United Nations Declaration (Articles 1 - 30):

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts
Nigerian Minister of the Environment Amina Mohammed, seen in 2015, will be the UN's number two official (AFP Photo/Mireya ACIERTO)
Sustainable Development
"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.) -
"The Timing of the Great Shift" – Mar 21, 2009 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Text version)

“ … 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.)


The Declaration of Human Freedom

Archangel Michael (Via Steve Beckow), Feb. 19, 2011

Every being is a divine and eternal soul living in a temporal body. Every being was alive before birth and will live after death.

Every soul enters into physical life for the purpose of experience and education, that it may, in the course of many lifetimes, learn its true identity as a fragment of the Divine.

Life itself is a constant process of spiritual evolution and unfoldment, based on free choice, that continues until such time as we realize our true nature and return to the Divine from which we came.

No soul enters life to serve another, except by choice, but to serve its own purpose and that of the Divine from which it came.

All life is governed by natural and universal laws which precede and outweigh the laws of humanity. These laws, such as the law of karma, the law of attraction, and the law of free will, are decreed by God to order existence and assist each person to achieve life’s purpose.

No government can or should survive that derives its existence from the enforced submission of its people or that denies its people their basic rights and freedoms.

Life is a movement from one existence to another, in varied venues throughout the universe and in other universes and dimensions of existence. We are not alone in the universe but share it with other civilizations, most of them peace-loving, many of whom are more advanced than we are, some of whom can be seen with our eyes and some of whom cannot.

The evidence of our five senses is not the final arbiter of existence. Humans are spiritual as well as physical entities and the spiritual side of life transcends the physical. God is a Spirit and the final touchstone of God’s Truth is not physical but spiritual. The Truth is to be found within.

God is one and, because of this, souls are one. They form a unity. They are meant to live in peace and harmony together in a “common unity” or community. The use of force to settle affairs runs contrary to natural law. Every person should have the right to conduct his or her own affairs without force, as long as his or her choices do not harm another.

No person shall be forced into marriage against his or her will. No woman shall be forced to bear or not bear children, against her will. No person shall be forced to hold or not hold views or worship in a manner contrary to his or her choice. Nothing vital to existence shall be withheld from another if it is within the community’s power to give.

Every person shall retain the ability to think, speak, and act as they choose, as long as they not harm another. Every person has the right to choose, study and practice the education and career of their choice without interference, provided they not harm another.

No one has the right to kill another. No one has the right to steal from another. No one has the right to force himself or herself upon another in any way.

Any government that harms its citizens, deprives them of their property or rights without their consent, or makes offensive war upon its neighbors, no matter how it misrepresents the situation, has lost its legitimacy. No government may govern without the consent of its people. All governments are tasked with seeing to the wellbeing of their citizens. Any government which forces its citizens to see to its own wellbeing without attending to theirs has lost its legitimacy.

Men and women are meant to live fulfilling lives, free of want, wherever they wish and under the conditions they desire, providing their choices do not harm another and are humanly attainable.

Children are meant to live lives under the beneficent protection of all, free of exploitation, with unhindered access to the necessities of life, education, and health care.

All forms of exploitation, oppression, and persecution run counter to universal and natural law. All disagreements are meant to be resolved amicably.

Any human law that runs counter to natural and universal law is invalid and should not survive. The enactment or enforcement of human law that runs counter to natural and universal law brings consequences that cannot be escaped, in this life or another. While one may escape temporal justice, one does not escape divine justice.

All outcomes are to the greater glory of God and to God do we look for the fulfillment of our needs and for love, peace, and wisdom. So let it be. Aum/Amen.



Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit
Pope Francis laughs alongside US President Barack Obama upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, on September 22, 2015, on the start of a 3-day trip to Washington (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)


Today's doodle in the U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech on its 50th anniversary (28 Aug 2013)

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'
The White House released this image, of the building colored like the rainbow flag, on Facebook following the supreme court’s ruling. Photograph: Facebook

Same-sex marriage around the world

"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. …

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'
Reporters Without Borders labels Erdogan as 'enemy of press freedom'

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Obama to lead celebrations 100 years after Mandela's birth

Yahoo – AFP, by Ben Sheppard, 15 July 2018

A youth has his haircut as part of the centenary celebrations of the birth of
South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela

South Africa celebrates the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth this week with a flagship speech by former US president Barack Obama and an outpouring of memories and tributes to the late anti-apartheid leader.

