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, September 29, 2019

Giant telescope project in Hawaii delayed by protests

Yahoo – AFP, Laurent BANGUET, September 28, 2019

Mauna Kea is volcano is sacred to Native Hawaiians (AFP Photo)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Anger is brewing on the Big Island of Hawaii over plans to build a giant telescope on a dormant volcano that is highly sacred to the region's native population.

For months, hundreds of protesters have delayed the start of construction on Mauna Kea volcano of the so-called Thirty Meter Telescope, or TMT, which astronomers say will have a dozen times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The demonstrators, who have converged on the site peacefully, argue that the $1.4 billion project would sit on a volcano that is sacred to Native Hawaiians and would harm the environment.

Celebrities like Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa and Bruno Mars have lent their support to the protesters.

"What I realized today, and obviously I've been following this for years now, is that it's bigger than a telescope," Johnson, who lived in Hawaii as a child, reportedly said when he visited the site earlier this summer.

"It's humanity. It's culture," he said.

Work on the project -- set to be completed by 2027 -- was supposed to start in 2015 but has been hampered by repeated protests.

"Construction has been delayed for years because of this situation," Christophe Dumas, a French astronomer and head of operations at TMT, told AFP. "The cost has also risen significantly... and the process to obtain a construction permit lasted 10 years."

The central region of the Trifid Nebula is shown in this photo taken by the Gemini 
North 8-meter Telescope on Mauna Kea (AFP Photo/GEMINI OBSERVATORY)

Protest leaders say the consortium of scientists behind the project can build their scope on a less controversial site, including on a mountain in Spain's Canary Islands, where they say it would be a win-win situation for everyone.

Dumas argues, however, that Mauna Kea "remains the ideal site" in the Northern Hemisphere because of its altitude -- 13,796 feet (4,205 meters) above sea level -- as well as its remoteness and clear skies which make it one of the best places on the planet for astronomical observatories.

The new telescope, according to scientists, would enable astronomers to see "forming galaxies at the very edge of the observable universe, near the beginning of time."

Already, Mauna Kea, which means White Mountain, is home to 13 telescopes housed in 12 facilities at or around the summit, which have been the source of a host of new discoveries and scientific studies.

Some question whether one more telescope -- albeit a giant one -- would make such a big difference.

The answer is a resounding "yes" from opponents.

'Enough is enough'

"I talked to the leaders of the opposition and they made it real clear that not only is it too big, but it's just one too many," said Greg Chun, executive director of Mauna Kea stewardship at the University of Hawaii. "They tell me we have shared this mountain long enough. Enough is enough."

He said Native Hawaiians have repeatedly expressed concerns about the development of the mountain but their complaints have, for the most part, fallen on deaf ears.

Visitors look at a scaled down model of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on display 
during a science exhibition in Bangalore in July 2019 (AFP Photo/Manjunath Kiran)

Scientists began flocking to Mauna Kea after a tsunami in 1960 devastated communities along the base of the volcano and local authorities, in a bid to revive the economy, began a drive to attract astronomers.

"From the very beginning, the development of astronomy has raised concerns about the development of the mountain," Chun said. "So it's not something new."

But many observers say the Mauna Kea debate goes beyond just a telescope and reflects deep-seated resentment by some Native Hawaiians over past abuses and the legacy of colonialism in the Hawaiian islands.

Jonathan Osorio, an expert on Hawaiian culture and a longtime opponents of the planned telescope, insists that he and fellow protesters are not opposed to science but they object to telescopes being built on sacred land.

Dumas for his part argues that the telescope is being used as a tool to pressure authorities to seek more autonomy for the native population.

"The telescope would not sit atop the mountain and will be visible from only a small section (14 percent) of the island," he said.

He said his team has gone to great lengths to respect local custom and tradition but the project now needs to urgently get off the ground.

"We can't wait much longer and the next few weeks are going to be critical," he said.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Melting snowcaps spell water trouble for world's highest capital

Yahoo – AFP, José Arturo CÁRDENAS, September 19, 2019

The Incachaca dam, which supplies the city of La Paz, Bolivia with water,
is seen September 12, 2019 (AFP Photo/AIZAR RALDES)

La Paz (AFP) - Water resources are running dry in the world's highest-elevation capital due to the combined effect of the Andean glaciers melting, drought and mismanagement.

