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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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

World powers to discuss Libya's future

Foreign ministers and global organisations meet in London as US and UK hold talks with Libyan opposition members.

Aljazeera News, 29 Mar 2011

World leaders are expected to plan an endgame for Gaddafi,
including the possibility of his exile [EPA]

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has met a leading member of the Libyan opposition in London, ahead of a meeting between world powers on the future of the north African nation.

Tuesday's meeting with Mahmoud Jibril of the Libyan National Council is another sign that the US administration is looking to expand ties with rebel leaders, but an official stressed it did not constitute formal recognition of the opposition.

William Hague, the UK's foreign minister, also met Jibril, who was invited to Britain for talks but not to the conference in the capital, which Hague is hosting.

Hague said the Libyan transitional council was an "important and legitimate political interlocutor" but that Britain was committed to strengthening ties with a "wide range of members of the Libyan opposition".

Plans for Gaddafi

Leaders meeting in London are expected to discuss an end game for Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's leader, and the country's political future.

Franco Frattini, Italy's foreign minister, said several nations planned to table a joint deal aimed at swiftly ending the conflict, setting out proposals for a ceasefire, exile for Gaddafi and a framework for talks on Libya's future between tribal leaders and opposition figures.

However Hague said international powers were "not in control" of where Gaddafi might go if he went into exile.

"I'm not going to choose Colonel Gaddafi's retirement home," he told BBC radio. "Where he goes, if he goes, is up to him and the people of Libya to determine and we will not necessarily be in control of that."

Frattini has suggested that some African countries could offer Gaddafi "hospitality", he said on Monday.

Turkey, which has offered to attempt to mediate a permanent ceasefire, has also said the talks would gauge international support for scenarios under which Gaddafi could quit, including whether he could appoint another person in his place.

Gaddafi has called on foreign powers to end their "barbaric offensive" against Libya, in a letter addressed to those meeting on Tuesday.

In it he likened the NATO-led air strikes to military campaigns launched by Adolf Hitler during World War II.

A spokesperson for the British foreign office said it would not dignify the letter with any further comment.

"The world has been clear that Gaddafi has lost all legitimacy. We will judge him on his actions and not his words. His two calls for a ceasefire were a sham," the spokesperson said.

Khaled Kaim, Libya's deputy foreign minister, also told a news conference in Tripoli on Monday that foreign leaders had no right to attempt to impose a new political system on the country.

"Libya is an independent country with full sovereignty," he said.

"The Libyan people are the only ones that have the right decide the country's future, and planting division of Libya or imposing a foreign political system is not accepted."

"We call upon Obama and the Western leaders to be peacemakers not warmongers, and not to push Libyans towards a civil war and more death and destruction,'' he said.

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, has said the international air campaign, which began March 19, has breached the terms of the UN resolution which authorised the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya.

But David Cameron, Britain's prime minister, insisted that the coalition had not gone beyond its remit.

He instead paid tribute to the "skillful and dangerous work" of pilots who destroyed 22 pro-Gaddafi tanks, armoured vehicles and heavy guns over the weekend.

The prime minister said British pilots have so far flown more than 120 sorties and completed more than 250 hours of flights as part of the international action in Libya.

Related Article:

Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium

If Barack Obama were to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.

The Telegraph, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor, 29 Aug 2010

Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal produces as
much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal

We could then stop arguing about wind mills, deepwater drilling, IPCC hockey sticks, or strategic reliance on the Kremlin. History will move on fast.

Muddling on with the status quo is not a grown-up policy. The International Energy Agency says the world must invest $26 trillion (£16.7 trillion) over the next 20 years to avert an energy shock.

The scramble for scarce fuel is already leading to friction between China, India, and the West.

There is no certain bet in nuclear physics but work by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) on the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors may be the magic bullet we have all been hoping for, though we have barely begun to crack the potential of solar power.

Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday - produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. A mere fistful would light London for a week.

