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

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

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

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

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

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

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

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

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

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

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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 31, 2015

UK grants Chinese artist Ai Weiwei new visa in U-turn

Yahoo – AFP, 31 July 2015

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said Britain had previously denied him a six-month
visa and restricted him to a three-week visit (AFP Photo/Goh Chai Hin)

London (AFP) - Britain's interior minister ordered officials Friday to grant Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei a six-month visa, reversing a decision to restrict him to a short trip that had prompted condemnation from rights groups.

Home Secretary Theresa May "was not consulted over the decision to grant Mr Ai a one-month visa", a spokeswoman for her department said.

"She has reviewed the case and has now instructed Home Office officials to issue a full six-month visa. We have written to Mr Ai apologising for the inconvenience caused."

Campaigners noted that the previous visa would have allowed Ai to attend an exhibition of his work at London's Royal Academy from September but meant he would not be in Britain for Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit in October.

Ai is China's best known contemporary artist abroad but authorities denied him a passport for four years in an apparent attempt to limit his international influence.

After he finally received his passport last week, Germany granted him a four-year multiple entry visa but Ai said on Thursday that Britain had denied his request for a six-month visa and restricted him to a three-week trip because he did not declare a "criminal conviction".

Ai said he had "never been charged or convicted of a crime".

Jigme Ugen, head of a US-based Tibetan rights group, described the initial decision to grant Ai a shorter visa as "purely a kowtow to Xi Jinping's London visit".

Ai is currently in Germany, where he has a six-year-old son.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Business lobbying against German minimum wage revealed

Lobbyists from the farming and newspaper sectors worked hard to win exceptions to Germany's minimum wage, it has been revealed. But the employers' representatives don't think it did them much good.

Deutsche Welle, 30 July 2015

Workers in a field (Photo: imago/Ralph Lueger)

Germany is seven months into its new minimum wage, but not everyone is happy. The government has now admitted that lobbyists from a number of different sectors had urged it add exceptions to the new rule that no one in the country should earn less than 8.50 euros ($9.40) an hour.

The information, shown to DW on Thursday, emerged thanks to an official parliamentary request by the German Left party. Particularly persistent were representatives of the farmers' and newspaper publishers' associations, who met government representatives a total of 15 times in the months leading up to the law being passed in parliament.

The pressure seems to have been effective - both the agriculture sectors and the newspaper sectors won delays in implementing the minimum wage. Temporary farm-workers can be paid below minimum wage unto the end of 2016, while newspaper deliverers can be paid less until the end of 2017.

Nahles (right) had to defend the
 minimum wage against serious lobbying
Success or failure?

"The economic lobbyists have made sure that entire sectors have been left behind by the minimum wage," Left party parliamentarian Michael Schlecht said in an emailed statement. "Particularly the lobbyists of the publishers' and the farmers' associations clearly felt a lot more need to speak to the government during the lawmaking process."

"The result is well known," he added. "Hundreds of thousands of people did not benefit from the introduction of the minimum wage at the start of the year."

But the German Farmers' Association (BDV) don't think they gained much advantage. "We were invited to hearings, like every interest group, and we think it's legitimate to describe what happens in practice, in business," BDV spokesman Michael Lohse told DW.

The farmers also argued that the minimum wage will have a real impact on their business when it comes into full effect for temporary workers during the 2017 harvest.

"We analyzed that and communicated it - we will have to lose some production abroad," Lohse said. "In Romania and Bulgaria they have a minimum wage of one or two euros. Go shopping with your eyes open one day - there's half a kilogram of cherries for 7.50 euros from Brandenburg, and you have two kids who like to eat cherries, and you decide if you want cherries for 7.50 euros, or you buy the ones from Bulgaria for 3.50 euros. Then of course the retailer turns round and tells the farmer I can't buy your cherries anymore. Then production goes abroad and it will cost jobs - that's all we said. And that's legitimate."

