'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march

'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march
Demonstrators arrive on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the 'Women's March on Washington' on January 21, 2017 (AFP Photo/Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide
Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of scienceThousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of science

Bernie Sanders and the Movement Where the People Found Their Voice

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Hong Kong's grandpa protesters speak softly but carry a stick

Hong Kong's grandpa protesters speak softly but carry a stick
'Grandpa Wong' is a regular sight at Hong Kong's street battles (AFP Photo/VIVEK PRAKASH)
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

“… The Fall of Many - Seen It Yet?

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

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

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Vatican spokesman and his deputy resign

Yahoo – AFP, December 31, 2018

Burke (R) was named head of the Vatican press office in July, 2016 (AFP
Photo/Gregorio BORGIA)

Vatican City (AFP) - The Vatican on Monday announced the resignations of its spokesman and his deputy, without giving any explanation.

Pope Francis "has accepted the resignation of the director and deputy director of the press office of the Vatican, Greg Burke and Paloma Garcia Ovejero, and named Alessandro Gisotti as acting director," it said in a statement.

American Burke, a member of the ultra-conservative and influential Opus Dei movement, was appointed in July 2016 after having been deputy spokesman.

In a series of tweets, Burke confirmed that he and Garcia Ovejero would step down on January 1.

"At this time of transition in Vatican communications, we think it's best the Holy Father is completely free to assemble a new team," Burke wrote Monday.

He said his "experience had been fascinating, to say the least".

The 59-year-old had previously worked as a journalist in Rome for the weekly National Catholic Reporter, for Time magazine and for the US television network Fox News.

He was the second Opus Dei member to hold the post after Spain's Joaquin Navarro Valls, the powerful head of communications for Pope John Paul II.

Garcia Ovejero, 43, a Spaniard, was the first woman to hold the number two post in the press office. She was previously Vatican correspondent for Spanish radio network Cadena COPE.

The resignations are the latest in a series of key staff changes within the pope's communications office, which also saw seasoned Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli appointed as editorial head earlier this month.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

US gun control advocates see hopeful signs in 2018

Yahoo - AFP, Charlotte PLANTIVE, 29 December 2018

Emma Gonzalez (C), a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,
at the "March For Our Lives" protest

Gun deaths have been on the rise in the United States but supporters of tighter firearms laws say 2018 may mark a turning point.

Several state legislatures strengthened gun laws during the past year including Florida, which has seen a spate of mass shootings.

And while gun control advocates say much more remains to be done, they are heartened by the election in November of members of Congress and governors who back stricter gun laws.

Shannon Watts, founder of "Moms Demand Action," pointed to the progress made in 2018, in an opinion piece in The Huffington Post titled "2018 Was The Year We Turned The Tide On Ending Gun Violence."

Watts said the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 14 students and three staff members dead was the defining moment.

"Millions of Americans took to the streets, marching for gun safety, following the lead of teens who would no longer allow lawmakers to turn a blind eye to gun violence," she said.

The Giffords organization, named for Gabby Giffords, an Arizona congresswoman critically wounded in a January 2011 mass shooting, also said 2018 gave rise to optimism that America's gun laws could be changed.

"2018 made one thing clear: Americans are ready to address gun safety and reject the gun lobby's dangerous agenda," it said in a statement.

The Giffords Law Center said the gun lobby "passed far fewer significant pieces of legislation and suffered more losses in 2018 than in previous years."

According to the Giffords Law Center, legislators in 26 states and the nation's capital, Washington, passed 67 new gun safety laws this year.

In seven states, background checks for gun buyers were added or existing laws strengthened. Four states raised the minimum age to purchase firearms.

Students from Centreville, Virginia, at the "March for Our Lives" rally for 
gun control in March

Ban on bump stocks

Eleven states passed laws intended to prevent domestic abusers from obtaining guns while eight states and Washington made it easier to restrict access to firearms to "at-risk individuals."

