'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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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Hong Kong mask ban challenged in court ahead of Halloween rally

Yahoo – AFP, October 31, 2019

Hong Kong's protesters have worn masks to make it harder for police
to identify them (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)

Hong Kong democracy activists went to court on Thursday to challenge an emergency law that bans protesters from wearing masks, as demonstrators vowed to use Halloween parties to defy the restrictions once more.

The international finance hub has been upended by nearly five months of huge, often violent, pro-democracy protests in which participants routinely use masks to hide their identities.

Earlier this month the city's unelected pro-Beijing leader invoked colonial-era legislation for the first time in more than fifty years to outlaw face coverings at rallies.

The move was seen as a watershed legal moment for the city since its 1997 return by Britain to China -- but the ban has done little to stop the protests or dissuade people from wearing masks.

The High Court is hearing two challenges in the same sitting. The first, from a student leader, question's the constitutionality of the ban.

But the second challenge, lodged by some of the city's best known pro-democracy opposition lawmakers, is much broader. It aims to challenge the entire emergency law used by chief executive Carrie Lam.

"This is a duel between the rule of law and totalitarianism," lawmaker Dennis Kwok told reporters outside court on Thursday.

The sweeping 1922 emergency law was passed in a single day by then colonial master Britain to deal with striking workers and allows the city's leader to make "any regulations whatsoever" in a time of emergency or public danger.

It was last used by the British in 1967 to help suppress Maoist-backed leftist riots that raged for nearly a year and killed some 50 people.

Lam's use of the law was controversial because it bypassed the Legislative Council, the partially-elected chamber that approves Hong Kong's laws.

Critics said the move also undermined the city's reputation for being a dependable business and legal hub at a time of growing concern over Beijing's control of the city.

The legal challengers also argue it contradicts the city's more recently passed Bill of Rights which states that restrictions on core freedoms can only be justified if there is an emergency or the "life of the nation" is at stake.

When Lam announced the mask ban in early October she publicly declared that the city was not in a state of emergency.

The timing of the legal challenge coincides with the latest plan by the largely leaderless movement to defy the law.

Online forums used to organise rallies have been calling on supporters to hit the streets in masks on Thursday evening as the city celebrates Halloween.

Police told the South China Morning Post they were putting some 3,000 officers on standby as well as three water cannon trucks.

A theme park cancelled its annual Halloween party while a subway station near the city's main nightclub street was set to close at 9pm (1300 GMT).

A police source told SCMP that officers would order revellers to "remove masks if they were chanting slogans instead of celebrating Halloween."

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Boeing CEO grilled on Capitol Hill after MAX crashes

Yahoo – AFP, Luc Olinga with John Biers in New York, October 29, 2019

Family members of those who died aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 hold
photographs of their loved ones as Dennis Muilenburg (R), president and CEO
of the Boeing Company, testifies before the Senate Commerce Committee

Washington (AFP) - Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg faced a barrage of criticism from US lawmakers Tuesday at a jammed hearing on the company's commitment to safety as family members of victims of two deadly MAX 737 crashes looked on.

In his first appearance before Congress since the 737 MAX was grounded in March, Muilenburg apologized for the crashes and acknowledged shortcomings, but broadly defended Boeing's development of the ill-fated aircraft.

Senators from both parties signaled clear dissatisfaction, bordering on rage in some cases.

"Boeing is the company that built the flying fortress that saved Europe," said Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, a former National Guard helicopter pilot who lost both legs during the Iraq War.

"You have told this committee and you told me half-truths over and over again," said Duckworth, who represents Illinois, home to Boeing's corporate headquarters. "You have not told us the whole truth and these families are suffering because of it."

Muilenburg stuck to the company's longstanding stance that development of the MAX followed time-tested company procedures and defended it against charges that it cut corners on safety and was too cozy with regulators the Federal Aviation Administration.

Many analysts view the hearings as a can't-win situation for Muilenburg and expect him to exit the company in the foreseeable future, most likely after the MAX returns to service.

