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. …

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

OAS calls for drugs rethink, proposes legalization

Deutsche Welle, 29 May 2013


The Organization of American States has called for a rethink on drugs, suggesting legalization. The focus would be on patients instead of criminals, with controlled sales replacing illegal transactions.

The Organization of American States (OAS) has proposed a gradual decriminalization of drugs as a strategy to combat the increasingly powerful drug mafias. A recent study commissioned by the organization has recommended that in future the use of drugs should no longer be considered a crime, but instead seen as a health issue.

The $2.2-million (1.7 million euros) study was commissioned in response to an initiative by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at last year's Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. The US delegation had initially rejected a demand from the Latin American countries to put the drugs debate on the summit's agenda.

More than 50,000 people have died in
the war against drugs cartels in Mexico
Santos, together with Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina and El Salvador President Mauricio Funes, has called for alternatives to the military strategy in the fight against the drug mafia. In Mexico alone, more than 50,000 people have fallen victim in the war against drugs cartels, without any significant weakening on the part of the cartels.

According to the European policing agency Europol, the leading Mexican cartels Los Zetas and Sinaloa have become "global market coordinators for cocaine smuggling in Europe and North America." Even small Central American countries acting as transit countries have suffered from the violence of the drug cartels.

Controlled marijuana sales

The study, recently presented by Santos and OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza, recommends the legalization of "soft drugs" such as marijuana. This would then bring the production, sale and use of the drug under control and away from criminal influence. According to the study, drug addicts should be given improved access to rehabilitation measures, and should be seen as patients rather than criminals. The study aims to launch a debate on the entire American continent, leading to a more effective fight against drugs.

"There is a clear contradiction: on the one hand, we treat a drug addict as a sick person, but on the other hand we want to punish his drug use," said Insulza. The study suggests that if the production and consumption of marijuana were to be legalized, the cultivation of marijuana would no longer be profitable for the drug mafias. For the moment, the cartels enjoy a high profit margin thanks to street sales that exceed the actual price of production several times over.

Change of course in EU

Santos has been critical of the US
drug policies
Latin America is following the lead of the EU: the decision to expand treatment services for heroin addicts in almost all European countries in 2012 led to a noticeable decline in demand. In Europe, marijuana is by far the most widely used illegal substance. The controlled cultivation and sale of the substance in Latin America would thus have a direct impact on Europe, which would then have to follow Latin America's lead.

This, however, would require a change of course. Decriminalization is mentioned nowhere in the current EU Drugs Strategy for the years 2013-2020 - instead, the recommendations speak of continuing the existing approaches which include the destruction of drug cultivation fields in the countries of origin.

In Europe, Portugal is seen as a pioneer in the legalization strategy. There, drug use and possession have been decriminalized since 2001, though consumers may not carry more than 10 times the daily dose. Since decriminalization, dependency rates have not increased and the number of drug-related deaths has declined by about 35 percent, which authorities have attributed to a targeted assistance of drug addicts.

No legalization of cocaine

In the past, the Colombian president has accused the United States of being ambiguous in the fight against drugs, demanding that Colombian farmers abandon illicit drug cultivation but at the same time legalizing marijuana use in some US states. While his own country fights against the drug cartels, "the gringos relax with a joint," he said.

Colombiais the world's largest cocaine producer, with the Colombian drug cartels exporting around 100 billion euros ($128.5 billion) worth every year, primarily to the US and Europe. Legalization of cocaine was not recommended in the OAS report.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rival Honduran street gangs declare unprecedented truce

Deutsche Welle, 29 May 2013


Two of the most violent street gangs in Honduras have declared a church-brokered truce, similar to one struck in neighboring El Salvador last year. The truce has offered peace in the world's most murderous country.

A spokesman for the Mara Salvatrucha gang, identified only as Marco, said Wednesday that the group will commit to zero violence and zero crime in the streets as a first-step show of good faith.

Speaking to reporters from a prison cell in the city of San Pedro Sula, he said, "Our truce is with God, society and authorities. We ask society and authorities to forgive us for the damage we have done."