At the same time, however, the Giffords Law Center noted that several states enacted laws backed by the gun lobby.

These included allowing firearms in private schools in South Dakota and houses of worship in Wyoming.

There was also little progress at the federal level aside from a December ban on "bump stocks" -- devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns.

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock added bump stocks to some of the guns he used to kill 58 people and wound 500 at an open concert last year, the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history.

Owning a gun is seen by many Americans as a fundamental right enshrined in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and there are more than 300 million firearms in the United States.

A Pew Research Center survey done this year found that 57 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws, up from 52 percent a year earlier.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 39,773 gun deaths in the United States in 2017, up from 38,658 in 2016 and 36,252 in 2015.

Sixty percent of the gun deaths in 2017 were suicides.

About a month after the Parkland shooting, more than a million Americans took to the streets nationwide for emotional "March For Our Lives" rallies demanding tighter gun control.

Florida -- known as "The Sunshine State" but nicknamed "Gunshine" because of its lax gun laws -- was moved to tighten controls.

Lucy McBath, a gun control advocate whose 17-year-old son was shot and 
killed in 2012, was elected to the US House of Representatives from Georgia

NRA spending down

Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott signed a bill in March raising the minimum age for firearms sales from 18 to 21 and imposing a three-day waiting period for all gun purchases.

In signing the legislation, Scott, who won a US Senate seat in November, defied the National Rifle Association (NRA), which had previously given him an "A+" rating.

The powerful gun lobby has doled out millions of dollars over the years to candidates who support its agenda but this November -- for the first time -- gun control groups outspent the NRA.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder of "Everytown for Gun Safety," opened his purse strings and 83 percent of the 66 candidates he supported were victorious.

Among the winners was Lucy McBath, a Democrat who defeated a Republican incumbent to win election to the House of Representatives from Georgia.

McBath's 17-year-old son, Jordon Davis, was gunned down at a gas station in November 2012.

She will be among the newcomers taking up seats on January 3 in the Democrat-controlled House, where incoming speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to introduce gun control laws within the first 100 days.

"The new Democratic majority will act boldly and decisively to pass commonsense, life-saving background checks that are overwhelmingly supported by the American people," Pelosi said.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Frenchman in Nobel rape scandal appeals to Supreme Court

Yahoo – AFP, December 27, 2018

Once an influential figure in Stockholm's cultural scene, Jean-Claude Arnault (C)
was in early December sentenced to two years and six months in prison
for raping a woman (AFP Photo/Jonathan NACKSTRAND)

Stockholm (AFP) - A Frenchman at the centre of a scandal that led to the postponement of the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize has appealed his rape conviction to Sweden's Supreme Court, the highest court said Thursday.

Once an influential figure in Stockholm's cultural scene, 72-year-old Jean-Claude Arnault was in early December found guilty by a Stockholm appeals court of two counts of rape against one woman and sentenced to two years and six months in prison.

Arnault "has appealed the appeals court ruling and asked the Supreme Court to reject it in its entirety," the Supreme Court wrote in a statement.

The tribunal said it had given Arnault until January 28 to provide further argumentation for why the court should consider his case.

Sweden's Supreme Court only takes on cases that may set a legal precedent, or when there are exceptional reasons to reconsider a ruling.

Arnault, who has been locked up since his district court conviction in October, has made no public statement regarding his decision.

His was one of the first big trials to come out of the #MeToo movement.

The revelations also tore apart the venerable Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Literature Prize.

Arnault is married to Katarina Frostenson, a Swedish Academy member who has rarely spoken out about the scandal that erupted in November 2017, one month after rape and sexual abuse accusations surfaced against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

At the time, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter published the testimonies of 18 women claiming to have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by Arnault.

The Frenchman ran the Forum club, which he founded in 1989 as a meeting place for the cultural elite and was popular among aspiring young authors hoping to make contact with publishers and writers.

