'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, August 27, 2019

J&J ordered to pay $572 million for opioid addiction crisis

Yahoo – AFP, Paul HANDLEY, August 26, 2019

Drug and consumer products maker Johnson & Johnson was the first pharmaceutical
company tried over the US opioid crisis (AFP Photo/CHARLY TRIBALLEAU)

Washington (AFP) - An Oklahoma judge on Monday ordered US health care giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million in damages for its role in fostering the state's opioid addiction crisis.

In the first civil trial of a drugmaker over an epidemic that has caused hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths, Judge Thad Balkman said prosecutors had demonstrated that J&J contributed to a "public nuisance" in its deceptive promotion of highly addictive prescription painkillers.

"Those actions compromised the health and safety of thousands of Oklahomans," he said.

According to the ruling, the company and its Janssen pharmaceuticals division will fund an "abatement plan" for care for addicts, families and communities ravaged by the crisis.

"The defendants Janssen and Johnson & Johnson's misleading marketing and promotion of opioids created a nuisance," Balkman said.

Landmark case

J&J was the first pharmaceutical company tried over the US opioid crisis, which fueled over 70,000 overdose deaths in 2017 alone.

But there are some 2,000 outstanding lawsuits against many drugmakers and distributors filed by state and local governments, many overwhelmed by the costs of an epidemic that has only slightly abated.

Most of those are being rolled into a case to go to trial in October in Ohio that will likely set the basis for potentially many billions of dollars in settlements across the country.

Prosecutors had sought $17 billion in damages against J&J for an abatement program to be spread over 30 years.

But Balkman said the state had not made a strong case for the future costs of the crisis to it and the community beyond one year, and so limited his ruling to that.

J&J's shares rose about two percent to $130 in after-market trade following the decision.

The company immediately said it would appeal the decision.

"Janssen did not cause the opioid crisis in Oklahoma, and neither the facts nor the law support this outcome," said J&J executive vice president Michael Ullmann.

"The unprecedented award for the state's 'abatement plan' has sweeping ramifications for many industries and bears no relation to the company's medicines or conduct."

Company downplayed addiction claims

J&J argued that the law was being inappropriately applied and that its products had a very small role in the addiction epidemic in Oklahoma and nationally.

Balkman said J&J had promoted its drugs by telling doctors and patients that pain was not being treated enough and that "there was a low risk of abuse and a low danger" in the drugs themselves.

"The defendants used the phrase 'pseudoaddiction' to convince doctors that patients who exhibited signs of addiction... were not actually suffering from addiction, but from the undertreatment of pain," he said in his decision.

He also said the company consciously downplayed risks it knew were present, pointing to the 2007 $600 million fine in a Virginia trial of Purdue Pharma, one of the leading prescription opioid makers, for misleading the health industry and the public about the highly addictive properties of its Oxycontin painkiller.

J&J is the first drugmaker to go to trial and the case is seen as a bellwether for thousands of possible criminal and civil suits over the seeming uncontrolled distribution of highly addictive painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, and J&J's Nucynta and Duragesic, between 2000 and 2015.

Two other major drugmakers accused in the same suit, Purdue Pharma of the United States and Israel's Teva, settled with Oklahoma before the case went to trial.

Purdue, which produced the widely abused opioid Oxycontin, agreed to pay the state $270 million in March and Teva negotiated an $85 million settlement.

Dozens of local and state governments across the country have also already exacted settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors to address their problems.

Related Article:

".... Let me tell you what else is in the field. Two things: These are going to be things that exist now in the field and they are upcoming potentials. The reason I give you these potentials is so if they happen, just like the handshake, you might believe a little more in this process.

