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.) -

“ … 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
"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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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Key US-EU trade pact under threat after more NSA spying allegations

Reports in Der Spiegel that US agencies bugged European council building 'reminiscent of cold war', says German minister

guardian.co.uk, Ian Traynor in Brussels, Louise Osborne in Berlin and Jamie Doward, Sunday 30 June 2013

The Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, home of the EU council – and subject
 to a US survellance programme, according to documents seen by Der Spiegel.
Photograph: Don McPhee for the Guardian

The prospects for a new trade pact between the US and the European Union worth hundreds of billions have suffered a severe setback following allegations that Washington bugged key EU offices and intercepted phonecalls and emails from top officials.

The latest reports of NSA snooping on Europe – and on Germany in particular – went well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying said to be focused on identifying suspected terrorists, extremists and organised criminals.

The German publication Der Spiegel reported that it had seen documents and slides from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicating that US agencies bugged the offices of the EU in Washington and at the United Nations in New York. They are also accused of directing an operation from Nato headquarters in Brussels to infiltrate the telephone and email networks at the EU's Justus Lipsius building in the Belgian capital, the venue for EU summits and home of the European council.

Without citing sources, the magazine reported that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed several missed calls apparently targeting the remote maintenance system in the building that were traced to NSA offices within the Nato compound in Brussels.

The impact of the Der Spiegel allegations may be felt more keenly in Germany than in Brussels. The magazine said Germany was the foremost target for the US surveillance programmes, categorising Washington's key European ally alongside China, Iraq or Saudi Arabia in the intensity of the electronic snooping.

Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, called for an explanation from the US authorities. "If the media reports are true, it is reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war," she was quoted as saying in the German newspaper Bild. "It is beyond imagination that our friends in the US view Europeans as the enemy."

France later also asked the US authorities for an explanation. France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said: "These acts, if confirmed, would be completely unacceptable.

"We expect the American authorities to answer the legitimate concerns raised by these press revelations as quickly as possible.".

Washington and Brussels are scheduled to open ambitious free trade talks next week following years of arduous preparation. Senior officials in Brussels are worried that the talks would be overshadowed by the latest disclosures of US spying on its closest allies.

"Obviously we will need to see what is the impact on the trade talks," said a senior official in Brussels. A second senior official said the allegations would cause a furore in the European parliament and could then hamper relations with the US.

Robert Madelin, one of Britain's most senior officials in the European commission, tweeted that EU trade negotiators always operated on the assumption that their communications were listened to.

A spokesman for the European commission said: "We have immediately been in contact with the US authorities in Washington and in Brussels and have confronted them with the press reports. They have told us they are checking on the accuracy of the information released yesterday and will come back to us."

There were calls from MEPs for Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European council – who has his office in the building allegedly targeted by the US – and José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European commission, to urgently appear before the chamber to explain what steps they were taking in response to the growing body of evidence of US and British electronic surveillance of Europe through the Prism and Tempora operations.

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister and leader of the liberals in the European parliament, said: "This is absolutely unacceptable and must be stopped immediately. The American data collection mania has achieved another quality by spying on EU officials and their meetings. Our trust is at stake."

Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, told Der Spiegel: "If these reports are true, it's disgusting." Asselborn called for guarantees from the very highest level of the US government that the snooping and spying is immediately halted.

Martin Schulz, the head of the European parliament, said: "I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices. If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.

"On behalf of the European parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations."

There were also calls for John Kerry, the US secretary of state, to make a detour to Brussels on his way from his current trip to the Middle East, to explain US activities.

"We need to get clarifications and transparency at the highest level," said Marietje Schaake, a Dutch liberal MEP. "Kerry should come to Brussels on his way back from the Middle East. This is essential for the transatlantic alliance. The US can only lead by example, and should uphold the freedoms it claims to protect against attacks from the outside. Instead we see erosion of freedoms, checks and balances, from within."

Within senior circles in Brussels, however, it has long been assumed that the Americans were listening to or seeking to monitor EU electronic traffic.

"There's a certain schadenfreude here that we're important enough to be spied on," said one of the officials. "This was bound to come out one day. And I wouldn't be surprised if some of our member states were not doing the same to the Americans."

The documents suggesting the clandestine bugging operations were from September 2010, Der Spiegel said.

A former senior official in Brussels maintained that EU phone and computer systems were almost totally secure but that no system could be immune to persistent high-quality penetration operations.