The Swedish Academy, which funded his club for years, has 18 members and Arnault often referred to himself as its "19th member". He reportedly occasionally leaked the names of Nobel winners to friends.

The scandal left the prestigious body deeply divided over how to manage its ties with Arnault and his wife, with some members quitting the Academy.

His accusers claim the Academy was aware of Arnault's behaviour but ensured that "a culture of silence" reigned in cultural circles.

Discredited and without a quorum to make key decisions, the Academy postponed for one year the announcement of the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize, for the first time in 70 years.

Several allegations against Arnault were dropped due to lack of evidence or because the statute of limitations had expired.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Baltimore buys back nearly 2,000 weapons from the streets

Yahoo – AFP, December 25, 2018

Police, who had promised anonymity to those who hand over their weapons,
had offered $25 for large magazines, $100 for handguns and rifles, $200 for
semi-automatic rifles and $500 for automatic rifles (AFP Photo/Jim WATSON)

Washington (AFP) - Baltimore police have collected nearly 2,000 weapons including a rocket launcher as part of a buy-back program aimed at reducing violence in the eastern US city.

The three-day operation last week was announced in a bid to rid the streets of illegal weapons in a city where the number of homicides has surpassed 300 for the fourth year in a row.

Officers collected 1,860 weapons, a police spokesman told AFP. The city's mayor tweeted that a rocket launcher was among the haul.

Authorities offered $25 for large magazines, $100 for handguns and rifles, $200 for semi-automatic rifles and $500 for automatic rifles, promised anonymity to those who took part in the amnesty.

Home to 600,000 people, Baltimore allocated $250,000 for the operation, according to the city council -- as the Baltimore Sun's editorial board said the program was "likely to be a large waste of time, money and resources."

The daily newspaper said such buy-back schemes "do little to reduce the number of shootings or to get guns out of the hands of criminals intent on settling a score, defending their drug territory or protecting themselves from rival gangs and retaliatory shootings."

But police chief Gary Guttle told the Sun that if guns are "not in existence, they're not in the home, they can't be used, they can't be stolen."

"They won't contribute to our violence," he said.

The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, and there are weapons in one third of American homes.

According to health authorities, nearly 40,000 people died in the United States as a result of firearms in 2017, a figure that includes suicides.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Trump asked officials if he can legally fire Fed chair: reports

Yahoo – AFP, 23 December 2018

US President Donald Trump picked Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve, 
but has launched unprecedented attacks on the independent central bank

President Donald Trump has privately asked cabinet members if he has the authority to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell after interest rates were increased and the stock market plummeted, US media reported Saturday.

CNN and Bloomberg, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, said that Trump was furious when the Fed raised the key borrowing rate on Wednesday and signaled it will continue to hike rates next year.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, however, quoted Trump as denying any plan to remove Powell.

"I never suggested firing Chairman Jay Powell, nor do I believe I have the right to do so," Trump said, according to comments relayed on Twitter by Mnuchin.

An attempt to end Powell's term early would be a direct attack on the independence of the powerful Fed, which plays a major role in the world's largest economy.

It would also likely create havoc in the stock market.

Trump's aggressive trade policies combined with the strong US dollar have already created fears of slowing US and global growth, and caused markets to retreat.

On Friday Wall Street suffered its third straight rout, ending its worst week since late 2008 at the start of the global financial crisis.

Powell, chosen by Trump for the job, took over as head of the US central bank for a four-year term in February, replacing Janet Yellen.

On Tuesday the president warned the Fed not to make "yet another mistake" by raising interest rates, the second consecutive day he had gone after the central bank on Twitter.

Trump has ignored the US president's traditional respect for the Fed's independence, calling the agency "crazy," "out of control" and a greater economic threat than China.

In October, Trump said he had no intention of firing Powell, but in November declared that he was "not even a little bit happy" with the Fed chairman.

It was unclear if Trump has the authority to fire him, according to US media.

