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

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

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

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

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

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

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


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pope Benedict pledges 'obedience' to successor

On last day before stepping down, Benedict tells assembled cardinals in Vatican they should be unified in their future action

guardian.co.uk, Lizzy Davies in Castel Gandolfo, Thursday 28 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI conducts the last meeting with the cardinals at the Vatican.
Photograph: Osservatore Romano/Reuters

Pope Benedict XVI has pledged his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to whoever succeeds him as head of the Roman Catholic church as he prepares to stand down.

In an apparent attempt to defuse growing concerns that his move - the first papal abdication in almost 600 years - would sow further division among the church, Benedict told assembled cardinals in the Vatican they should be unified in their future action.

"Before greeting you individually, I would like to tell you that I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the coming days," he said, towards the end of a speech in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace. "Among you is the future pope, to whom I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience."

Benedict - whose resignation will come into effect at 8pm (7pm GMT) on Thursday - spoke of his desire to see the college of cardinals unified "like an orchestra" where harmony existed alongside diversity, which he said was "the expression of universal church".

His remarks came after one cardinal made several critical comments about Benedict and his decision to stand down. George Pell, an Australian cardinal and archbishop of Sydney, told the Seven Network on Wednesday that the move might set a worrying precedent. "People who, for example, might disagree with a future pope will mount a campaign to get him to resign," he said. He went on to describe the outgoing pontiff as a "brilliant teacher" but said that "government wasn't his strongest point." Pell said: "He's got to know his theology, but I think I prefer somebody who can lead the church and pull it together a bit."

The farewell meeting with the cardinals was Benedict's final high-profile engagement as pope in the Vatican. After saying goodbye to the pontifical household, he will leave the Apostolic Palace at 5pm and be flown in a helicopter to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, about 15 miles southeast of Rome.

Soon after, amid the greetings of local residents and pilgrims, he will make his final appearance as pope on the balcony of the apostolic palace. At 8pm, the Swiss guards whose job it is to guard the pope will go off duty from the gates of the palace. They are expected to be replaced by Vatican police.

On Wednesday, the pope told pilgrims in St Peter's Square that there had been moments in his papacy during which God "seemed to be sleeping". Before the cardinals, he reiterated that sentiment, telling them that, while there had been "beautiful moments of radiant light", there had also been times at which "some clouds darkened the sky".

Once in retirement, the cleric will still be addressed as "Your Holiness Benedict XVI" but his title will be either emeritus pope or emeritus Roman pontiff. He will trade his famous red shoes for some brown loafers given to him in Mexico last year, but will continue to wear a cassock in the traditional papal colour of white.

Castel Gandolfo, which has played host to numerous popes over the past four centuries, including Benedict, overlooks a lake and offers views of the surrounding countryside. As he waits for his permanent residence inside Vatican walls to be renovated, the 85-year-old Bavarian will be able to enjoy its manicured gardens and sumptuous interiors. The residence, which is under pontifical jurisdiction, has its own farm, with cows, hens, cockerels and bees.

Some locals have said that the pope's resignation has been hard for them to understand. "Let's say that we are in the process of reappraising the figure of the pope. We have faith in him even if he has placed a big question mark over the faith in the church. A very big question mark," said Veronica Radoi, 30, an employee in a local restaurant. "But I can see that he is tired. We hope he'll find peace here."

Gianpiero, a 70-year-old local who did not give his surname, said he was surprised when he heard the news, but he "accepted it, with no judgement". He added: "It's an important day for us because the locals of Castel Gandolfo are very tied to the pope and the papacy. For 400 years the popes have been coming here during summer. Today we feel very honoured that he is coming to spend this time with us."

Meanwhile in the Vatican cardinals from all over the world will begin informal consultations on how to move forward with the process of choosing a successor. There is no date for the conclave to begin, but it could be as early as next week. There will be no representative of the UK following Cardinal Keith O'Brien's forced resignation on Monday.

In his final audience as pope on Wednesday, Benedict was greeted by tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square and banners that variously read "Thank you!" and "You will never be alone". Benedict's eight years as head of the Catholic church were marred by the unfolding clerical abuse scandal in Europe and the US and by the so-called Vatileaks affair.


“… Let us propose that you need look no further for proof of all of this than the most recent resignations of humans, or we shall say those who appear to be human, from very high positions! We shall be lending our support to the election of a pope who is one with the people and in turn with all of the kingdoms. I have the pleasure of announcing that there shall be some who are not cardinals when that enclave meets.

