Kryon Berlin Tour & Seminar - Berlin, Germany, Sept 17-22 2019 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll)

Kryon Berlin Tour & Seminar - Berlin, Germany, Sept 17-22 2019 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll)
30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

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. …

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Italy clamps down on corruption to lure investment

Deutsche Welle, 31 October 2012

Italy has passed an anti-corruption law deemed necessary by Mario Monti's government to attract investment. Last year, Italy ranked 69th in a corruption perception index by the Berlin-based Transparency International.

The law creates punishments for crimes in the private sector. Previous sanctions only covered corruption that leaked into the public sector.

"The first word that comes to mind at the news that the anti-corruption law has been passed is 'finally'," read a statement from Luciano Hinna, a member of Transparency International's Italian office.

Italy's 69th-place finish out of 182 countries in the survey was the worst result among the European Union's 27 members, making some outsiders wary of investing their money. Corruption costs debt-laden Italy an estimated 60 billion euros ($78 billion) a year, according to the country's Court of Accounts.

Unblocking growth

Prime Minister Mario Monti had said that a serious corruption law would unblock Italy's growth. The reform guarantees anonymity to whistleblowers on corrupt deals and forces public bodies to publish details of their spending on the internet, in the name of transparency.

Prison sentences for those convicted of bribery are being toughened from a maximum of five years to up to eight. Corrupting the justice system now carries a maximum 10-year sentence, up from a maximum of eight years, and extortion up to 12 years.

The law was originally proposed in 2010, under the government of Monti's predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi. However, its approval was delayed by opposition from members of Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, who forced some changes. Monti then submitted the bill to a confidence vote.

'We can always do more'

Some argue that the bill does not go far enough. For example, it prevents investigators from using wiretapping in corruption cases, while application of a ban on running for public office for those convicted of stealing public funds was delayed.

"We can always do more," Justice Minister Paola Severino said, rejecting suggestions that the law is the fruit of a "watered-down political compromise."

Monti has also vowed to cut down the size of local government in order to reduce opportunities for graft. On Wednesday, his cabinet adopted a decree to trim the number of Italian provinces from 86 to 51 starting in 2014.

mkg/mz (AFP, dpa)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bank of England official: Occupy Movement right about global recession

Andrew Haldane said protestors were correct to focus on inequality as the chief reason for 2008 economic crash

The Guardian, Phillip Inman, economics correspondent, Monday 29 October 2012

Occupy's voice had been 'loud and persuasive' said Andrew Haldane.
Photograph: Rex Features

The Occupy Movement has found an unlikely ally in a senior Bank of England official, Andrew Haldane, who has praised protesters for their role in triggering an overhaul of the financial services sector.

Haldane, who oversees the City for the central bank, said Occupy acted as a lever on policymakers despite criticism that its aims were too vague. He said the protest movement was right to focus on inequality as the chief reason for the 2008 crash, following studies that showed the accumulation of huge wealth funded by debt was directly responsible for the domino-like collapse of the banking sector in 2008.

Speaking at a debate held by the Occupy Movement in central London, Haldane said regulations limiting credit use would undermine attempts by individuals to accumulate huge property and financial wealth at the expense of other members of society. Allowing banks to lend on a massive scale also drained funding from other industries, adding to the negative impact that unregulated banks had on the economy, he said.

The hard-hitting speech is unlikely to find a warm welcome in the Square Mile, which is keen for bank lending to recover to its heady pre-crisis levels and bring accompanying profits and commissions. Lending to individuals and corporations in the UK has fallen to a fraction of the levels seen in 2007 when few banks checked the income status of individual borrowers or the risks being taken by corporate customers before offering a loan. The Bank of England will impose stricter lending rules on banks next year when it takes over regulation of the industry from the Financial Services Authority.

Haldane said Occupy's voice had been "loud and persuasive" and that "policymakers have listened and are acting in ways which will close those fault-lines" with a "reformation of finance that Occupy has helped stir". He said inequality was fuelled by bank lending for speculation on property and other assets that enriched some in society at the expense of others.

"The asset-rich, in particular the owner-occupying rich, became a lot richer. Meanwhile, the asset-less and indebted fell further behind. In other words, the pre-crisis asset price bubble acted like a regressive tax," he said.