There will come a time when Big Pharma will fall over because of a growing higher consciousness of the public. [Applause in the audience] There is a consciousness growing here that begins to have a new respect for each other, so that abuse of women will no longer be tolerated. Things that never happened before will begin happening, like bishops and cardinals resigning. [All 34 bishops in the Catholic Church resigned May 2018 after the new wild card pope called them on their reaction to child abuse for years by their colleagues.] All the things my partner brought today [in the seminar] are actually happening now. Why should some of these drug companies fail? Because there will be a strong reaction from your general public when they realize there are companies that have policies that would keep a Human sick or let him die for money. [Applause in the audience] It would be unconscionable, and the potential grows stronger daily that it's going to happen. The trigger? It's coming. When it does, that industry will be in trouble. Not all pharma is this way, dear ones - understand this - but the ones who are will fall. ..."

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

Monday, August 26, 2019

Weinstein trial delayed as 'Sopranos' actress allowed to testify

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine TRIOMPHE, August 26, 2019

Harvey Weinstein exits court after an arraignment over a new indictment for
sexual assault in New York -- his trial has been delayed until January 2020 (AFP

New York (AFP) - A US judge on Monday postponed Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial until next year, after New York prosecutors filed a new indictment that will allow an actress to testify against the fallen movie mogul.

Weinstein, 67, pleaded not guilty to charges of predatory sexual assault relating to two women in a fresh indictment amended so that the actress, another of Weinstein's accusers, can give evidence as a corroborating witness.

The indictment is effectively the same as an earlier indictment and the two are likely to be merged eventually.

One of the women alleges Weinstein raped her in 2013, while the other claims he forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006.

Documents released after the 15-minute hearing in a New York state court showed that a third women alleges she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein over the winter of 1993-94 in Manhattan.

The woman's name is redacted, but lawyer Gloria Allred said it was her client Annabella Sciorra, known for her Emmy-nominated work on the hit television series "The Sopranos."

"I commend Annabella for her willingness to take the stand and answer questions under oath," Allred, who also represents one of the two alleged victims in the charge sheet, said in a statement.

Actor Annabella Sciorra's lawyer, Gloria Allred, speaks to the media following 
the arraignment for Harvey Weinstein (AFP Photo/SPENCER PLATT)

Sciorra, 59, helped trigger the #MeToo movement in October 2017 when she told The New Yorker magazine that Weinstein raped her at her home in Manhattan in 1993.

Weinstein cannot be charged with raping Sciorra because the statute of limitations has expired.

The judge denied a prosecution request that Sciorra be allowed to give evidence at Weinstein's trial because she had not testified before a grand jury as required under US law.

The new indictment will allow her to testify, which could strengthen the prosecution's case.

Judge James Burke postponed the start of the trial to January 6, 2020 to give Weinstein's defense time to prepare. It had been scheduled to start on September 9.

Trial to be moved?

Weinstein, wearing a dark suit, laughed and said "not really" when he was asked by the judge whether he wanted to go to trial.

He faces life in prison if convicted.

US actress Annabella Sciorra -- seen here in June 2018 in New York -- 
has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault in 1993, but he 
cannot be charged in connection with those allegations because 
the 25-year statue of limitations has expired (AFP Photo/

Once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, Weinstein has been accused of harassment and assault by more than 80 women, including stars such as Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd.

The original accusations against him were a catalyst for America's #MeToo movement.

Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax and producer of "Pulp Fiction," has always insisted his sexual relationships were consensual.

The number of accusers appearing in court can influence the verdict, as seen in the 2018 conviction of Bill Cosby.

Allred said Sciorra -- who starred in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" (1991) -- was willing to testify despite anticipating a "vigorous cross examination by the defense, which no doubt would not be pleasant for any witness to endure."

Weinstein's lawyers denounced the new indictment as a "desperate" last-minute move and want it dismissed. They have 45 days to register motions against it.

"The case itself is weak and they feel they need this portion to help," Weinstein's lawyer Donna Rotunno told reporters outside court.

Allred told reporters that it was up to the jury to decide whether it was strong or weak.

Weinstein's attorneys have also asked for the trial to be moved, arguing that intense coverage in New York's tabloids has meant he won't get a fair trial.

