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. …

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Latvia becomes the 18th member of the Eurozone

Deutsche Welle, 1 January 2014

Latvia has become the 18th member of the euro currency bloc. The EU approved its bid in the summer after the Baltic nation bounced back from recession to record impressive growth.


Latvians had awaited midnight on Tuesday (2200 UTC) with great anticipation of what 2014 would bring, particularly with the country's transition from the lat to the euro. Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis was scheduled to withdraw the first euro bills from an ATM in the capital city Riga at a ceremony coinciding with the new year.

"I am delighted to welcome Latvia as the 18th member of the euro area," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement. "This is a major event, not only for Latvia, but for the euro area itself, which remains stable, attractive and open to new members."

ECB Central Bank chief Mario Draghi called Latvia " a role model as far as fiscal adjustment is concerned," in an interview with the news agency AFP.

A real estate bubble during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 threw Latvia into recession. In order to avoid bankruptcy, the country's prime minister secured a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) worth 7.5 billion euros ($10.23 billion) and also steered Latvia toward deep austerity measures. The move was credited with the country's five-percent economic growth recorded for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the top growth rate in the European Union at the time.

One in four fear euro

The introduction of the new currency comes some two decades after Riga adopted the lat and has concerned some in Latvia of increased foreign influence on the Baltic country's economy. Moreover, a 5 percent jump in inflation in neighboring Estonia, which switched currencies in 2011, has raised fears that the euro could cause more harm than good.

SKDS polls taken in December indicated that disapproval of the new currency had dropped slightly among the Latvia's two million inhabitants, falling to about 25 percent.

The ECB has reportedly estimated inflation to expand by roughly 2 percent in Latvia.

Latvia joined the European Union in 2005 and was approved to join the euro currency union in early July. It becomes the 18th member of the eurozone, but only the second Baltic nation and ex-Soviet nation to do so. Lithuania is expected to join the eurozone at the beginning of 2015.

kms/se (AP, AFP)

From The U.S. To Russia, 2013 Was The Year LGBT Rights Went Global

Radio Free Europe, Daisy Sindelar, 31 December 2013

A doll with Vladimir Putin's face next to a gay rights flag as protesters
demonstrate outside Downing Street in central London, in August, 2013.

Yelena Goltsman describes June 30, 2013, as one of the best days of her life -- and also one of the worst.

On the one hand, it was the day that she and other Russian-speaking members of New York's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community debuted the first-ever Russian float in the city's annual Gay Pride parade.

The parade came just days after landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings bolstering the right of same-sex couples to marry. Goltsman, who had immigrated from Soviet Ukraine years before coming out in New York, said she was "elated" to be recognized as equal with fellow American citizens.

But on the other hand, for the parade's Russian-speakers, there was a darker side as well. Russian President Vladimir Putin had chosen the same day to sign a law prohibiting gay propaganda, a sweeping setback in a country that had decriminalized homosexuality 20 years earlier.

At such moments, "it's very difficult to live in both worlds," Goltsman says. "The parade and the signing of this document happened on the same day. You can't describe it any other way than bittersweet."

From Shadows To Center Stage

As the United States in 2013 marked a historic breakthrough in LGBT rights, Russia witnessed some notorious lows. Putin's regressive new law accompanied a horrific wave of violence, with gay men assaulted and killed, same-sex parents threatened with losing their children, and LGBT activists brutally beaten in plain view of police.

Putin, who has sought to muzzle all forms of dissent since returning to the presidency last year, might have expected such domestic incidents to pass unnoticed. But two things stood in his way: the growing globalization of the LGBT movement, and Russia's high-stakes role as the host of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

If two years ago, the plight of Russian gays ranked low on the Western rights agenda, in 2013 it was front and center -- inspiring diplomatic pressure, vodka-dumping campaigns, celebrity support from the likes of Madonna and Lady Gaga, and even a special mention in the U.S. satirical "Mad" magazine's list of the year's 20 "dumbest" things.

Gay rights activist Yelena Goltsman
For its part, Goltsman's organization, RUSA LGBT, has demonstrated on Wall Street during a visit by a Russian business delegation, and recently picketed New York's Metropolitan Opera during an opening-night gala attended by Valery Gergiev, the artistic director of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater and a close friend of Putin's.