As part of the truce, Marco said the gangs will stop recruiting but they won't immediately stop extorting small businesses or everyday citizens, as it is a major source of income.

"Let's go step by step," Marco said. "First zero crime and zero violence, stop the violence. And to stop the violence that's hurting human beings, we will talk about ways to find alternatives."

"We ask the government to help us so our young people learn a trade and don't turn out like us," Marco said. "I want my son to be a doctor or a cameraman, not a gangster."

Meanwhile, an unnamed leader of the rival “Calle 18” or 18th Street gang gave a separate news conference from another prison cell, offering the same truce as the Mara Salvatrucha.
"We're willing to work to lower the violence, but we need everyone to be on board, because we're not willing to be the only ones," the masked member said.

A model of peace

The truce, which was modeled after one between the same two gangs in neighboring El Salvador last year, was mediated by Roman Catholic Bishop Romulo Emiliani of San Pedro Sula over the last eight months.

According to officials, homicides in El Salvador have dropped about 52 percent in the 14 months of the truce.

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo said Monday that he supported the efforts by the church leader, but warned the government would ensure the law is enforced. "The state will keep strengthening its criminal investigations in order to impose order," he said.

Honduras is said to have the highest homicide rate in the world with anywhere from 85 to 91 killings per 100,000 people.

The 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha are the country's biggest gangs, which were formed by Central American immigrants in US prisons. They later overran Honduras after their members were deported back home.

hc/jr (Reuters, AP)
Related Article:


Cuba 'to offer' limited public internet access

BBC News, 28 May 2013

Related Stories 

Only some professionals, like journalists
and doctors, can surf the Web at home
The government of Cuba has said it will soon expand public access to the internet, although it will maintain restrictions for access at home.

It said that 118 internet points would be set up on the Caribbean island from 4 June, to allow web surfing for $4.5 (£3) an hour.

Cuba's average salary is $20 a month, and it has one of the lowest levels of internet access in the world.

Most Cubans can connect only at work, at school, or in luxury hotels.

Traffic will be monitored

The easing of restrictions was published in the official paper, Gaceta Oficial.

It said that member of the public will be able to access international websites for $4.5 (£3) an hour - down from $6 - or $0.6 (£0.4) an hour for national sites.

The cost for checking emails will remain unchanged at $1.50 (£1).

The government also reaffirmed that it would continue monitoring internet traffic closely.

Cuba's telecommunications company, Etecsa, will "immediately" stop access to users if they commit "any violation of the norms of ethical behaviour promoted by the Cuban state", the Ministry of Communications said in its government decree.

Only some professionals, like journalists and doctors, are allowed to surf the internet at home.

Most Cubans, however, can get online only in their places of work or study, or check their email at post offices.

They can also use internet points in hotels which mostly cater to international tourists.

Slow connection

Up until recently, Cuba relied upon slow and expensive satellite links for internet connections.

But in January, Etecsa announced it would start using an under-sea fibre-optic cable from Venezuela that would provide high-speed internet connection.

The Communist-led government has blamed limited bandwidth for restricting web access, saying it is forced to prioritise it for universities, companies and research centres.

But critics have accused the government of wanting to censor free speech and control access to information.

On her Twitter account, dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez said that "it will take time to get internet at home, but I'm sure it will come... and this will hurt (the government)."

Huge US fraud probe targets digital currency

Google – AFP, Sebastian Smith (AFP), 28 May 2013

Customers would go to Liberty Reserve's website to buy online currency
used in transactions with other LR users (DPA/AFP/File, Marius Becker)

NEW YORK — The United States on Tuesday unveiled what it called the world's "largest" money laundering probe against the digital currency operator Liberty Reserve.

The Costa Rica-based entity, which handled huge amounts of money outside the control of national governments, is charged with running a "$6 billion money laundering scheme and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business," the US Attorney's office for New York said.

