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, October 30, 2014

Commentary: OECD tax agreement - a little more justice

For tax evaders, the risk of being uncovered has escalated. An agreement governing the international exchange of data will bring a little more justice, says DW's business editor Henrik Böhme.

Deutsche Welle, 30 Oct 2014


It was one of the first books I was given 25 years ago after the fall of the wall. Its title: "1000 ganz legale Steuertricks" or in English, 1,000 completely legal tax tricks. It was important to know where you stood in the battle against the merciless tax office. At the time, creating a tax return was something of a pleasure, knowing that in the end, thanks to all possible personal reliefs, you'd be refunded a decent sum of money.

The book still exists, but times have changed. The taxation of well-earned money has already reached a painful level and ways of reducing the tax burden have become much smaller. The state - that expensive old being - needs every euro it can get. That goes without mentioning the fact that since the financial crisis rocked the world, countries that had to support their banks with billions have accumulated gigantic mountains of debt.

This has led to tax hunters around the world taking the opportunity to look more intensely than ever before where their compatriots, who have more money in their account than the average Joe, are stashing away their money - or better said, where its hidden from the tax authorities. Of course, for rich Germans, there were possibilities just around the corner in Luxembourg or Switzerland, where tax-saving investment was part of the government-tolerated business model. But it became a risky business: After CDs holding entire lists of names of tax evaders emerged, there were some spectacular arrests, including that of Deutsche Post boss, Klaus Zumwinkel. The number of voluntary self-denunciations soared because for many tax evaders it was becoming just too hot to handle.

DW's Henrik Böhme
Because the business with the CDs had a somewhat nasty aftertaste - after all, the data was obtained by criminal means and then offered for sale to the tax authorities, which is nothing more than receiving stolen goods - it seemed like the better idea to implement what the international community had already decided upon at the 2009 G20 summit in London: drain tax havens and declare war on tax evasion.

Now a huge step has been made in the shape of a newly signed agreement. "Banking secrecy has become obsolete," says the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble with pride. Tax evaders are now skating on even thinner ice.

But the question remains: are the tax offices in the position to cope with the flood of data due to arrive from 2017 on? Will all countries really pull together? Will all those participating be working on a level playing field? And what will be done to tackle new loopholes, which are bound to appear? One thing that remains important is to implement the agreement quickly and without undue delay.

This momentum must now be used to also curb creative tax policies of internationally operating companies. It may all be legal, but it simply cannot be that profits are pushed back until the tax burden is zero. What applies to private assets must also apply to corporate assets: taxes must be paid where the net product comes from. It's a chance now, at least, for a little more justice.

Related Article:


Sweden recognises Palestinian state, Israel recalls envoy

Yahoo – AFP, October 31, 2014

Sweden recognises Palestinian state: foreign minister

Stockholm (AFP) - Sweden on Thursday officially recognised the state of Palestine, becoming the first EU member in western Europe to do so, prompting Israel to recall its ambassador to Stockholm.

"We are not picking sides. We're choosing the side of the peace process," Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem told reporters as she explained the controversial decision.

Just hours after the Swedish announcement, Israel said it was recalling its ambassador to Stockholm for "consultations".

"This indeed reflects our irritation and annoyance at this unhelpful decision, which does not contribute to a return to (peace) negotiations," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon told AFP.

The Swedish foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment on the Israeli move.

Wallstroem wrote Thursday in the daily Dagens Nyheter that recognition "is an important step that confirms the Palestinians' right to self-determination."

"We hope that this will show the way for others."

Palestinians are seeking to achieve statehood in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank with east Jerusalem as the capital. With little progress on reaching a settlement, they have been lobbying foreign powers for international recognition.

Sweden's move comes as Israeli-Palestinian tensions soar in Jerusalem following months of almost daily clashes in the city's occupied eastern sector.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas immediately hailed Stockholm's decision as "brave and historic" and called for others to follow suit.

"All countries of the world that are still hesitant to recognise our right to an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital, (should) follow Sweden's lead," Abbas's spokesman quoted him as saying.

