Friday, June 14, 2013









Am I a traitor?

Please comment on this article at Canada Free Press
By Douglas J. Hagmann
14 June 2013: The question hit me like a lightning bolt as I looked in the mirror upon awaking this morning. Am I a traitor to my country, to my fellow citizens of the United States of America? Have I abandoned all sound reason and logic and lost my moral compass? Have I somehow sold out my ideals and thereby my family, friends and fellow reporters?  Apparently someone in this administration must believe I am a traitor and lost my way, for I am the target of active telephone monitoring by the National Security Agency (NSA), a branch of the Department of Defense and an agency tasked with monitoring foreign intelligence and communications.
As I stared in the mirror, I asked myself, “what am I missing here?” What have I done during the course of seeking out the truth to provide to the American people about what’s really going on within and outside of our government with regard to the numerous “scandals” we are learning about? Could it be that the truth is that toxic to those in power that they will go to such lengths to silence an investigative reporter?

For your perspective and understanding, I need to tell you what I’ve learned. Based on my lengthy investigation, there are only two ways for me to become the target of NSA surveillance. The legitimate way is for someone within the government to amass enough substantive information about my actions that it would be sufficient enough for a FISA Court judge to authorize “live” monitoring of all of my communications, from telephone to e-mail to text messages. That judge would have to agree with the government official that I am a definite threat to our national security and to you, my fellow Americans.The only other way, I have been told by known and trusted sources, is that some rogue government agent or group has circumvented the judicial part of the process and took it upon themselves to assign some very expensive assets and personnel to listen to every phone call I make and to read every text and e-mail I send in “real time.” Sort of like the 1994 movie True Lies, where character actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Arnold diverted a whole bunch of government resources, by virtue of their positions as spies for the U.S. government, simply because the former suspected his wife of infidelity.  Has someone portrayed me as a traitor? So, which scenario is it? And to what or whose benefit? What have I done to warrant the active and costly surveillance using your tax dollars – my tax dollars – that has made me the target of real-time, real-life, and no non-sense, surveillance? What is it that caused an “information file” to be created that would classify me as a traitor to my country? In either scenario, the decision for surveillance would have had to be made by someone very high up on the food chain, as it is not a routine matter. Far from it, in fact, and one that could have a very unpleasant ending for me, my family, and even the international publication to which I contribute, Canada Free Press. By extension, does this now classify Canada Free Press as potentially treasonous? What have I done to place the esteemed and highly respected online news publication in the crosshairs of a very serious government investigation as well? It is important to understand that the NSA was actively monitoring a telephone call between me and a very well known journalist also located inside the U.S. It was not a foreign call, but an interstate call. We never spoke of anything that could be considered treasonous to our government, rather, we spoke of the information we each gleaned from our protected sources about several “scandals” plaguing the Obama power structure as we have done many times in the past.As I stood alone in the solitude of an early morning, I began mulling over the many contacts and conversations with media personalities and reporters, and the information of conspiracies and cover-ups we believe to have identified within the government. What is it, I stressed, as the gravity of my plight began to sink in.In the stillness of the morning, I knew that the proverbial “poking of the bear” would not be without consequences. After all, this is not my first rodeo, and I knew I was poking at quite a few bears simultaneously. But what was the trigger, or was it everything? Was it my sources providing me information kept from the public about the murderous attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012? Was it my investigation of the video blamed on that attack, a video that appears to have at least peripheral connections to the current CIA Director John Brennan and his privately owned company performing work for the CIA? Was it the apparent lies of Susan Rice to the American people, or the lies of Hillary Rodham Clinton about that very issue?  Could it be the extensive reporting on the CIA weapons running operation out of Benghazi to assist the anti-Assad terrorists in their planning of World War III? I continued to take mental inventory, wondering whether my reporting of Islamic infiltration into the U.S. government might also be a reason. Perhaps it was related to the disclosure of Barack Hussein Obama’s (Barry Soetoro’s) lack of bona fides, his chunks of missing time no one seems to want to address that could have triggered the weight of such a powerful agency being thrust into my life. Perhaps it was my contacts with an elusive DHS insider, who claims that the American people are being targeted with decisive force when the time comes to quell behavior upsetting to this administration. Could it be that they are attempting to identify my sources? Was it my reporting on this administration’s plans to kill the U.S. dollar, and thus our national sovereignty, ceding our interests to globalist bankers while plundering and pillaging each and every one of us? Perhaps it was my identification of Timothy Geithner as the alleged high-level administration source as the person admitting that this is the Obama economic end-game plan. After all, killing the U.S. dollar is no small or inconsequential act, for it will change the life of every American and many people throughout the world. Could it be that my reporting on such seditious and treasonous activities, something the elected officials of all stripes don’t want the American people to know, has become treasonous itself? The more topics I inventoried, the more that came to mind. The attack on Judeo-Christian principles within our military, our government, and our intelligence services. Perhaps its hosting a radio broadcast that is unbridled by politically correct constraints, and my writings that attempt to provide factual information to the American people – and the world – that the compromised media refuses to do. Telling readers and listeners that the United States has itself become a captured operation, publicly sharing information from sources within the government that also require more answers… answers they are unwilling to provide. It is absolutely clear to me that Barack Hussein Obama lied to the American people and the world as he carefully parsed his words that the NSA is not actively listening to our phone calls, instead simply merely keeping track of certain phone calls made, the originating and destination telephone numbers, and the call duration. I suppose telling the American people that calls between reporters and investigative journalists would have a rather chilling effect on those who still believe they are living in Norman Rockwell America.It is equally chilling to see that we’ve gone from freedom to the potential for abuse,  from the potential for abuse to actual abuse, and from actual abuse to unlawful conduct… all in record time.How did we get here? We are here because of many men and women of good and decent moral character who failed to act despite their convictions, and simply looked the other way rather than trying to expose and thus stop the lawlessness they knew exists or were, and are, aiding and abetting. By men and women in similar positions who did speak out, but received absolutely no back up from those proclaiming to have ethics and integrity.I think an ominous question exists that every person capable of rational thought must ask themselves. What kind of country are we leaving to our children and grandchildren? What will you say when they ask what YOU did to stop the tyranny and destruction of our Constitutional Republic? As for me, I will keep researching, writing and broadcasting, while asking exactly who the real traitors to our Constitutional Republic are. Is it me? Am I a traitor? 

