“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … 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 ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

South Africa launches investigation into death of man dragged by police van

Deutsche Welle, 28 February 2013

South Africa has opened an investigation into the death of a taxi driver who was filmed handcuffed to the back of a police van and dragged. The incident has sparked outrage over police conduct.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate anounced on Thursday that it had opened a murder investigation into the death of 27-year-old Mido Macia of Mozambique.

"We are investigating an incident involving the death of a man, allegedly at the hands of the police," the directorate's spokesman said. "We are shocked by the footage which has been released."

Video footage taken on cellphones by bystanders Tuesday shows Macia struggling with about half a dozen officers before being handcuffed to the back of a police van and dragged to the station in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg.

Recorded by onlookers

In the video, a horrified crowd looks on at the dragging, with some people warning the officers that they were being recorded.

Macia was found dead at the Daveyton police station less than two hours and 25 minutes after being taken into custody, according to local investigators. An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be head injuries with internal bleeding.

The police watchdog and witnesses said that two officers initially confronted Macia for parking his Toyota Avanza taxi illegally. Macia was trying to get his driver's license back from the police when an altercation occurred, according to witnesses. About half a dozen officers quickly arrived at the scene, some wearing stab vests and at least one brandishing a pistol.

Footage of the incident spread quickly online, and Daveyton residents marched on the police station Thursday after claiming to have been turned back by pepper spray the day before.


South Africa's president condemned the killing.

"Members of the South African police service are required to operate within the confines of the law in executing their duties," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement. "The visuals of the incident are horrific, disturbing and unacceptable. No human should be treated in that manner."
Mozambique's government also expressed outrage.

"It is very said that a life was lost so stupidly," Foreign Affairs Minister Oldemiro Baloi told reporters in Mozambique's capital, Maputo.

No officers have been suspended yet, the department announced, but South African Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega expressed "deep concern" over the case and said it was being viewed "in a very serious light."

The investigation into Macia's death is the latest controversy involving the South African police, who have also been criticized for shooting dead 34 miners last August and the handling of the Oscar Pistorius case.

dr/mkg (AFP, AP)
Related Article:

Somali president offers amnesty to pirates

The Daily Star, AFP, February 28, 2013

This photo taken on January 7, 2010 shows an armed Somali pirate along
the coast in Hobyo, northeastern Somalia. AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMED DAHIR
MOGADISHU: Somalia's president has offered an amnesty to young pirates in a bid to end attacks off the Horn of Africa nation's coast, he told AFP.

"We have been negotiating with the pirates indirectly through the elders," said President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. "Piracy has to end".

Mohamud, elected by lawmakers six months ago, said that he wanted to offer an "alternative means of earning a living" to young Somalis who have taken up the gun to join pirate gangs.

However, Mohamud said that the amnesty was not open to pirate kingpins -- those who take the vast majority of the profits from the attacks -- some of whom are wanted by Interpol.

"We are not giving them amnesty, amnesty is for the boys," he said.

Somalia has been ravaged by conflict since 1991 but a new UN-backed government took power in September, ending eight years of transitional rule by a corruption-riddled administration.

Large parts of Somalia have been carved up by rival militia forces who have developed autonomous regions that pay little, if any, heed to the weak central government.

Many of the most notorious pirates are based along the northern coastline of the semi-autonomous Puntland region.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Britain's colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition

David Cameron's ancestors were among the wealthy families who received generous reparation payments that would be worth millions of pounds in today's money

Independent, Sanchez Manning, 24 February 2013

Slavery on an industrial scale was a major source of the wealth of the
British empire

The true scale of Britain's involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country's wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.

The previously unseen records show exactly who received what in payouts from the Government when slave ownership was abolished by Britain – much to the potential embarrassment of their descendants. Dr Nick Draper from University College London, who has studied the compensation papers, says as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy.

As a result, there are now wealthy families all around the UK still indirectly enjoying the proceeds of slavery where it has been passed on to them. Dr Draper said: "There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation." A John Austin, for instance, owned 415 slaves, and got compensation of £20,511, a sum worth nearly £17m today. And there were many who received far more.