"I have always assumed that anyone with a decent agency was listening, hacking if they could be bothered," he said. "It doesn't bother me much. Sometimes it's a form of communication."

Der Spiegel quoted the Snowden documents as revealing that the US taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany a month. "We can attack the signals of most foreign third-class partners, and we do it too," Der Spiegel quoted a passage in the NSA document as saying.

On an average day, the NSA monitored about 20m German phone connections and 10m internet datasets, rising to 60m phone connections on busy days, the report said.

Officials in Brussels said this reflected Germany's weight in the EU and probably also entailed elements of industrial and trade espionage. "The Americans are more interested in what governments think than the European commission. And they make take the view that Germany determines European policy," said one of the senior officials.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green party MEP and a specialist in data protection, told the Guardian the revelations were outrageous. "It's not about political answers now, but rule of law, fundamental constitutional principles and rights of European citizens," he said.

"We now need a debate on surveillance measures as a whole looking at underlying technical agreements. I think what we can do as European politicians now is to protect the rights of citizens and their rights to control their own personal data."

Talking about the NSA's classification of Germany as a "third-class" partner, Albrecht said it was not helping to build the trust of Germans or other Europeans. "It is destroying trust and to rebuild that, [the US] will need to take real action on legislation," he said.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that at least six European member states have shared personal communications data with the NSA, according to declassified US intelligence reports and EU parliamentary documents.

The documents, seen by the Observer, show that – in addition to the UK – Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy have all had formal agreements to provide communications data to the US. They state that the EU countries have had "second and third party status" under decades-old signal intelligence (Sigint) agreements that compel them to hand over data which, in later years, experts believe, has come to include mobile phone and internet data.

Under the international intelligence agreements, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is defined as 'first party' while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy 'second party' trusted relationships. Countries such as Germany and France have 'third party', or less trusted, relationships.

The data-sharing was set out under a 1955 UK-USA agreement that provided a legal framework for intelligence-sharing that has continued.

It stipulates: "In accordance with these arrangements, each party will continue to make available to the other, continuously, and without request, all raw traffic, COMINT (communications intelligence) end-product and technical material acquired or produced, and all pertinent information concerning its activities, priorities and facilities."

The agreement goes on to explain how it can be extended to incorporate similar agreements with third party countries, providing both the UK and the US agree.

Under the third party data-sharing agreements each country was given a codename. Denmark was known as Dynamo while Germany was referred to as Richter. The agreements were of strategic importance to the NSA during the cold war.

However, Simon Davies, an intelligence expert and project director at the London School of Economics who writes the Privacy Surgeon blog, suggested the NSA's role had been given a sharper focus following amendments to the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa).

In an interview published in full last night on Davies' blog, former NSA director General Michael Hayden said: "The changes made to Fisa in 2008 were far more dramatic – far more far-reaching than anything President Bush authorised me to do."

Davies told the Observer that confirmation of the secret agreements showed there was a need for the EU to investigate.

"It's clear that the European parliament must intervene at this point through a public inquiry," Davies said. "MEPs should put the interests of their citizens above party politics and create meaningful reforms."

The covert data-sharing relationship between leading European countries and the US was first outlined in a 2001 report by the European parliament.

The report stated: "Germany and the United Kingdom are called upon to make the authorisation of further communications interception operations by US intelligence services on their territory conditional on their compliance with the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights)."


One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire,
which according to a 2007 document is 'implanted on the Cryptofax
at the EU embassy, DC'. Photograph: Guardian


NSA taps in to internet giants' systems to mine user data, secret files reveal

Matthew’s Message - June 11, 2013 - (Matthew channelled by Suzanne Ward)

“.. This is an appropriate place to address questions that many readers have asked: How can US President Obama defend the National Security Agency’s collection of data from citizens’ private telephone conversations and Internet records? Why did he sign the Monsanto Protection Act? Congressional actions are public knowledge, but what goes on behind closed doors is not known, and we shall tell you what is relevant to these two situations.

President Obama defended NSA’s data gathering, which was authorized in the Patriot Act passed during George W. Bush’s administration, on the authentic basis that it has led to discovering and thwarting numerous terrorist plans. What the president cannot say—and Bush never would—is that the most extensive terrorist acts that met failure and most of the lesser plots that also got shot down were those devised by the CIA faction under Illuminati control.

Neither can Obama disclose that ETs are working in the NSA and other agencies in that country and in several others. They are collecting and analyzing information on all Illuminati activities around the globe and using it to weaken their operations and obtain evidence for prosecution. When this has served its purpose—bringing to its final moment the Illuminati reign—the Patriot Act and also Homeland Security will come to an end.

