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

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

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

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

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

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

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


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


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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 30, 2016

German Catholic Congress closes with appeal to support refugees

The 100th Catholic Congress in Germany brought together thousands of believers looking for new ways to assert their faith in volatile times. The three-day event ended with a message on the ongoing refugee debate.

Deutsche Welle, 30 May 2016


Europe's refugee crisis was one of the main themes at the closing of the 100th German Catholic Congress, as it was indeed throughout the three-day event. Celebrating mass in front of 20,000 people, Cardinal Reinhard Marx told the faithful that Christianity held non-negotiable tenets on the issue, and reminding the congregation that thousands of people were drowning at the gates to Europe.

"We must not allow this to continue," Marx stressed.

"If someone approaches our borders in need, he or she will need to be treated with dignity."

Redefining the church for modern times

More than 1,000 exhibitions, performances and talks were staged in Leipzig in the three days of the festival, attracting roughly 40,000 visitors in total. The event, organized by the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), started in 1848 and has been held every two years since - with the main exception of during the days of the Third Reich.

The President of Germany's Central Council
of Catholics (ZdK), Thomas Sternberg, said
the congress was a success
Nowadays, political parties are invited to take part in the event to exchange views with the faithful and find common ground. This year's congress, however, stood out for a particular party not being invited to the event: the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) was not asked to participate in the events.

Organizers justified this by stating that the AfD's anti-immigration agenda was incompatible with the ideas of openness and hospitality that Catholicism places on the members of the church, referring once more to the issue of mass migration.

The President of Germany's Central Council of Catholics (ZdK), Thomas Sternberg, said that he knew no one among AfD leadership ranks who represented a political position that could be helpful in the refugee debate - a cause, he added, that has hundreds of thousands of Christians involved in volunteer positions and other ways of trying to help those fleeing war and famine in their native countries.

Gay Rights and other issues

Three advocacy groups supporting gay and lesbian Catholics were also in attendance at the congress, signaling a more tolerant approach towards sexual orientation taking place in parts of the church. The Catholic Lesbian Network and the Workgroup Homosexuals and Church were invited by organizers to present their work on the open integration of sexual minorities to the Catholic Church.

The prospect of having female deacons was also highlighted in the sidelines of the congress - amid great applause. Having suffered numerous sex scandals in the past years, the Catholic Church, under the guidance of Pope Francis, is trying to reassert its position in the world, hoping to witness a revival with a number of reforms and more welcoming attitudes to previously excluded demographics.

Sternberg said the event was a great success to that end. "We witnessed a lively church in these few days in Leipzig, and we saw that the church can do things differently; we didn't have to bemoan declining numbers but could rather rejoice in growing interest."
The next German Catholic Congress is due to be held in the city of Münster in 2018.

ss/jr (KNA, dpa)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with Pope Francis during a private
audience  at the Vatican on May 6, 2016 (AFP Photo/Alberto Pizzoli)

Related Articles:



"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / 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)

“… I gave you a channelling years ago when Pope John Paul was alive. John Paul loved Mary, the mother. Had John Paul survived another 10 years, he would have done what the next Pope [The one after the current one, Benedict XVI] will do, and that is to bring women into the Church. This Pope you have now [Benedict XVI] won't be here long.* The next Pope will be the one who has to change the rules, should he survive. If he doesn't, it will be the one after that.

There it a large struggle within the Church, even right now, and great dissention, for it knows that it is not giving what humanity wants. The doctrine is not current to the puzzles of life. The answer will be to create a better balance between the feminine and masculine, and the new Pope, or the one after that, will try to allow women to be in the higher echelon of the Church structure to assist the priests.

It will be suggested to let women participate in services, doing things women did not do before. This graduates them within church law to an equality with priests, but doesn't actually let them become priests just yet. However, don't be surprised if this begins in another way, and instead gives priests the ability to marry. This will bring the feminine into the church in other ways. It will eventually happen and has to happen. If it does not, it will be the end of the Catholic Church, for humanity will not sustain a spiritual belief system that is out of balance with the love of God and also out of balance with intuitive Human awareness. …”



“… With free choice, the percentage of DNA efficiently started to go down as humanity grew. As soon as the DNA started to lose percentage, the gender balance was dysfunctional. If you want to have a test of any society, anywhere on the planet, and you want to know the DNA percentage number [consciousness quota] as a society, there's an easy test: How do they perceive and treat their women? The higher the DNA functionality, the more the feminine divine is honored. This is the test! Different cultures create different DNA consciousness, even at the same time on the planet. So you can have a culture on Earth at 25 percent and one at 37 - and if you did, they would indeed clash. …”

