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.

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ
The Conmebol headquarters in Luque, Paraguay, is seen on January 7, 2016, during a raid within the framework of the FIFA corruption scandal (AFP Photo/Norberto Duarte)

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses
The Panama Papers: key facts on the huge journalists' investigation into tax evasion (AFP Photo/Thomas Saint-Cricq, Philippe Mouche)

Mossack Fonseca

Mossack Fonseca

.

.
"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. …

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chile authorities raid sites linked to church sex abuse

Yahoo – AFP, June 14, 2018

Students demonstrate against the sexual abuse scandal within the church in Chile
as the Vatican's top abuse investigator Maltese archbishop Charles Scicluna (R)
visits Catholic University in Santiago on June 13, 2018 (AFP Photo/CLAUDIO REYES)

Santiago (AFP) - Police on Wednesday seized church files in raids in Santiago and Rancagua, as the Catholic Church scrambled to try to put a better face on a sex abuse scandal that has rocked Chile.

The surprise operations came as Maltese archbishop Charles Scicluna and fellow papal envoy Jordi Bertomeu are visiting for a second time to take witness statements from victims of sexual abuse in the church and provide instruction to Chilean dioceses to respond adequately to any new complaints.

Prosecutor Emiliano Arias confirmed two "landmark" raids and said he was pleased with how they went. Precisely because church officials long were not subject to civilian authority in Chile, this marked a dramatic shift.

"This is not an investigation against the Catholic church," Arias said, but rather an investigation of reports of sex abuse by members of the church who abused minors.

Several members of the church hierarchy, including former bishop Juan Barros, are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up years of child abuse by Chilean pedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

Pope Francis appointed 61-year-old Barros as bishop of Osorno in 2015, when victims' allegations against him were already widely known.

The pontiff himself became mired in the scandal when, during a trip to Chile in January, he defended Barros, who was accused of covering up Karadima's wrongdoing.

Karadima was suspended for life by the Vatican over the allegations of child molestation, and Barros was one of three bishops whose resignations Francis accepted on Monday.

Scicluna and Bertomeu visited Chile in February to investigate the allegations and meet with victims. Their report to Rome noted the existence of a "culture of abuse" within the Chilean Church.

In a letter to Chileans released at the end of last month, the pontiff voiced "shame" that the Catholic Church failed "to listen and react in time" to the allegations of sexual abuse by Chilean clergy.

He has since received two groups of Karadima's victims at the Vatican.

Since 2000, about 80 Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

Earlier Sciclina told reporters "it is so important to show a sign of willingness to cooperate."

Monday, June 11, 2018

Pope accepts resignation of 3 Chilean bishops in sex abuse scandal

Digital Journal – AFP, By CATHERINE MARCIANO, 11 June 2018


Pope Francis accepted Monday the resignation of three Chilean bishops, including the controversial Juan Barros, following a child sex abuse scandal in Chile which has come to haunt his papacy.

The entire Chilean delegation of bishops tendered its resignation to the pope last month after a series of meetings at the Vatican.

The mass resignation of bishops is almost unheard of, having last happened two centuries ago.

Several members of the Chile's Catholic Church hierarchy are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by Chilean paedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

The scandal is the latest to rock the Roman Catholic Church, and Argentine-born Francis has said it must not happen again on his watch.

But the pontiff himself became mired in the scandal when, during a trip to Chile in January, he defended the 61-year-old Barros who was accused of covering up Karadima's wrongdoing.

Karadima was suspended for life by the Vatican over the allegations of child molestation.

'New day for the Church'

"It's a new day for the Catholic Church of Chile! Three corrupt bishops are out," said Juan Carlos Cruz, one of Karadima's victims who was received by the pope in May along with two other men the priest had abused.

The announcement of Pope Francis's decision to accept the resignation was made in a Vatican statement which named the other two bishops as Cristian Caro Cordero and Gonzalo Duarte Garcia de Cortazar. Both men are 75, the age when bishops normally retire.

Francis has apologised to the victims and admitted he had made "grave mistakes" after reading a 2,300-page report on abuses in Chile.

