United Nations Declaration (Articles 1 - 30):

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

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

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts
Nigerian Minister of the Environment Amina Mohammed, seen in 2015, will be the UN's number two official (AFP Photo/Mireya ACIERTO)

Sustainable Development
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Timing of the Great Shift" – Mar 21, 2009 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Text version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

The Declaration of Human Freedom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit

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

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

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

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

Same-sex marriage around the world

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'

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

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Human rights under threat in era of globalization

Deutsche Welle, 30 May 2011

Poverty and exploitative working
conditions are on the rise
Human dignity is sacrosanct. But what if it is violated? What if world market conditions increase poverty? Michael Windfuhr says the gap between international law and practice is getting wider.

Human rights came into being as a form of protection against an overpowering state and were ultimately adopted in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Human rights protect the dignity of every individual against a state that has gained or taken too much power and which tortures or arrests people, makes them disappear, discriminates against them on the basis of their background, skin color, gender, sexual orientation etc., does not allow them to work, or makes it harder for them to access land or credit because they belong to the "wrong" sex or the "wrong" population group.

The Universal Declaration of Human
Rights was adopted in 1948
Civil, political, economic, social and cultural human rights establish the right of all people to determine their own lives free from oppression and cruelty, social want, despotism, exclusion, and exploitation.

States and the international community have a duty to respect, protect and guarantee human rights. That means they also have to keep an eye out for situations in which private companies or other actors stand in violation of these rights. They also have a duty to guarantee particularly disadvantaged groups are guaranteed their human rights, using whatever resources necessary.

In an age of globalization there are, however, an increasing number of situations in which human rights fall by the wayside.

International contracts as an obstacle

International contracts may prevent states from taking the measures necessary to implement a right. One example was government getting around patent protection for HIV/AIDS medication by issuing licenses to produce cheaper generic products.

International organizations can also prevent states from taking the political measures necessary to ensure rights. Indebted developing countries are a case in point. Pointing to reasons of cost efficiency, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund advised these countries to dismantle their state infrastructure for rural development and open markets to import food instead. Credit approval was often dependant on these factors. The result was that families with small farms became increasingly unable to secure their income.

Direct investment as an obstacle

The right to food is often violated in an age of globalization

Private companies often have the upper hand when it comes to foreign direct investment, and most investments are only made if they are "investor friendly."

In practice that can mean that employee rights or protection from forced displacement fall by the wayside. For example, thousands of families are forcibly resettled by mining companies, especially by those that work in mountaintop removal. Often this is done without adequate compensation. Trade unions and those affected are rarely able to improve unfair or unsafe labor conditions because international companies are rarely brought to justice in national courts.

Local or regional governments and monitoring bodies are often tainted by corruption and do not pursue reports of abuse.

Subsidies as an obstacle
Tax law in one country can have human rights consequences on another continent.

In recent years, several NGOs have pointed to the huge impact that both the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy and the European fisheries policy have had on markets, working conditions and living conditions in West Africa.

European imports of chicken, made cheap by subsidies, and Europe's overfishing of its coasts have indirectly contributed to increasing poverty and hunger among certain population groups. This constitutes a violation of the right to food but the governments of countries in West Africa lack the power to influence its causes in any significant way.

Weak states as an obstacle

Subsidized chicken imports from
Europe have increased poverty
and hunger among some groups
The situation can become particularly problematic for people if their national government is barely functioning. If it is too weak to control or direct international influences, human dignity falls by the wayside.

In the case of "failed states" and countries embroiled in civil war, the responsibility for standards in mines and on plantations tends to lie with companies which have operations there.

Congo is a case in point. Important precious metals are mined under horrible conditions there. But these precious metals come to Europe, where they are used in the manufacture of mobile phones and other electronics.

Globalization as a challenge

Numerous examples show that, in the age of globalization, a gap is opening when it comes to protecting human rights. This gap could be closed if international law could bring the actors to justice. But that is not yet the case. The victims of human rights abuses rarely sue those responsible for the violations and are almost never compensated.

Human rights activists, politicians and academics all over the world are now calling for private actors to respect and protect human rights in their fields of responsibility. Through their campaign work, non-governmental organizations are bringing more and more cases to public attention.

Such naming and shaming tactics have led many transnational actors to set voluntary codes of conduct. Kofi Annan, the former general secretary of the United Nations, attempted to point to the meaning of human rights for economic actors in 2000 by setting up "Global Compact," although it, too, is falling short of its goals.

