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, May 31, 2015

Police arrest meteorite thieves with 1,500 kilos of rock in Argentina

Police in Argentina have arrested four men who were trying to steal meteorites in the northern province of Chaco. The region is world famous for the space rocks which are protected under law.

Deutsche Welle, 31 May 2015

The 215 large pieces of meteorites weighing 1,500 kilos (3,300 pounds) were hidden in a truck which was stopped in a random search by police on Saturday. Three Argentines and one Paraguayan were detained by police.

The province of Chaco in the north of Argentina is famous for meteorites which are protected under Argentine law. There is an area called the "Field of Heaven," covering 1,300 square kilometers (500 square miles) - an area that scientists say got pelted 4,000 years ago by a major meteor shower.

State minister Javier Oteo said that "there was still no information on the place from where the meteorites had been stolen" but the "Field of Heaven" was just 32 kilometers (20 miles) from General Pinedo where the truck was stopped.

"The information we have is minimal and preliminary," Oteo said. "We are interested in the case because it concerns public property belonging to people from Chaco, Argentinians and all of humanity."

Among the meteorites in the "Field of Heaven" is the 37.4 tonne "El Chaco," the largest in Argentina and believed to be the second-largest in the world. In 1990 it was on the point of being sold illegally to a collector in the US.

jm/jr (EFE, dpa)

Friday, May 29, 2015

US formally drops Cuba from terrorism 'blacklist'

Cuba was placed on list in 1982 but has ‘provided assurances it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future’ yet economic sanctions remain

The Guardian, Alan Yuhas, Friday 29 May 2015

The removal of Cuba from the US terrorism list eliminates an obstacle toward
restoring diplomatic ties between the US and the communist-led Caribbean
island state after 50-year estrangement. Photograph: Desmond Boylan/AP
The United States has formally dropped Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, the US State Department has announced, adding a symbolic punctuation mark to the talks that aim to end decades of antagonism.

The removal of Cuba from the US terrorism list eliminates an obstacle to restoring diplomatic ties between the countries after a 50-year estrangement. Cuban diplomats had urged rescission as a condition of normalizing relations, alongside the restoration of bank services for Cubans in the US.

But the removal will have a limited impact on US economic sanctions, which remain in place under the embargo that has been imposed by Congress for decades.

Rescinding the designation against Cuba is “an important step”, an American official told Reuters, before qualifying that “as a practical matter, most restrictions related to exports and foreign aid will remain due to the comprehensive trade and arms embargo”.

While some businesses and travelers have taken advantage of the relaxed rules surrounding Cuba, major banks and financial institutions remain wary of the legal minefield put in place by the embargo.

“The embargo is still the big 800lb gorilla in the room,” said David Schwartz, chief executive of the Florida International Bankers Association. “Lifting the terror designation is a help to foreign banks that are dealing with Cuba and have had that concern, and this may in their mind ease that burden.

“But although the administration is pushing to the limit of what they can do, to go any further would require lifting the embargo,” he said.

President Barack Obama ordered the State Department in December to review Cuba’s presence on the terror list and report back to him within six months, as part of his administration’s new policy toward the island nation.

When that review was complete, Obama wrote to Congress in April, saying that the Cuban government “has not provided any support for international terrorism” in the past six months, and has “provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future”.

In its statement, the State Department said: “While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.”

A handful of outspoken congressman, including Florida senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, immediately denounced rapprochement. Rubio said that to take Cuba off the list would be a “terrible mistake”, but he and allies such as representatives Pete King and Scott Garrett failed to muster congressional resistance against the rescission.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush agreed with Rubio, his unofficial rival for the Republican 2016 nomination, in calling the move a mistake. “Obama seems more interested in capitulating to our adversaries than in confronting them,” he said

Cuba was placed on the list in 1982 for supporting communist rebels in Latin America and Africa, but the US has not accused the island nation of direct military assistance for a foreign terrorist group in years.

Recent State Department reports have criticized Cuba for offering safe haven to members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Farc, and the Basque separatist group Eta. Cuba has since distanced itself from Eta, and is currently hosting peace talks between Farc and the Colombian government.

