United Nations Declaration (Articles 1 - 30):

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts
Nigerian Minister of the Environment Amina Mohammed, seen in 2015, will be the UN's number two official (AFP Photo/Mireya ACIERTO)
Sustainable Development
"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.) -
"The Timing of the Great Shift" – Mar 21, 2009 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Text version)

“ … 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.)


The Declaration of Human Freedom

Archangel Michael (Via Steve Beckow), Feb. 19, 2011

Every being is a divine and eternal soul living in a temporal body. Every being was alive before birth and will live after death.

Every soul enters into physical life for the purpose of experience and education, that it may, in the course of many lifetimes, learn its true identity as a fragment of the Divine.

Life itself is a constant process of spiritual evolution and unfoldment, based on free choice, that continues until such time as we realize our true nature and return to the Divine from which we came.

No soul enters life to serve another, except by choice, but to serve its own purpose and that of the Divine from which it came.

All life is governed by natural and universal laws which precede and outweigh the laws of humanity. These laws, such as the law of karma, the law of attraction, and the law of free will, are decreed by God to order existence and assist each person to achieve life’s purpose.

No government can or should survive that derives its existence from the enforced submission of its people or that denies its people their basic rights and freedoms.

Life is a movement from one existence to another, in varied venues throughout the universe and in other universes and dimensions of existence. We are not alone in the universe but share it with other civilizations, most of them peace-loving, many of whom are more advanced than we are, some of whom can be seen with our eyes and some of whom cannot.

The evidence of our five senses is not the final arbiter of existence. Humans are spiritual as well as physical entities and the spiritual side of life transcends the physical. God is a Spirit and the final touchstone of God’s Truth is not physical but spiritual. The Truth is to be found within.

God is one and, because of this, souls are one. They form a unity. They are meant to live in peace and harmony together in a “common unity” or community. The use of force to settle affairs runs contrary to natural law. Every person should have the right to conduct his or her own affairs without force, as long as his or her choices do not harm another.

No person shall be forced into marriage against his or her will. No woman shall be forced to bear or not bear children, against her will. No person shall be forced to hold or not hold views or worship in a manner contrary to his or her choice. Nothing vital to existence shall be withheld from another if it is within the community’s power to give.

Every person shall retain the ability to think, speak, and act as they choose, as long as they not harm another. Every person has the right to choose, study and practice the education and career of their choice without interference, provided they not harm another.

No one has the right to kill another. No one has the right to steal from another. No one has the right to force himself or herself upon another in any way.

Any government that harms its citizens, deprives them of their property or rights without their consent, or makes offensive war upon its neighbors, no matter how it misrepresents the situation, has lost its legitimacy. No government may govern without the consent of its people. All governments are tasked with seeing to the wellbeing of their citizens. Any government which forces its citizens to see to its own wellbeing without attending to theirs has lost its legitimacy.

Men and women are meant to live fulfilling lives, free of want, wherever they wish and under the conditions they desire, providing their choices do not harm another and are humanly attainable.

Children are meant to live lives under the beneficent protection of all, free of exploitation, with unhindered access to the necessities of life, education, and health care.

All forms of exploitation, oppression, and persecution run counter to universal and natural law. All disagreements are meant to be resolved amicably.

Any human law that runs counter to natural and universal law is invalid and should not survive. The enactment or enforcement of human law that runs counter to natural and universal law brings consequences that cannot be escaped, in this life or another. While one may escape temporal justice, one does not escape divine justice.

All outcomes are to the greater glory of God and to God do we look for the fulfillment of our needs and for love, peace, and wisdom. So let it be. Aum/Amen.



Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit
Pope Francis laughs alongside US President Barack Obama upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, on September 22, 2015, on the start of a 3-day trip to Washington (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)


Today's doodle in the U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech on its 50th anniversary (28 Aug 2013)

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'
The White House released this image, of the building colored like the rainbow flag, on Facebook following the supreme court’s ruling. Photograph: Facebook

Same-sex marriage around the world

"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. …

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'
Reporters Without Borders labels Erdogan as 'enemy of press freedom'

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Obama vows new push to close Guantanamo

Google – AFP, 30 April 2013

Activists demand the closing of the US military's detention facility in
Guantanamo, April 11, 2013 in New York City (AFP/File, Stan Honda)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday to make a renewed attempt to close the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, amid a hunger strike by suspected terrorist detainees.