Prosecutors said Liberty Reserve processed at least 55 million illegal transactions for at least one million users "and facilitated global criminal conduct."

The probe involved law enforcement in 17 countries and "is believed to be the largest money laundering prosecution in history," the prosecutor's office said.

Liberty Reserve's principals were arrested on Friday in a round-up launched simultaneously in Costa Rica, Spain and in New York, sealing the fate of a company that had been one of the most successful in the wildly popular but increasingly scrutinized world of unofficial banking and virtual currencies.

The unsealed indictment accuses founder Arthur Budovsky -- a former US citizen who took on Costa Rican nationality -- and his partners of creating a firm that masqueraded as a convenient and legitimate money transfer system.

In reality, the organization turned itself into the "financial hub of the cyber-crime world," the indictment said.

Customers would go to Liberty Reserve's now shut-down website to buy the online currency, known as LRs, that could then be used in transactions with other LR users.

The system was not registered with the US authorities and unlike some other non-state currency systems did not require proof of identity for users.

Adding another important layer of anonymity, Liberty required customers to buy or sell their LRs via third party exchangers, meaning that there was no direct link between a customer's traditional bank account and Liberty's system.

An extra service would allow a user to hide "his own Liberty Reserve account number when transferring funds, effectively making the transfer completely untraceable, even within Liberty Reserve's already opaque system."

The system, the indictment says, was tailor-made for criminal transactions and money-laundering, facilitating "a broad range of online criminal activity, including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking."

"The scope of the defendants' unlawful conduct is staggering," the indictment said.

"With more than 200,000 users in the United States, Liberty Reserve processed more than 12 million financial transactions annually, with a combined value of more than $1.4 billion."

Budovsky and his partners started Liberty Reserve after an earlier similar venture, Gold Age Inc, which traded the E-Gold digital currency, was shut down by US authorities.

It was then that Budovsky emigrated to Costa Rica, later renouncing his US citizenship.

Virtual currencies have grown exponentially, but face pressure on numerous fronts. The popular Bitcoin system has come under scrutiny by financial authorities and seen growing trading volatility.

Liberty Reserve used 45 bank accounts around the world
to transfer money

Related Article:


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Colombia, rebels reach deal on land reform

Google – AFP, 26 may 2013

Handout picture showing the Colombian Government delegation in Havana,
Cuba on May 16, 2013 (Presidencia Colombia/AFP, Omar Nieto Remolina)

HAVANA — The government of Colombia and leftist rebels said Sunday they have reached a deal on land reform, one of the most contentious items in their drawn-out peace negotiations.

The agreement between Bogota and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia would compensate those who have lost land or were displaced from their property, said Cuban diplomat Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, whose country played host to the months-long negotiations.

So far, the talks at the Havana Convention Center have focused almost entirely on land reform -- the first of five agenda items to be discussed.

Land distribution was one of the triggers of the decades-old conflict in Colombia, where there is gaping inequality that divides wealthy landowners and poor peasants.

Both delegations will take a break of several days, and then begin talks on political participation.

Other agenda items include illicit drugs, decommissioning weapons and how to handle the victims of the armed conflict that has gripped Colombia for nearly half a century.

The FARC, Colombia's largest guerrilla group, has been in talks with Bogota since November 19 to end their nearly 50-year-old insurgency, the longest-running in Latin America.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brazil 'to write off' almost $900m of African debt

BBC News, 25 May 2013

Related Stories 

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (L)
wants to boost trade with Africa
Brazil has announced that it will cancel or restructure almost $900m (£600m) worth of debt with Africa.

Oil- and gas-rich Congo-Brazzaville, Tanzania and Zambia are among the 12 African countries to benefit.

The move is seen as an effort to boost economic ties between the world's seventh largest economy and the African continent.

Official data in Brazil show that its trade with Africa has increased fivefold in the past decade.

The debt announcement was made during the third visit in three months to Africa by Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who attended the African Union summit in Ethiopia.

'Strategic'

"Almost all (aid) is cancellation," Ms Rousseff's spokesman, Thomas Traumann, told reporters.

