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

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

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

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

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

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

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


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


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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Malala lauds feminism as Trump lands in Davos

Yahoo – AFP, 25 January 2018

Malala lauds feminism as Trump lands in Davos

Davos (Switzerland) (AFP) - Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai on Thursday urged women to "change the world" without waiting for the help of men, as she addressed an audience of the global, and mostly male, elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The 20-year-old global education campaigner spoke not long before the arrival in Davos of US President Donald Trump, who reached the White House a year ago despite revelations of inappropriate conduct towards women.

On Saturday across the United States, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in a Women's March to mark a year to the day since his inauguration.

The annual Davos conference, which unites the world's business and political elite, also takes place this year in the shadow of the feminist #MeToo campaign that shook Hollywood and spread across the globe in 2017.

"We won't ask men to change the world, we're going to do it ourselves," said Yousafzai.

"We're going to stand up for ourselves, we're going to raise our voices and we're going to change the world," she said.

Yousafzai, who was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban in her native Pakistan in 2012 for insisting on the right of girls to go to school, has become a global sensation, pleading for the education of women.

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, she has continued her campaigning while pursuing her studies at Oxford University.

"Feminism is just an other word for equality ... and no one will object to equality," she said.

"It is very simple, it's not as complicated as some people have made it."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

EU to remove Panama, South Korea from tax haven blacklist

Yahoo – AFP, January 16th, 2018

EU to remove Panama, seven others from tax haven blacklist: source

Brussels (AFP) - The EU will remove Panama, South Korea and six other countries from its recently unveiled tax haven blacklist in a quick reversal that drew criticism from activists.

An EU official told AFP that the bloc's finance ministers would pare down the list at talks next week, satisfied that the countries had made commitments to tax reform that Brussels will monitor.

"Barring a major surprise, EU finance ministers should remove eight countries from the blacklist of tax havens," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The change of mind comes just a few weeks after the EU announced an original blacklist of 17 non-EU countries, which drew furious reaction from several of those targeted.

The United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Mongolia, Macau, Grenada and Barbados will also be removed from the list.

The official said the countries removed from the list now move to the EU's so-called "grey list", jurisdictions that have made unspecified commitments to the EU on reforming their tax laws.

"I confirm that a dozen blacklisted third countries have since December sent additional commitments," EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters in Paris.

"It's a good sign, since the purpose of a list is to get out and to get off of it you have to solve the problems that are identified," Moscovici added.

The lists came a year on from the leak of the "Panama Papers" -- a massive amount of data from a prominent Panamanian law firm showing how the world's wealthy stash assets.

The EU originally screened a total of 92 countries to draw up the list, which is expected to be continuously updated.

"This is a worrying trend. Just one month after adopting the list they are taking people off," Aurore Chardonnet, an EU tax policy advisor at Oxfam, told AFP.

"They are weakening the credibility of the list... which is becoming empty," she added.

At the time of its adoption in December, the 28 members of the EU failed to agree on possible sanctions against blacklisted countries.

While France's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, pleaded for sanctions, his Luxembourg counterpart, Pierre Gramegna, was less in a hurry: "It's bad enough to be on the blacklist".

Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Bahrain, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, American Samoa and Namibia remain on the blacklist.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Greece gets fresh cash on road to leaving bailout

Digital Journal – AFP, Danny Kemp, 22 January 2018

New Eurogroup Portuguese President Mario Centeno rang a symbolic bell as he
presided over his first Eurogroup finance ministers meeting. EMMANUEL DUNAND, AFP

Eurozone finance ministers approved a fresh cash injection for Greece on Monday to put the country on the road to finally leaving its long and painful bailout programme later this year.

They also said they would start work on possible debt relief for Athens, despite reservations on the part of powerful Germany which has pushed a more austere line.

The new 6.7-billion-euro tranche agreed by ministers in Brussels is the latest from Greece's third financial rescue package since 2010, when its debt crisis brought the euro close to collapse.

The current programme agreed in 2015 runs until August this year, after which the southern European nation hopes to fully return to market financing and get back on its own two feet.

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said 2018 "will be a decisive year for Greece".

