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 27, 2019

Never mind the substance, here's the visuals: Putin summit a win for Kim

Yahoo – AFP, Sunghee Hwang, April 25, 2019

The mere fact of a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a
diplomatic boost for Kim Jong Un, analysts say (AFP Photo/Alexey NIKOLSKY)

The first summit between Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin was short on public content but the mere fact of it was a diplomatic boost for Pyongyang in its nuclear stalemate with the US, analysts said.

Thursday's talks in Vladivostok were the North Korean leader's first meeting with another head of state since returning from his February summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, which broke down without a deal on Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.

In Russia, Kim said little about the specifics of his discussions with Putin, preferring promises of strengthening traditional ties -- and did not mention the word "denuclearisation" once in public.

There was no joint statement -- and the Kremlin had said beforehand there would not be.

The Russian president told reporters that, like Washington, Moscow wanted to see "complete denuclearisation", but added that North Korea's security should be guaranteed, without going into detail.

Despite the limited substance, analysts say Kim got exactly what he was looking for: a strong handshake with Putin in front of international media.

And unlike some other occasions, the Russian president did not keep his guest waiting.

"The summit was heavy on diplomatic symbolism rather than actual cooperation, but the meeting itself is an achievement for Kim," said Shin Beom-chul of the Asan Institute of Policy Studies.

It was the latest chapter in the North Korean leader's summit diplomacy, aimed at chipping away some of the negative public image of his regime, analysts said.

For six years after inheriting power, the North Korean leader was an international recluse and remained within his borders.

But since March 2018, he has held meetings four times with Chinese President Xi Jinping, three with South Korea's Moon Jae-in, two with Trump and one each with Vietnam's president and Singapore's prime minister.

"Kim understands there is clearly a benefit in just holding a summit," said Harry Kazianis of the Center for National Interest ahead of the talks.

"All Kim needs to be successful is images of him shaking Putin's hand -- a sort of selfie diplomacy with summit pictures being plastered all over the media -- to prove to the world he is a global statesman."

Wining and dining

In Thursday's expanded meeting, Kim was accompanied only by Ri Yong Ho and Choe Son Hui -- his foreign minister and vice foreign minister.

Opposite them sat about a dozen Russians, among them officials handling economic cooperation with the North, such as mothballed gas pipeline and power grid projects.

Their North Korean counterparts did not travel to Russia with Kim and their absence showed that reviving such joint projects was nowhere near the top of Pyongyang's agenda, said Koo Kab-woo, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

For the North, the main goal of the summitry was finding "another exit" -- an alternative option to China -- Koo said, and seek more international support in its nuclear stand-off against Washington.

At the meeting with Trump in Hanoi, the cash-strapped North demanded immediate relief from sanctions imposed over its weapons programmes, but the talks broke up in disagreement over what Pyongyang was prepared to give up in return.

Since then, North Korea has carried out a new weapons test and demanded the removal from negotiations of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- who said Wednesday that he expected "bumpy" talks ahead with Pyongyang.

North Korea will expect the sight of Kim and Putin wining and dining together to prompt Washington to return to the negotiating table with a better offer, Koo said.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Former VP Biden announces 2020 White House run

Yahoo – AFP, Michael Mathes, April 25, 2019

President Barack Obama (right) praised Biden but pointedly avoided endorsing
him (AFP Photo/ALEX WONG)

Washington (AFP) - Former US vice president and Democratic elder statesman Joe Biden launched his third White House bid Thursday, becoming the frontrunner in a crowded field and painting incumbent Donald Trump as a "threat" to America.

The 76-year-old is the most experienced and best recognized Democrat in the running, a veteran campaigner who has dominated early polls following months -- even years -- of planning.

In a three-and-a-half minute launch video, Biden he couldn't stand by and watch Trump "fundamentally alter the character of this nation" during a second four-year term.

Biden criticized the president's response to a deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, recalling that Trump infamously described "very fine people" on both sides of the clashes.

"And in that moment I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime," Biden said.

