Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (C) addresses the
audience during a meeting of the annual Mercosur trade bloc presidential
summit in Mendoza June 29, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian)

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals
Chinese President Xi Jinping (4-L, first row) poses with leaders of the CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states, in Brasilia, on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)
"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.) -

“ … 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 ..."

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


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A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

Brazil's Rousseff claims nation 'ready for greatest World Cup'

Brazil's Rousseff claims nation 'ready for greatest World Cup'
Google: Ready, set, goooaaallll! The WorldCup is finally here.

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ
The Conmebol headquarters in Luque, Paraguay, is seen on January 7, 2016, during a raid within the framework of the FIFA corruption scandal (AFP Photo/Norberto Duarte)

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses
The Panama Papers: key facts on the huge journalists' investigation into tax evasion (AFP Photo/Thomas Saint-Cricq, Philippe Mouche)

Mossack Fonseca

Mossack Fonseca

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.
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Hawaiian canoe comes home after epic round-the-world odyssey

Yahoo – AFP, 18 June 2017

Hawaiian canoe comes home after epic round-the-world odyssey

Los Angeles (AFP) - A traditional double-hulled canoe has returned to Hawaii after concluding a three-year epic journey around the globe, the first trip of its kind by such a boat.

The Hokule'a vessel and its crew entered the marina at Honolulu's Magic Island peninsula on Saturday after sailing more than 40,000 nautical miles (74,000 kilometres) since its departure from the island of Oahu in 2014.

Large crowds gathered for the homecoming celebration to commemorate the end of the odyssey, which intended to "weave a lei of hope around the world through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives," according to voyage organisers.

The goal was to use only ancient methods of wayfinding -- reading the stars, winds and waves -- to guide the journey, just as the first Polynesian settlers who reached the archipelago did hundreds of years ago.

The Hokule'a -- the Hawaiian name for "star of gladness" -- was the first traditional double-hulled Polynesian voyaging canoe built in 600 years, according to the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

The canoe's maiden voyage in 1976 was to Tahiti in French Polynesia.

Crews of some dozen people rotated at major ports of call throughout the round-the-world journey after undergoing training.

The homecoming celebration kicked off a three-day summit to celebrate the journey and discuss future sailing plans.

"Through her voyages, Hokule'a has sparked a reawakening of Hawaiian culture, language, identity and revitalised voyaging and navigation traditions throughout the Pacific Ocean," voyage organisers said.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Adviser to Brazil president arrested in corruption probe

Yahoo – AFP, June 3, 2017

Brazilian President Michel Temer is fighting calls for his impeachment as
prosecutors build a corruption and obstruction of justice case against
him (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

Brasília (AFP) - A close adviser to Brazil's President Michel Temer was arrested in Brasilia on Saturday, police said, in the latest move in a corruption case that threatens to bring down his government.

Police filmed the aide, Rodrigo Rocha Loures, in March running from a Sao Paulo pizza restaurant parking lot to a taxi with a black suitcase containing 500,000 reais, about $152,500.

The judge who ordered Loures' incarceration is leading the Supreme Court's investigation into a sprawling pay-for-play corruption case at state oil giant Petrobras that already has swept up many in Brazil's political and business elite.

It now threatens to bring down Temer, who is fighting calls for his impeachment as prosecutors build a corruption and obstruction of justice case against him.

The president was drawn into the scandal last month with the release of an audio recording secretly made by an owner of the world's largest meatpacking company, Joesley Batista, at a late night March 7 meeting with Temer at his residence.

In the recording, which Temer says has been tampered with, the president allegedly gives the OK for payments to buy the silence of a politician imprisoned in the Petrobras scandal, Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the lower house.

Batista turned over the audio recording to prosecutors, and said Temer had designated Loures to receive bribes in return for favors to the company.

Shortly after the Temer-Batista meeting, police filmed Loures with the bag full of money, which allegedly came from a contact at Batista's JBS meatpacking company.

