'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. … “

Search This Blog

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Trump's scandal-hit health secretary resigns

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew BEATTY, September 29, 2017

Tom Price supposedly used taxpayer funds to rent a plane to go to an island retreat
and to places he owns property, according to Politico (AFP Photo/ALEX WONG)

Washington (AFP) - President Donald Trump's embattled health secretary was forced out of the US administration Friday, amid a scandal over his use of costly private jets for government travel.

"Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The announcement came less than an hour after Trump told reporters that Price had not offered to resign, but that his fate would be decided later Friday.

The deputy assistant secretary for health, Don Wright, will be tapped to take over for Price on an interim basis, Sanders said.

For days Price has battled to keep a position he has held for less than eight months, after it emerged he had repeatedly used taxpayer funds to hire private jets.

In all, Price has flown on 26 separate trips this year on private aircraft, totaling some $400,000, according to Politico.

He tried to put a lid on the scandal by paying back what turned out to be a fraction of the cash spent.

The trips were for government business, Price's department said, but some of the flights were to destinations where the health chief owns property, or where he met relatives.

Price had also been intimately involved in Trump's failed efforts to overturn Obama-era health care reforms.

With that effort now stalled in Congress, Price's replacement will have to decide whether to take measures to prop up the current system or let it fail.

Republicans say Obama's reforms are unworkable. Democrats and independent experts say Republican plans would see millions or tens of millions of people lose insurance.

In his resignation letter Price said it was an "honor and privilege" to serve in Trump's administration.

"I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first," he wrote.

"I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives."

Trump had earlier indicated that Price's job was hanging by a thread.

"I don't like the optics." Trump said. "I'm not happy, I can tell you, I'm not happy."

Trump described the former congressman as "a very fine person," adding that for some cabinet secretaries it was not a problem because they have their own planes.

It has been revealed that other cabinet secretaries -- including Treasury's Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt -- have also contracted private or military jets while in office.

Their fate now appears to be unclear.

Price is the most senior ranking official to be forced out of the administration, although he's far from the first.

Since Trump became president in January, he has parted ways with his national security advisor, FBI director, chief of staff, press secretary, chief strategist and two communications directors.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Former VVD minister jailed for two months for tax fraud

DutchNews, September 29, 2017

Photo: Depositphotos

Former VVD MP and junior minister Robin Linschoten has been jailed for five months, three suspended, for tax fraud. 

The sentence is tougher than the 200 hours community service and six months suspended jail term called for by the public prosecution department.

The court said Linschoten, who was junior social affairs minister from 1994 to 1996, had defrauded the tax office of €100,000 by not declaring enough in corporate taxes for his companies between 2010 and 2012. 

Linschoten has admitted being careless but said he had not acted deliberately. He also blamed his accountant. 

Linschoten told the Financieele Dagblad in August he is now as good as bankrupt. Neither Linschoten or his lawyer were in court to hear the sentence, broadcaster NOS said.

Related Articles:


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Google looking to help news outlets win subscribers

Yahoo – AFP, September 23, 2017

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has made a priority of investing in artificial
 intelligence, and has spoken publicly about infusing the company's array of offerings
with software smarts (AFP Photo/JUSTIN SULLIVAN)

San Francisco (AFP) - Google is seeking ways to help publishers win paying subscribers for news stories, a person close to the matter told AFP.

To this end, the US internet giant is collaborating with NewsCorp, the Financial Times, and the New York Times, according to the source.

Google was said to be ramping up its support for subscription services in recognition of the fact that such revenue is vital for publishers who can't rely on advertising alone for financial survival.

Google declined to comment on word of this latest effort.

"We work closely with news publishers across the world to build products that help support their business and add value to users," Google spokesperson Maggie Shiels said in response to an AFP inquiry.

"At the moment we don't have anything to announce."

Google already uses its technology to let readers of online news subscribe to publishers with a single click, in an internet age spin on tossing a free copy of a newspaper on a doorstep in the hope people sign-up for daily deliveries.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has made a priority of investing in artificial intelligence, and has spoken publicly about infusing the company's array of offerings with software smarts.

