“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, July 30, 2020

Egypt Hotel Gang Rape Allegations Ignite New #MeToo Wave

Barrons – AFP, July 30, 2020

Protesters in 2013 hold up placards and shout slogans during a demonstration
against sexual harassment in Egypt's capital Cairo. 

A gang rape allegation at a luxury hotel in Egypt stemming from a prominent social media account has triggered a new #MeToo wave in the deeply conservative country.

The alleged assault took place at the five-star Fairmont Nile City hotel in Cairo in 2014 where a group of six men drugged and raped a young woman, according to several social media accounts

Names and pictures of the figures accused, who hail from elite families, have circulated online, but AFP has been unable to verify their authenticity.

AFP spoke to a source close to the victim who corroborated details of the 2014 rapes posted online.

The victim was unwilling to comment publicly for fear of a backlash.

No official investigation has been launched so far, as tweets flood in under the hashtag #FairmontIncident.

Young Egyptian women posting testimonials of sexual misconduct earlier this month triggered a national outcry which led to the arrest of Ahmed Bassam Zaki, 22, a former student of some of Egypt's most elite schools and universities.

On July 4, authorities detained Zaki who confessed to assaulting at least six girls including one aged under 18 and blackmailing the victims, according to prosecutors.

Egypt's National Council for Women on Wednesday condemned retaliatory threats made against women exposing sexual misconduct.

The council "stands by every woman and girl exposed to any... threat by providing all necessary support", it said.

It also called on females "who might be subjected to harassment and/or threats to immediately report through the official reporting mechanisms".

Egypt's minister of international cooperation, Rania al-Mashat, for her part, posted a supportive message on Instagram: "To all the girls out there, we hear you".

The Fairmont Hotel has said it carried out an investigation of the graphic claims posted online.

"An internal investigation was undertaken by the hotel upon receipt of knowledge of the disturbing allegations," Yara ElDouky, Fairmont's communication director, told AFP.

"We can confirm that at no time were any reports of the incident filed to the hotel, nor to the hotel’s tourism police," she said.

"All personnel at the hotel are committed to assisting the relevant authorities and we will continue to offer our unfettered support," she added.

The allegations come as Egypt sentenced to jail several young female influencers on popular app TikTok on charges of violating public morals.

A 2013 study by UN Women found that 99% of women in Egypt had at some point in their lives been sexually harassed, either verbally or physically.

Uganda court jails killer of mountain gorilla for 11 years

MSN – AFP, 30 July 2020

Uganda court jails killer of mountain gorilla for 11 years

A Ugandan court on Thursday sentenced a man to 11 years in prison for offences including the killing of a beloved mountain gorilla in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

a close up of an animal: Thanks to intensive conservation efforts the mountain gorilla's status improved from "critically endangered" to "endangered" in 2018. The picture shows mountain gorillas in the DR Congo's Virunga National Park© ROBERTO SCHMIDT Thanks to intensive conservation efforts the mountain gorilla's status improved from "critically endangered" to "endangered" in 2018. The picture shows mountain gorillas in the DR Congo's Virunga National Park
The Silverback gorilla, named Rafiki -- which means "friend" in Swahili -- was believed to be around 25 years old. He was found dead last month from a spear wound.

Felix Byamukama, a resident of a nearby village, was arrested and admitted to killing the gorilla, saying it was in self-defence, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

The authority said Byamukama was given an 11-year jail term for killing Rafiki "and other wildlife" in the park.

Byamukama had pleaded guilty on three charges including illegally entering the protected area and killing a duiker and a bush pig.

UWA executive director Sam Mwandha said: "We are relieved that Rafiki has received justice and this should serve as an example to other people who kill wildlife."

Rafiki headed a family of 17 gorillas, the first to become habituated to humans in the national park, allowing tourists to hike through the forest to see them. Their life expectancy in the wild is about 35 years.

The wildlife authority described the killing of Rafiki as a "great blow" after intensive conservation efforts saw the mountain gorilla's Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) category upgraded from "critically endangered" to "endangered" in 2018.

The population of the gorillas grew from around 680 individuals in 2008 to over 1,000.

