'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march

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

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide

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

Bernie Sanders and the Movement Where the People Found Their Voice

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

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

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

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

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

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

“… The Fall of Many - Seen It Yet?

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

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

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

'Greedy' Australian banks pilloried by scathing official inquiry

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew BEATTY, 28 September 2018

The Royal Commission interim report concluded that 'too often' banks in Australia
were defined by greed and flirted with illegality

Australia's scandal-plagued banks were accused of putting profits before people and of failing to meet "basic standards of honesty" on Friday, as an official inquiry offered a damning assessment of the sector.

The nearly 1,000 page Royal Commission interim report painted a picture of a sector defined by greed, forgiving of misconduct and frequently flirting with illegality.

Banks, insurers and other financial houses put "the pursuit of short-term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty" the report said, after almost a year spent considering 10,000 submissions and hearing from more than 100 witnesses.

Asking why this happened, the report concludes that: "Too often, the answer seems to be greed." It goes on to detail examples of cash-stuffed envelopes being taken to pass dubious loans and fees being charged to customers who had died up to a decade before.

The Australian Banking Association said the text "deserves a thoughtful considered response," but expressed contrition.

"Make no mistake, today is a day of shame for Australia's banks," said the lobby group's chief executive Anna Bligh.

"Having lost the trust of the Australian people, we must now do whatever it takes to earn that trust back."

Australia's financial giants -- such as Commonwealth Bank, NAB, ANZ and Westpac -- are among the world's most profitable financial institutions.

They have largely avoided the shackles placed on US and European banks in the wake of the global financial crisis, which Australia sailed through largely unscathed.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg vowed to take steps to 'restore confidence and
trust' in Australia's banks

Watching the watchdogs

The commission also accused government regulators of being asleep at the wheel.

"When misconduct was revealed, it either went unpunished or the consequences did not meet the seriousness of what had been done," the report read.

"Much more often than not, when misconduct was revealed, little happened beyond apology," it said.

The interim report did not make recommendations about potential regulatory changes, but focused on the need for a shift away from a culture that echoes the rapacity of traders in the 1980s film "Wall Street".

The centre-right government, which had firmly opposed the creation of the commission, embraced its findings that will resonate with many Australian voters.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg described the report as a "frank and scathing" assessment of the sector.

He vowed to take steps to "restore confidence and trust" in institutions vital to Australia's economy but stopped short of committing to new regulation or oversight.

Financial stocks on the Australian Securities Exchange traded up almost two percent shortly after the report was published and on the minister's comments.

Many of the accusations contained in the report had already been made public and the absence of a firm move toward further regulation is likely to have buoyed bank shares.

The opposition Labor Party said if it wins a general election, expected next year, it would introduce a task force to implement sectoral reforms.

Related Article:

No Nobel Literature Prize as Academy's bell tolls

France24 – AFP, 29 September 2018

US singer Bob Dylan was controversially awarded the 2016 Literature
Nobel Price (AFP)

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - In tatters after a #MeToo scandal, the Swedish Academy has postponed this year's Nobel Literature Prize, leaving an empty page for 2018 as it attempts to reform the venerable institution.

Created in 1786 by King Gustav III and modelled on its French elder, the Swedish Academy has selected the winner of the prestigious literary distinction since it was first awarded in 1901.

The "Holy Grail" of authors, poets, and playwrights, the Nobel has gone to some of the greatest writers of all time, from Albert Camus to Samuel Beckett and Ernest Hemingway.

But the list of recipients also includes US rock icon Bob Dylan, the 2016 choice harshly criticised by some who lambasted the Academy for overlooking other popular and critically-acclaimed authors -- such as American novelist Philip Roth, who died in May 2017 without getting the nod.

After the Dylan controversy, the Academy attempted to smooth things over last year with an uncontroversial laureate, Kazuo Ishiguro, a British author of Japanese origin whose nomination enjoyed broad consensus.

But just three weeks after that announcement, the institution again found itself in controversy, this time in the eye of the #MeToo hurricane.

Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault, married to an Academy member, and the head of an influential cultural club in Stockholm, was accused of rape and sexual assault.

An internal Academy probe also revealed conflicts of interest between him and the institution, which had funded his club for years.

Arnault ultimately faced trial on two counts of raping a woman in 2011. His verdict is due on Monday, and the prosecution has sought a three-year sentence.

A haemorrhaging Academy

The Academy has been deeply divided over how to deal with Arnault and on the reforms it needs to undertake.

