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

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

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

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

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

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

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

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

European Political Community

European Political Community
Given a rather unclear agenda, the family photo looked set to become a highlight of the meeting bringing together EU leaders alongside those of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Britain, Kosovo, Switzerland and Turkey © Ludovic MARIN

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

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

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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Euro MPs set seal on Brexit in emotional vote

Yahoo –AFP, Dave CLARK, 29 January 2020

The Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union Sir
Tim Barrow has handed the ratified Brexit deal back to Brussels

Britain's departure from the European Union was set in law Wednesday, amid emotional scenes, as the bloc's parliament voted to ratify the divorce papers.

After half a century of sometimes awkward membership and three years of tense withdrawal talks, the UK will leave the EU at midnight Brussels time (2300 GMT) on Friday.

MEPs voted by 621 votes to 49 to pass the withdrawal agreement, which sees Britain leave the EU institutions but remain under most EU rules during a transition until the end of the year.

Following the vote, MEPs burst into a chorus of "Auld Lang Syne", a traditional Scottish song of farewell.

The transition will see Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government try to negotiate an ambitious free trade agreement with his 27 former partners remaining in the bloc.

"Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depth of love," EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told the chamber, quoting British author George Eliot.

"We will always love you and we will never be far. Long live Europe."

In the Brussels parliament, many MEPs made it clear that they were voting for the withdrawal deal not out of any support for Brexit, but to avoid the disruption of a chaotic no deal divorce.

Some expressed real anguish and regret, and pointed to Britain's role not only in the development of the European unification project but also to its historic battles against tyranny on the continent.

"If we could stop Brexit by voting 'no' today I would be the first to recommend it," former Belgian premier and chairman of the parliament's Brexit steering group Guy Verhofstadt said.

The day began with Britain's permanent representative to the EU Tim Barrow -- from Saturday to be its ambassador -- handing back the withdrawal agreement signed by Johnson, to be stored in Brussels.

Map showing the construction of Europe from the creation of the European 
Economic Community to the arrival of Croatia in the EU and the departure of Britain

Leaving the church

It was an emotional day in the chamber, steeped in a mixture of nostalgia, political carnival and historical metaphor.

Nigel Farage, veteran MEP and leader of Britain's Brexit Party, was in triumphant mood after two decades as a thorn in Brussels' side.

After his final speech in parliament, in which he described Brexit as a victory for populism over "globalism", Farage and his MEPs brandished British flags, in contravention of the rules, then left before returning to vote.

Earlier, Farage said he had loved playing the "pantomime villain" in the Strasbourg assembly, feeding opposition to Europe at home with theatrical YouTube clips.

But he insisted on the seriousness of Brexit, comparing its significance to king Henry VIII taking Britain out of the Catholic church in 1534.

"He took us out of the Church of Rome, and we are leaving the Treaty of Rome," he said, referring to the EU's 1957 founding document.

The historic vote to incorporate the withdrawal agreement into EU law was the last legislative act of the 73 remaining British MEPs, and departure was hard for some.

Bagpipe serenade

Iratxe Garcia Perez, the Spanish leader of the Socialist group, choked back tears as she said farewell to her British Labour Party comrades.

After Brexit the United Kingdom will be what the EU calls a "third country", outside the union, but the political and economic drama will continue.

Britain and Europe will apply EU rules on trade and free movement of citizens until the end of the year, while negotiating a free trade agreement.

In the face of scepticism in EU capitals, Johnson -- who will make an address to the nation at 10:00 pm London time on Friday -- insists he is optimistic that a comprehensive free trade deal can be done before the next cliff-edge.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage's last news conference as an MEP was a triumphant affair

In an online question and answer on Wednesday Johnson said he would be celebrating on Friday, but in a "dignified" way.

"It is a great moment for our country, it is a moment of hope and opportunity but it is also, I think, a moment for us to come together in a spirit of confidence," he said.

But negotiations between the world's sixth biggest economy and a 27-nation single market with a population of 450 million will be tricky.

Fishing rights, residency and working rights for citizens, tariff free trade, access to Europe for Britain's huge services sector: all will be on the table.

"We are considering a free trade agreement with zero tariffs and zero quotas. This would be unique. No other free trade agreement offers such access to our single market," von der Leyen said.

"But the pre-condition is that European and British businesses continue to compete on a level playing field. We will not expose our companies to unfair competition," she warned, to applause.

