julio Borges, leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

Borges said the vote showed a public desire to see Maduro leave power before his term ends.

Political analyst John Magdaleno told AFP that "there is evidence of a persistent and durable demand for political change."

The result of Sunday's vote may not have been binding, but Venezuela "sent a clear message to the national executive and the world," announced Central University of Venezuela president Cecilia Garcia Arocha, one of several experts who oversaw Sunday's vote.

Garcia noted that 6,492,381 voted in the country and 693,789 voted abroad, according to a count of 95 percent of ballots. Final results would be released Monday, she said.

According to Borges, once all ballots are counted, there will be some 7.5 million votes, which he said would be sufficient to overturn Maduro's mandate if there were a recall referendum.

To lend weight to the vote, a group of former Latin American presidents, including Mexico's Vicente Fox, who was declared "persona non grata" by the government, took part as observers.

But Luis Vicente Leon, head of the polling firm Datanalisis, said the opposition's challenge now was to leverage the vote to "crack" Maduro's stance and "press for negotiations that would give an peaceful chance for change."

The opposition has accused Maduro of driving the country into bankruptcy, and of planning to use the Constituent Assembly to entirely sideline the legislature.

For many ordinary Venezuelans suffering under shortages of basic goods, sky-high inflation and climbing unemployment, the vote was a way of expressing frustration at the president and his policies.

Yet Maduro has insisted his proposed Constituent Assembly is "the only path" to peace and economic recovery. Thus far, he has shown no sign of backing down.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Police smash Europe-wide horsemeat racket

Yahoo – AFP, July 16, 2017

Spain's Guardia Civil police force began their investigation in 2016 after detecting
"unusual behaviour" in horsemeat markets (AFP Photo/THOMAS SAMSON)

Madrid (AFP) - A Spanish-led European police investigation has broken up an organised crime group that allegedly sold horsemeat across Europe that was "not suitable" for human consumption, officials said Sunday.

Police in Spain arrested 65 people suspected of crimes including animal abuse, document forgery, public health violations, money laundering and being part of a criminal organisation, Europe's policing agency Europol said in a statement.

The suspected leader of the group, a Dutch national, was arrested in Belgium, it added.

Spain's Guardia Civil police force began their investigation in 2016 after detecting "unusual behaviour" in horsemeat markets.

"They detected a scam whereby horses in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as 'not suitable for consumption' were being slaughtered in two different slaughterhouses," Europol said.

The horses came from Portugal and northern Spain and their meat was processed at an unspecified location from where it was sent to Belgium, one of the biggest horsemeat exporters in the European Union.

The group is suspected of having modified the horse's microchips and documentation to pass off the meat as edible.

The meat was sold across Europe and may have earned the group over 20 million euros ($23 million) per year, Spanish police said in a separate statement.

The Guardia Civil worked in cooperation with police in Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the statement added.

Spanish police seized five luxury cars as part of the investigation and blocked several bank accounts.

The investigation stems from a British horsemeat scandal in 2013 when frozen burgers supplied to several supermarkets were found to contain horse DNA.

Related Articles:

Dutchman at centre of new European horse meat scandal


French company Spanghero received meat from the Dutch trader seemingly
at the centre of investigations. Photograph: Imago / Barcroft Media

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Canadian found dead in Thai cell wanted over 'dark web' market

Yahoo – AFP, Sally MAIRS, July 15, 2017

Thai police arrested Canadian Alexandre Cazes in Bangkok on July 5 and had
planned to extradite him to the US, where he faced drug trafficking and money
laundering charges (AFP Photo/MANAN VATSYAYANA)

Bangkok (AFP) - A 26-year-old Canadian found dead in his Thai police cell this week was wanted in the US for allegedly running a massive "dark web" marketplace for drugs and other contraband, a police source told AFP Saturday.

Thai cops arrested Alexandre Cazes in Bangkok on July 5 and had planned to extradite him to the US, where he faced drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

But the computer programmer hanged himself with a towel in his detention cell a week later on July 12, according to Thai anti-narcotics police, who have been tight-lipped on the details of his case.

On Saturday a Thai officer confirmed Cazes was accused of being an "operator" of a major online black market.

"It's a huge dark web market that trafficks drugs and sells other illegal stuff," the police officer said, requesting anonymity.

Speculation is rife that the underground marketplace was AlphaBay, considered the world's largest and most lucrative darknet bazaar until it was taken down within hours of Cazes' arrest.

Like its predecessor Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI in 2013, AlphaBay used the encrypted Tor network and virtual currencies like Bitcoin to shield customers from detection.

According to Nicolas Christin, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, AlphaBay gained prominence in 2015 and mostly traded in drugs, stolen credit cards and forged IDs.