Mandela, who died in 2013, remains a global icon for his long fight against white-minority rule and for his message of peace and reconciliation when he was released after 27 years in prison.

His birthday on July 18 is marked annually around the world, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation called this year for people to "take action and inspire change" in Mandela's name.

Obama will set the tone for the celebrations with a speech in Johannesburg on July 17 that aides say will be his most important public address since leaving the White House in 2017.

"It gives him an opportunity to lift up a message of tolerance, inclusivity and democracy at a time when there are obviously challenges to Mandela's legacy around the world," his aide Benjamin Rhodes told the New York Times.

Obama will also host a town hall event on July 18 for 200 young leaders selected from across Africa to attend a five-day training programme.

The former US president met Mandela only briefly in 2005 but gave a eulogy at his funeral saying Mandela "makes me want to be a better man" and hailing him as "the last great liberator of the 20th century".

Obama at Mandela's memorial service

A legacy under threat?

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said he would mark "Mandela 100" by donating half his salary to charity to honour "the great sacrifices he made and his tireless commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable."

F.W. de Klerk, the former president who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993, told AFP that the 100th anniversary was a chance to reflect on South Africa's current troubles.

"I'm convinced that President Mandela would be deeply concerned, as I am, about the present state of affairs," he said.

"His vision of a reconciled South Africa has become almost non-existent within the ANC (ruling party) at the moment."

De Klerk, who said he treasured his "deep friendship" with Mandela, added that he found hope in good race relations among many ordinary people.

A World Bank report this year said South Africa was the most unequal society on the globe, and many South Africans feel that Mandela's hopes for the country have been dashed by his successors.

Others accuse him of "selling out" by allowing white people to retain control of much of the economy.

"He fought to make us politically free, but we are not economically free," 19-year-old Soweto resident Mtate Phakela told AFP.

Mandela's cell at the prison at Robben Island off Cape Town

"We can't access education or wealth. I have mixed feelings. He did his best, but people who came after could have done better."

Year of commemoration

Among the many events marking the anniversary are a walk in Johannesburg led by Mandela's widow Graca Machel, the release of letters that Mandela wrote from his prison cell and the printing of a commemorative banknote.

Climbers are heading up Mount Kilimanjaro, motorcyclists are undertaking a charity ride and a programme to build 100 school libraries will be launched, alongside a series of exhibitions, music festivals and sports events.

The year commemorating Mandela's birth will finish with a concert in Johannesburg in December starring Beyonce, Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams and Cassper Nyovest.

Mandela was imprisoned under white-minority apartheid rule from 1962 and 1990 before he led the African National Congress party to victory in the first multi-race elections in 1994.

He served one term as president before stepping down in 1999.

The title of Obama's Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is "Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World."

Former speakers include Bill Clinton, Thabo Mbeki, Kofi Annan, Bill Gates and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Before arriving in South Africa, Obama will make a brief private visit in Kenya, his father's homeland, on Sunday and Monday.

A youth has his haircut as part of the centenary celebrations of the birth of South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela

Obama at Mandela's memorial service

Mandela's cell at the prison at Robben Island off Cape Town

Friday, July 6, 2018

Sudden shift in Iran as hardliners back Rouhani

Yahoo – AFP, Marc Jourdier, July 5, 2018

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a joint press conference with Austria's
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on July 4, 2018 in Vienna (AFP Photo/ALEX HALADA)

Tehran (AFP) - Frequently a target of attack by hardliners, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is benefiting from a sudden surge in support from his former critics, a week after he called for national unity.

The apparent sea-change in conservative rhetoric follows hawkish comments by the president himself following Washington's unilateral May withdrawal from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Visiting Europe to seek economic guarantees, Rouhani lashed out at Israel in the Swiss capital Bern on Tuesday, saying Iran "sees the Zionist regime as an illegitimate regime".

And he has questioned the American government's ability to make good on threats to prevent other countries buying Tehran's oil.

The latest evidence of the domestic shift came on Wednesday, in a letter by prominent General Qassem Soleimani to the moderately conservative president.

