'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, November 11, 2019

'Sister protests': Lebanon, Iraq look to each other

Yahoo – AFP, Hashem Osseiran in Beirut and Maya Gebeily in Baghdad, 11 November 2019

A Baghdad street vendor sells flags of Iraq and Lebanon, both gripped by
anti-government protests

A Lebanese flag flutters in the protest-hit Iraqi capital. More than 900 kilometres (500 miles) away, a revolutionary Iraqi chant rings out from a bustling protest square in Beirut.

"Don't trust the rumours, they're a group of thieves," sings a group of Lebanese musicians in Iraqi dialect, referring to political leaders they deem incompetent and corrupt.

"The identity is Lebanese," they continue, reworking the chant by Iraqi preacher Ali Yusef al-Karbalai, made popular during the street movement there.

Such recent shows of solidarity have become a common feature of protest squares in the two countries, where corruption, unemployment and appalling public services have fuelled unprecedented street movements demanding the ouster of an entire political class.

They serve to "shed light on similarities between the two movements and boost morale", said Farah Qadour, a Lebanese oud musician.

"The two streets are observing and learning from each other," said the 26-year-old who is part of the group that adopted al-Karbalai's chant.

In Lebanon's southern city of Nabatiyeh, hundreds brandishing Lebanese flags chanted: "From Iraq to Beirut, one revolution that never dies."

And in the northern city of Tripoli, dubbed the "bride" of Lebanon's protest movement, a man standing on a podium waved a wooden pole bearing the flags of the two countries.

"From Lebanon to Iraq, our pain is one, our right is one, and victory is near," read a sign raised during another protest, outside Beirut's state-run electricity company.

'We're with you'

In Tahrir Square, the beating heart of Baghdad's month-old protest movement, demonstrators are selling Lebanese flags alongside Iraqi ones.

They have hung some on the abandoned Turkish restaurant, turned by Iraqi demonstrators into a protest control tower.

Banners reading "from Beirut to Baghdad, one revolution against the corrupt" could be seen throughout.

Lebanon and Iraq are ranked amongst the most corrupt countries in the region by anti-graft watchdog Transparency International, with Iraq listed as the 12th most corrupt in the world.

Public debt levels in both countries are relatively high, with the rate in Lebanon exceeding 150 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

"What's happening on the streets in Iraq and Lebanon, they're sister protests," said Samah, a 28-year-old Lebanese demonstrator.

Iraqi protesters stand under a banner reading "From Karbala to Beirut, one 
goal, one trench"

"They're the result of an accumulation" of years of problems.

One video that went viral on social media networks showed a masked Iraqi protester dressed in military fatigues demanding the resignation of Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, one of the main targets of protesters in the small Mediterranean country.

In a video released online, a group of young Iraqi men had filmed themselves singing, "Lebanon, we're with you!"

The two movements also seem to be adopting similar protest strategies.

In both countries, rows of parked vehicles have blocked traffic along main thoroughfares in recent weeks.

University-aged demonstrators wearing medical masks or eye goggles have occupied bridges and flyovers, refusing to believe pledges of reform from both governments.

'The goal is one'

The big difference is that in Iraq, the demonstrations have turned deadly, with more than 300 people, mostly protesters but also including security forces, killed since the movement started October 1.

Lebanon's street movement, which started on October 17, has been largely incident-free despite scuffles with security forces and counter-demonstrators rallying in support of established parties.

The two movements, however, are united in their anger about the kind of political system that prioritises power-sharing between sects over good governance.

The consecutive governments born out of this system have been prone to deadlock and have failed to meet popular demands for better living conditions.

"We are united by a sense of patriotic duty in confronting this sectarian political system," said Obeida, a 29-year-old protester from Tripoli.

He said he had high hopes for Iraqi protesters because the sectarian power-sharing system there is relatively new, having emerged after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

"In Lebanon, it's more entrenched," he said of the arrangement that ended the country's 1975-1990 civil war.

On a Beirut waterfront, dotted with luxury restaurants and cafes, a 70-year-old Iraqi man who has been living in Lebanon for five years looked on as demonstrators laid out picnic blankets on the grass.

With a Lebanese flag wrapped around his neck, Fawzi said the protests looked different but reminded him of those back home.

