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. …

Monday, March 31, 2014

Hollande puts Valls in charge after election debacle

Yahoo – AFP, Angus MacKinnon, 31 March 2014

French President Francois Hollande Hollande is pictured after he recorded a
 speech to be broadcast on French television on March 31, 2014 at the Elysee
presidential Palace in Paris (AFP Photo/Philippe Wojazer)

French President Francois Hollande Hollande is pictured after he recorded a speech to be broadcast on French television on March 31, 2014 at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris

Paris (AFP) - French President Francois Hollande on Monday reacted to a humiliating electoral rout for his Socialist Party by naming popular Interior Minister Manuel Valls as the country's new prime minister.

Valls, 51, replaces Jean-Marc Ayrault at the helm of a new government which will not include the two Green ministers who were part of the outgoing administration.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls (L)
 and French President Francois Hollande
 leaving the Elysee Palace in Paris on
March 19, 2014 (AFP Photo/Alain Jocard)
Hollande confirmed Ayrault's dismissal and Valls' promotion in a televised address to the nation, a day after the Socialists lost more than 150 towns and cities to the right or far-right in municipal elections on Sunday

"In the elections, you expressed your unhappiness and your disappointment. I have heard your message, it is clear," Hollande said, admitting that voters had lost patience with high taxes and record unemployment.

He said Valls would be charged with implementing a package of pro-business policies known as the Responsibility Pact, which have been attacked by the left of his party.

But he said this would be balanced by a new "solidarity pact" which would include steps to boost spending on education and health, reduce income and payroll taxes - provided they can be financed by cuts in state spending elsewhere.

"It is about reforming our state ... and preserving our social model. In short, we want to be both fairer and more efficient," Hollande said.

Waking up to headlines Monday that included "A rout", "A slap" and "A kick up the backside", Hollande was left with little option but to order a radical shake-up of a government seen as drifting hopelessly against a backdrop of real economic pain for millions of French families.

Both the far-right National Front (FN) and the mainstream opposition made historic gains in Sunday's nationwide elections, which were the first major electoral test since Hollande's 2012 election.

The scale of the setback was unprecedented.

Marine Le Pen's FN, skilfully rebranded as more than just an anti-immigrant party, won control of 11 towns and more than 1,400 municipal seats nationwide, easily its best ever performance at the grassroots level of French government.

But even more worrying for Hollande and Co. was the strong showing of the mainstream Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). The party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy snatched a string of major towns that were once considered bastions of the left in a performance which, if repeated in national elections, would see them sweep back to power with ease in 2017.

Valls popular but divisive

Born in Barcelona, Valls is a dapper, good-looking politician who has consistently been the most popular member of the Socialist-led government with approval ratings Hollande can only dream of.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls delivering a speech at the National
Assembly in Paris on July 23, 2013 (AFP Photo/Pierre Andrieu)

Having acted as Hollande's communications manager in the 2012 campaign, the twice-married father of four is personally close to the president.

But he is regarded with suspicion by many on the left of his party because of his attacks on shibboleths such as the 35-hour working week and his uncompromising stance on law-and-order issues.

Appointing him as prime minister is a bold and decisive move by Hollande, some might say uncharacteristically so. But, as with his adoption of the Responsibility Pact -- which aims to reduce companies payroll taxes in the hope it will lead to them hiring more staff -- it comes with the risk of exacerbating internal party tensions.

The issue was underlined on Monday when Green ministers Cecile Duflot and Pascal Canfin announced they would not be part of the new government, describing the appointment of Valls as "not an adequate response to the problems faced by the French."

Divisions inside the Socialist Party are already acute because of misgivings on the left over Hollande's pursuit of spending cuts required to get France's budget deficit under control.

The full line-up of the new cabinet is expected to emerge on Tuesday with interest particularly keen in whether Hollande will recall the mother of his four children, Segolene Royal, from the political wilderness.

Royal was the Socialists' presidential candidate in 2007 but her inclusion in Hollande's first cabinet was reportedly blocked because of hostility from Valerie Trierweiler, the president's then girlfriend.

That obstacle has now been removed following Hollande's separation from Trierweiler, and Royal is tipped for a return to the frontline of politics with a major portfolio covering education, sport and youth.