Narcissists, Crooks, and Sociopaths

By Jim ONeill (Bio and Archives)  Friday, June 14, 2013
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“Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.”—The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
I have often seen and heard the more deplorable actions and attitudes of the radical Left described as being the necessary means to a utopian end—as if that somehow gives moral cover for being a lying, cheating, greedy, backstabbing traitor, and acts as a sort of carte blanche excuse for the morally challenged, spiritually stunted,  and sociopathically twisted.
I bring this up because it seems to me that our government and culture has become a haven for sociopaths – we harbor and cultivate sociopaths, even honor them.  You needn’t be on the Left side of the political spectrum, lying your way to utopia – unfortunately the Right side of the political spectrum also has its share of entrenched sociopaths.What are some of the common traits of a sociopath?  They are extremely adept at lying; they are callous, but very charming when it serves their ends; the end always justifies the means for them; they have no conscience, and lack the ability to feel shame, remorse, or guilt. 
Sociopaths should not be confused with psychopaths, who tend to be much more “in your face” with their sickness, nor are they simply narcissists – who although self-centered in the extreme, generally have at least a rudimentary conscience.I look around at our judges and courts, at the mass-media propaganda venues, at the banksters and corporate CEOs, at NGO elites and even religious leaders – I look at our culture as a whole and the state of our federal government – and I see the occasional borderline psychopath, a bevy of sociopaths, and legions of narcissists.  I see a sewer of arrogance, greed, lies, and corruption.      
I figure that it is past time that “we the people” did something about it.  All we ask of the “low information voters” is to get out of the way and do nothing.  They are accomplished at doing that, so it should not be much of a stretch for them.  Laus Deo. 

U.S. considers no-fly zone after Syria crosses nerve gas "red line"

By Parisa Hafezi and Erika Solomon
ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) - The United States is considering a no-fly zone in Syria, potentially its first direct intervention into the two-year-old civil war, Western diplomats said on Friday, after the White House said Syria had crossed a "red line" by using nerve gas.After months of deliberation, President Barack Obama's administration said on Thursday it would now arm rebels, having obtained proof the Syrian government used chemical weapons against fighters trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.Two senior Western diplomats said Washington is looking into a no-fly zone close to Syria's southern border with Jordan."Washington is considering a no-fly zone to help Assad's opponents," one diplomat said. He said it would be limited "time-wise and area-wise, possibly near the Jordanian border", giving no further details.
Imposing a no-fly zone would require the United States to destroy Syria's sophisticated Russian-built air defenses, thrusting it into the war with the sort of action NATO used to help topple Muammar Gaddafi in Libya two years ago. Washington says it has not ruled it out, but a decision is not "imminent"."We have not made any decision to pursue a military operation such as a no-fly zone. And we have a range of contingency plans that we've drawn up," U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on Thursday."A no-fly zone … would carry with it great and open-ended costs for the United States and the international community. It's far more complex to undertake the type of effort, for instance, in Syria than it was in Libya."
Any such move would also come up against a potential veto from Assad's ally Russia in the U.N. Security Council. The Kremlin dismissed U.S. evidence of Assad's use of nerve gas."I will say frankly that what was presented to us by the Americans does not look convincing," President Vladimir Putin's senior foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov said. "It would be hard even to call them facts."France said a no-fly zone would be impossible without U.N. Security Council authorization, which made it unlikely for now.Nevertheless, Washington has quietly taken steps that would make it easier, moving Patriot surface-to-air missiles, war planes and more than 4,000 troops into Jordan in the past week, officially as part of an annual exercise but making clear that the assets could stay on when the war games are over.Syria's civil war grew out of protests that swept across the Arab world in 2011, becoming by far the deadliest of those uprisings and the most difficult to resolve, with powers across the Middle East squaring off on sectarian lines.
Western countries have spent the past two years demanding Assad leave power but declining to use force as they did in Libya, because of the far greater risk of fighting a much stronger country that straddles sectarian divides at the heart of the Middle East and is backed by Iran and Russia.Just months ago, Western countries believed Assad's days were numbered. But momentum on the battlefield has turned in his favor, making the prospect of his swift removal and an end to the bloodshed appear remote without outside intervention.
Thousands of seasoned fighters from Lebanon's pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia joined the war on Assad's behalf in recent weeks and last week helped the Syrian government recapture Qusair, a strategic town. Assad's government says its troops are now preparing for a massive assault on Aleppo, Syria's biggest city, mainly in rebel hands since last year.Activists reported an intensified assault on parts of Aleppo and its countryside near the Turkish border overnight, sparking some of the most violent clashes in months.
The use of chemical weapons provides a straightforward reason for Washington to intervene. Deputy National Security Adviser Rhodes said Washington now believed 100-150 people had been killed by government poison gas attacks on rebels."The president ... has made it clear that the use of chemical weapons or transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups is a red line," he said. "He has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has."Syria, which says rebels used chemical weapons not the government, said the U.S. statement was full of lies."The White House ... relied on fabricated information in order to hold the Syrian government responsible for using these weapons, despite a series of statements that confirmed that terrorist groups in Syria have chemical weapons," the foreign ministry said in a statement.An implicit threat to join the conflict puts Washington on a diplomatic collision course with Moscow, which has used its U.N. Security Council veto three times to block resolutions that might be used to threaten force against Assad.U.S. officials say Obama will try to persuade Putin to abandon support for Assad when the two leaders meet at a G8 summit in Northern Ireland next week.Washington and Moscow have jointly called for a peace conference in Geneva, the first attempt in a year by the Cold War foes to find a diplomatic solution to the war, but the prospects for the talks now seem in doubt.The United Nations now estimates at least 93,000 people have been killed in Syria and millions driven from their homes.The arrival of thousands of Iran-backed Shi'ite Hezbollah fighters to help Assad combat a revolt led by Syria's Sunni majority has shifted momentum and raised the prospect of sectarian violence spreading across the Middle East.Western powers have been reluctant in the past to arm the rebels, worried about the rising strength of Sunni Islamist insurgents among them who have pledged loyalty to al Qaeda. European countries like France say the best way to counter such Islamists is to provide more support for mainstream rebels.The White House said Washington would now provide "direct military support" to the opposition. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed it would now include arms as opposed to "non-lethal" aid sent in the past.That puts once-reluctant Washington a step in front of its allies Paris and London, which have forced the European Union to drop a ban on arming the rebels this month but still say they have not yet taken a decision to send arms.Syrian rebels already receive light arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They have asked for heavier weapons including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.U.S. and European officials are meeting the commander of the rebels' Supreme Military Council, Salim Idriss, on Friday in Turkey.
Qassem Saadedine, a Supreme Military Council commander, called Obama's decision to send weapons "very brave"."Our hope is that the weapons will start arriving in the coming weeks, but we are still in talks about when and how to supply weapons. My hope is we will start seeing a change in the next two weeks."
Islamist rebel fighters on the ground in Syria were more skeptical. "All of us inside Syria know the truth is America hates Sunni Muslims," said Abu Bilal, a Sunni insurgent in Homs."We consider America an enemy and see it as quite unlikely that it will actually give the mujahideen weapons. Instead it will be preparing its own agenda, so that it can hit the rebels just like it will hit the regime," he told Reuters via Skype.An Islamist field commander in Hama said he would take the weapons if he could get them: "Everyone here right now is working on the principle that their enemy's enemy is their friend. America is against Bashar right now, at least publicly.""As for us, we will look at the issue this way: we do not object to groups that take weapons from America. We will object to those who try to spread its secular ideas in Syria."
Assad forces tried overnight to storm the rebel-held eastern districts of Aleppo, Syria's biggest city and commercial hub, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based, pro-opposition monitoring group.The move sparked some of the fiercest battles in months. Activists also reported artillery and air strikes in the rebel-held countryside in the north of the province.Syrian state media have been touting plans for "Northern Storm," a looming campaign to recapture the rebel-held north.Aleppo would be a far more difficult target than Qusair. Assad's forces only hold a few routes and pockets of territory in the province, mostly in isolated Shi'ite villages.Assad's main advantage so far has been the ability to use air power to resupply troops and bomb rebel areas, along with its use of long-range missiles. But Western support for rebels or a no-fly zone would change the current balance of power.(Additional reporting by Erika Solomon in Beirut, John Irish in Paris; Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman, Matt Spetalnick, Roberta Rampton, Mark Felsenthal, Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by Peter Graff and Erika Solomon; editing by Janet McBride)

