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. …

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Romney: US has moral duty to block Iran nuclear plans

BBC News, 29 July 2012

US Presidential Election 2012 

Mr Romney is hoping the visit
will boost his pro-Israel credentials
 with US voters
US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said his country has a "moral imperative" to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Mr Romney, speaking during a visit to Jerusalem, said Iran was the most destabilising country in the world.

He said the US recognised Israel's right to defend itself and that it was right for the US to stand with Israel.

US President Barack Obama has focused on using sanctions to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In his speech in front of Jerusalem's Old City, Mr Romney said Iran's leading ayatollahs were "testing our moral defences".

"They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel."

He said Iran was "the most destabilising nation in the world" and that the US had "a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions".

'All measures'

Earlier, one of Mr Romney's top advisers, Dan Senor, had said the presidential candidate would respect any decision by Israel to use military force against Iran.

While not directly addressing this, Mr Romney said the US should "employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course."

"It is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so. In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded."

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Romney held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.

He told Mr Peres he shared Israel's concern about the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities, saying: "The threat it would pose to Israel, the region and the world is incomparable and unacceptable."

After his meetings with Israeli officials, he went to Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of Judaism's holy sites.

Mr Romney will be hoping that burnishing his pro-Israel credentials will help him among key constituencies in a tight race with Mr Obama, analysts say.

Mr Romney says Mr Obama has undermined Israel and supported its enemies.

The Republican presidential hopeful also met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, though not Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

'Islamist winter' fears

While not explicitly ruling out military intervention, President Barack Obama's policy has emphasised non-military means of putting pressure on Iran.

The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell says Mr Romney is highly critical of the international talks taking place which might lead to Iran being allowed to enrich some uranium. Mr Romney wants zero enrichment.

The first leg of Mr Romney's trip, in London, was marred by controversy.

After talking of "disconcerting" signs in London's preparations for the Olympic Games, Mr Romney backtracked and predicted a "very successful" Olympics.

In a photo opportunity before his talks with Mr Fayyad, Mr Romney said the opening ceremony had been "spectacular" and praised the face that for the first time, every country has sent women to compete.

9. It can be no other way—simply, this is the physics that governs life in this universe. As Earth continues apace into successively higher planes, nothing with low vibrations in any form—physical bodies, subversive plans, theft, dishonesty, unjust laws and imprisonment, bigotry, cruel customs and deeds—can survive.

10. Moving on, no, it will not be quite like religions being “totally discarded and replaced by universal laws in the Golden Age.” When the truths come forth that science and spirit are one and the same and that religious dogmas were originated by early leaders of church and state to control the masses, people whose consciousness has risen beyond the constraints of third density will adhere to the spiritual aspects of their respective religions and the devised, controlling aspects will fall by the wayside.

11. One of the truths to come forth is that Zionism, which by dark intent has been made synonymous with Judaism, actually is a bellicose political movement within the Illuminati, and its aim for more than six decades has been to create conflict and instability in the entire Middle East. Zionists, who have wielded powerful influence within and behind major governments and their military forces, do NOT represent the Jewish peoples in Israel or anywhere else. And, like all other Illuminati factions, they have been committed to that cabal’s goal of global domination.

12. Although Semites are of diverse national origins and religions, the Zionists have been successful in convincing many that “anti-Semitic” is exclusively prejudice against the Jewish peoples and opposition to Israel’s right to defend itself from its “enemies.” By means of that blatant distortion, they obtained not only world sympathy, but also massive defense funding from Israel’s allies, most especially the United States, all of which served to increase the Illuminati’s vast profits from their industrial-military machine.

13. In addition to controlling the masses through dogmatic teachings, religions have served the dark purpose of divisiveness to such an extent that it resulted in centuries of trauma and bloodshed. Witness the Crusades, wars between Catholics and Protestants, pogroms against Jews, executions of “blasphemous” individuals who refused to “recant.”  (Read More …)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Peru's Humala renews poverty vow after year in office

BBC News, 28 July 2012

Related Stories 

Mr Humala said he was aware of the
 "unsatisfied hopes" of many Peruvians
Peru's President Ollanta Humala has marked his first year in office by pledging to increase social spending to help the country's poorest people.