Soleimani -- head of the elite Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations -- thanks the president for his "wise and appropriate" words on Israel and the US, in the letter published by Fars news agency.

Rouhani's remarks were "a source of pride", wrote the general.

'Meeting in the Strait'

Rouhani is the main Iranian architect of the July 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, under which his country agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in exchange for easing multilateral sanctions which had strangled the economy.

Some Iranians have interpreted Rouhani's recent hawkish comments as meaning he could be open to blocking the Strait of Hormuz -- a threat Tehran has brandished during past bouts of regional tension.

Some 30 percent of all the world's sea-borne oil exports pass through the strait, which runs from the Gulf into the Indian Ocean.

Conservative Iranian media outlets have thrown their weight behind Rouhani.

"Meeting in the Strait" read a headline in Javan -- a daily close to the Revolutionary Guards -- along with a picture of the president and General Soleimani shaking hands in front of a map of the Strait of Hormuz.

A photo of Soleimani was splashed across the front page of Sazandegi newspaper with the headline "Unity Sepah-Government" (Sepah is the Farsi acronym for the Revolutionary Guards).

Rouhani, who has sought to open up various economic sectors to private enterprise, has repeatedly criticised the Revolutionary Guards for exerting too tight a grip on Iran's economy.

Since he first took office in 2013, Rouhani has regularly been attacked by ultra-conservatives.

He was elected for a second four-year term in May 2017, with the support of reformers.

After protests around the New Year in many Iranian cities against economic hardship, they accused Rouhani of abandoning the country's weakest citizens.

Some have held up America's withdrawal from the nuclear agreement as proof of the president's naivety in trusting the West.

'Survival of the nation'

As Iran's rial plunged in value and protests re-ignited, some legislators called in late June for Rouhani to be impeached.

But things changed abruptly after June 27 when he appealed to his opponents for help.

Kayhan is another ultra-conservative newspaper now backing the president.

"We must put to one side our differences because, at present, the national interest and the survival of the nation are at stake," said an editorial.

But Javan signalled the truce may only be temporary.

"Resisting the enemy and preserving the nation's independence require us to be together and put our differences to one side until a later date", wrote editor-in-chief Abdollah Ganji.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Seven Dutch political parties join forces with a new climate agreement

DutchNews, June 28, 2018

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Seven parties in parliament have reached agreement on the text of a new climate law which says the Netherlands should aim to cut carbon dioxide production by 49% (compared with 1990) by 2030

In addition, the new law says that there should be a legally binding reduction of 95% by 2050 and that electricity production should also be 100% CO2 neutral by then.

‘This is the most ambitious climate law in the world,’ said GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver. ‘It is historic and it is going to change the Netherlands.’ 

The four coalition parties, plus GroenLinks, Labour and the Socialists have been working on a new climate law since February. 

The new climate law is not the only measure being worked on to reduce climate change in the Netherlands. 

The government has also set up five groups of experts to look at ways to reduce the Netherlands’ dependence on fossil fuels in different sectors. 

The group looking at the built environment, led by former Labour leader Diederik Samsom, recently recommended gas tax hikes. Others are focusing on transport, industry, electricity generation and agriculture. 

Their recommendations are due to be published in the next few weeks.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

World can 'sleep well' after N.Korea summit, Trump says

Yahoo – AFP, Thomas Watkins, with Francesco Fontemaggi in Seoul, June 13, 2018

US President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews
Air Force Base (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Washington (AFP) - A jubilant-sounding President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that his "deal" with Kim Jong Un has ended the North Korean nuclear threat, as his top diplomat said he hoped to see "major disarmament" of the country by 2020.

Despite the lack of detail, or binding terms in the joint statement agreed with Kim -- which has alarmed a majority of observers of the nuclear standoff -- Trump struck a resolutely bullish tone.

"There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea," he tweeted in one of a series of early morning pronouncements.

Trump added that everybody "can now feel much safer than the day I took office" and people could "sleep well tonight!"

Critics said the unprecedented encounter between Kim and Trump was more style than substance, producing a document short on specifics about the key issue of Pyongyang's atomic weapons.

But the US president trumpeted the outcome as a "deal" with North Korea and vowed there would be "no more rocket launches, nuclear testing or research!"

