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. …

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dutch, French to jointly buy rare Rembrandts for 160 mn euros

Yahoo – AFP, Jan Hennop, 30 Sep 2015

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses a large collection of Dutch art through
the centuries, including many Rembrandts (AFP Photo/Robin van Lonkhuijsen)

The Hague (AFP) - The Netherlands and France will jointly buy two rare Rembrandts for 160 million euros, the Dutch culture minister said Wednesday after the two states defused a potential bidding war.

The 17th-century paintings, which currently belong to the wealthy French Rothschild banking family and have rarely been seen in public, will alternate between the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre, Jet Bussemaker said in a letter to the Dutch parliament.

"We believe these two rare portraits should always be allowed to be admired together, alternately between the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre, so they are accessible to the broader public, both young and old," she said, adding that the deal was cemented by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French President Francois Hollande at the United Nations this week.

"A few months ago it still seemed unthinkable," Rijksmuseum director Wim Pijbes told Dutch radio. "But now two beautiful portraits will be together in the public domain, in two museums of world fame."

Wrangling over the two full-length portraits of a young couple painted by the Dutch master around their wedding in 1634 had threatened to sour relations between the two European allies.

Visitors looks at Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" in the Rijksmuseum in
Amsterdam, on May 17, 2015 (AFP Photo/Robin van Lonkhuijsen)

Bussemaker on Friday said the Dutch government was willing to stump up half the 160 million euro ($180 million) price tag, with the remaining 80 million euros to be found by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

But her French counterpart Fleur Pellerin had said the day before that Paris had submitted an offer to acquire one of the portraits for the Louvre, and that the paintings would alternate between the two museums.

After "intensive" discussions with Paris over the last few days, the Dutch cabinet decided to agree with France to share the costs "given our combined interests", Bussemaker said.

Details of the agreement -- including insurance and responsibility for restoration -- still need to be worked out, Bussemaker said.

Rarely displayed

The affluent Amsterdam couple Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit commissioned Rembrandt to paint the highly detailed separate portraits on the occasion of their wedding, and the two paintings have always been treated as a single unit, media reports said.

Dressed fashionably in black, Soolmans is depicted holding a glove in his left hand, while Coppit holds an ostrich feather fan and wears a four-row pearl necklace as well as other fine jewellery.

The artnet website said the canvases have been viewed publicly only once in the past 150 years, and Bussemaker has already stressed the importance of finally putting them on public display.

According to the Dutch daily paper NRC, the paintings were reportedly sold to the Rothschilds in 1877 for 1.5 million guilders, despite attempts by the Dutch government at the time to keep them in The Netherlands.

The 17th-century Rembrandt paintings bought jointly by the Netherlands and France
 will alternate between the Louvre in Paris (pictured) and the Rijksmuseum in 
Amsterdam (AFP Photo/Miguel Medina)

The Rothschild family first indicated it wanted to sell the paintings in 2013, NRC added.

'Pair of shoes'

The Rijksmuseum's Pijbes said it was a new concept "in the museum world for two countries to work together to obtain works from a private collection."

He said each country would own half of each of the two paintings, which were "like a pair of shoes, never to be separated".

French Minister Pellerin and Bussemaker in a separate statement issued in Paris also welcomed the deal.

The solution "meets the common cultural and political objective" the countries set for themselves, namely "to keep the paintings on European soil and show them to a large audience."

Louvre president Jean-Luc Martinez called the agreement an "innovative solution" with a "happy outcome that will allow the two masterpieces be seen in public in two major European museums."

Related Article:

VVD leader in Europe is paid RAI advisor, lobbies for car industry

DutchNews, September 30, 2015

Photo: Moritz Kosinsky via
Wikimedia Commons
Dutch MP Hans van Baalen, who leads the VVD delegation in Brussels, is a paid advisor to the car industry, according to news website F-site

Van Baalen, who has had a modest €4,000 role as advisor to the motoring organisation RAI, now earns €8,000 a year as a supervisory board member at Mercedes-Benz in the Netherlands, the website says. 