The Democratic stalwart, for eight years Barack Obama's deputy, added that he couldn't remain idle while Trump stood to gut America's core values and "everything that made America America."

Trump's response was swift: he insulted Biden on Twitter, his favorite forum for smacking down rivals, casting doubt on his opponent's mental capacity.

Biden, pictured in a still from his announcement video, leads the polls with 
29 percent support (AFP Photo/HO)

'Sleepy Joe'

"Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign," Trump tweeted.

Biden, whose working-class appeal remains intact despite nearly half a century in Washington politics, is seen as a comforting, known quantity for American voters who will be vetting 20 Democrats now officially in the race.

Hours after his announcement, the gregarious Biden was in his element, pressing flesh and taking photographs with customers and employees at a Wilmington, Delaware pizza parlor, and greeting old acquaintances.

"Who's the best person to lead the country? That's what this is going to be all about and it's going to be for the voters to decide that," he told reporters.

Even before his official launch Biden led most surveys of Democratic voters. But recent controversy over his tactile style, particularly with women, could dampen his rollout.

The RealClearPolitics poll aggregate puts him as favorite with 29.3 percent support, followed by independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who votes with the Democrats, at 23 percent.

Both white men in their mid to late 70s, the pair are unlikely to be seen as the ideal shop window for a party seeking to win over young and minority voters.

Biden finds himself in a field of unprecedented diversity -- six contenders are women and three are black -- as he makes his third presidential run, following unsuccessful attempts in 1988 and 2008.

After the death of his son Beau from cancer, Biden opted out of a presidential campaign in 2016.

As he let the suspense over his plans drag out for months, the spotlight turned to younger faces including moderate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who at 37 is less than half Biden's age.

President Barack Obama (right) praised Biden but pointedly avoided endorsing 
him (AFP Photo/ALEX WONG)

Top of the polls

Complicating matters, the last weeks have been clouded by accusations from multiple women who say Biden touched them inappropriately or made them feel uncomfortable with his shows of affection.

Biden, an old-school politico who acknowledges he is quick to offer hugs and shoulder rubs, has not outright apologized, but pledged to be "more mindful" about society's changing boundaries.

Obama, through a source close to his thinking, praised Biden but pointedly avoided endorsing, preferring to "let the candidates make their cases directly to the voters."

Biden concurred, saying he had discouraged his former boss from any public blessing because "whoever wins this nomination should win it on its own merits."

Several establishment Democrats did offer swift backing, including half a dozen lawmakers and a former Democratic Party boss.

Biden, who maintains a broad political network, is expected to mount a robust ground game.

But entering the race months after several rivals, he trails in a key benchmark: fundraising. He was headed Thursday to Philadelphia, reportedly to attend a high-dollar fundraiser hosted by a telecoms executive.

On Monday he travels to Pittsburgh, another city in must-win Pennsylvania, for his first major campaign event, a labor union address.

But resistance there was early dissent among progressives, including the Justice Democrats group, which criticized the party's "old guard" for failing to stop Trump at the ballot box.

"The party needs new leadership with a bold vision capable of energizing voters in the Democratic base who stayed home in 2016," the group said in a statement.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

US top court to weigh in on gay, transgender rights

Yahoo – AFP, April 22, 2019

The US Supreme Court is to take up a gay and transgender rights case (AFP Photo/
Eric BARADAT)

Washington (AFP) - The US Supreme Court said Monday it will take up the question of whether gay and transgender workers are protected by federal law that bars discrimination in the workplace.

The nation's highest court is considering three related cases, one involving a funeral home worker who was fired after telling her employer she was a transgender woman and would be wearing women's clothing at work.

In the other two cases, gay workers said they were fired by their employers because of their sexual orientation.

The court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, also applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the absence of a ruling from the top US court, lower courts have issued contradictory decisions.

The case is likely to be heard in the fall with a ruling issued next year.

