'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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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Film on Catholic priests using nuns as 'sex slaves' pulled

Yahoo – AFP, April 30, 2019

The unidentified priest claimed he could be recognised in the documentary through
an interview given by a nun (AFP Photo/VINCENZO PINTO)

Paris (AFP) - A hit documentary about how some Catholic priests allegedly abused nuns in different parts of the world has been pulled from the Franco-German television channel Arte after a priest complained to a German court.

The big-budget media investigation, "Sex Slaves in the Catholic Church", was broadcast in March and has been sold widely internationally since.

Its broadcast came weeks after Pope Francis admitted that some rogue priests had used nuns as "sexual slaves" and that the Vatican had to dissolve a French order because its founder was preying on its sisters.

The Vatican's women's magazine, Women Church World, also reported that some nuns had been forced into having abortions.

Arte told AFP Tuesday that it was forced to pull the documentary from its replay site earlier this month after a press tribunal in Hamburg slapped a temporary injunction on the film following a complaint from a priest.

The tribunal told AFP the priest complained that, while he was not shown in the documentary, he was "recognisable" from an interview given by a nun.

In the interview, the nun "gave the impression that the priest had forced a nun into sex against her will".

The priest was not identified in publication of the complaint.

The channel said it was challenging the decision.

The film has been the most-watched documentary of the year so far on the French arm of the channel, seen by 1.5 million people live and a further 1.7 million on replay.

The film was made over three years by French director Marie-Pierre Raimbault and investigative journalist Eric Quintin, who collected the testimony of nuns whose allegations had been ignored or hidden by the hierarchy across four continents.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Huge Hong Kong protest against China extradition plan

France24 – AFP, 28 Apr 2019

The demonstration comes just days after four prominent leaders of Hong Kong's
democracy movement were jailed for their role in organising mass pro-democracy
protests in 2014 (AFP)

Hong Kong (AFP) - Tens of thousands of people hit Hong Kong's streets on Sunday to protest against a government plan to allow extraditions to mainland China, the crowds swollen by anger over the recent jailing of democracy leaders.

The extradition proposal has already sparked large protests and mounting alarm within the city's business and legal communities who fear it will hammer the financial hub's international appeal and tangle people up in China's opaque courts.

But Sunday's protest was one of the biggest in the city in recent years.

The demonstration comes just days after four prominent leaders of Hong Kong's democracy movement were jailed for their role in organising mass pro-democracy protests in 2014 that brought parts of the city to a standstill for months.

Demonstrators on Sunday chanted "Step down, Carrie Lam!" -- referring to the city's pro-Beijing leader, while many held the yellow umbrellas that symbolised the 2014 rallies.

Fanly Leung, an accountant, told AFP it was "heartbreaking" to see the activists jailed earlier this week.

"They are professors, highly knowledgable people contributing to society... They could have had a comfortable life making money and not suffer like this. It's not right to jail these good people," said Leung, 61.

Zoe Yuen, 20, came with her mother who became politically active since the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests.

"At least we have done what we should do and can tell the next generation that although we may not get what we want, at least we have resisted," the university student told AFP.

Some protesters dressed up as Chinese mainland police officers guarding another demonstrator standing behind a portable red cage.

One held up a sign that said: "President Xi Jinping, no legalised kidnapping of Hong Kong people to China".

Police said some 22,000 turned out, their highest estimate since the 2014 protests. Organisers have yet to give their estimates which are usually far higher.

Hong Kong has a separate legal system through the "one country, two systems" deal struck between Britain and China.

Historically the city has baulked at mainland extraditions because of the opacity of China's criminal justice system and its liberal use of the death penalty.

But earlier this year Hong Kong's government announced plans to overhaul its extradition rules, allowing the transfer of fugitives with mainland China, Macau and Taiwan on a "case-basis" for the first time.

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, became the latest figure to criticise the extradition proposal ahead of Sunday's protest.

"Societies which believe in the rule of law do not reach agreements like this with those who do not. These changes are an assault on Hong Kong's values, stability and security," he said.