In the annual presidential speech to Congress, Mr Humala said he aimed to cut Peru's poverty to 15% by the end of his term in 2016.

He said his government had not yet achieved all it set out to do.

The address comes days after Mr Humala reshuffled his cabinet amid unrest over a controversial mining project.

Mr Humala took the oath of office on 28 July 2011 vowing to eradicate poverty and social exclusion.

But many Peruvians complain that he has not done enough to share the wealth from the country's exploitation of its natural resources.

"I stand at the core of my proposal," Mr Humala told Congress.

"We have begun to lay the groundwork for the great transformation that most citizens of our country crave: inclusive growth... although we have not achieved everything we set out to achieve."

He told Congress that "all beginnings are tough", but vowed to extend social programmes to lift more people out of poverty.

Mr Humala's first 12 months in office have been marked by disputes and conflict and his approval rating fell to a new low of some 40% this month.

Earlier in July, five people were killed in clashes with police during protests against a huge mining project in the Cajamarca region of northern Peru.

Last Monday, Mr Humala responded to the public anger at this and other social and environmental controversies by reshuffling his cabinet for the third time in his term.

He told Congress the government was "aware of the persistence of social discontent and unsatisfied hopes among a sector of the population that wants a better quality of life".

But said that the country needed to "overcome this culture of conflict".

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Raul Castro: Cuba willing to sit down with US

The Jakarta Post, Peter Orsi, Associated Press, Havana,  July 26 2012

Cuban President Raul Castro said Thursday that his government is willing to mend fences with bitter Cold War foe the United States and sit down to discuss anything, as long as it is a conversation between equals.

At the end of a Revolution Day ceremony marking the 59th anniversary of a failed uprising against a military barracks, Castro grabbed the microphone for apparently impromptu remarks. He echoed previous statements that no topic is off-limits, including U.S. concerns about democracy, freedom of the press and human rights on the island, as long as it is a conversation between equals.

"Any day they want, the table is set. This has already been said through diplomatic channels," Castro said. "If they want to talk, we will talk."

"We are nobody's colony, nobody's puppet," Castro added.

Washington and Havana have not had diplomatic relations for five decades.

The 50-year-old U.S. embargo outlaws nearly all trade and travel to the island, and Washington insists Cuba must institute democratic reforms and improve human rights before it can be lifted.

Days after prominent dissident Oswalo Paya died in a car crash, Castro had harsh words for the island's opposition, accusing them of plotting to topple the government.

"Some small factions are doing nothing less than trying to set the stage and hoping that one day what happened in Libya will happen here," Castro said.

Castro also reminisced about the 1959 Revolution, promised that Cuba will complete a trans-island expressway halted years ago for lack of funds, empathized with islanders' complaints about meager salaries and said once again that his five-year plan to overhaul Cuba's socialist economy will not be done hastily.

The July 26 national holiday was often used to make major announcements when Castro's older brother Fidel was president, but there were none on Thursday.

The main celebration kicked off at sunrise with music and speeches at a plaza in the eastern province of Guantanamo, home to the U.S. naval base of the same name.

The American presence in Guantanamo is a sore point for Havana, which demands the base be shut down and accuses the U.S. of torturing terror suspects held in the military prison.

"We will continue to fight such a flagrant violation. ... Never, under any circumstance, will we stop trying to recover that piece of ground," first Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura said in the keynote address.

Musicians sang the song "Guantanamera," and a young girl read a speech paying homage to the revolution and resistance to "Yankee" imperialism.

"We will be like 'Che,'" she said, repeating the mantra taught to schoolchildren across the island. Argentine-born guerrilla Ernesto "Che" Guevara is held up as a model of personal conduct in Cuba.