Asked by a reporter if he would resign, Muilenburg said, "That's not where my focus is. My focus is on the job at hand focused on safety. And we're going to do everything we can to ensure safe flight."

But Nadia Milleron, who lost her daughter on the Ethiopian Airlines crash, said the company needs a shakeup.

Muilenburg "needs to resign. The whole board needs to resign," she said. "I expect him to stop putting the blame on the FAA and other people because that is what they always do. They don't take responsibility."

Boeing president and CEO, Dennis Muilenburg arrives at a Senate hearing 
on the 737 MAX after two deadly crashes (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

Passing the buck?

Many of the questions focused on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, an automated system that Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines pilots were unable to control, resulting in crashes.

"We have learned from both accidents and we've identified changes that need to be made to MCAS," Muilenburg told the Senate Commerce Committee.

But Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, lambasted Muilenburg as he struggled to answer pointed questions about 2016 texts from Boeing pilot Mark Forkner to a colleague that discussed the "egregious" performance of the MCAS during a simulation test and said that he "basically lied to the regulators."

Muilenburg indicated that Boeing counsel shared the documents with the Justice Department in February, but that he did not see the specific exchange until it was reported by news media earlier this month.

"I was made aware of existence of this kind of document," Muilenburg told Cruz. "I counted on counsel to handle this appropriately."

"That is passive voice," Cruz shot back. "You're the CEO, the buck stops with you.

"How did your team not put it in front of you, run with their hair on fire and say 'We have a real problem here?' How did that not happen and what does that say about the culture at Boeing?"

Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state where the 737 MAX is built, said the crisis showed that Boeing leadership was failing its employees.

"This isn't a question about line workers -- this is a question about the corporate view from Chicago, and whether there is enough attention to manufacturing and certification," Cantwell said. "You should take offense to the fact that people say, 'It's a great company that's not being run correctly.'"

Tuesday's hearing will be followed by a second session on Wednesday in the House Transportation Committee.

Boeing is still targeting regulatory approval for the MAX in 2019, a timeframe that many aviation experts still view as possible.

Senator Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who chairs the Senate committee, told CNBC before the hearing that he intends to scrutinize Boeing's processes but said he did not see anything that would prevent the MAX from going back into service "fairly soon."

"I think this plane is eminently fixable," Wicker told CNBC. "I don't think it's a hopeless cause."

Monday, October 28, 2019

Aussie racing industry pledges millions for retired horses

Yahoo – AFP, 28 October 2019

The Victoria Racing Club said 10% of ticket sales from the Melbourne Cup Carnival 
and 5% of annual membership fees would go to fund retired horse welfare

Australia's racing industry on Monday pledged millions of dollars for the care of retired racehorses, as it scrambles to address the fallout from animal cruelty allegations that sparked a major outcry.

National broadcaster ABC revealed this month that thousands of retired animals were being sent to abattoirs in secret, where many were allegedly beaten and abused before being killed.

Racing Victoria said it would spend at least Aus$25 million (US$17 million) over the next three years to expand an existing program of rehoming retired horses and to create a new welfare taskforce designed to prevent cruelty to racing animals.

The organisation's chairman, Brian Kruger, said it was clear the industry needed to "step up and do more".

"It's incumbent on us to ensure our horses have opportunities for a rewarding life after racing," he told reporters in Melbourne.

Separately, the Victoria Racing Club said 10 percent of ticket sales from the Melbourne Cup Carnival and five percent of annual membership fees would go toward a new equine welfare fund, which it is seeding with an initial Aus$1.5 million.

About 300,000 people attend the four-day Carnival each year, with tickets to next week's prestigious Cup race costing $90 for a general admission pass and up to hundreds of dollars for exclusive packages.

Liz Walker, the CEO of animal welfare charity RSPCA in Victoria, said the measures were a "good start" but did not go far enough.

"It tends to be focused towards the end-of-life of racehorses and we would say they really have to go right back to the beginning, and we really do need to have that birth-to-death reporting and recording as well as injury statistics," she told the ABC.