Frank Calzon of the Center for Free Cuba, a pro-democracy group, brought up Farc as well as American fugitives who fled to Cuba in his criticism of the Obama administration. “The president has given up the one leverage he had to obtain fugitives that murdered Americans and who are enjoying the hospitality of the Castro regime,” he said.

“Cuba’s listing as a sponsor of terror was renewed for years under this president. I think it’s shameful that Mr Obama acquiesced to Raúl Castro’s pressure.”

Both the president and Congress were criticized by Joe Connor, an American whose father was killed by a bomb set by Puerto Rican nationalists, one of whom escaped prison to Cuba. “We are truly living in an upside-down society,” Connor said, when “Obama capitulates to the likes of Cuba and then Congress, who is supposed to represent the people, capitulates to Obama.”

But the Cuban-American community has grown increasingly divided by age and politics over relations with the island, as evinced by other groups who voiced support for the removal.

The Washington DC-based Cuba Study Group said it was “pleased” by the rescission from the list. “For years, the arguments justifying Cuba’s continued inclusion [were] becoming more political than factual,” the group said, before urging Congress to lift the embargo.

“While today’s announcement is important and symbolic, the US’s complex web of codified sanctions still create significant obstacles which hinder our ability to assist Cuba’s civil society and thus facilitate peaceful change,” their statement reads.

Younger Cuban Americans have also supported rapprochement with Cuba, forming organizations such as Cuba Now, which supports greater business ties between US and Cuban companies. Ric Herrero, executive director of the group, welcomed the change of Cuba’s status. Conceding “there is much to criticize about the Cuban government’s repressive practices”, he described Cuba’s place on the list as “the result of domestic political calculations rather than factual findings”.

“By lifting the designation, a cloud is lifted that will make it easier for US citizens and American businesses to embrace the new regulatory environment in support of the Cuban people.”

Roots for Hope, a nonprofit led by young people in the Miami area, similarly advocates for greater interaction with Cubans, and has allied with tech companies to build internet infrastructure on the island.

The only countries that will now remain on the US terror list are Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

CONCACAF dismisses Webb, Li, as Sanz put on leave

Yahoo – AFP, 28 may 2015

CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb on May 28, 2014 in Miami (AFP Photo/
Robert Sullivan)

Miami (AFP) - Embattled FIFA executive committee members Jeffrey Webb and Eduardo Li were "provisionally dismissed" Thursday by CONCACAF, football's governing body for North America, in the wake of corruption charges filed by US authorities.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Football Association (CONCACAF) dropped Webb, its president and president of the Cayman Islands football association, and Li, an executive committee member and Costa Rica's football federation president, after they were among FIFA officials charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies on Wednesday.

CONCACAF's general secretary, Colombian-American sports executive Enrique Sanz, was also placed on an immediate leave of absence.

President of the Costa Rican football federation
 Eduardo Li speaks during a press conference
 in San Jose, Costa Rica on May 17, 2011 (AFP
Photo/Rodrigo Arangua)
He is a vice president at Traffic Sports USA, whose president, Aaron Davidson, was among the sports marketing executives charged in the scandal.

CONCACAF also named executive committee vice president Alfredo Hawit, head of the Honduras football federation, to take over Webb's duties as president.

Sanz's duties were assumed by his deputy, Ted Howard, who had served in the role before in 2012, when he replaced Chuck Blazer, who pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering in connection with the probe.

CONCACAF's executive committee named US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, his Mexican counterpart Justino Compean and Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani to a special committee tasked with "evaluating and sustaining" CONCACAF business operations in the wake of the scandal.

In addition to Blazer, a former US representative on FIFA's executive committee, a guilty plea was entered by Jose Hawilla, owner and founder of the Brazil-based Traffic Group sports marketing firm whose US unit is based in Florida.

Hawit tried to portray CONCACAF, whose offices were raided by US authorities on Wednesday, as a victim of the corruption rather than as part of the problem.

"While we are profoundly disappointed by the allegations made by authorities that again, CONCACAF has been the victim of fraud, we remain committed to CONCACAF's goal to develop, promote and manage the game of soccer," Hawit said.

