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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Friday, October 13, 2017

Hamas, Fatah sign deal on Palestinian reconciliation

Yahoo – AFP, Emmanuel Parisse with Adel Zaanoun in Gaza City, October 12, 2017

Palestinians wave flags as they gather in Gaza City to celebrate after rival
Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement on ending a
decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt on October 12, 2017 (AFP
Photo/MAHMUD HAMS)

Cairo (AFP) - Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement Thursday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with president Mahmud Abbas calling it a "final" accord.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the deal, saying it would make peace with his country "much harder to achieve".

Under the agreement, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) is to resume full control of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by December 1, according to a statement from Egypt's government.

Abbas welcomed the deal and told AFP he considered it a "final agreement to end the division" -- though many details remain to be resolved and previous reconciliation attempts have repeatedly failed.

Israel says Islamist movement Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, must disarm and recognise the Jewish state as part of any Palestinian reconciliation deal.

US President Donald Trump is currently seeking to restart frozen peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

"Reconciling with mass murderers is part of the problem, not part of the solution," Netanyahu said in a statement.

The agreement was signed in Cairo by new Hamas deputy leader Salah al-Aruri and Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Fatah delegation for the talks, at the headquarters of Egypt's intelligence service, which oversaw the negotiations.

Celebrations broke out in the Gaza Strip after the announcement of the deal, with residents waving flags of Egypt, Palestine, Fatah and Hamas.

"We hope they won't disappoint our people and break the joy," said Rahaab Kanaan, 55.

Negotiations are now expected to be held on forming a unity government, with the various Palestinian political movements invited to another meeting in Cairo on November 21.

Fatah's Azam al-Ahmad (R) and Saleh al-Aruri (L) of Hamas sign a reconciliation deal 
at the Egyptian intelligence services headquarters in Cairo on October 12, 2017 (AFP
Photo/KHALED DESOUKI)

Sanctions to end

An official from Abbas's Fatah movement said the Palestinian president was planning to soon travel to the Gaza Strip as part of the unity bid, in what would be his first visit in at least a decade.

Sanctions taken by Abbas against Gaza will also soon be lifted, the Fatah official said.

The deal includes 3,000 members of the West Bank-based PA's police force redeploying to Gaza, a member of the negotiating team told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The figure is however a fraction of the more than 20,000 police officers employed separately by Hamas.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke to Abbas to congratulate him on the deal and said the United Nations "stands ready" to support the PA "take up its responsibilities in Gaza", a UN statement said.

Guterres also underlined the "continuing need to urgently address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, particularly with regard to the electricity crisis, and improved access to and from the territory".

One of the key issues has been punitive measures taken by Abbas against Gaza in recent months, including reducing electricity payments that left the territory's residents with only a few hours of power a day.

"All the measures taken recently will end very shortly," Zakaria al-Agha, a senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, told AFP.

The Arab League also hailed the agreement saying it represented an "essential guarantee" toward achieving the aspirations of the Palestinian people to set up their own state.

A man holds a portrait of the Palestinian president among Palestinians waving flags as they 
gather in Gaza City to celebrate after rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reached an 
agreement on ending a decade-long split on October 12, 2017 (AFP Photo/MAHMUD HAMS)

Egypt's role

The two sides began meeting in Cairo on Tuesday with the aim of ending the crippling split between the rival factions.

Hamas seized Gaza from Fatah in a near civil war in 2007 and the two factions have been at loggerheads ever since.

Egypt has been keen to improve security in the Sinai Peninsula which borders Gaza and where jihadist rebels have fought a long-running insurgency.

An Egyptian source close to the talks said intelligence chief Khaled Fawzi had followed the negotiations closely.

Last month, Hamas agreed to cede civil power in Gaza to the PA but the fate of its vast military wing remains a significant issue for the two sides.

Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

The blockaded Gaza Strip has seen deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Faced with increasing isolation and a severe electricity shortage, Hamas has reached out to Cairo for help, hoping to have the Rafah border with Egypt -- largely closed in recent years -- opened.

Azzam al-Ahmad said that, as part of the deal, Gaza's border crossings with Israel will be handed back to the PA by November 1 with Rafah to follow shortly afterwards.

Egypt has also agreed to provide fuel to the Gaza Strip for electricity generation.

In return, Cairo pressed Hamas to move forward on reconciliation with Fatah.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip watch a television broadcast of the signing of a 
reconciliation deal in Cairo between rival factions Hamas and Fatah on 
October 12, 2017 (AFP Photo/SAID KHATIB)

Fate of armed wing

Previous attempts at reconciliation have repeatedly failed, and many analysts are treating the latest bid with caution, waiting to see if actual change will occur on the ground.