Such demonstrations proved effective attention-getters in the United States. But Goltsman said RUSA, which works closely with LGBT groups in the former Soviet Union, had to reconsider their approach when it came to a major global event like Sochi.

"We had advocated from the very beginning for a boycott of the Sochi Olympics," she says. "But our counterparts in Russia, for the most part, are against boycotting Sochi. They would like to use this opportunity and highlight to the world what is going on with the rights of LGBT people in Russia. So we kind of scaled back the intensity of our campaign."

'Standing Alone'

Rather than an outright boycott, many LGBT activists have now instead set their sights on criticizing corporate sponsors backing the billion-dollar Sochi games, whose start date is less than six weeks away.

The IOC has acknowledged that several of the sponsors -- including major international corporations like McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, and Coca-Cola -- have expressed concern about potential unrest at the Games and how it may affect their bottom line. But for the most part, few of the sponsors have expressed willingness to press Russia and the IOC for a stronger commitment to LGBT rights.

Other organizations are looking for ways to promote an agenda of nondiscrimination without violating Olympic rules prohibiting political statements.

Youths kick a gay rights activist during a protest in central Moscow in
June, 2013.

Two groups, All Out and Athlete Ally, in early December launched a campaign, called Principle 6 that would allow competing athletes and spectators to wear T-shirts and other clothing citing the IOC's own mission statement, which declares any form of discrimination to be "incompatible" with the Olympic movement.

Andre Banks is co-founder of All Out, a political mobilization group which has 1.9 million members worldwide.  He says the intense focus on Sochi, combined with the wave of marriage-equality rulings in countries like the United States and France, have permanently transformed the fight for LGBT rights into a global human rights cause where change is likely to come sooner rather than later.


"People are picking up on the momentum from places like the United States that have had some important policy victories," says Banks. "And they're using that to build positive global momentum for the kinds of changes that would make it possible to get rid of laws that still make it a crime to be gay in 76 countries."

Some government leaders have initiated their own form of pressure, by announcing they will not attend the Sochi Olympics. Francois Hollande and Joachim Gauck, the presidents of France and Germany, are skipping the Winter Games, as are Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama, who is sending in his stead a delegation that includes a number of prominent gay athletes.

"We want to see Putin standing alone," Goltsman says.

Changing Neighborhood

In the post-Soviet arena, there is cautious optimism that the movement will continue to gain strength even once the Olympics are over.

Moldova this year held its first sanctioned pride parades, and became the first former republic to team up with the "It Gets Better" video campaign targeting LGBT youth. Amnesty International has launched a letter-writing campaign in support of a Belarusian gay activist, Ihar Tsikhanyuk, who was beaten by police.

And there is slow progress in Russia as well. The "It Gets Better" campaign has launched a special program sending translated messages of support to Russia ahead of the Sochi Games. And several American filmmakers -- including director Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black -- attended the recent Side by Side LGBT film festival in St. Petersburg, despite five bomb threats and hostile attacks by Russian nationalists.

Sasha Semyonova is the communications director for the Petersburg-based group Vykhod, or Coming Out. She says the wave of global attention has been a boon to the Russian LGBT movement.

But what heartens her most, she says as she looks forward to the year ahead, is that more and more straight, nonpolitical Russians are beginning to understand that LGBT rights are just part of a wider struggle for basic human rights in Vladimir Putin's Russia.

"Most people used to be passive, and never expressed the desire to defend their rights -- many, to the contrary, said that that the actions of activists was harmful to them," says Semyonova. "But now, thanks to the worsening situation and attacks, more and more members of society are acknowledging that it's important to fight for their rights."

Related Articles:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Schumacher in 'coma', critical after ski accident

Google – AFP, Tristan Malle (AFP), 29 December 2013

A helicopter is parked in front of the emergency department of the Centre
 Hospitalier Universitaire hospital in Grenoble, French Alps, on December 29, 
2013 where Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is receiving treatment
after a ski accident (AFP, Jeff Pachoud)

Lyon — Michael Schumacher, the seven-time Formula One champion, is in a coma and remains in a "critical" condition after striking his head in a ski accident in the French Alps on Sunday, the hospital treating him said.

The 44-year-old German was "suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation", the hospital in the southeast French city of Grenoble said in a statement.

"He remains in a critical condition."