Related Article:

Polish rape victim 'should have had abortion access'

BBC News, 30 October 2012

Poland's abortion laws are among the strictest in Europe

Related Stories 

A Polish teenager who became pregnant after rape should have had unhindered access to an abortion, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

The girl, who was then 14, was forced to have a clandestine abortion after harassment from pro-life groups led to her being turned away from hospitals.

The court ordered the Polish state to pay the teenager and her mother 61,000 euros (£49,000) in compensation.

Poland's abortion law is among the strictest in Europe.

Terminations are only permitted in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother or foetus is in danger.

'Manipulated and helpless'

The unnamed teenager at the centre of this court case became pregnant in 2008 after she was raped at the age of 14.

In accordance with the law, she got a certificate from the public prosecutor confirming that her pregnancy was as a result of unlawful sexual intercourse.

The girl, named only as "P" went to two different hospitals with her mother in her hometown of Lublin in south-east Poland to try and obtain an abortion.

Pro-choice Poles want the Catholic
 Church to have less influence over
abortion law
At one, a Roman Catholic priest attempted to convince her to have the child. Hospital management then issued a press release saying they would not perform the procedure, leading to her case becoming caught up in Poland's ongoing debate about abortion.

The girl then travelled to a hospital in Warsaw, but doctors there said they were under pressure not to go ahead with the procedure.

The court documents say the pair left the hospital "feeling manipulated and helpless", after which they were harassed by pro-life groups and eventually taken in for several hours of police questioning.

The authorities then accused the mother of trying to force her daughter into having an abortion and had "P" placed in a juvenile shelter.

She eventually managed to go ahead with the termination in Gdansk, 500km from her home, after the Ministry of Health intervened in the case.

In their ruling, which is subject to appeal, a panel of judges at the European Court of Human Rights found that there had been numerous breaches of the girl's rights.

The court found that she should gave had unhindered access to lawful abortion and that the details of her case should not have been made public by hospital authorities.

The BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw says that Poland's abortion law is unlikely to become more liberal soon.

Poland's Catholic church is fiercely opposed to any attempts to ease the restrictions and a majority of mainstream politicians support the status quo. 

Archangel Michael: The Declaration of Human Freedom

“… 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. …”

"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa,Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism, Higgs Boson), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around"DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text Version)

"... I want to define life for you - not biological life, but spiritual life. So for all those intellectuals, just hold on, for many won't like this. Spiritual life, as measured by Spirit, is when a Human has free choice. When is that? It's when they take their first breath. Not in utero. There will be those who will say, "That's wrong, that's wrong. The soul in the woman's body is alive!" Just wait. I'm talking about spiritually. That which Spirit sees, and it's when you come from the other side of the veil and take your first breath.

A child with the mother has no free choice. That child is linked to the choice of the mother until it is born. It is, indeed, a soul in preparation for free choice, and there are many attributes that are spiritual that we have discussed before about how that soul reacts. But now I'm discussing life with polarity [duality], free choice.

But let's discuss that "child inside" for a moment, for there is a process I want you to know about. I want to talk about 240 days into the pregnancy. At about that time, the child has perfect DNA. It hasn't taken its first breath. The DNA hasn't measured the energy of the planet yet, since it is contained. Did you realize that? Inside the womb is a perfect child. The child's DNA has all the attributes of the Akash and also the parent, but it's different in a way you have not been told. The DNA is 100% as designed.

The quantum instructions within the DNA are all talking to the biology of the child,, getting ready for the first breath. ..."

Sex abuse scandal rocks British establishment

Deutsche Welle, 30 October 2012

It’s a scandal that just keeps on growing: The allegations about the late TV presenter Jimmy Savile and his associates are making British people question some of their most sacred institutions.

Sir Jimmy Savile was one of Britain's best known TV personalities, and for many years a well-loved star. He is thought to have raised over 40 million pounds ($64 million) for charity, and presented some of the BBC's most popular shows.

But in the space of just over a year, following his death in October 2011, his reputation has taken on a very different hue. Over 300 people have come forward claiming they were abused by the star, leading the police to pronounce that he could be one of the UK's most prolific sex offenders.