Artificial intelligence could be combined with troves of data at Google to try to better win over potential news subscribers.

Publishers have complained at times that Google is making money off their work by surfacing stories in search results.

Google has countered that it shares revenue with publishers, drives traffic to their websites where stories are hosted, and that they can opt not to show up in search results.

The need to support reliable news organizations has been highlighted by controversy over bogus stories crafted to influence politics, promote social division, or simply rake in online ad revenue.

Related Articles:


"... Marketing the Drama and Unseen Truth

Number three: There are some very old energies in your society and in your culture that have always been the same and represent past Human nature, and you have to decide what to do with them. You may not be able to change them, but you have a choice on what to do with them.

If you believe in the shift and you are starting to think more positive, then let me tell you something that will help. There is light on this planet that is not being reported. There is the beginning of high consciousness ideas and new thought about the future of humanity in very powerful places. These are seeds of new thought that are beginning to grow, and some of them make so much sense and are elegant, yet you'll never know about them. The reason? Your media is filled with the old dark consciousness of drama above all else and many of you willingly create a platform to sustain it.

Some of you will come home from work and feel it's a nice idea to turn on the media and watch all of the horrible things that happened on the planet that day. Perhaps you don't want the news, so you go for entertainment instead. So you turn on a program where you can watch families in drama, arguing and complaining. What I'm telling you, dear ones, is that your media is broken, and you watch it anyway.

Right now, it continues in the old energy and the management in charge thinks it knows best what you and your neighbors want. So it's going to deliver darkness on a regular basis, and if there's nothing dark, it will create it for you. That is what you're faced with. Here is my advice. Select the media carefully that you believe is true and accurate. Wouldn't you rather have fun things to watch? Perhaps you'd like to watch cute pets or animals doing fun things? How about children doing amazing and hilarious things, or great stories of heroism with uplifting endings? How about amazing nature or comedy that is hilarious? Right now with new devices, you can see all of that as much as you want, without commercials. This is the newest trend and evolution of your media selection - personal control over programs in your home, without commercial interruption. Did you see this happening and wonder why now?

So the solution to drama-biased media is simple: Don't watch or listen to standard broadcast! Instead, find out about the alternates and be selective. Select news that is less biased in bringing you full-time drama. Of course, you need to stay in touch with what is happening, but you don't have to accept a program that is dedicated to enhancing and promoting the drama of the day and making it worse - or that gives no news at all about the good things going on.

I say this because broadcast not only is broken, it's dangerous, since it gives false impressions of the overview of the planet. They are stuck in the old energy and haven't caught up yet with the overview of what might really be happening on the planet. Not yet. Even the channels that will give you supposedly good education and history are biased in ways that you would not even expect. They continue to believe in slanting even historic or documentary stories to be horrific and dark. They believe that is what people really want.

What would happen if these companies started programming things people really wanted to watch? What would happen is exactly what they want, and their revenues would go up! I hope they're listening. There will come some day, dear ones, where there'll be more than one good news channel and you can tune in to hear the most heroic and heart-rendering things that have happened on that day on the planet. It will be balanced, perhaps with some other things that also happened. But it will be a balance that you have not seen yet anywhere. ...."


"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…6 - The News

Number six. I'll be brief. Watch for your news to change. It has to. When the media realizes that Human Beings are changing their watching habits, they're going to start changing what they produce for you to watch. Eventually, there's going to be something called "The Good News Channel," and it will be very attractive indeed. For it will be real and offset the drama of what is today's attraction. This is what families at night, sitting around the table, will wish to watch. They'll have something where the whole picture of a situation is shown and not just the dramatic parts. You will hear about what's happening on the planet that no one is telling you now, and when that occurs [we have no clock, dear one], it's going to compete strongly with the drama. I keep telling you this. Human nature itself is starting to be in color instead of black and white. Watch for it. And that was number six ….”


"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)

“…  Government

Let us speak of government. We're not speaking of your government, but of any government - the way it works, how it survives, how it has survived, the way it campaigns, and how it elects leaders. It's going to change.