Monday, April 22, 2019

'Horrific', 'cruel', 'sad': World leaders react to Sri Lanka blasts

Yahoo – AFP, April 21, 2019

'Appalling', 'cruel','devastating', 'horrific': World leaders condemn the Sri Lanka
blasts (AFP Photo/LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI)

Religious and world leaders have condemned a series of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed more than 200 people on Sunday, including dozens of foreigners with British, Dutch and American citizens believed to be among them.

Hospital sources also said Japanese citizens were among those injured by the bombs which ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services.

Here is a summary of the reactions:

Britain: 'Stand together'

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attacks as "truly appalling".

"The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time," she tweeted.

"We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear."

Trump: 'Ready to help'

US President Donald Trump tweeted: "Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels.

"We stand ready to help!"

The Netherlands: 'Terrible reports'

"Terrible reports from Sri Lanka about bloody attacks on hotels and churches on this Easter Sunday," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted after initial news of the attacks.

"Thoughts are with the victims and their relatives."

Pope: 'Cruel violence'

Pope Francis expressed his sadness over the attacks during his traditional Easter address at the Vatican.

"I want to express my affectionate closeness with the Christian community, attacked while it was at prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence," he said.

The Catholic Church in Jerusalem had said in an earlier statement: "We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy recovery of the injured, and ask God to inspire the terrorists to repent of their killing and intimidation."

Australia: 'Terrorist attack'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement: "At this time as Easter Sunday draws to a conclusion here in Australia, our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack."

New Zealand: 'Devastating'

A month after dozens of Muslims were killed in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the Sri Lanka attack as "devastating".

"New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating."

Pakistan: 'Horrific'

Pakistan's leader Imran Khan offered his "profound condolences" to Sri Lanka.

"Strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday resulting in precious lives lost & hundreds injured," he tweeted.

India: 'Cold blooded'

Narendra Modi, the leader of neighbouring India, condemmned the "serial terrorist attacks" in a government statement.

"Terming them as cold-blooded and pre-planned barbaric acts, he pointed out that these attacks were another grim reminder of the most serious challenge posed to the entire humanity by terrorism in our region and the entire world," the statement added.

EU: 'Sad day for the world'

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his "horror and sadness" at the blasts, while EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the attacks marked "a truly sad day for the country and for the world".

"Such acts of violence on this holy day are acts of violence against all beliefs and denominations, and against all those who value the freedom of religion and the choice to worship," she added in a statement.

France: 'Odious acts'

"We strongly condemn these odious acts," French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter.

"Full solidarity with the Sri Lanka people and our thoughts for all those close to the victims this Easter."

Germany: 'Malicious attack'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said "religious hate and intolerance that have showed themselves in such a terrible way today must not win".

"It is shocking that people who gathered to celebrate Easter together were consciously targeted in this malicious attack," Merkel said in a statement published by a spokeswoman on Twitter.

Russia: 'Cynical crime'

"I would like to reassert that Russia has been and remains a reliable partner of Sri Lanka in combating the threat of international terrorism," Vladimir Putin said in a Kremlin statement.

"I expect that the masterminds and perpetrators of such a heinous and cynical crime committed in the midst of Easter celebrations will get the punishment they deserve."

Israel: 'Deep shock'

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expresses in the name of Israel's citizens deep shock over the murderous attacks against innocent civilians in Sri Lanka," a government statement said.

"Israel is willing to aid the authorities in Sri Lanka in this difficult time. The whole world must unite in the struggle against the scourge of terror."

Egypt mosque: 'Cannot imagine'

The grand imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's foremost religious institution, condemned the "terrorist" attacks.

"I cannot imagine a human being could target the peaceful on their celebration day," said Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb on Twitter.

"Those terrorists' perverted disposition goes against the teachings of all religions."

-South Africa: 'Fight terrorism' 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa sent his condolences to Sri Lanka and vowed that his country "will continue to use its non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council to prioritise the fight against terrorism and extremist groups across the world."

Friday, April 19, 2019

Democratic candidate Buttigieg brushes aside first homophobic hecklers

Yahoo – AFP, April 18, 2019

Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten (left) after the South Bend mayor
announced his candidacy (AFP Photo/JOSHUA LOTT)

Washington (AFP) - After his meteoric rise in the race to be the Democratic nominee for president, Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday was confronted with -- and brushed aside -- the first public heckling over his homosexuality.

