Council of Europe (CoE) - European Human Rights Court - founding fathers (1949)

Council of Europe (CoE) - European Human Rights Court - founding fathers (1949)
French National Assembly head Edouard Herriot and British Foreign minister Ernest Bevin surrounded by Italian, Luxembourg and other delegates at the first meeting of Council of Europe's Consultative Assembly in Strasbourg, August 1949 (AFP Photo)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)
The Treaty of Rome was signed in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, one of the Renaissance palaces that line the Michelangelo-designed Capitoline Square in the Italian capital

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'
EU leaders pose for a family photo during the European Summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2016 (AFP Photo/JOHN THYS)

Merkel says fall of Wall proves 'dreams can come true'


“ … 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 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. …

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Palestinian engineer kidnapped in Ukraine appears in Israeli court

Dirar Abu Sisi denies knowing whereabouts of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas in 2006

guardian.co.uk, Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem, Thursday 31 March 2011


Palestinian engineer Dirar Abu Sisi, who is believed to have been
kidnapped from Ukraine by Mossad. Photograph: Ariel Schalit/AP

A Palestinian engineer who is believed to have been abducted from Ukraine by the Israeli secret service, Mossad, denied he had done anything wrong when he appeared in court on Thursday .

Prosecutors asked the court in Petah Tikva in central Israel to allow the continued detention of Dirar Abu Sisi for five days after which he would be charged. No charges have been made public.

Abu Sisi, who has not been seen since his abduction on 19 February, told the court that he had been abducted and that he denied all allegations against him. Referring to an Israeli solider abducted by Hamas in 2006, he said: "I don't know anything about Gilad Shalit. I don't know anything. I'm an engineer."

Reports suggest Abu Sisi was taken forcibly from a train in Kharkov then flown to Israel. It later emerged that he was being held in Ashqelon prison in southern Israel.

Abu Sisi works as an engineer for a power company in the Gaza Strip and is married to Veronika, a Ukrainian national with whom he has six children. His family said that he was in the Ukraine to apply for citizenship to enable his family to leave Gaza.

While no charges have been made against the engineer, the German magazine Der Spiegel claimed that he was kidnapped because he had knowledge of the whereabouts of Gilad Shalit. However, Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, said there was no direct link between Shalit and Abu Sisi.

"He didn't organise the abduction or guard Shalit but he is a person with intimate internal information on Hamas. This has value," he told Israel army radio.

Smadar Ben Natan, Abu Sisi's lawyer, said that she had general knowledge of the charges against her client which were out of proportion to the efforts made to bring him to Israel. "He is not a member of Hamas. He has a public position in the electricity distribution company. No one has said he is an essential person to any organisation, only that he has information. It's impossible to live in Gaza and not have some knowledge of Hamas," she told the Guardian.

In a telephone conversation made public on Thursday, Noam Shalit, the father of the Israeli soldier held in Gaza, asked Veronika Abu Sisi to help get his son released. She told him: "Your son is the same as my husband. Your son was kidnapped without foundation and my husband was kidnapped without foundation."

In Kiev, Mohammed al-Assad, the Palestinian envoy in Ukraine, told a news conference that Abu Sisi "was not a member of any organisation".

Describing Abu Sisi's disappearance as a "terrible act of piracy", Assad urged the Ukrainian authorities to put pressure on Israel to ensure his safe return to Ukraine.

"At the moment there is no proof that Mossad officials seized him, but the fact is that he is there," Assad said. "We consider his disappearance and relocation ... as an international crime for which someone must bear responsibility."

The abduction of Abu Sisi happened one year after suspected Mossad agents killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a member of Hamas, in his hotel room in Dubai. Dubai police issued arrest warrants for at least 26 agents who were travelling with British, Irish and other European passports. It later emerged that some of the passports had been copied from Israeli citizens who had dual nationality.

Gaza: Palestinian relatives of Dirar Abu Sisi (portrait) attend a
solidarity demonstration calling for his release from an Israeli
jail (AFP Photo / Mohammed Abed)

Gaddafi cannot be tried in The Hague court

RNW, 31 March 2011

The Palestinian-Bulgarian doctor Ashraf el Hagoug Gomma, who spent eight years in a Libyan jail on trumped-up charges, cannot sue Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for damages in a court in The Hague.