"This will be the year when Greece finally leaves this long period of financial assistance, marked by very hard tests for the Greek people, but which allow Greece to emerge stronger and more resilient," France's Moscovici told a news conference.

Portugal's Mario Centeno -- chairing his first meeting of the Eurogroup of 19 finance ministers from the single currency -- said they would also start "technical work" on "debt relief measures" for Athens.

Greece's huge debt pile is equivalent to an unsustainable 180 percent of its annual economic output.

'Things have turned around'

Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos -- a key figure in the 2015 bailout negotiations that nearly saw Greece crash out of the euro -- said it was a "very good meeting" for his country.

"People are now convinced that things have turned around, and people are beginning to talk about the future and Greece's exit from the programme," he told reporters.

The mention of debt relief was "particularly significant"," he added.

The latest tranche will be split into 5.7 billion euros paid in February and the remaining one billion paid later in the spring once eurozone officials have checked that Greece has carried out all the reforms, the Eurogroup said in a statement.

Centeno, chairing his first Eurogroup for the first time after replacing Jeroen Dijssebloem of the Netherlands, said the cash would cover debt servicing, arrears and boosting Greece's cash reserves ahead of the end of the bailout, said Centeno.

"This is critical to ensure Greece's full market access," he added.

Thousands of people demonstrated in Athens one week ago against the set of around 100 austerity measures imposed by Greece's creditors, which include a politically-charged curb on industrial action.

The reforms also allow for the foreclosure and auction of properties owned by bankrupted borrowers. Both measures were fiercely opposed by leftists and trade unions.

The Greek government insists that the changes are limited, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rejected criticism "as a shameless lie" that his left-wing administration was out to make strikes illegal.

Debt-laden Greece has received three multi-billion-euro bailouts since 2010.

The current rescue programme -- a package worth 86 billion euros agreed after months of talks that almost saw Greece crash out of the euro -- is financially supported by eurozone states but not the International Monetary Fund.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Europe brings on charm and blue skies to lure Chinese tourists

Yahoo – AFP, Céline CORNU, 20 January 2018

Europe brings on charm and blue skies to lure Chinese tourists

Venice (AFP) - Chinese tourists are big spenders and with the numbers visiting Europe set to soar by nearly 70 percent over the next five years, the countries of the Old Continent are rolling out the red carpet to make the guests feel welcome.

A total 12.4 million Chinese, mostly in guided tour groups, came to Europe in 2017, according to the European Travel Comission. And the Chinese Tourism Academy (CTA) is expecting the number to reach 20.8 million by 2022.

"A few years ago, the Chinese came to Europe solely to do some shopping. Now, they're increasingly keen to get know the culture and the countryside," CTA president Dai Bin told AFP, speaking in Venice, at the launch of the year of tourism between the EU and China.

Festivals, cooking courses... "they want to have personal experiences and visit areas where they don't see any other Chinese," said ETC's executive director, Eduardo Santander.

"They like the cuisine, the music, the blue skies... most of them come from the coast, where pollution is extremely high," Santander said.

And some were surprised that they can "breathe without coughing," he added.

China is the world's biggest market for foreign tourism -- with 129 million Chinese holidaymakers travelling abroad, they account for one fifth of the total number of tourists globally.

And they spend more than twice the amount that, say, US tourists do -- $261 billion in 2016 compared with $123 billion.

Hot water and credit cards

Small gestures can go a long way towards making Chinese tourists feel more at ease in Europe, said Jacopo Sertoli, head of Welcome Chinese, a body that awards certificates to tourism companies catering for Chinese customers.

"You can make them very happy by offering them a glass of hot water," he said, noting most Chinese families drink water at that temperature rather than cold.

Chinese language television stations and good wifi in hotel rooms are a good idea while payment methods favoured by the Chinese, such as UnionPay, the only credit card issuer in China, WeChatPay or Alipay are a must.

CTA chief Dai Bin said Europe should reduce the red tape for its Chinese visitors.

"We hope Europe will make is easier for Chinese to get a visa," he said.

"In a number of eastern European countries, for example, it's easy. But it's very difficult in others. And when Chinese tourists visit Europe, they want to visit several countries, not just one," Dai Bin said.

