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. …

Monday, August 12, 2019

Argentine peso, stock exchange plummet after crushing Macri vote defeat

Yahoo – AFP, Sonia AVALOS, August 12, 2019

Argentina's peso has plunged after primary elections dealt a blow to pro-business
President Mauricio Macri's hopes for re-election (AFP Photo/RONALDO SCHEMIDT)

Buenos Aires (AFP) - Argentina's peso and the Buenos Aires stock exchange plunged on Monday after populist center-left candidate Alberto Fernandez crushed pro-business President Mauricio Macri in a party primary election over the weekend.

Nervousness reigned as the peso opened at 53 to the dollar, a drop of 14 percent from its closing figure of 46.55 on Friday, before plummeting further to 60.

And the Merval index crashed 30 percent, too, as markets reacted with jitters to Macri's rout.

Macri called a meeting with Central Bank president Guido Sandleris before the markets opened on Monday, while putting back his morning cabinet meeting to 3:30 pm (1830 GMT.)

The Central Bank bought $50 million in pesos to try to halt the slide, but to no avail.

On Sunday, center-right Macri was dealt a huge blow in his bid for re-election in October when he polled 15 points less than center-left Peronist candidate Fernandez.

"The president cannot have peace of mind. The markets are giving warning that the government has put itself in a position it cannot respond to," Fernandez told Radio 10 on Monday.

Argentina is currently in a recession and posted 22 percent inflation for the first half of the year -- one of the highest rates in the world.

Poverty now affects 32 percent of the population.

Alberto Fernandez, candidate of the Frente de Todos (Front for All) party, (L) was
 the top vote-getter in Argentina's presidential primaries, dealing a major blow to President
Mauricio Macri, who is running for re-election (AFP Photo/Juan MABROMATA,
Alejandro PAGNI)

'Profound dissatisfaction'

Backed by the International Monetary Fund, Macri has initiated an austerity plan that is deeply unpopular among ordinary Argentines, who have seen their spending power diminished dramatically.

The peso lost half its value against the dollar last year.

But the Buenos Aires stock exchange shot up eight percent on Friday amid expectation that Macri would do well in Sunday's vote.

Those hopes were quickly quashed as it lost 10 percent when operations opened on Monday, before plunging further during the first two hours of trading.

The worst hit shares lost 46 percent of their value.

Macri now faces a daunting task of trying to overturn a huge deficit in just two and a half months.

"The vote shows a profound dissatisfaction with the economic situation (and) the worry within society that the government is disconnected from reality and wasn't up to tackling the problems," political analyst Carlos Fara told AFP.

Macri managed only 32 percent in the party primaries that effectively acted as a nationwide pre-election opinion poll as all of the South American country's major parties had already chosen their presidential candidates.

Main economic indicators for Argentina. (AFP Photo/Nicolas RAMALLO)

"We've had a bad election and that forces us to redouble our efforts from tomorrow," said Macri, whose popularity has plunged since last year's currency crisis and the much-criticized $56 billion IMF bail-out loan he secured.

"It hurts that we haven't had the support we'd hoped for," admitted Macri.

Political analyst Sergio Berensztein described it as the government's "worst political crisis."

Fernandez scored 47 percent and if he repeats that result in the October 27 general election first round, he would win outright without need for a November 24 run-off.

Argentina's electoral law requires a candidate to gain 45 percent for outright victory, or 40 percent and a lead of at least 10 points over the nearest challenger.

"We're going to begin a new stage. We always fix the problems that others create," said Fernandez to thousands of cheering supporters in Buenos Aires on Sunday night.

Analyst Rosendo Fraga said Macri and Fernandez need to come to a bipartisan "governability agreement," otherwise "it's going to be very difficult to build confidence" in the markets between now and October's vote.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Brazilian Amazon deforestation surges, embattled institute says

Yahoo – AFP, August 7, 2019

.Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change sceptic, has accused the
country's National Institute of Space Research of publishing misleading data
on the environment (AFP Photo/RAPHAEL ALVES)

Sao Paulo (AFP) - Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon increased 278 percent year-over-year in July, according to official data released Tuesday by a government institute embroiled in a row with President Jair Bolsonaro over the scale of the problem.

The National Institute for Space Research, known by its initials INPE, said that deforestation had cleared 870 square miles (around 2,250 square kilometers) of rainforest over the month.

