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, November 30, 2013

Cayman Islands and Costa Rica agree to share bank account details with US

The alleged tax havens have signed agreements with the United States to tell the IRS about funds held offshore by Americans, Reuters in Washington, Friday 29 November 2013

The Cayman Islands will turn over details of Americans' offshore accounts to US
tax authorities. Photograph: David Doubilet/National Geographic/Getty Images

The United States has signed agreements with the Cayman Islands and Costa Rica to help those countries' banks comply with an anti-tax evasion law starting next year, the Treasury Department said on Friday.

The deals are part of the US effort to enforce the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was enacted in 2010 and is set to take effect in July 2014. FATCA requires foreign financial institutions to tell the US Internal Revenue Service about Americans' offshore accounts worth more than $50,000. It was enacted after a Swiss banking scandal showed that 17,000 US taxpayers had hidden substantial fortunes overseas. On Thursday a former UBS banker, Raoul Weil, agreed to be extradited to the US to face charges arising from that scandal.

With these two deals, both signed this week, the Treasury has now finished 12 FATCA "intergovernmental agreements" (IGAs), which help countries' financial institutions comply with the law.

The FATCA agreement with the Cayman Islands was initially agreed to in August. The island territory of 53,000 people has no income tax and is frequently labelled as a tax haven by critics. It is one of the world's most popular destinations for investment funds to organise for tax purposes.

Costa Rica was one of three Central American countries the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD) has tagged as a tax haven. Panama and Belize were the other two. Significantly, the Costa Rica deal is reciprocal, meaning the Costa Rican government can get tax information about its citizens with assets in the United States.

The trading of financial information, though not part of the Cayman Islands deal but included in many of the other 11 FATCA agreements, has rankled US banks. In April, the Texas Bankers Association and the Florida Bankers Association, both industry groups, filed a lawsuit attempting to block a Treasury Department rule that would allow the IRS to send certain bank account information to foreign governments.

The case, filed in the US district court for the District of Columbia, is awaiting a judge's ruling on whether the bankers' associations have standing.

Related Articles:

Offshore Secrets

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Brazil mining giant Vale to pay govt 7.1 bn euros in tax amnesty

Google – AFP, 28 November 2013

Aerial view of a mining refinery belonging to Vale, the biggest Brazilian mining 
company, in Para state, Brazil, on August 9, 2013 (AFP/File, Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Rio de Janeiro — Brazilian mining giant Vale said it had accepted a tax amnesty offer from the government that will see it pay the state the equivalent of 7.1 billion euros.

The world's largest miner of iron ore said in a statement that the payout will affect its 2013 net earnings to the tune of 6.6 billion euros.

The government had said the company owed twice as much in taxes, interest and penalties.
The accord covers the period running from 2003 to 2012.

Vale will make the payout in phases.

Its managing director Murilo Ferreira said the company will be able to pay just from its regular cash flow, without going into additional debt, and shareholders will get a dividend as scheduled.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

UN passes anti-spying resolution

Google – AFP, 26 November 2013

Picture taken on November 9, 2012 shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel
using her mobile phone in Berlin (DPA/AFP/File, Kay Nietfeld)

UNITED NATIONS (United States) — A UN rights committee on Tuesday passed a "right to privacy" resolution pressed by Germany and Brazil, which have led international outrage over reports of US spying on their leaders.

The resolution says that surveillance and data interception by governments and companies "may violate or abuse human rights."

Fifty-five countries, including France, Russia and North Korea, co-sponsored the text which did not name any target but made lightly veiled references to spying which has put the US National Security Agency at the center of global controversy.

Brazil and Germany launched the initiative after reports leaked by former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden that the NSA had listened in to the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the office communications of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff.

Germany's UN ambassador Peter Wittig said it was the first time a UN body has taken a stand on "online" human rights and the resolution sent an important "political message."

The resolution "emphasizes that unlawful and arbitrary surveillance and the interception of communications are highly intrusive acts that violate the right to privacy and may also violate the freedom of expression," Wittig told the UN General Assembly's human rights committee.

"Human rights should prevail irrespective of the medium and therefore need to be protected both offline and online," added Brazil's UN envoy Antonio Patriota.

"States should refrain from and be held accountable for any act that violate these rights, including the right to privacy," he added.

The United States and key allies Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand -- who together make up the so-called "Five-Eyes" intelligence group -- joined a consensus vote passing the resolution after language suggesting that foreign spying would be a rights violation was weakened.