A Fed spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by AFP.

US President Donald Trump picked Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve, but has launched unprecedented attacks on the independent central bank.

Spiegel to file criminal complaint against cheating reporter

Yahoo – AFP, December 23, 2018

Hamburg-based Der Spiegel said it would pass all information it collects on the
case involving its former reporter Claas Relotius to public prosecutors, saying his
actions had damaged faith in the magazine and the media in general (AFP Photo/
Johannes EISELE)

Berlin (AFP) - Influential German news weekly Der Spiegel said Sunday it would file a criminal complaint against a disgraced reporter after it emerged he may have embezzled donations intended for Syrian street children.

Claas Relotius, 33, resigned this month after admitting to making up stories and inventing protagonists in more than a dozen articles in the magazine's print and online editions.

Spiegel said it now had information that Relotius allegedly launched a campaign for readers to give money to help subjects of an article he wrote but that the bank details he gave directed the funds to his own account.

"Der Spiegel will give all the information it collects to public prosecutors as part of a criminal complaint," it said on its website.

Spiegel said concerned readers had in recent days reported Relotius's call for donations purportedly for orphaned Syrian children living on the streets of Turkey.

It said it had been unaware of the campaign and that it was not immediately clear how much money was raised from the appeal, apparently made by email to readers who contacted him about the story.

Spiegel published the article by Relotius in July 2016 but a Turkish photographer who worked with him on the piece has since noted significant inaccuracies.

The magazine said it now believes Relotius may have simply made up one of the main protagonists, whom the article described as young siblings.

Relotius described his attempts to help the children in a subsequent collection of articles, including a months-long effort to bring the children to Germany to be adopted by a family. Spiegel said this also appeared to be a lie.

In its most recent edition, the magazine said the scam was the "worst thing that can happen to an editorial team".

Acknowledging the damage to faith in its own work and the media in general, it apologised promised to "do everything to boost our credibility again."

Friday, December 21, 2018

Boko Haram mastermind of deadly Nigeria blasts arrested: police

Yahoo – AFP, December 21, 2018

Two blasts simultaneously ripped through the suburbs of Kuje and Nyanya outlying
Abuja, the Nigerian capital, on October 2, 2015, leaving 18 people dead and 41
 injured (AFP Photo/PHILIP OJISUA)

Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - A top Boko Haram leader accused of organising deadly twin blasts in the Nigerian capital Abuja that killed 18 people has been arrested, police said Friday.

A police statement said Umar Abdulmalik and seven other jihadists were arrested, without giving details.

Forty-one people were also injured in the October 2, 2015 blasts which simultaneously ripped through the suburbs of Kuje and Nyanya outlying the federal capital.

The explosions happened near a police station in Kuje and at a bus stop in Nyanya.

Kuje, near Abuja’s airport, is 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the city centre and seat of government. Its prison at the time held dozens of Boko Haram prisoners captured by troops.

The same bus station in Nyanya, to the east, was hit twice in 2014. The first attack, on 14 April 2014, left at least 75 dead and was claimed by the Islamists; the second, on 1 May, left at least 16 dead.

In the latest attack, the jihadists ambushed a military convoy in the northeastern state of Borno killing at least two soldiers, military sources told AFP Friday.

Thursday's attack saw them attacking with guns and rocket-propelled grenades on a convoy of troops near Bongori village in Damboa district, two military officers said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The troops from the state capital Maiduguri, the cradle of the Boko Haram movement, were heading to the town of Damboa, about 90 kilometres away.

Three soldiers were injured and an armoured vehicle was damaged, a military officer said. The second officer confirmed the information.

Boko Haram has intensified attacks on military targets in Borno and neighbouring Yobe state, killing dozens.

Last week, two Nigerian soldiers were killed in a roadside mine explosion outside the town of Gamboru near the border with Cameroon blamed on the jihadists troops.