Representing all of us, you and us, including those of us who come to be with you, shall be St. Germain and Archangel Michael, because if there was ever a group that needed to get the Truth out on the table, it’s the group of cardinals who shall decide who will be the new leader of millions of people who belong – and you can take that any way you choose – to the Catholic Church.

It’s time for a lot of fresh air to blow through those hallowed halls. It’s time for the secrets to not be secrets anymore and its time for those who are truly upon the spiritual path – and everybody is told to be on the spiritual path – it’s just that the leaders are not quite on the same path – it’s time for them to be freed from the dogmas, the restrictions and the enslavements that have been put upon them. So there is going to be a lot happening there!

We are going to support the election of a new pope as part of the breath of spring; the breath of spring is, by the way, also called the equinox. You have a date on your calendar of approximately the twenty-first of March – in some places of the world there is variance. And there are going to be a lot of breaths of spring coming, so stay tuned!!!  

We shall comment briefly upon another resignation, and that is of course of the queen. Her name is Beatrix, and she is a part of the ruling establishment in Europe, which is changing, as it must. And so Pope Ratzinger will become Cardinal Ratzinger and his published gameplan is that he shall retire back to that place from where he came, which is the heart of illuminati land, but the reality of it is he has another date, and the reality of it is, that this is all being taken care of.  ….”



"... The Rothschild faction of the Illuminati, which governed its empire from London and the Vatican, lost its media foothold along with its other powers in that part of the world. A section of the Illuminati’s Rockefeller faction, headquartered in Washington, DC, and New York City, still has influence on major media in the US as well as on Wall Street; and their lingering foothold in Congress is evident in the intransigence that has stagnated progress. ..."


In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore
Romano,  cardinals attend a meeting at the Vatican, Monday,
March 4, 2013. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

EU reaches deal to cap banker bonuses

Yahoo - AFP News, 28 February 2013

The European Union flag flies in front of the European Parliament on
October 12, 2012 in Strasbourg.

The European Union has reached a deal to cap bankers' bonuses, which critics say played a major role in driving the financial crisis, officials said on Thursday.

The deal was struck early on Thursday, with the European Parliament and the EU's current Irish presidency agreeing on how to implement new rules for the banking sector.

"For the first time in the history of EU financial market regulation, we will cap bankers' bonuses," said MEP Othmar Karas, the negotiator for the parliament.

The new regulatory framework is known as Basel III, an internationally-agreed set of rules which tighten up bank capital requirements.

The negotiations on Basel III implementation in the EU have dragged on for some 10 months, in part because of the European Parliament's desire to peg back banker bonuses which critics blame for helping drive the speculative approach in the lead-up to the 2008 global financial crisis.

Basel III was supposed to have been implemented from January this year but the timetable has slipped, with the United States announcing in November that it too would not make the deadline.

The accord reached overnight will now go forward to EU finance ministers when they meet next week in Brussels.

Kras said the provisions on banker bonuses were "not the most important part of the new rules," the key point being the new capital regulations for the banks.

"The essence is that from 2014, European banks will have to set aside more money to be more stable and concentrate on their core business, namely financing the real economy, that of small- and medium-sized enterprises and jobs."

Basel III notably requires the banks to build up their capital buffers and reserves so that they will be better able to withstand any new crisis.

Full details of the EU accord will be released at a press conference in the European Parliament later on Thursday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday he would "look carefully" at the proposed new regulations while defending the UK's position as an international financial centre.

Speaking in Riga after talks with Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, Cameron told journalists: "On the negotiations in Brussels on banking regulation...we will look carefully at the outcome of the negotiations last night.

"We are absolutely clear that we must be able to implement the Vickers Plan in the UK which in some ways is tougher than regulations which have been put in place in other European countries. We want to have a proper ring fence between retail banks and investment banks and the rules must allow that to happen."

The Vickers plan is a set of domestic proposals designed to reform the UK banking sector.

Cameron signalled that he would not allow new regulations from Brussels to impact the leading role of the City of London in global marketplaces.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

German economic miracle: all down to debt relief?

Deutsche Welle, 27 february 2013


Highly indebted, without access to capital, viewed suspiciously by creditors - that was Germany in 1953. Half the country's debts were canceled 60 years ago this week - the foundation of the "economic miracle."

Many Germans are still proud of the so-called "economic miracle." Post-war growth was extraordinary - the new Federal Republic's economic output doubled between 1953 and 1963 alone. Generations of schoolchildren have since be taught that the Germans are simply unbelievably hardworking people who were supported by US money after the war.

