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, January 27, 2019

Protests in Honduras against president heat up

Yahoo – AFP, January 27, 2019

Police try to put out tires set ablaze in a Honduras opposition demonstration
on January 27, 2019 (AFP Photo/ORLANDO SIERRA)

Tegucigalpa (AFP) - Thousands of people took to the streets across Honduras on Sunday to protest against the president a year after his controversial inauguration.

Police used tear gas against protesters rallying against conservative President Juan Orlando Hernandez as marchers set tires on fire and blocked two key highways heading north and south of the capital.

"There are people who have been gassed and beaten" by police, ex-president Manuel Zelaya told UNE TV.

Demonstrators waved red and black flags and some wore red vests, as shows of support for Zelaya's Freedom and Refounding Party, known as Libre for short.

Some chanted "GET OUT J.O.H.," before setting bonfires out of police sight.

"People need a fair government, not a dictatorship," Zelaya told reporters on a bus with supporters in the Colonia San Miguel neighborhood of the capital Tegucigalpa.

"Like wasps, we have launched a wave of escalating protests that will end in a national strike until this dictatorship falls."

Police hurled tear gas to break up demonstrators including Zelaya in another neighborhood, Colonia Kennedy.

Hernandez took office January 27, 2018 after being re-elected in a vote called fraud by the opposition alliance Zelaya leads.

Protesters took to the streets to demand that his candidate, popular television presenter Salvador Nasralla, be declared winner.

But the electoral tribunal declared Hernandez had won almost a month after the elections, amid violent protests also fueled by a constitutional ban on re-election.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Spain, France, Germany give Venezuela's Maduro ultimatum

Yahoo – AFP, 26 January 2019

International pressure is growing on Maduro, right, after National Assembly head
Juan Guaido declared himself acting president

Spain, France and Germany on Saturday gave embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro an ultimatum, saying they would recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as president unless he calls elections within eight days.

The ultimatum comes as international pressure mounts on the Maduro regime to agree a new vote, with the United States, Canada and major South American players already recognising Guaido, who proclaimed himself acting president of Venezuela during massive street rallies this week.

After four years of economic pain that has left Venezuelans short of food and medicine and driven more than two million to flee, Guaido is trying to oust Maduro following controversial elections that saw the socialist leader sworn in for a second term.

"If within eight days there are no fair, free and transparent elections called in Venezuela, Spain will recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president" so that he himself can call such polls, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised announcement.

French President Emmanuel Macron followed suit in a tweet, saying "the Venezuelan people must be able to freely decide on their future," as did German government spokeswoman Martina Fietz.

The coordinated announcements are the most explicit yet from EU countries as the 28-member bloc struggles to draft a joint statement with regards to its position on the crisis in Venezuela.

'Not looking to impose'

Spain had wanted the EU to take a tough line on Maduro by calling for immediate elections, failing which the bloc as a whole would recognise Guaido, the 35-year-old head of Venezuela's National Assembly.

But countries like Austria, Greece and Portugal are much more reluctant.

In fact Greece's ruling party Syriza has publicly backed Maduro, with party secretary Panos Skourletis voicing "full support and solidarity" to what to he called "the legal president."

President Donald Trump's administration has spearheaded the international pressure on Maduro, who accuses Washington of being behind an attempted "coup," by declaring his regime "illegitimate."

On Saturday at a UN Security Council meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will urge members to recognise Guaido as interim president, the State Department said.

Washington's support for Guaido led Maduro to close the US embassy and consulates and break diplomatic ties.

US diplomats in Venezuela have until Saturday to leave the country, but Washington has refused to fully comply fully with the exit order.

Guaido is instead urging the US diplomats to stay and keep the embassy's doors open.

Maduro's reelection last year was contested by the opposition and criticised internationally -- but he has until now retained the loyalty of the powerful military.

Spain is closely linked to Venezuela, a former colony, as some 200,000 of its nationals live there.

Sanchez insisted Saturday that Spain is "not looking to impose or remove governments in Venezuela, we want democracy and free elections in Venezuela."

