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. …

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Italy plunges into political crisis after govt talks collapse

Yahoo – AFP, Terry DALEY, May 27, 2018

Prime minister candidate Giuseppe Conte, picked by the Five Star Movement
and the League, stepped aside, making a temporary technical government
seemingly inevitable (AFP Photo/Vincenzo PINTO)

Rome (AFP) - Italy could be forced to hold new elections after Giuseppe Conte gave up his bid to form a government following the collapse of talks with the president over including a eurosceptic economy minister in his cabinet.

Conte, 53, a lawyer and political novice, picked for prime minister by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League seeking to create a coalition government, was given the green light to form his cabinet on Wednesday, but he still had to present a list of ministers that the head of state would agreed to before his government could seek approval in parliament.

"I have given up my mandate to form the government of change," said Conte to reporters after leaving failed talks with President Sergio Mattarella.

Conte's decision to step aside leaves Italy in a political crisis nearly three months after March's inconclusive general election.

Following the collapsed talks, Mattarella has summoned Carlo Cottarelli, former director of the International Monetary Fund's fiscal affairs department, for talks on Monday, with a temporary technical government now looking inevitable as Italy faces the strong possibility of new elections in the autumn.

Cottarelli, 64, worked at the International Monetary Fund from 2008 to 2013 and became known as "Mr Scissors" for making cuts to public spending in Italy.

Savona choice sinks deal

Mattarella confirmed that the nomination by the Five Star Movement and the League of Paolo Savona for economy minister saw the end of Conte's brief mandate.

In his latest book, "Like a Nightmare and a Dream", 81-year-old Savona calls the euro a "German cage" and says that Italy needs a plan to leave the single currency "if necessary".

"I accepted every proposed minister apart from the minister of the economy," Mattarella told reporters.

A former judge of Italy's constitutional court, Mattarella has refused to bow to what he saw as "diktats" from the two parties which he considered contrary to the country's interests.

He had watched for weeks as Five Star and the League set about trying to strike an alliance that would give Italy's hung parliament a majority.

The president said that he has done "everything possible" to aid the formation of a government, but that an openly eurosceptic economy minister ran against the parties' joint programme promise to simply "change Europe for the better from an Italian point of view".

"I asked for the (economy) ministry an authoritative person from the parliamentary majority who is consistent with the government programme... who isn't seen as a supporter of a line that could probably, or even inevitably, provoke Italy's exit from the euro," he added.

Mattarella said Conte refused to support "any other solution" and then, faced with the president's refusal to approve the choice of Savona, gave up his mandate to be prime minister.

The leaders of Five Star and the League, Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, were infuriated by Mattarella's refusal to accept Savona, a respected financier and economist.

"Why don't we just say that in this country it's pointless that we vote, as the ratings agencies, financial lobbies decide the governments," a livid Di Maio said in a video on Facebook.

"When the people give more than 51 percent of consensus to political forces that want to represent the interests of the Italian people, they find a way to block everything. It's unacceptable."

Salvini, who was Savona's biggest advocate and a fellow eurosceptic, said on Sunday that Italy wasn't a "colony", and that "we won't have Germany tell us what to do".

He told supporters: "Either we can work to give a future to this country and to our children, or else, in a democracy, if we are still in a democracy, there is only one thing to do: give the floor to the Italians."

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ireland overturns abortion ban in landslide vote

Yahoo – AFP, Robin MILLARD, Julien LAGACHE, May 26, 2018

Yes campaigners rejoice ahead of the final result of a landmark referendum in which
Ireland voted by 66 percent to ditch its strict abortion laws (AFP Photo/Paul FAITH)

Dublin (AFP) - Ireland voted by a landslide to ditch its strict abortion laws in a landmark referendum that Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said had finally lifted decades of stigma and shame.

More than 66 percent of voters in what has been a traditionally staunchly Catholic country backed repealing the constitutional ban on terminations, triggering scenes of tearful jubilation in Dublin on Saturday after a divisive and often emotional campaign.

