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.)

Map of Latin America showing countries where major protests have occurred in recent months (AFP Photo)
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

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. …

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ten nations urge new push for non-proliferation

Deutsche Welle, 30.04.2011

Group seeks to ban all fissile
material for nuclear weapons
The foreign ministers of ten countries have called for fresh efforts by the international community to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and materials at a meeting in Germany.

At talks in Berlin on Saturday, hosted by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, ten nations agreed to renew their efforts to speed up nuclear disarmament.

"We encourage all countries who may still be hesitant to follow our example," Westerwelle said.

The German foreign minister said that the participants from five continents saw themselves as the vanguard of a new global disarmament effort.

"We want to make this young decade a decade of disarmament," he said.

A joint statement released after the meeting said that the goal of the initiative was to "work toward achieving nuclear disarmament and strengthening the international non-proliferation regime."

Seeking nuclear disarmament

Westerwelle told journalists that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the international Nuclear Test Ban Treaty should be adopted by all countries, adding that the production and mining of all fissile material for nuclear weapons should be banned internationally. He called for resuscitating the Geneva Disarmament Convention.

Attending the talks with Germany were Japan, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Chile, Poland, Mexico, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Last year, these countries formed the group Friends of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Author: Gregg Benzow (dpa,AP)
Editor: Kyle James

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Argentina arrests 'man behind Colombia drug submarines'

BBC News, 27 April 2011

Related Stories

The authorities in Argentina say they have detained a Colombian man they accuse of being the brains behind the submarines used to smuggle drugs to the United States.

Officials say some of the submarines used in
the drugs trade can sail as far as Mexico
Ignacio Alvarez Meyendorff is suspected of working for the once-powerful Colombian Norte del Valle drug cartel.

Mr Alvarez denies the allegations.

Drug traffickers are increasingly using submarines to avoid being caught by the security forces patrolling the water's surface.

Deputy Security Minister Miguel Robles said Mr Alvarez was arrested on Sunday with help from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, but news of his arrest were only made public on Wednesday.

Mr Robles accused Mr Alvarez of being in charge of the logistics behind the underwater smuggling scheme, and of perfecting the system.

He said Mr Alvarez was detained as he arrived in Buenos Aires on a flight from Tahiti.

Local media reported that he had been living in Argentina since 2005, and had resided in an exclusive area of the Puerto Madero neighbourhood.

Related Articles:

Guatemala arrests suspected drug kingpin sought by US

BBC News, 27 April 2011

Related Stories

Guatemalan police have arrested Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, wanted by the US for his alleged links to Mexico's powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

Waldemar Lorenzana could
face extradition to the US
Mr Lorenzana, 71, was detained outside Guatemala City with the help of US agents, officials said.

He is accused of working with the Sinaloa gang to smuggle cocaine from Colombia to the US.

Mexican cartels have stepped up their influence in Guatemala, where law enforcement is weak.

Mr Lorenzana, a Guatemalan national, was stopped in the municipality of El Jicaro, 65km (40 miles) from the capital, Guatemala City.

The suspected trafficker, nicknamed the Patriarch, had been sought by the US since 2009, which had offered a reward of $500,000 for information leading to his arrest.

Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said agents from the FBI and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had helped in the investigation.

In April last year, the US treasury department put Mr Lorenzana and his sons, Eliu, Haroldo and Waldemar, on a list of alleged drug kingpins.

His sons are still at large.

The US is likely to request Mr Lorenzana's extradition.

Guatemala and much of Central America is facing growing violence, much of it linked to drug gangs.

In March, US President Barack Obama promised $200m (£125m) in extra funds for the fight against organised crime in Central America during a visit to neighbouring El Salvador.

The UN has also promised more international support for Central America, amid concerns that the region's government's do not have the resources to contain the growing power of the drugs cartels.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Obama administration eyes energy markets for fraud

Reuters, By Jeff Mason, RENO, Nevada | Thu Apr 21, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a fundraiser at Nob Hill Masonic
Center in San Francisco April 20, 2011. (
Credit: Reuters/Jim Young)

(Reuters) - With U.S. gasoline pump prices soaring, the Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a working group of federal agencies to probe potential fraud in the energy markets.