An appellate court will likely make a decision later on Monday, but the request is expected to be rejected.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Shrugging off Trump, FBI tackles right-wing extremists

Yahoo – AFP, Paul HANDLEY, August 25, 2019

Guns, ammunition and tactical gear seized by police near Los Angeles after
arresting a man who threatened a mass shooting (AFP Photo/Handout)

Guns, ammunition and tactical gear seized by police near Los Angeles after arresting a man who threatened a mass shooting (AFP Photo/Handout)

Washington (AFP) - One man had three assault rifles, extra-large magazines and a gas mask. Another had over 18 weapons, including sawed-off shotguns, AR-15s, and a grenade launcher.

Earlier this year, the two might not have drawn the attention of US law enforcement.

But ever since a young racist slaughtered 22 at a Texas Walmart, and another man murdered 10 in Ohio three weekends ago, the FBI has arrested at least seven right-wing extremists in what appears to be a more earnest effort to target white nationalist threats in the United States.

Vaults of guns, crates of ammunition

These are some examples of the deeply disturbing cases.

On August 8, a 23-year-old Las Vegas security guard who communicated with neo-Nazis was arrested with bomb-making materials and indications he might target a synagogue or gay nightclub.

A week later, a Connecticut man, 22, was detained after suggesting online that he would carry out a mass shooting. At his home, investigators found multiple hand and long guns, camouflage outfits, titanium body armor and a combat helmet.

On August 12, an 18-year-old who voiced support for mass shootings was indicted for threatening to kill law enforcement officers. At his home, he had a vault full of weapons and 10,000 rounds of ammunition.

Four days after that, Florida police arrested a 25-year-old man who texted his girlfriend that he was planning a mass shooting and envisioned "100 good kills."

Members and supporters of the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest 
neo-Nazi groups in the US, hold a rally on April 21, 2018 in Newnan, Georgia

On August 17, a 20-year-old white nationalist was arrested in Ohio for threatening a Jewish community center. At his home, he had amassed multiple semi-automatic assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, and a gas mask.

And this week, police in Long Beach, California, arrested a man for making a mass shooting threat, and found at his home several illegal assault rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and high-capacity magazines.

FBI waking up

The arrests brought to light the extent of the threat of extremist ideology on the right, and its ability to motivate uniformly young, white men into acting on their hate.

They also, analysts said, mark a change after US justice authorities have been accused for years of doing little about domestic terrorism, which has now killed more Americans since 2002 than Islamist extremism.

"I think that federal law enforcement understand that this is at the highest level of concern," said Brian Levin, head of the Study for Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.

"They are certainly devoting a decent amount of investigative resources."

President Donald Trump has been criticized for not roundly condemning white nationalists and neo-Nazis in the wake of several shootings and violent incidents, in particular after a deadly neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

Analysts say that reticence left the FBI not fully invested in confronting the threat.

Mass shootings like the one at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas have forced US law 
enforcement to reckon with a broad threat from white nationalist extremists
(AFP Photo/Mark RALSTON)

A NBC-Wall Street Journal poll conducted earlier this month and released Sunday showed that 56 percent of those surveyed believe that race relations in the US have gotten worse since Trump's election.

The FBI feels held back from opening investigations by Trump's refusal to criticize people he considers part of his loyal voter base, former FBI terrorism supervisor Dave Gomez told The Washington Post.

"It's a no-win situation for the FBI agent and his supervisor."

850 domestic terror probes

But the agency has now clearly recognized the priority.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in July that they have 850 open "domestic terror" investigations and have made 100 arrests so far. The majority of those cases, he said, are "what you might call white supremacist violence."

But Wray also stressed that they were targeting crimes rather than an ideology -- a sharply different approach than that for Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda sympathizers, who can be arrested for expressing support for outlawed jihadists.

Wray's predecessor Andrew McCabe said Friday that the agency is overcoming that wariness, even if it could mean encroachments on civil liberties.

"I think the FBI appears to be refocusing, and augmenting their efforts on the domestic terrorist threat," McCabe told CNN.