Academics from UCL, led by Dr Draper, spent three years drawing together 46,000 records of compensation given to British slave-owners into an internet database to be launched for public use on Wednesday. But he emphasised that the claims set to be unveiled were not just from rich families but included many "very ordinary men and women" and covered the entire spectrum of society.

Dr Draper added that the database's findings may have implications for the "reparations debate". Barbados is currently leading the way in calling for reparations from former colonial powers for the injustices suffered by slaves and their families.

Among those revealed to have benefited from slavery are ancestors of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, former minister Douglas Hogg, authors Graham Greene and George Orwell, poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the new chairman of the Arts Council, Peter Bazalgette. Other prominent names which feature in the records include scions of one of the nation's oldest banking families, the Barings, and the second Earl of Harewood, Henry Lascelles, an ancestor of the Queen's cousin. Some families used the money to invest in the railways and other aspects of the industrial revolution; others bought or maintained their country houses, and some used the money for philanthropy. George Orwell's great-grandfather, Charles Blair, received £4,442, equal to £3m today, for the 218 slaves he owned.

The British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their "property" when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain's colonies in 1833. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury's annual spending budget and, in today's terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn.

A total of £10m went to slave-owning families in the Caribbean and Africa, while the other half went to absentee owners living in Britain. The biggest single payout went to James Blair (no relation to Orwell), an MP who had homes in Marylebone, central London, and Scotland. He was awarded £83,530, the equivalent of £65m today, for 1,598 slaves he owned on the plantation he had inherited in British Guyana.

But this amount was dwarfed by the amount paid to John Gladstone, the father of 19th-century prime minister William Gladstone. He received £106,769 (modern equivalent £83m) for the 2,508 slaves he owned across nine plantations. His son, who served as prime minister four times during his 60-year career, was heavily involved in his father's claim.

Mr Cameron, too, is revealed to have slave owners in his family background on his father's side. The compensation records show that General Sir James Duff, an army officer and MP for Banffshire in Scotland during the late 1700s, was Mr Cameron's first cousin six times removed. Sir James, who was the son of one of Mr Cameron's great-grand-uncle's, the second Earl of Fife, was awarded £4,101, equal to more than £3m today, to compensate him for the 202 slaves he forfeited on the Grange Sugar Estate in Jamaica.

Another illustrious political family that it appears still carries the name of a major slave owner is the Hogg dynasty, which includes the former cabinet minister Douglas Hogg. They are the descendants of Charles McGarel, a merchant who made a fortune from slave ownership. Between 1835 and 1837 he received £129,464, about £101m in today's terms, for the 2,489 slaves he owned. McGarel later went on to bring his younger brother-in-law Quintin Hogg into his hugely successful sugar firm, which still used indentured labour on plantations in British Guyana established under slavery. And it was Quintin's descendants that continued to keep the family name in the limelight, with both his son, Douglas McGarel Hogg, and his grandson, Quintin McGarel Hogg, becoming Lord Chancellor.

Dr Draper said: "Seeing the names of the slave-owners repeated in 20thcentury family naming practices is a very stark reminder about where those families saw their origins being from. In this case I'm thinking about the Hogg family. To have two Lord Chancellors in Britain in the 20th century bearing the name of a slave-owner from British Guiana, who went penniless to British Guyana, came back a very wealthy man and contributed to the formation of this political dynasty, which incorporated his name into their children in recognition – it seems to me to be an illuminating story and a potent example."

Mr Hogg refused to comment yesterday, saying he "didn't know anything about it". Mr Cameron declined to comment after a request was made to the No 10 press office.

Another demonstration of the extent to which slavery links stretch into modern Britain is Evelyn Bazalgette, the uncle of one of the giants of Victorian engineering, Sir Joseph Bazalgette and ancestor of Arts Council boss Sir Peter Bazalgette. He was paid £7,352 (£5.7m in today's money) for 420 slaves from two estates in Jamaica. Sir Peter said yesterday: "It had always been rumoured that his father had some interests in the Caribbean and I suspect Evelyn inherited that. So I heard rumours but this confirms it, and guess it's the sort of thing wealthy people on the make did in the 1800s. He could have put his money elsewhere but regrettably he put it in the Caribbean."