"The goal is one," he said.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Triggered by MP's disgrace, Tunisia's #MeToo breaks taboos

France24 – AFP, 10 November 2019

Tunis (AFP) - Viral images of a Tunisian lawmaker allegedly masturbating outside a high school have sparked the country's own #MeToo moment, with sex abuse victims breaking taboos under the hashtag #EnaZeda.

Discussion of sexual harassment had previously been limited to a few edgy TV shows, but now thousands of women in the North African nation are sharing their experiences from lecherous remarks to paedophilia.

A video showing the moustachioed politician sitting in a car with his trousers dropped to his knees was shot last month by a student who shared it online alongside accusations of harassment.

The newly elected lawmaker denies inappropriate conduct and has said he was urinating due to a medical condition -- even threatening his accuser when pursued by prosecutors.

#EnaZeda -- Tunisian Arabic for #MeToo -- was inspired by the huge global movement that bloomed in 2017 in the wake of sexual assault allegations by multiple women against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

It has given some in Tunisia the confidence to confront their harassers face-to-face.

"Tonight, I have cried all the tears from my body. Tonight, I was harassed and nobody took the trouble to react," wrote one internet user Lina Kaboudi.

But "unlike all the other nights, I dared to respond to the perpetrator. I did not keep walking, pretending I had not heard.

"I stopped, and I held him to account".

Breaking taboos

Tunisia is considered a pioneer on women's rights in the Arab world and was the first predominantly Muslim country to abolish polygamy in 1956.

But the taboo on confronting sexual misconduct remains strong, especially within the family.

It is rare for victims to pursue formal complaints, despite sexual harassment in public places being punishable by a one-year prison term and a fine of 3,000 dinar (around 1,000 euros) since July 2017.

To catalogue the avalanche of testimony, Tunisian activists have set up private Facebook groups including one simply named #EnaZeda, which has more than 20,000 members.

Poignant accounts, some anonymous, are shared daily in the group -- ranging from rape and incest to inappropriate behaviour by teachers or celebrities and molestation on public transport.

Activists say they have been surprised by the volume and variety of the stories, and NGO Aswat Nissa (Voice of Women) says it has collected more than 70,000 testimonies.

"Then women, and sometimes men too, shared their stories, so now we are trying to organise workshops with psychologists."

Bouattour said she has received messages from parents who have "broken the family taboo by talking about sexual harassment with their children, after reading testimonies about paedophilia".

'Didn't lift a finger'

Traditional attitudes and apathy among some in power mean the nascent #EnaZeda initiative faces an uphill battle.

Kaboudi -- the woman who called out street harassment -- laments the passivity of the police, who "were a few feet away" and did not "lift a little finger" to help her when she was harassed.

She also despairs of witnesses who similarly "did nothing".

In an attempt to break the silence, in October the Centre for Research, Study, Documentation and Information on Women (Credif) launched an awareness campaign about sexual harassment on public transport.

Dubbed "the harasser #MaYerkebch (does not ride) with us", the initiative includes an app that uses a chat bot to speak to a harasser on behalf of a victim of witness and remind them of the law.

Najla Allani, director of Credif, told AFP the app states out loud the type of sexual misdemeanour and location, in a voice that speaks firmly in local dialect to "intimidate and scare the harasser".

"People dare not speak (themselves) out of fear, but with this voice app, they will be better able to react", Allani said.

An evaluation of the experimental initiative later this month will decide if it continues, so long as "the financial means allow it", she added.

It remains to be seen how big a contribution #EnaZeda will make to Tunisia's battle against sexual harassment, but one thing is sure -- the shroud of silence is no longer so suffocating.

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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Huge Hong Kong rally after student dies and lawmakers arrested

RTL – AFP,  9 November 2019

Tensions have soared since the death on Friday of Alex Chow, 22, who
succumbed to head injuries sustained during a fall (AFP)

Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers packed into a park Saturday night to mourn a student who died during recent clashes as police arrested a group of pro-democracy lawmakers, deepening the city's political crisis.

The international finance hub has been upended by five months of huge and increasingly violent pro-democracy protests, but Beijing has refused to give in to most of the movement's demands.

Tensions have soared since the death on Friday of Alex Chow, 22, who succumbed to head injuries sustained during a fall as police skirmished with demonstrators inside a car park last weekend.

The huge rally -- one of the few in recent months to obtain police approval -- means Hong Kong has witnessed 24 weekends of protest in what has become the most profound challenge to Beijing's rule since the 1997 handover.