Years ago, I told you, "When everybody can talk to everybody, there can be no secrets." Up to this point on this planet, government has counted on one thing - that the people can't easily talk to each other on a global scale. They have to get their information through government or official channels. Even mass media isn't always free enough, for it reports that which the government reports. Even a free society tends to bias itself according to the bias of the times. However, when you can have Human Beings talking to each other all at once, all over the planet without government control, it all changes, for there is open revelation of truth.

Democracy itself will change and you're going to see it soon. The hold-outs, the few countries I have mentioned in the past, are doomed unless they recalibrate. They're doomed to be the same as they have been and won't be able to exist as they are now with everyone changing around them.

I mentioned North Korea in the past. Give it time. Right now, the young man is under the control of his father's advisors. But when they're gone, you will see something different, should he survive. Don't judge him yet, for he is being controlled.

In government, if you're entire voting base has the ability to talk to itself without restriction and comes up with opinions by itself without restriction, it behooves a politician to be aware and listen to them. This will change what politicians will do. It will change the way things work in government. Don't be surprised when some day a whole nation can vote all at once in a very unusual way. Gone will be the old systems where you used to count on horseback riders to report in from faraway places. Some of you know what I am talking about. Government will change. The systems around you, both dark and light, will change. You're going to start seeing something else, too, so let's change the subject and turn the page. ”

Friday, September 22, 2017

Dutch prosecutors reach $274m deal with Telia in Uzbek corruption case

DutchNews, September 22, 2017

Photo: Despositphotos.com 

Three Rotterdam based subsidiaries of Swedish telecom giant Telia have agreed to pay $274m in an out of court settlement for bribing government officials and keeping inaccurate books and records. 

The fine relates to the company’s efforts to gain access to the Uzbek telecom market, during which officials paid bribes to the eldest daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan via its Dutch subsidiaries, the public prosecution department said. The deal covers the period 2007 to 2010. 

Telia has also reached settlements with the US department of justice and the US securities and exchange commission. In total, the company has agreed to pay $965m to settle the charges. 

The Netherlands considers the fine as ‘appropriate’, the Dutch prosecutor said in a statement. ‘It is a punishment that hurts, and it does justice to the significance of the acts committed as well as to the disruption these acts caused to the legal order.  The parallel [US] government action against corruption demonstrates that corruption is tackled internationally.’ 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Trump welcomes scandal-hit Malaysian PM

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew BEATTY, September 12, 2017

US President Donald Trump greets Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak
outside of the West Wing of the White House (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

US President Donald Trump welcomed Malaysia's prime minister to the White House Tuesday, amid questions about his guest's involvement in a spiraling corruption scandal.

Trump greeted Prime Minister Najib Razak at the West Wing with a handshake and warm thanks, brushing aside criticism for hosting a man being investigated by the US Justice Department.

"I want to thank you very much for all the investments you have made in the United States," Trump said during a joint appearance in the Cabinet Room, heralding a Boeing deal worth "20 billion dollars."

Trump also hailed Najib's "major role" in countering the Islamic State group and other jihadist groups. "He's been very very strong on terrorism in Malaysia and a great supporter from that standpoint. That's a very important thing for the United States,” he said.

The run-up to Najib's visit had been dominated by questions about his entanglement in an ongoing US Justice Department investigation.

US probe

The veteran prime minister faces allegations that billions were looted from a sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), in complex overseas deals that are being investigated by authorities in several countries, including the United States.

Both the prime minister and the fund deny any wrongdoing, but the Justice Department has filed civil lawsuits to seize assets, from high-end real estate to artworks, it says are worth about $1.7 billion.

The White House had refused to say whether Trump would raise the issue, preferring to shift the focus onto relations with a key partner in South East Asia.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (L) meets with US President Donald Trump (R) 
and others in the White House Cabinet Room (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

Although the White House insisted there was no snub, Najib's opponents are sure to see the cancellation of a joint public appearance in the Oval Office as a sign of unease.

"Look, we're not going to comment on an ongoing investigation being led by the Department of Justice," said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday. "That investigation is apolitical and certainly independent of anything taking place tomorrow."