-       More complex than IKEA

But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced the move, saying "relations in the Middle East are a lot more complex than the self-assembly furniture of IKEA".

"The decision of the Swedish government to recognise a Palestinian state is a deplorable decision which only strengthens extremist elements and Palestinian rejectionism," he said in a statement.

Sweden's new Prime Minister Stefan Loefven, a Social Democrat, announced in his inaugural address to parliament in early October that his country unlike most EU members would recognise a Palestinian state.

While the Palestinians cheered the move, Israel summoned Sweden's ambassador to protest and express disappointment.

The United States cautioned Sweden against recognition, calling it "premature" and saying the Palestinian state could only come through a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel has long insisted that the Palestinians can only receive their promised state through direct negotiations and not through other diplomatic channels.

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state in 2012.

Sweden's announcement brings to 135 the number of countries that recognise the state of Palestine, including seven EU members in eastern Europe and the Mediterranean -- Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania. Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to have done so.

"The EU has in the past said it would recognise when appropriate, but this is in the competence of member states," Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson of the European external action service, said Thursday.

In a symbolic vote indicative of growing impatience with peace talks which have effectively been stalled for a year, Britain's parliament earlier this month also passed a non-binding resolution to give diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state.

Wallstroem, in Thursday's opinion piece, said that there were some "who will maintain that today's decision comes too early."

"I'm afraid it comes too late," she wrote. "The government will now have to work with the other EU countries as well as the United States and other regional and international actors for the support of new negotiations."

In the announcement, Sweden's foreign minister also said that "the government considers that international law criteria for recognition of a Palestinian state have been fulfilled."

Observers said it was too early to tell if the Swedish step would prompt other countries to take similar action.

"It's really hard to say how many countries will actually take the plunge and follow Sweden," said Michael Schulz, an expert on the Middle East and conflict issues at the University of Gothenburg.

"For the EU to recognise Palestine, that would require all member states to agree, so it's unlikely," he said, estimating that Stockholm's decision "shouldn't change much" over the short term.

Related Articles:


Crime-fighting London Jews claim model for Muslim cooperation

The work of the 25-strong "Shomrim" patrol in London has caught the eye of US
Secretary of State John Kerry, who praised the neighbourhood patrol group's
"remarkable courage" (Photo by leon Neal, AFP file)


"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

" ....Abraham, Father of the Jews

I want to honor Abraham [Abram], born in Ur, which is now part of modern Iraq, and I want to honor his sons, not all born of Sara. The one I wish to speak of is Ishmael. Abraham is Jewish... the great Jewish prophet. Ishmael is his son. There's no way that you could say Ishmael was not Jewish, and he is even to this day. Ishmael was born in Hebron. So in addition, he is very Israeli. Ishmael is a Jew.

Now some would argue, due to how the Jewish lineage is computed by men [mother's side]. But Spirit looks at the DNA and the Akashic lineage, so spiritually, Ishmael is a Jew. He came in to be part of the lineage of the Jews.

He fell from favor even with the Jewish people early on for political reasons. Then Ishmael went on to become that which is the ancestor of all Arabs... the father of Arabia. Therefore, you could say that the Arabs are with Jewish blood, that of Abraham flowing through them. But early on, the Jews cast Ishmael out. So although you have the one God and monotheism, and you have the principle of the love of God and the unity of God, there was a split. The truth was mixed with untruths and, even to this day, there would be a billion Human Beings who would say it was Ishmael and not Isaac who was almost sacrificed at the Temple Mount. They would also say that he is not a Jew.

So what is the truth here? Human Beings were not built to unify. In an older energy on the planet from those days, and even the days that you were born in, the energy laid upon you is for you to separate, not unify. And that is why we call it the old energy. Oh, they were wise men and women who knew better, but it is the old energy that separates and divides, and it is the old energy that has created the divisions of hatred within millions of those who are actually "all Jews."

Muhammad's Beautiful Message of Unity

Let me tell you about Muhammad, the prophet. Muhammad is of the lineage of Ishmael, who is of the lineage of Abraham. Therefore, Muhammad had Jewish blood, so that was his lineage but not necessarily his culture. But his Akashic lineage was from Abraham. [Abraham is the founder of Islam, according to the Quran.]

