Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (C) addresses the
audience during a meeting of the annual Mercosur trade bloc presidential
summit in Mendoza June 29, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian)

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals
Chinese President Xi Jinping (4-L, first row) poses with leaders of the CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states, in Brasilia, on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Map of Latin America showing countries where major protests have occurred in recent months (AFP Photo)
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ
The Conmebol headquarters in Luque, Paraguay, is seen on January 7, 2016, during a raid within the framework of the FIFA corruption scandal (AFP Photo/Norberto Duarte)

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses
The Panama Papers: key facts on the huge journalists' investigation into tax evasion (AFP Photo/Thomas Saint-Cricq, Philippe Mouche)

Mossack Fonseca

Mossack Fonseca


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Friday, July 31, 2015

Argentine exec pleads not guilty in FIFA case

Yahoo – AFP, 31 July 2015

A photograph taken from the Wanted Persons link at
the Interpol site shows Argentinian sports marketing
executive Alejandro Burzaco who has been indicted
by US authorities in the FIFA corruption scandal 
on June 9, 2015 (AFP Photo)

New York (AFP) - An Argentine sports marketing executive on Friday pleaded not guilty and posted a $20 million bond after appearing in a US court to face charges related to the FIFA corruption scandal.

Alejandro Burzaco surrendered to Italian police in June before flying to New York to face US justice in a case that has rocked world soccer.

He is one of 14 FIFA officials and sports marketing executives accused of soliciting and receiving more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks spanning 24 years.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch unveiled the 47-count indictment in May.

Burzaco, 51, pleaded not guilty to three charges of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud conspiracy and posted a $20 million bond for his release, underwritten by friends and family.

The defendant cut an elegant figure in the US federal court in Brooklyn, dressed in a dark suit, a pale blue tie and a crisp white shirt, and responded politely to the magistrate's questions.

Government prosecutors told Magistrate Judge Vera Scanlon that Burzaco was not considered a flight risk given that he had handed himself in overseas.

Burzaco's decision to surrender has triggered speculation he may be poised to negotiate a deal with prosecutors.

His lawyer made no comment after leaving court.

The assets put up to guarantee the $20 million bond offered a breathtaking insight into the wealth that the dual Argentine-Italian citizen has accumulated, and the trust of close friends and family.

$15 million company share

They include cash deposits of $3.3 million, to be made by October 1, three properties in the United States owned by his sister and a close friend.

It also included Burzaco's 20 percent ownership of a company -- a share estimated to be worth more than $15 million.

Among the six relatives and friends underwriting his bond were a sister with an annual income of $300,000 and a net worth of more than $1 million and a friend with an estimated net worth of more than $10 million.

Burzaco's ex-wife, who was also in court, had flown from Buenos Aires to support him, his lawyer told the magistrate.

Among conditions of his release are that he live in an FBI-approved residence within 50 miles of the court.

He must surrender his passports to the FBI, submit to electronic tagging and restrict his movements to New York and Long Island.

On July 18, former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb also pleaded not guilty in connection with the same scandal.

Arrested in Switzerland in May, he was the only one not to fight extradition.

The Cayman Islands-British citizen posted a $10 million bond and was ordered not to stray further than 20 miles of the courthouse.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Colombia president orders end to bombing raids on FARC rebels

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered an end to bombing raids on FARC guerrillas as a conciliatory move in Latin America's longest-running insurgency. Peace talks restarted in Cuba last week.

Deutsche Welle, 26 July 2015

At a military event in the seaside town of Cartagena on Saturday, President Juan Manuel Santos said the move was in response to Monday's decision by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to observe a unilateral ceasefire.

"I have issued the order to stop as of today bombing raids against camps where there are members of that group," Santos said.

But Santos added that the ban on aerial bombings could be lifted if the FARC camps posed a risk to civilians or infrastructure targets. Military air strikes were resumed in April after FARC guerrillas allegedly killed eleven soldiers.

"We've agreed to de-escalate the conflict. That means fewer deaths, less suffering and fewer victims," the president said.