The TV chef Ainsley Harriott, who had slave-owners in his family on his grandfather's side, said yesterday he was shocked by the amount paid out by the government to the slave-owners. "You would think the government would have given at least some money to the freed slaves who need to find homes and start new lives," he said. "It seems a bit barbaric. It's like the rich protecting the rich."

The database is available from Wednesday at: ucl.ac.uk/lbs.

Cruel trade

Slavery on an industrial scale was a major source of the wealth of the British empire, being the exploitation upon which the West Indies sugar trade and cotton crop in North America was based. Those who made money from it were not only the slave-owners, but also the investors in those who transported Africans to enslavement. In the century to 1810, British ships carried about three million to a life of forced labour.

Campaigning against slavery began in the late 18th century as revulsion against the trade spread. This led, first, to the abolition of the trade in slaves, which came into law in 1808, and then, some 26 years later, to the Act of Parliament that would emancipate slaves. This legislation made provision for the staggering levels of compensation for slave-owners, but gave the former slaves not a penny in reparation.

More than that, it said that only children under six would be immediately free; the rest being regarded as "apprentices" who would, in exchange for free board and lodging, have to work for their "owners" 40 and a half hours for nothing until 1840. Several large disturbances meant that the deadline was brought forward and so, in 1838, 700,000 slaves in the West Indies, 40,000 in South Africa and 20,000 in Mauritius were finally liberated.

David Randall

Monday, February 25, 2013

Energy revolution promises to transform East Africa

BBC News, Tom Heap, BBC Radio 4's Costing the Earth and Newsnight, 25 February 2013

Tom Heap sees first-hand how geothermal steam beneath East Africa's
Great Rift Valley is being tapped

Related Stories

An energy revolution is taking place in East Africa as the price of solar technology tumbles and huge resources of geothermal steam beneath the Great Rift Valley start to be exploited, moves which have the potential to lift millions out of poverty and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

It feels more like each strand of hair is being torn rather than cut, barber Sylvester Muthama explains as he demonstrates the manual clippers which he uses to cut hair in his salon in rural Kenya.

Without access to power Sylvester
 Muthama has to abandon his electrical
clippers for manual ones
The problem, he tells me, is that the clippers tend to snag, especially with African hair, a worry for a barber who needs happy customers for his business to grow.

But Mr Muthama has little choice - the electric shears dangle uselessly to one side as this is not one of the very rare days when he has enough money to charge the car battery on the floor. And female clients must dry their hair in the sun.

His aunt, who shares the room to make clothes, must stitch by hand and power her iron with charcoal.

Mr Muthama's salon glorifies in the name Old Trafford Base and for him it is a Theatre of Dreams. He talks about how he would like to branch out, setting up a welding business. Yet in reality he is powerless:

"Without the electricity I am very much bored, for I have the ability but I have not the power," he says.

Step change

There are people like Mr Muthama all over Africa.

Closer to the city of Nairobi, I meet web designer Peter Njenga whose internet magazine owes its very existence to electricity, but who finds his ambitions thwarted by power surges which damage his computer and outages which prevent him from working.

Web designer Peter Njenga has
lost vital computer equipment because
of power surges
"I compare to the student who doesn't have a book or pen as electricity is what drives all our equipment right from the phones to internet connections to the computers. The younger generation… need reliable and very high quality power which is affordable," Mr Njenga says.

The power both he and Sylvester Muthama crave is right beneath their feet.

The Great Rift Valley is a tear in the Earth's crust stretching 3,000 miles (4,830 km) through Africa. In places the ground smokes and sulphurous fumes fill the air.

Drill down a couple of miles and, if your prospecting is good, you hit pools of water under great pressure and heated to 230C. Stick in a pipe and steam roars out ready for ducting into power stations to turn turbines and make electricity.