The scene has been played repeatedly on Brazilian television.

Temer has staunchly defended Loures and did so again in an interview published Saturday in the Veja news magazine.

Loures may have been "the victim of a trap," Temer said, describing the former congressman as "a very intelligent person, very capable, of a very prestigious family ... who doesn't need money. He truly was a trusted adviser."

Related Article:


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

From dictator to detainee: Noriega's turbulent past

Yahoo – AFP, May 30, 2017

From dictator to detainee: Noriega s turbulent past

Panama City (AFP) - The late Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who rose to power while working for the CIA, ruled ruthlessly 1983-1989 and was ousted by a US military invasion.

Noriega, 83, died late Monday in a Panama City hospital as he was recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Here are some notable moments of Noriega's life:

February 11, 1934: Noriega is born to a poor family in Panama City's Guachimango district. He goes on to graduate from a military academy in Peru and embarks on a military career.

1968: Participates in a coup that ousts president Arnulfo Arias, and backs popular strongman general Omar Torrijos. Around this time Noriega reportedly goes onto the CIA's payroll. Torrijos makes him chief of Panama's military intelligence.

1983: Noriega takes command of the National Guard and becomes Panama's de facto ruler, two years after Torrijos dies in a mysterious plane crash.

December 20, 1989: US forces invade Panama to oust Noriega, accusing him of drug trafficking. Noriega takes refuge in the Vatican embassy for 10 days, then surrenders to the US soldiers, who take him to the United States.

1992: A US court sentences Noriega to 40 years prison for drug trafficking. The sentence is later cut to 17 years.

April 2010: Noriega is extradited to France, where he faces charges of laundering $3 million from the Medellin drug cartel through French banks.

July 2010: A French court sentences Noriega to seven years in prison.

December 11, 2011: France extradites Noriega to Panama, where he was sentenced in absentia to three 20-year prison sentences for the murder of opponent Hugo Spadafora and military commander Moises Giroldi, and for killing rebellious soldiers trying to overthrow him in what became known as the Albrook massacre.

January 28, 2017: A Panama court agrees to temporarily release Noriega to house arrest to prepare for surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. The ex-dictator's family and lawyers say he has suffered strokes, respiratory problems, prostate cancer and depression.

March 7, 2017: Doctors remove the brain tumor, but complications lead to cerebral bleeding. Following a second operation doctors put him in an induced coma.

May 29, 2017: Noriega dies at the San Tomas public hospital.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cuba's first luxury hotel opens in Havana

Yahoo – AFP, May 23, 2017

Cubans walk near the Manzana Kempinski Hotel, the first ultra luxury hotel
in Cuba, on May 22, 2017 (AFP Photo/YAMIL LAGE)

Havana (AFP) - Cuba's first ultra luxury hotel opened its doors Monday in Havana, with guests paying up to $2,500 a night to stay in five-star comfort on the Communist island.

The "Gran Hotel Manzana," part of the Swiss group Kempinski Hotels, is situated in the heart of the Cuban capital in front of the verdant gardens of Parque Central and the grand Alicia Alonso theater, home to the Cuban National Ballet.

Guests in each of the hotel's 246 rooms, 50 of which are suites, have the pick of four bars and two restaurants and can take a swim in the rooftop infinity pool.

The European-style building first opened in 1917, before undergoing a complete renovation.

In order to deliver the project in time, the Cuban government was forced to accept the builders bringing hundreds of qualified workers from India, a rare move in a country that usually requires that only underpaid -- and undermotivated -- Cuban workers.

Now the hotel, jointly owned by Kempinski and the military-controlled Cuban tour operator Gaviota, charges between $440 and $2,485 a night.

The 'Gran Hotel Manzana' boasts a shopping mall filled with high-end
boutiques (AFP Photo/YAMIL LAGE)

"We appreciate hidden gems and this matches our philosophy," Kempinski director Xavier Destribats told Cuban state television.

