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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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Obama draws pledges of 40,000 troops for UN peacekeeping

Yahoo – AFP, Carole Landry, 29 Sep 2015

More than 50 countries have pledged a further 40,000 troops for United Nations
peacekeeping operations around the world (AFP Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - More than 50 countries pledged 40,000 troops for United Nations peacekeeping at a US-led summit called to shore up missions under strain from the rise in global crises.

China scaled up its contribution, taking the lead in setting up an 8,000-strong standby police force while Colombia made a first-time offer of as many as 5,000 troops.

The pledges represent a major boost to UN peacekeeping, which relies on voluntary contributions from UN member states to run its 16 missions worldwide.

More than 125,000 troops and police
 from 124 countries serve in UN peace
missions (AFP Photo/Alain Wandimoyi)
US President Barack Obama told leaders that peace operations were "experiencing unprecedented strains" and are being deployed in "more difficult and deadlier conflicts."

"We know that peace operations are not the solution to every problem," Obama told the summit held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

"But they do remain one of the world's most important tools to address armed conflict," he said.

The new contributions include helicopters, engineering units, field hospitals and bomb-detonating expertise that are desperately needed to bolster UN peace missions.

Obama opened the summit by announcing a tally of 30,000 new troops for peace missions, but after leaders took turns at the podium to announce contributions, the total reached 40,000.

A key player in peacekeeping in Africa, Rwanda offered two attack helicopters, two field hospitals, an all-female police unit and 1,600 new troops.

Indonesia boosted its participation with training and 2,700 new troops while India pledged 850 additional soldiers.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced 70 troops for the UN-African Union mission in Somalia and up to 300 troops for South Sudan, where the UN mission is grappling with one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

Pledges rolled in from smaller nations such as Armenia and Fiji and bigger players like Brazil, Turkey, Germany and Australia.

A key player in peacekeeping in Africa, Rwanda, whose troops are pictured on
 November 22, 2005, offered two attack helicopters, two field hospitals, an
all-female police unit and 1,600 new troops (AFP Photo/Jose Cendon)

More than 125,000 troops and police from 124 countries serve in UN peace missions.

China steps up

The United States had hoped to draw more pledges from European countries that have gradually pulled their troops out of peacekeeping and contributed to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.

In the end, the European pledges remained modest, but officials stressed the importance of highly-trained troops from Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy to peacekeeping.

In contrast, China -- which has strong economic interests in Africa -- offered more engineering soldiers, transport and medical staff and pledged to train 2,000 peacekeepers from other countries to carry out de-mining operations.

President Xi Jinping said China would provide $100 million to the African Union to support a new African standby force and send the first peacekeeping helicopter squad to Africa.

Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Rwanda are currently the top five troop-contributing nations to peace missions.

In his address, Obama stressed that strengthening peacekeeping would serve "our common security" and pledged to double the number of US officer staff serving under the blue flag.

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a Peacekeeping Summit
 to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2015 (AFP
Photo/Andrew Kelly)

There are just 78 Americans serving in UN peace missions but Washington remains by far the largest financial backer, providing 28 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget of $8.3 billion.

Boosting troop contributions will help the United Nations tackle a wave of sexual abuse allegations that have hit its missions, notably in the Central African Republic.

The new commitments will give Secretary General Ban Ki-moon the leeway to remove units whose soldiers face accusations and replace them without weakening a mission.

French President Francois Hollande, who pledged to step up training of African forces, referred to the sexual abuse scandal in his address to the summit, saying countries "must not allow the UN flag to be tarnished."

France is investigating allegations that 14 soldiers from its Sangaris military force sexually abused children in the Central African Republic in return for food, from December 2013 until June 2014.

