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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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ten nations urge new push for non-proliferation

Deutsche Welle, 30.04.2011

Group seeks to ban all fissile
material for nuclear weapons
The foreign ministers of ten countries have called for fresh efforts by the international community to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and materials at a meeting in Germany.

At talks in Berlin on Saturday, hosted by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, ten nations agreed to renew their efforts to speed up nuclear disarmament.

"We encourage all countries who may still be hesitant to follow our example," Westerwelle said.

The German foreign minister said that the participants from five continents saw themselves as the vanguard of a new global disarmament effort.

"We want to make this young decade a decade of disarmament," he said.

A joint statement released after the meeting said that the goal of the initiative was to "work toward achieving nuclear disarmament and strengthening the international non-proliferation regime."

Seeking nuclear disarmament

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.

Last year, these countries formed the group Friends of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Author: Gregg Benzow (dpa,AP)
Editor: Kyle James

EU investigates banks over credit default swaps use

BBC News, 29 April 2011

Big Banking

The EU's competition authorities are investigating the activities of nine of the world's biggest banks over the market for credit default swaps (CDS).

The EU probes involve 16 global
banking giants as well as other
linked institutions
CDS's are a form of insurance policy taken out on financial instruments, such as bonds, in case they lose value.

The banks include Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup.

The probe centres on whether preferential treatment - including special low fees - was given by a clearing house to drum up business.

The other five banks involved are Bank of America, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and UBS.

The EU's anti-trust commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, said in a statement: "CDS's play a useful role for financial markets and for the economy.

"Recent developments have shown, however, that the trading of this asset class suffers a number of inefficiencies that cannot be solved through regulation alone."

The value of CDS - said to be in the region of $28 trillion (£17tn) dwarfs the worth of the instruments they are based on.

As well as providing insurance against a bond going bad, CDS are also used for speculation, with banks and hedge funds trading in CDS to make money without actually owning the underlying bonds.

During the height of the financial crisis there were concerns that speculation in CDS for bonds was driving down prices and fuelling market panic.

The European Commission said it is investigating whether the nine big investment banks received special treatment from the clearing house ICE Clear Europe, and were therefore only giving their business to ICE.

The Commission said: "The effects of these agreements could be that other clearing houses have difficulties successfully entering the market and that other CDS players have no real choice where to clear their transactions."

The nine banks are shareholders in ICE's US clearing arm.

Preferential treatment?

In a separate case, the Commission said it was investigating whether those nine banks - and the seven others that act as dealers in the CDS market - give essential information on pricing and other daily activities only to Markit Group Ltd, which is the leading financial data provider for that market.

Such preferential treatment "could be the consequence of collusion between them or an abuse of a possible collective dominance" and could lock other data providers out of the CDS business, the Commission said.

Seven other firms are targeted in this probe: BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Wells Fargo, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale.

All 16 banks, which control around 90% of the market whereby banks deal with each other, are shareholders of Markit.

Markit holds a near monopoly on financial data, which the EU says could leave smaller competitors with worse information on pricing.

Market players, however, insist that there is no conclusive proof of such a link.

Markit said Friday it "does not believe it has engaged in any inappropriate conduct and looks forward to demonstrating that to the Commission".

A spokeswoman for IntercontinentalExchange said the company would cooperate with the investigation.

Related Articles:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas 'agree to end rift'

BBC News, 27 April 2011

The Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, which governs Gaza, have agreed a reconciliation deal, officials say.

Hamas and Fatah have been bitterly divided
for more than four years
Under the Egyptian-brokered deal, an interim government will be formed and a date fixed for elections.

The factions have been divided for more than four years, with Hamas in power in Gaza and Fatah running the West Bank.

Palestinian and Egyptian spokesmen told news agencies of the deal but a formal announcement has not yet been made.

Thousands of Palestinians protested in Gaza this month, calling for reconciliation.

The protests were inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.

The split between the two groups occurred when violence erupted a year after Hamas won Palestinian elections in 2006.

Tahir al-Nounou, a Hamas government spokesman who was at the meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo, where the deal was hammered out, told the BBC: "Hamas and Fatah have signed in principle a reconciliation deal in Cairo.

"The final signing will be in a week from now. Cairo will invite Mahmoud Abbas and [Hamas leader] Khalid Meshaal, and representatives from all Palestinian factions, to attend the signing."

Mr Nounou said all disagreements had been overcome.