Iran votes for new president, Khamenei slams U.S. doubts

By Yeganeh Torbati and Zahra Hosseinian
DUBAI (Reuters) - Millions of Iranians voted to choose a new president on Friday, urged by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to turn out in force to discredit suggestions by arch foe the United States that the election would be a sham.The 50 million eligible voters had a choice between six candidates to replace incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but none is seen as challenging the Islamic Republic's 34-year-old system of clerical rule.The first presidential poll since a disputed 2009 contest led to months of unrest is unlikely to change rocky ties between the West and the OPEC nation of 75 million, but it may bring a softening of the antagonistic style favored by Ahmadinejad.World powers in talks with Iran over its nuclear program are looking for any signs of a recalibration of its negotiating stance after eight years of intransigence under Ahmadinejad.Voting in the capital Tehran, Khamenei called on Iranians to vote in large numbers and derided Western misgivings about the credibility of the vote."I recently heard that someone at the U.S. National Security Council said 'we do not accept this election in Iran'," he said."We don't give a damn," he added.On May 24, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry questioned the credibility of the election, criticizing the disqualification of candidates and accusing Tehran of disrupting Internet access.All the remaining contenders except current chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili have criticized the conduct of diplomacy that has left Iran increasingly isolated and under painful economic sanctions.After casting his vote, Jalili said: "Everyone should respect the name that comes out of the ballot boxes and the person people choose," according to ISNA news agency.Hossein, a 27-year-old voter in Tehran who belongs to the Basij hardline volunteer militia, said he would vote for Jalili, 47, Khamenei's national security adviser and a former Revolutionary Guard who lost a leg in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war."He is the only one I can trust to respect the values of the revolution ... He feels and cares for the needy," Hossein said.In Dubai, Iranian expatriate Zahra, 20, a first time voter, said she cast her ballot for Khamenei's diplomatic adviser Ali Akbar Velayati because of his expertise on world affairs."When he was foreign minister (from 1981 to 1997), Iran's relations with all countries were better," she said.
The Guardian Council, a state body that vets all candidates, barred several hopefuls, notably former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the Islamic Republic's founding fathers seen as sympathetic to reform, as well as Ahmadinejad's close ally Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie.This narrowing of the field prompted concerns of a low turnout which the supreme leader sought to counter."What is important is that everyone takes part," Khamenei said. "Our dear nation should come (to vote) with excitement and liveliness, and know that the destiny of the country is in their hands and the happiness of the country depends on them."The Interior Ministry announced that voting, initially due to end at 1330 GMT, would be extended by several hours, Iran's Press TV reported in mid-afternoon. In the past, authorities have cited such extensions as evidence of a high turnout.Iran's Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab neighbors are wary of Shi'ite Iran's influence in Iraq and its backing for President Bashar al-Assad and his Lebanese allies Hezbollah in the Syrian war. The Sunni Arab kingdoms are backing the rebels in Syria.
Of five conservative candidates professing unwavering obedience to Khamenei, only three are thought to stand any chance of winning the vote, or making it through to a second round run-off in a week's time.
Nuclear negotiator Jalili, who advocates maintaining a robust, ideologically-driven foreign policy, is seen as the main conservative contender.The other two, Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and former foreign minister Velayati, have pledged never to back away from pursuing Iran's nuclear program but have strongly criticized Jalili's inflexible negotiating stance.They face Rohani, the sole moderate and only cleric in the race. Though very much an establishment figure, suspicious of the West, Rohani is more likely to pursue a conciliatory foreign policy.The opposition Kaleme website said Rohani's campaign headquarters had sent a letter to the Guardian Council urging it to remove the name of Mohammad Reza Aref - a reformist candidate who dropped out this week in favor of Rohani - from ballot papers. The complaint said voting slips in some polling stations carried Aref's name and this could create confusion.With no reliable opinion polls in Iran, it is hard to gauge the public mood, let alone the extent to which Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards exert their influence over the ballot.
Security has been tight and campaigning subdued compared to the euphoric rallies that preceded the 2009 polls when reformist supporters thought they scented the prospect of change in Iran.Those hopes were dashed when Ahmadinejad was returned to office by results the reformists said were rigged.Human rights groups have criticized Iran for further arrests and curbs on activists and journalists ahead of Friday's poll and the disqualification of 678 people registered as candidates.Iranian officials dispute accusations of human rights abuses and call the charges politically motivated. They also say elections in Iran are free, fair and democratic.

