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. …

Friday, September 30, 2011

Burma dam: Work halted on divisive Myitsone project

BBC News, 30 September 2011

Burma: Battle for Democracy 

Burma's President Thein Sein has suspended construction of the controversial Chinese-backed Myitsone hydroelectric dam.

The project had sparked a rare campaign of
opposition, joined by Aung San Suu Kyi
In a letter read out in parliament on Friday, he said the $3.6bn (£2.3bn) dam in Kachin state was contrary to the will of the people and lawmakers.

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi had joined a rare protest campaign in the authoritarian country.

She had warned that it would displace 12,000 people from 63 villages.

As well as minority groups, environmentalists also opposed the project, arguing it would cause irreparable ecological damage along the country's main river, the Irrawaddy.

The vast majority of the electricity produced would also be for the benefit of China.

"The president sent a message comprising 10 points to the parliament this morning. One of them said that the construction of the dam on the Irrawaddy will be shelved during the term of his government," one official at parliament was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

"He said that his government, being born out of people's desire, has to act according to the desire of the people," said the official, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The U-turn will be seen as a victory for Aung San Suu Kyi, commentators say - and a blow for conservative elites with links to Chinese investors who had backed the project.

It is also a rare step against China, a key ally of isolated Burma.

Related Articles:

Brazil: Indigenous tribes protest against Amazon dam

“Dam(ning)the World’s Resources” – 23 Aug 2011 (Gaia channelled by Lee Pepper Lewis) - Is it true that Brasil plans to build as many as 60 dams along the Amazon? Can they do that? Will you allow it?

Exclusive: Cuban government set for broad reorganization

Reuters, by Marc Frank, HAVANA, Fri Sep 30, 2011

Cuba's president Raul Castro addresses the audience during the inauguration
 of the Sixth Congress of Cuban Communist Party in Havana April 16, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Enrique De La Osa)

(Reuters) - Cuba plans to close some ministries, create new ones and eliminate some of their business activities by year end in reforms spearheaded by President Raul Castro to modernize the communist island's economy, government sources said.

On Thursday the government announced that the sugar ministry would be closed and turned into a holding company. But the measure is just the beginning of a broader reorganization adopted at a Council of Ministers meeting last Saturday, the government insiders said.

The shake-up includes the elimination of the Basic Industry Ministry, with some of its wide-ranging duties going to new ministries of Energy and Mining, a person with knowledge of the meeting said.

"I'm not sure what will happen with some other ministries, like the Steel and Metallurgy Ministry, but what is certain is that enterprises such as steel and aluminum companies are being peeled off and turned into independent state businesses," he said.

"If a ministry is left with no state function it will be closed," he added.

The changes are aimed, in part, at achieving greater efficiency and profitability by reducing the government's role in state enterprise clusters called Unions of Companies.

In Cuba's Soviet-style command economy, most state companies are managed by government ministers, who historically have appointed executives, reviewed all plans, set salaries and prices, controlled imports and exports, managed partnerships with foreign firms and conducted endless inspections.

Castro's push to preserve Cuban socialism through reform will move many of those responsibilities to the companies by making them independent of the ministries and giving them greater autonomy to manage funds and take business decisions.

The reform package would move more than 20 percent of the state's 5 million workers to an expanding "non-state" sector in retail and farming, decentralize some revenue collection, eliminate subsidies in favor of targeted welfare and lift some restrictions on buying and selling personal property.

The reforms, to be adopted over five years, would make central planning more flexible, and the government would move from running the economy to regulating it, mainly through "taxation."


"By 2012 we will become two ministries, one for energy and another for mining. The pharmaceutical division will be spun off and Unions of Companies become independent," said a mid-level employee at the Basic Industry Ministry.

She said ministry personnel were called to an emergency meeting on Monday and told of the changes.

The Energy Ministry will oversee the country's oil and gas industries, from exploration and refining to imports and exports, along with the power grid.