Last year Van Baalen called for ‘fewer rules’ for the car industry in an opinion piece in the Volkskrant. He also urged the Dutch government to ensure ‘taboo-free’ negotiations with the US over a trade treaty that will make it easier for car manufacturers to do business in the US and harmonise some rules. 

He wrote the article as VVD leader in the European parliament but did not mention his role with the RAI, which considers European lobbying to be a key task. 

Van Baalen is also on the Mercedes-Benz payroll as a member of the supervisory board. Mercedes-Benz is also active in influencing Brussels policy and opposes tougher environmental roles for car manufacturers. 

According to F-site, Van Baalen’s work conflicts with the strict integrity rules which the VVD applies to its politicians. These state: ‘you will not hold any other positions which could form a risk to you carrying out your job with integrity’. 

Van Baalen told the website he did not consider his independence was under threat. ‘I keep the VVD’s rules. I am not a spokesman for the car industry so there is no problem. And I do declare my earnings to the tax office.’ 

He said he did not consider his comments in the Volkskrant had broken the rules or highlighted a conflict of interest.

Related Articles:

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

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

The Unthinkable… Politics, A Review

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

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Switzerland approves extradition to US of FIFA's Eduardo Li

Yahoo – AFP, 29 Sep 2015

The Swiss justice ministry approves the extradition to the United States of the
former head of the Costa Rican Football Federation Eduardo Li, pictured on
May 17, 2011 (AFP Photo/Rodrigo Arangua)

Geneva (AFP) - The Swiss justice ministry on Tuesday approved the extradition to the United States of Costa Rican national Eduardo Li, one the FIFA officials whose arrest in May ignited an unprecedented crisis in world football.

"The Federal Office of Justice (FoJ) has approved the extradition of Eduardo Li to the USA. The Costa-Rican citizen has 30 days in which to appeal to the Swiss Federal Criminal Court against the FOJ's ruling," a statement said.

Li, the former head of the Costa Rican Football Federation, was one of seven FIFA officials arrested in Zurich on May 27 following a US indictment on charges that he took bribes while selling football television rights.

"Li massively influenced the competitive situation and distorted the market for media rights in connection with the World Cup qualifying matches," said the FoJ statement.

"Other sports marketing companies were placed at a disadvantage. Furthermore, among other things the Costa Rican Football Federation was prevented from negotiating marketing agreements which might have been more favourable."

The FoJ said that "all of the conditions for extradition" had been fulfilled.

Swiss authorities had already approved the extradition to the US to face the same charges of others arrested in the corruption sting -- former Venezuelan Football Federation president Rafael Esquivel and Uruguayan former FIFA vice-president Eugenio Figueredo, while the former president of the Nicaraguan Football Federation Julio Rocha agreed last month to be extradited back to his home country.

Although not among the seven arrested, FIFA president Sepp Blatter is being investigated by Swiss prosecutors over the sale of World Cup television rights and a $2 million (1.8 million euros) payment to UEFA president Michel Platini.

Two other former FIFA officials, Jack Warner and American Chuck Blazer, have been banned from all football-related activities for life for their roles in the sale of television rights at grossly deflated values.

Warner is fighting extradition to the US from his home on Trinidad and Tobago while Blazer has turned whistleblower and is assisting US authorities.

US authorities have charged 14 people in relation to more than $150 million (134.5 million euros) in bribes given for television and marketing deals.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Swiss authorities probe 7 banks for suspected metals price fixing

Yahoo – AFP, Nina Larson, 28 Sep 2015

Swiss competition authorities are investigating UBS, HSBC, Deutsche Bank 
and four other banks on suspicion of price fixing in the precious metals market
(AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)

Geneva (AFP) - Swiss competition authorities said Monday they were investigating UBS, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and four other major banks for suspected price fixing in the trade of precious metals like gold and silver.

The Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) said it was looking into whether seven banks had colluded to manipulate prices in the precious metals market.

The watchdog said in a statement that it had "opened an investigation against two Swiss banks, UBS and Julius Baer, as well as against the foreign financial institutions Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Mitsui."