Turkey's PM Erdogan calls on protesters to leave Istanbul park

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called on hundreds of protesters occupying central Istanbul's Gezi Park to leave, saying their message had been received by the government after talks aimed at ending two weeks of unrest."You have stayed here as long as you could and have relayed your message. If your message is about Taksim Gezi Park, it has been received and evaluated," Erdogan said at a meeting of his AK Party."Please now leave the Gezi Park and go to your homes."(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Jonathon Burch; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Louise Ireland and Daren Butler)

Quebec tables euthanasia bill

The bill, which appears to have bipartisan support, attempts to detour around the federal Criminal Code prohibition against aiding a suicide by focusing exclusively on health care and the administration of justice, which are provincial responsibilities.In the 20 years since Sue Rodriguez, a British Columbia woman afflicted with ALS, lost her legal challenge to have a medically assisted death, several jurisdictions in North America and Europe have provided end-of-life care for terminally ill patients. As the population ages, the number of terminally ill people seeking help in ending lives that have become intolerable has grown from the voice of one lone woman to a chorus.David Lambert, a retired orthopedic surgeon in Sherbrooke, says the right to die is about increasing compassion for patients at the end of life. At 74, he has been diagnosed with metastasized prostate cancer.“Many people aren’t afraid of dying,” he said. “It is the process of dying that scares them.”As a doctor, he has the “resources to bring about a gentle end to my days at a time of my choosing,” so he doesn’t “have to worry about suffering an agonizing death.” He wants other people to have the same opportunity.Unlike Oregon, Washington and Vermont, the Quebec legislation is not limited to assisted suicide in which a terminally ill patient, who is mentally competent, ingests a lethal potion prescribed by a doctor, says Jocelyn Downie, a law professor in the medical and legal faculties at Dalhousie University. The bill, which refers to “terminal palliative sedation” and “medical aid in dying,” doesn’t mention the word euthanasia, but that is the intent, Prof. Downie says. “Absolutely, it allows for euthanasia. That is what this is for,” she said, drawing a comparison to Belgium which twins extensive palliative care with the possibility of euthanasia.As with abortion, doctors will be allowed to refuse to provide end-of-life service on grounds of conscience.The National Assembly will rise for its summer recess at the end of the week, which will allow plenty of time for opposition to brew, especially in Ottawa. The federal government is already challenging the 2012 British Columbia Supreme Court ruling that the Criminal Code provision against assisted suicide is unconstitutional, so it is likely that the Quebec legislation will face similar legal hurdles.Ottawa could argue it is not within the mandate of the province to make these rules and regulations, says Udo Schuklenk, a professor of bioethics at Queen’s University and chair of the 2011 Royal Society of Canada panel that investigated end-of-life issues. The panel recommended that assisted dying should either be decriminalized by the Supreme Court of Canada, or that the provinces could act in the absence of a legal ruling by refusing to prosecute doctors who assisted patients to die. “As far as I can see,” Prof. Schuklenk said, “this is the direction they are taking in Quebec by redefining assisted dying to be part of continuing medical care, which is also the way we interpreted the situation.”Will people be travelling across the country, turning Quebec into a “death tourism” destination as critics label Switzerland, which allows non-residents to die by medically assisted suicide? The bill restricts services to Quebec residents who are covered under the provincial health insurance plan. Some people may move to Quebec, in the same way that some terminally ill patients fly to Zurich, but the three-month residency requirement will prevent wide-scale abuse, says Prof. Downie.“People can’t move for physical, financial, emotional and social reasons,” she said. “You have to be well enough to travel and you are picking up and moving out of your community of support.”Liberal leader Philippe Couillard said he was considering allowing his caucus to vote freely on the issue. Public hearings will be heard in the fall and the opposition parties want to closely examine the legislation before determining final judgment. There was already an all-party consensus on the principle of allowing for end-of-life treatment.
Public opinion polls have indicated widespread support for the types of measures proposed in the bill. However, several groups are expected to mount a strong opposition.The Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice said the bill does nothing less than open the door to abuse and homicides. “This is not care. It is killing patients because they don’t get the proper care they should,” said the group’s spokesperson, Paul Saba, who practices at St-Joseph Hospital in Lachine. “We are giving a free hand to end the life of people. There will be abuse. This is immoral and unconscionable … life is too precious.”Dr. Saba said the bill was not needed, arguing that enhanced palliative care would vastly improve the conditions of terminally ill patients. He argued that 80 per cent of Quebeckers do not have access to palliative care largely because of government cutbacks in health-care services.


“The Vatican lobby threat goes beyond sexual orientation”

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Vulnerability in the Vatican
Vulnerability in the Vatican

In an interview with “Vatican Insider”, American Vaticanista John Allen weighs in on Pope Francis’ comments about the "gay lobby" in the Vatican

paolo mastrolilli new york What do you think the Pope meant?
“It’s important to remember that the "gay lobby" phrase came up in the context of the Vatileaks scandal, when the big question was who’s behind it. The theory was that maybe gays were involved, not because they’re gay, but because somebody with a secret to keep could be vulnerable to pressure and blackmail. The concern isn’t really sexual orientation, but whether somebody is working against the pope’s interests.”
How is this lobby functioning inside the Vatican?
“I’m not sure it’s really a "lobby" … I doubt they have meetings or a secret handshake. However, people leading a double life - whether it’s about sex, money or anything else - often feel a natural affinity with one another.”
Is this comment related to the Pope’s effort to reform the Curia, to the sexual abuses, or both?
“It’s related to reform of the Roman Curia, in that Francis wants to make sure decisions are being made for the right reasons and not because of hidden pressures.”
When do you expect him to implement his reform  and what is the key for the reform?
“He’s obviously talking his time, but he clearly understands that he was elected on a reform mandate by Cardinals from around the world who were fed up with what they saw as bad management in the Vatican.”
How are his actions so far perceived in the United States?
“To date, Francis has very high approval ratings in America. One recent poll found that 82 percent of American Catholics like the Pope, and given how divided American Catholics usually are, that’s a minor miracle.”