According to Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten, the Libyan leader is an incumbent head of state and therefore immune from persecution.

The doctor wants to sue Muammar Gaddafi and 12 officials of his regime for compensation for the suffering they inflicted upon him. His lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld says she will press ahead with the lawsuits against the twelve Libyan officials. She hopes to file a lawsuit against Gaddafi after his downfall.

El Hagoug Gomma, whose parents live in the Dutch town of Woerden, was released after a diplomatic offensive by the European Union and France. The doctor and five Bulgarian nurses were sentenced to death in 2004 on charges of intentionally infecting hundreds of children with the HIV virus.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dmitry Medvedev: Russian ministers must quit boardrooms

BBC News, 30 March 2011

Related Stories

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has announced that by mid-2011 he wants government ministers to give up their seats on boards of directors.

Mr Medvedev singled out the practice of ministers
acting as regulators and company directors
The proposal is being seen as a potential blow to a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Igor Sechin.

Mr Sechin is chairman of state oil firm Rosneft and, as deputy prime minister, regulates the gas and oil industries.

The president said he wanted to end "the excessive influence of state companies on the investment climate".

Mr Medvedev told a meeting of his modernisation commission in the city of Magnitogorsk that corruption remained a factor, in a speech broadcast live by state news channel Rossiya 24.

He said that he himself had served as chairman of the board of directors of Russia's state gas monopoly, Gazprom.

While it may have made "good sense" at the time, the president said, it would not be suitable today, with the state trying to regulate everything through its own representatives.

"It never worked in any country, and it won't work in ours," he said.

All ministers should vacate their seats and be replaced by independent figures, he added.

Officials said later that VTB bank and Rosneft were both examples of where government ministers would be replaced at shareholders' meetings in June.

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin is currently on the board of VTB, and Gazprom still has two ministers and a deputy prime minister serving in its boardroom.

But it is the perceived blow to Igor Sechin that is likely to reinvigorate talk of a rift between the president and Vladimir Putin.


Related Articles:

Rating agency affirms EU top ratings

English.news.cn   2011-03-30

LONDON, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Rating Agency Fitch affirmed the European Union (EU)'s Long-term Issuer Default Ratings at "AAA" on Wednesday.

According to Fitch Ratings, the EU's Short-term Issuer Default Ratings at "F1+". The Outlooks on the Long-term IDRs are Stable.

Fitch said the ratings of the EU is entirely based on the support entities received from their 27 member states, which have a high credit quality overall. At end of March 2011, nine EU member states were rated "AAA"/"F1+" by Fitch. The ratings also take into account the highly conservative and prudential rules set up by these two institutions on their lending and borrowing activities.

Following the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the EU has massively increased its lending capacity. The EU is a supranational administrative body created to foster the integration of its 27 member states. It has full legal personality and can raise funds under its own name to fund its lending activity. Borrowings were previously made under the name of the European Community.

Editor: Lu Hui

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

'Fukushima nuclear' plant radiation detected in Glasgow

BBC News, 29 March 2011

Japan quake

Low levels of radioactive iodine believed to be from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan have been detected in Glasgow.

The Fukushima plant was devastated by
an earthquake and tsunami
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said the concentration of iodine detected was "extremely low" and "not of concern for the public".

The Fukushima plant was crippled after being hit by a tsunami in the aftermath of a huge earthquake.

Radiation leaks were recorded following subsequent explosions and fires.

Sepa said it had been informed that an air sampler in Glasgow had recorded the presence of radioactive iodine.

'Effective surveillance'
The agency said the value reported was consistent with reports from other European countries such as Iceland and Switzerland.

The organisation's radioactive substances manager, Dr James Gemmill, said: "The concentration of iodine detected is extremely low and is not of concern for the public or the environment.

"The fact that such a low concentration of this radionuclide was detected demonstrates how effective the surveillance programme for radioactive substances is in the UK.

"Sepa has an ongoing comprehensive monitoring programme for radioactivity in Scotland and has increased the level of scrutiny to provide ongoing public assurance during this period."


Related Article:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium

If Barack Obama were to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.

The Telegraph, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor, 29 Aug 2010


Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal produces as
much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal


We could then stop arguing about wind mills, deepwater drilling, IPCC hockey sticks, or strategic reliance on the Kremlin. History will move on fast.