The change comes at a critical time as Cuba is expected to begin the first full-scale exploration of its part of the Gulf of Mexico later this year.

The Mining Ministry will regulate the country's nickel industry along with lesser mining activities.

The Basic Industry Ministry employee said several vice ministers were moved out of the ministry to run the newly independent holding companies, which one local economist said was not necessarily welcome news.

"They are part of an old administrative culture that must be broken for the economy to advance," he said.

The head of a joint venture that deals extensively with the Food Processing Ministry, where a number of businesses have already been spun off, said so far it was business as usual.

"It is still 'wait until I ask the ministry'," he said, like others asking that his name not be used. "There can be no autonomy if there are no autonomous finances, and the holding companies still have to go to the government for everything."

But another local economist said it was too early to pass judgment on the measures.

"So far they are simply restructuring, getting rid of a layer of bureaucracy at the ministerial level. Now they have to change the regulatory environment state companies operate in. A new law for state companies is being prepared," he said.

(Editing by Jeff Franks and Anthony Boadle)

Related Articles:

Cuban authorities ease car sales

Cuban director of the National Center for Sexual Education (Cenesex),
Mariela Castro, leads a march in Havana against homophobia.
Photograph: Adalberto Roque/Getty

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mayan documentary to show evidence of alien contact in ancient Mexico

Guatemala and Mexico release secret documents and artefacts for forthcoming film Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond, Ben Child, Thursday 29 September 2011 

Starstruck ... a Mayan astronomical frieze in Belize. Photograph: Alamy

The ancient Mayans had contact with alien visitors who left behind evidence of their existence, according to a new Mexican documentary.

Sundance winner Juan Carlos Rulfo's Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond is currently in production for release next year to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar, reports the Wrap.

Producer Raul Julia-Levy said the documentary-makers were working in cooperation with the Mexican government for what he said was "the good of mankind". He said the order to collaborate had come directly from the country's president, Álvaro Colom Caballeros.

"Mexico will release codices, artefacts and significant documents with evidence of Mayan and extraterrestrial contact, and all of their information will be corroborated by archaeologists," he said. "The Mexican government is not making this statement on their own – everything we say, we're going to back it up."

Caballeros himself was conspicuous by his absence from the statement released by Julia-Levy. So far, the minister of tourism for the Mexican state of Campeche, Luis Augusto García Rosado, appears to be the highest-ranking government official to go on record confirming the discovery of extraterrestrial life, but he's not holding back.

In a statement, Rosado spoke of contact "between the Mayans and extraterrestrials, supported by translations of certain codices, which the government has kept secure in underground vaults for some time". In a telephone conversation with the Wrap, he also spoke of "landing pads in the jungle that are 3,000 years old".

The documentary is believed to focus in part on previously unexplored sections of a Mayan site at Calakmul, Mexico, as well as a number of sites in Guatemala, where officials are also backing the documentary.

"Guatemala, like Mexico, home to the ancient-yet-advanced Mayan civilisation … has also kept certain provocative archeological discoveries classified, and now believes that it is time to bring forth this information in the new documentary," Guatemala's minister of tourism, Guillermo Novielli Quezada, said in a statement.

The Mayan calendar ends on 21 December 2012, a fact which conspiracy theorists have used to predict imminent apocalypse. However, according to Mayanist scholars there is no evidence that the Mayans themselves expected cataclysmic events to occur once the calendar had reached its denouement. More likely, it would simply mark the beginning of another 5,125-year-long cycle.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Asia’s Wealthiest Avoid Banks, Opt For Family Offices

Jakarta Globe, Netty Ismail, September 26, 2011

Related articles

Singapore. Stephen Diggle, co-founder of a hedge fund that made $2.7 billion for investors in 2007 and 2008, set up a family office in Singapore to manage the millions in fees he earned instead of entrusting his wealth to private bankers.