UK goes solo

Johnson's government hopes more trade with the United States and Asian powers can help offset the costs of Brexit.

But the British premier was facing difficult talks on Thursday with President Donald Trump's secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

Trump backed Brexit, but Washington opposed Johnson's decision to allow Chinese telecoms giant to work on Britain's 5G telecoms network despite security fears.

The Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union Sir Tim Barrow has handed the ratified Brexit deal back to Brussels

Map showing the construction of Europe from the creation of the European Economic Community to the arrival of Croatia in the EU and the departure of Britain.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage's last news conference as an MEP was a triumphant affair.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Harry and Meghan: royal statements

Yahoo – AFP, January 18, 2020

In this file photo taken on July 10, 2018 Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R)
puts her hand on Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex's back; Britain's Prince Harry
and his wife Meghan will give up their titles and stop receiving public funds (AFP
Photo/Tolga AKMEN)

London (AFP) - Here are the two statements from Queen Elizabeth II and Buckingham Palace confirming that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have agreed to give up their royal titles and public funding.

Statement from Her Majesty The Queen

Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.

Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.

I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.

I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.

It is my whole family’s hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.

Statement from Buckingham Palace

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments.

They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties. With The Queen's blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.

While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.

The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.

Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements.

There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly funded security.

This new model will take effect in the Spring of 2020.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles

Yahoo – AFP, Dmitry ZAKS, January 18, 2020

A royal goodbye: Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their
official titles (AFP Photo/Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS)

London (AFP) - Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have agreed to give up their royal titles and stop receiving public funds as part of a settlement with the Queen that lets them spend more private time in Canada.

The announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the couple's shock decision to give up front-line royal duties.

The decision means the couple will stop usings the titles "royal highness" as they assume more ordinary lives that will see them spend more time away from both Britain and the royal family.

"Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family," Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement.

"I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life."

Her comments referred to battles with the media that prompted Harry and Meghan -- known until now as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex -- to sue several newspapers over intrusions into their private lives.

A separate statement attributed to Buckingham Palace said "the Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family".

HRH stands for Her Royal Highness.

"As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for royal duties," the statement said.

The settlement added that the two will also repay £2.4 million ($3.1 million) of taxpayer's money spent on renovating their Frogmore Cottage home near Windsor Castle.

Queen Elizabeth II described the settlement as "a constructive and supportive
way forward for my grandson and his family" (AFP Photo/Ben STANSALL)

'Progressive new role'

The Palace would not comment on who ends up paying for their security detail in Canada -- an issue of intense public debate.

It also failed to mention whether the couple would be allowed to benefit financially from future royalties and franchise fees.

Harry and Meghan are seeking to register the "Sussex Royal" brand as a global trademark for their future enterprises.

The couple are dedicated to environmental causes and are looking to develop their charitable foundation as part of a "progressive new role".

The queen's announcement is her second on the royal crisis -- dubbed Megxit in honour of Britain's painful battle over Brexit -- since Harry and Meghan's effective resignation on March 8.

"We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," the couple said at the time.

"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America."

Meghan then jetted back to Canada and is now their with their son Archie.

Their announcement caught the royal family by surprise and created a media sensation in both Britain and the wider world.

Their treatment by London's hard-hitting tabloid press and their personal future -- as well as questions about longstanding royal traditions -- have turned into daily front-page news.

Media reports said Harry would probably join Meghan and Archie on the west coast of Canada this coming week.

The royal crisis has been dubbed Megxit in honour of Britain's painful battle 
over Brexit (AFP Photo/Tolga AKMEN)


The Queen's final ruling on her grandson's future drew immediate comparisons to King Edward VIII's abdication in 1936.

Edward married the American socialite Wallis Simpson the following year and never returned to Britain.

"Harry is not King (he is sixth in line) but tonight this feels like his and Meghan’s own abdication," ITV television's royal editor Chris Ship said on Twitter.

"This isn't 1936. But it's still pretty big."

The BBC's royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said Meghan must also decide whether she intends to return and spend time in Britain in order to gain her UK citizenship.

The couple's future tax status also remains unclear.

"I think they are feeling their way into this as much as anyone else is," Witchell said.

The couple will now officially be know formally as "Harry, The Duke of Sussex" and "Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex".

The Palace statement said the new arrangement "will take effect in the Spring of 2020".