Muddling on with the status quo is not a grown-up policy. The International Energy Agency says the world must invest $26 trillion (£16.7 trillion) over the next 20 years to avert an energy shock.

The scramble for scarce fuel is already leading to friction between China, India, and the West.

There is no certain bet in nuclear physics but work by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) on the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors may be the magic bullet we have all been hoping for, though we have barely begun to crack the potential of solar power.

Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday - produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. A mere fistful would light London for a week.

Thorium burns the plutonium residue left by uranium reactors, acting as an eco-cleaner. "It’s the Big One," said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA rocket engineer and now chief nuclear technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering.

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"Once you start looking more closely, it blows your mind away. You can run civilisation on thorium for hundreds of thousands of years, and it’s essentially free. You don’t have to deal with uranium cartels," he said.

Thorium is so common that miners treat it as a nuisance, a radioactive by-product if they try to dig up rare earth metals. The US and Australia are full of the stuff. So are the granite rocks of Cornwall. You do not need much: all is potentially usable as fuel, compared to just 0.7pc for uranium.

After the Manhattan Project, US physicists in the late 1940s were tempted by thorium for use in civil reactors. It has a higher neutron yield per neutron absorbed. It does not require isotope separation, a big cost saving. But by then America needed the plutonium residue from uranium to build bombs.

"They were really going after the weapons," said Professor Egil Lillestol, a world authority on the thorium fuel-cycle at CERN. "It is almost impossible make nuclear weapons out of thorium because it is too difficult to handle. It wouldn’t be worth trying." It emits too many high gamma rays.

You might have thought that thorium reactors were the answer to every dream but when CERN went to the European Commission for development funds in 1999-2000, they were rebuffed.

Brussels turned to its technical experts, who happened to be French because the French dominate the EU’s nuclear industry. "They didn’t want competition because they had made a huge investment in the old technology," he said.

Another decade was lost. It was a sad triumph of vested interests over scientific progress. "We have very little time to waste because the world is running out of fossil fuels. Renewables can’t replace them. Nuclear fusion is not going work for a century, if ever," he said.

The Norwegian group Aker Solutions has bought Dr Rubbia’s patent for an accelerator-driven sub-critical reactor, and is working on his design for a thorium version at its UK operation.

Victoria Ashley, the project manager, said it could lead to a network of pint-sized 600MW reactors that are lodged underground, can supply small grids, and do not require a safety citadel. It will take £2bn to build the first one, and Aker needs £100mn for the next test phase.

The UK has shown little appetite for what it regards as a "huge paradigm shift to a new technology". Too much work and sunk cost has already gone into the next generation of reactors, which have another 60 years of life.

So Aker is looking for tie-ups with countries such as the US, Russia, or China. The Indians have their own projects - none yet built - dating from days when they switched to thorium because their weapons programme prompted a uranium ban.

America should have fewer inhibitions than Europe in creating a leapfrog technology. The US allowed its nuclear industry to stagnate after Three Mile Island in 1979.

Anti-nuclear neorosis is at last ebbing. The White House has approved $8bn in loan guarantees for new reactors, yet America has been strangely passive. Where is the superb confidence that put a man on the moon?

A few US pioneers are exploring a truly radical shift to a liquid fuel based on molten-fluoride salts, an idea once pursued by US physicist Alvin Weinberg at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee in the 1960s. The original documents were retrieved by Mr Sorensen.

Moving away from solid fuel may overcome some of thorium’s "idiosyncracies". "You have to use the right machine. You don’t use diesel in a petrol car: you build a diesel engine," said Mr Sorensen.

Thorium-fluoride reactors can operate at atmospheric temperature. "The plants would be much smaller and less expensive. You wouldn’t need those huge containment domes because there’s no pressurized water in the reactor. It’s close-fitting," he said.

Nuclear power could become routine and unthreatening. But first there is the barrier of establishment prejudice.

When Hungarian scientists led by Leo Szilard tried to alert Washington in late 1939 that the Nazis were working on an atomic bomb, they were brushed off with disbelief. Albert Einstein interceded through the Belgian queen mother, eventually getting a personal envoy into the Oval Office.