Obama told a White House news conference he did not want any prisoners to die and called on Congress to help him find a long-term legal solution to the problem of prosecuting terror suspects.

"I continue to believe we have to close Guantanamo. I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe.

"It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruiting tool for extremists.

"It needs to be closed," he said.

Obama favors prosecuting enemy combatants in civilian courts and transferring those cleared of wrongdoing to their home countries.

His tough words were the most extensive the president has delivered on Guantanamo for months and reflected his frustration with Congress which he blamed for blocking his efforts to shut the jail at a US naval base in southeastern Cuba.


President Obama made closing Guantanamo
Bay an early priority but he met fierce resistance


NBA player Jason Collins comes out as gay

BBC News, 29 April 2013

Related Stories
Jason Collins has been inundated
with messages of support
US basketball player Jason Collins has come out as gay, the first active male athlete in a major American professional team sport to do so.

He declared his sexuality in an article for Sports Illustrated which began: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

Collins said he had struggled with his sexuality for years.

Former NBA player John Amaechi came out as gay in 2007, but he had already retired.

Former US President Bill Clinton was among those who sent messages of support to Collins on Monday.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement: "Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue."

Sports label Nike, which has endorsed Collins, also supported his decision.

"Jason is a Nike athlete. We are a company committed to diversity and inclusion," a statement said.

In the Sports Illustrated article, Collins, who has most recently played for the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics, said: "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport.

"But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.'

"If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."

He added that this month's bombings at the Boston marathon reinforced the conviction that he should talk publicly about his sexuality.

"Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?" Collins wrote.

Collins, who is professionally a free agent, having played 11 seasons in the NBA with six teams, said he had tried to suppress his feelings through relationships with women.

"When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged," he said. "I thought I had to live a certain way.

"I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue."

Collins said he decided he should go public after his former roommate at California's Stanford University, Congressman Joe Kennedy, scion of the Kennedy political dynasty, marched in a Boston gay parade.


Robbie Rogers of the Columbus Crew watches his shot on April 16, 2011
at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Rogers, a former US national team
midfielder and 2008 Olympian, announced in a blog posting on Friday that
he is gay and that he is retiring from football at age 25.

All Blacks players perform the Haka prior to their
 match against Italy in Rome on November 17, 2012 (AFP/
File, Gabriel Bouys)

Footballer Matt Jarvis on the cover of this month's Attitude
magazine. Photograph: Attitude

'There is suicidal death – when a gay man cannot stand being
unaccepted and takes his own life,' says Orlando Cruz. 'And 
there is homophobic murder.  In both I want to be a force for 
change.' Photographs: Herminio Rodriguez for the Guardian

Related Articles:

Eight footballers say 'we're gay' but keep quiet in fear of fans

Barack Obama calls NBA star Jason Collins, praises him for having courage to come out

Rogers comes out as gay and ends career

Footballer in gay magazine: it's time to tackle the last taboo

NZ Gay advocates appeal for All Black to come out

Out of the closet and on to the pitch

Orlando Cruz: 'I wanted to take out the thorn inside me and have peace'


About the Challenges of Being a Gay Man – Oct 23, 2010 (Saint Germain channelled by Alexandra Mahlimay and Dan Bennack) - “You see, your Soul and Creator are not concerned with any perspective you have that contradicts the reality of your Divinity – whether this be your gender, your sexual preference, your nationality – or your race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or anything else.”

"The Akashic System" – Jul 17, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Religion, The Humanization of GodBenevolent Design, DNA, Akashic Circle, (Old) Souls, Gaia, Indigenous People, Talents, Reincarnation, Genders, Gender Switches, In “between” Gender Change, Gender Confusion, Shift of Human Consciousness, Global Unity,..... etc.)  - (Text version)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Afghan president confirms received CIA cash

The Daily Star, April 29, 2013

In this photograph taken on January 11, 2013, Afghan President Hamid Karzai
 answers a question during a joint press conference with US President Barack
 Obama in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/
Jewel Samad/FILES
                            
KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday confirmed that his government received money from the US Central Intelligence Agency, following reports of cash being handed over in suitcases and backpacks.