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to reporters in Seoul, said the United States hoped for "major disarmament" of North Korea by the end of 2020.

In the summit statement, Kim pledged to "work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" -- a stock phrase favored by Pyongyang that stopped short of longstanding US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way.

Factfile on the June 12 summit in Singapore between North Korean leader
Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/John SAEKI)

When questioned on the wording, Pompeo said Trump's intention was to allow the US the opportunity to pursue further productive conversations on the issue with Pyongyang.

"Let me assure you that 'complete' encompasses verifiable in the minds of everyone concerned," Pompeo said.

"One can't completely denuclearize without validating, authenticating."

Pompeo said he expects the US would next speak to North Korean officials "fairly quickly after we return to our home countries," adding he was "very confident" that some form of engagement would occur in the next week.

- 'Meeting of the century' -

In North Korea, state media praised Kim for "opening a new chapter" in relations with the United States, and said Trump had accepted an invitation to visit the North.

Just months ago, Kim and Trump were trading threats and personal insults as the North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

In its first report on the landmark summit, the official KCNA news agency ran a 
glowing dispatch on the talks, describing them as an "epoch-making meeting" that 
would help foster "a radical switchover in the most hostile (North Korea)-US 
relations" (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)

Adam Schiff, a top US Democrat and staunch Trump critic, warned the standoff was far from resolved.

"North Korea still has all its nuclear missiles, and we only got a vague promise of future denuclearization from a regime that can't be trusted. North Korea is a real and present threat.

"So is a dangerously naive president," Schiff said.

But Victor Cha, a former US pointman on North Korea, gave Trump more credit, writing in The New York Times: "Despite its many flaws, the Singapore summit represents the start of a diplomatic process that takes us away from the brink of war."

Pyongyang has reason to feel confident after the meeting, where Kim stood as an equal with Trump in front of their nations' flags.

In North Korea, the official KCNA news agency described the summit as an "epoch-making meeting" that would help foster "a radical switchover in the most hostile (North Korea)-US relations."

KCNA also asserted Trump had "expressed his intention" to lift sanctions against the North -- something the US president had said would happen "when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor."

With the headline: "Meeting of the century opens new history in DPRK-US relations," the North's ruling Workers Party official daily Rodong Sinmun splashed no fewer than 33 pictures across four of its usual six pages.

In Pyongyang, commuters crowded round the spread of images.

U Sung Tak, 79, said the future was looking "bright" because Kim was "leading the world's political trend on the Korean peninsula, steering the wheel of history."

Ordinary North Koreans consistently voice unequivocal support for the leadership when speaking to foreign media.

North Korean commuters read the latest edition of newspapers showing images 
of leader Kim Jong Un and US president Donald Trump at their Singapore 
summit (AFP Photo/Ed JONES)

'War games'

The Singapore summit was a major coup for an isolated and heavily sanctioned regime that has long craved international legitimacy, and whose autocratic leader stands accused of murdering opponents and members of his own family.

"Kim Jong Un got what he wanted at the Singapore Summit: the international prestige and respect of a one-on-one meeting with the American president, the legitimacy of North Korean flags hanging next to American flags in the background," said Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center.

In his post-summit press conference, Trump made the surprise announcement that the US would halt joint military exercises with its security ally Seoul -- something long sought by Pyongyang, which claims the drills are a rehearsal for invasion.

He defended that decision Wednesday, tweeting: "We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith - which both sides are!"

The Pentagon could not immediately provide an estimate of how much the drills cost.

Both Seoul and US military officials have said they had no idea the announcement was coming, while Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera warned the drills played a "vital role in East Asia's security."

Still, Japan joined fellow world powers from China to the European Union and Russia in welcoming the summit -- while cautioning it was only a first step towards resolving the stand-off with Pyongyang.

Echoing that stance, Akira Kawasaki of the ICAN anti-nuclear group said the summit was "a great photo-op," but that "the substance needs to be followed up."

Monday, June 11, 2018

As G7 feuds, Xi and Putin play up their own club

Yahoo – AFP, Becky Davis, 10 June 2018

A large video screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands with
Russia's President Vladimir Putin before the summit

The leaders of China and Russia Sunday praised the expansion of their regional security bloc at a summit which put on a show of unity in stark contrast to the acrimonious G7 meeting.