Hugging, celebrating, singing and cheering wildly, thousands crammed into the courtyard of Dublin Castle, where the official result was declared, chanting "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

"Wonderful, wonderful, today is wonderful!" said 65-year-old Eileen Shields, who had been ostracised for falling pregnant outside of marriage when she was 18.

The crowds cheered and popped champagne corks as the result was announced. Women and men wearing "Repeal" tops and "Yes" badges waved Irish flags and placards reading "Thank you", with love hearts on.

Speaking through tears, Stasia Clancy, 64, said: "This is like an explosion of the repression and the suppression of the last 100 years."

At Dublin's RDS count centre, 40-year-old nurse Ruth Bowie wept at the results.

She told AFP: "I had to leave my country to get the healthcare that I needed when I was told that my baby wouldn't survive outside the womb and I've told my story over and over again just in the hope that this day would come -- and it's finally come."

Key facts on Ireland's abortion law (AFP Photo/Brice LE BORGNE)

'Veil of stigma lifted'

The final results of Friday's referendum showed 66.4 percent voted for removing the constitutional ban, while 33.6 voted against.

Some 1,429,981 votes were cast for Yes. The turnout was 64 percent.

Among the 40 constituencies, the pro-choice vote peaked at 78 percent in Dublin Bay South, while rural Donegal was the only one to vote against liberalising abortion, by 52 percent.

"A quiet revolution has taken place," Varadkar said in a speech at Dublin Castle.

"No more stigma. The veil of secrecy is lifted. No more isolation. The burden of shame is gone."

He said Saturday would be remembered as the day Ireland "stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light. The day we came of age as a country."

His government proposes allowing abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and between 12 and 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.

Varadkar said he wanted the law in force by the end of the year and Health Minister Simon Harris told AFP that the cabinet would meet on Tuesday to approve the drafting of legislation.

The crowds cheered and popped champagne corks as the result was 
announced (AFP Photo/Paul FAITH)

Crumbling church influence

The result is another hammer blow to the Roman Catholic Church's authority in Ireland, coming three years after referendum voters backed legalising same-sex marriage by 62 percent.

The Church's influence has crumbled in recent years due to a series of child sex abuse scandals.

The referendum comes three months before Pope Francis visits Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.

An exit poll for The Irish Times newspaper suggested 70 percent of women and 65 percent of men voted to overturn the ban.

People over 65 voted 60 percent against. However, all other age groups backed the proposal, with support at 87 percent among voters aged 18 to 24.

Ailbhe Smyth, 71, co-director of the official Together for Yes campaign, said real-life testimonies from women affected by the ban had helped swing the vote.

"The stories, the experiences, women's voices, women's and couples, it was a central part of our strategy," she told reporters.

The Love Both official pro-life campaign said regardless of the result, "our work will continue to protect unborn babies and their mothers".

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar hailed the vote as a "quiet revolution" 
(AFP Photo/Paul FAITH)

"Our campaign does not end with the referendum, but when the government properly supports the mother and child," it said.

Abortion is still banned in some 20 countries worldwide, while others have highly restrictive laws in place. In the European Union, predominantly Catholic Malta is the only country with a total ban.

'The North is next'

Ireland introduced a constitutional ban on abortion following a 1983 referendum. Terminating a pregnancy carries a 14-year maximum jail term.

The law was tweaked in 2013 to allow terminations if the mother's life is at risk.

The ban has led to thousands of women travelling each year to neighbouring Britain, where terminations are legal, or increasingly turning to abortion pills sold online.

Since 1983, around 170,000 Irish women have gone abroad for terminations.

In the UK, abortion is legal on the British mainland, but remains outlawed in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein's party leaders from both sides of the border held up a placard at Dublin Castle reading: "The North is next".