As for the Monsanto Protection Act, Illuminati spokespersons told the president that if he vetoed it, Congress would override it. Furthermore, they would intensify their efforts to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act, block legislation that could relieve some immigration issues, and doom attempts to resolve international conflicts by rational discussions instead of belligerent confrontation.

That is the “down-to-Earth” reason, you could say, that Obama signed the bill, but there is another facet of this that the Illuminati bloc doesn’t know. Despite their threats, the president was not going to sign the Act—he did so because ETs close to him advised it. Their higher perspective was that citizens’ outrage at this insidious bill needs to motivate them to force its nullification. The people must exercise their right and responsibility to demand that their elected officials end stubborn partisanship, stop letting lobbyists’ money dictate their votes on legislation, and start serving the best interests of the country.

By no means does this apply only to the United States! Governments in every country must start serving the needs of their people because this goes to the very heart of Earth’s Golden Age and soul evolvement! ..”

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Obama expresses concern at Egypt violence

Google – AFP, 29 June 2013

Opponents of the Egyptian president burn the content of a Freedom and
Justice Party office in Alexandria on June 28, 2013 (AFP)

PRETORIA — US President Barack Obama on Saturday expressed concern about clashes in Egypt and called on President Mohamed Morsi to be more "constructive" along with the opposition to end the political crisis.

"We are all looking at the situation there with concern," Obama said in South Africa, adding that the US government had taken steps to ensure the safety of its embassy, consulates and diplomats in Egypt.

"We would urge all parties to make sure they are not engaging in violence and that police and military are showing appropriate restraint," he said.

"Everybody has to denounce violence. We would like to see the opposition and President Morsi engage in a more constructive conversation about to move their country forward."

Obama also said that Washington had consistently supported democracy in Egypt, but "it has been challenging given that there is not a tradition of democracy in Egypt".

Egypt was braced for nationwide protests against Morsi on Sunday to mark the anniversary of his turbulent first year in office after violence at rival demonstrations killed three people, including an American.

Morsi, 62, stands accused by his critics of failing the 2011 revolution that brought him to power and of ignoring nearly half of the electorate of around 50 million who did not vote for him last year.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators
gather outside the presidential palace in Cairo. (AFP)

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(Subjects: Who is Kryon, God, Love, Great Central Sun, (Old) SoulBenevolent Design, 1987 - Harmonic Convergence (11:11), 36 years galactic window (Precession), 26.000 years cycle, Mayan Calendar, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, TIME TO SAY GOOD-BYE”  song – Composer, Human Consciousness, Conceptional Thinking, Old and New energy, Middle East, Protest against the new leader in Egypt because he is of an old energy, Syria is a Nightmare, Libya, People of Iran, Israel, Higher Self, You did it !, Change of Paradigm, 2012,  US/Russia, Global Unity, ... etc.)




Court lifts California ban on same-sex marriages

Deutsche Welle, 29 June 2013


The first same-sex couple has married in the US state of California after a five-year ban on gay marriage was overturned. The union was made possible after a US appeals court lifted the state's 2008 voter-approved ban.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the ban on same-sex marriages in California on Friday.

"The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately," the court said in its ruling.

California's Attorney General Kamala Harris offered a celebratory tweet shortly after the order was issued, noting that she was en route to officiate the wedding of the two lead plaintiffs in the case on Friday afternoon.

"On my way to SF [San Francisco] City Hall. Let the wedding bells ring," Harris tweeted on Friday.

Going to court

Voters back in 2008 approved a ban on same-sex marriages in the state, but a lawsuit filed by a same-sex couple has been challenging the ban in the courts. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that sponsors of the voter-approved gay marriage ban lacked the authority to defend it in court after the Attorney General and California Governor Jerry Brown refused to uphold the measure.

As a result, a trial judge's declaration that the ban is a violation of civil rights stands.

Couples, officials and activists descended upon San Francisco's City Hall on Friday, shortly after the ruling, in order to see the immediate resumption of same-sex marriage licences being issued and couples being married.

Wedded bliss

The couple at the heart of the legal objections to the voter-approved ban were the first to be married at the city hall on Friday.

"This is really a great day," said Cindy Stier, who filed the lawsuit against Proposition 8 alongside her fiancee Kristin Perry.

The couple married at the city hall at 4.15 p.m. local time, with Harris officiating.

