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, April 26, 2015

Flights disrupted as Chile volcano spews more ash

Yahoo – AFP, Miguel Sanchez, 26 April 2015

Local residents walk along a street covered with ashes from the Calbuco volcano
at La Ensenada, southern Chile, on April 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/Martin Bernetti)

Puerto Varas (Chile) (AFP) - Ash from Chile's spewing Calbuco volcano threatened Saturday to spell travel misery in the region and beyond after it triggered the cancellation of domestic and international flights in several cities.

A sleeping giant for more than 50 years, the volcano sprang to life in spectacular bursts of ash and lava Wednesday and Thursday, forcing 6,500 people living nearby to evacuate and blanketed southern Chile in suffocating volcanic debris.

A cow stands in a farm covered with 
ashes from the Calbuco volcano at 
La Ensenada, southern Chile, on April 25,
2015 (AFP Photo/Martin Bernetti)
It coughed out more fire and ash Saturday, with an ash cloud drifting eastward over Patagonia and Argentina, reaching Buenos Aires 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) away, where some airlines canceled flights to and from the United States and Europe.

In the Chilean capital Santiago, domestic flights operated normally but some international flights were scrubbed.

A handful of flights were scrapped at Montevideo's Carrasco International Airport, and authorities urged people to use face masks to avoid inhaling ash particles.

"The volcano remains unstable and eruptions, principally ash, will continue for now," Chile's National Geology and Mining Service said in its latest report.

Experts have cautioned that a third eruption could still follow.

A state of emergency has been in place since Wednesday and authorities emptied a 20-kilometer radius around Calbuco, which is located in Los Lagos, a region popular with tourists for its scenic mountain landscapes dotted with volcanoes and lakes with black-sand beaches.

A view of the Calbuco volcano in Puerto Varas, Chile, on April 24, 2015 (AFP
Photo/Martin Bernetti)

More people were ordered out from towns near Calbuco that were deemed at risk of flooding from snow and ice melting high in the mountains due to the volcano's heat. Authorities said they planned to evacuate about 4,000 sheep and cattle.

"I'm afraid and still thinking about leaving, but over the long term, I would still return to my land," said Carolina Bayern, who took refuge in a school with other evacuees.

Raul Rangel, who also was staying at the school, said he was no longer afraid of the volcano after it took out his home.

"I respect it," he added. "My house collapsed, and everything is destroyed, and I feel such great sadness."

Blanketed in ash

Southern Chile's verdant landscape has turned gray as ash has settled over vast expanses of farm land, especially in the immediate disaster zone around the volcano.

"There are fields that will be unusable for a long time," Agriculture Minister Carlos Furche told Radio Cooperativa.

The government said it is weighing whether to provide emergency payments to the hardest hit farmers, who fear they face financial ruin.

Volcanic lightnings and lava spew from
 the Calbuco volcano on April 23, 2015, as
 seen from Frutillar, Chile (AFP Photo/
Martin Bernetti)
On the other side of the expanding security perimeter, the evacuation area was turned into a scattering of ghost towns blanketed with ash up to one meter (three feet) thick, an AFP photographer said.

In La Ensenada, a town of 1,500 people that was the first to be evacuated, workers used heavy trucks to plow the roads clear as a handful of residents ignored the evacuation order to shovel the ash and debris off their rooftops.

The 2,000-meter volcano last erupted in 1961 and showed light activity in 1972, according to official data. There have been no known fatalities from this week's eruptions.

It is the second volcano to erupt in Chile since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava.

Chile has about 90 active volcanoes.

The long, thin country has been hit by a series of natural disasters in recent months, from flooding in its usually arid north, home to the world's driest desert, to wildfires in its drought-hit southern forests.

Cars are seen amid volcanic ashes from the Calbuco volcano in La Ensenada, 
on April 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/Martin Bernetti)

Venezuelan president says to build new homes in cooperation with Chinese companies   2015-04-26

CARACAS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday the government will work with Chinese companies to build new housing units as part of an ambitious plan to provide homes for those without proper or adequate dwelling in the country.

During an event in the 23 de Enero slum in the west of Caracas, Maduro announced that his government has reached a preliminary agreement with Chinese company Sany Heavy Industry Co. for the latter to participate in the "Great Housing Mission" that aims to build three million homes in the Latin American country by 2019.