While the French troops were not serving in a UN peacekeeping mission, the Sangaris operation was authorized by a UN Security Council resolution.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Obama, Xi agree on climate but clash on rights, islands

Yahoo – AFP, Jerome Cartillier, 25 Sep 2015

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a joint
-press conference in the Rose Garden as part of a State Visit at the White
House in Washington, DC, September 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama and China's Xi Jinping vowed to fight global warming and halt commercial cyber-theft on Friday, but exchanged sharp words on human rights and territorial disputes.

At an extraordinary joint news conference, Obama chided China on its treatment of dissidents and insisted hacking attacks on US firms must stop, even as he thanked Xi for his commitment on climate change.

The world's top two economic powers are also its biggest polluters, and campaigners hailed their joint commitment to reduce emissions as a key step towards a global climate pact before the end of the year.

US President Barack Obama (R) and 
Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a
 meeting in the Oval Office of the
 White House in Washington, DC,
 September 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/
Saul Loeb)
This achievement was all the more remarkable given the tensions between the rival great powers over industrial espionage and China's aggressive moves to seize disputed territory in the South China Sea.

The red carpet and full ceremonial honors that welcomed Xi to the White House underlined the importance of the great powers' relationship, but the leaders made no effort to conceal the differences between them.

"We had a frank discussion about human rights as we have in the past," Obama said, branding China's authoritarian treatment of political dissidents and religious or regional minorities "problematic."

Provocatively, Obama directly cited the name of Beijing's number one bugbear -- the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader seen by China as a criminal separatist -- at the leaders' joint press conference.

"Even as we recognize Tibet as part of the People's Republic of China, we continue to encourage Chinese authorities to preserve the religious and cultural identity of the Tibetan people and to engage the Dalai Lama or his representatives," Obama said.

The two delegations issued a joint promise not to spy on each other's private enterprises for commercial gain, but here again, Obama used tough language, declaring: "I indicated it has to stop."

Xi protested that "China strongly opposes and combats the theft of commercial secrets and other kinds of hacking attacks."

Disputed islands

The Chinese leader also firmly pushed back on human rights criticism, warning reform would come on China's own timetable and without undermining its stability.

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping review the troops 
during a State Arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in 
Washington, DC, September 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

"We must recognize that countries have different historical processes and realities, that we need to respect people of all countries in the rights to choose their own development path independently," he said.

There was also a sharp exchange of views over China's bid to extend its sovereignty over the South China Sea by building bases on reclaimed islands in areas disputed by Washington's southeast Asian allies.

"Islands in the South China Sea, since ancient times, are China's territory," Xi declared. "We have the right to uphold our own territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime rights and interests."

Obama said the disputes must be settled in accordance with international statutes, saying: "I encouraged a resolution between claimants in these areas. We are not a claimant. We just want to make sure that the rules of the road are upheld."

Against this background of discord, the agreement on climate change -- both countries signed a "joint vision" ahead of December's UN climate summit in Paris, and China committed to a domestic "cap and trade" carbon exchange -- was all the more remarkable.

China will also set aside $3.1 billion as a fund to help developing countries fight climate change.

"If the world's two largest economies, energy consumers and carbon emitters come together like this, then there is no reason for other countries, whether developed or developing, to not do so as well," Obama said.

Environmental campaigners hailed the announcement.

US President Barack Obama (right) with Chinese President Xi Jinping, 
First Lady Michelle Obama and Madame Peng Liyuan (left) wave during a 
welcome ceremony at the White House in Washington for the first state visit 
on September 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/Yuri Gripas)

Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the United States and others should take inspiration from the Chinese measures.

"This is strong medicine. China is promising decisive action," she said. "It lays to rest the flawed argument that Chinese pollution is an excuse for US inaction."

Out of kilter

Xi is seen in Washington as one of the strongest Chinese leaders in decades.

Even as the Chinese economy has slowed -- calling into question Xi and the Communist Party's technocratic bona fides -- the president has tightened his grip on power.

But his assertiveness has fueled a host of disputes that US officials say risk throwing the delicately balanced relationship out of kilter.

"At any one time we are cooperating and competing," said one senior US administration official.