Related Articles:



Campaigning for abortion rights in 1974. Photo: SPAARNESTAD Photo/NA/
Anefo/unknown photographer

Kryon Q&A

Question: Dear Kryon, thank you for the many communications you have given. They have been enlightening in many ways. I hope this is not a rude question, but it is a subject that I have not seen addressed in the collection of Questions and Answers. I want to know: What is the morality of stopping someone's new life in the physical plane, by abortion? And what is the karma to the person who helps to accomplish an abortion? I think it will depend on when a Human life begins. When life begins is a moment that is very important to those who oppose abortion and those who say it is allowable.

Do you have a decisive response to guide those who receive your words?

Answer: [from Lee Carroll] We have tried to "paint" Kryon into a corner on this many times, since it really is an important issue in our society. Kryon says this: "Human life actually begins when the intent of the entities involved in the planning session is to create it." It's not a biological answer, and it won't please either side.

This places it far before any kind of biological morality decision. Kryon has said that there is no judgement in the choice of Humans... including this one. When it occurs, there is also no horrible karmic payback. But there IS energy created that affects everyone around the event. Sometimes these lives come and go to create lessons for those involved, then these terminated lives return almost immediately, often within the next pregnancy (sometimes changing gender). If there is no next pregnancy, often it's in a very close family group.

God is not in a vacuum concerning these things, and often they are set-ups, and are executed with the agreement of all parties in advance. This is far different than our society wishes to believe. They want to paint a black and white answer to when life occurs, and set rules on what you can and cannot do with it. Instead, Kryon's answer gives honor and validity to the fact that you are not here by accident, and the things that take place in your lives are not random. Not to mention the fact that your free choice is the free choice of God (since you are a piece of God).

So we leave the biological cultural decisions for those who wish to make them, but we have heard the spiritual answers many times... that these things are far more than they appear, and are all part of our spiritual setups, and they are honored.


"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa,Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism, Higgs Boson), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around"DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text Version)

"... I want to define life for you - not biological life, but spiritual life. So for all those intellectuals, just hold on, for many won't like this. Spiritual life, as measured by Spirit, is when a Human has free choice. When is that? It's when they take their first breath. Not in utero. There will be those who will say, "That's wrong, that's wrong. The soul in the woman's body is alive!" Just wait. I'm talking about spiritually. That which Spirit sees, and it's when you come from the other side of the veil and take your first breath.

A child with the mother has no free choice. That child is linked to the choice of the mother until it is born. It is, indeed, a soul in preparation for free choice, and there are many attributes that are spiritual that we have discussed before about how that soul reacts. But now I'm discussing life with polarity [duality], free choice.

But let's discuss that "child inside" for a moment, for there is a process I want you to know about. I want to talk about 240 days into the pregnancy. At about that time, the child has perfect DNA. It hasn't taken its first breath. The DNA hasn't measured the energy of the planet yet, since it is contained. Did you realize that? Inside the womb is a perfect child. The child's DNA has all the attributes of the Akash and also the parent, but it's different in a way you have not been told. The DNA is 100% as designed.

The quantum instructions within the DNA are all talking to the biology of the child,, getting ready for the first breath. ..."


"THE THREE WINDS" – Feb 23-24, 2013 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Humanity, Home - other side of the veil, Wind of Birth - Birth, Wind of Existence - Life, Wind of Transition - Death) (Text version)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

EU green-lights talks on Australia, NZ trade deals

Yahoo – AFP, May 22, 2018

EU Commissioner of Trade Cecilia Malmstrom welcomed the mandates adding that
the deals with Australia and New Zealand would be "win-win" for both sides (AFP
Photo/John THYS)

The EU officially launched free trade talks with Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday, part of Europe's desire to promote free trade deals against the increasingly protectionist stance of the United States.

The pursuit of the deals also sends a challenge to Britain, which has made deepened links with its Commonwealth partners a priority for its post-Brexit future.

"Today's decision to open trade talks with Australia and New Zealand is... a reminder to the world of the EU's commitment to openness, free trade and global cooperation," said Emil Karanikolov, minister of economy of Bulgaria, which holds the EU's rotating presidency.