Now there is "a much higher degree of sensitivity... to the statements which are now seen as predictors of potentially mass shootings," he said.

Levin said the arrests also show that, after the shock of recent mass shootings, the US public is more attuned to the ideological threat and ready to report any hints by perpetrators of their radical ideologies.

"I think that has created a familiarity among the public with what certain warning signs are," he said.

Islamic scholar Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

Yahoo – AFP, 25 August 2019

Tariq Ramadan is a married father of four whose grandfather founded Egypt's
Muslim Brotherhood

Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar charged in France with raping two women, has also been accused of taking part in the gang rape of a journalist, French judicial sources said Sunday.

The sources confirmed reports on Europe 1 radio and in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that a woman in her 50s had accused Ramadan, 56, of raping her along with a member of his staff when she went to interview the academic at a hotel in Lyon in May 2014.

The woman, who filed a criminal complaint in May 2019, also accused Ramadan of issuing "threats or acts of intimidation" aimed at dissuading her from reporting the alleged attack to the police, the judicial sources added.

Ramadan, a married father of four whose grandfather founded Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, was a professor at Oxford University until he was forced to take leave when rape allegations surfaced at the height of the "Me Too" movement in late 2017.

He has denied charges he raped a disabled woman in 2009 and a feminist activist in 2012.

He was taken into custody in February 2018 and held for nine months before being granted bail.

Authorities in Switzerland are also investigating him after receiving a rape complaint in that country.

His lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, refused to comment Sunday on the latest allegations against him in France.

The woman behind the latest complaint told police that Ramadan and a male assistant repeatedly raped her in Ramadan's room at the Sofitel hotel in Lyon.

She described the alleged attack as being of "untold violence" and claimed that when she threatened to report them to the police Ramadan replied: "You don't know how powerful I am."

She also claimed that Ramadan had contacted her via the Messenger app in January, two months after his release from jail, saying that he wanted to make her an "offer" of a "professional nature", without giving details.

Tariq Ramadan is a married father of four whose grandfather founded Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

MIT professor quits in protest over lab links to Epstein

Yahoo – AFP, August 22, 2019

Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein portrayed himself as a 'science philanthropist'
and was friendly with several renowned scientists (AFP Photo/STEPHANIE KEITH)

New York (AFP) - The head of a research center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has said he will quit in protest after the revelation of financial ties between the institution and disgraced hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein.

Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab, said he would leave at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year after finding out that lab director Joi Ito took money from Epstein, who committed suicide in prison on August 10 as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

"My logic was simple: the work my group does focuses on social justice and on the inclusion of marginalized individuals and points of view," Zuckerman wrote in a message posted on the Medium forum Tuesday and added to Wednesday.

"It's hard to do that work with a straight face in a place that violated its own values so clearly in working with Epstein and in disguising that relationship."

Zuckerman said he had apologized to the three recipients of the Media Lab's 2018 "Disobedience Prize" who were recognized for their fight against sexual harassment in the science world.

"For me, the deep involvement of Epstein in the life of the Media Lab is something that makes my work impossible to carry forward there," Zuckerman said.

Researcher J. Nathan Matias, a visiting scholar at the lab, said he was also resigning following the revelations about Ito's ties with Epstein.

Matias was working on a project conducting research on protecting women and other vulnerable people from online abuse and harassment.

"I cannot with integrity do that from a place with the kind of relationship that the Media Lab has had with Epstein. It's that simple," he said in a post on Medium announcing his resignation.

Earlier this month, Ito apologized in an open letter for his links with Epstein, who was accused of trafficking girls as young as 14 for sex.

Ito said he met the businessman in 2013, five years after Epstein's first conviction in Florida for paying young girls for sexual massages.

He admitted to visiting residences owned by the multimillionaire and having accepted financial assistance for the Media Lab and for his own investment fund.

While taking "full responsibility for my error in judgment," Ito said "that in all of my interactions with Epstein, I was never involved in, never heard him talk about, and never saw any evidence of the horrific acts that he was accused of."