More bureaucracy

Another complaint against the minimum wage was the amount of bureaucracy involved. At the end of June, Labor Minister Andrea Nahles, who drove the new minimum wage legislation, bowed to pressure and eased the regulations forcing employers in certain sectors to record how many hours their lowest paid workers were working.

Cherries are cheaper in Bulgaria
Up until then, the new minimum wage law stipulated that employers in the construction and gastronomy sectors, and others considered to be particularly susceptible to off-the-books work, had to document the number of hours logged by anyone earning less that 2,958 euros a month. That cap has now been lowered to 2,000 euros a month.

But Lohse was not happy with the whole new system. "If you have 100 or 200 people on a field and one of them has to leave, you have to write that down," he complained. "If they go home to have lunch, you have to document that - if it rains, or there's a storm. There are special conditions during the harvest time and these documentation obligations all take a heavy toll."

The conservative sections of the government coalition - both Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union - have been pressing for corrections to the law.

But Nahles' Social Democratic Party can also point to considerable successes - in May it could announce that 3.7 million people in Germany had received a pay raise as a result of the minimum wage, and that dependence on social benefits had declined. Also, fears that the new law would lead to a sharp rise in unemployment figures have so far proved untrue.

Related Articles:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

'As a woman, be quiet!' Turkish deputy PM in new sexism row

Yahoo – AFP, 29 July 2015

Turkish Minister Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc speaks on July 29, 2015
in Ankara (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

Ankara (AFP) - Turkey's deputy prime minister on Wednesday ignited a new row over discrimination against women in Turkish politics when he told a female deputy who tried to interrupt his speech to "as a woman, be quiet!".

Deputy premier Bulent Arinc made the remark while speaking during an emergency debate in parliament over the government's military intervention against jihadists in Syria and Kurdish militants in Iraq.

Justifying the decision to attack Kurdish militants in Iraq, his comments were loudly mocked by members of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), including female lawmaker Nursel Aydogan.

"Madam be quiet! You as a woman, be quiet!" shouted Arinc in the debate broadcast on live television, growing increasingly irritable as he struggled to make his words heard.

The incident spawned immediate outrage online, with Turkish women posting angry comments under the Twitter hashtag #BirKadinOlarakSusmayacagiz (as women we are not going to be silent), which began trending nationwide.

"Woman are quiet in their politics but unquiet women will teach them democracy," tweeted @Ozgurlugedogru.

The hashtag #KadinDusmaniArinc (Arinc is an enemy of women) also gained popularity.

The HDP and also the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) demanded an apology from Arinc.

"We as the CHP strongly condemn the sexist, discriminatory and humiliating comments violating women's rights," said CHP deputy leader Selin Sayek Boke.

"Making such a comment under the roof of parliament is unacceptable. We invite him to apologise," she added.

This is hardly the first time Arinc has been in hot water over comments deemed sexist.

In July 2014, he sparked an outcry by declaring that women should not laugh loudly in public. This prompted viral videos and pictures of Turkish women laughing in defiance.

The HDP's Nursel Aydogan, the target of Arinc's outburst, said: "I don't take it personally. It is an insult against all women including their own (ruling party) lawmakers."

"Mr Arinc should leave aside this sexist approach," said Pervin Buldan, another female HDP lawmaker.

Critics have repeatedly accused the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) -- which Arinc helped co-found along with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- of eroding women's rights.

Related Article:

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

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

The Unthinkable… Politics, A Review

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

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Britain's Lord Sewel resigns after cocaine and prostitutes scandal

Yahoo – AFP, Katherine Haddon, 28 July 2015

Lord John Sewel apologised after pictures in The Sun newspaper appeared to 
show him snorting cocaine with prostitutes (AFP Photo)

London (AFP) - A British peer who was in charge of lawmakers' ethics quit the House of Lords on Tuesday after allegedly snorting cocaine off a prostitute's breasts, fuelling calls for reform of the unelected upper chamber.