Muhammad had a beautiful meeting, more than one, with an angelic presence. The angels talked to humanity back then in basic 3D ways. But how many of you have put together that most of the angels in that time who spoke to Human Beings talked to those of Jewish lineage? Like Muhammad, like Moses, like Jesus, like Abraham. For this was part of a set-up of history, part of what makes the Jewish lineage important to the core Akash of humanity, and we have spoken before, "As go the Jews, go Earth." Indeed, there is something there to look at which is important, and it is going to change soon. For in our eyes, the "Jews" are all those in the Middle East.

Muhammad's information from the angel was this: "Unify the Arabs and give them the God of Israel." And he did! The information he had was beautiful and was written down later for his followers. It was all about the incredible love of God and the unity of man. Muhammad the prophet was a unifier, not a separatist.

Long before Muhammad, there came Jesus - Jesus the Jew. He became responsible for what you would call Christianity today. All of his disciples were Jewish. The Rock, Peter the fisherman, who started the Christian church, was Jewish. And we tell you these things to remind you that there's a unity here. Perhaps there is a reason, dear ones, why the 12 layers of DNA have Hebrew names? Indeed, it's in honor of the masters and the lineage, including that of Muhammad, of Ishmael, of Isaac, of Abraham and of Jesus. All of them, part of the original spiritual language [Hebrew].

"Oh," you might say, "there was Sumerian and before that there was Lemurian. There was Sanskrit and Tamil, and many other older languages." Correct, but we're speaking of a language of today - one that you can relate to, that has power, and that is spoken today by the pure lineage of the masters who walked the planet.

So what did humanity do with all this? What did they do with all this sacred information from these Jewish masters? They went to war, because Humans separate things. They don't put them together. So here we are with one beautiful God, creator of all there is, and millions who believe that very thing, yet they are going to war with each other over ideology about what God said, which prophet was best, and which group is in God's favor. That's ancient history, thousands of years old. But it shows exactly what the old energy is all about. ..."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

FIFA fully supports 2018 World Cup in Russia: Blatter

Yahoo – AFP, 28 Oct 2014

Sepp Blatter, seen September 26, 2014 at the organistation's headquarters in Zurich,
says FIFA "trusts" Russia and its government (AFP Photo/Sebastien Bozon)

Moscow (AFP) - World football boss Sepp Blatter said Tuesday that FIFA categorically backs Russia's staging of the 2018 World Cup and praised its preparations.

"FIFA unconditionally supports the staging of the World Cup by Russia," he told the R-Sport news agency in comments translated into Russian.

Diplomatic sources said last month that European nations were discussing a British-backed plan to boycott President Vladimir Putin's showpiece staging of the World Cup because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"A boycott will never give any positive effect," Blatter said, adding: "We trust the country, its government."

"Russia is the world's biggest country. You know, Russia is in the eye of the international media. Football can not only unite Russia but show the whole world that it is stronger that any protest movement," Blatter said.

He compared the situation with Russia's hosting of the Winter Olympic games hosted by Russia in the Black Sea resort of Sochi this year, when Western leaders stayed away.

"There was the same situation ahead of Sochi, but neither during nor after the games, has there been a single word against these games."

Blatter said that he was happy with Russia's progress in its preparations for hosting the 2018 World Cup.

"I can say that in comparison with Brazil, Russia is considerably ahead of schedule with four years remaining before the event's start," Blatter said.

Blatter came to Moscow to participate in a ceremony Tuesday evening to present the 2018 World Cup logo. The ceremony starting 11:30 pm Moscow time (2030 GMT) will be televised and the new logo will be projected onto the facade of Moscow's legendary Bolshoi Theatre.

The FIFA boss added that the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Cup could take place a day ahead of the tournament's opening match kick-off.

"It's possible," he said.

"We tried to do that at the 2006 World Cup in Germany but it didn't work well.

"But I'm confident that in 2018 the ceremony should go off earlier. There are three stadiums in Moscow where we can hold the event's opening ceremony."