Thursday, January 16, 2020

What is Putin up to with surprise political shake-up?

Yahoo – AFP, Antoine LAMBROSCHINI, January 16, 2020

Putin laid out constitutional changes that would reduce the power of the president
and boost the authority of parliament (AFP Photo/Attila KISBENEDEK)

Moscow (AFP) - With the shock replacement of his government and plans for a constitutional overhaul, President Vladimir Putin has set in motion sweeping changes to Russia's political order.

But what is the longtime Russian leader really up to? And -- with Putin facing the end in 2024 of what is supposed to be his final term -- what does it mean for his hold on power?

Analysts, Kremlin critics and opinion-makers seem to agree: the 67-year-old leader is shaking up a system that has been losing public confidence, while laying the groundwork for his own political future.

What future for Putin?

In his state of the nation address on Wednesday, Putin laid out constitutional changes that would reduce the power of the president and boost the authority of parliament, with lawmakers choosing the prime minister and cabinet.

Experts said his plans to limit the post's powers is a clear sign that Putin is preparing to leave the presidency and take on a new role.

"Putin will remain the main figure in Russia, as he has been for 20 years," said Russian political analyst Maria Lipman.

Some have suggested that Putin could create a system similar to the one put in place by the longtime leader of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who last year resigned as president but remained as chief of the ruling party and "national leader" with wide-ranging powers.

Putin could stay on after 2024 as head of the State Council, an advisory body made up of regional governors and political appointees, as well as chief of the powerful Security Council.

On Wednesday he proposed expanding the State Council's role and enshrining its status in the constitution.

"We are seeing some pieces of the puzzle, there are some we can't see, and some we will never see. But in the end only Putin knows the plan," Lipman said.

Why now?

While his approval ratings still hover around 70 percent, Putin seems to have understood that many Russians are displeased.

A few hours after the president said Wednesday that there was "a clear demand for change", Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had already announced the government's resignation.

Putin was re-elected with a sweeping majority in 2018, but his approval ratings dropped after an unpopular pension reform.

Russians' incomes have also been falling as the economy stagnates, under pressure from a drop in oil prices and Western sanctions over the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Growing discontent saw thousands take to the streets of Moscow last summer against the exclusion of opposition candidates from local elections, in the biggest anti-government protests since Putin returned to the presidency in 2012 after a stint as prime minister.

Parliamentary elections are due in 2021 and polls show the ruling United Russia party with the support of only 33 percent of Russians. The party is so unpopular that many of its candidates chose to run as independents in the September regional and municipal votes.

What role for the new PM ?

Medvedev, who is one of Putin's oldest allies and served as president from 2008 to 2012, had become a scapegoat and a liability, with approval ratings of between 30 and 38 percent.

It was time for a fresh start. Putin's nominee to replace him, longtime federal tax chief Mikhail Mishustin, is a relatively obscure figure but has solid credentials.

The 53-year-old is considered an efficient administrator who was able to transform Russia's sclerotic and corrupt tax service into a modern and respected institution.

An unlikely successor to Putin, Mishustin can focus on making changes that will boost the government's popularity.

"Mishustin's elevation to Russia's PM is designed to get more competent leadership in cabinet which will have to focus on (the) all-important domestic agenda," Dmitry Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said on Twitter.

He will have his work cut out for him -- more than half of Russians said in a recent poll that they believe the "worst is yet to come" for the economy.

Putin has put forward a slew of plans to reboot the economy and improve living standards, including vast infrastructure projects, increased payouts to families and improvements to health and education.

"Mishustin must implement Putin's programme -- projects costing up to 26 trillion rubles ($421 billion/378 billion euros). By 2024," business daily Vedomosti wrote on Thursday.

"The delay in implementation and weak economic growth were at the heart of criticisms of Medvedev."

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Britain's Prince Harry, Meghan to step back as 'senior' royals

Yahoo – AFP, January 8, 2020

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to step back as 'senior' royals (AFP

London (AFP) - Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will step back as senior members of the royal family and spend more time in North America, the couple said in a shock announcement on Wednesday.

The surprise news follows a turbulent year for the monarchy, with signs that the couple have increasingly struggled with the pressures of royal life and family rifts.

"We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen," they said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," they added.

"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America."