Other scientists, including Harvard genetics professor George Church, have apologized for having contacts with Epstein.

The hedge fund manager had portrayed himself as a "science philanthropist" and was friendly with several renowned scientists.

According to recently released court documents quoted by US media, one of Epstein's alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, said as a teenager she was forced to have sex at one of Epstein's residences with Marvin Minsky, a co-founder of the MIT Media Lab who died in early 2016.

Monday, August 19, 2019

New York police officer sacked over choking death of black man

Yahoo – AFP, August 19, 2019

New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill, pictured here on October 26, 2018,
made the final decision to sack Daniel Pantaleo, the New York police officer whose
use of a chokehold was blamed for the 2014 death of Eric Garner during an

New York (AFP) - A US police offer was sacked Monday for putting a black man in a banned chokehold just before his death five years ago in a case that fueled nationwide protests.

New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill told reporters Daniel Pantaleo was dismissed from the force over the death of Eric Garner during an arrest in July 2014.

The incident stimulated "Black Lives Matter" protests which called for police to be held accountable for the deaths of unarmed African-Americans in custody or facing arrest.

Pantaleo's sacking comes after NYPD Deputy Commissioner and departmental administrative judge Rosemarie Maldonado recommended earlier this month that he be fired.

Pantaleo was suspended pending the decision of O'Neill, who had the final say on the officer's future.

"It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer serve as a New York City police officer," O'Neill said, describing it as "an immediate termination."

He added that it had been a difficult decision for him but he was absolutely sure he had made the correct one, adding that the Garner family had suffered a terrible tragedy.

People protest outside police headquarters on May 13, 2019 while a disciplinary hearing 
takes place for officer Daniel Pantaleo in New York City (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur)

Four officers attempted to arrest Garner, 43, on suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes on a sidewalk in Staten Island on July 17, 2014.

In a video recorded by a bystander, which was posted online and went viral, Pantaleo can be seen putting his arm tightly around Garner's neck and driving the much larger suspect into the pavement before releasing him.

Meanwhile, another officer pressed Garner's head to the pavement.

Garner, who resisted arrest but was unarmed, complained 11 times that he could not breathe -- a refrain that would become a rallying cry for protesters.

Garner appeared to lose consciousness, and the father-of-six was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

On July 16, the US Department of Justice determined that Pantaleo would not face federal charges, a decision that Garner's family slammed as an "insult."

The decision came after the victim's family appealed to the Justice Department to consider whether federal criminal or civil rights charges could be brought against one or more of the officers in the case.

A New York state grand jury decided in December 2014 that there was insufficient evidence to support homicide charges against Pantaleo, amid claims that Garner suffered from a heart condition and asthma that could have caused his death.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Hong Kong protesters flood city streets for largest rally in weeks

Yahoo – AFP, Yan ZHAO, Catherine LAI, August 18, 2019

Organisers of the rally, which started at Hong Kong's Victoria Park, said it was an
attempt to wrestle the narrative of the protest back to its peaceful origins (AFP

A sea of democracy activists flooded the streets of Hong Kong Sunday under torrential rains in a peaceful demonstration to city leaders that their movement still draws wide public support, despite mounting violence and increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.

Hundreds of thousands of umbrella-carrying protesters poured across the heart of Hong Kong island, defying both the downpour and a police order not to march from a park where they had gathered earlier for a rally.

Weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis, with images of masked, black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles against riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability.

Sunday's action, billed as a return to the peaceful origins of the leaderless protest movement, drew more than 1.7 million people, making it one of the largest rallies since the protests began about three months ago, according to organisers the Civil Human Rights Front.

It ended a weekend of protests that, as of early Monday, saw no major confrontations with police for the first time in weeks.

Hong Kong riot police stand in front of a restaurant while patrolling after an 
anti-government rally which, for the first time in weeks, saw no major 
confrontations with officers (AFP Photo/ISAAC LAWRENCE)

"It's been a long day and we're very tired, but to see so many people out in the rain marching for Hong Kong gives strength to everyone," said Danny Tam, a 28-year-old graphic designer.