Extra-territorial state obligations

Michael Windfuhr says the gap
between law and practice needs to
be closed
But whether human rights are respected, protected and guaranteed continues to be largely dependant on NGOs, skilled lawyers and human rights activists making the problems public.

That cannot be the only solution. But neither is making voluntary instruments responsible for implementing economic, social and cultural human rights.

In order to close these human rights gaps, rules concerning so-called extraterritorial state obligations are increasingly necessary. In the end, all countries ultimately have a duty to make sure that their conduct - and that includes trade and dealings with international organizations like the World Bank - conforms to accepted human rights standards.

Experts in international law are due to meet at Maastricht University in the Netherlands this autumn to formulate principles to make sure human rights rules are applied across borders. They hope to provide a road map for human rights law that can navigate the challenges of globalization.

Michael Windfuhr is the deputy director of the German Institute for Human Rights.

Author: Michael Windfuhr / mm
Editor: Sean Sinico

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Arab League backs Palestinian membership bid at UN

BBC News, 28 May 2011

Israel and the Palestinians

The Arab League says it will seek full UN membership for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Mahmoud Abbas is pressuring
Israel to return to the negotiating
The decision was made at a meeting in Doha attended by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Abbas had reiterated his determination to seek UN recognition in September unless Israel began negotiations on a "substantial basis".

US-led peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for months.

A statement issued by the Arab League monitoring committee on Saturday said it "supports the appeal to the UN asking that Palestine, within the 1967 borders, becomes a full-fledged state" of the international organisation.

Mr Abbas had told the meeting: "Our option is still negotiation, but it seems that because of conditions imposed by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu... we have no choice but to use the UN to get recognition of our state.

"We are serious in our decision to use the UN, it is not manoeuvring. We will do it unless Netanyahu accepts to begin negotiations today on a substantial basis."

Basis for talks

In a keynote policy speech on 19 May, US President Barack Obama issued a clear call for Israel and the Palestinians to use the borders existing before the 1967 Six Day War, with land swaps, as the basis for talks.

However, he made it clear that an appeal to the UN for full membership for Palestine would be a mistake.

Mr Netanyahu rejected President Obama's proposal outright, saying the Jewish state would be "indefensible" if it returned to the 1967 borders, which would exclude dozens of Jewish settlements.

He also rejected the idea of dividing the city of Jerusalem. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital.

On Friday, UN General Assembly president Joseph Deiss said that a Palestinian state would need the support of all five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council to be recognised.

Correspondents say this seems unlikely, although even as a symbolic gesture the move could make Israel look politically isolated.

Former Shin Bet chief Yacov Peri and other backers
of the plan want to put pressure on Mr Netanyahu

"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

" ... If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening. ....."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Russian-US helicopter deal advances military cooperation

RT.com, 28 May, 2011

Russian-US helicopter deal advances military cooperation
(Photo from kazanhelicopters.ru)

Moscow and Washington have signed their first contract to use multi-purpose Russian-made helicopters in Afghanistan. The contract is hailed by the Kremlin as the first major contract in the history of the countries’ military cooperation.

The cost of the deal, which will supply 21 Mi-17V5 military transport helicopters to the Afghan army, reportedly stands at about US$ 300 million.

According to Kommersant newspaper, the first nine machines will be delivered to Kabul before the end of the year and the rest will be supplied in 2012.

Along with the supply of helicopters, the deal includes the delivery of spare parts, ground support equipment and the provision of maintenance services, the newspaper said.

Russian authorities have hailed the move as an important step in the countries’ military cooperation.

"[This is] the first large contract in the history of the US-Russian military-technical cooperation, signed directly with the US Department of Defense," said Russian Presidential Aid Sergey Prikhodko.

"Its signing is a major step forward in the two countries' practical cooperation in raising the combat capabilities of the Afghan Armed Forces," he added.

The contract was reportedly signed on April 26, during Deauville talks between the Russian and American presidents.

Palestinians have no wish to isolate Israel—Abbas

Antara News, Sat, May 28 2011

Related News

Doha (ANTARA News/Reuters) - Palestinians are not seeking to isolate Israel on the international stage, but will pursue their unilateral drive for U.N. recognition of statehood unless peace talks resume, President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday.

