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. …
Loading...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Peace deal in hand, Colombia heads toward high-stakes referendum

Yahoo – AFP, Florence Panoussian, August 25, 2016

Colombian government delegation head Humberto de la Calle (R) and FARC-EP
 Commander Ivan Marquez (L) shake hands after signing a peace agreement at the
Convention Palace in Havana, Cuba on August 24, 2016 (AFP Photo/Yamil Lage)

Bogota (AFP) - After sealing a historic peace accord with the FARC rebels, the Colombian government launched a campaign Thursday to persuade voters to adopt it in a referendum on October 2.

After four years of arduous negotiations in Cuba, the effort to end the civil war -- which has killed hundreds of thousands of people across more than half a century of fighting -- now comes down to a yes-or-no vote.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who has staked his legacy on the peace process, faces a tough political battle to win the referendum.

His top rival, former president Alvaro Uribe, is leading a campaign to vote "No" to the deal, arguing that his successor has given away too much to the Marxist guerrillas of FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Uribe told the newspaper El Heraldo he would give a speech on the deal Friday, once he has been able to read the final text -- which Santos was due to send to Congress on Thursday.

Santos wasted no time in launching the "Yes" campaign.

Speaking on national television Wednesday just after peace negotiators in Havana announced the deal, he told voters the referendum would be the most important election of their lives.

"This is a historic and unique opportunity... to leave behind this conflict and dedicate our efforts to building a more secure, safe, equitable, educated country, for all of us, for our children and grandchildren," he said.

Opinion polls are mixed on how Colombians will vote.

The accord will take effect only if the "Yes" camp wins a majority while gathering at least 4.4 million votes -- 13 percent of the electorate.



Tough road ahead

Other obstacles to peace remain.

The government is still fighting a smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), whose ongoing kidnappings have derailed efforts to open peace negotiations.

And it will have to come up with the money to finance rural infrastructure projects and other carrots offered to the FARC, at a time of economic slowdown.

US President Barack Obama, who called Santos on Thursday to congratulate him on the "historic" news, acknowledged the tough road ahead.

"Even as we mark the end of an era of war, we recognize that the work of achieving a just and lasting peace is only beginning," he said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini also hailed the deal but warned of the challenges ahead.

Obama vowed continuing support for Colombia, a key ally in the US war on drugs.

Washington has spent more than $10 billion on a joint anti-narcotics strategy called "Plan Colombia" -- recently rebooted as "Peace Colombia" by Obama.

Colombians welcomed Wednesday's announcement with both skepticism and joy. Many took to the streets, waving the national flag and carrying balloons emblazoned with the word "Yes."

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hailed the "historic" news and said a
 referendum on the peace deal with FARC would be held on October 2 (AFP
Photo/Gustavo IZUS)

Half-century of conflict

The conflict began with the founding of FARC in 1964, at a time when leftist guerrilla armies were fighting to sow revolution throughout Latin America.

Over the years, the conflict has killed an estimated 260,000 people, uprooted 6.8 million and left 45,000 missing.

Along the way, the fighting has drawn in several leftist rebel groups and right-wing paramilitaries. Drug cartels have also fueled the violence in the world's largest cocaine-producing country.

Now, 25 years after the Cold War, Colombia's civil war is the last major armed conflict in the Americas.

The peace accord comprises six separate deals, covering justice for victims of the conflict, land reform, political participation for ex-rebels, disarmament, a fight against drug trafficking, and the implementation and monitoring of the accord.

Under the deal, the FARC will begin moving its estimated 7,000 fighters from their jungle and mountain hideouts into disarmament camps set up by the United Nations, which is helping monitor the ceasefire.

The FARC will then become a political party.

Special courts will be created to judge crimes committed during the conflict.

An amnesty will be granted for less serious offenses. But it will not cover the worst atrocities, such as massacres, torture and rape.

Those responsible for such crimes will face up to 20 years in prison, with lighter sentences if they confess.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

US makes major Guantanamo transfer to UAE

Yahoo – AFP, Thomas Watkins, August 16, 2016

The transfer of 15 prisoners to the United Arab Emirates reduces Guantanamo
Bay's inmate population to 61 (AFP Photo/John Moore)

Washington (AFP) - Fifteen Guantanamo Bay detainees have been transferred to the United Arab Emirates, the largest such release in years, the Pentagon announced.

The latest transfers bring the remaining population of the detention center down to 61. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, about 780 inmates have been housed in the US military-run facility.

According to a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, 12 of the men are from Yemen and three are Afghans.