More than 27,000 people have died since the start of the insurgency in the remote northeast in 2009 and 1.8 million have been made homeless.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

US lawmakers find more work needed to safeguard Olympians

Yahoo – AFP, Jim SLATER, Dec 20, 2018

Former US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse scandal has
sparked US lawmakers to recommend changes in how the US Olympic Committee
functions in order to better safeguard US Olympians (AFP Photo/RENA LAVERTY)

Washington (AFP) - American lawmakers made 15 recommendations to the US Olympic Committee on Thursday to better safeguard athletes from sexual abuse in the wake of the Larry Nassar gymnastics scandal.

Suggestions by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee in its 133-page report included more USOC punishment options for 48 national sport governing bodies and open talk about sexual abuse without non-disclosure deals.

"Our year-long investigation revealed a number of breakdowns and failures in the system to protect athletes, including in how allegations of sexual misconduct have been handled by the national governing bodies and the US Olympic Committee," Representative committee chairman Greg Walden.

"While it's clear these organizations have made some strides, more work remains so that our athletes can finally feel safe and protected."

Nassar, a former US national gymnastics team doctor, was accused of sexual abuse by more than 200 women and was imprisoned for the rest of his life for molesting athletes, in many cases under the guise of treatment.

A report last week said top USOC officials concealed sexual abuse allegations against Nassar and made no effort to alert potential victims, with US Senator Jerry Moran calling for changes to the 1978 law giving the USOC control over national sport governing bodies.

In the wake of the scandal, as well as others involving sex abuse in taekwondo and swimming, a US Center for SafeSport (USCSS) was created.

But lawmakers urged greater action quickly before more athletes become victims.

"It is imperative that the USOC, NGBs (National Governing Bodies), and USCSS are proactive to ensure that their policies and procedures, above all else, prioritize athlete safety and are consistent, followed, and enforced," the report concluded.

New USOC chief executive officer Sarah Hirshland cited moves this year to empower athletes and better evaluate reforms needed to the USOC and the sports groups it governs.

"While we've only just begun to digest the recommendations, this report adds another significant source of information to ensure we understand areas in which the Olympic community failed athletes and meaningful actions we can take to ensure that athlete safety is our number one priority," new USOC chief executive officer Sarah Hirshland said.

"Sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination have no place in the US Olympic and Paralympic community and it's on all of us -– member organizations, institutions, and individuals alike -– to foster a healthy culture for competitive excellence.

"We will continue to do the work necessary to develop a healthy culture that keeps athletes safe and allows them to be their very best."

'More corruption' to find?

Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast who was the first to accuse Nassar in public, told the Washington Post she would still not entrust a child to the USOC over inaction by leaders when alerted to Nassar's abuse.

"What is the motivation and why were they keeping quiet? There had to be some level of buy-in. I suspect when you find the motivation, you will find a lot more corruption," Denhollander said.

"It was never just about Larry Nassar and that's what so many people have missed. Larry became the story because of what happened at his sentencing and because he had so many victims. But Larry is not the story. Larry is just a symptom."

Lawmakers recommended more punishment options for governing body leaders other than defunding or decertifying organizations to avoid harming athletes and ensure consistent policies across all sports, including those for in-depth background checks and sharing information.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Goldman says former Malaysia govt lied, after charges filed

Yahoo – AFP, December 18, 2018

Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen from the 1MDB fund and used to buy everything
from yachts to artwork, in an audacious fraud that involved former Malaysian leader
Najib Razak and contributed to his government's shock defeat at May elections (AFP

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - Goldman Sachs on Tuesday accused the former Malaysian government and state fund 1MDB of lying to the bank, after Kuala Lumpur charged the Wall Street titan over a massive financial scandal.

Malaysia's attorney-general Monday filed criminal charges against the US bank and two of its ex-employees over the alleged looting of 1MDB.

Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen from the fund and used to buy everything from yachts to artwork, in an audacious fraud that involved former Malaysian leader Najib Razak and contributed to his government's shock defeat at May elections.