Lord John Sewel, 69, apologised for the "pain and embarrassment" caused after the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper published footage of him apparently taking drugs and wearing an orange bra and studded leather jacket as he chatted to two sex workers.

The images also showed him calling Prime Minister David Cameron "facile" and "superficial" and insulting several other senior politicians.

The scandal has prompted renewed calls
for reforms to slim down the House of 
Lords, made up of 783 peers (AFP Photo/
Toby Melville)
Scotland Yard has launched an investigation and raided Sewel's home at an exclusive block of flats near the Houses of Parliament on Monday night.

While reforming the House of Lords is not a priority for Cameron's centre-right government, the case has sparked calls for the chamber -- the world's largest legislative assembly outside China -- to be slimmed down.

"I have today written to the clerk of the parliaments terminating my membership of the House of Lords," Sewel, previously a deputy speaker of the Lords, said in a statement.

"I want to apologise for the pain and embarrassment I have caused."

The Sun on Tuesday quoted the escorts as saying he snorted up to eight lines of cocaine and described one of their sessions.

"He slipped into a woman's blue dress and applied lipstick and eyeliner to engage in depraved sex games too obscene to report in a family newspaper," the tabloid said.

'Bloated' House of Lords

The married 69-year-old, dubbed "Lord Sewer" by The Sun, quit his £82,525 (115,000 euro, $128,000) a year deputy speaker post overseeing the conduct of fellow peers when the scandal first broke Sunday.

He then announced Monday that he would take a leave of absence from the Lords but faced growing pressure to step down entirely.

Members of the Lords - mostly former ministers appointed by their own political
parties - can claim a £300 daily attendance allowance (AFP Photo/Justin Tallis)

Several British newspapers said Tuesday that the case showed changes were needed to the House of Lords, made up of 783 peers who can claim a £300 daily attendance allowance.

Most members of the Lords, which scrutinises and rubber stamps legislation, are former ministers appointed by their own political parties.

The Daily Mirror, The Sun's main tabloid rival, launched a campaign Tuesday to get rid of all unelected peers.

Meanwhile, The Times said the House of Lords was "bloated" and its numbers should be reduced.

"An unelected chamber with esoteric practices and a median age of about 70 cannot afford to enter the public consciousness only when its members are embroiled in scandal," it said in an editorial.

Cameron is expected to create a string of new peers from his Conservative party in the coming months to give him a majority in the upper chamber, making it easier for his government to pass legislation.

The prime minister reportedly ruled out sweeping reforms to the Lords on a visit to Singapore, saying there was "no point in trying that route again" after a failed bid in 2012 pushed by his former coalition partners the Liberal Democrats.

Ten members of the Lords have been temporarily suspended since 2009
for breaches including abusing the expenses system (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)

'Privileges of a peerage'

Leader of the House of Lords Baroness Tina Stowell acknowledged the importance of public perceptions of the chamber as she welcomed Sewel's resignation.

"For the House of Lords to earn the confidence of the public, all of us must respect the privileges that come with a peerage and recognise that, because we are unelected, it is especially important to meet the standards the public have a right to expect," she said.

Sewel is a former academic and local politician in northeast Scotland who was appointed as a junior agriculture minister in Tony Blair's centre-left Labour government in 1997.

He gave up the Labour whip in 2012 when he took on the job of overseeing the conduct of peers.

Ironically, Sewel oversaw the introduction of a new system under which peers can be forced out of the Lords for breaching a code of conduct. Previously, only the monarch could eject them.

Ten peers have been temporarily suspended since 2009 for breaches including abusing the expenses system and offering to lobby for private companies.

A British politician, Lord John Sewel, has resigned from the House of Lords after
 a newspaper published a video allegedly showing him using cocaine with prostitutes.
Sewel was in charge of standards in the upper chamber.