"To maintain a special relationship with Africa is strategic for Brazil's foreign policy."

He added that most of the debt was accumulated in the 1970s and had been renegotiated before.

A spokesman for Brazil's Foreign Ministry told Efe news agency that the debt restructuring for some countries would consist of more favourable interest rates and longer repayment terms.

Congo-Brazzaville owes the most to Brazil - $352m - followed by Tanzania ($237m) and Zambia ($113.4m).

The other countries to benefit are Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, and Sudan.

Resource-hungry

Brazil has been increasingly expanding its economic ties with resource-rich Africa as part of the so-called South-South cooperation.

Trade between the two blocks went from $5bn (£3.3bn) in 2000 to $26.5bn (£17.5bn) in 2012. 

Trade between Brazil and Africa has grown fivefold in the
 last decade, fuelled by South America's hunger for
natural resources
Brazilian companies invest heavily in oil and mining in Africa, and have taken on big infrastructure projects.

Latin America's economic powerhouse has also opened 19 new embassies in Africa in the last decade, and is forecast to grow 3.5 percent this year.

But Brazil's hunt for natural resources has not always been easy in Africa.

Last month, hundreds of protesters in Mozambique blocked the entrance to a Brazilian coal mine in a row over a compensation deal agreed after they were displaced.

Human Rights Watch, a rights group, said farming communities had been resettled on arid lands and had suffered food shortages.

The Brazilian giant Vale, which owns the mine, and the government of Mozambique said improvements were being made.

Related Articles:

Burma debts forgiven by Japan

IMF Says Bailouts Iceland-Style Hold Lessons in Crisis Times
Iceland Was Right, We Were Wrong: The IMF
What We Can Learn From Iceland



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

Now, I want to tell you something that you didn't expect and something I've reported only one other time. What about all of the money that the Illuminati has? There are trillions and trillions of euro in banks, under their control, waiting. What are they going to do with it and where are they going to use it? It's still here. They're waiting.

This group is waiting for something to happen that they know is going to happen, for they see it coming as much as I do. However, I would like to tell you something that they don't expect. With awareness comes generational shift. Those in charge of this money will not always be elders. The indigos eventually will have it.

They are waiting for something to happen in Africa - the building of a new civilization, a continent that has nothing to unlearn. Once Africa is cured, once it's ready, a new civilization can be created from the ground up. Africans will be ready to learn everything about building a foundation for the most advanced civilization ever and will do it with the most modern and inventive systems available. Eventually, this new continent will even beat the economics of China.

This is the prediction and always has been, and the Illuminati's money will fund it. Did I say the Illuminati will fund it? [Kryon laugh] The Illuminati's money will fund it, but there is a difference from the past, dear ones. The ones who inherit the positions in the Illuminati will be a different consciousness. Listen, they are not suddenly going to be the ones who have the good of everyone in their hearts - hardly. They want to make money, but what they will see instead is a way to make a great deal of money through this investment. In the process, it will automatically help hundreds of thousands, and they will be at the beginning, the foundation, that builds the new Africa. The new African states of unification eventually will create a continent stronger than any of the others, and it will have one currency. The resources alone will dwarf anything in the world. ...”

Mexico sees fewer drug crime deaths

Google – AFP, 25 May 2013

Mexican soldiers patrol Buenavista Tomatlan's in search of criminals in
Michoacan State, Mexico on May 22, 2013 (AFP, Alfredo Estrella)

MEXICO CITY — The drug-related murders that plagued Mexico for six years have decreased in the past six months, while fewer people have disappeared than previously thought, the interior minister said Friday.

Mexico's top security official, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, said deaths linked to organized crime have fallen by around 20 percent since the new government took office in December compared to the previous six months.

"That's how we will end the month of May," Osorio Chong told a group of foreign journalists in Mexico City.

President Enrique Pena Nieto took office on December 1 vowing to reduce the levels of drug-related violence that left 70,000 people dead under the six-year term of his predecessor, Felipe Calderon.