Some of the 18 members, who are appointed for life, have refused to participate in the Academy's work over the row -- including its first female permanent secretary Sara Danius -- leaving it without a quorum.

And in the months since the scandal erupted, the usually-discreet members have exchanged ugly jibes in the media.

Paralysed and ridiculed around the world, the scandal forced the Academy's hand: it announced in May that it would postpone by one year the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize, a first in 70 years.

The 2018 laureate will be announced at the same time as the 2019 prize.

"I could see that there were weaknesses in their organisation but I would never have thought something like this could happen," Lars Heikensten, director of the Nobel Foundation that finances the prizes, told AFP.

"We hope that they will be able to clear up their things."

'Ridiculous' and 'chauvinist'

With the Academy in shambles and no literature prize to look forward to this year, a group of Swedish cultural figures decided to create their own award pending the Nobel's return next year.

The "New Academy Prize in Literature" was devised as a protest to denounce "bias, arrogance and sexism", and "remind people that literature and culture at large should promote democracy, transparency, empathy and respect, without privilege", according to the founders who include authors, artists and journalists.

It will be announced on October 12.

The Swedish Academy, a hermetic circle whose deliberations in Stockholm's cobblestoned Old Town whose deliberations are kept secret for 50 years, is seen as out-of-touch with reality and modern times.

"Lifetime membership and an ageing population also create a difficult situation, with some members still active at an age where they no longer have the capacity to work professionally, or understand how the Academy is perceived by the public," Madelaine Levy, literary critic at daily Svenska Dagbladet, told AFP.

The public has lost confidence in the body, perceiving it as "ridiculous" and "chauvinist", she said.

"The Academy needs reform, namely more transparency and stricter conflict of interest regulations."

Publishers meanwhile fear the Academy's crisis is far from over.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed but as things are now I would say I am uncertain" there will be a Nobel Literature Prize in 2019, Hakan Bravinger, an editor at Sweden's second-biggest publishing house Norstedts, told AFP.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Calls to US sex assault hotline surge after Senate hearing

Yahoo – AFP, September 28, 2018

A sexual assault hotline is reporting a surge in calls following the Senate testimony of
Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of
sexually assaulting her decades ago (AFP Photo/JIM BOURG)

Washington (AFP) - A sexual assault hotline is reporting a surge in calls following the dramatic Senate testimony of university professor Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) said there was a 201 percent increase in calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline on Thursday, when Blasey Ford appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"We often see an uptick when sexual assault is in the news," RAINN said.

"Since Dr Ford has come forward with her allegations, we have seen a 45.6 percent uptick (in calls) compared to the same time period in 2017," the organization said.

In the run-up to her televised testimony, the number spiked even more.

"Last weekend, from Friday to Sunday, we saw a 57 percent increase compared to an average Friday to Sunday," RAINN said.

"Hearing about sexual violence in the media and online can be very difficult for survivors and their loved ones," the group added in a tweet. "Remember to take care of yourself during these times."

During her emotional testimony, Blasey Ford said she believed she was going to be raped during the alleged assault by Kavanaugh at a party 36 years ago.

She said she managed to escape when another boy who was in the room jumped on the bed where she was allegedly being held down and groped by Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations and the Senate Judiciary Committee appeared set on Friday to recommend his nomination to the nation's highest court, sending it to the full Senate for a vote.

Sexual assault hotlines have experienced similar surges in calls in the past during other high-profile events such as the revelations of sexual abuse by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, which helped launch the #MeToo movement.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chairman ousted as Australia's public TV hit by politics scandal

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew BEATTY, September 27, 2018

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is incredibly popular Down Under
(AFP Photo/Saeed KHAN)

Australia's much-loved public broadcaster scrambled to safeguard its hard-won reputation for impartiality Thursday, forcing out a chairman accused of intervening in news coverage to please the government.

Top executive Justin Milne told the ABC he would step down, after the institution's board held crisis talks in Sydney and the government announced an inquiry into his actions.

According to leaked emails, Milne unsuccessfully pressed for the sacking of two senior reporters over coverage that did not please his friend, Malcolm Turnbull, then the prime minister of the current centre-right government.

Milne on Thursday told the ABC the crisis had been a "firestorm" and said he "wanted to provide a release valve".

The almost century-old Australian Broadcasting Corporation is incredibly popular Down Under, with polls showing it is not just the most trusted news organisation in the country, but also seen as a national treasure.

ABC journalists demanded Milne go on when the revelations became public on Wednesday.

Initially the Liberal Party-led government stopped short of publicly forcing that move, announcing that its Department of Communications would conduct an inquiry "to establish the facts in these matters".