"The United States and Malaysia have had a 60-year relationship and partnership built on common economic and security interests, and that continues."

Trump is expected to visit the region later this year for summits in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Ahead of his arrival at the White House, Najib sought to play up majority-Muslim Malaysia's role as a partner in countering violent extremism.

He reiterated that message when the two leaders met face-to-face: "We are committed to fight Daesh, IS, Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf -- you name it," he said.

"They are the enemy of the United States, they are also the enemy of Malaysia. We will do our part to make sure our part of the world is safe."

Criticism of Najib

Ahead of the visit, Malaysian opposition lawmaker Lim Kit Siang painted that security focus as a deflection.

"No prime minister of Malaysia in the past 60 years had to face such phalanx of international media hostility or avalanche of adverse press publicity both in the United States and the world," he said in a statement.

"It is inconceivable that Najib would have the credibility to salvage his own as well as the nation’s reputation with his visit to the United States."

"Najib cannot free Malaysia from the ignominy and infamy of being regarded worldwide as a global kleptocrat."

In an editorial, the Washington Post said Najib's visit "sets a new low" for the Trump administration.

"Not only is Mr Najib known for imprisoning peaceful opponents, silencing critical media and reversing Malaysia's progress toward democracy," the paper wrote.

"He also is a subject of the largest foreign kleptocracy investigation ever launched by the US Justice Department."

Trump faces his own Justice Department investigation into his presidential campaign's ties Russia and alleged efforts to obstruct justice. Trump has also denied any wrongdoing.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Fox News parts ways with host accused of misconduct

Yahoo – AFP, September 9, 2017

Fox News television personality Eric Bolling arrives at Trump Tower,
November 16, 2016 in New York City (AFP Photo/Drew Angerer)

New York (AFP) - The US cable news network Fox News announced Friday its decision to "part ways" with a former host suspended amid allegations he had texted unsolicited lewd images to women co-workers.

"Eric Bolling and Fox have agreed to part ways amicably," the spokesperson said, adding that Fox was canceling the program he had hosted.

Bolling was suspended last month pending an investigation into the accusations against him. Asked about the probe, the Fox spokesperson said "outside counsel undertook a privileged review of the allegations."

It was the latest in a string of sexual harassment cases to rock Fox News, America's most watched cable news channel and a favorite among US conservatives.

The suspension followed a HuffPost report that Bolling sent an image of male genitalia to two colleagues at Fox Business and one at Fox News.

The news report said the messages were sent several years ago, on separate occasions.

Last year, Fox News's powerful chairman Roger Ailes left the company following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

And in April of this year, the network parted ways with its star anchor Bill O'Reilly following a flood of sexual harassment accusations that triggered a crash in advertising sales.

In July, Jamie Horowitz, who oversaw programming for Fox Sports, was abruptly fired in Los Angeles over allegations of misconduct.

Friday, September 8, 2017

143 mn affected in hack of US credit agency

Yahoo – AFP, Glenn CHAPMAN, September 8, 2017

Hackers penetrated the computer network of credit reporting firm Equifax, the
latest big company to report a major breach (AFP Photo/GREG BAKER)

San Francisco (AFP) - A major American credit reporting agency entrusted to safeguard personal financial information said Thursday hackers looted its system in a colossal breach that could affect nearly half the US population as well as people in Britain and Canada.

Equifax said that a hack it learned about on July 29 had the potential to affect 143 million US customers, and involved some data for British and Canadian residents.

The Atlanta-based company disclosed the breach in a release that did not explain why it waited more than a month to warn those affected about a risk of identity theft.

Filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission showed that three high-ranking Equifax executives sold shares worth almost $1.8 million in the days after the hack was discovered.

An Equifax spokesperson told AFP the executives "had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time they sold their shares."

Copies of SEC filings regarding the transactions were on an investor relations page at the company's website.

Equifax collects information about people and businesses around the world and provides credit ratings used for decisions regarding loans and other financial matters.

It also touts a service protecting against identity theft.