Jean-Marc Ayrault, right, and his successor, Manuel Valls,
left. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters


Crowds flock to Spanish church after holy grail claim

New book claims precious goblet in León's San Isidro basilica is mythical chalice from which Christ sipped at last supper

The Guardian - AFP, Monday 31 March 2014

The goblet in the Basilica of San Isidoro in León, northern Spain. Photograph:
Cesar Manso/AFP/Getty Images

Curators were forced to remove a precious cup from display in a Spanish church when crowds swarmed there after historians claimed it was the holy grail, staff said.

Visitors flocked to the San Isidro basilica in the north-western city of León after two historians published a book saying the ancient goblet was the mythical chalice from which Christ sipped at the last supper.

The director of the basilica's museum, Raquel Jaén, said the cup was taken off display on Friday while curators looked for an exhibition space large enough to accommodate the crowds.

"It was in a very small room where it was not possible to admire it to the full," she told AFP.

Made of agate, gold and onyx and encrusted with precious stones, the object in León is formed by two goblets joined together, with one turned up, the other down.

It has been known until now as the goblet of the Infanta Doña Urraca, daughter of Fernando I, King of León from 1037 to 1065.

The two historians – León University medieval history lecturer Margarita Torres and art historian José Manuel Ortega del Rio – identified it as the grail in their book, Kings of the Grail, published last week.

They said two Egyptian parchments they found in 2011 at Cairo's University of al-Azhar set them on a three-year investigation.

Their studies led them to identify the upper part of the princess's goblet, made of agate and missing a fragment as described in the parchments, as the grail – one of the most prized relics in Christianity.

It was offered to Fernando, a powerful Christian Spanish king, as a peace offering by the emir of a kingdom in the Muslim part of Spain at the time, Torres said.

In Europe alone there are 200 supposed holy grails, the Spanish researchers admitted. They attempted to debunk the authenticity of some of the better known candidates in their book.

Related Articles:


“… If there was no Last Supper, what is the Holy Grail?  The last supper story inspired individuals to seek the chalice that had held the blood of Jesus, an object considered to be the most sacred and with the most power of anything on Earth. There never was any such object, but indeed there is something sacred that is more powerful than anything else on Earth—the Holy Grail is the soul. Nothing in this universe is more powerful than the love-light energy of souls! …”



Question: Dear Kryon, did a person named Jesus actually exist, or was it a group with the Christ energy that the church made into a person?

Question: Dear Kryon, I’ve looked at birth charts for Jesus over many years and found one which I believe, if not real, is the most intriguing. Therefore, I ask: Can you please reveal the exact date and time of Jesus Christ’s birth? And which DNA layer is the "astrology layer" that you’ve mentioned? I really believe that this may help in realigning astrology with the energy you’ve talked about

Question: Dear Kryon, when Jesus came here, did he know of our eternal work of Universe building? Does he know how much we love him?

Question: Dear Kryon, I’m not a Christian, but am curious as to whether the story of Jesus is accurate. Did he die by crucifixion, or was he spared to live a full life with a family of his own, elsewhere?

Question: Dear Kryon, was Jesus nothing more or less than a Crystal Child? Did he possess something that simply wasn’t understood during his time? Did he have different DNA or advanced DNA? This time is so exciting, and things have become so clear, that I want to be able to tell others what I now understand.

Answer: Dear ones, we posture this answer with great respect for those who love this Human master. It serves no purpose to give information that would be detrimental to any study or search for the divine by any Human alive. This is why we often do not give you the actual history of some of the masters who walked this earth. We see the search for the divine as the most important thing a Human can do. Even if the facts of history are incorrect, sometimes the benefits of the search still bring the Human into the light and into the realization that God is inside us all.

Jesus was a real person. His birth and death were far different than have been reported, but he walked the earth as an enlightened soul whose miracles and teachings were the beginning of a new dispensation. He taught unity, and the principle that all men could speak personally to God. He said, "You can be just like me!" and that is what our message is, also . . . that master-hood is within each of you. If you really want to know more about the real history, it’s very clearly in the scrolls, but it’s not in your scriptures!

If you feel that Jesus might have had a special consciousness, as many of the new children do, you’re right! His DNA was without some of the restrictions that you have, but had those that you’re now learning about. The astrological layer of his DNA (the layers that respond to other planetary energy movements) were void and neutral. (This particular layer will be exposed this year for you, along with a name.)