The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana is the first openly gay candidate for the White House. A practicing Christian, he married his husband at an Episcopal church in his hometown.

Barely known when he jumped into the race at the end of January, he has since surged to the middle of the pack, but he remains behind the heavyweights.

His spouse was at his side when he officially launched his campaign on Sunday before heading to Iowa: a small state that is hugely influential in Democratic primaries because it is the first to hold its caucus -- in February 2020.

Larger crowds awaited him on Tuesday and Wednesday, and, in the course of interacting with voters, he encountered some who were unhappy about his sexuality.

"Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, Pete!" shouted one man during a meeting in Des Moines on Tuesday.

Three protesters dressed as the devil, Jesus and Buttigieg came to demonstrate 
in front of a house where the mayor was meeting with voters (AFP Photo/
SCOTT OLSON)

"You know the good news is... the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, but the Iowa caucuses are up to you," replied a composed Buttigieg, provoking laughter from the crowd.

In Fort Dodge, another Iowa city, he was interrupted by a heckler who shouted: "Grandparents, do you want your grandchildren following his example? God Loves Us."

There too Buttigieg responded calmly: "That gentleman believes that what he is doing is in line with the will of the creator -- I view it differently," adding that those with differences ought to be able to debate "in a spirit of respect."

Then on Wednesday morning, once more in Des Moines, three protesters dressed as the devil, Jesus and Buttigieg came to demonstrate in front of a house where the mayor was meeting with voters.

In a sign of his rising fame, President Donald Trump mentioned Buttigieg Wednesday among the possible Democrats he could face.

"It could be Bernie, and it could be Biden," he told SiriusXM host David Webb.

He went on: "Could be the mayor from Indiana. I think I'd like running against him, too. But it'll be interesting to see it unfold."

Pete Buttigieg is the two-term mayor of his hometown of South Bend, Indiana
(AFP Photo/Joshua Lott)

Related Article:


Saudi, UAE send relief aid to flood-stricken Iran

Yahoo – AFP, April 18, 2019

Iranians carry sandbags to build barricades against flood water in the city
of Hamidiyeh, Khuzestan province (AFP Photo/ATTA KENARE)

Riyadh (AFP) - Saudi Arabia and the UAE have sent 95 tons of humanitarian aid to their rival Iran as it reels from deadly floods, officials said Thursday, after Tehran complained US sanctions were obstructing relief.

"The Saudi Red Crescent, as part of a joint Saudi-UAE initiative to alleviate the suffering of Iranian citizens, has dispatched a relief plane to Tehran with 95 tons of humanitarian aid to support those affected by floods," the official Saudi Press Agency said.

The aid, which includes food and shelter material, was authorised by Saudi Arabia's king and crown prince, it added.

The Emirates Red Crescent was also involved in the relief operation, the UAE's official WAM news agency said.

At least 76 people have died in Iran after torrential rainfall, which has also caused billions of dollars worth of damage since March 19.

Iran's Red Crescent has repeatedly complained that US banking sanctions re-imposed last year make it impossible to receive donations from outside the country.

US President Donald Trump last year withdrew Washington from a multilateral agreement on Iran's nuclear programme, later re-imposing sanctions focusing on oil exports and financial transactions.

Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran have a longstanding rivalry based as much on geostrategic interests as religious differences.

Facing off across the Gulf, the two major oil producers have taken opposing sides for decades in conflicts across the Middle East.

Riyadh broke off diplomatic relations with Tehran in 2016 in protest at the torching of its diplomatic missions by Iranian protesters angry over its execution of a leading Shiite cleric.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Macron vows to rebuild a 'more beautiful' Notre-Dame in 5 years

Yahoo – AFP, Stuart WILLIAMS and Clare BYRNE, April 16, 2019

Notre-Dame's spectacular Gothic spire collapsed as fire engulfed the cathedral
(AFP Photo/Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT)

Paris (AFP) - President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday vowed to rebuild Notre-Dame cathedral "even more beautifully" within five years, as France reeled with shock from the fire that gutted the great Paris landmark.