The FARC had suspended their unilateral truce in May following an army bombing of one of their camps, which left 26 people dead. The FARC then carried out a series of attacks, including one on an army platoon which killed 10 soldiers.

Talks in Cuba

Talks being hosted in Cuba between the government and guerrillas restarted on Thursday to try to bring to an end Latin America's oldest insurgency, which has been going on for more than 40 years at the cost of more than 200,000 lives.

The 39th round of talks between the government and the rebels is scheduled to last eleven days. The format has been changed, with negotiators breaking up into working groups to discuss different issues.

Two major points on the agenda are how to compensate victims from the conflict, and the signing of a final peace agreement.

The government and the FARC have already reached agreements on land reform, participation in politics for ex-rebels and a joint strategy to curb drug trafficking. They have also announced a joint effort to remove unexploded land mines.

But rebel negotiators are also demanding their leaders do not spend any time in jail for atrocities allegedly committed by fighters under their command.

jm/jlw (AFP, AP)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Guantanamo: Where US terror prisoners occupy Cuban soil

Barack Obama would like to close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba before the end of his term. The Cubans would like to have the entire base back. And the US Congress is opposed to both ideas, Kersten Knipp writes.

Deutsche Welle, 25 July 2015

Oh the things that Cuba could offer! Pineapples, coconuts, oranges and bananas, as well as potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes. All fresh, and of the highest quality - locally grown fruits and vegetables, instead of containers shipped across the Caribbean Sea every three weeks.

There is no doubt that an end to the fight over the future of the US prison at Guantanamo Bay would be a culinary plus for the military personnel stationed there. Too bad there is no end in sight. Despite the normalizations of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, Guantanamo remains a very tough nut to crack. Speaking with the Spanish daily "El Pais," Kelly Wirfel, the base's press secretary, estimated that "it could take two years - but it could also take 20."

The United States began leasing the base from Cuba in 1903, five years after helping the country win its independence from Spain. For the past half century, the island nation has been an unwilling landlord and has not cashed its tenant's annual $4,000 rent checks. Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and his brother Raul have long declared that the United States no longer has any right to the base.

Use of the bay was contractually assured to the Americans "for the protection of Cuban independence," as it had been stated in the Platt Amendment of 1901. Critics in Cuba rightfully say that was long ago. The Cuban newspaper "Escambray," for instance, recalls some of the many vices that the camp brought to the island: Prior to the 1959 revolution, smuggling, drug dealing and gambling were prevalent around the base. The state newspaper quotes statistics supplied by local historians that claim that there were no less than 27 brothels around the base at the time.

Above all, contemporary critics of the military base say that the Americans are no longer fulfilling the terms of the agreement they had originally signed. The bay was supposed to be a naval harbor: There was never any mention of a prison.

What about detainees?

A prison is exactly what has been at the military base since 2002. Currently, 116 convicted and suspected terrorists are interned at Guantanamo. Recently President Barack Obama reiterated his campaign promise of wanting to close Guantanamo during his presidency. Yet, he is having great difficulty doing so. Congress, now dominated by Republicans, is dead set against the plan, despite the fact that 52 of the detainees - most of whom have never been afforded a trial - have been classified as nonthreatening.

About 30 of the prisoners held at Guantanamo are considered to be extremely dangerous, and a further 23 can count on being charged with terror-related crimes. A proposal to put these prisoners behind bars on US soil was met with fierce resistance, especially among Republicans, who have declared that the United States was attacked in a deadly manner on September 11, 2001, and one does not make concessions to terrorists.

The rise of the "Islamic State" (IS) in Syria and Iraq has not softened that attitude. Last autumn, John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the highest-ranking US Republican, accused the Obama administration of endangering the security of the United States with it plans for Guantanamo - "while Islamic terrorists are beheading Americans," a reference to the killing of journalists by IS.

Wedding bells in Uruguay

The United States has been seeking countries willing to take Guantanamo's prisoners off its hands, but that search has been in vain for the most part. The "Havana Times" recently picked up on a query by the blogger Circles Robinson when it posed the question: "Why doesn't someone ask the Cuban government to take the prisoners?"

