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Jul 19, 2018, 03:19 PM
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 on: Today at 05:25 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Hi All,

We will now continue with the retrograde planets. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

God Bless, Rad


                                                  VENUS RETROGRADE

Venus is the rarest archetype to have retrograde motion and the need is to, archetypically, utterly and uniquely define one’s values on a personal and social level which will then allow the person to harmoniously relate to itself. As a result of this the person can then relate to others from the point of view of being centered within itself. It places a premium on the lesson of Venus from a Taurus point of view called self-reliance. Retrograde Venus people, from a spiritual point of view, are learning that the ultimate relationship is with non human being. It is with the inner Godhead. Commonly, people in monastic environments have Venus retrograde. Commonly, the artist has Venus retrograde. Commonly, the musician has Venus retrograde. The person forms a relationship with that which constitutes its work where that work is a reflection of the Soul’s inner relationship to itself.

Retrograde Venus people commonly feel a high degree of social alienation through the un-relatedness, Venus, of the values systems that are shared, Venus, amongst the consensus relative to Soul’s own unique and individual values. This conflict in values, of what is meaningful, of how we relate to others and why, creates a feeling of being very different with respect to the social milieu. The famous ‘wallflower’.
Audience: I don't have retrograde planets, but I can really relate to that.

Jeffrey:  If you have evolved beyond consensus state and you have planets in the social houses or the relationships houses, it can induce this effect. Anytime you have evolved out of the consensus, you are beginning to access the archetype of Uranus. Once you access the Uranus archetype consciously, that is the effect in general.

Commonly, retrograde Venus people, when they do participate in relationships, either draw individuals who are themselves rugged individualists, or they draw relationships in which they play the role of helper or counselor. The reason is that Venus correlates with the phenomena called magnetism. If you are around a person with Venus retrograde who has done the necessary inner work on themselves, then the nature of their magnetism is quite different than those who have not.

Audience: Sounds like a guru - to bring the divinity through a human being - one is able to see God through a human being - and therefore there is a relationship with a human being, not as themselves, but as bringing God through them.

Jeffrey: That can exist, but it is relative to the evolutionary state. The reason here is that people will commonly perceive in the Venus retrograde person that they truly have something to offer that is not consciously defined, and they are magnetically drawn to the person for counsel or advice. Typically happens.

The Venus retrograde principle points towards Uranus. Any retrograde archetype will point towards Uranus. It reflects the archetype of individuation, Uranus; of withdrawing from conditioning patterns outright. Venus retrograde also points to and emphasizes the Taurus side of Venus, not the Libra side. The Taurus side is all about one’s inner relationship to oneself. It is also about the learning to be self reliant, and learning to identify one’s own inner resources in order to sustain oneself. Within this the Taurus archetype is all about what constitutes meaning in one’s life,

 on: Today at 05:21 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Trump says ‘it better not be’ true that Russia meddled in the 2016 election — and refuses to call Putin a liar

Sarah K. Burris
Raw Story
19 Jul 2018 at 19:25 ET                  

President Donald Trump once again appeared to deny the definitive accounts by past and present intelligence accounts of the Russian hacking of the United States.

In an interview with CBS News, Trump was asked whether he holds Putin responsible. As the head of the country, Trump said he would have to Putin responsible. Trump said that he was “strong” telling Putin “we can’t have meddling. We can’t have any of that.” He then pivoted to attack former President Barack Obama for “supposedly” making “a strong statement” that “nobody heard.”

“But he denies ii, so if you believe U.S. intelligence agencies, is Putin lying to you?” Jeff Glor asked.

Trump said that he doesn’t want to get into “whether or not he’s lying,” only repeating his hostage statement line that he has confidence in his intelligence agencies.

Glor noted that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has already said that the Russian threat is ongoing.

Trump said that he would accept that since Coats “is an expert.” However, he then negated it in less than 60 seconds.

“I will tell you, though, it better not be. It better not be,” Trump said, appearing to not believe the definitive truth outlined by Coats and others.

Coats compared the Russian cyber-attack to the warnings leading up to September 11, 2001.

“It was in the months prior to September 2001 when, according to then-CIA Director George Tenet, the system is blinking red. And here we are nearly two decades later, and I’m here to say, the warning lights are blinking red again,” Coats said.

The White House did away with the Cybersecurity Coordinator position earlier this year and it was never revealed why.


‘Oops he did it again’: CNN’s Jake Tapper brutally mocks Trump’s ‘stunning contradictions’ in latest Putin excuses

Dominique Jackson
Raw Story
18 Jul 2018 at 16:35 ET  

On Wednesday, CNN’s Jake Tapper opened up his show shocked that President Donald Trump backtracked on his words again.

Since President Trump returned from his summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his interviews with reporters have gone downhill.

