Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (C) addresses the
audience during a meeting of the annual Mercosur trade bloc presidential
summit in Mendoza June 29, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian)

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals
Chinese President Xi Jinping (4-L, first row) poses with leaders of the CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states, in Brasilia, on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)
"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.) -

“ … 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.)


.
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

Brazil's Rousseff claims nation 'ready for greatest World Cup'

Brazil's Rousseff claims nation 'ready for greatest World Cup'
Google: Ready, set, goooaaallll! The WorldCup is finally here.

.

.
"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. …
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Friday, February 27, 2015

US, Cuba resume normalization talks

Yahoo – AFP, Jo Biddle, 27 Feb 2015

The US and Cuban flags are seen in the George C. Marshall Conference Center 
while representatives from the two nations meet at the US State Department
on February 27, 2015 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

Washington (AFP) - The United States rebuffed a Cuban demand to be taken off the US list of state sponsors of terror Friday as they opened a second round of historic talks to restore long severed diplomatic ties.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the terror designation, in place since 1982, would be reviewed separately but was not a matter for negotiation.

"The state sponsored terrorism designation is a separate process, it is not a negotiation," he said.

Jeffrey DeLaurentis (2L), Roberta Jacobson
(3L), Alex Lee (4L) and others meet with
Cuban officials at the US State Department
February 27, 2015 in Washington, DC
(AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)
"And that evaluation will be made appropriately and nothing will be done with respect to the list until the evaluation is completed."

A top Cuban foreign ministry official, Gustavo Machin, had argued before the start of the latest round of talks that the terror designation was in "contradiction" with full diplomatic relations.

The issue has practical as well as symbolic importance to the Cubans because the designation complicates its access to the global banking system.

Friday's talks at the State Department are only the second since President Barack Obama and Cuba's President Fidel Castro surprised the world in December with their decision to restore ties after more than a half century of Cold War enmity.

The hope is that within the coming months, both nations will agree to reopen embassies in each other's capitals and appoint full-fledged ambassadors. Currently they operate through so-called interests sections in Havana and Washington.

US President Barack Obama is due to attend the Summit of the Americas in Panama on April 10-11, which Cuba will also attend for the first time.

Differences to overcome

Observers say that both nations, long mired in tension stemming from the Cold War, are keen to relaunch full diplomatic relations around that date.

But as the contretemps over the terror list shows, a common history of distrust and antagonism has left the path strewn with obstacles.

An initial round of talks in Havana last month -- the highest level since US-Cuban relations were severed in 1961 -- broke the ice but ended with little sign of a breakthrough.

The band 'California Repercussions' from
San Francisco in the United States, perform
at a park in old Havana, on February 16,
2014 (AFP Photo/Adalberto Roque)
Kerry described the talks as technical in nature -- "fairly normal negotiations with respect to movement of diplomats, access, travels, different things."

Washington has insisted that its diplomats and embassy be granted full powers under the Vienna Convention to operate freely, including meeting with Cuban dissidents.

The negotiating teams met at the State Department just before 9:00 am (1400 GMT).

Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, faced Josefina Vidal, the Cuban foreign ministry's director for US affairs, across a long table flanked by their respective delegations.

Neither said anything during the few minutes journalists were allowed into the room to record the encounter. Press conferences were scheduled for later in the day.

'Rolling up sleeves'

"I certainly think that our presidents and my secretary would be delighted if we could have everything worked out in time for the Summit of the Americas," a senior State Department official told reporters ahead of the talks.

"But that depends a lot on how our counterparts come to the table prepared to get things done and whether they are comfortable with the things we need in order to run an embassy the way we do in other places around the world."

The talks may be a "little bit disappointingly workman-like in their nature this time. But this is where we roll up our sleeves as diplomats and sit down at the table and make sure that we hammer out all of the details out to get embassies up and running."

US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta S.Jacobson
-- the most senior American official in Havana since 1980 -- speaks during
a press conference in Havana on January 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/Adalberto Roque)

Restoring diplomatic ties "doesn't take very long if we get agreement on things," the official added.