And yes, he knows of your love, and all the things that your divinity knows. Like all of you, he is multidimensional, and is in many places at the same time. Did you know that you are, too?

Spiritual enlightenment is not about following any Human Being or any entity in the Universe. It’s about knowing that God resides within you, and that you’re an eternal part of His universal plan. This information has been brought to you from many masters and is within many cultures throughout the history of the earth.

Jesus, as well as other masters who walked the earth, not only gave you messages of empowerment, but then "walked the walk" so you could see that a Human Being could actually do what he said could be done. Many of you are poised on the edge of realizing this same thing.

French minister Benguigui suspected of lying about assets: watchdog

Yahoo – AFP, 31 March 2014

French minister Yamina Benguigui leaves the Elysee Palace after a weekly
cabinet meeting in Paris, on March 26, 2014 (AFP Photo/Alain Jocard)

Paris (AFP) - France's minister in charge of relations with French-speaking countries, Yamina Benguigui, is suspected of lying about her assets, a state-appointed transparency watchdog said Monday.

Francophonie Minister Benguigui has repeatedly and formally denied media allegations that she failed to declare assets of up to 430,000 euros ($592,000) in April last year.

She subsequently sold the shares she held in a Belgian company, which earned her 430,000 euros, according to French weekly Marianne.

The revelation is a fresh embarrassment for the embattled ruling Socialists, who received a drubbing in municipal polls over the weekend.

President Francois Hollande's party however won the race for the Paris mayor's office, with Anne Hidalgo becoming the first female mayor of the French capital. Benguigui was also elected as a councillor from Paris's 10th district.

The High Authority for Transparency in Public Life said there was a "serious doubt on the comprehensiveness, accuracy and sincerity" of the minister's declaration of her assets.

The authority was installed after former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac was forced to resign in March last year after he admitted to having secret foreign accounts.

Once in charge of battling tax evasion and fraud, Cahuzac has admitted to repeatedly lying about overseas accounts in Switzerland and Singapore said to contain around 600,000 euros.

Related Articles:



Con men stopped entering Vatican bank with €3 trillion of fake bonds

Police in the Vatican have prevented a pair of fraudsters from trying to enter the Vatican bank with a suitcase stuffed with trillions of euros of fake bond certificates

The TelegraphTom Kington, Rome, 30 Mar 2014

The middle aged men, an American and a Dutch citizen of Malaysian origin,
 arrived at the main gate of the Vatican on the morning of March 11, telling
Swiss guards they had an appointment at the bank Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP

Two smartly-dressed men armed with forged bond certificates worth trillions of euros have been caught while trying to talk their way into the Vatican's bank, in a spectacularly bungled fraud scheme.

The middle aged men, an American and a Dutch citizen of Malaysian origin, arrived at the main gate of the Vatican on the morning of March 11, telling Swiss guards they had an appointment at the bank, which has been dogged by scandals over the years.

When bank staff said they had no record of an appointment, the two men said cardinals were expecting them – arousing the suspicions of Vatican police, who called in colleagues from Italy's tax police.

"When we arrived, the Vatican police had opened the men's briefcase to find bond certificates valued in US and Hong Kong dollars, as well as euros, worth €3 trillion," said Lt Col Davide Cardia, a tax police official.

The two men, Lt Col Cardia, said, were likely planning to use the certificates to fraudulently open a line of credit at the bank.

Related Articles

"We noticed the grammar of the English used on the certificates was full of mistakes – it looked like they had been written using Google Translate," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Searching their hotel room we found the seals used to forge the bond certificates."

Since the men were stopped before carrying out a fraud, they were released under Italian law and have now likely left Italy, said Lt. Col. Cardia.

"The men have been caught trying this before in other countries and seem to go around the world trying their luck with banks," he said.

The men may have been lured by the reputation of the Vatican bank – known as the IOR – for attracting money launders and mafiosi.

Last week, Italian prosecutors said two former senior officials at the bank, Paolo Cipriani and Massimo Tulli, would stand trial for money laundering.

But the Vatican is also trying hard to end corruption at the bank and close shadowy accounts opened by lay customers over the years, particularly following Pope Francis's threat to close the bank down.

"We were surprised the two men tried this scam with the IOR – maybe they didn't know what is going on there at the moment," said Lt Col Cardia.

Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the police operation "shows the controls are working."

