“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, April 30, 2020

Last Israeli farmers leave enclave after Jordan deal ends

Yahoo –AFP, April 30, 2020

Israeli farmers will no longer be allowed to enter an agricultural enclave in
neighbouring Jordan, following the expiry of Israel’s lease on the border land

Tsofar (Israel) (AFP) - Israeli farmers left an agricultural enclave in neighbouring Jordan possibly for the last time Thursday, as the extension of a lease enabling their use of the border land expired.

Ghumar, known as Tsofar in Hebrew, is a Jordanian territory south of the Dead Sea that was occupied by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967.

Under the 1994 peace deal, Jordan retained sovereignty over the area, along with another territory called Baqura, seized when Israeli forces infiltrated Jordan in 1950.

As part of the 1994 agreement, Jordan agreed to lease both places to Israel for a renewable 25 years, with a one-year notice period for either party.

The lease expired in November after Jordan's King Abdullah II notified Israel that it wanted to take back the two areas.

His decision came as the country suffers high unemployment, inflation and poverty, exacerbated by the presence of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the war in neighbouring Syria.

Despite the peace agreement, relations with Israel have been tense in recent years.

Baqura, or Naharayim in Hebrew, was reclaimed in November.

But the kingdom gave Israeli farmers six months to finish growing their crops in Ghumar, a period that expired on Thursday.

Erez Gibori, a farmer from Ghumar whose fields were in the enclave, told AFP Jordan's decision to take back the lands went "against the spirit of the peace agreement."

Gibori said the last farmers, who had grown peppers in the enclave, had left it by Thursday afternoon.

Opinion polls have repeatedly found that the peace treaty with Israel is overwhelmingly opposed by Jordanians, more than half of whom are of Palestinian origin.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

In role reversal, Egypt sends virus aid to US

Yahoo – AFP, April 22, 2020

The Great Pyramids are lit up with a coronavirus-themed laser projection that
says "Stay Home" on April 18, 2020 (AFP Photo/Khaled DESOUKI)

Washington (AFP) - Egypt on Tuesday flew a plane of medical supplies to the United States to assist in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, a role reversal for a top US aid recipient.

Egypt's general-turned-president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has been eager to cement relations with President Donald Trump, and his country has already shipped medical goods with fanfare to China and Italy.

A video statement from Sisi's office showed crates in wrapping that read in English and Arabic, "From the Egyptian people to the American people," being loaded into a military cargo plane.

Dutch Ruppersberger, who leads a group in the US House of Representatives that promotes relations with Egypt, said the plane landed at Andrews Air Force base outside Washington.

The plane brought 200,000 masks, 48,000 shoe covers and 20,000 surgical caps among other supplies, said Ruppersberger, a Democrat who heads the bipartisan group.

"This is why international diplomacy and maintaining relationships with allies like Egypt are essential not in times of crisis, but every day," he wrote on Twitter.

The US ambassador in Cairo, Jonathan Cohen, also voiced appreciation for the "generous" shipment.

Egypt has reported 250 deaths from COVID-19 and some 3,300 cases, according to the World Health Organization.

It is far below the nearly 45,000 deaths recorded in the United States, which has been scrambling to provide supplies and tests.

Still, some questioned whether Egypt, where one-third of the population lives on about $1.50 or less a day, was in a position to offer relief.

"Egyptians who are happy and proud that Egypt sent medical supplies to Italy, UK and the US are probably the ones who can afford to pay 10 EGP for a mask," tweeted a prominent blogger who goes by The Big Pharaoh. Ten Egyptian pounds is more than half a dollar.

Egypt last month revoked the press credentials of a journalist from The Guardian who wrote that the country's COVID-19 infections were higher than reported.

Trump has voiced enthusiastic support for Sisi, who toppled Egypt's elected Islamist president in 2013 and has backed strong relations with Israel.

The United States gave Egypt more than $1.2 billion in the 2018 fiscal year, largely in military aid that goes back to US contractors.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Africa still needs $44 bn to fight pandemic: World Bank and IMF

Yahoo – AFP, April 17, 2020

South African president and African Union chairperman Cyril Ramaphosa said the
coronavirus represents a setback to the continent's progress (AFP Photo/Phill Magakoe)

Washington (AFP) - The World Bank and IMF said on Friday Africa needs $44 billion more to fight the coronavirus pandemic despite a freeze in debt payments for many countries and massive pledges of support.

The Washington-based lenders and other official creditors have already mobilized $57 billion to support healthcare and economic recovery in the world's poorest continent, they said in a joint statement with African leaders, while private funds have given $13 billion.

"This is an important start, but the continent needs an estimated $114 billion in 2020 in its fight against COVID-19, leaving a financing gap of around $44 billion," the statement said.