The resolution said the UN committee is "deeply concerned at the negative impact" that surveillance and interception of communications "including extraterritorial surveillance" can have on human rights.

Germany and Brazil had wanted the text to say the assembly was "deeply concerned at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of any surveillance of communications, including extraterritorial surveillance of communications."

Under the resolution, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay will prepare a report on domestic and "extra-territorial" privacy. Wittig also promised a "thorough" debate on the issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

US deputy ambassador Elizabeth Cousens gave backing to the initiative.

She did not mention the NSA controversy, but told the committee: "In some cases, conduct that violates privacy rights may also seriously impede or even prevent the exercise of freedom of expression, but conduct that violates privacy rights does not violate the right to freedom of expression in every case."

Indonesia, which is involved in a battle with Australia over allegations of spying on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, spoke out strongly for the resolution.

North Korea, one of the world's most tightly controlled countries and an unlikely ally backing the resolution, used the meeting to slam US spying.

North Korean ambassador Sin Son-Ho accused the United States of "hypocrisy and deception" in condemning other countries' human rights records.

Human Rights Watch specialist Philippe Bolopion said it was unfortunate that the resolution had been watered down.

But he said it was "a vital first step toward stigmatizing indiscriminate global surveillance."

The non-binding resolution will now go to the full 193-member UN General Assembly for a vote.

US Senator Christopher Murphy (r) congressman Gregory Meeks speak
in Berlin over the NSA scandal. Photo: dpa

Guinea threatened with EU sanctions for illegal fishing

Google – AFP, 26 November 2013

Children play on fishing boats in the harbour at Conakry, Guinea, on August 10, 
999 (AFP/File, Issouf Sanogo)

Brussels — The European Commission on Tuesday urged EU governments to hit Belize, Cambodia and Guinea with trade sanctions over illegal fishing, while warning South Korea, Ghana and Curacao they may be next.

The European Union executive called for action against the first three with no 'credible progress' made since hitting them with so-called 'yellow cards' last year along with five others.

Once placed on an official list of "non-cooperating countries" in the fight against illegal fishing, related products from those territories will find themselves all-but shut out of the EU market of half a billion consumers.

The Commission also flagged up a new round of 'yellow cards' which puts key free-trade partner South Korea, Ghana and Caribbean island Curacao under mounting pressure to meet international obligations.

"West Africa was identified as a major source of illegal fishing and my intention is now take the same thorough approach in the Pacific," said EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki.

Damanaki told a press conference that for South Korea, Ghana and Curacao, "this is not about EU legislation -- we are implementing international rules."

"We are very much willing to give them more time."

She said the "right to fish as they want" had to be set against the EU's "right to protect consumers."

The EU says at least 15 percent of all landings around the world are done illegally, between 11 and 16 million tonnes each year, with international rules agreed in 2001 routinely flouted.

Five countries made sufficient progress this year to avoid being expelled from EU markets at least until March next year: Fiji, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu.

The EU imports 65 percent of its fishing consumption.

Campaigners Greenpeace said the decisions announced would "motivate all six countries to improve fisheries management and help create a better future for their seas and fishermen.?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mexico to give equality prize to Pakistan's Malala

Google – AFP, 25 November 2013

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai addresses the European Parliament
 assembly on November 20, 2013 after receiving the EU's prestigious Sakharov
human rights prize (AFP/File, Patrick Hertzog)

Mexico City — Mexico said Sunday it will award its 2013 International Prize for Equality and Non-Discrimination to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for championing girls' rights to education.

The award seeks to recognize Malala's efforts for "the protection of human rights" and especially her fight to protect the right to education without discrimination on "grounds of age, gender, sex and religion," Mexico's official National Council to Prevent Discrimination said in a statement.

The award ceremony is planned for early 2014.

The 16-year-old, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in 2012, has become a global ambassador for the rights of children.

She is currently living in Britain, where she underwent surgery after the attack.

Malala, who since age 11 has written a blog about girls' right to education, has written an autobiography, addressed the United Nations and set up a fund to help girls around the world go to school and promote universal access to education.

Last week, she was awarded the European Union's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize at a ceremony significantly held on World Children's Day.