Roosevelt initially fobbed him off. He listened more closely at a second meeting over breakfast the next day, then made up his mind within minutes. "This needs action," he told his military aide.

It was the birth of the Manhattan Project. As a result, the US had an atomic weapon early enough to deter Stalin from going too far in Europe.

The global energy crunch needs equal "action". If it works, Manhattan II could restore American optimism and strategic leadership at a stroke: if not, it is a boost for US science and surely a more fruitful way to pull the US out of perma-slump than scattershot stimulus.

Even better, team up with China and do it together, for all our sakes.


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Dutch push freedom of internet

RNW, 28 March 2011

Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal wants the international community to fight against limitations on freedom of expression on the internet. “The new media have the power to change the world in a positive way, as we have seen in the advances made by protests in the Arab World,” he said at a meeting of the International Digital Economy Accords in Brussels.

Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal
“I’m seriously worried about the blocking of and limitations around the internet which have been put into place in some countries over the last few years,” he went on. The minister says that governments are responsible, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for the free flow of information.

Debate

He believes there should be a debate within the European Union on the involved question of whether exports of internet filter technology to oppressive regimes should be banned. He also thinks the private sector has a part to play: independent companies have shown themselves capable of putting countries which censor the internet under pressure.

Mr Rosenthal believes international regulations around the internet and its use should be drawn up. He also advocates financial and political support being given to dissidents who use the internet to fight for freedom. A number of years ago, the Netherlands launched a fund for supporting the internet activities of dissidents in countries with oppressive regimes, such as Myanmar and Iran.




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Fourth Euro MP named in lobbying scandal

BBC News, by Laurence Peter, 28 March 2011

Related Stories

A fourth Euro MP caught up in a "cash-for-laws" scandal has denied wrongdoing as the European Parliament investigates corruption allegations.

The European Parliament is reviewing its lobbying
rules in light of the scandal
Spanish MEP Pablo Zalba said he had been "deceived" by the Sunday Times undercover reporters and had not accepted their offer of cash.

But he said he did amend draft legislation at the request of the reporters posing as lobbyists.

Two other MEPs have resigned in the affair and a third has left his party.

Mr Zalba, of Spain's centre-right Popular Party (PP), said he was the victim of a "trap", in which the pretend lobbyists had requested two amendments to draft legislation on consumer protection.

He said he rejected the first amendment but agreed to put forward the second because he thought it would help protect small investors, Spain's El Pais news website reported.

According to the UK's Sunday Times newspaper, the undercover team made it clear to Mr Zalba that he would be paid for his services.

Resignations

Last week Slovenian MEP Zoran Thaler and Austrian MEP Ernst Strasser resigned from the parliament, after the Sunday Times newspaper first made the allegations.

The paper alleged the pair and Romanian MEP Adrian Severin had accepted offers of cash in exchange for influencing laws.

Mr Severin was expelled from the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) bloc in the parliament but remains an independent MEP.

All three have denied wrongdoing. The Sunday Times says each of them is being investigated by their national anti-corruption authorities.

The Sunday Times says some of the legal amendments requested by the undercover team now appear in the European Parliament's official documents.


The Record Europe looks at the cash for amendments scandal.

The parliament's security staff have now sealed off the affected MEPs' offices to prevent any tampering with evidence, a senior parliament source, who asked not to be named, told the BBC.

The bureau of Parliament President Jerzy Buzek is handling the investigation and will decide if the parliament's rules on lobbying need to be changed, the source said.

'Zero tolerance'

Mr Buzek has written to the foreign ministries in the MEPs' home countries, asking to be kept informed about their anti-corruption investigations.

His bureau is also examining documentary and videotape evidence handed over by the Sunday Times, beyond what the paper has published, the source added.

Last week Mr Buzek said: "We are determined to practise zero tolerance of the kind of actions that led to the resignation of our colleagues."

Addressing MEPs, he said the parliament must "strengthen its code of conduct" for such cases and introduce "a legally binding code of conduct for lobbying in EU institutions".

Under the current rules, lobbyists do not have to join the existing parliamentary register of lobbyists.

The European Commission and parliament plan to bring in a joint register of lobbyists, but it will still not be compulsory.

In practice, lobbyists who want an access badge for the European Parliament have to join the existing register, the parliamentary source told the BBC.