Mexican soldiers search for criminals in
 "Tierra Caliente" (Hot Land) in Michoacan
State, Mexico on May 22, 2013 (AFP,
Alfredo Estrella)
But some analysts have voiced doubts that the murder rate has fallen so drastically, and questioned the methodology used by the government to count deaths linked to organized crime.

Alejandro Hope, a security analyst at the Mexican Competitiveness Institute and former Mexican intelligence official, estimates that homicides fell by a marginal 0.6 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the last three months of 2012.

While Osorio Chong did not provide details of the latest body count, his ministry had reported 5,296 murders related to organized crime between December and April -- a five percent reduction from Calderon's final five months in office.

He defended his ministry's methodology to count the dead, and said the list of 26,121 people who disappeared during the drug war between 2006 and 2012 will be drastically revised down.

Many of the people reported missing had simply left their homes for personal reasons, for work or because they emigrated, the minister said.


"In two months, we will be able to say by how many the number of disappeared has dropped, with an investigation in which we will inform the families," Osorio Chong said.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Guatemala extradites ex-President Portillo to US over money laundering charges

Deutsche Welle, 24 May 2013


Ex-Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo has been extradited to the United States to face money laundering charges. The ailing former leader is accused of laundering $70 million in Guatemalan funds through US banks.

Portillo was taken from a military hospital where he had been recovering from liver surgery and a heart condition on Friday and boarded a plane bound for New York.

Portillo, who served as president from 2000-2004, was moved to the hospital from prison in April where he was awaiting a verdict over his extradition to the United States.

In a statement the US embassy described his extradition as "an important affirmation of the rule of law and due process in Guatemala."

The former president had been fighting extradition since 2011 when it was granted by former President Alvaro Colom. He faces charges in the United States of embezzling tens of millions of dollars of public funds and laundering the money through US and European banks.

He has dismissed the charges as "political persecution" carried out by powerful Guatemalan businessmen and the US government in retribution for his not bending to their interests.

A Guatemalan court found Portillo not guilty in 2011 of charges that he stole $15 million (11.6 million euros) from the country's defense department during his presidency. His exoneration was confirmed by an appeals court in April.

ccp/kms (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Insects, From Delicacy to Tool Against Hunger

Jakarta Globe, Inter Press Service, Emilio Godoy, May 23, 2013

This file photo from 2006 shows an insect food stall in Bangkok, Thailand. It
 has deep-fried (counter-clockwise, from back-left to the front) locusts,
 bamboo-worms, moth chrysalis, crickets, scorpions, diving beetles and giant
water beetles. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Takoradee)

Mexico City. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s recommendation to consider using edible insects as a food source to combat hunger may have particular repercussions in Colombia and Mexico, two Latin American countries that have a tradition of eating insects and a high degree of biodiversity.

Mexico has 300 edible insect species, according to a study published in May by the entomology department of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), titled “Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security.”

But local researchers have identified more than 500 species in the center, south and southeast of Mexico, a mega-biodiverse country with a poverty rate of 47 percent.

“Insects are a viable, cheap source of high quality food that could be even better than the packaged foods that are consumed at present,” researcher Julieta Ramos-Elorduy, at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Biology Institute, told IPS.

In her view, “This country is ready for mass consumption of insects, but people need education about techniques and ways of marketing them. Protecting them is not a concern. There are no official measures,” said the expert, who has been carrying out research since the 1970s on the benefits of insects, and has reported 549 edible species.

The issue acquires an environmental dimension, particularly on International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated this Wednesday May 22.

Eating insects or entomophagy is an indigenous tradition in Mexico, attested to by the Florentine Codex, written by Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun (1499-1590) who described the consumption of 96 species.

Some insects provide up to three times more protein, weight for weight, than beef, and their nutrient concentrations are surpassed only by fish, according to the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO).

The Mexican insect menu is made up of blood-sucking bugs, worms, beetles, butterflies, ant and fly larvae, bees, wasps and “chapulin” grasshoppers. They can be grilled, fried or served with different kinds of sauces.