“… You're at 35. There's an equality here, you're starting to see the dark and light, and it's changing everything. You take a look at history and you've come a long way, but it took a long time to get here. Dear ones, we've seen this process before and the snowball is rolling. There isn't anything in the way that's going to stop it. In the path of this snowball of higher consciousness are all kinds of things that will be run over and perish. Part of this is what you call "the establishment". Watch for some very big established things to fall over! The snowball will simply knock them down. …”

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hollande, Merkel mark centenary of Battle of Verdun

The French and German leaders are attending a series of events to commemorate those killed in the WWI campaign. They are expected to use the occasion to urge increased European unity in the face of many challenges.

Deutsche Welle, 29 May 2016


French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday launched a series of events to commemorate the centenary of the longest battle of World War I, which took place near the northeastern French town of Verdun.

In the first of several acts of remembrance, the French and German leaders laid wreaths at the German military cemetery at Consenvoye, just north of Verdun. The remains of some 11,000 German soldiers are buried at the cemetery.

Hollande and Merkel then attended a ceremony in the Verdun town hall. In her speech, Merkel said Verdun stood not only for the "incomprehensible horror and senselessness of war," but also for "the lessons it had taught and the German-French reconciliation."

"Only those who know the past can draw instruction from it and use this to shape a good future," she said, adding that the friendly reception she had received as a German chancellor in the town was "not at all to be taken for granted."

She and Hollande also presented the mayor of Verdun with this year's Adenauer-de Gaulle Prize, which honors those who have contributed to the German-French friendship.

In his remarks, Hollande said that Verdun had not frozen to become a cult of the dead, but always looked to the future to fulfill its mission of peace.

Ten-month battle

Some 3,400 French and German young people created an open-air presentation representing an encounter between the young people who had died at Verdun in 1916, and those living today.


The international ceremony was held at the Douaumont ossuary, where the remains of 130,000 soldiers from both sides are buried. The presentation was choreographed by German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff.

Also in attendance were European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.

A number of events are planned on Sunday in Verdun

and German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen.

The newly renovated memorial at Verdun was formally opened by Merkel and Hollande.

The Battle of Verdun, pitting the Germans and the French against one another, lasted for 10 months from February to December 1916, and claimed more than 300,000 lives. They included 163,000 French and 143,000 German soldiers.

The battle was one of the bloodiest of the entire 1914-1918 war but failed to produce a victor.

Cementing the German-French friendship

The cemetery at Douaumont has additional significance as the place where the then West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and former French President Francois Mitterand joined hands during a 1984 commemoration of the battle in a historic symbol of reconciliation between the two nations.

Mitterand (L.) and Kohl: a historic gesture of reconciliation

Merkel referred to this milestone in her speech at Verdun, saying that it was an image that had "burnt itself deeply into our nations' memories."

Speaking on the eve of the commemorations, Merkel said the fact she was invited to the event this year was a sign of how good German-French relations now were.

She also expressed the hope that Britain would not vote to leave the European Union in a referendum to be held next month.

Germany and France are widely seen as the two leading "motors" of the 28-member bloc, which is currently facing heightened challenges, such as a massive influx of migrants and refugees, and financial crises in several member states.

The potential exit of Britain from the bloc has added to a widespread feeling that EU unity is under threat.

tj/jm/sms/rc (dpa, AFP)
Related Article:


“… Human Nature is Changing

There's a new concept afoot, a change in Human nature. We've spoken about this before. How many of you studied European history? And in school, did your mind fill up with all of the dates you had to memorize? Who conquered whom and when? Over and over and over, every single country had their turn conquering another country. Borders moved constantly. As far back as you want to go, that's what Humans did. They separated, gathered, and conquered. But as little as 50 years ago, it all stopped.

We've said this before. Fifty years ago, a seed, an idea, was planted at the end of World War II. "Let's put these European countries together," they said. "Let's even drop the borders and eventually give them one currency." Do this and they'll never war again, they predicted, for countries with common economic sources don't go to war! And that's exactly what's happened. Did it work? It's fairly fresh, but their money is threatening to take over the strength of your money, did you notice? It's worth more than yours. They still struggle to make it work and balance it. But then again, you do the same in the United States, always fine tuning the unity.