Francis announces enclyclical letter, the work “of four hands” is nearly complete

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Pope Francis with Joseph Ratzinger (© LaPresse)
Pope Francis with Joseph Ratzinger (© LaPresse)

The Pope spoke off-the-cuff about this and collegiality, to members of the XIII Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops

Andrea Tornielli vatican city The encyclical on faith which Benedict XVI had started working on before his resignation, will soon be complete, the Pope confirmed in an off-the-cuff speech during this morning’s audience with members of the XIII Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The audience turned into a work meeting which focused on “synodality”.The Vatican Radio reported that Bergoglio announced the issue of an encyclical “of four hands” which was begun by Benedict XVI who then passed it on to Francis. The Pope apparently added that it is a powerful documents and that he would write that he received this great work of Benedict’s and that he (Francis, Ed.) will be carrying it on.Some weeks ago, after an audience with Francis, Bishop Molfetta Luigi Martella wrote in diocesan weekly “Luce e Vita”that the Pope was going to publish a text that his predecessor was still working on. Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that an encyclical on faith would be coming out but said that the news about the Pope Emeritus apparently putting the finishing touches to the work was false.Now, Francis himself has said the “cross-pontificate” encyclical is the work “of four hands”, of two men that is, Ratzinger and Bergoglio. Francis has also stated that he intends to give his predecessor recognition for his contribution and put this in writing. A similar scenario occurred the day after Benedict XVI was elected Pope: for his first encyclical “Deus caritas est”, Ratzinger used some material from a draft which had been prepared for John Paul II. The draft had been sitting in John Paul II’s drawer to be worked on at a later date.The key topic dealt with during the audience – which turned into a work meeting – was “synodality”. Francis said he would discuss how to strengthen this aspect, with the eight cardinals who appointed to advise him on Curia reform. One of the suggestions is to find a new method of coordinating synodality with the Petrine ministry.Francis also explained how some claim that the Synod Council “is a permanent council which can be convened and consulted until the next synod is held.” Synodality, which was rediscovered after the Council, is key to the Orthodox Churches and so attributing importance to in the Catholic Church would be a significant step forward on the path towards ecumenism. In a recent interview with Vatican Insider, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople expressed his appreciation for the Catholic Church’s decision to nominate a group of cardinal advisors.Another subject that requires the Church’s attention is marriage, the Pope said. “Many Catholic couples don’t get married; they live with each other, so marriage becomes provisional: this is a serious problem.” Francis added that in the meeting with the eight cardinal advisors in October the question of who should be entrusted with the task of carrying out a study on family pastoral care came up. “To the Synod?” the Pope asked. “To a special or an ordinary Synod? They will decide, but we will address this problem in October…”

Russian lawmakers pass anti-gay bill in 436-0 vote

MOSCOW (AP) — A bill that stigmatizes gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality won overwhelming approval Tuesday in Russia's lower house of parliament.Hours before the State Duma passed the Kremlin-backed law in a 436-0 vote with one abstention, more than two dozen protesters were attacked by hundreds of anti-gay activists and then detained by police.The bill banning the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" still needs to be passed by the appointed upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, but neither step is in doubt.The measure is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values instead of Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church see as corrupting Russian youth and contributing to the protests against Putin's rule.
The only parliament member to abstain Tuesday was Ilya Ponomaryov, who has supported anti-Putin protesters despite belonging to a pro-Kremlin party.A widespread hostility to homosexuality is shared by much of Russia's political and religious elite. Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia's already low birth rates and said they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment or be exiled.The State Duma passed another bill on Tuesday that makes offending religious feelings a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. The legislation, which passed 308-2, was introduced last year after three members of the Pussy Riot punk group were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for an impromptu anti-Putin protest inside Moscow's main cathedral and given two-year sentences.
Both bills drew condemnation from Amnesty International."They represent a sorry attempt by the government to bolster its popularity by pandering to the most reactionary elements of Russian society — at the expense of fundamental rights and the expression of individual identities," John Dalhuisen, the human rights group's Europe and Central Asia program director, said in a statement.Before the anti-gay vote, rights activists attempted to hold a "kissing rally" outside the State Duma, located across the street from Red Square in central Moscow, but they were attacked by hundreds of Orthodox Christian activists and members of pro-Kremlin youth groups. The mostly burly young men with closely cropped hair pelted the activists with eggs, shouting obscenities and homophobic slurs at them.Riot police moved in, detaining more than two dozen protesters, almost all of them gay rights activists. Some who were not detained were beaten by masked men on another central street.The legislation will impose hefty fines for providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to minors or holding gay pride rallies. Those breaking the law will be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for an individual and up to 1 million rubles ($31,000) for a company, including media organizations.Foreign citizens arrested under the new law can be deported or jailed for up to 15 days and then deported. European gay rights activists have joined Russians in trying to hold gay pride rallies in Moscow in recent years.Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment remains high. Russia also is considering banning citizens of countries that allow same-sex marriage from adopting Russian children.Earlier Tuesday, dozens of anti-gay activists picketed the Duma. One of them held a poster that read: "Lawmakers, protect the people from perverts!" while others held Orthodox icons and chanted prayers.Russian and foreign rights activists have decried the bill as violating basic rights."Russia is trying very hard to make discrimination look respectable by calling it 'tradition,' but whatever term is used in the bill, it remains discrimination and a violation of the basic human rights of LGBT people," Graeme Reid, the LGBT rights program director at Human Rights Watch, said Tuesday in a statement.Lyudmila Alexeyeva, one of Russia's oldest and most prominent rights activists, called the law "a step toward the Middle Ages.""In normal countries, no one persecutes representatives of sexual minorities," Alexeyeva told the Interfax news agency. "A modern person knows that these people are different from the rest just like a brunette is different from a blonde. They are not guilty of anything."Russian officials have rejected the criticism. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov defended the bill in February, saying that Russia doesn't have any international or European commitment to "allow the propaganda of homosexuality."An executive with a Russian government-run television network said in a nationally televised talk show that gays should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm or organs for transplants, and after their deaths their hearts should be burned or buried.The bill's adoption comes 20 years after a Stalinist-era law punishing homosexuality with up to five years in prison was removed from Russia's penal code as part of democratic reforms that followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.___AP writer Lynn Berry contributed to this report.

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous (DANGEROUS) times shall come.

JOEL 2:3,30
3 A fire devoureth before them;(ATOMIC BOMB) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

ZECHARIAH 14:12-13
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)

47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.


LUKE 17:34-37
34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other shall be left.
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.(Christians have new bodies,this is the people against Jerusalem during the 7 yr treaty)(Christians bodies are not being eaten by the birds).