Last week the parliament rebuffed the EU anti-fraud agency Olaf when it sought to investigate the lobbying affair.

The parliament considers that this case is beyond Olaf's remit, which is to monitor how the EU budget is spent, the source explained.

EU wants no petrol or diesel cars in cities by 2050

BBC News, 28 March 2011

There should be no petrol or diesel cars in city centres by 2050, the European Commission has proposed.

The EU wants to cut carbon emissions
by more than half
Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas also set out plans to shift half of "middle distance journeys" from road to rail, and to cut shipping emissions by 40%.

He said: "Freedom to travel is a basic right for our citizens. Curbing mobility is not an option. Nor is business is usual."

The proposal would cut carbon emissions by 60% and reduce dependence on oil.

Outlining plans for a "Single European Transport Area", the Commission said there needed to be a "profound shift" in travel patterns to reduce reliance on oil and to lower emissions.

By 2050, it wants the majority of people taking a journey of more than approximately 186 miles to use the train, rather than a car.

Mr Kallas said this move, plus the phasing out of petrol or diesel cars in city centres, need not inconvenience people.

"The widely-held belief that you need to cut mobility to fight climate change is simply not true," he said.

"We can break the transport system's dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility."


Related Article:

Russian population drops by 2.2 million since 2002 – statistics

RT, 28 March, 2011


Nationwide census shows Russia’s population in decline


The Russian population has declined by 1.6 % since 2002, according to preliminary results of the October 2010 nationwide census revealed by the Russian Statistics Service (Rosstat) which were published on Monday in Rossiyskaya Gazeta state daily.

Compared to the previous Russia-wide census which was carried out in 2002, the country’s population has declined from 145,166,700 people to 142,905,200. So-called natural population loss –when the death rate is larger than the birth rate – has been named as a key reason for the depopulation.

This information comes despite the continuing influx of migrants, mainly from the former Soviet Republics.

Compared to 2002, the number of people living in 63 Russian regions dropped, while in 20 regions it went up. Traditionally, the Central, the Volga, and the Siberia Federal Districts remain the most populated with 61 % of the entire population living there.

According to Rosstat findings, Russia remains a highly urbanized country: 73.7 % of people prefer living in towns and cities rather than in villages and farms.

Moscow alone accounts for 8 % of the entire population. The number of people in the capital increased by over 10 % within eight years and reached 11.514 million. The second largest city – St Petersburg – is home to 4.818 million.

Rosstat notes that the percentage of women compared to that of men remains traditionally higher. Thus, men account for 46.3 % of the population, while women for 53.7 %. The number of men has dropped by 0.3 % since 2002 and now accounts for 66.205 million.

Being the world’s largest country on the planet, in terms of population Russia is only ninth, lagging far behind China, India, and the US.


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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Libya: Nato takes full control of military operation

Nato to assume command from US – but transfer of authority from US-led force could take several days

guardian.co.uk, Associated Press and Reuters, Sunday 27 March 2011


Nato will have full control of military operations, officials said.
Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Nato will take command of all aerial operations in Libya, officials have confirmed.

Ambassadors have approved a plan to expand the previously-agreed mission to enforce the UN arms embargo and no-fly zone by agreeing to protect civilians from attacks by Gaddafi's ground forces, a Nato diplomat said.

NATO HQ Brussels, Belgium
"Nato has decided to implement all aspects of the UN resolution 1973 to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack from the Gaddafi regime," an official said after a meeting of the 28-member alliance.

The diplomat – who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media – said the transfer of authority from the US-led force may take a several days.

After eight days of strikes on Libyan targets, Washington is eager to give responsibility for air strikes to Nato.

A Nato diplomat said the decision meant Nato now had full control of all aspects of the operation, ending nearly a week of heated negotiations over the chain of command.

"Everything will now be under Nato," the diplomat said.


Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
says the decision is a 'significant step'


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Libyan claims rape by soldiers, is dragged away

Britain's Defence Secretary has bluntly told Colonel Muammar Gaddafi that he must go and that military action will not stop until he does.

The Telegraph, By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent 6:19PM GMT 26 Mar 2011


The relentless pressure on Gaddafi and his allies is beginning
to take its toll Photo: REUTERS


Liam Fox launched a personal attack on the Libyan leader, describing him as a "brutal" dictator who had "lost the plot a long time ago".