The Pentagon has previously struggled to find a third country to take Yemeni detainees, given that they can't go home because of the civil war in their nation.

"The United States is grateful to the government of the United Arab Emirates for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close" Guantanamo, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Once transferred, former inmates are usually freed subject to supervision and undergoing rehabilitation programs.

Amnesty International USA welcomed the announcement as a sign President Barack Obama is serious about closing the controversial facility before he leaves office.

Guantanamo Bay (AFP Photo/AFP)

"It's a significant repudiation of the idea that Guantanamo is going to be open for business for the indefinite future," Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA's security and human rights program director, told AFP.

One of those transferred is an Afghan called Obaidullah, who allegedly had hidden land mines in 2001. He was detained for 14 years without trial.

Monday's announcement represents the largest transfer of prisoners under the Democratic Obama administration.

"The continued operation of the detention facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists," Ambassador Lee Wolosky, the special envoy for Guantanamo closure, said in a statement.

"The support of our friends and allies -– like the UAE -- is critical to our achieving this shared goal."

Obama urgently wants to close the facility before he leaves office at the start of next year but has been continually thwarted by Republican lawmakers.

Closure a long shot

Still, the United States has in recent months accelerated the rate at which detainees who have been approved for transfer are released from the facility.

When Obama took office, there were 242 detainees at Guantanamo.

Monday's announcement means 19 inmates will remain who have been cleared for transfer.

Obama wants to send the rest, deemed to be the most dangerous, for incarceration in the United States -- but that is an extreme long shot given Republican opposition.

In February, the president presented Congress with a new closure plan for Guantanamo, which he says serves only to stoke anti-US resentment and fuel jihadist recruitment.

Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte recently renewed calls to keep Guantanamo open and published an unclassified report on 107 current and former detainees that she said highlighted their terrorist pasts.

November's election will likely help determine the future of the notorious prison, as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to fill Guantanamo with "bad dudes" should he win the White House.

Trump has said he would "bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding."

To date, just 10 of the detainees face criminal trial, including the "9/11 Five" -- led by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- who are accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Shah said it was important for Obama to push ahead with plans to shutter Guantanamo, or the next administration could start filling its cells with suspected jihadists captured in the campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

"We are at an extremely dangerous and pivotal point where if President Obama fails to close Guantanamo then the next administration could bring more detainees there," Shah said.

Guantanamo is a US naval base carved out of a remote chunk of land on the tip of southeastern Cuba.

The administration of George W. Bush opened a prison there to hold terror suspects.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Saudi Arabia picks princess to head women's sports

Saudi Arabia has selected Princess Reema bint Bandar as the country's de facto minister for women's sports. This year, the kingdom doubled the number of its female athletes from two to four.

Deutsche Welle, 3 Aug 2016


Saudi's Cabinet announced on Tuesday that Princess Reema would head the General Authority for Sports without disclosing further details about her role.

The daughter of the ex-ambassador to the US, Princess Reema spent much of her youth in Washington, D.C. "I am honored to serve my country," she was quoted as saying by the SPA state news agency.

Female athletics have historically not been encouraged in the kingdom, though recently there have been calls for change. In an unprecedented move, one state school introduced sports for girls in 2014.

Evolving on women's sports

In an interview with Fast Company magazine, Princess Reema said she has been working to promote women's empowerment in the country.

"Our society tend to change a bit slower than other," she told the magazine last year. "We have to explain to people that it's evolution, not Westernization."

The Cabinet's announcement comes as the kingdom gears up for the 2014 Olympic Games in Rio, where four of its women athletes will compete alongside seven male athletes. That number represents an increase of 50 percent from the number of Saudi women who competed in the last Olympic games.

blc/kms (AFP, AP)
Related Articles:

Pope 'opens door' to female deacons with new panel
Tokyo elects Yuriko Koike as first woman governor


"Listening to the Voice of Spirit" (2) - Feb 20, 2016 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (DNA Efficiency is on average at 35 percent now) (Text version)

“… With free choice, the percentage of DNA efficiently started to go down as humanity grew. As soon as the DNA started to lose percentage, the gender balance was dysfunctional. If you want to have a test of any society, anywhere on the planet, and you want to know the DNA percentage number [consciousness quota] as a society, there's an easy test: How do they perceive and treat their women? The higher the DNA functionality, the more the feminine divine is honored. This is the test! Different cultures create different DNA consciousness, even at the same time on the planet. So you can have a culture on Earth at 25 percent and one at 37 - and if you did, they would indeed clash. …”