But instead of surrendering, the locals in Bolivia's capital La Paz are finding new ways to tackle the changing climate.

The sky-high metropolitan area's 2.7 million people have already been jolted by climate change: a severe drought that lasted for several months from 2016 into 2017 was Bolivia's worst in 25 years, leading to water rationing and widespread protests in several cities.

In a sign of possibly worse to come, the Andean snowcaps -- which have been relied on to fill the city's reservoirs -- are disappearing at a rate that has alarmed scientists.

In a gray and misty Valle de las Flores district in the east of the city, people are beginning to adapt to disappearing water resources.

There, Juana and her colleague Maria wash clothes for a living at a municipal wash-house, which is fed by spring water.

Public wash-houses -- where the water is free -- are becoming more popular, as residents change their habits around water use, getting their laundry done and escaping rising water charges.

"It's true that there are more people coming here than ever before," since water started to become more scarce, said Juana, as the women scrubbed and wrung-out garments for a fee of 20 bolivianos, or around $3 per dozen items.

A woman washes clothes at a municipal laundry, which uses spring water to 
conserve the public distribution system's water, in La Paz September 12, 2019 

In some neighborhoods, locals have become accustomed to storing rainwater in cisterns, ready for when the dry season comes.

The severe drought that lasted from November 2016 to February 2017 was blamed on the combined effects of the El Nino weather cycle, poor water management and climate change.

Leftist President Evo Morales declared a "state of national emergency" and tens of thousands of people in La Paz faced imposed water rationing for the first time, while surrounding mountains that were once covered in snow turned brown and barren.

The measures were expanded to at least seven other cities, and in the countryside, farmers clashed with miners over the use of aquifers.

Disappearing glaciers

As part of a contingency plan, Morales doubled down by embarking on a vast investment program in a bid to ensure future water supplies.

According to recent data from the national water company EPSAS, the government has spent $64.7 million (58.7 million euros) to construct four water reservoirs and supply systems from the lagoons of the surrounding Andean highlands.

The new systems will in part ease reliance on the Inkachaka, Ajunkota and Hampaturi dams that have until now supplied drinking water to around one-third of La Paz's population.

The drought had left the dams almost completely depleted, resembling open-cast mines, and they took months to recover ample water levels.

The Andes Mountains in Bolivia, the melt-off of which flows to the Incachaca dam, 
which supplies the city of La Paz with water, is seen September 12, 2019 

Patricia Urquieta, an urban planning specialist at the University Mayor de San Andres, says that despite the hardships it brought, the drought did not lead to an increased collective awareness of the need to manage water resources.

Once water restrictions were lifted "this awareness of the need to preserve water fizzled out," said Urquieta.

"There has beeen no public policy to raise awareness about water usage, even though reports show that La Paz could end up without water because of the decrease of water in the moutains," she said.

UNESCO introduced an "Atlas on the retreat of Andean glaciers and the reduction of glacial waters" to map the effects of global warming in 2018.

It said "global warming could cause the loss of 95 percent of the current permafrost in Bolivia by 2050, and 99 percent by 2099."

A recent study published in the scientific journal Nature, citing analysis of satellite images, reported that "the Andean glaciers are among those that shrink the fastest".

Between 2000 and 2018, the glaciers lost an average of 23 billion tonnes of ice a year, according to Nature.

The Incachaca dam, which supplies the city of La Paz, Bolivia with water and 
took a hit after a 2016-2017 drought, is seen in La Paz September 12, 2019

"When the glaciers disappear, they will no longer be able to provide water during the dry season," said Sebastien Hardy, who is studying the local glaciers for the French Institute for Research and Development.

The Chacaltaya glacier –- once the world’s highest ski resort -- has already disappeared. Scientists said the glacier started to melt in the mid-1980s. By 2009, it had vanished.