What constitutes a senior royal is not officially defined, although it is generally considered to be one who is close to the throne and continually carries out duties on behalf of the crown.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent Christmas in Canada after speaking of the pressure of being in the spotlight following their fairytale wedding at Windsor Castle in 2018 and son Archie's birth in May.

They had previously announced they would miss Christmas with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family, choosing to spend it instead with the duchess' mother, Doria Ragland.

Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne, said in October that he and his brother Prince William were on "different paths" and admitted tension in their relationship.

"We don't see each other as much as we used to because we are so busy but I love him dearly," he said in an ITV television interview.

Meghan also admitted that it had been a "struggle" becoming a mother while 
living under an intense media spotlight (AFP Photo/Dominic Lipinski)

Media war

Meghan also admitted that it had been a "struggle" becoming a mother while living under an intense media spotlight.

There are rumours of a feud with William's wife Kate, and she said her British friends had warned her not to marry Harry.

"The British tabloids will destroy your life," she said they told her.

Asked in the ITV interview if she was "not really OK" and life had "really been a struggle", she replied simply: "Yes.".

The couple recently launched legal action against British tabloid The Mail on Sunday for alleged invasion of privacy over a letter from the duchess to her father. It came with a stinging statement from Harry about general tabloid coverage.

Harry is also suing two newspaper groups over alleged voice mail interception, or phone hacking.

Asked if Meghan was facing the same media pressures as Diana, Harry replied: "I have a family to protect.

"I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum."

The royals had hoped to turn over a new page in 2020 following a year of trials and tribulations that Queen Elizabeth called "quite bumpy" in her Christmas Day message.

Last year began with the monarch's husband Prince Philip overturning his Land Rover after crashing it into an oncoming car.

It ended with the 98-year-old walking gingerly out of a London hospital after four nights of treatment for what Buckingham Palace described as a "pre-existing condition".

Meanwhile, Prince Andrew -- often referred to as the queen's "favourite son" -- was dogged throughout the year by allegations that he had sex with one of the victims of US paedophile Jeffrey Epstein when she was a teenager.

He denies the allegations.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Austria's Kurz returns as world's youngest chancellor

Yahoo – AFP, Julia ZAPPEI, January 7, 2020

Sebastian Kurz returns in Austria as the world's youngest democratically elected
leader (AFP Photo/JOE KLAMAR)

Vienna (AFP) - The leader of Austria's conservatives Sebastian Kurz was sworn in Tuesday as the world's youngest democratically elected leader, at the head of an unlikely coalition with the Greens following the collapse of his previous alliance with the far-right.

Vowing to "protect the climate and the borders", the 33-year-old has become chancellor of the Alpine country's first government to include the Greens, an arrangement called "exotic" and "unlikely" by Austrian media.

Speaking at a handover ceremony with his predecessor Brigitte Bierlein, Kurz said it was "good to be able to continue working for Austria" and promised: "We will strive every day to give our best."

Kurz's People's Party (OeVP) and the Greens agreed last week to govern together after the last administration with the far-right fell apart in a corruption scandal. Both the OeVP and the ecologist party made key gains in September's snap polls.

President Alexander Van der Bellen reminded the new government that "citizens have great expectations of you," adding that "trust must be rebuilt".

The new government aims to please both parties by pushing for Austria to be carbon neutral by 2040 and also continuing previous strict anti-immigration measures.

Some observers think that if successful the alliance could become a model for other European countries as nations across the continent grapple with populist sentiments but also climate change.

'Best of both worlds'

Kurz -- whose conservative OeVP has been in government for more than three decades -- has defended the undertaking as combining "the best of both worlds".

Werner Kogler (C), leader of the Austrian Green party, will take the post of
vice-chancellor (AFP Photo/BARBARA GINDL)

The OeVP has 10 ministers in the new coalition, while the Greens have four with its party chief Werner Kogler, 58, taking on the vice-chancellorship.

Among the ministers being sworn in Tuesday more than half are women, including the defence minister. Many are in their 30s and 40s.

A Green politician and former activist will front an enlarged environment ministry, which includes traffic, energy and technology as well.

The Greens have also nominated an openly lesbian party veteran to hold the culture portfolio, while a Green legal expert of Bosnian origin, who arrived in Austria as a child refugee, will head the justice ministry.

No 'love marriage'

But for all that's new, it's not a "love marriage", according to analyst Johannes Huber.

"As he (Kurz) says at every opportunity, they are very different parties", which have always been rivals rather than allies on a national level until now, Huber told AFP.