Pakistan's teenage activist Malala Yousafzai is awarded with the
Sakharov Prize  for Freedom of Thought by European Parliament
chief Martin Schulz in Strasbourg, eastern France, on November 20,
2013 (AFP, Patrick) 

Related Articles:

Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai receives EU Sakharov rights prize

Aisha North, Feb 8, 2013

The manuscript of survival – part 265 - (Constant Companions channeled through Aisha North)

Aisha North
As you have noticed, there are many stirrings in the undercurrent now, and some of the light is already starting to penetrate the fog that has enveloped mankind for such a long time. At the moment, this will seem to be mere pinpricks of light in a huge ocean of darkness, but do not let that fool you. As we have talked about so many times, this layer of darkness that still seems to cover most of your planet is only an illusion, a thin film of confusion covering up the new reality. And now, this reality will start to become more and more visible. Not only to you, but also to others out there, people who look upon themselves as no more than an ordinary citizen, but who will soon start to realize that they too have the power to change not only their own life, but also the lives of so many others.

And they will do so in a peaceful way, for we do not speak of a violent upsurging, far from it. For have you not witnessed already how the power and might of an armed scoundrel is not match for the power of the light? We refer of course to the story of the brave girl who had to face armed assassins because she stood up for her right to educate herself (From Aisha: I think they refer to the story of Malala Yousafzai). If you look closely at her story, you will see how the light penetrating her has been seeping into thousands, if not millions of others already. So she is indeed a shining example on how one of these pinpricks of light can blow away a huge area of fog and darkness, and how the forces of ill intent are no match for the light, for those bullets being aimed at her did not kill the light, it only made it that much stronger.

So let that be a lesson to you all on how nothing and no one can stop the light, no matter how hard they try. For the force of anger and hatred is not match for the love and compassion that is starting to grow on your planet now. And even if these forces of the old are trying their hardest to instill the old fear into you all, they will not succeed, no matter how many weapons they fire off, or how many people they beat to a pulp. For they cannot beat you now dear ones, you are the ones who have won this battle for the souls.

For in your soul, the light is growing stronger and stronger, and with it, the power you carry. And through your example, just like the girl who took the bullets in order to let the light shine out to the whole world, the change will come, step by step, person to person. For you are also brave, and even if you will never have to face the same hardships as this girl, you too will have to conquer the world with your actions. For you are indeed the bravest of the brave, and you have walked through fire to get where you are today. And doing that, you have liberated not only yourself, but thousands upon thousands of your fellow men and women. For you have hacked a trail trough that dense jungle of fear and darkness, and following in your footsteps are the rest of humanity. With a few exceptions of course, and they will clamor and cry as loud as they can in order to make you all believe that they still outnumber you. But they do not, and that is what you will all see as the days keep getting lighter and lighter, and those pinpricks of lights grow ever brighter and ever bigger.

So fear not, as fear has been diminished to such a state it is but a shadow of itself. That shadow is still touching the hearts of many around you, but that shadow is also thinning out, and it will be replaced by light in even the sturdiest of hearts. For light has no boundaries, only the fear has that now, so light is spreading out faster and faster, and the courage it inspires in you all is growing with it. So stand tall and proud, and know that you too has been a part of that journey from the darkest abyss and to this, the threshold of everlasting light. And know too that your actions will never go unnoticed, as you have all been instrumental in this about turn of the human race. So look around, and we think you will find these shining examples starting to emerge in every corner of your world, even in the places where you least expect them to. For, as we said, the light has no boundaries, certainly not one set by any human, and no line on the map or no wall, no matter how high it is, can keep it out. So again we say rejoice, for the morning has broken, and the day is about to start. And this day is one that will last forever.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hondurans vote for president as country struggles with violence and poverty

Deutsche Welle, 24 November 2013

Hondurans are going to the polls to elect a new President as the country continues to struggle with violence and poverty in the wake of a 2009 coup. Opinion polls predict a very close race between the top two contenders.

Sunday's vote pits the leftist wife of Honduras' deposed president, Xiomara Castro (pictured above), against the head of Congress, Juan Orlando Hernandez, of the ruling conservative National Party. Polls put the two candidates in a statistical tie heading into the election, though Castro is regarded as the slight favorite ahead of Hernandez.

Polls opened at around 8 a.m. (1300 UTC), with no initial problems reported. More than 5.3 million registered voters are able to take part in the vote in Honduras, the poorest country in the Americas behind Haiti. Around 70 percent of Honduras' 8.4 million people live in poverty.

The 54-year-old Castro, whose husband Manuel Zelaya was removed as president in a 2009 coup, led the race for months ahead of the vote. She campaigned on a platform of easing the violence and poverty that have increased since President Porfirio Lobo took office four years ago. Should she win, Castro would become Honduras' first female president.