"We have now taken the appropriate steps to maintain our operations and continue to deliver on our commitments to all of our constituents, including our fans, members, as well as commercial and broadcast partners.

"We also continue to cooperate with the ongoing investigation by governmental authorities, which have not placed any restrictions on our ongoing activities."

CONCACAF's Gold Cup, the biennial tournament between national teams from the region, is set to be played in July in the United States.

Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner arrested in FIFA bribery scandal

Former FIFA executive Jack Warner has surrendered to authorities in Trinidad and Tobago as a massive scandal charging top officials with bribery continues to unfold. Warner has denied any wrongdoing.

Deutsche Welle, 28 May 2015

Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner was arrested late Wednesday in Trinidad and Tobago, the latest high-profile figure to be ensnared in a sweeping corruption scandal charging top soccer federation leaders took $150 million (137 million euros) in bribes and kickbacks over more than 20 years.

US prosecutors allege Warner accepted bribes during host selections for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, held in France and South Africa respectively.

Prosecutors say Warner, in a scheme to fix the voting for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, directed a family member to fly to Paris to "accept a briefcase containing bundles of U.S. currency in $10,000 stacks in a hotel room from a high-ranking South African bid committee official."

The 72-year-old Warner initially protested his innocence on Facebook, but later turned himself in to authorities. He was granted $2.5 million bail and was expected to be held overnight Wednesday. Warner has denied any wrongdoing.

Warner's arrest follows the announcement Wednesday of racketeering and other charges against top FIFA executives, several of whom were arrested in a Zurich hotel. Six of those arrested are fighting extradition to the United States, according to the Swiss justice ministry.

The indicted "were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest and to protect the integrity of the game," said US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who formally announced the charges.

"Instead, they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves," Lynch said.

AFC backs Blatter

FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter has resisted 
calls to step down amid the scandal
Meanwhile, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is facing a reelection vote this Friday, has not been targeted in the investigation.

"Let me be clear: such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game," Blatter said after the scandal broke.

UEFA, European soccer's governing body, has called for Friday's vote to be postponed, saying the FIFA congress and presidential election risked becoming "farce," the Asian Football Confederation, a key ally of Blatter, insisted Thursday that the FIFA congress and presidential election go ahead as initially planned.

The AFC "expresses its disappointment and sadness at Wednesday's events in Zurich whilst opposing any delay in the FIFA presidential elections," a statement from the AFC said.

"Furthermore, the AFC reiterates its decision taken at the AFC Congress in Sao Paulo in 2014, endorsed at subsequent congresses in Melbourne and Manama in 2015, to support FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter."

Despite not having UEFA's support, Blatter is expected to easily win re-election as he is supported by a wide majority of 209 national soccer federations that will cast ballots Friday.

bw/jil (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Camorra mob boss arrested in Brazil after 30 years on the run

Brazilian police have captured Pasquale Scotti, one of the most wanted mobsters in Italy, officials have said. The fugitive had started a new life in Brazil after changing his name and appearance.

Deutsche Welle, 27 May 2015

Pasquale Scotti was arrested in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife, in a joint operation with Interpol, Brazilian police announced Tuesday. The former boss of the Camorra crime syndicate had been on the run since the mid-1980s, and was convicted for more than 20 homicides by an Italian court.

The 56-year old Scotti was seized while driving his two teenage daughters to school, according to the AFP news agency.

Before his arrest, Scotti had been living in Recife for 28 years, under a name of Francisco de Castro Visconti. He used false identification, taxpayer and voter registration documents, and apparently underwent several plastic surgery procedures, the police have said.

The fugitive has also married a Brazilian woman, and owned a real estate and a fireworks company.

The man told the police that not even his Brazilian family knew his true identity, and that he wanted to "forget his past; that Pasquale Scotti no longer existed. Only Francisco de Castro exists," according to the head of Interpol's Brazilian operation, Federal olice officer Valdecy Urquiza Junior.

The former mafia boss also said that he left Italy out of fear of being killed.

Escape from the hospital

Italian authorities managed to arrest Scotti, a known member of Naples mafia, after a shootout in 1983. Scotti has suffered several gunshot during the gun battle.