But he added, "I don't think we're talking about a plot by criminal masterminds if they managed to get caught at the first hurdle."

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Socialist Hidalgo set to become first woman mayor of Paris

Deutsche Welle, 30 March 2014

Anne Hidalgo of the France's ruling Socialist looks set to become Paris' first woman mayor, exit polls show. The far right National Front party, meanwhile, appears set to make gains in mid-sized towns across France.


Hidalgo beat out Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) on Sunday with 54.5 percent of the vote to take win the Paris mayoral race, according to exit polls.

The Socialist Party of President Francois Hollande also looks set to retain control of the Paris town hall. The victory is seen as a consolation for the party, however, as it fared poorly in nationwide municipal elections.

While the Socialists lost ground on Sunday, the UMP described itself as the principle victor on the night.

Cities currently under Socialist control that appeared under threat based on first round results last week included Strasbourg, Toulouse, Saint-Etienene, and Metz.

"We have had a very severe warning," said Segolene Royal, President Hollande's former partner who is a favorite to return to government in a reshuffle expected to follow Sunday's poor results for the Socialist Party. Popular Interior Minister Manuel Valls has also been broadly tipped as a possible candidate to replace Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Hollande himself is facing record-low approval ratings, roughly two years after defeating the UMP's Nicolas Sarkozy in presidential elections.

FN makes headway

As ballot counting got underway on Sunday, the far-right National Front (FN) said it was on track to win at least two towns and claim 1,200 municipal council seats nationwide. According to exit polls, the anti-immigrant party was on track to secure the mayor's seats in the southern towns of Beziers and Frejus.

FN leader Marine Le Pen called Sunday's showing a huge step for the party.

"We have moved onto a new level," she said. "There is now a third major political force in our country."

The latest results add to FN's election to power in the northern town of Henin-Beaumont during last week's first round of voting. The party's previous record was winning three towns in 1995 local elections.

The party failed to achieve one of its main objectives, however, when it was unsuccessful in its bid to secure the northeastern town of Forbach.

Turnout for Sunday's poll was just 63.5 percent, a record low in France. Dissatisfaction with Hollande and a number of legal intrigues involving opposition conservatives contributed to the low number of people going to the polls.

dr/mz (AFP, Reuters)

Writers and academics back pro-animal party's European election list

DutchNews.nl, Sunday 30 March 2014

The South African writer John M.
Coetzee (NOS/AFP)
Candidates for the pro-animal PvdD in the European parliamentary elections in May include South African writer and Nobel prize winner John M. Coetzee, the party said on its website at the weekend.

The PvdD has put together a string of writers, academics and philosophers to act as lijstduwer – a ceremonial position at the bottom of the list of formal candidates. Becoming a lijstduwer – literally list pusher – shows support for the party’s policies without taking a winnable position on the list.

Other foreigners who have stepped forward to close the list are American philosopher and animal rights campaigner Tom Regan and Canadian philosopher Will Kymlicka.

The party says Dutch voting law also allows people from outside the EU to stand for election, although the election council is still studying the plan.

The PvdD list also includes Dutch prize-winning authors Maarten Biesheuvel, A. F. Th. van der Heijden and Jan Siebelink, academics Peter Nicolaï, Ewald Engelen and Paul Cliteur and filmmaker Eddy Terstall.

The campaign is headed by Groningen provincial councillor Anja Hazekamp. The PvdD is not currently represented in the European parliament.

The PvdD’s European election manifesto (in English)


The touching moment was captured on
film. Photo: Stichting Ambulancewens


Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

China's Xi begins landmark Brussels visit

Deutsche Welle, 30 March 2014

Chinese President Xi Jinping has begun a three-day trip to Brussels. He is the first Chinese leader to visit the headquarters of the European Union.


Xi Jinping received a royal welcome from Belgium's King Philippe (pictured above, right) and Queen Mathilde on Sunday in Brussels on the final stop of the Chinese leader's European trip.

The first day of Xi's visit had a more leisurely feel than what is scheduled for the next two days. After meeting with Belgium's royalty, Xi – accompanied by his wife – visited a zoo outside of Brussels, which recently became hosts to two giant pandas on loan from China.

The rest of the trip, however, will focus more on improving business relationships between China and the EU. The EU is China's biggest trading partner, with more than a billion euros ($1.3 billion) worth of goods trading between the two every day.