Africa was high on the agenda during the IMF and World Bank spring meetings this week.

Experts fear the continent's notoriously weak health systems won't be able to stop the spread of COVID-19 while the combined effects of a slump in demand for minerals and tourism together with lockdowns to stem the contagion wallop economies.

The IMF expects Africa's gross domestic product to shrink by 1.6 percent in 2020, "the worst result ever recorded," and the World Bank has warned that the region could slip into its first recession in 25 years.

"This pandemic has already had a devastating impact on Africa and its effects will deepen as the rate of infection rises," South African president and African Union chairman Cyril Ramaphosa said in the statement.

"It is a setback for the progress we have made to eradicate poverty, inequality and underdevelopment."

The G20 grouping of the world's largest economies agreed on Wednesday to a standstill in debt payments for the world's poorest nations, many of which are in Africa.

The World Bank has meanwhile pledged to roll out $160 billion over the next 15 months for health care and economic recovery projects worldwide, while the IMF said 102 countries as of Thursday had asked to tap its $1 trillion lending war chest.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Oil prices, virus, instability put Algeria on edge

Yahoo – AFP, Amal Belalloufi with Philippe Agret in Tunis, April 12, 2020

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman chairs a virtual meeting
of G20 oil ministers in Riyadh (AFP Photo)

Algiers (AFP) - Algeria faces economic and social turmoil if crude prices continue to collapse, experts have warned, with the oil-dependent country reeling from a year of popular protests, political turmoil and now, coronavirus.

The North African country is an example of how hydrocarbon economies are likely to face unrest if oil prices remain at near two-decade lows due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a price war between key players Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Top oil-producing countries agreed Sunday to slash output by nearly 10 million barrels per day from May 1 to boost prices, Kuwait's Oil Minister Khaled al-Fadhel wrote on Twitter.

But as Algerian oil expert Nazim Zouioueche told official news agency APS, any impact will likely be temporary due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Algeria's economy exposed.

The price collapse has destroyed Algeria's revenue projections, with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune acknowledging the "vulnerability" of the country's oil-dependent economy.

It is "imperative to put an end to bad practices instilled over a period of financial well-being, such as waste and a spirit of laziness and overconsumption", Tebboune has said.

His words might be too little, too late, as the drop in prices, the coronavirus and ongoing political uncertainty create a perfect financial and social storm.

'Financial abyss'

Algeria "is on the edge of a financial abyss", according to Luis Martinez, North Africa specialist at France's Sciences Po University.

The government decided to slash public spending in March, after oil prices dipped to $22.50.

The country's 2020 budget had been based on an oil price of $50 per barrel, with growth of around 1.8 percent.

Algiers has already announced a 30 percent cut to the state budget, without touching civil servants' wages, as well as cutting its enormous imports bill.

State oil giant Sonatrach is to halve operating and capital expenditure, from $14 billion to $7 billion, in order to preserve foreign currency reserves.

But former Sonatrach CEO Abdelmadjid Attar said in principle, the company "shouldn't have to reduce hydrocarbon production" as the cuts would affect other operations.

Meanwhile, Algeria's foreign reserves dropped to under $60 billion at the end of March, compared to almost $80 billion at the end of 2018 and over $97 billion at the end of 2017.

Some economists are concerned those could quickly run out.

Economist Ahmed Dahmani warns of multiple dangers: a rapid draining of foreign exchange reserves, a worsening budget deficit and balance of payments, a sharp devaluation of the dinar and an inflationary surge, leading to economic recession and mass unemployment.

Bureaucracy, corruption

"The government has no choice but to broaden the tax base, to resort to public debt and negotiate loans," Martinez said. "With the remaining foreign reserves, that should allow it to hold on until 2021. But after that?"

Others worry that Algeria will struggle to diversify its economy away from oil and attract investors.

Economics expert Aderrahmane Mebtoul expressed doubt the country could recover capital that has already left, and said Algeria's "bureaucracy, fossilised financial system and corruption" would keep foreign direct investment away.

With the coronavirus disrupting economies worldwide, the pandemic could provide a scapegoat for the government.

"The Algerian authorities could in fact argue that the economic and financial situation is no better" elsewhere, Martinez said.

But in Algeria, the pandemic follows a protracted political crisis.

The "Hirak" citizens movement that began in February 2019 brought down longtime autocrat Abdelaziz Bouteflika a year ago.

Only the pandemic was able to halt -- perhaps temporarily -- massive weekly anti-government protests.

And a continued collapse in oil prices could prove to be the final straw for a country on the edge.

"It's not the year 2020 that's on trial, but the 20 years of patronage, nepotism and corruption" of Bouteflika's reign, Martinez said.