The Inkachaka dam, a few miles outside the La Paz, is currently more than half-full, fed by snowfalls during the austral winter.

But the year-round snowcaps on nearby mountains, visible as recently as 30 years ago, no longer exist.

Related Articles:

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…  4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much.


We've told you that one of the greatest natural resources of the planet, which is going to shift and change and be mysterious to you, is fresh water. It's going to be the next gold, dear ones. So, we have also given you some hints and examples and again we plead: Even before the potentials of running out of it, learn how to desalinate water in real time without heat. It's there, it's doable, and some already have it in the lab. This will create inexpensive fresh water for the planet. 

There is a change of attitude that is starting to occur. Slowly you're starting to see it and the only thing getting in the way of it are those companies with the big money who currently have the old system. That's starting to change as well. For the big money always wants to invest in what it knows is coming next, but it wants to create what is coming next within the framework of what it has "on the shelf." What is on the shelf is oil, coal, dams, and non-renewable resource usage. It hasn't changed much in the last 100 years, has it? Now you will see a change of free choice. You're going to see decisions made in the boardrooms that would have curled the toes of those two generations ago. Now "the worst thing they could do" might become "the best thing they could do." That, dear ones, is a change of free choice concept. When the thinkers of tomorrow see options that were never options before, that is a shift. That was number four. ….”

“… New ideas are things you never thought of. These ideas will be given to you so you will have answers to the most profound questions that your societies have had since you were born. Inventions will bring clean water to every Human on the planet, cheaply and everywhere. Inventions will give you power, cheaply and everywhere. These ideas will wipe out all of the reasons you now have for pollution, and when you look back on it, you'll go, "This solution was always there. Why didn't we think of that? Why didn't we do this sooner?" Because it wasn't time and you were not ready. You hadn't planted the seeds and you were still battling the old energy, deciding whether you were going to terminate yourselves before 2012. Now you didn't…. and now you didn't.

It's funny, what you ponder about, and what your sociologists consider the "great current problems of mankind", for your new ideas will simply eliminate the very concepts of the questions just as they did in the past. Do you remember? Two hundred years ago, the predictions of sociologists said that you would run out of food, since there wasn't enough land to sustain a greater population. Then you discovered crop rotation and fertilizer. Suddenly, each plot of land could produce many times what it could before. Do you remember the predictions that you would run out of wood to heat your homes? Probably not. That was before electricity. It goes on and on.

So today's puzzles are just as quaint, as you will see. (1)How do you strengthen the power grids of your great nations so that they are not vulnerable to failure or don't require massive infrastructure improvement expenditures? Because cold is coming, and you are going to need more power. (2) What can you do about pollution? (3) What about world overpopulation? Some experts will tell you that a pandemic will be the answer; nature [Gaia] will kill off about one-third of the earth's population. The best minds of the century ponder these puzzles and tell you that you are headed for real problems. You have heard these things all your life.

Let me ask you this. (1) What if you could eliminate the power grid altogether? You can and will. (2) What if pollution-creating sources simply go away, due to new ideas and invention, and the environment starts to self-correct? (3) Overpopulation? You assume that humanity will continue to have children at an exponential rate since they are stupid and can't help themselves. This, dear ones, is a consciousness and education issue, and that is going to change. Imagine a zero growth attribute of many countries - something that will be common. Did you notice that some of your children today are actually starting to ponder if they should have any children at all? What a concept! ….”

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Almost entire population of Ecuador has online data leaked

Yahoo – AFP, September 16, 2019

The security company vpnMentor uncovered a data breach on the server run
by the firm Novaestrat, which included Ecuadoran citizens' full names, dates
and places of birth, education levels, phone numbers and national identity card
numbers (AFP Photo/Philippe HUGUEN)

Quito (AFP) - Almost the entire population of Ecuador had their personal data leaked online, security experts said Monday, a massive breach that the government called a "very delicate" issue.

An estimated 17 million people, including almost seven million minors and children, had their data exposed by a breach on an unsecured server run by an Ecuadorean marketing and analytics firm.

"The information that I can share with you at this moment is that this is a very delicate issue, it is a major concern for the whole of the government and the state," said Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo.