"They create fear and uncertainty for business at a time when we should all be working to safeguard Hong Kong's reputation as one of the world's greatest business and financial centres," he added.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Powerful but troubled US gun group sees shakeup amid public dispute

Yahoo – AFP, April 27, 2019

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the powerful National Rifle Association in the US, is
seen speaking at the group's convention on April 26, 2019; he appears to
have forced out NRA President Oliver North in an angry public dispute (AFP

Washington (AFP) - A dramatic leadership struggle in the most powerful US gun-owners organization has resulted in its president Oliver North saying Saturday that he will not serve a second term.

North, who gained international notoriety as a key figure in the Iran-Contra arms scandal under President Ronald Reagan, was forced out as president of the influential National Rifle Association by the group's longtime CEO, Wayne LaPierre.

An NRA board member, Richard Childress, read a letter from North at the group's annual convention in which North said his efforts to fight alleged financial mismanagement in the NRA had led to his ouster.

North, who became president only last year, alleged in a letter to the NRA's executive committee that LaPierre had purchased more than $200,000 in personal items and charged them to a vendor, The Washington Post reported.

North called for the NRA to establish a committee to review the group's finances.

LaPierre put a different light on the men's differences, accusing North of issuing a blunt ultimatum to either "resign or there will be destructive allegations made against me and the NRA," LaPierre said in a letter published Friday by the Wall Street Journal.

LaPierre said the threat "alarmed and disgusted" him.

Amid the bitter internal spat, the NRA meanwhile has filed a lawsuit against its advertising agency Ackerman McQueen, complaining of unjustified billings. Ackerman employs North to host a TV show called "American Heroes."

The firm called the suit "frivolous (and) inaccurate."

Supported by Trump

The leadership struggle has played out in public view at a time when the NRA -- which has long played an outsized role in the gun debate in America -- has faced mounting political, regulatory and financial challenges.

After recent years saw some of the worst mass shootings in US history, leading to new cries for gun control, the pro-gun group's revenues dropped sharply last year.

Regulators in New York, meantime, have threatened to examine the group's tax-exempt status.

But President Donald Trump has thrown his strong support to the group. In 2017 he became the first US president since Reagan to address the NRA, and he did so again on Friday at its Indianapolis convention.

North has long been a popular figure among American conservatives, despite -- or perhaps because of -- his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal.

A retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who went to work in the Reagan White House, he was convicted in 1989 on three charges linked to the Iran-Contra scheme, under which money from arms sales to Tehran was funneled to rebels in Nicaragua. The convictions were later overturned.

LaPierre himself had warm words for North when he was tapped as the group's next president last year.

"Oliver North is a legendary warrior for American freedom, a gifted communicator and skilled leader," LaPierre said in a statement.

"In these times, I can think of no one better suited to serve as our president."

Thursday, April 25, 2019

France's Macron vows tax cuts in response to protests

Yahoo – AFP, Adam PLOWRIGHT and Stuart WILLIAMS, April 25, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron promised significant tax cuts (AFP
Photo/ludovic MARIN)

Paris (AFP) - President Emmanuel Macron Thursday promised significant tax cuts but also a return to public order in France as he revealed his long-awaited response to nearly half a year of street protests.

In the first formal domestic news conference of his entire presidency, Macron steered clear of bombshell announcements but promised the French a more humane style of governance.

He said he wants to scrap the elite university ENA -- a factory for top French bureaucrats and presidents including Macron himself -- but did not outline a concrete plan for doing so.

Macron, 41, swept to power in 2017 on hopes he would be a youthful breath of fresh air for France.

But over the past half year, the momentum has been knocked out of his presidency by the anti-government "yellow vest" movement which has held weekly protests against social inequality.

"I want cuts for people who work by significantly reducing income taxes," said Macron in his headline announcement at the news conference inside the Elysee Palace.

He the tax cuts would be worth five billion euros and financed by eliminating corporate tax breaks, working longer hours and reductions in public spending.

The Macron press conferencer took place in the grand Elysee Palace in Paris
(AFP Photo/ludovic MARIN)

'Just demands'

His announcement came after a vast listening exercise called the Great National Debate launched in response to the protests where high taxes emerged as one of the main gripes.

Macron defended a controversial decision to scrap a wealth tax early in his term but said it would be reviewed in 2020, adding: "It was a reform to stimulate production, not a present for the rich."

With yellow vest protests still rocking France every Saturday, Macron vowed to press ahead with reforms programme and warned the protest movement -- whose demonstrations have often turned violent -- that it is time for a return to order.