By reciprocation, China would become "more flexible when granting visas and Europeans can stay in Beijing or Shanghai for 144 hours -- or six days -- without a visa," he promised.

According to ETC data, France is the number one desired destination in Europe for Chinese tourists, with 61 percent of visitors hoping to go there, followed by Germany with 37 percent and Italy with 28 percent.

Nevertheless, that picture has started to change in recent years, and travel to eastern Europe is booming, not least because of the easier allocation of visas and the increased availability of cheap flights. The string of terrorist attacks in France and Germany in recent years is also a factor.

In 2016, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Serbia, for example, rose by 173 percent, and numbers were up by nearly 90 percent in Montenegro.

But while "the Chinese are very alert to questions of security, they tend to forget more easily than other tourists," Santander said.

Popular for perceivedly having deep pockets -- a result of the Chinese tradition of giving presents -- Chinese visitors haven't always enjoyed a reputation for their savoir-vivre.

But that's an image which China is itself keen to remedy, with "some tourist agencies offering lessons to customers before they go to Europe," said CTA president Dai Bin.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

EU parliament calls for ban on electric pulse fishing

France24 –AFP, 16 Jnauary 2018

Philippe Lamberts and Ska Keller, who head the Greens bloc in the European
Parliament, display a placard against pulse fishing which involves dragging
electrically-charged lines just above the seabed to shock low-lying marine life
 into trawling nets

STRASBOURG (FRANCE) (AFP) – The European Parliament called Tuesday for a ban on electric pulse fishing in the European Union, defying Brussels which wants the experimental practice in the North Sea done on a larger scale.

The parliament, the EU's only directly-elected body, will now try to strike a compromise with the European Commission, the bloc's executive, and the European Council, which groups the 28 member states.

MEPs voted by 402 members to 232 in favour of the ban, while 40 abstained.

"It is a wonderful victory against a terribly harmful kind of fishing," said Yannick Jadot, a French member of the Greens party, who took part in the campaign against the practice.

Pulse fishing involves dragging electrically-charged lines just above the seafloor that shock marine life up from low-lying positions into trawling nets.

EU rules allow member states to equip up to five percent of their fleets with electrodes, and the method has been adopted in particular by Dutch vessels fishing for sole.

The European Commission wants to maintain the southern part of the North Sea as the venue for pulse fishing but to remove the five-percent limit.

Karmenu Vella, the commissioner for fisheries, argued that pulse fishing is safer for the environment than beam trawling as it reduces carbon emissions and does less damage to the seabed.

Beam trawling involves a large net attached to a heavy metal beam of up to 12 metres in length which is dragged across the seabed, ploughing it up.

Rebecca Hubbard, director for the activist group Our Fish, praised the vote as a "huge win" for European seas, low-impact fishing and the public.


More than 200 top chefs across Europe have pledged to stop sourcing seafood
obtained by electric pulse fishing.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Turkey and the EU: time for plan B?

Yahoo – AFP, Stuart WILLIAMS, January 14, 2018

Erdogan has begun 2018 in a more conciliatory spirit (AFP Photo/OLIVIER HOSLET)

Istanbul (AFP) - After an over half century accession bid, Turkey and the European Union are moving into a new period of relations where tighter cooperation in specific areas will be prioritised over Ankara's drive for full membership, analysts say.

Ties between Turkey and the EU reached a low point in 2017 with the membership process grinding to a halt and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing some key members, including Germany, of behaviour reminiscent of the Nazis.

But Erdogan has begun 2018 in a different spirit, bounding off in the first week of January on a visit to Paris and his foreign minister making a key fence-mending trip to Germany.

Meanwhile, EU leaders have urged a new spirit of realism, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying during Erdogan's January 5 trip it was time to end the "hypocrisy" that progress could be made on Turkish membership.

"There is an understanding on both sides that the accession process is dead and won't go anywhere soon," said Asli Aydintasbas, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

"So we are essentially talking about a new format and a more transactional relationship with European member states," she told AFP, adding this would mean more emphasis on trade.