"Yes, the NSC of Afghanistan has received money from CIA in the past 10 years. The amount was not big, rather it was small," Karzai said in a statement, referring to the National Security Council which is part of the president's office.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Karzai's office had received tens of millions of dollars in cash over more than a decade in a CIA effort to win influence.

Karzai said the money had been used for good causes in Afghanistan, where endemic corruption is one of the main problems undermining efforts to establish a stable state.

"The money was spent for different reasons: operation objectives, helping wounded and sick (people) and for house rents and others objectives," the president said.

"These assistances were very productive and we thank them."

Related Article:


China becoming global climate change leader: study

Google – AFP, Martin Parry (AFP), 28 April 2013

Solar panels in the Sino-Singapore Eco-city near Tianjin on June 11, 2012
(AFP/File, Ed Jones)

SYDNEY — China is rapidly assuming a global leadership role on climate change alongside the United States, a new study said Monday, but it warned greenhouse gas emissions worldwide continue to rise strongly.

The report by the independent Australian-based Climate Commission, "The Critical Decade: International Action on Climate Change" presents an overview of action in the last nine months.

It was released on the same day as a fresh round of UN talks were to start in Bonn on boosting action on climate change -- a two-decade-long process that has been dogged by procedural bickering and defence of national interests.

The study found that every major economy had policies in place to tackle the issue, but China was at the forefront in strengthening its response, "taking ambitious strides to add renewable energy to its mix".

A wind turbine complex on the Zhemo 
Mountain in the outskirts of Dali in China's
 Yunnan province on November 5, 2009
 (AFP/File, Liu Jin)
"China is accelerating action," said Tim Flannery, the co-author and a key figure at the Climate Commission, which brings together internationally-renowned scientists, as well as policy and business leaders.

"China has halved its growth in electricity demand, dramatically increased its renewable energy capacity, and decelerated its emissions growth more quickly than expected.

"After years of strong growth in coal use, this has begun to level off. They are beginning to put in place seven emissions trading schemes that will cover quarter of a billion people," he said.

The report added that China, which this month agreed to work with the US to tackle global warming, wanted "to position themselves as the world's renewable energy leader".

"Whatever the reason, the results speak for themselves. China is quickly moving to the top of the leader board on climate change," said Flannery.

The report found that in 2012 alone China invested US$65.1 billion in clean energy, 20 percent more than in 2011. This was unmatched and represented 30 percent of the entire G20 nations' investment last year.

It pointed to new solar power capacity in China expanding 75 percent last year while the amount of electricity generated from wind in 2012 was 36 percent higher than 2011.

The United States, which with China produces some 37 percent of world emissions, also significantly strengthened its climate change response, pumping US$35.6 billion into renewable energy last year, second only to Beijing.

The report said the impact of the economic downturn and a progressive shift from coal to gas had kept Washington on track to meet its national goal of reducing emissions by 17 percent on 2005 levels by 2020.

"Important foundations have been set that are likely to have a lasting impact in the coming decades," it added, pointing to California, the world's ninth largest economy, beginning an emissions trading scheme in January.

More than half of US states now have policies to encourage renewable energy.

Beyond China and the US, momentum globally has grown with 98 countries committing to limit emissions.

Workers check a solar panel in a field in Hami, China's Xinjiang region,
on August 6, 2012 (AFP)

"Renewable energy is surging globally with solar capacity increasing 42 percent and wind 21 percent in just one year," said Flannery. "With so much global momentum this is clearly the beginning of the clean energy era."

But while progress was being made, the report cautioned that "it is not enough".

"Globally emissions are continuing to rise strongly, posing serious risks for our society," it said.

"This decade must set the foundations to reduce emissions rapidly to nearly zero by 2050. The earlier such action is under way the less disruptive and costly it will be."

The five-day Bonn negotiations beginning Monday are the first since United Nations talks in Qatar last December that set down a two-track process for tackling greenhouse gases.

The goal is a new climate treaty that will be concluded by 2015 and take effect by 2020. 