"The transformations that are in progress and the transformations that are essential for our country should not be stopped," he said.

He recognised that the yellow vest movement had led to many in France feeling "anger and impatience for change" and praised its "just demands".

But he lamented that the movement had "transformed progressively" and been hijacked partly by episodes of anti-Semitic violence, attacks on journalists and homophobia.

He said the hatred seen in some of the demonstrations marked a "regression in civic morality and education and I will fight against it with all my strength."

Yellow vest protests have been held each Saturday in Paris and elsewhere for 
almost six months (AFP Photo/Anne-Christine POUJOULAT)

'Sometimes unfair'

Macron, sitting alone at a desk at the Palace's vast main reception hall, the Salle des fetes, gave an initial speech then answered questions from reporters.

It was their first chance for some time to question a head of state who had previously only spoken to media at press conferences during foreign trips or at home with foreign leaders.

Criticised for often seeming aloof to people's daily concerns -- in one episode telling an unemployed man to "cross the road" to find a job -- Macron attempted to show a more humble side.

He said the second part of his mandate would be "more humane" and said he regretted giving a sense of "always giving out orders, being hard, sometimes unfair".

He said he wanted to put the "human being at the heart of the agenda" with a "new method" of governance.

On ENA, the post-graduate school that has educated top French politicians and public officials since 1945 and seen as a symbol of French elitism, he said: "We will need to abolish ENA, among others, to be able to build something else."

Plunging ratings

Opinion polls show his popularity rating stuck on or even under 30 percent, a far cry from the heady days after his inauguration when his approval rating was over 60 percent.

The Notre-Dame fire broke out just hours before Macron's high-anticipated 
address, which was abruptly cancelled (AFP Photo/Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT)

Macron already has his eye on the 2022 presidential election, acutely aware that his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande only lasted one term and failed to implement lasting change.

At stake is not just his ambitious agenda to modernise France but his status as a global statesman able to stand up to US President Donald Trump and lead Europe as German Chancellor Angela Merkel steps aside and Britain is bedevilled by Brexit.

He admitted differences with Merkel, including on Brexit where Berlin has taken a tougher line than Paris.

The scheduling of the big speech was also troubled -- Macron had been due to make his announcement via a pre-recorded address which was to be broadcast on April 15.

But just two hours beforehand, Notre-Dame cathedral went up in flames, forcing the presidency to cancel the broadcast as Macron rushed out to the burning Paris landmark.

A day later, the entire text of his reform plan speech was leaked to the media, leaving a major quandary for the Elysee, which was left wondering whether to rehash the old speech or try something new.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

US pharma bosses charged with fueling opioid crisis

Yahoo – AFP, April 24, 2019

A 5 milliliter dose of liquid oxycodone, a medicine at the epicenter of the US opioid
crisis that has claimed tens of thousands of lives (AFP Photo/EVA HAMBACH)

New York (AFP) - Two former executives of a major US pharmaceutical company were charged Tuesday with fulfilling orders they knew to be fraudulent during the opioid epidemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

It was the first time that senior or former executives have faced criminal charges in connection with distributing powerful prescription painkillers like oxycodone and fentanyl that carry a high risk of addiction and overdose.

The company where the executives worked, Rochester Drug Cooperative (RDC), is one of the country's largest distributors of prescription opioids.

It has entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the US Attorney's office in New York and agreed to pay a $20 million fine.

As result, the company will not be prosecuted and will be allowed to retain its license to distribute drugs, while promising to reform its practices.

In a statement, RDC admitted that between 2012 and 2017 it had failed to report shipments of drugs it recognized as suspicious, as required by law.

"This prosecution is the first of its kind," US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.

"Executives of a pharmaceutical distributor and the distributor itself have been charged with drug trafficking, trafficking the same drugs that are fueling the opioid epidemic that is ravaging this country."

RDC distributes to some 1,300 pharmacies and with an annual turnover of more than $1 billion, according to documents released by prosecutors.

Investigators found that it had failed to report at least 2,000 suspicious orders of drugs whose distribution is overseen by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The defendants were named as former CEO Laurence Doud, 75, and William Pietruszewski, 53, who had served as chief compliance officer.