President Trump has failed to directly admit that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential elections.

“The White House just said that President Trump really meant ‘yes,’ when he said ‘no’. This is one day after he said he meant ‘wouldn’t’ when he said ‘would,'” Tapper said at the top of his show.

“Oops, he did it again!” Tapper joked. “President Trump, saying no when asked if Russia is still targeting the democratic process. When all the evidence in his own experts points to a mountain of interference.”

Tapper said the White House is looking into ways they can figure out what happened during President Trump’s two-hour closed-door meeting with Putin.

“The tale of the interpreter. Lawmakers now trying to get the only other American in the room with President Trump and Vladimir Putin to spill what was said. What does she know?” Tapper asked.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elj9NkxCqQA


‘The truth is recorded’: Fox News’ Shepard Smith blasts pattern of White House trying to change Trump’s comments

Bob Brigham
Raw Story
18 Jul 2018 at 16:10 ET                  

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith aggressively challenged the “pattern” of the White House chaos, where President Donald Trump says one thing and then his staff attempt to change the record.

Following the end of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Wednesday press briefing, Smith described it as the administration, “backing up and trying again.”

“Today, when asked whether Russia is still targeting the United States, the president said no. Just now the press secretary said something else,” he continued.

“He wasn’t asked if he would answer questions, he was asked specifically if Russia is still targeting the United States and he said no,” Smith fact-checked. “The truth is recorded.”

Fox News on-screen graphic ‘Shepard Smith Reporting’ used to debunk claims by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“Why he says one thing and then his White House attempts to change it, we don’t know,” he added.

“The reporter who asked the question and witnesses said there was no doubt he was answering the question,” Smith reported. “This goes directly against what his top intelligence official said repeatedly last week.”

“This is part of a pattern,” he concluded. “One thing is said at the White House and changed in another setting.”

“Again, part of a pattern. Say one thing, change it later. Sort of,” Smith observed.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aWdfYhqHW4


Trump had irrefutable texts and raw evidence Putin ordered Russian hacks as early as January 2017: NYT

Sarah K. Burris
Raw Story
18 Jul 2018 at 22:05 ET                  

According to the New York Times, two weeks prior to the Presidential Inauguration in Jan. 2017, Donald Trump was shown raw evidence including data and text messages about the Russian hack and that Vladimir Putin knew about it. He has since been trying to cloud the evidence for reasons still not yet know.

The Times says Trump “was shown highly classified intelligence” proving Putin had personally ordered the cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election. “The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.”

At the time, Trump “sounded grudgingly convinced,” according to several who attended the briefing. Since then, Trump has taken another tactic that calls into question both his judgement and his reasons for continuing to kowtow to Russia over American national security.

“The shifting narrative underscores the degree to which Mr. Trump regularly picks and chooses intelligence to suit his political purposes. That has never been more clear than this week,” The Times wrote.


Ex-DOJ official reveals hidden meaning of bombshell NYT report: US intel agencies fear Trump is a double agent

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
19 Jul 2018 at 07:06 ET    

A new bombshell report reveals intelligence officials showed President Donald Trump ironclad proof that Russian president Vladimir Putin personally ordered cyberattacks against the U.S. election — and yet continues to cast doubt on the evidence.

MSNBC analyst Matthew Miller, a former spokesman for the Department of Justice and attorney general Eric Holder, explained the significance of the New York Times report and how that information was revealed to the public.

“One, the fact that the U.S. intelligence had obtained texts and emails of senior Russian officials and made it clear that Putin was involved,” Miller said, “and, two, even more importantly, that there was a human source close to Vladimir Putin who was cooperating with the intelligence community and providing information. That was key to this conclusion that Putin had directly ordered the intervention in the election.”

Miller said it was extraordinary that revelation of sources and methods was revealed to the public, and reflected an apparent deep mistrust of the president by the intelligence community.

“That is really the crown jewels of U.S. intelligence, and the fact that it made it out publicly was concerning to me,” Miller said. “I will say, after I found out, after I read that story last night and found that the president has known going back to a year and a half now about what exactly Vladimir Putin did, and he helped him cover up that crime by lying about it it publicly and help him cover up that crime by standing up on Monday and lying about it publicly, and it made U.S. intelligence officials wonder what happened in the meeting.”

Trump insisted on meeting alone with Putin, without any other officials present, and Miller said those conditions would have been highly suspect to anyone who already knew what the Times reported Wednesday night.

“I can’t believe this is something I’m saying about the president of the United States,” Miller said. “But it made me wonder if people are suspicious that he revealed sensitive, classified intelligence, including human source information, to the president of the Russian Federation. That is a real concern that I had after reading the story.”


MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson hammers Sarah Sanders over Trump’s Helsinki walkback: ‘Why should this president have any credibility?’

