“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.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Angola vows to bring back billionaire dos Santos over graft claims

Yahoo – AFP, in London, January 20, 2020

A trove of leaked documents allege that Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daught
of Angola's ex-president, amassed her wealth by plundering state funds (AFP Photo/

Luanda (AFP) - Angolan prosecutors vowed on Monday to use "all possible" means to bring back Isabel dos Santos, the former president's billionaire daughter, after thousands of leaked documents revealed new allegations she siphoned off hundreds of millions in public money.

Dubbed Africa's richest woman, dos Santos is accused of using her father's backing to plunder state funds from the oil-rich but impoverished southern African country and -- with the help of Western consulting firms -- move the money offshore.

She stopped living in Angola after her authoritarian father Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled the country for nearly 40 years, stepped down in 2017 for his anointed successor Joao Lourenco.

She now spends her time between London and Dubai.

"We will use all possible means and activate international mechanisms to bring Isabel dos Santos back to the country," prosecutor general Helder Pitra Gros told public radio.

"We have asked for international support from Portugal, Dubai and other countries," he added.

The 46-year-old dos Santos is already being investigated as part of an anti-graft campaign launched by Lourenco, who has vowed to root out corruption.

Prosecutors last month froze bank accounts and holdings owned by the businesswoman and her Congolese-Danish husband Sindika Dokolo, a move dos Santos described as motivated by a groundless political vendetta.

Gros' remarks came after a trove of 715,000 files dubbed the "Luanda Leaks" on Sunday revealed how the eldest daughter of the former president allegedly moved the vast sums into overseas assets.

The award-winning New York-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) behind the release alleged the international system has allowed powerful individuals like her to move assets around the world, without questions.

Prosecutors have already frozen the bank accounts and holdings owned by dos 
Santos and her Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo (AFP Photo/FERNANDO VELUDO)

"Based on a trove of more than 715,000 files, our investigation highlights a broken international regulatory system that allows professional services firms to serve the powerful with almost no questions asked," the ICIJ wrote.

The group said its team of 120 reporters in 20 countries was able to trace "how an army of Western financial firms, lawyers, accountants, government officials and management companies helped (dos Santos and Dokolo) hide assets from tax authorities".

'Highly coordinated attack'

Dos Santos took to Twitter to refute the claims, launching a salvo of around 30 tweets in Portuguese and English, accusing journalists involved in the investigation of telling "lies".

"My fortune is built on my character, my intelligence, education, capacity for work, perseverance," she wrote.

Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and educated in Britain, dos Santos -- scornfully nicknamed "the princess" -- was named Africa's first female billionaire in 2013 by Forbes, which estimates her current wealth at $2.1 billion.

Her lawyer dismissed the ICIJ findings as a "highly coordinated attack" orchestrated by Angola's current rulers, in a statement quoted by The Guardian newspaper.

Dos Santos herself told BBC Africa the file dump was part of a "witch hunt" meant to discredit her and her father.

She headed Angola's national oil company Sonangol until her father's successor forced her out after becoming president in 2017.

"Red flags really went up when she was appointed head of the state oil company at a time when her father still had significant influence," said Daniel Bruce, who heads the UK branch of anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International.

Former Angolan president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos ruled for nearly 40 years 
before stepping down in 2017 (AFP Photo/Adalberto ROQUE)

"You could see there were major conflicts of interest starting to emerge," he added.

Dos Santos said on Wednesday that she would consider running for president in the next election in 2022.

Western consultants

The ICIJ investigation said Western consulting firms such as PwC and Boston Consulting Group were "apparently ignoring red flags" while helping her stash away public assets.

"Regulators around the globe have virtually ignored the key role Western professionals play in maintaining an offshore industry that drives money laundering and drains trillions from public coffers," the report said.

Its document trove included redacted letters allegedly showing how consultants sought out ways to open non-transparent bank accounts.

London-based firm PwC was among those advising her businesses.

The consultancy said it had "immediately initiated an investigation" in the wake of the "very serious and concerning allegations."

"We have also taken action to terminate any ongoing work for entities controlled by members of the dos Santos family," it added in a statement.

The Boston Consulting Group did not immediately respond to an attempt to get comment by AFP.

One confidential document allegedly drafted by Boston Consulting in September 2015 outlined a complex scheme for the oil company to move its money offshore.

The investigation also published a similar 99-page presentation from KPMG.

"UK firms... have played a role both in helping her to amass this fortune but also to invest the proceeds of these suspicious deals," said Bruce.

"There are questions to answer," he added. "Particularly for those who helped her acquire property."

Dos Santos and Dokolo have invested in several luxurious London houses and amassed an impressive collection of valuable artwork.

Her husband, a well-known collector of African arts, developed that passion from his billionaire banker father Augustin Dokolo Sanu.

Van Oord involved in Luanda building plan that involved human rights abuses: Trouw

DutchNews, January 20, 2020

Luanda is a mix of new and old. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch dredging group Van Oord may have been involved in human rights abuses and corruption in Angola in connection with the development of an urban development project near the capital Luanda in 2013, Trouw reported on Monday. 

The paper says its own research on the ground and documents leaked to the international investigative journalists’ group ICIJ suggest that some 3,000 families were driven from their homes to make way for the development. 