In a letter to Chileans released at the end of last month, the pontiff voiced "shame" that the Catholic Church failed "to listen and react in time" to the allegations of sexual abuse by Chilean clergy.

He has since received two groups of Karadima's victims at the Vatican. The second group comprises five Chilean priests who met Francis at the start of June.

Since 2000, about 80 Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

In 2015, Francis appointed Barros as the head of the southern diocese of Osorno despite accusations he had covered up for Karadima.

'I was part of the problem'

Last month Francis promised "changes" to the Chilean church to "restore justice" in a short declaration to the bishops that was made public.

Chilean sexual abuse victims Jose Andres Murillo (R), James Hamilton (C) and
Juan Carlos Cruz (L) met the pope individually/
Tiziana FABI, AFP/File

The letter -- handed to the bishops at the start of their meetings with Francis -- evokes "crimes" and "painful and shameful sexual abuse of minors, abuses of power and conscience by ministers of the Church".

It qualifies the removal of certain prelates from their roles as necessary but "insufficient," calling for "the roots" that allowed for such abuse within an "elitist and authoritarian" Chilean church to be examined.

Cruz, whom the pope hosted at his Vatican residence and met individually along with two other victims, said the pontiff was "contrite" and said he had been "part of the problem".

"I told him that Barros was watching us when we were abused, I think that's clear to him now," Juan Carlos Cruz said.

"He (the pope) said, 'I was part of the problem, I caused this'," Cruz added.

Some of the victims have accused Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, a key advisor to Francis, of ignoring and helping to cover up Karadima's abuses.

Despite a strong Catholic tradition, Chile is witnessing a growing rift between the people and the Church, deepened by the string of sexual abuse scandals.

President Sebastian Pinera, a practising Catholic, recently said he was saddened by the fact that the Church "is increasingly remote, not only from worshippers but from people in general."

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Pope to Chileans: 'We did not react in time' on sex abuse

Yahoo – AFP, May 31, 2018

Pope Francis prays during a weekly general audience in St Peter's square on
May 23, 2018 in Vatican (AFP Photo/Alberto PIZZOLI)

Santiago (AFP) - Pope Francis voiced "shame" that the Catholic church failed "to listen and react in time" to allegations of sexual abuse by Chilean clergy, in a letter to Chileans released Thursday.

Several members of the Chilean church hierarchy are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by pedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

Francis earlier this month promised "changes" to the Chilean church to "restore justice" after reading the conclusions of an investigation into the abuse.

"I must say with shame that we did not listen and react in time" over the allegations, the pope said in the letter, released by Chile's Episcopal Conference at a news conference.

The Argentine pope also announced a new trip soon to Chile by Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Father Jordi Bertomeu, who visited Santiago in February to talk to the victims.

Francis has apologized to the victims, three of whom he met with recently.

On Friday and Sunday, he is to receive seven more victims of Karadima, who was suspended for life by the Vatican.

On May 18, 34 Chilean bishops announced their resignation over the scandal, after Francis summoned them.

Since 2000, about 80 Roman Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

Some analysts note that Chile's long tradition of having the church not subject to civilian law lent itself to impunity and cover-ups.


In a statement, the 34 Chilean bishops asked "forgiveness for the pain caused
to the victims" 

Related Articles:



Friday, May 18, 2018

All Chilean bishops quit over child abuse scandal

Yahoo – AFP, Lucy ADLER, Catherine MARCIANO, 18 May 2018

In a statement, the 34 Chilean bishops asked "forgiveness for the pain caused
to the victims" 

Thirty-four Chilean bishops announced their resignation Friday over a child sex abuse scandal within the Church in Chile that has come to haunt the reign of Pope Francis.

"We, all the bishops present in Rome, have tendered our resignation to the Holy Father so that he may decide freely for each of us," the bishops said in a statement after three days of intense meetings with Francis at the Vatican.

"We want to ask forgiveness for the pain caused to the victims, to the Pope, to God's people and to our country for the serious errors and omissions we have committed," the statement continued.