Eric W. Dolan
Raw Story
18 Jul 2018 at 15:15 ET    

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders faced a grilling from reporters on Wednesday over President Donald Trump’s controversial meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During a joint press conference with Putin on Monday, Trump suggested he didn’t believe intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

“My people came to me, Dan Coates, came to me and some others they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be,” he said.

On Tuesday, Trump walked back his comment — claiming that he meant to say “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be.”

But during a White House cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Trump appeared to contradict his own intelligence officials again by denying that Russia was still targeting the United States. When asked if Russia was still targeting the United States, Trump replied, “Thank you very much, no.”

Sanders, however, said Trump was saying “no” to answering questions, not “no” to the question itself.

“He does believe that they would target U.S. elections again,” she said.

Later in the press briefing, reporter Hallie Jackson questioned Sanders’ explanation. Jackson said multiple people in the room believed that Trump was responding to the question.

But Sanders insisted Trump wasn’t responding to the question.

Jackson then said it was the “second time in three days that the president or the White House has come out and reversed what the has said… why should this president have any credibility?”

“Actually, I’m interpreting what the president was saying. I’m not reversing it,” Sanders said.

Watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwsmHgGG-TE


Trump’s own diplomat calls him a ‘p*ssy’ for not being brave enough to stand up to Putin

Dominique Jackson
Raw Story
18 Jul 2018 at 18:50 ET                  

Both current and former American diplomats are calling out President Donald Trump for even entertaining the idea that Russia would be allowed to question U.S. ambassadors, reported the Daily Beast.

First Michael McFaul, the former U. S. ambassador to Russia under Barack Obama fired back on Twitter over the White House saying it might allow Russian prosecutors to interview him.

He is not alone in his thinking that the White House has gone too far. A U.S. diplomat, who wished not to be named, told the Daily Beast that President Trump is nothing but a “p*ssy.”

“The president has first and foremost his interests at the top of his mind, as opposed to the government’s. That’s very clear over the past week and a half, between sh*ting on our NATO allies and kissing Putin’s a**,” the diplomat said. “He cares more about himself than the nation and any of us who serve it.”

The diplomat continued: “Either he’s compromised by Putin or he’s a p*ssy, in which case he should grab himself.”

Ron Neumann, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, said it’s “horrifying” that the White House was even considering such a thing.

“If the U.S. would make a former diplomat avail for questioning by a foreign government without evidence of wrongdoing, then that would be quite horrifying,” Neumann said.

“To even hint that there’s some element of credibility to Russian disruptions and distractions puts a bullseye on the back of any diplomat and invites authoritarian regimes to bully and threaten American public servants for the crime of doing their job. No administration should require a lesson or reminder in why this is reprehensible,” David Wade, former Secretary of State John Kerry’s chief of staff said.


‘He’s going to sell out any American’: MSNBC panel rails against Trump ‘stabbing’ ambassadors ‘in the back’

Sarah K. Burris
Raw Story
18 Jul 2018 at 17:43 ET                  

President Donald Trump reportedly spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about a kind of “swap” of suspects that each country takes issue with. That means that a former American ambassador is being summoned to Russia by Putin to be interrogated. Trump told Putin in their two-hour meeting that he’d consider it.

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, a former White House communications staffer for George W. Bush, was floored by the idea.

“What?!” she exclaimed. “The fact that the answer to that question wasn’t an immediate instant and emphatic no  maybe on brand for the Trump administration — but it is not normal. The White House press secretary saying she’ll let us know if the president decides he’s going to allow Vladimir Putin and Russia to question an American citizen.”

Former Ambassador Michael McFaul has been an outspoken critic of Putin in wake of his service during President Barack Obama’s administration. The questioning, Putin mentioned, is about a conspiracy theory about money laundering in the Clinton campaign that was drummed up by Trump allies.

Wallace went on to say people throw around the term “banana republic” too loosely, “but this, if anything, is it.”

“Michael McFaul has been an expert on U.S.-Soviet affairs, U.S./Russian affairs going back 20, 25 years,” said Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff for the CIA and Department of Defense. “He worked on the national security council. He was United States ambassador to Moscow. The fact that the president of the United States would talk with Vladimir Putin about an investigation of a U.S. ambassador of an American citizen and American government official just shows the extent to which I think President Trump in that one-on-one kind of gave it all up, gave it all up for ‘Team America.’ And basically he was led around by Vladimir Putin.”

Bash went on to say that there was no agenda going into the meeting. The intelligence community, indeed Trump’s own advisors, had no idea what the agenda was.

“And when Putin said, ‘I want to investigate your people,’ he turned the tables on the president and it’s amazing that the president capitulated,” Bash continued. “It goes to show the extent to which President Trump is just totally deferring to one of America’s most capable adversaries.”