Hungary's protests are about more than Internet tax, says student protester

Deutsche Welle, 28 Oct 2014

Hungarians have taken to the streets again to protest a new Internet tax. It's the last straw amidst government shortfalls and a diplomatic crisis, one protester tells DW.


On Tuesday (28.10.2014), Hungarians will stage the second protest against their government's plans to introduce a tax for Internet use. If it is implemented, Hungarians will have to pay 150 forints ($0.60) per gigabyte - the government has promised to cap the tax at 700 forints ($2.92). Companies could pay a maximum of $20.31. Daniel Mayer, a 26 year old student Budapest, was among the 10,000 protesters who called for the government to withdraw the draft law on Sunday (26.10.2014).

DW: How would paying the Internet tax affect you?

Daniel Mayer: We are speaking of a maximum of 2.30 euros ($2.92) a month - that is nothing. This tax won't change the Internet habits of Hungarians or companies. No one will be reading fewer articles that are critical of the government. No company will shut down because of the new Internet tax. But everyone can feel and finally understand why this is a problem. This is why so many people took to the streets, who weren't protesting before.

Why is it so important to Hungarians?

It is symbolic, because the Internet is something which was free and not controlled or influenced by the government. Our print and traditional media is awful, and you have to pay for it. The average Hungarian under the age of 50 uses the Internet for a lot of things, maybe even more than in western Europe, because everything is free and easily accessible on the Internet. So Hungarians are now afraid that they can lose that or that something will change. My problem is not the money, it's the principle of it which makes me angry. There are countries like Finland, which say, Internet access is a fundamental right. There are countries where the Internet is subsidized by the government. So this tax would put Hungary back 10 or 15 years.

Do you think the government is trying to target a specific group with the tax?

No. The government just wants money and they have run out of ideas. They have a tax on banks, on grocery stores, on telecommunication companies, and now they have decided to tax the Internet. We already have 27 percent of value added tax (VAT) on everything, including Internet services. This is the highest in the EU. And now we will get an extra tax specifically on the Internet. 

Daniel Mayer studies sociology in Budapest.
Where is the money supposed to go?

We don't know. That is also the problem that I and a lot of protesters have. If the government would say, "we desperately need this to do x, y, z," then it could be a little more understandable. But the government doesn't take us seriously. They are not saying what they want to do with it, or why they need it, they just say, "we need it."

So is the tax about Hungary's economic difficulties or about a growing authoritarian approach by the government as the media report?

The government is becoming more authoritarian, but in this case it's more of a financial question. I also think it has something to do with distracting Hungarians from the scandal in which six high-ranking Hungarian officials were banned from entering the US.

If the Internet tax is largely symbolic, does it mean that there is a general sense of dissatisfaction amongst the people?

At the demonstration, there were a lot of posters and people shouting, "we don't want to pay money to the corrupt tax agency," "Russia go home," or "Europe we want you." So the demonstration showed that the people are well aware of the diplomatic crisis with the US and the shortfalls of the government. This was the last straw, and now they are demonstrating against everything. Although I don't think our protests will turn into a revolution, it is a little bit like in Gezi Park in Turkey: their main problem was not the trees, that was just the last thing which brought the people to the streets. It has become symbolic for Hungarians.

Related Article:


Friday, October 24, 2014

Germany and the Netherlands end centuries-old border dispute

The Netherlands and Germany have long disagreed about where exactly their shared nautical border lies in the North Sea. A meeting of the two nations' foreign ministers finally put an end to the dispute.

Deutsche Welle, 24 Oct 2014


A border dispute is not an issue usually associated within the cut-and-dry framework of the European Union. Yet that's just what Germany and its neighbor, the Netherlands, finally laid to rest on Friday after centuries of discord over the between German East Frisia and Dutch West Frisia, according to German news agency dpa.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (above left) and his Dutch counterpart, Bert Koenders (right), met at the border between the German town of Emden and Delfzijl in the Netherlands, where the Ems River empties into the disputed Dollart Bay. The ministers signed an agreement that the border will remain ambiguous and both nations will share responsibility for the area.