The BBC's Jonathan Head in Cairo says that if the deal goes ahead, it will end five years of bitter hostility between the two sides and remove a significant barrier to the Palestinian campaign for statehood.

But he says there are many difficult issues to resolve - such as how the two factions will share security, how Gaza and the West Bank, separated by Israeli territory, will be governed, and whether the international donors will be willing to recognise Hamas.

Related Articles:

Palestinians protest for Hamas-Fatah unity

"The New Paradigm of Reality" Part I/II – Feb 12, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama, wary of high gas prices, takes aim at Big Oil

Reuters, by Alister Bull, WASHINGTON, Tue Apr 26, 2011

A gas nozzle is used to pump petrol at a station in New York
February 22, 2011. (
Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Congress to immediately end tax breaks for oil and gas firms, seeking to deflect the public anger over high gasoline prices that is hurting his popularity among voters.

U.S. gasoline prices have become a highly charged political issue after pushing toward $4 a gallon nationally, and higher in some cities, spurred by the soaring world price of crude oil amid turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa.

The president, in a letter to congressional leaders released by the White House, hailed what he called bipartisan support for closing the tax breaks.

But Republicans, who feel rising gas prices could help them defeat Obama in the 2012 election, said it would "raise taxes and increase the price at the pump."

This opposition to Obama's approach appeared at odds with a signal of openness from the top Republican in the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner, on Monday.

Some energy analysts also appeared unimpressed by Obama's latest move.

"Obama has said no there's no silver bullet to help push down gasoline prices in the short term, but now it seems he's grasping at straws in last couple of days to find policies to do the trick," said Matt Smith, an analyst at Summit Energy in Kentucky.

White House economic adviser Gene Sperling argued that billions of dollars used to subsidize oil and gas firms could be used instead to help reduce a ballooning U.S. deficit.

"In this type of fiscal moment, you have to ask yourself whether that $4 billion is worth taxpayer spending," he said, "compared to using perhaps some of that for deficit reduction, and some of it ... in the areas that could lead us to a brighter and cleaner and more secure energy future."

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, meanwhile, told reporters he saw some "disturbing" things in the energy markets. He said this supported the formation of a task force unveiled last week to probe possible fraud and manipulation of gasoline prices.

"There are at least a couple of things that are I think disturbing and I think we'll look into those," Holder told reporters when asked if he believed people were illegally manipulating the market. He declined to identify his concerns.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll on Tuesday found that 71 percent of those surveyed said gasoline prices were causing them serious financial hardship, while 55 percent disapproved of the way Obama was handling his job as president.

The White House rejected suggestions Obama's letter was designed to deflect gas price ire away from the president and toward oil companies, which it has repeatedly pointed out have made huge profits and yet continue to enjoy tax subsidies.

"We don't look at this as an issue of electoral politics in 18 months," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.


Obama, repeating a line he has repeatedly deployed in his two annual budget proposals, said more than $4 billion saved by closing the tax breaks could be invested in clean energy that would help to ease U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

In a nod toward the economic anxiety many Americans continue to feel amid still-high U.S. unemployment -- which is sure to weigh heavily on his hopes of re-election in 2012 -- Obama linked the energy companies to the country's recovery.

"If sustained, these high prices have the potential to slow down the pace of our economy's growth at precisely the moment when we need to be accelerating it," Obama said in the letter.

He has repeatedly suggested diverting revenue saved from closing the tax breaks to clean energy investment, and stresses the issue as part of his response to fuel prices.

Boehner said on Monday that Congress could look at cutting multibillion dollar tax subsidies to oil companies. Obama pounced on this as welcome evidence of bipartisan support.

"I was heartened that Speaker Boehner yesterday expressed openness to eliminating these tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Our political system has for too long avoided and ignored this important step, and I hope we can come together in a bipartisan manner to get it done," Obama said.

However, a Boehner spokesman said the Republican leader had simply said he would look at the facts.

"The Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and he is only interested in reforms that actually lower energy costs and create American jobs," said Brendan Buck. "Unfortunately, what the President has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump."

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Steve Holland, Tim Gardner, and Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Jackie Frank)

Related Articles:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

EU powers push U.N. council to condemn Syria: envoys

Reuters, by Louis Charbonneau, UN, Mon Apr 25, 2011

A man throws a rock at a passing tank in a location given as Deraa on April 25, 2011,
in this still image from an amateur video.
(Credit: Reuters/Social Media Website via Reuters TV)

(Reuters) - Britain, France, Germany and Portugal are asking the U.N. Security Council to condemn Syria's violent crackdown against protesters and urge restraint by the government, council diplomats said on Monday.