“It was fairly demonstrably clear that there was a very significant problem of alignment of interests by private banks and their customers,” said the 47-year-old founder of Vulpes Investment Management, whose Singapore-based family office has invested in hotels in Japan and farms in Uruguay. “They ceased to be custodians of people’s money and they became salesmen.”

Asia’s wealthiest investors, whose ranks are swelling as the region’s economic growth outperforms the rest of the world, are turning to family offices to maintain control of their money after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings in 2008 made them more risk averse.

“Private banks try to sell you everything and not necessarily what’s best for your family office or for yourself,” said Clinton Ang, managing director of Singapore- based wine and spirits distributor Hock Tong Bee, who also prefers to manage his family’s wealth himself. “If sophisticated investors haven’t already learned the lessons of the past crisis, with the impending crisis that is on the horizon, they’d better.”

The MSCI World Index has tumbled 17 percent from this year’s high in May and is trading close to a one-year low after Standard & Poor’s stripped the United States of its AAA credit rating and Europe’s debt crisis deepened.

About 90 percent of Ang’s investable assets are in cash after he sold from October through March its investments in stocks, bonds and most property assets, said the 38-year-old, who describes himself a follower of Templeton Asset Management’s Mark Mobius.

Family offices are typically tailored to the families’ personal needs, and often include estate planning, philanthropy and lifestyle management such as maintaining homes and yachts. Private wealth managers at global investment banks rely on fees and commissions from managing their clients’ money.

Most family offices in Asia are more defensive in their investment strategy and tend to hire a “generalist” to manage their wealth, rather than specialists such as former hedge fund managers, said William Chan, chief executive officer of Singapore-based Stamford Privee, which manages his family’s wealth and that of two others. Such managers may cost between $300,000 and $400,000 a year, while specialists would be more expensive, Chan said.

Wealthy families tend to choose investment professionals they had previous dealings with, such as a private banker, as their office manager, said Chan. Others may select an ex-investment banker who advised them on transactions such as an initial public offering of their company.

“Being the trusted adviser is key,” Chan said.

Wealth in Asia, excluding Japan, is expected to rise at about double the global rate of almost 6 percent through the next five years, the Boston Consulting Group said in a May report. Singapore will be the world’s top wealth management center by 2013, overtaking Switzerland and London, a PricewaterhouseCoopers study published in June shows.

Asia is also attracting overseas family offices. “Anecdotally, we are seeing more European family offices inquire about setting up their Asian headquarters to participate in the Asian growth,” said Amy Lo, head of ultra-high net worth in Asia-Pacific at UBS AG’s wealth management business.

About 62 percent of US-based family offices surveyed this year said they were considering increasing allocations to Asian markets outside Japan, according to Family Office Exchange.

Some family offices cater to more than one family to gain economies of scale. It costs at least $1.5 million a year to run a family office that includes an investment team, and a family will need a minimum of $100 million to justify the expenses, said Chan of Stamford Privee.

Blue Ocean Capital Partners, a unit of Singapore-based private-equity firm Tembusu Partners, plans to set up an office with a UK-based family firm this year, said director Daniel Lin.

Lin, 28, said he and his 54-year-old father, who founded Tembusu Partners, will start by managing their family wealth with a chief executive officer. At least two other families have agreed to partner with them later, he said.

“For private banks, because they have certain targets, they need to find something that will give them a financial return pretty quickly,” Lin said. “For us, we’re not in a hurry to make money out of this; we have time to build on the intangibles such as family values and governance.”

Related Article:

Cuban authorities ease car sales

BBC News, 28 September 2011

Related Stories 

Cuba has eased a 50-year-old ban on private car sales.

Cubans could only sell pre-1959 cars
before the new rules came into force
Private property is severely restricted in the communist-run island and until now, Cubans could only trade in cars built before the 1959 revolution.

New cars can only be purchased with US dollars or convertible pesos, a special Cuban currency pegged to the dollar.