"What we strive for is to make sure that competition doesn't define the relationship and that competition is taking place in a way that is healthy and is fair."



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Friday, September 25, 2015

Pope calls for global abolition of death penalty

Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in the House
Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept 24, 2015.PHOTO: Reuters

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Pope Francis on Thursday (Sept 24) called for the global abolition of the death penalty before lawmakers in the United States, where capital punishment is still practiced in several states.

"The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development," Pope said in his speech to Congress.

"This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred," he added.

"I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Putin denounces 'IS' during reopening of Moscow mosque

Russian President Vladimir Putin has delivered a speech at the opening of the country's largest mosque. He sought to promote the positive values of Islam, but also to codemn extremist violence.

Deutsche Welle, 23 Sep 2015

Putin oversees opening of new mosque

Vladimir Putin, concerned about the growing number of Russian-speaking citizens joining the ranks of the self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group fighting in Syria and Iraq, on Wednesday painted jihadism as a distortion of Islamic values and the opening of the new mosque as a positive outlet for Russian Muslims.

"We see what is happening in the Middle East where terrorists from the so-called Islamic State group are compromising a great world religion, compromising Islam, in order to sow hate," he said at the site of the newly reopened Moscow Cathedral Mosque.

The speech, which was delivered just a day before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, also emphasized the mosque's role as a spiritual center for Russians. "It will be a source for education, spreading humanist ideas and the true values of Islam," Putin said.

Among those in attendance were Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was set to meet with Putin later that day to discuss the conflict in the Middle East and specifically in Syria. Concern has grown among world leaders regarding Russia's role in war-torn Syria, with the United States recently accusing Putin of sending troops and military equipment to his embattled ally, President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey, meanwhile, has been highly critical Assad during the country's civil war.

In addition to the estimated 2,000 Russian speakers who have traveled to the Middle East to fight alongside IS, Moscow has also been fighting an Islamic insurgency in the restless Caucusus region in the south.

The Moscow mosque was originally built in the early 1900s, and then demolished in 2011. The reconstruction, which cost $170 million (152 million euros), drew controversy after another mosque was demolished in order to make room for it. One of the largest mosques in Europe, it will be able to accomodate an estimated 10,000 people.

bc/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)
Related Article:


Pope urges US bishops to end Church sex abuse

Yahoo – AFP, 23 Sep 2015

Pope Francis (C) attends a Midday Prayer service at St. Matthews Cathedral
in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto)

Washington (AFP) - Pope Francis told US bishops on Wednesday to work to ensure the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church never happens again.

"I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you," he said, at a prayer service with the bishops in Washington on the first full day of a US visit.

"And I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims -- in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed -- and to work to ensure such crimes will never be repeated," he said.

The pope disappointed many American followers by deciding not to meet with the victim's of sex abuse by priests, but he was not able to avoid the issue altogether.

Some 6,400 Catholic clergy have been accused of abusing minors in the United States between 1950 and 1980, and campaigners fears that the number should be higher.

Experts speaking at the Vatican said in 2012 the number of abused American minors is probably close to 100,000.

Besides the abuse itself, bishops and the Vatican have been accused of protecting suspected abusers and giving alleged victims the cold shoulder.

In June, Francis sacked two US bishops accused of looking the other way: the archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, John Clayton Nienstedt, and his aide Lee Anthony Piche.

And earlier this month the Vatican replaced Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, who resigns in April after failing to report a priest accused of pedophilia.

The pedophilia scandal has had serious financial implications for the church in America.

Since the first revelations in the 2000s, the church has spent $3 billion on legal costs and rehabilitation for offenders, according to watchdog Bishop Accountability.

Related Article:


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit

Yahoo – AFP, Jean-Louis De La Vaissiere, 22 Sep 2015

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)

Andrews Air Force Base (United States) (AFP) - Pope Francis arrived in the United States on Tuesday for his first visit -- a historic six-day trip to the spiritual home of capitalism after his tour of communist-ruled Cuba.