Goldman has faced mounting questions about its role as the bank helped 1MDB raise $6.5 billion through a series of bond issues.

Monday's charges allege the bank's subsidiaries and the two ex-bankers, working with a shadowy Malaysian financier, misappropriated $2.7 billion, bribed officials and gave false statements as they helped 1MDB to raise the cash.

But Goldman said in a statement that "certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions."

"1MDB, whose CEO and board reported directly to the prime minister at the time, also provided written assurances to Goldman Sachs for each transaction that no intermediaries were involved," it said.

The Malaysian financier named in the charges, Low Taek Jho, allegedly masterminded the fraud and had huge influence over 1MDB but held no official positions at the fund.

He has been hit with several rounds of charges but maintains his innocence.

The ex-Goldman bankers named in the charges are Tim Leissner, who worked as Southeast Asia chairman and managing director at Goldman, and Ng Chong Hwa, a managing director at the bank.

The bank added that it was "not afforded an opportunity to be heard prior to the filing of these charges against certain Goldman Sachs entities, which we intend to vigorously contest".

Malaysian authorities are seeking fines above the $2.7 billion allegedly misappropriated from the bond issues as well as the $600 million Goldman earned in fees, and long jail terms for those accused.

As well as Leissner, Ng and Low, Malaysian authorities charged former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo Ai Swan.

The bank's shares fell 2.7 percent Monday after the charges were announced.

Trump agrees to shut down charity accused of illegality

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine TRIOMPHE, December 18, 2018

US President Donald Trump has agreed to shut down his personal charity, the Trump 
Foundation, which the New York state attorney general has accused of engaging 
in illegal activity (AFP Photo/Jim WATSON)

New York (AFP) - President Donald Trump has agreed to close down his personal charity, the Trump Foundation, the New York attorney general said Tuesday, accusing it of engaging in a "shocking pattern of illegality" to advance his political and business interests.

The Trump Foundation would be dissolved and its remaining assets distributed to other charities under her supervision, attorney general Barbara Underwood said in a statement.

Underwood said there had been a "shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation –- including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more."

"This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump's business and political interests," she said in a statement.

"This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone," Underwood added.

The New York attorney general filed a lawsuit against the Trump Foundation in June, accusing it of "persistently illegal conduct."

The suit named the president, sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and daughter Ivanka Trump, who were on the board of the foundation.

"We'll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law," Underwood said.

The New York attorney general is seeking to bar Donald Trump and his children 
Eric (L), Ivanka and Don Jr (R) from serving on the boards of New York charities 
(AFP Photo/Timothy A. CLARY)

The suit seeks $2.8 million in restitution and to bar Trump, Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka from serving on the boards of other New York non-profits.

Portrait in golf club

According to the suit, Trump used foundation funds to settle lawsuits, promote his Trump-branded hotels, and for personal spending -- including the purchase of a portrait that was displayed at one of his golf clubs.

The civil lawsuit is one of many legal woes facing Trump, whose election campaign is being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for possible collusion with Russia.

Last week, Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison for paying hush money to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump and other crimes.

In June, Trump branded the foundation lawsuit a "ridiculous case" drummed up by "sleazy New York Democrats" and vowed to fight it.

"I won't settle this case!" he tweeted.

The lawsuit painted a picture of habitual misuse of foundation funds for years, signed off on by Trump, who was president of the thinly staffed charity.

Alleged abuses included providing foundation funds to a Florida political campaign; settling a 2007 lawsuit between the City of Palm Beach and Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, and settling a lawsuit by a golfer who took part in a Trump-sponsored charity event in 2012.

There was so little oversight of the foundation, according to the suit, that its board has not met since 1999, despite legal requirements for an annual board meeting to review its finances.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Macron's ex-bodyguard faces fresh charges in 'Benallagate' scandal

Yahoo – AFP, December 16, 2018

Alexandre Benalla le 19 septembre 2018 à Paris (AFP Photo/Bertrand GUAY)

Paris (AFP) - A former top security aide to French President Emmanuel Macron who caused a political storm after it emerged he had roughed up protesters at a May Day demonstration is facing further charges over the affair.