While the slaughter of racehorses is not illegal in Australia, the ABC investigation found the practice was far more widespread than acknowledged.

The racing industry insists that less than one percent of retired thoroughbreds end up in an abattoir or knackery, but the ABC claimed about 4,000 horses "disappeared" each year, with meat from slaughtered animals being shipped abroad for human consumption and pet food.

The Queensland government last week announced an inquiry into the treatment of horses at abattoirs in response to the revelations.

Related Article:

Saturday, October 26, 2019

More than 60 dead as Iraq protests take new violent turn

Yahoo – AFP, October 26, 2019

Nearly 200 people have died and thousands wounded in Iraq since
anti-government protests broke out on October 1 (AFP Photo)

Baghdad (AFP) - More than 60 people have died in renewed anti-government protests across Iraq, officials said Saturday, with clashes breaking out as demonstrators turned their fury against government and paramilitary offices.

The death toll from protests this month has soared to 220, including dozens killed since Friday as they torched government buildings or offices belonging to factions of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force.

The demonstrations first erupted on October 1, with protesters railing against government corruption and unemployment, while a second wave broke out late Thursday.

The latest round of demonstrations has been notably violent, with 63 people killed and more than 2,000 wounded over just two days, according to the Iraqi Human Rights Commission.

Three protesters were killed in the capital Baghdad on Saturday, with medics and officials reporting trauma wounds sustained by tear gas canisters lobbed at demonstrators.

But the majority of victims have been in the country's Shiite-majority south, where protesters torched dozens of provincial government buildings, party offices and Hashed centres.

On Saturday, three people were shot dead while setting fire to a local official's home in the southern province of Dhi Qar, a police source told AFP.

The previous night, 12 protesters died in Diwaniyah while setting fire to the headquarters of the powerful Badr organisation.

Top Hashed commanders have threatened "revenge" after their offices were attacked, and denounced those they said aimed at sowing "discord and chaos" in the country.

In a bid to contain the violence, security forces announced curfews across most of Iraq's southern provinces -- but brief protests still took place in Diwaniyah, Nasiriyah, Babylon and Najaf.

In the southern port city of Basra, however, protesters failed to come out in large numbers after security forces strictly enforced a curfew.

Members of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force take part in a funerary 
procession in the Iraqi capital Baghdad (AFP Photo/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)

Fears of 'armed spoilers'

The Hashed was founded in 2014 to fight the Islamic State group but its factions have since been ordered to incorporate into the state security services.

"Public anger is directed at them in addition to governorate councils, for they were the obvious face of 'the regime'," wrote Harith Hasan, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center.

But the attacks could also hint at political rivalries between the Hashed and populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has thrown his weight behind the demonstrations.

"The Sadrists, especially in their traditional strongholds such as Missan, saw this an opportunity to act against competing militias," such as Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Badr and Kataeb Hezbollah, Hasan said on Twitter.

The United Nations said it was "tragic" to see renewed violence but also warned against "armed spoilers".

"Armed entities sabotaging the peaceful demonstrations, eroding the government's credibility and ability to act, cannot be tolerated," said the UN top official in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert.

Protesters gathered in Baghdad's emblematic Tahrir (Liberation) Square on Saturday morning despite efforts by riot police to clear them with tear gas.

"It's enough -- theft, looting, gangs, mafias, deep state, whatever. Get out! Let us see a (functioning) state," said one protester, referring to perceived cronyism and corruption in the country.

"We don't want anything, just let us live," he added as puffs of smoke from tear gas rose behind him.

Iraqi women mourn for a demonstrator who was killed the previous day in 
anti-government protests in during his funeral (AFP Photo)

'It's enough!'

Oil-rich Iraq is OPEC's second-highest producer -- but one in five people live below the poverty line and youth unemployment stands at 25 percent, according to the World Bank.

About 60 percent of Iraq's 40-million-strong population is under the age of 25.