Thorium burns the plutonium residue left by uranium reactors, acting as an eco-cleaner. "It’s the Big One," said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA rocket engineer and now chief nuclear technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering.


"Once you start looking more closely, it blows your mind away. You can run civilisation on thorium for hundreds of thousands of years, and it’s essentially free. You don’t have to deal with uranium cartels," he said.

Thorium is so common that miners treat it as a nuisance, a radioactive by-product if they try to dig up rare earth metals. The US and Australia are full of the stuff. So are the granite rocks of Cornwall. You do not need much: all is potentially usable as fuel, compared to just 0.7pc for uranium.

After the Manhattan Project, US physicists in the late 1940s were tempted by thorium for use in civil reactors. It has a higher neutron yield per neutron absorbed. It does not require isotope separation, a big cost saving. But by then America needed the plutonium residue from uranium to build bombs.

"They were really going after the weapons," said Professor Egil Lillestol, a world authority on the thorium fuel-cycle at CERN. "It is almost impossible make nuclear weapons out of thorium because it is too difficult to handle. It wouldn’t be worth trying." It emits too many high gamma rays.

You might have thought that thorium reactors were the answer to every dream but when CERN went to the European Commission for development funds in 1999-2000, they were rebuffed.

Brussels turned to its technical experts, who happened to be French because the French dominate the EU’s nuclear industry. "They didn’t want competition because they had made a huge investment in the old technology," he said.

Another decade was lost. It was a sad triumph of vested interests over scientific progress. "We have very little time to waste because the world is running out of fossil fuels. Renewables can’t replace them. Nuclear fusion is not going work for a century, if ever," he said.

The Norwegian group Aker Solutions has bought Dr Rubbia’s patent for an accelerator-driven sub-critical reactor, and is working on his design for a thorium version at its UK operation.

Victoria Ashley, the project manager, said it could lead to a network of pint-sized 600MW reactors that are lodged underground, can supply small grids, and do not require a safety citadel. It will take £2bn to build the first one, and Aker needs £100mn for the next test phase.

The UK has shown little appetite for what it regards as a "huge paradigm shift to a new technology". Too much work and sunk cost has already gone into the next generation of reactors, which have another 60 years of life.

So Aker is looking for tie-ups with countries such as the US, Russia, or China. The Indians have their own projects - none yet built - dating from days when they switched to thorium because their weapons programme prompted a uranium ban.

America should have fewer inhibitions than Europe in creating a leapfrog technology. The US allowed its nuclear industry to stagnate after Three Mile Island in 1979.

Anti-nuclear neorosis is at last ebbing. The White House has approved $8bn in loan guarantees for new reactors, yet America has been strangely passive. Where is the superb confidence that put a man on the moon?

A few US pioneers are exploring a truly radical shift to a liquid fuel based on molten-fluoride salts, an idea once pursued by US physicist Alvin Weinberg at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee in the 1960s. The original documents were retrieved by Mr Sorensen.

Moving away from solid fuel may overcome some of thorium’s "idiosyncracies". "You have to use the right machine. You don’t use diesel in a petrol car: you build a diesel engine," said Mr Sorensen.

Thorium-fluoride reactors can operate at atmospheric temperature. "The plants would be much smaller and less expensive. You wouldn’t need those huge containment domes because there’s no pressurized water in the reactor. It’s close-fitting," he said.

Nuclear power could become routine and unthreatening. But first there is the barrier of establishment prejudice.

When Hungarian scientists led by Leo Szilard tried to alert Washington in late 1939 that the Nazis were working on an atomic bomb, they were brushed off with disbelief. Albert Einstein interceded through the Belgian queen mother, eventually getting a personal envoy into the Oval Office.

Roosevelt initially fobbed him off. He listened more closely at a second meeting over breakfast the next day, then made up his mind within minutes. "This needs action," he told his military aide.