Related Articles:

Leaving Cuba: The difficult task of exiting the island

Raul Castro's Daughter Backs Obama on Gay Marriage

Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuba's President Raul Castro, speaks during a
 press conference in Havana, Monday, May 3, 2010. Headed by Mariela Castro,
 Cuba will hold events next week on the rights of homosexuals and transvestites
in support of the International Day against Homophobia. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gianluigi Nuzzi: a thorn in the Vatican’s side

RNW, by Angelo van Schaik, 24 July 2012

(Angelo van Schaik)
RNW is in the process of shifting its focus to promoting freedom of speech in regions where it is under threat. So we’re publishing a series of portraits of men and women around the world who have stood up for the right to speak their minds. Today, Italian investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

Angelo van Schaaik in Rome

“I am afraid neither of the law nor of death,” insists journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi. He is the author of 'Sua Santità. Le carte segrete di Benedetto XVI' (His Holiness. The Secret Papers of Benedict XIVth), in which he publishes confidential Vatican documents, including letters from the pope. “I was frightened,” he says. “For months, I carried the documents I had on a USB stick hung around my neck. I was always looking over my shoulder. The Vatican’s agents are active everywhere in Italy.

Instant impact

'Sua Santità' had a huge impact on Italy when it was published in May of this year. This is a country where freedom of speech is constantly under threat. Every time a journalist makes embarrassing revelations about a politician, parliament leaps into action and attempts to introduce measures further restricting the media.

It’s a country where a book was withdrawn from sale because it revealed historic facts damaging to the powerful Roman Catholic church. Authors Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti also claim that the Vatican put pressure on their publisher Mondadori not to renew their contracts in 2002 because they too made use of historic facts embarrassing for the church. Mondadori is owned by former Italian Prime Minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi.

“Immoral behaviour”

To publish the Pope’s personal papers in such a country is almost an act of resistance. Public curiosity about the secret workings of the Vatican has sent sales of 'Sua Santità' soaring. It’s topped Italy’s bestseller lists for weeks.

But criticism of the book has also been fierce. A senior Vatican official, Monsignor Giovanni Angelo Becciu, accused Nuzzi of “immoral behaviour of unprecedented seriousness”. Senator Maurizio Gasparri of Berlusconi’s PDL party has called for Nuzzi’s prosecution: “Correspondence is private; this is a violation of the constitution. He has committed a crime and must face the consequences.” The senator is campaigning for the Italian judiciary to take action, so far without success.


Nuzzi has defended himself vigorously, insisting that the publication of documents obtained from ‘Maria’, his anonymous source within the Vatican, was not against the law. His publisher Chiarelettre, which is famous – or notorious – for releasing controversial books, said in a statement that Gianluigi Nuzzi is doing nothing more than his job. And that: “these attacks on an author and publisher are simply attempts to discredit him”. The publisher goes on to express outrage at political attempts to influence the judiciary to take action. “This is an attempt to intimidate and prevent other journalists from making unwelcome revelations.

Justice costs

Nuzzi was also threatened with legal action by the Vatican in January of this year. This followed his publication of letters to Pope Benedict from Monsignor Maria Vigano, the Number 2 in the Vatican hierarchy. In the letters, Vigano pleaded with the Pope not to be transferred after he had sounded the alarm about widespread corruption in the Vatican’s accounting department.

This threat of legal action is a tactic also used by Berlusconi during his years in office. He would claim huge sums in damages from papers that threatened to make unwelcome revelations about his or his companies’ conduct. Even though these cases had no chance of succeeding, the prohibitive cost of fighting them in court meant papers would refrain from publication. Italy’s wealthy have a habit of winning their lawsuits…

The publisher Chiarelettere also poses the rhetorical question: Should a journalist who discovers that the Minster of Economic Affairs has had secret talks with the head of the Vatican’s Bank to prevent the church being charged property tax, keep that information to himself?”


“The butler did it”. That was the Vatican’s speedily reached conclusion after Nuzzi laid bare the intrigues and power struggles within the walls of the Holy City with the help of an inside informant. The Pope’s personal servant Paolo Gabriele was arrested and taken into custody by the Vatican’s own secretive judicial system, which is independent of the Italian state judiciary.

The storm around the scandal, which quickly became known as Vatileaks, seemed to die down after his arrest. But it appears he may just be a small fish in this murky sea. There are believed to be some 20 other whistleblowers secretly leaking information about the Vatican state. A special commission has been set up with the aim of keeping any further Vatileaks under control. But that’s unlikely to be enough to prevent journalists such as Gianluigi Nuzzi from publishing any fresh documents they may receive from ‘Maria’.