The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff stepped onto US soil for the first time at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, where he was greeted by US President Barack Obama and his family, as well as Vice President Joe Biden.

Pope Francis arrives at Andrews Air
 Force Base in Maryland on September 22, 
2015, on the start of a 3-day trip to
 Washington, DC (AFP Photo/Mandel
 Ngan)
US Catholic leaders and a select crowd of several hundred well-wishers were on hand to greet the pope, who wore his traditional papal whites and waved to the cheering crowd.

A small group of children from Catholic schools in the Washington area were brought forward to welcome the pontiff.

Obama will host the Jesuit pope at the White House on Wednesday. Francis will make two key speeches during his visit, addressing the US Congress on Thursday and the United Nations on Friday.

On the plane from Cuba to the United States, the pope told reporters that he would not specifically raise Washington's embargo on Havana in his speech before American lawmakers, but expressed his opposition to it.

"The Holy See is against this embargo, but it is against all embargos," he said.

Topics will include critiques of the dominance of finance and technology; a condemnation of world powers over the conflicts gripping the planet; appeals to protect and welcome immigrants; and climate change, according to Vatican sources.

The visit will take place under tight security, with US authorities on top alert to handle the complexities of protecting a pope who insists on traveling in an open vehicle to be closer to the masses.

Authorities are facing a particular security headache in New York, where Francis plans to criss-cross Manhattan at a time when 170 world leaders will be in town for the UN General Assembly.

He will preside over an inter-faith ceremony at Ground Zero, visit a Harlem Catholic school and greet crowds on a procession through Central Park.

He will wrap up his trip Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia at an international festival of Catholic families.

Pope Francis rides through Santiago de Cuba, in eastern Cuba, on
September 22, 2015 (AFP Photo/Enrique De La Osa)

Anti-American pope?

The pope arrived from Cuba, where he visited three cities in four days, said three masses before adoring crowds and met President Raul Castro and his big brother Fidel, the men who have ruled the communist island since its 1959 revolution.

The pontiff, the first from Latin America, played a key role in brokering the recent rapprochement between Washington and Havana, which resulted in the restoration of diplomatic ties in July after more than half a century.

In the United States, he will find an American public that widely respects him, but has a less favorable view of the Catholic Church.

While 81 percent of Catholics have a positive view of the Church, only fifty-five percent of Americans as a whole do, according to a new poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News earlier this month.

But for some critics, the dominant themes of his papacy -- his critique of consumerism, calls to embrace poverty and condemnation of a "throwaway culture" -- sound suspiciously like an indictment of the American way of life.

That was underlined ahead of his trip when Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, who is Catholic, declared he would boycott the pontiff's historic address to Congress to protest his "leftist" views.

The pope has been active in urging compassion, including for those historically shunned by the Church, and for calling for action against economic inequality and environmental degradation.

Americans in general approve of those efforts, with 54 percent wanting him to "continue as he has been" and another 23 percent urging him to be even more active.

People are reflected on a shop window displaying a portrait of Pope Francis 
in New York on September 22, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)

'Build bridges'

During his Cuba visit, Francis discreetly refrained from chastising the communist regime for its crackdowns on dissidents and curbs on civil liberties.

Before leaving the island on Tuesday, Francis said mass in Cuba's second city Santiago, cradle of the Castros' uprising against dictator Fulgencio Batista, calling for a new kind of "revolution."

Speaking at a basilica to Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Cuba's patron saint -- a mixed-race Mary that symbolizes the island's intertwined Spanish and African roots -- he praised her as the embodiment of a "revolution of tenderness."

He urged Cubans to follow her example "to build bridges, to break down walls, to sow seeds of reconciliation," in comments that appeared to allude to the nascent reconciliation across the Florida Straits.

Francis then addressed an audience of families, asking for their prayers as he prepares for a synod on the family next month that has unleashed internal conflicts among the Roman Catholic clergy over sensitive issues such as divorce, homosexuality and unmarried couples.