Related Articles:

British peer quits House of Lords amid drug and sex allegations

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

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

The Unthinkable… Politics, A Review

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

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

Jehovah's Witnesses in Australia hid 1,000 cases of child abuse

Jehovah's Witnesses in Australia have been accused by a government commission of discouraging church members to report child sexual abuse. Around 1,006 cases were kept from police, the commission was told.

Deutsche Welle, 27 July 2015

The investigation into sexual abuse and its aftermath heard on Monday that the church had hidden more than 1,000 cases of child molestation since the 1950s. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, first created in 2013 to tackle allegations of abuse by Catholic priests in Australia, was told that Jehovah's Witnesses operated as a restrictive sect determined to hinder the reporting of abuse.

"Evidence will be put before the Royal Commission that of the 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse identified by the Jehovah's Witness Church since 1950, not one was reported by the church to secular authorities," said Angus Stewart, the senior lawyer assisting the commission.

"This suggests that it is the practice of the Jehovah's Witness Church to retain information regarding child sexual abuse offenses but not to report allegations of child sexual abuse to the police or other relevant authorities."

Stewart went on to describe official doctrine allowing church elders to practice discretion in reporting cases of child molestation unless there was a clear legal mandate to do so. The Jehovah's Witnesses has allowed at least 230 suspected abusers to return to the church, 35 of whom have been accused multiple times.

Two anonymous church members were also set to testify that they had been discouraged by church authorities from informing police about abuse allegations.

The US-based Jehovah's Witnesses, known for their door-to-door proselytizing, number around 8 million members worldwide, 68,000 of whom are in Australia.

Australia's abuse commission has heard stories of abuse and cover-ups not only from inside Christian #link:18507561:churches like the Catholics and the Jehovah's Witnesses, but from Orthodox Jewish communities as well. The implications have reached even inside the Vatican, where Australian Cardinal George Pell, who is now is charge of church's economic activities, has come under scrutiny over charges that he failed to adequately protect child victims years ago.

Pell has dismissed the allegations as "false" and "outrageous" and has said that hurting children is "completely contrary" to the teachings of Christ.

es/kms (KNA, Reuters)
Related Articles:

Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche have
resigned after accusations they failed to protect minors (AFP Photo/Eric Cabanis)

“…  Greetings, dear ones, I am Kryon of Magnetic Service. Twenty-five years ago, I discussed with you what is happening now. Back then, it was only a potential, but now it's your reality. This was not prophecy when I told you back then that there would be no Armageddon or World War Three. It was not prophecy, but a powerful potential. The entire reason for my being and the awakening of my partner was because of what you did. The victory it contains falls in the lap of the old soul, who has controlled the consciousness of the timing of it all.

Everything that has transpired during these years has been realized potential. That is to say that we see the potentials of what you might do, and report on that and only that. Much of what we see now is realized quickly. When we told you in 2012 there would be a new pope, 13 months later it happened. This was not prophecy, but rather a potential. We saw it coming because we have the overview and we knew of the anxiety of the existing pope, the health of the man, and we also knew of the potentials of a South American pope to come forward. All of these things should be a "connect the dots" for you. I come yet again, not with prophecy, but with information given with a congratulatory attitude of potential. …”

Sunday, July 26, 2015

'Incredible' Froome wins second Tour de France

Yahoo – AFP, Chesterman, 26 July 2015

Tour de France winner Christopher Froome of Great Britain celebrates his victory
 on the podium on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, July 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/Kenzo

Paris (AFP) - Chris Froome said he felt "incredible" after winning his second Tour de France title following Sunday's 21st and final stage to Paris.

Briton Froome, 30, crossed the line on the Champs Elysees arm-in-arm with his Sky teammates to clinch a second Grand Boucle crown following his 2013 success.

"This is such a great race, what can I say? I feel a lot of emotion," said Froome after a Tour in which he was doused with urine, spat at, insulted and accused of cheating.