The White House is worried that if average gas prices rise above $4 a gallon, the economic and political fallout could dominate next year's presidential campaign and drown out President Barack Obama's message of economic recovery.

Obama said there was no "silver bullet" to tame gasoline prices, but said he asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to assemble a team of agency officials to "root out" cases of oil market fraud that affect pump prices, including actions by speculators.

"We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain," Obama said in prepared remarks to a townhall-style meeting in Nevada.

Earlier, the Justice Department announced the working group, which will include representatives from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Justice and Treasury.

Past attempts by U.S. regulators to investigate widespread gasoline market malfeasance have borne little fruit.

Obama devoted considerable time to the subject of rising gasoline prices this week -- seeking to reassure Americans that there was enough global oil supply and blaming soaring gasoline prices on speculators.


Average U.S. gasoline prices hit $3.84 a gallon last week, the most expensive since August 2008, as oil prices have soared above $100 a barrel. With pump prices already above the key level of $4 a gallon in U.S. cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, Obama faces political pressure to act.

The group, which will be part of the administration's Financial Fraud Task Force, will focus on any manipulation of oil and gas prices, collusion, fraud or other violations of state and federal laws, Holder said in a memo.

It will also examine investor practices, supply and demand factors and the role of speculators and index traders in the oil futures markets, according to his memo sent to the task force members.

A former federal enforcement official applauded the move and said he expected to see swift results.

"This is going to send a very strong signal to speculators and others who are committing malpractices in these markets, that there is a cop on the beat," said Michael Greenberger, a University of Maryland law professor and former senior CFTC official.

But if past efforts are any indication, tracking down manipulation claims will be difficult. The federal government has launched several gasoline price investigations in past years -- all of which yielded no evidence of manipulation or other wrongdoing.

Holder said he was acting on a March 11 request from Obama to look into rising energy prices and that during a subsequent meeting last month with task force members and state attorneys general they discussed pending inquiries in some states.

They also talked about "areas that require additional exploration, including whether there is any evidence of unlawful price manipulation at the supplier level or higher," Holder said in the memorandum released by the Justice Department.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, James Vicini and Christopher Doering; Editing by Vicki Allen)

Speculation in commodities like oil and gas is
often blamed for their sharp price swings

Related Articles:

Michel Martelly officially declared Haitian president

BBC News, 21 April 2011

Related Stories

Popular Haitian singer Michel Martelly has been officially declared the next president of Haiti.

Mr Martelly says he wants to
work closely with the opposition
Officials results showed Mr Martelly won 67.6% of the vote in the run-off on 20 March, defeating former first lady Mirlande Manigat.

Speaking after the results were made public, Mr Martelly said he would seek to work in harmony with the opposition, following an election marred by violent protests and accusations of fraud.

He will take office on 14 May.

Deadly protests

Just hours after he was declared the winner, Mr Martelly tried to rally support through his Twitter account.

"Let's pick up our tools and get to work to clean up our country," he tweeted.

But despite Mr Martelly's calls for unity, there have been several violent incidents in a number of Haitian cities.

A spokesman for the United Nations police force, which patrols much of Haiti, said demonstrators had set fire to a government building in Belladere in central Haiti.

Protests also took place in Leogane, south of Port-au-Prince. At least one person is reported to have been killed.

The protests followed the release by the electoral commission of some results of the legislative elections, which were held on the same day as the presidential run-off.

The results suggest that outgoing President Rene Preval's ruling INITE (Unity) party will remain the dominant force in the Haitian legislature, although it seems to have lost its parliamentary majority.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Colombia: Mudslides cause major damage in Utica

BBC News, 20 April 2011

Residents resorted to mules for transport near the town of Utica

Related Stories

More than 200 families have been left homeless in the central Colombian town of Utica after a mudslide swept away their houses.

Heavy rains caused the local river to break its banks, sending torrents of water, mud and stones through the town's streets.

Officials said one elderly woman died and two men are missing.

Meteorologists say five of Colombia's provinces have seen double the average rainfall for April.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he would visit Utica to inspect the damage caused to the town.

Utica mayor Marcel Hernandez said 238 families had been "left with nothing".