The Swiss Competition Commission says
it is investigating two Swiss banks, UBS 
and Julius Baer, as well as against the
 foreign financial institutions Deutsche
Bank,HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley
and Mitsui (AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)
COMCO, which opened a preliminary probe in February, said it now had indications that the banks had "possibly concluded illegal competition defying deals" in the trade of the precious metals gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

"We think they can have manipulated the price of these precious metals," COMCO deputy chief Patric Ducrey told AFP.

The competition authority said it especially suspected the banks had fixed the prices of bid/ask spreads within the market.

Ducrey said the banks had all been informed of the ongoing probe, and that the investigation would likely conclude in 2017.

Impact unclear

Credit Suisse analyst Cristine Schmid told AFP it was too early to say how the COMCO probe would impact the targeted banks, beyond pushing up their legal costs.

HSBC is one of several banks being 
investigated by Swiss authorities for
price fixing (AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen)
"We would need to know first of all in case the allegations are true for how long this has lasted, what were the volumes affected and what is the average kind of spreads versus market spreads," she said, pointing out that the longer the alleged price agreements would have lasted, "the worse for the banks."

This was not the first time the role of banks in determining the price of precious metals has been questioned.

In August, the European Commission said it was investigating "anti-competitive behaviour in precious metals spot trading."

And in February, US financial media reported that the Justice Department had opened its own investigation into suspected manipulation of precious metals markets by 10 major international banks: HSBC, Bank of Nova Scotia, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Societe Generale, Standard Bank and UBS.

Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Standard Bank of South Africa and the German chemical group BASF have also been under a US investigation since last November over a complaint alleging rigging of the prices of platinum and palladium.

There are moves underway to reform the 
century-old method of gold price "fixing,"
 since the current global benchmark,
 London's Gold Fix, has already been 
tainted by a rigging scandal (AFP
Photo/Sebastian Derungs)
Julius Baer, which was not part of the US investigation, told AFP Monday it would "constructively cooperate" with the COMCO investigation.

UBS, which did not immediately return requests for comment Monday, said in May it had won immunity from criminal fraud charges in the US probe, after agreeing to provide the Justice Department with information about precious metal transactions.

Reform under way

Precious metals have increasingly come under scrutiny after the discovery that other financial benchmarks have been rigged.

Some of the banks under investigation Monday were already hit by massive fines earlier this year after pleading guilty to US charges of conspiring to rig Libor rates, the global commercial interest rate benchmark used to peg millions of rate-sensitive contracts and loans around the world.

Traders operate in the pit at the London 
Metal Exchange in central London, 21 
September 2007 (AFP Photo/Shaun Curry)
That rate is estimated to underpin some $500 trillion worth of contracts.

The price-setting mechanism to determine benchmark prices for precious metals has also been under reform, amid calls for greater transparency.

Panels of banks have until recently agreed on the reference prices for the precious metals.

But last year, the exchange CME Group and financial information giant Thomson Reuters began providing an electronic system for setting benchmark silver prices, and the London Metal Exchange (LME) did the same for platinum and palladium.

There are also moves under way to reform the century-old method of gold price "fixing," since the current global benchmark, London's Gold Fix, has already been tainted by a rigging scandal and attacked by critics as old-fashioned.

A new method for setting the gold benchmark price is expected to take effect in March.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Diesel cars break emission limits in real-world tests: TNO

DutchNews, September 27, 2015

A 2013 report by Dutch research institute TNO showed that diesel car systems in the Netherlands were adapted to appear as if the vehicles were less polluting than they actually were, current affairs programme Nieuwsuur said on Sunday. 

The report, which did not name the manufacturers involved, said the nitrogen oxide emissions from ‘a number’ of diesel cars which officially met Euro 6 emission standards were higher than would have been expected in practical situations. 

The reports said that systems had been installed so that ‘they operated during functional driving conditions in a test but in real-world situations were (partly) switches off for economic reasons’, Nieuwsuur reported. 