The government in Havana has yet to react to the suggestion. Though officials might be encouraged by news from Uruguay. Two former Guantanamo detainees who were given asylum and also seem to have found a home there, were married to two Uruguayans in a double ceremony held in Montevideo in early June.

The diplomatic thaw between the United States and Cuba will no doubt have an effect on the future of Guantanamo Bay. "It is time that the United States present a timetable for the return of the property to the Cuban people," the "Havana Times" wrote.

The closing of the prison remains up in the air. Although, as "El Pais" reports, the prison's operating officer is in favor of closing the camp in the long term, he recently approved repairs in order to improve and maintain functionality - "until an unspecified time in the future." That is most likely a significant gesture in light of the US's continued fight against IS, and in the context of its global "war on terror." For what is the US to do if it takes prisoners in that fight?

Tunisian Abdul bin Muhammad Abbas Ouerghi (R), a former Guantanamo
 inmate who was resettled in Uruguay, and his bride Samira smile from a window
of a house in Montevideo on June 5, 2015 (AFP Photo/Dante Fernandez)

Related Articles:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First executives convicted in Petrobras scandal

Three construction executives have been convicted of corruption in the money laundering scandal that has rocked Brazil. Executives from the public oil company Petrobras have been accused of bribery and money laundering.

Deutsche Welle, 21 July 2015

Three construction industry executives from Brazil's Camargo Correa group were convicted of money laundering, corruption and other charges on Monday, making the trio the first executives to be sentenced in the sweeping price fixing and bribery scandal surrounding state-run oil company Petrobras.

Dalton dos Santos Avancini, CEO of Camargo Correa Construcoes e Participacoes SA, Eduardo Hermelino Leite, a senior executive and Ricardo Auler, the company chairman, were found guilty of corruption and membership in a criminal organization. The former two were also convicted on 38 counts of money laundering.

Avancini and Leite each received sentences of 16 years and four months in prison and were ordered to pay fines of 1.3 million reais ($406,250/375,570 euros). However, for their assistance in the case Judge Sergio Moro reduced the sentence to four months time already served, and one year house arrest with electronic monitoring, to be followed by two to six years of modified house arrest.

Modified house arrest means that if the sentence is approved in 2016, the duo would be free to leave their homes during the day, but would have to return all night and on weekends or face jail time.

Auler, on the other hand, was handed a sentence of nine years and six months in prison, to be served in a penitentiary, and a fine of 627,150 reais. Moro said that any relaxation in his sentence was dependent upon the return of illegally obtained funds.

The convictions came on the same day federal police formally accused Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Odebrecht SA, the largest construction conglomerate in Latin America, of playing a role in the scandal.

Odebrecht was arrested in June as part of Brazil's "Operation Car Wash" investigation involving Petrobras, which alleges that Petrobras executives accepted bribes in return for lucrative construction contracts offered at inflated prices.

The scandal has even touched Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who chaired the company's board from 2003 to 2010.

es/cmk (AFP, Reuters)

Monday, July 20, 2015

US vows to live as 'good neighbors' with Cuba

Yahoo – AFP, 20 July 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno 
Rodriguez shake hands during a press conference at the State Department on 
July 20, 2015 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Washington (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday vowed the United States wanted to be "good neighbors" to Cuba, but cautioned the road to full relations remained "long and complex."

Speaking Spanish alongside his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez only hours after diplomatic ties were restored following a five-decade hiatus, Kerry said Washington "welcomes this new beginning in its relationship with the people and government of Cuba."

US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) meets
 with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno 
Rodriguez at the State Department on
July 20, 2015 in Washington, DC (AFP
Photo/Mandel Ngan)
Switching back to English, the secretary added "this milestone does not signify an end to the many differences that still separate our governments.

"But it does reflect the reality that the Cold War ended long ago, that the interests of both countries are better served by engagement than by estrangement," he insisted at a packed press conference at the State Department.