Continuing threat

Officials said more than 80% of the town had been engulfed by the mudslide.

Residents recounted how they had been alerted to the approaching mudslide by the ringing of the church bells.

Some residents have returned to their homes
to salvage some possessions
Most were able to flee their homes in time.

The government said it would send a group of experts to Utica to assess whether it was safe for residents to return to the town or if there could be sinkholes or other geological faults.

As meteorologists forecast more rain for the area, firefighters did not rule out the possibility of another mudslide.

Government officials in Cundinamarca, where Utica is located, said they would decide over the next few days whether to rebuild the whole town on safer, higher ground.

The heavy rains are not restricted to Cundinamarca. In central Tolima province officials have put the town of Honda on high alert as the level of the river Magdalena continues to rise.

Nationwide, 12 major highways have been closed due to the continuing rains and flooding.

Colombia has been suffering from a particularly wet winter, which officials say has affected almost three million people across the country.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Orange cycle tour in Colombia

RNW, 18 April 2011, by María Isabel García

(Photo: RNW/Maria Isabel Garcia)

A long column of cyclists dressed in orange made its way through the centre of Colombia’s capital Bogotá. Last Sunday, the Dutch embassy in Colombia organised a Holland day.

The Dutch ambassador, Marion Kappeyne van de Coppello, explained that the idea was to draw attention to cycling as an environmentally-friendly mode of transport. The embassy is trying to promote two issues: the environment and, in particular, water. Hundreds of posters along the cycle route proclaimed: The Dutch, experts in water management.

The ambassador pointed out that Colombia has to make changes in the field of water management. The Netherlands has a lot of experience in this area, because a large proportion of the country is below sea level. To survive, the Dutch have build dikes and other constructions to hold water. The Netherlands is keen to share its know-how with Bogotá, as at the end of last year, thousands of Colombians lost their lives in heavy flooding.

A joint Dutch-Colombian water management covenant is currently being worked on.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Raul Castro proposes term limits in Cuba

Associated Press, By PETER ORSI, Apr 16, 2011

A man holds up a homemade poster with images of Cuba's revolutionary
heroes, Fidel Castro and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, at the parade commemorating
the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs failed invasion along the Plaza de
la Revolucion or Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba, Saturday April 16, 2011.
Cuba kicked off a crucial Communist Party congress Saturday with the parade
to mark 50 years since the defeat of CIA-backed exiles at the Bay of Pigs.
(AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

HAVANA (AP) -- Raul Castro proposed term limits for Cuban politicians on Saturday - including himself - a remarkable gesture on an island ruled for 52 years by him and his brother. The 79-year-old president lamented the lack of young leaders in government, saying the country was paying the price for errors made in the past.

Castro told delegates to a crucial Communist Party summit that he would launch a "systematic rejuvenation" of the government. He said politicians and other important officials should be restricted to two, five-year terms, including "the current president of the Council of State and his ministers" - a reference to himself.

Castro officially took over from his brother Fidel in 2008, meaning he'd be at least 86 when his second term as Cuban leader ended, depending on how the law is written.

The proposal was made the latter stage of a two-and-a-half hour speech in which the Cuban leader forcefully backed a laundry list of economic changes to the country's socialist system, including the eventual elimination of the ration book and other subsidies, the decentralization of the economy and a new reliance on supply and demand in some sectors.

Still, he drew a line in the Caribbean sand across which the reforms must never go, telling party luminaries that he had rejected dozens of suggested reforms which would have allowed the concentration of property in private hands.

Castro said the country had ignored its problems for too long, and made clear Cuba had to make tough decisions if it wanted to survive.

"No country or person can spend more than they have," he said. "Two plus two is four. Never five, much less six or seven - as we have sometimes pretended."

Dressed in a white guayabera shirt, the Cuban leader alternated between reassurance that the economic changes were compatible with socialism, and a brutal assessment of what has not worked in the past.

Castro said the monthly ration book of basic foods, perhaps the most cherished of subsidies, represented an "unbearable burden ... and a disincentive for work."

Still, he said that in Cuba, "there will never be room for shock therapy."