FILE - In this June 22, 2012 file photo, Monsignor William Lynn walks to the
 Criminal Justice Center before a scheduled verdict reading, in Philadelphia.
 Lynn, the Roman Catholic monsignor at the center of a landmark case involving
the  sexual abuse of children by priests, will be sentenced on Tuesday, July 24,
2012.  He faces 3-1/2 to seven years in prison for his felony child endangerment
conviction. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / CreatorReligions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Based in Greece, 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.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Peru President Humala reshuffles team amid mine protests

BBC News, 24 July 2012

Related Stories 

Mr Jimenez (right) will be Peru's
third prime minister in a year
Peru's President Ollanta Humala, facing simmering environmental and social conflicts, has reshuffled his cabinet in a widely expected move.

Human rights lawyer and former Justice Minister Juan Jimenez replaces Oscar Valdes as prime minister.

Mr Valdes, a former army officer, had faced criticism for his crackdown on protesters opposed to a huge gold mine.

Clashes over the US-financed Conga project flared again earlier this month, leaving five people dead.

Mr Jimenez is the third prime minister appointed by President Humala, who completes his first year in office on 28 July.

The previous prime minister, Mr Valdes, had been brought in late last year to pursue a tougher line amid continuing disputes over natural resources.

The Conga gold mine in Cajamarca, financed by American firm Newmont, represents Peru's biggest foreign investment project. Protesters region say it will destroy water supplies.

Key figures

"This will be a cabinet of dialogue," Mr Jimenez said.

"We will move closer to the people. We will readdress the issue of social conflicts in Peru."

The BBC's Mattia Cabitza, in Cajamarca, says that as a civilian with a human rights background, Mr Jimenez is viewed as a better choice to head a growingly unpopular government which has overseen several states of emergency.

But Mr Jimenez's appointment may not by itself quell the unrest.

He backed the president's decision to suspend civil liberties and declare a state of emergency in three provinces in the area where protests took place.

Mr Jimenez's appointment was part of a broader reshuffle with six new members to a 19-member cabinet.

Two key figures, Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla and Mines and Energy Minister Jorge Merino, kept their posts.

Mr Humala's approval rating has fallen to a new low of some 40%.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hugo Chávez tells Venezuelans to drink juice not Coke

President urges people to buy state-made Uvita to boost consumption of homegrown products and reduce imports, Associated Press in Caracas, Monday 23 July 2012

Hugo Chávez at a campaign rally in Maracaibo. He has refused to stop
using the airwaves for his special broadcasts despite complaints from
rivals. Photograph: Comando De Campana Carabobo/AFP/Getty Images

President Hugo Chávez has urged Venezuelans to drink fruit juice produced by a state-run company rather than Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

He says people should buy Uvita, a grape juice made by Corpozulia as a means of increasing the consumption of Venezuelan-made products instead of buying sugary sodas made by foreign companies.

Chávez often dispenses advice to supporters during his marathon televised speeches, calling on them to eat healthy foods, exercise and avoid drugs and alcohol.

During Sunday's speech, he said Venezuela was trying to boost consumption of domestic goods as a means of reducing imports. Chávez is also promoting a Venezuelan wine. The South American nation imports most of the food and drinks Venezuelans consume.

The president also vowed not to stop using the country's airwaves for his addresses, despite complaints from his challenger that it gives him an unfair advantage during the election campaign.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has demanded that election officials prevent Chávez from taking political advantage of the special broadcasts, which all networks are required by law to air, before Venezuela's election on 7 October.

Directors of the National Electoral Council have approved campaign regulations that prohibit TV and radio messages that favour a presidential candidate to run longer than three minutes. But it is unclear whether the president's frequent and lengthy special broadcasts, known as "cadenas", will be affected.

"The cadenas are part of the national government's information strategy," said Chávez, speaking during one of the special broadcasts. "The bourgeoisie wants me to give up something that's the faculty of the president of the republic. I'm not going to do it."