President Xi Jinping gave the leaders of Pakistan and India a "special welcome" to their first summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, since their countries joined the group last year.

Founded in 2001, the SCO also includes the former Central Asian Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, whose country is an observer member, also attended the meeting as he seeks Chinese and Russian support following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran.

Warning that "unilateralism, trade protectionism and a backlash against globalisation are taking new forms", Xi spoke up for the "pursuit of cooperation for mutual benefit".

While never mentioning the United States by name, he added: "We should reject the Cold War mentality and confrontation between blocs, and oppose the practice of seeking absolute security of oneself at the expense of others, so as to obtain security of all."

Xi, whose government is locked in tough negotiations with the United States to avoid a trade war, said World Trade Organisation rules and the multilateral trading system should be upheld to build an open world economy.

"We should reject self-centred, shortsighted and closed-door policies," said Xi, whose own country has been accused of restricting broad access by foreign firms to its huge market.

Addressing the SCO leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the addition of Pakistan and India means that the organisation "has become even stronger".

The show of unity was in marked contrast to the calamitous end to the Group of Seven meeting in Quebec City, after US President Donald Trump disowned a joint summit statement and lambasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as "dishonest" and "weak".

Responding to criticism of Russia in the G7 statement, Putin told reporters that the group should "stop this creative babbling and shift to concrete issues related to real cooperation".

The G7 text made no mention of Russia being invited back into the group despite Trump's support for such a move. Russia was expelled in response to its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Putin did not miss an opportunity to thumb his nose at the club of leading industrialised democracies, saying that the combined purchasing power of the SCO outstripped the G7.

The People's Daily newspaper, the ruling Chinese Communist party mouthpiece, also took a jab at the group by tweeting two pictures side by side.

A man uses his mobile phone to take a picture during the fireworks show
at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit

The first was the now famous photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel flanked by leaders such as a furrow-browed French President Emmanuel Macron, all tensely facing off against Trump -- the only one seated, with his arms crossed.

The second depicted Xi at the centre of the SCO leaders striding forward together in smiling unison, a grinning Putin by his side.

"G7 vs. SCO: two meetings on the same day," it taunted.

Trump vs G7

While Xi feted his peers with fireworks, SCO members have their own disagreements, with India concerned about China's trade infrastructure project in disputed territory in arch-rival Pakistan. China and India had their own heated border dispute in the Himalayas last year.

But no disharmony was evident during the two-day summit in Qingdao.

Xi touted security cooperation -- the original raison d'etre of the SCO -- and announced that China would open a 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) special lending facility within the bloc's interbank consortium.

Putin said trade and investment among SCO countries was growing and Russia and China would propose a Eurasian economic partnership for all member states.

With the president of aspiring full member Iran looking on, Putin said Moscow still supports the Iran nuclear deal that Trump recently abandoned.

The US withdrawal, he said, "can further destabilise the situation" but Russia is in favour of the "unconditional implementation" of the pact.

Putin, however, voiced his support for Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday.

For his part, Rouhani said the "US effort to impose its policies on others is an expanding danger".

Rouhani said the US was monitoring the global reaction to its withdrawal from the nuclear deal, and a weak response would encourage it to carry on acting unilaterally.

"This will have many harmful consequences for the global community," he said.

The Iranian president said his country was ready to cooperate with the SCO against terrorism, extremism and separatism.

Related Article:


Leaders of the G7 participate in a working session of the G7 Summit in La Malbaie,
Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018; US President Donald Trump has shown skepticism
and downright hostility toward multilateral institutions (AFP Photo/Ludovic MARIN)

US blames Canada for G7 fiasco, says Trudeau 'stabbed us in the back'

Yahoo – AFP, W.G. Dunlop, June 10, 2018

US President Donald Trump left the G7 summit early en route for Singapore and a 
historic nuclear summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, only to take exception 
to comments made by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a news conference
(AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Washington (AFP) - The US blamed Canada on Sunday for the disastrous ending to the G7 summit, saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "stabbed us in the back," while American allies held Washington responsible.

Just minutes after a joint communique, approved by the leaders of the Group of Seven allies, was published in Canada's summit host city Quebec, US President Donald Trump launched a Twitter broadside, taking exception to comments made by Trudeau at a news conference.