On Monday, Xi has scheduled meetings with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission president Jose Manuel Borroso, and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

A visit to a Volvo factory in Ghent is to be part of Xi's agenda on Tuesday. Volvo was acquired from Ford by Chinese company Geely in 2010.

The trade talks will benefit from recent resolutions by the EU and China to disputes over price dumping. China dropped its probe of price dumping of EU wine imports, while the EU called off its price dumping and subsidy inquiry into Chinese telecom companies.

On Tuesday, Xi is to give a speech on EU-China relations at the College of Europe in Bruges.

Prior to his arrival in Belgium, Xi's tour of Europe had taken him to the Netherlands, France and Germany, where he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

mz/dr (dpa, AFP)

Exclusive: 'locked-up' Saudi princesses' message for Obama

Channel 4, Fatima Manji, 28 March 2014

"He should be ashamed to meet a leader that has four grown women locked up" - the message from two Saudi princesses to President Obama as he meets with their father, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.


In an exclusive on-camera interview with Channel 4 News, we talk to Princesses Sahar and Jawaher, who say they have been held under effective house arrest, by their father, the king, for more than a decade.

Princesses Sahar and Jawaher are the daughters of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. They say they have been held in the royal compound in Jeddah for the last 13 years, and their sisters Maha and Hala are also being held in separate villas. They claim they are not allowed to travel or leave their home.
If he does that to his own children, how do you think the rest of the country is? - Princess Jawaher
Princesses Sahar and Jawaher claim they have little communication outside of their gates - "no-one is allowed in or out." They say the internet is their only window onto the world. Via Skype, they tell Channel 4 News they are "cut off, isolated... and alone" and that "our father, the king, is responsible."

Their mother Alanoud Al Fayez, who is divorced from the king, first went public with their story two weeks ago, giving her first broadcast interview to Channel 4 News. Since that interview was broadcast, the princesses say restrictions on them have been tightened and they are no longer even allowed to make trips with armed guards for food, as they were previously.

They say food is now becoming scarce in their home, that they are desperate for the world to listen to their story and for someone to help.

Their only hope is that our report will make a difference, and that is why they wanted to broadcast this interview. Princess Sahar says: "This is a risk we're taking, we're happy to do it, we understand full well the repercussions, but we don't know what's going to happen."

Princess Sahar said to reporter Fatima Manji "why are we, grown women, held against our will? I believe we are now hostages."

Her sister, Princess Jawaher, said: "If he does that to his own children, how do you think the rest of the country is?"

The Saudi embassy in London has so far only responded to these claims by saying "this is a private matter".


Related Articles:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Putin called Obama to discuss Ukraine proposal, US says

Yahoo – AFP, 28 March 2014

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks at a Security Council meeting
 at the Kremlin in Moscow, on March 28, 2014 (AFP Photo/Alexei Nikolsky)

Riyadh (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin called his American counterpart Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a US proposal on resolving the crisis in Ukraine, the White House said.

"President Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in writing" to the proposal presented by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in The Hague this week, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement, adding the two diplomats would meet soon to discuss the next steps.

Related Articles:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gay marriage to become legal in UK at midnight

Google – AFP, Alice RITCHIE (AFP), 28 March 2014

Gay campaigners drive a bus past the Houses of Parliament as the Marriage
 (Same Sex Couples) Bill gets an unopposed third reading by the Lords in central
London on July 15, 2013 (AFP/File, Andrew Cowie)

London — The countdown began on Friday to the moment at midnight when same-sex marriage becomes law in England and Wales, the final stage in the long fight for equality for gay men and lesbians.

Several couples are vying to make history by saying "I do" in the first few minutes of Saturday morning, when the historic marriage law passed by parliament last year comes into force.

Many more plan to exchange vows in the hours that follow, including one couple who will perform almost the entire ceremony -- barring the legal declaration -- in song for a television programme entitled "Our Gay Wedding: The Musical".

A gay campaigner waves the rainbow flag
 during a rally outside the Houses of
 Parliament as the Marriage (Same Sex
 Couples) Bill gets an unopposed third
reading by the Lords in central London on
July 15, 2013 (AFP/File, Andrew Cowie)
Civil partnerships have been legal since 2005 and marriage brings no new rights -- the ability to adopt, for example, was introduced in 2002. But campaigners demanded full equality with heterosexual couples.