The EU underlined that the trade deals would put the emphasis on industrial and manufacturing sectors, and not agriculture, with fears high in Europe that meat and dairy products could pour in from the southern hemisphere.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) and French President Emmanuel 
Macron arrive for a joint news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on 
April 16, 2018 (AFP Photo/CHARLES PLATIAU)

"The mandates do not envisage full liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, which are foreseen as benefiting from specific treatment," an EU statement said.

The EU's top trade official Cecilia Malmstrom welcomed the mandates adding that the deals would be "win-win" for both sides.

"Starting these talks between likeminded partners sends a strong signal at a time where many are taking the easy road of protectionism," she added.

The decision to launch the talks was taken at a meeting where EU trade ministers were also set to discuss the ongoing trade row over with the US administration.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Harry and Meghan shake up royal tradition in star-studded wedding

Yahoo – AFP, James PHEBY with Robin MILLARD in London, May 19, 2018

The royal newlyweds kissed in front of the Windsor crowds (AFP Photo/Danny Lawson)

Windsor (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot at Windsor Castle on Saturday in a royal wedding like no other, mixing British pomp and African-American culture in front of a celebrity congregation and cheering crowds.

The new Duke and Duchess of Sussex exchanged vows in St. George's Chapel in a historic ceremony, sealed with a kiss, which brought the biracial US TV star into the heart of the British monarchy.

As more than 100,000 people packed the sun-baked Windsor streets and millions watched worldwide, Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family were joined inside by stars including Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams, Elton John, George Clooney and David Beckham.

The couple held hands throughout and exchanged vows in a Church of England service modified to reflect the bride's heritage and strong sense of independence.

Firebrand US pastor Michael Curry delivered a full-throttle address invoking slaves and the power of love, and a gospel choir sang classics "Stand By Me" and "This Little Light of Mine".

Markle walked down the aisle in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on her own
before being accompanied to the altar by Prince Charles (AFP Photo/Danny Lawson)

Markle began her walk down the aisle alone with her 10 bridesmaids and page boys walking behind her flowing white silk dress, designed by Clare Waight Keller at the French fashion house Givenchy.

Her father had been due to meet her half-way but after he pulled out due to heart surgery, Harry's father Prince Charles stepped in to escort her to the altar.

Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, looked visibly moved during the wedding.

With the words "I will", 33-year-old Harry, and US former actress Meghan, 36, declared they would love, comfort, honour and protect each other.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby declared them husband and wife -- sparking huge cheers from crowds outside the church, watching on big screens.

The bride's father Thomas Markle also followed the wedding on television and voiced regret he was unable to attend, TMZ reported.

"My baby looks beautiful and she looks very happy. I wish I were there," he told the US celebrity news website.

The royal couple rode in a horse-drawn carriage through Windsor after the 
wedding (AFP Photo/Jeff J Mitchell)

Smiles at the altar

Harry hand-picked flowers for Markle's bouquet from their home at Kensington Palace.

Her five-metre veil also contained floral designs from her native California and all 53 Commonwealth countries.

The groom and his brother Prince William -- his best man -- wore the blue doeskin frockcoat uniform of a major in the Blues and Royals, the regiment Harry served with in Afghanistan during his 10 years in the British army.

"You look amazing," Harry told his bride as she arrived.

The couple grinned during Curry's dramatic address about the power of love, in which he quoted civil rights icon Martin Luther King.

"I'm talking about some power. Real power. Power to change the world," the African-American preacher intoned.

The bride and groom held hands and giggled at the altar (AFP Photo/
Owen Humphreys)

There were no political leaders among the 600 guests but many celebrities, including Idris Elba, James Blunt, Tom Hardy and James Corden.

Some of Markle's former co-stars in US hit television series "Suits" attended, as did Harry's ex-girlfriends Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas.

The newlyweds kissed on the chapel's West Steps after the wedding, before going on a carriage procession ride through Windsor where flag-waving well-wishers cheered them on in a carnival atmosphere.

"It's been a historic, epic day," said Leslie Owusu, from nearby High Wycombe.

"It's a union of different cultures, you've got America and England and a fusion of two people that love people and life."