On the ground floor of the hotel, a shopping mall filled with high-end boutiques such as Versace, Lacoste and Montblanc sparked curiosity in a country where luxury was long ago banned under the iron-fisted rule of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.

"The hotel is really beautiful, but here everything is terribly expensive. It's not for the Cubans," said Lidia Martinez, a 29-year-old housewife.

Leonardo Padilla, a salesman at Montblanc, admitted he had difficulty selling watches ranging from $1,775 to $4,500 in a country where the average wage is no more than $30.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Brazilian president accused of obstruction of justice

Yahoo – AFP, Damian WROCLAVSKY, Eugenia LOGIURATTO, May 19, 2017

Brazil's President Michel Temer angrily denied any wrongdoing in a televised 
address Thursday and rebutted mounting calls for his resignation

Brazil's President Michel Temer fought for his political life Friday after being accused of attempting to derail a massive corruption investigation known as "Car Wash."

Temer and a senior senator, Aecio Neves, were among those "who attempted to prevent the Car Wash investigations from advancing," Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot wrote in a court filing that was made public on Friday.

The accusation of wide scale obstruction of justice raised the stakes in a crisis threatening to topple Temer barely a year after the center-right politician took over from impeached leftist president Dilma Rousseff.

Temer was placed under investigation Thursday over a secretly recorded conversation with a business executive in which the president is purported to have given his blessing to monthly payments of hush money to a jailed politician.

That politician -- former lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha -- is in prison after being convicted of bribe-taking in a sprawling anti-corruption drive named operation "Car Wash."

The investigation has upended Brazil with scores of politicians indicted or subject to probes into alleged bribe taking and embezzlement. And Cunha, formerly one of the most powerful insiders in Congress, has long been rumored to have threatened to spill secrets on other politicians to prosecutors.

Temer angrily denied any wrongdoing in a televised address Thursday and rebutted mounting calls for his resignation. He had not spoken in public Friday.

Demonstrators protest against Brazilian President Michel Temer outside the 
Planalto Palace in Brasilia on May 17, 2017

Hunkered down

The beleaguered president was holed up at the presidential palace with close aides, a government source, who asked not to be identified, told AFP.

"The government is working on three fronts to end the crisis: political, judicial and economic," the source said.

According to the source, Temer was "angry" and had no intention of stepping down.

However, opponents piled on the pressure, with eight impeachment requests filed in Congress.

There are also calls for large-scale street protests to demand his resignation.

Temer's conservative government has angered millions of Brazilians with its ambitious austerity reforms, which include the planned raising of the retirement age to fix the country's unaffordable pension system.

Temer says the reforms are already helping to end a two-year recession, but with 13.7 percent unemployment many Brazilians do not feel the supposed improvements.

Temer is also loathed on the left for his role in the impeachment just a year ago of leftist president Dilma Rousseff. As her vice president, he immediately took over when she was pushed out.

On Thursday, thousands of people demonstrated against Temer in the capital Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro.

Rousseff's leftist Workers' Party planned nationwide protests on Sunday, with turnout likely proving an important barometer of the national mood.

Demonstrators protest against Brazilian President Michel Temer behind a banner
reading "Coup-Plotter Temer Out!" in front of the Planalto Palace in Brasilia
on May 17, 2017

Even a former chief justice of the Supreme Court, Joaquim Barbosa, called for Temer's head.

"There is no other way out. Brazilians must mobilize, must take to the streets to forcefully demand the immediate resignation of Michel Temer," he said on Twitter.

However, the Vem Pra Rua group which was active in bringing down Rousseff last year, abruptly cancelled plans for its own mass protests, saying there wasn't enough time to plan security.

Coalition in danger?

Temer faces a perilous investigation in the Supreme Court. However, his more immediate danger is a collapse of his base in Congress, opening the way to impeachment.