In pronouncing the pair married, Harris said: "I now declare you spouses for life."

Friday, June 28, 2013

UN Security Council votes to remove Iraq from Chapter 7 of Charter

PressTV, Thu Jun 27, 2013

A view of the United Nations Security Council

The UN Security Council has voted to remove Iraq from Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, unanimously agreeing to lift the UN sanctions imposed on Baghdad following the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by the executed dictator Saddam Hussein. 

On Thursday, the 15-memebr body agreed that the issue of missing Kuwaiti people, property and archives should be handled under Chapter 6, instead of Chapter 7.

Chapter 6 of the UN Charter urges peaceful resolution of any conflict between the countries, while Chapter 7 authorizes the council to allow measures such as sanctions or military intervention if countries do not meet its demands.

The council’s resolution recognized “the importance of Iraq achieving international standing equal to that which it held prior to (1990).”

The decision is regarded as a major political upgrade for Iraq as it struggles to restore its international status a decade after the US-led invasion toppled Saddam in 2003.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari praised the council’s move, saying the move heralds a new start for the ties between Iraq and Kuwait.

“This is a new beginning for the relations between our two neighborly and brotherly countries. This is an example for other countries also to resolve their disputes and differences through peaceful means,” he said.

UN diplomatic sources say the only issues regarding Iraq's invasion of Kuwait which remain under Chapter 7 are an arms ban and the country’s payment of USD 52 billion in compensation to Kuwait.

Iraq still owes USD 11 billion to Kuwait. It hopes to settle it by 2015.

MKA/KA/HMV

US Senate passes comprehensive immigration reform

Google - AFP, Michael Mathes (AFP), 28 June 2013

Senators John McCain (L) and Charles Schumer leave a test vote on
Capitol Hill June 27, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP, Brendan Smialowski)

WASHINGTON — After months of wrangling, the US Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed its comprehensive immigration reform bill that aims to put 11 million undocumented people on a path to citizenship.

Chants of "Yes we did!" erupted from the public galleries after senators voted 68-32 to approve the landmark legislation, which bolsters border security, revamps legal immigration and requires a 13-year wait before those without papers can apply for citizenship.

President Barack Obama hailed the vote, saying: "Today, with a strong bipartisan vote, the United States Senate delivered for the American people, bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all."

Fourteen Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic side in what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deemed a historic vote, as he took the rare move of calling on members to cast votes from their Senate desks, as Vice President Joe Biden presided over the chamber.

"We've taken giant steps forward towards solving our immigration problem today," an elated Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the four Democrats who crafted the bill with four Republicans in the so-called "Gang of 8," told reporters immediately after the vote.

The measure now faces a rocky road in the Republican-led House of Representatives, but Schumer and Republican Gang of 8 Senator John McCain made a direct appeal to their colleagues on the other side of the US Capitol: work with us to achieve the most important immigration reform in a quarter century.

"To our friends in the House, we ask for your consideration, and we stand ready to sit down and negotiate with you," McCain said.

"We may have different views on different aspects of this issue but we should all of us here have the same goal, and that is to take 11 million people out of the shadows, secure our borders, and make sure this is a nation of opportunity and freedom."

The legislation's authors spent months crafting the 1,000-plus-page document, which pours $46 billion into border security and other efforts, including electronic employment verification and a modernized entry-exit system.

The bill, which had Obama's support, was debated for three weeks on the Senate floor and dozens of amendments were added as Republicans squared off against one another over the merits of the legislation.

"It's been a very tough negotiation," Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu acknowledged. "It's not perfect, but it's balanced."

Obama has said he hopes to sign immigration reform into law this year, but several House Republicans have said the bill will be dead in the water without significant changes, particularly on border security.

"The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes," Republican House Speaker John Boehner told reporters, noting that House members would put together their own language for legislation that would work its way through committee and eventually to the floor.

Senator Chuck Grassley, an adamant opponent of the Senate bill, said he wants to eventually agree on a better bill, adding he is counting on the House to pass legislation that is "much more tough."

"Hopefully I'll have a vote to send to the president," Grassley said.

Obama tells Africans that gays deserve equality

Google – AFP, Stephen Collinson (AFP), 27 June 2013

US President Barack Obama (L) talks with Senegal President Macky Sall
in Dakar on June 27, 2013 (AFP, Jim Watson)
DAKAR — US President Barack Obama told Africans Thursday that gays deserve equality under the law, as Nelson Mandela's plight and a global spying drama threatened to detract from his first tour of the continent.