South America is considering the same thing right now. The seeds are being planted in Brazil. Within a generation, they would love to see the borders dropped and one currency. Can they do it? Perhaps. Perhaps it will take longer. Why do it? Because they see the European Union with the strongest currency on Earth. We've said this before. Here is a prediction: Perhaps not in your time, but there'll come a day when there are only five currencies in the world, because continents will start understanding that unification creates peace and prosperity. Separation creates chaos. What a concept. …

Friday, May 27, 2016

EU slaps North Korea with new sanctions

Europe has decided to follow the lead of the UN, which recently hit Pyongyang with its toughest restrictions yet. The reclusive nation refuses to adhere to a Security Council ban on its missile program.

Deutsche Welle, 27 May 2016


The European Union adopted new restrictions against North Korea on Friday. The move came in protest to missile tests carried out by Pyongyang that flouted UN resolutions forbidding development of the country's nuclear program.

The new sanctions include a ban on importing any petroleum or luxury products from North Korea and prohibit selling anything to the regime that could be used for military purposes. Additionally, no aircraft or ships coming from North Korea are allowed to enter, use or fly over EU territory.

A further tightening of restrictions on investments in North Korea and a ban on money transfers were also part of the new raft of sanctions.

"The EU decided to further expand its restrictive measures targeting the DPRK's nuclear, weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs," said an EU statement, referring to the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The 28-member bloc was following the UN's lead. The UN Security Council imposed its toughest sanctions yet on Pyongyang in March. The UN move was also a response to continued nuclear and ballistic missile testing.

Diplomatic relations between Europe and North Korea were nominally established in 2001 but remain minimal. The bloc first imposed sanctions against the isolated country in 2006.

Earlier on Friday, Pyongyang startled the international community when it threatened to retaliate after South Korea fired what it said were warning shots on two vessels from the North. Seoul said that a patrol vote and fishing boat had crossed the disputed maritime border between the two countries.

es/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Europe needs the English rose, Dutch king tells EU parliament

DutchNews, May 25, 2016

King Willem-Alexander with parliament
 president Martin Schulz.
 
Dutch king Willem-Alexander has told the European parliament that the EU would not be complete ‘without the English rose’. 

In a oblique reference to the forthcoming British referendum on EU membership, the king said in a speech: ‘Everyone’s input is essential. The European bouquet is not complete without the Spanish carnation, the French fleur-de-lys… the Dutch and the Hungarian tulip. And not without the English rose.’ 

While praising European ideals, the king said that for many Europeans, their own land is the important anchor, with their own history, traditions and customs. ‘But we should never forget how much we have to thank the broader European movement and the people and cultures around us,’ he said. 

Nevertheless, the importance of the EU did not absolve the organisation of the obligation to be open to criticism and look at itself critically, the king said. 

Urgency

‘We often only take action on urgent community issues when things have gone so far that there is no alternative,’ he said. 

He urged the European parliament to strengthen the EU by taking the wishes of all citizens into account. Terrorism and the refugee crisis are putting the union under pressure, and that makes a solid basis even more essential, the king said. 

The king was addressing the European parliament as part of the Netherlands’ presidency of the EU which runs until the end of June. 

Related Article:


“… Human Nature is Changing

There's a new concept afoot, a change in Human nature. We've spoken about this before. How many of you studied European history? And in school, did your mind fill up with all of the dates you had to memorize? Who conquered whom and when? Over and over and over, every single country had their turn conquering another country. Borders moved constantly. As far back as you want to go, that's what Humans did. They separated, gathered, and conquered. But as little as 50 years ago, it all stopped.

We've said this before. Fifty years ago, a seed, an idea, was planted at the end of World War II. "Let's put these European countries together," they said. "Let's even drop the borders and eventually give them one currency." Do this and they'll never war again, they predicted, for countries with common economic sources don't go to war! And that's exactly what's happened. Did it work? It's fairly fresh, but their money is threatening to take over the strength of your money, did you notice? It's worth more than yours. They still struggle to make it work and balance it. But then again, you do the same in the United States, always fine tuning the unity.