Hernandez, 45, has seen his support swell in recent weeks. He has promoted himself as the candidate for law in order in a country the UN says boasts the world's highest murder rate at 20 per day. Gangs control entire neighborhoods, extort businesses and use the country as a key point for the trafficking of cocaine from South America to the US. Cracking down on crime is seen as the primary issue for most voters.

A pre-election Cid-Gallup poll put Castro at 28 percent support compared to Hernandez at 27 percent. Liberal Party candidate Mauricio Villeda trails in third place with 17 percent support.

At least 30,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed for election security, military spokesman Jeremias Arevalo told the daily El Heraldo. Hundreds international observers, including representatives from the European Union and the Organization of American States are monitoring the vote.

dr/mz (dpa, AP, AFP)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dutch royals visit roiling Venezuela

Google – AFP, 23 November 2013

(L-R) The Netherlands Queen Maxima, King Willem-Alexander, Venezuelan
 President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela's first lady Cilia Flores during the
welcoming ceremony at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on
November 23, 2013 (AFP, Juan Barreto)

Caracas — Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Maxima were to meet Saturday with President Nicolas Maduro, a visit coinciding with anti-government protests by Venezuela's opposition.

"We welcome them with great affection and appreciation," Maduro told reporters.

The royals have been visiting Dutch Caribbean territories Aruba, Curacao and Saint Martin, taking side trips to Colombia on Friday and Venezuela on Saturday.

Maxima was born in nearby Argentina.

Venezuelan opposition leader and Miranda
 state governor Henrique Capriles Radosnki
 speaks during a mass protest in Caracas, 
on November 23, 2013 (AFP, Leo Ramirez)
But the visit comes at a tense political time for Venezuela, where protests were planned Saturday against a year-long expansion of powers for Maduro.

The extraordinary powers were approved earlier this week by the legislature, which is controlled by his socialist party.

Ahead of the demonstrations, the government reportedly arrested a key opposition figure, detaining him in the middle of the night.

"We don't know the whereabouts" of Alejandro Silva, tweeted opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who was narrowly defeated by Maduro in presidential elections held in April.

Opposition leaders said they believe that Silva was taken away from the Caracas hotel he had been staying in by military intelligence officials.

Capriles added in his tweet that he "will hold @nicolasmaduro responsible if anything happens" to Silva.

Venezuela's National Assembly on Tuesday handed Maduro wide-ranging special powers to rule by decree.

Maduro requested the special powers last month, citing the need to fight corruption and take on opponents who are waging "economic warfare" against his government.

He said the powers will also help him battle soaring inflation and shortages of basic goods.

A protege of late president and socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez, Maduro two weeks ago launched a crackdown on prices, sending troops into home appliance stores and forcing merchants to slash their prices.

Related Article:

New mass graves in Mexico dredge up plight of missing

Google – AFP, Leticia Pineda (AFP), 23 November 2013

Police stand guard at a house in which eight members of a family were killed
by gunmen in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on November 17, 2013 (AFP, Jesus Alcazar)

Mexico City — Amid Mexico's continuous drug conflict, the recent discovery of dozens of bodies in mass graves has led some to describe the plight of the country's disappeared as a national emergency.

At least 54 corpses have been recovered in clandestine pits in three states this month alone, including 33 in a western region plagued by violent cartels.

The discoveries have left authorities scrambling to identify the dead in a country where thousands of people have been missing for years.

"We have a very serious humanitarian crisis, a national emergency regarding the disappeared," Julio Hernandez, a member of the government's victim care commission, told AFP.

Soldiers stand guard next to parts of a
 corpse visible in a grave in Tunzingo,
 Guerrero state, Mexico on November 3,
2010 (AFP/File, Pedro Pardo)
The prosecutor's offices in Mexico's 31 states and the capital need more forensic experts and DNA laboratories, Hernandez said, comparing the situation to the Balkan wars.

Some of the dead found at the border of the western states of Jalisco and Michoacan are mere bones, suggesting they were buried months ago. Other corpses found in the southwest and north of the country may be more than a year old.

The appearance of so many mass graves within such a short period revived memories of the gruesome finds regularly made during the 2006-2012 presidency of Felipe Calderon, who had declared war against the cartels.

"The state has ignored the search of thousands of disappeared," Hernandez said.