Great Britain's Christopher Froome rides 
past the Eiffel Tower in Paris during the 21st
 and final stage of the Tour de France on
July 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/Eric Feferberg)
"Of course it was a very, very difficult Tour, both on the bike and off it. I'm so happy to be here in yellow.

"There were a few difficulties, a few extra stresses outside of the race but that's cycling in 2015.

"I'm happy to be in this position to speak for cycling today."

Germany's Andre Greipel won the stage, his fourth this year and 10th in total, ahead of Frenchman Bryan Coquard and Alexander Kristoff of Norway.

Colombian Nairo Quintana finished second overall with his Spanish Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde taking third, his best finish at the Tour at the age of 35.

"I'm not disappointed at all, I've confirmed my ability and my status within the team," said Quintana.

"I'm only 25 so I have many more opportunities to try to win the Tour.

"(Froome) is a great rival, he suffered a lot for his victory and was very strong -- he deserves it."

Neutralised finish

Rain had rendered the cobbles at the finish on the Champs Elysees dangerous so organisers neutralised the race from the moment it reached Paris.

Great Britain's Christopher Froome (C) embraces his wife Michelle Cound on
 the Champs-Elysees in Paris at the end of the Tour de France on July 26, 2015 
(AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure)

It meant the official timing was stopped just after riders passed the finishing line for the first time ahead of 10 laps of the famous Parisian avenue.

It allowed Froome and his teammates -- wearing a black kit with the traditional blue stripe replaced by a yellow one in hommage to their leader's feat -- to finish in a straight line, arm-in-arm, over a minute after the stage winner.

Having already won the Tour in 2013, finishing in the same way but then because his lead to Quintana -- second that time as well -- was sufficiently large to allow him to do so, Froome became the first Briton to win the Grand Boucle for a second time.

Quintana finished at 1min 12sec overall with Valverde third over five minutes back.

Last year's winner Vincenzo Nibali finished fourth overall, ahead of two-time former champion Alberto Contador.

But on the final stage, a 109.5km run from the Parisian suburb of Sevres, Greipel emphasised his sprint superiority at this Tour.

The 33-year-old had already won the second, fifth and 15th stages in sprint finishes.

Germany's Andre Greipel (C) celebrates while crossing the finish line on the 
Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jeff Pachoud)

Very proud

It made it Greipel's best ever Tour, eclipsing the three stages he won in 2012.

"I'm looking forward to a rest now," said the Lotto-Soudal rider.

"This Tour de France has been amazing for Lotto-Soudal, in five bunch sprints we won four of them.

"We can be really proud of this Tour de France, next year is another Tour de France but now I'm really happy and delighted with everything that happened in these last three weeks."

It continued German sprint dominance at the Tour as between Greipel's two outstanding seasons, compatriot Marcel Kittel was the top fast-man winning four stages in both 2013 and 2014.

Greipel's expected rivals Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan could only manage sixth and seventh respectively on Sunday.

Sagan did win the sprinter's green points jersey, though, for the fourth year in a row, despite not managing to win a stage for the second successive year.

Froome finished as king of the mountains -- only the sixth rider to finish in yellow and the polkadot jersey -- and Quintana, 25, was the best young rider as his Movistar outfit won the team competition.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

In Germany, marriage remains out of reach for gays

Same-sex couples cannot get married in Germany - in contrast to the situation in the US and some other EU countries. Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing Christian Democrats remain opposed.

Deutsche Welle, 25 July 2015

An office door opens and you see what appears to be Angela Merkel's silhouette at the window. The chancellor is typing something into her cellphone. In the background you can hear scraps of sentences being spoken by a presenter relaying the recent news from Ireland: "A clear majority of about 62 percent voted for same-sex marriage. This is a historical turning point in the Catholic nation." Right then, a pretty young woman in a nightgown draws nearer to "Merkel" and embraces her from behind. Merkel tenderly reciprocates the embrace and clearly enjoys it.