Obama struggled to keep the focus on his goals for the week-long trip, also scheduled to stop in South Africa and Tanzania, as he sought to fulfil neglected African expectations for America's first black president.

He stepped on delicate ground when asked by reporters to comment on a landmark US Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage while visiting a country where homosexuality is a crime and rights groups decry gay harassment.

Obama said he understood that different religions and cultures adhered to different beliefs and traditions, but that the simple principle of equality should be the guide for states and governments.

"I want the African people to just hear what I believe," Obama said.

"My basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to how the law treats you... people should be treated equally."

Macky Sall (R) his wife Marieme Faye Sall (L) pose with Barack Obama
and Michelle Obama in Dakar on June 27, 2013 (AFP, Saul Loeb)

Senegalese President Macky Sall replied that though Senegal was a "very tolerant country which does not discriminate in terms of inalienable rights of the human being", it was not ready yet to decriminalise homosexuality.

"But of course this does not mean that we are all homophobic."

Obama said he still planned to head for South Africa on Friday, despite speculation that with anti-apartheid icon Mandela apparently close to death, his plans could be thrown into disarray.

The president said he was drawn into political activism by Mandela as a student, and had been inspired by his example in embracing his long-time captors in a spirit of national unity.

"I think he is a hero for the world and if and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we will all know is, his legacy is one that will linger on through the ages," Obama said.

A Senegalese man walks before a 
banner welcoming Barack Obama
 and Michelle Obama in Dakar on
June 26, 2013 (AFP/File, Seyllou)
Obama also had to parry questions about the chase for fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who is holed up in limbo in Moscow airport, but he appeared keen to bring the focus back to Africa.

"In the meantime, we've got other business to do. For example, we're here in Africa and I don't want people to forget why we're here," Obama said.

"The fact of the matter is that Africa oftentimes is not focused on by our press and our leadership back home unless there's a crisis."

Obama's tour is meant to promote democratisation and trade and business links on a continent he said is poised to break out economically, and which has attracted lavish attention from US rivals like China.

"I see this as a moment of great progress and great promise for the continent," Obama said.

"It's true that Africa faces great challenges, and meeting these challenges together is a focus of my trip. But all too often the world overlooks the amazing progress that Africa is making."

Washington is keen to highlight Muslim-majority Senegal as an example of democracy and good governance in a corner of Africa plagued by instability and the threat of Islamic extremism in neighbouring Mali.

"Senegal is one of the most stable democracies in Africa and one of the strongest partners that we have in the region," Obama said as he stood side-by-side with Sall.

Barack Obama arrives at the
 presidential palace in Dakar on 
June 27, 2013 (AFP, Saul Loeb)
"It is moving in the right direction, with reforms to deepen democratic institutions. I believe Senegal can be a great example."

Later, in a moment of potent symbolism, Obama took a ferry to Goree Island off the Senegal coast, a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Africans claimed by the slave trade.

Obama, the son of a Kenyan father, and his wife Michelle, the descendent of slaves, acknowledged a dark period of American and African history which resonates today.

Obama claims a spiritual connection to Africa, but a crush of international crises in his first term thwarted his hopes to travel extensively on the continent. He did manage a short trip to Ghana in 2009.

But there was still disappointment in Africa, where Obama's 2008 election caused euphoria and expectations that he would put US policy towards the continent at the top of his agenda.

Related Articles:

US high court gives major victory to gay couples


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)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Twitter CEO defends 'principled' data request policy

Google – AFP, 26 June 2013

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo speaks during a discussion on social
media on June 26, 2013 at the Brookings Institution (AFP, Mandel Ngan)

WASHINGTON — Twitter is holding to a "principled" policy on national security data requests and will "push back" in some cases to protect the privacy of its users, its chief executive said Wednesday.

Dick Costolo, appearing at a forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington, declined to comment on whether Twitter had specific requests under the vast data-gathering program called PRISM made public this month.

But he said the popular messaging service maintains its policy of allowing users to be informed of any requests from authorities, both in the United States and abroad.

"We've been very clear about having articulated a very principled policy around access to user data," he said.

"When we receive a valid, legal request in the countries in which we operate we will abide by the rule of law."

He added that for "other requests that may be more broad in scope and not specific legal requests that don't meet our principle... we will push back on."

Twitter was not among the nine Internet firms cited in documents for providing access to the secretive National Security Agency, which seeks to identify potential terrorist threats from abroad.