ING and Atradis, the Dutch government’s credit insurance agency, were also involved with the project, Trouw says. ING lent the equivalent of €360m to the Angolan state and Atradis acted as guarantor. 

Van Oord and ING told Trouw in a reaction that they would now focus on compensating the locals who have been made homeless and that they were completely unaware people had been forcibly moved. 

Trouw says Van Oord worked on the project together with Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the former president of Angola. According to the ICIJ, she has become the richest woman in Africa by exploiting family ties, shell companies and being involved in unscrupulous deals. 

Legal experts told the paper that Dutch companies are often lax in the research they do before getting involved with controversial partners such as Isabel dos Santos, who had been the subject of rumours about possible corruption for years.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Fragile truce agreed in Libya after nine months of fighting

Yahoo – AFP, Imed Lamloum, January 12, 2020

Fighters loyal to Libya'S UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) keep
a look out on the roof of a building in an area south of the Libyan capital Tripoli (AFP
Photo/Mahmud TURKIA)

Tripoli (AFP) - Both sides in Libya's conflict agreed to a ceasefire from Sunday to end nine months of fighting, following weeks of international diplomacy and calls for a truce by power-brokers Russia and Turkey.

The oil-rich North African country has been wracked by bloody turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with multiple foreign powers now involved.

The UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli had been under attack since last April from forces loyal to eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar, which on January 6 captured the strategic coastal city of Sirte.

Late on Saturday, Haftar's forces announced a ceasefire starting at midnight (Sunday 00:00 local time, Saturday 2200 GMT) in line with a joint call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj, who met Erdogan in Istanbul on Sunday, confirmed the ceasefire had taken effect.

The UN mission in Libya welcomed the announcements and called on all parties "to respect the ceasefire" and support efforts to launch an inter-Libyan dialogue.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hand with the head of Libya's
Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj (L), at their meeting in Istanbul
(AFP Photo/Mustafa Kamaci)

European embassies in Tripoli, in a joint statement, urged Libya's rival parties "to seize this fragile opportunity to address the key political, economic, and security issues underlaying the conflict".

The Arab League likewise urged Libya's factions to "commit to stop the fighting, work on alleviating all forms of escalations and engage in good faith aimed at reaching permanent arrangements for a ceasefire".

Neighbouring Algeria, at the centre of a flurry of diplomatic activity on Libya, called for a "swift return to the process of national dialogue to reach a political solution".

Putin held talks on the telephone Sunday with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and French President Emmanuel Macron, who both voiced support for a planned international conference on Libya to be held in Berlin, the Kremlin said.

Since the start of the offensive against Tripoli, more than 280 civilians and about 2,000 fighters have been killed and 146,000 Libyans displaced, according to the UN.

Fighters of a battalion loyal to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar pictured in the eastern 
city of Benghazi in December 2019. Both sides in Libya's conflict agreed to a 
ceasefire that started early Sunday (AFP Photo/Abdullah DOMA)

Diplomatic offensive

Sarraj stressed the GNA's "legitimate right ... to respond to any attack or aggression" that may come from the other side, while Haftar's forces warned of a "severe" response to any violation by the "opposing camp".

Artillery fire could be heard shortly after midnight in the capital, before quiet settled over the southern Tripoli suburb where pro-GNA forces have been resisting Haftar's offensive.

The GNA, however, stressed that "any ceasefire initiative cannot succeed without the withdrawal of the aggressor from where they came", from the country's east and south.

Turkey's defence ministry said: "The belligerents have been trying to respect these truces since they came into force... and the situation has been calm apart from one or two isolated incidents."

Libya analyst Wolfram Lacher said that the calm on the ground reflected a success for both Turkey and Russia.

"The widespread observance of the ceasefire until now is a stunning demonstration of newfound Russian and Turkish influence in Libya," he said.

The truce comes after a diplomatic offensive, led by Ankara and Moscow, which have established themselves as key players in Libya.

Fighters loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord take advantage of a 
ceasefire to rest in an area south of the capital Tripoli (AFP Photo/Mahmud TURKIA)

Ankara despatched troops -- in a training capacity, it said -- to the GNA in January.

And Russia has been accused of backing pro-Haftar forces, which are supported by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, all regional rivals of Turkey.

Erdogan and Putin called for a truce at a meeting last Wednesday in Istanbul, and Turkey later asked Russia to convince Haftar, who had initially vowed to fight on, to respect it.

Fears of a 'second Syria'

Europe and North Africa have also launched a diplomatic offensive to try to prevent Libya, with the increased involvement of international players in its conflict, from turning into a "second Syria".

European governments, including former colonial power Italy, fear that Islamist militants and migrant smugglers, already highly active in Libya, will take further advantage of the chaos.

The US embassy in Libya, in a statement Saturday, voiced its "serious concern about toxic foreign interference in the conflict".

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
met last week in Istanbul (AFP Photo/Alexey DRUZHININ)

It said "Russian mercenaries" had backed Haftar's Libyan Arab Armed Forces, while "Turkish-supported Syrian fighters" had backed the GNA.

"All responsible Libyan parties should end this dangerous escalation and reject the destructive involvement by foreign forces," the embassy said.

On Saturday, Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at talks in Moscow threw their weight behind the Berlin conference being organised by UN special envoy Ghassan Salame that could be held in the coming weeks.

Putin on Saturday again denied Russia had deployed mercenaries to Libya.