Countries would also pledge greater commitment on tackling the carbon problem in the interim years before 2020.

Related Articles:





Sunday, April 28, 2013

Obama pokes fun at himself, rivals at reporters' dinner

Google – AFP, Stephen Collinson (AFP), 28 April 2013 

Barack Obama pauses during his speech at the White House Correspondents' 
Dinner in Washington, DC, April 27, 2013 (AFP, Brendan Smialowski)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama poked fun at himself, his political opponents, the news media and even his wife's hairstyle late on Saturday at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.

The dinner, where around 3,000 guests dine in a massive hotel ballroom, is greeted with near hysteria in Washington, normally a strait-laced town where celebrity is calculated in degrees of political power rather than box office pulling power.

Entertainer Psy arrives at the annual White
 House Correspondents' Association dinner
 in Washington DC, April 27, 2013 (AFP,
Chris Kleponis)
In recent years, the dinner has been transformed from a chance for journalists and their bosses to meet with government officials into a full-bore celebrity party, with A-listers imported from Hollywood -- a "nerd prom" as some call it.

"These days I look in the mirror and have to admit, I'm not the strapping young Muslim Socialist that I used to be," Obama said in one of his choice jokes, mocking that belief among a radical conservative fringe of Americans.

He then showed a montage of pictures showing him in a haircut with bangs like his wife Michelle wore on inauguration day.

Targets of Obama's humor included billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who spent $100 million backing Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates in the 2012 race; conservative radio provocateur Rush Limbaugh; the three major cable news networks; and several conservative Republican politicos.

The humor was mostly made up of inside jokes for news junkies, though the president ended with a clip in which Hollywood director Steven Spielberg announced a new movie -- "Obama," starring Daniel Day-Lewis. The president then appeared acting as if he were Day-Lewis preparing for the role.

Among stars sighted were South Korean rapper Psy, singer Barbra Streisand, Hollywood actors Day-Lewis, Bradley Cooper, Michael J. Fox, Kevin Spacey, Nicole Kidman, Ian Mckellen and Michael Douglas, and movie directors Spielberg and George Lucas.

Conan O'Brien (centre) and Michelle
Obama at the White House
Correspondents? Association Dinner
April 27, 2013 (AFP, Brendan 
Smialowski)
Obama ended on a serious note, making reference to the people of Boston affected by the marathon bombings, those in Texas affected by the deadly fertilizer plant explosion, and victims of flooding in the midwestern United States.

The night's featured comedian was Conan O'Brien, who mocked US politicians and the media but also had choice words for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

"In the past we've had really scary enemies like Saddam Hussein and Hitler," said O'Brien. "Now our nemesis is a pouty teenage boy who dresses like Rosie O'Donnell at the Emmys."

Kim "doesn't understand that we aren't afraid of him. What that guy doesn't get is that we already have an unstable peninsula that will ultimately bring down America. It's called Florida."

The reference was to the constant electoral headaches coming from the southern US state.

For the first time, celebrity cable news network E! covered the Oscars-style red carpet entrance to the party at the Washington Hilton hotel live as the stars rolled up.

Not everyone was impressed with the news media-Washington power elite lovefest.

"#1 legacy of tonite's #nerdprom: Merriam-Webster just added a 4th definition for 'incestuous,'" wrote political pundit Larry Sabato in a Twitter message.

First Lady Michelle Obama laughs during the White House Correspondents?
Association Dinner April 27, 2013 (AFP, Brendan Smialowski)

The event "was pathetic," wrote former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, also on Twitter. "The rest of America is out there working our asses off while these DC assclowns throw themselves a #nerdprom."

Famed NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw caused a stir last year when he slammed the dinner's growing glitz, and declined his invitation this year.

White House Correspondents Association president Ed Henry of Fox News took steps to try to damp down the Hollywood influence, cutting back on tables for news organizations that rarely cover the White House.

Henry also noted that the dinner raises funds for journalism scholarships.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Syria says chemical weapons claims 'barefaced lie'

Google – AFP, 27 April 2013

Omran al-Zohbi gives a press conference in Damascus on March 19, 2013
(SANA/AFP)

MOSCOW, Russia — US and British accusations that the regime in Damascus may have used chemical weapons are a "barefaced lie," Syria's information minister told Russian television Saturday.