Macron announced the fast timescale -- for a process some experts said would take decades -- in an address to the nation where he hailed how the disaster had shown the capacity of France to mobilise and unite.

Pledges worth around 700 million euros ($790 million) have already been made Tuesday from French billionaires and businesses to restore the Gothic masterpiece.

Most of the roof has been destroyed, its steeple has collapsed and an unknown number of artifacts and paintings have been lost. The main organ, which had close to 8,000 pipes, has also suffered damage.

But the cathedral's walls, bell towers and the most famous circular stained-glass windows at France's most visited tourist attraction remain intact.

'Our history never stops'

Macron's defiant comments indicated he wants the reconstruction of the cathedral to be completed by the time Paris hosts the Olympic Games in 2024.

"We will rebuild the cathedral even more beautifully and I want it to be finished within five years," Macron said from the Elysee Palace. "And we can do it."

Macron said that the dramatic fire had brought out the best in a country riven with divisions and since November shaken by sometimes violent protests against his rule.

"What we saw last night in Paris was our capacity to mobilise and to unite," Macron said, hailing France as a nation of "builders".

"Our history never stops and that we will always have trials to overcome," he said.

Firefighters said the blaze had been extinguished after 15 hours (AFP 
Photo/Hubert Hitier)

'Saved in half an hour'

Images from inside the cathedral Tuesday showed its immense walls standing proud, with statues still in place and a gleaming golden cross above the altar.

However the floor was covered in charred rubble from the fallen roof and water while parts of the vaulting at the top of the cathedral had collapsed.

Junior interior minister Laurent Nunez told reporters at the scene that work to secure the structure would continue into Thursday, allowing firefighters access to remove remaining artifacts and artworks.

He said the building had been saved within a critical time window of 15-30 minutes by a team of 400 firefighters who worked flat out throughout the night.

Though "some weaknesses" in the 850-year-old structure had been identified, overall it is "holding up OK", he added.

President Donald Trump relayed Americans' "condolences" to Macron over the fire, the White House said.

French fire chiefs had earlier dismissed as "risible" comments by Trump that the fire should be tackled with water bombers, saying this risked destroying the entire edifice of the cathedral.

The Paris fire service said that the last remnants of the blaze were extinguished Tuesday, 15 hours after the fire broke out.

Renovation work on the steeple, where workers were replacing its lead covering, is widely suspected to have caused the inferno after the blaze broke out in an area under scaffolding.

Investigators interviewed witnesses overnight and began speaking with employees of five different construction companies that were working on the monument, said public prosecutor Remy Heitz.

"Nothing indicates this was a deliberate act," Heitz told reporters, adding that 50 investigators had been assigned to what he expected to be a "long and complex" case.

The world reacted in shock after the blaze enguled Notre-Dame (AFP Photo)

'For future generations'

A public appeal for funds drew immediate support from French billionaires and other private donors as well as from countries including Germany, Italy and Russia which offered expertise.

French billionaire Bernard Arnault and his LVMH luxury conglomerate, rival high-end designer goods group Kering, Total oil company and cosmetics giant L'Oreal each pledged 100 million euros or more.

Support came from outside France as well, with Apple chief Tim Cook announcing the tech giant would give an unspecified amount to help restore a "precious heritage for future generations."

But experts had warned a full restoration will take many years. "I'd say decades," said Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral.

Treasures evacuated

Thousands of Parisians and tourists watched in horror Monday as flames engulfed the building and rescuers tried to save as much as they could of the cathedral's treasures.

Many more came Tuesday to the banks of the river Seine to gaze at where the roof and steeple once stood.

A firefighter suffered injuries during the blaze, which at one point threatened to bring down one of the two monumental towers on the western facade of the cathedral that is visited by 13 million tourists each year.