Last week, PA prime minister Rami Hamdallah visited Gaza for the first time since 2015 and his ministers took formal control of government departments in the territory.

But the move was seen as mainly symbolic, with Hamas still effectively in charge in the Palestinian enclave of two million people.

One of the key sticking points will be the fate of Hamas's 25,000-strong military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Peace activists arrive in Jerusalem after two-week march

Yahoo – AFP, October 8, 2017

Israeli and Palestinian activists from the Women Wage Peace movement demonstrate
 in Jerusalem on October 8, 2017 at the end of a two-week march to demand a
 peace deal (AFP Photo/MENAHEM KAHANA)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women arrived in Jerusalem Sunday at the end of a two-week march through Israel and the West Bank to demand a peace deal.

The Women Wage Peace movement organised the march, which began on September 24 and included participants who have themselves been affected by violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Several thousand activists joined the march over the two weeks.

Several thousand women, mostly Israelis, arrived in Jerusalem late on Sunday, mostly dressed in white and carrying placards calling for peace.

One of the organisers, Marie-Lyne Smadja, said the march was meant to "give voice to those tens of thousands of Israeli Jewish and Arab women of the left, centre and right, and their Palestinian partners, who hand in hand together took this road towards peace."

"Israeli women want to prevent the next war if possible and try as soon as possible to reach an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians," she said.

Israeli and Palestinian activists from the Women Wage Peace movement demonstrate 
in Jerusalem on October 8, 2017 at the end of a two-week march to demand a 
peace deal (AFP Photo/MENAHEM KAHANA)

Huda Abuarquob, another organiser and a Palestinian from Hebron in the occupied West Bank, said: "This march is not just another protest, but a way of saying that we want peace, and together we can obtain it."

The march comes at a time when many analysts see little hope for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is 82 and unpopular, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads what is seen as the most right-wing government in his country's history.

In 2015, Women Wage Peace members fasted in relays over 50 days, the length of the 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

"The men who have power believe only in war, but with the strength of women we can bring something else, something new," said Amira Zidan, an Arab Israeli mother of one of the organisation's founders.

Sunday's arrival in Jerusalem coincides with the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which commemorates the Jews' journey through the Sinai after their exodus from Egypt.

Earlier Sunday, thousands of Jews gathered at Jerusalem's Western Wall for a priestly blessing held during the holiday each year.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Nobel Prize sends a nuclear message to Trump

Yahoo - AFP, Francesco FONTEMAGGI, 6 October 2017

The Nobel Peace Prize award to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear
Weapons (ICAN) is seen as a message to US President Donald Trump

The Nobel committee spurned an opportunity to celebrate the Iran nuclear deal, but still found a way to send a message to US President Donald Trump.

Trump is a stern critic of the 2015 accord, and US officials say that he intends to tell the US Congress next week that Tehran is not honoring its side of the bargain.

He is also engaged in a perilous game of brinksmanship with nuclear-armed North Korea, threatening "fire and fury" and exchanging insults with young dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Some supporters of the deal had hoped the jury would honor the architects of the Iran deal and in doing so send a message to Trump about the power of diplomacy.

In the end the committee chose not to provoke Trump by handing prizes to Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif or former US secretary of state John Kerry.

But in celebrating the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) they sent a strong message about the world's concerns over nuclear escalation.

"The message that has been communicated is a more subtle indirect messaging," said Melissa Dalton, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"It's potentially a message and an encouragement to uphold the JCPOA as a commitment that the US has made with allies to non-proliferation," she said, referring to the Iran deal.

ICAN is a global civil society movement pushing for a global treaty to ban nuclear arms, one that was signed by 122 countries -- although none with such weapons -- in July.

The US reacted coolly to the award, and a State Department spokesman said Washington has no plans to sign the treaty.

"This treaty will not make the world more peaceful, will not result in the elimination of a single nuclear weapon, and will not enhance any state's security," he told AFP.

Speaking in Geneva, ICAN head Beatrice Fihn made an explicit link between the award and concerns about Trump's attitude to the Iran deal and non-proliferation efforts.

Next week, Trump is expected to announce he is "decertifying" Iran's compliance with the 2015 agreement it signed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Officials insist this will not sink the deal itself but open the way for Congress to possibly develop new measures to punish other aspects of Iran's behavior.