But ordinary Cubans can now buy post-1959 cars from foreigners and those whose jobs allowed them to import Soviet-made cars.

The new regulations were announced in the Official Gazette.

Raft of reforms

Under the new rules, foreigners residing in Cuba can buy new cars at approved dealerships or import them from abroad, but they are limited to two purchases for the duration of their stay.

Cubans earning dollars or convertible pesos because they are working for the government or "in positions of benefit to the government" can also buy new cars, as long as they get a permit from the transport ministry.

Tens of thousands of Cubans who were allowed to buy Soviet-made cars can now sell them freely to other individuals.

And artists and sports stars, who had been given permission to import modern cars from abroad, are now also free to sell them.

The changes had been widely expected since July, when Communist Party newspaper Granma had published details of the proposals.

They are part of a series of reforms driven by President Raul Castro aimed at updating the Cuban economic model.

Raul Castro has championed limited free-market reforms since taking the reins of power from his brother Fidel in 2008.

In April, the Communist Party Congress backed hundreds of reforms which included relaxing the laws on foreign travel and allowing Cubans to set up small businesses.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big Four auditors face massive shake-up

Reuters, by Huw Jones, LONDON, Tue Sep 27, 2011

(Reuters) - The "Big Four" global auditors could be broken up, leaving them susceptible to takeovers if radical European Union plans to boost competition go ahead, a UK auditing official said on Tuesday.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier is due to publish a draft law in November to curb what he sees as a conflict of interest when auditors check the books of and supply lucrative consultancy services to the same customer.

Auditors, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PwC, audit nearly all big companies in the world, often serving the same clients for decades.

A copy of Barnier's draft law seen by Reuters proposes that auditors be banned from offering consultancy services to the companies they audit, or even banned from consulting altogether -- a move that could force the firms to split their operations.

"Breaking up the Big Four audit firms would make them more susceptible to be taken over by emerging Chinese firms," a UK audit official said on Tuesday on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivities involved.

Barnier's spokeswoman said he has made it clear that the audit sector displayed clear failings during the crisis, giving banks a clean bill of health just before they were rescued.

He has trailed his plans for a year and the industry had hoped they would be watered down by the time he formally proposed them next month.

"To reinforce independence and professional skepticism, the prohibition of the provision of non-audit services to the audited entities and even the prohibition of the provision of non-audit services in general would effectively address this issue," the draft said.

"Better audits and more informative audit reports will enhance confidence in the markets while also informing stakeholders of any problems with regards to any particular entity," the draft added.

The EU plans go much further than the United States, another major base for the Big Four, where the standard setter PCAOB is mulling requiring firms to switch auditors regularly, but has stopped short of recommending audit-only firms.


Deloitte said it supports improving audit quality but rejects joint audits, mandatory rotation and tendering, and a complete ban on non-audit services.

Rolf Nonnemmacher, co-chairman of KPMG Europe, said the reform goes as far as a breakup of the best performing firms.

"The implementation of these proposals would lead to a massive reduction in quality of audits, to the detriment of companies. In addition this would impose high costs on companies," Nonnemmacher said.

Ernst & Young had no immediate comment, while PWC said there was no evidence that the radical measures would improve audit quality.

However, auditor Grant Thornton, which along with peer BDO has tried to end the stranglehold of the Big Four, welcomed Barnier's plans.

"While we believe there could be some implementation issues, we still applaud what the Commissioner is attempting to achieve," a Grant Thornton spokesman said.

Accounting officials believe the Big Four would be forced to choose between auditing or consultancy.

"It would certainly mean a different profession," said Michael Izza, chief executive of the UK accounting body ICAEW.

The ACCA, another UK accounting body, said it was unclear whether imposing extensive rules and curbs was the best way to promote independence and skepticism.

The European Parliament, which will have the final say with EU states, has broadly backed the plans.

