“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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

France must clean up Algerian nuclear test sites: group

Yahpp – AFP, 26 August 2020

France must clean up nuclear test sites in Algeria where radioactive waste remains from testing in the former colony during the 1960s, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning group said Wednesday.

France must clean up Algerian nuclear test sites: group

France carried out 17 nuclear explosions in the Algerian part of the Sahara Desert between 1960 and 1966.

Eleven of the tests came after the 1962 Evian Accords ended the six-year war of independence and 132 years of colonial rule.

"France must give the Algerian authorities the full list of where the contaminated toxic waste was buried," the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) said in a new 60-page report.

"The 'nuclear past' must no longer remain deeply buried under the sand," ICAN said, citing the concerned areas as the western Reggane region and a zone close to the In Ekker village.

The campaign group identified contaminated, radioactive elements that have either been buried, or are easily accessible.

"The majority of the waste is in the open air, without any security, and accessible by the population, creating a high level of sanitary and environmental insecurity," ICAN said.

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize laureate group added that almost nothing has been done to clean the sites, inform the populations and evaluate the risks.

Exposure to radioactive material can cause cancer.

"This case study shows once more an asymmetry of power and an injustice that we find all through nuclear history," Giorgio Franceschini, director of the Heinrich Boll Foundation which published the report, said in his forward.

"It is not a coincidence that France tested its first nuclear weapon in Algeria, that was still a French colony in 1960," he added.

France refused to sign up the UN's 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, whereas Algeria signed and is in the process of ratifying the legally binding agreement.

Since Algeria's independence, Franco-Algerian relations have been tumultuous.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in July called on France to fully apologise for its colonial past.

An apology could "make it possible to cool tensions and create a calmer atmosphere for economic and cultural relations", especially for the more than six million Algerians who live in France, he said.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

DRCongo vows to protect Nobel laureate Mukwege after death threats

Yahoo = AFP, Alain WANDIMOYI, 22 August 2020

DR Congo vows to protect Nobel laureate Mukwege after death threats

Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his work against sexual violence in war

The government vowed Saturday to protect Nobel peace laureate Denis Mukwege and investigate death threats against him after he called for an international court to try crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

DR Congo's president Felix Tshisekedi pledged that the interior, security and justice ministers and others would "take all measures necessary to ensure Dr Mukwege's security" and "open investigations", the cabinet said in a report, without giving detail.

Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his work against sexual violence in war, and his relatives have been the target of "intimidation, hateful messages and death threats," it said.

This has occurred while he has "pleaded for peace in the country's east, by proposing the establishment of an international criminal court for the DRC in order to try the serious crimes committed there against the civilian population," it said.

On July 26, in a message on his Twitter account, Mukwege wrote "these are the same ones who are still killing in the DRC", referring to a massacre in the east.

Civilians in Kipupu, a village in South Kivu on the Fizi heights overlooking Lake Tanganyika, came under attack on July 16, with the death toll ranging widely between 18 and 220.

"The macabre stories from Kipupu are in a straight line from the massacres that have hit the DRC since 1996," the peace prize winner said in a tweet.

The area has seen violence between the Banyamulenge community -- the descendants of ethnic Tutsi migrants who came from Rwanda -- and other local communities such as the Babembe for the past year.

In early 1996, the first Congo war erupted, led by a rebellion backed by regular troops from several neighbouring countries, particularly Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

The second Congo war that took place from 1998 until 2003 involved a dozen armies from the region, 30 armed groups and two main rebellions: one in the east supported by Rwanda and another in the north backed by Uganda.

Doctor Mukwege, director of the Panzi hospital that cares for women raped in South Kivu, managed to survive an attack by assailants targeting his home in October 2012

Friday, August 21, 2020

Libya's warring rivals announce ceasefire

Yahoo – AFP, Rim Taher, August 21, 2020

Fighters loyal to Libya's UN-recognised unity government secure the Abu Qurain
area last month, half-way between the countries' rival power centres, the capital
Tripoli in the west and second city Benghazi in the east

Libya's warring rival administrations announced separately on Friday that they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections, drawing praise from the UN, the EU and several Arab countries.