Obama has called on the US Congress to lift the decades-old biting economic embargo of Cuba.

But some lawmakers -- as well as parts of the Cuban dissident community -- remain wary of the diplomatic demarche, arguing Obama has failed to secure guarantees about progress on human rights.

One of the aims of the meeting is to set a date for the first ever US-Cuba discussion on human rights.

"It will be the first time that we would be able to sit down with the government directly and have an in-depth conversation about our differing perspectives," the State Department official said.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Indonesia Demands Explanation From Brazil Over Diplomatic Snub

Jakarta Globe, Suara Pembaruan, Feb 24, 2015

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, left, accompanied by the Indonesian
 ambassador-designate to Brazil Toto R.J., right, gives a statement to the press
 regarding the delay in delivery of the ambassador’s credentials to Brazil, after meeting
 President Joko Widodo at the Presidential Palace, in Jakarta on Feb. 24, 2015.
(Antara Photo/Ismar Patrizki)

Jakarta. Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has demanded an explanation from Brazil after President Dilma Rousseff refused to accept the diplomatic credentials of Indonesia’s ambassador-designate.

The diplomatic snub was reportedly over the imminent execution of a Brazilian convict on death row for drug trafficking in Indonesia, but Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP. Marsudi has summoned the Brazilian ambassador for an official explanation.

“We don’t know the official reason, the information received by the ambassador[-designate] from the Brazilian foreign affairs minister was the postponement was related to the execution,” Retno said on Tuesday.

Toto Riyanto, Indonesia’s incoming ambassador-designate to Brazil, was informed that his credentials would not be accepted after he had arrived at the president’s palace, expecting to become an ambassador.

Toto has since been recalled to Indonesia and will meet with President Joko Widodo when he returns.

The incident is just the latest diplomatic spate that has been caused by Joko’s decision to press on with the execution of inmates — a practice that was only resumed in 2013 after a four-year de-facto moratorium.

The Australian government has been vocal in its opposition to the death penalty and has requested clemency for two members of the “Bali Nine” drug trafficking ring, who are among the next group of inmates scheduled to be shot.

Brazil and the Netherlands withdrew their ambassadors from Indonesia “for consultations” last month after two of their citizens were among six people executed for drugs offenses.

Retno said Joko was noticeably upset with Brazil’s latest action.

“This is about the country’s dignity and sovereignty because an ambassador’s presence represents the Indonesian president,” Retno said.

The foreign affairs minister said the Indonesian government was confused by Brazil’s actions, especially as the two countries had until recently enjoyed good bilateral relations.

Dina Wisnu, an international relations expert from Paramadina University, said as a president, Joko has an obligation to explain to Brazil why the execution was deemed necessary. Brazil abolished capital punishment in the 19th century, the academic said.

“Brazil will be willing to have their citizens found punished if they were guilty, but not executed,” Dina said, adding the government should not be reactive to Brazil’s protest.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

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Monday, February 23, 2015

African nations face dilemma over digital switch

The UN has set June as the deadline for moving from analog to digital transmission. Only a few African countries seem prepared for the change. Even the largest television markets on the continent are lagging behind.

Deutsche Welle, 23 Feb 2015

A group of people stands near three large satellite dishes in a rural area.
Photo: John Hrusa epa dpa

Staring at a blank TV screen has become a reality for most Kenyans, and many other African TV viewers could face the same fate come June 17. That is the deadline set by the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for television programs to be transmitted only digitally.

After the deadline, satellite dishes and antennas will receive their signals via a different technology. Theoretically, it will be possible to receive many more channels and enjoy improved image quality.

There is a story behind Kenya's black screens. President Uhuru Kenyatta's government ordered a consortium of four major television networks to be blocked from broadcasting in analog. This happened after they refused to change their signals to digital. The media houses argued that they were not ready yet, and now they are in court trying to push for one hundred more days to prepare for the digital transition.

Apart from Nigeria and South Africa, Kenya is one of the largest television markets in Africa.