"Ankara sees this as such and entertains no illusions about revitalising the accession process," she added.

'Downsizing the relationship'

The July 2016 failed coup marked a watershed moment in the history of Turkey-EU relations, with Ankara accusing the bloc of failing to show solidarity and Brussels sounding alarm over the mass post-coup crackdown.

Erdogan met Macron in Paris last week (AFP Photo/LUDOVIC MARIN)

Erdogan has repeatedly huffed and puffed over the length of Turkey's EU bid, complaining that Ankara has been "kept waiting at the door" for 50 years as it watched ex-Communist states being let in without fuss.

Accession talks began in October 2005. Out of the total of 35 chapters needed to be closed to join the EU, 16 have been opened with just one closed. No new chapter has been opened since financial and budgetary provisions was opened in June 2016.

"It's clear that we must move away from this hypocrisy of thinking a natural progression towards the opening of new chapters is possible when this is not true," Macron said after his talks with Erdogan.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, whose country holds the EU presidency, said Friday it was better to have a "realistic" discussion with Turkey about membership without "hiding the problems".

Marc Pierini, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe and a former EU ambassador to Turkey, said Ankara "by its own choices" was no longer meeting the necessary criteria, especially on rule of law, in the wake of the post-coup crackdown.

"Essentially what we are witnessing now is the downsizing of the relationship from one between political allies to one between partners cooperating in a number of fields such as counter-terrorism, trade and refugees," he told AFP.

Hurriyet daily columnist Sedat Ergin wrote Friday Macron's words signalled a "paradigm change" in Turkey's relationship with the EU which, for the French leader, would now be defined "cooperation in pursuit of common goals" rather than enlargement.

"Just a name has not been given to this new format of cooperation," he said.

Incentives for Turkey without full membership include visa liberalisation and an upgrading of the existing customs union.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut 
Cavusoglu held fence-mending talks last week (AFP Photo/Tobias SCHWARZ)

But EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said Ankara would perceive an offer of a so-called "privileged partnership" as an insult, saying Turkey would never accept a "second class status".

'Warming up to Europe'

Elsewhere, Turkey's hopes of a strong relationship with US President Donald Trump have been scuppered by rows including the arming of Syrian Kurds and a New York court case.

Meanwhile Ankara is aware its current pragmatic partnerships with Turkey's historic Ottoman rivals Iran and Russia are precarious while the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia has reshuffled the cards in the Gulf region.

For all the rows of the last year, the EU is still by far Turkey's largest trading partner, while Turkey is the EU's fourth largest export market and fifth largest provider of imports.

The meeting between Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel at least changed the mood music in a bumpy relationship, with Berlin's top diplomat hosting his guest in his folksy Lower Saxon hometown and treating him to a cup of home-brewed Turkish tea.

Gabriel had late December suggested a deal for Britain's relationship with the EU after Brexit could be a model for the future relationship of Turkey with the bloc.

"Turkey is warming up to Europe and there is a deliberate effort from leaders in Ankara to distance themselves from the acerbic language and accusations," said Aydintasbas.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Top European chefs take electric pulse fishing off the menu

Yahoo – AFP, January 11, 2018

More than 200 top chefs across Europe have pledged to stop sourcing seafood
obtained by electric pulse fishing.

More than 200 top chefs across Europe have pledged to stop sourcing seafood obtained by electric pulse fishing, days before an EU vote that could expand the use of the controversial technique, an ocean advocacy group said Thursday.

"We refuse to work with seafood coming from a fishing method that condemns our future and that of the ocean," said the text written by Christopher Coutanceau, whose restaurant on the Atlantic coast in La Rochelle, western France, has earned two Michelin stars.

The practice involves dragging electrically charged lines just above the seafloor that shock marine life up from low-lying positions into trawling nets.

EU rules allow member states to equip up to five percent of their fleets with electrodes, and the method has been adopted in particular by Dutch vessels fishing for sole.

On Tuesday, the EU is to vote on the practice, which critics say harms too many fish that are left on the seabed, as well as those that are harvested.

"Electric trawlers produce catches of poor quality, fish which underwent stress and are often marked by post-electrocution bruises," according to the text released by Bloom, a French NGO.