Ex-bodyguard Alexandre Benalla, 26, is already facing two criminal charges after videos emerged of him manhandling demonstrators on May 1 in Paris while wearing a police helmet and armband.

A source told AFP Sunday that he was charged on November 29 with two more offences over events earlier during the protest in which he allegedly participated "actively in the questioning" of a man.

Benalla is accused of "interference in the exercise of a public function" and "deliberate violence", according to the source.

Revelations that top officials in Macron's office knew about the incidents but did not report Benalla to prosecutors earlier prompted accusations of an attempted cover-up, which the government denied.

Instead, Benalla was given a two-week suspension days after the incident and removed from organising the president's security during his trips.

He was not sacked or charged until the scandal broke in July amid reports he enjoyed perks unusual for someone of his rank.

Benalla later defended his actions during the protest, saying through his lawyer that he was "lending a hand".

Questioned by three judges in court on November 29, he again defended his actions saying he "helped the police to question a violent delinquent who had just committed a serious offence against police".

He was previously charged with assault, impersonating a police officer and illegally receiving police surveillance footage in a bid to claim his actions were justified.

Vincent Crase, an associate and security agent employed by Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) party who was also at the scene, has also been charged, as have three police officers.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Interior secretary latest high-profile Trump admin departure

Yahoo – AFP, Brian KNOWLTON, December 15, 2018

US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, seen here during March 13, 2018 testimony before
the Senate, will be leaving the administration soon, President Donald Trump has
announced (AFP Photo/WIN MCNAMEE)

Washington (AFP) - Donald Trump said Saturday that his interior secretary will be leaving soon -- the latest in a series of high-profile departures from an administration beset by turnover and alleged ethical failings.

Zinke's exit will remove the distraction of the ethical issues that have dogged him -- and that reportedly have annoyed Trump -- but is unlikely to mark a shift away from the concerted environmental deregulation that took place during the secretary's tenure at the Interior Department.

"Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years," Trump wrote on Twitter, highlighting the fact that Zinke's tenure was substantially longer than that of some other former top officials in the administration.

"Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation," the president said, adding that a replacement would be announced next week.

The interior secretary is responsible for overseeing conservation and mineral extraction on public land that, if stitched together, would be larger than Mexico.

Zinke tied his departure to the burden of "false allegations" against him.

"I cannot justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false allegations. It is better for the President and Interior to focus on accomplishments rather than fictitious allegations," he said in a statement on Twitter.

Zinke, a former Montana congressman, has been the subject of various investigations linked to his real estate holdings in his home state and his actions in office, making him a lightning rod for complaints from Democrats.

They expressed no regrets over his impending departure.

'Staggering ethical abuses'

"Ryan Zinke was one of the most toxic members of the cabinet in the way he treated our environment, our precious public lands, and the way he treated the govt like it was his personal honey pot," tweeted Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

"The swamp cabinet will be a little less foul without him."

Nancy Pelosi, the incoming speaker of the House of Representatives, also offered a harsh assessment.

"Secretary Zinke has been a shameless handmaiden for the special interests," she said in a statement.

"His staggering ethical abuses have delivered a serious and lasting blow to America's public lands, environment, clean air and clean water," she said.

Zinke's planned departure will see him leave office before the newly Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is seated, meaning he will avoid the threat of legislative investigation come January.

Along with Trump's first environmental protection chief Scott Pruitt -- who resigned in July amid a series of scandals over ethical lapses and lavish spending -- Zinke helped spearhead a presidential push to sharply relax environmental regulations and expand energy production.

The Zinke announcement came just a week after another impending high-profile departure -- that of Trump's chief of staff John Kelly -- was made public.