Mourners pay their respects at the site where a student fell to his death
during a recent protest in Hong Kong (AFP)

Many at the peaceful and sombre rally wore black.

"I want an independent inquiry because that proves Hong Kong is still a place with rule of law," a 35-year-old woman, who gave her surname Wong, told AFP, echoing the movement's core demand for an investigation into police tactics.

Wong, who said she moved to Hong Kong from the mainland three years ago, said she also wanted to see less confrontational tactics from hardcore protesters.

"I think non-violent ways can also win," she said.

Lawmaker arrests

The rally came after police brought charges against at least seven lawmakers who now face up to a year in jail if convicted.

Three were arrested overnight, three attended appointments on Saturday evening to be booked, and one refused to appear.

With the city bracing for a 24th consecutive weekend of rallies, police brought
charges against three key pro-democracy lawmakers (AFP)

The charges relate to chaotic scenes that broke out within a legislative committee in May as pro-democracy lawmakers tried to stop a controversial bill being discussed that would allow extraditions to authoritarian mainland China.

At the time, city leader Carrie Lam was fast-tracking the bill through the legislature, a move that ignited record-breaking street protests in which millions marched.

"The protests that have been going on for five months are yet to finish but the government is already launching massive arrests of pro-democracy legislators in collaboration with the police," the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

Hong Kong's legislature is quasi-democratic, with half the seats popularly elected and the rest chosen by largely pro-Beijing committees, ensuring the chamber remains stacked with government loyalists.

Opposition to the government comes in the form of a small band of pro-democracy lawmakers who win their seats in local elections.

The lack of fully free elections -- and especially the fact that the city's leader is appointed by a pro-Beijing committee -- has fuelled years of protests that have culminated in the latest unrest.

Chow's death has only intensified the tinderbox atmosphere in what has become a deeply polarised city, with violence escalating on both sides of the ideological divide.

Although the precise chain of events leading to his fall is unclear and disputed, protesters have made alleged police brutality one of their movement's rallying cries and have seized on the death.

The tinderbox atmosphere in Hong Kong intensified after 22-year-old
student Alex Chow died from a fall during recent clashes with police (AFP)

Police have repeatedly denied any allegations of wrongdoing in relation to Chow's death.

Vigils on Friday night saw large crowds and frequent clashes with police in multiple neighbourhoods, including one officer firing a live warning shot.

Upcoming local elections

The city is holding district council elections on 24 November with the pro-Beijing camp bracing for heavy defeats.

Since this summer's pro-democracy protests kicked off, voter registration has soared and the pro-democracy camp is fielding candidates in every constituency for the first time.

But there are also concerns the elections could be called off given the spiralling violence.

Hong Kong's protest movement is largely organised online (AFP)

On Wednesday, one of the city's most stridently pro-Beijing politicians was wounded in a knife attack by a man who pretended to be a supporter.

That assault came three days after a Mandarin-speaking man shouting pro-Beijing slogans knifed at least three pro-democracy protesters and bit off the ear of a local district councillor.

Pro-democracy lawmakers called for demonstrators not to give the government an excuse to cancel the elections because of the violence.

"The district council election is a de facto referendum, in which all Hong Kong people can respond to the social problems, the unjust governance and the police brutality triggered by the extradition bill," lawmaker Tanya Chan said on Saturday.

But further unrest seems likely given that the protest movement is largely organised online by activists who favour confrontations with the police who are themselves responding with increasingly hardcore tactics as each month passes.

Activists have vowed to hit the streets again on Sunday and hold a general strike on Monday.

French first lady forwarded Polanski rape accuser's letters to officials

Yahoo – AFP, Anne Pascale REBOUL, November 9, 2019

Polanski has been a fugitive from US justice for years (AFP Photo/Valery HACHE)

Paris (AFP) - French first lady Brigitte Macron forwarded two letters written to her by a former model who has accused Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski of raping her as a teenager to two members of the government, her office said Saturday.

Valentine Monnier on Friday became the latest woman to accuse the acclaimed Polish-French film director of rape, telling France's Le Parisien newspaper that the alleged incident occurred in 1975 when she was 18 at Polanski's chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad.

Following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Monnier said she had written letters about the alleged rape to Los Angeles police and to the French first lady as well as to the French Culture Minister Franck Riester and Secretary of State for Equality between Men and Women Marlene Schiappa.