"First of all, I want to confirm that statements by the US Secretary of State and British government are inconsistent with reality and a barefaced lie," Omran al-Zohbi said in an interview published on the Kremlin-funded RT's website.

"I want to stress one more time that Syria would never use it -- not only because of its adherence to the international law and rules of leading war, but because of humanitarian and moral issues," Zohbi said in comments that were published in English on the website.

US President Barack Obama on Friday warned Syria that using chemical weapons would be a "game changer," after the US, Israel and Britain all cited signs that the regime attacked with the deadly agent sarin.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon has called on Syria to approve a UN mission of inspectors to probe the alleged use of chemical weapons in the spiralling two-year conflict.

But Zohbi told RT that the Syrian government could not trust UN inspectors from Britain and the US.

"We do not trust the American and British experts from a political point of view," Zobhi said.

"We also do not trust their qualifications. Their aim is to juggle with facts."

He added that the Syrian government would accept Russian inspectors.

"We won't mind if Russians would be among the experts, quite the contrary, we only welcome this idea. We are quite sure in their high qualification and ability to clearly see into such matters," he was quoted as saying.

Along with China, Russia has blocked several UN Security Council draft resolutions threatening sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

During his visit to Russia, Zobhi on Saturday met the deputy speaker of the upper house of parliament, Ilyas Umakhanov.

Blow for Cameron as China welcomes Hollande

Beijing punishes PM for his meeting with Dalai Lama while French president gets full state visit treatment

The Guardian, Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent, Friday 26 April 2013

The French president, François Hollande, meets his Chinese counterpart,
 Xi Jinping, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. Photograph:
Pool/Getty Images

David Cameron's mission to change the focus of British foreign policy by boosting trade links suffered a setback after Downing Street was forced to abandon a trip to China as Beijing punished the prime minister for meeting the Dalai Lama.

In a blow to Cameron, who had hoped to hold an annual summit with the Chinese leadership, the French president François Hollande was on Friday feted in Shanghai on a full state visit a few weeks after the prime minister was due to visit China.

Cameron is understood to have abandoned the planned trip after Beijing indicated that he was unlikely to be granted meetings with senior figures. He is now expected to visit in the autumn, two years after his first and only visit as prime minister.

Britain accepts that Beijing is exacting punishment after Cameron met the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, at St Paul's Cathedral last May. The meeting, which was similar to Gordon Brown's discussions with the Dalai Lama at Lambeth Palace in 2008, was designed to minimise offence in China by showing that Britain regards him as a spiritual leader. Downing Street has made clear to Beijing that it accepts Tibet is part of the People's Republic of China.

Government sources said that tentative plans for the prime minister to visit China this month were put on hold before his visit to India in February for the simple reason that the new Chinese leadership only took over in March. Cameron spoke to Li Keqiang, his new Chinese counterpart, after his appointment.

But the Guardian understands from diplomatic sources that a visit was firmly placed in the prime minister's diary for earlier this month. This was abandoned when it became clear that the prime minister would be denied the access usually granted to a G8 leader.

Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary who has just returned from China, told the Guardian: "David Cameron came to office claiming he would prioritise the UK's diplomatic and trade relationship with China, and yet the real difficulties in relations have now been laid bare. I was in China this week and it is clear that the new Chinese leadership are focused on the French president's visit, along with a large number of French companies looking for business.

"In the past, UK prime ministers have met with the Dalai Lama without the deterioration in relations with China that we are now seeing. For all of their initial boasts and bluster, the UK government has lacked a strategic or a joined-up approach to China since it came to office, and that's now showing."

A No 10 source said: "Of course, as any good diary planner would, we pencil in early on dates when the prime minister could potentially travel overseas without going firm on destinations. We decided several weeks ago that we wanted to visit some European capitals in the time we had earlier this month. When the prime minister and Premier Li Keqiang spoke in March they looked forward to meeting in due course."

Officials said trade with China is still rising and the two countries are on course to achieve £1bn in bilateral trade by 2015. Exports to China grew 13.4% last year.