The Standard Group,one of Kenya's leading media house, says
it needs more time for the switchover

All three countries are not ready for the switchover, says Mike Jensen, an IT specialist with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) based in South Africa. "The Kenyan situation is probably the worst-case scenario on the continent; South Africa is pretty close," Jensen said. "In Nigeria, only one state has made the switch," Jensen told DW.

Nationwide coverage after the switchover to digital broadcasting is by no means ensured in African countries. As in Kenya, it is often about money. The change is costly for governments and citizens alike, the APC states on its website, which seeks to create an awareness of the issue.

Television viewers will usually need a decoder, which costs about $50 (44 euros), to decode the digital signal. Moreover, television companies will have to dig deep into their pockets to be able to broadcast their programs using the new technology.

Tanzania a digital model

Vera Moses, a Tanzanian viewer, says she is happy with the digital reception. "The quality of the pictures is good," she told DW in an interview.

Tanzania is one of three countries that has already largely switched to wide-band Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB). "In Dar es Salaam we already switched off analog transmission at the end of 2012," John Nkoma, the director of Tanzania's Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), told DW. Most cities are now receiving programs via DVB-T, which is terrestrial digital broadcasting via antenna. The remote parts of Tanzania receive broadcasts via satellite.

Dar es Salaam has already gone digital
It took some persuasion to convince citizens and businesses of the merits of the new system, Nkoma said, as he revealed two secrets to Tanzania's success: Firstly, decoders were taxed less. "The price for the decoders is artificially low," Nkoma said, "so they have become affordable." Tanzanians can get a decoder for $30.

Secondly, user habits were taken into consideration. "The public was used to free-to-air channels, so we required that in the digital broadcasting platform there would be the five popular channels of this country and those would be available as free channels." Viewers whose subscriptions expire would have these five channels to fall back on.

Market interests

But according to APC's Mike Jensen, that is not the whole story. Tanzania and neighboring Rwanda had forced the switchover on the public by shutting off the analog signal. Of course, there were citizens in both countries who simply could not afford the necessary equipment, Jensen said.

He thinks governments should guarantee a realistic compensation for the costs. The price of a decoder, Jensen said, was also a big issue in Mauritius. The government ordered large amounts of cheap decoders from China. Many of which had defects.

Satellite transmission is also to be digitalized

Jensen also does not understand the date the ITU has chosen. He estimates that by then only six countries may succeed in formally completing the switchover.

Germany has already changed to digital broadcasting, and so have most of the other industrialized nations. But Latin America has planned the switchover for as late as 2020.

Jensen says African telecommunications companies pushed for the early date for Africa. These companies, he said, were the only ones to profit from such a date, because they wanted to monopolize television broadcasting.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Swiss account secret of HSBC chief Stuart Gulliver revealed

Leaked files covering 2005-2007 show bank chief executive sheltered £5m of his own money at Panamanian company with Swiss HSBC account

Stuart Gulliver in Hong Kong in 2012: leaked files show that the HSBC chief
 executive was a client of the bank’s Swiss subsidiary at the centre of the scandal.
Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Stuart Gulliver, the HSBC chief executive who has vowed to reform the crisis-hit bank, sheltered millions of pounds in a Swiss account through a Panamanian company and remains tax domiciled in Hong Kong.

Leaked files show that the Derby-born Gulliver, who is due to present HSBC’s annual report on Monday in the wake of the international controversy over its Geneva-based private bank, was also one of its clients, holding about £5m in a Swiss account.

The bank executive was listed as the beneficial owner of an account in the name of Worcester Equities Inc, an anonymous company registered in Panama, containing a balance in 2007 of $7.6m. It was through this entity that Gulliver’s HSBC bonuses were paid until 2003. He also held a second account in the name of Worcester Foundation, which had been closed before 2007.

Although now based in the UK, where HSBC has its headquarters, Gulliver is domiciled in Hong Kong for legal and tax purposes.

The banking details have emerged as the 55-year-old Oxford University graduate, who became chief executive in January 2011, is due to face questions from reporters and investors for the first time since the Guardian and other media outlets published the leaked HSBC files, which revealed misconduct at the bank’s Swiss subsidiary.