MATTHEW 24:37-51
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
42 Watch therefore:(FOR THE LAST DAYS SIGNS HAPPENING) for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

UN: world population to reach 8.1 billion in 2025

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations forecast Thursday that the world's population will increase from 7.2 billion today to 8.1 billion in 2025, with most growth in developing countries and more than half in Africa. By 2050, it will reach 9.6 billion.India's population is expected to surpass China's around 2028 when both countries will have populations of around 1.45 billion, the report on "World Population Prospects." While India's population is forecast to grow to around 1.6 billion and then slowly decline to 1.5 billion in 2100, China's is expected to start decreasing after 2030, possibly falling to 1.1 billion in 2100.
In another notable finding, the report said Nigeria's population is expected to surpass the population of the United States before the middle of the century, when the U.S. population is projected to be 400.8 million compared to Nigeria's 440.3 million."By the end of the century, Nigeria could start to rival China as the second most populous country in the world," the report said, forecasting Nigeria's population at 913.8 million in 2100.John Wilmoth, director of the Population Division in the U.N.'s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which prepared the report, cautioned that "there is a great deal of uncertainty about population trends.""Trends and future population will be affected by the trajectories of its three major components — fertility, mortality and migration — but especially by the future course of fertility," he said.He said fertility has fallen rapidly, especially since the 1960s. The average number of children per woman has swiftly declined in several large countries, including China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Brazil and South Africa, leading to a reduction in population growth rates in much of the developing world.But Wilmoth said the U.N.'s projections of future population have been revised upward from those issued two years ago, based mainly on recently available data on fertility levels.In 15 high-fertility countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the estimated average number of children per woman has been adjusted upwards by more than 5 percent, he said. These include Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger and Nigeria.The report said population in developing regions is projected to increase from 5.9 billion in 2013 to 8.2 billion in 2050.During that same period, it said, the population of developed countries is expected to remain largely unchanged at around 1.3 billion people.In Africa, the report said, the population could increase from 1.1 billion today to 2.4 billion in 2050 and potentially 4.2 billion by 2100. 

US to EU: Middle East and Africa pose risk of 'dirty bomb'

Today @ 09:29 JUNE 14,13
BRUSSELS - Countries in Africa and the Middle East are a greater threat than old nuclear facilities in former Soviet republics as sources of material for a "dirty bomb," US officials say."In north Africa and the Middle East you have terrorist organisations, unstable governments, in some cases actual civil conflict and lack of control over sovereign territory. In the former Soviet Union we still have remaining challenges, but we are dealing with relatively stable governments with which we have a history of engagement," Simon Limage, a non-proliferation specialist at the US state department, told EUobserver.His colleague in the US department of energy, Anne Harrington, added: "All of these issues you could also apply to Pakistan."She noted: "The risk of using these things [nuclear, chemical and biological materials] in a dirty bomb or a radiological dispersal device is of great concern to us."Limage and Harrington were in Brussels this week to launch talks with EU countries on how to stop weapons of mass destruction [WMDs] getting into Western allies, such as Jordan and Turkey, or into Europe and the US.The dialogue comes amid mounting evidence of use of chemical weapons, such as Sarin gas, in Syria.Harrington gave some examples of past US projects for the kind of work the US now wants to do with EU states.She said the US has created a secure crossing point on the Jordan-Syria border and has given it mobile detection vans to help control desert routes.The US has also beefed up security at the Jordanian port of Aqaba and trained Jordanian border officials."We teach things like: 'What does a sealed radiological source look like? If you see one coming through your checkpoint, what do you do?'," Harrington explained.She said the EU and US will also share knowledge.
"We know there are well established smuggling routes, for example from central Africa through Libya to Europe. This has been a route since the time of the caravans. The oases haven't moved," she noted.
Limage said EU states have better relations than the US with some Middle East countries, mentioning Lebanon."We've had a hard time building capacity with Lebanon for various reasons, but it's in such a strategic area that we can't ignore its role," he said.He noted the importance of anti-American feeling - linked to its support for Israel and to the 2003 Iraq war - should not be exaggerated, however."These feelings have not prevented co-operation on matters of national security for these countries," he said.WMDs aside, Britain and France have said they will ship conventional weapons, such as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, to Syrian rebels if peace talks fail.The US is also saying that "all possible options" are on the table to ensure the fall of the Syrian regime.Limage noted that conventional arms are "the most immediate and dangerous threat" in terms of proliferation in the region.He said one "disturbing" development is the transfer of Libyan weapons to conflicts in Mali and Syria after the 2011 Libya war.There is speculation in Europe that Britain and France are bluffing on arms to Syria in order to get the regime to negotiate.But with diplomatic efforts unravelling to get Syrian leaders to talk to rebels in Geneva in July, one EU diplomat predicted the UK and France will go ahead."I don't think they would bluff on a matter of such great international importance," the EU contact said.

Cyber Expert: The World is At Risk

Cyber expert Eugene Kaspersky warns that cyber attacks are on the rise, and the entire world is at risk.
By Yoni Kempinski and A7 staff-First Publish: 6/14/2013, 12:23 PMIsraelnationalnews

Cyber attacks are growing more frequent and more professional, and nowhere is safe, says cyber protection expert Eugene Kaspersky, founder and head of the Kaspersky anti-virus and cyber protection group.There are different kinds of online attacks, he said, ranging from small and ineffective to highly effective and professional espionage and cyber sabotage. “Espionage is extremely important, and very bad,” he said. One example of successful espionage is the Stuxnet virus, he said.Many have suggested that Israel and the United States were behind Stuxnet, which hit Iran’s nuclear facilities and spread to several other countries as well.Online crime is also a problem, he warned. “The criminals are still there… Unfortunately, there are many wealthy criminals in cyberspace,” he said.Kaspersky warned that the whole world is vulnerable to such attacks, “because we depend on cyberspace.” Online systems are vital to submarines, power plants, hospitals and more, he said.On the positive side, he said, governments and businesses are increasingly aware of the need for cyber security. He noted the creation of the Interpol subgroup Cyberpol, which he called “very bad news for cybercrime.”