It was the birth of the Manhattan Project. As a result, the US had an atomic weapon early enough to deter Stalin from going too far in Europe.

The global energy crunch needs equal "action". If it works, Manhattan II could restore American optimism and strategic leadership at a stroke: if not, it is a boost for US science and surely a more fruitful way to pull the US out of perma-slump than scattershot stimulus.

Even better, team up with China and do it together, for all our sakes.

Related Articles:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Libyan claims rape by soldiers, is dragged away

Britain's Defence Secretary has bluntly told Colonel Muammar Gaddafi that he must go and that military action will not stop until he does.

The Telegraph, By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent 6:19PM GMT 26 Mar 2011

The relentless pressure on Gaddafi and his allies is beginning
to take its toll Photo: REUTERS

Liam Fox launched a personal attack on the Libyan leader, describing him as a "brutal" dictator who had "lost the plot a long time ago".

In his first newspaper interview since the start of the Libyan crisis, Dr Fox said that the bombing campaign would only end when "people could sleep safely in their beds and know they will not be targeted by a vicious regime".

Dr Fox was speaking as the international military campaign against Libya, which has seen more than 300 sorties by multi-national air forces and in excess of 170 cruise missiles strikes, entered its second week.

In a major development yesterday Gaddafi suffered one of his worst setbacks after rebels seized the strategically important town of Ajdabiya, which lies to the south of Benghazi after RAF Tornados GR4s destroyed six Libyan tanks in the area.

RAF Tornado GR4’s were in action again on Friday, destroying three armoured vehicles in the town of Misurata and another two in Ajdabiya. All the vehicles were destroyed by the aircraft’s Brimstone guided missile.


The capture of the town is the first real sign that air-strikes are having a decisive effect coming after two-weeks of disappointing rebel reverses.

Water from the Ajdabiya reservoir flows directly into Benghazi, the main rebel stronghold in Libya, which was understood to be within days of running out.

The bombing campaign is expected to continue unabated after the defence secretary warned that attacks would not end while Gaddafi shells the civilian population in their "schools, homes and mosques".

But he added that there was a simple solution to ending the conflict.

"The end for us is when we have fulfilled the UN resolution, which is "are the people of Libya safe?"," he said.

"If it turns out that the regime stops targeting civilians, recognises that there is no militarily successful end for them in this, then it could end relatively quickly."

The defence secretary said that the international community was determined to occupy the moral high ground during the conflict which meant that targets would only be attacked if there was zero risk to civilians.

He said: "Here is the dilemma. We want to keep the moral high ground. It is much easier to fight this form of urban warfare if you don't care how many men, women and children are slaughtered, that's the difference between us and them.

"We have to make sure in winning this conflict, we don't become them."

He also said that there was growing signs of mutiny and rebellion with the Libyan armed forces and intelligence suggested that some of Gaddafi senior commanders may turn against him.
He went on: "The more that Gaddafi and the people around him understand that the region has deserted them... the better.

"There are others around him who will see the situation in a more rational way.

"We hope that the combination of their own sense of what is rational combined with the threat of the International Criminal Court will bring about the change we want to see."

Dr Fox was also categorically stated that Britain would not send in ground troops stating that the UNSR1973 - the security council resolution which allowed for a no-fly zone to be enforced - "specifically excludes" an occupying force.

The defence secretary would not be drawn on how long Operation Ellamy - known to the Americans as Operation Odyssey Dawn - could take but senior US commanders said it could take up to three months while the French added that the conflict would not end soon.

The defence secretary warned the British public not to become side-tracked on who commanded the operation or what the organisation was called, adding that there was nothing unusual for British troops to be commanded by foreign troops.

He said: "It used to make me laugh when we signed the Anglo-French Treaty when people used to say " you mean we could have British Forces commanded by the French". You've forgotten Afghanistan where we were commanded by the Turks, Canadians, the Italians, as well as the US. This is what happens with international organisations. I don't think we should be hung up on what things are called, I think we should be hung up on whether it works. Stop worrying about the label; worry about what comes out of the tin."