On Christmas Eve of 1984, he managed to escape the hospital where he was treated after signing a plea bargain. Despite a series of raids and road blocks, Italian police were not able to locate him.

"He left no traces. It's as if he vanished," Italian police were quoted as saying in a La Repubblica article from the time.

The Camorra chief was later convicted in absentia by an Italian court for illegal possession of firearms, extortion and dozens of murders.

Italy's most wanted

On Tuesday, Brazilian police said that Scotti was indentified by comparing archived fingerprints. The Italian authorities have started the process leading to his extradition, officials have said.

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano praised the arrest as an "extraordinary" success, underling that Scotti was among the most sought and dangerous fugitives on Italy's most-wanted list.

dj/rc (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tornado, floods leave deadly trail at Mexico-US border

Yahoo – AFP, Leticia Pineda, 26 May 2015

People survey a destroyed car in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico on May 25, 2015 after 
a tornado ripped into the town killing at least 13 people (AFP Photo/Raul Llamas)

Mexico City (AFP) - A tornado ripped into a town in northern Mexico, killing at least 13 people and flattening hundreds of homes in a deadly six-second blast of carnage, officials said.

The savage twister roared through the Mexican border town of Ciudad Acuna at dawn, tossing cars and big rig trucks into the air before they smashed into houses and buildings.

Images from the aftermath showed several crumpled vehicles resting against walls and roofs as shellshocked inhabitants of the town of 136,000 struggled to make sense of the devastation.

The tornado came as ferocious weather battered swathes of Mexico and the southern United States, where rescuers hunted for 12 people missing in flash floods across Texas and Oklahoma that left three people dead.

In Mexico, national civil protection coordinator Luis Felipe Puente told Foro TV that "more than 1,000 homes" had been affected.

The tornado swept in at "impressive speed" of 270-300 kilometers (168-186 miles) per hour and lasted only six seconds, Puente said.

This May 24, 2015 handout photo provided by the Blanco Police Department in Blanco,
 Texas shows the bridge on Rte 165 spanning the Blanco River that was washed away 
by flash flooding caused by torrential downpours (AFP Photo)

Coahuila Interior Secretary Victor Zamora said the death toll rose from 11 to 13. The victims include 10 adults and three children.

Almost 230 people were hurt after getting hit or cut by objects thrown by the wind, Zamora told Milenio television. Of those, 88 were still getting treatment in the afternoon.

Ciudad Acuna Mayor Evaristo Lenin Perez said a seven-year-old boy was missing, while rescuers combed through the rubble to look for any more victims or survivors.

'Practically destroyed'

Most of the fatalities were people who were out on the street.

"We have hundreds of houses that are practically destroyed," Perez said, appealing for water, canned food and clothing for the victims.

Authorities opened eight temporary shelters for those left homeless.
The tornado whipped up as heavy rains pounded the city, with hail falling in some areas.

Three of the fatalities, including two children, were killed when a ceiling collapsed on them, local press reports said.

Parts of Austin, Texas are shown inundated
 after days of heavy rain on May 25, 
2015 (AFP Photo/Drew Anthony Smith)
President Enrique Pena Nieto offered federal aid and said such tornadoes are "unusual in our country."

Across the border in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott declared states of disaster in 24 counties as severe weather lashed the region.

"I strongly urge all Texans to exercise every possible precaution to ensure their safety and the safety of their families and neighbors," Abbott said in a statement.

Authorities in the Texas city of San Marcos ordered residents to evacuate as flood waters rose menacingly around them, following torrential rain that turned streets into meandering rivers.

Cars and trucks were submerged and people used inflatable lounge chairs to float down the street, in surreal scenes.

As many as 400 homes in the surrounding area were destroyed, authorities said, and San Marcos opened temporary shelters to host residents who could not return home.

At least 12 people are reported missing in Texas, said Kharley Smith, emergency response coordinator for Hays County, which includes San Marcos.

Search parties

She said people were forming their own search parties along the Blanco River, and warned them against this, saying it was dangerous.

"We have local resources, regional and state assets that are actively doing search and rescues," Smith told a news conference.