Wallace agreed, noting that it endangers American diplomats all over the globe now.

“You know, we have ambassadors both political appointees, but also career ambassadors all over the world in most of the capitals around the world,” Bash noted. “I think you’re going to see a very strong reaction, Nicolle, to say, ‘Don’t hang us out to dry. We need to know we have the full backing, the full political backing of our government when we go out there and do the work you ask us to do.’ Not only to diplomats — it applies to military officials, joint chiefs, combatant commanders, applies to intelligence officers. It applies to every single American who is doing the work on behalf of the American people all around the world. If the president of the United States doesn’t have their back and is going to stab them in the back, we’re not going to have the people on the front lines to protect us?”

Jason Johnson, politics editor for The Root, noted that Putin had all of this prepared ahead of time and planned out. Meanwhile, the American president “demonstrated he will sell out the american people to any of these world leaders he wants to have a better relationship with.”

Watch the full conversation: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6pcf08


Ex-Republican rails against GOP-led Congress inaction on Trump ‘betraying his oath of office’ by ‘not protecting the country’

Sarah K. Burris
Raw Story
18 Jul 2018 at 23:23 ET                   

In wake of The New York Times report that President Donald Trump had raw data that Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian attack, conservatives on the CNN panel were stumped.

Former Republican Max Boot and former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) joined CNN’s Don Lemon and Dan Bash in being stunned with the latest development in the Russia scandal.

“Don, there have been so many crazy, offensive things that have occurred in the Trump administration,” Began Boot after listening to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ press briefing Wednesday. Sanders revealed that Trump was entertaining the idea that he would hand over former Ambassador Michael McFoul to the Russians for interrogation.

Boot went on to call it maybe the “craziest and most offensive” thing they have done in office yet.

“It boggles the mind that Vladimir Putin makes this absurd request to basically allow his agents to harass and persecute a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia who has served this country honestly and instead of saying, ‘Go jump in a lake,’ Donald Trump apparently says, ‘we’ll consider this request.’ Seriously? This is yet more evidence that he is not doing his duty as commander in chief. He’s betraying his oath of office, not protecting his country. This is so crazy, I can’t even begin to say how crazy this is.”

Bash agreed, noting, “there are not enough synonyms of ‘crazy’ to explain how crazy this is.”

Former Rep. Dent said that there was strong push-back in wake of the joint press conference with Putin on Monday, but Republicans in Congress have since gone limp.

“We saw all these walk-backs or all these people going on mop duty to try to clean it up, only making things worse,” Dent continued. “I can’t explain it. I think it’s a time like this that Republicans need to stand up and defend western values, defend NATO, defend the international order, and certainly push back on Vladimir Putin who is trying to undermine American power and influence anywhere he can around the world. What’s so hard about this?”

Watch the full segment: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6pdd9q


Explained: What criminal conspiracy charges against an alleged Russian spy might mean for the NRA

The Conversation
18 Jul 2018 at 10:32 ET                  

Editor’s note: U.S. authorities have arrested Mariia Butina, a Russian advocate for firearms ownership also known as Maria. In a criminal complaint that led to her indictment, the Justice Department accused her of secretly infiltrating American electoral politics as a foreign agent working on behalf of Russia and engaged in an anti-U.S. conspiracy. Numerous media reports allege that Butina illegally helped funnel Russian money into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign through the National Rifle Association. Brian Galle, a law professor who used to work for the Justice Department, explains what the consequences might be if the charges and accounts are true.

1. How could the government punish the organization?

The court papers allude to the NRA, although not by name. Several news sources have described in detail the relationship Butina and her Russian employer built with the organization, starting in 2013 or earlier. Depending on what NRA officials knew and when they knew it, the government could make a case that the gun advocacy and lobby group coordinated with Butina to help her advance Russian interests here in the U.S. – making it a co-conspirator in her individual lawbreaking.

The NRA has several arms. Its largest operation is technically known as a social welfare group or 501(c)(4) organization, granting it exemption from U.S. taxes. Another branch is a traditional charitable organization, making contributions to that entity tax deductible. Under federal tax law, when either of these kinds of nonprofits break laws, they jeopardize their tax exempt status.

The government has stripped several nonprofits of their tax exemptions for breaking the law over the years, including organizations that used their charitable status to defraud donors and, in the 1940s and ‘50s, groups suspected of supporting communism.

Some media reports suggest the NRA served as a conduit for Russian money that landed in the Trump presidential campaign’s coffers. If that proves true, it would violate election laws that bar foreigners from funding political candidates. At the same time, however, there could be some ways to structure such transactions as technically legal, as dark money expert Robert Maguire notes.