In this photo taken on August 30, 2012, Mercedes' 
German driver Michael Schumacher attends
 a press conference in Spa ahead of the
 Belgium Formula One Grand Prix (AFP/File,
 Dimitar Dilkoff)
Schumacher had been skiing off-piste in the upmarket Meribel resort, where he reportedly has a property, when he fell and hit his head on a rock, mountain police who gave him first aid said.
He was airlifted to a local hospital, then to the Grenoble facility. A specialist neurosurgeon from Paris was rushed in to oversee his treatment.

The director of the Meribel resort, Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte, had said just after the accident that Schumacher had been wearing a helmet and was "conscious but a little agitated" just after the accident, suggesting he had not received life-threatening injuries.

But when Schumacher then fell into coma, doctors realised the damage was worse than initially feared.

The two mountain police officers who gave first aid said Schumacher was suffering "severe cranial trauma" when they got to him and a helicopter was brought in to evacuate him within 10 minutes.

A renowned Paris neurosurgeon, doctor Gerard Saillant, was brought to the Grenoble hospital in a police car to take charge of the famous patient.

The hospital statement was signed by the facility's neurosurgeon, the professor in charge of its anaesthesia/revival unit, and the hospital's deputy director.

A Scuderia Ferrari and Michael Schumacher
 fan waits on December 29, 2013 in Grenoble,
 in front of the emergency department of
 the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire hospital
 (AFP, Jeff Pachoud)
Schumacher was on a private stay in Meribel, according to his spokeswoman. He is to have his 45th birthday next Friday.

A towering figure in Formula One

Schumacher, who won the last of his world titles in 2004, definitively retired in 2012 in the Brazilian Grand Prix, in which he finished seventh, after an abandoned attempt to quit six years earlier.

Since his debut in 1991, the German towered over the sport, winning more Formula One world titles and races than any other. He had a record 91 wins and is one of only two men to reach 300 grands prix.

Schumacher's duels in his heyday with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve, fired by an unquenchable competitive spirit, have gone down in Formula One lore.

Schumacher was born in January 1969 near Cologne, Germany, the son of a bricklayer who also ran the local go-kart track, where his mother worked in the canteen.

A picture taken on January 17, 2003
 shows Formula One World champion
 Michael Schumacher holding his skis
 before a giant slalom race in Madonna di 
Campiglio (AFP/File, Vincenzo Pinto)
By 1987, Schumacher was the German and European go-kart champion and was soon racing professionally. In 1991 he burst into Formula One by qualifying seventh in his debut race in Belgium and a year later he was racing for Benetton, where he won his first Formula One grand prix in 1992.

After joining Ferrari in 1996, Schumacher achieved infamy by trying to ram Villeneuve off the road at Jerez in the last race of 1997, and was disqualified from the championship as punishment.

Over the next decade, he went from strength to strength, dominating the podium, before trying to retire the first time aged 37.

But the father of three could not resist the lure of the track and in 2010 he signed a three-year deal with Mercedes.

But slower reflexes and a less competitive car meant Schumacher could not reproduce his former glory and he quit for good in 2012. His helmet had a message for fans: "Life is about passions -- Thank you for sharing mine."

French Constitutional Council upholds 'milionaire tax' law

Deutsche Welle, 29 December 2013

France's Constitutional Council has approved Francois Hollande's 'millionaire’s tax.' The tax will be levied on companies paying salaries of more than 1 million euros a year.


French President Francois Hollande's high income super-tax has finally been approved after the country's highest court upheld the latest version of the law.

Hollande originally promised a 75-percent tax on income over 1 million euros ($1.38 million) on parts of an individual's income which exceeds that amount. The Constitutional Council rejected this, saying 66-percent was the legally permissible maximum for individuals.

The measure, introduced after Hollande's campaign promise to do more to make France fairer for the middle class, has infuriated business leaders and soccer clubs, which have in the past threatened to go on strike should the law be enforced.

The levy has since been re-worked to include companies instead of individuals to the pay the tax, angering entrepreneurs.

The Council ruled that the tax will now include a 50-percent levy on the portion of wages exceeding 1 million euros paid in 2013 and 2014.