The striking announcement came after the pontiff summoned the bishops over the scandal.

Several members of the Chilean church hierarchy are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by Chilean paedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

On Thursday evening, Francis promised "changes" to the Chilean church to "restore justice" in a short declaration to the bishops, made public.

But in a confidential 10-page document leaked Friday by Chilean TV channel T13, the Argentine pope goes much further in his indictment of the Chilean Church.

The letter -- handed to the bishops at the start of their meetings with Francis -- evokes "crimes" and "painful and shameful sexual abuse of minors, abuses of power and conscience by ministers of the Church".

It qualifies the removal of certain prelates from their roles as necessary but "insufficient," calling for "the roots" that allowed for such abuse within an "elitist and authoritarian" Chilean Church to be examined.

Evidence destroyed

The damning letter also outlines findings of an investigation, ordered by Pope Francis, into the abuse allegations.

It says the probe found senior Church officials had destroyed proof in cases of sex abuse and that certain members of the clergy who had displayed immoral behaviour had been transferred to other dioceses after attempts to "minimise" the gravity of their actions.

Grave accusations "were superficially qualified as improbable", the letter says, denouncing bishops for their "terrible negligence in protecting children".

Pope Francis bids to repair some of the damage done during his visit to Chile in January, when his defence of controversial Chilean bishop Juan Barros -- accused of covering up Karadima's abuses -- caused a public outcry.

The pontiff at the time said he was convinced that Barros was innocent and demanded "proof" before he would speak out against him.

Francis later apologised to the victims, three of whom he recently received at the Vatican, and admitted he had made "grave mistakes" after reading the 2,300-page report on the abuse in Chile.

The mass resignation of an entire delegation of bishops is almost unheard of, having last happened two centuries ago.

Bishops have, however, previously been summoned to the Vatican over abuse scandals.

In April 2002, Pope John Paul II summoned 13 American cardinals and bishops to Rome after a huge paedophilia scandal within the clergy. Following another abuse scandal in Ireland in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI also organised a meeting of Irish prelates at the Vatican in February 2010.

'Their day has come'

Speaking at the Vatican Friday morning, the Chilean bishops said: "We thank the victims for their perseverance and courage, despite the enormous personal, spiritual, social and family difficulties they had to face, to which were often added the incomprehension and attacks of the Church community."

Two of Karadima's victims tweeted their relief on Twitter in response to the resignations.

"Those who caused so much pain, sometimes worse than the abuse, are now all quitting. The Pope heard what we asked of him in our conversations with survivors from all over the world. For those who did so much damage, their day has come today," wrote Juan Carlos Cruz.

Similarly Jose Andres Murillo tweeted: "For dignity, justice and truth: all the bishops leave. Criminals. They failed to protect the weakest, exposed them to abuse and then prevented justice. So, they just deserve to leave."

Related Articles:


Monday, April 30, 2018

Pope receives victims of Chilean paedophile priest

Yahoo – AFP, April 30, 2018

Two of the three Chilean sexual abuse victims, James Hamilton (L) and his wife and
Juan Carlos Cruz (R), gesture from the terrace of the Apostolic Palace in the
Vatican (AFP Photo/Andreas SOLARO)

Vatican City (AFP) - Three victims of a Chilean paedophile priest have held private meetings with Pope Francis, as the Vatican tries to quell a sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church in Chile.

The men, all victims of the paedophile priest Fernando Karadima, were in Vatican City at the personal invitation of the pope, who in April admitted "grave mistakes" in his handling of the abuse controversy in Chile.

Juan Carlos Cruz said his meeting with Francis on Sunday, which lasted more than two hours, was wide-ranging and gave him "more hope for our Church, even though the task is enormous".

"I am moved, he listened to me with great respect, affection and closeness, like a father," Cruz said on Twitter.

The Vatican had said last week that Francis would seek to "ask for their forgiveness, share their hurt and the shame they have suffered".

Jose Andres Murillo said he told Francis in his audience late Friday how important it was to understand that sexual abuse was "abuse of power", and "the need to take responsibility... not just forgiveness".