More than 26,000 missing

The attorney general's office documented the exhumation of 847 bodies in mass graves between December 2006 and September 2011, according to the most recent official figures obtained by AFP through a freedom of information request.

Most victims were in the northern states of Tamaulipas, Durango and Nuevo Laredo, all hotbeds of conflict between cartels such as the Zetas, Gulf and Sinaloa gangs.

And the great majority, 656, were found in a nine-month period in 2011 alone, compared to just 15 in 2007.

The bodies have included enemies of cartels and innocent bystanders, as well as migrants and women.

More than 70,000 people have died in Mexico since Calderon sent troops to the streets to contain the cartels.

Another 26,121 people disappeared during Calderon's six-year term, according to an official database that the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto is updating.

Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said in May that the figure would likely be lower because many of the people reported missing simply left their homes for personal reasons or emigrated.

But the government has yet to release a new figure.

Pena Nieto also created a special unit dedicated to finding the missing, but the fact that only 12 prosecutors were assigned to the job has drawn criticism.

An official in the attorney general's office, who requested anonymity, said identifying a body depends on the state of decomposition and whether the person matches a list of missing people.

"It's more problematic when they are migrants going through the country" since they often don't match any missing list, the official said.

In the case of the bodies found in 19 pits at the Jalisco-Michoacan border, authorities expect to identify the individuals since they are believed to be from the region, the official said.

A forensic specialist outside a house in which eight members of a family
 were killed by gunmen in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on November 17, 2013 (AFP,
Jesus Alcazar)

Those mass graves were found as part of an investigation into the disappearance of two federal officers allegedly detained by Michoacan municipal cops, who handed them over to the Jalisco New Generation cartel.

The official said the federal agents are not among the bodies, which were sent to the Jalisco state prosecutor's forensic office for identification.

A son's skull

The discovery of mass graves brings anxiety but also hopes of closure to countless families who have desperately sought any sign of their missing relatives for years and have little faith in overwhelmed state authorities.

Even Mexico City, considered a relative oasis from the drug cartel violence plaguing many parts of the country, was recently hit by the discovery of a mass grave near the capital.

The bodies of 13 young people were found outside the city in August, three months after they were kidnapped from a downtown bar in broad daylight.

Authorities say the victims were identified through DNA samples, but some parents refuse to believe them.

"If they told you this is your son, would you believe it?" Leticia Ponce said, showing a cell phone picture of a skull that authorities said belonged to her 16-year-old Jerzy Ortiz. "As long as I don't see my son dead or alive, for me he is missing."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nearly four years after quake, Haitians still in tents

Google – AFP, Clarens Renois (AFP), 22 November 2013

Boys look out from their makeshift shelter at a camp for earthquake victims
in  Pétion-ville, Haiti on November 1, 2013 (AFP/File, Louis-Joseph Olivier)

Port-au-Prince — Eight-year-old Widlene Gabriel has lived nearly half her life in a camp for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the devastating January 2010 earthquake in desperately poor Haiti.

As the fourth anniversary of the disaster approaches, more than 170,000 Haitians are still living in makeshift housing, in extremely precarious conditions and sometimes facing eviction.

Widlene and her family live in a tent on a private lot along a main road linking the capital Port-au-Prince to the eastern suburb of Petionville.

The girl has never been to school and spends her days staring blankly at cars and trucks speeding along the road nearby.

A woman holds her child at a camp for
 earthquake victims in Pétion-ville, Haiti on
 November 1, 2013 (AFP/File, Louis-Joseph
"On January 12, 2010, the roof of our house fell on top of our heads. I wasn't hurt but our house fell apart and so we came here," Widlene recalls, her bare feet covered in dust.

Manette Nazius, a mother of six, says Widlene is hardly the only child seemingly left behind.

"All the kids here are in the same boat. All days are the same. They drag around all day. In fact, we are living without hope and we all feel abandoned," she says.

An estimated 250,000 people were killed in the quake, and the rebuilding process has been slow in Haiti, which was already one of the world's poorest countries when disaster struck.
In the immediate aftermath, more than 1.5 million people were homeless.

Huddled under Tent 15, which doubles as a church at the entrance of the camp, a small group of women chanted "Blessed be the lord. Blessed be the lord."

The pastor, in his 60s, stood at the entrance, but the faithful were few.

"We still support them in prayer," said the 60-something pastor, who gave his name as Pierre.
"They are people who have been abandoned by the authorities. They have nothing. But God does not punish twice."