"It is impossible to work with such low-quality products."

The signatories included French chefs Helene Darroze, Yannick Alleno and Olivier Roellinger, who has longed worked to improve sustainability in the fishing industry.

Spanish chefs Elena Arzak and Quique Dacosta, Italy's Antonino Cannavacciuolo and Alfonso and Ernesto Iaccarino, and Thomas Buehner and Heinz Winkler of Germany also signed the text.

On Wednesday, several members of the European parliament asked for a delay to next week's vote on electric pulse fishing, in order to allow time for an "informed debate".

For Jerry Percy of the Low-Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE), which claims to represent about 80 percent of Britain's independent fishermen, a main problem is the lack of solid data on the long-term consequences of the practice on fishing stocks.

The method is outlawed in many parts of the world, including China, but proponents say it is more environmentally friendly and results in lower fuel usage for boats.

Bloom had already filed in October a case against the Netherlands with the European Commission, accusing the country of illegally authorising its trawlers to use the technique.

EU unveils supercomputer plan to rival China

Yahoo – AFP, January 11, 2018

China overtook the United States in numbers and performance for supercomputers in
a ranking last November, followed by Switzerland and Japan in third and fourth place

The EU unveiled plans Thursday to raise one billion euros to build superfast computers that catch up with China and others to boost Europe's economy, make medical advances and fight hacking.

China overtook the United States in numbers and performance for supercomputers in a ranking last November, followed by non-EU Switzerland and Japan in third and fourth place.

"It is a tough race and today the EU is lagging behind: we do not have any supercomputers in the world's top ten," said Andrus Ansip, the European Commisssion vice president for the digital single market.

The European Commission, the EU executive, said it would contribute around 486 million euros ($580 million) for a "High Performance Computing (EuroHPC) infrastructure", that would then be matched by EU nations.

"We want to give European researchers and companies world-leading supercomputer capacity by 2020," Ansip said in a statement.

Brussels says it will help develop artificial intelligence and applications to improve health, security and engineering, plus help forecast hurricane routes and simulate earthquakes.

European scientists and industry risk yielding secrets or sensitive information as they increasingly process data outside the EU to perform tasks in the absence of the best supercomputers, the commission said.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Ukraine to launch its first solar plant at Chernobyl

Yahoo – AFP, Oleksandr SAVOCHENKO, January 10, 2018

Solar power is a way to make use of the area around Chernobyl that is still
heavily polluted after the 1986 catastrophe (AFP Photo/Genya SAVILOV)

Chernobyl (Ukraine) (AFP) - At ground zero of Ukraine's Chernobyl tragedy, workers in orange vests are busy erecting hundreds of dark-coloured panels as the country gets ready to launch its first solar plant to revive the abandoned territory.

The new one-megawatt power plant is located just a hundred metres from the new "sarcophagus", a giant metal dome sealing the remains of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the worst nuclear disaster in the world.

"This solar power plant can cover the needs of a medium-sized village", or about 2,000 flats, Yevgen Varyagin, the head of the Ukrainian-German company Solar Chernobyl which carried out the project, told AFP.

The solar installation is to go on stream within weeks, the company says.

The group has spent one million euros on the structure which has about 3,800 photovoltaic panels installed across an area of 1.6 hectares, about the size of two football fields, and hopes the investment will pay for itself off within seven years.

Return of industry

Eventually, the region is to produce 100 times the initial solar power, the company says.

The amount of sunshine "here is the same as in the south of Germany," says Varyagin.

Ukraine, which has stopped buying natural gas from Russia in the last two years, is seeking to exploit the potential of the Chernobyl uninhabited exclusion zone that surrounds the damaged nuclear power plant and cannot be farmed.

Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl plant exploded April 26, 1986 and the fallout contaminated up to three quarters of Europe, according to some estimates, especially hitting Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Following the disaster, Soviet authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands of people and this vast territory, over 2,000 square kilometres wide, has remained abandoned.

The plant continued to operate the remaining reactors, the last of which was shut down in 2000, ending industrial activity in the area.