The Brazilian president, a climate change sceptic, and his environment minister Ricardo Salles have previously accused the INPE of publishing misleading data, claiming the figures "don't correspond to the truth" and were damaging to the institute and the country.

Data from INPE, an institution of international repute, shows that deforestation has increased 40 percent in the last twelve months compared with the same period a year ago.

Amazon rainforest deforestation had increased 88 percent on-year in June alone.

Last week, INPE president Ricardo Galvao was sacked following disagreements with Bolsonaro over deforestation in the Amazon, fueling criticism of the president from environmental groups.

The president suggested Galvao was "in the service of some NGOs" before dismissing him on Friday.

Bolsonaro was helped in his election last year by support from the powerful agriculture lobby.

He has previously floated the idea of opening up protected rainforest areas to agriculture, a highly controversial move given the existing level of deforestation.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Bolsonaro vows to fight 'illegal deforestation' in Brazil

Yahoo – AFP, August 4, 2019

President Jair Bolsonaro has previously floated the idea of opening up protected
rainforest areas to agriculture (AFP Photo/EVARISTO SA)

Brasília (AFP) - Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro vowed Saturday to combat "illegal deforestation," a day after the head of the agency that measures deforestation said he was being sacked after a row over the scale of the problem in the Amazon rainforest.

"We are going to act effectively in the fight against illegal deforestation," Bolsonaro wrote on his Facebook account, along with a video in which environment minister Ricardo Salles said the government would bring in new technology to measure deforestation with greater precision.

A day earlier, the head of Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Ricardo Galvao, said he was being sacked after a row with Bolsonaro over deforestation.

Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic, claimed the INPE figures "don't correspond to the truth" and were damaging to the institute and the country.

The president has previously floated the idea of opening up protected rainforest areas to agriculture, a highly controversial move given the existing level of deforestation.

"We cannot accept sensationalism, or the disclosure of inaccurate numbers that cause great damage to Brazil's image," Bolsonaro said, reiterating comments from his row over the INPE figures.

The latest data released by INPE, an institution of international repute, shows that deforestation has increased 40 percent in the last two months compared to the same period a year ago.

On Thursday, Bolsonaro, Salles and other ministers had refuted the INPE satellite data and said the methodologies for measuring deforestation would be changed.

The government admits deforestation has increased but insists it is not as great as indicated by the agency.

The sacking of Galvao fueled criticism from environmental groups.

"Bolsonaro knows that his government is primarily responsible for the current destruction of the Amazon. The dismissal of the director of INPE is nothing more than an act of revenge against those who show the truth," said Marcio Astrini from Greenpeace.

For many years, NGOs defending the environment and the territorial rights of indigenous people have criticized the agriculture industry and major land owners for constantly trying to expand into virgin lands, including those protected by law.

Bolsonaro, though, was helped in his election last year by support from the powerful agriculture lobby.

The president suffered a blow on Thursday when the Supreme Court cancelled a decree transferring the right to demarcate indigenous lands from the National Indian Foundation to the Ministry of Agriculture, a bulwark of the agriculture industry's interests.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Brazil police probe tribal leader's killing, village invasion

Yahoo – AFP, Allison JACKSON, July 28, 2019

The Waiapi people inhabit territory rich in minerals and deep inside the Amazon
that's seen as desirable by miners (AFP Photo/Apu Gomes)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Brazil deployed police to a remote Amazon village on Sunday after reports it had been overrun by armed miners following the murder of an indigenous leader, officials and tribal chiefs said.

The violence in an area of the northern Amapa state controlled by the Waiapi tribe comes as Brazil's indigenous people face growing pressures from miners, ranchers and loggers under pro-business President Jair Bolsonaro, who on Saturday called for the "first world" to help exploit the "absurd quantity of minerals" in the Amazon rainforest.

Last Monday, a Waiapi indigenous leader was killed and his body found the following day in a river, the Amapa attorney general's office (AGO) said in a statement.

While none of the Waiapi witnessed the "violent" killing, a council of village chiefs said on Facebook a search of the area found "trails and other signs that the death was caused by non-indigenous people."

On Friday, a group of "armed non-indigenous" overran the nearby village of Yvytoto, prompting residents to flee, the council said. Local media called them "garimpeiros," a term for armed miners active in the Amazon, and said they numbered 50.

After reports of the attacks emerged Saturday, members of the federal police and a military police special forces unit were dispatched, the AGO said, arriving in the village some 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the state capital Macapa on Sunday.