Chávez, a former paratroop commander, argued that most of Venezuela's privately owned TV channels, radio stations and newspapers are biased in favour of Capriles and he accused the independent media of ignoring his government's achievements. "The major part of the radios, television channels and newspapers are in the hands of the bourgeoisie," said Chávez, who is seeking re-election to a fresh six-year term.

When Chávez took office in 1999, he referred to four major TV channels – RCTV, Venevision, Globovision and Televen – as the "four horsemen of the apocalypse". He accused the channels supporting a short-lived 2002 coup by broadcasting cartoons and films instead of the protests that aided his return to power.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

$21tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite

• Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy
• Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens, Heather Stewart, business editor, Saturday 21 July 2012

The Cayman Islands: a favourite haven from the taxman for the global elite.
Photograph: David Doubilet/National Geographic/Getty Images

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.

James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.

He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy". According to Henry's research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.

The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world.

Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests. Once the returns on investing the hidden assets is included, almost £500bn has left Russia since the early 1990s when its economy was opened up. Saudi Arabia has seen £197bn flood out since the mid-1970s, and Nigeria £196bn.

"The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," the report says.

The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor. According to Henry's calculations, £6.3tn of assets is owned by only 92,000 people, or 0.001% of the world's population – a tiny class of the mega-rich who have more in common with each other than those at the bottom of the income scale in their own societies.

"These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people," said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. "People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become."

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Countries around the world are under intense pressure to reduce their deficits and governments cannot afford to let so much wealth slip past into tax havens.

"Closing down the tax loopholes exploited by multinationals and the super-rich to avoid paying their fair share will reduce the deficit. This way the government can focus on stimulating the economy, rather than squeezing the life out of it with cuts and tax rises for the 99% of people who aren't rich enough to avoid paying their taxes."

Assuming the £13tn mountain of assets earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30%, it would generate a bumper £121bn in revenues – more than rich countries spend on aid to the developing world each year.

Groups such as UK Uncut have focused attention on the paltry tax bills of some highly wealthy individuals, such as Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, with campaigners at one recent protest shouting: "Where did all the money go? He took it off to Monaco!" Much of Green's retail empire is owned by his wife, Tina, who lives in the low-tax principality.

A spokeswoman for UK Uncut said: "People like Philip Green use public services – they need the streets to be cleaned, people need public transport to get to their shops – but they don't want to pay for it."

Leaders of G20 countries have repeatedly pledged to close down tax havens since the financial crisis of 2008, when the secrecy shrouding parts of the banking system was widely seen as exacerbating instability. But many countries still refuse to make details of individuals' financial worth available to the tax authorities in their home countries as a matter of course. Tax Justice Network would like to see this kind of exchange of information become standard practice, to prevent rich individuals playing off one jurisdiction against another.

"The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy," said Henry.

Leaving Cuba: The difficult task of exiting the island

BBC News, by Sarah Rainsford, Havana, 21 July 2012

The issue of emigration and travel is now a matter of public discussion
in Cuba - even artists are getting in on the act

Cubans need permission to leave their island. And if they stay away too long, they can't come back.

A year ago, President Raul Castro pledged to "update" the country's migration laws and allow freedom of movement. So far, the restrictions remain in place.

But as parliament prepares for the first of two annual sessions on Monday, Cubans are daring to hope that change might finally be imminent.

In Havana, they form long queues every morning outside the city's emigration offices. Clutching bundles of documents and photographs, many arrive well before the gates open at 08:00 to ensure an appointment.

The official noticeboard in the grounds of the Vedado district office is covered in yellow papers, detailing the many rules and regulations.

Would-be travellers need a letter of invitation from the person they want to visit (fee: $200, £128) and permission to leave their place of work. For graduate professionals, that means a letter signed by a minister. They also need $150 for the exit permit, more than seven times the average monthly salary.

Government critics can be refused permission to travel. Highly-valued professionals, like doctors, face extra restrictions.

Reform hopes

"As far as I know, Cuba is the only country with these rules. They shouldn't exist," argues Yenier Prado, who had to wait four months to get his exit permit.

His family already live in the United States and he had an American visa to join them. But first Cuba had to agree he could leave. 