"If only every conflict could be solved so easily," said Steinmeier, after he and Koenders signed the document, symbolically astride the deck of a ship, floating between both nations.

The agreement has important economic implications, as it has long been the site of contention between German and Dutch fisherman, as well as the 450 million euro- ($570 million) Borkum Riffgat offshore wind farm, run by the German EWE energy company to the ire of Dutch protesters.

On the Dutch side, in Delfzijl, a coal power plant has been built which the German East Frisians say will pollute the river and the bay and hurt tourism - something they depend on. The government of Lower Saxony, the state to which East Frisia belongs, called it an "unfriendly act" on the part of the Dutch.

The document signed by Steinmeier and Koenders put these issues to rest, at least diplomatically, and the German wind farm no long stands on shaky ground in terms of international law. The responsibilities of both nations are now clearly defined.

Steinmeier called the agreement "a good result for the economy, for new wind farms and maritime interests."

Related Articles:



EU agrees deal to slash emissions, boost renewables

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed on a new target for the reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030. Members also reached a deal on increasing the proportion of renewable energy used.

Deutsche Welle, 24 Oct 2014


EU President Herman Van Rompuy said early on Friday that leaders had set a new target for 2030, significantly reducing the levels of greenhouse gases produced by member states.

The agreement is for a 40 percent cut in emissions compared with the levels produced in the benchmark year of 1990.

The heads of government meeting in Brussels agreed two other 2030 targets to increase the proportion of renewable energy used and improve energy efficiency.

Members agreed to derive at least 27 percent of EU energy from renewable sources such as solar power and wind.

By boosting energy efficiency, members also seek to reduce in energy consumption by at least 27 percent.

Individual concerns

The talks stretched into the early hours on Friday as Poland made a case for protections for its coal industry. Other states also sought to tweak the guideline text on global warming to protect economic interests regarding issues such as nuclear power and cross-border power lines.

An existing goal that envisaged a 20-percent cut by 2020 is already close to being met, in no small part as a result of the collapse of communist-era industry in Eastern Europe.

The agreement comes ahead of a global summit in Paris next year, which will involve industrial powers from Asia, North America and the rest of the world.

rc/av (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tesco chairman resigns as profits error deepens

Yahoo – AFP, Ben Perry, 23 Oct 2014

The chairman of Tesco will resign after the British supermarket group was found
 to have overstated profits by £263 million ($422 million, 334 million euros) (AFP
Photo/Carl Court)

London (AFP) - The chairman of Britain's biggest retailer Tesco resigned on Thursday as the troubled supermarket group said a huge accounting error began earlier than thought and contributed to plunging profits.

Chairman Richard Broadbent said he would be stepping down after an independent investigation found that Tesco had overstated profits by £263 million ($422 million, 334 million euros) as a result of accounting errors stretching back to before 2013.

"The board's immediate focus must be on ensuring that we complete the transition to a new management team and that new and far-reaching business plans are put in place quickly," Broadbent said in a statement that revealed Tesco's net profit had crashed to £6.0 million in its first half from £820 million one year earlier.

Tesco, the world's third biggest supermarket
 group, stunned investors one month ago
 when it revealed that its profit for the six
 months to August 23 was overstated by an
estimated £250 million (AFP Photo/Carl
Court)
Tesco, the world's third biggest supermarket group, stunned investors one month ago when it revealed that its profit for the six months to August 23 was overstated by an estimated £250 million.

Following an independent probe by accountants Deloitte, the final figure was put at £263 million, which includes overstatements of £70 million for Tesco's last financial year and £75 million relating to pre-2013/14.

"The issues that have come to light over recent weeks are a matter of profound regret," Broadbent added in the statement.

Tesco has suspended eight executives since recently-appointed chief executive Dave Lewis launched an inquiry into the accounting error that has triggered a separate probe by British regulator the Financial Conduct Authority.

Tesco's shock profits warning last month also sent its share price sliding and caused US billionaire investor Warren Buffett's investment company to cut its holdings in the group.

The group's share price was down 4.84 percent at 174.15 pence following the update and in early trading on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which had slid 1.24 percent to 6,320.20 points compared with Wednesday's close.