In addition, many state and federal laws treat the use of fake or “straw donors” to make campaign contributions with someone else’s money as a crime, punishable with fines. Conceivably, there could be individual criminal liability, even jail time, for any NRA leaders who might be found guilty of scheming to misreport campaign expenditures.

But, I want to emphasize, nothing in the court papers unsealed on July 16, 2018, support those scenarios.

2. What might happen to its influence?

Since charitable giving tends to be an emotional act, some donors might not continue to support the NRA if it lands in legal trouble. Past scandals have weakened support for other prominent nonprofits, such as the Wounded Warrior Project.

For an organization that has cast itself as a bulwark of patriotism, any evidence that it conspired to undermine U.S. laws seems off-brand. On the other hand, polls indicate that support for Vladimir Putin has soared among Republicans, making it hard to predict how the NRA’s members and big donors might respond.

Public scrutiny might also make the NRA more cautious in how it doles out its political spending, a major source of its influence these days. The organization spent more than $30 million supporting President Trump alone in 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. If its benefactors become more suspect, even among the NRA’s base, that could loosen its grip over many American politicians and policymakers.

3. How might the government catch more of these alleged infractions?

Although U.S. charities can’t engage in political spending, they are allowed to partner with social welfare groups, as the NRA and the NRA Foundation do.

Unlike charities, social welfare groups can lobby, and they are allowed to spend at least some of their budget on election-related activity. Their donors are known to the government, but hidden from the public, which is why their funding is sometimes called “dark money.”

And the Trump administration just made dark money darker.

Just hours after the government announced Butina’s arrest, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared that the IRS was reducing the reporting requirements for donations to social welfare groups. Under this new guidance, 501(c)(4) groups will no longer need to reveal most of their donations on their tax returns, even to the IRS.

The ConversationIn my opinion, it’s hard to see this move as anything except an effort to help big-money donors cover their tracks. Without a list of donors, the IRS can’t know when an organization is being used to further the interests of those backers, instead of the public.

By Brian Galle, Professor of Law, Georgetown University


NRA’s Wayne LaPierre ‘shaking in his boots waiting for Mueller to come knocking’: Ex-DOJ official

Bob Brigham
Raw Story
18 Jul 2018 at 15:31 ET                  

Two former top Department of Justice officials predicted that Maria Butina was not the only Russian operative to penetrate conservative political organizations with close ties to the Republican Party during a Wednesday panel with MSNBC anchor Katy Tur.

Butina was indicted on Sunday for being an unregistered foreign agent. A crack shot, Butina had a very close relationship with the National Rifle Association.

“Katy, this is a wild, wild story with the potential to send shockwaves not just into Trump campaign officials, but throughout the Republican Party,” explained former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman.

The indictment could quickly spill over into special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations of Donald Trump.

“And anyone who was in Paul Erickson’s rolodex, including Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Wayne LaPierre and Scott Walker (R-WI) is right now shaking in his boots waiting for Mueller to come knocking,” Litman explained.

Matt Miller, the former spokesperson for the Department of Justice, explained why the federal indictment against Butina was not filed by the special counsel.

“If you look at the indictment … if you look at what the activities it lays out, they are accusing her not of trying to influence the election, but of trying to cultivate influence in the United States, of trying to infiltrate the NRA, trying to infiltrate the Republican Party on behalf of the Russian intelligence services,” Miller explained.

“If you read the pleading the government made public today, they talk about her trying to trade sex in return for a position inside a special interest group,” he noted. “You have to believe it’s a conservative organization, maybe the NRA, maybe somewhere else — another document talked about her trying to get close to CPAC.”

“So I think the question for all of these groups, is, ‘how were they so vulnerable to penetration by a Russian intelligence service, by Russian intelligence agents, and is in the only one?'” Miller wondered.

“We keep seeing, both in the Mueller investigation and now in this case, a broad Russian conspiracy to influence and infiltrate American policy making through Republican and conservative organizations, he continued.

“You can’t not believe she is the only agent,” he concluded.

“This really is right out of The Americans,” Litman added.


‘Putin’s favorite congressman’ and the latest Russian bombshell: Maria Butina case looks bad for Dana Rohrabacher

Clarrie Feinstein, Salon
19 Jul 2018 at 06:23 ET                  

One week ago, Maria Butina’s name and face were almost unknown, except to a few hardcore political observers – a low-profile that Butina was surely banking on keeping. Over the past week, however, Butina made international headlines after being charged with operating as an unregistered Russian agent and forming close relationships with politicians to infiltrate the United States political system. And after federal prosecutors alleged in court on Wednesday that Butina traded sex for political gain and influence, the exact U.S. politicians she got cozy with is starting to become of greater import.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., called the charges against Butina “bogus,” Politico reported.