The government will sign a contract with Sany, the world's sixth largest heavy machinery company, to import new equipment so as to accelerate the construction of at least 400,000 new apartments this year.

"We are going at a faster pace and we have to install Chinese companies here in our country to double everything that we are bringing over from China," Maduro said.

The Venezuelan leader said that over 220 new cranes imported from China were already in use for the renovation of residential buildings in poor areas of the country, under a program called "Barrio Nuevo, Barrio Tricolor."

According to Ricardo Molina, Venezuela's minister of housing, Chinese companies have helped build over 14,000 homes in the country in the last three years and 15,000 more are now under construction.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chinese financing boosts Sino-LatAm cooperation: Chinese envoy   2015-04-23

BUENOS AIRES, April 22 (Xinhua) -- China's ambassador to Argentina, Yang Wanming, suggests Latin American nations make the best use of the financing offered by China as part of integral bilateral cooperation.

"The Chinese government has established a line of credit amounting to 20 billion U.S. dollars, exclusively to fund infrastructure projects in Latin American countries," said Yang, addressing a seminar on China-Argentina relations, organized by the Political, Economic and Social Studies Foundation for the New Argentina (FEPESNA) in Buenos Aires.

In addition, China has helped create the China-Latin America Cooperation Fund, financed with 5 billion U.S. dollars, and another 50 billion-dollar fund especially for joint agricultural projects between the two regions.

"I think Latin American entrepreneurs can make the most of the opportunity to strengthen their connection with their Chinese counterparts," said Yang.

The ambassador invited participants "to explore the potential for cooperation, by taking advantage of institutional mechanisms."

To that end, said Yang, China and LatAm countries are working to organize a business forum "to promote bilateral economic and investment cooperation," as well as "expand industrial cooperation" and "jointly take the global industrial chain to a higher level."

In the case of Argentina, said Yang, "many pioneering bilateral projects have been launched with the help of cooperation financing," and more opportunities lie ahead, as both two nations pursue their national development goals.

To spur economic development, "in China today we give greater importance to quality, efficiency and intensive development," said Yang. "At the same time, Argentina's government is working on modernizing, implementing the 'Argentina 2020' development strategy."

"The similarity in objectives and development orientation, as well as the complementarity of the conditions and necessities of both countries, offer Sino-Argentinean cooperation an immense market, exceptional investment opportunities and greater potentialities," said the ambassador, adding bilateral relations are expected to "move forward at great strides."

"Thanks to the parallel development of mutual investment, financial cooperation and the creation of institutional mechanisms, the economic and trade ties between the two countries have increasingly become integrated," Yang told the seminar participants.

"We are willing to continue diversifying the portfolio of imports from Argentina, and working with you to promote other businesses, to increase the added value of bilateral trade," Yang said.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

In first, gay US chorus to tour Cuba

Yahoo – AFP, 23 April 2015

Cubans participate in a march against homophobia on May 10, 2014 in
Havana (AFP Photo/Yamil Lage)

Washington (AFP) - A US gay men's chorus on Wednesday announced a first-of-a-kind tour of Cuba, hoping to highlight the fight for equal rights as the communist island opens up.

The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC, which has performed in the US capital since 1981, said it would tour Cuba from July 10 to 18 and take part in public events to promote gay rights.

"As we know from our long history of concerts worldwide, person-to-person interaction can be a key driver of social change," the executive director of the chorus, Chase Maggiano, said.

The group said the trip would be the first by any gay chorus to Cuba.

Gay choral music emerged as a genre in San Francisco in the 1970s, offering a way to promote gay rights through fun-spirited performances.

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro cracked down on gays after taking power in 1959 and activists say that homophobia remains common in Cuba.

But Fidel's niece Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuba's current President Raul Castro, has spearheaded a campaign to promote greater tolerance of sexual minorities.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Vatican says pope to visit Cuba in September

Yahoo – AFP, 22 April 2015

Pope Francis played a role in the diplomatic thaw between the US and Cuba
(AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis, who played a key role in the diplomatic thaw between Washington and Havana, will visit Cuba in September after a scheduled visit to the US, the Vatican confirmed on Wednesday.

His visit to the communist-ruled island which is home to many Roman Catholics will be the third by a pope after Jean Paul II in 1998 and Benedict XVI in 2012.