"Not only is the firm reporting a bigger accounting error than expected, but it is also not giving shareholders any indication of what it could report as a profit for its full year," said Joshua Raymond, chief market strategist at City Index traders.

'Challenging times'

While Tesco has been forced to massively adjust its reported earnings owing to an overstatement of income and an understatement of costs, the supermarket has in any case seen profits hit in recent times by increased competition in main market Britain.

In a bid to turn around its fortunes, the group in July appointed outsider and former Unilever executive Lewis to replace long-standing chief executive Philip Clarke.

"Our business is operating in challenging times," Lewis said in Thursday's statement.

"Trading conditions are tough and our underlying profitability is under pressure."

Tesco has struggled in recent years in Britain, as recession-weary shoppers have turned to German-owned discount retail groups Aldi and Lidl.

Tesco is the world's third-biggest
supermarket group after France's Carrefour
 and global leader, US retailer Wal-Mart
(AFP Photo/Paul Ellis)
Discount chains boomed during the downturn as consumers tightened their belts to save cash, and remain popular despite the economy's steady recovery this year.

Tesco's profits have been weighed down also by fierce competition from its traditional supermarket rivals comprising Wal-Mart division Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.

"No great surprises in the Tesco results: we are faced with an extremely challenged UK business, an Irish operation that remains in freefall and a patchy performance in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia," said Bryan Roberts at consultants Kantar Retail.

"Naive hopes that the flamboyant accounting practices were limited to a six month period have been scotched, hinting at a systematic and long-term breach of standard practice."

Britain's biggest retailer has also suffered abroad in recent times, causing it to shut its failed US division Fresh & Easy and to exit from Japan over the past couple of years.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

EU's Juncker wins green light for 'last chance' team

Yahoo – AFP, Christian Spillman, 22 Oct 2014

The EU's incoming chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker pictured during a press 
conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France on October 22, 
2014 (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)

Strasbourg (France) (AFP) - The EU's incoming chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker vowed Wednesday to seize the "last chance" for the bloc as his team of commissioners won parliamentary approval to start work on a stalling economy and foreign policy challenges.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg voted by 423 to 209 in favour of Juncker's European Commission, which will have a five-year mandate as the union's executive branch starting on November 1.

But with disillusioned voters fearing a return of the economic crisis in the eurozone, suffering from high unemployment, and increasingly turning to anti-EU parties, Juncker said the new commission had to act now.

"This is the last-chance commission," the former Luxembourg prime minister said in a speech ahead of the vote.

"Either we win back the citizens of Europe, drastically reduce the level of unemployment and give young people a European perspective, or we fail."

Juncker won fewer votes than his Portuguese predecessor Jose Manuel Barroso did for the previous commission, a factor he blamed on the surge of euroscepticism during Barroso's decade in office.

Juncker had risked missing his start date after parliament forced him to reshuffle his team following weeks of gruelling confirmation hearings, but the final members made it through on Monday.

He said he would start work immediately on readying a 300-billion-euro ($380-billion) investment package to boost jobs and growth by Christmas, amid global fears about the continent's economy.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the European 
Parliament, presenting his team of 27 commissioners-designate for approval in the
northeastern French city of Strasbourg, on October 22, 2014 (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)

Juncker added that the European Union must do more on issues such as the west Africa Ebola outbreak and the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, although he made no mention of the crisis in Ukraine, which has raised tensions with Russia.

World's biggest economy

The Commission includes one member from each of the 28 nations in the EU, a bloc that covers more than 500 million people and taken together represents the world's biggest economy.

Juncker has appointed Dutch former foreign minister Frans Timmermans as his "right hand man" to oversee reforms to the Brussels bureaucracy.

Other key members include Italy's Federica Mogherini as foreign affairs chief, France's former finance minister Pierre Moscovici in the economic affairs role, Britain's Jonathan Hill as head of financial services, and Spain's Miguel Arias Canete as energy chief.

It is the first step in a complete leadership change at the top of the EU, with former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk due to take over in December as president of the European Council, which groups EU heads of state and government.