He was in Doha for a meeting of Arab states on Saturday called to discuss U.S. President Barack Obama`s latest ideas for reviving the moribund peace process and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s negative response to them.

The Arab League will almost certainly endorse any suggestions put forward by the Palestinians, and in an interview with Reuters, Abbas said negotiations remained the best option for bringing about the creation of an independent state.

"We will review ... the steps we will take -- persisting with negotiations as the fundamental way to achieving a resolution," Abbas said. "If we fail in reaching this solution, then we confirm that we will go to the United Nation ."

The Palestinians currently have the status of U.N. observers without voting rights, but are hoping that at September`s General Assembly they can persuade other nations to accept them as a sovereign member.

Both Netanyahu and Obama have criticised the move, and although U.S. opposition means the Palestinians have very little chance of success, the Israelis fear the manoeuvring will leave them looking increasingly vulnerable on the diplomatic front.

"Israel believes that if we go to the United Nations we will work to isolate it and delegitimise it," Abbas said.

"This is not at all possible because we do not want to isolate Israel or to delegitimise it. On the contrary, we want to co-exist with it," he added.

U.S.-brokered talks between the Palestinians and Israel broke down last September in a dispute over continued Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

In a bid to break the deadlock, Obama said in a major policy speech last week that a future Palestinian state should be based on the borders as they existed on the eve of the 1967 Middle East, with land swaps mutually agreed with Israel.

Netanyahu immediately rejected the proposal saying it would leave Israel with "indefensible" borders. But Abbas described the idea as "a foundation with which we can deal positively".

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told Reuters in an interview that Israel will not gain security by clinging to territory beyond the 1967 West Bank frontier. "It is peace that will bring Israel security, not increasing the width of Israel or finding a military solution to defending (its) borders."

Editor: B Kunto Wibisono

Former Shin Bet chief Yacov Peri and other backers
of the plan want to put pressure on Mr Netanyahu

Thursday, May 26, 2011

China wants 'democratic' choice for IMF

The Jakarta Post, Associated Press, Beijing | Thu, 05/26/2011

China said Thursday it wants the next International Monetary Fund leader to be selected through "democratic negotiation" but gave no sign whether it backs candidates from France, Mexico or other governments.

In a statement, the foreign ministry said Beijing supports a call by the Group of 20 major developed and developing nations for an "open, transparent, merit-based selection" as part of reforms of global financial institutions.

"(China) hopes that on the basis of the above principles, all sides can make a decision through democratic negotiation," the statement said.

It did not respond to questions about whether Beijing supports French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde or other contenders to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as IMF managing director. Strauss-Kahn quit last week after he was accused of attempting to rape a New York City hotel maid.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, declined at a regular briefing to give other details.

A decision by the 24-member IMF executive board is expected by the end of June. Other possible candidates include Mexico's central bank governor, Agustin Carstens.

China and other developing countries have pushed for changes in the IMF and its sibling organization, the World Bank, to reduce the dominance of Western governments and Japan and reflect the growing economic strength of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Many European countries, including Germany and Britain, have offered their backing to a Lagarde candidacy. Emerging economies have yet to rally behind a single candidate but say the job should be open to non-Europeans.

The Washington-based IMF lends money to countries to help resolve balance of payments problems and financial crises.

The leader of the IMF always has been a European while the World Bank president has been an American, an arrangement that developing countries have criticized.

Related Article:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fed probes allegations that Avon bribed officials: report

Reuters, Wed May 25, 2011

(Reuters) - Federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that former employees of Avon Products Inc (AVP.N) bribed foreign officials, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Prosecutors in the southern district of New York's complex frauds unit in Manhattan and the Justice Department's fraud section in Washington are seeking more information on whether Avon employees had possibly violated the foreign corrupt practices act, the Journal reported.

The door-to-door beauty company has been conducting a three-year internal probe into bribery allegations that began in China and then extended to Latin America.

The company's internal bribery investigation recently found that millions of dollars of questionable payments had been made to officials in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, India and Japan, the paper earlier reported.

No charges have been filed against any individuals or the company and Avon is continuing with its own internal investigation, the paper added.

The household products maker has already come under fire for spending as much as $96 million in 2010 on its bribery investigation and after it announced its plans to spend a similar amount this year.

Avon, DoJ and the SEC were not available for comment outside of normal U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Rachel Chitra in Bangalore; Editing by David Cowell)

RI, Egypt ask some NAM members to recognize Palestine

Antara News, Wed, May 25 2011

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) strikes a gong to open the
ministerial meeting of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) in Nusa Dua, Bali,
witnessed by UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss (third left),
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (second left) and Bali Governor Made
Mangku Pastika (left). The meeting, which began on May 23, will last until
May 27. (JP/Stanny Angga)

Nusa Dua (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Egypt are doing their best to ask Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members to recognize and support the existence of Palestine, Indonesia Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said.

Marty said here Tuesday night that in his meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Abdalla El-Araby on the sidelines of NAM`s 16th Ministerial Meeting here, both sides discussed efforts how to partner in advancing and supporting a concrete peace process in Palestine.

Marty said that Indonesia and Egypt agreed to share the tasks to encourage countries in their respective regions to recognize Palestine.

"We sorted out countries in the regions which have not yet recognized Palestine," Marty said after having a bilateral meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister.

He said that NAM so far consistently supported the existence of Palestine but there were still 29 members which had not yet recognized it based on various reasons.

The 16th ministerial meeting of NAM in Bali was a new momentum for the countries which had not yet recognized Palestine to recognize it.

"So far, Indonesia and Egypt have fostered close relations and the two foreign ministers have agreed to increase the ties to a higher level," Marty said.

Editor: Aditia Maruli

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Former Shin Bet chief Yacov Peri and other backers
of the plan want to put pressure on Mr Netanyahu

IAEA: Syria site bombed by Israel 'was likely nuclear'

BBC News, 24 May 2011

Related Stories

A Syrian site bombed by Israeli jets in 2007 was "very likely" a nuclear reactor, the UN's atomic watchdog says.

The US said Syria's reactor was similar to a
North Korean one
The International Atomic Energy Agency has been investigating US claims that Syria was building a secret nuclear reactor with North Korean help.

The strongest IAEA report yet on Syria came after several years of blocked investigations, and is likely to increase the pressure on Damascus.

Israel bombed the remote desert site of the alleged reactor in September 2007.

Syria says the site - near Deir Alzour in the country's remote north-east - was an unused military facility under construction. It also denied having any nuclear links to North Korea, which has itself denied transferring nuclear technology to Syria.

But the confidential IAEA report, obtained by the BBC, says the bombed building was similar in type and size to a reactor and that samples taken from the site indicated a connection with nuclear activities.

Israeli air strike: Sequence of events
  • 6 Sept 2007: Israel bombs site in remote north-east Syria
  • 1 Oct 2007: Syria's President Assad tells BBC site was military
  • 24 Oct 2007: New satellite images taken show site bulldozed clear
  • 24 April 2008: US claims Syrian site was nuclear reactor
  • 24 May 2011: IAEA report concludes site was "very likely" a nuclear reactor
  • Nuclear power in the Middle East
  • In text: US accuses Syria and N Korea

The report's conclusions are likely to raise international pressure on Damascus, says the BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna.

It opens the door for Western powers to push for Syria to be referred to the UN Security council, an action last taken against Iran in 2006. That step could come at the next meeting of the IAEA's board of governors in June.

Syria is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which gives it the right to enrich its own fuel for civil nuclear power, under inspection from the IAEA.

But it has also signed a safeguards agreement with the IAEA under which it is obliged to notify the UN's nuclear watchdog of any plans to construct a new nuclear facility.

US sanctions foreign firms trading with Iran

BBC News, 24 May 2011

Iran nuclear crisis

The US has imposed sanctions against seven foreign firms which trade with Iran in breach of an existing US ban.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is
peaceful in purpose
Venezuela's state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), is among those targeted by the measures.

Other companies include firms based in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Singapore, Monaco and Jersey.

A US official said the sanctions would add "further pressure" on Iran to halt what the US and others believe is a nuclear weapons programme.

The affected companies include Tanker Pacific of Singapore, Ofer Brothers Group of Israel, Associated Shipbroking of Monaco, Petrochemical Commercial Company International of Jersey and Iran, the Royal Oyster Group of the United Arab Emirates and Speedy Ship of the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

"All of these companies have engaged in activities related to the supply of refined petroleum products to Iran, including the direct supply of gasoline and related products," Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said.

'Illicit trading'

Mr Steinberg said that the sanctions were tailored to target each individual firm but, in general, would stop the companies trading with the US.