The Holy See has said that the 78-year-old Argentine pontiff had personally mediated between the United States and Cuba, with the Vatican hosting delegations from the two countries in October.

Secret negotiations then led to the surprise announcement in December 2014 that Washington and Havana would seek to restore diplomatic ties.

"The presence of His Holiness in Cuba will be memorable," Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said while on a visit to Brussels.

The pontiff "will receive the warm hospitality of the Cuban people", Rodriguez said, while he expressed Cuba's "pride... to have a Latin American pope."

The Cuban Catholic Church was also overjoyed.

"It's great news. We have plenty of reasons to be very happy," said Orlando Marquez, a spokesman for the Archbishop of Havana.

"The country is going through a very special moment since the presidents of Cuba and the United States announced their bid to re-establish diplomatic relations, and both of them thanked Pope Francis for encouraging this process," Marquez told AFP.

"Cuba and the Cubans are very grateful," he added.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the United States in late September, where he will take part in a Catholic Church congress in Philadelphia.

During the trip, he is also scheduled to speak before the United Nations in New York, become the first pontiff to address the US Congress. He will also meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NY governor heads U.S. trade mission to Cuba   2015-04-21

HAVANA, April 20 (Xinhua) -- A trade mission led by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked off on Monday a two-day visit to Cuba, Cuban daily Granma reported.

The mission aims to ensure the state is "present (from the) beginning of the adventure," said Cuomo, referring to the process launched by Cuba and the U.S. to normalize ties after more than five decades of animosity.

"We are assisting the beginning of the transition in the relationship between the two countries, which is going to have significant economic benefits for both sides," Cuomo told reporters as he arrived at Havana's Jose Marti international airport.

The governor was greeted by Josefina Vidal, general director for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Cuomo, the first U.S. governor to officially visit the island since Cuba and the U.S. decided to restore diplomatic ties in December, heads a delegation of business leaders, including Robin Hayes, CEO of low-cost carrier JetBlue; Walt M. Macnee, vice chairman of credit card company MasterCard; and Freda Lewis-Hall, vice president of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

"As the door begins to open between U.S. and Cuba, we want New York businesses to be first out of the gate when it comes to building trade partnerships," Cuomo posted on Twitter a day prior to the trip.

In addition to industry leaders, the delegation included representatives of educational and research institutions based in New York, and local politicians, such as New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

The visit is part of Cuomo's Global NY initiative, to boost trade and investment for his state, the daily said.

"The representatives in the New York delegation will help ensure the companies of the Empire State are at the forefront when the doors open to a market that has been closed to U.S. companies for more than half a century," Cuomo said in a press release issued before the trip.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Shopping a Daily Puzzle on Remote St. Helena

Jakarta Globe, Jean Liou, Apr 19, 2015

This picture taken on March 10, 2015 shows the entrance of the Rose and
 Crown shop in Jamestown in Jamestown on the tiny island of St. Helena. (AFP
Photo/Jean Liou)

Jamestown. If you think grocery shopping is a chore, spare a moment for those on the tiny island of Saint Helena who never know what will be on the shelves from one day to the next.

The 4,200 inhabitants of Saint Helena have resigned themselves to the reality that choice is a luxury in a place where supplies come only every three weeks on a ship from Cape Town

“This is like living under Soviet rule,” jokes Francois Haffner, a French tourist determined to eat well on the remote South Atlantic island, famous as the place the French military leader Napoleon was exiled until his death in 1821.

“In the first store there is butter, in another there are lemons, and in the third you can find some cream. There are no greens, and eggs aren’t there every day,” said an exasperated Haffner.

“The fish comes at 1:00 pm, the bread after 11:00 am — but no later than 12 noon — and all the shops close at 5:00 pm.”

The shopping schedule requires that hungry tourists and residents dedicate a good chunk of time to planning how to fill their stomachs.

“There are no stores where you can find everything, and shopping takes some time,” said Haffner.

A sign displayed in a shop in Jamestown
on the tiny island of Saint Helena. (AFP
Photo/Jean Liou)
Choice is a luxury

Still, he is determined never to visit the frozen food section, which was stocked with last year’s Christmas pudding in March.

In contrast with Haffner, the 4,200 inhabitants of the British island are more relaxed about the grocery situation, having resigned themselves to the reality that choice is a luxury in a place where supplies come only every three weeks on a ship from Cape Town.