Kiss and carriage ride

Hundreds of street parties and public screenings were held around Britain where the wedding is a welcome respite for a country still burdened by austerity and divided over Brexit.

Well-wishers cheered as they watched the wedding on a giant screen (AFP 
Photo/Tolga AKMEN)

Revellers also packed into bars to watch as far afield as Sydney, Hong Kong and Markle's native Los Angeles, for what is likely to be the last big British royal wedding for a generation.

In Windsor, thousands of fans bagged their spots by dawn, bearing rugs and picnics, Union Jack flags and patriotic paraphernalia, and the bubbly was flowing freely.

"It made me really emotional when I saw them coming past," said Helen Oliver, 50.

Canapes and Meghan's speech

The queen hosted a lunchtime reception at the castle, where Elton John performed to guests eating canapes including Scottish langoustines, English asparagus and Windsor lamb.

The royal couple cut the lemon and elderflower cake, while Charles and Harry made speeches introduced by William.

Profiles of Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, with photos and 
details of wedding (AFP Photo/Cecilia SANCHEZ)

Harry later drive his bride to the evening reception for 200 friends and family in an open-top E-Type Jaguar with the number plate E190518 -- the wedding date.

In another break with convention, Meghan was due to speak at the Frogmore House bash.

"She's got her own voice, a personality, and I think all that made a huge impression on everybody," said Shrabani Basu, a Commonwealth historian.

The couple met on a blind date in July 2016 and had a whirlwind romance, criss-crossing the Atlantic as she continued filming "Suits" in Toronto.

Harry was scarred by his mother Diana's death in a Paris car crash in 1997 when he was just 12, and he had to mourn in the full glare of the world's media.

His wedding featured a hymn used at Diana's funeral, at which he and William had walked behind her casket.

Sixth in line to the throne, Harry is one of the most popular royals, while Markle, a divorcee, is seen as a breath of fresh air for the monarchy.


Bishop Michael Bruce Curry gave an impassioned address during the
wedding ceremony (AFP Photo/Owen Humphreys)

Related Articles:

Pastor Curry spices up royal wedding with power of love


Thursday, May 17, 2018

EU vows to block blow of US Iran sanctions

Yahoo – AFP, Danny Kemp with Dana Rysmukhamedova in Astana, May 17, 2018

Iran once again faces US sanctions after Donald Trump's shock decision to quit
the nuclear deal (AFP Photo/STRINGER)

The EU said Thursday it will begin moves to block the effect of US sanctions on Iran as efforts to preserve the nuclear deal with Tehran deepened a transatlantic rift.

The decision came as Russia and China took some of their most concrete moves yet to extend their economic influence in Iran, in the face of renewed US efforts to choke off Tehran.

US President Donald Trump last week controversially pulled Washington out of the 2015 international deal with Iran that placed limits on its nuclear programme in return for easing economic sanctions.

European companies that invested in Iran after the deal are already taking fright, with French energy giant Total warning it could pull out, and Danish shipping giant Maersk and German insurer Allianz also saying they plan to wind down activities there.

After EU leaders discussed Iran at a meeting in Bulgaria, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the bloc would start measures on Friday to ease the effect of the US sanctions on European companies.

"We will begin the 'blocking statute' process, which aims to neutralise the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions in the EU. We must do it and we will do it tomorrow morning at 10:30," Juncker said at the summit in Sofia.

The "blocking statute" is a 1996 regulation originally created to get around Washington's trade embargo on Cuba, which prohibits EU companies and courts from complying with specific foreign sanction laws, and says no foreign court judgments based on these laws have any effect in the European Union.

However, the Cuba row was settled politically, so the blocking regulation's effectiveness was never put to the test, and its value may lie more as a bargaining chip with Washington.

'It's not a joke'

French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that one reason for the efforts to prop up the Iran deal is "so that our businesses can remain" in Iran.

The EU leaders pledged at the meeting to keep a united front against Trump, whose decisions to pull out of the Iran deal and to impose trade tariffs on Europe have triggered the worst transatlantic crisis since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

EU President Donald Tusk renewed attacks on Trump at the summit Thursday, suggesting that the US administration was now as unpredictable as Iran's regime.