According to the Department of Justice’s application for a criminal complaint, Butina worked to “arrange introductions to U.S. persons having influence in American politics, including an organization promoting gun rights” and sought to “infiltrate those groups.” The Justice Department claims Butina has been in contact with Russian intelligence since her arrival in the U.S. and that she conspired with a Russian politician and banker to push Moscow’s agenda into the American political system. While the Russian official isn’t named in the affidavit, it is said to fit the description of the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, Alexander Torshin.

The federal indictment also notes that Butina and the official believed to be Torshin had plans to “meet with a U.S. Congressman during a Congressional Delegation trip to Moscow in August 2015.” That congressman is widely believed to be Rohrabacher.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy infamously remarked on an open mic in 2016, according to the Washington Post.

For his part, Rohrabacher admits to having dinner with Butina and a visiting delegation from Russia back in 2015. “It’s ridiculous, it’s stupid. She’s the assistant of some guy who is the head of the bank and is a member of their Parliament. That’s what we call a spy? That shows you how bogus this whole thing is,” the congressman said.

“This is an attempt to undermine the president’s ability to have better relationships with Russia,” Rohrabacher insisted.

Rohrabacher has been connected to various figures in the Mueller investigation – he once took a meeting organized by the now-indicted Paul Manafort and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, two pivotal figures in the investigation.

After starting Right to Bear Arms, a Russian “gun rights” group, Butina began reaching out to American gun lobbyists in 2013 and soon hosted National Rifle Association (NRA) executives in Moscow. In 2015, during a libertarian political event, she asked Trump publicly, “What will be your foreign politics, especially in the relations with my county?”

She told the Washington Post in 2017 that her question to Trump was “happenstance” and she was not employed by the Russian government. But Butina also wrote a column, after Trump announced his candidacy, expressing hope that a Republican president could improve U.S.-Russian relations, as the Washington Post has reported. And Donald Trump Jr. met Torshin briefly at the 2016 NRA convention in Louisville.

In 2018, Torshin’s suspicious behavior led to a federal investigation of his involvement in the NRA and its relationship to the Kremlin. The NRA reportedly spent $30 million supporting the Trump campaign. In April 2018, Torshin, along with more than 20 other Russian nationals, was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury department– their assets were frozen and they were barred from entering the country.

Butina moved to the U.S. on a student visa in 2016 and attended classes at American University in Washington, graduating this past May. While her motivations for moving to the U.S. have been viewed with official suspicion for some time, she was arrested on Sunday after prosecutors became aware that she had wired nearly $5,000 to Russia, ordered moving boxes for her apartment and had not renewed her apartment lease in Washington, which which expires on July 31.

Butina pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and acting as an illegal foreign agent in the U.S. on Wednesday. Prosecutors argued she should be held in custody until trial because her life in the U.S. has been predicated on deception, including attempts to exchange sex for political access, CNN reports. The judge agreed and ordered Butina held without bail until a trial is held. No date has been set for what is sure to be a high-drama spectacle, if no plea bargain is reached before then.

 on: Today at 04:55 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Indian state to employ eunuchs as guards at care homes after spate of sexual assaults

Audit of more than 100 safe houses in Bihar state accused operators of systematically abusing girls being housed there

Michael Safi in Delhi and Manoj Chaurasia in Patna
Thu 19 Jul 2018 01.07 BST

A state government in eastern India says it will start employing transgender people and eunuchs as security guards in girls’ and women’s care homes after a spate of widely reported sexual assaults at the centres.

An audit report of more than 100 safe houses in Bihar state in June accused the operators of a facility in Muzaffarpur city of systematically abusing girls being housed there.

Last week, a security guard was arrested in Chapra, a city north of the state capital, Patna, on suspicion of raping a girl at the centre where he worked.

The incidents have sparked ongoing protests in the state and scrutiny of conditions inside the homes, where women and girls deemed vulnerable – including sex workers, sexual assault victims and trafficked women – are housed on remand or for rehabilitation and job training.

The head of Bihar’s social welfare department told the Guardian the state would begin employing transgender people and eunuchs at the centres in response to the assaults.

“The recent incidents of rapes at short stay homes have shocked us,” said the welfare department secretary, Atul Prasad. “So we have planned to employ eunuchs as guards there.”

Eunuchs in south Asian societies fall under the category of “hijras”, a catch-all term for intersex people or those whose genitals do not fit the gender binary. Recently it has also come to include transgender men.

Hijras are celebrated in Hindu texts such as the Mahabharata and the Kama Sutra and also enjoyed influential positions in Mughal courts, including as guards of the emperor’s harem.

An 1897 colonial law declared all eunuchs criminals, forcing them to the fringes, where some still make a living blessing weddings and babies. But many turn to prostitution and begging, sometimes threatening to curse those who do not pay with bad luck or infertility.