Auditing industry officials estimate that 28-30 percent of global revenues come from statutory audits, with about 18 percent from non-audit services provided to the same audit client. This means that about half of total revenues is earned from providing consultancy services to clients which are not being audited as well.

Britain, as home to the Big Four's European base, is likely to oppose some of Barnier's more radical proposals though its Office of Fair Trading said in July a full-blown competition probe into the sector is warranted.

Accounting officials say such a probe would become redundant if Barnier's draft makes it onto the statute book.

"If I was the UK Competition Authorities I would be inclined to leave this up to Europe. It's not a UK issue, it's actually a global issue," the auditing official said.

Other elements of the draft regulation include:

  • Regular dialogue between auditors and their regulators about the firms they audit, a move aimed largely at banks;
  • A company would have to change or "rotate" auditors every nine years to end the custom of decades-long auditing by the same firm;
  • A ban on covenants whereby banks insist that a company receiving a loan must be audited by one of the Big Four;
  • Introduction of "joint audits," so that the Big Four share auditing work with smaller rivals. Would apply to companies whose balance sheet is above 1 billion euros;
  • The European Securities and Markets Authority to play a coordinating role in supervising auditors in the EU;
  • Making international auditing standards mandatory.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Additional reporting by Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck in Brussels, Kathrin Jones in Frankfurt and Dena Aubin in New York; Editing by Erica Billingham and Helen Massy-Beresford)

Related Article:

Not all auditors get a look in with the big multinationals

Monday, September 26, 2011

Police crack down on 'Occupy Wall Street' protests

New York police accused of heavy-handed tactics as 80 anti-capitalist protesters on 'Occupy Wall Street' march are arrested, 25 Sep 2011

YouTube footage of protesters being pepper-sprayed

The anti-capitalist protests that have become something of a fixture in Lower Manhattan over the past week or so have taken on a distinctly ugly turn.

Police have been accused of heavy-handed tactics after making 80 arrests on Saturday when protesters marched uptown from their makeshift camp in a private park in the financial district.

Footage has emerged on YouTube showing stocky police officers coralling a group of young female protesters and then spraying them with mace, despite being surrounded and apparently posing threats of only the verbal kind.

NYPD officers strung orange netting across the streets to trap groups of protesters, a tactic described by some of them as "kettling" – a term more commonly used by critics of a similar tactic deployed by police in London to contain potentially violent demonstrations there.

The media here in New York has been accused of being slow off the mark to cover the demonstrations, which have been going on for more than a week. The Guardian was one of the first mainstream news organisation to give detailed coverage to the protests – here are some links to our earlier coverage.

Now, however, the local media has paid more attention – almost certainly because Saturday's protest became disruptive, bringing chaos to the busy Union Square area and forcing the closure of streets.

The NewYork Times quoted one protester, Kelly Brannon, 27, of Ridgewood, Queens:

"They put up orange nets and tried to kettle us and we started running and they started tackling random people and handcuffing them. They were herding us like cattle."

The scenes are showing signs of attracting high-profile criticism. Anne-Marie Slaughter, who was director of policy planning, at the State Department from 2009 to 2011, said on Twitter: "Not the image or reality the US wants, at home or abroad," linking to a picture of a police officer kneeling on a protester pinned to the ground.

Here's an extract from a Reuters report, which said the demonstrators were protesting against "bank bailouts, the mortgage crisis and the US state of Georgia's execution of Troy Davis".

  • At Manhattan's Union Square, police tried to corral the demonstrators using orange plastic netting. Some of the arrests were filmed and activists posted the videos online.
    Police say the arrests were mostly for blocking traffic. Charges include disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. But one demonstrator was charged with assaulting a police officer. Police say the officer involved suffered a shoulder injury.

    Protest spokesman Patrick Bruner criticized the police response as "exceedingly violent" and said the protesters sought to remain peaceful

And this is a fuller take from Associated Press.