Macron's office said they had found the 2018 letter in which Monnier complained that had had no response from Schiappa's office.

It said Monnier had been sent a reply in February last year stating "that Brigitte Macron cannot intervene in judicial processes" and copied that letter to Schiappa.

Monnier "wrote again in 2019 about the financing of a Polanski film by the culture ministry and we responded while copying it to Franck Riester," Brigitte Macron's office said.

Schiappa wrote to Monnier in March last year and hailed her courage "in daring to break the silence of 42 years" and adding that she understood her trauma while underscoring that such things were to be dealt by the judicial system.

Monnier told Le Parisien that the alleged rape was "extremely violent", adding that Polanski "pummelled me until I gave in and then raped me, making me do all sorts of things."

She said she recounted what had happened to her that very night to two women who were also staying in Polanski's chalet: her best friend and another woman who became Polanski's girlfriend for four years.

Both women were contacted by Le Parisien and confirmed Monnier's version.

Other accusations

Monnier, who acted in a few films in the 1980s, said she had finally decided to speak out as Polanski's new film about an error of justice was due to come out.

Polanski's lawyer Herve Temime said the director "firmly denies all accusations of rape," adding that the allegations "which date back 45 years have never been reported to judicial authorities".

Polanski has also been accused of sexual assault by others. In 2010, British actress Charlotte Lewis accused him of "sexually abusing" her in 1983 when she was 16.

Another woman, identified only as Robin, accused him in August 2017 of sexual assault when she was 16 in 1973.

In September 2017, former actress Renate Langer filed a new complaint alleging she had been raped by Polanski in 1972 when she was 15.

Polanski, who directed "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown", was accused of drugging a 13-year-old girl before raping her at film star Jack Nicholson's house in Los Angeles in 1977.

He admitted statutory rape after a number of more serious charges were dropped, and spent 48 days in custody to undergo psychiatric evaluation before being released.

In 1978, convinced a judge was going to scrap his plea deal and send him to prison for decades, Polanski fled to France and has been a fugitive from the US justice system ever since despite repeated attempts to have him extradited.

Plans for Polanski to preside over the Cesars, the French equivalent of the Oscars, were abandoned in 2017, amid the fall-out from "Me Too" movement that started with accusations of sexual assault against US producer Weinstein.

Although awarded the 2003 Best Director Oscar for "The Pianist", Polanski was expelled from the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018.

French bishops approve payouts for sex abuse victims

Yahoo – AFP, Karine Perret, November 9, 2019

French bishops said the size of the compensation scheme for abuse victims will
be unveiled following their next meeting in April (AFP Photo/PASCAL PAVANI)

Lourdes (France) (AFP) - French bishops on Saturday approved a programme of payouts to victims of sex abuse by priests -- but survivors have already objected that the Church has not gone far enough in admitting responsibility.

Voting at the bi-annual Conference of French Bishops (CEF) in the southern city of Lourdes, a large majority of the 120 bishops approved the payments to those who had suffered abuse within the Church.

The size of the payouts will be made will be determined at a meeting in April, conference chairman Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the archbishop of Reims, told reporters.

But any money paid was designed neither as compensation that would be determined by a court "or by canonical justice", nor as reparation.

But some victims said this did not go far enough.

"The word 'responsibility' of the Church does not appear, that really bothers me," said Jean-Luc Souveton, a priest and a member of the working group on the issue, who was himself abused by a priest when a child.

Michel, another priest who was also a victim but who did not want to give his full name, agreed with Souveton that the statement was not enough.

'Negligence, indifference'

But De Moulins-Beaufort, who is Archbishop of Reims, did acknowledge the "silence, negligence, indifference, an absence of reaction, bad decisions or dysfunctionality at the heart of the Church".

An independent commission set up by the Church to investigate the scandal started work in June.

Committee chairman Jean-Marc Sauve told AFP in September that they had received about 2,000 messages in its first three months.

Most of those who had come forward were older then 50, and two-thirds were men, he added. The committee is looking at allegations dating as far back as the 1950s.

On Saturday, another victim of abuse, Olivier Savignac, objected that the bishops had not waited for the findings of the independent commission.

"The bishops are getting around the recommendations of the ... commission so they don't have to face up to what is going to be a tsunami" of complaints, he said.