Pope Francis says Church hasn't known 'how to listen'

Yahoo – AFP, Kelly VELASQUEZ,  January 26, 2019

Pope Francis officiates at a mass at the centuries-old Cathedral Basilica of Santa
Maria la Antigua in Panama City on January 26, 2019 during a global youth
gathering (AFP Photo/Alberto PIZZOLI)

Panama City (AFP) - Pope Francis acknowledged Saturday that the Catholic Church was "wounded by sin" in a message addressed to priests and seminarians reeling from sexual abuse scandals and coverups.

In a mass that he officiated at the centuries-old Cathedral of Santa Maria La Antigua in Panama City, Francis warned of the "weariness of hope that comes from seeing a Church wounded by sin, which has so often failed to hear all those cries."

It was the Argentine pontiff's first reference to the sex abuse scandals rocking the Church since he arrived in Panama on Wednesday for a global gathering of young Catholics.

It comes as he prepares to meet senior bishops from around the world in Rome next month to deal with widespread clergy sex abuse of children and young people.

Addressing white robed young seminarians and priests during the mass, the pope said "a subtle weariness" had entered Church communities that "calls into question the energy resources and viability of our mission in this changing and challenging world."

Those changes, he said, "call into doubt the very viability of religious life in today's world."

But he said that the notion that religious communities had nothing to contribute -- that the world "has no room for our message" -- would be "one of the worst heresies possible in our time."

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Friday that next month's meeting in Rome would be a unique chance to provide bishops with "concrete measures" to tackle the "terrible plague" of sex abuse by the clergy.

Pilgrims pray on January 26, 2019 in front of the centuries-old Cathedral Basilica of 
Santa Maria la Antigua, in Panama City, as Pope Francis celebrates mass inside

Lunch with the pope

After the mass in the basilica -- home of the first diocese on the American mainland -- the pope and the archbishop of Panama, Cardinal Jose Domingo Ulloa, hosted a lunch for 10 young people of different nationalities attending World Youth Day, a tradition at the global gatherings, held every three years.

The pope's homily to seminarians about the challenges of the priesthood raised the problem of dwindling vocations around the world.

Around the globe, there were 414,969 Catholic priests at the end of 2016, more than 800 less than in 2014, according to the Vatican. There were nearly 700 less people joining the priesthood over the same period.

Francis himself acknowledged at a general audience in August that the scandals of abuse and cover-up by Church leaders has caused a decline in vocations to the priesthood in Ireland.

Later Saturday, the pope was set to preside over an evening vigil with an expected crowd of 200,000 pilgrims at the three-kilometer (two-mile) Metro Park on the outskirts of Panama.

Francis, 82, drew the largest crowd of his five-day visit on Friday evening at a solemn ceremony commemorating Christ's crucifixion in another Panama park.

In a swipe at US President Donald Trump's plans to build a border wall against Central American migrants, the pope told hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims that it was "senseless" to condemn every immigrant "as a threat to society."

He has used his encounter with young people in Central America this week to speak out strongly in defense of migrants, and address other problems affecting the region such as poverty, drug trafficking, violence and what he said was a regional "plague" of murders of women.

Related Article:

Friday, January 25, 2019

Venezuela opposition leader cranks up pressure on Maduro

Yahoo – AFP, Maria Isabel SANCHEZ, January 25, 2019

A crowd of Venezuelan opposition supporters gather at Bolivar square in 
Caracas as they wait to listen to Venezuela's National Assembly head and the 
country's self-proclaimed "interim president" Juan Guaido on January 25, 2019 
(AFP Photo/Federico Parra)

Caracas (AFP) - Venezuela's opposition leader stepped up his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro on Friday, calling for a "major demonstration" and rejecting an offer of talks with the socialist leader.

National Assembly head Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself acting president during a huge street rally on Wednesday, said he wouldn't attend a "fake dialogue" on a crisis that has left 26 dead this week in clashes between anti-Maduro activists and security forces.

Mexico had offered to host talks, with Maduro professing he was ready to go "wherever I have to."

But Guaido, who is backed by the US and several Latin American countries, told supporters in Caracas the public would remain in the streets "until we achieve an end to the usurpation, a transitional government and free elections."