After appearing to be on the fence, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the ABC and Milne had "made the right call" in changing leadership.

"Time for the ABC to resume normal transmission, both independently and without bias. That is what Australia’s taxpayers pay for and deserve," he said.

Acting centre-left opposition leader Tanya Plibersek demanded an independent investigation into what happened.

"The ABC is not the propaganda arm of the Liberal party of Australia. It is our national broadcaster. Australians love their ABC. They are, rightly, very protective of its integrity and independence."

Milne did not directly address the allegations in a written statement, but insisted the board had worked to ensure the independence, interests and continued funding of the organisation.

Around 70 percent of Australians want a strong ABC, despite government spending cuts and daily withering criticism from its commercial rivals -- who baulk at what they see as unfair competition from the taxpayer-funded behemoth.

The current crisis began with the unceremonious ouster earlier this week of ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie, reportedly pushed out by Milne due to her poor relations with Canberra and a range of internal managerial missteps.

But her departure was followed by a wave of alarming leaks about Milne's conduct and his closeness with the Liberal government.

The tumult has prompted handwringing about the future of the public broadcaster and raised questions about whether the board should be replaced wholesale.

It has also prompted questions about the ramifications of Australia's bareknuckle politics, with its frequent backstabbing.

"It's about a civic culture that is slowly falling apart: a political class with fewer civic boundaries, less concerned with the independence of institutions, and a muscular intolerance of dissent," politics lecturer Waleed Aly wrote.

South Korea's quiet #MeToo trailblazer embraces tough fight

Yahoo – AFP, Jung Hawon, September 27, 2018

Seo Ji-hyun, the woman who started South Korea's #MeToo movement has a slight
build and a shy demeanour but has spoken volumes for her countrywomen
(AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-je)

Seoul (AFP) - The woman who started South Korea's #MeToo movement has a shy demeanour and a whispery voice, but Seo Ji-hyun's actions have had a resounding impact on the lives of her countrywomen.

A prosecutor in Seoul, Seo was repeatedly groped by a senior colleague at the funeral of another co-worker's father. After she complained, she suffered years of career setbacks in an institution that is traditionalist even by the South's conservative standards.

Finally she went public with a tearful live television interview in January, her voice trembling as she defied convention to detail her experiences.

An unprecedented move in a society where patriarchal values remain deeply ingrained despite economic and technological advances, Seo's courage opened the floodgates.

Countless South Korean women have since come forward to accuse powerful figures in the arts, education, politics and religion of rape and other sexual misconduct.

The disgraced figures include a former presidential contender, a top film director who has swept awards worldwide, actors well known across Asia and a widely respected poet regularly nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature.

Her professional role had made her situation even more humiliating, Seo, 45, told AFP in a rare foreign media interview.

"It felt so shameful that as a prosecutor whose job is to seek justice, I could not even speak out about this criminal act", she said.

"I couldn't bear it any more. When I decided to speak out on TV -- which amounts to social suicide -- I was ready to resign and become a recluse for the rest of my life."

'Society's fault'

Seo's story exemplifies the plight of many South Korean women -- well-educated and hard-working yet discriminated against and mistreated by their employers -- as well as their frustration at the slow pace of social change.

Even though South Korean women generally outscore men at school and in the entry-level job market, the country consistently ranks at the bottom of OECD surveys on gender pay gaps or female presence in senior positions.

Patriarchal values remain deeply ingrained in South Korea despite economic 
and technological advances, but Seo's courage opened the floodgates and gave 
other women the courage to come forward (AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-je)

Many women have experienced workplace sexual harassment, but those who speak out are often castigated for "causing a stir", marginalised, and sometimes fired.

Seo's case showed that even an elite prosecutor was no exception.

She regularly faced verbal or physical harassment by bosses or male colleagues after joining the prosecution agency in 2004, she said.

After the groping at the funeral, Seo consulted senior prosecutors who promised to persuade the man she accused, Ahn Tae-geun, to apologise personally.

The apology never came. Instead, Seo was reprimanded and reassigned to a relatively junior position in distant Tongyeong, a small town on the country's south coast, despite having previously received ministerial awards for her performance.

Suspecting Ahn might be behind the move, she lodged a series of formal complaints, only to be scolded for rattling the agency, a deeply hierarchical organisation where loyalty is highly valued.

Women account for 30 percent of prosecutors but occupy only eight percent of senior positions at the agency, and a government survey this year showed 70 percent of female prosecutors had reported experiencing sexual harassment or abuse.