The surprise announcement followed multiple visits by top foreign diplomats to Libya in recent weeks, and came after a series of agreements and pledges that, however, have failed to be implemented.

Friday's statements were signed by Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-recognised unity Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the capital Tripoli, and Aguila Saleh, speaker of the eastern-based parliament backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The UN's top official to Libya, Stephanie Williams, welcomed the move and called for "all parties to rise to this historic occasion and shoulder their full responsibilities before the Libyan people".

European Union diplomatic chief Josep Borrell hailed an "important and positive" initiative, adding it was "crucial now that all parties stand by their statements".

Sarraj called for "presidential and parliamentary elections next March", and for the "end of all combat operations".

Saleh also backed elections -- though he did not specify a date -- and urged "all parties" to observe "an immediate ceasefire and the cessation of all fighting."

Both leaders called for the resumption of the production and export of oil, a cornerstone of Libya's wealth.

'Important step'

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who backs Haftar and had threatened to deploy troops in neighbouring Libya, said he supported the ceasefire declarations.

"I welcome statements by Libya's presidential council and the House of Representatives calling for a ceasefire," Sisi said in a tweet.

Libya's former colonial power Italy also welcomed the move, as did France, Germany, the Arab League, Qatar and Jordan.

Fighting forces in Libya

"The announcement of the ceasefire in Libya is an important step in the relaunching of a political process that will promote the stability of the country and the welfare of the people," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.

The French foreign ministry said the ceasefire announcements "must be realised on the ground" and called for an end to all foreign interference in Libya.

Libya has been torn by violence since the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising.

Since then, the North African country has become a battle ground for tribal militias, jihadists and mercenaries and a major gateway for desperate migrants bound for Europe.

In April last year, Haftar launched an offensive to seize Tripoli from the GNA, and foreign powers intervened alongside the rivals' forces.

Turkey and Qatar backed the GNA, while the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia support Haftar, who is also suspected of receiving French backing.

Paris has however insisted it is neutral in the conflict, and President Emmanuel Macron has lashed out at Turkey for its military intervention on the side of the GNA.

After 14 months of fierce fighting, Turkish-backed pro-GNA forces expelled Haftar's troops from much of western Libya and pushed them eastwards to Sirte.

The central Mediterranean coastal city, home town of Kadhafi, is the gateway to Libya's eastern oil fields and export terminals, and to the key Al-Jufra airbase to the south.

Sarraj said a ceasefire would allow the creation of "demilitarised zones" in Sirte and the Al-Jufra region, currently under the control of pro-Haftar forces.

Saleh did not mention the demilitarisation zones, but proposed the installation of a new government in Sirte.

Difficult to implement

Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) also welcomed Friday's announcement.

Libya sits atop Africa's largest proven crude oil reserves, and earnings from its lucrative oil fields have been a source of intense disagreement between the two sides, including a months-long blockade of oil terminals.

"NOC reiterates its call for all oil facilities to be freed from military occupation to ensure the security and safety of its workers," the state oil producer said in a statement.

"Once this has been done, NOC should be able to... re-commence oil export operations."

International pressure has sought to bring Libya's rival leaders to an agreement several times in past years, but has failed to secure a lasting peace.

Analyst Jalel Harchaoui, research fellow at The Hague-based Clingendael Institute, said there was a long road ahead before peace.

"The question is, is this announcement fully achievable? In all likelihood, implementation will be difficult," said Harchaoui, noting the multiple regional forces who could act as spoilers of a deal.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Mali coup leaves ex-colonial power France in a bind

France24 – AFP, 19 August 2020

The Mali soldiers leading the coup insist that peace is their priority and have
promised to stage elections within a "reasonable" timeframe ANNIE RISEMBERG AFP

Paris (AFP) - Mali's military coup presents former colonial power France with a diplomatic nightmare, having invested considerable military and political capital in a regional anti-jihadist campaign now in peril.