In Havana, Cubans form long queues
outside  the emigration offices every
"The procedure is too much, and it's very expensive," complains Adanay Martin, who is hoping to travel for Mexico to study for a masters in computer science.

"I don't agree with it, they have to get rid of it. But at least they're talking about that now. It's a step forward," she says, after submitting her own application for an exit permit.

At the Communist Party Congress last April, Cuba announced hundreds of once unimaginable social and economic reforms intended to safeguard the socialist system. Private business opportunities were expanded, people were allowed to buy houses and cars, and free travel was established as a principle.

In August, President Raul Castro confirmed that Cuba's migration policy would be altered - recognition, he said, that some regulations once justified in defence of the 1959 revolution had "persisted unnecessarily".

Cuba says it closed its borders soon after the revolution as a matter of national security: the US, just 90 miles away, was the base for fierce opposition to the Castro regime.

The government was also battling a brain-drain, accusing the US of poaching its best-trained citizens to undermine the revolution. 

Even today, any Cuban who reaches the US is entitled to residency after one year.

"The rules were established to control who could come and go, but I think circumstances are different and Cubans should be allowed to travel with just a passport," argues Rafael Hernandez, editor of the social science journal Tema.

The announcement of change was widely anticipated at the last session of parliament in December. Instead, Raul Castro spoke of a "complex issue" and said change would come "gradually".

So all eyes are now on the next National Assembly on Monday, where there is a cautious hope that progress will be made.

"I think the consensus [for change] is pretty large. But there is some resistance to changing a policy of almost 50 years," says Mr Hernandez.

"There are people in the leadership who think perhaps there will be a brain drain. But I don't think it will be more than we have now," he says. "If we make this change at last, those who leave will also be able to return. They will not be lost to Cuba forever."

Breaking through

Currently, anyone who stays overseas for more than 11 months loses residency rights. According to the National Statistics Office, 38,165 people were "lost" in that way in 2010 alone.

For many years, those who left the island were seen as traitors, enemies of the revolution. The rhetoric has changed, with official recognition that many Cubans leave for economic reasons.

It's now argued that easing the travel restrictions would allow those who work abroad to maintain their ties with the island, and potentially return with new expertise and - critically - funds.

The issue is now a matter of public discussion. 

The exhibition explores changing
attitudes to migration
At this summer's art Biennial there was a silhouette of a plane breaking through fencing on the sea front and images of the Malecon sea wall, made of barbed wire.

And one house in a city side street was decked-out as an airport, with human-like figures poking through windows and hanging from ceilings.

"When we started this project some of my friends told me we'd be arrested, that we couldn't do it," remembers the artist Nadal Antelmo. His exhibition explored the changing nature of emigration, and the use of the word gusano or "worm" for those who left.

"I think it would have been hard to study this theme in the past, and to put it in the street like this for people to interact with. So I think there's a change," Nadal says, surrounded by his statues.

"There is still fear and prejudice about migration, still a way to go. But I think the will for change is there."

But that will still hasn't been converted into concrete policy.

More than a year after Cubans were promised their country would open up, and allow free travel, they're still waiting.

Chile child sex abuse to be investigated at 61 schools

BBC News, 21 July 2012

Related Stories 

About 60 schools in Santiago
are under investigation
Prosecutors in Chile are investigating about 60 schools in the capital, Santiago, over allegations that pupils were sexually abused.

The investigations come after reports of child sex abuse in schools and day care centres increased markedly this year.

Most of the schools are in Santiago's affluent eastern areas.

Earlier this week, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced a raft of measures to combat child sex abuse.

Attorney general Sabas Chahuan said 49 schools in eastern Santiago and about a dozen on the west side of the city would be investigated.

"Wherever there are children, we will investigate just the same as we do with corruption or economic crimes," Mr Chahuan said on Friday after meeting representatives of a parents' association.

"We put ourselves in the place of the parents and we know they're worried, anxious and desperate."

According to the National Prosecuting Authority, complaints of sexual abuse of children under the age of 14 jumped 22% in the first half of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011.

On Wednesday, President Pinera said a database registering those convicted of sexually abusing minors or of child pornography offensives would be operational from August.