Those differences were immediately laid bare when Rodriguez swiftly demanded an end to the US economic blockade of the communist-run Caribbean island and the return of territory used as a US military base and jail in southern Guantanamo Bay.

"Totally lifting the blockade, the return of the illegally occupied territory of Guantanamo, as well as the full respect for Cuban sovereignty and the compensation to our people for human and economic damages, are crucial to be able to move towards the normalization of relations," Rodriguez said.

Kerry said President Barack Obama's administration wants to lift the economic embargo imposed on the communist-run Caribbean island in 1962, and he hoped it would be "soon."

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez raises the Cuban flag over the country's 
new embassy in Washington on July 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The American diplomat, who met earlier with Rodriguez, stressed that "at this time, there is no intention to alter the existing lease treaty" on Guantanamo Bay, also home to a US military prison.

"But we understand that Cuba has strong feelings about it," Kerry said, as he confirmed he would visit Havana on August 14.

He will be the first US secretary of state to visit Cuba since 1945. And on a day of history, Rodriguez was the first Cuban foreign minister to be welcomed to the State Department since 1958.

"Make no mistake, the process of fully normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba will be long and complex," Kerry cautioned, adding the US would not be "overflowing with expressions of optimism."

A vintage car with US flags drives by
 the US embassy in Havana, on July 20, 
2015 (AFP Photo/Yamil Lage)
"Along the way, there are sure to be bumps in the road and moments of frustration. Patience will be required."

The Cuban flag was proudly flying over Havana's newly restored embassy in Washington on Monday for the first time in 54 years after the two bitter adversaries agreed in December to normalize ties.

The Cuban banner first took its place in the columned marble entrance hall to the State Department, hoisted before dawn between the flags of Croatia and Cyprus.

It was then raised at the Cuban embassy in Washington, which until Monday had been operating as an interests section.

It will not be raised at the newly-restored US embassy in Havana, however, until Kerry's visit next month.

Related Article:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

With relations restored, Cubans in US see more contact with relatives

Yahoo – AFP, Diego Urdaneta, 18 July 2015

A sign shows the departure times for flights to Cuba at Miami International
Airport on December 19, 2014 in Miami, Florida (AFP Photo/Joe Raedle)

Miami (AFP) - The flight from Miami to Havana takes just 45 minutes, but the passengers lining up to check in are hardly traveling light.

They are lugging big TVs, bulky bags of non-perishable food like canned goods and even automobile tires.

And most are burdened with big, heavy suitcases, too, packed with stuff that relatives on the poor communist-run island cannot find or cannot afford. And for now, these trips can only be made on expensive charter flights.

But with Cuba and the United States due to open embassies Monday as they restore diplomatic ties, Cubans making the trek back to the island hope it will be easier and cheaper to help their families there.

"So long as there are relations, it is going to be better for the people," said Ernesto Rodriguez, 47, one of the Cuban emigres waiting to check in for a flight to Havana.

He has lived in the United States for more than a decade, and makes the trip back home every two years.

This time, his bulky luggage is loaded mainly with clothes for his 23-year-old son, a physical education teacher in Cuba.

With goods like flat-screen high-definition television sets wrapped in plastic, 
passengers check in for a charter flight to Cuba at Miami International Airport 
on January 19, 2015 in Miami, Florida (AFP Photo/Chip Somodevilla)

Rodriguez left his family behind 12 years ago when he came to America to try his luck, as do thousands of Cubans every year. Rodriguez now works for an import-export company.

He said that with the agreement announced this month to restore relations after a 50-year hiatus dating back to the height of the Cold War, it might be easier to travel to the island more often.

"The situation is chaotic" on the island from an economic standpoint, said Rodriguez. So he takes with him as much as he can on each trip.

Expensive air fares

In the line to check in on this charter flight, one of several that take off from Miami every day for Havana and other Cuban cities, just about everybody is lugging huge suitcases.

Rodriguez, like many Cuban Americans who travel home without restrictions, complains of the high cost of the charter flights -- the only ones that currently go directly from the US to Cuba.