In May, Pope Francis passed a landmark new measure obliging anyone in the Church who knew about sex abuse to report it to their superiors.

A few months earlier, a French cardinal, Philippe Barbarin, received a six-month suspended jail sentence for failing to report sex abuse by a priest under his authority. His case is up for appeal later this month.

In August, the Vatican's former number three, Australian Cardinal George Pell, lost his appeal against his conviction for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys at a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Malaysia hands jail term to laundrette cat killer

Yahoo – AFP, November 6, 2019

A Malaysian man was sentenced to 34 months in jail for killing a pregnant cat
by stuffing it into a laundrette dryer (AFP Photo/Jeff Haynes)

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - A Malaysian man who killed a pregnant cat by putting it into a laundrette dryer has been sentenced to 34 months in jail, official media reported, in a case that sparked outrage.

K. Ganesh was handed the prison term Tuesday after being found guilty of breaking animal protection laws at the self-service laundry outside Kuala Lumpur in September last year, official news agency Bernama reported.

He will remain free on bail for now as he plans to appeal.

The 42-year-old was the second man to be sentenced over the killing after a taxi driver was jailed for two years for the crime in January.

Malaysians reacted with fury when CCTV footage went viral showing the cat being stuffed into the dryer late at night.

Two men then inserted tokens into the machine to set it running and left. A female customer later found the animal's carcass and the matter was reported to the police.

Sentencing Ganesh, Judge Rasyihah Ghazali said: "I hope this sentence will serve as a lesson to the accused and the public to not be cruel to animals."

He was also fined 40,000 ringgit ($9,700), Bernama reported late Tuesday. AFP could not immediately contact Ganesh's lawyers.

A third person was earlier detained over the killing but prosecutors dropped the case.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Iraq protests ramp up, shutting roads, offices and schools

Yahoo – AFP, November 3, 2019

Demonstrations broke out in Baghdad on October 1 in outrage at unemployment,
poor public services and corruption, quickly spreading to the Shiite-majority
south (AFP Photo/Mohammed SAWAF)

Baghdad (AFP) - Protesters in Iraq's capital and the country's south shut down streets and government offices in a new wave of civil disobedience Sunday, escalating their month-long movement demanding wholesale change of the political system.

Demonstrations broke out on October 1 in outrage over rampant corruption and unemployment in Iraq. They were met with a violent crackdown that left dozens dead.

Since resuming late last month, the protests have swelled again with the support of students and trade unions, who jointly announced a campaign of non-violent resistance on Sunday.

In Baghdad, university-age demonstrators parked cars along main thoroughfares to block traffic on the first day of the working week in the Muslim-majority country, as police officers looked on.

Other students took part in sit-ins at their schools, and the national teachers union extended a strike they began last week. The engineering, doctors and lawyers syndicates have all backed the protests.

"We decided to cut the roads as a message to the government that we will keep protesting until the corrupt people and thieves are kicked out and the regime falls," said Tahseen Nasser, a 25-year-old protester in the eastern city of Kut.

In the southern city of Diwaniyah, a banner hanging on the headquarters of the provincial council proclaimed: "Closed by order of the people".

The government has proposed a string of reforms, but they have had little effect
on those in the streets, who have condemned the political class wholesale

'Government lies'

The government has proposed a string of reforms, including a hiring drive, social welfare plans and early elections once a new voting law is passed.

But protesters have stayed on the streets, condemning the political class wholesale.

"We decided on this campaign of civil disobedience because we have had it up to here with the government's lies and promises of so-called reform," said Mohammad al-Assadi, a government employee on strike in the southern city of Nasiriyah.

Demonstrators there organised sit-ins on bridges leading out of the city, as well as its main streets and squares.

Schools and government offices were closed in Baghdad and half a dozen other cities in the south.

In the oil-rich port city Basra, public schools were shut for the first time since the movement erupted in October.

Protesters also kept closed the highway to the Qasr port, one of the main conduits for food, medicine and other imports into Iraq.

A source at the port told AFP that around a dozen ships had pulled away to take their goods elsewhere on Saturday, after waiting to unload their cargo.

The spreading sit-ins indicate a new phase in the protests, already hailed as the largest grassroots movement in Iraq in decades.