A new law last month banned convicted paedophiles from working near children.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Brazil arrests 18 over alleged land rights killing

Deutsche Welle, 20 July 2012

Brazilian police have arrested 18 people over the murder of an indigenous leader who was heading a bid to recover ancestral tribal land.

Six landowners were believed to be among those arrested in connection with the high-profile murder of Guarani chief Nisio Gomes on Thursday.

A police chief from the Mato Grosso do Sul state, who declined to be named, told the AP news agency that a lawyer, a public servant and 10 men from a security company were also among those arrested.

Authorities at the time of the killing said that 42 heavily armed and hooded men attacked the Kaiowa Guarani community of Amambai, not far from the border with Paraguay.

As well as shooting the 59-year-old Gomes - and taking his body away in a pickup truck to hide - the assailants were reported to have kidnapped a child and two youths. Gomes had been leading a bid to reclaim land from ranchers.

The news was welcomed by the British-based rights group Survival International, which campaigns on behalf of indigenous people across the world, as "a positive step."

"For years, powerful landowners have hired hit-men to kill those that challenge them. The culture of impunity must end if this situation is to change," said Survival director Stephen Corry in a statement on the group's website.

Guarani Indians have been trying to recover a small portion of their original territories ranchers, as well as soya and sugar cane plantation owners.

rc/ipj (AP, AFP)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cuban rock: protest with limits

RNW, by Sergio Acosta,19 July 2012

Rock music has always been a vehicle to express social and political rebellion, and that’s also true in Cuba. Cuban rockers do have to tailor their rebellion to stay inside the limits of what the authorities will accept, but those limits are surprisingly flexible.

“I believe rock musicians chronicle what is going on in society,” says Javier Rodríguez, whose band Extraño Corazón (Strange Heart), founded in 1992, is one of Cuba’s most popular. Rodríguez claims that music can express love as well as hatred, and can also be “a way of expressing opposition to things that are happening in society. In our music, we voice the feelings of thousands of young people.”

Changing attitudes

Rock music was heavily censored and restricted in the 1960s and 70s, but musicians continued to perform underground. It wasn’t until the 60s’ generation had matured that the regime was prepared to authorise performance spaces for them. Rock and jazz were seen as anti-revolutionary expressions of Anglo-Saxon culture according to journalist and Cuban music critic Joaquín Borges Triana, “At the beginning of the revolution, people viewed them as ideological expressions that were harmful to the revolutionary process. In the 1980s, when the revolution was well and truly established, the authorities opened up the rock scene. This is also when the new generation that had been born in the 60s burst on the scene.”

Borges Triana, who writes a column for state newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebellious Youth), adds that rock music has always contained countercultural protests, but in the end the music industry absorbs it and markets it as mainstream. Music has always played an important role in expressing social criticism, in Cuba, from traditional rural troubadours to the rock musicians of the mid-80s and on to the present. Borges Triana explains that “using a more metaphorical type of language, at times stark or biting, rock has done that and continues to do that now”.

From Porno para Ricardo to Extraño Corazón

New groups have emerged in recent years whose rebel music is a step too far for the authorities. Banned from performing in public, they make use of the internet to spread their sound. Gorki Águila and his group Porno para Ricardo (Pornography for Ricardo) are probably the best known example.

Borges Triana believes the regime will not be prepared to accept Porno para Ricardo any time soon. “Gorki Águila’s group is very interesting,” he says, “because his music is extremely sexual and his lyrics are very erotic. His music is punk and this genre has always been very irreverent, offensive and countercultural”. The group steadily became more and more radical and openly opposes the Cuban political system but, “in Cuba, there’s no space for political dissident, even less so for dissidents who say the whole system is rotten.”

Beyond disgust

Among the groups that are tolerated is Extraño Corazón, which this year received Cuba’s most important music award, Cubadisco 2012, for the rock CD Bitácora. According to the band’s director, Javier Rodríguez, “the type of music and lyrics we perform can be interpreted at various different levels. People aren’t stupid. They realise that we are saying things that go far beyond love and disgust. We’ve never been officially banned, and I believe that our listeners know how to interpret our songs. We don’t write our songs to please anyone.”