Most stayed silent because they feared professional setbacks.

More widely, a survey by the Korea Women Workers' Association showed nearly 65 percent of women who complained about workplace harassment suffered damage to their careers.

It took Seo -- who is married with one son -- eight years to muster the bravery to go public.

Afterwards, she said, "many women thanked me, saying they took courage from my move because my case made them realise that it was not their fault that they could not dare to speak out after being abused -- it was society's fault."

'Hefty price'

Seo's television interview triggered an outpouring of support for her as well as a deluge of accusations by other women.

Ahn -- who was separately fired for corruption last year -- could not be charged with sex abuse because the one-year statute of limitations had expired. However he was indicted for abuse of power, accused of using his position to pressure senior prosecutors to reassign Seo to a junior position in revenge.

He denies the sexual abuse accusations, maintaining he was too drunk to remember what happened at the 2010 funeral, and a verdict in his closely watched trial is expected later this year.

But some of those who followed in Seo's wake have faced a legal backlash, their alleged abusers countering with lawsuits in a country where libel is a criminal offence and the truth not necessarily a defence.

In other cases, victims have been shamed for coming forward and subjected to vicious personal attacks.

Former presidential contender Ahn Hee-jung was acquitted last month of repeatedly raping a female aide with the court saying she had not shown "victim-like" behaviour because she had not quit the job.

One of the politician's male aides was recently caught posting more than 1,000 anonymous online diatribes against the woman.

Seo has not been exempt from paying what she describes as "a hefty price for speaking out".

She has been on sick leave since the television interview and does not expect ever to return to the prosecutor's office.

"But I don't regret what I did," she said. "The long history of blaming, shaming and muzzling victims of sex abuse -- instead of perpetrators -- should stop here, now."

US, Brazil fine Petrobras $853 mn in bribery scandal

Yahoo - AFP, Douglas Gillison, 27 September 2018

Petrobras executives 'cooked the books' to hide bribes paid in some cases to
halt an investigation into its contacts, US authorities say

US and Brazilian authorities have fined Brazil's state oil giant Petrobras more than $853 million for covering up a massive bribery scheme involving Brazilian politicians and political parties, the US Justice Department announced Thursday.

Petrobras said the issues were uncovered as part of the "Operation Car Wash" investigation -- the scandal that snared Brazil's jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as well as many of the country's political and business elites.

Petrobras executives at "the highest levels," including board members, orchestrated hundreds of millions in bribes "and then cooked the books to conceal the bribe payments from investors and regulators," US Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a statement.

US stock market regulators also charged the company with misleading investors as they concealed "a massive bribery and bid-rigging scheme."

The company inflated the cost of projects and then contractors "paid billions in kickbacks to the Petrobras executives, who shared the illegal payments with Brazilian politicians who helped them obtain their high-level positions at Petrobras," the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement.

Petrobras erroneously recorded these payments "resulting in an estimated $2.5 billion overstatement of assets," the SEC said.

Petrobras agreed to pay $933.5 million to the SEC to return ill-gotten gains, but this sum will be reduced by the amount of any payments made in a class action lawsuit by investors filed in New York.

'Car wash'

The actions the company admitted to occurred while Petrobras was traded on the New York Stock Exchange, giving US authorities jurisdiction, the Justice Department said.

Petrobras admitted some executives funneled payments to politicians and political parties, and that the company failed to keep accurate books and records about property and equipment, as required by law.

The company said "Operation Car Wash" was "a corrupt scheme that harmed and caused severe financial loss to Petrobras."

The resolution with US and Brazilian authorities "is in Petrobras's best interest and that of its shareholders. It puts an end to the uncertainties, risks, burdens and costs of potential prosecution and protracted litigation in the United States," the company said in a statement.

Brazilian authorities will receive 80 percent of the fine, and the remainder will be collected by the Justice Department and the SEC.

Prosecutors say a Petrobras executive directed payments to stop a Brazilian parliamentary inquiry into company contracts.

The executive allegedly funneled bribes from company contractors into the campaign of an unnamed Brazilian politician who had power over where Petrobras could build refineries.

Executives then falsely certified Petrobras financial statements to the US Securities and Exchange Commission even while they were personally involved in the bribery.

"According to Petrobras's admissions ... members of the Petrobras executive board were involved in facilitating and directing millions of dollars in corrupt payments to politicians and political parties in Brazil, and members of Petrobras's board of directors were also involved in facilitating bribes that a major Petrobras contractor was paying to Brazilian politicians," the Justice Department statement said.