People cannot return to live in the zone for "more than 24,000 years", according to the Ukrainian authorities, who nevertheless argue that a prudent industrial use can be possible again.

"This territory obviously cannot be used for agriculture, but it is quite suitable for innovative and scientific projects," Ostap Semerak, Ukrainian Minister of the Environment and one of the promoters of placing solar projects in Chernobyl, told AFP in 2016.

The installation of a huge dome above the ruins of the damaged reactor just over a year ago made the realisation of the solar project possible.

Solar power production at Chernobyl will start off with one megawatt but is to 
rise 100-fold eventually (AFP Photo/Genya SAVILOV)

Special price

Funded by the international community, it covered the old concrete structure which had become cracked and unstable, to ensure greater isolation of the highly radioactive magma in the reactor.

As a result, radiation near the plant plummeted to just one-tenth of previous levels, according to official figures.

Even so, precautions are still necessary: the solar panels are fixed onto a base of concrete blocks rather than placed on the ground.

The soil remains contaminated, explains Varyagin, whose group is a joint venture between the Ukrainian firm Rodina Energy Group and Germany's Enerparc AG.

"We can not drill or dig here because of the strict safety rules," he says.

Last year the consortium completed a 4.2-megawatt solar power plant in the irradiated zone in neighbouring Belarus, not far from Chernobyl.

Ukrainian authorities offered investors nearly 2,500 hectares (25 square kilometres) for potential construction of solar power plants in Chernobyl.

Kiev has received about 60 proposals from foreign companies - including American, Chinese, Danish and French - who are considering participating in future solar developments in the area, according to Olena Kovalchuk, spokeswoman of the State Administration for the zone of Chernobyl.

Investors are attracted by the price that Ukraine has set for solar electricity, which "exceeds on average by 50 percent of that in Europe", Oleksandr Kharchenko, executive director of the Energy Industry Research Center, told AFP.

He adds that cheap land and the proximity of the power grids makes Chernobyl particularly attractive, though there is still no rush of western investors to the region.

Safety concerns and Ukraine's notorious bureaucracy and corruption has put some off.

"It is very important to have guarantees that working in the Chernobyl zone will be safe for those who will be doing it," says Anton Usov, adviser to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The bank does not currently foresee any investment to Ukraine in this field.


Dutch prepare to bring in new EU rules on airline passenger information

DutchNews, January 10, 2018


Justice minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus has submitted a draft law to parliament which will require airlines to hand over all their information about passengers to the military police. 

The information will go to a new police unit for analysis with the aim of tracking down terrorists and major criminals, the minister said. The new law stems from the European Passenger Name Record directive, which is now being incorporated into Dutch law. 

Grapperhaus expects the legislation to complete its passage through parliament before the summer. 

Information about passengers – including details about baggage, payments and addresses – will be kept for five years. It can also be shared with other countries, Europol and the regular Dutch police force.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

UK Prime Minister Theresa May expected to reshuffle Cabinet

Prime Minister May is set to make alterations to her Cabinet in an effort to reassert her authority, according to reports. The move follows several major resignations in May's government over separate scandals.

Deutsche Welle, 7 January 2018

Theresa May in Brussels (Reuters/Y. Herman)

The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to undergo a reshuffle on Monday after a series of high-profile departures.

According to government sources, several high-profile ministers should expect to be axed.

While May did not comment on the reshuffle directly, she told the BBC on Sunday that "some changes do have to be made," and a Labour Party MP, citing information from colleagues in May's Conservative Party, told French news agency AFP that she would make the changes Monday.

Ministers resign amid numerous scandals

The news comes after May's confidante and Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green was forced to resign last month over a pornography scandal. Shortly before, Defense Minister Michael Fallon and International Development Minister Priti Patel stepped down in separate controversies.

Fallon resigned in November amid wider sexual harassment allegations in Westminster, while Patel was forced to quit due to unauthorized meetings in Israel.

Key figures like Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis are expected to keep their jobs, but Education Secretary Justine Greening and Conservative Party chairman Patrick McLoughlin looked likely to be fired in the reshuffle.