And their detractors are many, including some in their own ranks.

The Far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) -- the third strongest party in parliament after the OeVP and the Social Democrats (SPOe) -- was quick to denounce Kurz's "swing to the left" and the "dangerous experiment" out of which "nothing good" can come for the country of 8.8 million people.

The world's youngest political leaders. Austria's Sebastian Kurz was sworn
in on January 7. (AFP Photo/Jonathan WALTER)

The SPOe too criticised the new government's programme, saying social questions hadn't been addressed well enough.

Kurz first became the world's youngest chancellor in a government with the FPOe from December 2017 until May last year, driving a hard line against immigration and brushing off a steady stream of racist and anti-Semitic incidents involving his far-right colleagues.

But then the FPOe leader and vice-chancellor became engulfed in a graft scandal, leading to the collapse of the coalition and snap elections.

Disappointed FPOe supporters dealt the party a setback in the polls, many shifting their votes to the OeVP which won 37.5 percent -- an increase of almost six points from 2017.

The Greens, who failed to get into parliament in a shock result in 2017, garnered 13.8 percent as climate change replaced immigration as a top voter concern.

Party officials have said they have had to make "painful" compromises to reach the agreement with the powerful conservatives.

"The Greens are very pragmatic... It is important for the party to take on responsibility on a national level," Huber said.

Kurz has promised Austrians a stable government for the next five years.

However, "the new coalition has not provided a complete answer on how they plan to finance their fiscal plans," according to analyst Katharina Koenz of Oxford Economics.

Allied with far-left, Spain's Sanchez stays on as PM

Yahoo – AFP, Daniel SILVA, January 7, 2020

Sanchez on Sunday lost a first confidence vote having failed to win backing from an
absolute majority in the 350-seat parliament (AFP Photo/PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU)

Madrid (AFP) - Spain's parliament on Tuesday narrowly confirmed Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez as prime minister for another term, paving the way for the country's first-ever coalition government since its return to democracy in the 1970s.

Sanchez, who has stayed on as a caretaker premier since inconclusive elections last year, won 167 votes in the 350-seat assembly compared to 165 against, with a decisive 18 abstentions by Catalan and Basque separatist lawmakers.

He plans to form a minority coalition government with hard-left party Podemos this time around, in what would be the first coalition government in Spain since the country returned to democracy following the death of longtime dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

Podemos' pony-tailed leader Pablo Iglesias broke into tears after the results of the vote were announced and his lawmakers chanted the party's slogan "Yes we can!".

"A period of moderation, progress and hope opens up today," Sanchez tweeted shortly after the vote

On Sunday, Sanchez lost a first attempt after falling short of the required absolute majority of 176 seats in a first confidence vote in parliament.

Spain, the eurozone's fourth-largest economy, has been in political gridlock without a proper government for most of the past year after two inconclusive elections in April and November.

Catalan tensions

Sanchez's Socialists won the November 10 poll but were weakened, taking 120 seats -- three fewer than in April -- in an election which saw upstart far-right party Vox surge into third place.

Sanchez quickly struck a deal with Podemos, which has never governed nationally, to form a coalition government despite having previously said that such a tie-up with the far-left party would keep him awake at night.

The two parties are pledging to lift the minimum wage, raise taxes on high earners and large businesses, and repeal elements of Spain's controversial 2012 labour market reforms that made it easier to fire workers -- measures which business leaders warn will hurt job creation.

With the two parties' combined total of 155 seats still falling short of a majority, Sanchez also secured the support of several smaller regional groups as well the abstention of Catalan separatist party ERC's 13 lawmakers and those of Basque separatist party Bildu's five MPs.

As part of his deal with the ERC, Sanchez agreed to open a formal dialogue with Catalonia's separatist regional government on the future of the wealthy northeastern region, and to then submit the results of the talks to Catalan voters.

The political situation in Catalonia remains in flux following a 2017 independence referendum which Madrid declared unconstitutional.

The Catalan independence push triggered Spain's most serious political crisis post-Franco.

'Worst radicals'

Spain's centre-right parties and Vox accused Sanchez of putting national unity at risk through his pact with the Catalan separatists.

The leader of the main opposition conservative Popular Party (PP), Pablo Casado, warned ahead of the vote that Spain was set to have "the most radical" government.