The air campaign was continuing yesterday with ground attack aircraft and cruise missiles targeting tanks, armoured personnel carriers and missile sites in numerous locations across Libya.

But despite the attacks, Gaddfi's battered military was still resisting and was reported to have attacked the rebel city of Misurata with artillery fire and her four children on Friday evening.

US officials, however, said the relentless pressure on Gaddafi and his allies was beginning to take its toll, and that the veteran Libyan leader was arming volunteers.

"We've received reports today that he has taken to arming what he calls volunteers to fight the opposition," said US Vice Admiral William Gortney.

Gaddafi "has virtually no air defence left to him and a diminishing ability to command and sustain his forces on the ground", said Adml Gortney following the UN-mandated air strikes launched on March 19 by the United States, Britain, and France.

"His air force cannot fly, his warships are staying in port, his ammunition stores are being destroyed, communications towers are being toppled, his command bunkers rendered useless," Adml Gortney said.

Related Article:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fed, in historic shift, to brief media on policy

Reuters, by Mark Felsenthal, March 24, 2011

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke addresses the Independent Community
Bankers of America’s 2011 National Convention in San Diego, March 23,
2011. (
Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will break nearly 100 years of tradition at the U.S. central bank next month when he begins talking to the media after policy meetings.

Bernanke will kick off a program of four-times-a-year news conferences on April 27 following a regularly scheduled two-day Fed meeting on monetary policy, the central bank said on Thursday. It will be the first regularly scheduled briefing by a Fed chairman in the central bank's history.

The decision to hold news conference is the latest in a series of steps the Fed has taken under Bernanke to increase transparency. .

The announcement brings the U.S. central bank, which was founded in 1913, into line with its peers from the other Group of Seven rich nations.

With reams of market commentary devoted to parsing the Fed's post-meeting statements, the central bank hopes the briefings give it an opportunity to convey more nuance on policy than its brief statements can.

But it is not without risks. With investors hanging on every word of the powerful Fed chairman, any communications missteps could roil financial markets.

"While it does give Bernanke an opportunity to clarify any market misinterpretation of the policy statement, it also opens the door to misinterpretation of what he says," said Kevin Flanagan, chief fixed-income strategist at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. "He's still going to be very careful."

Congressional and public outcry for greater Fed disclosure has grown louder in the wake of the recent financial crisis, when the Fed undertook extensive unorthodox emergency measures that have met with stiff criticism in some quarters.

The Fed said Bernanke would hold a briefing after each policy meeting at which officials provide their quarterly economic forecasts, which fall in June and November this year.

"The introduction of regular press briefings is intended to further enhance the clarity and timeliness of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy communication," the central bank said.

In a related move, the Fed said it would release its policy statement at 12:30 p.m. (1630 GMT) on those days, instead of the usual 2:15 p.m. (1815 GMT). The Fed's policy panel meets a total of eight times a year.


The Fed has a reputation for conducting its operations behind closed doors and shielding details of its decision-making from view.

Despite a gradual shift to greater openness in recent years, the Fed has fought to keep some of the details of its operations secret. This week, it lost a court battle to withhold the names of banks that had taken emergency loans from its last-resort lending facility during the financial crisis.

To make its operations more open, the central bank has in recent years begun issuing its forecasts quarterly, rather than twice a year, and moved up the publication of minutes of policy meetings to three weeks from about six weeks.

It did not begin announcing its policy moves until 1994.

Since the financial crisis, Bernanke has stepped up efforts to explain the central bank's actions to the public, giving two extensive television interviews and delivering speeches at which reporters have been able to ask questions.

Janet Yellen, the Fed's vice chairman, has led a subcommittee since November to examine the central bank's communications practices. The Fed said on Thursday it would continue to review its policies "in the interest of ensuring accountability and increasing public understanding."