The TNO research was carried out on behalf the transport ministry. A ministry spokesman told Nieuwsuur that the ministry was not aware of the deliberate manipulation of the emissions data. In addition, the ministry had not read into the report the claim that the systems had been adapted or switched off, the spokesman said. 

Real world

In a 2015 English-language summary of four reports into diesel car emissions, TNO stated: ‘almost all Euro 6 vehicles that were measured emitted significantly more NOx in real-world conditions on the road than during a type-approval test in the laboratory.’ 

The report continued: ‘It is striking that in real-world conditions the NOx emissions are more than eight times higher than the type-approval value.’ TNO is campaigning to have real-world conditions incorporated into official emissions tests, which are currently lab based. 

Two German newspapers said on Sunday Volkswagen’s own staff and one of its suppliers warned years ago about software designed to thwart emissions tests. Last week, Volkswagen acknowledged installing software in diesel engines designed to hide their true emissions of toxic gasses.

US government has expanded its investigation of pollution-skirting devices in
 diesel vehicles to other manufacturers after Volkswagen admitted it used them
to thwart environmental standards (AFP Photo/Thomas Samson)

Over 440,000 Dutch call for referendum on Ukraine EU treaty

DutchNews, September 27, 2015

A Dutch citizens’ initiative to force a referendum on a far-reaching treaty between Brussels and Ukraine had gathered 446,000 signatures by early Sunday evening. 

The campaign to hold a referendum was launched by shock blog Geenstijl, think-tank Forum voor Democratie and the Burgercomite EU association earlier this month.

In 2014, the Dutch approved legislation to allow ‘advisory referendums’ on controversial topics, if supporters can gather 300,000 signatures. The Dutch parliament has already voted in favour of the treaty.

The aim is of the treaty is to foster political relationships and kickstart economic integration and supporters say it shifts Ukraine away from Russia and more towards the west. 

Opponents say the treaty will cost Dutch taxpayers billions of euros and that the EU’s expansion driver is having an adverse impact on democracy in the Netherlands.

They also argue that the Dutch parliament no longer does what its own voters want, but are driven by Brussels’ own interests. 

If there is a referendum, the results will not be binding on parliament.

Tax office asks Swiss banks about Dutch savers

DutchNews, September 27, 2015

The Dutch tax office is planning to approach more Swiss banks about accounts held by Dutch nationals, broadcaster Nos said at the weekend. 

Swiss paper Le Temps said on Saturday that the tax office had asked Switzerland’s biggest bank UBS about Dutch account holders up to December 31 last year. A tax office spokesman told Nos that two other banks are being approached but did not give further details.

‘The Dutch have requested information about everyone domiciled in the Netherlands who had an account at UBS Switzerland between February 1 2013 and December 31, 2014, and who have not provided the bank with evidence of tax compliance, as requested,’ the paper said. 

The application is the first to be made under the revised Swiss LAAF legislation on exchanging tax information, the paper said.

The Netherlands had operated an amnesty for people with secret bank accounts abroad but the rules for ‘legalising’ illicit savings have been toughened up since July 1. 


Since 2011, €5.5bn held in secret bank accounts abroad has been ‘legalised’ by the tax office, generating over €600m for the treasury, according to the tax office’s latest report, which was published earlier this month. 

Seven out of 10 people who had illicit savings in foreign accounts were over the age of 60, the report states. On average, they had €400,000 on their accounts.  Most money was held in accounts in Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium. 

When the government first announced it would tackle secret bank accounts, there was no fine for people who confessed. Now, however, people have to pay a 60% fine as well as tax on their secret savings.

Friday, September 25, 2015

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

Yahoo – AFP, Benjamin Simon, 25 Sep 2015

FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) shakes hands with UEFA president Michel 
Platini after being re-elected following a vote in Zurich on May 29, 2015 (AFP 
Photo/Michael Buholzer)

Zurich (AFP) - The FIFA scandal on Friday engulfed Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, the two most powerful figures in world football, with Swiss prosecutors investigating whether a two million dollar payment from Blatter to the French legend was illegal.