South America is considering the same thing right now. The seeds are being planted in Brazil. Within a generation, they would love to see the borders dropped and one currency. Can they do it? Perhaps. Perhaps it will take longer. Why do it? Because they see the European Union with the strongest currency on Earth. We've said this before. Here is a prediction: Perhaps not in your time, but there'll come a day when there are only five currencies in the world, because continents will start understanding that unification creates peace and prosperity. Separation creates chaos. What a concept. …

Monday, May 23, 2016

Austrian far-right narrowly loses presidential election

Yahoo – AFP, Nina Lamparski and Simon Sturdee, May 23, 2016

The green candidate for Austrian Presidency Alexander Van der Bellen
addresses a press conference in Vienna, Austria on May 23, 2016 (AFP
Photo/Dieter Nagl)

Vienna (AFP) - Austria's Norbert Hofer narrowly failed Monday to become the EU's first far-right president after his ecologist rival scraped to victory in a knife-edge election that was a rude wake-up call for the continent's established parties.

Alexander Van der Bellen won 50.3 percent of the vote in Sunday's second-round, marginally ahead of 49.7 percent for Hofer, presented as the friendly and moderate face of the anti-immigration, populist Freedom Party (FPOe).

"Of course I am sad," Hofer said on Facebook as he conceded defeat, but added: "Please don't be disheartened. The effort in this election campaign is not wasted, but is an investment for the future."

Austrian presidential candidates 
Alexander Van der Bellen (left) and 
Norbert Hofer in Vienna on May 22, 
2016 (AFP Photo/Joe Klamar)
Preliminary results late Sunday had put Hofer barely four points ahead in the runoff for the largely ceremonial but bitterly fought-over post of Austrian head of state.

But his paper-thin margin was erased after a record 700,000 postal ballots were counted during Monday, dramatically putting Van der Bellen ahead by just over 31,000 votes in the final tally.

Turnout was at almost 73 percent, high for European elections.

Most observers had thought that Van der Bellen, 72, an independent who stood with Green Party backing, would fail to beat his polished younger rival after lagging 14 points behind him in the first round on April 24.

"But in the last 14 days, there has been such a momentum among voters... (across) all sections of society," the professorial Van der Bellen said late Sunday.

Gun enthusiast Hofer, 45, had tapped into unease about the record number of asylum seekers at the height of Europe's migrant crisis, with his typical supporters made up of lesser-educated working-class men and in rural areas.

But the self-proclaimed "gladiator" has also toned down the FPOe's message to win voters across the spectrum disillusioned with the centrist parties in the current government that have dominated national politics since 1945.

His strategy mirrored the success of other fringe political figures across Europe, most recently in elections in Cyprus on Sunday, as well as further afield as seen with the success of Donald Trump in the United States.

Austrian presidential election (AFP Photo/
Jonathan Jacobsen, Sabrina Blanchard)

French 'relief'

In France, where the National Front's Marine Le Pen will run for president next year, Prime Minister Manuel Valls voiced his "relief to see the Austrians reject populism and extremism... Everyone in Europe should learn from this."

Reinhard Buetikofer and Monica Frassoni, co-chairs of the European Green Party, said the message was that "Europe's values and our shared republican and democratic goals can be defended against insurgent right-wing populism."

But fringe politicians still drew solace from the result.

Frauke Petry, head of Alternative for Germany, who was in Vienna Sunday for what had been expected to be a victory party for the FPOe, congratulated Hofer for the "outstanding result".

France's National Front said the "historic performance is certainly the precursor of future success for all patriotic movements, both in Austria and around the world."


'Different dialogue'

With 2.2 million Austrians voting for Hofer, Van der Bellen said Monday that he wanted to heal the rifts laid bare by the bruising election campaign.

"A lot of people in this country evidently feel that they aren't being seen or heard enough," he said after the result was announced, speaking in a tone that was anything but triumphant.

"We need a different culture of dialogue and a political system, which deals with people's fears and anger... I will also work toward winning the trust of Norbert Hofer's voters."

An even bigger challenge awaits the unhappy coalition government of the Social Democrats (SPOe) and the centre-right People's Party (OeVP).

They suffered a historic debacle in the first round the presidential election on April 24, knocked out with 11 percent each, and prompting chancellor Werner Faymann to quit.

His successor, Christian Kern of the SPOe, now has two years to win back voters from the FPOe -- leading opinion polls under leader Heinz-Christian Strache -- in time for the next general election, due in 2018.

Kern said Monday that the government "must remember that the election result was thanks to a worryingly close margin. Therefore it is of particular importance to us that... no voter feels like they have lost."

Related Article:


Friday, May 20, 2016

US, Britain, France, Germany back business with Iran

Yahoo – AFP, 20 May 2016

Foreign banks and private businesses should not hold back from conducting legal
 business with Iran, said the United States, France, Britain and Germany (AFP
Photo/Atta Kenare)

Brussels (AFP) - Foreign banks and businesses should not hold back from conducting legal business with Iran, Western powers said Friday.