The security company vpnMentor uncovered the breach on the server run by the firm Novaestrat, which included citizens' full names, dates and places of birth, education levels, phone numbers and national identity card numbers.

ZDNet, the cybersecurity website that first reported the breach, said there was even data on the country's president and on Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who applied for asylum in Ecuador and who spent years holed up in the country's London embassy before being arrested this year by British police.

As part of his application for asylum, Assange was issued with an Ecuadoran identity card.

The security company contacted Ecuador's Computer Emergency Response Team to secure the leaked data, ZDNet said.

Romo said the government was "working on an investigation which will permit us in the coming hours to assess who is responsible for what happened."

"I hope, too, that in the hours to come, the telecommunications ministry will be able to assess more thoroughly technical information about data protection," she said.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Water or Gold? Eternal question nags Ecuador tribes

Yahoo – AFP, Santiago PIEDRA SILVA, September 14, 2019

View of Quimsacocha where indigenous water rights are under threat from
expanding mineral exploration (AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

Quimsacocha (Ecuador) (AFP) - The indigenous people of Ecuador's wind-whipped alpine tundra of Quimsacocha face a stark choice, according to their leader, Yaku Perez.

"We have to decide between gold and water," he tells activists at a meeting held to oppose a landmark mining project.

"What do we prefer, companeros?" demands Perez, his voice rising.

He knows there's only one answer, and they shout back in unison: "Water!"

Ecuador's government has put its weight behind a giant gold-silver-copper mining project in the wild, high grasslands of Quimsacocha.

Quito has conceded half Quimsacocha's 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) to Canadian miner INV Metals to develop a near billion dollar mine deep underground.

Indigenous people share a traditional lunch in Quimsacocha, Ecuador
(AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

The Loma Larga project is due to begin production in 2021 and would mean thousands of jobs.

For local indigenous communities however, the sweeping, cloud-scraping grasslands of Quimsacocha are a sacred, vital source of water.

'We can live without gold'

Perez, his Canari Quechua people and other indigenous communities are fighting the Loma Larga mine every step of the way.

In an unprecedented popular consultation held in March, local municipalities rejected mining in the southern Andes.

Perez sees local referenda "as the way for Ecuador to be declared a territory free of metal mining and its water sources and fragile ecosystems."

Community leader Yaku Perez, who is leading the indigenous struggle against
the threat to water resources posed by mining companies in Ecuador's high 
grasslands (AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

Just 3,200 hectares of the Quimsacocha is under protection, forming part of a biosphere reserve.

The government, anxious to develop its mineral resources, is hoping the Constitutional Court will block further popular consultations and demonstrate the legal protections necessary to attract mining sector investment.

"Mining, wherever it goes, generates dispossession of territories, violence in the community, destabilises democracy, generates institutional corruption, pollutes the waters and poisons the rivers," says Perez.

"It takes the meat, and leave the bone, but the contaminated bone."

Yaku Perez drinks water from a river in Quimsacocha 
(AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

Perez says this standing on the grassy bank of the Tarqui river, which hurries down from here to the city of Cuenca and into the Amazon.

Squatting, he scoops a palmful of cold clear water to his lips.

"We can live without gold, but without water, never."

'Defending the water'

A lawyer, Perez sees himself as a defender of the Quimsacocha and says he has been jailed on four occasions for "defending the water."

High on the tundra, he vaults a fence surrounding the mining concession. Others with him cut through chains blocking a narrow road, a symbolic gesture in a constant war of attrition with the mining company.

For indigenous communities the sweeping, cloud-scraping 
grasslands of Quimsacocha are a sacred, vital source 
of water. (AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

"We are not going to allow the miners here," said Maria Dorila Fajardo, a 60-year-old indigenous woman wearing a traditional large red skirt, her head covered with a wool hat.

A large blue sign with white lettering says: "Private Property. No Entry."

"This is not private property," Perez fumes. "This is communal property. We have deeds dating back to 1893, our grandparents bought all this land.

"We don't want to cultivate it, but keep it as the natural reservoir it is."