EU presents post-Fukushima nuclear safety rules

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission proposed tougher nuclear safety rules Thursday, amid international debate about the future of nuclear energy and how to secure aging plants.Stress tests on European nuclear plants prompted by the 2011 disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant showed that almost all of them needed safety improvements. A report on those tests called for more consistency across the 27-nation EU in assessing and managing nuclear safety threats.EU nuclear plants already undergo regular tests, but the proposed new rules would strengthen that. They include EU-wide safety reviews every six years, and the threat that the EU would send in inspectors if countries don't do enough to ensure nuclear safety. It would also include a system of peer reviews, allowing national governments to verify their neighbors' atomic plants.Another new rule would require emergency response centers on the site of nuclear plants that would be protected against radioactivity, earthquakes and flooding.The rules would need approval by the individual member states before coming into effect, not before next year.Critics called the plan too modest; EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger called it "realistic."France — which is the world's most nuclear energy-dependent country, with 58 reactors providing the majority of the country's electricity — has been resistant to some of the new rules, arguing that its own rules are tough enough.Environmental group Greenpeace said the new rules do not do enough to address potential terrorist threats, or to increase the powers of nuclear regulators, which have been accused in the past of being too close to nuclear industry players.Several European countries are rethinking their reliance on nuclear energy since the Fukushima accident.Oettinger sought to stay out of that debate, saying in a statement, "It's up to member states to decide if they want to produce nuclear energy or not. The fact remains that there are 132 nuclear reactors in operation in Europe today. Our task at the Commission is to make sure that safety is given the utmost priority in every single one of them."After last year's stress tests to gauge nuclear reactors' ability to withstand accidents and natural disaster, the commission said the costs of needed improvements to EU reactors could run as high as 25 billion euros ($32 billion) over the coming years.

NSA Spying Is About Intimidating the Media, American Citizens

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Blanket surveillance is about covering up government corruption and chilling free speech, not catching terrorists
Alex Jones & Paul Joseph Watson
June 13, 2013
The NSA’s vast wiretapping and surveillance operation, in addition to the agency’s attempt to intimidate the media and whistleblowers from releasing information about programs such as PRISM, has has virtually nothing to do with catching terrorists and everything to do with creating a chilling effect that dissuades the free press from exposing government corruption while making Americans fearful of engaging in political free speech.

National Security Agency
The myth that blanket NSA spying is primarily concerned with catching terrorists, or that terrorists will be aided by people like Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on the PRISM program, has been debunked by numerous experts.Firstly, the threat posed to Americans by terrorism is grossly exaggerated and overhyped. Americans are more likely to be killed by toddlers than terrorists. Intestinal illnesses, allergic reactions to peanuts, bee stings, drowning in the bath, or accident-causing deer all individually pose a greater threat to Americans than terrorists. So the whole debate about sacrificing privacy for security is a total fraud to begin with.As the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program – William Binney – confirmed, the witch hunt targeting Edward Snowden is not about preventing terrorists from discovering how they are being tracked by the NSA, it is about preventing the American people from finding out about the unconstitutional actions of the NSA.“The terrorists have already known that we’ve been doing this for years, so there’s no surprise there. They’re not going to change the way they operate just because it comes out in the U.S. press. I mean, the point is, they already knew it, and they were operating the way they would operate anyway. So, the point is that they’re—we’re not—the government here is not trying to protect it from the terrorists; it’s trying to protect it, that knowledge of that program, from the citizens of the United States,” said Binney.This sentiment was echoed by top counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who remarked, “The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable. Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their government was doing.”Innumerable lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who have called for Ed Snowden to be arrested for revealing the existence of PRISM have done do under the justification that Snowden is aiding terrorists by tipping them off to the fact that the NSA is spying on them and therefore harming national security. Yet as Clarke and Binney highlight, this is a moot point – it was already known by everyone – therefore there must be a different reason for the persecution of Snowden and his ilk.The reason for the persecution of whistleblowers and media outlets who leak evidence of government wrongdoing is to intimidate the free press and make them less likely to publish information about government corruption for fear of legal reprisals.This is an easily understood consequence of the persecution of Edward Snowden and yet it has barely been touched upon in the aftermath of the PRISM scandal.As William Binney explains, government officials are only mad at Snowden because his revelations expose their wrongdoing. This has nothing to do with genuine concerns about national security or terrorism.Data is being obtained by the NSA unencrypted so that no probable cause is needed for the agency to access that data – meaning the system has been set up for political and not practical purposes.As Thomas Drake, former senior NSA executive and a decorated Air Force and Navy veteran remarks, the government is incensed at Snowden and the media outlets who carried his story because Snowden exposed how the NSA is acting in “direct violation of the fourth amendment of the US constitution,” and how the NSA is “subverting the constitution.”Despite the fact that whistleblowers are helping to expose wrongdoing in government – and the polls show they are supported by the majority of the American people – the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.As all the experts agree, this isn’t being done to protect America from terrorists, it is being done to intimidate insiders from coming forward and speaking out against government corruption in the fear that they will end up like Bradley Manning – locked away in solitary confinement for years.Telephones belonging to AP reporters are also being tapped to discourage other news organizations from reporting on government misdeeds. Individual reporters like James Rosen are also being targeted by the Obama administration, making potential sources who have information on government wrongdoing less likely to approach journalists.The NSA’s huge illegal dragnet also has an additional consequence – implanting a seed of doubt in the minds of average Americans seeking to exercise their first amendment right to criticize the government. Could they become a target of blanket surveillance and wiretapping? Could their private life be exposed by a resentful NSA official if they dare to become a nuisance to the feds? Could they be accidentally mistaken for a terrorist if they send an email to another person who is under suspicion? The Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers and the NSA and other federal agency’s role in spying on reporters and average Americans has nothing to do with stopping terrorists and everything to do with intimidating the media, creating a chilling effect that makes insiders who have clear evidence of government corruption far less likely to go public, and making Americans think twice before they criticize the government or exercise their constitutional rights.