"That is a very regrettable part of the suppression of history in this country," says Joachim Kaiser of erlassjahr.de, an alliance that campaigns for the cancellation of debts in the developing world. He believes that the Germans have forgotten that they were hopelessly in debt after World War II, not unlike Greece today.

The parallels with Greece today are
hard to overlook
It was only with the London Debt Agreement of 1953 that the German economy was given room to breathe again, says historian Ursula Rombeck-Jaschinski of Stuttgart University: "One could even argue that the economic miracle would have been impossible without the debt agreement."

30 billion Deutschmarks

In those dark days, Germany owed money to around 70 countries, with the debts partly dating from before the war, partly from the short period afterwards. Altogether, the debts were worth around 30 billion Deutschmarks. Budget cuts and laborious repayments were not an option for the West Germans - on the contrary - the economy desperately needed more cash to finance the country's reconstruction and growth.

That much was clear to the banker Hermann-Josef Abs, who led the German delegation in London in 1953 - his mission: to make the creditors of today into the financers and investors of tomorrow.

The negotiations, which began in the summer of 1952, were tortuous. Would the creditors write off their money? Could the Germans be trusted? "There was even a moment when the negotiations almost broke down," says Rombeck-Jaschinski. "The Germans had made the foreign creditors an offer that, from the point of view of the finance ministry, was the most that was possible. The creditors basically considered the offer an insult."

The suspicion of the creditors

The Germans were forced to alter their offer in order for talks to continue. The parallels with current negotiations between Greece and its creditors are obvious. Just like during that year in London, the key is finding the right balance. In 1953, the creditors wanted to get as much of their money back as possible, while at the same time Germany was not to be economically overburdened.

"The Britons above all took the view that the Germans could essentially pay everything back," says Rombeck-Jaschinski. "But the Americans blocked them, because they had an interest in making sure that Germany had money left over for other things, especially rearmament."

Merkel wants to force budget cuts
on Greece
The agreement, which all sides finally signed on February 27, 1953, turned into a very good deal for the West German economy - around half of its debts were written off, the rest restructured for the long-term.

Birth of an export nation

On top of that, the agreement laid the foundation for Germany's export strength, as the country could only service its debts as long as it earned money through foreign trade. That, as Kaiser points out, meant creditors had an incentive to buy German products. In his opinion, a similar agreement today would help highly indebted Greece - particularly as the country spent billions on German tanks shortly before the debt crisis began.

"If we said: the Germans will only get their money if they agreed to a Greek trade balance surplus - then the Greeks could export for a long time and bring in German tourists, until they had finally paid for these damned tanks," says Kaiser.

Rombeck-Jaschinski says the situation 60 years ago cannot be transferred to today's problems so easily, but she does think the Germans shouldn't forget that their own country was once hopelessly indebted and dependent on foreign help.


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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Britain's colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition

David Cameron's ancestors were among the wealthy families who received generous reparation payments that would be worth millions of pounds in today's money

Independent, Sanchez Manning, 24 February 2013

Slavery on an industrial scale was a major source of the wealth of the
British empire

The true scale of Britain's involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country's wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.

The previously unseen records show exactly who received what in payouts from the Government when slave ownership was abolished by Britain – much to the potential embarrassment of their descendants. Dr Nick Draper from University College London, who has studied the compensation papers, says as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy.

As a result, there are now wealthy families all around the UK still indirectly enjoying the proceeds of slavery where it has been passed on to them. Dr Draper said: "There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation." A John Austin, for instance, owned 415 slaves, and got compensation of £20,511, a sum worth nearly £17m today. And there were many who received far more.

Academics from UCL, led by Dr Draper, spent three years drawing together 46,000 records of compensation given to British slave-owners into an internet database to be launched for public use on Wednesday. But he emphasised that the claims set to be unveiled were not just from rich families but included many "very ordinary men and women" and covered the entire spectrum of society.

Dr Draper added that the database's findings may have implications for the "reparations debate". Barbados is currently leading the way in calling for reparations from former colonial powers for the injustices suffered by slaves and their families.

Among those revealed to have benefited from slavery are ancestors of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, former minister Douglas Hogg, authors Graham Greene and George Orwell, poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the new chairman of the Arts Council, Peter Bazalgette. Other prominent names which feature in the records include scions of one of the nation's oldest banking families, the Barings, and the second Earl of Harewood, Henry Lascelles, an ancestor of the Queen's cousin. Some families used the money to invest in the railways and other aspects of the industrial revolution; others bought or maintained their country houses, and some used the money for philanthropy. George Orwell's great-grandfather, Charles Blair, received £4,442, equal to £3m today, for the 218 slaves he owned.