Global opinion

Trump has called the deal an "embarrassment to the United States" but rather than scrap it he is exploring a risky middle path to turn up the pressure on Iran.

Ever scornful of the record of his Nobel laureate predecessor Barack Obama, the US leader is unlikely at this stage to be influenced by a Norwegian committee.

But the timing of the award underlines the extent to which his hostility to the pact is out of step with global opinion, including with US allies in Europe.

And even if, as is now expected, the accord survives Trump's Washington maneuvers, his position may have weakened his ability to negotiate with another foe: North Korea.

The US strategy to deal with Kim's nuclear bravado is to use sanctions and diplomacy -- backed by a credible military posture -- to bring him to the negotiating table.

But doubts hanging over the Iran deal make success less likely, say observers, including Jung Pak of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.

"Even if North Korea and the US came to an agreement, Kim has no reason to think that an agreement would stick from one US administration to the next," he warned.

"The message is loud and clear, the US cannot be trusted."

Washington's European allies are also nervous that Trump's criticism of the deal will encourage US hardliners to undermine the entire agreement.

"We told the administration: certification or not, that's not our problem, this is an American domestic issue," one Western diplomat told reporters.

"But beware of a demarche that would endanger the agreement. Our concern now is what the Congress will do if Trump doesn't certify," he said.

There are some hawks in Washington who will seize on any opportunity to toughen the US stance -- despite the international solidarity symbolized by the Nobel award.

Influential conservative Senator Tom Cotton is known to have Trump's ear and he advises pushing ahead with both decertification and new sanctions.

"If anything, certifying the disastrous deal with Iran will show the North Koreans that we lack the will to confront them," he said, arguing that Kim would respect a strong stance.

"Isn't it curious that North Korea's nuclear and missile tests have accelerated so rapidly since we agreed to the Iran deal?"


A huge dome is shown in 1980 covering a crater left by one of the 43
nuclear blasts on Runit Island, in the Marshall Islands, the fallout from
which is expected to last 25,000 years (US Defence Nuclear Agency/AFP)

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“.. Westerwelle told journalists that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the international Nuclear Test Ban Treaty should be adopted by all countries, adding that the production and mining of all fissile material for nuclear weapons should be banned internationally. He called for resuscitating the Geneva Disarmament Convention.

Attending the talks with Germany were Japan, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Chile, Poland, Mexico, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.




"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (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)

“…  8 - The End of War

The last one is the best. For thousands of years on this planet, Human Beings have warred with each other. If you take a look at the reasons they warred with each other, you will quickly see there aren't any good ones - land, resources, greed. Those are not reasons. That is a description of old energy. Those are not reasons. Reasons would be perhaps defense against an aggressor. But what if there is no longer the consciousness of the aggressor?

When I appeared in my partner's life more than 20 years ago, I said to him privately that the first messages we're going to give will be unbelievable. There would be laughter. We told him that Human nature and consciousness itself would change, and that the seeds of peace would be planted and there would come a time where there is no more war. Indeed, the laughter was great because humans look at history and they see patterns based on an absolute energy called Human Nature. "Impossible! There always has to be war. There always has been. Therefore, there always will be." This is you, in a box, in a black and white potential, where you can only see the black and white of what is and the black and white of what has been. You have no idea the shades of color that are there in your consciousness and the beauty of the love of God.

North Korea is on the edge of change, as we told you it might be. What did this require? The death of the old energy, and I want you to watch this take place. The advisors of the young leader are going to do their best to pull him back into an old energy. This free choice of his will be far different than his father, for he sees some color. Watch for these things. They'll take longer than you want, but it is the beginning of the beginning.

You'll see a fresh unification of South America sooner than not, for what is going to take place potentially this year in Venezuela. You'll see Iran changing. We have no clock. These are the potentials. These can change with free choice. These are not prophecies. This is a reality shift, dear ones, so number eight becomes the propensity not to war again. This is what Humans are going to want. This is what governments are going to want. There is a wisdom factor that will begin to happen on the planet that is grander than what you think is possible. For when you look at government, what do you think about? You see dysfunction, and there is an axiom that says the more people that try to do something together, the worse it gets. It all settles to the lowest common denominator. I'm telling you even those things are going to become old energy concepts. Instead, you're going to watch wisdom become the top potential.

I have no clock. I cannot tell you when. I can just tell you it is in the works, and there will be the seeds of it for you to observe soon - right now, in every single of the eight categories I showed you.