The mountain gorilla's habitat is restricted to protected areas covering nearly 800 square kilometres (300 square miles) in two locations -- the Virunga Massif and Bwindi-Sarambwe -- which stretch across the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

Rafiki's murder came as poaching incidents were on the rise in Uganda, which had imposed a strict lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, and with tourists yet to return.

"We have noticed a rise in incidents of poaching in our national parks following the closure of our tourism hubs because of COVID-19," the UWA's Mwandha told AFP.

"What we are investigating is who is behind the cases of poaching. Due to lockdown have the communities near the parks turned against the wildlife as a source of livelihood? Is it a criminal network behind the rise in poaching? Is the absence of tourism in parks facilitating poaching?

"Wherever the answer lies, incidents of poaching are a cause for worry and we have intensified patrols in parks," he added.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Four African leaders head to Mali amid political crisis

Yahoo – AFP, Serge DANIEL and Kassim TRAORE, July 20, 2020

Mali (AFP Photo)

Bamako (AFP) - Malian leaders are gearing up for more mediation talks on Thursday, when four African presidents will fly to the country in a bid to resolve its deepening political crisis.

The leaders of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal and Niger are all due to arrive in the country, according to an official from Mali's presidency, saying that their visit concerned the impasse but did not elaborate.

Thursday's talks follow on the heels of a mediation mission from the West Africa bloc ECOWAS, which ended Sunday after failing to reconcile the president with the political opposition.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has been locked in a standoff for weeks with the opposition June 5 Movement, and the conflict spiralled into violent clashes earlier this month, leaving 11 dead.

Opposition figures have been tapping into a wellspring of anger over the president's perceived failures in tackling the dire economy, corruption and the country's eight-year-old jihadist conflict.

Many Malians are also incensed at the outcome of long-delayed parliamentary elections in March and April that handed victory to Keita's party.

But the current crisis came to a head on July 10, after an anti-Keita rally organised by the June 5 Movement turned violent.

Protesters blocked key bridges in the capital Bamako, stormed the premises of the state broadcaster, and attacked the parliament.

Three days of clashes between protesters and security forces followed, leaving 11 dead and 158 injured, according to an official tally, in the worst political unrest Mali had seen in years.

The ECOWAS mission on Sunday suggested the formation of a new unity government including opposition members, as well as the appointment of new judges to constitutional court who could potentially re-examine disputed election results.

But the June 5 Movement had earlier rejected any outcome that does not include Keita's departure -- a demand opposition leaders have insisted on for weeks.

The movement is a disparate alliance of political, social and civil society leaders gathered around powerful imam Mahmoud Dicko, who is seen as its de facto leader though he is not a formal member.

Neither Keita nor Dicko had commented on the failed ECOWAS effort by Monday.

'Radical change' urged

Mali's neighbours and international allies are anxious to avoid a slide into chaos in the poor Sahel nation of some 20 million people.

The former French colony has been struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency that first emerged in the north in 2012 before spreading to the centre.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have died in the conflict, and hundreds of thousands of people have been driven from their homes.

Keita, who came to power in 2013, has been under increasing pressure to stop the fighting.

But much of the current tension in Mali was sparked in April, when the constitutional court tossed out 31 results from the parliamentary elections, sparking protests.

Many Malians were awaiting Dicko's next move after the ECOWAS mission ended on Sunday.

A European diplomat, who declined to be named, told AFP that Dicko had met foreign ambassadors on Monday, telling them that "the doors of dialogue are not closed, but Mali's governance must radically change".

ECOWAS mediators had also said Sunday that they would set up a technical committee to oversee their recommendations, suggesting that talks between the warring parties may continue.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

In Egypt, sexual predator case reignites #MeToo debate

Yahoo – AFP, Menna Zaki and Hager Harabech, July 16, 2020

A woman in Egypt checks an Instagram account for reporting allegations of
sexual harassment and misconduct (AFP Photo/Khaled DESOUKI)

Cairo (AFP) - Egypt has seen a strong resurgence of the #MeToo movement after dozens of women made shocking claims of sexual abuse and assault by a member of the country's wealthy elite.

Amid a campaign unprecedented in its intensity in the deeply conservative country, state and religious authorities have started to take a firmer stand.