The documents, covering 2005-07, detailed how the private bank was complicit in tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, doled out bricks of cash in mixed currencies to clients, and provided banking services to criminals, drug smugglers, and friends and families of dictators.

Gulliver has already personally signed a “sincere apology” which appeared in three newspapers last Sunday, saying “the standards to which we operate today were not universally in place in our Swiss operations 8 years ago”.

The bank is expected to announce on Monday full-year profits for 2014 in excess of £13bn – and Gulliver’s total compensation package has been predicted to be around £7.5m, although it was reported over the weekend that he may surrender some of his remuneration because the bank agreed to pay fines to settle unrelated allegations of foreign exchange rigging last year.

In response to queries from the Guardian about his personal account as revealed in the leaked files, a representative for Gulliver said he had made use of HSBC Suisse to hold his bonus payments prior to 2003, when he moved from Hong Kong to London.

Lawyers for Gulliver said that Hong Kong tax had been paid on this income – and explained that he “followed this procedure because he wanted his taxed bonus earnings to remain private from his then colleagues in Hong Kong, which they would not have done if he had kept them in an HSBC Hong Kong account”.

The Guardian asked Gulliver why he used a Panamanian company to hold the funds, given Swiss accounts already offer secrecy. His lawyers declined to answer.

Gulliver’s legal representatives added that his Swiss accounts have “for a number of years” been voluntarily declared to UK tax authorities. They declined to specify the exact date they were first declared.

Gulliver is also among those current and former clients of HSBC Suisse to take advantage of non-dom status. Gulliver is a registered non-dom based on his long residence in Hong Kong – now a special administrative region of China – which he considers to be his home, despite his UK-based position.

A representative for Gulliver said: “Having lived there since the 1980s, our client has become a permanent Hong Kong resident with right of abode, as has his wife who is an Australian national. Hong Kong continues to be their home albeit that our client now works primarily in the UK. As a matter of law, our client is domiciled in Hong Kong.”

Non-dom status can confer several tax advantages on those who claim the status compared with those domiciled in the UK. These include advantages in how inheritance tax is applied, but can also exempt worldwide income earned from outside the UK from incurring UK taxes – a system known as the remittance basis.

Gulliver’s lawyers confirmed he was “entitled to claim the benefit of the remittance basis”, but did not say whether or not he did so. If Gulliver were on the remittance basis, he would not need to pay tax on investment income held outside the UK – which would include holdings in Swiss bank accounts.

A representative for Gulliver said that he had paid all relevant income taxes: “Full UK tax has been paid on the entirety of his worldwide earnings less a credit for tax paid additionally in Hong Kong (where he is also tax resident) on that part of the same earnings doubly taxed.”

John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, which has campaigned for abolition of non-dom tax benefits in the UK, said the non-dom quirk was particularly attractive for anybody who had accumulated assets such as homes and bonuses offshore, because any gains on offshore assets would be sheltered from UK tax.

“For my part I think it illustrates the absurdity of the rule, which should have been abolished many years ago. It serves no useful purpose and is hugely discriminatory against ordinary UK taxpayers,” he said.

Separately, Gulliver did not become employed by HSBC’s main holding company when he took over as chief executive of the bank in 2011. Documents seen by the Guardian at the time showed that Gulliver took the job of chief executive officer as a secondment from the Dutch-headquartered HSBC Asia Holdings, rather than take a straightforward appointment to the UK parent company.

A spokesman for HSBC said around 350 of its staff were employed through the Netherlands. “About 350 of the bank’s most internationally-mobile employees are employed by HSBC BV,” he said. “This enables them to be employed/seconded to any part of the global group without the need to change contracted employer.”

Representatives for Gulliver declined to explain for what purpose he was employed through the Netherlands subsidiary.

Gulliver has repeatedly emphasised to the public and to lawmakers that the culture of the bank, as well as its safeguards, has changed – both in the wake of the HSBC Files, and previous scandals including Libor rigging, and involvement with Mexican money laundering.

Since the publication of the HSBC files, the bank has been keen to stress that it has downsized the Swiss business, reducing the number of clients by 66%, to around 10,000. However, the total value of assets in those accounts – $68bn (£44bn) – has fallen by only 42%.