Tape is stretched across a flooded Sixth 
Street after days of heavy rain on May 25,
 2015 in Austin, Texas (AFP Photo/Drew
Anthony Smith)
"It's not safe for the general public to go down and do those rescue or search operations themselves."

The city council said the river had broken record levels set in the 1920s.

Fire Marshal Ken Bell told CNN that at least one person was confirmed dead and crews were searching for three missing people.

At least two people also died in Oklahoma, which is located to the north of Texas.

A firefighter in the town of Claremore died when he was swept into a storm drain while trying to help a resident in floodwaters, CNN said, and a woman in Tulsa died after her car hydroplaned.

The National Weather Service warned that strong to severe thunderstorms were expected across a large stretch of the central and southern plains toward the Mississippi River Valley.

Vehicles are left stranded on Interstate 45 in Houston, Texas on May 26, 2015,
after heavy rains put the city under massive amounts of water (AFP Photo/
Aaron M. Sprecher)

Related Articles:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fears for pink iguanas as Galapagos volcano erupts

Yahoo – AFP, 25 May 2015

The eruption of the volcano Wolf on Isabela Island, Galapagos on
May 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/Diego Paredes)

Quito (AFP) - A volcano in the Galapagos islands erupted for the first time in more than 30 years Monday, sending streams of lava flowing down its slopes and potentially threatening the world's only colony of pink iguanas.

The Galapagos National Park warned on Twitter that Isabela Island, where Wolf volcano erupted at dawn, holds "the world's only population" of the iguanas, Conolophus marthae, also known as the Galapagos rosy iguana.

Park officials told AFP they were not immediately able to establish whether the iguanas were at risk from the eruption.

A tourist boat passing by the uninhabited island informed authorities the 1,707-meter (5,600-foot) volcano was erupting.

Park officials then flew over the area to assess the impact of the eruption.

Pictures released by the park show fiery streams of lava trickling down the side of the volcano as a puff of smoke rises into the air and tongues of fire dart from the crater.

Wolf volcano had last erupted in 1982.

Isabela Island is the largest in the Galapagos, the Ecuadoran archipelago made famous by Charles Darwin's studies of its breathtaking biodiversity, which was crucial in his development of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

The island chain, which sits about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, is one of the most volcanically active regions in the world.

Isabela island, which strides the equator, also has four other volcanoes: Darwin, Alcedo, Cerro Azul and Sierra Negra.

Colombian government, FARC rebels resume peace talks

Yahoo – AFP, Francisco Jara, 25 May 2015

Rebel leader Pablo Catatumbo reads a statement during the peace talks with
 the Colombian government at Convention Palace in Havana, on May 25, 2015 
(AFP Photo/Adalberto Roque)

Havana (AFP) - The Colombian government and FARC guerrillas resumed peace talks Monday in Havana amid heightened tensions following air strikes that killed dozens of rebels.

Rebel leader Pablo Catatumbo condemned the government offensive as he arrived for the talks, which opened in November 2012 but have made only halting progress on ending the five-decade-old conflict.

"Without a doubt, the tragic events are a step backward in what we've achieved up to now at the negotiating table," he said.

The head of the Colombian government 
delegation to the FARC peace talks, 
Humberto de la Calle (C), arrives at 
Convention Palace in Havana on 
May 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/Adalberto
"They can't expect military pressure or threats to break our will to fight. That's the wrong path and it's obvious that peace will never be reached by escalating the conflict."

The two sides had postponed the talks on Friday "by common agreement" as tensions spiralled in the wake of an air strike that killed 26 rebel fighters, according to a source close to the government.

Hopes for a breakthrough had been raised in December when the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced an indefinite unilateral ceasefire.

President Juan Manuel Santos partially reciprocated in March by suspending air strikes on FARC positions.

But the outlook has deteriorated since the FARC killed 11 soldiers last month in an ambush in the western department of Cauca, a rebel stronghold.

They defended the attack as a "defensive" action taken against an army siege, but a furious Santos ordered the resumption of air strikes.

The military killed 26 rebels Friday in an air strike and ground offensive in Cauca, then killed eight more in strikes in the northwestern department of Antioquia at the weekend.