The pope has faced flak in Chile over the handling of an alleged cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros of abuse by Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

In January, the pontiff had strongly defended Barros, who appeared at public masses celebrated by the pope in three different Chilean cities, causing a public outcry.

However, he later apologised to the victims and dispatched Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a renowned Vatican investigator, to Chile to collect evidence.

Local Catholic groups in Barros's diocese have since demanded that Francis remove the bishop for his ties to Karadima, who the Vatican in 2011 found guilty of abusing children in the 1980s and 1990s and ordered to retire to a life of penitence.

The third victim James Hamilton said his meeting with Francis was "sincere, warm and very constructive"

They are expected to hold a joint press conference on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sexual abuse scandals deepen Chile mistrust in Catholic church

Yahoo – AFP, Ana FERNANDEZ, April 28, 2018

Although 70 percent of Chileans describe themselves as Catholic, only a third say
 they have confidence in the church, a survey showed this week (AFP Photo/
CLAUDIO REYES)

Santiago (AFP) - Despite a strong Catholic tradition, Chile is witnessing a growing rift between the people and the church, sharpened by a string of sexual abuse scandals that until recently had been ignored by the pope.

The extent of the rift became clear in January when Pope Francis visited Chile and sparked outrage by hugging Juan Barros, a controversial bishop who has been accused of covering up abuses by another priest in the 1980s and '90s.

Questioned by journalists, Francis responded abruptly, saying there was "not a single piece of proof" against Barros in remarks that caused widespread anger among those who had been abused by the other priest, Fernando Karadima.

But the pontiff apologized and quickly moved to dispatch the Vatican's top abuse investigator to collect evidence, later acknowledging he had made "grave mistakes" in his handling of the scandal.

And he also pledged to meet with the victims, inviting three of them to the Vatican to discuss the extent of abuse within the church in Chile.

All three were abused in the 1980s by Karadima, who at the time was an influential priest who trained seminarians in an affluent area of the capital, Santiago.

It was only in 2011 that he was convicted of abusing children by the Vatican, which ordered him to retire to a "life of prayer and penitence" and barred him from any public ministry.

But the victims were unable to pursue a criminal case against him in Chile because the statute of limitations had expired.

Disgraced pedophile priest Fernando Karadima, seen here in 2015, was convicted 
by the Vatican of sexually abusing children in the 1980s and 90s but has never 
been prosecuted criminally (AFP Photo/Vladimir RODAS)

80 church leaders accused

Next month, the pope will also meet with Chilean bishops to discuss the findings of the probe by his investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna.

Beyond Karadima, nearly 80 Catholic clergymen have been accused of sexually abusing children in Chile, according to BishopAccountability, an American NGO that tracks such cases.

And a recent poll showed that seven out of 10 Chileans disapprove of the way in which the Catholic church has handled the scandal.

Aware of what could be coming down the line, Santiago's archbishop, Ricardo Ezzati, recently suggested to Barros that he resign "for the good of the people of God."

The visibility of the Karadima case and the testimony of the three victims who have spoken out on behalf of the abused -- Jose Andres Murillo, James Hamilton and Juan Carlos Cruz -- has dealt a major blow to a church seen as elitist and distant from the concerns of a modern society.

Although most Chileans still identify as Catholic, a growing number feel that
the church simply doesn't represent them (AFP Photo/Vincenzo PINTO)

A growing disaffection

But Chile's disaffection with the church began back in the 1990s with the return of democracy to the country, says Luis Bahamondes, an expert on religion at the University of Chile.

Despite the fact that part of the Catholic church sided with those persecuted by the country's military dictatorship, when democracy returned, it went "from having a more social role to one that was driven by traditional values," distancing itself from many worshipers.

In a country where some 70 percent of the population describe themselves as Catholic, only a third say they have confidence in the institution, a Mori survey revealed this week.

Chileans had to wait until 2004 before they were able to get divorced, and it was only in 2017 that women were legally allowed to have an abortion in cases of rape, or threat to the mother's life or deadly birth defects.