The Constitutional Council is made up of former French presidents and judges.

jlw/rc (AP, Reuters)

Syria's Assad sends message to pope

Yahoo – AFP, 28 December 2013

Pope Francis salutes the crowd as he arrives for his general audience in
St Peter square at the Vatican on November 6, 2013 (AFP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto)

Vatican City (AFP) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent a message to Pope Francis Saturday, that state media said expressed his determination to defend Syrians of all religions against hardline Islamists among the rebels.

The message was passed on through a Syrian government delegation that held talks at the Vatican with the pontiff's Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and foreign affairs official Dominique Mamberti.

"The delegation brought a message from President Assad for the Holy Father and explained the position of the Syrian government," a statement said.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency said Assad expressed his government's "determination to exercise its right to defend all its citizens, whatever their religion, against the crimes committed by the takfiri (Sunni Muslim extremist) bands who attack them in their homes, in their places of worship and in their neighbourhoods."

Pope Francis delivers his "Urbi et Orbi"
 (to the City and to the World) message
 from the central balcony of St. Peter's
Basillica at the Vatican. Dec 25 2013
Assad's regime prides itself on its secularism. While the rebels fighting for its overthrow are mainly Sunni, the government draws much of its support from Assad's own Alawite minority, as well as from Christians and other minorities.

Assad said the conflict could be resolved only by a "national dialogue between Syrians without foreign interference, because the Syrian people is the sole master of its own destiny and it alone should its leadership."

He condemned the "military, logistic and material support being provided to the terrorists by neighbouring countries," an allusion to the aid being provided to the rebels through Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

The pope, who was elected in March, used his first "Urbi et Orbi" speech on Christmas Day to plead for humanitarian aid access in Syria and an end to the violence.

"Too many lives have been shattered in recent times by the conflict in Syria, fuelling hatred and vengeance," the 77-year-old pope said on Wednesday.

"Let us continue to ask the Lord to spare the beloved Syrian people further suffering, and to enable the parties in conflict to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid."

The conflict is estimated to have killed more than 126,000 people and displaced millions since it first started out as peaceful anti-regime protests in 2011.

Earlier this month, the pontiff called for prayers for 12 nuns seized from their convent in Syria.

In September he organised a global day of prayer for peace in Syria, speaking out against the prospect of Western military intervention.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fury with MPs is main reason for not voting – poll

Poll reveals anger, not boredom, lies behind drop in political engagement

The Guardian, Tom Clark and Rowena Mason, Thursday 26 December 2013

The Houses of Parliament at dusk. Rage against politicians is the dominant
sentiment across just about every sub-stratum of the electorate. Photograph:
Andrew Winning/Reuters

Nearly half of Britons say they are angry with politics and politicians, according to a Guardian/ICM poll analysing the disconnect between British people and their democracy.

The research, which explores the reasons behind the precipitous drop in voter turnout – particularly among under-30s – finds that it is anger with the political class and broken promises made by high-profile figures that most rile voters, rather than boredom with Westminster.

Asked for the single word best describing "how or what you instinctively feel" about politics and politicians in general, 47% of respondents answered "angry", against 25% who said they were chiefly "bored".

Negative sentiments vastly outnumber positive, with only 16% reporting feeling "respectful" towards people doing a difficult job, while a vanishingly small proportion of 2% claim to feel "inspired".

Responding to fears about disengagement by young people from politics, the Tory MP Chloe Smith, a former minister at 31, told the Guardian there was a danger of a political disconnect between young and old, with "generations far apart and not talking to each other". One of her ministerial briefs included improving voter engagement.

"I think there is an existential problem coming for traditional forms of British democracy, which it is in everyone's interests, all of us as democrats, to respond to," she said. "We have to demonstrate what politics is for, why a young person's individual action in voting matters."

When Harold Wilson won the 1964 election, more than three quarters of people cast their vote and turnout was roughly equal across the generations. But according to data from Ipsos Mori, at the last election 76% of over-65s were still voting, while only 46% aged 18-24 were going to the ballot box.

Rage is the dominant sentiment across just about every sub-stratum of the electorate, but is especially marked among men, northerners, voters over 45 and the lower DE occupational grade.

Labour voters, too, are disproportionately cross. But supporters of Ukip, the party that put itself on the map in 2013 with big gains in local elections, reflect the mood of the times most intensely: more than two-thirds, 68%, say the thought of politics and politicians makes them more angry than anything else.

Deborah Mattinson, a former pollster to Gordon Brown and now an expert at BritainThinks, believes politicians have not begun to grasp the scale of the problem. "Voter disengagement is getting worse and worse," she says. "Nobody is really taking it seriously enough."