In recent decades, several of these delicacies have vaulted from kitchens in poor rural homes to tables in fancy restaurants.

In Mitla, a town close to a Zapotec archaeological site of the same name in the southern state of Oaxaca, a small business uses moth larvae (Hypopta agavis) that feed on American aloe leaves to make a hot spicy salt to accompany mescal, an alcoholic drink distilled from the same aloe plant.

“We follow a homemade recipe. Grinding is done by hand and we use a hand mixer. We also package by hand,” Diana Corona, the commercial manager of the firm Gran Mitla which produces 300 kilograms of “sal de gusano” (larva salt) a month, told IPS.

It takes 300 grams of ground larvae, 300 grams of dry chili peppers and 400 grams of salt to produce one kilo.

The larvae or worms are collected from August to October and frozen to ensure continuous production, as from November to the following May harvesting is banned throughout the country.

The FAO publication says that more than 1,900 species are part of the traditional diets of at least two billion people worldwide. The favorites are beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets.

Collecting and farming insects could create jobs and income, and could have industrial-scale potential, the authors say.

“That could be achieved if the insects are farmed and marketed in large quantities. But producers need to be aware that their resources are being depleted,” said Ramos-Elorduy, who is investigating the productivity of insect species that feed on maize and pumpkin, and seeking ways of increasing it.

“Collecting techniques are the same everywhere, but there is no legislation stipulating proper techniques. People do not know what they are. Besides, wages are very low,” she said.

In their research paper “Edible insects in some locations in Central Region of Mexico State: Collection techniques, sale and preparation,” Ramos-Elorduy, Andres Juarez and Jose Manuel Pino warn that “this valuable food resource is in danger of disappearing, due to a variety of environmental and socio-economic problems.”

The paper, published in December, concludes that “impacts on the environment, cultural change and changes in land use are causing the consumption of insects to decrease, especially among young people.”

Corona, of Gran Mitla, agreed that measures should be taken to protect these species. “Regulations are needed for collection and marketing. Insects are part of the Mexican diet and the resource must be protected,” she said.

For the same reason, many collectors are reluctant to talk about where they find their insects and grubs, and how they capture or harvest them.

The FAO report recommends automated infrastructure and regulatory frameworks to ensure stable, reliable and safe production. It also stresses that insect biomass could be used as the raw material for animal feed.

In Colombia, a snack available from street stalls is the crunchy “hormiga culona” (Atta laevigata), a leafcutter ant species, sold toasted and salted. The origin of this and other dishes is native culture.

But “going into the rainforest for large-scale extraction of insects is a touchy issue, because they are found in wildlife habitats,” Colombian biologist and regional planner Jaime Bernal Hadad told IPS.

Colombia has a poverty rate of 33 percent, and it is the second most mega-biodiverse country on the planet, after Brazil.

“In tropical ecosystems, although there is a great diversity of species, there are only relatively few individuals per species,” said Bernal Hadad. “Large-scale extraction could lead to the extinction of species, or create environmental imbalances.

“Beetles on fallen trees in the forest help decomposition and the balance of those forests,” he said. “Wasps and bees have an important role in pollination. And while there are native groups who eat beetles and prize them highly, they are minority groups and do not create problems.”

In Bernal Hadad’s view, farming insects “is an interesting option. But other factors come into play, such as the issue of cultural acceptability and consumption.

“Of course, in Europe it may be regarded as exotic, but if we consider marginalized populations in Latin America, the issue is very different,” he said.

The fight against hunger “cannot ignore structural issues,” he said. Moreover, “it is worth asking whether the proposal could be controlled or if it would become another method of interfering with conservation, not as a result of ranching and the timber industry, but because of insects,” he said.

“Then we would continue to reproduce the destruction of natural systems, without real solutions.”

(With additional reporting from Helda Martinez in Bogota.)