On visiting Chile in January, Pope Francis said people needed to see church leaders
 who were compassionate, who knew how to help people in need (AFP Photo/
MATIAS RECART)

Same-sex couples still cannot marry nor can anyone who is transgender change their identity on a passport, although this year's Oscar's triumph of "A Fantastic Woman," a Chilean film about a transgender woman, which won best foreign film, has gone a long way to changing that.

'Increasingly remote from the people'

But Bahamondes denies talk of a "rift," pointing out that most of the population still identify as Catholic, saying it is more a sense that they simple don't feel that the church represents them, which is particularly true among the youth.

President Sebastian Pinera, himself a practicing Catholic, on Thursday said he was saddened by the fact that the church "is increasingly remote, not only from worshippers but from people in general," which is not only happening in Chile but across Latin America.

During his visit in January, Pope Francis himself acknowledge that people prefer leaders "who know how to be compassionate, how to lend a hand, to stop and help those who have fallen," while criticizing the "elitist" attitude of certain clergy.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

More than 20 dead in Nicaragua protests: rights group

Yahoo – AFP, April 22, 2018

Violent protests against a proposed change to Nicaragua's pension system
 have left at least 20 people dead, a rights group says (AFP Photo/INTI OCON)

Managua (AFP) - More than 20 people have been killed in a clashes between Nicaraguan police and demonstrators in a wave of protests over pension reform, a local human rights body said Sunday.

The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights said it was still trying to verify figures, but that at least 20 people had been killed since protests erupted in the central American country on Wednesday over plans by President Daniel Ortega to reform the nation's pension system.

"We are dealing with more than 20 dead, but we are verifying because there is a lot of misinformation, the situation is really serious and beyond our possibilities to confirm," the Center's director Vilma Nunez told AFP.

On Friday, the government put the number of people killed in two days of protests in the capital Managua and other cities at 10, the last official figure.

The streets of Managua were rubble-strewn early Saturday after a night of clashes between police and demonstrators.

Nicabus, an international bus line with links to Costa Rica and Honduras, said it has been forced to suspend services due to the violence.

Protest groups on Sunday announced a march to the Polytechnic University in the capital where hundreds of students have been holed up since Thursday.

In a bid to calm the protests -- the biggest of his 11-year presidency -- Ortega agreed Saturday to speak with the private sector about social security reforms, only to be rebuffed by Nicaragua's top private-sector business union.

They said there could be no dialogue unless the government "immediately ceases police repression."

On Saturday local media reported that journalist Miguel Angel Gahona was shot dead by a suspected sniper in the city of Bluefields, on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast.

Journalists have reportedly faced attacks, been temporarily detained and had their work equipment stolen since the start of the protests. Meanwhile, four independent television outlets were taken off air on Thursday, although only one currently remains closed.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

'Illegal to be who I am' - Daley urges change in same-sex laws

Yahoo – AFP, Robert SMITH, April 13, 2018

Britain's Tom Daley has voiced his concerns about the treatment of homosexuals
 in large parts of the Commonwealth, whose athletes are gathered on Australia's
Gold Coast for the ongoing Games (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)

Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) - English world champion diver Tom Daley on Friday urged Commonwealth nations who outlaw homosexuality to relax their anti-gay stance.

Openly gay Daley, who is expecting a child with his partner through a surrogate, grasped the opportunity of his gold medal triumph in the 10m synchro event to push for change.

Daley, who won gold with team-mate Daniel Goodfellow, said sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex are criminalised in 37 Commonwealth countries.

Daley voiced his concerns about the treatment of homosexuals in large parts of the Commonwealth, whose athletes are gathered on Australia's Gold Coast for the ongoing Games.

"Hopefully, I know this might sound a bit political, but by the next Commonwealth Games (in Birmingham 2022), there are 37 countries in the Commonwealth where it's currently illegal to be who I am, so hopefully we can reduce that number between now and then," Daley told reporters.

"Coming to the Gold Coast and being able to live as an openly gay man is really important and to be able to feel comfortable in who you are when you are standing on that diving board.