"RDC's employees, including in conversations with Doud and Pietruszewski, described some of the company's customers as 'very suspicious,' and even characterized particular pharmacies as a 'DEA investigation in the making' or 'like a stick of dynamite waiting for (the) DEA to light the fuse,'" the New York prosecutors said.

"Nonetheless, throughout the period in question, RDC, at the direction of Doud, increased its sales of oxycodone and fentanyl exponentially," the statement added.

Doud and Pietruszewski were charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum of 10 years.

Doud was arrested Tuesday and appeared before a federal judge, who ordered his release on a $500,000 bond.

Pietruszewski pleaded guilty to the same two counts, as well as breaches of his duty to report to the authorities.

Around 47,600 people died in 2017 from an opiate overdose in the United States, according Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures.

"This epidemic has been driven by greed," Berman told a news conference, adding that Doud had seen his salary more than double between 2012 and 2016.

Japan's sterilised 'eugenics' victims to get payout

Yahoo – AFP, April 24, 2019

Victims of Japan's 'eugenics' programme complain the compensation offered
is not enough (AFP Photo/Toshifumi KITAMURA)

Thousands of Japanese people -- some as young as nine -- forcibly sterilised under now-defunct eugenics laws, will receive government compensation after lawmakers passed historic legislation on Wednesday.

Following the unanimous vote, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe voiced "sincere regret" and said the government "apologised wholeheartedly" over the notorious policy.

Some 16,500 mentally disabled people were sterilised without their consent under the law that remained in force until 1996, according to health ministry data.

Each victim will receive 3.2 million yen ($29,000) under the measures passed on Wednesday -- an amount derided by campaigners as "failing to meet the seriousness" of the damage suffered.

The issue hit the headlines last year after a Japanese woman, now in her 60s, sued the government over a sterilisation operation carried out in 1972 after she was diagnosed with a mental disability.

Lawyers and campaigners have long criticised the government and parliament for failing to compensate victims long after the eugenics law was abandoned in 1996.

About 20 victims have so far filed lawsuits across the country seeking compensation of up to 38 million yen.

The first verdict over the issue will be announced on May 28, and plaintiffs' lawyers have vowed to seek compensation they say matches the gravity of the harm suffered.

"It is understandable that lawmakers have been hurrying to enact the law to pay one-off compensation to ageing victims," lawyers said in a statement before the legislation was passed.

But without sufficient compensation, it is not a "true solution to the issue," they charged.

Tokyo has pledged to pay the compensation "swiftly" but the government will likely continue to battle in court against victims claiming more.

Germany and Sweden had similar eugenics laws and governments there have also apologised and paid compensation to the victims.

Under Japan's law, some leprosy patients were also forced into abortions under policies that forbade them from having children.

In 2005, a Japanese court for the first time ordered the state to pay damages to a former leprosy sufferer affected by this law.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

India's top judge faces sexual harassment storm

Yahoo – AFP, Abhaya SRIVASTAVA, April 20, 2019

Gogoi (C) is due to retire in November this year (AFP Photo/CHANDAN KHANNA)

New Delhi (AFP) - India's top judge fought off a sexual harassment storm Saturday after a former Supreme Court staff member accused him of making unwanted advances and hounding her.

Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi said the accusations made by a 35-year-old former court assistant were "unbelievable" and an attempt to stop him hearing important cases.

Saying judicial independence was at stake, Gogoi, 64, called a special session of the apex court after the woman wrote to 22 Supreme Court judges on Friday, alleging he twice made sexual advances in the office of his official residence in October last year.

"He hugged me around the waist, and touched me all over my body with his arms and by pressing his body against mine, and did not let go," she wrote in an affidavit seen by AFP.

"He told me 'hold me', he did not let go of me despite the fact that I froze and tried to get out of his embrace by stiffening and moving my body away," the document added.

The woman claimed she was dismissed from her job and her family had been harassed after she rebuffed Gogoi's advances.

She also said she was summoned by Gogoi's wife who asked her to prostrate herself and rub her nose at her feet to seek forgiveness.

Reputation at stake

"I have taken this unusual and extraordinary step of sitting in court today because things have gone too far," Gogoi said.

"This is unbelievable. I don't think I should stoop low even to deny these allegations... there has to be a bigger force behind this."