The flight costs about $500 for a trip of less than an hour. By comparison, a three-hour flight to JFK airport in New York can go for as little as $200.

Rodriguez says he is excited about news that there may be ferry service to Cuba later this year, and more airlines flying to the island.

"The fares are very expensive. They are sure to come down once there are more options," Rodriguez said.

Javier Rodriguez, another Cuban traveler, aged 50, also expressed hope the new US-Cuban relationship will mean more Cubans visiting relatives back home.

He also sees more trips by Americans, currently barred from traveling to Cuba as mere tourists.

Instead, they have to fit into one of 12 special categories such as travel for academic, cultural, sports or religious reasons.

With more visitors, "of course people benefit. The government benefits, but so do everyday Cubans," said Rodriguez.

"There is a lot of contact between tourists and the Cuban people. In one way or another there are benefits."

Rodriguez lives in Miami, home to about half of the two million Cubans who reside in the United States.

Tourists from the United States are seen in old American cars in Havana, on
April 6, 2015 (AFP Photo/Yamil Lage)

He got here about two years ago and was headed home for the first time with his wife and teenage daughter to see relatives.

But his people in Havana tell him that "so far, you do not see much change," Rodriguez said.

New travelers

But not everyone is brimming with hope.

A man in line who identified himself only as Luis said the restoration of relations will have no impact.

"Of course not," he said, refusing to comment further out of fear he might get in trouble for it in Cuba.

Indeed, after a half century of enmity and suspicion, many Cuban-Americans are distrustful. Many of those waiting to board the flight to Havana refused to speak to AFP.

But some Cubans who traveled in the other direction to visit relatives in the United States did express optimism.

"Many Cubans here who have never gone to Cuba so far will probably want to go," especially if the air fares come down, said Ana Maria Urizarri, a retired teacher aged 72.

She was returning to Havana after staying in the US for two months to see her sister.

"Cuba was always paradise," said Urizarri, adding that having more Americans visit the island will bring prosperity.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Brazil opens probe against former President Lula da Silva

Prosecutors in Brazil have begun investigating whether former President Inacio Lula da Silva illegally lobbied for construction firm Odebrecht. The company is Latin America's largest engineering company.

Deutsche Welle, 17 July 2015

A spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office in Brasilia said there was "an investigation into possible influence peddling by ex-president Lula with the leaders of other countries on behalf of the construction company Odebrecht."

The investigation was launched on July 8, but authorities chose to reveal it only on Thursday. The former president's foundation issued a statement saying he had nothing to fear. "We are calm. The Lula Institute is certain of the transparency and legality of ex-president Lula's activities," spokesman Jose Chrispiniano said.

Ignacio Lula da Silva is considered a major world figure and responsible for Brazil's rise to economic power.

His country's prosecutors, however, accuse him of using his influence to acquire billion-dollar deals for Odebrecht in Panama, Venezueala and some African countries. He is also believed to have convinced the state-owned BNDES bank to finance the projects.

Marcelo Odebrecht was arrested last month
The announcement of the probe comes a month after Odebrecht's CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht, was arrested on charges of leading a cartel of engineering firms that fixed prices. There were also allegations of Odebrecht bribing executives at state oil giant Petroleo Brasiliero SA, or Petrobras, to grant inflated contracts.

Some of the money is supposed to have gone to the ruling Workers' Party. President DilmaRousseff, the chairwoman of Petrobras for seven years, has not been directly implicated, but calls for her resignation have been getting louder.

mg/gsw (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Panama Canal expansion to boost China-LatAm infrastructure cooperation

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-07-17

A view of the Panama Canal, Oct. 17, 2011. (File photo/Xinhua)

The expansion project of the Panama Canal will create more opportunities for cooperation on infrastructure between China and Latin America, a Chinese official said Monday.

The canal, which was built 101 years ago, is undergoing an expansion project of US$5 billion to allow larger modern vessels to pass through it.

Upon its completion in 2016, the canal will be able to accommodate Post-Panamax ships that are larger than Panamax ships, which is important for trade between the Americas and Asia.