Recent high-profile celebrity interventions on the subject have served to underline the growing disconnection. The former England footballer Michael Owen told the Guardian for the paper's series on voter apathy that he had never voted.

Russell Brand expressed the disaffection of many in October when he told Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight that he had never voted because he "can't be arsed", adding later: "The only reason to vote is if the vote represents power or change. I don't think it does."

After the interview, which received more than 10m hits on YouTube, Paxman said he understood Brand's decision, dubbing Westminster politics a "green-bench pantomime … a remote and self-important echo-chamber".

Reflecting such sentiments, the polling shows that ennui is more marked among the young, rivalling fury as the dominant feeling about politics among voters aged 18-24, who are evenly split 34%-34% between boredom and anger.

Boredom is marked in one other group, too – those voters of all ages who admit to being unlikely to vote. But even among those who rate their chance of turning out as four or lower on a 10-point scale, the angry marginally outnumber the bored, by 41% to 40%. When asked what puts people off voting, the cause of that anger is the perception that politicians do not keep their promises. Nearly two voters in every three, 64%, nominated the failure of governments to honour their pledges as something that would put them off casting a ballot – higher than any other factor.

In the week that the former Labour minister Denis MacShane was jailed for fraud, the continuing damage done to parliament's reputation by the expenses scandal of 2009 is also plain – 46% of respondents identify the sense that "MPs are just on the take" as a thought that would discourage them from turning up at the polling station.

Only around a third of potential voters, 34% of the total, say they are put off by careerist candidates who "don't say what they believe". Just 26% regard the parties as "so similar that [voting] makes little difference", and only 25% see the failure of the parties to "represent my mix of views" as a particular problem.

Meanwhile, the mechanics of democracy – the focus of thinktank proposals for automatic postal ballots or weekend voting – emerge as a virtual irrelevance.

Only 2% of the electorate regard the inconvenience of registering and then casting a vote as a reason not to do so, suggesting that proposed measures such as weekend or electronic voting are unlikely to make a big difference to election turnout.

Other findings though suggest that Britons remain convinced that politics matters. An overwhelming 86% told ICM that the "decisions politicians make" are either "very important" or "fairly important" to their own lives, as against just one in ten who said that such choices were "not that" or "not at all" important in day-to-day life. And there is remarkably little difference between voters and non-voters here: even among those unlikely to turn-out some 80% do believe that political choices will affect them.

Furthermore, Britons continue to talk politics regularly. A clear majority of the electorate as a whole, 62% of respondents, claim to discuss "politics or the sort of issues affected by politics" with friends and family at least once every fortnight, and a substantial minority of 29% claims to do so at least "every few days". Across the population, the pollster estimates an average of 72 political discussions a year. ICM finds somewhat less frequent political discussion among the youth and among likely non-voters, but even among these disaffected groups such conversations will crop up in more weeks than not.

ICM Research interviewed an online sample of 2023 adults aged 18+ online on 20-22 December 2013. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Related Articles:

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

The Unthinkable… Politics, A Review

Humans will begin to search for integrity and fairness and it's going to happen in the places you never expect. I said this last week, so this is a review. There'll come a time when you will demand this of your politics - fairness and integrity. So when the candidates start calling each other names, you will turn your back on them and they won't get any votes. They're going to get the point real fast, don't you think? How about that?

Let me give you another potential. This country that I sit in right now [USA] will set the mold for that particular attribute. I have no clock. Watch for the youngsters to set this in motion, and they will, for they are the voters of tomorrow and they do not want the energy of today. To some of them, it's so abominable they won't even register to vote in this energy. You're going to see this soon. That was number five.. ..."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Turkey PM faces resignation call as three ministers quit

Google – AFP, Fulya OZERKAN (AFP), 25 December 2013

Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler speaks during a press conference
in Istanbul on April 18, 2013 (AFP/File, Ozan Kose)

Ankara — Three top Turkish ministers resigned on Wednesday over a high-level graft probe, with one of them calling on the prime minister to step down in a major escalation of the biggest scandal to hit the government in years.

After announcing his own resignation, Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar raised the stakes by calling on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to follow suit. It marks the first time Erdogan has faced such a challenge from a minister in his own Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"I am stepping down as minister and lawmaker," Bayraktar told the private NTV television. "I believe the prime minister should also resign."

Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler also announced they were quitting on Wednesday.

Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan during
 a press conference in Ankara on January 14, 2013
(AFP/File, Adem Altan)
The sons of both ministers are among the two dozen people who have been charged as part of a wide-ranging bribery and corruption probe that has ensnared close government allies and top businessmen, including the chief executive of state-owned Halkbank.

Bayraktar's son was also detained last week, but has not been formally charged and has been released pending trial.

Those caught up in the police raids are suspected of numerous offences including accepting and facilitating bribes for construction projects and illegally smuggling gold to Iran.

Erdogan, who has led Turkey since 2002 as the head of a conservative Islamic-leaning government, has described the probe as "a smear campaign" against his government.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, he did not comment on the ministers' resignations. Instead, he again blamed the probe on "a conspiracy" and "international powers" and insisted the AKP had a clean record.

Observers say the investigation has exposed a rift between Erdogan and former ally Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who lives in the United States and whose movement wields considerable influence in Turkey's police and judiciary.

The damaging probe comes ahead of crucial local elections in March and presidential elections in August.

In his resignation statement, Bayraktar pointed the finger at Erdogan, saying the vast majority of construction projects mentioned in the investigation were carried out with the premier's approval.

"It's the prime minister's natural right to work with or remove whichever minister he would like to," he told NTV in a live broadcast.

"But I don't accept any pressure to resign over an operation involving bribery and corruption... because a big majority of construction plans in the investigation dossier were carried out with the approval of the prime minister."

The television network then cut the live feed in a move that immediately raised a stir on Twitter, with critics slamming it as censorship.

In another blow to Erdogan, former interior minister and current lawmaker Idris Naim Sahin, a predecessor to Guler, also tendered his resignation.

He said government polices had provoked "hostile and discriminatory sentiments in society, caused a loss of self-confidence... and disappointment."

Meanwhile, in an apparent widening of the graft investigation, prosecutors in Ankara said they had opened a probe into the national rail authority over corruption claims in public tenders. No arrests have yet been made, the prosecutor's office said.

Cabinet reshuffle

The political tensions of the past days have hurt the already slowing Turkish economy, pushing the national currency to hover around record lows against the US dollar.

The lira weakened to 2.0907 against the dollar at Wednesday's close. The Istanbul stock market plummeted by 4.2 percent to 66,096.56.

Erdogan, who has responded to the investigation by sacking dozens of police chiefs, is expected to reshuffle his cabinet shortly in light of the corruption controversy.

Caglayan kept up the government's defiant stance in his resignation announcement, declaring that the investigation was "clearly a hideous plot against our government, our party and our country."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
 Erdogan gives a joint press conference
 with his Hungarian counterpart after their
 meeting in Ankara on December 18, 2013
(AFP/File, Adem Altan)
"I am stepping down from my post as economy minister so that this ugly game targeting my close colleagues and my son will be spoiled and the truth will be revealed," he said.

Both Caglayan and Guler have rejected the bribery accusations against their sons.

The corruption scandal engulfing the country has angered citizens, thousands of whom took to the streets of Istanbul on Sunday calling on the government to step down.

Erdogan's image was already bruised by a wave of anti-government protests in June that were sparked by plans to raze an Istanbul park.

Muslim cleric Gulen has denied being behind the graft investigation. His reported dispute with Erdogan is thought to be linked to government plans to shut down a network of Gulenist schools, a major source of revenue for the group.

Gulenists were previously key backers of the AKP, helping it to win three elections in a row since 2002.

Turkey's local elections on March 30 are now being seen as a key indicator of where the political fault-lines lie throughout the country.

Pope prays for South Sudan, Syria on first Christmas

Google – AFP, Dario Thuburn (AFP) 25 December 2013

Pope Francis leads a Christmas Eve mass at St Peter's Basilica to mark the
nativity of Jesus Christ, on December 24, 2013 at the Vatican (AFP, Filippo Monteforte)

Vatican City — Pope Francis on Wednesday called for humanitarian aid access in Syria and "social harmony" in South Sudan on his first Christmas in the Vatican after months of shaking up the papacy with his humble style and common touch.

Francis also pleaded for divine aid to rescue child soldiers "robbed of their childhood" and for peace in the conflict-torn Central African Republic which he said was "often forgotten and overlooked".