A life in showbiz

Jimmy Savile made friends throughout
the British establishment
Savile joined the BBC in the 1960s, and eccentricity and flamboyance were always part of his on-screen persona: A shock of white hair, crazy sun glasses, a big cigar, bright tracksuits, and chunky gold jewellery were his stock in trade. By the 70s, he'd moved into children's television, presenting "Jim’ll Fix It," the show which purported to make children's dreams come true.

But it is now claimed that Savile abused and manipulated many of the people who appeared on his shows, promising his young studio audiences more screen time or a coveted Jim'll Fix It medal in return for sexual favors.


Karin Ward was one of those women who appeared on Savile's shows. In November last year, shortly after his death, Ward gave a television interview detailing his abuse of her, and other young women she knew in the 70s.

"He wanted me to do things for him, he wanted me to fondle him, he asked me for oral sex, and I didn't want to, and he promised me that if I gave him oral sex, he would arrange for me and my friends to go to television centre, and be on his TV show," Ward told the BBC's Newsnight program.

And given that inducement, Ward reluctantly complied with Savile's demands.

"I was 14, of course I wanted to go to television centre. I didn't want to give him oral sex, because I thought it was disgusting, but I did it."

A culture of silence

But the allegations go beyond Savile's work at the BBC. Many of the accounts center on Savile's charity work - in which he appears to have targeted damaged and vulnerable young people, in institutions which were meant to look after them. Many of his victims say that they did try and speak up at the time, but either weren't believed, or weren't listened to.

Prince Charles led tributes to Savile
 last year when he died at the age of 84
"There were rumours in television, in the music industry, in Fleet Street, and I’m told even within the NHS." says Esther Rantzen, founder of the child protection charity ChildLine, who was working in another part of the BBC at the same time as Savile.

If his behaviour raised alarm bells at all, it seems it was dismissed as "just Jimmy’s way."

The other problem is of course one of proof. Rantzen adds: "The trouble with a rumor is it's not something you know. In order to know something as a fact, it must either have happened to you, or you must have seen it happen. Nothing else stands up in court. And nothing else would permit a newspaper to publish, or a program to broadcast."

Power and institutions

As well as receiving a knighthood in 1990, Savile also received a Papal honour from the Catholic Church. He even liked to boast of his royal connections - he was on good terms with Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, with exchanges of Christmas cards and invitations to dinner. Prince Charles led tributes to Savile on his death last year. Questions are now being asked about how Savile was able to get right to the heart of the British establishment.

But it's the BBC which is at the heart of this storm: There are questions about the way the corporation has handled the affair. The BBC's flagship news program, Newsnight, carried out an investigation into Savile late last year, but that was shelved shortly before the editing process. The reasons for this have yet to be fully explained.

The BBC has accused of covering up
 the allegations into Savile's sexual
Last week, Newsnight’s sister program, Panorama, broadcast a hard-hitting documentary about the Savile scandal, in which they interviewed Newsnight producer, Meirion Jones. Jones claimed he had sent his editor an email in which he cautioned against not broadcasting such explosive material:

"I was sure that the story would come out one way or another, and that if it did, the BBC would be accused of cover up. In fact I wrote an email, saying 'the story is strong enough, and the danger of not running it is substantial damage to BBC reputation.'"

A prescient email given the explosion of recent weeks. The BBC now stands accused of two grave offences, squashing an exposé of one of its biggest stars, and then broadcasting a eulogy of him knowing the allegations.

BBC cover-up?

The new BBC Director General, George Entwhistle appeared before a parliamentary committee, earlier this month, to answer questions about what he knew then and now. The editor of Newsnight has been suspended on full pay, pending investigations. The corporation continues to stand by its story that it did not pressure the editor into dropping the story.

Even Prime Minister, David Cameron has weighed in on the controversy, saying, "The nation is appalled, we're all appalled by the allegations of what Jimmy Savile did. And they seem to get worse by the day, and so every organisation which was involved with him, needs to get to the bottom of what happened."

Related Article:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ukraine election 'reversed democracy', OSCE says

BBC News, 29 October 2012

President Yanukovych's party appears to be heading for a majority

Related Stories 

International observers say Ukraine's election has been a backward step for democracy, marred by "the abuse of power and the excessive role of money".

The statement from the regional security body OSCE came as early results pointed to a win for President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions.

Opposition leader and ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko remains in prison.

Mrs Tymoshenko has announced a hunger strike in protest at alleged vote rigging and is only drinking water.