In a joint statement released after talks in Brussels, the United States, the European Union, France, Britain and Germany sought to reassure companies that, after the Iran nuclear deal, certain forms of trade are permitted.

"We will not stand in the way of permitted business activity with Iran," the four powers plus the European Union said.

"And we will not stand in the way of international firms or financial institutions engaging with Iran, as long as they follow all applicable laws," they added.

Under the terms of the Iran nuclear deal signed last year and implemented in February, international sanctions aimed at Tehran's nuclear programme have been dropped.

But the United States has maintained its sanctions targeting Tehran's alleged sponsorship of armed movements in the Middle East and its ballistic missile programme.

European banks, which often have subsidiaries on US soil, have therefore been slow to resume business with Iran, fearing prosecution in the United States.

But, a joint statement by the western parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- the implementation side of the Iran deal -- gave business the green light.

"The interest of European and other global firms in Iran is high," the statement said.

"And it is in our interest and the interest of the international community to ensure that the JCPOA works for all participants, including by delivering benefit to the Iranian people," it continued.

"This includes the reengagement of European banks and businesses in Iran."

US Secretary of State John Kerry -- a key architect of the Iran deal -- was in Brussels for a NATO ministers meeting, and held talks on the Iran deal while he was there.

President Barack Obama's administration has been criticised at home for moving too quickly to allow Iran to return to the international fold after agreeing to nuclear controls.

But Tehran's leaders have complained that the deal was oversold, arguing that they upheld their end of the bargain in surrendering most of their nuclear enrichment capacity in return for sanctions relief.

Meanwhile, European banks have been reluctant to renew ties with the Islamic republic, fearing that -- despite the end of some sanctions -- they could fall foul of US law.

"We understand that firms may continue to have specific sanctions-related questions or concerns about doing business in Iran," the statement said.

"And we stand ready to provide expeditious clarifications," it added, encouraging banks and other enterprises to come forward and seek advice as to how to deal legally with Iran.

"We encourage firms to approach our governments to address remaining questions, rather than forgo opportunities due to misperceptions or lack of information."

Monday, May 16, 2016

UK spy agency GCHQ offers apology to gay code breakers, including Alan Turing

The UK's eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, has apologized for its ban on homosexuals, particularly in relation to legendary code breaker Alan Turing. The apology came on the same day it officially opened a Twitter account.

Deutsche Welle, 16 May 2016

Monument in Manchester to Alan Turing

The head of the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has formally apologized for a ban on homosexuals which led to the dismissal and subsequent suicide of one of its best-ever code breakers, Alan Turing, in the 1950s.

Speaking on Monday, Robert Hannigan told a gay rights workplace conference in London that Turing had been an example to others as he had not been afraid to think "differently and radically."

Alan Turing portrait at the National Gallery
"(I want to) say how sorry I am that he and so many others were treated in this way," Hannigan said. "Their suffering was our loss." GCHQ's ban on homosexuals was only lifted in the 1990s. The life of Turing was featured in a recent film with Benedict Cumberbatch "The Imitation Game.'

"To do our job, which is solving some of the hardest technology problems the world faces for security reasons, we need all talents and we need people who dare to think differently and be different," Hannigan said.

While Turing, and other gay men were regarded as security risks by their employers, the UK's domestic spy agency MI5 was recently rated the country's most gay-friendly employer by campaign group Stonewall. Six years ago it was ranked 134 on the index.

A scene from 'The Imitation Game'
Now with an outward presence on Twitter

GCHQ rarely makes public pronouncements and so its entry to the world of social media made Monday a double-first. "We want GCHQ to be more accessible and to help the public understand more about our work," an unnamed spokesperson said. "We also want to reach out to the technical community and add our voice to social media conversations about technology," maths and cyber-security.

The agency's first tweet "Hello, world" came with a background image of its ring-shaped building in Cheltenham, known locally as the "doughnut."


GCHQ presented itself as an agency "Where our brightest people bring together intelligence and technology to keep Britain safe."