There are those who will say, "Well, Kryon, you're doing a lot more predictions than you used to." I want to tell you what's going on, dear one. I am not predicting anything. I am just telling you what's already there in the potential soup of your reality. That's what Humans are doing on this planet, and for those who believe this communication, you should breathe a sigh of relief and say, "It's about time." ….”

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Canada to compensate indigenous children taken from families

Yahoo – AFP, Michel COMTE, October 6, 2017

A Canadian flag flies in front of the peace tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa,
Canada (AFP Photo/GEOFF ROBINS)

Ottawa (AFP) - An estimated 20,000 indigenous children taken from their families starting in the 1960s and placed for adoption or fostering will share in a Can$800 million (US$640 million) payout, the government announced Friday.

The so-called "Sixties Scoop" saw them placed with primarily white middle-class families in Canada, the United States and overseas.

In recent years, as the children grew into adults and became aware of their past, several lawsuits and class actions were filed over their loss of aboriginal identity, claiming in court documents that it resulted in psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, unemployment, violence and suicides.

"People affected by the '60s Scoop have told us that the loss of their culture and language are among the worst kinds of harm that they suffered," Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett told a press conference, flanked by Scoop survivors.

"That is why our government is responding directly to remedy the ill-advised (policies) of the past."

Stolen identities

A visibly moved Bennett introduced four Scoop survivors who were raised in the United States, another who now speaks with a Scottish accent and a sixth who had been taken from her home in the Arctic and placed with a family in Nova Scotia province, more than 6,000 kilometers (3,725 miles) away.

"Their stories are heartbreaking," Bennett said, describing firsthand accounts of their "identity being stolen" and "about not really feeling that you belong anywhere."

"I have great hope," said lead plaintiff and Beaverhouse First Nations chief Marcia Brown Martel, "that this will never, ever happen in Canada again."

The Sixties Scoop, which actually continued into the 1980s, is just the latest historical wrong suffered by Canada's indigenous peoples that Ottawa has sought to redress.

Starting in 1874, 150,000 Indian, Inuit and Metis children in Canada were forcibly enrolled in 139 boarding schools run by Christian churches -- including the Catholic Church -- on behalf of the federal government in an effort to integrate them into society.

Many survivors alleged abuse by headmasters and teachers, who stripped them of their culture and language.

At least 3,200 students never returned home.

The experience has been blamed for gross poverty and desperation in native communities that bred abuse, suicide and crime.

Apology

Ottawa formally apologized in 2008 for the "cultural genocide," as part of a Can$1.9 billion (US$1.5 billion) settlement with former students.

The government also launched an inquiry last year into the disproportionately high rate of killings and disappearances of indigenous women and girls in Canada.

Indigenous women represent four percent of Canada's population but 16 percent of homicide victims. More than 1,200 were murdered or have gone missing over the past three decades.

Bennett was at a loss to explain Canada's past assimilation policies.

"I don't know what people were thinking," said the former pediatrician. "I don't know how governments thought they could do a better job (at raising children) than their parents, their village, their community."

Bennett said an official apology would be forthcoming.

She also said there may still be a need to "totally overhaul the child welfare system as it is right now."

"Too many children are still being taken from their families," the minister said.

The settlement, which still requires court approval, will be split between Scoop survivors and a reconciliation foundation that will help them to reaquire their language and culture, with Can$750 million going directly to the survivors.

A small number of lawsuits launched by other survivors remain outstanding and are not included in the settlement, but Bennett said she would "work with them" toward a resolution.

Those individuals who were sent abroad to live with foreign families will also be invited to return to Canada, if they wish.

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Saudi king, Putin clinch billion-dollar energy, arms deals on landmark Russia visit

Yahoo – AFP, Victoria LOGUINOVA-YAKOVLEVA, October 5, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz
Al Saud walk during a welcoming ceremony ahead of their talks at the Kremlin in
Moscow on October 5, 2017 (AFP Photo/Yuri KADOBNOV)

Moscow (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's King Salman, on a landmark visit to Russia, and President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a slew of arms and energy deals as the key US ally seeks to deepen cooperation with Moscow.

The leaders of the world's largest energy exporters discussed an extension of an OPEC agreement to cap oil output and oversaw the signing of deals which officials said were worth billions of dollars.

Saudi Arabia signed preliminary agreements to buy Russia's S-400 air defence systems and anti-tank guided missile systems and receive "cutting edge technologies," said the Sunni state's military firm, Saudi Arabian Military Industries.

The two countries also signed a series of multi-billion dollar investment deals including one to create a $1 billion fund to pursue energy projects.