Douglas Flint and Stuart Gulliver appear before the Treasury select committee. 
Photograph: Reuters TV


Easter Island’s Carnival Magic Seduces Tourists

Jakarta Globe, Mike Leyral, Feb 22, 2015

People take part in dance contest in Hanga Roa on Chile's Easter Island (or Rapa
 Nui as its inhabitants call it) in the Pacific Ocean on Feb. 10, 2015 as part of the 47th
 edition of Tapati, an all-out 15-day contest between rival teams to crown a new monarch.
(AFP Photo/Gregory Boissy)

Far from home on Chile’s Easter Island for Carnival festivities, one middle-aged American woman throws caution to the wind. Stripped down to a thong, she lets a local reveler paint her chest.

“If someone had told me I would end up walking down the street almost naked, I would never have believed it,” the woman, who only gave her first name Susan, said.

Susan is one of a few thousand tourists who joined the Pacific island’s 9,000 residents for Tapati, an exuberant mix of music, dance and traditional sports that takes place for two weeks every February.

In the island’s only town Hanga Roa, revelers wait in a long line under the blistering tropical summer sun to take part in a time-honored ritual — a plunge in an old tub filled with clay.

A man known as Ale then spreads with his hand this reddish-brown natural paint on the bodies of other locals — and any tourist ready to participate.

Then, other lines form in front of tubs filled with white and yellow paint.

It’s time for the Rapa Nui — the Polynesian word for both the island and its residents — to paint symbols, inspired by the local Birdman legend, or characters from the long-lost Rongorongo system of writing.

Shortly after 5:00 p.m., a warrior blows into an enormous shell, signaling the start of the nightly parade, which features colorful floats and dancers in elaborate costumes, not unlike the massive Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro.

The Tapati festival is at once a test of masculine strength and feminine grace celebrating Polynesian pride.

Easter Island is at the southernmost point of the so-called Polynesian Triangle — a Pacific region with Hawaii and New Zealand at the other corners.

The Unesco World Heritage Site is famous for its nearly 900 massive stone monuments — the Moai, carved by the Rapa Nui hundreds of years ago.

Rival teams are locked in an all-out contest to crown a new Tapati queen, who reigns for a year.

Numerous races and other contests take place — including reed board surfing, underwater fishing, fruit-carrying, a triathlon and horse races — but the nightly parades and dance competitions are the highlight.

Locals spend months carving out large wooden statues for the parade floats from Eucalyptus trees representing deified ancestors, such as the mystical Moai stone giants or the Birdman.

One night, a man draped in animal skins leads the way on his motorcycle, featuring a bull’s skull on the steering wheel.

Behind him, a woman dressed as a mermaid — her costume made of all-natural materials including a tail taken from a tuna caught just that morning — poses on a float decorated with huge wooden octopuses.

People originally from the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia play large pahu drums, while the Rapa Nui prefer horse jaws that make a light sound close to maracas when the teeth hit one another.

Some of the Tapati activities reflect a more Latin vibe taken from Chile — the elderly do battle to be the accordion king, as young people display their tango skills.

But the Polynesian dance competitions are fierce.

At the Hanga Vare Vare, the main festival stage in Hanga Roa, dancers sway sensually to the Polynesian drum rhythms.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Obama adviser John Podesta's biggest regret: Keeping America in dark about UFOs

Yahoo News, Caitlin Dickson, February 13, 2015

In this Nov. 19, 2014 file photo, Counselor to the President John Podesta speaks in
 Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. In the year that will pass before the 2016 
campaign for president formally kicks off with the votes in the Iowa Caucus, any
 number of candidates, donors, political operatives — and people who have nothing
 to do with American politics — will shape the race for the White House. (AP Photo/
Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Outgoing senior Obama adviser John Podesta reflected on his latest White House stint Friday, listing his favorite moments and biggest regrets from the past year. Chief among them: depriving the American people of the truth about UFOs.