The staggering rates of joblessness and graft allegations have been at the root of protesters' anger, which the government has struggled to quell.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi has proposed a laundry list of reforms, including hiring drives, increased pensions and a cabinet reshuffle.

New education and health ministers were approved by parliament in a session earlier this month, the only time it was able to meet since protests began.

But a scheduled meeting of parliament on Saturday to discuss the renewed protests failed to take place due to a lack of quorum.

Protesters so far have seemed unimpressed by the government's efforts.

"They told people: 'Go home, we'll give you pensions and come up with a solution'. They tricked us," said one of the rare woman protesters on Saturday, her young son at her side.

They have even directed some of their anger at Sadr and country's top Shiite religious authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is deeply revered among most Iraqis.

"Sadr, Sistani -- this is a shame," a protester in Tahrir said on Saturday.

"We were hit! It's enough," he said, waving a tear gas canister fired earlier by security forces.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Chileans go on strike as protest death toll hits 18

Yahoo – AFP, Miguel SANCHEZ, October 23, 2019

Riot police use water cannons on demonstrators in Santiago, on the sixth straight
day of street violence in Chile, which has left at least 18 people dead (AFP Photo/
Javier TORRES)

Santiago (AFP) - Thousands of Chileans flooded the streets of Santiago and other cities Wednesday on day one of a general strike, upping the pressure on President Sebastien Pinera after days of social unrest that have left at least 18 dead.

Students, professors and state workers walked off the job at the urging of the country's largest union, ignoring a package of measures announced by Pinera aimed at quelling the violence.

"THE STRIKE IS ON! We say it loud and clear: enough of the increases and abuses," said the Workers' United Center of Chile (CUT), which organized the two-day action with about 20 other groups.

In the capital Santiago, police used water cannons to dispel protesters.

"Chile has awakened," read the sign of one protester.

The country, usually one of the most stable in Latin America, has experienced its worst violence in decades since protests against a now-scrapped hike in metro fares escalated dramatically on Friday.

Demonstrators have decried social and economic woes, including a yawning gap between rich and poor.

A demonstrator in Santiago holds a sign reading 'Chile has awakened' (AFP Photo/

A four-year-child and a man were killed in the latest protests when a drunk driver rammed into a crowd of demonstrators, Interior Undersecretary Rodrigo Ubilla said.

A third person died after being beaten by police, according to the victim's family.

In an address to the nation late Tuesday, Pinera apologized for failing to anticipate the outbreak of social unrest.

"I recognize this lack of vision," Pinera said after a meeting with some of Chile's opposition leaders.

Beyond the dead, another 269 people have been injured and about 1,900 have been arrested, according to the National Institute for Human Rights (INDH).

Pinera's proposals

Having initially taken a confrontational line -- declaring that Chile was "at war against a powerful, implacable enemy," and imposing a state of emergency in Santiago and most of Chile's 16 regions -- Pinera has rapidly changed tack and sought cross-party support to find a solution.

He says he will increase the universal basic pension by 20 percent, cancel a recent 9.2 percent increase in electricity bills and propose a law that would see the state cover the costs of expensive medical treatment.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera apologized in an address to the nation for 
failing to anticipate the outbreak of social unrest (AFP Photo/HO)

He also pledged a state subsidy to increase the minimum wage from 301,000 to 350,000 pesos ($482) a month and said the government would introduce health insurance for medication, which is among the most expensive in the region.

Chileans were unconvinced by the promises.

"I don't think that what Pinera said is all that useful," said 38-year-old Karla Araneda, who works near the seat of government.

"Today, even more people are going to be in the streets and the problems are going to continue."

After widespread scenes of violence, destruction, arson and looting last week, protests have become more peaceful this week, particularly in Santiago.

But it's the worst violence to hit Chile since the country returned to democracy after the 1973-1990 right-wing dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet.

Some 20,000 police and troops have been deployed while a nighttime curfew was announced on each of the last four days.

After widespread scenes of violence, destruction, arson and looting last week, 
protests have become more peaceful this week, particularly in Santiago (AFP Photo/

Strike organizers issued a statement demanding that the government end the state of emergency and send troops back to their barracks.

The country's powerful copper mine workers' unions have joined the strike movement.

Chile is the largest producer of copper in the world, much of which is sold to China.

But despite 2.5 percent growth, ordinary Chileans are deeply unhappy about low salaries and pensions, as well as health and education systems that are unaffordable for most.

"Pinera has always been a liar and now... he is asking for forgiveness," said 23-year-old Carlos Morales.

Another resident, Ximena Gutierrez, told AFP: "We will not be silent."

Before Pinera's announcement, one of Chile's largest conglomerates, Quinenco, promised to increase its minimum salaries to 500,000 pesos a month from January 1 -- 60 percent more than the current minimum wage.

Map of Latin America showing countries where major protests 
have occurred in recent months (AFP Photo)

Chile's big business conglomerates are one of the major factors in the huge wealth disparity that has angered protesters.

Nine dead in fires

The strike will put Santiago to the test. Life in the capital has been returning to normal, with three of seven metro lines due to be open Wednesday and buses back on the road.

More than half of Santiago's 136 metro stations suffered heavy damage during last week's protests and remained guarded by soldiers.

Shops and businesses -- even banks -- appeared to be reopening, but some Santiago-area schools were still closed.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Wall Street learns the high cost of sexist comments

Yahoo – AFP, Juliette MICHEL, 21 October 2019

While the heads of big companies and financial groups generally have done their
best to stay above the fray, the #MeToo movement has had a dramatic impact on
the world of high finance

The #MeToo movement recently reached dramatically into the world of high finance, as one prominent Wall Street figure learned after losing the management of at least $1 billion in assets over his disparaging remarks about women.

Ken Fisher, whose slickly produced videos promoting his financial expertise still air regularly on American financial news networks, was invited in early October to a conference in San Francisco.

The conference, which advertises a "no media" policy, was supposed to remain private.

But one participant, Alex Chalekian, said he felt so disturbed by some of Fisher's remarks, many with strong sexual undertones, that he took to Twitter to vent his outrage.

He posted a video blasting Fisher's references to "genitalia" and drug use, as well as his comparison of the recruiting of a new client to a crass and boorish attempt to pick up a girl in a bar.

"Things that were said by Ken Fisher were just absolutely horrifying," Chalekian said. He said several women who attended the event later told him Fisher's remarks made them feel "very uncomfortable."

Fisher subsequently expressed regret for his comments, saying in a message to AFP that "I realize this kind of language has no place in our company or industry. I sincerely apologize."

But the damage was done. Several financial entities broke ties with Fisher Investments, which manages some $112 billion.

The city of Boston was among those.

"Boston will not invest in companies led by people who treat women like commodities," said Mayor Marty Walsh.

'We are very concerned'

According to a tally by the CNBC network, Fisher Investments lost around $1 billion in managed assets within days.

The total could grow, since Fidelity Investments, one of the world's largest asset managers, expressed its unhappiness and said it was reviewing the relationship.

"We are very concerned about the highly inappropriate comments by Kenneth Fisher," a Fidelity spokesperson said. "The views he expressed do not align in any way with our company's values. We do not tolerate these types of comments at our company."

Fisher manages about $500 million in Fidelity's assets, CNBC said.

While Wall Street traders' excesses and verbal outrages have been the subject of numerous films, the heads of big companies and financial groups generally have done their best to stay above the fray, though not all have succeeded.

"The brand is the company's value and the CEO is identified with the brand," said Charles Elson, a specialist in corporate governance at the University of Delaware, "which is why it's just a really good idea for a CEO to focus on running the business and to avoid getting into political or social controversy when speaking publicly.

"When they do, it naturally creates problems."

'Everyone is afraid'

Travis Kalanick, a co-founder of Uber, was thus forced out in 2017 amid reports that the company's workplace culture included sexual harassment and discrimination.

Elon Musk had to give up the chairmanship of Tesla this year after his Twitter use got him in trouble with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, Wall Street's "policeman."