“… You're at 35. There's an equality here, you're starting to see the dark and light, and it's changing everything. You take a look at history and you've come a long way, but it took a long time to get here. Dear ones, we've seen this process before and the snowball is rolling. There isn't anything in the way that's going to stop it. In the path of this snowball of higher consciousness are all kinds of things that will be run over and perish. Part of this is what you call "the establishment". Watch for some very big established things to fall over! The snowball will simply knock them down. …”

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Pope 'opens door' to female deacons with new panel

Yahoo – AFP, Angus Mackinnon, August 2, 2016

Pope Francis greets a group of nuns at St Peter's Square in the Vatican, on
June 30, 2016 (AFP Photo/Gabriel Bouys)

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed a commission to study the issue of female Church deacons in a move seen as a potential first step towards women entering the Catholic clergy.

The 13-member commission, made up of seven men and six women, will examine the question with a particular focus on the history of women having played this role in the early years of the Church, the Vatican said in a statement revealing the commission members.

The panel will be chaired by Spanish Archbishop Luis Ladaria, the secretary of the Vatican's theological watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Pope Francis says gays - and all 
the other people the church has 
marginalized, such as the poor and 
the exploited - deserve an apology.
A Jesuit, Ladaria is seen as a neutral figure without strong ties to either the progressive or conservative wings of the Vatican hierarchy.

The establishment of the commission follows a pledge made by Francis in May during a question-and-answer session with members of female religious orders.

That was warmly welcomed by Catholic feminist groups such as the US-based Women's Ordination Conference (WOC).

But Francis subsequently complained that the media had blown his comments out of proportion, saying he had not raised the possibility of women serving as deacons.

Advocates of such a move have long argued that women are pitifully under-represented in the Church's hierarchy and decision-making processes, despite the number of women in religious orders far outweighing the total of priests and monks combined.

'A good sign'

Allowing women to enter the clergy at a rank just below a priest would represent a first step towards correcting this imbalance, they argue.


They also insist there is no theological obstacle to the move because of the precedent established by women performing the role in the early centuries of Christianity.

Francis said in May that he was unclear about the history and that it "would do good for the Church to clarify this point."

He made it clear that he did not see women becoming priests. That option was examined and categorically rejected by one of his predecessors, Pope John Paul II, in 1994.

In 2001, a commission charged with looking into the term "deaconess" concluded there was no basis for ordaining women to the role.

Lucetta Scaraffia, an editorialist for the Vatican daily Osservatore Romano, said studying the history of female deacons was tantamount to re-examining the issue of whether the Church should allow them again.

"I cannot say if it could happen soon, but it is encouraging. The fact that the pope acted quickly on what he said in May is a good sign," she told AFP.

The Vatican did not set a deadline for the commission to reach conclusions on what is a vexed issue.

After Francis's comments in May, one of his closest allies, the liberal German Cardinal Walter Kasper, predicted a fierce debate.

Pope Francis greets deacons at the end of a mass for the Jubilee of Deacons,
in May 2016 at the Vatican (AFP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto)

"On this issue the Church is split down the middle," the leading progressive theologian said, while cautioning that all previous attempts to open the clergy's door to women had been rejected.

More open Church

Although deacons cannot celebrate mass on their own or hear confessions, they are ordained and can carry out many tasks in place of a priest, while remaining free to marry and have a family.

Their tasks can include presiding over baptisms, weddings, funerals and prayer services. They often help with parish management and offer pastoral guidance to believers.

Francis has often championed the special qualities of the female sex, saying in December 2014: "Women are like strawberries on a cake -- you always need more of them."

He has also repeatedly said since becoming pope in 2013 that he does not represent all Church teaching as being set in stone.

He has tried to make the global institution more understanding, less judgemental in its approach to divorced, cohabiting and gay believers.

Some critics say he has delivered little concrete change but his supporters have hailed the new mood music as hugely significant.

Related Articles:

Clerics at the Church of England synod in York take a 'selfie' as they celebrate
after the vote to allow female bishops. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod/CreatorReligions/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)

“… I gave you a channelling years ago when Pope John Paul was alive. John Paul loved Mary, the mother. Had John Paul survived another 10 years, he would have done what the next Pope [The one after the current one, Benedict XVI] will do, and that is to bring women into the Church. This Pope you have now [Benedict XVI] won't be here long.* The next Pope will be the one who has to change the rules, should he survive. If he doesn't, it will be the one after that.

There is a large struggle within the Church, even right now, and great dissention, for it knows that it is not giving what humanity wants. The doctrine is not current to the puzzles of life. The answer will be to create a better balance between the feminine and masculine, and the new Pope, or the one after that, will try to allow women to be in the higher echelon of the Church structure to assist the priests.