EU leaders will rubberstamp Juncker's commission at a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

The Commission is widely regarded as the most powerful institution in Brussels as it drafts laws, enforces national budgets and is responsible for negotiating trade deals between other countries and the EU.

Juncker promised to take a careful look at a controversial yet central clause in a proposed giant EU-US free trade deal that allows corporations to sue governments.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) laughs with Britain's
 eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage at the European 
Parliament on October 22, 2014 (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)

Speaking in a mixture of French and German with a smattering of English, Juncker also urged lawmakers to back his investment package to boost the economy.

World markets plunged last week on concerns that the fragile eurozone economy was set for a triple-dip recession, sparked by debt-ridden Greece's plans to exit its international bailout early.

"If you give us your support today, we will present the jobs, growth and investment package before Christmas," Juncker said.

But he promised to uphold the EU's budgetary rules and be "tough when we need to be tough", with one of his team's first tasks likely to be dealing with France over its budget deficit.

Several MEPs held up banners saying "No Austerity" during the debate, underscoring the division within the EU between German-led austerity supporters and France and others who want to spend more.

The possibility of Britain leaving the EU in a planned 2017 referendum is another problem Juncker has to face, but he said he was "not prepared to change" EU migration rules in response to demands from London.

Juncker, meanwhile, said his team had to face up to a "more dangerous world".

On the Ebola outbreak he said Brussels only reacted when it "arrived on EU shores. We should have acted much sooner."

Italy World Cup hero Cannavaro probed over tax fraud

Yahoo - AFP, October 22, 2014

Italy World Cup hero Cannavaro probed
over tax fraud
Rome (AFP) - Italy's World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro is being investigated on suspicion of running a sham company to avoid paying more than a million euros ($1.27 million) in tax, Italian authorities announced Wednesday.

The former centreback, who led Italy to glory in Germany in 2006, has had property and other assets worth 900,000 euros confiscated in connection with an ongoing probe into a luxury boat rental business that Cannavaro, 41, ran with his wife.

In a statement, prosecutors in Cannavaro's home city of Naples, said they suspected that three multi-million-euro vessels supposedly available for rental through the company were in fact exclusively for the couple's private use.

As such, Cannavaro and his wife, Daniela Arenoso, 40, should have declared them as taxable assets and not been able to benefit from the various tax breaks for which only companies are eligible.

Tax inspectors have estimated that the operation of what was effectively a sham company, FD Service, enabled the couple to avoid more than one million euros in taxes and VAT between 2005 and 2010.

The prosecutors said that they had obtained evidence of Cannavaro's direct involvement in the fraud and of other, unspecified, illegal actions in relation to the company.

Also under investigation is Eugenio Tuccillo, described by prosecutors as an individual of limited means to whom Cannavaro sold the business shortly after the opening of the tax probe.

Almost immediately after taking over, Tuccillo put the company into administration in what inspectors suspect was an attempt to hide the fraud.

A national sport

In an illustrious playing career, Cannavaro played for Napoli, Parma, Internazionale, Juventus and Real Madrid before a final stint with Al-Ahli in Dubai, where he is currently assistant coach.

His movie-star looks, 136 caps and rise from the back streets of Naples to the summit of world football have made him a national icon in Italy, a country that prizes defenders like no other.

Famed for being as tough on the pitch as the teak on one of his boats, Cannavaro had, until now, also enjoyed a squeaky-clean image as a family man.

The latest revelations may not sully that reputation too much as tax dodging is often referred to as the second national sport in Italy.

Numerous high-profile figures have been accused of cheating on their returns.

A government report published last month estimated that tax evasion currently costs the state 91 billion euros per year, equivalent to six percent of the country's annual output.

News of the allegations against Cannavaro emerged a day after the financial police announced they had broken up a ring of companies they believe used false accounting to defraud the state out of 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion).

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has promised a crackdown on tax dodgers and has vowed to end the country's tradition of regular amnesties for offenders as part of broader package of reforms intended to make the country easier to govern, more business-friendly and stronger financially.

Well-known names who have been previously accused or convicted of illegal tax evasion include fashion designers Giorgio Armani, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.

Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is currently doing community service in a retirement home as his punishment after being convicted of tax fraud.

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Bayern Gets Papal Blessing After Roma Thrashing

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Oct 22, 2014

Bayern Munich soccer players give a team jersey to Pope Francis before his weekly
audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (Reuters Photo/ Osservatore Romano)

Vatican City. A day after thrashing local club Roma 7-1, Bayern Munich staff and players Wednesday paid a visit to the Bishop of Rome, otherwise known as Pope Francis.

Club captains Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer and coach Pep Guardiola presented the football-loving pontiff with a Bayern shirt signed by all the players.

Francis, an Argentinian who follows Buenos Aires club San Lorenzo, praised the Bayern squad for its Champions League demolition job in the Olympic stadium.

“You played a wonderful game yesterday,” he was quoted as saying on Bayern’s website, adding: “Football is good and healthy, and a good role model for children as a team sport.”

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who spent three seasons in Italy with Internazionale, chatted with the pontiff in Italian, telling him that the audience had been a “great honor”.

Rummenigge also announced that the club would be donating one million euros in proceeds from an upcoming friendly match for Francis to pass on to a charity or charities of his choice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Spain nurse definitively cured of Ebola: doctors

Yahoo – AFP, Daniel Silva, 21 Oct 2014

A protester holds her nurse identification card during a demonstration in support of
 Spanish nurse Teresa Romero infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Madrid on
October 11, 2014 (AFP Photo/Curto De La Torre)

Madrid (AFP) - A Spanish nurse who was the first person to catch Ebola outside Africa has been cured of the deadly virus, doctors confirmed Tuesday, easing fears of it spreading in Europe.

Doctors at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid said definitive test results showed Teresa Romero, 44, was free of the virus, which has killed more than 4,500 people in west Africa.

"The criteria set by the World Health Organization for curing the Ebola virus have been fulfilled," Doctor Jose Ramon Arribas, head of the hospital's infectious diseases unit, told a news conference.

The news was met with relief after two tense weeks that generated public sympathy for Romero -- along with questions about safety procedures and spending cuts in Spain's health sector.

"We have had a hard, worrying time since this started, but now little by little we can see light at the end of the tunnel. These test results are a cause for happiness," said Marta Arsuaga, one of the doctors treating Romero.

"We have to wait for her to get back to the state of health she had before. Then we will really be happy and ready to celebrate."

Officials earlier said Romero had received blood serum from a patient who had survived the disease. Doctors would not give any further details of other treatments she may have received.

There is no vaccine nor any widely available cure for Ebola but a number of experimental treatments have been fast-tracked for development.

Health safety 'failings'

Romero was one of the nursing staff at the Carlos III hospital who treated two elderly Spanish missionaries who caught the disease in Africa and died in Madrid in August and September.

Her husband Javier Limon and 14 other people who had contact with the nurse before she was diagnosed are under observation at the hospital but none has yet shown symptoms.

Arribas said a specialist laboratory confirmed that a fourth and final round of tests had shown Romero to be clear of the virus, though she might take "a few days" to completely get over the symptoms.

Arribas said that according to WHO guidelines, officials will have to wait until 42 days after the curing of the last infected patient to declare the country free of Ebola.

The haemorrhagic fever is passed by contact with the bodily fluids of those infected. It begins with fever and can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting, internal bleeding and organ failure.

The WHO in its latest toll said 4,555 people had died from Ebola out of a total of 9,216 cases registered in seven countries as of October 14.

The spread of the disease outside hard-hit African countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone has put governments around the world on alert.

The United States has introduced health checks at airports for travellers from the region. Two nurses fell ill in Texas after caring for a Liberian man who died from the disease, but no more cases have been detected there for six days.

Shortly after Romero was hospitalised, officials outraged health care staff by hinting that the patient herself was to blame for getting infected.

Spain's General Nursing Council released a report alleging what its chairman Maximo Gonzalez described as "substantial failings" in health safety procedures.

He told a news conference that hospital staff treating Ebola patients were given ill-fitting protective gloves and permeable overalls and were not properly trained in how to put them on and take them off.

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