The indigenous affairs agency FUNAI said its officers were also on the ground monitoring the police investigation.

"Law enforcement officials have reported that no hypothesis for the murder has been ruled out, nor can they can say at this time who carried out the crime," the AGO said, as it announced the establishment of a crisis management group to oversee the investigation.

"The alleged presence of garimpeiros and other groups in the region is being investigated."

'Environmental psychosis'

Rich in gold, manganese, iron and copper, the Waiapi's territory is deep inside the Amazon, making communication difficult, police said.

The Waiapi council said some of the tribe's fighters had stationed themselves near the village occupied by the miners.

"The situation is urgent," said Randolfe Rodrigues, an opposition senator from Amapa, on his official Facebook page.

The Brazilian Bar Association issued a statement calling on the government to protect the Waiapi's land and ensure perpetrators of criminal offenses were "punished."

The tribe's territory is one of hundreds Brazil's government demarcated in the 1980s for the exclusive use of its 800,000 indigenous inhabitants. Access by outsiders is strictly regulated.

Since taking office in January, Bolsonaro has been accused of harming the Amazon and indigenous tribes in order to benefit his supporters in the logging, mining and farming industries.

"We are experiencing a real environmental psychosis," Bolsonaro said recently.

He's also pledged to crackdown on what he's called radical environmental activism, and also questioned the latest official figures showing deforestation increasing by 88 percent in June compared with the same period last year.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Thousands protest in Colombia against killings of activists

Yahoo – AFP, July 27, 2019

A protest against the murder of social leaders was held in Medellin, Colombia
(AFP Photo/JOAQUIN SARMIENTO)

A protest against the murder of social leaders was held in Medellin, Colombia (AFP Photo/JOAQUIN SARMIENTO)

Bogota (AFP) - Thousands rallied across Colombia Friday to protest the killing of hundreds of human rights activists since the signing of a historic peace deal with FARC guerrillas.

Demonstrators gathered in major cities under the slogan "defending the peace" to denounce the deaths. 462 campaigners have been killed since 2016, according to the country's ombudsman.

"They are killing us but seeds of life and dignity are being born," Luis Acosta said as he walked toward Bolivar square in the capital Bogota, which was packed with protesters.

Colombian president Ivan Duque joined a rally in the port city of Cartagena but was jeered by parts of the crowd, videos posted on social networks showed.

"Today we are united in a fight against violence and drug trafficking, which has fueled the organized armed groups that have attacked social leaders in the country," Duque said earlier.

A protest against the murder of social leaders was held in Medellin, 
Colombia (AFP Photo/JOAQUIN SARMIENTO)

The rallies were called after the killing of activist Maria del Pilar Hurtado last month, in northern Colombia. A video of her son crying next to her body was widely shared in the country.

Some protesters carried banners of FARC, the former guerilla group, who signed a 2016 peace deal with authorities that ended half a century of armed conflict and established them as a left-wing political party.

The group has criticized the lack of security guarantees for its members after the signing of the pact and said 140 ex-guerrillas and 31 relatives have since been killed.

Armed drug-trafficking groups, National Liberation Army rebels, and the armed forces are mostly responsible for the deaths, prosecutors said.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

EU, S.America bloc reach trade deal after 20 years of talks

Yahoo – AFP, Clément ZAMPA, June 29, 2019

Mercosur countries hope to export up to 99,000 tonnes of beef to Europe a year
before they have to pay tariffs (AFP Photo/DANIEL GARCIA)

Brussels (AFP) - The European Union and South American trade bloc Mercosur sealed a blockbuster trade deal Friday, ending 20 years of talks over one of the world's largest regional commercial accords, negotiators said.

The agreement came after two decades of often tough negotiations between the EU and the countries of Mercosur -- Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay -- which had repeatedly stalled because of European farmer sensitivities over the beef market.

The deal was announced as the US administration of President Donald Trump faced several bilateral disputes, including trade tensions with China and disagreements with EU countries.

"I measure my words carefully when I say that this is a historical moment," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 in Osaka.

"In the midst of international trade tensions, we are sending today a strong signal with our Mercosur partners that we stand for rules-based trade."

In a strong show of unity, all the European and Mercosur leaders also members of the G20 gathered for a joint photo, with Argentine President Mauricio Macri also hailing a "historic day."