It will be suggested to let women participate in services, doing things women did not do before. This graduates them within church law to an equality with priests, but doesn't actually let them become priests just yet. However, don't be surprised if this begins in another way, and instead gives priests the ability to marry. This will bring the feminine into the church in other ways. It will eventually happen and has to happen. If it does not, it will be the end of the Catholic Church, for humanity will not sustain a spiritual belief system that is out of balance with the love of God and also out of balance with intuitive Human awareness.  …”



“… With free choice, the percentage of DNA efficiently started to go down as humanity grew. As soon as the DNA started to lose percentage, the gender balance was dysfunctional. If you want to have a test of any society, anywhere on the planet, and you want to know the DNA percentage number [consciousness quota] as a society, there's an easy test: How do they perceive and treat their women? The higher the DNA functionality, the more the feminine divine is honored. This is the test! Different cultures create different DNA consciousness, even at the same time on the planet. So you can have a culture on Earth at 25 percent and one at 37 - and if you did, they would indeed clash. …”

“… You're at 35. There's an equality here, you're starting to see the dark and light, and it's changing everything. You take a look at history and you've come a long way, but it took a long time to get here. Dear ones, we've seen this process before and the snowball is rolling. There isn't anything in the way that's going to stop it. In the path of this snowball of higher consciousness are all kinds of things that will be run over and perish. Part of this is what you call "the establishment". Watch for some very big established things to fall over! The snowball will simply knock them down. …”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Colombian court backs referendum on peace deal with FARC rebels

Yahoo – AFP, July 19, 2016

A man places flowers on a Colombian national flag during a march in Cali, in
support of the peace talks between the government and the FARC guerrillas,
on July 15, 2016 (AFP Photo/Luis Robayo)

Bogota (AFP) - Colombia's constititutional court gave its approval for a popular referendum on a historic peace deal being negotiated with FARC rebels.

"There is a green light for us, the Colombian people, to approve the peace deal with our votes," President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday.

The top court held more than eight hours of deliberations before giving its go-ahead to a government bill on the plebiscite, which has already been approved by Congress.

The Colombian government and the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are in the final phase of four years of talks that it is hoped will result in a peace deal putting to an end a half-a-century of conflict.

The rebels last month signed a ceasefire and disarmament deal with the government, with the aim of becoming a political party.

The government said it hoped to move on to a full peace deal within weeks.

Alejo Vargas, an analyst at the National University's Center for Reflection and Monitoring of the Peace Dialogues, has said government supporters of the peace deal are in the majority. In a referendum, he estimated, "up to 70 percent would vote 'Yes.'"

Russian Sports Minister Mutko barred from Rio Games over doping

Yahoo – AFP, Jul 19, 2016

Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko addresses the media within the election
of a new chief of Russia's athletics federation in Moscow on January 16,
2016 (AFP Photo/Vasily Maximov)

Lausanne (AFP) - The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday barred Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and other ministry officials from attending the Rio Games after the revelation of a state-run doping system.

"The IOC will not grant any accreditation to any official of the Russian Ministry of Sport or any person implicated in the (independent) report for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad Rio 2016," said an IOC statement.

An independent inquiry commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency said the Russian sports ministry organised a "state-dictated failsafe system" of cheating by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics and other major events hosted by Russia.

Deputy sports minister Yury Nagornykh is among officials to have been suspended by the Kremlin since the report was released on Monday.

Monday, July 11, 2016

US transfers two Guantanamo detainees to Serbia: Pentagon

Yahoo – AFP, 11 Jul 2019

The US flag flies above the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (AFP
Photo/Paul J. Richards)

Washington (AFP) - The Pentagon on Monday transferred two Guantanamo detainees, one Yemeni and the other Tajik, to Serbia, bringing the population of the controversial US military prison to 76.

Tajik national Muhammadi Davlatov and Yemeni Mansur Ahmad Saad al-Dayfi were both unanimously approved for transfer by six US government departments and agencies, the State Department said.

President Barack Obama, as one of his first official acts after being elected in 2008, vowed to empty and shutter the notorious "war on terror" prison, which critics feel has tarnished America's reputation because of treatment deemed inhumane to the inmates there.

"As directed by the president's January 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review" of Davlatov's case and unanimously approved his transfer, a Pentagon statement said.

US defense, homeland security and other officials determined late last year that continued imprisonment of al-Dayfi "does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States."

The Defense Department statement thanked Serbia "for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility" -- a sentiment echoed by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"The United States appreciates the generous assistance of Serbia as the United States continues its efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility," Kerry said in a statement.