Of the term limits, Castro said he and his brother had made various attempts to promote young leaders, but that they had not worked out well - perhaps a reference to the 2009 firing of Cuba's photogenic foreign minister and vice president.

"Today we face the consequences of not having a reserve of substitutes ready," Castro said.

As with the proposals on economic changes, the term-limit idea does not yet carry the force of law since the party gathering lacks the powers of parliament. But it is all but certain to be acted on quickly by the national assembly.

Fidel Castro was not present for the speech, but a chair was left empty for him near his brother.

Related Articles:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chile to exhume former President Salvador Allende

BBC News, 15 April 2011

Related Stories

Salvador Allende's death was officially
ruled a suicide
The remains of Chile's former President Salvador Allende will be exhumed as part of an inquiry into historic rights abuses, a court has ordered.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Allende killed himself, or was killed by soldiers in the 1973 coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power.

Allende's body was found in the presidential palace after the building had been attacked by troops and planes.

Judges ruled the exhumation would take place in the second half of May.

Thousands were killed, disappeared or tortured under Gen Pinochet's rule, which lasted until 1990.

The Allende case is one of 726 alleged rights abuses that investigators are looking into.

An official post mortem report found he committed suicide using a rifle given to him by his friend, Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Allende's doctor confirmed that conclusion and it was accepted by his family.

But some of his supporters continue to believe he was killed by soldiers.

Polarising figure

Earlier this week, his daughter Isabel confirmed that the family had asked for the body to be re-examined.

"We requested the exhumation and autopsy," said Ms Allende, who is a senator in Chile's parliament.

"I think it's the most rigorous and definitive proof to clear up the causes of his death and we think this is going to be tremendously important."

Pinochet's forces attacked the palace from ground
and air
Allende, who was 65, died in La Moneda presidential palace on 11 September 1973 as it was being bombed by air force jets and attacked by soldiers.

Correspondents say the investigation is likely to stir up bitter emotions in Chile, where Allende still divides opinion.

To some Chileans he was a reckless Marxist intent on turning Chile into a new Cuba; for others, he was a democratic socialist whose death remains the most potent of all the atrocities committed by Pinochet's forces.

Allende came to power in 1970 as Chile's first democratically elected Marxist president.

He pursued a "Chilean path to socialism", nationalising industries and farms.

But his radical policies polarised Chile and angered the US, which backed the military coup against him.

The coup ushered in 17 years of rule by Gen Pinochet, during which more than 3,000 political opponents were killed or "disappeared" by the military and thousands more were imprisoned and tortured.

Gen Pinochet died of a heart attack in 2006 at the age of 91 while under investigation for corruption, torture and murder.

Cuba gears up for key Communist summit

The Jakarta Post, Paul Haven, Associated Press, Havana | Fri, 04/15/2011

A Communist Party summit set to start this weekend on the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion offers Cuba's aging leaders a last hurrah to celebrate the victories of their past, and perhaps a final chance to salvage their revolution's future.

Part pep rally, part nostalgia tour, part leadership shake-up, the Sixth Party Congress is designed to consecrate the once-unthinkable free market economic changes enacted by President Raul Castro as the country's only path to prosperity.

Even the 79-year-old president acknowledges it will be the last such gathering under the island's graying old guard - and they have a lot riding on its success.

"The Sixth Party Congress ought to be, according to the laws of nature ... the last in which those who make up the historic generation will be present," Castro told Cuba's parliament in December. "The time that we have left is short, and the work that we have to do is gigantic."

Already, Castro has pushed reforms that allow islanders to get licenses to work in 178 approved private enterprises, a limited but significant departure for a Marxist economy where the state employs about 80 percent of the work force, and controls virtually all means of production.

More than 180,000 Cubans have taken up the call to go into business for themselves, Vice Labor Minister Jose Barreiro told The Associated Press in a rare interview Thursday, putting the country on pace to shatter its stated goal to issue a quarter of a million new licenses by the end of 2011.

"We've seen a very high demand (for the licenses)" Barreiro said. "That tells us that there is interest and that people believe the wy we are implementing (the changes) is attractive."