"The real geopolitical problem is not when you have an unpredictable opponent or enemy, the problem is if your closest friend is unpredictable. It's not a joke now," Tusk told a news conference with Juncker.

Tusk on Wednesday had slammed Trump's "capricious assertiveness", comparing him to Europe's traditional adversaries Russia and China, and saying Trump's approach had left the EU with "no illusions" that it could rely on anyone else.

China, Russia and EU members Britain, France and Germany were also signatories of the Iran nuclear accord, and have said they will stick to the deal if Tehran respects its terms.

Beijing and Moscow have also stepped up efforts to save the deal.

On Thursday, a Russian-led trade bloc signed an interim trade deal with Iran and signalled plans to negotiate a free trade zone.

In the Kazakh capital Astana, the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union trade bloc signed an interim trade deal with Iran that lowers tariffs on hundreds of goods.

Russian firms have less to lose from bucking US sanctions. Many major Russian companies are already operating under tightening US sanctions over Moscow's seizure of Crimea and its role in the Ukraine crisis.

'Reinforce China'

Meanwhile, Iran's oil minister said that Chinese state-owned oil company CNPC was ready to replace Total on a major gas field project in Iran.

Beijing also signalled that it intends to continue "normal and transparent practical cooperation with Iran".

The US says its sanctions apply to any transactions that are conducted in dollars, which are used in most international transactions, in particular in trading of crude oil.

But China has for years been working to increase trade using its currency and in March a yuan-denominated oil contract was launched in Shanghai.

Trump's withdrawal from the deal is now likely to boost China's influence in the region, a European diplomatic source warned.

"The Iran issue will probably reinforce China in the region, because the European businesses that can't take on the cost of difficulties on their American markets will leave an important gap for a power that seems to have no problem with taking their place," the source said.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Scottish Parliament rejects UK's Brexit bill

Yahoo – AFP, Mark MCLAUGHLIN, May 15, 2018

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says Britain is now heading into
'uncharted constitutional territory' (AFP Photo/Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS)

Edinburgh (AFP) - The Scottish Parliament on Tuesday formally rejected legislation for taking Britain out of the EU, in an unprecedented move that sets the scene for a constitutional crisis.

Lawmakers in the devolved Edinburgh assembly voted by 93 to 30 to refuse "legislative consent" for the highly-contested European Union (Withdrawal) Bill currently being debated by the British parliament.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is under no obligation to amend her Brexit plan in response to Holyrood's objection.

However, experts warn that confrontation between London and Edinburgh could push Scotland towards independence.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the secessionist Scottish National Party (SNP), said Britain was heading into "uncharted constitutional territory".

The dispute centres on who will have control of powers currently residing in Brussels, such as over farming and fisheries, once Britain leaves the EU.

Scotland's SNP government wants such powers to be under Scottish control, while the Conservative British government argues they should reside in London, at least initially.

Michael Russell, the Scottish government's chief Brexit negotiator, said any attempt to use Brexit to restrict the powers of the Scottish parliament "will be noted here and across Europe".

"The UK government cannot ignore the reality of devolution or try to drown out what this parliament says," he said.

"They cannot pretend that no motion has been passed.

"It will be the UK that would be breaking trust, and breaking the rules, not us."

Russell has invited British cabinet minister David Lidington to Scotland for last-ditch cross-party talks to break the impasse.

Power grab claim

The SNP, Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats all voted against consent, with only the Scottish Conservatives arguing the changes that have already been made to the bill go far enough to protect devolution.

Scottish officials have accused May of a "power grab".

The British government has accused Scottish opponents of "nit-picking" and has insisted it is trying to protect Britain's economic integrity by building a common framework throughout the country when Brussels regulations are handed over after Brexit.

Sturgeon has rejected claims by May's Scottish Conservative allies that she is trying to "weaponise Brexit" to further her aim of Scottish independence.