He accused Maduro's regime of only offering talks after "repression" fails to achieve their objectives.

The European Union and US ratcheted up the pressure on Maduro to agree to new elections, with an EU diplomat telling AFP the bloc wanted "an immediate call for elections in the near future."

World map showing countries which support Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro
and those which recognise the president of the opposition-led parliament, Juan Guaido,
as interim leader. (AFP Photo/Vincent LEFAI)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will underline US support for the Venezuelan people at a UN Security Council meeting Saturday and urge members to recognize Guaido as interim president, the State Department said.

Diplomatic row

President Donald Trump's administration has spearheaded the international pressure on Maduro, who accuses Washington of being behind an attempted "coup," by declaring his regime "illegitimate."

Washington's immediate support for Guaido led to Maduro, who retains the powerful military's backing, closing his country's embassy and consulates in the US and breaking off diplomatic ties.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, too, denounced US policy on Venezuela as "destructive" while Russia is also backing Maduro.

Spain pushed the EU to recognize Guaido's claims to the presidency if no new elections are held, while Germany said it may follow suit.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez (C) and the military's top 
leadership declare support for President Nicolas Maduro (AFP Photo/Luis ROBAYO)

France warned Maduro against "any form of repression" of the opposition as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said more than 350 people were arrested this week during the protests.

Maduro's reelection last year was contested by the opposition, and criticized internationally -- but the military has repeatedly reiterated its loyalty to the socialist leader.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, a general, declared the 56-year-old Maduro "the legitimate president" on Thursday and vowed to defend his authority against an attempted "coup d'etat."

Eight generals also expressed their "absolute loyalty and subordination" to Maduro while the Supreme Court -- made up of regime loyalists -- warned that "a coup is brewing in Venezuela with the consent of foreign governments."

Guaido, 35, has galvanized a previously divided opposition and even attempted to attract military support by offering an amnesty to anyone who disavows Maduro.

In a Skype interview with Univision late Thursday he went one step further by suggesting Maduro could also be offered amnesty if he agrees to step down.

But such an option would have to be evaluated, he said, because Maduro is responsible for the deaths of protesters.

Bloody clashes erupted on the streets of Caracas as an opposition leader 
mounted a challenge against the government (AFP Photo/YURI CORTEZ)

Maduro fall 'not imminent'

Analysts at the Eurasia Group consultancy noted that while international recognition of Guaido as interim president cemented his position as the main opposition leader, his failure to win over the military meant Maduro's fall "does not appear imminent."

Venezuela's descent into a political crisis began this week when a group of soldiers rose up against Maduro and sparked a number of protests leading up to Wednesday's rival rallies that saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets.

That was when Guaido proclaimed himself acting president, with major regional players such as Brazil and Argentina following the US lead in recognizing his claim.

Trump has openly mused about military intervention in Venezuela, saying "all options are on the table," but Russia said that "violates the fundamental norms of international law."

Since Maduro came to power in 2013, Venezuela has descended into an economic crisis that has left millions in poverty and shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine.

Some 2.3 million people have fled the country since 2015, according to the United Nations. Inflation is forecast to hit 10 million percent this year.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Pope in Panama blasts 'fears and suspicions' over migration

Yahoo – AFP, Kelly VELASQUEZ, Denis BARNETT, January 24, 2019

Pope Francis waves after a meeting with Central American bishops in which he
blasted "fears and suspicions" over migration (AFP Photo/Alberto PIZZOLI)

Panama City (AFP) - Pope Francis said in Panama Thursday that the Church must work to overcome the world's "fears and suspicions" of migration, and pledged his support for "all efforts" to avoid further suffering in crisis-torn Venezuela.

The pope is being kept abreast of developments in nearby Caracas, and was praying for the people of Venezuela, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said. Francis is supporting "all efforts" to avoid further suffering for the population, he said.

Speaking from Panama in Central America -- the hub for US-bound migrants -- Francis said migrants were simply seeking "the minimum conditions for a better future."

The Argentine pope was addressing Central American bishops on the first day of his visit for a global gathering of young Catholics for World Youth Day.