Swiss investigators opened criminal proceedings against FIFA president Blatter and searched his office as they also quizzed UEFA counterpart Platini.

"Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of FIFA, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on September 24, 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement...and -– alternatively -– misappropriation," said a statement from Switzerland's attorney general's office (OAG).

Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner
 arrives at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates 
court for the extradition hearing against
 him, on September 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/
Alva Viarruel)
Blatter, 79, is standing down because of corruption scandals involving other top officials and Platini had been favourite to win an election to be held in February to succeed him.

The Swiss prosecutor said that "the defendant Joseph Blatter" had been questioned and "the office of the FIFA President has been searched and data seized".

Blatter was questioned as "a suspect". The statement added that Platini had been questioned "as a person called upon to give information".

Platini, 60, has been head of UEFA since January 2007 which made him an automatic FIFA vice-president.

Blatter's lawyer Richard Cullen said in a statement that the FIFA boss was cooperating with Swiss authorities and that a review of the evidence would show "no mismanagement occurred".

Blatter "is suspected of making a disloyal payment of 2.0 million Swiss francs ($2.04 million/1.8 million euros) to Michel Platini, president of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), at the expense of FIFA," the OAG said.

The alleged payment was made in February 2011 "for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002."

Later Friday, Platini insisted the payment had been for "contractual" work he had carried out.

"Concerning the payment that was made to me, I wish to state that this amount relates to work which I carried out under a contract with FIFA," said the UEFA boss.

"I was pleased to have been able to clarify all matters relating to this with the authorities."

FIFA this month suspended Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke after he 
was accused of involvement in an accord to sell tickets for the 2014 World Cup 
at inflated prices (AFP Photo/Sebastien Bozon)

He added: "I also made clear to the Swiss authorities that since I live in Switzerland I am available to speak with them any time to clarify any matters relating to the investigations."

Friday's dramatic turn of events came after a press conference, that Blatter was scheduled to give, was cancelled.

Platini is a former Blatter ally who turned against the veteran Swiss sports baron over the past 18 months as FIFA's troubles mounted.

The investigation is also into Blatter's links with Jack Warner, a former FIFA vice-president now at the centre of a US investigation.

The attorney general said Blatter was suspected of making a deal "unfavourable to FIFA" with the Caribbean Football Union, which Warner used as his power base.

'Properly prepared'

According to Blatter's lawyer Cullen, who is based in Virginia, that contract was "properly prepared and negotiated" by FIFA staff with responsibility for such matters.

A Trinidad court on Friday announced that it would rule on December 2 on whether Warner should be extradited to the United States.

Warner is one of 14 soccer officials and business executives charged by US prosecutors of involvement in more than $150 million in bribes for football broadcasting and marketing deals.

Nearly all of the suspects are from central and South America. Until recent days, FIFA's top leadership had escaped accusations flying around the world body, which earns $5 billion from the World Cup.

Swiss officials arrested seven FIFA officials, who are among the US suspects, on May 27 in Zurich just ahead of the world body's congress.

Blatter was re-elected to a fifth term at the congress despite the storm but then announced on June 4 that he would stand down.

Since then FIFA has announced steps to make reforms but have been shaken by new corruption claims.

A TV crew prepares to film in front of 
the FIFA logo at the FIFA headquarters
 on September 25, 2015 in Zurich (AFP
Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)
FIFA this month suspended Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke after he was accused of involvement in an accord to sell tickets for the 2014 World Cup at inflated prices.

Valcke strongly denied the allegations but FIFA handed over emails from the suspended secretary general that had been demanded by the Swiss attorney general.

He is also under suspicion over what he knew about a $10 million payment from the South African FA to an account controlled by Warner through FIFA in 2008.

US prosecutors believe it was a bribe intended to get Caribbean support for South Africa's bid for 2010 World Cup.

Swiss prosecutors are also looking into FIFA's award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively. Both have strongly denied any wrongdoing in their campaigns to secure the tournaments.