"This significant humanitarian gesture is consistent with Serbia's leadership on the global stage."

The United States has in recent months accelerated the rate at which detainees who have been approved for transfer are released from the facility, which Obama urgently wants to close before he leaves office at the start of next year.

Guantanamo is a US naval base carved out of a remote chunk of land on the tip of southeastern Cuba. The administration of George W. Bush opened a prison there to hold terror suspects.

The Guantanamo prison has held about 780 inmates in all since it was opened shortly after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.

Transfers have been slowed because many inmates were from war-torn Yemen, and so had to be returned to a third country that can provide rehabilitation and monitoring.

Obama would like to send inmates deemed to be the most dangerous for incarceration in the United States but Republican lawmakers have steadfastly resisted any such move.

US transfers Guantanamo inmate to Italy: official

Yahoo – AFP, July 10, 2016

According to US government statistics, about 13 percent of prisoners freed from
 Guantanamo since Obama began his first term have returned to violent extremism
(AFP Photo/Mladen Antonov)

Washington (AFP) - The United States has transferred Saudi-born Yemeni inmate Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman to Italy, the Pentagon announced Sunday, as President Barack Obama seeks to close the reviled American military detention center in Cuba.

The 41-year-old, who was recommended for transfer in January 2010 by the Guantanamo Review Task Force, was originally brought to Guantanamo Bay in January 2002.

"In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States' intent to transfer this individual and of the secretary (of defense)'s determination that this transfer meets the statutory standard," a Pentagon statement said.

"The United States is grateful to the government of Italy for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the government of Italy to ensure this transfer took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures."

A total of 78 inmates now remain at Guantanamo, which Obama took action to begin closing in one of his first acts as president. Yemenis account for the biggest group of detainees.

Obama has been unable to fulfill his long-held campaign promise due to opposition from the Republican-held Congress, concerns at home over plans to hold one-time terror suspects on US soil and the reluctance of allies to take in the prisoners.

Some of those concerns have crystallized in recent days after the disappearance of a former Guantanamo inmate in Uruguay, where he had been resettled in 2014 along with five other ex-detainees.

Jihad Diyab -- a 44-year-old Syrian -- went off the South American country's radar several weeks ago after apparently evading border controls and crossing into Brazil.

According to US government statistics, about 13 percent of prisoners freed from Guantanamo since Obama began his first term have returned to violent extremism or are believed to have done so, down from 35 percent under his predecessor George W. Bush.

Paul Lewis, the Pentagon's special envoy for Guantanamo closure, said that 14 ex-prisoners have gone on to participate in attacks that killed Americans.

In February, with less than a year left in his term, Obama released a last-ditch plan to close the facility, hoping to speed up the resettlement of all but 46 of the remaining prisoners, for whom he hopes to find alternate, secure detention centers in the United States.

All those he is seeking to resettle abroad have been deemed eligible for transfer.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Uruguay to sign up smokers to buy state marijuana

Yahoo – AFP, July 7, 2016

Uruguay government aims to begin registering users by the end of the month
authorizing them to purchase marijuana in pharmacies in an effort to undermine
drug-trafficking gangs (AFP Photo/Luis Robayo)

Montevideo (AFP) - Uruguay will this month start signing up smokers to buy marijuana from pharmacies in the world's first scheme for state-production and sale of the drug, an official source said Wednesday.

The leftist government has begun harvesting its own marijuana and aims to start selling it in mid-August, the source told AFP.

The marijuana leaves have been grown under heavy security at privately operated, state-supervised farms.

"It is being harvested and dried," said the source, who asked not to be named.

The government will buy the drug from the producers and sell it on to the pharmacies. But the amount released for sale will depend on how many users register.

The government aims to start registering users by the end of this month, the source said.

Under a law passed in 2013, Uruguay already allows users to grow marijuana if they register as members of state-regulated clubs.

In this June 30, 2016 photo, a pharmacy attends a client at Capurro neighborhood
 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Uruguay's government is planning to sell marijuana at 50
pharmacies throughout the country. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

The state will now expand that initiative to regulate the sale of the drug in pharmacies.

The law allows for users to buy up to 40 grams (1.4 ounces) a month. Authorized buyers will be identified by their fingerprints.

The scheme is being overseen by the state Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute.

Officials have not ruled out extending sales to establishments other than pharmacies.

The initiative was launched by former president Jose Mujica as a way to undermine drug-trafficking gangs.

A poll at the time indicated that nearly two thirds of Uruguayans were opposed to the law.