Of course, this is only a fantasy turned into a video by the Berlin lesbian magazine "Straight." Reality is quite different for Merkel, reputedly the most powerful woman in the world. She rejects marriage equality and does not want to present any draft legislation on the matter. So, same-sex couples still have many legal disadvantages compared to legally married heterosexual couples. Even gay men and lesbians living in civil partnerships have little chance of adopting children, and, if they do, the process proves to be difficult.

"I find it hard to accept full equality," Merkel told a television program in 2013, before she was re-elected. In this video, you see a homosexual viewer who, with his male partner, is trying to adopt a child. "What reasons lead you to believe that children of same-sex couples are not brought up so well?" he asks the TV presenter and the chancellor.The audience applauds the question.

"It concerns the child's welfare," Merkel answers.

The audience member who asked the question responds: "But we gay couples are also concerned."

"Yes, I know that, I know," Merkel says, but she has obviously been forced into a tight spot. She does not go into detail about her stance.

Instead, the faction leader of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) voiced his opinion. He asserted that "until proven otherwise, I am convinced that it is in a child's interest to be raised by a mother and father." In other words, marriage means a union of man and woman. On July 24, 52 percent of 12,000 CDU members surveyed were of the same opinion. Internal party opposition does not seem to be growing against Merkel.

The party's stance toward gay marriage

Up until 1993, homosexuality in Germany was a criminal offense, according to a law known as paragraph 175. That year, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger stepped in and the law, passed in 1872, was finally abolished. It wasn't until 2001 that the "registered civil partnership" was introduced as a substitute for marriage for couples deemed ineligible. In the last government, the supposedly progressive liberal Free Democrats (FDP), too, opposed marriage equality, keeping in line with the CDU and their Bavarian partners, the Christian Social Union. In 2013, the FDP lost its seats in parliament.

The current coalition of the CDU and Social Democrats (SPD) inspired hope for gay men and lesbians. SPD Justice Minister Heiko Maas had been expected to oppose Merkel more strongly. But new draft legislation by the Justice Ministry does not accommodate the main point of criticism toward the "registered civil partnerships," according to the Greens, who had already introduced the first legislative initiative for gay marriage 25 years ago. Back then, when Helmut Kohl was ruling, it was like fighting against Don Quixote's windmills. Now, the Green MP Volker Beck is particularly keen on backing marriage equality.

No substitute for marriage

Currently, homosexual couples only live in a consensual union, known as the registered civil partnership, which also has many disadvantages compared to traditional marriages.

Adoption laws are complicated and they hinder many applications. State health insurance does not pay for lesbian couples' in vitro fertilization but it does for women married to men. Children of homosexual migrants cannot automatically join their parents, but children of straight couples can. These are only a few reasons why same-sex couples would like to wed. They frequently point out Article 6 of Germany's constitution, which protects marriage but does not define who is permitted to marry. Legal experts state that the constitution does not even need to be amended to facilitate gay marriage.

Just a few weeks ago, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that registered civil partnerships should be granted the same tax advantages as straight couples. Parliamentarians had to comply and decided to grant gay couples the same fiscal rights. Sadly, there have been growing signs that the changes haven't reached the acting authorities: the revenue offices. Many types of tax software stop working when male-male and female-female are entered, one of Volker Beck's staff members says.

In 24 of the Council of Europe's 47 member countries, marriage equality is recognized to its full extent. Just a few days ago, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg hinted that this should be the case in all member countries. Partnerships are encompassed in the term "family life" and protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Advocates of marriage equality view the statements in Strasbourg as an imminent turning point for political opinions on the issue - even in Germany.