As a result, shopping in the island’s capital, Jamestown, requires some flexibility and a close knowledge of the ship’s schedule.

“Of course, you do not want to starve, but it is better not to look for something specific,” says David Pryce, a native of England who studies insects on the island.

A successful islander has to balance patience with spontaneity, he says.

“You have to make the rounds of stores every day. And if you see something, you have to buy it.”

However, sometimes excitement over new items causes problems, says Tara Thomas, whose family owns four convenience stores.

“When bottled water hits the shop, people bulk buy. They panic buy, and they create another shortage,” she says.

“If people had a normal consumer behavior, we wouldn’t have so many problems.”

Little local produce

Most produce on the island comes from Britain or South Africa.

Little is made domestically. There are cows, for example, but no fresh milk. “We have farmers, but they do not produce enough,” moans Thomas.

What little local produce exists is often bartered between islanders or snapped up by hotels and restaurants before reaching the shelves.

Still, some are hoping to capitalize on the scarcity. Mirroring the fashion overseas for self-sufficiency, entrepreneurs have started small-scale farming.

Joshua Martin, 39, has set up a business delivering tomatoes and cucumbers that he produces in polytunnels.

While his venture is a success, Martin complains there is little coordination between the producers. “Everyone produces the same,” he says.

Then there is the issue of reliability.

“The problem is that we are not regular,” says Aaron Legg, a 30-year-old guide who grows bananas. “Retailers cannot rely on us and they have to import.”

It’s not for lack of want, says Legg, who plans to start growing onions.

“The island imports 70 tons of onions a year from South Africa,” he says incredulously. “If there were onions every day on the shelves people would buy more. There is a huge market.”

Half empty shelfs at an emporium in Jamestown on the tiny island
of Saint Helena. (AFP Photo/Jean Liou)

Shop owners worry that with such short supply they will not be able to accommodate an influx of tourists when weekly flights start between the island and Johannesburg in February next year.

With the monthly ship service set to end after the introduction of the flights, retailers worry their produce options will decrease.

Now they’re in a quandary. “It is not profitable for a ship to come more often,” says Nick Thorpe, one of the leading importers on the island.

“I have the feeling that if they want the ship to come more often, they will have to subsidize it,” he says.

Whether or not that will happen is another story.

Agence France-Presse
Related Article:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Man Who Keeps Napoleon’s Memory Alive

Jakarta GlobeJean Liou, Apr 16, 2015

Honorary French Consul in Saint Helena, Michel Dancoisne-Martineau,
poses on March 12, 2015, next to the flag pole in the garden of Napoleon's last
 residence, known as Longwood House, in Jamestown on the British island
of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. (AFP Photo/Jean Liou)

Jamestown. Michel Dancoisne-Martineau knows that the story of Napoleon’s life in exile is timeless — and irresistible.

The Frenchman is tasked with preserving the property where Napoleon Bonaparte lived after being exiled to the remote South Atlantic island of Saint Helena in 1815 and remained until his death six years later.

”I have a product and I am trying to sell it,” he said.

One of the few Frenchmen on the British island of just 4,200 people, Dancoisne-Martineau manages a 16.5 hectare plot of French territory.

”I want this to last after me,” said the smiling 49-year-old as his dog Papillon [Butterfly] lay at the foot of the bed where France’s greatest military hero died.

Dancoisne-Martineau, who took up his job in 1987, has spearheaded an ambitious project to renovate Longwood House, the home of the former emperor.

The upgrade could not come at a better time.

Napoleon Bonaparte's dining room at his last residence, known as
Longwood House, in Jamestown, Saint Helena. (AFP Photo/Jean Liou)

Next year, St Helena plans to start weekly flight service from Johannesburg — which has only been accessible by a five-day boat journey — in what many islanders hope will result in a significant boost to the tourism sector.

Dancoisne-Martineau intends to be ready.

”Hopefully, we will privatise the management of the building,” he said. “There will be a shop and ticketed entry.”

The property includes Napoleon’s house in Longwood and “Geranium Valley” — the peaceful site where the ex-emperor wanted to be buried if his remains weren’t sent back to his beloved homeland.

Dancoisne-Martineau started by renovating “the generals’ rooms” that housed Napoleon’s companions in exile.

Razed in 1860 and shoddily rebuilt in 1933, the cost to repair the building totalled more than 1.4 million euros ($1.5 million).