Police said only that the approved rally in the park reached an estimated 128,000 people, not including those packed into the many surrounding streets.

The unprecedented political crisis was sparked by widespread opposition to a plan for allowing extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

But protests have since morphed into a broader call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.

Anger has been sharpened among protesters by the perceived heavy-handedness of the police, who have used tear gas, baton charges and rubber bullets in incidents that have gained wide attention on social media.

"The police are doing things that are totally unacceptable," said Yim, a protester who like many others gave only one name.

Protests have morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous 
city, with anger sharpened by perceived heavy-handedness of the police (AFP Photo/

"They are hurting citizens. They aren't protecting us."

Communist Party-ruled mainland China has sharpened its tone towards the protesters, decrying the "terrorist-like" actions of a violent minority.

Spiralling unrest, which last week saw protesters paralyse the city's airport, tarnished a campaign that took pride in its peaceful intent and unpredictability -- which demonstrators have tagged with the slogan "Be Water".

Police under pressure

Many among Sunday's rally-goers carried rucksacks stuffed with protest paraphernalia -- laser pens, gas masks, goggles and helmets.

"We have our gear with us, but we hope not to use it," said a 30-year-old identifying himself only as Man.

Late in the evening hundreds of masked protesters briefly gathered outside the government headquarters shouting "Reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our times" before dispersing.

Protesters flouted a police order not to march from the park, pouring across the
heart of Hong Kong island despite torrential rain (AFP Photo/Philip FONG)

State media has run images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, prompting the United States to warn Beijing against sending in troops.

Analysts say any intervention by Chinese security forces would be a disaster for China's reputation and economy.

But Hong Kong's police are under intense pressure, stretched by repeated flash-mob protests.

"Only when there were violent acts or illegal behaviours which endangered the safety of people at (the) scene, police would stop them by proportionate use of force," the police said early Monday in a statement, adding that it was "unfair" to criticise the officers under such circumstances.

Opinions among the protesters have diverged over the billowing violence, which has seen a small hardcore group using rocks, Molotov cocktails and slingshots against the police.

There have also been several pro-Beijing rallies held in Hong Kong, although
much smaller in size (AFP Photo/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA)

Some say the violence has driven the pro-democracy movement in an uncomfortable direction.

"There are some expressing extreme views," rally-goer Ray Cheng, 30, told AFP.

"But we have tried many times with peaceful approaches... I really hope the government can listen to us."

Demands unmet

Under a deal signed with Britain, authoritarian China agreed to allow Hong Kong to keep its unique freedoms when the former British crown colony was handed back in 1997.

But many Hong Kongers feel those freedoms are being chipped away, especially since China's hardline president Xi Jinping came to power.

Beyond suspending the extradition bill, Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam have shown no desire to meet demands such as an inquiry into police violence, the complete withdrawal of the bill and an amnesty.

Communist Party-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone 
towards the protesters, decrying the "terrorist-like" actions of a violent hardcore 
minority (AFP Photo/Manan VATSYAYANA)

Beijing has pressured Hong Kong businesses to toe the line and condemn the protesters.

On Friday, Cathay Pacific Airways announced the shock resignation of CEO Rupert Hogg after the carrier was excoriated by Beijing because some staff supported the pro-democracy protests.

Shadows still loom around Epstein after sexual predator's death

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine TRIOMPHE, August 18, 2019

Even after the death of millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, the sexual predator's past continues
to hold mysteries; this file photo was released July 8, 2019 when federal prosecutors
announced charges against him (AFP Photo/STEPHANIE KEITH)

New York (AFP) - A week after his death, multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein is being seen not only as a sexual predator with an insatiable appetite but also one whose proclivities were known in his well-heeled world.

Even in a country where numerous powerful men have been brought down by revelations of the #MeToo movement, Epstein's alleged sexual aggressions against underaged girls and young women stand out as shocking.