EU commission 'stood firm' on US data privacy

13.06.13 @ 18:52
By Benjamin Fox
BRUSSELS - The European Commission says it "stood firm" in the face of pressure from the US when drafting its overhaul of the bloc's data protection regime.Mina Andreeva, spokesperson for EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding, Thursday (13 June) said that the EU executive arm had faced down "intense US lobbying."She added that the commission proposal had included provisions "making it absolutely clear that US companies would have to abide by EU rules whenever they offer their goods and services to European citizens" while any requests by the US to access the data of an EU citizen would "be channeled through existing legal frameworks."However, Sophie In't Veld, a Dutch Liberal MEP and data expert, said she was "surprised" by the commission's statement"It was very clear that the article on data transfer had been taken out because the US mission had been involved in the drafting," she told this website."The US mission were very open about their lobbying efforts," she added.A draft of the data protection regulation, sent by Reding to the other EU commissioners in November 2011, contained provisions in Article 42 that would make it a condition for the disclosure of user data to authorities in third countries to have a legal foundation, such as a mutual legal assistance agreement and an authorisation by the competent data protection authority.
However, the Article disappeared from the final proposal, after strong lobbying from the US administration.
The proposals, which were tabled in January 2012, are now in the hands of MEPs and ministers who expect to reach agreement on the rules before the end of 2013.The commission has come under pressure this week to show that it will not allow Washington to abuse its 'special relationship' with Europe by ignoring its rules on data privacy.Documents disclosed to the Guardian newspaper by 29-year-old Edward Snowden, a former CIA worker, revealed that the US National Security Authority (NSA) had been snooping on Europeans.
In a letter sent on Monday evening (10 June) to Eric Holder, the US attorney general, commissioner Reding demanded "explanations and clarifications" on whether the controversial PRISM surveillance programme, as well as any other US data collection and surveillance programmes, had also been targeted at Europeans.
The letter questioned whether the scope of US data collection was restricted to national security or foreign intelligence, how the data was collected, and whether businesses in the EU or US were able to challenge access to data."PRISM and the laws on the basis of which such programmes are authorised could have grave adverse consequences for the fundamental rights of EU citizens," Reding said.Reding warned that she expected "swift and concrete answers" when the two sides speak on Friday (13 June) at a meeting of EU and US justice officials.

Merkel challenger against banks tapping euro bailout fund

Today @ 09:25 JUNE 14,13
By Valentina Pop
Berlin - Peer Steinbrueck has had a bad year so far.
His popularity rates are less than a third of those of Chancellor Angela Merkel and his Social Democratic party is also trailing behind Merkel's Christian Democrats just 100 days before the September elections.
Speaking to foreign journalists in Berlin on Thursday (13 June), Steinbrueck admitted that Merkel is more popular. But he said it was because she is giving Germans a false sense of security, while social disparities in the country are growing and its image abroad worsening.Celebrated at home for looking after German taxpayer's money, Merkel's "uni-dimensional crisis management" based on austerity risks "killing the patient", as unemployment rates in southern European countries are at record highs, Steinbrueck said.But the former finance minister in Merkel's grand coalition from 2005-2009 also realises German voters do not want to hear that a future chancellor wants to squander their money.A year ago, Steinbrueck was advocating eurobonds as a way out of the crisis, but on Thursday the Social Democrat candidate compared mutualising debt in the eurozone with "giving my credit card to my teenage son.""We never said eurobonds with no conditionality. Nobody would simply hand over their credit cards without any demands. And the demands may be difficult for some countries - including Germany - because they imply more sovereignty transfers to Brussels," Steinbrueck said.He also said countries like Ireland should raise their corporate tax in order to prevent a "race to the bottom" among member states on giving multinational corporations ways to pay as little taxes as possible.As for the €500 billion strong eurozone bailout fund (ESM) directly recapitalising banks in troubled countries, Steinbrueck noted that Merkel made such a promise last year, but that she will "drag out a decision as long as possible because it is not popular in Germany."The ESM should stick to its initial mandate of helping out governments, not banks, Steinbrueck said."Banks should be bailed out by their shareholders, not taxpayers."Eurogroup experts on Friday are set to gather in Rome for informal talks on the ESM recapitalisation plans, proposing a €60 billion cap on the scheme, Wall Street Journal reports.But southern countries are frustrated with the slow pace of the talks and the prospect of a cap. Spain's foreign minister Manuel Garcia-Margallo on Wednesday said such a ceiling would make no sense and that the ESM should have "unlimited firepower" to be useful.


ISAIAH 42:15
15  I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.

MATTHEW 24:7-8
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

MARK 13:8
8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:(ETHNIC GROUP AGAINST ETHNIC GROUP) and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

LUKE 21:11
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places,(DIFFERNT PLACES AT THE SAME TIME) and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

1 Day, Magnitude 2.5+ Worldwide

16 earthquakes - DownloadUpdated: 2013-06-13 14:33:26 UTC-04:00Showing event times using Local System Time (UTC-04:00)
  1. 2.9 96km NW of Larsen Bay, Alaska 2013-06-13 13:58:18 UTC-04:00 0.0 km
  2. 5.4 186km ENE of Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island 2013-06-13 13:23:53 UTC-04:00 16.5 km
  3. 6.7 170km ENE of Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island 2013-06-13 12:47:23 UTC-04:00 11.1 km
  4. 2.9 56km E of Lazy Mountain, Alaska 2013-06-13 10:11:28 UTC-04:00 15.7 km
  5. 5.6 89km E of Nago, Japan 2013-06-13 09:24:43 UTC-04:00 8.5 km
  6. 3.2 32km W of Anchorage, Alaska 2013-06-13 08:52:15 UTC-04:00 41.1 km
  7. 2.7 100km E of Nikolski, Alaska 2013-06-13 07:43:02 UTC-04:00 6.7 km
  8. 3.2 56km SSW of Larsen Bay, Alaska 2013-06-13 07:18:49 UTC-04:00 29.3 km
  9. 4.8 55km NNE of San Felipe, Chile 2013-06-13 06:41:37 UTC-04:00 79.9 km
  10. 2.8 18km NNW of Greenbrier, Arkansas 2013-06-13 02:18:04 UTC-04:00 0.1 km
  11. 3.6 64km SSW of Homer, Alaska 2013-06-12 23:55:34 UTC-04:00 47.6 km
  12. 3.4 119km NNE of Road Town, British Virgin Islands 2013-06-12 23:51:58 UTC-04:00 78.0 km
  13. 2.8 24km N of Tierras Nuevas Poniente, Puerto Rico 2013-06-12 22:55:36 UTC-04:00 64.0 km
  14. 2.7 94km W of Willow, Alaska 2013-06-12 20:10:44 UTC-04:00 103.0 km
  15. 4.9 24km WSW of Ambato, Ecuador 2013-06-12 15:58:14 UTC-04:00 121.8 km
  16. 4.5 27km ENE of Van, Turkey 2013-06-12 15:02:53 UTC-04:00 10.0 km

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