"That's why today the main question is to know whether the parties that form the government's base will leave," said Thomaz Pereira, a constitutional law professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio.

So far only one minister, the culture secretary, has quit, but several others have been rumored to have one foot out of the door. Folha newspaper referred to "a climate of confusion."

Temer's PMDB party is the biggest in Congress but the key to his coalition is the center-right PSDB Social Democrats. They have given mixed signals, but so far are staying in the government.

"Our ministers continue to work and we will not take any action with regard to their staying in the government before we have a conversation with President Temer," the party's Senate leader, Paulo Bauer, told Globo.

Ironically, the legislature that now holds Temer's fate in its hands is itself riddled with corruption scandals.

Some two-thirds of lawmakers have had brushes with the law at some point. And a third of the Senate is currently being probed in the "Operation Car Wash" investigation that has uncovered massive bribery and embezzlement in Brazil's elite -- with Temer's probe being just the latest offshoot.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dying Guatemala lake underlines climate change threat

Yahoo – AFP, Carlos Mario MARQUEZ, May 15, 2017

Lake Atescatempa in Guatemala is dying and with it the livelihoods of
residents dependent on fishing (AFP Photo/Marvin RECINOS)

Atescatempa (Guatemala) (AFP) - The dried-out oyster shells lie on a landscape parched and cracked by the sun.

This is what is left of Lake Atescatempa, once a vast blue-green body of water in southwestern Guatemala.

Now the lake is dying, a conspicuous victim of the climate change that is projected to profoundly and irreversibly affect Central America.

A prolonged drought descended on the region last year, shriveling two rivers that feed into Lake Atescatempa, and with it the flow of tourists to the area and the livelihood of residents.

"We have no more money coming in, nowhere to work. Our hopes for eating fish or supporting our families, that came from the lake," explained Juan Guerra, a 56-year-old who has lived his whole life by the lake.

Today however the lake's shore is dotted with abandoned boats left high and dry.

Wilman Estrada, an unemployed 17-year-old wearing jeans and a T-shirt who for the past nine years lived off fishing here, sat by one of the last puddles.

"It makes you want to cry," he said, casting a despondent gaze at the rainless sky.

Other locals said they began noticing water levels starting to shrink three years ago.

And the weather forecast for Central America offers no relief.

Lake Atescatempa has dried up due to drought and high temperatures along the
 "Dry Corridor," a zone that runs along the Pacific coast from Guatemala to 
Panama (AFP Photo/Marvin RECINOS)

From July, El Nino -- the irregular weather system that raises the temperature of the Pacific Ocean and causes droughts in some regions -- could return.

"Climate change is really affecting the lives and future of these countries and those of our children in Central America," said Hector Aguirre, coordinator of Mancomunidad Trinacional, a group representing towns and villages around the junction of the borders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

El Nino

The "Dry Corridor," a zone that runs along the Pacific coast from Guatemala to Panama, felt the brunt of the last burst of El Nino.

In 2016, the weather phenomenon left 3.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Crop production from vulnerable small growers shrank badly.

"El Nino, bolstered by climate change, has made the Dry Corridor one of the most vulnerable areas on the planet," Aguirre said.

His group has tried to mitigate the problem by training more than 2,000 farmers in how to diversify their crops, with the aim of guaranteeing food security.

Local fisherman, Wilman Estrada is now unemployed as Guatemala's Lake 
Atescatempa has dried up (AFP Photo/Marvin RECINOS)

But malnutrition is already evident in some places, as in the village of La Ceiba Taquezal, in eastern Guatemala, where 114 families from the Ch'orti' people of the indigenous Maya population have long depended on coffee-growing to survive.

Four years ago, a fungus called coffee rust devastated their coffee plantations, and with it their revenues. Hunger soon set in, most noticeably among children.

Food rations

With help from the Mancomunidad Trinacional and European Union financing, the families were given rations of flour, rice, beans and oil. Nutritionists gave advice on how to improve the quality of their diet by adding tomatoes, herbs and various local plants.