Monday, September 21, 2015

Pope delivers mass on packed Revolution Square in Havana

Yahoo – AFP, Jean-Louis De La Vaissiere, 20 Sep 2015

Pope Francis climbs the steps to the altar on his arrival to give mass in
Havana's Revolution Square on September 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Tony Gentile)

Havana (AFP) - Pope Francis delivered mass Sunday before hundreds of thousands of fans and faithful on Havana's iconic Revolution Square, calling Cubans to serve the most downtrodden and warning them that "service is never ideological."

The pope's homily did not directly address Cuba's political situation or the nascent rapprochement he helped broker between the communist island and the United States, the next international stop on his most high-profile trip to date.

Pope Francis conducts mass at Revolution
 Square in Havana, on September 20, 2015
(AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)
But he warned against both ideology and an every-man-for-himself mentality, at a time when Cuba faces a delicate period of economic and political transition.

"Christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power, and to look instead to those who are most vulnerable," he told the crowd, speaking beneath a towering sculpture of his fellow Argentine Che Guevara's iconic silhouette.

"We need to be careful not to be tempted by another kind of service, a 'service' which is 'self-serving,'" he said.

"Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people."

He paid tribute to Cubans as "a people with a taste for parties, for friendship, for beauty."

"It is a people which has its wounds, like every other people, yet knows how to stand up with open arms, to keep walking in hope," he said.

Hundreds of excited Cubans and foreign visitors camped out overnight on the sprawling square to see the first Latin American pope.

As he arrived, the Argentine pontiff leaned out from his white open-air vehicle to grasp the hands of festive onlookers and wave to the crowds gathered under the cloudy sky.

Cuban President Raul Castro and Argentine President Cristina Kirchner were among those in attendance.

'Extraordinary sign' from US

The pope, who arrived on the communist island Saturday, is following in the footsteps of his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI -- a remarkable amount of papal attention in 17 years for a country where only 10 percent of the population describe themselves as Catholic.

Pope Francis arrives at Revolution Square in Havana on September 20, 2015 (AFP
Photo/Rodrigo Arangua)

"It's very exciting to see Pope Francis. He'll be the third pope I've managed to see, but I've never been so close. We're all hoping to receive his mercy," said Maria Eugenia Paulina Prieto, 56, who sings in a choir that will perform during the ceremony.

The pope's eight-day tour, which will take him on his first-ever visit to the United States, follows the announcement of the US-Cuban rapprochement, which paved the way for the estranged neighbors to renew diplomatic relations in July.

Francis, who arrived in Havana Saturday and heads to Washington Tuesday, helped facilitate that moment in secret negotiations.

Just ahead of the pope's trip, the United States announced a further loosening of restrictions on business and travel with Cuba -- a move that Havana's archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, said he believed was inspired by Francis's visit.

"It's an extraordinary sign, and I think it's related to this visit," he told Vatican Radio.

After mass, the pope will meet with Castro, then preside over vespers at Havana Cathedral before holding an unscripted exchange with young Cubans -- a demographic feeling the pain of the communist island's difficult economic transition.

Fidel photo op?

Francis may also meet Castro's older brother and predecessor Fidel, the 89-year-old father of Cuba's 1959 revolution.

Benedict XVI met Fidel when he visited the island in 2012, six years after the longtime leader handed power to Raul amid a health crisis.

A man holds a poster welcoming Pope Francis at Revolution Square in Havana
on September 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Rodrigo Arangua)

On arriving Saturday, Francis urged Castro and US President Barack Obama to build on their nascent reconciliation, saying their effort to normalize relations "fills us with hope."

He also pledged the Church's support for the Cuban people, who face tight restrictions on their civil liberties under the communist regime and bear the weight of the economic woes that decades of isolation have wrought on the island.