As part of the agreement announced Thursday, Petrobras agreed to continue cooperating with in any continuing investigations into the matter, including actions taken by individuals, and to make changes to its internal compliance program.

The settlement involved a "non-prosecution agreement," meaning no charges will be brought against the company. Prosecutors may separately take action against individuals.

More than 40 countries including the United States have criminalized paying bribes abroad to win business, which authorities say defrauds investors while promoting corruption and political instability.

The company's shares rose on Thursday morning in Sao Paolo and New York.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

More Dutch banks are not taking money laundering seriously: central bank

DutchNews, September 26, 2018

Banks in the Netherlands are still too lax when it comes to spotting and preventing money laundering, the Dutch central bank has told finance minister Wopke Hoekstra. 

The central bank was responding to questions about the €775m out of court settlement reached by ING with the public prosecution department for allowing money laundering to go on unimpeded for several years. 

The central bank said in a briefing to Hoekstra that ING is not the only bank to get it wrong. ‘Banks too often are not carrying out their gatekeeper function properly,’ the central bank said.

‘Despite measures to ensure this and additional emphasis on the rules and regulation, the central bank notes that difference financial institutions are not taking their responsibilities sufficiently seriously,’ the statement said. 

In particular, the central bank said executives should become more involved in anti-money laundering strategy and that they should give a ‘personal commitment’ to making sure the bank was not involved in fraud or economic crime. 

Hoekstra, in his note to MPs, said he agreed with the recommendation. ‘Culture begins at the top, with the management board,’ he said.

Related Article:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cosby sent to prison for three to 10 years

Yahoo – AFP, Thomas URBAIN, September 25, 2018

Comedian Bill Cosby, 81, is taken into custody in handcuffs at Montgomery
County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania (AFP Photo/POOL)

Norristown (United States) (AFP) - Disgraced television icon Bill Cosby was handcuffed and taken into custody Tuesday to begin a minimum three-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a woman at his Philadelphia mansion 14 years ago.

The 81-year-old, once beloved by millions as "America's Dad," is the first celebrity convicted and sentenced for a sex crime since the downfall of Harvey Weinstein ushered in the #MeToo movement and America's reckoning with sexual harassment.

Found guilty on April 26 of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, a former university basketball administrator, Cosby was impassive when Judge Steven O'Neill handed down the sentence Tuesday in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

After the judge rejected a defense request to release Cosby on bail pending an appeal, he was slapped in handcuffs, and led out of the courtroom in his shirt and braces, his tie and blazer removed.

It makes him one of the famous Americans ever sent to prison in a country where fame, wealth and expensive lawyers have tended to help celebrities avoid the full arm of the law in the past.

His prison sentence means that Cosby can apply for parole after three years. His requests will be reviewed by a special committee and can be rejected up to a maximum sentence of 10 years behind bars.

"You were convicted of a very serious crime," O'Neill told Cosby. "No one is above the law."

O'Neill also branded Cosby a "sexually violent predator," a humiliating designation that will force him to register with police for the rest of his life and to submit to mandatory counseling.

Prosecutors had demanded five to 10 years, after the three counts of aggravated indecent assault were merged into one, saving him a theoretically maximum sentence of 30 years.

A Cosby supporter holds up a shirt (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

'Justice served'

"It's been a long time coming, but today, justice has been served," chief prosecutor Kevin Steele told a news conference.

"Finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked and we have seen the real man as he is headed off to prison."

The actor was filmed being put in the back of a vehicle, to be taken first to Montgomery County Correctional Facility, before the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and then onto a state prison.

Around 60 women, many of them onetime aspiring actresses and models, have publicly branded Cosby as a calculating, serial predator who plied victims with sedatives and alcohol to bed them over four decades.

"I wanted 30 years but I'm very happy to know that Mr Cosby will do time in prison," said Chelan Lasha, one of his accusers who testified at trial.

"That he is touchable like he touched us."

Defense lawyers wanted Cosby confined to house arrest, as he has been since his conviction, arguing that he is too old and too frail -- the actor says he is legally blind -- to endure a correctional facility.

Cosby's publicist remained defiant, accusing the district attorney of using "falsified evidence" and denying his boss the right to a fair trial.

'Crushed my spirit'

"These injustices must be corrected immediately," Wyatt told reporters.

Profile of disgraced US TV legend Cosby (AFP Photo/Gal ROMA)

"We know what this country has done to black men for centuries. So Mr Cosby is doing fine. He's holding up well. And everybody who wants to say anything negative, you are a joke," he said.