"The fact that it is a credit company that people pay to be protected from breaches, and now they have been breached... it feels like a betrayal of trust to a point," said Aires Security chief executive Brian Markus, whose firm specializes in computer network defenses.

He considered the breach "gigantic," made worse by the fact that Equifax stores extensive personal information about people and keeps it up to date.

Markus wondered what level of responsibility Equifax is going to take if stolen information is used for fraud or identity theft, and advised people to enlist credit monitoring services to alert them to trouble.

'Strikes at the heart'

Equifax released a statement saying that it learned of the breach on July 29 and "acted immediately" with the assistance of an independent cybersecurity firm to assess the impact.

"Criminals exploited a US website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files," the statement said.

An internal investigation determined the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017, according to the company.

Equifax said the hackers obtained names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers from the database, potentially opening up victims to identity theft.

The company said credit card numbers were compromised for some 209,000 US consumers, as were credit dispute documents for 182,000 people.

Equifax vowed to work with British and Canadian regulators to determine appropriate next steps for customers affected in those countries, but added in the release that it "found no evidence that personal information of consumers in any other country has been impacted."

"This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do," said company chairman and chief executive Richard Smith.

"I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes."

He added that Equifax is reviewing its overall security operations.

Equifax said it had established a website to enable consumers to determine if they are affected and would be offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to customers.

The company is the latest to announce a major breach. Yahoo last year disclosed two separate cyber attacks which affected as many as one billion accounts.

More than 400 million accounts were affected by a breach disclosed last year at the hookup site Adult Friend Finder, and other firms affected in recent years included Heartland Payment Systems and retail giant Target.

"Every company out there is potentially susceptible in today's cyber landscape," Markus said of hacking attacks, some even by nation states.

"These incidents can put companies out of business."

Equifax shares were down more than 13 percent to $124 in after-market trades that followed news of the hack.

PR firm Bell Pottinger seeks rescue after South Africa scandal

Yahoo – AFP, Kenza BRYAN, September 8, 2017

British public relations firm Bell Pottinger was accused of orchestrating a
racially-charged campaign on behalf of the controversial Gupta family in South
Africa (AFP Photo/Rodger BOSCH)

London (AFP) - British public relations firm Bell Pottinger, accused of stirring racial tension in South Africa, faces administration to save it from collapse, a company source said Friday.

"We may well be in administration by Monday," the source told AFP, in reference to the process whereby a troubled firm calls upon independent expert financial help in a bid to remain operational.

In a chaotic week, major clients including banking giant HSBC and telecommunications group TalkTalk have axed ties with Bell Pottinger after it was accused of orchestrating a racially-charged campaign on behalf of the controversial Gupta family in South Africa.

Other fleeing customers include construction company Carillion, financial services firm Investec and luxury goods maker Richemont, according to media reports.

Britain's Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) trade body expelled Bell Pottinger on Tuesday over a campaign deemed "likely to inflame racial discord".

'White monopoly capital'

"White monopoly capital" was one of the slogans Bell Pottinger used on behalf of Oakbay Capital, an investment holding company run by the Indian Gupta family.

The Twitter hashtag #whitemonopolycapital is used by supporters of South Africa's ruling Zuma family, which has controversial ties to the Guptas, to discredit opponents.

The British PR giant deliberately created a narrative of "economic apartheid" to defend the Guptas, according to an independent report, which was conducted by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and published on Monday.

By Thursday, Bell Pottinger chairman Mark Smith told a staff meeting at the PR firm's headquarters in Holborn, central London, that it was likely to go into administration.

Accountancy firm BDO has been hired to look at options including a possible sale.

Various media reported that Bell Pottinger's Asian division will separate from its parent group and rebrand under the name Klareco Communications.

The group's second biggest shareholder, advertising firm Chime, has meanwhile written off its investment and handed back its 27-percent stake.

Nevertheless, Bell Pottinger is still "considering all the options", according to an official spokesman.

The group has pledged to introduce a more formal review of client work to help "identify high-risk clients and high-risk mandates", as well as redeveloping its corporate policies, including for social media, and establishing a new ethics committee.