"This is the first visit by a Saudi Arabian monarch in the history of our relations and that in itself is a landmark event," Putin said as he welcomed 81-year-old King Salman to Moscow in an ornate gilded Kremlin hall.

"I'm sure your visit will boost the ties between our countries," Putin added.

"We aim to strengthen our relations in the interests of peace and security, in the interests of developing the world economy," the Saudi king responded.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told journalists that "relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have reached a historic moment."

"Today we alone as the Russian Direct Investment Fund announced deals worth $2.1 billion," said Kirill Dmitriyev, the head of the fund set up to attract investment.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said agreements came in the fields of "energy -- not only traditional but also nuclear power -- and also in cooperation in space exploration (and) agroindustry and infrastructure projects."

'Diversifying risks'

Saudi Arabia is the country that buys the most US arms and Washington and Riyadh in May announced a $110 billion deal to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia.

But Saudi, a long-standing ally of Washington, is keen to boost ties with Moscow as a major player in the Syrian conflict and a fellow oil producer with shared interests in supporting energy prices.

"We are certain that further strengthening of relations will have a positive effect on strengthening stability and security in the world," his Saudi counterpart Jubeir stressed.

Fyodor Lukyanov, the Kremlin-connected chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, said Riyadh saw closer ties with Moscow as expedient for the moment, and was "diversifying risks" by buying arms from both Moscow and the US.

"Saudi Arabia has recognised Russia as a significant player in a region that is important to it," he told AFP.

"They respect Russia more now. But you shouldn't think it's forever."

Oil cap for 'stability'

The leaders of the world's largest energy exporters also discussed the OPEC agreement to cap oil output.

OPEC members have joined with Russia and other countries in cutting crude output in a pact that has helped prop up prices.

"We strive to continue the positive cooperation between our countries to achieve stability on world oil markets which promotes the growth of the world's economy," Salman said.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are heavily dependent on oil exports and the global plunge of the price of crude that began in 2014 lashed both their economies.

Putin said on Wednesday it was possible to extend an OPEC deal to cap oil output "at least until the end of 2018".

Focus on Syria, Yemen

While Russia and Saudi Arabia are partners on the oil market, they are at loggerheads on Syria, where Moscow supports President Bashar al-Assad and Riyadh backs the opposition.

Lavrov said the Saudi monarch and Putin's meeting saw a "particular focus on Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen."

The two sides said they had common ground in a desire to rally Syrian opposition forces to take part in UN-backed peace talks.

Jubeir said that the countries "closely cooperate... on uniting the Syrian opposition and broadening its framework, in order to start the political process" at Geneva peace talks.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

First global pact backing indigenous land rights launched

MSN – AFP, Marlowe HOOD, 3 October 2017

Provided by AFP Brazilian natives demonstrate in front of the Planalto Palace in
Brasilia, during the National Mobilization Week to protest and demand their rights, in 2015

Native peoples struggling to retain or regain stewardship of forests that sustained them for countless generations may finally have backing from an organisation with both swag and sway.

The International Land and Forest Tenure Facility -- the first and only global institution dedicated to securing the land rights of indigenous communities worldwide -- was formally launched in Stockholm on Tuesday.

Funded by Sweden, Norway and the Ford Foundation, a major US philanthropy, the Tenure Facility has already provided grants and guidance for pilot projects in Peru, Mali, and Indonesia, helping local communities leverage rarely enforced laws to protect their land and resources.

Disputes over land rights in tropical forests teeming with exploitable resources -- from hard woods to precious stones to oil -- can quickly escalate into deadly conflict, and local peoples more often than not wind up on the losing end.

More than 200 environmental campaigners, nearly half from indigenous tribes, were murdered around the world in 2016 alone, according to watchdog NGO Global Witness.

Restoring some measure of control to the original inhabitants of forests appropriated by corrupt governments or extraction industries has also proven an effective bulkhead against global warming, according to a 2014 global survey by the US-based World Resources Institute, a think tank.

In Brazil, for example, deforestation in indigenous community forests from 2000 to 2012 was less than 1 percent, compared with 7 percent outside those areas.

'Unrelenting conflicts'

Provided by AFP Representatives of indigenous communities and activists protest
in front of the Chinese Embassy in Lima, Peru, on September 22, 2017, to support the
Achuar, Kichwa and Quechua Amazonic tribes affected by oil industry activities on their
ancestral lands


Tropical vegetation soaks up planet-warming CO2 emitted by the burning of fossil fuels.