The protests have swelled with the support of students 
and trade unions, who jointly announced a campaign 
of civil disobedience (AFP Photo/Haidar HAMDANI)

Civil society 'recovers'

Under ex-dictator Saddam Hussein, rallies that were not exuberantly supporting him or his Baathist government were banned.

After he was toppled by the US-led invasion of 2003, political parties tussling for influence were the only actors able to draw large numbers out into the streets.

"Iraq's civil society which was undermined by decades of Baathist authoritarianism and sectarianism is recovering," wrote Harith Hasan, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment's Middle East Center.

But the movement has also been bloodied by the deaths of more than 250 people, the vast majority of them protesters.

On Saturday, medical sources told AFP at least one person was killed and dozens wounded in clashes with security forces near the capital's Tahrir Square, a focal point for demonstrators.

Young protesters have spilt over from Tahrir onto two main bridges leading to the western bank of the Tigris.

They parked cars across roads on Sunday, while large numbers of students and schoolchildren thronged towards the square, AFP journalists said.

Alaa Wissam, a 25-year-old architect, said young people were heading to the square to volunteer their help.

"This thing will help young people to have a role in the change that is happening," she said.

Riot police deployed along the bridges have fired tear gas to keep back protesters, who have dug in to their positions behind their own barricades.

Amnesty International slammed Iraqi forces days ago for using two types of military-grade tear gas canisters that have pierced protesters' skulls and lungs.

Rights groups have also expressed worry over the detention of protesters, journalists and medics.

On Sunday, the Iraqi Human Rights Commission said Saba Mahdawi, a doctor and activist, had been abducted the previous evening after providing medical aid to protesters.

Mahdawi's mother said she had been abducted by "armed, masked men on pick-up trucks" as she headed home from Tahrir late on Saturday evening.

The Commission did not say who may have seized her but urged security forces to investigate the matter and other "organised kidnapping operations" in recent weeks.

It called Mahdawi's abduction "a mark of shame for the whole of Iraqi society".

Later, the interior ministry announced the release of a second demonstrator, seized two days earlier, without providing a name.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Lebanese keep protest alive in northern city of Tripoli

Yahoo- AFP, November 2, 2019

Lebanese protesters wave flags and shout slogans during an anti-government
demonstration at al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on
Saturday (AFP Photo/Ibrahim CHALHOUB)

Tripoli (Lebanon) (AFP) - Thousands of Lebanese flocked together in Tripoli Saturday, an AFP reporter said, to keep a protest movement alive in a northern city dubbed "the bride of the revolution".

Despite its reputation for conservatism, impoverished Tripoli has emerged as a festive nerve centre of anti-graft demonstrations across Lebanon since October 17.

The movement has lost momentum in the capital since the government resigned this week, but in the Sunni-majority city of Tripoli late Saturday it was still going strong.

In the main square, protesters waved Lebanese flags and held aloft mobile phones as torches, before bellowing out the national anthem in unison, the reporter said.

"Everyone means everyone," one poster read, reiterating a common slogan calling for all political leaders from across the sectarian spectrum to step down.

Many people had journeyed from other parts of the country to join in.

Ragheed Chehayeb, 38, said he had driven in from the central town of Aley.

"I came to Tripoli to stand by their side because they're the only ones continuing the revolution," he said.

Leila Fadl, 50, said she had travelled from the Shiite town of Nabatiyeh south of Beirut to Tripoli to show her support.

"We feel the demands are the same, the suffering is the same," she said.

In Tripoli, more than half live at or below the poverty line and 26 percent suffer extreme poverty, a UN study found in 2015.

On Tuesday embattled Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his cabinet would step down.

But it is still unclear what a new government would look like and if it would meet protesters' demands that it include independent experts.

Roads and banks have reopened after nearly two weeks of nationwide paralysis.

Fahmy Karame, 49, called for a "rapid solution to the economic crisis".

"We're waiting for a government of technocrats," he said.

In the Lebanese capital, hundreds protested on Saturday evening after a day of rain.

"Down with the rule of the central bank," they shouted at the top of their lungs, clapping their hands near the institution's headquarters.

Economic growth in Lebanon has stalled in recent years in the wake of repeated political crises, compounded by an eight-year civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Iraq protests enter second month, defying pledges of reform

Yahoo – AFP, Sarah Benhaida, November 1, 2019

Iraqi protesters gather at Tahrir Square for anti-government demonstrations
in the capital Baghdad (AFP Photo/SABAH ARAR)

Baghdad (AFP) - Iraq's top cleric warned foreign actors on Friday against interfering in his country's anti-government protests as they entered a second month despite pledges of reform and violence that has left over 250 dead.