The British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their "property" when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain's colonies in 1833. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury's annual spending budget and, in today's terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn.

A total of £10m went to slave-owning families in the Caribbean and Africa, while the other half went to absentee owners living in Britain. The biggest single payout went to James Blair (no relation to Orwell), an MP who had homes in Marylebone, central London, and Scotland. He was awarded £83,530, the equivalent of £65m today, for 1,598 slaves he owned on the plantation he had inherited in British Guyana.

But this amount was dwarfed by the amount paid to John Gladstone, the father of 19th-century prime minister William Gladstone. He received £106,769 (modern equivalent £83m) for the 2,508 slaves he owned across nine plantations. His son, who served as prime minister four times during his 60-year career, was heavily involved in his father's claim.

Mr Cameron, too, is revealed to have slave owners in his family background on his father's side. The compensation records show that General Sir James Duff, an army officer and MP for Banffshire in Scotland during the late 1700s, was Mr Cameron's first cousin six times removed. Sir James, who was the son of one of Mr Cameron's great-grand-uncle's, the second Earl of Fife, was awarded £4,101, equal to more than £3m today, to compensate him for the 202 slaves he forfeited on the Grange Sugar Estate in Jamaica.

Another illustrious political family that it appears still carries the name of a major slave owner is the Hogg dynasty, which includes the former cabinet minister Douglas Hogg. They are the descendants of Charles McGarel, a merchant who made a fortune from slave ownership. Between 1835 and 1837 he received £129,464, about £101m in today's terms, for the 2,489 slaves he owned. McGarel later went on to bring his younger brother-in-law Quintin Hogg into his hugely successful sugar firm, which still used indentured labour on plantations in British Guyana established under slavery. And it was Quintin's descendants that continued to keep the family name in the limelight, with both his son, Douglas McGarel Hogg, and his grandson, Quintin McGarel Hogg, becoming Lord Chancellor.

Dr Draper said: "Seeing the names of the slave-owners repeated in 20thcentury family naming practices is a very stark reminder about where those families saw their origins being from. In this case I'm thinking about the Hogg family. To have two Lord Chancellors in Britain in the 20th century bearing the name of a slave-owner from British Guiana, who went penniless to British Guyana, came back a very wealthy man and contributed to the formation of this political dynasty, which incorporated his name into their children in recognition – it seems to me to be an illuminating story and a potent example."

Mr Hogg refused to comment yesterday, saying he "didn't know anything about it". Mr Cameron declined to comment after a request was made to the No 10 press office.

Another demonstration of the extent to which slavery links stretch into modern Britain is Evelyn Bazalgette, the uncle of one of the giants of Victorian engineering, Sir Joseph Bazalgette and ancestor of Arts Council boss Sir Peter Bazalgette. He was paid £7,352 (£5.7m in today's money) for 420 slaves from two estates in Jamaica. Sir Peter said yesterday: "It had always been rumoured that his father had some interests in the Caribbean and I suspect Evelyn inherited that. So I heard rumours but this confirms it, and guess it's the sort of thing wealthy people on the make did in the 1800s. He could have put his money elsewhere but regrettably he put it in the Caribbean."

The TV chef Ainsley Harriott, who had slave-owners in his family on his grandfather's side, said yesterday he was shocked by the amount paid out by the government to the slave-owners. "You would think the government would have given at least some money to the freed slaves who need to find homes and start new lives," he said. "It seems a bit barbaric. It's like the rich protecting the rich."

The database is available from Wednesday at: ucl.ac.uk/lbs.

Cruel trade

Slavery on an industrial scale was a major source of the wealth of the British empire, being the exploitation upon which the West Indies sugar trade and cotton crop in North America was based. Those who made money from it were not only the slave-owners, but also the investors in those who transported Africans to enslavement. In the century to 1810, British ships carried about three million to a life of forced labour.

Campaigning against slavery began in the late 18th century as revulsion against the trade spread. This led, first, to the abolition of the trade in slaves, which came into law in 1808, and then, some 26 years later, to the Act of Parliament that would emancipate slaves. This legislation made provision for the staggering levels of compensation for slave-owners, but gave the former slaves not a penny in reparation.