US attorney general Loretta Lynch made it clear this month that her department's inquiry was growing and more major charges could be expected.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Russian President Putin calls singer Elton John

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a telephone call to gay pop star Sir Elton John and agreed to meet him. The renowned British singer was tricked last week by pranksters impersonating the Russian strongman.

Deutsche Welle, 24 Sep 2015

Singer Elton John performs at the Rock In Rio Music Festival in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil, on Sept. 20, 2015

"Putin … had a talk with Elton John," confirmed Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president's spokesman, on Thursday.

According to Peskov, Putin told John not to be enraged by two pranksters who tricked him last week into believing that the Russian head of state had called.

"Putin called and said 'I know that some guys played a phone prank on you. Don't get offended at them, they're harmless, but of course that doesn't excuse them,'" Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti state news agency.

Elton John did not immediately confirm the phone call on his Instagram account, where he announced the call from Putin last week, which later turned out to be a hoax.

Last week, the British singer wrote
 on Instagram that Putin had phoned
to request a meeting
"Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today," John wrote. "I look forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia."

But the Kremlin immediately denied this: "I am telling you with full authority that President Putin has not talked to Sir Elton John," Peskov said last week.

Peskov did not say whether Putin agreed on discussing the same topic in his real call with the legendary musician.
"Putin said he knows what a popular performer Elton John is, and if their schedules match in the future, he is ready to meet and discuss any questions that interest him," said the spokesman.

In 2013, Russia banned the "promotion" of homosexuality in front of minors. The country has also banned marriage equality, and officials refer to rights efforts as "propaganda." Just this summer, Russia began denying driver's licenses to transgender people, and calls to ban the international LGBT rainbow flag have followed the arrests of marchers in a spring Pride parade.

John, who has two adopted children with his husband, the Canadian filmmaker David Furnish, said he hoped to use his influence to promote tolerance. He performed in the former Soviet Union in 1979 and still regularly graces stages in Russia.

shs/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Putin denounces 'IS' during reopening of Moscow mosque

Russian President Vladimir Putin has delivered a speech at the opening of the country's largest mosque. He sought to promote the positive values of Islam, but also to codemn extremist violence.

Deutsche Welle, 23 Sep 2015

Putin oversees opening of new mosque

Vladimir Putin, concerned about the growing number of Russian-speaking citizens joining the ranks of the self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group fighting in Syria and Iraq, on Wednesday painted jihadism as a distortion of Islamic values and the opening of the new mosque as a positive outlet for Russian Muslims.

"We see what is happening in the Middle East where terrorists from the so-called Islamic State group are compromising a great world religion, compromising Islam, in order to sow hate," he said at the site of the newly reopened Moscow Cathedral Mosque.

The speech, which was delivered just a day before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, also emphasized the mosque's role as a spiritual center for Russians. "It will be a source for education, spreading humanist ideas and the true values of Islam," Putin said.

Among those in attendance were Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was set to meet with Putin later that day to discuss the conflict in the Middle East and specifically in Syria. Concern has grown among world leaders regarding Russia's role in war-torn Syria, with the United States recently accusing Putin of sending troops and military equipment to his embattled ally, President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey, meanwhile, has been highly critical Assad during the country's civil war.

In addition to the estimated 2,000 Russian speakers who have traveled to the Middle East to fight alongside IS, Moscow has also been fighting an Islamic insurgency in the restless Caucusus region in the south.

The Moscow mosque was originally built in the early 1900s, and then demolished in 2011. The reconstruction, which cost $170 million (152 million euros), drew controversy after another mosque was demolished in order to make room for it. One of the largest mosques in Europe, it will be able to accomodate an estimated 10,000 people.

bc/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)
Related Article:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Deep in the forest, Dutch prepare to welcome migrants

Yahoo – AFP, Nicolas Delaunay and Jan Hennop, 22 Sep 2015

The Netherlands is preparing a refugee camp for up to 3,000 asylum-seekers at 
Heumensoord, outside the eastern Dutch city of Nijmegen, on the border with
Germany (AFP Photo/Piroschka van de Wouw)

Nijmegen (Netherlands) (AFP) - Deep in a tranquil Dutch forest a transformation is taking place, as the Netherlands scrambles to set up camp for thousands of migrants who will start arriving this week.