The government in Quito expects GDP to grow from 1.6 percent to 4.0 percent by 2021, boosted by mineral exploration.

An Ecuadorean indigenous woman stands in protest outside a mining 
concession in Quimsacocha, Azuay province, Ecuador (AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

Resource-rich Ecuador will receive about $554 million from Loma Larga, according to official figures.

"Mining is like a mirage. They give us money for a little while and later that money evaporates," says Perez.

"It goes up in smoke. It's bread today, but hunger and desolation tomorrow."

Monday, September 9, 2019

Battle over Marvel comic gay kiss is defused by Brazil court

Yahoo – AFP, September 9, 2019

Organizers of the Rio book fair appealed to the supreme court amid
worries about censorship and discrimination (AFP Photo/HO)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Brazil's Supreme Court on Sunday made it illegal to ban any LGBT publication, after a lower court allowed conservative mayor to confiscate comic books at the Rio Book Fair containing content he considered "inappropriate" for minors.

Mayor Marcelo Crivella, an Evangelical Protestant, ordered the comic book removed from sale because of its "sexual content for minors" on Saturday.

Crivella -- a former bishop in the giant Universal Church of the Kingdom of God -- was elected Rio's mayor in 2016, promising to bring law and order to a city beset by crime.

The comic that sparked the mayor's ire showed the Marvel superhero characters Wiccan and Hulkling exchanging a kiss, fully dressed.

But the federal top court agreed with prosecutor Dias Toffoli and ruled that Crivella's actions were illegal because they targeted only LGBT content, violating the constitutional guarantee of equality for all.

And Crivella's move backfired as copies of "Young Avengers: the Children's Crusade" quickly sold out after he demanded it be withdrawn from the book fair, organizers told AFP.

Popular Brazilian YouTuber Felipe Neto, who has more than 34 million subscribers to his channel, also bought 14,000 books on LGBT themes and distributed them free at the fair in protest.

The image of the Marvel comic kiss was also on display Saturday at news kiosks across the country, printed on the cover of the Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil's largest national newspaper.

Publishers and writers accuse the mayor of wanting to censor content.

Constitutional law specialist Michael Mohallem, of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, had previously said that the mayor's actions, and the court decision permitting them, would violate free speech and discriminate based on sexual orientation.

"Since the decision seems to be specifically aimed at prohibiting the circulation of magazines that show gay kisses (rather than any other), my interpretation is that it is motivated by discrimination, both by the mayor and the judge," Mohallem said.

Brazil's Supreme Court in June voted to criminalize homophobia, classifying it as a crime similar to racism.

It was an important step for sexual minorities in one of the most dangerous countries for LGBT people in the world, but was criticized by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has a history of homophobic remarks.

Brazil had already legalized same-sex marriage.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Amid fears of far higher Dorian death toll, islanders scramble to leave

Yahoo – AFP, Cyril JULIEN, September 7, 2019

Hurricane Dorian refugees arrive in the capital Nassau (AFP Photo/
Brendan Smialowski)

Marsh Harbour (Bahamas) (AFP) - Bahamians who lost everything in the devastating passage of Hurricane Dorian were scrambling Saturday to escape the worst-hit islands by sea or by air, after the powerful storm left at least 43 people dead with officials fearing a "significantly" higher toll.

A loosely coordinated armada of passenger planes, helicopters and both private and government boats and ships -- including redirected cruise liners -- was converging on the horribly battered Abaco Islands to help with evacuations, both to Nassau and to the US mainland.

But Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that "Nassau cannot possibly accommodate" all the Abaco victims. He said plans were being hammered out for constructing tents and other temporary accommodations, the Nassau Guardian reported Saturday.

For now, he said, supplies of food and water were adequate, though several witnesses from Abaco contested that.

A cruise ship carrying 1,400 evacuees arrived Saturday in Riviera Beach, Florida, CNN reported.

More than 260 Abacos residents arrived Friday in Nassau on a government-chartered ferry. Another, carrying 200, was set to leave on Saturday.