More than that, it said that only children under six would be immediately free; the rest being regarded as "apprentices" who would, in exchange for free board and lodging, have to work for their "owners" 40 and a half hours for nothing until 1840. Several large disturbances meant that the deadline was brought forward and so, in 1838, 700,000 slaves in the West Indies, 40,000 in South Africa and 20,000 in Mauritius were finally liberated.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Germany is hit by food scandal over eggs

Deutsche Welle, 25 february 2013


German health officials are investigating 150 poultry farms suspected of flouting the rules for free-range egg production. Following the horse meat scandal, critics are now calling for a tougher control system for food.

Prosecutors in the city of Oldenburg said they had evidence that, over a number of years, poultry farmers in northern Germany - some of them on organic farms - had systematically violated rules for the production of free range eggs.

Regulations stipulate a minimum of four square meters of space for each animal for a poultry farm to be able to sell its products as "free range." It has now emerged that several farmers kept more animals than permitted, selling the eggs for a higher price than they otherwise would be able to because of the free range status.

The new agriculture minister of Lower Saxony, Christian Meyer of the environmentalist Green party, said that investigations had begun in 2011, but then more cases had come to light.

The information was made public, following a change of government in Lower Saxony last week.

"We suspect that there has been systematic fraud on a large scale and that is a serious crime," said Christian Meyer.

Records show that controls had long been lacking, with health officials often relying solely on written information submitted by the farmers, instead of leaving their offices to do spot-checks on egg producers.

About 150 farms in Lower Saxony and 50 more in other German states are now under scrutiny. In case of wrong-doing, perpetrators could face hefty fines or even prison sentences.

The latest reports come as a Europe-wide horse meat scandal has raised concern about the effectiveness of controls in the food sector.

In Germany alone, 67 products have been taken off supermarket shelves as they were found to contain horse meat while having been declared beef products. Horse meat often contains traces of medication deemed potentially dangerous to human health.

EU agriculture ministers are set to meet in Brussels today to discuss improvements to EU wide controls on labeling and tracing food.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Turkmenistan rebuilds capital into marble 'white city'

The Daily Star, AFP, Anton Lomov, February 24, 2013

A file picture taken on May 18, 2011, shows Turkmen people taking part in
an  inauguration ceremony for the presidential palace complex "Oguzkhan"
(background) in Ashgabat. AFP PHOTO
                             
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, Feb 24, 2013 (AFP) - In an extraordinary construction boom, the isolated Central Asian country of Turkmenistan is spending billions of dollars on remodelling its capital Ashgabat into a gleaming white showpiece where even the curbs are made of marble.

The gas-rich desert country says that the massive spending spree has already poured in $8 billion in international investment and 4 trillion manats ($1.9 billion) of its own funds since gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

"We are directing the profit from gas exports into improving the quality of life of our people," President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said.

Turkmenistan, on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, claims to have the world's fourth-biggest supplies of natural gas with estimated reserves of more than 24 trillion cubic metres, according to BP.

With a population of one million, the city is now a giant construction site as the government demolishes large areas of low-rise brick buildings from the Soviet era.

All new buildings for ministries, government agencies and also new apartment blocks are being faced with marble, giving the city the nickname: "White City."

The 55-year-old president, a dentist by profession, has even ordered that the concrete curbs on central avenues and streets be replaced with marble ones.

"In this epoch of magnificence and happiness, our respected president has given us the task of developing the city to create the most comfortable conditions for people's life," boasted the city's chief architect, Bairam Shamuradov.

The gleaming facades contrast with the rights record of a country described as "one of the world's most repressive" by Human Rights Watch.

Berdymukhamedov picked up the gauntlet from his late predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, who unveiled a revolving gold statue of himself.

Elected after Niyazov's 2006 death, Berdymukhamedov last year opened a covered ferris wheel that towers to a height of 95 metres atop a leisure centre.

In 2011, he unveiled a 185-metre-high monument to the Constitution that cost 45 million euros ($60 million), decorated with carpet motifs, which has been heralded as the local answer to the Eiffel Tower.

He also opened a giant "Palace of Happiness" for wedding ceremonies that cost around $140 million, topped with a globe.

The city also gained a 211-metre television tower that cost 136.85 million euros ($183.7 million). It rises out of a building in the shape of an 8-pointed star, winning a bizarre Guinness record for the world's largest star-shaped structure.

The vast projects are being built by international companies.

The dominant company is the Turkish firm Polimeks, which built the constitution monument, the Palace of Happiness and the television tower.