Inter Press Service

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Venezuela in rare diplomatic overture to US

Google – AFP, 20 May 2013

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua attends an ALBA ministers meeting
in Guayaquil, Ecuador on April 22, 2013 (AFP/File, Cesar Pasaca)

CARACAS — Venezuela on Sunday made a rare diplomatic overture to the United States, suggesting it could be time for better ties.

"We are going to remain open to normalizing relations with the United States," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said on Televen television Sunday.

"The first thing would be to resume diplomatic representation at the highest level," he said.

The country's late socialist president Hugo Chavez was a staunch critic of the United States, and his successor Nicolas Maduro is still feeling out its footing with Washington.

Chavez for more than 14 years unleashed verbal broadsides on US leaders before his death in March. The United States and Venezuela since 2010 have not even had ambassadors in their embassies in their respective capitals.

Maduro, who earlier said his government would like to increase dialogue with the United States, has selected lawmaker Calixto Ortega as its potential US envoy.

US President Barack Obama however has not congratulated Maduro for his controversial, razor-thin April 14 election, as Maduro's opposition rival Henrique Capriles presses claims that the Venezuelan presidential election was marred by irregularities.

Maduro meanwhile slammed Obama "the top leader of devils" after he commented on post-election unrest in Venezuela.

Despite the bad blood, Venezuela sells about 900,000 barrels of oil every day to the United States.



"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa, Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around", DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) (Text Version)  

“…  I want you to watch some countries. I don't have a clock [this statement is Kryon telling us that there is no time frame on his side of the veil, only potentials]. I'll just tell you, it's imminent [in Spirit's timing, this could mean as soon as a decade]. I want you to watch some countries carefully for changes. You're going to be seeing changes that are obvious, and some that are not obvious [covert or assumptive]. But the obvious ones you will see sooner than not - Cuba, Korea [North]Iran, of course, and Venezuela. I want you to watch what happens when they start to realize that they don't have any more allies on Earth! Even their brothers who used to support them in their hatred of some are saying, "Well, perhaps not anymore. It doesn't seem to be supporting us anymore. "Watch the synchronicities that are occurring. The leaders who have either died or are going to in the next year or so will take with them the old ways. Watch what happens to those who take their place, and remember these meetings where I described these potentials to you. …”

"The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

“… Within the entire continent, there's only one dictator left. What's happening? If you think that's amazing, there is a move afoot that you're not going to hear about yet. But they're discussing it right now, so let me tell you what they're thinking. "What would happen if we took these countries and eliminated the borders?" Sound familiar? They're talking about it. In back rooms where nobody is reporting it, they're saying, "What about a plan of eventually having one currency from the top of Columbia to the bottom of Chile? And we would be strong and we would be unified." And dear ones, I'm here to tell you, that it's going to work, and it might not take 50 years. Soon the one dictator will be gone, and the unification can begin.  ..”

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Peru cracks down on junk food in schools

Google – AFP, 18 May 2013

Pizza slices and french fries are served during lunch at a US high school
on November 18, 2011 (Getty Images/AFP/File, Joe Raedle)
LIMA — Peru's president signed a new law Thursday designed to reduce child obesity by encouraging healthier eating habits in schools.

The law regulates advertising for fatty foods and fizzy soft drinks in schools, the first step in a plan to ban some junk food altogether.

Business groups, worried about their revenue, have reacted angrily to the plans.

But President Ollanta Humala told them: "We cannot view our children as simply a market to generate sales and maximize profits."

One feature of the new law is a plan to set up stands selling quinoa, an ancient and healthy Andean grain, in schools.

Advertising will be regulated to ban those that encourage immoderate consumption of food and non-alcoholic beverages loaded with trans fats, sugar, salt and saturated fats, the law says.

The Peruvian Economics Institute derided the law as intrusive and heavy handed.

But the Peruvian Medical Association's president Juan Villena backed it: it was as important to regulate ads for junk food as it was ads for cigarettes, he argued.

Humala has said the law has international support and puts Peru on the cutting edge of healthy food legislation in the Andean region.