"He really kinda stabbed us in the back," top US economic advisor Larry Kudlow said of Trudeau on CNN's "State of the Union."

"He did a great disservice to the whole G7."

"We went through it. We agreed. We compromised on the communique. We joined the communique in good faith," Kudlow said.

US trade advisor Peter Navarro, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," reinforced that message.

"There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door," he said.

"That's what bad-faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That's what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did."

Kudlow sought to tie Trump's reaction to the upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un, saying the North Korean leader "must not see American weakness."

Trump -- who has a history of hair-trigger responses to slights -- landed in Singapore on Sunday for the Tuesday summit meeting with Kim.

Before his departure from Canada the previous day, he tweeted: "Based on Justin's false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the US Market!"

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trudeau told reporters that Trump's 
decision to invoke national security to justify US tariffs on imports of steel 
and aluminum was "insulting" to Canadian veterans (AFP Photo/Lars Hagberg)

'Insulting'

"PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that ... he 'will not be pushed around.' Very dishonest & weak," Trump said in his tweet.

Trudeau had told reporters that Trump's decision to invoke national security to justify US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports was "kind of insulting" to Canadian veterans who had stood by their US allies in conflicts dating back to World War I.

"Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will also not be pushed around," he said.

Trudeau said he had told Trump "it would be with regret but it would be with absolute clarity and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us."

After Trump's angry tweets, Trudeau's office issued a brief response: "We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the G7 summit. The Prime Minister said nothing he hasn't said before -- both in public, and in private conversations with the president."

On Sunday, Trudeau ignored the barbs from Trump's advisors, tweeting a link to the G7 communique and hailing the "historic and important agreement we all reached."

"That's what matters," he wrote.

'Throwaway remarks'

The outburst against Trudeau, and by association the other G7 members, is only the latest incident in which Trump has clashed with America's closest allies, even as he has had warm words for autocrats like Kim and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

French President Emmanuel Macron's office reacted Sunday by saying that "international cooperation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks."

Reneging on the commitments agreed in the communique showed "incoherence and inconsistency," it said in a statement.

And German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted Sunday that Trump had partly "destroyed" Washington's trusting relationship with Europe by pulling out of the joint communique.

The joint communique that was thrashed out over two days of negotiations vowed
 that G7 members would reform multilateral oversight of commerce through the 
World Trade Organization (WTO) and seek to cut tariffs (AFP Photo/LEON NEAL)

When Trump left Quebec, it was thought that a compromise had been reached, despite the tension and the determination of European leaders Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to push back against the US president's protectionist policies.

Officials from European delegations quickly leaked copies of the joint statement, and it was published online moments before Trump tweeted.

On board Air Force One, an AFP reporter was told that Trump had approved the agreement, only to be told later of the tweets. A senior US administration official said that Trump had been angered by Trudeau's comments.

'The gig is up'

The joint communique that was thrashed out over two days of negotiations vowed that members would reform multilateral oversight through the World Trade Organization (WTO) and seek to cut tariffs.

"We commit to modernize the WTO to make it more fair as soon as possible. We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies," it said, reflecting the typical language of decades of G7 statements.

But Trump had already said he would not hesitate to shut countries out of the US market if they retaliate against his tariffs.

"The European Union is brutal to the United States... They know it," he insisted in his departing news conference. "When I'm telling them, they're smiling at me. You know, it's like the gig is up."

European officials said Trump had tried to water down the language in the draft communique on the WTO and rules-based trade. In the end, that language stayed in and it was only on climate change that no consensus was reached.





Sunday, June 10, 2018

Pope urges oil majors to combat global warming and aid poor

Yahoo – AFP, June 9, 2018

Pope Francis at the Vatican where he urged major oil and gas companies
to combat global warming to protect the poor (AFP Photo/Vincenzo PINTO)

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis asked Saturday that major oil and gas companies respect the 2015 Paris climate agreement to help protect the poor from global warming.

The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 by 196 nations resolving to limit warming to no more than two degrees centigrade.

In a meeting with industry executives at the Vatican, the Pope said it was "disturbing" that two-and-a-half years after the deal was struck, carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gas levels "remain very high".

"Yet even more worrying is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris Agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground," Francis told the Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home conference.