"With the dishes we make from beans, rice and plants, we have managed to see the children starting to put on weight," said Marina Aldana, a 36-year-old mother of eight.

But Aguirre noted that "these malnutrition problems are worse in indigenous communities for one simple reason: they are not a priority for the governments."


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cuban town hooked on pirate social network

Yahoo – AFP, Alexandre GROSBOIS, May 9, 2017

The small Cuban town of Gaspar is one of the most connected spots in one
of the least wired countries on Earth (AFP Photo/ADALBERTO ROQUE)

Gaspar (Cuba) (AFP) - On a traffic island in a country town, young Cubans are doing what most of their compatriots cannot: surfing an online social network.

In one of the least wired countries on Earth, Gaspar, population 7,500, is one of the most connected towns of all.

Illegally, but with the grudging tolerance of the authorities, four local techies have launched "Gaspar Social" -- rural Cuba's answer to Facebook.

"I think it's wonderful what these lads here in Gaspar have done. It was a healthy change for a town that had rather lost its spark," says Arletty Guerra, 22, one of the locals thumbing her smartphone.

More than that, Gaspar Social's promoters hope it will lead the rest of the communist island to greater connectivity.

Social networking

Most Cubans must pay a $1.50 an hour to connect via state telecom firm Etecsa's wifi points. Users of Gaspar Social do not.

Though they cannot access the world wide web via Gaspar Social, they can share photos and videos with other users in the town.

The four creators of the Gaspar Social network in Cuba hope that it will lead 
the rest of the communist island to greater connectivity (AFP Photo/
ADALBERTO ROQUE)

It opened to the general public in October -- two months before Etecsa installed the town's first official wifi hotspot.

"In the beginning it was a network just for playing video games," says one of its creators, municipal computer technician Osmani Montero, 23.

"Then we opened it to all the people in Gaspar and the number of users grew hugely in just a month."

Extra capacity

Yoandi Alvarez, 30, a medical student, raised money to buy the first aerial and server for the network.

"The antenna was near my house," he recalls. "There were users at two or three o'clock in the morning sitting in the doorway to get online, covered in quilts and blankets."

Some 500 of the town's 7,500 inhabitants have started using Gaspar Social.

The team had to buy four extra relay antennas to handle the large number of users.

To the chat and file-sharing functions it has added a news page -- with state-authorized stories only.

Cuba's Gaspar Social started as a network for playing video games and has 
developed into a local version of Facebook (AFP Photo/ADALBERTO ROQUE)

Not-so-wide web

Cuba's government has been gradually opening up the economy over the past decade. It has said it aims to provide internet access to all Cubans by 2020.

But the online revolution has been slow in coming.

In a country of 11 million people, there are just 317 public wifi hotspots.

Only selected groups such as scientists, journalists and doctors are allowed to have internet access in their homes.

Small-scale local projects like Gaspar's "offer an alternative given Cuba's infrastructure problems," which prevent many homes from getting online, says Yudivian Almeida, a computing specialist at Havana University.

If just one home has an internet cable, using wireless technology "a whole network can be generated" for neighboring homes to get online, he says.

Got a permit?

Gaspar Social is one of about 30 local networks launched by young amateurs in Cuba in recent years.

In a small Cuban town some 500 people from a population of 7,500 use 
"Gaspar Social," an illegal but tolerated answer to Facebook (AFP Photo/
ADALBERTO ROQUE)

They are unlicensed but the communist authorities tolerate them as long as they do not venture into politics or pornography.

Gaspar Social's founders were called in last month after the network's success came to the attention of the ruling Communist Party.

They thought they were going to get shut down -- but the officials gave them instructions on applying for a permit, raising hopes that the state may authorize projects like theirs.

"They made it clear our network was illegal," Alvarez says. "But they said they wouldn't be taking our antennas down."