The French government committed to footing half of the bill, and he had to find the other half.

Despite the hefty price tag, the upgrade wasn’t difficult to finance.

A sign post on the road leading to Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb in
Jamestown on the British island of Saint Helena. (AFP Photo/Jean Liou)

A labour of love

”An international campaign was conducted with the Napoleon Foundation to raise funds and it has since garnered 1.5 million euros,” said the curator, with a smile.

With the leftover money, Dancoisne-Martineau has started improving the wing of the house occupied by the ex-emperor before he died age 52, plagued by boredom and haunted by spite.

When Napoleon lived there under guard “there was standing water under the floor, water running down the walls, rats were everywhere and there was a permanent musty smell,” said Dancoisne-Martineau.

He choose to present the house the way it was the day Napoleon died — minus the rats and dampness.

”But I didn’t let the walls crumble,” he added.

The refurbished apartments, with guest rooms and seminar facilities, will be inaugurated on October 15 to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s arrival on the island.

After the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon surrendered to the English, hoping for lenient treatment. He must have never imagined they would banish him to a no-man’s land so far from Europe.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s deathbed at his last
 residence, known as Longwood House, in
 Jamestown, Saint Helena. (AFP Photo/
Jean Liou)
Yet, the distance has not stopped people from visiting.

”People do come for Napoleon,” said Mark Capes, the island’s governor.

”For St Helena, the Napoleon legacy is very important, because he is part of what makes St Helena, he is part of our history.

”We celebrate it, and it is part of our marketing.”

As part of the restoration project, Dancoisne-Martineau has sent 32 pieces of furniture to France.

Next year, Les Invalides, a French military complex that houses Napoleon’s grave in Paris, will display them for an exhibition marking the bicentenary of his exile, along with some luxury items that the former French emperor had taken with him.

For Dancoisne-Martineau, a wave of sightseers would be the best way to end his custodianship of Napoleon’s final years before he steps down, maybe as early as next year.

”I’ll resume painting, I abandoned it 15 years ago,” he said.

In the meantime, he has started repairing the roof of a house in Briars Pavilion, above the capital Jamestown, where Napoleon stayed for two months after his arrival in 1815, before moving to Longwood.

That repair isn’t in the official renovation budget. But for Dancoisne-Martineau, preserving Napoleon’s memory has become a labour of love: he’s paying for the roof repairs out of his own pocket.

Agence France-Presse
Related Article:

Remote island St Helena on brink of tourist invasion

Yahoo – AFP, Jean Liou, April 14, 2015

The edge of the runway of the future airport of the island of Saint Helena,
currently under construction in Jamestown (AFP Photo/Jean Liou)

Jamestown (AFP) - The tiny South Atlantic island of Saint Helena -- where Napoleon died in exile -- dreams of becoming a tourist draw when its first airport opens next year despite fears it cannot accommodate an influx of visitors.

For years only accessible by boat, St Helena has just one bank, no cash machine and no mobile telephone reception.

Sailing out to St Helena from Cape Town every three weeks, the boat journey takes five long days. Because the island is so remote, only 1,500 tourists visit each year.

But the tourism office hopes the weekly 4.5-hour passenger flights scheduled to start from Johannesburg in February 2016 will change that -- and the island's economy -- forever.

Its director Cathy Alberts says she expects 30,000 tourists a year, and voices hope that the change will help St Helena become self-sufficient.

Future airport of the island of Saint Helena,
 currently under construction in Jamestown
(AFP Photo/Jean Liou)
Perched in the Atlantic half-way between Africa and South America, the island relies on Britain for most of its income -- £60 million (83 million euros, $89 million) a year -- but has its sights set on financial independence.

"We talk about 600 people per week. So it's not that much," Alberts said. "It is doable, absolutely. As the demand increases, people will start providing the services."

Visitors will have several days in St Helena, ample time to see the local sights, including the house where Napoleon, France's greatest military hero, died on May 5, 1821.

But not everyone is happy with the change.

View galleryFuture airport of the island of Saint Helena, currently …
Future airport of the island of Saint Helena, currently under construction in Jamestown (AFP Photo/J …
The idea of crowds of camera-wielding tourists worries many of the island's 4,200 residents, who worry the island cannot meet such a demand.

"You can imagine the chaos on the roads," said Niall O'Keefe, who heads local development company Enterprise St Helena.