Destroying these forests outright not only reduces the area available to absorb carbon dioxide, it also releases CO2 into the atmosphere, accounting in recent decades -- along with agriculture and livestock -- for more than a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

"We see climate change and inequality as two of the greatest existential threats facing the planet," said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker.

"Creating mechanisms that allow indigenous peoples and local communities to gain tenure over their land or forests is a way to tackle both these problems," he told AFP ahead of a conference keyed to the launch.

Walker has pledged five million dollars, and expects -- based on other grants in the pipeline -- the facility to have 100 million within a year.

The project aims over the span of a decade to boost forestland properly titled to indigenous peoples by 40 million hectares, an area twice the size of Spain.

Such efforts, they calculate, would prevent deforestation of one million hectares and the release of 500 million tonnes of CO2, more than the annual emissions of Britain or Brazil.

"The Tenure Facility provides a powerful solution to save the world's forests from the ground up," said Carin Jamtin, director general of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, a key funder.

Corruption and abuses

More than two billion people live on and manage half the world's land area in customary or traditional systems, yet indigenous communities have formal legal ownership of only 10 percent.

And even where they do have title, corruption and abuses have led to protracted conflicts with local and national governments, companies and migrant workers.

Native populations can even run afoul of major green initiatives to fight climate change or stem biodiversity loss.

A controversial UN-backed programme, for example, known as REDD+ -- Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation -- creates incentives to keep forests intact, paid for by rich nations or companies seeking to offset pollution under carbon trading schemes.

But the projects that REDD+ finances can push aside the needs and rights of indigenous peoples who are often most directly affected by the changes set in motion, critics say.

A peer-reviewed 2013 study -- one of the few to examine the impacts on local communities -- concluded that less than half of 50-odd projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia did anything to alleviate the poverty of forest-dependent peoples.

But many did enhance their land tenure rights, they concluded.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Interpol approves Palestinian membership bid

Yahoo – AFP, Ludovic EHRET, 27 September 2017

Interpol approved the Palestinian application along with a bid by the Solomon
Islands during its annual general assembly in Beijing

Interpol on Wednesday approved the Palestinian Authority's membership bid, a new victory in its drive for international representation despite strong Israeli opposition.

Israel lobbies hard against Palestinian efforts to join global organisations to advance their goal of statehood. It claimed victory last year when the Palestinian bid to join the global police body was suspended.

Interpol approved the Palestinian application along with a bid by the Solomon Islands during its annual general assembly in Beijing.

"New member countries State of Palestine and Solomon Islands bring INTERPOL's membership to 192," it said on its Twitter account.

It did not detail the voting but candidacies require the approval of a two-thirds majority of countries present at the general assembly, excluding abstentions.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation's negotiations affairs department said on Twitter they had received more than 75 percent of the vote.

"Palestine's membership is the outcome of members defending this organisation's raison d'etre and advancing its core values, and a clear rejection of attempts at cynical manipulation and political bullying," Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said in a statement.

Israel's foreign ministry did not immediately comment.

Palestine gained observer status at the United Nations in 2012 and since then has joined more than 50 international organisations and agreements, according to the Palestinian foreign ministry.

Among them are the International Criminal Court and the United Nations heritage body UNESCO.

Interpol, which is based in the French city of Lyon, eases the exchange of information between police forces and issues "red notices" -- non-binding notifications of arrest warrants -- at the request of a member state or an international tribunal.

'Israel blocks progress'

Senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub had told AFP on Sunday that "we're looking to be in all of the international institutions, including Interpol, as an organised state."

"We are looking for the Palestinian state to be a positive contributor toward security and stability in the region and in the international community," he said.

Regarding Israel's opposition, he said: "They don't want any progress toward a Palestinian state."

"Israel does not want us to be in FIFA. How would they want us to be in Interpol?" he said.

Alan Baker, a former senior Israeli diplomat and legal expert, said the membership application was "just a political PR move" on the part of the Palestinians.

"Because they're not interested in negotiating (with Israel) they're trying to achieve the end result, which is a state, through international organisations," he said ahead of Wednesday's vote.

Baker rejected the notion that Palestinians would be able to initiate arrest warrants at will against Israelis by joining Interpol.

He said the attempt by the Palestinians "to politicise what is a super-professional organisation is very harmful to Interpol".


Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas kisses the Palestinian flag as Secretary 
General Ban Ki-moon looks during the flag raising ceremony on September 30, 
2015 at the UN in New York (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)

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