  • The marchers carried signs spelling out their goals: "Tax the rich," one placard said. "We Want Money for Healthcare not Corporate Welfare," read another.
    The demonstrators were mostly college-age people carrying American flags and signs with anti-corporate slogans. Some beat drums, blew horns and chanted slogans as uniformed officers surrounded and videotaped them.

    "Occupy Wall Street," they chanted, "all day, all week."

    Organizers fell short of that goal. With metal barricades and swarms of police officers in front of the New York Stock Exchange, the closest protesters could get was Liberty Street, about three blocks away.

    The Vancouver-based activist media group Adbusters organized the weeklong event. Word spread via social media, yet the throngs of protesters some participants had hoped for failed to show up.

    "I was kind of disappointed with the turnout," said Itamar Lilienthal, 19, a New York University student and marcher.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bolivian anti-drugs cop jailed for cocaine trafficking

BBC News, 23 September 2011 

Related Stories 

The former chief of Bolivia's anti-narcotics police has been jailed by an American court for cocaine trafficking.

General Rene Sanabria, then head of Bolivia's anti-
narcotics police, speaking in November 2008
A Miami federal judge imposed the 14-year sentence on Rene Sanabria, 54.

Gen Sanabria was head of Bolivia's anti-drug agency until 2009, and was an intelligence adviser to the government at the time of his arrest.

He pleaded guilty in June to taking part in a conspiracy to ship hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Bolivia to Chile and then on to Miami.

The court heard the plot was set up by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as an undercover sting operation.

Sanabria was detained in Panama and taken to the United States by DEA agents for trial.

He had served for 32 years in Bolivia's police force.

The charge carries a required minimum 10-year sentence.

But US District Judge Ursula Ungaro said he was giving Sanabria a higher sentence because of his leadership role, and to send an anti-corruption message to other government officials.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Civil rights group adopts resolution opposing water fluoridation

Natural News, Saturday, September 17, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The days of artificial water fluoridation truly are numbered, and this has been made even more evident by yet another prominent group that has come out in strong opposition to the heinous practice. The Fluoride Action Network (FAN), a truth about fluoride advocacy group, reports that the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the US, recently adopted a resolution decrying water fluoridation as a civil rights abuse.

The resolution declares that adding fluoride to water supplies is essentially an illegal mass medication of the public. It also mentions the many current scientific studies that highlight the dangers of ingesting fluoride, particularly among those with pre-existing health conditions -- and that public health authorities have ignored this science in favor of their unscientific, pro-fluoride agenda (

"This is about forcing us to be medicated through our drinking water without our consent or full disclosure of the risks," said Henry Rodriguez, civil rights chairman of the Texas-based LULAC. His group is vehemently working to end the practice of water fluoridation across the US, where more than 64 percent of public water supplies are fluoridated (

"Opposition to fluoridation is going to continue building and there is no stopping it. There are millions of Hispanics and other minorities in the US who don't have the funds to avoid fluoridated water for making their babies' milk formula. And millions of families don't know they're being medicated in their drinking water, or about possible risks for kidney patients and diabetics."

Based on decades-worth of statistics released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), water fluoridation has provided no substantial oral benefits for those consuming it. Particularly in the Hispanic community, many of those drinking fluoridated water still have plenty of cavities -- but they also now have high rates of dental fluorosis, a condition where teeth become brittle, mottled, and brown as a result of fluoride ingestion.

"Watch what develops now as members of the Hispanic legal community are awakening to this issue," said Daniel G. Stockin from The Lillie Center Inc., another group working to end water fluoridation. "The train has left the station. Fluoridation is ending. You can look for a quickening cascade of cities, water utilities, health officials and others distancing themselves from fluoridation."

To learn more about the dangers of fluoride exposure, visit:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Freeport Miners in Peru, Indonesia Will Go on Strike Over Wages

San Fransico Chronicle, Bloomberg, Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.'s copper miners in Peru and Indonesia will go on strike today after pay-increase talks broke down, union officials said.