According to the right-wing Daily Mail newspaper, May was expected to clear out the "pale, male and stale" from her ranks, and hopes to promote more women and lawmakers from diverse backgrounds in order to build a government that was "more in the image of the country."

Although May was severely weakened in June when snap elections failed to deliver the Conservative victory she expected, the prime minister has managed to hold on to power throughout the first major round of Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

"I'm not a quitter. I'm in this for the long term," May told the BBC, adding: "Obviously, I serve as long as the people want me to serve."

es/rc (AFP, dpa)


Related Article:


“… The Fall of Many - Seen It Yet?

You are going to see more and more personal secrets being revealed about persons in high places of popularity or government. It will seem like an epidemic of non-integrity! But what is happening is exactly what we have been teaching. The new energy has light that will expose the darkness of things that are not commensurate with integrity. They have always been there, and they were kept from being seen by many who keep secrets in the dark. Seen the change yet?

In order to get to a more stable future, you will have to go through gyrations of dark and light. What this means is that the dark is going to be revealed and push back at you. It will eventually lose. We told you this. That's what you're here for is to help those around you who don't see an escape from the past. They didn't get their nuclear war, but everything else is going into the dumper anyway. … “

Monday, January 1, 2018

Belgium and Netherlands swap land in the New Year

A new Dutch-Belgian border agreement has gone into effect, giving the Netherlands two peninsulas the size of 23 soccer fields. The discovery of a headless body prompted the border move to clear up jurisdictional issues.

Deutsche Welle, 1 January 2018

People walk past Dutch and Belgian flags on the waterfront in Eijsden,
Netherlands (picture-alliance/AP Photo/V. Mayo)

Alongside fireworks and champagne, the Netherlands and Belgium rang in the New Year with some new territory after a revised border agreement between the European neighbors went into effect on Monday.

The curious border situation centers on an area between the eastern Belgian municipality of Vise and the southwestern Dutch municipality of Eijsden that are split by the Meuse River.

Over time, the river's changing course meant that two uninhabited peninsulas that belong to Belgium ended up on the Dutch side of the river while a section of Dutch territory ended up on the Belgian side of the Meuse.


Under the new deal, the border between the two countries in that area now splits down the middle of the river. The Netherlands gained an area the size of 23 soccer fields (16.37 hectares; 40.5 acres).

Belgium, on the other hand, gains an area as big as four soccer fields (3.09 hectares; 7.6 acres) and loses the idyllic nature parks on the peninsulas to the Dutch. The big win for Belgium, however, is a solution to a jurisdiction nightmare caused by the previous border.

Screenshot of the border between the Netherlands and Belgium at the
river Meuse (Google Maps)

A Google Maps screenshot shows the twisting and turning old border that created pockets of Belgian and Dutch territory on opposite sides of the Meuse River

A body and a border

The uninhabited peninsulas garnered a dark reputation over time. Local residents complained that the small areas were used for illegal parties, drug deals and prostitution, according to Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Around four years ago, things came to a head after a couple walking on one of the peninsulas stumbled across a headless body.

They informed the Dutch authorities, but police in the Netherlands were unable to investigate as the body was found on Belgian territory.


On the other side, Belgian authorities had a difficult time getting to the crime scene. Belgian police are not allowed to cross into the Netherlands without receiving special permission, so they had to travel by boat.

The peninsula also didn't have a suitable docking area for their boats, Jean-Francois Duchesne, the police commissiare of the Lower Meuse region told the Associated Press last year.

"So we had to go there by boat with all that was needed — the prosecutor, the legal doctor, the judicial lab — we had to do round trips over the water. It really was not very practical," Duchesne said.


Belgian and Dutch royals signed off on the deal last November, over 170 years after the countries' borders were originally agreed in 1843.

In 2016, Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders hailed the deal, saying it was a sign of good relations between the two countries.

"The agreement shows that borders can also be exchanged peacefully," he said.


German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (above left) and his Dutch
counterpart, Bert Koenders (right)

Related Articles:

Germany and the Netherlands end centuries-old border dispute

Netanyahu looks to Belgium-Holland border for settlement solution

The border between Belgium and the Netherlands at Baarle-Nassau
(photo credit: Tos/Wikipedia)