The Holy Crown of Thorns, believed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion, was saved by firefighters, as was a sacred tunic worn by 13th-century French king Louis IX.

Rescuers formed a human chain at the site of the disaster to evacuate as many artifacts as possible, which were then stocked temporarily at the Paris town hall.


Related Article:

".... Europe

Let's talk about Europe - Eastern and Western Europe. Look at the history. I want you to look at the history of the Europeans. What do you know about them? What did you study in school about them, American? You had to learn all those dates and facts. You sit in a country that's barely 200 years old and you had to memorize all the battles and all those conquerors and all those army specifics for hundreds of years! Fourteen hundreds, 1300s - all the way to the present century they seemed to be conquering each other on a regular basis. They warred with each other like the tides of the ocean, constant and predictable. When they got tired of that, they conquered other continents. The small country of Spain alone is responsible for conquering all of South America, middle America and well up into North America. Millions today are speaking their language who never did before they arrived.

The armies of Napoleon spread across parts of Europe like water flowing in a river, conquering everything in its path. There are some cities today in Europe that still don't know which country they belong to! This is because their borders kept changing so often! Now, that's history. I want you to look at it carefully. Still, there would be those who say, "This is just what men do. They create borders and cultures and they go to war. That's Human nature."

Fifty years ago, this new energy started to arrive. Oh, the alignments go slow, dear Human Being, but it was here. It was starting; it was beginning. Fifty years ago, something happened in Europe and you didn't hear much about it back then. Some very clear thinkers got together after World War II and said, "If we don't do something different and out of the box of today's thinking, it's all going to happen again because this is what we do. Men make war." Even the young country called America was involved in war. America itself almost split apart before that, because that's what men do. They split good things apart. It was obvious to these wise men that they could try something, something that might work - a uniting instead of separation. And so they formed an idea. Let me tell you what it was.

They said to themselves, "What if we could get as many countries as we can to agree to become a collection of 'country states'? If we start this now and go at it slowly, we could eventually have a system where we would trade together to the point where the borders come down, no checkpoints and no passports. All these cultures and former enemy countries would all trade evenly together, and for that to happen we might even have a common currency. Look at the United States, for this is how it works there. Europe would never go to war with itself again. It couldn't, since it would be allied financially."

Of course, they were laughed at! Everyone who heard it said it couldn't' be done and that there were just too many issues to solve. Those who objected said, "No, no, no. That's not what we do. We have too many different cultures. There's some with strong currencies, there's some with weak currencies. There are too many objections. Imagine going from one country to another without being inspected at the border? That won't work. Who are you to suggest something of this nature?" And the forward thinkers said, "We are unifiers. And we think it's a good idea so we will have strength and will never war again." That was two generations ago, 50 years.

Today, you have the European Union of States. There are more all the time, way past the original number of countries. Some are "standing in line" to be accepted! The borders are gone and the checkpoints are missing and the currency called the Euro is the strongest currency on Earth - stronger even than yours [the USA]. Now, let me tell you what did that. It's a consciousness shift that even 50 years ago was developing. Through two generations, it slowly allowed for free thinkers to unify things that had never been unified before. The result? These countries will never conquer each other again, because "history" ended at that moment. They started a new paradigm for Europe and one that has no historic profile known to man. The old history of the area is gone, and it will not repeat itself.

Those in the old Eastern Bloc of Europe, where there is still to this day very little unity, will still say, "History will again repeat itself. We are victims of it. It's only a matter of time." But not all of them feel this way. There are some who are starting to feel a unity of spirituality within their own cultures that they were never allowed to speak of before. So they are free thinking, out of the box of the old paradigm. It's new.

There are those who are standing on podiums and in pulpits and are proclaiming, "History is ended. It's the end of suffering. It's the end of dictatorships. It's the end of those who would put us in a low place. Instead, it's the beginning of discovering who we are." And although they don't say it in these exact words, they are discovering the creator inside - that which is the unity of God. So it's a full circle back to what the Angel told Muhammad, isn't it? For unity was the key to peace, and still is. It is a sacred principle and will never change.