The demonstrations have evolved since October 1 from rage over corruption and unemployment to demands for a total government overhaul -- shunning both politicians and religious figures along the way.

They have even condemned the influence of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary factions, who have descended into the streets of the capital and elsewhere to flex their muscles.

In his weekly sermon, top Shiite religious authority Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said Iraq must not be dragged "into the "abyss of infighting".

"No person or group, no side with a particular view, no regional or international actor may seize the will of the Iraqi people and impose its will on them," he said.

Sistani's remarks, which can usually make or break a government decision in Iraq, came a day after comments by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"I seize this opportunity to tell those who care about Iraq and Lebanon to remedy insecurity as their priority," Khamenei said, without elaborating.

Iraq has close but complicated ties with both Iran, its large eastern neighbour, and the United States, which opposes Tehran's influence in the region.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Iraqi government to "listen to the legitimate demands made by the Iraqi people," saying an official probe last month into suppression of the protests "lacked sufficient credibility".

Fresh clashes

More than 250 people have died and 10,000 have been wounded in the past month as protests evolved into calls for the "downfall of the regime".

The movement is unique in Iraqi history because of its condemnation of the political and religious class wholesale.

A Shiite Muslim pilgrim walks in front of posters of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah 
Ali Khamenei (R) and the spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiite community, Grand 
Ayatollah Ali Sistani (AFP Photo/Haidar HAMDANI)

"No one represents the people, not Iran, not the parties, not the clerics. We want to take back our country," said Ali Ghazi, 55, protesting in Baghdad on Thursday.

"You're all thieves. From 2003 until now, what have you done?" he said, referring to the year a US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

Since then, Iraq's political system has been gripped by clientelism, corruption and sectarianism.

One in five Iraqis live below the poverty line and youth unemployment stands at 25 percent, despite the vast oil wealth of OPEC's second-largest crude producer.

That inequality has been a rallying cry for protesters, who have occupied the capital's Tahrir Square and spilt onto adjacent bridges.

As night fell on Friday, skirmishes broke out between protesters and riot police deployed along the Al-Sinek bridge, leaving several apparently severely wounded, an AFP photographer there said.

Riot police fired tear gas to keep protesters back, a day after Amnesty International slammed Iraqi forces for using the military-grade gas canisters in an "unprecedented" way.

Amnesty said they were being shot directly at protesters, piercing their heads and chests.

The violence in response to the protests has made them Iraq's deadliest grassroots movement for decades, with 157 dying in the first week-long outburst and another 100 losing their lives in the past week.

Parliament 'useless'

They have persisted despite a string of government proposals including hiring drives and social welfare plans.

Protesters are demanding nothing short of "the fall of the regime."

Map of central Baghdad in Iraq. (AFP Photo/Jonathan WALTER)

On Thursday night, President Barham Saleh vowed to hold early elections once a new voting law and electoral commission have been agreed.

He also said embattled Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi was ready to step down once another candidate was found.

Abdel Mahdi, 77, came to power a year ago through a tenuous partnership between populist cleric Moqtada Sadr and paramilitary leader Hadi al-Ameri.

The kingmakers' alliance has frayed in recent months, as Sadr threw his weight behind the protests while Ameri and his allies backed the government.

A rapprochement built on Abdel Mahdi's ouster appeared close this week, but disagreements over a replacement and pressure by Iran seem to have caused a stalemate among parliamentary blocs.

Parliament has been meeting every day to pressure Abdel Mahdi to come in for questioning, but he has so far resisted.

Ameri hinted at the paralysis on Friday, saying Iraq's "parliamentary system has failed and is useless" and called for "fundamental constitutional amendments."

An Iraqi government official said that following Khamenei's comments, "Ameri did a total 180" degree turn.

Fanar Haddad, an expert at Singapore University's Middle East Institute, said the political class appeared not to see that the protests presented "the most serious challenge to the post-2003 order".

"Promises of new election laws, or the formation of constitutional reform committees and so forth fall on deaf ears," he told AFP.

"They are seen as smokescreens with which the political classes are trying to save themselves and preserve their privileges," Fanar added.