The US Central Intelligence Agency, which joined Twitter in February 2014 and boasts 1.36 million followers, was concise in its welcome:


Within two hours, GCHQ was testing the mental agility of its 16,300 new Twitter followers with a soccer-doku puzzle based on England and Wales' group in the upcoming Euro 2016 tournament in France:


Others reflected on who the spy agency would follow from its official account, starting with a famous and fictitious operative:


jm/msh (Reuters, AFP)
Related Article:


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ukraine stuns Russia to win politically-charged Eurovision

Yahoo – AFP, Hugues Honore, May 15, 2016

After a tense vote count Jamala representing Ukraine was declared Eurovision
 2016 winner after a heart-felt performance of "1944", about the deportations
of Crimean Tatars during World War II (AFP Photo/Jonathan Nackstrand)

Stockholm (AFP) - Ukrainian singer Jamala snatched victory from arch-rival Russia to win the Eurovision song contest, adding a touch of political drama to the annual kitsch extravaganza.

After a tense vote count, during which it seemed Australia was going to run away with the crown until the audience votes came in, Jamala was declared the winner in Stockholm after a heart-felt performance of "1944", a song about the deportations of Crimean Tatars during World War II.

Jamala's entry -- which stirred controversy over perceived veiled criticism of Russia's recent annexation of Crimea -- scored 534 points, closely followed by Australia's Dami Im with 511 points, the juries' favourite.

The hotly tipped former Russian child star Sergey Lazarev came in third with 491 points.

In Moscow, public TV channel Rossiya 1's commentators congratulated Jamala on her win, without mentioning the Crimean Tatars.

They said Jamala's song was "about her family members", without offering further details.

Jamala herself described the win as "amazing".

"I was sure that if you sing, if you talk about truth it really could touch people," the 32-year-old said at the winner's press conference.

The stunning turnaround in the final minutes of the show capped an eventful 61st edition of the love-it-or-hate-it kitsch fest, which was expected to be the most-watched Eurovision since the event was first staged in 1956.

Scores were decided by national juries as well as viewers. In an attempt to give the outcome a more democratic feel this year, fans were given the final say -- adding some last-minute suspense to the contest.

Among the evening's other highlights was a guest appearance by US pop star Justin Timberlake, who entertained the crowd with his hit "Rock Your Body" before performing his new single, the upbeat "Can't Stop the Feeling", which itself wouldn't have sounded out of place in the Eurovision line-up.

In another sign of the contest's growing appeal, Eurovision was for the first time broadcast live in the United States on the Logo channel, which is aimed at the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

The show was also live-streamed on YouTube, giving Google a piece of a pie once reserved for European public broadcasters.

"The Eurovision Song Contest is now a truly global phenomenon," producer Jon Ola Sand said, amid expectations that the show will push last year's record of 197 million viewers worldwide.

Ukraine's Jamala performs the song '1944' as the wins the first place during the
 Eurovision Song Contest final in Stockholm, Sweden, Saturday, May 14, 2016. 
(AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

'In my blood'

Characterised by critics as a potpourri of bizarre performance antics, special effects and cheese, the light-hearted contest usually tries to avoid controversy and steer clear of geopolitics but this year was always going to be different.

Political leaders in Moscow and Crimea had initially sought to get Jamala's song disqualified, arguing that it criticised Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula in March 2014.

The jury approved the lyrics nonetheless, setting the stage for a monumental confrontation.

Inspired by Jamala's great-grandmother's story, "1944" recounts the deportation of the Crimean Tatars by Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin, and she sings it partly in the Tatar language, she says, because "it's in my blood."

The song has resonance for contemporary Ukraine, where memories of that horror were revived by Russia's seizure of Crimea, and Jamala's poignant lyrics tell the story of a people with a history of persecution that continues to this day.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was among the first to congratulate Jamala on her victory.

"Yes!!!" Poroshenko tweeted. "An unbelievable performance and victory! All of Ukraine gives you its heartfelt thanks, Jamala."

Ahead of showtime, bookies had tipped Russia's Lazarev and his catchy "You Are the Only One" tune to win the contest between 26 finalists -- 25 Europeans and one Australian.

Lazarev, popular in his own country and eastern European nations, has built an eventful career as a singer, actor and TV host.

He has also drawn admiration from gay rights campaigners for speaking out against his country's climate of homophobia.

Earlier this month he told Sweden's QX gay magazine that he was happy for fans to wave rainbow flags at his performance, saying he respects his gay fans and they respect him.

Guest competitor Australia also lived up to its billing as a frontrunner, cementing its reputation as a country to be reckoned with in its second year of competition after first being invited to last year's anniversary edition.

South Korean-born Dami Im, 27, a classically trained pianist and former X-factor winner, won over the national juries with her slick performance of "Sound of Silence", but in the end it was the viewers who decided it wasn't quite enough to beat Jamala's performance.