Island life threatened?

Local officials say change would not come instantaneously.

"In 10 years, I see St Helena livelier, with more people, more restaurants, more shops," the island's governor Mark Capes said.

"But it will not be a big bang, it will not happen overnight."

Hoteliers are lobbying for a second flight to Britain, home to most of the island's tourists.

"To have two flights a week, we will need to double our hotel capacity," finance official Dax Richards said, adding that a surge in demand would swamp St Helena's meagre facilities.

View galleryJamestown, the capital of the South Atlantic island …
Jamestown, the capital of the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena (AFP Photo/Jean Liou)
Currently, the island offers just 85 tourists beds for tourists and a few self-catering units.

Beds are just part of the problem. Because of its remoteness and dependence on funding, the island's infrastructure is lacking.

Some in the tourism industry worry that well-heeled visitors will be disappointed by unprofessional service -- or problems like garbage in the Jamestown moat -- and vent their disappointment on influential travel websites.

Others fear something worse: that the island could lose its soul.

"I hope we don't lose our cohesion, our sense of solidarity," tour guide Basil George said. "That's my fear with the airport, not the airport itself."

Building the airport has already disturbed the island, which is framed by craggy volcanic cliffs soaring hundreds of metres above sea level and enjoys a mild climate despite being located near the equator.

A construction crew of 600 has had a big impact during the four-year project, which included chipping away at a mountain and backfilling an entire valley.

Today the runway, 1,950 metres (yards) long and 45 metres wide, ends just before the cliff drops a dramatic 300 metres into the Atlantic Ocean.

Jamestown, the capital of the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena 
(AFP Photo/Jean Liou)

Funded by the British government and built by a South African construction company, the airport cost £250 million (350 million euros, $370 million).

Airport heralds revolution

When South African airline Comair's Boeing 737-800 flights begin, up to 138 passengers will travel into St Helena each week -- roughly the same number of people who arrive every three weeks by boat.

But the runway being built at the island's eastern tip is not long enough to accommodate larger aircraft flying from Europe.

The airport project also includes the construction of a 14-kilometre (nine-mile) access road, which leads into a valley near the capital Jamestown, where a new wharf is being built for £20 million (28 million euros, $30 million).

Before the first plane lifts off, cell phone service is expected to start -- another major upheaval.

Whatever locals think, they must soon accept the inevitable reality that after years in isolation, St Helena is joining the rest of the world.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Obama approves taking Cuba off terror list

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew Beatty, 14 April 2015

President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Cuba's President Raul Castro
 during a meeting on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas on April 11, 
2015 in Panama City (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama has agreed to take Cuba off a list of state sponsors of terrorism, the White House said Tuesday, a key step toward normalizing ties after decades of hostility.

Obama notified Congress of his "intent to rescind" Cuba's inclusion on the list, which had been a major barrier to establishing embassies in Washington and Havana.

US lawmakers have 45 days in which they can oppose the move.

"The government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period," Obama wrote in the notification.

A Cuban and an American flag flutter
 on the balcony of a hotel in Havana, on
April 13, 2015 (AFP Photo/Yamil Lage)
The move comes three days after Obama held an hour-long meeting with Raul Castro, the first face-to-face talks between a Cuban and US president in a half-century.

If the redesignation is successful, Cuba would again have access to the US banking system, allowing an embassy to be opened and paving the way for further trade between the Cold War foes.

Republicans have expressed criticism of Obama's detente with the nominally communist island.

Senator Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, who are considered frontrunners to win the party's presidential nomination, have deep support in Florida's powerful Cuban exile community.

If Congress passes a joint resolution objecting to the move, Obama could then issue a presidential veto.

Obama's ally, Senator Dick Durbin, was quick to welcome the decision.

"While no fan of the Castro regime, I continue to believe that opening up the island to American ideas, vibrancy, and trade is the most effective way to see a more open and tolerant Cuba," he said.

Cuba was first put on the list, which also includes Syria, Sudan and Iran, in 1982 for harboring ETA Basque separatist militants and Colombian FARC rebels.

The White House said that government departments, including intelligence agencies, concluded that Cuba should be taken off the list.

Screen grab from a video released by the Panamanian presidential office 
showing US President Barack Obama (R) and Cuba's Raul Castro shaking hands
during the VII America Summit, in Panama City, on April 10, 2015 (AFP Photo)

"Circumstances have changed since 1982," said Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement."Our hemisphere, and the world, look very different today than they did 33 years ago."