"Surrendering to the worst radicals may make you prime minister but you will not be able to govern," Casado said during a rare weekend session of parliament called to debate Sanchez's bid to be reappointed premier.

Sanchez's narrow margin for victory led Podemos lawmaker Aina Vidal, who is in severe pain with cancer and had to miss the weekend vote, to turn up for Tuesday's crucial session despite her illness.

"The political landscape remains tricky," ING analyst Steven Trypsteen said.

"The new government (is)... a minority government, the Catalan tensions could flare up again... and the fiscal situation makes it difficult to increase spending a lot."

Until 2015, Spain had essentially a two-party system pitting the Socialists against the PP but the rise of new parties has led to a more fragmented parliament that has made it harder to form a government.

Sanchez came to power in June 2018 after ousting his PP predecessor Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote but he was forced to call elections in April after Catalan separatists including the ERC refused to back his draft budget.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Underage rape probe opened into French author Matzneff

Yahoo – AFP, Eleonore DERMY, January 3, 2020

In the book "Consent", Springora describes how she was seduced at the age
of 14 by Matzneff (AFP Photo/Martin BUREAU)

Paris (AFP) - Paris prosecutors on Friday opened a rape investigation into the author Gabriel Matzneff, a day after the publication of a book detailing his sexual relationship with a girl of 14 over three decades ago.

The case has attracted huge interest in France, which is only now beginning to scrutinise attitudes after decades of what is seen by some as an overly permissive attitude towards sexual exploitation of women and paedophilia.

The probe was launched after an examination of the book "Consent", published on Thursday, where author Vanessa Springora describes a sexual relationship she had with Matzneff in the mid-1980s when he was 36 years her senior, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said in a statement.

Heitz said the inquiry would focus on "rapes committed against a minor" aged under 15.

In "Consent", Springora, 47, now a leading publisher, describes how she was seduced at the age of 14 by Matzneff and how this left lasting scars.

Matzneff, an essay writer long admired by some in French literary circles, never made any secret of his preference for sex with adolescent girls and boys.

In the mid-1970s, he published a notorious essay called "Les Moins de Seize Ans" ("Those Less than 16").

'All other victims'

Springora had indicated she did not intend to bring a criminal complaint against Matzneff. But the Paris prosecutors used their power to open an investigation of their own accord.

Heitz said that beyond the events described by Springora, the investigation "will work to identify all other eventual victims who could have been subjected to crimes of the same nature in France or abroad".

In France it is against the law to have a sexual relationship with anyone under the age of 15.

Gabriel Matzneff has denounced Springora's book, saying it attempts to 
portray him as "a pervert, a manipulator and a predator." (AFP Photo/

It is possible that investigations into Springora's evidence could be restricted by the statute of limitations, which in 2018 was extended to 30 from 20 years for this kind of crime but is not retroactive.

The book comes in the age of #MeToo as France wrestles with a series of accusations by women who say they were exploited by men who often held positions of power.

In one of the most prominent recent cases, French actress Adele Haenel accused film director Christophe Ruggia of constantly harassing her from the age of 12 to 15. She has since filed a complaint against him.

And the controversy has intensified around French-Polish film director Roman Polanski, a fugitive from US justice since 1978 when he admitted to statutory rape of a 13 year-old, after he brought out his new film "An Officer and a Spy".

'Not what we experienced'

Matzneff has denied any wrongdoing and in a lengthy statement sent to the L'Express magazine claimed that there had been an "exceptional love" between him and Springora, and that he did not "deserve the ugly portrait" that had been painted of him.

"No, this is not me, this is not what we experienced together and you know it," said the writer, now 83, denouncing a book that he says tries to portray him as "a pervert, a manipulator and a predator".

In 2013, Matzneff was awarded the Renaudot prize for his essays on international affairs and philosophy, an award one member of the jury has now conceded was a mistake.

"It is clear that he would not have got the prize for one of his intimate journals," jury member Frederic Beigbeder told the Parisien daily. "This prize was a blunder."

In the book Springora writes: "Aged 14, you are not supposed to have a 50-year-old man waiting for you when you leave school, you are not supposed to live in a hotel with him, or find yourself in his bed with his penis in your mouth when you should be having a snack."

Ahead of the book's publication, French ministers rounded on Matzneff, with Culture Minister Franck Riester saying "having a literary aura is not a guarantee of impunity."