Earlier, in a speech to government ministers and members of the diplomatic corps at the foreign ministry, he called on political leaders to reject "all forms of corruption."

People strain for a glimpse of Pope Francis, with one holding a poster of Salvadorean 
Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero, slain while celebrating Mass in 1980 (AFP Photo/
Alberto PIZZOLI)

Young people, he said, insisted that those in positions of authority should "lead a life that demonstrates that public service is a synonym of honesty and justice, and opposed to all forms of corruption."

He returned to the theme in his speech to bishops at the nearby 17th Century St Francis of Assisi Church.

Femicide 'plague'

Here, he deplored what he called "the plague" of femicide affecting Latin America.

"The killing of women -- our continent is experiencing a plague in this regard," Francis said, saying this and other problems like drug trafficking, gang violence and the sexual exploitation of minors and young people, were "the fruit of a culture and a society run amok."

A pilgrim carries a Panamanian flag as he walks through the streets of Panama 
City during World Youth Day (AFP Photo/Marvin RECINOS)

"Often families have been broken by an economic system that did not prioritize persons and the common good, but made speculation its 'paradise', without worrying who would end up paying the price."

"And so, we see our young people without a home, without a family, without a community, without a sense of belonging, easy prey for the first charlatan who comes along."

Later Thursday, the pope was to join tens of thousands of young people in formally opening the Catholic jamboree at a palm-fringed park overlooking Panama Bay.

'Fears and suspicions'

Several migrant caravans, mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, have been making their way through Central America and Mexico to the US border since last October, amid trenchant opposition from US President Donald Trump.

Francis told bishops that the church, with hospitality and acceptance, can facilitate "dialogue and help overcome fears and suspicions, and thus consolidate the very bonds that migrations -- in the collective imagination -- threaten to break."

A man gives his thumb up as he waits to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis during 
his visit to Panama City (AFP Photo/Alberto PIZZOLI)

Even before setting foot in Panama on Wednesday, the pope hit out at Trump's plans to build a border wall to keep migrants out, saying the fear of migrants itself "is making us crazy."

Before getting on his plane, the pope underscored his support for migrants by meeting eight immigrants living in Rome.

Thousands turned out to cheer the pope on his way from the Papal Nunciature, where he spent the first night of his five-day visit, to his first official engagement of the day, a courtesy call on President Juan Carlos Varela.

In the narrow streets of the old city, they leaned forward over barriers as the pope's small sedan passed by, waving red and white Panamanian flags.

At the foreign ministry, soberly-suited diplomats posed for selfies with the pope and stretched out to shake his hand as he left the podium after his speech.

A Venezuelan holds a souvenir doll of Pope Francis near a Venezuelan national flag, 
while waiting to see him pass by in Panama City (AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda)

Prayers for Venezuela

On his way from the airport after his arrival on Wednesday, his driver had to swerve sharply at one point when a young man broke through a barrier and ran towards it, waving a Venezuelan flag. The man was quickly detained by security guards.

In crisis-wracked Venezuela, opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido has proclaimed himself president with the support of the United States and several other countries -- including Panama -- setting up a tense standoff with the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Francis will hold two open-air masses in Panama City. Among the other highlights of his five-day visit will be a trip to the Good Samaritan home for young HIV and AIDS patients on Saturday, after the closing mass.

He will also visit a youth detention center and hear the confessions of inmates, including one serving time for murder.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Four dead in clashes ahead of Venezuela protests

Yahoo – AFP, January 23, 2019

Venezuelan opposition supporters take part in a march on the anniversary of
 1958 uprising that overthrew military dictatorship in Caracas on January 23,
2019 (AFP Photo/Luis ROBAYO)

Caracas (AFP) - At least four people have died following overnight clashes ahead of Wednesday's rival protests in Venezuela by supporters and opponents of President Nicolas Maduro, police and a non-governmental organization said.

A 16-year-old was among the dead, having suffered "a firearm injury during a demonstration" in the capital Caracas, the Social Conflict Observatory said.

Police said the other three deaths occurred during looting in Bolivar City in the southeastern Bolivar State that borders Brazil.