"One should not have to visit a prison to hear from leading political figures," the OSCE said.

"Considering the abuse of power, and the excessive role of money in this election, democratic progress appears to have reversed in Ukraine," said Walburga Habsburg Douglas, a Swedish MP who headed the OSCE mission.

The criticism contrasted sharply with the international observers' conclusions on Ukraine's February 2010 presidential election, judged to have been transparent, unbiased and an "impressive display" of democracy.

That election was won by Mr Yanukovych, defeating Mrs Tymoshenko.

With nearly two-thirds of votes counted, the AFP news agency says Mr Yanukovych's Party of the Regions has 34.2% of party list votes, compared with 22.5% for Mrs Tymoshenko's party.

The Party of the Regions is also predicted to take 114 of 225 single-mandate seats, which would secure a majority in the 450-seat assembly.


Officials said the election had passed off smoothly, with a turnout of some 45% - about average for Ukraine.

Early results indicated the Communists - traditional allies of Mr Yanukovych - were in third place with about 15%.

The new party of world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, called Udar (Punch), was on about 13%.

The ultra-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party was also poised to surpass the 5% threshold necessary to get seats in parliament. It was polling 8%, according to the early results.

Svoboda campaigns for the preservation of the Ukrainian language and culture and is strongly critical of Mr Yanukovych.

The party has been accused of racism and homophobia.

Although its leader Oleh Tyahnybok has said Jews and Russians are occupiers in Ukraine, Svoboda denies it is anti-Semitic.

The opposition has alleged widespread voting irregularities.

Two international observer missions gave much more positive assessments than the OSCE's.

The 56 members of the European Academy for Elections Observation, most of whom are European Parliament members, said the vote was held "in compliance with democratic norms". They called it "a good election, not perfect but clearly acceptable".

Observers from the ex-Soviet countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) called the election "transparent and democratic".

'Abuse of resources'

From her prison cell Yulia Tymoshenko
has  accused Mr Yanukovych of trying to
establish a dictatorship
Western governments have condemned the jailing of Mrs Tymoshenko, whose coalition is called the United Opposition Fatherland bloc. She was given a seven-year jail sentence last year for abuse of power, and voted from her prison cell.

Her bloc says its own parallel vote count confirms that Mr Yanukovych's party is in the lead, but with a smaller percentage of votes than the party claims.

The complicated electoral system means a final result is some way off.

A prominent ally of Mrs Tymoshenko, former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko, is also in jail. He was sentenced in February 2012 to four years in prison for abuse of office and embezzlement.

The OSCE said the election was characterised by "the lack of a level playing field, caused primarily by the abuse of administrative resources, lack of transparency of campaign and party financing, and lack of balanced media coverage".

"Certain aspects of the pre-election period constituted a step backwards compared with recent national elections," they added.

It was the biggest election observer mission the OSCE has ever deployed - more than 800 observers, from nearly 40 different countries.

The OSCE said election day was generally calm and "voters had a choice between distinct parties". Its view of the voting and counting was "mostly positive", but result tabulation "lacked transparency", it said.

Related Articles:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ecologists preparing for boom in urban wildlife 'invaders'

Previously unseen wildlife are colonising British cities but local authorities are concerned by the increase

The Guardian, The Observer, John Vidal, Saturday 27 October 2012

Coming to a street near you: wasp spider, fallow deer and great spotted
woodpecker. Photograph: Alamy

First came the urban fox, then flocks of colourful tropical parakeets. But now deer, woodpeckers, hedgehogs, jackdaws, birds of prey and exotic spiders, fish and insects are colonising British cities, say wildlife experts.

Previously unseen muntjac, roe and fallow deer now boldly enter inner-city areas such as Finsbury Park in north London and have been seen in cemeteries, gardens and golf courses on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Sheffield, Bristol, Guildford and Newcastle, says the London Wildlife Trust's deputy director, Mathew Frith.

He gave a warning that people could soon expect to see wild boar in suburban streets and gardens: "It will not be too long before they impact on our urban areas. They have no natural predators, it is complicated to hunt them, and their numbers are increasing. We can expect them soon."

Birds of prey, once common in cities, have this year returned in numbers. Red kites, extinct in England and Scotland by the 1800s and down to just a few pairs 20 years ago, are now not just seen flying over London and other cities, but have been found feeding in gardens in places such as Reading, Frith says.