But it was unclear whether Russia and China would support the idea. The two permanent veto-wielding council members have become increasingly critical of the U.N.-backed intervention to protect civilians in Libya, which U.N. diplomats say Moscow and Beijing worry aims at ousting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"We would like council members to condemn the violence in Syria and to urge restraint," a diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

At least 18 people were killed on Monday when Syrian soldiers and tanks stormed the southern city of Deraa, prominent activist Ammar Qurabi said.

Western powers which took up arms against Gaddafi's forces, citing the United Nations principle of the responsibility to protect civilians, have confined themselves so far to verbal condemnations of the killing of hundreds of people in Syria.

Another U.N. diplomat said the four European members of the council have circulated a draft statement to the other 11 member states that also supports U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's call over the weekend for an independent investigation into the killings of demonstrators.

The Europeans hope a condemnation by the Security Council could increase the pressure on Syria to halt its crackdown on anti-government demonstrators, diplomats said.

The United States on Monday said it was considering "targeted sanctions" against the government of President Bashar al-Assad in response to its violent crackdown on protesters.

There was no move to discuss the possibility of U.N. sanctions against Syria at the moment, one diplomat said.

Russia and China have indicated they would be loath to have the council take up another internal conflict that they consider to be a domestic issue. The council has been unable to agree to a statement on unrest in another Arab state, Yemen.

The European draft statement on Syria notes that the situation is significant for the outlook for peace and security across the Middle East, a diplomat said. Reference to an international dimension to the violence could make it more difficult for Russia and China to refuse to discuss Syria.

Council discussion of Syria could also be awkward for Beirut. Lebanon, the sole Arab council member, has had a troubled relationship with its neighbor and Syrian influence remains strong there.

(Editing by Eric Beech)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Second Syrian lawmaker quits in protest at killings

Reuters UK, BEIRUT | Sat Apr 23, 2011

A still image taken from an amateur video on April 22, 2011 shows protesters
holding a large Syrian flag during a demonstration in Deraa.
Credit: Reuters/Amateur video via Reuters TV)

(Reuters) - A second Syrian lawmaker told al-Jazeera television on Saturday he was resigning from parliament in protest at the killing of demonstrators.

Lawmaker Khalil al-Rifaei joined his colleague Naser al-Hariri, both representatives of the troubled city of Deraa, and announced his resignation on air, saying it was because of the killings of pro-democracy protesters.

"Security solutions do not work," Rifaei said.

A mobile phone photograph showing the bodies of antigovernment
protesters allegedly killed by Syrian security forces on Good Friday.
Damascus. World leaders strongly condemned Syria after its security
forces killed more than 80 people during “Good Friday” protests in one
of the bloodiest days of a month-long uprising. (AP Photo)

Obama blasts Syria's Assad for "outrageous" violence

Reuters, WASHINGTON | Fri Apr 22, 2011

President Barack Obama steps off Marine One to board Air
Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles,
California, April 22, 2011. (
Credit: Reuters/Jim Young)

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama called on the Syrian government on Friday to stop using "outrageous" violence against demonstrators and accused President Bashar al-Assad of seeking help from Iran.

"This outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end now," Obama said in a statement.

"Instead of listening to their own people, President Assad is blaming outsiders while seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria's citizens through the same brutal tactics that have been used by his Iranian allies."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Obama administration eyes energy markets for fraud

Reuters, By Jeff Mason, RENO, Nevada | Thu Apr 21, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a fundraiser at Nob Hill Masonic
Center in San Francisco April 20, 2011. (
Credit: Reuters/Jim Young)

(Reuters) - With U.S. gasoline pump prices soaring, the Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a working group of federal agencies to probe potential fraud in the energy markets.

The White House is worried that if average gas prices rise above $4 a gallon, the economic and political fallout could dominate next year's presidential campaign and drown out President Barack Obama's message of economic recovery.

Obama said there was no "silver bullet" to tame gasoline prices, but said he asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to assemble a team of agency officials to "root out" cases of oil market fraud that affect pump prices, including actions by speculators.

"We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain," Obama said in prepared remarks to a townhall-style meeting in Nevada.