Between Wednesday and Friday the first of 3,000 desperate asylum-seekers are expected to stream through the gates at Heumensoord outside the eastern Dutch city of Nijmegen on the border with Germany.

The Netherlands is anticipating the arrival
 of 3,000 asylum-seekers at Heumensoord, 
outside the eastern city of Nijmegen (AFP
Photo/Piroschka van de Wouw)
Since late last week, teams of soldiers and private contractors have been working furiously to erect the first marquee tents on the grounds, roughly the size of 10 football fields, as lowbed trucks rumbled in and out to the sounds of drills and jackhammers.

The site is an obvious choice: in the summer some 5,000 soldiers camp here to take part in Europe's largest walk, the Nijmegen Four Day Marches, and infrastructure such as water and power already exists.

In the 1990s it was used twice to welcome hundreds of refugees fleeing the wars that followed the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

'Give them shelter'

So far, compared to countries like Austria, Hungary and Germany, the Netherlands has been relatively unaffected by the tens of thousands of migrants streaming across the EU's borders.

"We must give these people shelter, we can't leave them in the street, especially now with winter coming," Gerard Brans told AFP after cycling past the camp to watch the construction process.

Behind him, a front-end loader dumped out another pile of steel spikes which teams of workers drove into the soil to set up yet another massive marquee tent.

Dutch authorities say the asylum-seeker's housing will be "simple and humane" with beds, showers, portable toilets, electricity and Internet connectivity.

The Netherlands has agreed to take over 7,000 refugees as part of the EU's 
migrant quota proposal, as Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb (2nd left) talks 
to asylum-seekers at the Erasmus University, on September 18, 2015 (AFP
Photo/Martijn Beekman)

The campsite is a temporary solution, though: by next June it will have to be evacuated to make place for the annual marches and for use in a paralympic event.

In a country which professes its multiculturalism, most are mobilising to help with the migrant crisis, despite tightened immigration rules and calls by far-right politician Geert Wilders to "close the gates".

'Asylum shopping'

In the 1990s, the number of asylum-seekers to the Netherlands regularly exceeded 40,000 every year -- particularly after the 1990s Balkans wars.

However, between 2002 and 2013 the annual number never went above around 20,000.

Geert Wilders of the Netherlands' Party
 for Freedom (PVV) is fighting the mass
 intake of asylum-seekers, claiming that 
some of the migrants may be
 radicalised Muslims (AFP Photo/
Emmanuel Dunand)
But the dragging conflicts in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Eritrea and elsewhere have changed the situation.

Asylum applications rocketed by 159 percent in the second quarter of 2015 in the Netherlands, higher than anywhere else in the EU, according to the continent's Eurostat database.

Even though the actual number of 6,270 applications remained low compared to Hungary (32,675) and Germany (80,935), it has been enough to sound a wake-up call across the country.

Military barracks, sports halls and unused prisons have been commandeered to house thousands of beds. And the migrant numbers are climbing: last month 7,000 asylum applications were recorded.

This month, 3,100 applications were received in just one week.

Faced with the influx, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called on EU countries to agree to binding quotas for the numbers of refugees they would take in.

He said he wanted to put an end to "asylum shopping" whereby migrants travel to richer western European countries only in order to benefit from better welfare systems there.

The Netherlands is scrambling to set up a refugee camp for thousands of migrants
in Nijmegen, on September 19, 2015 (AFP Photo/Piroschka van de Wouw)

Firebrand anti-Islam politician Wilders is fighting the intake, saying some migrants may have radicalised Muslims hidden among them.

"The Netherlands does not want Islamisation in the country. Soon we'll be Hollandistan," the platinum-haired Wilders told lawmakers last week.

Back in Nijmegen however, Frits van Loosen, 57, said he'll continue to walk the woods past the camp, even if it was packed with migrants.

"It makes no sense worrying about the future," he answered with a shrug when asked about the coming of the migrants.