Barreiro acknowledged that around 30,000 licenses had been returned, but said that was normal given the fact that not every new business can succeed. He would not say what new economic measures might be authorized at the Congress, but indicated the gatherng would make clear that socialism and private enterprise are compatible.

Cubans impatient for more economic opportunities hope the summit does more than that. In a country awash in rules and regulations, many of them contradictory, islanders can run off a laundry list of desired changes.

Delegates t the congress will be working off and ultimately asked to approve a revised list of guidelines for economic change that has been circulating since last year. Many of the guidelines have reportedly been altered to reflect the input of ordinary Cubans in thousands of meetings held across the island, but any chages have been a closely guarded secret.

Some Cubans hope the party will expand the number of approved private enterprises, others that leaders will give more details about promised bank credits for fledgling businesses. Some want the state to legalize the sale of cars and homes - mostly frozen since shorty after the 1959 revolution. Others say the key to the economic opening is the creation of mid-sized businesses and cooperatives, which still face steep limitations.

"We need to improve the economic system to overcome the hurdles we face," said Osquer Palacio, a car mechanic in historic Old Havana who sad he struggles to get by on a salary of less than $20 a month, despite Cuba's system of deep subsidies for housing, health care and education. "We need to make things better for the population so that we can live off the wages we earn."

Other Cubans say they are fed up with government promises and done hping for change from Cuba's longtime leaders.

"The Congress? I don't expect anything to come of that," said Juana Rojas, a 66-year-old retiree in the leafy Miramar section of Havana. "These are the same dogs with different collars. This has been going on for 50 years and I'm tired of it."

In additn to the economic changes, the congress also has the task of electing a new party leadership, including someone to replace 84-year-old Fidel Castro as first secretary. The revolutionary icon revealed in March that he effectively stepped down from the party after he fell ill in 2006, and has never returned - despite the fact the Communist Party's Website continues to list him as leader.

Raul Castro is widely expected to move up to the top party spot, but there is speculation the brothers could pick a fresh face to take Raul's old job as second secretary. If they do, it could signal their preferred choice of an eventual successor.

The four-day congress kicks off Saturday with an enormous military parade through Revolution Plaza featuring tanks, helicopters, fighter planes, and even the famous yacht Granma, which carried Fidel and Raul Castro back from exile to launch their guerrilla war against Fulgencio Batista.

Saturday also marks the date in 1961 when Fidel Castro announced in Havana that the revolution would from that day forward be socialist in nature. Fidel's speech came at a funeral for seven Cubans killed a day earlier in a U.S.-backed air campaign to soften up targets ahead of the Bay of Pigs invasion, which began on April 17, 1961.

After the parade, a thousand party delegates will ensconce themselves inside a Havana convention center to hear a speech by Raul Castro, start discussions on the revised economic guidelines, and elect new party leaders, all of which is expected to be announced when the congress closes on Tuesday.

While delegates don't have the power to sign the new economic measures into law, their recommendations will quickly be acted on by parliament under the direction of the Council of State, Cuba's supreme governing body.

Historically, party congresses were meant to occur every five years - but they have often been delayed. The current meeting is the first to be held since 1997.

Past meetings have taken place at times of deep crisis for Cuba, like the fall of the Soviet Union that ushered in a period of deep economic hardship on the island. But observers say this congress is even more crucial, with an octogenarian leadership racing against Father Time to face down an existential economic threat.

"What is happening in Cuba is a great crusade of rectifying errors, suppressing absurd prohibitions and eradicating flawed ideas," wrote Angel Guerra Cabrera, a political analyst based in Mexico, in an opinion piece that was surprisingly republished in Cuban state-media earlier this year. "Essentially, the modernization of the economic model has become a question of life and death."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Senate panel slams Goldman in scathing crisis report

Reuters, by Kevin Drawbaugh, WASHINGTON | Wed Apr 13, 2011

Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, addresses the International
Women of Courage Awards Ceremony at the State Department in Washington
March 8, 2011. Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.
(Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

(Reuters) - In the most damning official U.S. report yet produced on Wall Street's role in the financial crisis, a Senate panel accused powerhouse Goldman Sachs of misleading clients and manipulating markets, while also condemning greed, weak regulation and conflicts of interest throughout the financial system.

Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, one of Capitol Hill's most feared panels, has a history with Goldman Sachs.

He clashed publicly with its Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein a year ago at a hearing on the crisis.

The Democratic lawmaker again tore into Goldman at a press briefing on his panel's 639-page report, which is based on a review of tens of millions of documents over two years.

Levin accused Goldman of profiting at clients' expense as the mortgage market crashed in 2007. "In my judgment, Goldman clearly misled their clients and they misled Congress," he said, reading glasses perched as ever on the tip of his nose.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman said, "While we disagree with many of the conclusions of the report, we take seriously the issues explored by the subcommittee."

The panel's report is harder hitting than one issued in January by the government-appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which "didn't report anything of significance," Republican Senator Tom Coburn said at the briefing.

More than two years since the crisis peaked, denunciations of Wall Street misconduct are less often heard on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers focused on fiscal issues. But Coburn joined Levin at Wednesday's bipartisan briefing, firing his own sharp attacks on the financial industry.

"Blame for this mess lies everywhere -- from federal regulators who cast a blind eye, Wall Street bankers who let greed run wild, and members of Congress who failed to provide oversight," said Coburn, the subcommittee's top Republican.

"It shows without a doubt the lack of ethics in some of our financial institutions who embraced known conflicts of interest to accomplish wealth for themselves, not caring about the outcome for their customers," he said.

The Levin-Coburn report criticized not only Goldman, but Deutsche Bank, the former Washington Mutual Bank, the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision and credit rating agencies Moody's and Standard & Poor's.

"We will be referring this matter to the Justice Department and to the SEC," Levin said at the briefing, though he did not elaborate. A spokesman later said, "The subcommittee does not intend to reveal the specifics of any referral."

The report offered 19 recommendations for reform going beyond changes already enacted after the crisis in 2010's Dodd-Frank Wall Street and banking regulation overhaul.

Case studies from the go-go years of the real estate bubble formed the bulk of the report, which said a runaway mortgage securitization machine churned out abusive loans, toxic securities, and big fees for lenders and Wall Street.

It cited internal emails by Wall Street executives that described mortgage-backed securities underlying many collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, as "crap" and "pigs."

It said Washington Mutual -- which became the largest failed bank in U.S. history in 2008 -- embraced a high-risk home loan strategy in 2005 while its own top executives were warning of a bubble that "will come back to haunt us."

The U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision -- which will be shut down and merged into another agency under 2010's Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul -- logged 500 serious deficiencies at Washington Mutual from 2003-2008, but no crackdown followed, the report said.

Mass downgrades of mortgage-related investments in July 2007 by Moody's and Standard & Poor's constituted "the most immediate cause of the financial crisis," it said.

Investment banks, it said, charged $1 million to $8 million in fees to construct, underwrite and sell a mortgage-backed security in the bubble, and $5 million to $10 million per CDO.

As for Goldman, the subcommittee said, the firm "used net short positions to benefit from the downturn in the mortgage market." It said Goldman designed, marketed, and sold CDOs in ways that created conflicts of interest with clients, while also at times providing the bank with profits "from the same products that caused substantial losses for its clients."

(Additional reporting by Lauren LaCapra and Kim Dixon; Editing Steve Orlofsky)

Related Article:

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: 2012, Currencies, Water Cycle (Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), EU, Middle East, Internet, Israel, Palestine, Japan, Nuclear Power, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Financial Institutes, China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - New

"The New Paradigm of Reality" Part I/II – Feb 12, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel active involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

“ ….. Let me give it another name: It's an actual shift to a higher vibration of Human nature. "Kryon, that's impossible. Human nature is Human nature. We can't change it." Well, you've already begun it. You're starting to clean up your financial institutions worldwide. Did you notice? Dear ones, if anyone had ever told you 30 years ago that you were going to clean up your financial institutions, they would have laughed. For don't you know the way society works? Those who have the money win. Banks hold all the cards, and they are run by the those in high places. They are untouchable, since the government is often the same people! Well, why don't you tell them that today. Look around you, because something just happened. It's not working that way, is it? What would make the difference? Consciousness. A new paradigm. You can see it in the news…..”

“ … 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 ..."