Earlier, the Justice Department announced the working group, which will include representatives from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Justice and Treasury.

Past attempts by U.S. regulators to investigate widespread gasoline market malfeasance have borne little fruit.

Obama devoted considerable time to the subject of rising gasoline prices this week -- seeking to reassure Americans that there was enough global oil supply and blaming soaring gasoline prices on speculators.


Average U.S. gasoline prices hit $3.84 a gallon last week, the most expensive since August 2008, as oil prices have soared above $100 a barrel. With pump prices already above the key level of $4 a gallon in U.S. cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, Obama faces political pressure to act.

The group, which will be part of the administration's Financial Fraud Task Force, will focus on any manipulation of oil and gas prices, collusion, fraud or other violations of state and federal laws, Holder said in a memo.

It will also examine investor practices, supply and demand factors and the role of speculators and index traders in the oil futures markets, according to his memo sent to the task force members.

A former federal enforcement official applauded the move and said he expected to see swift results.

"This is going to send a very strong signal to speculators and others who are committing malpractices in these markets, that there is a cop on the beat," said Michael Greenberger, a University of Maryland law professor and former senior CFTC official.

But if past efforts are any indication, tracking down manipulation claims will be difficult. The federal government has launched several gasoline price investigations in past years -- all of which yielded no evidence of manipulation or other wrongdoing.

Holder said he was acting on a March 11 request from Obama to look into rising energy prices and that during a subsequent meeting last month with task force members and state attorneys general they discussed pending inquiries in some states.

They also talked about "areas that require additional exploration, including whether there is any evidence of unlawful price manipulation at the supplier level or higher," Holder said in the memorandum released by the Justice Department.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, James Vicini and Christopher Doering; Editing by Vicki Allen)

Speculation in commodities like oil and gas is
often blamed for their sharp price swings

Related Articles:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

GasHole: What the oil companies don’t want you to know

RT.com, RIA Novosti / Yuriy Lushin, 21 April, 2011

April 20, 2011 marks the one year anniversary of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. A year later the region continues to suffer the aftermath, new rules on the industry have not been passed, gas prices are up and some politicians want to drill more.

Scott D. Roberts, the filmmaker behind “GasHole” explained that the oil industry continues to pollute, more than we know, and absolutely nothing has changed since the spill.

Recently gas prices have risen yet they did not do so at these levels after the spill. Many say the war in Libya is the cause, but Roberts pointed out that the US does not get any of its oil from Libya. In fact, the US receives the majority of its oil from Canada.

“Two days ago OPEC said they were going to cut 800,000 barrels per day from Saudi Arabia, and then the next day we hear that crude tops over $109 per barrel because we’re under supplied,” said Roberts. “It has a lot to do with speculators. A lot of people don’t even realize that we get the majority of our oil from Canada. We get as much from Canada as we get from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela combined. So, when something happens in the Middle East the speculators go crazy and the price skyrockets.”

US Presidents as far back as Richard Nixon have called for American energy independence and a more sustainable energy future, yet little has changed. Oil companies continue to rule and neglect the consumer.

Congress and US administrations have yet to act to help the American people. Why? A great deal of lobbying and campaign financing for US politicians comes from the oil and gas industry.

“We need powerful leadership in Washington, DC who’s not afraid to point the finger at the oil industry, create new legislation,” Roberts said. “We all have to get involved. We have to push legislation. We have to vote in the people that are going to make a difference and do something about it.”

New leaders are needed to force changes in the market and drive innovation towards new energy technologies, create new legislation and consumer focused practices.

Bradley Manning to get showers and TV

RT.com, 20 April, 2011

Code Pink for Peace demonstrators protest the resignation
of State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley and the detention of U.S.
Army Private Bradley Manning in front of the U.S. State Department March 14,
2011 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP )

The US military is set to transfer accused WikiLeaks leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning from solitary confinement at Quantico Marine Base to the Army’s Fort Leavenworth prison where Books, TV and even showers will be made available.

Following increased international and domestic criticism of the handling of Manning’s detention, the Pentagon has opted to move Manning to the medium security prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Numerous human rights groups, the UN, foreign leaders, and US politicians have been critical of the military's handling of Manning’s detention, many arguing his conditions were cruel, inhuman and even unconstitutional.

The Pentagon contends that outside criticism however had something to do with the transfer.