But the decision to abandon the visit is a personal setback for Cameron, who said after coming to office that he would place trade at the heart of foreign policy, with a particular emphasis on the so-called Bric countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. A visit to India in February fell flat after private complaints that the prime minister appeared to regard the country as a trading opportunity rather than an emerging world power.

Hollande was greeted by Xi Jinping, the new Chinese president, when he arrived in Beijing with his partner Valerie Trierweiler on Thursday. They agreed to hold an annual summit – Cameron's original aspiration when he first visited China in November 2010 – after Hollande said he hoped to build a "multipolar" world. This is the classic French ambition to ensure the US cannot dominate the world in a "unipolar" world.

Cui Hongjian, director of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, a foreign ministry thinktank, told the South China Morning Post that this message was well received in Beijing. "France sometimes has different ideas from the US. China may co-operate with France."


Friday, April 26, 2013

Bangladesh building collapse: factories supplied shops in west

At least 119 dead at plant where staff were 'told to return to work' despite crack in wall

The Guardian, Saad Hammadi in Dhaka, Jason Burke and Rebecca Smithers, Wednesday 24 April 2013


Hundreds of garment workers employed in factories that supplied high-street shops in the west, including Primark, the high street discount clothing store, , are feared dead after an eight-storey building collapsed on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on Wednesday.

Though the confirmed death toll was put at 119 on Wednesday evening, officials in the poverty-stricken south Asian country said it was certain to rise substantially, taking the final count into the hundreds. Most of the dead are women.

One rescue worker said about 2,000 people were working on the upper floors of the factory, the Rana Plaza in the suburb of Savar, when the collapse occurred at about 9am, just after work had started for the day. He added that around 1,000 had been pulled from the rubble. Other estimates for the number of workers in the building as a whole were as high as 5,000.

Bangladesh's booming garment industry is one of the country's biggest employers and foreign exchange earners but has been plagued by fires, building collapses and other accidents for many years, despite a drive to improve safety standards. In November 2012, 112 workers died in a blaze at a factory in a nearby suburb, putting a spotlight on global retailers that source clothes from Bangladesh.

Survivors of Wednesday's collapse said there was no warning. "I was at work on the third floor, and then suddenly I heard a deafening sound, but couldn't understand what was happening. I ran and was hit by something on my head," said factory worker Zohra Begum.


Rescuers gather after the eight-storey building, housing several firms making
clothes, collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photograph: AM Ahad/AP

Volunteers and relatives of buried victims were using their hands and rudimentary tools to shift mountains of rubble last night as teams of firefighters and soldiers attempted to reach survivors. Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, declared Thursday a day of mourning.

Among the businesses in the building were Phantom Apparels, New Wave Style, New Wave Bottoms and New Wave Brothers. The last three firms are all part of the same New Wave group which on its website named 27 main buyers, including firms from Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Canada and the US .

Primark, owned by Associated British Foods, said it was "shocked and saddened", as it confirmed it was currently being supplied by New Wave. The retailer has a total of 257 stores worldwide and in the UK has become symbolic of cheap, "throwaway" fashion which is sold and worn in high volume. It has opened 15 new stores in the past six months, including six in Spain, four in the UK, two in Germany, two in Austria and one in the Netherlands. It is also set to make its first foray into France by the end of the year.

A spokesman said Primark "has been engaged for several years with NGOs and other retailers to review the Bangladeshi industry's approach to factory standards. Primark will push for this review to also include building integrity".

Primark's ethical trade team was urgently working "to collect information, assess which communities the workers come from, and to provide support where possible", the spokesman added.

This week Primark revealed a 24% jump in sales.

At least one factory in the collapsed building has previously supplied the UK discount fashion chain Matalan.

A spokeswoman for Matalan, which has 212 stores in the UK selling fashion for men, women and children, and homeware, said: "We can confirm that New Wave has been a supplier to Matalan, although we don't have any current production with them. We are deeply saddened by the news and we have been trying to get in touch with our contacts since we heard to check if we are able to assist them."