Now it has won a contract to build a complex to hold the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2017 at a cost of $1.97 billion. The company is also to build a new Ashgabat airport costing $2.25 billion.

French company Bouygues has constructed more than 50 buildings including the ministry of oil and gas nicknamed the "cigarette lighter", while another French company, Vinci, has won a major contract to build a new house of parliament, whose cost has not been made public.

"The Turkmenistan economy is stable despite the global crisis. When you get a sense of the construction marathon, you feel sure of this," an employee at one of the foreign construction firms said on condition of anonymity.

"All of us will have enough work here for many, many years," he added.

"Not all former Soviet republics are as lucky, but the ones that God gave oil and gas are now rich and are spending huge money on development and construction," said a Western diplomatic source on condition of anonymity.

Many residents are dazzled by the whirlwind of construction.

"I can't keep up with the constant changes in the city. It seems that where there was a wasteland yesterday, today there is a modern building," said 24-year-old student Ashir Nurliyev.

But not all residents are so keen on the gleaming new amenities.

"Everything has changed so much, it's as if I've come to a strange city," said Maya Kurbanova, 43, who grew up in Ashgabat and was visiting from Russia.

"In my opinion when everything is covered with marble, it makes the city look impersonal, but it bowls over the out-of-towners... everywhere is opulence and luxury."

Dzhapar-aga, 70, a pensioner living in a dilapidated private house, complained of the city's lost "spirit."

"It's a pity when the former one- or two-storey districts disappear and with them the old spirit of the city, when all the neighbours knew each other, dropped in to visit at the drop of a hat, and there weren't even any locks on the doors."

Human Rights Watch wrote to the president in 2011 over reports of human rights abuses in the course of the demolition work, claiming that owners were being unlawfully evicted and not given adequate compensation.

Kerry takes case on Syria to Europe, Mideast

The Daily Star, AP, Matthew Lee, February 24, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press prior to talks with
 Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the State Deprtment in Washington
on February 22, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas Kamm
                             
WASHINGTON: Secretary of State John Kerry is embarking on his first official overseas voyage, bringing new ideas to capitals in Europe and the Middle East on how to end nearly two years of brutal violence in Syria.

Kerry leaves Washington on Sunday on a grueling nine-nation, 10-day trip that will bring him to America's traditional western European allies of Britain, Germany, France and Italy along with Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In addition to Syria, he will focus on conflicts in Mali and Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear program.

Kerry has said he is eager to discuss new ways of convincing Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down and usher in a democratic transition in the country that has been wracked by increasing violence that has killed at least 70,000 people. He has not offered details of his ideas but officials say they revolve around increasing pressure on Assad and his inner circle.

Kerry begins his trip in London where he will see senior British officials on a range of issues, from Afghanistan to the status of the Falkland Islands, over which Britain is in a major dispute with Argentina.

He then travels to Germany to discuss trans-Atlantic issues with German youth in Berlin, where he spent time as a child as the son of an American diplomat posted to the divided Cold War city. He will also meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the German capital.

In Paris, Kerry will discuss France's ongoing intervention in Mali. And in Rome, he'll attend a meeting with Syrian opposition leaders.

U.S. officials have said the trip will be primarily a "listening tour" when it comes to Syria and won't result in immediate shifts in U.S. policy that has until now stayed clear of military support for the rebels fighting Assad.

Despite the numerous Middle East stops. Kerry will not travel to Israel or the Palestinian territories. He will wait to visit them when he accompanies President Barack Obama there in March.

Related Article:


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bumi: Rothschild defeated in battle to oust board

BBC News, 21 February 2013 

Related Stories

Nathaniel Rothschild was hopeful of
 regaining control of Bumi, a company
he helped found
Financier Nathaniel Rothschild has lost his bid to oust the current board of coal mining giant Bumi, the company he helped to found.

Chairman Samin Tan survived a vote to remove him but informed the board he was stepping down.

Mr Rothschild had wanted to rejoin the company and expel 12 of the 14 board members, including the chief executive and chairman.

Shareholders rejected his attempts and voted to remove just two members.

Chief executive Nick von Schirnding also managed to keep his post, with more than 60% of votes cast in his favour at the London meeting.


The company said it would look for a new chairman "who has experience in, and is familiar to, the London market", according to a statement.

The two members who were ousted were Jean-Marc Mizrahi and Nalinkant Rathod.

Mr Rothschild set up Bumi with the influential Bakrie family, part of Indonesia's political and business elite, in 2011.