While the pope shares the Castro brothers' radical critique of global capitalism, he has not been shy about prodding the regime toward change, including more space for the Church on an island that was an atheist state for more than three decades.

Francis, however, is not scheduled to meet with any anti-Castro dissidents on his trip.

The pope will travel Monday and Tuesday to the Cuban cities of Holguin and Santiago, before heading off to give landmark addresses to the US Congress and UN General Assembly.



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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Obama picks openly gay man for Secretary of Army

Pentagon official Eric Fanning could become the first openly gay Secretary of the US Army, after President Obama nominated him for the position. Fanning needs a confirmation from the Senate before taking the post.

Deutsche Welle, 19 Sep 2015


The US president named Fanning as his choice for one of the top civilian positions in the Department of Defense, the White House said on Friday.

"Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role," Obama said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Eric to keep our Army the very best in the world."

Fanning has occupied several senior positions in the Pentagon, including Army undersecretary and acting secretary of the Air Force. He was also special assistant to the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

Carter supported Obama's nomination, calling it "an excellent choice."

"Eric served as my first chief of staff at the Pentagon, and it has been a privilege over the course of my career to work alongside him and watch him develop into one of our country's most knowledgeable, dedicated, and experienced public servants," Carter said in a statement.

Fanning's nomination to the post must still be confirmed by the US Senate.

Out of hiding

When Fanning started his carrier at the Department of Defense, homosexuals were still prohibited from serving openly in the army. Under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy homosexuals could not publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation while in the US military.

However, the policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was abandoned in 2011, and Pentagon barred discrimination based on sexual orientation in June 2015.

Obama's move is an important step towards protecting the rights of LGBT individuals, advocacy groups said.

"The Department of Defense has been in a lot of ways a leader in LGBT rights, both in the Obama administration and in government in general," said an activist for LGBT military personnel Matt Thorn.

However, gay people still face inequality within the military, according to Thorn. For example, same sex spouses cannot accompany soldiers to many overseas bases, especially in Gulf countries.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Muslim teen arrested for clock gets White House invite

Yahoo – AFP, Mira Oberman, 17 Sep 2015

President Barack Obama congratulated Ahmed Mohamed, 14, on his skills in a 
pointed rebuke to school and police officials -- who defended his arrest -- amid 
accusations of Islamophobia (AFP Photo/Ben Torres)

Chicago (AFP) - A Muslim teenager arrested after a Texas teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb won invitations to the White House, Google and Facebook in a surge of public support.

President Barack Obama congratulated Ahmed Mohamed, 14, on his skills in a pointed rebuke to school and police officials -- who defended his arrest -- amid accusations of Islamophobia.

"Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great," Obama tweeted.

This photo received September 16, 
2015 courtesy of the Irving Police 
Department in Irving, Texas shows a 
clock made by teenager Ahmed 
Mohamed (AFP Photo)
A photo of Mohamed standing in handcuffs while wearing a t-shirt with the US space agency NASA's logo was retweeted thousands of times in a matter of hours and "#IStandWithAhmed" became the top trending hashtag on Twitter.

Mohamed told the Dallas Morning News he hoped to impress teachers by bringing the clock to school on Monday.

'They took it wrong'

"My hobby is to invent stuff," the teen said in a video posted on the paper's website, filmed in his electronics-filled bedroom.

"I made a clock. It was really easy. I wanted to show something small at first... they took it wrong so I was arrested for a hoax bomb."

The son of Sudanese immigrants who live in a Dallas suburb, Mohamed loved robotics club in middle school and was hoping to find something similar at MacArthur High School. He did not get the reaction he hoped for when he showed the clock to his engineering teacher.

"He was like, 'That's really nice,'" Mohamed said. "'I would advise you not to show any other teachers.'"

When the clock's alarm went off in another class, the teacher told him it looked like a bomb and confiscated it. The school called police and Mohamed was taken away in cuffs amid suspicion he intended to frighten people with the device.

'Suspicious device'

Police said Wednesday they have determined that Mohamed had no malicious intent and it was "just a naive set of circumstances."