Adam Tomkins, the Scottish Conservatives' constitutional spokesman, said: "It's patently obvious that Nicola Sturgeon wants a political crisis to provide cover for her independence drive.

"Sturgeon has refused to compromise. It's not in Scotland's interests that the SNP prefers picking fights to making a deal."

Scotland voted against independence by 55 percent in a referendum in 2014, but Sturgeon insists she has a mandate to hold a second vote since Scotland voted against Brexit by 62 percent in 2016.

"I'm not sure independence will ever be off the table until it is realised," Sturgeon said on Monday.

She has pledged to outline her timetable for a second independence referendum before the end of the year, once the terms of the Brexit agreement become clear.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Saudi-financed Belgian mosques teach hatred of Jews, gays: report

Yahoo – AFP, May 11, 2018

Texts used in mosques including the Brussels Grand Mosque call for gays to be
stoned to death or thrown off buildings and describe Jews as "evil", the report by
the OCAM national terrorism monitoring centre said (AFP Photo/PHILIPPE HUGUEN)

Brussels (AFP) - Teaching manuals in Gulf Arab-financed mosques in Belgium promote anti-semitic stereotypes of Jews and call for the persecution of homosexuals, according to a leaked Belgian intelligence report.

The texts used in mosques including the Brussels Grand Mosque call for gays to be stoned to death or thrown off buildings and describe Jews as "evil", the report by the OCAM national terrorism monitoring centre said.

The writings, which are used to train preachers and theology professors, were "inspired mainly by classical Islamic law from the Middle Ages," OCAM said in a copy of the report obtained by AFP on Friday.

They have "problematic content in terms of radicalism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism," the OCAM report said.

Belgian lawmakers say they will discuss the report next week.

The report singled out Arabic-language religious training manuals in the Grand Mosque, which is near EU headquarters in Brussels.

The Belgian government said in March that it would terminate Saudi Arabia's half-century old lease of the Grand Mosque over concerns it was promoting radicalism. It had been run by the Muslim World League.

The manuals call Jews a "corrupt, evil and treacherous people" and call for "war" on all people who do not follow Sunni Islam.

They also recommend "stoning" and "fire" as methods of killing gays, along with throwing them off "the highest building in the village".

One manual says "the most important principle of jihad is to fight unbelievers and aggressors," according to the report. "Armed jihad becomes an individual duty for every Muslim."

OCAM said such manuals are widely available "thanks to the unlimited financial and technological means of the proselytising apparatus of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states."

The manuals, it added, were found not only in Belgium but also in neighbouring countries, both in hard copy and online.

The report comes from the work of the Belgian parliamentary committee investigating the suicide bombings that killed 32 people at Brussels airport and a metro station in March 2016, which were claimed by the Islamic State group.

OCAM director Paul Van Tigchelt will next Wednesday discuss the report with committee members behind closed doors, members of parliament told AFP.

"There is an urgency to be firmer and much clearer and close this scholarly institution," centrist opposition lawmaker Georges Dallemagne said, referring to the Grand Mosque.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Bloomberg moves EU trading units to Amsterdam ahead of Brexit

DutchNews, May 9, 2018

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Financial services group Bloomberg is moving its EU trading operations headquarters to Amsterdam from London. The move will give the New York-based data and trading group access to EU markets after Britain leaves the 27-country bloc next year, the Financial Times has reported. 

Bloomberg is filing an application for its trading platform and reporting businesses with Dutch regulators, the paper said. The fully regulated EU entity will be able to trade fixed income, equities, derivatives and foreign exchange. 

US rivals MarketAxess and Tradeweb and London’s Nex Group earlier opted for Amsterdam after Brexit. 

The move will create only about 10 new jobs in Amsterdam but it will prepare Bloomberg for an eventual hard Brexit, Bloomberg’s Ben Macdonald told the paper. 

Bloomberg is one of the biggest trading venues in Europe. It has traded more than €300bn in interest rate swaps in each of the first three months of the year, according to an estimate by Clarus FT, a UK data provider, the FT said.