Once a towering figure in late 20th century American popular culture and the first black actor to grace primetime US television, he was a hero for decades, particularly among African Americans.

Across the television-watching world, he was revered for his signature role, affable obstetrician and father Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," which ran from 1984-92. Yet even after being convicted, he expressed no public remorse.

He declined to testify in court or produce any witnesses to emphasize past years of philanthropic work as mitigating circumstances in his favor. His wife, Camille, did not attend the sentencing hearing.

The case involving Constand, a former Temple University employee turned massage therapist, was the only one out of dozens of allegations against him that was recent enough to be prosecuted.

"Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature and my trust in myself and others," she wrote in a five-page impact statement.

"When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities.

"Now, almost 15 years later, I'm a middle-aged woman who's been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward."

German Catholic Church apologises for child sex abuse

Inquirer.net - AFP, September 25, 2018

Archbishop of Munich and Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference and
Trier Bishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx (left), and commissioner for sexual abuse
issues in the ecclesiastical sphere, Stephan Ackermann, give a press conference
to present the results of the study on “Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests,
Deacons and Male Religious” (MHG study) on September 25, 2018 in Fulda,
western Germany. AFP

FULDA, Germany — Germany’s Catholic Church on Tuesday apologized to victims of sexual assault by clergy, with the institution’s top cardinal saying perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx said he was ashamed over the decades of abuse that have shattered trust, the crimes carried out by officials of the Church, as well as how so many have looked away for so long.

The dismay expressed by the head of the German Bishops’ Conference came as the institution published a damning report showing that in Germany, almost 3,700 minors — mostly boys — were assaulted between 1946 and 2014.

The report’s authors said however that the figure was “the tip of the iceberg” and that the real extent of the problem was far greater.

“I have to say very clearly that sexual abuse is a crime. Those who are guilty must be punished,” said Cardinal Marx.

“For all the failures and for all the pain, as chairman of Germany’s Bishops Conference, I apologize. I also apologize on a personal basis.

“We are not done with confronting the incidents and consequences, it begins now,” he stressed at a press conference.

‘Abuse, transfers, cover-ups’

Victims have criticized the report for falling short of what is needed to flush out perpetrators.

They urged the Church to bring in independent experts for a thorough audit, adding that victims should be offered compensation.

“The system of abuse, transfers (of offending priests) and cover-ups cannot be mapped out” by a study that had access only to available personnel documents, said the victims’ association Eckiger Tisch.

“We are not given names of perpetrators. There are no names given of the responsible bishops who have perfected the system of covering up sexual attacks over decades.”

Justice Minister Katarina Barley also urged the Church to “take responsibility for decades of concealment, cover-ups and denials” and to work with state prosecutors to bring every known case to justice.

The independent commissioner for child sex abuse issues, Johannes-Wilhelm Roerig, recommended state authorities step in to clear up the crimes and ensure victims get access to Church files and compensation.

The state “has a duty of care for all children, including those who are in the care of the Church,” he told the Sueddeutsche newspaper.

Predator priests

According to the study, 1,670 clergymen in Germany committed some form of sexual attack against 3,677 minors, mostly boys, between 1946 and 2014, intimidating their victims into keeping quiet.

More than half of the victims were 13 years old or younger, the study concluded, after examining 38,000 documents from the 27 German dioceses.

Researchers from three universities who carried out the survey warned that the true scale of the abuse was far greater, as many documents had been “destroyed or manipulated”.

Predator priests were often transferred to another parish, which was not warned about their criminal history.

Only about one in three were subject to disciplinary hearings by the Church, and most got away with minimal punishment. Only 38 percent were prosecuted by civil courts.

Systemic abuse 

The research is the latest in a series of reports on sexual crimes and cover-ups worldwide spanning decades that has shaken the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has found himself embroiled after conservative US Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano claimed the pontiff had himself ignored abuse allegations against prominent US cardinal Theodore McCarrick for five years.

Francis has so far refused to respond to the allegations.

He has however announced a Vatican meeting of national Church leaders on the protection of minors, for February 2019.

Joerg Schuh of the Berlin-based Tauwetter centre for victims of sexual abuse told AFP TV that “the Catholic Church has a global problem”.

“I would like the Pope to make it his number one topic, and for his Church to really work on it,” he said.

Major abuse cases in Germany have included a Berlin elite Jesuit school and the world-famous Catholic choir school the Regensburger Domspatzen where more than 500 boys suffered  sexual or physical abuse.

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