Podesta’s longtime fascination with UFOs is well-documented, as his brief political hiatus following four years as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff freed him up to pursue his otherworldly passion.

At a 2002 press conference organized by the Coalition for Freedom of Information, Podesta spoke on the importance of disclosing government UFO investigations to the public.

“It’s time to find out what the truth really is that’s out there,”  he said. “We ought to do it, really, because it’s right. We ought to do it, quite frankly, because the American people can handle the truth. And we ought to do it because it’s the law.”


Following Podesta’s tweet, Friday, the Washington Post recalled an exchange one of its reporters had with Podesta in 2007. Karen Tumulty had asked Podesta about reports that the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, had been bombarded with Freedom of Information Act Requests specifically seeking email correspondence to and from the former chief of staff including terms like “X-Files” and “Area 51.” Podesta’s response, through a spokesperson, was “The truth is out there,” the tagline for the TV show “The X-Files” of which Podesta was known to be a fan.

A 2010 editorial in Missouri’s Columbia Tribune disparaged reports that Podesta had asked an outspoken UFO photographer to stop discussing his knowledge of extraterrestrial activities in public.

“One wonders why Podesta would do such a radical reversal, given his former plea for UFO disclosure,” the editorial implored.

But contrary to the Columbia Tribune’s concerns, Podesta had clearly not abandoned the cause. He wrote an introduction to the 2010 book “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.”

Unfortunately, Podesta will likely have little time to fill out FOIA requests in his new job at Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Perhaps, as his tweet suggests, he’s passing the torch to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

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"... Question Three: Is there life on other planets?

Are you kidding? There's life everywhere. Everywhere! Right now, your scientists are searching for microbial life on all the planets and their moons in your solar system, and they will eventually find it. They expect to find it. They will eventually understand that the seeds of life are everywhere.

How much life might there be? How long has it been "out there"? When science starts to realize the scope of how long life has been in your galaxy, they will begin to see something counterintuitive to evolution - their own Human history. How old is your Universe? Ask your scientists and they will say about 13 billion years. That's OK. Let's use their numbers. How old is your own planet - 4 or 5 billion, perhaps? Correct. But how old is humanity? Why weren't you here with the dinosaurs? You think the earth wasn't ready? Do you think that perhaps that which controls evolution was a little too stupid to make a Human sooner, but the process could make a dinosaur? Have you ever thought about these things?

If you put the earth's entire history into a 24-hour clock, life itself only started in the last hour and humanity, all of civilization, happened the last few seconds. Isn't that odd to you? Therefore, in a Universe that may be 13 billion years old, you arrived in the last few seconds. Did you ever think maybe you're the newest ones on the block? Well, you'd be right.

If the Universe is really that old, do you think perhaps there are civilizations in your galaxy that might be a billion or more years older than you? If that's the case, do you think perhaps they have gone through anything you're going through? Do you think any of them might have had your DNA attributes? Perhaps they also went through what you are going through spiritually? Perhaps they even went into a quantum ascension status? The answer is dozens of them.

You already know them and you've listed them in your publications. The ones who directly seeded you are called Pleiadians. The ones who seeded them might be Octurian and the ones who seeded them may be even Orion. They're everywhere, and they're all here as well. They're looking at you, for you are the ones who are next, and you are passing this marker of the shift

Oh, dear ones, it's going to be a long time before you really know any of these things to be your reality. The first step is peace on Earth. The next is a new kind of Human evolution that is going to increase your DNA efficiency to 100% and you're going to live a long time. Every time I say that, there are Humans in their intellectual mind saying, "Well, there is a geometric birth rate going on. We're not going to make it. It's going to over-crowd and we are going to run out of food. So what you're saying, Kryon, can't be a good thing. We're all going to be suffering and killing each other for food."

Let me address this, for if that is your thought, Human, you are assuming Humans are stupid and haven't figured out what's going on and why there's so much birth. You assume they can't control it because they haven't figured it out? I want to tell you, you're going to see something you didn't expect. You're going to see a decline in birth rate because Humans are smart and they're getting smarter. They're going to see that quality of life is linked to the number of children they have, and they're going to figure out the solution. It won't be how many children their church says they should have. They are going to do it intuitively. You're going to see it sooner than not.