Costolo steered clear of questions on why Twitter was absent from the list, which includes Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.

But he noted that Twitter has gone to court in certain cases to fight "gag" orders and to allow users to be in informed of how their own data is used.

"We feel that our users have a right to know when their information is being requested," he said.

"This is not just something we deal with in the US, it's something we deal with in all the countries (where) we operate."

Costolo also defended the messaging platform in the face of criticism from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who branded Twitter as a "troublemaker" inciting protests against his rule.

"The beauty of having this open public platform that allows everybody around you to see and hear what you think is that... that it's this public town square. That's what it is. We don't editorialize what's on it," he said.

"We don't say, 'If you believe this you can't use our platform.' You can use our platform to say what you believe... The platform itself doesn't have any perspective on this. It's a vehicle for people to give their perspective."


Spending spree: Saudi billionaire Prince
Alwaleed bin Talal has announced today
that he is investing $300 million into social
networking site Twitter

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“... In March of 2011, Bloomberg news reported that JPMorgan Chase & Co., arguably the largest corporate bank in the world, “has invested in a fund that has bought about $400 million in Twitter Inc. shares....”


Well connected: Prince Alwaleed leaves
Westminster Abbey after attending the wedding
of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

US high court gives major victory to gay couples

Google – AFP, Chantal Valery (AFP), 26 June 2013

Gay rights activists react outside the US Supreme Court in Washington
on June 26, 2013 (AFP, Mladen Antonov)

WASHINGTON — In a huge victory for gays and lesbians, the US Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a law denying federal benefits to homosexual couples and cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California.

Cheers rang out among the estimated 1,000 supporters of same-sex marriage who gathered under brilliant sunshine outside the high court in Washington for the historic rulings, which will have a major impact on US society.

In a 5-4 decision, the court first struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to married gay and lesbian couples by strictly defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

"DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment" of the Constitution, said the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Plaintiff couple Kris Perry (L) and Sandy
 Steier arrive at the US Supreme Court
 building June 26, 2013 in Washington
(Getty Images/AFP, Mark Wilson)
President Barack Obama hailed the DOMA decision, saying in a statement: "We are a people who declared that we are all created equal -- and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

The court also said a case on Proposition 8, a 2008 voter initiative in California that prohibited same-sex marriage in the nation's most populous state, was not properly before them.

That 5-4 decision -- which indicated gay marriages would likely resume in California -- enabled the justices to dodge the thornier issue of whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right throughout the United States.

Twelve US states plus the District of Columbia now recognize same-sex marriage, but about 30 states have decreed that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.

"Now we will be married and be equal to every other family in California," said Kris Perry, a plaintiff in the Proposition 8 case, alongside her partner Sandy Stier on the Supreme Court steps.

"Thank you to the Constitution ... but it's not enough," added Stier. "It's got to go nationwide. This can't wait decades" for marriage equality to be legalized in all 50 states.

Obama, who left Washington for a tour of Africa just an hour before the rulings were issued, is the first serving US president ever to come out publicly in favor of marriage equality.

But there was outrage among social conservatives.

"The DOMA ruling has now made the normalization of polygamy, pedophilia, incest and bestiality inevitable," said Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis at the American Family Association.

"With the DOMA decision, we have ceased to be a constitutional republic," he said on his Twitter feed.

Gay rights activists react outside the US
 Supreme Court building in Washington
 on June 26, 2013 (AFP, Mladen Antonov)
Fifty-three percent of Americans say same-sex marriage should be legally recognized, according to a Gallup survey in May that echoed a string of similar findings by other polling organizations.

The fight against DOMA was spearheaded by Edith Windsor, a New Yorker hit with a $363,000 estate tax bill after the 2009 death of her lifelong partner Thea Spyer, who she had married in Canada.

Had the couple been straight, the tax bill would have been significantly reduced.

DOMA denied married gay and lesbians a raft of federal benefits that straight couples take for granted, from tax breaks to family hospital visits and the ability to sponsor a spouse for a residence visa.

Prior to Wednesday's rulings, law professor David Cruz of the University of Southern California said it was unlikely the Supreme Court would adopt a broad ruling that struck down all bans on same-sex marriage across the nation.

"Seeing all same-sex couples being able to get married in every state is probably not going to happen immediately ... because of the tradition in the court: the Justices often move in steps, they rule incrementally," he said.

Obama said: "The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."

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President Barack Obama  placed the call as he flew to Africa
aboard Air Force One. (Whitehouse.gov / Pete Souza)




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)