Dilara Begum, a garment worker who survived the accident, said workers had been ordered to leave after a crack appeared in the wall of the building on Tuesday, but on Wednesday morning supervisors asked them to return to work, saying the building had been inspected and declared safe. "We didn't want to go in but the supervisors threatened to dock pay if we didn't return to work," said Begum, who worked at the Phantom factory, on the fourth floor of the building.

"The whole world seemed to shake and then all was dark." She said she had been pulled from the rubble by local people.

Mohammad Asaduzzaman, in charge of the area's police station, said factory owners appeared to have ignored a warning not to allow their workers into the building after the crack was detected. There were five garment factories – employing mostly women – in the building. They included Ether Tex, whose chairman told Reuters he was unaware of any warnings not to open the workshops.

November's factory fire raised questions about how much control western brands have over their supply chains for clothes sourced from Bangladesh. Wages as low as $38.50 a month have helped propel the country to the second largest apparel exporter in the world.

Buildings in the crowded city of Dhaka are sometimes erected without permission and many do not comply with construction regulations.

Savar is a relatively new manufacturing zone and was once swampland.

Laia Blanch, international programmes officer with the charity War on Want, which campaigns for better working conditions for overseas workers in the garment and other industries, said: "It is dreadful that … governments continue to allow garment workers to die or suffer terrible, disabling injuries in unsafe factories making clothes for western nations' shoppers. How many more lives must be lost or crushed before ministers and companies act to stop these scandalous human tragedies?"


Jerusalem Women of the Wall win ruling against arrests

BBC News, 25 April 2013

The Women of the Wall say they have the right to pray out loud at the holy site

Related Stories

Jerusalem's district court has upheld a ruling that Israeli security forces were wrong to arrest women who were praying at the Western Wall.

The ruling comes after five women were arrested at the wall, one Judaism's holiest sites, earlier this month.

They were part of a movement seeking to overturn a 2003 High Court ban on women performing religious rituals which Orthodox Jews say are reserved for men.

Police had appealed against an earlier ruling that the arrests were illegal.

The Western Wall - a relic of the Biblical Temple compound - currently has separate sections where men and women are allowed to pray.

For several months, a group of women, dubbed the Women of the Wall, have held prayers in the female side, wearing traditional shawls and reading aloud from the Torah.

'Liberated the wall'

This has sparked outrage and protests from Orthodox groups, who say women should not perform the rituals.

On 11 April, five of the women were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace. A lower court had dismissed the charges and the women were freed, but the police appealed against this.

But on Thursday, Judge Moshe Sobel rejected the appeal, saying that the 2003 "did not ban the Women of the Wall from praying in any particular place" and that there was no "reasonable suspicion" that the women had broken laws relating to holy sites, Haaretz news agency reports.

He said police concerns that the women's actions could create a public disturbance was not grounds for arrest, as they had shown no signs of violence or being a security threat themselves.

Anat Hoffman, who chairs the women's group, said the ruling had "liberated the Western Wall for all Jewish people".

"We did it for the great diversity of Jews in the world, all of whom deserve to pray according to their belief and custom at the Western Wall," Haaretz quoted her as saying.

There was no immediate comment from police.

Correspondents say the dispute over the wall has become a symbol of the greater tensions in Israeli society between ultra-Orthodox Jews who abide by a very strict interpretation of Jewish law, and more modern Jewry.



"Perceptions of God" – June 6, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Quantum TeachingThe Fear of God, Near-death ExperienceGod Becomes Mythology, Worship, Mastery, Intelligent Design, Benevolent Creator,Global Unity.... etc.(Text version)

“.. For centuries you haven't been able to think past that box of what God must be like. So you create a Human-like God with wars in heaven, angel strife, things that would explain the devil, fallen angels, pearly gates, lists of dos and don'ts, and many rules still based on cultures that are centuries old. You create golden streets and even sexual pleasures as rewards for men (of course) - all Human perspective, pasted upon God. I want to tell you that it's a lot different than that. I want to remind you that there are those who have seen it! Why don't you ask somebody who has had what you would call a near-death experience



The ultra-Orthodox make up 10 percent of Israel’s population
 of 7.5 million, but are increasing rapidly amid a growing backlash 
to the privileges and subsidies long granted to the ultra-religious.
(Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times)