At Olkaria, near Lake Naivasha, in Kenya, they have been generating some electricity for 20 years, but now there is step change. With investment of around £1bn, in a few years they will be able to produce more electricity than the country's entire current annual consumption 1,600 megawatts.

'The bright continent'

A little further north is Menengai Crater, where further test wells are being drilled and the potential could be even greater. Overall it is believed the geothermal potential in Kenya is 10,000 megawatts.

Wells drill down to pools of water
under great pressure and superheated
to 230C
Engineer Daniel Odongo, the man leading the hunt for the wells of superheated water, guides me up one of the rigs and talks with great pride about how he thinks his work could change Kenya:

"We need something that can put power online as fast as possible and geothermal is doing that for us… everyone now in Kenya is trying to find out what's going on in Olkaria, what's going on in the power sector, and we are having people coming from all over the world to see what we are doing here."

And the work does not stop at Kenya's borders - geothermal prospecting is happening in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania. Some of the money is coming from the African Development Bank and their regional director, Gabriel Negatu, says it could be transformative:

"Energy is not an end in itself; it is an enabler... every part of your life is affected by energy. [We'll see] a robust economy with factories, universities, a full industrial economy, and all of it will be powered by geothermal energy. What was once known as the Dark Continent will henceforth be known as the bright continent."

Spreading the word

But in remote villages of Africa, a quieter energy revolution is underway which could change lives more rapidly. Seven in 10 Africans are not on the mains grid, but wires and pylons are not the only way to deliver electricity.

Solar lights are now illuminating the homes of seven million Africans and sales are doubling every year.

In recent years solar technology has
improved and the price plummeted
Harnessing the African sun has been considered before and foundered due to high cost and complexity. But in the last few years the price of technology has plummeted - solar panels, batteries and LED bulbs are now better and cheaper.

Also the need to charge millions of mobile phones has created an enormous appetite for relatively small amounts of power - the kind that solar can generate.

I join a company called Sunny Money in their Solar Roller - a minibus which carries the message of the benefits of solar power and the hardware needed to utilise it to remote villages.

In the Kenyan Highlands customers gather to see a demonstration of how the solar lights work - the majority are teachers interested in buying for themselves or parents buying the lamps for their children.

Many green ideas have been exposed as wishful thinking by the realities of life in Africa, so when the solar salesman throws his lamp on the ground three times, stamps on it and then reveals it still works the gasps are genuine.

Solar-powered schooling

At the nearby Kemba primary school the headmaster, Stanley Rugut says 600 of his pupils already have solar lights and he wants to help them buy more as they enable students to read in the evening, do more homework and get better results:

Student Enoch says he able to read for
 three extra hours a day thanks to his
solar lamp
"Because of the light we have double the number going to good schools," he says. "At 700 Kenyan shillings (£5) a light is the same price as a hen."

In recent exams star pupil Enoch came 55th out of all of the students in Kenya. His ability to study improved considerably when his mother purchased a solar lamp.

"Before there was this light I used to read up until seven only, but when it was brought I read up to 10," Enoch, who hopes to one day be a doctor, explains.

It is about health too. Most homes in rural Africa are lit by paraffin lamps, and being exposed to an evening's lighting is thought to be as damaging to health as smoking 40 cigarettes.

The United Nations and many NGO's want to see them replaced by solar, and it now seems to be happening.

You can find out more about the revolution electrifying Africa in Tom Heap's reports on BBC Newsnight on Monday 25th February 2013 at 10.30pm on BBC Two and Costing the Earth on Radio Four on Tuesday 26th February 2013 at 3.30pm, repeated on Wednesday 27th February 2013 at 9pm.

Both programmes will also be available afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.

Related Articles:

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

“…  4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

" .... Africa

Let me tell you where else it's happening that you are unaware - that which is the beginning of the unity of the African states. Soon the continent will have what they never had before, and when that continent is healed and there is no AIDS and no major disease, they're going to want what you have. They're going to want houses and schools and an economy that works without corruption. They will be done with small-minded leaders who kill their populations for power in what has been called for generations "The History of Africa." Soon it will be the end of history in Africa, and a new continent will emerge.