The United States and Cuba broke relations in 1961, the year Obama was born.

Last December Obama announced that after 18 months of secret negotiations, Havana and Washington would seek to normalize relations.

During his meeting with Castro, Obama declared that after 50 years of US policies that had not worked "it was time for us to try something new."

‎"We are now in a position to move on a path toward the future," he said, adding that the immediate task was to reopen embassies.

Cuba wants the quick lifting of a US embargo which forbids most trade and American tourism to the island.

US-Cuban tensions have vexed Washington's relations with Latin America for decades.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

US, Cuban leaders hold first talks in half-century

Yahoo – AFP, 11 April 2015

US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shake hands
 during their meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama, 
Saturday, April 11, 2015. The leaders of the United States and Cuba held their
 first formal meeting in more than half a century on Saturday, clearing the way
 for a normalization of relations that had seemed unthinkable to both Cubans
and Americans for generations. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Panama City (AFP) - US President Barack Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro held unprecedented face-to-face talks in Panama on Saturday, ditching decades of Cold War-era antagonism in a historic effort to restore diplomatic ties.

In the first substantive talks between leaders of both nations since 1956, Obama thanked Castro for his "spirit of openness," while the communist leader stressed that the negotiations will require patience.

The talks were the climax of their surprise announcement on December 17 that, after 18 months of secret negotiations, they would seek to normalize relations between their two nations.

"This is obviously a historic meeting," said Obama, who spoke first after they sat down for their talks on the sidelines of the 35-nation Summit of the Americas.

Obama declared that, after 50 years of policies that had not worked, "it was time for us to try something new."

‎"We are now in a position to move on a path toward the future," he said.

After Obama spoke, the two men stood up and shook hands.

Saying he agreed with everything Obama said, Castro said the two government can still have differences but "with respect of the ideas of the others."

"We are willing to discuss everything but we need to be patient, very patient," he said.

The two leaders had already made conciliator speeches moments earlier during the summit, sitting in an oval table with some 30 other regional leaders.

US-Cuban tensions have vexed Washington's relations with the region for decades.

"This shift in US policy represents a turning point for our entire region," Obama said.

As the US leader looked on, Castro declared: "President Obama is an honest man."

Differences remain

But both leaders acknowledged that the two countries, as they negotiate to restore diplomatic relations that broke off in 1961, will continue to have disagreements.

Obama cited the human rights situation in Cuba, while Castro renewed calls for the US Congress to lift a decades-old embargo.

"I think it's no secret, President Castro I'm sure would agree, that there will continue to be significant differences between our two countries," Obama said.

It was Cuba's first time participating at the 21-year-old summit.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos summed up the mood, saying "an old obstacle in relations between Latin America and North America is being removed."

US and Cuba diplomats have held negotiations to restore embassies since January.

Cuba has demanded to be removed from a US list of state sponsors of terrorism before embassies can reopen, noting that this has blocked the country's access to bank credit.

Castro told the summit that Obama was taking a "positive step" by reviewing his country's inclusion on the list.

The White House indicated that Obama was not yet ready to decide whether to remove Havana from the blacklist, but that it could not rule out an announcement in Panama.

Obama has urged the US Congress to lift the embargo on Cuba, which was imposed in 1962, barring most trade with the island as well as tourism.

Venezuela tensions surface

But as Obama sought to turn the page on Cold War-era tensions, US tensions with Venezuela also took the stage.

Obama left the room to head to a bilateral meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, before Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro spoke to criticize him.

"I respect you, but I don't trust you, President Obama," Maduro said.

He urged Obama to lift sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of committing human rights abuses. The order has particularly irritated Maduro because it calls Caracas a US national security threat.

"I am willing to talk with President Obama about this issue with respect and sincerity whenever he wants," Maduro said.

Maduro said he has publicly and privately sought to speak with Obama ever since the Venezuelan leader was elected two years ago, but his US counterpart "never answered the messages that I sent him."

The White House sought to ease tensions ahead of the summit, saying it did not really believe that Venezuela posed a national security threat.

Maduro's leftist allies rallied behind him.

"The response has been forceful, rejecting the executive order and demanding its removal," Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa said.

"Our people will never again accept tutelage, meddling and intervention."

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