In September, the co-founder of WeWork, Adam Neumann, stepped down as chief executive amid complaints about his lavish lifestyle and some impulsive actions that he himself said had become "a significant distraction."

Across the world of high finance, meanwhile, Fisher's remarks were widely denounced.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist with National Holdings, said that "it's never appropriate to use that kind of language. That would be true today, and it was 20 years ago."

"Maybe it was the norm back to a time of the TV show 'Mad Men,'" which was set mostly in the New York advertising world of the 1960s, "but it has not been in my career."

And in a world where the "ESG investing trend" is growing, Hogan said -- referring to an emphasis on environmentalism, social issues and governance concerns -- "it even speaks louder."

Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Financial Services, said that Fisher's remarks were not necessarily anything new in the financial world.

"Except now, everyone is afraid between the rise of the #MeToo movement and ESG management," Volokhine said.

Australian papers censor front pages in press freedom campaign

Yahoo – AFP, 21 October 2019

Australia's leading newspapers blacked out Monday front pages in protest
against government secrecy and a crackdown on press freedom

Newspapers across Australia ran heavily redacted front pages on Monday in protest against government secrecy and a crackdown on press freedom, a rare show of unity in a fractious media landscape.

National and regional mastheads including The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review hit newsstands Monday with most of their front-page news stories blacked out.

Advertisements have also been rolled out across the country's television networks, asking viewers to consider the question: "When the government hides the truth from you, what are they covering up?"

The campaign by the Right to Know coalition was sparked by federal police raids on the national broadcaster ABC and a News Corp journalist's home earlier this year over two stories that had proved embarrassing for the government.

It centres on six demands, including exemptions for journalists from strict national security laws that have created a complex web of provisions critics say too easily ensnare reporters doing their jobs.

"The culture of secrecy that has descended through these legal provisions restricts every Australian's right to know and goes well beyond the original intent of national security," Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union head Paul Murphy said.

The media campaign was sparked by Australian police raids on national 
broadcaster ABC and a News Corp journalist's home

"The police raids on the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst and the headquarters of the ABC in Sydney were direct attacks on media freedom in Australia but they are just the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Three journalists are facing possible criminal charges in the wake of the raids -- Smethurst for revealing the government was considering plans to spy on Australians -- and two ABC reporters for exposing alleged war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

The media groups are also calling for enhanced protections for public sector whistleblowers -- who have also faced charges for leaking to the press -- as well as an improved freedom of information regime and defamation law reform.

Australia's defamation laws are notoriously complex and among the strictest in the world.

And unlike most liberal democracies, Australia does not have a bill of rights or constitutionally enshrined protections for freedom of speech.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would "always believe in the freedom of the press", but he also insisted that journalists were not above the law.

"The rule of law has to be applied evenly and fairly in protection of our broader freedoms, and so I don't think anyone is, I hope, looking for a leave pass on any of those things," he told reporters during an official visit to Jakarta.

A press freedom inquiry is due to report its findings to parliament next year.

Lebanon cabinet fast-tracks reforms as protests rage on

Yahoo – AFP, Layal Abou Rahal and Joe Dyke, October 21, 2019

Hundreds of thousands of people have joined protests demanding a sweeping
overhaul of Lebanon's political system (AFP Photo/Anwar AMRO)

Beirut (AFP) - Lebanon's teetering government approved an economic rescue plan Monday but the last-ditch move was met with deep distrust from a swelling protest movement seeking the removal of the entire political class.

A proposed tax on mobile messaging applications last week sparked a spontaneous, cross-sectarian mobilisation -- at first dubbed a "WhatsApp revolution" -- that has brought Lebanon to a standstill and united the people against its hereditary, ruling elite.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri seemed aware that the measures he announced -- which include a deal on the 2020 budget and significant reforms that seemed unlikely only a week ago -- would not quench the people's thirst for change.

"These decisions are not designed as a trade-off. They are not to ask you to stop expressing your anger. That is your decision to make," Hariri, himself an ex-prime minister's son, said in a televised press conference.