The chief justice, who is to retire in November after a year as chief justice, said he was scheduled to hear many sensitive cases in coming days and that he would continue his work "without any fear".

"Why do you think a person decides to become a judge? Reputation is all that matters for a judge. If that is also under attack, what is left?"

Gogoi said the woman had a criminal background and that the media must act responsibly on reporting the allegations.

A New Delhi court is to hear a police application on Wednesday to cancel bail for the woman in a separate criminal investigation.

The woman, a married mother of one, has called on the Supreme Court to set up a "special inquiry committee" to look into her accusations.

The #MeToo movement has touched several Bollywood directors, actors and media figures accused of sexual harassment.

A junior foreign minister was forced to resign last year after several women accused him of harassment.

The Supreme Court, one of India's most respected institutions, has 25 judges appointed by the president, including the chief justice.

The court often rules on key policy matters and orders measures taken in public interest.

The latest allegations set Twitter abuzz Saturday with a leading women's rights activist, Kavita Krishnan, saying the judiciary must come clean on the "extremely serious" charges.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Macron vows to rebuild a 'more beautiful' Notre-Dame in 5 years

Yahoo – AFP, Stuart WILLIAMS and Clare BYRNE, April 16, 2019

Notre-Dame's spectacular Gothic spire collapsed as fire engulfed the cathedral
(AFP Photo/Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT)

Paris (AFP) - President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday vowed to rebuild Notre-Dame cathedral "even more beautifully" within five years, as France reeled with shock from the fire that gutted the great Paris landmark.

Macron announced the fast timescale -- for a process some experts said would take decades -- in an address to the nation where he hailed how the disaster had shown the capacity of France to mobilise and unite.

Pledges worth around 700 million euros ($790 million) have already been made Tuesday from French billionaires and businesses to restore the Gothic masterpiece.

Most of the roof has been destroyed, its steeple has collapsed and an unknown number of artifacts and paintings have been lost. The main organ, which had close to 8,000 pipes, has also suffered damage.

But the cathedral's walls, bell towers and the most famous circular stained-glass windows at France's most visited tourist attraction remain intact.

'Our history never stops'

Macron's defiant comments indicated he wants the reconstruction of the cathedral to be completed by the time Paris hosts the Olympic Games in 2024.

"We will rebuild the cathedral even more beautifully and I want it to be finished within five years," Macron said from the Elysee Palace. "And we can do it."

Macron said that the dramatic fire had brought out the best in a country riven with divisions and since November shaken by sometimes violent protests against his rule.

"What we saw last night in Paris was our capacity to mobilise and to unite," Macron said, hailing France as a nation of "builders".

"Our history never stops and that we will always have trials to overcome," he said.

Firefighters said the blaze had been extinguished after 15 hours (AFP 
Photo/Hubert Hitier)

'Saved in half an hour'

Images from inside the cathedral Tuesday showed its immense walls standing proud, with statues still in place and a gleaming golden cross above the altar.

However the floor was covered in charred rubble from the fallen roof and water while parts of the vaulting at the top of the cathedral had collapsed.

Junior interior minister Laurent Nunez told reporters at the scene that work to secure the structure would continue into Thursday, allowing firefighters access to remove remaining artifacts and artworks.

He said the building had been saved within a critical time window of 15-30 minutes by a team of 400 firefighters who worked flat out throughout the night.

Though "some weaknesses" in the 850-year-old structure had been identified, overall it is "holding up OK", he added.

President Donald Trump relayed Americans' "condolences" to Macron over the fire, the White House said.

French fire chiefs had earlier dismissed as "risible" comments by Trump that the fire should be tackled with water bombers, saying this risked destroying the entire edifice of the cathedral.

The Paris fire service said that the last remnants of the blaze were extinguished Tuesday, 15 hours after the fire broke out.

Renovation work on the steeple, where workers were replacing its lead covering, is widely suspected to have caused the inferno after the blaze broke out in an area under scaffolding.

Investigators interviewed witnesses overnight and began speaking with employees of five different construction companies that were working on the monument, said public prosecutor Remy Heitz.

"Nothing indicates this was a deliberate act," Heitz told reporters, adding that 50 investigators had been assigned to what he expected to be a "long and complex" case.