The deal was intended to offer international investors the chance to buy into natural resources assets in emerging markets while ensuring they were protected by UK market rules.

Fraud allegations

But the partnership, and relations with the Bakrie family, soured after Mr Rothschild called for a radical clean-up at the firm.

To make matters worse, he made allegations of potential misuse of development funds and other assets at the firm in September 2012.

Allegations of financial irregularities at Bumi's key Indonesian operating subsidiary, PT Bumi Resources - in which it owns 29% alongside the Bakrie family - first emerged that month, after Mr Rothschild received information from a whistleblower.

However, an investigation by legal firm Macfarlane, commissioned by the management of the London-listed parent company, said the evidence provided to Mr Rothschild comprised emails that had been obtained illegally.

Macfarlane said the claims that money intended to finance development of coal mines had been misappropriated could not be substantiated, in large part due to "the unwillingness of key parties to be interviewed and provide information".

Bumi's management said that it had referred the matter to the relevant authorities, including the Indonesian financial services authority, and the UK Serious Fraud Office.

Mr Rothschild quit the board in October.

Bumi's new chief executive, Mr Schirnding, has negotiated an amicable divorce with the Bakrie family, including the sale of its stake in PT Bumi Resources for $580m (£370m), and the family's divestment of its 24% in the London-listed company.

But the board warned that the deal would be scuppered if Mr Rothschild succeeded in retaking control of the company.

The company's share price has slumped 60% since it listed in 2011.




The company formed by the union of Bumi Resources and
Berau Coal Energy is looking to acquire coal mines around
the world and become a global giant, investor Nathaniel
Rothschild, left, said on Friday, Dec 17, 2010.




"... The Rothschild faction of the Illuminati, which governed its empire from London and the Vatican, lost its media foothold along with its other powers in that part of the world. A section of the Illuminati’s Rockefeller faction, headquartered in Washington, DC, and New York City, still has influence on major media in the US as well as on Wall Street; and their lingering foothold in Congress is evident in the intransigence that has stagnated progress. ..."

German president: make English the language of EU

Joachim Gauck says Europe needs Britain's democratic traditions, political courage and sober-mindedness

The Guardian, Kate Connolly in Berlin, Friday 22 February 2013

German President Joachim Gauck in Berlin on Friday appeals to Great Britain
to remain a member of the European Union. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty
Images

Germany's president has called for English to be made the language of the European Union as he appealed to the UK to stay in the EU.

Joachim Gauck earned applause for his remarks, made in Berlin on Friday in a speech on Europe's future at a time of rising German scepticism towards Brussels.

"Dear English, Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish and new British citizens, we want to continue having you on board," he said. "We need your experience as the oldest parliamentary democracy, we need your traditions, your sober-mindedness and your courage."

He said that to encourage a greater sense of commonality, Europe needed a common language as well as encouraging multilingualism. "I am convinced that, in Europe, both can live side by side," he said. "The sense of being at home in your mother tongue, with all its poetry, as well as a workable English for all of life's situations and all age groups."

Appealing to Britons' sense of historical responsibility he emphasised the formative role the UK had played in founding modern Europe by its fight against Nazi Germany; if only for that reason, he said, the UK had an important role to play.

"You helped to save our Europe with your engagement in the second world war – it is also your Europe, and more Europe cannot mean a Europe without you. Only with you can we tackle the future."

The remarks, which took up two minutes of his hour-long speech, followed David Cameron's pledge to call a referendum on Britain's EU relationship, a prospect that has caused much consternation and criticism in Berlin.

Later on in the speech, which was made at his Berlin residence, Schloss Bellevue, Gauck cracked a subtle joke about the prospect of Britain leaving the EU, when he referred to the union's "27 states" before smirking and correcting himself, saying to laughter from the audience: "No, 28 of course."

Gauck used the much anticipated, nationally televised address to call for "more Europe" and greater communication between member states, but also sought to allay fears that Germany was becoming too powerful and aspired to impose a "diktat" on the rest of the continent.

"In Germany, more Europe does not mean a German Europe. For us, more Europe means a European Germany," he said, adding that Germans had a very specific relationship with and sense of obligation towards Europe precisely because of their past. "After all, it was from our country that the attempts to destroy everything European, all universal values, were unleashed," he said.

He pointed out that today's young Europeans "experience more Europe than everyone else before you", and that they had become so used to travelling across the continent without needing to show passports or change money, that they now took those advantages for granted.