It was "more than twice as big as Silk Road was in its heyday, with a revenue of somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 dollars a day in early 2017, and that's a rather conservative estimate," he told AFP.

Luxury lifestyle

Cazes appeared to be living a life of luxury in Thailand, where he owned three houses and four cars -- including a Lamborghini -- according to Thai police who have seized the assets.

He slipped into the country around eight years ago, according to police.

"He was a computer expert involved with international transactions of Bitcoins," said Major General Soontorn Chalermkiat, a spokesman for Thailand's Narcotics Suppression Bureau.

"He didn't have any business in Thailand but he had many houses," the officer said, adding that Cazes' Thai wife has since been charged with money laundering.

The US Embassy in Bangkok refused to comment on the details of the case, saying only that Cazes was detained at the request of the US "with a view toward extradition to face federal criminal charges".

The founder of Silk Road -- the world's first and most famous digital drug market -- was sentenced to life in prison by federal court in New York in 2015.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

US government ethics director steps down

Yahoo – AFP, July 6, 2017

Former ethics official Walter Shaub said in his resignation letter it had been
 a privilege to work with colleagues who protect the principle of placing
 "loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private
gain" (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

Washington (AFP) - The top US government ethics watchdog, who clashed with President Donald Trump's administration, announced Thursday he is resigning his post, effective July 19.

Walter Shaub, who was appointed in 2013 to a five-year term as director of the Office of Government Ethics, told Trump of his decision in a resignation letter.

Shaub will join the non-profit Campaign Legal Center (CLC) as its senior director of ethics.

"In working with the current administration, it has become clear to me that we need improvements to the existing ethics program," Shaub said in a statement published by the CLC.

"I look forward to working toward that aim at Campaign Legal Center, as well as working on ethics reforms at all levels of government."

While he did not offer direct criticism in his letter to Trump, he did tell him that it had been a privilege to work with colleagues who protect the principle of placing "loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain."

Even before Trump took office, Shaub took issue with the billionaire businessman-turned-president about whether Trump was appropriately ceding full control of his global property empire to his two adult sons.

Trump in January stopped short of making a full divestment, earning a swift rebuke from the OGE.

"It doesn't meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the last four decades has met," Shaub said at the time.

One month later, he urged the White House to investigate key Trump aide Kellyanne Conway for plugging the fashion brand of the president's daughter Ivanka Trump on a television broadcast, saying she should face "disciplinary" action for breaching standards of conduct.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

ABN Amro severs ties with tobacco industry after striking deal with heart foundation

DutchNews, July 5, 2017

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Dutch bank ABN Amro is closing its door to the tobacco industry. As of now the bank will no longer invest in tobacco firms, nor will it accept new clients from the sector. 

According to a statement by the bank reported in Trouw, ‘the core activity of the tocacco industry is not compatible with the core values of the bank.’ ‘Current contracts will be honoured but there will be no extensions or new contracts,’ a spokesman said. 

The bank is the first systemic bank in the country to turn its back on the tobacco industry. Although the bank’s tobacco investment portfolio is not a large one – its business partners include none of the big tobacco firms – it is thought the decision may force other banks and investment funds to follow suit. 

On Tuesday the bank signed an agreement with the Dutch Heart Foundation, which campaigns against the use of tobacco. The foundation is moving half of its capital, some €35m, to the bank which has pledged to help it raise funds and participate in health care projects. 

Smoking is the main avoidable cause of illness and death in the Netherlands. Every year some 20,000 people die from the effects of smoking. The bank’s economic research unit has calculated that smoking is costing society €2,000 per head of the population. 

The Heart Foundation still has business relations with other banks investing in tobacco, such as Rabobank, ING and Van Lanschot but are currently discussing the matter with them as well. 

Heart foundation director Floor Italianer, who praised the bank’s ‘commitment’, told the paper it is ‘sadly ironic and short-sighted’ that civil service pension fund ABP, which is currently investing over €1 billion in the tobacco industry, will not follow in the bank’s footsteps. 

The ABP, however, said it will not terminate its investments because it is one of many industries that are perceived as socially undesirable. But according to Italianer the ABP has not understood what the discussion is about. 

‘Tobacco is on a par with the arms industry’s cluster bombs which pension funds have stopped investing in a long time ago. This industry knowingly makes a product which kills people prematurely on a big scale. A sector which continues to do that deserves to be banned,’ he told Trouw. 

The news comes at the same time as the government clamps down on the sector by minimising the visibility of cigarettes. On Wednesday the health ministry announced that cigarettes must be kept out of sight by 2020, with a ban on cigarette machines two years from then.

Related Article:

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once),Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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