About 1,200 workers at Freeport's Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde SAA unit, Peru's third-largest copper producer, are scheduled to walk off their jobs at 8:30 a.m. New York time, union General Secretary Leoncio Amudio said. About 8,000 non- staff workers at Freeport's Grasberg mine will proceed with a planned one-month strike starting at midnight, said Virgo Solossa, head of organizational affairs at the labor union.

Workers in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Indonesia have gone on strike at copper, gold and zinc mines this year, seeking improved conditions and a bigger slice of record profits. Copper yesterday rose as much as 1.5 percent as threats of mine strikes heightened concern a global shortfall of the metal will increase.

"Freeport's offer was insufficient," Amudio said yesterday by telephone from Arequipa, 750 kilometers (466 miles) southeast of Lima. "There was no chance of reaching an agreement."

Freeport rose 69 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $42 yesterday in New York trading. Cerro Verde rose 10 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $39 in Lima.

Cerro Verde miners held a 48-hour work stoppage last week. Freeport and Grasberg's labor union ended 38 days of talks over 2011-2013 contract terms on Aug. 26 after failing to agree on wages. Negotiations started after the workers walked off from their jobs for eight days in July.

Copper Shortfall

A strike at Grasberg, located in Mimika, Papua province, 1,940 miles (3,120 kilometers) east of Jakarta, and in Peru can potentially widen a global production shortfall of copper estimated at 670,000 metric tons this year by Barclays Capital and boost prices of the metal in London that have fallen more than 14 percent from a record $10,190 a ton on Feb. 15.

"The management expects the workers to cancel the strike plan and return to the negotiation table because the law gives them room to continue negotiation," Ramdani Sirait, a Jakarta- based spokesman at Freeport, said in a text-message. He declined to comment on the impact of the strike on production and sales.

The Grasberg workers still expect wages to increase to between $17.50 and $43 an hour from $1.50 to $3.50, Solossa said today. The union cut their expectations from $35 to $200 an hour initially, he said Aug. 26. Freeport offered a compensation package that includes an increase in basic wages for non-staff employees of 22 percent over a two-year period, Sirait said on Sept. 5.

'No Sincerity'

"We don't see any sincerity from the company on resolving the pay issue and coming up with a new offer," Solossa said by telephone today from Timika, the closest town to the mine. "We've obtained permits from the regent and chief of police for the strike."

Freeport and union officials will resume government- brokered wage talks tomorrow in Lima, Amudio said. Workers are demanding a 9 percent annual wage rise, while Cerro Verde is offering a one-time bonus of 1,200 soles ($705), Amudio said.

Phoenix-based Freeport will continue negotiating a new labor contract, spokesman Eric Kinneberg said on Sept. 8. Cerro Verde, which is studying a $3.5 billion expansion to increase annual copper output by 45 percent, boosted first-half output by 4 percent to 161,246 metric tons.

Grasberg, where operations started in 1990, contains the world's largest recoverable reserves of copper and the biggest gold reserves, according to Freeport's website. Copper production at the mine fell to 1.22 billion pounds (553.4 million kilograms) last year from 1.41 billion pounds in 2009, according to the website. Gold output declined to 1.79 million ounces (50,745 kilograms) from 2.57 million ounces.

Copper for three-month delivery fell 0.2 percent to $8,749.75 a ton on the London Metal Exchange at 10:09 a.m. Jakarta time.

--Editors: Indranil Ghosh, Ryan Woo

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Colombia imprisons ex-spy chief Jorge Noguera

BBC News, 14 September 2011

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A Colombian court has sentenced former intelligence chief Jorge Noguera to 25 years in prison for collaborating with paramilitary death squads.

Jorge Noguera always denied any wrongdoing
He was found guilty of allowing right-wing paramilitaries to infiltrate the intelligence service, and helping them murder an academic activist.