A Panamax ship, determined principally by the dimensions of the canal's lock chambers, is no more than 300 meters long, no more than 33 meters wide and has a draft of no more than 12 meters deep.

Ports in Caribbean countries and other Atlantic coastal nations will therefore need to update their facilities to receive bigger vessels, which will provide new construction opportunities for Chinese companies, said Wang Jian, deputy representative of the Chinese Commercial Development Bureau in Panama.

In the Cologne harbor on the Atlantic side of the canal, a wharf expansion project constructed by China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) is about to be completed. The company is preparing for the bidding for another wharf expansion project on the Pacific side, said Wang.

The canal will be equipped with new and larger chamber locks, which enable large liquefied natural gas carriers and oil tankers to pass through it. The administration is working on a feasibility study on new docks and facilities for those vessels, according to Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.

As a strategic passage for international shipping, the Panama Canal also faces competition from the Nicaragua Canal, now under construction, which will serve super-sized ships.

The Panama Canal Authority has invited the CHEC to participate in the construction of the fourth set of chamber locks, according to Wang Weihua, representative of the Chinese Commercial Development Bureau in Panama.

"We are studying the possibility of our participation in all canal projects, especially in the design, construction and financing of the fourth set of chamber locks," said CHEC chairman Mo Wenhe.

The canal contributes about US$1 billion a year to the Panamanian government through transit fees. China is now the second largest user of the canal, following the United States.

After the expansion, the shipping cost from China to the eastern coast of the United States will be lowered, according to the Panama Canal Authority.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Photos emerge of incredible Easter Island discovery, June 10, 2015

Archaeologists dig up the famous statues. Picture: Easter Island Statue
Project Source: Supplied

THERE’S a lot more to Easter Island’s famous statues than first meets the eye.

A new series of photographs of the 2012 excavation has emerged that captures the moment archaeologists dug out the previously hidden stone bodies, discovering a surprising secret along the way; the monoliths were covered in detailed ancient tattoos.

The images have been shared widely on social media, being viewed more than 1 million times on Imgur.

They show intricate markings such as crescents, which academics say represent the canoes of the local Polynesians, the UK’s Mirror reports. Little else is known about the markings yet.

Detailed markings are visible. Picture: The Easter Island Statue Project
Source: Supplied

There are 887 huge statues carved between AD 100 and 1800 — which are up to 10 metres tall. Members of the Easter Island Statue Project have been excavating the statues for years, and provided the first photos of their torsos in 2012. This surprised many, with people believing they only had heads.

“The reason people think they are (only) heads is there are about 150 statues buried up to the shoulders on the slope of a volcano, and these are the most famous, most beautiful and most photographed of all the Easter Island statues,” Jo Anne Van Tilburg from the Easter Island Statue Project said.

“This suggested to people who had not seen photos of (other unearthed statues) that they are heads only.”

They are fascinating. Picture: The Easter Island Statue Project Source: Supplied

In 1919 pictures of the first excavations by the Mana Expedition to Easter Island revealed that some statues were full sized. The discovery was confirmed in 1955 by the explorer Thor Heyerdahl when his Norwegian Archaeological Expedition excavated a statue.

Over subsequent decades the discoveries were gradually forgotten, known by archaeologists but not by tourists, who began visiting the isolated island in the 1990s.

They’re discovering an island that was first settled by Polynesian people who arrived by canoe as part of a great wave of Pacific colonisation.

Much remains unknown about the statues — how were they made? How was such a remote island populated? How were they moved around the island? And what happened to the society that had resorted to cannibalism by the time Captain James Cook visited in 1774?

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pope visits Paraguayan slum as he wraps up South America tour

Pope Francis stopped by a shantytown on the last day of his "homecoming" trip to South America. The pontiff has used the trip to decry the human suffering that accompanies unrestricted capitalism.

Deutsche Welle, 12 July 2015

Pope Francis wrapped up his three-country tour of South America on Sunday by celebrating Mass for over 1 million faithful, including the presidents of Paraguay and Argentina, Horacio Cartes and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, respectively, at a disused air base outside of the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion.