Related Articles:

"The Akashic Circle" – Jul 17, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Religion, The Humanization of GodBenevolent Design, DNA, Akashic Circle, (Old) Souls, Gaia, Indigenous People, Talents, Reincarnation, Genders, Gender Switches, In “between” Gender Change, Gender Confusion, Shift of Human Consciousness, Global Unity,..... etc.)  - (Text version)

“… Gender Switching

Old souls, let me tell you something. If you are old enough, and many of you are, you have been everything. Do you hear me? All of you. You have been both genders. All of you have been what I will call between genders, and that means that all of you have had gender switches. Do you know what happens when it's time for you to switch a gender? We have discussed it before. You'll have dozens of lifetimes as the same gender. You're used to it. It's comfortable. You cannot conceive of being anything else, yet now it's time to change. It takes approximately three lifetimes for you to get used to it, and in those three lifetimes, you will have what I call "gender confusion."

It isn't confusion at all. It's absolutely normal, yet society often will see it as abnormal. I'm sitting here telling you you've all been through it. All of you. That's what old souls do. It's part of the system. …”

Friday, July 24, 2015

Saudi king hits French beach -- with a cast of 1,000

Yahoo – AFP, 24 July 2015

Saudi Arabia's King Salman will holiday in France with an entourage of more
than 1,000 people (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

Vallauris (France) (AFP) - King Salman of Saudi Arabia is expected to arrive in France later Friday for a Riviera beach holiday, bringing with him no fewer than 1,000 people from his entourage.

While the king's three-week visit is a boon for the local economy, it has also sparked anger due to the closure of a public beach for the privacy and security of the royal party.

The king's inner circle will be put up at the family's private villa, which stretches across a kilometre of Riviera coastline between Antibes and Marseille.

Some 700 other members of his entourage will be accommodated at top hotels on the promenade in Cannes.

Hundreds of other Saudis will be following the king on his holiday -- as is the tradition -- bringing the total number of Saudi citizens flooding into the southern French beach resorts to around 1,000.

"Clearly this is good news," said Michel Chevillon, president of an association representing hotel managers in Cannes.

"These are people with great purchasing power which will pep up not only the luxury hotel industry but also the retail and tourism sectors of the town," said Chevillon.

General view of the public beach called "La Mirandole", located below a villa
 owned by the Saudi King, on July 20, 2015 in Vallauris, southeastern France
(AFP Photo/Valery Hache)

But not everyone is happy.

An entire kilometre of public beach will be cordoned off for security and privacy reasons and coastguards will stop anyone coming within 300 metres of the villa by sea.

The Saudis also generated a great deal of anger by starting work on an elevator from the beach to the villa, which involved pouring a huge slab of cement directly on to the sand.

A petition against the "privatisation" of the public beach gathered more than 45,000 signatures in eight days.

"We recall that this natural zone, like all maritime public estates, is an intrinsic public property that should be available for the benefit of all, residents, tourists, French, foreigners or people passing through," said the petition.

"We ask the state to guarantee the fundamental principle of the equality of all citizens before the law," the text added.

"We're sick and tired of this messing around," said a local woman, more succinctly.

"I can see it's normal that you need to guarantee their security but they should let us go for a swim."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Balkans' new zeal for protecting whistleblowers

Balkan countries vying to join the EU have passed, or are in the middle of passing, better whistleblower protection laws than most EU member states have. Ironically, the EU is co-financing this new anti-corruption zeal.

Deutsche Welle, 23 July 2015

It's impossible to fight corporate corruption if you don't know it is happening. But whistleblowers never get an easy ride, and their stories often end with the realization that if they'd known what they were getting themselves into, they wouldn't have become whistleblowers at all.

Visnja Marilovic was a bookkeeper at the Skenderija cultural and sports center in Sarajevo, when, one day in 2010, she was asked to process an invoice for a lot of beds. She realized that not only was her boss furnishing his new hotel with the company's money, but that evidence of corruption was passing across her desk every day. To Marilovic, reporting the crime wasn't whistleblowing - it was her job. "As a financial official, I was responsible for the documentation to be accurate and true," she told DW. "I thought I was protecting the company from disaster and my workplace altogether."