"For 37 countries that are here participating that's very much not the case."

Daley said it was time for those Commonwealth countries to change their anti-gay laws.

"You just have to face those things and try and make change," he said.

"There are lots of things that are going to take a long time to change, but I feel with the Commonwealth I think we can really help push some of the other nations to relax their laws on anti-gay sex."

Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg said his organisation was proud of its record on inclusivity.

"At the time of Glasgow 2014, 43 Commonwealth countries criminalised same sex activity, but today, that number has been reduced to 37," Grevemberg said Friday.

"We hope that the Commonwealth sports movement is playing a meaningful role in the wider global conversation around tolerance, empowerment and legal recognition for all."

Daley's comments were backed by New Zealand boxer Alexis Pritchard, who wore rainbow socks in support of gay rights in her 57kg semi-final on Friday.

"I think it's particularly sad that people cannot love who they want to love," she told AFP.

"It's important that each and every individual has rights to receive love and give love to the people that they choose.

"I find it absolutely sad that we are not open to that in so many nations."

The penalties for private, consensual sexual conduct between same-sex adults remain harsh in a number of Commonwealth countries, including imprisonment, hard labour and in some cases flogging.

The Commonwealth countries that outlaw homosexuality include Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tonga.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Pope Francis admits 'grave mistakes' in Chile sex abuse scandal

Yahoo – AFP,  12 April 2018 

Pope Francis admits 'grave mistakes' in Chile sex abuse scandal

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis admitted Wednesday he had made "grave mistakes" in his handling of a sexual abuse scandal in Chile as he looks to quell the latest controversy to rock the Roman Catholic Church.

In a letter to 32 Chilean bishops released by the Vatican, Francis said he intended to summon them to Rome to discuss an investigation into an alleged cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros of abuse by paedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

Francis expressed his "shame" and "pain" for the suffering of the victims and pledged to meet them.

"I have made grave mistakes in the assessment and my perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information," Francis wrote.

He made no specific mention of Barros, who was appointed Bishop of Osorno in Chile, despite being accused of concealing and even witnessing abuse carried out by Karadima.

A 2,300-page report sent to the pope includes testimony gathered from 64 people in New York and Santiago.

The pope asked the bishops to Rome to discuss the findings of the probe by Archbishop Charles Scicluna and requested their "collaboration and assistance" in finding measures that can "repair the scandal as much as possible and restore justice".

"The present difficulties are also an opportunity to restore confidence in the Church, a confidence broken by our mistakes and sins," Francis wrote.

'Everything is slander'

During a trip to Chile in January, the pontiff had strongly defended Barros, who appeared at public masses celebrated by the Pope in three different Chilean cities, causing a public outcry.

Francis said that he was convinced of Barros' innocence and demanded "proof" of abuse before he would speak out against him.

"There is not a single piece of proof against him. Everything is slander. Is this clear?" Francis said.

However, he later apologised to the victims and dispatched Scicluna, a renowned Vatican investigator, to Chile to collect evidence. Scicluna returned at the end of February.

Karadima, an influential Chilean priest, was convicted by the Vatican in 2011 of abusing teenage boys and sentenced to a life of penitence. Civil charges against him in the Chilean courts were dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

The president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, Bishop Santiago Silva, said that the church "had not done enough" in the case.

"Our commitment is that this does not happen again," he added.

Silva said the meeting of Chilean bishops with the pope in Rome would take place on the third week of May.

Scicluna, Archbishop of Malta, was until 2012 a prosecutor in the Vatican Court to investigate cases of paedophilia among priests, making a name for himself with his determination.

He allowed the opening of an investigation into Father Marcial Maciel, Mexican founder of the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the perpetrator of numerous cases of paedophilia.

Since taking over in March 2013, Francis has championed the cause of the marginalised and launched a reform agenda.

But sex abuse scandals have haunted his papacy and the Vatican announced it was reviving its anti-paedophile panel in February.

The pope has often spoken out about sexual abuse, and has vowed zero tolerance towards what he has described as a "great humiliation" for the Catholic Church.