Be aware that the strength may not come from the expected areas, for new leadership is brewing. There is so much land there and the population is so ready there, it will be one of the strongest economies on the planet within two generations plus 20 years. And it's going to happen because of a unifying idea put together by a few. These are the potentials of the planet, and the end of history as you know it.

In approximately 70 years, there will be a black man who leads this African continent into affluence and peace. He won't be a president, but rather a planner and a revolutionary economic thinker. He, and a strong woman with him, will implement the plan continent-wide. They will unite. This is the potential and this is the plan. Africa will arise out the ashes of centuries of disease and despair and create a viable economic force with workers who can create good products for the day. You think China is economically strong? China must do what it does, hobbled by the secrecy and bias of the old ways of its own history. As large as it is, it will have to eventually compete with Africa, a land of free thinkers and fast change. China will have a major competitor, one that doesn't have any cultural barriers to the advancement of the free Human spirit.. ...."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Regional leaders sign eastern DR Congo peace deal

Google – AFP, 24 February 2013 

Congolese army tanks retreat through the village of Rugari, near Goma, 
on July 26, 2012 (AFP/File, Phil Moore)

ADDIS ABABA — Regional African leaders signed a deal on Sunday aimed at pacifying the troubled east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"It is my hope that that the framework will lead to an era of peace and stability for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region," said UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who was present at the signing ceremony in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

"It is only the beginning of a comprehensive approach that will require sustained engagement," he said.

The agreement could lead to creation of a special UN "intervention brigade" in eastern DR Congo to combat rebel groups as well as new political efforts.

DR Congo's mineral-rich east has been ravaged by conflict involving numerous armed groups for the past two decades, with new rebel movements spawned on a regular basis, some of them with backing from neighbouring countries.

The latest surge in violence was in 2012 and culminated in the rebel March 23 movement (M23) force briefly seizing the key town of Goma last November.

Leaders or representatives of 11 regional countries signed the document, after a first attempt to get the peace agreement signed last month was called off at the last minute.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Nigeria works to clean up oil corruption

Government determined to get back $1bn paid to oil companies which failed to deliver imported fuel.

Aljazeera, 22 Feb 2013 09:25

It is one year since about 140 Nigerian oil companies were said to have been paid close to $7bn by the government to import fuel.

Many of those involved did not deliver the fuel and an ongoing government investigation has so far detected that at least $1bn was wrongly paid out to such companies.

Oil and gas executives say the sector is recovering from the damage done to the image of the industry, while the government says it is determined to get the money back.

Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege reports from Abuja.

Pope to resign in historic move

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday announced he would resign, citing old age, in a stunning announcement that marked a first in the modern history of the Catholic Church.

MSN - AFP, 11 February 2013

Pope to resign in historic move

The German-born pope said he would step down on February 28, which will make him the first pontiff to resign in centuries.

"I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," the 85-year-old pope said in a speech delivered in Latin at a meeting of cardinals in the Vatican.

 Dressed in red vestments and his voice barely audible as he read from a written text, the pope made the announcement in a hall in his residence -- the Apostolic Palace next to St Peter's Square.

 Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he expected a conclave of cardinals to be held in March within 15 or 20 days of the resignation and a new pope elected before Easter Sunday on March 31.

Benedict , an academic theologian who has written numerous books including a trilogy on the life of Jesus Christ that he completed last Christmas, will retire to a monastery within the Vatican walls.

"In order to govern the ship of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me," the pope said.

 "For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours (1900 GMT), the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked," he said.

Tributes poured in for Benedict from around the world including his native Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had the "greatest respect" for his decision, and hailed him as "one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time".

French President Francois Hollande said the pope's decision was "eminently respectable".

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the pope had worked "tirelessly" to boost ties with Britain.

Benedict, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, was the Catholic Church's doctrinal enforcer for many years and earned the nickname "God's Rottweiler".

He was elected in 2005 at a time when the Vatican was being rocked by multiple scandals over child abuse committed by priests.

The guiding principle of his papacy has been to reinvigorate the Catholic faith, particularly among young people and in countries with rising levels of secularism like Europe and North America.

Benedict has championed Christianity's European roots and showed his conservatism by repeatedly stressing family values and fiercely opposing abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage.

Pope Benedict, who has looked increasingly weary in recent months and often has to use a mobile platform to move around St Peter's basilica during Church services, had hinted in a book of interviews in 2010 that he might resign if he felt he was no longer able to carry out his duties.

The scandal over confidential memos leaked from the Vatican by the pope's once loyal butler last year was a particularly hard blow for the pope.

"The pope caught us a bit by surprise," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said at a hastily-arranged press conference.

Lombardi stressed that the pope's decision was his own and was "well thought out" and that "there is no illness that has contributed to it".

He said the pope had chosen a consistory to make his announcement because it would group cardinals together, adding that most of them had not been informed of the pope's announcement beforehand.

The only other pope to resign because he felt unable to fulfil his duties was Celestine V in 1294, a hermit who stepped down after just a few months in office saying he yearned for a simpler life and was not physically capable for the office.

In 1415, Gregory XII resigned in a bid to end the "Western Schism", when two rival claimants declared themselves pope in Pisa and Avignon and threatened to tear apart Roman Catholicism.

Other popes have stepped down for a variety of reasons in the papacy's mediaeval history.

Pope Benedict XVI speaks to journalists during a press
 conference aboard the airplane, May 11, 2010, on the way
 to Lisbon, for his four-day visit to Portugal. (Vincenzo Pinto/
AFP/Getty Images)

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

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

“ … Spirituality (Religions)

Number one: Spirituality. The systems of spiritual design on your planet are starting to change. This is not telling you that certain ones are going to go away. They're simply going to change. Some of the largest spiritual systems, which you would call organized religion on the planet, are shifting. They're going to shift away from that which is authority on the outside to authority on the inside. It will eventually be a different way of worship, slowly changing the rules while keeping the basic doctrine the same.

The doctrine of the Christ has always been to find the God inside. The teachings were clear. The examples of the miracles were given as an example of what humans could do, not to set a man up for worship as a God. So when that has been absorbed, the teaching of the Christ can remain the teaching of the Christ. It simply changes the interpretation. 

The teachings of the great prophets of the Middle East (all related to each other) are about unity and love. So once the holy words are redefined with new wisdom, the Human changes, not the words of the prophets. In fact, the prophets become even more divinely inspired and their wisdom becomes even more profound.

You're going to lose a pope soon. I have no clock. Soon to us can mean anything to you. The one who replaces him may surprise you, for his particular organization will be in survival mode at that point in time. That is to say that fewer and fewer are interested in starting the priesthood. Fewer and fewer young people are interested in the organization, and the new pope must make changes to keep his church alive. That means that his organization will remain, but with a more modern look at what truly is before all of you in a new energy. It is not the fall of the church. It is instead the recalibration of the divinity inside that would match the worship that goes on. It's a win-win situation. The new pope will have a difficult time, since the old guard will still be there. There could even be an assassination attempt, such is the way the old energy dies hard. That is number one. Watch for it. It's a change in the way spiritual systems work. It's a realignment of spiritual systems that resound to a stronger truth that is Human driven, rather than prophet driven.…”

Lightning strikes St Peter's dome at Vatican on day
 the Pope announced resignation, by Filippo Monteforte

"... Let us speak for a moment about some recent developments—first, Pope Benedict. A most unusual event indeed, a pope resigning, and the announced reason, “advanced age,” is factual in a way.

The pope seen publicly is a clone. Because it is aging rapidly and its energy is ebbing, it will not be able to function much longer and replacement clones are hard to come by these days. That is why the pontiff himself, who looks healthier and younger than the clone, will remain in seclusion. Depending upon his life span and the timing of the truth about clones coming forth, he may be seen later on looking quite refreshed.

The significance of this resignation is much more far reaching than a failing clone—it cracks open the door to truths that have been hidden for centuries, such as pedophilia in the priesthood has been rampant for over 1500 years.