Tuesday's post-coup resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita following weeks of civil protest against his perceived corrupt and inept rule, has robbed Paris of a key ally in the Sahel where France has -- sometimes unpopularly -- been routing jihadists since 2013.

The military campaign, spearheaded by France's 5,000-plus Barkhane force in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad, seeks in the end to bring stability to the conflict- and poverty-ridden region, allowing governments to strengthen institutions and focus on much-needed development.

But now, France faces having to work with a regime born out of Tuesday's coup d'etat against Keita, often referred to as IBK.

"The challenge will be for France to walk a delicate line. It has to condemn the coup. It also has to work with the new leaders," said Michael Shurkin of the California-based RAND Corporation policy think-tank.

"It (France) needs a good outcome, but it has to be extremely careful about influencing the outcome," he told AFP.

Paris issued a condemnation after initial reports of an army mutiny in Mali, but has yet to explicitly denounce the toppling of Keita claimed by coup leaders.

On Wednesday, the French presidency said, "We must deal with the reality of a complicated political situation that has lasted for months...

"We must focus on the return of civilian power and rule of law, with another priority: not to lose the commitment to the fight against terrorism."

Initially expected to last a few weeks, the French Sahel military intervention has been running for seven years at a cost of some $1 billion annually, according to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

The force has chalked up some wins, but jihadists have continued deadly attacks and 44 French troops have lost their lives in what some have called "France's forever war".

The presence of French boots on the ground has become increasingly unpopular and thousands have protested in Mali and Burkina Faso against what they term "forces of occupation".

Shrugging off the pleas of the international community, Malian soldiers on Tuesday detained the president, prime minister, cabinet ministers and other government officials.

Better to come?

The leaders of the coup condemned by the EU, UN, African Union and regional grouping ECOWAS, insisted that "peace in Mali is our priority" and promised to stage elections within a "reasonable time".

"The junta... does not want to alienate the support of the international community, including Barkhane," tweeted Yvan Guichaoua, a researcher at the University of Kent's Brussels School of International Studies.

"The objective seemingly was mainly to eject IBK and his allies from power."

France itself has been doubtful about Keita's ability to improve security and governance in Mali, say analysts.

And Shurkin believes the coup "could theoretically work out for the best if it yields a government that functions better and that can lay claim to greater legitimacy.

"It has to be acknowledged that things weren’t going well before the coup; Mali under IBK was making little if any progress, which meant that the success of French strategy was questionable anyway," he said.

In the short term, however, French diplomats and military leaders face an uphill battle.

"In a way, it's back to square one," said Jean-Herve Jezequel, Sahel specialist at the International Crisis Group in Brussels.

"Eight years of effort, investment, presence to basically return to the situation of Mali at the time of the 2012 coup, with a confused situation in Bamako, more violent armed insurrections and increased inter-communal violence."

Change in approach

Military historian Michel Goya predicted a political imbroglio that will last for months.

"For the French military, this makes things more complicated. Operations can continue, they can be run independently, but cooperation with the Malian forces will likely be stopped. And armed groups may try to take advantage of the situation to expand their action," he said.

France is also likely to see new reticence from European partners it had been trying to convince to enlarge military operations in Sahel, notably a European special forces group dubbed Takuba and the so-called G5 Sahel, an under-resourced force of regional soldiers.

There will be "a slowdown of major projects while we wait for the dust to settle and are focused on the nature of the new power to be installed in Bamako," said Elie Tenenbaum, a researcher at the French Institute for International Relations.

For Shurkin, an extended transition period, or one that yields more of the same, "would be terrible for France and Mali alike".

"Maybe, just maybe, there will be a relatively quick transition that yields a stronger Mali, one that will meet the requirements of French strategy," he added.

For Jezequel, this was also a chance for France, the Sahel states and other partners to question their approach to providing security aid to the region.

"We cannot sustainably secure a space without changing the forms of governance that manage it," he said.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Israel and UAE to normalise ties in 'historic' US-brokered deal

Yahoo – AFP, Mohamad Ali Harissi and Sarah Stewart, August 13, 2020

Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world, and a symbol of the oil-rich UAE

Israel and the UAE agreed Thursday to normalise ties in a landmark US-brokered deal, only the third such accord the Jewish state has struck with an Arab nation, in which it pledged to suspend annexation of Palestinian lands.