In a remarkable turnaround from the polluted wildlife deserts of the 1970s, inner-city parks and private gardens are now attracting creatures once practically extinct in urban areas and providing habitats for wildlife seldom seen before in Britain.

The invaders, which are mostly welcomed by ecologists but worry local authorities as their numbers increase, are becoming bolder every year as they fill ecological niches.

Jackdaws have been found raiding pigeons' nests on the British Museum and the National Gallery, and peregrine falcons, which were almost exterminated by the use of pesticides after the second world war, have taken to nesting in the Houses of Parliament, Tate Modern and the O2 arena, as well as on tower blocks and housing estates.

"They used to be persecuted, but now they are returning," says Frith. "Twelve years ago there were no breeding pairs at all. But now we have eight to 10 pairs in London."

Smaller animals and birds once rare in cities are also thriving, says ecologist Tony Canning, who works at the Camley Gardens nature reserve near King's Cross in north London. He attributes some of the increase in urban wildlife to a declining use of pesticides by gardeners. "Sales shot up in the 1980s gardening boom, but people don't use so much now," he says.

Increasingly urbanised landscapes are thought to be of mixed value for birds, with species such as pigeons and chaffinches able to survive in these environments, while others, such as the swift, starling and song thrush, are in decline.

One of the most successful urban birds may be the tropical ring-necked parakeet, which colonised Esher in Surrey years ago and is becoming widespread in urban areas in the Midlands. "We now have great spotted woodpeckers right in the centre of cities. I saw one flying over London Bridge last week," says Frith.

Exotic animals have often been brought to London and to British port cities on boats, but they seldom breed. But no one can explain how a self-sustaining colony of non-venomous metre-long Aesculapian snakes has come to live near the canal in Regent's Park. They normally eat birds and eggs, but appear to be feeding on rodents.

Hundreds of terrapins, which can live for up to 60 years, are known to inhabit British cities following the craze over the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV show in the 1990s. This year a mink was spotted in an artificial lake in Thamesmead, one of London's most deprived communities. "What we are seeing especially is new insects. The red-eyed damselfly was virtually unknown a few years ago. Now it's in central London. Wasp spiders are spreading everywhere," says Canning.

Milder winters are thought to have extended the range of insects and spiders to London and southern England cities. Jersey moths and exotic, brightly coloured wasp spiders, almost unheard of a few years ago, have spread from the continent, and red-eyed damselflies, first spotted in Britain in 1999, are now common on London's waterways.

In August a rarely seen long-tailed blue butterfly was found trying to establish a breeding territory in East India Dock. It is possible that it came off a boat, but just as likely that warmer winters have made it possible for it to survive.

Ecologists cannot say if the present boom in wildlife is because species are being driven out of the countryside or because cities are becoming more attractive. "We have lost some urban habitats, like old industrial sites, and a lot of front gardens have been concreted over," says Canning. "But a huge amount of conservation work has been done in nature reserves in the past 20 years."

Equally, thousands of ponds in the countryside have been filled, but frogs and newts now find it easier to live in cities because pesticides are used less.

The work of local authorities may also be encouraging wildlife. Tens of thousands of street and park trees were planted in the 1950s and 1960s in British cities and many of these are nearing maturity, offering new habitats for many types of birds such as magpies, which only nest above 25ft.

But not all new urban wildlife in urban areas is welcome. Last week scientists from Queen Mary College, University of London, said that almost 100 freshwater species not native to the UK have invaded the river Thames catchment area, costing hundreds of millions of pounds to eradicate. They include Chinese mitten crabs, zebra mussels, Asiatic clams and other species which can rapidly multiply and take over the habitats of native wildlife and infest waterways.

The recolonisation of British cities parallels what is happening elsewhere in Europe and also the US. Wolves have been found within 25 miles of Rome, and wild boars are now so common in Berlin that the city authorities have issued hunting licences.

American scientists warned last week that wolves, mountain lions and wild dogs could soon be a common sight in densely populated cities. "Raccoons, skunks, foxes – they've already been able to penetrate the urban landscape pretty well. The coyote is the most recent and largest. The jury's out with what's going to happen with the bigger ones," said Dr Stan Gehrt of Ohio State University, who has been tracking the wild dogs.