"Civilisation requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilisation!"

The pope met officials from major oil and gas firms such as ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Norway's state oil company Equinor.

He has long considered climate change one of the key themes of his papacy. In 2015, his second encyclical was dedicated to the issue, describing it as "one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day".

Francis implored the industry to halt prospection as climate change will have a disproportionate impact on the poor.

"The effects of climate change are not evenly distributed. It is the poor who suffer most from the ravages of global warming, with increasing disruption in the agricultural sector, water insecurity, and exposure to severe weather events," he said.

"Many of those who can least afford it are already being forced to leave their homes and migrate to other places that may or may not prove welcoming."

However with US president Donald Trump announcing America's exit from the Paris deal, ExxonMobil has announced plans to increase oil production in the US and start dozens of projects around the world.

An estimated one billion people have no access to electricity, and the US Energy Information Administration says energy demand is set to rise 28 percent between 2015 and 2040.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

US isolated as G7 ministerial draws to a close

Yahoo – AFP, Douglas Gillison, Delphine TOUITOU, June 2, 2018

Flags line the entrance of the Fairmont Hotel in the Canadian town of Whistler
as it hosts G7 ministerial meeting events (AFP Photo/Delphine TOUITOU)

Whistler (Canada) (AFP) - The United States faced unified opposition from the world's top economies to President Donald Trump's escalating, multi-front trade offensive at the end of high-level meetings Saturday soured by the imposition of tariffs.

G7 ministers urged US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was at the event, to express their "unanimous concern and disappointments" to the White House over new US tariffs, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters.

Morneau, speaking at the end of the Group of Seven ministerial meeting, said that the finance ministers and central bank governors were unanimously opposed at the harsh US steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also expressed his anger as the meetings ended.

"I want to make it clear," Le Maire said, "that it is up to the US administration to make the right decisions to alleviate the situation and ease the difficulties."

He said that events next week "will depend on the decision the (US) administration is ready to take in the next few days and in the next few hours -- I'm not talking about weeks ahead," Le Maire said.

Outraged leaders from the world's major economies launched legal challenges Friday after announcing countermeasures to retaliate against harsh steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump allowed to take effect.

No joint final statement emerged from the G7 ministerial meeting, a sign of the strong discord as the world's major economies verged on open trade conflict.

The European Union and Canada are the largest US exporters of steel and aluminum respectively.

Trump's tariffs on America's largest foreign providers of the crucial metals upended the agenda for this normally convivial event for consensus-building among countries that account for about half of global GDP.

Finance ministers at this snow-capped mountain resort north of Vancouver, British Columbia instead spoke of exasperation and an abiding sense of betrayal by a long-time ally.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (C) and his Jpanaese counterpart Taro 
Aso (R), attend the opening of the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors 
conference in Whistler, British Columbia on May 31, 2018 (AFP Photo/Don MacKinnon)

Getting an earful from allies

Chairing the meeting, host nation Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau allowed participants to register grievances with Mnuchin one at a time, according to a Canadian source.

Behind the closed doors Mnuchin listened but spoke little, saying instead the discussion could continue at next week's G7 summit in the French-speaking province of Quebec at which Trump is expected to participate, according to several sources briefed on the talks.

But the week's whirlwind global developments in trade suggested de-escalation was unlikely. In Washington on Friday, Trump mooted the possibility of scrapping the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement in favor of seeking bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico.

G7 governments were also digesting Trump's threats to impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in US auto imports on purported national security grounds.

In China, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was due to conduct trade talks with Chinese officials even as Washington finalizes planned sanctions on Beijing -- including restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States, new export controls and 25 percent tariffs on about $50 billion in tech-sector goods.

The talks come despite Washington's apparent announcement last month of a truce with Beijing following talks in Washington last month.

China has threatened to hit back with tit-for-tat tariffs on tens of billions of dollars in US goods -- as have Canadian, EU and Mexican authorities.

They have targeted goods manufactured in key US political districts that could weaken Trump's hand after November's mid-term elections.

The final list of Chinese imports affected by US tariffs will be announced June 15 and imposed shortly thereafter, while the proposed investment restrictions and enhanced export controls will be announced by June 30, according to the White House.

"China's door for negotiation remains open," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Friday.