But, he said, at a time of crisis, the time had come for Europeans to have a more active relationship with the union. "Don't ask what Europe can do for you, but ask what you can do for Europe," he said.


"The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) - (Text-Version)
" .... Europe

Let's talk about Europe - Eastern and Western Europe. Look at the history. I want you to look at the history of the Europeans. What do you know about them? What did you study in school about them, American? You had to learn all those dates and facts. You sit in a country that's barely 200 years old and you had to memorize all the battles and all those conquerors and all those army specifics for hundreds of years! Fourteen hundreds, 1300s - all the way to the present century they seemed to be conquering each other on a regular basis. They warred with each other like the tides of the ocean, constant and predictable. When they got tired of that, they conquered other continents. The small country of Spain alone is responsible for conquering all of South America, middle America and well up into North America. Millions today are speaking their language who never did before they arrived.

The armies of Napoleon spread across parts of Europe like water flowing in a river, conquering everything in its path. There are some cities today in Europe that still don't know which country they belong to! This is because their borders kept changing so often! Now, that's history. I want you to look at it carefully. Still, there would be those who say, "This is just what men do. They create borders and cultures and they go to war. That's Human nature."

Fifty years ago, this new energy started to arrive. Oh, the alignments go slow, dear Human Being, but it was here. It was starting; it was beginning. Fifty years ago, something happened in Europe and you didn't hear much about it back then. Some very clear thinkers got together after World War II and said, "If we don't do something different and out of the box of today's thinking, it's all going to happen again because this is what we do. Men make war." Even the young country called America was involved in war. America itself almost split apart before that, because that's what men do. They split good things apart. It was obvious to these wise men that they could try something, something that might work - a uniting instead of separation. And so they formed an idea. Let me tell you what it was.

They said to themselves, "What if we could get as many countries as we can to agree to become a collection of 'country states'? If we start this now and go at it slowly, we could eventually have a system where we would trade together to the point where the borders come down, no checkpoints and no passports. All these cultures and former enemy countries would all trade evenly together, and for that to happen we might even have a common currency. Look at the United States, for this is how it works there. Europe would never go to war with itself again. It couldn't, since it would be allied financially."

Of course, they were laughed at! Everyone who heard it said it couldn't' be done and that there were just too many issues to solve. Those who objected said, "No, no, no. That's not what we do. We have too many different cultures. There's some with strong currencies, there's some with weak currencies. There are too many objections. Imagine going from one country to another without being inspected at the border? That won't work. Who are you to suggest something of this nature?" And the forward thinkers said, "We are unifiers. And we think it's a good idea so we will have strength and will never war again." That was two generations ago, 50 years.

Today, you have the European Union of States. There are more all the time, way past the original number of countries. Some are "standing in line" to be accepted! The borders are gone and the checkpoints are missing and the currency called the Euro is the strongest currency on Earth - stronger even than yours [the USA]. Now, let me tell you what did that. It's a consciousness shift that even 50 years ago was developing. Through two generations, it slowly allowed for free thinkers to unify things that had never been unified before. The result? These countries will never conquer each other again, because "history" ended at that moment. They started a new paradigm for Europe and one that has no historic profile known to man. The old history of the area is gone, and it will not repeat itself.

Those in the old Eastern Bloc of Europe, where there is still to this day very little unity, will still say, "History will again repeat itself. We are victims of it. It's only a matter of time." But not all of them feel this way. There are some who are starting to feel a unity of spirituality within their own cultures that they were never allowed to speak of before. So they are free thinking, out of the box of the old paradigm. It's new.

There are those who are standing on podiums and in pulpits and are proclaiming, "History is ended. It's the end of suffering. It's the end of dictatorships. It's the end of those who would put us in a low place. Instead, it's the beginning of discovering who we are." And although they don't say it in these exact words, they are discovering the creator inside - that which is the unity of God. So it's a full circle back to what the Angel told Muhammad, isn't it? For unity was the key to peace, and still is. It is a sacred principle and will never change.

Who would have thought this would have happened? The United States is what it is because 200 years ago the founders said, "Let us make a group of state countries without physical borders in a system that's never been tried. It's one of unity - the UNITED States of America." Oh, it had its tests, but the unifiers won. And it is why this country is what it is and is seen and respected for what it is and for what it's done. So young, it is, but representing the new energy, it is.

Your Declaration of Independence was channelled. Did you know that? It was collective effort channelling by those who had asked God for help. Go read it and feel that which is sacred inside, for it unifies and does not separate. ...."