Mr Noguera led Colombia's Administrative Security Department (DAS) from 2002 to 2005.

He was a close ally of the president at the time, Alvaro Uribe.

Noguera always denied any wrongdoing, but he resigned his post in 2005 amid accusations that he was working with paramilitary death squads, including supplying the names of trade unionists and human right workers.

He was made head of DAS by Mr Uribe, who was in office from 2002 to 2010.


In response to his conviction, Mr Uribe apologised for having appointed him.

"I trusted him. If he committed crimes that hurts me and I offer apologies to the citizens," Mr Uribe wrote on Twitter.

Paramilitary groups have been blamed for some of the worst atrocities in Colombia's long civil conflict.

They were formed in the 1980s to fight left-wing rebels, but - like their guerrilla enemies - have also been heavily involved in the cocaine trade.

Mr Uribe made the demobilisation of the main paramilitary group - the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) - one of the cornerstones of his security policy, along with tough action against the guerrillas.

But members of his administration, as well as the Colombian army, have been accused of collaborating with paramilitaries.

Noguera's case is one of a series of scandals to hit the DAS in recent years.

Another former head of the DAS, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, and Mr Uribe's former chief of staff, Bernardo Moreno, are facing trial over allegedly ordering wiretaps of government opponents.

Ms Hurtado is currently in Panama, where she has been granted asylum.

The DAS answers only to the president, but Mr Uribe has repeatedly denied issuing any orders that violated the law or the constitution.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Barack Obama says Cuba's reforms not aggressive enough

BBC News, 13 September 2011 

Raul Castro's aim: Preserve and develop socialism

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Recent changes in Cuba have not been "aggressive enough" to open its economy or reform its political system, US President Barack Obama has said.

Mr Obama, speaking to Spanish-language correspondents in Washington, said Cuba remained a "throwback" to the 1960s.

Cuba, under a US economic embargo for nearly five decades, has this year moved towards some economic opening.

Asked about Mexico's drugs conflict, Mr Obama said President Felipe Calderon was right to take on the cartels.

President Obama said the Cuban authorities had indicated they wanted to make changes to allow businesses to operate more freely.

But, he said, there was no evidence that they had been sufficiently aggressive in doing this.

"And they certainly have not been aggressive enough when it comes to liberating political prisoners and giving people the opportunity to speak their minds", Mr Obama said.

Cuban President Raul Castro has been introducing some changes including allowing Cubans to work for themselves.

The Cuban government this year also freed the last of 75 dissidents jailed during a crackdown on dissent in 2003.

But Mr Obama put the situation in Cuba in the wider international context.

"You are seeing enormous changes taking place in the Middle East just in the span of six months, you are seeing there are almost no authoritarian communist countries left in the world, and here you have this small island that is a throwback to the 60s."

Mexico's challenge

President Obama has moved to ease restrictions on Cuban-Americans travelling to the island but a gradual thaw in ties has been disrupted by the imprisonment of a US contractor. 

Mexican authorities regularly display
equipment seized from traffickers
The US has repeatedly demanded the release of Alan Gross, who is serving a 15-year jail sentence for bringing illegal satellite equipment into Cuba.

For its part, Havana regularly calls for five Cubans jailed for spying in Florida to be released.

In the interview, President Obama rejected the argument that Mexico should try to find some kind of accommodation with drug gangs as a way of ending the bloodshed.

"I don't think Mexican people want to live in a society where drug kingpins are considered to be some of the more powerful individuals in society," Mr Obama said.

Peace could not be achieved by negotiating with people without scruples or respect for human life, Mr Obama said.

In his view, President Calderon had taken a courageous decision to tackle the cartels.

"I believe that, as difficult as this time is, ultimately Mexico will be stronger if it does not give in," Mr Obama said.

Some 40,000 people have died in drug-related violence since Mr Calderon began deploying troops against the drug gangs in late 2006.