But many victims remain bitter over alleged coverups and Church inaction over the years.


Friday, April 6, 2018

Brazil's Lula ignores arrest deadline

Yahoo – AFP, Carola SOLE with Sebastian SMITH in Rio de Janeiro, April 6, 2018

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva greets supporters at the
metalworkers' union building in Sao Bernardo do Campo, hours before a
deadline he eventually missed to surrender and begin serving a 12-year
prison sentence or face arrest (AFP Photo/Miguel SCHINCARIOL)

São Bernardo do Campo (Brazil) (AFP) - Ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the controversial frontrunner in Brazil's October presidential election, ignored a deadline to surrender and start a 12-year prison sentence for corruption Friday.

Holed up with thousands of cheering supporters in the metalworkers' union building in his hometown of Sao Bernardo do Campo, near Sao Paulo, the 72-year-old let the 5:00 pm (2000 GMT) deadline pass without public comment.

The development further heated up the drama over attempts to put behind bars the veteran leftist, who ruled from 2003-2011 and leads in polls ahead of the elections.

He was ordered Thursday by Brazil's top anti-corruption judge, Sergio Moro, to surrender voluntarily to police and begin incarceration in the southern city of Curitiba.

Moro gave him 24 hours, saying the cell, a separate room with its own toilet, was ready, and that Lula would not be handcuffed -- if he came quietly.

It was not clear what the next step would be. However, local media reported that Lula's lawyers were negotiating the surrender.

It would be impossible for police to arrest him by force without the likelihood of major crowd trouble.

Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva rally outside the Metallurgical Union in Sao 
Bernardo do Campo after a judge gave the ex-president 24 hours to surrender and 
begin a 12-year prison term (AFP Photo/MARCELO CHELLO)

Much of the day, Lula had been waiting in hope that the country's top appeals court, the Superior Tribunal of Justice, would temporarily suspend his arrest warrant. However, the petition was rejected shortly before the deadline expired.

Lula was convicted last year of taking a luxury apartment as a kickback from a big construction company. He lost a lower court appeal in January and saw his sentence increased from nine to 12 years.

But to his Workers' Party faithful, Lula is a victim of a right-wing plot to prevent him from returning to power.

The longer he remained holed up inside the union building, the bigger the crowd grew outside.

"Lula is innocent, Lula for president!" supporters chanted.

Renata Swiecik, an unemployed mother of four who had joined the human shield, urged Lula not to hand himself over.

"We are here to resist to the end. Lula will not be a prisoner in 2018, he'll be president and help the people once more," said Swiecik, 31.

Brazilian Federal Judge Sergio Moro is in charge of the sprawling "Car Wash" 
probe, which has revealed systemic, high-level embezzlement and bribery 
throughout Brazilian business and politics (AFP Photo/Heuler Andrey)

Corruption battle

Lula's imprisonment is being celebrated on the right and among prosecutors supporting the "Car Wash" probe, which has revealed systemic, high-level embezzlement and bribery throughout Brazilian business and politics over the last four years.

To them, Lula epitomizes Brazil's corruption-riddled elite. His conviction is the biggest "Car Wash" scalp by far.

"I want Lula in prison, I want a better future and with him in the leadership we won't have that," said Maura Moraes de Oliveira, 51, who works as a maid in Curitiba.

"Not only Lula should be locked up, but all the corrupt, a complete cleaning."

Operation "Car Wash" was named after the service station where agents initially investigated a minor money laundering scheme in 2014, before realizing that they'd stumbled on a gargantuan web of embezzlement and bribery at state oil company Petrobras and right through the political classes.

Lula, who grew up poor and with little formal education before becoming a trade union leader and politician, has long said he will go down fighting.

In theory, once someone has been convicted and lost a lower court appeal, he or she is barred from running for office under Brazil's clean-slate law.

Still, even in prison, Lula has the right to register as a candidate. It would then be up to the Superior Electoral Tribunal to rule on whether his candidacy could stand.

Although Lula would almost certainly be blocked, he could use the process to maintain his political influence.