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Brazil promises backing for beleaguered indigenous people

Yahoo – AFP, May 4, 2017

Brazil promises backing for beleaguered indigenous people

Brasília (AFP) - Brazil's government on Wednesday brushed off criticism that it is failing to protect vulnerable indigenous tribes in the wake of a bloody attack that left 13 people wounded.

The assault on Sunday in northeastern Maranhao state, which targeted members of the Gamela tribe, is believed to have been linked to land disputes.

Although Brazil's 900,000 indigenous people -- 0.4 percent of the entire population -- are meant to control about 12 percent of the country's territory, the government's failure to demarcate the exact boundaries has left them open to violent incursions from the farm industry.

But Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio told reporters that Brazil's native peoples had not been forgotten.

"The government of President Michel Temer certainly wants to legalize the demarcation of the territories," he said.

"We will identify the reasons for why recognition of these lands has taken so long and is so complicated."

Serraglio has been strongly criticized for ties to the agribusiness lobby.

The Indian Missionary Congress, a Catholic-linked organization, said some 200 people linked to farm businesses had attacked the native people with machetes and firearms in Maranhao.

The head of the hospital where three people were still listed in serious condition told the G1 news site that no one had lost their hands, as originally reported.

One victim suffered "deep cuts on the forearm... (but) the hands were not severed," the site quoted him as saying.

Despite government reassurances, the process for recognizing territories has been held up due to lack of money, Antonio Costa -- head of the state body for handling indigenous affairs, Funai -- said Tuesday.

Forty-four percent of the budget had been lost in government austerity cuts, he added.

At least 137 tribal people were murdered in 2015, according to the Indigenous Missionary Council. The number of those killed since 2003 is above 890.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Maduro welcomes papal interest in Venezuela mediation

Yahoo – AFP, April 30, 2017

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro welcomes Pope Francis' offer for
Vatican mediation (AFP Photo/Juan BARRETO)

Caracas (AFP) - President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday welcomed an offer by Pope Francis for Vatican mediation in crisis-torn Venezuela but opposition leaders rebuffed the overture.

The pope's call for a "negotiated solution" came in response to waves of protests by Venezuelans demanding new elections to pull the country out of a downward spiral.

At least 28 people have died in protests since they began April, and hundreds have been arrested.

"Dramatic news on the worsening of the situation in Venezuela keeps coming in with numerous deaths, injuries and prisoners," the pontiff said before a crowd of 70,000 attending weekly prayers in Saint Peter's Square.

"United in sorrow with the families of the victims... I issue a sincere appeal to the government and all sectors of Venezuelan society to avoid all forms of violence henceforward," said the pontiff.

Urging respect for human rights, Francis said the Vatican was willing to act as a mediator under "clear conditions."

Maduro responded on his weekly program on state VTV television, pointing a finger of blame at the opposition.

"If I say dialogue, they flee in horror. They don't want dialogue. Yesterday they lashed out at Pope Francis. I respect what Pope Francis is saying," Maduro said.

He charged that the protests were an attempt to plunge the country into chaos, take over power and "impose a counter-revolution on Venezuela."

"There are no words for what they have done since April," he said.

The opposition walked away from talks in December, accusing the government of failing to fulfill promises to set up a timetable for elections and free political prisoners.

Julio Borges, president of the opposition controlled National Assembly, said Sunday he would send a document to Pope Francis reaffirming the opposition's demands centered on general elections.

"The pope says some very interesting things. In the first place that, if there are no guarantees, there is no possibility of moving forward here," he said.

Saturday, former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said dialogue might be nice but not involving Spanish ex prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The former PM, who took part in an earlier mediating team, was not neutral, according to Capriles.

Sunday, a day before Workers' Day, Maduro increased the minimum monthly wage by 60 percent to the equivalent of 90 dollars at the official exchange rate; or 15 at the black market rate.

Venezuela suffers from one of the world's highest rates of inflation -- forecast by the IMF to come in at 720 percent this year.