The world reacted in shock after the blaze enguled Notre-Dame (AFP Photo)

'For future generations'

A public appeal for funds drew immediate support from French billionaires and other private donors as well as from countries including Germany, Italy and Russia which offered expertise.

French billionaire Bernard Arnault and his LVMH luxury conglomerate, rival high-end designer goods group Kering, Total oil company and cosmetics giant L'Oreal each pledged 100 million euros or more.

Support came from outside France as well, with Apple chief Tim Cook announcing the tech giant would give an unspecified amount to help restore a "precious heritage for future generations."

But experts had warned a full restoration will take many years. "I'd say decades," said Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral.

Treasures evacuated

Thousands of Parisians and tourists watched in horror Monday as flames engulfed the building and rescuers tried to save as much as they could of the cathedral's treasures.

Many more came Tuesday to the banks of the river Seine to gaze at where the roof and steeple once stood.

A firefighter suffered injuries during the blaze, which at one point threatened to bring down one of the two monumental towers on the western facade of the cathedral that is visited by 13 million tourists each year.

The Holy Crown of Thorns, believed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion, was saved by firefighters, as was a sacred tunic worn by 13th-century French king Louis IX.

Rescuers formed a human chain at the site of the disaster to evacuate as many artifacts as possible, which were then stocked temporarily at the Paris town hall.

Related Article:

".... Europe

Let's talk about Europe - Eastern and Western Europe. Look at the history. I want you to look at the history of the Europeans. What do you know about them? What did you study in school about them, American? You had to learn all those dates and facts. You sit in a country that's barely 200 years old and you had to memorize all the battles and all those conquerors and all those army specifics for hundreds of years! Fourteen hundreds, 1300s - all the way to the present century they seemed to be conquering each other on a regular basis. They warred with each other like the tides of the ocean, constant and predictable. When they got tired of that, they conquered other continents. The small country of Spain alone is responsible for conquering all of South America, middle America and well up into North America. Millions today are speaking their language who never did before they arrived.

The armies of Napoleon spread across parts of Europe like water flowing in a river, conquering everything in its path. There are some cities today in Europe that still don't know which country they belong to! This is because their borders kept changing so often! Now, that's history. I want you to look at it carefully. Still, there would be those who say, "This is just what men do. They create borders and cultures and they go to war. That's Human nature."

Fifty years ago, this new energy started to arrive. Oh, the alignments go slow, dear Human Being, but it was here. It was starting; it was beginning. Fifty years ago, something happened in Europe and you didn't hear much about it back then. Some very clear thinkers got together after World War II and said, "If we don't do something different and out of the box of today's thinking, it's all going to happen again because this is what we do. Men make war." Even the young country called America was involved in war. America itself almost split apart before that, because that's what men do. They split good things apart. It was obvious to these wise men that they could try something, something that might work - a uniting instead of separation. And so they formed an idea. Let me tell you what it was.

They said to themselves, "What if we could get as many countries as we can to agree to become a collection of 'country states'? If we start this now and go at it slowly, we could eventually have a system where we would trade together to the point where the borders come down, no checkpoints and no passports. All these cultures and former enemy countries would all trade evenly together, and for that to happen we might even have a common currency. Look at the United States, for this is how it works there. Europe would never go to war with itself again. It couldn't, since it would be allied financially."

Of course, they were laughed at! Everyone who heard it said it couldn't' be done and that there were just too many issues to solve. Those who objected said, "No, no, no. That's not what we do. We have too many different cultures. There's some with strong currencies, there's some with weak currencies. There are too many objections. Imagine going from one country to another without being inspected at the border? That won't work. Who are you to suggest something of this nature?" And the forward thinkers said, "We are unifiers. And we think it's a good idea so we will have strength and will never war again." That was two generations ago, 50 years.

Today, you have the European Union of States. There are more all the time, way past the original number of countries. Some are "standing in line" to be accepted! The borders are gone and the checkpoints are missing and the currency called the Euro is the strongest currency on Earth - stronger even than yours [the USA]. Now, let me tell you what did that. It's a consciousness shift that even 50 years ago was developing. Through two generations, it slowly allowed for free thinkers to unify things that had never been unified before. The result? These countries will never conquer each other again, because "history" ended at that moment. They started a new paradigm for Europe and one that has no historic profile known to man. The old history of the area is gone, and it will not repeat itself.