Who would have thought this would have happened? The United States is what it is because 200 years ago the founders said, "Let us make a group of state countries without physical borders in a system that's never been tried. It's one of unity - the UNITED States of America." Oh, it had its tests, but the unifiers won. And it is why this country is what it is and is seen and respected for what it is and for what it's done. So young, it is, but representing the new energy, it is.

Your Declaration of Independence was channelled. Did you know that? It was collective effort channelling by those who had asked God for help. Go read it and feel that which is sacred inside, for it unifies and does not separate.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Gay mayor from 'Rust Belt' America to launch presidential bid

Yahoo – AFP, Nova SAFO,  April 14, 2019

Pete Buttigieg is the two-term mayor of his hometown of South Bend, Indiana
(AFP Photo/Joshua Lott)

Chicago (AFP) - Pete Buttigieg, the gay, liberal mayor of a small American city in the conservative bastion of Indiana, was expected to officially launch his presidential bid Sunday, joining a crowded field of Democrats vying for their party's nomination in 2020.

The 37-year-old Rhodes scholar and Afghanistan war veteran is the two-term mayor of his hometown of South Bend -- a left-leaning bubble in America's so-called "Rust Belt" region, where the decline of industries such as steel and automobile manufacturing has hurt local economies.

Voters in states such as Michigan and Wisconsin helped hand Republican US President Donald Trump his victory in the 2016 election.

Buttigieg, who is credited with helping turn South Bend around, has couched himself as a can-do reformer who can speak to voters across the political spectrum.

"Here you have this moment, probably the only moment in American history, where it just might make sense for somebody my age, coming from experience in the industrial Midwest, non-federal, different background, bringing something that will actually help Americans," Buttigieg told NBC's "Meet The Press" last weekend.

Buttigieg was expected to officially launch his candidacy Sunday afternoon in South Bend, giving his already surprisingly strong campaign an additional boost.

Buttigieg, who is credited with helping turn South Bend around, has couched himself 
as a can-do reformer who can speak to voters across the political spectrum (AFP 
Photo/Don Emmert)

In the three months since he declared an exploratory committee to test a presidential run, he has gone from relative obscurity to drawing large crowds at campaign stops.

He has raised $7 million dollars, more than most other candidates, and jumped to third place in the latest polls of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire -- the earliest states to vote in next year's primary elections.

Buttigieg versus Pence

The popular mayor who speaks eight languages and plays classical piano has been the focus of countless news stories and profiles.

The fascination has been in no small part due to his background: he would be the youngest, first openly gay, first millennial, and first mayor to become president.

He has had headline-grabbing moments, the most recent being his faith-based challenge of Vice President Mike Pence's views on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

Former Indiana governor Pence, a religious conservative, infamously supported a 2015 law that was widely interpreted as codifying discrimination against LGBT people. It was quickly changed after nationwide outrage.


"Speaking only for myself, I can tell you that if being gay was a choice, it was a choice made far, far above my pay grade," Buttigieg said in an April 7 speech.

"And that's the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand, that if you've got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."

Buttigieg jumped to third place in the latest polls of Iowa and New Hampshire 
voters (AFP Photo/Ethan Miller)

It was a soundbite-ready moment -- like several others he has enjoyed -- that replayed throughout the week in American media.

'Destined for national politics'

Buttigieg's Sunday launch event was scheduled to take place at an expansive South Bend building that once housed an assembly plant for defunct auto manufacturer Studebaker.

The plant's closure in 1963 still reverberated in the city in 2011 when he was elected mayor. He set out to tear down decaying, abandoned homes and restore the blighted Studebaker complex to make it suitable for new high-tech companies.

In an unlikely feat, the city has reversed decades of population decline and attracted new businesses and development, with the mayor's popularity growing in the process.

"His appeal, for many people in South Bend, is his ability to look forward and to focus on better days ahead," South Bend-based political science professor Elizabeth Bennion of Indiana University told AFP.

"Once people looked at his resume and heard him speak, many started talking about the fact that he was destined for national politics."