The bombshell news was broken by US President Donald Trump, in a tweet hailing a "HUGE breakthrough" and a "Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends".

Establishing diplomatic ties between Israel and Washington's Middle East allies, including the oil-rich Gulf monarchies, has been central to Trump's regional strategy to contain Iran, also an arch-foe of Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a "historic day" and would launch a "new era" for the Arab world and Israel.

US President Donald Trump announced the agreement between the United 
Arab Emirates and Israel to normalize diplomatic ties

The Palestinians strongly rejected the deal, calling it a "betrayal" of their cause, including their claim to Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

They also announced they were withdrawing their ambassador from the Emirates, and demanded an emergency Arab League meeting.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which runs the coastal Gaza Strip, quickly said the agreement "does not serve the Palestinian cause".

A joint statement by Trump, Netanyahu and UAE's leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan announced that they had "agreed to the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates".

It added that Israel would "suspend declaring sovereignty" over occupied Palestinian West Bank areas -- an idea proposed in Trump's controversial earlier plan to resolve the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a "historic day" and 
represented a "new era" for the Arab world and Israel

Sheikh Mohamed quickly stressed in a tweet that "during a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories".

But Netanyahu said shortly afterwards in a national television address that he had only agreed to delay, not cancel, the annexations, that the plans remained "on the table" and that he would "never give up our rights to our land".

The controversial Trump plan, unveiled in January, had offered a path for Israel to annex territory and Jewish West Bank settlements, communities considered illegal under international law.

The Palestinians rejected it outright as biased and untenable, as did Israel's Arab neighbours, and it sparked fears of further escalation in a tense region. 

Protestors confront Israeli forces as a structure serving as a home to a 
Palestinian family is demolished in the southern West Bank on August 11

'Things are happening'

Israel has had difficult relations and several wars with its Muslim and Arab neighbours since its founding in 1948, with most states ruling out relations until the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is resolved.

Thursday's deal would make the UAE only the third Arab country to establish formal diplomatic ties with Israel, after its peace deals with former enemies Egypt and Jordan.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, which signed a treaty with Israel in 1979 to opposition from across the Arab world, praised the deal on "the halt of Israel's annexation of Palestinian land," and said he hoped it would bring "peace".

The deal marks a major foreign policy achievement for Trump as he heads into a difficult campaign for re-election in November.

The city hall in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv is lit up in the colours of
the United Arab Emirates national flag

His presumptive Democratic challenger for the presidency Joe Biden welcomed the "historic" agreement and called the UAE's move a "badly-needed act of statesmanship".

Trump hinted to reporters that more diplomatic breakthroughs between Israel and Arab countries in the region were expected, but gave no further details.

"Things are happening that I can't talk about," he said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as "a historic day and a significant step forward for peace in the Middle East".

"The United States hopes that this brave step will be the first in a series of agreements that ends 72 years of hostilities in the region," Pompeo said, adding that the formal agreement would be signed at the White House at a future date.

Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world, and a symbol of the oil-rich UAE

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told AFP the deal was "a milestone in Arab acceptance of Israel in the region".

It was also be "a brake on annexation, which would jeopardise Israel's peace with Jordan and Israel's own future as a Jewish, democratic state", he said. 

'Annexation trap'

Israeli and UAE delegations will meet in the coming weeks to discuss investment, tourism, direct flights, security and the establishment of embassies, they said.

The trio were confident of further similar deals with other countries, their statement added.

Israeli and UAE delegations will meet in the coming weeks to discuss investment,
tourism, direct flights, security and the establishment of reciprocal embassies

The UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash told a media briefing that "most countries will see this as a bold step to secure a two-state solution, allowing time for negotiations".

Hours after the deal was announced, the Emirati flag was projected onto Tel Aviv's town hall.

Aaron David Miller, a veteran US negotiator on the Middle East peace process and analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, called the deal a "win for all".