"It used to be rural areas where we would have this challenge of coexistence versus conflict with carnivores. In the future, and I would say currently, it's cities where we're going to have this intersection between people and carnivores. Overall, I think it is amazing what is happening. If we give a bit of room here and there, nature does its own thing. We are finding many animals are surprisingly tolerant of what humans do."

Related Articles:

Cross-species friendships are springing up all over. Of them, Matthew said in 2010:

“The innocence of animals, who act from instinct, never from malice, automatically qualifies all except a few species to ascend with Earth. Along the way those who now are wild will become tame, predators will become vegetarians, and all will live peaceably with each other and humankind. Already there is evidence of cross-species friendship, even mothers of one species nurturing infants of another, and instances of bonding between wild animals and humans.”  (Matthew message - Channelled by Suzanne Ward, Aug 13, 2010)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lance's legacy: No Tour de France winners 1999-2005

Deutsche Welle, 26 October 2012

The 1999-2005 Tours de France will remain winnerless after Lance Armstrong's disqualification. With cycling on the brakes after the doping fallout, next year's Road World Championships have an odd mascot: Pinocchio.

The decision surprised few: Many riders who finished behind Armstrong also doped. Cycling's governing body called on Armstrong and others to return prize money they had received - in his case, up to three million euros ($3.9 million), an extra hit considering that he has lost so many lucrative sponsorships since the scandal broke.

"A cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period," a statement from the International Cycling Union (UCI) read, but "while this might appear harsh for those who rode clean, they would understand there was little honor to be gained in reallocating places."

The UCI also announced that it would set up a "fully independent external commission" to investigate allegations made against the body over the Armstrong affair.

"UCI is determined to turn around this painful episode in the history of our sport," said the body's president, Pat McQuaid. "We will take whatever actions are deemed necessary by the independent commission, and we will put cycling back on track.

"Today, cycling is a completely different sport from what it was in the period 1998-2005. Riders are now subject to the most innovative and effective anti-doping procedures and regulations in sport."

Though Armstrong never failed a test, witnesses, including former teammates, testified against him. On Monday, the UCI formally stripped Armstrong of his seven titles after ratifying the United States Anti-Doping Agency's decision to ban the 41-year-old Texan for life and nullify his results from August 1998 onward.

'Proud of my second places'

Germany's Jan Ullrich, who finished second to Armstrong in 2000, 2001, 2003, remains indifferent. Ullrich, Tour champion in 1997, was himself found guilty of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February, in relation to the Operation Puerto blood-doping scandal that engulfed cycling six years ago.

"I've ended my career and I have always said that I'm proud of my second places," Ullrich said in August. "It doesn't really bother me that much."

Among other second-place riders, Alex Zuelle's Festina team was thrown out of the 1998 race after manager Bruno Roussel confessed "an organized doping system." Ivan Basso sat out a two-year ban for his involvement in Spain's Operation Puerto.

As for the puppet representing the 2013 Road World Championships, organizers said: "Ours is a Pinocchio connected to his origins, happy, athletic and attentive. He is looking at the horizon, expressing an optimistic attitude versus the future. The expression of his face is smiling, happy, positive and at the same time astonished."

mkg/jr (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)

RBS suspends another trader over Libor

Royal Bank of Scotland has suspended another trader as part of its ongoing investigation into the potential manipulation of Libor, Jill Treanor, Friday 26 October 2012

RBS suspends another trader. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Royal Bank of Scotland has suspended another trader as part of its ongoing investigation into the potential manipulation of Libor.

The bailed-out bank has already warned that it expects to be fined by regulators for its role in attempting to fix the key benchmark interest rate which has cost Barclays £290m in penalties.

RBS fired four traders last year – including Tan Chi Min, a senior trader in Singapore who is now suing the bank for wrongful dismissal – and earlier this month suspended Jezri Mohideen as head of rates trading for Europe and Asia Pacific.

It has now been reported that Ken Choy, a Singapore-based foreign exchange trader, has also been suspended as the local authorities step up an investigation into the local interest rate benchmarks. Choy was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying he was on "compliance leave".

RBS, 81% owned by the taxpayer, is expected to face fresh questions about Libor when it reports its third quarter figures next week and repeated its statement that it was continuing to co-operate with regulators.