The FARC, which has an estimated 8,000 fighters, suspended their ceasefire in the wake of the first strike.

Government 'took advantage'

The country's second-largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN) voiced its solidarity with its "sister organization" the FARC.

The ELN, which has an estimated 2,500 fighters, has held preliminary talks with both the government and the FARC on joining the peace process, but has so far not opened formal negotiations.

"The daring decision to declare an indefinite unilateral ceasefire is a bold gesture to create a climate favorable to peace," the ELN said in a statement.

"The Santos government, far from understanding that gesture, took advantage of it to make military gains."

Santos, who narrowly won re-election last year promising to bring the peace talks he started to fruition, has defended Friday's air strike as a "legitimate action."

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of 
Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group was 
founded in 1964 to defend peasant
farmers (AFP Photo/Luis Robayo)
He called Saturday to accelerate the negotiations, saying the talks have carried on for a full year "without any substantial advance."

The FARC has repeatedly called on Santos to agree to a bilateral ceasefire, but the president has refused to consider a truce without a final peace deal in place.

The talks in the Cuban capital have so far achieved partial deals on several issues, including political participation for rebels and ending the drug trafficking that has fueled the conflict.

But a final deal remains elusive.

The conflict has killed more than 200,000 people since the FARC was launched in 1964 in the wake of a peasant uprising.

It has also uprooted some five million people, drawing in a web of leftist rebel groups, right-wing paramilitaries and drug traffickers in a half-century of violence.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Salvadoran 'voice of voiceless' archbishop Romero beatified

Business Insider – AFP, Marco Sibaja, Carlos Mario Marquez, May 23, 2015

Thousands of Catholic faithful participate in a ceremony celebrating the beatification
 of martyr archbishop Oscar Romero at Las Americas square in San Salvador,
on May 23, 2015

San Salvador (AFP) - Cheers rang from a crowd of hundreds of thousands Saturday as former archbishop Oscar Romero, whose defense of the poor and repressed divided both his nation and the Church, was beatified.

Officials estimated some 300,000 worshipers attended the massive ceremony on San Salvador's main square, where Pope Francis's envoy, Angelo Amato, conferred the title of "blessed" on Romero, putting him one step from sainthood.

Waving flags and decked out in t-shirts printed with Romero's face, jubilant crowds carrying placards and photos of the archbishop came out for the event.

Amato read a letter from the Pope proclaiming to the crowd that Romero "henceforth is called blessed."

"By virtue of our apostolic authority, we empower the venerable servant of God, Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez," with the honor, Amato said.

The huge crowd applauded following the declaration, a choir sang, and a giant portrait of Romero was unveiled to audience cheers.

Four presidents and delegations from 57 countries paid tribute to the man nicknamed the "Voice of the Voiceless," who was shot through the heart by a sniper on March 24, 1980 while delivering mass in a hospital chapel.

Amato said the date would be celebrated as Romero's feast, part of a Catholic tradition that associates each day with one or more saint.

The late archbishop's younger brother Gaspar Romero represented his family on stage, with some 100 members attending the event.

"As a family, we are honored by this gift given to us by our Lord through the Pope, we now have a saint in the family that everyone already calls Saint Romero of America," said 85-year-old Gaspar.

For some, Romero's beatification secures his place in history. 

"We all feel indescribable joy for his beatification. We never met Monsignor Romero in life, but our parents have told us about him and his legacy," said 21-year-old Carmen Ayala.

Others were there to celebrate his core principle of defending the needy.

"Today we glorify the bishop who championed the poor and whose truth prevailed over lies," said Juan Flores, wearing a Romero shirt. 

An inspiration and a martyr 

US President Barack Obama welcomed Romero's beatification, calling him an inspiration and a martyr.

"He was a wise pastor and a courageous man who persevered in the face of opposition from extremes on both sides," Obama said in a statement.

"He fearlessly confronted the evils he saw, guided by the needs of his beloved pueblo, the poor and oppressed people of El Salvador."

US Secretary of State John Kerry called Romero "a courageous defender of human rights," congratulating the people of El Salvador for the beatification of a man who guided them at "a time of deep division and sorrow."