"We didn't want to get married until it was a marriage that my mum and dad could have, that other men or women could have," Teresa Millward, 37, told AFP.

She is marrying her girlfriend of 11 years, Helen Brearley, in Yorkshire on Saturday morning. Both will be dressed in cream, and Millward's father will walk them both down the aisle of the register office.

Gay marriage was championed by Prime Minister David Cameron's government, and a rainbow flag will fly over government offices in London all weekend in celebration.

Although members of Cameron's Conservative party and the established Church of England opposed the move, it has support from the majority of the public.

The law is the final victory in a long battle stretching back to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England in 1967.

Archbishop of Cantebury Justin Welby
 speaks during a press conference at
 the State House in Juba on January 30,
2014 (AFP/File, Carl de Souza)
"Finally, after years of campaigning, any couple who wants to get married can get married," said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

"Together we've made our country a place where we celebrate love equally, gay or straight -? and for that reason we should all be raising a glass."

Sending a message abroad

The Church of England had opposed same-sex marriage, insisting weddings should only take place between a man and a woman, and secured an exemption from the new law.

The House of Bishops last month also warned clergy they should not bless married gay couples.

But Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans, indicated on Thursday that the Church would no longer campaign against the issue.

"I think the Church has reacted by fully accepting that it's the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being," he told the Guardian newspaper.

Peter McGraith (L) and David Cabreza pose
 for photographs at Islington Town Hall in
north London on March 25, 2014 (AFP,
Leon Neal)
In Brighton, Neil Allard and Andrew Wale hope to be the first gay couple to get married by exchanging vows at one minute past midnight in the picturesque surroundings of the Royal Pavilion.

Posing for media photographs earlier this week, Wale remarked how positive the reaction to their wedding had been, with passers-by offering "lots of smiles, lots of warmth".

"We become even more aware of how lucky we are to live in a comparatively tolerant part of the world," said the 49-year-old writer and theatre director.

In London, Peter McGraith and David Cabreza are also bidding to make history by marrying at midnight in front of friends and family, including their two adopted sons.

The couple have been together for 17 years and hope their wedding will send out a message around the world.

Fifteen countries have legalised gay marriage and another three allow it in some areas, but homosexuals remain persecuted in many parts of the world.

"There's a lot of gay men and lesbians around the world who are not invited to the party," McGraith told AFP.

Related Articles:

India could declare Switzerland “non-cooperative jurisdiction”

The Brics Post, March 27, 2014

Citing tight bank secrecy laws, Switzerland
 has amassed assets worth trillions of dollars
from foreigners over the past decades [AP]
India has lashed out at Swiss officials for a lack of zeal in going after Swiss banks that helped Indians dodge taxes, threatening to declare Switzerland as a “non-cooperative jurisdiction”.

Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram has threatened to drag the European nation to multilateral foras like G20 for continuing to block its requests of sharing information on Indians stashing money in its banks.

In a letter to Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer Schlumpf, Chidambaram reminded her of the April 2009 declaration adopted by G20 leaders stating the “era of bank secrecy is over.”

In a strongly worded letter, he said India might examine further steps like declaring Switzerland a non-cooperative jurisdiction if non-cooperation continues.

Citing tight bank secrecy laws, Switzerland has amassed assets worth trillions of dollars from foreigners over the past decades. The US Justice Department is probing 14 Swiss banks over taxes.

Chidambaram said Switzerland has not honoured the terms of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two nations, under which information about Indians with accounts in Swiss banks has been sought by the tax authorities.

“Switzerland’s refusal to provide information to India and other countries on the grounds that the source of the information requested is based on ‘stolen data’ means that, in practice, Switzerland still believes in bank secrecy and is therefore not in tune with the modern era,” he said in the letter dated March 13.

Recalling the G20 stand that sanctions may be deployed to protect their public finances and financial systems, he said:

“If information continues to be denied to India under DTAC (Double Taxation Avoidance Convention), the Government of India will be constrained to take a position in the global forum.”

He said India would not hesitate to tell global forums that Switzerland still does not comply with the standards of transparency and that the required legal and regulatory framework is still not in place in Switzerland.

“Further, the Government of India may also have to raise this issue in other multilateral fora such as the G20,” he added.

Switzerland is a hub for private banking and a popular destination for the global wealthy elite.

Source: Agencies

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