The altar for the occasion was a colorful construction made with 32,000 ears of corn, pumpkins, coconuts, and other regional produce. In his sermon, Francis touched on what became the refrain of his South American tour, which also included stops in Ecuador and Bolivia, by calling on people and governments to turn away from "the path of selfishness, conflict, division, and superiority" and defend the rights of the poor.

The pope spent the earlier part of the day on Sunday in the Banado Norte slum in Asuncion, home to about 100,000 people living in shacks after being forced from their farms.

"Our expulsion from the countryside, the high prices of land and housing in the city, couple with low incomes…are the reasons we find ourselves in the 'Banado,'" Maria Garcia, a local organizer, told the pope, explaining that residents are hoping to gain title deeds to their homes.

The pontiff told residents he could not have left Paraguay without "spending some time with you, here on your land," drawing a wave of cheers from the crowd who came out to greet him. He prayed with residents in a chapel set up on the shantytown and encouraged them to stay united in their struggle for better living conditions.

Francis excoriates capitalism

Since becoming pope, Francis has made a point of visiting Rome's poorest neighborhoods and was well known for his visits to slums in Buenos Aires when he was archbishop of the Argentine capital.

The visit to Banada Norte brought extra attention to his call on Saturday for countries to shun unbridled capitalism and consumerism, an economic model he said exists to "sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit" and creates "the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose."

es/sms (Reuters, AP)
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Pope Francis calls for peace, end to slavery in 2015

"Not Your Father's New Age" - Feb 14/15, 2015 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (Text version)

“…  Greetings, dear ones, I am Kryon of Magnetic Service. Twenty-five years ago, I discussed with you what is happening now. Back then, it was only a potential, but now it's your reality. This was not prophecy when I told you back then that there would be no Armageddon or World War Three. It was not prophecy, but a powerful potential. The entire reason for my being and the awakening of my partner was because of what you did. The victory it contains falls in the lap of the old soul, who has controlled the consciousness of the timing of it all.

Everything that has transpired during these years has been realized potential. That is to say that we see the potentials of what you might do, and report on that and only that. Much of what we see now is realized quickly. When we told you in 2012 there would be a new pope, 13 months later it happened. This was not prophecy, but rather a potential. We saw it coming because we have the overview and we knew of the anxiety of the existing pope, the health of the man, and we also knew of the potentials of a South American pope to come forward. All of these things should be a "connect the dots" for you. I come yet again, not with prophecy, but with information given with a congratulatory attitude of potential. …”

Colombia, FARC reach agreement on de-escalating conflict

Yahoo – AFP, 12 July 2015

A picture released by the FARC-EP delegation shows the head of the FARC leftist
guerrilla delegation Ivan Marquez (C) reading a statement during the peace talks
with the Colombian government in Havana, on July 8, 2015 (AFP Photo)

Havana (AFP) - The Colombian government reached a historic agreement Sunday with leftist FARC guerrillas to de-escalate the decades-long armed conflict, diplomats in Havana said.

The move marks a significant step in peace talks between the two sides that began in November 2012 but have been hampered in recent months by an uptick in violence.

"The national government, from July 20, will launch a process of de-escalation of military action, in response to the suspension of offensive actions by the FARC," said a joint statement read by Cuban and Norwegian diplomats, who have been mediating the talks.

On July 8, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said they would observe a one-month unilateral ceasefire.

Cuba and Norway are acting as so-called "guarantor" countries in the peace talks. Chile and Venezuela are "escort" countries. All four had called for an urgent de-escalation of the violence.

Colombia's civil strife dates back to 1964 and has drawn in left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and drug gangs, killing more than 220,000 people and uprooting as many as six million.

FARC rebels had been observing a unilateral ceasefire since December, and it led to relative calm.

But clashes resumed in mid-April, following an ambush by the rebels that left 11 soldiers dead. Each side blames the other for the escalation. The FARC ended their truce in May.

During that truce, the fighters claim that government forces stepped up attacks on rebel camps.