His suicide on August 10 in a federal jail in Manhattan provided the latest jolt -- but no final closure -- to his disturbing story.

From 2,000 pages of court documents released the day before his death, as well as new lawsuits against his estate and those who allegedly recruited his young victims, emerge a sordid picture of a man who claimed a "biological" need for sex three times a day.

The plaintiffs -- some of them poor and underage at the time of the alleged abuses in the early 2000s -- say Epstein's "recruiters" approached them outside their schools or at their workplaces.

These women allegedly persuaded the girls they could earn hundreds of dollars by providing non-sexual massages to a man described as a powerful New Yorker.

Once in the wealthy financier's Manhattan residence they were taken to a "massage room" decorated with photos of nude women -- there to be sexually abused, even raped, several women have testified.

Epstein used similar methods to recruit and abuse girls at his opulent residence in Palm Beach, Florida, according to legal proceedings in that state. He allegedly did the same on his private island in the Caribbean, importing girls on a jet dubbed the "Lolita Express."

He also owned pricey properties in New Mexico and Paris, though no sordid details have emerged from those venues.

But his address book, published in 2015 by the now-defunct Gawker website, included dozens of names linked to those locations, listed under "Massages."

As authorities investigate Epstein's death -- and his living associates -- little doubt remains about the extent of his sexual obsessions.

'Lots of them, mostly young'

No less a figure than Donald Trump, then a jet-setting New York real estate mogul, commented in 2002 on Epstein's predilection for young women.

This file photo taken on May 6, 2014 shows Ghislaine Maxwell, the jet-setting daughter 
of late British media mogul Robert Maxwell; she was a close aide to Jeffrey Epstein and 
has been elusive since his death by suicide on August 10, 2019 (AFP Photo/Rob Kim)

A year later, Vanity Fair reported that "Epstein is known about town as a man who loves women -- lots of them, mostly young."

But it was only in 2005, after an alleged victim's mother complained to police, that an investigation turned up evidence linking him to sexual abuse of at least 30 young girls.

An agreement struck in 2007 between his lawyers and then US attorney Alex Acosta -- who was named US labor secretary by Trump before resigning in July amid fresh scrutiny of the deal -- resulted in Epstein facing an unusually light sentence on state prostitution charges. He spent 13 months in jail, allowed out daily to tend to business.

Now officially a sexual offender, Epstein apparently continued pursuing his obsession.

In August 2018 he told a New York Times interviewer there were times in history when sex with teenage girls was acceptable, and that criminalizing it was an aberration.

But while Epstein could be witty and charming -- he was passionate about the piano and could hold his own in discussions with Nobel Prize-winning scientists -- he was secretive about his business dealings, journalists who knew him say.

"He's a classic iceberg," longtime friend Rosa Monckton told Vanity Fair. "What you see is not what you get."

Opaque in business

Epstein's career began a bit improbably in the 1970s, when he landed a job as a math teacher at a prestigious private school in Manhattan. He met and endeared himself to Alan "Ace" Greenberg, then the boss of investment firm Bear Stearns, while tutoring Greenberg's son.

Epstein eventually landed a job there, before quitting in 1981 to found his own financial advisory firm.

According to Vanity Fair, it was the influential financier Steven Hoffenberg who introduced Epstein -- the son of a parks employee in blue-collar Brooklyn -- to jet-set circles. (Hoffenberg was later sentenced to 20 years in prison for defrauding some 3,000 investors in a Ponzi scheme.)

Moving in rarefied circles that included Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew, Epstein was particularly close to Leslie Wexner, a billionaire whose company owned the Victoria's Secret lingerie stores.

Wexner says he cut off dealings with Epstein 10 years ago, accusing him of misappropriating "vast sums of money."

In the 1990s, Epstein met Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of late British media baron Robert Maxwell; a brief affair ensued.

The 57-year-old Maxwell is now a chief suspect in running Epstein's recruitment ring, but she has yet to face charges.

Her whereabouts are unknown.