The other bailed-out bank, Lloyds Banking Group, is also co-operating with regulators after receiving subpoenas from a number of jurisdictions, including the US.

"It is currently not possible to predict the scope and ultimate outcome of the various regulatory investigations or private lawsuits, including the timing and scale of the potential impact of any investigations and private lawsuits on the group," Lloyds said in its half year results in the summer. It will update the market on its third quarter trading next week amid concerns it could also be forced to make a new provision for payment protection insurance misselling on top of the £4.3bn already set aside to cover potential claims.

Eric Schneiderman, New York attorney-general and George Jepsen, the Connecticut attorney-general, are among the two US bodies to request information from banks lately. More than a dozen banks around the world are thought to be co-operating with regulators in the UK, Europe, the US, Switzerland and in Asia.

Related Article:

Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to four years in jail for tax fraud

Italian former prime minister, who also faces accusations of sex with underage prostitute, can appeal twice more against ruling, Reuters in Milan, Friday 26 October 2012

Silvio Berlusconi and his co-defendants were also told to pay damages
provisionally set at €10m. Photograph: David Gadd/Allstar/Sportsphoto Ltd

An Italian court has sentenced Silvio Berlusconi to four years in jail for tax fraud in connection with the purchase of broadcasting rights by his Mediaset television company.

The former Italian prime minister has the right to appeal against the ruling two more times before the sentence becomes definitive and will not be jailed unless the final appeal is upheld. Prosecutors had asked for a jail sentence of three years and eight months.

The court also ordered damages provisionally set at €10m to be paid by Berlusconi and his co-defendants to tax authorities.

The ruling comes two days after Berlusconi, 76, confirmed he would not run in next year's elections as the leader of his centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) party.

A separate trial over accusations that Berlusconi paid for sex with an underage prostitute is currently being heard in Milan. He denies all charges against him.

The four-time prime minister and other Mediaset executives stood accused of inflating the price paid for TV rights via offshore companies controlled by Berlusconi, and skimming off part of the money to create illegal slush funds.

Angelino Alfano, secretary of the PDL, said the ruling proved once again "judicial persecution" of the media-magnate, while a political rival, Antonio Di Pietro, a former magistrate, hailed the decision, saying: "The truth has been exposed."

The court acquitted the Mediaset chairman and long-term Berlusconi friend Fedele Confalonieri, for whom prosecutors had sought a sentence of three years and four months.

EU awards Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

Deutsche Welle, 26 October 2012

The European Parliament has named two Iranians the winners of the Sakharov freedom prize. The filmmaker and human rights lawyer take their place among previous laureates, including Nelson Mandela and Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

After selecting five nominees, then narrowing the list down to three, the European Union announced the winners of 2012 of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The European Parliament's official website revealed around midday on Friday that the Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi and human rights lawyer Nasrin Soutoudeh were this year's recipients.

The Russian band Pussy Riot and Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski had been shortlisted for the prize earlier in October. Members of the European Parliament had also nominated Joseph Francis, whose center for legal aid helps victims of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, and the imprisoned Rwandan opposition politicians Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Deogratias Mushazidi, Bernard Ntaganda.

Both Panahi and Soutoudeh have garnered attention for their work in Iran. The first has become known as an influential filmmaker, winning the Camera d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. "This Is Not a Film" was smuggled out of Iran to the Cannes Film Festival via a USB drive baked into a cake. Panahi is currently banned from making films and faces a six-year sentence.

"[Panahi's] films bear witness to day-to-day reality in Iran; for us he embodies the fight against official repression and fight for freedom ad human rights", said Member of the European Parliament Véronique de Keyser in her recommendation for the nomination.

Soutoudeh is currently serving a prison sentence. Following the disputed presidential elections in Iran in 2009, the rights lawyer worked with opposition activists who had been jailed.

"It is high time that Sakharov prize went to Iranians," said MEP Marietje Schaake in her nomination of the lawyer. "Ms. Sotoudeh is an excellent candidate; a human rights lawyer who has defended juveniles, women and prisoners of concience, but is now in prison herself."

Arab Spring activists Ali Farzat, Asma Mahfouz and Ahmed al-Sanusi won the prize in 2011.