The latest outpouring of anger, on the Instagram account "Assault Police", centres on allegations against Ahmed Bassam Zaki, a 22-year-old former student of some of Egypt's most elite schools and universities.

They have ranged from claims that he took part in a rape at the gym hall of a gated residential community to screen-grabs showing salacious messages and blackmail of women. Some alleged incidents involved girls as young as 14.

Police on July 4 arrested Zaki who, according to prosecutors, has confessed to assaulting at least six girls including one aged under 18 and to blackmailing the victims.

While Zaki is awaiting trial, his case has kicked off a wave of other complaints in a society where, United Nations surveys say, most women have experienced catcalling, pinching, groping or worse.

In this file photo from 2013 protesters hold up placards and shout slogans during
a demonstration against sexual harassment in Egypt's capital Cairo (AFP Photo/

"Women immediately jumped at the opportunity to vent and tell their stories," the Instagram page administrator told AFP, requesting anonymity for fear of reprisals.

"It is now bigger than Ahmed Bassam Zaki. We receive a dozen messages per minute from girls and women telling of personal incidents of harassment, abuse and rape, some dating back years."


Following Zaki's arrest, the campaign has swept up other well-known figures.

One of them is Mohamed Hashem, a writer and founder of a top publishing house, who was detained over harassment allegations but later released on bail.

The current momentum builds on earlier #MeToo waves in Egypt, the latest in January following a mob assault on two women in Mansoura, north of Cairo, on New Year's Eve.

The Zaki case highlights that sexual assault and harassment -- widely perceived to be more prevalent among the poorer classes -- pervades all levels of society.

Zaki is a former student of the prestigious American University in Cairo. He briefly went on to study in Barcelona but was expelled this month after a claim of online harassment by another student.

A protester at a 2013 rally in Cairo holds a placard pledging an 'uprising of 
women in the Arab world' (AFP Photo/Khaled DESOUKI)

"We are talking about Class A, the creme de la creme of society who enrol in universities and schools worth tens of thousands of pounds annually," said Fathy Farid of Aman, an initiative against gender-based violence.

Campaigners hope the case will help shift attitudes in Egypt, which only criminalised sexual harassment in 2014.

Women in Egypt are often reluctant to speak out about sexual harassment, fearing public shaming and being blamed for wearing "provocative" clothing.

'A safer place'

In stark contrast to the #MeToo revival, Egypt has also seen an ongoing campaign targeting female TikTok influencers accused of "indecency and immorality".

Among recent cases is that of a 17-year-old girl who was arrested after posting a TikTok video in which she said she had been gang raped by a group of young men.

These girls "suffer discrimination and bullying" and their arrests "are part of violence against women because they come from lower classes," said lawyer Intesar al-Saeed.

Campaigners hope to shift attitudes in Egypt, which only criminalised sexual 
harassment in 2014 (AFP Photo/Khaled DESOUKI)

The Instagram group administrator also reported "a lot of these messages" attacking the women, but added that "they are nothing compared to the messages of support".

As more online testimonies have kept pouring in, the National Council for Women said it had received at least 400 complaints and enquiries on sexual harassment and abuse.

The government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has taken some action.

His cabinet has approved amendments, yet to be passed by parliament, to the criminal code that would grant the right of anonymity to victims of sexual assault.

And the prestigious religious institution Al Azhar released a strongly-worded statement lambasting harassment as "forbidden and deviant".

The Dar al-Iftar, in charge of issuing religious edicts, slammed those who blame women for wearing provocative clothing as "sick".

The Instagram activist said the goal is, "if we're not forced to shut down the account for any reason, to turn Assault Police into a platform for women to share their stories.

"We are optimistic about making this country a safer place for women."

Friday, July 10, 2020

Sudan criminalises female genital mutilation

Yahoo – AFP, Abdelmoneim Abu Idris, July 10, 2020

Sudanese women walk in the capital Khartoum's district of Jureif Ghar (AFP

Khartoum (AFP) - Sudan's highest governing body Friday ratified a law criminalising female genital mutilation, a widespread ritual in the African country, the justice ministry announced.

The sovereign council, comprising military and civilian figures, approved a series of laws including criminalisation of the age-old practice known as FGM or genital cutting that "undermines the dignity of women", the ministry said in a statement.