You are going to see wisdom on the planet in many areas that no sociologist would ever have predicted. You will surprise them all, and it's going to happen without a government program. It's going to happen because you decide you want it. It's going to happen collectively, and you may even see it soon. Look for negative birth rates in first-world countries. Where Humans are able to see a larger picture and have freedom of information, the situation will not be what you have predicted.

Is there life on other planets? The scientists are saying, "It's going to be a long time before we get to the stars, you know? We have to get in this little metal can and put air in it, and then travel in it for years and years before we ever get to the next star." Meanwhile, a Pleiadian can do it in the blink of an eye! What do you think is going on there? Do you even believe me?

Not long ago, if you wanted to communicate to someone far away, you sent a letter. It was carried by a horse. It took a month to get a response. Now you communicate instantly!  Why is this so unbelievable to you about travel?

I will tell you, as long as you stay in 3D, you'll still be getting in little metal cans and air suits and going to planets. As soon as you begin the quantum age, however, you will simply wish yourself there, because you will be entangled with everything and can go with intent. If you don't believe this now, you will later, for what I give you is true. It may be lifetimes and lifetimes from now, but the group that is before me is the group that is going to come back over and over and over. The difference is that you're done coming back in an old energy. This is a new energy. ..”

Indonesia recalls new envoy to Brazil amid death penalty row

Indonesia has recalled its envoy to Brazil after the South American nation delayed finalizing his appointment. The countries are locked in a dispute over the planned execution of a Brazilian citizen for drug trafficking.

Deutsche Welle, 21 Feb 2015


Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday it "strongly protested the unfriendly action" by Brazil's government and had recalled newly assigned ambassador, Toto Riyanto, who was selected for the post in October.

Riyanto was to present his credentials for approval during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Brasilia on Friday, but Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (pictured above) decided to hold off on the step at the last minute.

"The manner in which the foreign minister of Brazil suddenly informed (us of) the postponement ... when the ambassador designate was already at the palace, is unacceptable to Indonesia," the Indonesian Foreign Ministry statement said.

Relations between the two countries have been tense since the execution of Brazilian national Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira last month. The 53-year-old was charged with drug smuggling in Indonesia was put before a firing squad, despite a personal appeal from Rousseff for clemency.

Brazil is now trying to prevent the execution of Brazilian citizen Rodrigo Gularte, 42, who is on death row for drug trafficking, along with a number of other foreigners from France, Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines and Australia.

Jakarta has twice rejected appeals for mercy from Brazilian authorities, who have argued that Gularte is a paranoid schizophrenic and in need of psychiatric care. While no date has been given for the executions, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has indicated they could take place within the next few weeks.

Diplomatic tensions

Rodrigo Gularte has been on death
row since 2004 for smuggling cocaine
At the ceremony in Brasilia on Friday, Rousseff said the approval of the Indonesian representative would be "held up a little."

"We think it is important that there is an evolution in the situation in order to clarify the state of Indonesia's relations with Brazil," she said.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told news agency AFP the case showed "immaturity for a head of state."

"As a sovereign and democratic country which has a legal system that is independent and impartial, no foreign country or any party can interfere with law enforcement in Indonesia, including in its law enforcement in combating drugs trafficking," an Indonesian foreign ministry statement added.

Indonesia has some of the strictest drug trafficking laws in the world, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo has repeatedly pledged to give no clemency to drug offenders.

Australia has also clashed with the southeast Asian nation over the planned execution of two Australian members of the "Bali Nine" drug smuggling ring. Jakarta had vowed to put the pair to death before the end of February, but agreed to a one month delay under heavy pressure from the Australian government.

nm/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)
Related Article:


Controversy-Hit Samba School Wins Rio Carnival Title

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Feb 19, 2015

Members of the samba school Beija-Flor perform on the second day of the
 parades of the special groups of the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, at the Sambodromo
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 16 February 2015. (EPA Photo/Luiz Eduardo Perez)

Rio de Janeiro. A Brazilian samba school shrugged off a controversy over alleged funding by an African strongman president and went on to claim its 13th win at the Rio Carnival championship on Wednesday.