Europe wants Mercosur countries to open their markets to EU automakers
(AFP Photo/Paul ELLIS)

European farmers concerned

The trade pact is the largest ever concluded by the EU, Juncker said in a statement released in Brussels, and would save European companies more than four billion euros ($4.5 billion) worth of trade duties every year.

It covers markets that total approximately 780 million consumers, an EU statement said.

Brazil welcomed a "historic" agreement with the EU, while Argentina called the deal "unprecedented".

The announcement of the deal, details of which were not revealed and which must be approved by the 28 EU member states, comes as leaders of the world's most powerful economies gather in Osaka, Japan, for a G20 summit.

Once implemented, it is tipped to eliminate 99 percent of agricultural and industrial tariffs on both sides and facilitate exchanges in services and government procurement, reduce technical barriers, and effect sanitary and phytosanitary measures and intellectual property.

The agreement has nonetheless raised concerns of European farmers who fear unfair competition, as well as NGOs concerned about consequences for the climate.

French President Emmanuel Macron, seen here with US counterpart Donald Trump 
at the G20 summit in Japan, had threatened to scupper the EU-Mercosur deal if 
Brazil withdrew from the Paris climate accord (AFP Photo/Jacques Witt)

Challenges to EU farmers

"Today’s agreement also presents some challenges to European farmers and the European Commission will be available to help farmers meet these challenges," the EU's agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan said in a statement.

"For this agreement to be a win-win... carefully managed quotas will ensure that there is no risk that any product will flood the EU market and thereby threaten the livelihood of EU farmers."

The 28-member EU currently accounts for about one-quarter of global gross domestic product (GDP) at 18 trillion euros ($20 trillion).

Finalisation of the talks had been complicated by French President Emmanuel Macron, who threatened to scrub the deal if Brazil withdrew from the Paris climate accord that commits signatories to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and which Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to leave.

"If Brazil leaves the Paris accord, we could not sign trade deals with them," Macron said Thursday night in Japan en route to Osaka for the G20 summit.

"The reason is simple, we are requiring our farmers to stop using pesticides... our businesses to reduce emissions. That has a competitive cost," Macron added.

Activists had urged the EU to halt the trade talks over Brazil's alleged harm to 
its rainforests and indigenous peoples (AFP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)

Cognac and Manchego cheese

Activists had urged the EU to halt the Mercosur trade talks over Brazil's alleged harm to its rainforests and indigenous peoples in order to benefit influential agribusinesses.

For Europe, the deal would mean greater access to large South American automobile markets and respect for so-called protected geographical indications such as Cognac or Manchego cheese.

The EU is also counting on the agreement to improve access to the South American market for telecommunications, transport or financial services.

Mercosur countries in return hope to export up to 99,000 tonnes of beef to Europe a year before they have to pay tariffs, alongside stronger exports of ethanol, sugar and poultry.

The EU and Mercosur exchange 88 billion euros in goods annually, with a balance very slightly in favour of the Europeans (+2.5 billion euros).

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

EU urged to halt trade talks with S. America over Brazil abuses

Yahoo – AFP, June 18, 2019

Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and harm done to Brazil's indiginous people
are issues that should push the EU to halt trade talks, according to some 340
groups in Europe and Latin America (AFP Photo/CARL DE SOUZA)

Brussels (AFP) - Hundreds of activist groups on Tuesday urged the EU to "immediately halt negotiations" for a trade deal with Mercosur countries over Brazil's alleged harm of its indigenous people and rainforests.

The appeal from more than 340 groups could further complicate the European Union's bid to conclude 20 years of talks for a free trade agreement with Brazil and its Mercosur partners Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

In an open letter, Greenpeace as well as an array of NGOs across Europe and Latin America reminded the EU it had previously suspended trade preferences with Myanmar and the Philippines over alleged human rights abuses.

"It is time that the EU takes a similar, tough stance to prevent a deterioration of the human rights and environmental situation in Brazil," the letter said.

"We therefore call on you to immediately halt negotiations for an EU-Mercosur free trade agreement," it added.

It urged Brussels to "guarantee that no Brazilian products sold in the EU, nor the financial markets underpinning them, are leading to increases in deforestation, land grabbing of native lands or human rights violations."

The letter also urged an end to trade talks until Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro gives concrete commitments to implement the 2015 Paris climate deal.

European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told journalists on Monday that EU officials were in close contact with the growing number of NGOs expressing concern.