Employing hijras as guards would be a win-win situation because they would pose less danger to the women, Prasad claimed, while also finding good jobs outside their traditional industries.

“While on the one hand, the eunuchs will get employment, on the other hand their deployment will strengthen security at short stay homes for girls,” he said.

The idea had won the approval of the Bihar state chief minister, Nitish Kumar, he said.

“Apart from providing us employment, the new job will also give us social recognition,” said Anita Hijra, a transgender person from Patna who spoke to the Guardian after returning from blessing a newborn baby.

“This could be a small initiative but will bring huge change in the society in the long run. We are very happy.”

Reshama Prasad, a member of the state’s Eunuch Welfare Board, also praised the idea. “Let aside employment generation, it will earn them a good social status,” he said. “Normally they are looked down upon by the society.”

Sexual assaults have become a growing concern in Bihar as consciousness about the issue increases and women’s groups become better recognised and more effective.

A state government report found 428 rapes were reported this year to April, meaning at least three reports per day in the state. Around 1,100 rapes have been reported each year in the state the past five years.

This is the second time in the past few years the Bihar government has turned to hijras for help. In 2006, it employed dozens of eunuchs and transgender people to collect outstanding municipal taxes in Patna.

 on: Today at 04:53 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

'Suffocating climate of fear' in Turkey despite end of state of emergency

Laws enacted after 2016 coup attempt are lifted, but Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appears determined to continue pursuit of opponents

Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul
Thu 19 Jul 2018 07.39 BST

Turkey’s two-year state of emergency came to an end at midnight on Wednesday, but as trials of dissidents and journalists continue human rights campaigners have said Ankara must do more to reverse a “suffocating” crackdown on free speech.

Critics say the state of emergency, in place since a failed coup attempt in July 2016 that killed 250 people and wounded 1,400, has been used to detain opponents of the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his government for lengthy periods without trial and to intimidate dissidents and prosecute media outlets.

More than 120,000 people in the police, military, academia, media and civil service have been detained or dismissed from their jobs over their alleged links to Fethullah Gülen, an exiled preacher based in the US whose supporters Ankara blames for the coup.

“Over the last two years, Turkey has been radically transformed with emergency measures used to consolidate draconian powers, silence critical voices and strip away basic rights,” said Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe.

“The lifting of the state of emergency alone will not reverse this crackdown. What is needed is systematic action to restore respect for human rights, allow civil society to flourish again and lift the suffocating climate of fear that has engulfed the country.”

Turkey’s government has said it will not seek a renewal of the state of emergency, allowing it to lapse two years after it was imposed and days after Erdoğan was sworn in as president for a fresh five-year term with extraordinary new powers narrowly approved in a referendum last year.

Critics say the use of the emergency powers went beyond Gülenists linked to the coup. About a quarter of Turkey’s judges have either been dismissed or detained, a vast realignment of the judiciary that has prompted outrage and concerns that it is no longer independent.

Thousands have been tried, with many sentenced to life, for involvement in the coup and 100 people have been extradited to Turkey at the behest of the country’s intelligence service, the MİT.

The crackdown has also increased tensions with western allies such as the EU and the US. On Wednesday a court in the city of İzmir ruled for the continued detention of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor accused of having Gülenist links, in a move that could prompt congressional sanction and that was described by an official at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom as a “mockery of justice”.

Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) party has tabled a controversial anti-terrorism bill that will retain some of the state of emergency measures. One provision allows local governors to impose curfews or make some areas off-limits to the public, making it easier to ban demonstrations.

The government also appears determined to continue its prosecutions of journalists and opponents.

“Because now in the new system all state power is [held] by President Erdoğan, there is no need for emergency law,” said Pelin Ünker, an economy correspondent at Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest newspaper, who is being sued because of her and a colleague’s reporting on the former prime minister Binali Yıldırım’s sons’ stake in offshore shipping companies, revealed in the Paradise Papers.

Turkey is the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, ahead of China and Egypt, with more than 120 imprisoned since the coup attempt. Cumhuriyet journalists have been prosecuted in numerous court cases, with some, including the current editor-in-chief, appealing against convictions of up to seven-and-a-half years in jail.

Erdoğan’s son-in-law and finance minister, Berat Albayrak, is also suing the journalists because of their reporting on offshore investments listed in the Paradise Papers, a move that the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders condemned as threatening the survival of independent media outlets reporting on corruption.

“Independent media outlets are fewer now than the fingers on one hand,” said Ünker. “Journalism is our job so we have to do it in all conditions, even in the face of such duress and injustice.”