Those in the old Eastern Bloc of Europe, where there is still to this day very little unity, will still say, "History will again repeat itself. We are victims of it. It's only a matter of time." But not all of them feel this way. There are some who are starting to feel a unity of spirituality within their own cultures that they were never allowed to speak of before. So they are free thinking, out of the box of the old paradigm. It's new.

There are those who are standing on podiums and in pulpits and are proclaiming, "History is ended. It's the end of suffering. It's the end of dictatorships. It's the end of those who would put us in a low place. Instead, it's the beginning of discovering who we are." And although they don't say it in these exact words, they are discovering the creator inside - that which is the unity of God. So it's a full circle back to what the Angel told Muhammad, isn't it? For unity was the key to peace, and still is. It is a sacred principle and will never change.

Who would have thought this would have happened? The United States is what it is because 200 years ago the founders said, "Let us make a group of state countries without physical borders in a system that's never been tried. It's one of unity - the UNITED States of America." Oh, it had its tests, but the unifiers won. And it is why this country is what it is and is seen and respected for what it is and for what it's done. So young, it is, but representing the new energy, it is.

Your Declaration of Independence was channelled. Did you know that? It was collective effort channelling by those who had asked God for help. Go read it and feel that which is sacred inside, for it unifies and does not separate.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Malaysia ex-PM Najib's 1MDB graft trial resumes

Yahoo – AFP, M. Jegathesan, April 15, 2019

Former prime minister Najib Razak (shown at the start of his trial on April 3) and
his cronies are accused of stealing billions of dollars from 1MDB and spending it on
everything from high-end real estate to artworks and a luxury yacht (AFP Photo/

Toppled Malaysian leader Najib Razak returned to court for the second day of his high-profile corruption trial Monday, with the former premier accused of plundering large sums from scandal-hit state fund 1MDB.

The 65-year-old finally went on trial this month over his alleged role in looting the investment vehicle, the first of several court cases he is expected to face over the controversy.

The ex-prime minister and his cronies are accused of stealing billions of dollars from 1MDB and spending it on everything from high-end real estate to artworks and a luxury yacht.

The allegations played a large part in prompting voters to oust his corruption-plagued coalition, which had been in power for six decades, at historic elections last year. Since then, Najib has been arrested and hit with dozens of charges over the scandal.

The ex-leader's highly-anticipated trial began on April 3, with Najib denying seven charges related to the theft of 42 million ringgit ($10.2 million) from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit.

It is just a fraction of the money Najib is accused of stealing -- he has also been charged in a separate case over the alleged transfer of $681 million to his bank account.

He arrived at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur Monday for the second day of proceedings, wearing a dark suit and tie, and passed through a scrum of journalists before entering the courtroom and taking his seat in the dock.

Bank raid

The main witness called Monday was Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar, an investigating officer from the central bank, who was part of a team that raided the branch of a local lender, AmBank.

Factfile on the Malaysian 1MDB corruption allegations and charges faced by 
Malaysia's former leader Najib Razak (AFP Photo/Laurence CHU, John SAEKI)

The officers seized documents related to accounts held by Najib at the bank, accounts belonging to SRC International, and accounts held by another company. The stolen money from SRC was allegedly sent to Najib's accounts at AmBank.

Earlier Najib's defence team cross-examined Companies Commission of Malaysia official Muhamad Akmaluddin Abdullah, who had testified when the trial opened, on matters related to SRC's records.

After the trial was adjourned for the day, Najib's chief lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the prosecution would have to prove the ex-leader knew the money flows were illicit to convict him.

“There can be many transactions. The issue is does (Najib) know the exact thing that is going on, does he know in fact it is from illegal sources?" he told reporters outside court.

"The prosecution need to show that he is complicit, that he is part of the conspiracy."

Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing over the looting of 1MDB.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who came out of retirement to lead an alliance to a shock election victory against Najib's government last year, has pledged to bring Najib to justice and recoup the huge sums of cash stolen from 1MDB.

The US Department of Justice, which is investigating the 1MDB controversy as money was allegedly laundered through the American financial system, believes $4.5 billion in total was looted from the fund.

Malaysia has also charged Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs over the scandal, alleging the bank and its former employees stole billions of dollars from 1MDB.