A statue of iconic socialist revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez, Maduro's predecessor, was torched by dozens of protesters in the town of San Felix, Bolivar State.

Photos and videos shared on social media showed the statue, which was vandalized last year, engulfed in flames.

Tensions have been running high in the country since Monday when a group of soldiers took over a command post in the north of the capital and rose up against Maduro, publishing a video calling on people to come out into the streets in support.

The mutineers were quickly overpowered by police and the armed forces, with 27 people arrested.

But the brazen move sparked at least 30 small protests around Caracas, according to the Social Conflict Observatory, with the police firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

The opposition-controlled parliament had announced Wednesday's protest earlier this month as the legislature's president Juan Guaido aims to rally support behind his attempt to chase Maduro from power and set up a transitional government ahead of new elections.

The government responded by announcing its own pro-Maduro demonstration on what is a hugely significant date in Venezuela since it was on January 23, 1958 that the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez fell.

Opposition to Maduro's rule has been stepped up since the former bus driver was sworn in for a second term of office two weeks ago.

The election he won in May was boycotted by the opposition and branded a fraud by the European Union, United States and numerous Latin American countries.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Suspicious deposits made to account of Brazil president's son: report

Yahoo – AFP, January 19, 2019

A report on Jornal Nacional, Brazil's most respected newscast, said Friday that
48 deposits of 2,000 reais each were deposited into the bank account of
Senator-elect Flavio Bolsonaro (R) between June and July 2017, when he was
a Rio de Janeiro state lawmaker (AFP Photo/Sergio LIMA)

Brasília (AFP) - Brazilian authorities have detected a series of suspicious cash transfers amounting to around $30,000 into the bank account of President Jair Bolsonaro's eldest son, according to a report.

The exclusive report aired Friday on Jornal Nacional, Brazil's most respected newscast, said that 48 deposits of 2,000 reais each were deposited into the bank account of Senator-elect Flavio Bolsonaro between June and July 2017, when he was a Rio de Janeiro state lawmaker.

That totals to 96,000 reais, or about $30,000 at the average exchange rate of that year.

A Council for Financial Activities Control (COAF) document quoted in the report said the origin of the money was unclear, but the fact that they were all of the same amount and made at a bank at Rio's state legislative assembly, where Bolsonaro worked, made them suspicious.

The news broke a day after Brazil's supreme court temporarily suspended a probe into transactions in the bank account of Flavio Bolsonaro's driver, Fabricio Queiroz, which totaled $300,000 -- an amount deemed suspicious because it does not appear to be commensurate with his income.

One of the transfers was a deposit of $6,400 into the account of Michelle Bolsonaro, the president's wife.

Flavio Bolsonaro and Queiroz both deny any wrongdoing.

In a television interview late December, Quieroz denied acting as a front for the Bolsonaros and said the money came from side businesses he ran, "buying cars, selling cars."

The president has tried to downplay the affair, saying that if any "mistake" was made it would be "paid." He said the payment from Quieroz's account to his wife's was partial repayment of an undeclared loan he had made to his son's driver.

The stories are hugely embarrassing for Bolsonaro, who swept to power zero tolerance for corruption and vowed to end years of political graft that damaged his country's reputation.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Rock and roll nuns to perform for pope in Panama

Yahoo – AFP, Roberto CORTIJO, 17 January 2019

Known as "Siervas" or Servants, a band made up of nuns plays catchy Christian
songs that sound indistinguishable from many of their peers in mainstream rock

With millions of YouTube views and hits on Spotify and iTunes, a group of young nun rockers play one of their biggest gigs next week, and thousands of Catholics, including the pope himself, will lap it up.

It may be rock and roll, but Twisted Sister they ain't, and sex and drugs are not an option for the Sisters of the Servants of the Plan of God. They play their brand of melodic rock in their traditional habits.

"We're young sisters," says 37-year-old guitarist Sister Ivonne of the band, which includes members from Chile, Japan, Ecuador, China and Costa Rica.

"This is another form of bringing our evangelical message, showing our strength -- that's to say, it's also music that we like, it shows a lot about who we are."