Nevertheless, the young and homeless say they are without hope and feel they have been forgotten.

"No life"

Since 2011, the government has been able to relocate more than 60,000 families and take back some of the public spaces occupied by the unsanitary camps.

But about 172,000 people still live sprawled across 300 camps, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Residents of the camp where Widlene lives say they have no alternatives, surviving thanks to odd jobs and whatever food scraps they can gather.

"We live like brothers and sisters. We help each other out but we don't expect anything from the government," said Bladimir Eliancy, a 30-something resident who was trained as a mechanic.

At another camp -- a group of tents were set up on a property once owned by the Italian mission -- the feeling of despair is the same.

"We have been forgotten by the authorities and international organizations no longer visit us," said a dejected Donald Duvert.

A temporary church built by tent city
 residents provides services in Pétion-ville,
 Haiti on November 1, 2013 (AFP/File,
Louis-Joseph Olivier)
"Sometimes, we get angry. But we are good citizens. We don't go out into the streets to attack the rich. But just take a look at how we live," he added, pointing to the dilapidated tents that house 150 families.

Joseph Gino, seeking a bit of shade under a mango tree, echoed Duvert's hopelessness.

"Before, life was very difficult for us. Today, there is no life. Only God knows when we'll get out of here -- or maybe the decision-makers do," he said.

A mother with a four-year-old son born in the camp added: "At this time of the day, nobody can stay under the tents. The children are suffering from the heat under the tarps."

The boy has never slept in a bed or in a real room.

But some still hold out hope for a better future by advancing their studies to lift themselves out of decrepit poverty.

"I am a little bit behind, but it's my only exit," said 18-year-old Fabienne.

Hawaii’s Big Island Bans GMO Crops and Biotech Companies

EcoNews, KayeSpector, November 21, 2013

The Big Island of Hawaii has a new law that bans biotech companies, as well as all open-air growing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The bill exempts papayas and other GMO crops currently being cultivated and includes fines of $1,000 a day for violators.

Photo credit: GMO Free Hawaii Island

Mayor Billy Kenoi hasn’t indicated his stance on the bill, but he has 10 days to veto it. The county council could override a veto with a vote from six members.

“WOOHOO! WE DID IT!” read the Facebook page of GMO Free Hawaii Island. “We ask for your continued support on the following two items: Write a letter to thank our council members for protecting the health of our community and Hawaii’s agricultural lands, and encourage Mayor Billy Kenoi to sign Bill 113 into law.”

Supporters of the measure filled the council chambers at the West Hawaii Civic Center with applause after the vote late Tuesday, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

“We’re stoked. We’re relieved,” resident Blake Watson told the newspaper. “This is a great first step.”

“We are at a juncture,” Councilwoman Margaret Wille, who introduced the bill, told Honolulu Civil Beat. ”Do we move forward in the direction of the agro-chemical monoculture model of agriculture, or do we move toward eco-friendly, diversified farming?

At least two farmers’ groups supported the measure—the Hawaii Farmers Union United, whose focus is on family farms, and the Kona Coffee Farmers Association.

Farmers supporting the bill said they fear cross-pollination between modified and non-modified crops, which they say can hurt or even close their markets.

Papayas were exempted in the Big Island bill because most of the 200 papaya plantations in Hawaii are planted with genetically engineered trees. A team of scientists modified the DNA of the papaya in the 1990s to withstand a devastating ringspot virus.

Large biotech companies like Syngenta, Monsanto, Pioneer, Dow and BASF have long been experimenting with GMO crops and seeds in Hawaii. They have farms on the islands of Oahu, Kauai and Molokai, but they’ve never operated on Hawaii’s Big Island.

The world’s biotech giants have set up shop in Hawaii in recent years, attracted by year-round growing conditions and an ecosystem favorable for testing and growing produce such as seed corn. The biotechnology industry has all but completely supplanted the sugar cane and pineapple industries that used to dominate the Hawaiian landscape.

The Big Island bill comes just days after Kauai County Council overrode a mayoral veto on a bill that mandates disclosure of GMO crops.

Anne Lopez, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, said earlier this fall that the office has no plans to weigh in on the Big Island’s proposed ban or challenge it if it’s adopted.

“We have not analyzed it to come up with a legal opinion,” she said.

In 2008, the county adopted a ban on GMO coffee and taro that has not been legally challenged.

Watch this interview with Councilwoman Wile from Big Island Video News: