“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.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Morocco arrests Swiss man over links to hiker murder suspects

Yahoo – AFP, December 29, 2018

The High Atlas mountains, where Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old
Norwegian Maren Ueland were found dead at an isolated hiking spot on
December 17. (AFP Photo/FADEL SENNA)

Rabat (AFP) - A Swiss man living in Morocco was arrested in Marrakesh on Saturday, for alleged links to suspects in the recent murder of two female Scandinavian hikers, authorities said.

The man is "suspected of teaching some of those arrested in this case about communication tools involving new technology and of training them in marksmanship", Morocco's central office for judicial investigations said in a statement.

The counter-terror organ added he subscribed to "extremist ideology" and also has Spanish citizenship.

The ongoing investigation into the double murder uncovered the man was involved in the "recruitment of Moroccans and sub-Saharans to carry out terrorist plans in Morocco", the statement said.

Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland were found dead at an isolated hiking spot in the High Atlas mountains, south of Marrakesh on December 17.

The two women were beheaded, authorities have said.

Ahead of Saturday's arrest, Moroccan authorities had previously arrested 18 people for alleged links to the murders.

The four main suspects were arrested in Marrakesh and belonged to a cell inspired by Islamic State group ideology, Morocco's counter-terror chief Abdelhak Khiam told AFP this week.

But none of the four had contact with IS members in Syria or Iraq, he said.

The head of the suspected cell is 25-year-old street vendor Abdessamad Ejjoud, according to investigators.

He was identified in a video filmed a week before the double-murder, in which the four main suspects pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to authorities.

The killings have shaken Norway, Denmark and Morocco. Another video circulated on social networks allegedly showed the murder of one of the tourists.

Morocco, which relies heavily on tourism income, suffered a jihadist attack in 2011, when a bomb blast at a cafe in Marrakesh's famed Jamaa El Fna Square killed 17 people, mostly European tourists.

An attack in the North African state's financial capital Casablanca killed 33 people in 2003.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Moroccans pay homage to slain Scandinavian hikers

Yahoo – AFP, December 22, 2018

A Moroccan girl places a flower during a vigil for the two Scandinavian hikers,
who were killed in Morocco's High Atlas mountains, outside the Danish Embassy
in Rabat on December 22, 2018 (AFP Photo/FADEL SENNA)

Rabat (AFP) - Crowds of Moroccans gathered Saturday to mourn two Scandinavian hikers brutally murdered by suspected jihadists in the High Atlas mountains.

Hundreds of people paid tribute to Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland outside the embassies of their homelands in the capital Rabat.

Signs laid out or put by those gathered read "RIP Maren and Louisa", "Terrorism has no religion or nationality" and "Sorry".

A minute of silence was held in the presence of diplomats from Denmark and Norway.

In the southern village of Imlil, near where the bodies of the two hikers were found, hundreds of people paid their respects, while dozens more laid flowers and lit candles in tourist hub city Marrakesh.

A Moroccan man places a candle during a vigil for the two Scandinavian hikers, 
who were killed in Morocco's High Atlas mountains, outside the Danish Embassy
in Rabat on December 22, 2018 (AFP Photo/FADEL SENNA)

The grisly killings have shaken Morocco, where tourism is a cornerstone of the economy.

The bodies of the two women were found Monday after they had pitched their tent at an isolated mountain site around two hours' walk from Imlil.

One of them was beheaded, according to a source close to the investigation.

Thirteen people have been detained across the country in connection with the killings, which the authorities have classified as a "terrorist act".

The Danish and Norwegian ambassadors to Morocco have thanked the public and authorities in the country for their support and messages of condolence.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Boko Haram mastermind of deadly Nigeria blasts arrested: police

Yahoo – AFP, December 21, 2018

Two blasts simultaneously ripped through the suburbs of Kuje and Nyanya outlying
Abuja, the Nigerian capital, on October 2, 2015, leaving 18 people dead and 41
 injured (AFP Photo/PHILIP OJISUA)

Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - A top Boko Haram leader accused of organising deadly twin blasts in the Nigerian capital Abuja that killed 18 people has been arrested, police said Friday.

A police statement said Umar Abdulmalik and seven other jihadists were arrested, without giving details.

Forty-one people were also injured in the October 2, 2015 blasts which simultaneously ripped through the suburbs of Kuje and Nyanya outlying the federal capital.

The explosions happened near a police station in Kuje and at a bus stop in Nyanya.

Kuje, near Abuja’s airport, is 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the city centre and seat of government. Its prison at the time held dozens of Boko Haram prisoners captured by troops.

The same bus station in Nyanya, to the east, was hit twice in 2014. The first attack, on 14 April 2014, left at least 75 dead and was claimed by the Islamists; the second, on 1 May, left at least 16 dead.

In the latest attack, the jihadists ambushed a military convoy in the northeastern state of Borno killing at least two soldiers, military sources told AFP Friday.

Thursday's attack saw them attacking with guns and rocket-propelled grenades on a convoy of troops near Bongori village in Damboa district, two military officers said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The troops from the state capital Maiduguri, the cradle of the Boko Haram movement, were heading to the town of Damboa, about 90 kilometres away.

Three soldiers were injured and an armoured vehicle was damaged, a military officer said. The second officer confirmed the information.

Boko Haram has intensified attacks on military targets in Borno and neighbouring Yobe state, killing dozens.

Last week, two Nigerian soldiers were killed in a roadside mine explosion outside the town of Gamboru near the border with Cameroon blamed on the jihadists troops.

More than 27,000 people have died since the start of the insurgency in the remote northeast in 2009 and 1.8 million have been made homeless.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Hundreds march in Sierra Leone against sexual violence

Yahoo – AFP, December 15, 2018

Sierra Leone wants to crack down on violence against women, particularly
sexual agression and rape (AFP Photo/ISSOUF SANOGO)

Freetown (AFP) - Hundreds of people demonstrated in Freetown on Saturday against sexual violence against women, days after the Sierra Leone government promised a crackdown on rape and sexual abuse.

Among the estimated 300 to 400 demonstrators was the country's first lady, Fatima Bio, who on Friday launched a programme called "Hands off our Girls" to combat sexual violence, child trafficking and prostitution, child marriage and teenage pregnancy.

The first ladies of Liberia, Niger, Ghana, Chad and Gambia gave their backing to the initiative.

Last month, President Julius Maada Bio called for life prison sentences for offenders.

The number of officially reported cases of sexual violence has risen from 4,750 in 2017 to 8,505 since the beginning of 2018, according to national police statistics.

The demonstrators were also joined by Justice Minister Priscilla Schwartz and Social Affairs Minister Daindu Dassama.

"I would advise the men in Sierra Leone to spare our girls," said Janet Kallon, an activist at the march.

"We want our daughters to go to school and to get an education."

Many sexual assault victims in Sierra Leone are teenagers, but younger children are also affected, with some abuse victims not even a year old.

On average every month, around 150 young women get pregnant due to rape, according to the Rainbow Initiative, a local organisation dedicated to the fight against sexual violence.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

S.Africa eyes green shoots in local cannabis industry

Yahoo – AFP, Michelle GUMEDE, 13 December 2018

Attendees were treated to a world of cannabis-derived products, from
medicinal oils, dog treats and even pure hemp clothing

South Africa on Thursday held its first cannabis industry exhibition since the constitutional court ruled private, personal cannabis use was legal, attracting scores of entrepreneurs and consumers.

Although no smoking was allowed at the venue, hundreds of people attended the trade show including producers, manufacturers, brand owners, distilleries and brewers.

"It is an enormous opportunity and I don't think people realise how big it is. If we look at the market, it is enormous when you look at what is happening in America and Canada," said Steve Carver, 50, a director at U Can Grow Africa which sub-lets land for cannabis cultivation.

Another attendee Sifiso Pretorius, who has a licence to cultivate the plant, said the profits derived from cannabis based products were "unbelievable".

"It's a huge industry and its mainly export based, dollar based. The potential is huge," he said.

The country's top court decriminalised private use and cultivation of the herb in September, although it did not decriminalise the use of the drug in public -- nor the offences of supplying or dealing.

From medicinal oils, dog treats and even pure hemp clothing, attendees were treated to a world of cannabis-derived products from the southern Africa region.

'Make this industry viable'

Zimbabwean-born fashion business owner Haanes Swan, 25, who sells tailored hemp clothing, praised the cost-effective nature of the plant.

"The fabric is four times stronger than cotton and takes half the amount of water to grow."

The country's top court decriminalised private use and cultivation of the 
herb in September

"Eventually we will grow hemp in Zimbabwe by the end of next year. We will be able to clothe people for almost next to nothing," Swan said.

For others, the decriminalisation is a chance to cash in on the budding industry in a country where unemployment is stubbornly high.

"I wanted information about growing and cultivating because I want to do that myself. I'm quite happy with what I got because I know where to find seeds and everything else to start," law student Amogelang Shadi, 24 said.

Dressed in Rastafari colours, director of the privately-owned Marijuana Board of South Africa, Rasta Sphesihle Madola, told AFP that the rasta community was also working with farmers and growers associations to profit from the plant.

"As we are rasta we are about the economy of cannabis, we know that it makes money in the world. We call on international investors to invest and make this industry viable," Madola added.

The South African parliament now has just under 24 months to draft new laws that reflect the decriminalisation court order.

Attendees were treated to a world of cannabis-derived products, from medicinal oils, dog treats and even pure hemp clothing

The country's top court decriminalised private use and cultivation of the herb in September.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Nobel laureates challenge world to end sexual violence

France24 – AFP, 9 Dec 2018

Murad and Mukwege will be jointly presented with the prize in Oslo on Monday for
"their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed
conflict"    Oslo (AFP)

Nobel peace laureates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege said Sunday they hoped their award would help them push the international community to act to end rape in conflict and deliver justice for victims.

Yazidi activist Murad and Congolese doctor Mukwege will be jointly presented with the prize in Oslo on Monday for "their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict".

Murad, 25, who was taken hostage in Iraq by the Islamic State group (IS) in 2014 but escaped, said the prize was an honour for all of her Yazidi community, and "a sign" for the thousands of women still held by jihadists.

"This prize, one prize cannot remove all the violence and all the attacks on pregnant women, on children, on women and give them justice," she told a press conference in Oslo.

But she said she hoped it would "open doors so that we can approach more governments", to bring the perpetrators to court and "so that we can find a solution and actually stop what is happening".

Fellow laureate Mukwege, who has spent two decades treating rape victims at his hospital in conflict-torn eastern DR Congo, said the Nobel spotlight made it harder for the world to ignore sexual violence.

"We cannot say that we didn't act because we didn't know. Now everyone knows. And I think now the international community has a responsibility to act," he said.

He said the prize was not a "victory", but could be seen "as the start of a new struggle, a new struggle against this type of evil".

Murad has spent the years since her escape campaigning for the Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking community that follows an ancient religion and was targeted by IS as it swept through her homeland.

More than 6,800 Yazidis were kidnapped, of whom 4,300 either escaped or were bought as slaves, while 2,500 remain missing, according to a recent report from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

The United Nations is due to send a team into Iraq next year to investigate atrocities, following a Security Council resolution in September 2017 to bring those responsible for IS war crimes to justice.

The UN has described the massacre of the Yazidis by IS jihadists as possible genocide.

Murad, now a UN ambassador for victims of human trafficking living in Germany, said the "steps towards justice" had given her hope.

But she stressed that "not a single ISIS terrorist" has appeared in court, adding "this injustice will continue in this world if it is not dealt with now".

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Catholic Church beatifies 19 slain clerics in Algeria's Oran

France24 –AFP,  8 Dec 2018

French Catholic monk Brother Jean-Pierre Schumacher (L) greets a man ahead
of the beatification ceremony for 19 Catholic clergy in Agleria's northwestern city
of Oran on Saturday French Catholic monk Brother Jean-Pierre Schumacher (L)
greets a man ahead of the beatification ceremony for 19 Catholic clergy in
Agleria's northwestern city of Oran on Saturday AFP

The Catholic Church beatified in the city of Oran on Saturday seven French monks and 12 other clergy killed during Algeria's civil war, the first ceremony of its kind in a Muslim nation.

May "Monsignor Pierre Claverie... and his 18 companions, faithful messengers of the Gospel, humble artisans of peace... from now on be called blessed," said papal envoy Cardinal Angelo Becciu, reading the decree of beatification, the first step on the path to Roman Catholic sainthood.

Claverie, 58, was killed with his driver on August 1, 1996 when a remote-controlled bomb exploded at his residence in Oran.

He was among 19 clergy to be beatified, after their murders in a series of grisly atrocities between 1994 and 1996.

The ceremony was held under tight security at the esplanade of the Chapel of our Lady of Santa Cruz overlooking the Mediterranean city.

Some 1,200 people attended the ceremony, including pilgrims, relatives and friends of the beatified, many of whom came from abroad.

Opening the ceremony, Archbishop Paul Desfarges of Algiers paid tribute to "the thousands and thousands of victims of the Algerian civil war", describing them as anonymous heroes.

A minute of silence was then observed.

Algeria's 1991-2002 war between government forces and Islamists left up to 200,000 people dead.

In a message read during the ceremony by Becciu, Pope Francis spoke of his hope that "this celebration helps to heal the wounds of the past and create a new dynamic of meeting and living together".

The 19 clergy were declared martyrs by the Vatican in January 2018, since they were slain "in odium fidei", or out of hatred for the faith.

Pope Francis himself spoke of the beatification in prayers at Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican on Saturday.

"May this beatification be an incentive for all to build a world of fraternity and solidarity together", the pope said.

Haunted by colonial past, Belgium's Africa museum reopens after revamp

MSN – Yahoo, Dave Clark, Matthieu DEMEESTERE , 8 Dec 2018 

The reopening comes amid debate about returning stolen African artefacts (AFP)

Belgium's Africa Museum reopened on Saturday after a five-year restoration to repackage its looted treasures with a critical view of the country's brutal colonial past.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo hailed a "historic moment" and said it would open "a new chapter" in Belgian-African relations.

The reopening of the former Royal Museum for Central Africa in the Tervuren Palace outside Brussels comes amid a renewed European debate about returning stolen artefacts.

Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to return 26 cultural artefacts to Benin "without delay", a move likely to put pressure on other former colonial powers to return African artworks to their countries of origin.

Macron said the decision should not be seen as an isolated or symbolic case and proposed a conference in Paris next year to discuss an "exchange policy" for African treasures.

"Restitution should no longer be taboo," De Croo said on Saturday adding, however, that any returns should be dependant on certain conservation conditions being met.

"It is clear that this implies a respectful attitude on the part of the African authorities with regard to this artistic heritage," he said.

Before it closed for refurbishment in 2013, visitors to the Belgian museum were greeted by a statue uncritically depicting white European missionaries "bringing civilisation to Congo".

The museum's research team insists the exhibits will now take a much more critical approach to the depredations of King Leopold II and his agents in Congo.

With the help of multimedia displays and detailed captions, visitors will be encouraged to take a critical view and to see colonialism through African eyes.

The museum's academic experts say there is no attempt to cover up the past, but rather to use the collection of 125,000 ethnographic objects more educationally.

Despite the new approach more in keeping with Belgium's multicultural present, the revamp has not been without controversy.

Activists are demanding a proper memorial to seven Congolese who died in 1897 after being brought to Belgium as living exhibits. They are buried near the Tervuren estate.

Paula Polanco told AFP her group, Intal-Congo, wanted them to be recognised as "victims of a colonialist crime".

Belgium's current king, Philippe, meanwhile declined an invitation to the reopening.

The Belgian colonies, run as a private royal estate by Leopold II, covered lands now included in independent Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

These countries have suffered a turbulent modern history and for European experts, in DR Congo's case at least, lack premises to properly house a national history collection.

DR Congo's President Joseph Kabila, however, has said he plans to formally request the return of art and records before his country's own museum opens next year.