After googling how to file charges, and getting prosecutors to investigate, she assumed the director would be replaced and they could carry on working. Instead, she got fired and went through nearly three years of misery until her boss' trial finally began earlier this year. "I passed hell with my children and for two months I had to live under police protection because of threats," she said. "If I knew how much my kids had to suffer I would not have done it."

Progressive laws

Delegates from across the region
gathered at a Sarajevo hote
With her life turned upside down, Marilovic now works at the Center for Responsible Democracy, a Sarajevo-based NGO that helped to draw up Bosnia's brand new whistleblower protection law - which came into effect in January this year. Bosnia is not the only country in the region that has written whistleblower protection into its legislation in the past few years - so have Romania, Serbia, Kosovo, Moldova, and Montenegro. Albania is in the middle of passing one through its parliament, while the Bulgarian government last year released an in-depth report that includes legislative proposals.

It all amounts to a surge of legislative activity in the region that was distilled a few weeks ago in a windowless hotel conference room in downtown Sarajevo. Legislators, government advisers, ministry officials, NGO workers, and actual whistleblowers came together for a conference organized by the international NGO "Blueprint for Free Speech" and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) to compare whistleblower protection notes.

"Countries like Bosnia, long thought of as more economically backward, are now moving forward more seriously on whistleblower protection than Western European countries," said Suelette Dreyfus, executive director of Blueprint for Free Speech. "If Western Europe doesn't lift its game, it will end up being left behind in the dust."

The irony is of course that many of these efforts are being co-financed by the European Union, even though Germany, France, Spain, and Portugal, for instance, have no dedicated whistleblower protection laws.

Meanwhile, Blueprint's Mark Worth, who says he has studied around 70 whistleblower laws and draft laws around the world, explained the priorities to those assembled: "The three things a whistleblower needs are: a place to disclose information, protection from retaliation, and for the thing to be investigated. The law has to create loophole-free provisions and mechanisms for those three things to be covered."

Curing the cancer

Deputy Justice Minister Idlir Peci is
about to get Albania's new whistleblower
protection law through parliament
In the heat of the summer afternoon, with phrases like "Can we at least agree that pre-court protection is necessary?" flying across the conference room, the Albanian Deputy Justice Minister Idlir Peci, his shirt-sleeves rolled up, explained that he had been stung by his country's terrible record on corruption.

"I spent 20 years in the Netherlands, and I decided to come back to my country because I saw a will to change things," he told DW. "I think all the countries in the region are tired of being dragged down. And I think the politicians are also realizing they cannot hide behind their fingers and sell beautiful stories to the public without really accomplishing these beautiful stories."

But where is this new energy coming from? "My motivation comes from all the reports, especially from Transparency International, but also all kinds of other rankings, where Albania scores very badly," he said. "And from the public perception that corruption is a cancer in society that has to be cured."

A polite nudge from the EU

Yavor Siderov, advisor to the Bulgarian deputy prime minister, was making similar noises: "There seems to be a very concerted effort with regards to anti-corruption and whistleblowing, which is amazing. It's a very positive trend, given that the Balkans are constantly being given as examples of rampant corruption."

Both Peci and Siderov also said that the competition to join the EU was acting as a spur - as was the money the EU offers to help fund the laws. "It's always a good thing to have the European Union provide you with a polite nudge down the road of transparency and anti-corruption," said Siderov.

As the conference wound down, Mark Worth delivered a closing pep talk to encourage the assembled legislators. "It's a very delicate issue, and I'm hearing a lot of tentativeness," he told the various delegations. "I think you should be brave, because the whistleblower's being brave."

But as Marina Micunovic, a senior advisor at the Montenegro Ministry of Justice, underlined afterwards, the point of a whistleblower law is to end the need for bravery: "At the moment, we are just applauding the ones who are brave, but they are not our target group," she said. "We need to encourage the ones who are afraid."

Martin van Pernis, Chairman, Committee Whistleblowers advice
center, speaking at the launch of the advice center Whistleblowers
 in 2012 (NRC/ANP)