'Fall from grace'

Bell Pottinger was created in 1987 by Tim Bell, one of Margaret Thatcher's foremost PR advisers, and is well known in the UK for its links to the world of politics and business.

British peers were informed on Thursday that the government has no power to remove the firm from its register of lobbyists.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Conservative Party frontbencher Lord Young said that while the company had acted "unprofessionally and unethically" in South Africa, the only way it could be struck off was if it ceased its public relations business.

He also said that the scandal has had "a very damaging impact" on the Britain's reputation in South Africa.

AFP's source said Friday that they were still "hopeful" about the company's situation, adding that the international response to the scandal in their view had been "out of proportion".

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Huge protests in Togo for constitutional reform

Yahoo – AFP, Sophie BOUILLON, September 6, 2017

Protesters carry flags and placards while they march shouting slogans as they
call for reforms during an anti-government rally in Lome on September 6,
2017 (AFP Photo/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI)

Lome (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters protested across Togo on Wednesday calling for constitutional reform, despite an apparent government concession to their demands.

Amnesty International country head Aime Adi told AFP "at least 100,000" were in the capital, Lome, with similar demonstrations taking place in some 10 other cities.

Opposition party leader Jean-Pierre Fabre for his part called the demonstration "unprecedented" and estimated that "more than one million people" were on the streets of Lome.

Neither figure was independently verified but AFP journalists on the ground said a tide of people had converged on the coastal capital, dwarfing previous protests.

Many brandished placards denouncing the regime of President Faure Gnassingbe, whose family has been in power for the last 50 years.

"The reforms are lies, we don't believe them. If the people's minds are made up, nothing can stop them, not even the army," said one protester, Armand Jarre, 26.

Gnassingbe chaired a cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening, which saw ministers approve plans for a bill about restrictions on terms in office and changes to the voting system.

The opposition has been calling for both since 2005, when Gnassingbe succeeded his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled for nearly 40 years.

Civil service minister Gilbert Bawara told AFP the government had taken note of the public's "strong expectation" and that a committee was looking into the proposals.

He invited opposition figures to enter into "dialogue and debate" on the issue.

But he said calls to limit the presidential mandate to a maximum two, five-year terms would not be implemented retroactively.

"There is no legislative reason to do so. But we need a consensus so the reform is accepted," he added.

A consensus would mean the approval of four-fifths of parliament, said Bawara.

Parliament only returns from its summer break in October and exact details of the proposals are vague.

Previous protests

Most of Togo's opposition parties decided to come together Lome and some 10 provincial cities on Wednesday, despite the government's apparent olive branch.

They are calling for an acceleration of constitutional reforms, including the limit on how many terms a president can serve and the introduction of a two-round voting system.

"Unir (Unite, the president's ruling party) calls for talks as soon as it is cornered," said Tikpi Atchadam, the head of the Panafrican National Party.

"I think the people have made up their mind because they're fed up," he added, calling on Gnassingbe to "leave by the front door".

"I don't believe in dialogue with the regime anymore," he said.

One man taking part in the protests said on condition of anonymity that after 50 years ruled by the same family, Togo's problems were "too deep".

Hundreds of people were killed in 2005 during violent protests following the death of Gnassingbe Eyadema and the succession of his 38-year-old son.

The president was re-elected in 2010 and 2015, although the opposition rejected the results.

Last month, at least two people were killed in anti-Gnassingbe protests in the city of Sokode, some 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of the capital.

On Tuesday, he appealed for "calm and restraint", adding that the deaths were regrettable.

 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Bell Pottinger accused of 'racial' South Africa PR campaign

Yahoo – AFP, September 5, 2017

British public relations firm Bell Pottinger was expelled from a trade body over
 a controversial campaign in South Africa that was found "likely to inflame racial
discord" (AFP Photo/RODGER BOSCH)

London (AFP) - British public relations firm Bell Pottinger was expelled from a trade body Tuesday over a controversial campaign in South Africa that was found "likely to inflame racial discord".

The decision by the Britain-based Public Relations and Communications Associations (PRCA) comes after Bell Pottinger ran a campaign which included the phrase "white monopoly capital".