Known as "Siervas" or Servants, the band plays catchy Christian songs that sound indistinguishable from many of their peers in mainstream rock.

But the appearance is very different, rock's grunge and glad rags giving way to the nuns' tried and trusted black and white habits and veils on stage.

Sister Ivonne (L) says playing in a band with other nuns is "another form of bringing 
our evangelical message, showing our strength"

YouTube hit

With a half-dozen slickly produced videos on YouTube, Siervas has built an international following as it communicates its message of "love, joy, hope."

Their "Trust in God" music video, which features the nuns playing on a helipad atop a Lima skyscraper, went viral on YouTube with nearly two million views.

And now, the Peru-based sisters will play at the World Youth Day celebrations, a gathering of global Catholic youth in Panama presided over by Pope Francis.

The message at the heart of their music? "We want to reach as many people as possible, and if the pope is included in that, we're more than satisfied," said Ivonne, who pens much of the lyrics.

The 11-member band, which performs in Spanish, has previously played for crowds at Francis' visits to Mexico and Peru.

Sister Teresa, a drum player from Chile, plays in a band made
 up of nuns she says takes "the word of God and his consolation 
to the prisons, to the disabled"

Not just music

"We're not just working in music, but we take the word of God and his consolation to the prisons, to the disabled," said Sister Daniela, the drummer from Costa Rica.

Tuesdays, when they are back in Peru, they bring food to the homeless on the streets.

The group will gig at a women's prison during the trip to Panama. They will also play at a children's cancer hospital and schools.

"We go to the women's prisons to listen to them. All they ask is to be listened to and to know God has forgiven them," said Camila, the 22-year-old Peruvian guitarist.

The band, which has so far visited 11 countries, including the United States, was formed in Lima in 2014 when the young musician nuns from different nationalities came together, said 24-year-old Sister Arisa, from Japan.

"It was God's plan that we come together," said Arisa, a violinist.

After months of rehearsal, they held their first concert in the auditorium of the General Command of the Army, helping raise funds for a house for the order in Angola.

Sister Arisa, a violinist from Japan, says that "it was God's plan" that she and 
other nuns form a band

The band has undergone several changes to its lineup since 2014, as sisters leave to fulfill their missionary role.

"Until now we have not been able to talk to the pope, we would love it if he approaches us," said Ivonne, from Chile.

"I wouldn't know what to say, I think I would faint."

Known as "Siervas" or Servants, a band made up of nuns plays catchy Christian songs that sound indistinguishable from many of their peers in mainstream rock

Sister Ivonne says playing in a band with other nuns is "another form of bringing our evangelical message, showing our strength"

Sister Teresa, a drum player from Chile, plays in a band made up of nuns she says takes "the word of God and his consolation to the prisons, to the disabled"

Sister Arisa, a violinist from Japan, says that "it was God's plan" that she and other nuns form a band

Related Articles:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Venezuela's parliament rejects legitimacy of Maduro second term

Yahoo - AFP, January 5, 2019

The new president of Venezuela's National Assembly Juan Guaido declares
Nicolas Maduro's presidency illegitimate in opening a new session of the
opposition-controlled legislature (AFP Photo/Federico Parra)

Caracas (AFP) - Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly declared Nicolas Maduro's presidency illegitimate Saturday, calling on the military to support efforts to "restore democracy."

"We reaffirm the illegitimacy of Nicolas Maduro," the assembly's new president Juan Guaido said as he was sworn in at the start of a new legislative session.

"As of January 10, he will be usurping the presidency and consequently this National Assembly is the only legitimate representative of the people."

Maduro is set to be sworn in on Thursday for a second six-year term after holding controversial early elections May 20.

The elections were boycotted by most of the opposition and widely condemned by the international community.

On Friday, foreign ministers from 12 Latin American countries and Canada announced in Lima that their governments would not recognize Maduro as president if he attempts to remain in office and urged him to turn over power to the National Assembly.

Guaido, in a speech attended by lawmakers and members of the diplomatic corps, declared that the military's chain of command had been "broken or usurped," but called on the armed forces to support efforts "to restore democracy."

He committed to "generate conditions for a government of transition and to call free elections."