Irving police chief Larry Boyd insisted that Mohamed's ethnicity had nothing to do with the response.

"Our reaction would have been the same either way. That's a very suspicious device," Boyd told reporters.

"We live in an age where you can't take things like that to school."

A school district spokeswoman also stood by the establishment's response, telling reporters that anyone who saw the homemade clock would understand that "we were doing everything with an abundance of caution."

A photo provided by police showed a flat, rectangular red digital clock face screwed into the dark plush interior of a silver case along with a circuit board and some wires.

"My son is a very brilliant boy," Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed -- who has run for president in Sudan -- told CNN.

'Bring your clock'

White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the incident an opportunity to "search our own conscious for biases that might be there."

"At least some of Ahmed's teachers failed him," he said, adding that "this has the potential to be a teachable moment."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the heavy-handed response was suspicious given the political climate in Irving -- where mayor Beth Van Duyne has claimed that Muslims are plotting to impose Sharia law -- and across the nation.

"Clearly we believe it's the result of the rising level of anti-Muslim sentiment in our society," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told AFP.

Irving police chief Larry Boyd insisted that the ethnicity of Ahmed Mohamed,
 pictured (C) with his family, had nothing to do with the response which saw him 
taken from school in cuffs (AFP Photo/Ben Torres)

"It's clear that if it was some student who wasn't named Ahmed Mohamed and didn't have brown skin, he would not have been forced to do a perp walk in front of his fellow students in handcuffs."

Wired magazine was among those who responded to the incident with a mixture of humor and horror, posting an article entitled "How to Make Your Own Homemade Clock That Isn't a Bomb."

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Mohamed to "keep building," saying: "I'd love to meet you."

Invites flood in

Zuckerberg may have to wait.

Along with the invitation to astronomy night at the White House next month, Mohamed also got invitations to drive NASA's Opportunity rover, tour MIT, intern at Twitter and visit Google.

"Hey Ahmed- we're saving a seat for you at this weekend's Google Science Fair...want to come? Bring your clock!" the online giant tweeted.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield invited Mohamed to his science variety show, and the Four Seasons hotel responded with an offer of a free room in Toronto.

Mohamed's family launched a Twitter account to thank his supporters using @IStandWithAhmed as his handle.

"Thank you fellow supporters. We can band together to stop this racial inequality and prevent this from happening again," read a tweet that included a photo of the smiling boy in his NASA t-shirt holding two fingers up in the sign of victory.

The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed had been tweeted more than 800,000 times by Wednesday afternoon, according to analytics site Topsy.com.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Niger's Muslims and Christians join forces for peace

Yahoo – AFP, Boureima Hama, 15 Sep 2015

Bishop Laurent Lompo (R) leads a procession on April 4, 2015 in Niamey (AFP
Photo/Boureima Hama)

Niamey (AFP) - Eight months after Muslims rioted in Niger at a cost of 10 lives and many burned churches, efforts are afoot to mend ties with the Christian minority in the west African country.

The rampage was triggered in January when radical Muslims angered by caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo killed 12 people in an assault on the magazine's Paris offices.

In Niger, hundreds of Muslims took to the streets, clashing with police and razing 45 churches, five hotels, as well as bars and schools run by Christians. The French cultural centre in the second city, Zinder, was also set alight.

Bishop Laurent Lompo (L) and the
 imam of Niamey's great mosque Jabirou
 Ismael, pictured on April 3, 2015 in 
Niamey (AFP Photo/Boureima Hama)
Muslims make up about 98 percent of the 17 million population in the deeply poor, landlocked nation south of the Sahara. Until the riots, they lived in peace with the small Christian minority.

However, the threat of armed Islamist activity is present both in the north, where Niger is prey to Al-Qaeda-linked groups in the desert, and the south, which has been attacked by Boko Haram fundamentalists from neighbouring Nigeria.