It may take some time for financial markets to adapt to the Fed's new communications plan.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet's attention to the ECB's communications style is credited by some analysts for improving the bank's image in financial markets over its 12-year history, and even for a stronger performance of the euro currency.

Under the ECB's first president, Wim Duisenberg, the bank was criticized for an inconsistent and unclear style of communicating its intentions, which may have contributed to a 25 percent fall of the euro against the dollar over two years.

Trichet has adopted systematic language to describe monetary policy, including code phrases that markets came to recognize as having specific meanings. The phrase "strong vigilance," for example, signals a near-term interest rate rise.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Neil Stempleman and Dan Grebler)

Related Article:

Gates, Buffett urge Indian tycoons to help poor

The Jakarta Post, Katy Daigle, Associated Press, New Delhi | Thu, 03/24/2011

Billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Warren Buffett urged India's tycoons on Thursday to give up some of their newfound wealth to help the country's hundreds of millions of impoverished people.

It is similar to their mission in China in September, where they had little success in sparking a charitable movement among that country's growing number of first-generation tycoons.

A closed-door meeting Thursday between the Americans and the billionaires of India may yield more results. Corporate foundations have multiplied as India's economy has barreled ahead with nearly 9 percent growth in recent years, making it the second-fastest-growing major economy after China.

Forbes has counted 65 billionaires in India this year, and there were at least 126,700 Indians with at least $1 million in 2009, according to a study by Merrill Lynch and the Capgemini consulting firm.

But charitable giving in India has lagged behind, and Gates and Buffett have set out to spread the philanthropic tradition more entrenched in Europe and the United States, where tax structures encourage giving.

Gates suggested earlier Thursday that giving and earning were not so different.

"Giving and making money have a lot of similarities," he told reporters in New Delhi. At Microsoft Corp., "we were hiring really talented engineers. Now, it's immunologists and scientists."

Already, the Microsoft co-founder and the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway investment fund seem to be inspiring followers among India's rich - long criticized for shirking any responsibilities toward the country's struggling masses.

After meeting Buffett this week, Chairman G.M. Rao of GMR infrastructure group pledged $340 million toward education and vocational training, according to the Indian Express. And last year, India's third-richest man, Azim Premji, shifted shares worth about $1.95 billion in his software services giant Wipro Ltd. toward funding education for the poor. It was the country's largest lump-sum donation in modern times.

India's second-richest man, Mukesh Ambani - known better for building a 27-story home than for his social vision - started a foundation in 2009, and his Reliance Industries pledged to double the foundation's initial $110 million endowment.

It may be just the beginning of homegrown philanthropy for India, where there are countless aid and civil society organizations funded mostly by foreign organizations and the government.

Analysts have suggested the lag between corporate earning and giving may come down to the simple fact that India's wealth is still young. The economic boom began from reforms in the early 1990s, while philanthropy in most countries takes decades to mature.

Gates and Buffett have been traveling in India this week on other agendas, with Gates and his wife Melinda visiting villages undergoing disease vaccination campaigns, while Buffett planted trees and held court with business leaders in Bangalore.

The global Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the biggest health care philanthropies in India.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway company has an insurance distribution unit based in Bangalore.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Russian President calls for introducing international nuclear safety standards

RT, 24 March, 2011

image by RT


Russian President Dmitry Medvedyev in an entry in his video blog called upon the international community to introduce a universal safety standard for building and operating nuclear power plants.

The Russian president said that universal safety norms in the nuclear industry were exceptionally important for regions where earthquakes and tsunamis are possible. The Russian president said that in his country there is already a standard forbidding the construction of nuclear power plants in regions where 8.0 earthquakes or stronger earthquakes on the Richter scale are possible. He suggested approving the same standards on an international level.

Medvedyev noted that when nuclear disasters take place, they never concern only one country, but are also dangerous for neighboring countries and for the whole planet.