The US Coast Guard and private organizations have been evacuating residents 
of Abaco and other islands to Nassau (AFP Photo/Hunter Medley)

Residents said conditions on the islands were brutal. They said the smell of unrecovered bodies, along with mounting piles of garbage, was oppressive and unsanitary.

Hundreds or even thousands of people were still missing, officials said, as search-and-rescue teams continued their grim search. Morticians with body bags were beginning to arrive.

Minnis said the death toll -- 35 so far in the Abacos and eight in Grand Bahama -- was likely to climb "significantly."

He called the loss of life "catastrophic and devastating."

The final death toll "will be staggering," Health Minister Duane Sands said earlier.

A UN World Food Program team estimated that 90 percent of buildings in Marsh Harbour were damaged.

UN relief officials said more than 70,000 people on Grand Bahama and Abaco were in need of assistance. The WFP was sending food and supplies.

The US Coast Guard, Britain's Royal Navy and private organizations have been helping evacuate island residents to Nassau, hampered by damaged piers and airport runways.

Hurricane Dorian left a deadly trail of destruction on Great Abaco Island (AFP
Photo/Adam DelGiudice)

The Coast Guard said Saturday, however, that all Bahamian ports had now reopened. It said it had deployed nine cutters to the islands and that six of its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters had so far rescued 290 people.

'It's not right'

Chamika Durosier was waiting early Saturday at the Abaco airport. The island, she said, was unsafe.

"The home that we were in fell on us," she said. "We had to crawl -- got out crawling. By the grace of God we are alive."

She described the increasingly desperate plight of those left behind.

"People have no food. People have no water, and it's not right. They should have been gone.

"Dead bodies are still around and it's not sanitary."

At Marsh Harbour's commercial port, Miralda Smith, a Haitian national, had arrived overnight on foot and was waiting in sweltering heat with dozens of other evacuees for passage to Nassau.

"We have no water, no electricity -- we're dying," she said. "It's really catastrophic."

Waves crash on Rodanthe Pier as Hurricane Dorian hits Cape Hatteras in 
North Carolina on September 6 (AFP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Many evacuees were Haitian workers who had seen their makeshift homes in a shantytown known as The Mudd completely flattened.

Those who have made it to safety awaited news of loved ones.

Diane Forbes was desperately searching for her two sons among some 200 evacuees at a shelter in Nassau.

On Tuesday, when last she heard from them, her sons told her that "they were hungry, and the scent of the bodies, the dead, was really getting to them."

Dorian, a monstrous Category 5 hurricane when it raked through the Bahamas, was buffeting southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, on Saturday with tropical storm-force winds, the National Hurricane Center said at 11:00 am (1500 GMT).

The Canadian Hurricane Centre predicted a landfall near Halifax and issued hurricane warnings for parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Earlier, Dorian brought flooding and power outages but no major damage to the coastal Carolinas and Virginia.

In the Bahamas, the scene was very different, as the newly homeless were growing frustrated at the slow speed of relief and evacuation efforts.

A shop floods in Rodanthe Sound as Hurricane Dorian hits Cape Hatteras 
(AFP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

"There's no gas station, no food stores, my job is gone," said Melanie Lowe of Marsh Harbour. She survived the storm packed in a two-bedroom apartment with 16 other people.

Hazmat suits and body bags

Arrangements were being made Saturday to care for the dead and account for the missing.

Mortuary workers in white hazmat suits, blue gloves and masks could be seen in Marsh Harbour carrying corpses in green body bags and loading them onto flatbed trucks.

President Donald Trump offered US support, adding in a video statement that "any cruise ship companies willing to act as stationary housing, etc., I am sure would be appreciated!"

At the Abaco airport on Saturday, Tanya McDermott was waiting with her husband and young son for a plane to Nassau.

With the injured given priority on outbound flights, they waited.

"We are going to wait around all day if we have to," Tanya McDermott said.

"We are going to hope for the best."