EU officials have "listened to them and tried to see what we can do," the Swedish commissioner said.

"There are some measures taken in Brazil that we certainly do not agree with and a trade agreement cannot solve all the miseries of the world," Malmstrom said.

"But we can get a context to discuss these issues. We are certainly trying to get a chapter on trade and sustainable development that is as ambitious as possible but it is not done yet."

Brazil's Bolsonaro and Argentina's Mauricio Macri expressed confidence earlier this month that the deal would soon be signed.

Malmstrom said the two blocs were near an agreement, and expressed hope it could be reached before the current European Commission stands down in November.

The main obstacle has been European reluctance to open its market to agricultural products from South America, and more recently differences have emerged with Brazil over trading meat, sugar and automobiles.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Amazon synod to debate ordination of married men

Yahoo – AFP, June 17, 2019

Pope Francis has repeatedly said there is no doctrinal prohibition on married
men becoming priests (AFP Photo/Vincenzo PINTO)

An upcoming Vatican global synod dedicated to the Amazon is set to discuss allowing married men in remote areas to be ordained as priests, according to a preview of the meeting made public on Monday.

The much-anticipated discussion, which will form part of the October 6 to 27 synod, is aimed at boosting the stock of potential clergy in far-flung areas where they are currently scarce.

"It is requested that the possibility be studied of priestly ordination of elders in the most remote areas, preferably indigenous people, respected and accepted by their community, even if they already have a stable and established family," according to the working paper.

Pope Francis has repeatedly said there is no doctrinal prohibition on married men who have reached a certain age from becoming priests, and therefore the discipline could be changed.

But in January this year he seemed to retreat from the idea, describing celibacy as "a gift to the Church".

"I don't think optional celibacy should be allowed. No," he said.

The pope nevertheless conceded "some possibilities for far flung places", such as Pacific islands or the Amazon where "there is a pastoral necessity", though he added that the decision was not his to make.

First pope had mother-in-law

Saint Peter, the church's first pope, had a mother-in-law, according to the bible.

Celibacy was imposed in the 11th century, possibly partly to prevent descendants of priests inheriting church property.

Some within the church believe it is time to join many eastern rite Catholic Churches in permitting married men to take the cloth. Married Anglican priests keen to convert to Catholicism have already been welcomed over.

The Vatican's number two, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, suggested in an interview last year that the church could "gradually look in depth" at the issue, while ruling out any "drastic change".

Some 60,000 priests have given up their vocation over the past few decades, often to marry.

Pope Francis suggested in 2017 that the church "reflect" on the question of ordaining "viri probati", married men of proven virtue, particularly in far-flung places where priests are thin on the ground.

The synod discussion paper also raises the prospect of a more inclusive role for women in the Amazon, adding their presence "is not always adequately taken into consideration".

It suggested women could have a greater educational participation.

The synod will also consider the environmental challenges facing the Amazon, a vast area of rainforest mainly in Brazil but also touching eight other countries.

Last month, Brazil's legendary indigenous chief Raoni met the pope to highlight increasingly acute threats to the Amazon.

The elderly Kayapo chief, internationally recognisable through his traditional lip plate and feather headdress, is seeking to raise one million euros ($1.1 million) to better protect the Amazon's Xingu reserve -- home to many of Brazil's tribal peoples -- from loggers, farmers and fire.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Massive power outage hits Argentina, Uruguay: power companies

Yahoo – AFP, June 16, 2019

View of downtown Buenos Aires on June 16, 2019 during a massive power cut
(AFP Photo/Alejandro PAGNI)

Buenos Aires (AFP) - A massive outage blacked out Argentina and Uruguay on Sunday, leaving both South American countries without electricity, power companies said.

By mid-morning, streets were largely empty in a rainy Buenos Aires although some stores were open, operating with generators, while Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, was almost entirely without power with only some traffic lights working.

Uruguay's system went down at 7:06 am (1006 GMT), according to the Uruguayan power company UTE, which attributed the outage to "a fault in the Argentine network."

"The causes are being investigated and have not yet been determined," Argentina's secretariat of energy said on its Twitter account, adding it would take "some hours" to restore power completely.

Argentina, with 44 million people, and Uruguay, with 3.4 million, have a common power grid centered on the bi-national Salto Grande dam, 450 kilometers (280 miles) north of Buenos Aires.