The Vatican, which has been a major world player under the Illuminati umbrella, is the international headquarters of Satanism, and its untold wealth includes stolen art treasures acquired in collaboration with Nazis during World War II. Any pope who raised an objection to the mammoth deceit, unconscionable behavior and amassing of fortunes was short-lived.

Yet, possibly the most shocking revelation will be the disclosure of ancient records that will show how the Bible long ago was strategically altered—most notably the fabricated story about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection—to give the church control over the Catholic populace.

When all of that becomes public knowledge, the Vatican’s long reign will be over. The crumbling will be extremely sad and difficult for Catholics, but all devout Christians will be profoundly affected by learning that the foundation of their lives was built on lies.

Compassion for all of those souls can help them accept that the truth about Jesus’ life and teachings is far more valuable than what they have been taught. Their beliefs that are based in spirituality rather than in dogma will endure and the rituals based on falsehoods will fade away. ..."

"... The Rothschild faction of the Illuminati, which governed its empire from London and the Vatican, lost its media foothold along with its other powers in that part of the world. A section of the Illuminati’s Rockefeller faction, headquartered in Washington, DC, and New York City, still has influence on major media in the US as well as on Wall Street; and their lingering foothold in Congress is evident in the intransigence that has stagnated progress. ..."

Jesus cites wife in fourth-century script, says US scholar

(SaLuSa channelled by Mike Quinsey, March 16, 2012)
“…. Each project is underway and that will result in a sudden wealth of information reaching you. Events are such that the facts can no longer be kept hidden, and with that there will be an explosion of people coming forward to tell what they know. It may take longer where the Vatican is concerned, as it is akin to a secret society that has kept its dark secrets hidden well away. However, nothing will remain concealed for too long, as you are entitled to know the truth and the extent to which you have been deceived….”  

“ ….   5. Because the dissemination of accurate information is crucial, another good indicator of the light’s progress is that mainstream media censorship clearly is on the decline. For instance, even though the Vatican is one of the kingpins under the Illuminati umbrella, it now is public knowledge that investigation into the Vatican’s financial affairs is underway. Ultimately this will lead to uncovering the cesspool of darkness in that tiny sovereign state, including that it is the international headquarters of satanic worship and a vast storehouse of stolen art treasures. …." 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

King Abdullah and the Quest For Reform in Saudi Arabia

Jakarta GlobeSumanto Al Qurtuby, February 21, 2013

'King Abdullah's remarkable policies might provide one reason
 why the political unrest that has rocked the Arab region has
only lightly touched Saudi Arabia' 
Related articles

The “dark side” of Saudi Arabia is widely known: “exporter” of global terrorism, source of Islamic fanaticism and militancy linked to Wahhabi teachings, lack of protection for religious minorities, anti-Shiite campaigns, zero women empowerment, undemocratic rule, etcetera. But this is not the only story of the world’s largest producer of crude oil and its 26 million people. Since King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz (b. 1924) assumed power following the death of his half-brother King Fahd in 2005, Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam and home to two of the Muslim world’s holiest places (Mecca and Medina), has undergone major change and progress in terms of domestic and global affairs.

Over the past seven years, King Abdullah, the tenth son of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz, has transformed his palace with a wide range of vital reform initiatives ranging from policies on education and women to interfaith gatherings and peacebuilding. Rob Sobhani, author of “King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia: A Leader of Consequence,” wrote in Forbes magazine that the king’s domestic policies, coupled with his active involvement in religious peacemaking and interfaith meetings, has contributed to the creation of a “new climate of dialogue and openness, challenged the obscurantist clerical establishment, created openings for women, and liberalized the economy.”

Among numerous policy shifts made by the monarch, at least four issues deserve special mention: education, religious affairs, interfaith engagement and women’s emancipation.