The comments were made as Japan was struggling with the aftermath of a powerful earthquake and tsunami that hit the country on March 11, causing irreparable damage to several nuclear reactors and creating a threat of radioactive contamination.

“The Fukushima disaster forces us to think about broadening the powers of international organizations in charge of safety in the nuclear energy sphere. And these must be real powers – the kind that are based on the situation and would allow for the solving of the problems with which these international organizations are charged,” Medvedyev said. He also added that information transparency and openness were extremely important when solving these problems.

The Russian President also said that his country was ready to vouch for the security of nuclear power plants built on Russian national territory and abroad. "I think we should build new nuclear power units with a maximum degree of security rather than extend the life of the existing units.
Our atomic energy specialists are ready to vouch for the nuclear power plants they built in domestic territory and in countries that signed related contracts with Russia," Medvedyev said.

In particular, the Russian leader said the nuclear power plants Russia is currently building in Turkey and India will have brand new safety systems ensuring full protection from possible disasters.

US soldier gets 24 years for murders of 3 Afghans

Yahoo News, by ROBIN HINDERY, Associated Press

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – A military judge has sentenced a U.S. soldier to 24 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy with fellow soldiers that led to the murders of three unarmed Afghan civilians.
U.S. Army, Cpl. Jeremy

The decision by Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks on Wednesday comes after Spc. Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty to three counts of murder, and one count each of conspiracy, obstructing justice and illegal drug use at his court martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The judge said he intended to sentence Morlock to life in prison with possibility of parole but he was bound the plea deal that called for a maximum sentence of 24 years.

The 22-year-old Morlock is one of five soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade charged in the 2010 killings of three Afghans in Kandahar province. He was the first to be court-martialed.

Palestinian engineer “handcuffed, hooded by Mossad agents” in Ukraine

RT, 23 March, 2011

Gaza: Palestinian relatives of Dirar Abu Sisi (portrait) attend a
solidarity demonstration calling for his release from an Israeli
jail (AFP Photo / Mohammed Abed)

A Palestinian engineer claims Mossad agents kidnapped him from a train passing through Ukraine before taking him to Israel. Ukrainian security officials say they had no prior knowledge of the operation.

Dirar Abu-Sisi alleges that he was taken by Mossad agents from an overnight train to Kiev and put on a plane to Israel, where he now sits in prison.

Relatives told the New York Times that Abu-Sisi, who is married to a Ukrainian woman and father to six children, was in the country applying for a residency permit. A day after his February 18 disappearance, Abu-Sisi surfaced at the Shikma prison in Israel.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCRH), a Gaza-based NGO, was allowed to visit Abu-Sisi in jail. According to the account he gave to a PCHR lawyer, he was on a train from Kharkov to Kiev when three men, two in Ukrainian military uniform, entered his compartment and asked him to show his passport. After he refused, the men allegedly took his documents by force and then forced him to disembark the train at the next station.

Abu-Sisi claims he was then handcuffed, hooded and taken by car to Kiev, where he was held in an apartment with individuals who identified themselves as members of Mossad. The statement goes on to claim Abu-Sisi was interrogated then and there by the alleged Mossad agents.

He alleges that he was then put on a four-to-five hour flight to an unknown location. About a half-hour after landing, he claims he was put on the plane for another hour long flight. When that flight landed, Abu-Sisi found himself in Israel. He told the PCHR lawyer that he was then held for 25 days without contact with a lawyer while being subjected to extensive interrogations.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Rokitsky, deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), said in a press conference that his agency has “no information about how he [Dirar Abu-Sisi] left Ukraine.” Rokitsky went on to say that Ukrainian law forbids the SSU from assisting foreign intelligence agencies in such operations.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the Israeli ambassador to explain the incident, and UN officials have also commented on the kidnapping.