Security was tight at Saturday's gathering, with helicopters and military airplanes hovering over the proceeding.

On Friday, thousands joined a rain-soaked procession, walking two kilometers (1.2 miles) to the crypt in San Salvador's cathedral where Romero's remains lie. 

The movement to make Romero a saint was long resisted by conservative Catholics and the Salvadoran right, who saw veiled Marxism in his sermons eulogizing the poor and radio broadcasts condemning government repression.

The petition languished for years at the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, finally moving forward in February when Pope Francis named Romero a martyr for the Church, one of the paths to sainthood.

Though Romero remains controversial in El Salvador, criticism is more muted than in the past.

Even El Salvador's right-wing Arena party showed its support for the archbishop in a Saturday newspaper advertisement.

"We join the celebration of the Catholic Church in the beatification of Archbishop Romero and share his message of reconciliation," the ad read.

But not everyone at Saturday's gathering joined the praise.

"Outside of El Salvador, he has the image of a saint, but here he is known as a figure who sowed division among Salvadorans," said 28-year-old businessman Alberto Mojica.

Romero's assassination occurred at the outset of El Salvador's civil war, and propelled the country deeper into a brutal conflict that raged until 1992, when the right-wing government signed a peace deal with the leftist guerrillas of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).

No one was ever convicted of Romero's killing, but a UN-sponsored truth commission concluded it was carried out by a right-wing death squad under the orders of Roberto D'Aubuisson, a former army officer who died the year the war ended. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Beijing to launch US$30bn special fund for Latin America projects

Want China Times, Xinhua and Staff Writer, 2015-05-20

Li Keqiang speaks at the State Council in Beijing, May 12. (File photo/Xinhua)

Premier Li Keqiang announced in Brazil on Tuesday that Beijing is to establish a US$30 billion special fund for promoting China-Latin America cooperation in production capacity and equipment manufacturing.

The fund will be channeled directly to cooperation projects, Li said at the closing ceremony of a China-Brazil business summit.

The premier is now on a four-nation Latin America tour, a main objective of which is to expand production capacity cooperation.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Li Keqiang arrives in Brazil for official visit

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-05-19

A girl presents Li Keqiang with a bouquet on his arrival in Brazil,
May 18. (Photo/Xinhua)

The Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, arrived in Brazil Monday for an official visit at the invitation of President Dilma Rousseff.

Upon his arrival, Li said China and Brazil are influential developing countries with deep friendship, complementarity in economic structures and compatibility in development strategies, and both are striving to develop economy and improve people's livelihoods.

China, Li said, always views relations with Brazil from strategic and long-term perspectives, highly values Brazil's economic and social achievements, and is fully confident of the future of the bilateral relationship.

He said he wishes to conduct in-depth exchanges of views with Brazilian leaders on further increasing mutual political trust, deepening practical cooperation and enhancing cultural and people-to-people exchanges, with a focus on cooperation in production capacity, equipment manufacturing, infrastructure construction, and trade and investment.

He said he is also looking forward to communicating with the Brazilian side on issues such as BRICS cooperation, climate change, international financial cooperation and China-Latin America relations, in order to safeguard and promote the common interest of emerging-market economies and developing countries.

The premier expressed confidence that the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership will be further advanced.

Latin America has made great contributions to human civilization and progress of human society and is playing a significant role in the current development of the world, Li said.

In recent years, he said, China and Latin America have made great development in their relations, establishing a comprehensive partnership featuring equality, mutual benefit and common prosperity.

Li voiced hope that his visit will enhance China-Latin America exchanges, strengthen traditional friendship, push forward cooperation in production capacity, promote two-way trade and investment, and build an upgraded version of comprehensive and mutually beneficial cooperation.

During his stay in Brazil, Li will hold talks with Rousseff and attend a joint press conference. The two will also attend a video ground-breaking ceremony for the ultra-high voltage electricity transmission project in the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam.

Li will also meet with Brazilian parliamentary leaders and attend the closing ceremony of a bilateral business summit. He will also go to Rio de Janeiro and visit Chinese equipment manufacturing exhibitions.