A woman prepares milk bottles by candle lights at her home in Montevideo during 
a massive power failure (AFP Photo/MIGUEL ROJO)

Two Argentine power companies confirmed that the failure knocked out electricity throughout Argentina, without specifying the cause.

"A massive failure in the electrical interconnection system left all Argentina and Uruguay without power," Edesur Argentina said on Twitter.

Edenor, Argentina's largest electricity distributor, attributed the outage to a "general failure in the interconnection system."

UTE said the failure left Uruguay's "entire national territory without service, as well as several provinces of the neighbor country."

More than an hour after the blackout, UTE said its system was being brought back "from zero."

"Some coastal cities already have service and work continues toward general restoration (of power)," it said.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Nayib Bukele sworn in as president of El Salvador

Yahoo – AFP, June 1, 2019

Nayib Bukele, seen here delivering a speech in Washington on March 13, 2019, was
sworn into office as president of El Salvador in San Salvador on June 1, 2019 (AFP
Photo/Eric BARADAT)

San Salvador (AFP) - Conservative businessman Nayib Bukele took the oath of office Saturday as president of El Salvador.

Bukele was sworn in by the speaker of the National Assembly in a square in downtown San Salvador, as a large, boisterous crowd applauded and shouted "We did it!"

Bukele, 37, was elected in February to succeed Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a leftist former guerrilla who maintained close relations with his Nicaraguan and Venezuelan counterparts.

Bukele has said he will seek closer ties with the United States, home to 2.5 million Salvadorans.

"I will be the president of all Salvadorans," said Bukele, who takes over a country saddled with poverty and rampant gang violence. Both problems are prompting many to flee north in hopes of reaching the US.

Delegations from 83 countries attended the swearing-in ceremony.

The United States was represented by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Venezuela's Guaido says will send representatives for talks with govt

Yahoo – AFP, May 26, 2019

Representatives of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader
Juan Guaido are set to have their first face-to-face meetings in Oslo (AFP Photo/STF)

Carora (Venezuela) (AFP) - Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Saturday he would send delegates to Oslo next week for the first face-to-face meeting with representatives of President Nicolas Maduro's government as part of a Norway-led mediation effort.

They "will talk with both the Norwegian government and with representatives of the regime", Guaido said in a statement, after the two Venezuelan sides traveled separately to the Norwegian capital last week without meeting.

Guaido, recognized by the United States and dozens of other countries as Venezuela's interim president, said the opposition delegation will be headed by deputy parliament speaker Stalin Gonzalez and the ex-deputy Gerardo Blyde, both of whom were involved in the initial talks with the Norwegians.

Media reports said Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez and the governor of Miranda province Hector Rodriguez represented Maduro's government in the initial talks, but it was unclear if they would participate in next week's meeting.

Guaido has appeared cautious about talking with Maduro's representatives since the idea is unpopular with the opposition base that has spent months in the streets trying to push Maduro out.

Earlier on Saturday, Guaido told supporters in Carora, Lara state that "nobody is ever going to get us here confused about a false dialogue."

He said there had been no "negotiation" in the earlier meetings in Norway, and that any deal should include mediation leading to Maduro's departure and new elections being scheduled.

"We are going to insist," he said, "because today by combining all our strategies, using all the tools we have, we are going to get to that final step," Guaido said, referring to street protests and multiple levels of diplomacy.

The bid for talks comes after a months-long power struggle between National Assembly leader Guaido and the socialist president, with sometimes deadly street clashes.

Guaido's backers dismiss Maduro's presidency as "illegitimate" following his re-election last year in polls widely labeled as rigged.

Maduro has been shunned by much of the international community for presiding over the country's economic collapse, which has led to shortages of basic goods -- forcing millions to flee -- as well as brutally suppressing dissent.

He retains the backing of major creditors Russia, China and Cuba, as well as the powerful military.

Guaido tried to incite a military uprising against Maduro on April 30 but only about 30 members of the armed forces joined him.

The socialist regime has since ramped up pressure on Guaido's allies and supporters, charging 10 lawmakers with treason.

The pro-government Constituent Assembly recently stripped 14 opposition lawmakers of their legislative immunity over their support for the failed uprising.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Pope accepts resignation of Brazilian bishop

Yahoo – AFP, May 17, 2019

Pope Francis last week passed a landmark new measure to oblige those who know
about sex abuse in the Catholic Church to report it to their superiors (AFP Photo/
Vincenzo PINTO)

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Brazilian bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira, the Vatican said Friday in a statement.