In his first newspaper interview since the start of the Libyan crisis, Dr Fox said that the bombing campaign would only end when "people could sleep safely in their beds and know they will not be targeted by a vicious regime".

Dr Fox was speaking as the international military campaign against Libya, which has seen more than 300 sorties by multi-national air forces and in excess of 170 cruise missiles strikes, entered its second week.

In a major development yesterday Gaddafi suffered one of his worst setbacks after rebels seized the strategically important town of Ajdabiya, which lies to the south of Benghazi after RAF Tornados GR4s destroyed six Libyan tanks in the area.

RAF Tornado GR4’s were in action again on Friday, destroying three armoured vehicles in the town of Misurata and another two in Ajdabiya. All the vehicles were destroyed by the aircraft’s Brimstone guided missile.

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The capture of the town is the first real sign that air-strikes are having a decisive effect coming after two-weeks of disappointing rebel reverses.

Water from the Ajdabiya reservoir flows directly into Benghazi, the main rebel stronghold in Libya, which was understood to be within days of running out.

The bombing campaign is expected to continue unabated after the defence secretary warned that attacks would not end while Gaddafi shells the civilian population in their "schools, homes and mosques".

But he added that there was a simple solution to ending the conflict.

"The end for us is when we have fulfilled the UN resolution, which is "are the people of Libya safe?"," he said.

"If it turns out that the regime stops targeting civilians, recognises that there is no militarily successful end for them in this, then it could end relatively quickly."

The defence secretary said that the international community was determined to occupy the moral high ground during the conflict which meant that targets would only be attacked if there was zero risk to civilians.

He said: "Here is the dilemma. We want to keep the moral high ground. It is much easier to fight this form of urban warfare if you don't care how many men, women and children are slaughtered, that's the difference between us and them.

"We have to make sure in winning this conflict, we don't become them."

He also said that there was growing signs of mutiny and rebellion with the Libyan armed forces and intelligence suggested that some of Gaddafi senior commanders may turn against him.
He went on: "The more that Gaddafi and the people around him understand that the region has deserted them... the better.

"There are others around him who will see the situation in a more rational way.

"We hope that the combination of their own sense of what is rational combined with the threat of the International Criminal Court will bring about the change we want to see."

Dr Fox was also categorically stated that Britain would not send in ground troops stating that the UNSR1973 - the security council resolution which allowed for a no-fly zone to be enforced - "specifically excludes" an occupying force.

The defence secretary would not be drawn on how long Operation Ellamy - known to the Americans as Operation Odyssey Dawn - could take but senior US commanders said it could take up to three months while the French added that the conflict would not end soon.

The defence secretary warned the British public not to become side-tracked on who commanded the operation or what the organisation was called, adding that there was nothing unusual for British troops to be commanded by foreign troops.

He said: "It used to make me laugh when we signed the Anglo-French Treaty when people used to say " you mean we could have British Forces commanded by the French". You've forgotten Afghanistan where we were commanded by the Turks, Canadians, the Italians, as well as the US. This is what happens with international organisations. I don't think we should be hung up on what things are called, I think we should be hung up on whether it works. Stop worrying about the label; worry about what comes out of the tin."

The air campaign was continuing yesterday with ground attack aircraft and cruise missiles targeting tanks, armoured personnel carriers and missile sites in numerous locations across Libya.

But despite the attacks, Gaddfi's battered military was still resisting and was reported to have attacked the rebel city of Misurata with artillery fire and her four children on Friday evening.

US officials, however, said the relentless pressure on Gaddafi and his allies was beginning to take its toll, and that the veteran Libyan leader was arming volunteers.

"We've received reports today that he has taken to arming what he calls volunteers to fight the opposition," said US Vice Admiral William Gortney.

Gaddafi "has virtually no air defence left to him and a diminishing ability to command and sustain his forces on the ground", said Adml Gortney following the UN-mandated air strikes launched on March 19 by the United States, Britain, and France.

"His air force cannot fly, his warships are staying in port, his ammunition stores are being destroyed, communications towers are being toppled, his command bunkers rendered useless," Adml Gortney said.


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