Riding with Pence

Trump on Friday tapped Mick Mulvaney -- the director of the Office of Management and Budget -- to serve as chief of staff on an acting basis, setting him up to be the third person to hold the post since the president took office in early 2017.

A series of other top officials have left the Trump White House, including a secretary of state, two national security advisors and an attorney general, as well as Pruitt.

Zinke is one of several members of Trump's cabinet to come under fire over expenditures, including reports that his department was spending nearly $139,000 to upgrade three sets of double doors in his office -- a cost he later said he negotiated down to $75,000.

He had been the subject of some 15 investigations, including one for taking a government security detail with him on a vacation trip to Turkey, according to The Washington Post.

He has also faced criticism over costly US Park Police helicopter flights last year that allowed him to return to Washington for a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence, and several other flights on non-commercial aircraft.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL who wore cowboy boots to the office and carried himself with a Western swagger, seemed to emulate Trump when under fire, lashing back rather than retreating.

Last month, when a Democratic congressman said it was time for new leadership at the Interior Department, Zinke suggested in a tweet that his critic had a drinking problem.

"It's hard for him to think straight from the bottom of the bottle," he wrote, a comment that many in Washington thought crossed a line.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Beyonce, Bollywood, Hillary as India's richest daughter weds

Yahoo – AFP, December 12, 2018

Isha Ambani was set to wed Anand Piramal in the Ambanis' 27-storey home
in Mumbai (AFP Photo)

Topping anything in hit film "Crazy Rich Asians", the only daughter of India's richest man ties the knot Wednesday after days of lavish celebrations that included a Beyonce concert in a lakeside palace.

Isha Ambani, whose father is tycoon Mukesh Ambani, was set to wed Anand Piramal, son of Indian billionaire industrialist Ajay Piramal, in the Ambanis' 27-storey home in Mumbai.

Days of pre-wedding festivities at a sprawling palace in Udaipur in the desert state of Rajasthan included a concert by Beyonce, purportedly the bride's favourite singer.

Attendees included Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State John Kerry and dozens of Bollywood stars including Salman Khan and Aamir Khan as well as cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar.

Joining them was a who's-who of India's super-rich elite, arriving on dozens of specially chartered flights into Udaipur's normally sleepy airport and whisked away in expensive cars.

Attendees at pre-wedding festivities in the desert state of Rajasthan included 
Hillary Clinton (AFP Photo/Handout)

Actress Priyanka Chopra and American singer Nick Jonas, who themselves became husband and wife earlier this month, were also guests at Udaipur's City Palace on the banks of Lake Pichola.

Wednesday evening's actual wedding was set to be a more private affair with around 600 close friends and family, and some politicians, expected to be on the guest list.

There was a high police presence in the south Mumbai area around the Ambanis' home, which is called Antilia and reportedly cost over $1 billion when it was completed in 2010.

Indian newspapers have been abuzz with speculation about the total cost of the wedding. Conservative estimates have put it around $15 million while others insist $100 million is closer to the truth.

Ambani, 27 and Piramal, 33 got engaged at Lake Como in Italy in September and the high-profile wedding brings together two of India's biggest industrialist families.

Mukesh Ambani is the chairman of oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries. He is worth more than $47 billion and recently overtook China's Jack Ma as Asia's wealthiest man.

The respective families will hold several other receptions across India's financial 
capital in the coming days (AFP Photo/Handout)

The respective families will hold several other receptions across India's financial capital in the coming days.

The wedding caps a big month for what social media users have been calling "big fat Indian weddings". The Chopra-Jonas nuptials came shortly after Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh wed.

Not everyone is happy though.

"Isha Ambani's wedding is a perfect example of the wealth inequality in India," wrote one Twitter user.

"Here you have one of the richest families in the nation spending so much while millions still can't even afford food or shelter," she added.

"The new standard for lavish Indian wedding is Beyonce. Imagine," tweeted another.