The campaign was carried out on behalf of Oakbay Capital, a company run by the wealthy Gupta family, who are accused of wielding undue influence over the South African government.

A PRCA committee set up to investigate said the British firm's work was "likely to inflame racial discord in South Africa and appears to have done exactly that".

"Bell Pottinger have stirred up racial tensions in South Africa, they haven't been honest with the public," PRCA director general Francis Ingham told AFP.

"Bell Pottinger pitted white people against black people and those who possess goods to those who don't possess much."

Ingham cast doubt on whether the high-profile company would survive, adding that "Bell Pottinger is going to have to prove that it has changed, and changed fundamentally."

S.Africa's 'fragile race relations'

Bell Pottinger co-founder Tim Bell told the BBC on Monday that the scandal "almost certainly" signalled the end for the firm.

"I think it probably is getting near the end, you can try and rescue it but it won't be very successful," Bell told the BBC's Newsnight programme.

"I don't take any responsibility... I resigned from the company in August last year, I published my resignation and I said one of the reasons I was leaving was because of the Gupta account," he said.

South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), which lodged the complaint with the PRCA, hailed Bell Pottinger's expulsion.

"It will take our country years to rebuild our severely fragile race relations, which Bell Pottinger, the Guptas and (South African President Jacob) Zuma sought to exploit for their own financial gains," it said.

The DA previously accused Bell Pottinger -- which was tasked with defending the Guptas' reputation -- of having run a "campaign to divide South Africa along the lines of race".

President Zuma is accused of unfairly granting lucrative government contracts to the Guptas and even taking orders from them over ministerial appointments.

The DA party hopes to make major gains against Zuma's ANC party, which was led to power in 1994 by Nelson Mandela, at 2019 elections.

On Sunday, Bell Pottinger's chief executive James Henderson resigned.

"There were warning signs that I should have heeded. Therefore I must take responsibility," he said.

An independent report conducted by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills released on Monday found senior management at fault for failing to put in place adequate policies.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

No evidence Obama wiretapped Trump Tower: US Justice Dept

Yahoo – AFP, September 3, 2017

The FBI had previously shot down the claims, that were made as controversy
over alleged links between Trump's campaign team and Russia intensified
earlier this year (AFP Photo/NICHOLAS KAMM)

Washington (AFP) - The US Justice Department has confirmed there is no evidence to back up President Donald Trump's claim that his predecessor Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election campaign.

"Both FBI and NSD (National Security Division) confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets," the department said in a court filing dated Friday that came about in response to a freedom of information request by American Oversight, a government watchdog.

The FBI had previously shot down the claims, that were made as controversy over alleged links between Trump's campaign team and Russia intensified earlier this year.

"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" Trump tweeted on March 4.

"How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!" he added.

He also repeated the claim during a White House press conference with Angela Merkel later that month.

Trump's former spokesman Sean Spicer also defended the claim and cited a Fox News report which alleged that Britain's GCHQ spy agency did the wiretapping for Obama.

National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers strongly rebutted the suggestion, telling a congressional hearing in March: "That would be expressly against the construct of the Five Eyes agreement that's been in place for decades." He was referring to the intelligence alliance grouping Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

Reacting to the findings, Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said: "The FBI and Department of Justice have now sided with former Director Comey and confirmed in writing that President Trump lied when he tweeted that former President Obama 'wiretapped' him at Trump Tower.

"This filing confirms that even Trump's own Department of Justice does not believe he has credibility on a key element of the Russia investigation."

Trump is facing multiple investigations into alleged collusion with Russia, including one led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller who was appointed following Trump's sacking of former FBI director James Comey.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman on Wednesday confirmed that the Kremlin last year received an email from a lawyer working for Donald Trump about building a Trump Tower skyscraper in Moscow -- despite assertions by the then candidate that he had no current business ties to the country.

During his successful presidential campaign, Trump praised Putin as a strong leader and called for a reset in relations with Moscow, but ties have since deteriorated sharply, with the US imposing fresh sanctions on Russia and both countries ordering each other to scale back their number of diplomats.