The Beija-Flor school, whose name means hummingbird, has denied media reports it was bankrolled to the tune of nearly $5 million by the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Obiang Nguema and his son are facing allegations of money laundering and corruption. The leader holds an iron grip over tiny, oil-rich Equatorial Guinea and critics have labeled him a ruthless dictator.

Hailing from the Rio suburb of Nilopolis, Beija-Flor scored 259.9 points to land its 13th title and see off rivals Salgueiro by 0.4 points.

Known for its creativity, the Beija-Flor team will now bring the final curtain down on this year’s carnival festivities at Saturday’s Parade of Champions, comprising the top six schools.

The Portela school came third, and last year’s grand champions, Unidos da Tijuca, were in fourth place.

The press service for Beija-Flor, whose theme was a “strong, joyful and colorful” Africa, told AFP they had merely received “cultural support and imported fabrics” from Equatorial Guinea, which is located on the Atlantic coast in central Africa.

After results were announced, Beija-Flor supporters burst into wild cheers at the Sambadrome in downtown Rio, where Sunday and Monday night the top 12 samba schools had battled it out for glory.

“I am very emotional, very happy,” Rayssa Oliveira, one of Beija-Flor’s beauty queens, told Globo television.

The jury considered various aspects of each team’s performance in carefully choreographed parades at the Sambadrome in front of crowds of some 72,000 people.

The jurors award points in categories ranging from the highly decorative school floats, the quality of their massed ranks of percussionists and how well the roughly 4,000-strong team move in sync with each other while singing their school song.

The record of carnival celebrations dates back to 1723 – but the first samba school was not formed until 1928.

Agence France-Presse
Related Article:


Monday, February 16, 2015

Putin criticises sanctions but says Russia does not want war (Update)

Yahoo – AFP, 7 Feb 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a cabinet meeting outside Moscow,
on February 4, 2015 (AFP Photo/Michael Klimentyev)

Moscow (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said Russia is not at war and does not want war with anyone, but sharply criticised Western sanctions over Ukraine.

"There's no war, thank God. But there is definitely an attempt to curb our development," Putin told a trade union conference, cited by TASS news agency.

He criticised sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over Ukraine saying "they definitely can't be effective against a country like ours, although they cause certain damage and we have to realise this... We must raise our level of sovereignty, including in our economy."

Putin complained of an attempt to "freeze the existing world order that has become established over the last decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, with a single leader who wants to stay that way," apparently talking about the United States.

"Such a world order will never suit Russia," he said. "If somebody likes it or wants to live in conditions of semi-occupation (then go ahead), but we won't do this."

"But we don't plan to fight a war with anyone. We plan to cooperate with everyone."




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Where does US media draw the moral line?

HSBC helped La Fayette scandal suspect's son avoid taxes - New
HSBC bank 'helped clients dodge millions in tax'
HSBC 'sorry' for aiding Mexican drugs lords, rogue states and terrorists

Row over Marlboro-funded research that undermined plain cigarette packs - New

Brian Williams: the steady drip of doubt over clips and claims - New
US NBC's Brian Williams takes himself off air amid Iraq and Katrina controversy


Brian Williams said: ‘Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be
worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.’ Photograph: NBCU Photo
Bank via Getty Images

NBC news anchor Brian Williams will step off air while the network continues its investigation into inaccuracies in his reporting, he announced on Saturday.

Williams has come under pressure after veterans questioned his account of an incident involving two US helicopters that came under fire in Iraq in 2003. His reporting from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was subsequently called into question.

In a statement, Williams said: “In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions.

“As managing editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”

On Friday, NBC News president Deborah Turness said in an internal memo to staff: “This has been a difficult few days for all of us at NBC News. As you would expect, we have a team dedicated to gathering the facts to help us make sense of all that has transpired. We’re working on what the best next steps are.”

Regarding his version of events in Iraq, Williams apologised on air on Wednesday, saying: “I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago. I want to apologise. I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.”