The bishop is under investigation for alleged extortion of priests in his diocese, and the covering-up of sexual abuse cases, according to Brazilian media reports.

Dias de Oliveira allegedly protected a priest accused of clerical abuse.

The bishop confessed to police in April that he had swiped $4,000 (3,580 euros) from parish funds for personal use, telling them he did so because he was having financial difficulties, the reports said.

The Vatican always announces when Francis has accepted the resignation of a bishop, but never explains why.

"Dear brothers and sisters, in recent months we have had to bear all sorts of crosses through attacks against our Limeira church, against me and other presbyters," Dias de Oliveira said in a statement.

"I acknowledge my limitations, but I also carry in my heart all the love I have received from the good people of God.

"I ask to resign for the love of Christ and for the good of the diocese," he said in the letter published by the diocese of Limeira, a city in the Sao Paulo state in southern Brazil.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by a global clerical paedophilia scandal, with victims coming forward in countries ranging from Australia to Chile, Germany and the United States.

Pope Francis passed a landmark new measure this month to oblige those who know about sex abuse in the Church to report it to their superiors, in a move which could bring countless new cases to light.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Nationwide student strike begins in Brazil over budget cuts

Yahoo – AFP, May 15, 2019

Brazilian Education Minister Abraham Weintraub has slashed subsidies to federal
universities by 30 percent, triggering protests by teachers and students across
the counttry (AFP Photo/EVARISTO SA)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Students and teachers from hundreds of universities and colleges across Brazil began a nationwide demonstration on Wednesday in "defense of education" following a raft of budget cuts announced by President Jair Bolsonaro's government.

Classes were suspended in numerous establishments as demonstrations took place in 17 of Brazil's 27 states, local media said, with particularly large ones in major cities like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte.

The biggest demonstrations are planned for the end of the day, though.

In the capital Brasilia, federal troops were deployed in front of the ministry of education in case of trouble.

The protest movement was sparked by Education Minister Abraham Weintraub recently slashing federal university subsidies by 30 percent.

Several chief education officers claimed the budget cuts would compromise the ability of federal universities to function, and threatened to paralyze them.

Then the sudden suspension of the payment of masters and doctorate scholarships in the sciences and human sciences last week threw oil on the fire.

"Secondary school pupils, university students, researchers, teachers and other education employees will take to the streets in every state" to protest against the budget cuts, the National Student Union (UNE) had announced on Tuesday.

Despite the cuts affecting only federal institutions, the protest movement has been joined by many private universities such as Rio's Pontifical University which voted last week to join the nationwide demonstration.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Cuban police break up unauthorized LGBT rights march in Havana

Yahoo – AFP, Carlos BATISTA, May 12, 2019

Police swept in quickly to break up an unauthorized LGBT rights march in Havana
(AFP Photo/YAMIL LAGE)

Havana (AFP) - Cuban police on Saturday broke up an unauthorized pro-LGBT rights march in Havana, held as an alternative to the government-sanctioned Gay Rights parade that authorities canceled earlier in the week.

To the cries of "Yes we can!" the demonstrators, several waving rainbow flags and carrying signs with slogans like "Diverse Cuba," managed to march a mere 400 meters along Havana's downtown Paseo del Prado before being dispersed by police.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists, numbering around 100, were protesting the cancellation of the parade against homophobia organized by the government's National Center for Sexual Education (Cenesex), an office under the Ministry of Health, and held for the past ten years.

The colorful parade, or "conga," used to kick off activities educating people about homophobia and transphobia that are nevertheless taking place.

Onlookers were stunned to see an unauthorized march in Cuba, where government 
control is near absolute (AFP Photo/YAMIL LAGE)

At least three protesters who refused to obey orders to leave were arrested, according to AFP journalists.

Laydel Alfonso, a 31 year-old restaurant waiter who marched with his face concealed by a silver mask and waving a rainbow flag, was upset that police had broken up the march.

"I don't believe this is right because we're doing nothing wrong," he told AFP.

In a first for Cuba, where there is tight government control, the march was organized on social media.

Cenesex is led by lawmaker Mariela Castro, the daughter of former president Raul Castro, who at the age of 87 is still first secretary of the island's ruling Communist Party.

Earlier in the week Cenesex announced that the official march was cancelled due to unspecified "new tensions in the international and regional context." The office urged people to respect the official calls for unity.