"(The) UAE says it's prevented annexation; US prevents annexation too and gets big breakthrough and Netanyahu gets enormous win and off hook from the annexation trap," he tweeted.

Pope Francis and other religious leaders at the Vatican. Photograph: AP

Related Articles:

"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channeled 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)
" ....Abraham, Father of the Jews

I want to honor Abraham [Abram], born in Ur, which is now part of modern Iraq, and I want to honor his sons, not all born of Sara. The one I wish to speak of is Ishmael. Abraham is Jewish... the great Jewish prophet. Ishmael is his son. There's no way that you could say Ishmael was not Jewish, and he is even to this day. Ishmael was born in Hebron. So in addition, he is very Israeli. Ishmael is a Jew.

Now some would argue, due to how the Jewish lineage is computed by men [mother's side]. But Spirit looks at the DNA and the Akashic lineage, so spiritually, Ishmael is a Jew. He came in to be part of the lineage of the Jews.

He fell from favor even with the Jewish people early on for political reasons. Then Ishmael went on to become that which is the ancestor of all Arabs... the father of Arabia. Therefore, you could say that the Arabs are with Jewish blood, that of Abraham flowing through them. But early on, the Jews cast Ishmael out. So although you have the one God and monotheism, and you have the principle of the love of God and the unity of God, there was a split. The truth was mixed with untruths and, even to this day, there would be a billion Human Beings who would say it was Ishmael and not Isaac who was almost sacrificed at the Temple Mount. They would also say that he is not a Jew.

So what is the truth here? Human Beings were not built to unify. In an older energy on the planet from those days, and even the days that you were born in, the energy laid upon you is for you to separate, not unify. And that is why we call it the old energy. Oh, they were wise men and women who knew better, but it is the old energy that separates and divides, and it is the old energy that has created the divisions of hatred within millions of those who are actually "all Jews."

Muhammad's Beautiful Message of Unity

Let me tell you about Muhammad, the prophet. Muhammad is of the lineage of Ishmael, who is of the lineage of Abraham. Therefore, Muhammad had Jewish blood, so that was his lineage but not necessarily his culture. But his Akashic lineage was from Abraham. [Abraham is the founder of Islam, according to the Quran.]

Muhammad had a beautiful meeting, more than one, with an angelic presence. The angels talked to humanity back then in basic 3D ways. But how many of you have put together that most of the angels in that time who spoke to Human Beings talked to those of Jewish lineage? Like Muhammad, like Moses, like Jesus, like Abraham. For this was part of a set-up of history, part of what makes the Jewish lineage important to the core Akash of humanity, and we have spoken before, "As go the Jews, go Earth." Indeed, there is something there to look at which is important, and it is going to change soon. For in our eyes, the "Jews" are all those in the Middle East.

Muhammad's information from the angel was this: "Unify the Arabs and give them the God of Israel." And he did! The information he had was beautiful and was written down later for his followers. It was all about the incredible love of God and the unity of man. Muhammad the prophet was a unifier, not a separatist.

Long before Muhammad, there came Jesus - Jesus the Jew. He became responsible for what you would call Christianity today. All of his disciples were Jewish. The Rock, Peter the fisherman, who started the Christian church, was Jewish. And we tell you these things to remind you that there's a unity here. Perhaps there is a reason, dear ones, why the 12 layers of DNA have Hebrew names? Indeed, it's in honor of the masters and the lineage, including that of Muhammad, of Ishmael, of Isaac, of Abraham and of Jesus. All of them, part of the original spiritual language [Hebrew].

"Oh," you might say, "there was Sumerian and before that there was Lemurian. There was Sanskrit and Tamil, and many other older languages." Correct, but we're speaking of a language of today - one that you can relate to, that has power, and that is spoken today by the pure lineage of the masters who walked the planet.

So what did humanity do with all this? What did they do with all this sacred information from these Jewish masters? They went to war, because Humans separate things. They don't put them together. So here we are with one beautiful God, creator of all there is, and millions who believe that very thing, yet they are going to war with each other over ideology about what God said, which prophet was best, and which group is in God's favor. That's ancient history, thousands of years old. But it shows exactly what the old energy is all about. ..."