Panahi and Soutoudeh are to receive 50,000 euros ($64,500) as part of the prize. The formal award ceremony is scheduled to take place in Strasbourg, France on December 12.

The European Parliament has been awarding the Sakharov Prize since 1988 to individuals who have contributed to the fight for human rights and democracy around the globe.

Andrei Sakharov (1921-89), whose name the award bears, was a Russian nuclear theoretical physicist. Prompted by his involvement in the development of the thermonuclear bomb, the prominent physicist became vocal during the late 1960s about issues such as the social responsibility of scientists and arms. Sakharov received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 for his social activism in the former Soviet Union. The Soviet government placed Sakharov in internal exile in the city of Gorky, which was off limits for foreigners in 1980. There he remained until 1986.

kms/pfd (AFP, EPD, KNA)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bosnians elect their first hijab-wearing mayor

Tehran Times, Associated Press, 24 October 2012          
VISOKO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — When Amra Babic walks down the streets of the central Bosnian town of Visoko wearing her Muslim headscarf, men sitting in outdoor cafes instantly rise from their chairs, fix their clothes and put out their cigarettes.

The respect is only natural: Babic is their new mayor.

The 43 year-old economist has blazed a trail in this war-scarred Balkan nation by becoming its first hijab-wearing mayor, and possibly the only one in Europe. Her victory comes as governments elsewhere in Europe debate laws to ban the Muslim veil, and Turkey, another predominantly Islamic country seeking EU membership, maintains a strict policy of keeping religious symbols out of public life.

For Babic, the electoral triumph is proof that observance of Muslim tradition is compatible with Western democratic values.

“It's a victory of tolerance,” the wartime widow says. “We have sent a message out from Visoko. A message of tolerance, democracy and equality.”

She sees no contradiction in the influences that define her life.

“I am the East and I am the West,” she declares. “I am proud to be a Muslim and to be a European. I come from a country where religions and cultures live next to each other. All that together is my identity.”

For centuries, Bosnia has been a cultural and religious mix of Muslim Bosniaks, Christian Orthodox Serbs and Roman Catholic Croats who occasionally fought each but most of the time lived peacefully together. Then came the Balkans wars of the 1990s in which ethnic hatreds bottled up by Yugoslavia's communist regime exploded as the federation disintegrated. Bosnia's Muslim majority fell victim to the genocidal rampage of ethnic Serbs seeking to form a breakaway state.

As an economist and local politician, Babic has played an active role in Bosnia's emergence from the ashes.

She was a bank auditor and served as the regional finance minister before running for mayor. Now Babic feels she is ready to run this town of 45,000 people, mostly Bosnian Muslims, for the next four years.

She wants to fix the infrastructure, partly ruined by the Bosnian 1992-95 war and partly by post-war poverty. And she plans to make Visoko attractive for investment, encouraging youth to start small businesses. It's all part of her strategy to fight the town's unemployment rate of over 25 percent.

“We are proud to have elected her,” says Muris Karavdic, 38, a local small business owner. “It doesn't matter whether she covers her head or not. She is smart and knows finances.”

Babic sees her victory as breaking multiple barriers, from bigotry against women in a traditionally male-dominated society to stigmatization of the Hijab that sprang up under the communist regime.

“Finally we have overcome our own prejudices,” she says. “The one about women in politics, then the one about hijab-wearing women — and even the one about hijab-wearing women in politics.”

Babic, of the center-right Party for Democratic Action, decided to wear her headscarf after her husband was killed fighting in the Bosnian Army, and views it as “a human right.” Religion and hard work helped her overcome his death, raise their three boys alone and pursue a career.

Babic says she is ready to work around the clock and prove people in Visoko made the right choice. This, she hopes, may clear the way for more women to follow her path.

By Bosnian law, at least 30 percent of the candidates in any election have to be women, but voters have been reluctant to give women a chance. Only five of the 185 mayors elected on October 7 are women.

Signs of the respect Babic commands in Visoko abound.

Election posters still up around town have been scrawled with vampire teeth, mustaches or spectacles; none of Babic's posters bear such graffiti. Older hijab-wearing women stop in front of her pictures as if hypnotized by her determined blue eyes. Some are seen crying and caressing the image on the wall.

“They probably look at my picture and think of their lost opportunities,” Babic says. “They probably think: Go, girl! You do it if I couldn't.”