In education, the ruler has applied a vast government scholarship program that enables this vibrant and rapidly developing country to send its students — of both sexes — to Western universities, particularly in Western Europe, North America and Australia, for undergraduate and graduate studies in various fields and disciplines. The program, which offered funds for tuition and living expenses for up to four years, resulted in more than 70,000 students pursuing a degree in some 25 countries. In the United States alone there are more than 22,000 Saudi students. In the future, graduates of these Western schools will certainly boost further reformation in both religious and political domains for this Islamic monarchy.

Moreover, in religious education, the ruler has allowed Muslim minorities such as Shiites, who make up roughly 3 percent of the nation’s total population, and followers of non-Wahhabi schools of law ( mazhab) to use their own religious texts in schools. The king also revised national curricula by inserting non-Wahhabi materials aiming at understanding other religions and non-Wahhabi teachings. He also permitted Shiites to celebrate publicly their religious holidays. To smoothen his educational reforms, this visionary king replaced the existing minister of education with reform-minded scholar Faisal bin Abdullah. He also assigned Nora binti Abdullah al-Fayez, a US-trained academic, as deputy education minister to lead and oversee a new division in the ministry for female students.

But the king’s restoration in religious affairs continues. Realizing there were many undemocratic judicial decisions made by judges, the sovereign initiated a review of verdicts and provided more professional training for Shariah judges. The king has repeatedly said that those who rule must be just and honest. He also issued a decree stating that only Islamic scholars allied to the Senior Council of Ulema would be permitted to issue a fatwa (a non-binding opinion by a Muslim jurist or mufti). The order also instructed the Grand Mufti to classify eligible reform-minded scholars to be included in the council.

Religious engagement is another part of King Abdullah’s great legacy. Long before he ascended the throne, the king had initiated a series of intra-religious meetings with non-Wahhabi leaders in the country, including the celebrated Shiite scholar Hasan al-Saffar. The king also engaged with non-Muslim leaders. In 2007, the king had a historic meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in the Apostolic Palace, making him the first Saudi monarch to visit the leader of the Roman-Catholic Church.

After subsequent visits to, and encounters with, non-Muslim religious leaders, the monarch called for a “brotherly and sincere dialogue between believers of all religions.” He then appealed to Muslim clerics and Wahhabi leaders to engage with Jewish and Christian leaders. As an outcome of the king’s initiatives, a huge interfaith meeting took place in Madrid in 2008. Not only that, the king also established a King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (based in Vienna) — a collaboration between Saudi Arabia, Spain and Austria.

Lastly, concerning women issues, King Abdullah again made history. Recently he issued a decree that allowed women to be members of the empire’s previously all-male Shura Council, an appointed advisory body whose main task is to compose drafts of laws and counsel for the king. The king amended the law on the Shura Council to make sure that women would make up no less than 20 percent of the 150-member council. The emperor then appointed 30 women, who “are highly qualified and experienced in various fields” according to Saudi journalist Maha Akeel. University graduates, human rights activists and two princesses joined the council.

The decree has indeed marked a critical breakthrough in the nation that applies a rigid version of Shariah law and imposes stringent restrictions on females. It is worth noting that this is not the first time for the king that made an important decision to empower women. In 2011, he granted women the right to vote and run as candidates in local elections.

In a response to this “controversial” policy, a group of Wahhabi hard-liners and conservative clerics protested on the streets outside the royal palace in Riyadh. They saw the decree as a dangerous change for the country and a violation of Islamic Shariah. Yet despite the overwhelming protests from “old-fashioned” Wahhabis, King Abdullah continues to apply the decree because, as he affirms, “we refuse to marginalize women’s role in Saudi society.”

King Abdullah’s remarkable efforts and policies sketched above might provide one important reason why the political unrest that has rocked the Arab and North African region since late 2010 has only lightly touched Saudi Arabia. This may be more important that the “bribery” of the people into obedience and loyalty by means of massive fiscal stimulus and welfare benefits, as many analysts have assumed.

Indeed, the massive changes in Saudi Arabia offer an important example for Indonesia, as many of the Saudi-influenced clerics and Muslim leaders who reside here, unfortunately, have so far failed to take notice.

Sumanto Al Qurtuby is a research fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He can be contacted at squrtuby@gmail.com.