'Value of living together'

Leaders of both faiths have been striving to restore strong community bonds by means of an inter-religious dialogue backed by a plan to "renew the value of living together" (REVE) funded by the European Union.

The aid organisation CARE International, based in the United States, is overseeing the REVE project "to prevent violence" on the ground and "strengthen peaceful coexistence", according to CARE chief in Niamey, Ibrahim Niandou.

"Committees for dialogue" have already been set up in the country's eight regions and their members reflect all religious tendencies, including "the most radical ones", Niandou said.

"Christians and Muslims mutually enlighten each other for better peaceful coexistence according to the recommendations of the Bible and the Koran," the national CARE chief added.

"It has become necessary... that really different religions, leaders of different religions, meet to talk," says Boubacar Seydou Toure, an influential member of the Islamic Association of Niger (AIN), the biggest such body and one of the oldest.

"You know what has happened over the past months in our country, and it is really down to misunderstanding each other," Seydou added.

Last week, the AIN hosted a peace forum bringing together about 100 Muslim religious jurists and doctors known as ulemas, Christian priests as well as theologians from both faiths.

"The crises are often triggered by religious leaders during their fiery preaching in the mosques and in the churches," Seydou explained.

Christian preacher Baradje Diagou said January's disturbances have heightened the need to co-exist peaceably.

"If we each keep to our own communities, it's very difficult for us to be able to understand one another," he said.

Christians are 'more wary'

This week, Roman Catholics and Christian evangelists met "around the same table" for the first time, also with social harmony in mind, said Boureima Kiomso, chairman of the Alliance of Churches and Evangelical Missions in Niger.

"Agreeing to listen to one another and to reexamine ourselves in order to move on together is very important," Kiomso added.

Inter-faith meetings may not be enough to stave off more religious unrest in Niger, where Islam has been gaining ground, with mosques being built in big towns and small villages.

Some radical Muslims do not care for a spread of Christian places of worship, notably evangelical ones, sometimes next door to their mosques.

The enrolment of youths from Niger in the ruthless Boko Haram sect, against which Niamey forms part of a regional military alliance, shows radical Islam has gained ground in the country.

Since February 6, Boko Haram and its local members have carried out attacks in the southern Diffa region, killing dozens of civilians and soldiers.

Diffa lies on the border with northeast Nigeria, where the Islamists have waged a bloody uprising since 2009.

While Niger makes ready for general elections in 2016, its security forces must also contend with the threat of jihadist movements coming across the border from Mali and Libya.

The Christian minority is "more wary" after the violence in January, Kiomso says.

"They have been forced to revise their positions and adapt to new conditions to be able to survive in Niger."

Adamou, a Muslim resident of the capital in the southwest, feels that "many Christians won the sympathy of Muslims who tolerated them badly" before the upheaval.

"I personally helped to rebuild a burned-down church," said Idi Ali, another Muslim citizen.


Pope Francis and other religious leaders at the Vatican. Photograph: AP


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / CreatorReligions/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)

“.   New Tolerance

Look for a softening of finger pointing and an awakening of new tolerance. There will remain many systems for different cultures, as traditions and history are important to sustaining the integrity of culture. So there are many in the Middle East who would follow the prophet and they will continue, but with an increase of awareness. It will be the increase of awareness of what the prophet really wanted all along - unity and tolerance. The angel in the cave instructed him to "unify the tribes and give them the God of Israel." You're going to start seeing a softening of intolerance and the beginning of a new way of being.

Eventually, this will create an acknowledgement that says, "You may not believe the way we believe, but we honor you and your God. We honor our prophet and we will love you according to his teachings. We don't have to agree in order to love." How would you like that? The earth is not going to turn into one belief system. It never will, for Humans don't do that. There must be variety, and there must be the beauty of cultural differences. But the systems will slowly update themselves with increased awareness of the truth of a new kind of balance. So that's the first thing. Watch for these changes, dear ones. ...."