In a wide-ranging address known as the "Urbi et Orbi" (To the City and to the World) blessing that touched on many conflicts, the Argentine pope invited non-believers to join in a "desire" for peace in the world.

A man sells corn on the cob in Manger
 Square as people gather for Christmas eve
 celebrations in the biblical West Bank city of
Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of 
Jesus Christ, on December 24, 2013 (AFP,
Hazem Bader)
"Too many lives have been shattered in recent times by the conflict in Syria, fueling hatred and vengeance," the 77-year-old pope told a crowd of tens of thousands of faithful in St Peter's Square.

"Let us continue to ask the Lord to spare the beloved Syrian people further suffering, and to enable the parties in conflict to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid," he said.

The conflict in Syria is estimated to have killed more than 126,000 people since it first started out as peaceful anti-regime protests in 2011 and the violence there has unsettled the Middle East as a whole.

A grim reminder of the tensions ravaging the region came on Wednesday when a car bomb outside a Baghdad church after a Christmas service left at least 14 people dead -- the latest in a string of daily attacks.

"Heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq," the pope said in his prayer.

In his weekly address, US President Barack Obama stressed this year marks the first time in years that many US troops and recent veterans have spent Christmas at home with their families.

"For many of our troops and newest veterans, this might be the first time in years that they've been with their families on Christmas," he said. "In fact, with the Iraq war over and the transition in Afghanistan, fewer of our men and women in uniform are deployed in harm's way than at any time in the last decade."

The pope also highlighted the fighting raging between army and rebel forces in South Sudan, where thousands are believed to have been killed over the past week as the UN moves to boost its peacekeeping force to stave off a full civil war.

The first Latin American pope asked for "social harmony in South Sudan, where current tensions have already caused numerous victims and are threatening peaceful coexistence in that young state".

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Twal,
 the head of the Roman Catholic Church in
the Holy Land, arrives at the Church of the
Nativity as Christians gather for Christmas
 celebrations in the West Bank city of
 Bethlehem, on December 24, 2013 (AFP,
Hazem Badar)
The Argentinian also said Central Africa was being "torn apart by a spiral of violence and poverty", called for immigrants to be given "acceptance and assistance", urged an end to the scourge of human trafficking and prayed for typhoon victims in the Philippines.

The November typhoon left nearly 8,000 people dead or missing in the Philippines but survivors defiantly celebrated Christmas in their ruined communities, roasting hogs and filling churches to overflowing.

'Person of the Year'

Francis has been riding a wave of popularity following his momentous election as leader of the world's Catholics in March and was "Person of the Year" by Time magazine and the US gay rights publication The Advocate due to his now-famous remark on gay people: "Who am I to judge?"

In his first Christmas Eve mass in the Vatican, the pontiff highlighted the role played by shepherds in the Nativity, returning to the theme of humility that has been the hallmark of his papacy.

Shepherds were the first to witness the birth of Jesus "because they were among the last, the outcast," he said.

The pope also called on Catholic believers to open their hearts and struggle against the "spirit of darkness."

"If our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us," Francis said at the service in Saint Peter's Basilica.

In England, the leader of the world's Anglicans, Justin Welby, said in his first Christmas Day address as Archbishop of Canterbury that Christians in the Middle East are being "attacked and massacred" and driven into exile.

Roman Catholic priest Kelvin Aparillo (R)
 distributes communion to survivors of 
Super Typhoon Haiyan during a traditional
 Christmas Eve mass at a chapel in the
 village of San Joaquin in Palo on
December 24, 2013 (AFP, Ted Aljibe)
In the West Bank town of Bethlehem, the place where Christians believe Jesus was born, Jerusalem's Latin patriarch Fuad Twal celebrated a Christmas midnight mass attended by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

In his homily, Twal called for a "just and equitable solution" to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Amid a rise in anti-Christian attacks he also said "the answer lies neither in emigration nor in closing in on ourselves.

"It consists in staying here," he said.

Thousands of pilgrims and tourists made their way past Israel's controversial separation wall to reach the Palestinian hilltop town, where snow remains on the ground from a rare winter blizzard this month.

A giant Santa was set up in Manger Square, outside the centuries-old Church of the Nativity, where a candle-lit grotto marks the spot where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus.

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