Li is in Brazil now after a transit visit to Ireland. Brazil is the first stop of Li's four-nation Latin America tour, his first to the region since he assumed premiership in 2013. Besides Brazil, Li will also visit Colombia, Peru and Chile.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cuba's Elian Gonzalez, now grown up, hopes to return to US

Yahoo - AFP, 18 May 2015

Elian Gonzalez (R), in a church in Havana, during the celebration of 10th
Anniversary of his return from Miami, on June 30, 2010 (AFP Photo/
Adalberto Roque)

Washington (AFP) - Elian Gonzalez, who as a child was at the center of a bitter international custody battle between his Cuban father and his Miami relatives, now dreams of returning to the United States, he said in an interview broadcast Monday.

Now 21, Gonzalez was just six years old when he was found floating off of Florida's coast in November, 1999.

A rickety boat carrying his mother and several other would-be refugees, capsized, and Elian -- found floating in a car inner tube -- was the only survivor.

Fifteen years later, asked where he would like to go if he could travel anywhere in the world, Gonzalez in an interview with ABC television replied without hesitating: "Los Estados Unidos" -- the United States.

"I want the time to give my love to American people," he added in halting English.

He recalled for ABC the trauma of his mother's death.

"I remember when the boat capsized, when we fell on the sea," he said.

"I remember when I was put on the raft and my mom was covering me and I was raising my head, looking around... and at some point I raised my head and I didn't see her again," Elian recounted.

"I was alone in the middle of the sea."

The six-year-old was sent to live with his relatives in Miami, but soon became the object of an international battle, after his father demanded he be returned to live with him in Cuba.

The dispute made international headlines after Elian's relatives -- and the larger Cuban-American community in Miami -- insisted they would not allow him to return to Cuba, fearing he faced a life of privation and political oppression there.

Eventually, US courts sided with Elian's father and then-US attorney general Janet Reno ordered that US federal agents seize the boy.

Iconic news photos of the April 2000 raid showing the terrified child being taken at gunpoint were beamed around the world.

Little more was heard from Elian, other than when his image was occasionally beamed on Cuban television as a model member of the communist party's youth wing.

Now an adult engaged to be married and pursuing engineering studies, Gonzalez said he has put the traumatic episode behind him.

"For my family it has always been, we always have the desire to say to the American people, to say to each household our gratitude, appreciation and love that we have," he said, repeating his wish to see America.

"I could personally thank those people who helped us, who were there by our side. Because we're so grateful for what they did."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ecuador breaks Guinness reforestation record

Yahoo – AFP, 17 may 2015

Volunteers participate in a reforestation campaign in Catequilla, Ecuador 
on May 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Rodrigo Buendia)

Catequilla (Ecuador) (AFP) - Ecuador broke a world record for reforestation Saturday, as thousands of people pitched in to plant 647,250 trees of more than 200 species, President Rafael Correa said.

"I have just been informed that we have broken the Guinness record for reforestation," the president said in his weekly address.

Correa said the seedlings were planted all over Ecuador, which boasts varied geography from its Pacific coast, high Andean peaks and low Amazon basin areas.

Environment Minister Lorena Tapia said on Twitter that 44,883 people planted the trees on more than 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of land.

Guinness Records adjudicator Carlos Martinez, said hundreds of varieties were planted as part of the mass reforestation effort.

"There is no record in history of similar events involving over 150 species," he told AFP.

Some of the volunteers, who planted trees in more than 150 spots across Ecuador, said while they were proud of the record, they wouldn't mind seeing it broken again.

A volunteer participates in a reforestation campaign in Catequilla, Ecuador
on May 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Rodrigo Buendia)

"I wish everyone would beat this record," said government employee Ricardo Quiroga, who volunteered as a tree planter in Catequilla.

"I want to beat it once a month so the planet will be full of trees in very little time, which is what we need."

The Philippines holds the record for the most trees planted in an hour, with 3.2 million seedlings sown last September as part of a national forestation program.

Scientists believe planting trees helps offset carbon buildup in the atmosphere, as they absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, helping to reduce global warming.

Ecuador holds several other world records, including the most plastic bottles recycled in one week and the most people buried in sand simultaneously, according to Guinness.