Friday, September 6, 2019

Amazon's 'tallest tree' safe from fires, say scientists

Yahoo – AFP, September 4, 2019

Handout picture released by SETEC (Science and Technology Secretary of
Amapa State) showing the giant Dinizia Excelsa tree, found in the Paru State
Forest in the Amazon basin, on August 21, 2019 (AFP Photo/Rafael ALEIXO)

Sao Paulo (AFP) - Intrepid Brazilian and British scientists say they have located the Amazon's tallest tree in northern Brazil, untouched by a spate of wildfires that have raged in the rainforest for weeks.

The scientists say they located an unusually large specimen of the giant Dinizia Excelsa species -- measuring 88 meters (288-feet) with a circumference of 5.50 meters -- in a sanctuary of other Dinizia trees.

"The species generally reach a height of 60 meters. We have a great discovery here and now a commitment to preserve the largest trees in the Amazon," said research coordinator Eric Bastos.

Bastos led research conducted in August by scientists from the Federal University of the Valleys of the Jequitinhonha and Britain's Cambridge University and the University of Swansea.

The discovery was made by using aerial sensors over Paru State Forest, which is shared by the Brazilian Amazon basin states of Amapa and Para.

The sanctuary of Dinizia Excelsa trees lies outside the areas affected by the wildfires which have caused international concern, Amapu State scientific sourcees told AFP.

According to National Geographic, scientists earlier this year discovered the world's tallest tropical tree, a 100 meter meranti tree in Sabah on the island of Borneo.

The tallest known trees are California redwoods, which have been measured up to 379.7 feet, or 115.7 meters.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Cruise companies pledge aid after Dorian wreaks havoc on Bahamas

Yahoo – AFP, Virginie MONTET, September 5, 2019

The Royal Caribbean ship Allure of the Seas (L) and Carnival Cruise ships Liberty
and Elation are seen in Nassau, Bahamas in April 2019 (AFP Photo/Daniel SLIM)

Washington (AFP) - For the Atlantic's major cruise operators, deadly Hurricane Dorian has meant nothing but trouble in paradise as ships have been diverted from the Bahamas.

But as the widespread devastation becomes more apparent on the ravaged archipelago, a bread-and-butter staple of the tourist industry, the companies are pledging to help fund major relief.

At least 20 deaths have already been attributed to Dorian in the Bahamas in what Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called "one of the greatest national crises in our country's history."

Royal Caribbean, which has shuttled thousands of tourists every year to the Bahamas for more than half a century, said it is "rolling up our sleeves to help our friends" in the Bahamas by committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief.

Similarly, the Disney Cruise Line has pledged, through its parent the Walt Disney Company, to give more than $1 million in cash and in-kind support to those who found themselves in the storm's path.

On Wednesday, the hurricane was advancing northward off the US Coast as a strong Category 2 storm, threatening the eastern states of Georgia and South and North Carolina.

"To make sure our donations go where they can do the most good, we are collaborating with the Bahamian government and our non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and organizations," Royal Caribbean said.

Port Everglades, Florida, where several major cruise lines are docked, was 
closed due to Hurricane Dorian (AFP Photo/Michele Eve Sandberg)

Rerouted, canceled cruises

The company urged guest and employee contributions as well by promising to match every dollar donated.

It also said it had loaded generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, towels and other items onto its ships for delivery to the Bahamas.

The company's Mexican partner ITM, with which it has formed the Holistica joint venture that is developing a resort in Freeport, is donating an additional $100,000, Royal Caribbean added.

The 700 islands that constitute the Bahamas archipelago are located just 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of Florida and are the home port to multiple cruise ships.

But for three days, the cruises were forced to avoid the region, with several prolonging their voyages so as to avoid the storm.

Norwegian Cruise Line temporarily substituted New Orleans as its terminus rather than Port Canaveral or Miami in Florida, and Royal Caribbean extended several routes, forcing cruise-goers to spend a few additional nights at sea.

Carnival Cruise Line, meanwhile, canceled several trips and reimbursed the would-be voyagers.

A spokeswoman for the company said cruise ships loaded with humanitarian and economic assistance would head to several Bahamas ports, including Nassau and Freeport, as soon as possible.

It added that it was evaluating how best to help the Grand Bahama shipyard and its employees, as well as tour operators.