Since that truce ended, about 30 rebels have been killed in army operations and recent surveys show the public is increasingly wary about the peace process.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pope takes message of equality to Paraguay

Yahoo – AFP, Kelly Velasquez, Paula Bustamante, 11 July 2015

Pope Francis waves goodbye as he prepares to depart Viru Viru airport in Santa 
Cruz, Bolivia, Friday, July 10, 2015. The pope is departing for Paraguay, as part 
of his three-nation tour of South America. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Asuncion (AFP) - Pope Francis brought his message of equality to Paraguay, on the third and final stop of a South America tour that has burnished his reputation as a powerful voice for the downtrodden.

The pope was greeted by tens of thousands of people as he made his way from the airport to downtown Asuncion, where he praised Paraguay's "solid and stable" democracy, but called on leaders to address inequality.

"An economic development which fails to take into account the weakest and underprivileged is not an authentic development," the first Jesuit pope told Paraguay, which has one of the region's highest rates of growth -- and inequality.

The pope also paid tribute to the country's women, largely left widowed and orphaned during the War of the Triple Alliance from 1865 to 1870, which nearly decimated the male population.

"As mothers, wives and widows, they shouldered the heaviest burdens," Francis said.

"They found a way to move their families and their country forward, instilling in new generations the hope of a better tomorrow."

His arrival marks the second visit by a pope to Asuncion after John Paul II in 1988 -- just one year before dictator Alfredo Stroessner fell, making way for democracy.

"It is not hard to feel at home in so welcoming a land," the pope said.

"Paraguay is known as the heart of America, not only because of its geographic location, but also because of the warmth of its hospitality and the friendliness of her people."

The 78-year-old Argentine pope arrived in Asuncion from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. As his Airbus crossed over northern Argentina, he sent Argentine President Cristina Kirchner a message of "affection for his dear country."

Francis has not returned to his home country since his election as pope in March 2013, but could travel there on an official visit in 2016.

On Saturday, the pope will visit the Marian Shrine of Caacupe and on Sunday will travel to a poor Asuncion neighborhood, ahead of a mass expected to draw a crowd of one million.

Francis begins his trip back to the Vatican Sunday, concluding his three-nation tour that also saw him travel to Ecuador.

Paraguay is home to the main base of South America's Jesuit mission. Adding to its Catholic credentials, the country elected a bishop, Fernando Lugo, to the presidency in 2008. He served in office until 2012, when he was kicked out in a coup.

- 'Many sins' -

Before leaving Bolivia earlier in the day, Francis ventured into a violent, overcrowded and gang-ridden Bolivian prison that houses children living with their parents. He hugged and kissed inmates and urged them not to yield to the "devil."

One disconsolate female inmate broke down in tears and threw herself into the pope's arms, saying she felt utterly abandoned.

The pontiff, who specifically requested the visit to the Palmasola jail, walked slowly through a courtyard where hundreds of prisoners and their families awaited him.

Back inside the penitentiary, Francis exchanged hugs and kisses with prisoners and held children in his arms, kissing them too.

"The man standing before you is a man who has experienced forgiveness. A man who was, and is, saved from his many sins," said Francis, the first pope from Latin America.

"That is who I am. I don't have much more to give you or to offer you, but I want to share with you what I do have and what I love. It is Jesus Christ."

The Palmasola prison, nearly 50 years old, was built to hold 600 prisoners but is now overflowing with nearly 5,000 men and women.

A gang war there in 2013 left more than 30 people dead. An estimated 30 percent of the inmates are accused of rape.

September return

Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay are predominantly Catholic and have been marked by a long history of poverty and inequality, especially afflicting indigenous populations.

Beginning in the 1500s, Spanish conquerors, with the blessing of the Church, subjugated and enslaved indigenous peoples in the Americas, annihilating native cultures and forcing their conversion to Christianity.

Francis will return to Latin America in September, when he travels to Cuba.

Pope Francis greets dancers after their performance, after he delivered mass to 
pilgrims at the Marian Shrine of Caacupe on July 11, 2015 in Paraguay (AFP
 Photo/Juan Mabromata)

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