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Emergency aid lands in Lebanon as world offers support

Yahoo – AFP, 5 August 2020

Workers in Qatar load a field hospital onto a flight for Beirut to help Lebanon's already
stretched health services treat the more than 4,000 people injured in Tuesday's
monster blast

Emergency medical aid and pop-up field hospitals were dispatched to Lebanon Wednesday along with rescue experts and tracking dogs, as the world reached out to the victims of the explosion that devastated Beirut.

The blast centred on the city's port caused massive destruction and killed at least 113 people, heaping misery on a country already in crisis.

Gulf states were among the first to respond, with Qatar sending mobile hospitals to ease pressure on Lebanon's medical system, already strained by the coronavirus pandemic.

A Qatari air force plane with a cargo of hundreds of collapsible beds, generators and burn sheets touched down in Beirut in the first of a convoy of flights to the Mediterranean country.

Medical supplies from Kuwait also arrived, as the Lebanese Red Cross said more than 4,000 people were being treated for injuries after the explosion, which sent glass shards and debris flying.

A Greek C-130 army transport plane bearing a dozen rescuers landed at Beirut's airport, itself damaged in the catastrophic explosion.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab has called on "friendly countries" to support a nation already reeling from its worst economic crisis in decades as well as the impact of the coronavirus.

As emergency crews hauled survivors from the rubble of demolished buildings, France said it was sending search and rescue experts aboard three military planes loaded with a mobile clinic and tonnes of medical and sanitary supplies.

President Emmanuel Macron is to travel to Lebanon on Thursday, becoming the first world leader to visit Beirut after the disaster, as France seeks to swiftly push reconstruction in its former colony.

French Securite Civile (Civil Security) officers at Roissy airport, near Paris, stand `
ready as France sends three planes with search and rescue personnel and medical 
equipment to Beirut

"France is at the side of Lebanon. Always," Macron tweeted in Arabic.

Cyprus -- which lies just 150 miles (240 kilometres) to the northwest and where Tuesday's blast were both heard and sighted -- said it was sending eight police tracking dogs and their handlers aboard two helicopters, to help in the search for victims trapped under rubble.

Tunisia offered to send medical teams to collect 100 wounded people and evacuate them for treatment, as well as sending in two military transporters carrying food and medical aid.

From Europe, authorities in the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Poland offered an array of assistance including doctors, police and firefighters, together with rescue experts and sniffer dogs.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran stood "ready to offer medical and medicinal aid and help treat the injured", and Jordan's King Abdullah II also promised to dispatch a field hospital.

The United Arab Emirates sent 30 tonnes of medicines, medical supplies and surgical equipment.

'Stay strong, Lebanon'

The World Health Organization said it was dispatching trauma and surgical kits from its base in Dubai after what it called a "shocking event" that comes at a "particularly difficult time in Lebanon".

"As you've seen, many hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties and people are still looking for the injured and the dead, so it's a very sad day," the UN agency's emergencies director Michael Ryan told an online session.

Close allies and traditional adversaries of Lebanon alike sent their condolences, with Iran and Saudi Arabia -- long rivals for influence over the country -- both sending messages of support.

A member of Qatar's security forces organises boxes to be loaded into a plane as
 the Gulf country sends field hospitals and medical aid to Lebanon from an airbase 
near Doha

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.

"Stay strong, Lebanon."

Saudi Arabia said it was following the situation with "great concern".

Unusually, neighbouring Israel offered humanitarian aid -- to a country with which it is still technically at war -- via international intermediaries.

Lebanon's flag was to be projected onto Tel Aviv's city hall later Wednesday, in Israel's latest gesture.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres expressed his "deepest condolences... following the horrific explosions in Beirut," which also injured some UN personnel.

US President Donald Trump, who said it looked like "a terrible attack", without giving any evidence, said: "Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families... The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the pictures and videos from Beirut "shocking".

And Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims and their families so that they might "face this extremely tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, overcome the grave crisis they are experiencing".

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Egypt grapples with women's freedoms online as #MeToo re-emerges

Yahoo – AFP, Farid Farid, Aug 2, 2020

Haneen Hossam (left) and Mowada al-Adham (right) were among those sentenced
to jail in Egypt this week over content posted to TikTok (AFP Photo/Khaled DESOUKI)

Cairo (AFP) - Social media has become a new and dangerous battleground for women's rights in Egypt after young TikTok influencers were jailed while a resurgent #MeToo movement decried male sexual violence.

Last Monday, a court sentenced five female social media influencers, Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham and three others, to two years in jail each on charges of violating public morals over content posted to video-sharing app TikTok.

International digital rights group Access Now described them as "all women, all young, all exercising their right to freedom of expression online".

Just two days later, a court sentenced another young social media influencer, Manar Samy, to three years in prison over TikTok videos, deeming the clips in which she dances and lip-syncs to popular songs to be "inciting debauchery".

Many in the deeply conservative country have cheered on the arrests, as traditional social values clash with online content seen as racy and sexually suggestive.

"The Egyptian government is on a campaign to arrest and prosecute women influencers on... TikTok for violating 'the values of the Egyptian family' and 'inciting debauchery and immorality,'" Access Now said in a statement.

The Egyptian authorities "not only want to control what citizens say, but also how they should dress, talk, and behave online," said Marwa Fatafta, the group's Middle East and North Africa policy manager.

Young women posting testimonials about sexual misconduct led to the arrest of 
Ahmed Bassam Zaki, 22, a former student of some of Egypt's most elite schools 
and universities (AFP Photo/Khaled DESOUKI)

'Stronghold on the internet'

Egypt has in recent years enforced strict internet controls as it walks a tight line between balancing the Islamic law that shapes its governance and adapting to a rapidly shifting society with a penchant for social media content.

Stringent laws were approved in 2018 allowing authorities to block websites seen as a threat to national security and to monitor personal social media accounts with over 5,000 followers.

"In the past, the Egyptian regime tightened its stronghold on the internet... Now, the online repression extends to non-political activity too," said Fatafta.

The six jailed women combined have millions of followers.

Hossam was arrested after posting a clip saying that girls could make money by working with her, a message that was interpreted as a call for prostitution, while Adham had posted satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram.

Aside from being a virtual battleground of competing interpretations of morality, social media has also empowered young Egyptian women to speak up about sexual assault, sometimes with negative consequences.

In May, a shocking video came to light of a young woman sobbing, her face battered and bruised.

Menna Abdel-Aziz, 17, posted an Instagram video in which she said she had been gang raped by a group of young men.

The authorities' response was swift: the six alleged attackers were arrested -- but so was Abdel-Aziz. All were charged with "promoting debauchery".

In this photo taken on February 12, 2013, protesters in Cairo demonstrate 
against sexual harassment (AFP Photo/Khaled DESOUKI)

"She committed crimes, she admitted to some of them," the prosecutor-general said in a statement. "She deserves to be punished."

'More to come'

Since Abdel-Aziz's case surfaced, a revived #MeToo movement among Egyptian women, mostly from affluent backgrounds, has sprung into action.

A gang rape allegation made in late July stemming from a prominent social media account has been one trigger.

Another was young women posting testimonials about sexual misconduct that led to the arrest earlier in the month of Ahmed Bassam Zaki, 22, a former student of some of Egypt's most elite schools and universities.

But the movement faces an uphill battle.

Rights groups say the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been curtailing freedoms since he took office in 2014.

Comedians, academics, bloggers, journalists, political dissidents, lawyers and activists are among those who have been jailed in recent years, and a music video director has died in custody.

Imprisoning social media influencers, the latest group to be targeted, "has nothing to do with protecting social values. It's about internet policing and control," Access Now's Fatafta said.

"With the massive increase in content creators and influencers on TikTok in Egypt, there is a high risk that more prosecutions targeting this community are yet to come," the organisation added.

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