Euphoric crowds partied deep into the night Sunday, leaving political and sectarian paraphernalia at home to gather under the cedar-stamped national flag, dance to impromptu concerts and chant often hilarious anti-establishment slogans.

They were back in front of the houses of government and on the main Martyrs' Square on Monday to listen to Hariri's announcement, which was broadcast on loudspeakers.

The crowd erupted into shouts of "revolution, revolution" when Hariri finished his address.

"We want the fall of the regime," they went on.

Lebanese protesters take to the streets during demonstrations to demand better 
living conditions and the ouster of a cast of politicians who have monopolised power 
and influence for decades (AFP Photo/Anwar AMRO)

"This is all just smoke and mirrors... How do we know these reforms will be implemented?" asked Chantal, a 40-year-old who joined the protest with her little daughter and a Lebanese flag painted on her cheek.

'Day of destiny'

Hariri detailed some of the measures taken by his fractious cabinet, including a programme of privatisations, a decision to scrap new tax hikes and halving the generous salaries of ministers and lawmakers.

He also said his government would in three weeks approve the first batch of infrastructure projects funded by an $11-billion aid package pledged to Lebanon by international donors last year.

The premier said the economic rescue plan would "satisfy" international donors who took part in the CEDRE conference in Paris in 2018.

Lebanese economist Ghazi Wazni said it would also likely be well received by rating agencies and the International Monetary Fund.

Lebanon's embattled political leaders have warned that the government's resignation at this time would only deepen the crisis gripping the small Mediterranean country.

The protesters are from across Lebanon's sectarian divides (AFP Photo/Mahmoud ZAYYAT)

Hariri also said he supported the idea of early elections, a key demand among the hundreds of thousands of protesters who have taken to Lebanon's streets since last Thursday.

President Michel Aoun, who had been conspicuously silent since the start of the demonstrations, suggested at the start of the cabinet meeting that banking secrecy should be lifted for high-ranking officials.

Lebanon has strict rules over bank account privacy that critics say makes the country susceptible to money laundering.

Dozens of demonstrators on Monday night gathered in front of the central bank in Beirut, accusing its chief Riad Salameh of worsening the country's debt through faulty monetary policies.

Aoun's son-in-law and ally, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, has also been a particular figure of anger among protesters.

To many demonstrators, the reforms Hariri announced smacked of a desperate attempt by a corrupt elite to cling to their jobs, and there was little sign Monday that the mobilisation was weakening.

"It is a day of destiny for us. All our hard work and efforts in previous days and years were to get us to this moment," said Roni al-Asaad, a 32-year-old activist in central Beirut.

"If they could have implemented these reforms before, why haven't they? And why should we believe them today?"

The protests were initially dubbed the "WhatsApp revolution" because of anger 
over a proposed tax on mobile messaging applications (AFP Photo/JOSEPH EID)

The protests have morphed into a mass non-partisan push for a total overhaul of a sectarian power system still run mostly by civil war-era warlords, three decades after the end of Lebanon's conflict.


Given the size of the gatherings, the five-day-old mobilisation has been remarkably incident free, with armies of volunteers forming to clean up the streets, provide water to protesters and organise first aid tents.

Lebanon's debt-burdened economy has been sliding towards collapse in recent months, adding to the economic woes of a population exasperated by rampant corruption, a lack of job opportunities and poor public services.

Among the protesters' main grievances is the erratic supply of electricity from the state.

Usually prone to blame anti-government mobilisation on another party or a foreign conspiracy, Lebanon's top political figures have appeared to acknowledge that none of them have been spared in the show of public anger.

"What happened in the street is a volcano that can't be contained with timely solutions," said Imad Salamey, a political science professor at the Lebanese American University.

"It is difficult for the demonstrators to regain trust in the state in 72 hours and with solutions only presented on paper," he said.

Schools, banks, universities and many private businesses closed their doors Monday, both for security reasons and in an apparent bid to encourage people to join the demonstrations.