The reform comes a year after longtime president Omar al-Bashir was toppled following months of mass pro-reform protests on the streets in which women played a key role.

Sudan's cabinet in April approved amendments to the criminal code that would punish those who perform FGM.

"The mutilation of a woman's genital organs is now considered a crime," the justice ministry said, punishable by up to three years in prison.

It said doctors or health workers who carry out genital cutting would be penalised, and hospitals, clinics or other places where the operation was carried out would be shut.

Sudanese women lift national flags by burning tyres as they take part in a
demonstration on Sixty Street in the capital Khartoum, on May 23, 2020
(AFP Photo/Ashraf SHAZLY)

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok hailed Friday's decision.

"It is an important step on the way to judicial reform and in order to achieve the slogan of the revolution -- freedom, peace and justice," he tweeted.

The premier vowed that Sudan's new authorities would "forge ahead and review laws and make amendments to rectify flaws in the legal system".

Long decried as barbaric

Nearly nine out of 10 girls in Sudan fall victim to FGM, according to the United Nations.

In its most brutal form, it involves the removal of the labia and clitoris, often in unsanitary conditions and without anaesthesia.

The wound is then sewn shut, often causing cysts and infections and leaving women to suffer severe pain during sex and childbirth complications later in life.

Rights groups have for years decried as barbaric the practice, which can lead to myriad physical, psychological and sexual complications and, in the most tragic cases, death.

A doctor gives medical advice about female genital mutilation to a woman 
in Egypt, where the practice is already banned (AFP Photo/Mohamed el-Shahed)

The watershed move is part of reforms that have come since Bashir's ouster.

"It is a very important step for Sudanese women and shows that we have come a long way," women's rights activist Zeinab Badreddin said in May.

The United Nations Children's Fund has also welcomed the move.

"This practice is not only a violation of every girl child's rights, it is harmful and has serious consequences for a girl's physical and mental health," said Abdullah Fadil, the UNICEF Representative in Khartoum.

The UN says FGM is widespread in many countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, affecting the lives of millions of girls and women.

In Sudan, rights campaigners say the custom has over the past three decades spread to remote regions where it was previously not practised, including Sudan's Nuba mountains.

In neighbouring Egypt, as in several other countries, genital cutting is now prohibited. A 2008 law punishes it with up to seven years in prison.

Sudan's anti-FGM advocates came close to a ban in 2015 when a bill was discussed in parliament but then shot down by Bashir who caved in to pressure from some Islamic clerics.

Yet many religious leaders have spoken out against genital cutting over the years.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Commonwealth should 'acknowledge' past wrongs, says Prince Harry

Yahoo – AFP, July 6, 2020

Harry, Duke of Sussex, seen here in conversation with Formula 1 champion Lewis
 Hamilton, had already spoken out last week against institutional racism (AFP

London (AFP) - Prince Harry has urged the Commonwealth, which his grandmother heads, to acknowledge its uncomfortable colonial past, in video extracts published on Monday.

The 35-year-old royal and his wife, Meghan, joined a video conference call with leaders organised by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust (QCT) from their base in the United States.

The sessions were set up in response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during a US police arrest.

Harry last week outlined his personal commitment to tackling institutional racism, saying it had "no place" in society but was still too widespread.

On the July 1 call, posted on the QCT website, he said: "When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past.

"So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do.

"It's not going to be easy and in some cases it's not going to be comfortable, but it needs to be done, because, guess what, everybody benefits."

Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth, a non-political organisation of 54 countries, most of which have links to the British Empire.

It comprises 2.4 billion people -- a quarter of the world's population -- of which 60 percent are aged under 30.

The QCT was set up to give younger people from member nations a platform to share ideas and insights.

The chief executive of the QCT, Nicola Brentnall, has said the body is studying how the Commonwealth's colonial past and its legacy should shape its future.

Harry and Meghan stepped down from frontline royal duties this year and have set up a non-profit organisation focusing on the promoting of mental health, education and well-being.

Meghan, a mixed-race US former actress, has previously talked about her own personal experience of racism and unconscious bias.

Former army officer Harry has also complained about the "racial undertones" of media coverage of his wife.

The couple are president and vice-president respectively of the QCT.