“We are very disturbed that a person, according to his relatives, disappeared in Ukraine and after a very short interval appeared in a completely different country,” said Maksim Butkevich, a spokesman at the Ukraine office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

According to Interfax-Ukraine news service, both the Palestinian and Israeli Embassies in Kiev have declined to comment on the disappearance, though officials in Israel confirm that Abu-Sisi is in their custody. The fact that Abu-Sisi turned up in Israel a day after his abduction has raised questions over whether the SSU had advance knowledge of the operation.

Israeli officials have given no information as to why Abu-Sisi is being detained. However, his wife Veronika said the abduction was part of an Israeli plot to sabotage operations at the sole power plant in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, where Abu-Sisi had been working as a manager.

Ihab al-Ghussein, spokesman for the Interior Ministry of the Palestinian National Authority, called on Ukrainian officials to “uncover the facts” and “take responsibility for a crime committed on its territory” in a statement on March 18, while Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov was on an official visit to Israel. Azarov said he had “no clear information” on the case.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bernanke: Reforms rein in big banks, help small ones

Reuters, SAN DIEGO | Wed Mar 23, 2011

(Reuters) - New financial regulatory reforms should help reduce the edge that large banks have over smaller ones because of their implicit support from government, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the
Citizens Budget Commission Annual Dinner in New York
March 2, 2011. (
Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
Bernanke argued the Dodd-Frank reform legislation will address the issue of firms perceived as too big to fail by restricting their activities, raising their capital requirements and enhancing regulators' ability to wind them down.

"A financial system dominated by too-big-to-fail firms cannot be a healthy financial system," Bernanke told a group of community bankers in a speech that did not touch the broader economic outlook.

"One benefit of the reforms should be the creation of a more level playing field for financial institutions of all sizes," he said.

A number of other top Fed officials, including Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed bank and Thomas Hoenig president of the Kansas City Fed, have argued the legislation does not go far enough. They have called for very large banks to be broken up.

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Ivory Coast: UN warns of forgotten humanitarian crisis

BBC News, Geneva, By Imogen Foulkes, 22 March 2011

Ivory Coast crisis

As the world focuses on Libya and Japan, UN aid agencies are warning that Ivory Coast is rapidly becoming a forgotten humanitarian catastrophe.

Aid workers say Abidjan is emptying as desperate
inhabitants try to flee
About 500,000 people have fled violence there - but a UN appeal for funds to help them has met with little response.

There has been fighting between forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, who is refusing to step down as president, and those of his rival, Alassane Ouattara.

The UN recognises Mr Ouattara as the winner of November's presidential poll.

'Extremely trying time'

UN aid agencies are already struggling with serious security issues in their operation in Ivory Coast - now they have serious funding problems too.

An appeal for $32m has received just $7m so far.

For the World Food Programme, the situation is even worse.

"No funding for the $16m we need to buy food on the market to get it into Ivory Coast," said spokeswoman Emilia Casella.

"We've been calling on our donors really to understand that they have to pay attention to all the crises going on in the world."

"This is an extremely trying time for everyone, but if we cannot get funding for our Ivory Coast and Liberia operations now, we are not going to be able to buy the food and acquire it for the people who need it, even three or four months down the road."

Following the shelling of an Abidjan market last week, in which at least 25 people died - an act the UN says may be a war crime - aid workers say the city is emptying as desperate inhabitants, many of them women and children, try to flee. Most are taking nothing with them.

Meanwhile, the UN has almost nothing to give them - a totally unacceptable situation, aid agencies say - as Ivory Coast descends into what some are already calling civil war.

Ivory Coast: Battle for power
  • 435 killed since disputed election
  • 500,000 forced from their homes
  • 9,000 UN peacekeepers to monitor 2003 ceasefire
  • Election intended to reunite country
  • World's largest cocoa producer
  • Previously seen as haven of peace and prosperity in West Africa
  • Alassane Ouattara recognised as president-elect
  • International sanctions imposed to force Laurent Gbagbo to go