  • Jersey/Iran: Petrochemical Commercial
  • Israel: Ofer Brothers Group
  • Monaco: Associated Shipbroking
  • Singapore: Tanker Pacific
  • UAE/Iran: Speedy Ship
  • UAE: Royal Oyster Group
  • Venezuela: Petroleos de Venezuela
  • Source: Reuters

PDVSA, for example, will be barred from any US government contracts, import-export financing and export licenses for sensitive technology.

The company and its subsidiaries, will, however, be permitted to continue selling oil to the United States.

The state department said the company had delivered at least two cargoes of refined petroleum products worth some $50m (£31m) to Iran between December 2010 and March 2011.

Simultaneously, the US administration imposed separate sanctions on more than 15 people and companies in China, Iran, North Korea, Syria and elsewhere.

  • Belarus: Optical Mechanical Association, BelTechExport
  • China: Karl Lee, Dalian
  • Iran: Milad Jafari, the Defence Industries Organization, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force, SAD Import-Export Company and Shahid
  • North Korea: Tangun Trading
  • Syria: Industrial Establishment of Defense and Scientific Studies and Research Centre
  • Venezuela: Military Industries Company
  • Source: Reuters

It said the penalties were being imposed for what it said was illicit trading in missile technology and weapons of mass destruction.

Those companies affected by this set of sanctions will be barred from any US government contracts and US assistance, banned from buying US defence articles and denied licences to sell them for a period of two years.

Also on Tuesday, the UN atomic agency said that member states had given it fresh information alleging that Iran has worked secretly on developing nuclear arms.

The report, drawn up ahead of next month's meeting of the IAEA board, said Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium had continued to grow, Reuters reports.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Obama forcefully defends his Mideast peace call

Yahoo/AFP, May 22, 2011

US President Barack Obama speaks during an address to the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference 2011 at the Walter
E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Obama on Sunday
forcefully defended his call for an Israeli-Palestinian peace based on their pre-1967
frontiers, suggesting Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu had misrepresented him.
(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama on Sunday forcefully defended his call for an Israeli-Palestinian peace based on their pre-1967 frontiers, suggesting Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu had misrepresented him.

Speaking in Washington to a generally welcoming crowd of Israel's hardline supporters, Obama said delays in moving toward a two-state solution would undermine Israel's security.

"There was nothing particularly original in my proposal," Obama told an estimated 10,000 delegations to the powerful pro-Israel lobby, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee.

"This basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous US administrations.

In a speech Thursday, Obama called on Israel to accept a return to territorial lines in place before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, with mutual land swaps with Palestinians to frame a secure peace.

In a dramatic Oval Office appearance on Friday, Netanyahu emphatically rejected the call to return to the pre-1967 lines, saying it would make Israel indefensible and isolate Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But Obama said his position has "been misrepresented several times," adding that mutually agreed swaps means that Israel would not be returning to the pre-1967 lines.

"If there's a controversy, then, it's not based in substance," Obama said.

"What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately. I have done so because we cannot afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades, to achieve peace," he said.

"The world is moving too fast. The extraordinary challenges facing Israel would only grow. Delay will undermine Israel's security and the peace that the Israeli people deserve," the president said.

His remarks on the controversy -- coming on the eve of Netanyahu's own speech to AIPAC -- received loud applause from the thousands of delegates who drowned out a few boos.

Analysts said Obama became the first president to specifically state that the 1967 borders should be the basis for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, shut down over a settlements row last year.

US officials had, however, privately been pushing the position for a while and the principle was close to the shape of a failed deal advanced by former president Bill Clinton at Camp David in 2000.

Netanyahu on Saturday tried to play down a row with President Barack Obama, saying the rift between the leaders had been exaggerated.

Obama also drew loud applause when he called on Hamas, the Palestinian group to recognize Israel's right to exist and to reject violence.

Also well received was his promise to fight any efforts to isolate Israel at the United Nations, repeating that Palestinian efforts to win recognition as an independent state at the UN will fail.

He also sought to reassure Israel's supporter of general US support for Israel's security, a traditional line from US presidents.

"Even while we may at times disagree, as friends sometimes will, the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable, and the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad," Obama said to loud applause.

He also said Washington is going "beyond" regular military assistance to the Jewish state in order to help "maintain Israel's qualitative military edge."

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" ... If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening. ....."