“We have assessed that it is in Private Manning’s best interests to move him at this juncture in the case,” said Jeh Johnson, the general counsel for the Defense Department. “We were looking at a situation where he would need an environment more conducive for a longer detention.”

The move it said to be taking place immediately.

While at Leavenworth, Manning will enjoy such luxuries as books, TV and daily showers. In addition he will be given recreational time and enjoy three full meals a day. He will have the ability to speak and socialize with others, unlike solitary confinement at Quantico.

While at Quantico Manning often went 23 hours straight without seeing anyone else. He was routinely stripped naked, forced to sit on a cold cell floor and deprived of physical activity.

Related Articles:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

U.S. debt outlook downgrade casts shadow over Chinese dollar assets

English.news.cn, by Xinhua writer Chen Yongrong, 2011-04-21

BEIJING, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Safety worries were raised about the assets of China, the biggest holder of United States Treasury bonds, after a key credit agency cut the outlook on the U.S. sovereign debt to negative.

China, which has always demanded that the US ensure the security of its dollar assets, expressed concerns after Standard & Poor on Monday lowered the long-term U.S. credit outlook from "stable" to "negative" and warned of risks, including spiking deficits and public debt.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Tuesday that China had "noted" the S&P's move and expressed hope that the U.S. administration could adopt "responsible policies and measures" to protect the interests of investors.

The safety of the country's dollar assets has been a long-standing concern of both the Chinese government and economists, as a large amount of the nation's three-trillion-U.S. dollar foreign exchange reserves are U.S. government debt.

In February of this year, China remained the largest buyer of U.S. Treasury securities, after the country cut its holdings for four consecutive months to 1.15 trillion U.S. dollars, according to the latest data from the U.S. Treasury Department.

Early in November of last year, when the U.S. government announced a new round of quantitative easing, or QE2, China's domestic ratings agency, Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Ltd, downgraded the sovereign credit rating of the U.S. by one level to A+ from the previous AA, with a "negative" outlook on the U.S.'s deteriorating debt repayment capability and the drastic decline of the U.S. government's intention of debt repayment.

Guan Jianzhong, Dagong's chairman, said that he was not surprised to see the S&P's cut on the U.S. ratings outlook. "The U.S. economic fundamentals are not strong, plus there is expanding fiscal deficit and declining financial revenue," he said.

But Guan said that the S&P move is more likely a warning to the U.S. administration on the massive federal deficit, instead of an actual downgrade in its sovereign rating.

Currently, the S&P maintains the U.S.'s top AAA credit rating, but said there is a one-in-three chance it could cut its long-term credit rating within two years if U.S. policy makers fail to deal with rising budget deficit and debt.

Guan said that the U.S. economy was still worsening after Dagong downgraded the country's rating last year, due to the military missions in Libya, as well as rising defense budget and fiscal expenditures.

China's holding of dollar assets is risky, he warned.

"We are closely tracking the performance of U.S. government bonds and considering a further adjustment based on current conditions," Guan added.

Moody's Investors Service Inc., another leading ratings agency, warned of the same debt risk in the United States.

"Moody's rating for the U.S. is AAA and remains stable, but an upward debt trajectory and increasing fiscal pressures increase the likelihood of an outlook change within the next two years," said Steve Hess, Senior Credit Officer with Moody's.

But Moody's was more positive over the future development of the U.S. economy.

In its latest weekly credit outlook report, the ratings agency wrote that "despite these uncertainties, we view the changed parameters of the debate with broadly similar goals as to government debt levels as a turning point that is positive for the long-term fiscal position of the U.S. federal government."

Some Chinese economists were also optimistic on the U.S. debt risk. Yang Tao, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that currently there is little chance for a U.S. debt crisis, unless all of the bond holders sold their U.S. Treasury bonds, which would hurt the interests of all nations.

Lu Zhengwei, chief economist with Industrial Bank Co. Ltd, said that the country's debt repayment capability will become better once the United States posts a better-than-expected economic recovery.

Lu also called for the Chinese government to urge the U.S. administration to take full responsibility for its debt, as well as the global economic development and financial system.

Economists and researchers also noted that China should pay close attention to the development of the U.S. credit conditions and diversify its investments of its massive foreign reserves.

Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said earlier at a forum in Beijing this week that China's foreign exchange reserves, which had topped 3 trillion U.S. dollars in March, have exceeded the country's "reasonable" demand and the government should improve the management and especially the diversification of its holdings.

Editor: yan

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