But the crackdown appeared to have barely slowed even as the end of the state of emergency approached. A day before Erdoğan was sworn in, another 18,600 public servants were dismissed over alleged links to terror groups, and on Tuesday academics who had signed a petition calling for a peaceful resolution of the conflict with Kurdish separatists were sentenced to prison.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the largest opposition bloc, the Republican People’s party (CHP), vowed in a party congress to challenge what he described as a “dictatorship” and one-man rule. But on Wednesday the government said it was launching an investigation against Kılıçdaroğlu for insulting the president, an allegation frequently used to intimidate critics, over a cartoon mocking the Turkish president that was shared on social media.

The continued prosecutions offer a hint that, even though Erdoğan is secure in his control of the state’s levers of power and authority, there will be little immediate relief for dissidents.

“I think state of emergency has served its purpose, both politically and practically,” said Selim Can Sazak, a Turkey expert and adjunct fellow at the Century Foundation. “The job is almost complete. Hundreds of thousands purged. Some Gülenists, apparently, but many others not. Universities, bureaucracy, media, etc, largely subdued.”

 on: Today at 04:51 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by marty
thank you Rad,

   for this posting of JWG's lecture on retrograde planets. I have a NORWAC 2013 version (that I have listened to 100 times) and that I will transcribe someday but, in the meantime, I look forward to further postings on Planetary Retrogrades and the conversations that ensue.

   this is a most brilliant lecture and everytime I listen I realize something new. It is timeless and, truly, limitless information (the mark of truth).

   I'm, especially, interested in retrogrades by 'oblique' (by direct aspect to other retrograde planets) and, especially oblique retrogrades to the moon. My thinking is that most oblique retrogrades to the moon (or the moon conjunct a retrograde planet) would simply internalize the lesson all the more and, perhaps, turn one inward to themselves more, and make an individual far more retrospective in relation to the retrograde influence. This is what I have seen in the charts I've worked on - that individual's with retrograde influence on their moons are constantly challenging, even, their own emotional truths, realities and status-quo and are highly prone to periods of intense introspection, in which the internalization of an ever-shifting emotional truths takes place.

   I have, also, found many 'retrograde-by-oblique' Mercury explanations in a chart, that would not make sense otherwise, and this seems to astound people, but I just tell them it's Jeffrey's work.

   I look forward to the retrograde conversations of the other planets, especially Neptune which seems to be so paradoxical and hard to grasp. I wonder if Rx Neptune points to a more Virgoan definition of Mercury (in comparison to a more Geminian, 3rd hs. type of interpretation). Thank you so very much.


Hi Marty,

Thanks for your comments. I am posting the link to the oblique retrogrades that you had originally asked about so that others may read about it: http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/forum/index.php/topic,1394.0.html

God Bless, Rad

 on: Today at 04:51 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Israel adopts controversial Jewish 'nation state' law

Law stipulates Jewish people have ‘exclusive right to national self-determination’ in Israel

Reuters in Jerusalem
Thu 19 Jul 2018 06.22 BST

Israel has passed a law declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, a move described by members of the Arab minority as racist and verging on apartheid.

The “nation state” law, backed by the rightwing government, passed by a vote of 62-55 and two abstentions in the 120-member parliament after months of political argument. Some Arab MPs shouted and ripped up papers after the vote.

“This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Knesset after the vote.

Largely symbolic, the law was enacted just after the 70th anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel. It stipulates that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”.

The bill strips Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a “special status” that enables its continued use within Israeli institutions.

There are 1.8 million Arabs in Israel, about 20% of the 9 million population.

Early drafts of the legislation went further in what critics at home and abroad saw as discrimination towards Israel’s Arabs, who have long said they are treated as second-class citizens.

Clauses that were dropped in last-minute political wrangling – and after objections by Israel’s president and attorney general – would have enshrined in law the establishment of Jewish-only communities, and instructed courts to rule according to Jewish ritual law when there were no relevant legal precedents.

Instead, a more vaguely worded version was approved, which says: “The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment.“

Even after the changes, critics said the law would deepen a sense of alienation within the Arab minority. “I announce with shock and sorrow the death of democracy,” said Ahmed Tibi, an Arab MP.

Netanyahu has defended the law. “We will keep ensuring civil rights in Israel’s democracy but the majority also has rights and the majority decides,” he said last week. “An absolute majority wants to ensure our state’s Jewish character for generations to come.“

Israel’s Arab population is comprised mainly of descendants of the Palestinians who remained on their land during the conflict between Arabs and Jews that culminated in the war of 1948 surrounding the creation of the modern state of Israel. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes or fled.

Those who remained have full equal rights under the law but say they face constant discrimination, citing inferior services and unfair allocations for education, health and housing.

In Ma’alot-Tarshiha, a municipality in northern Israel that was created by linking the Jewish town of Ma’alot and the Arab town of Tarshiha, there was anger among Arab residents.

“I think this is racist legislation by a radical rightwing government that is creating radical laws and is planting the seeds to create an apartheid state,” said Bassam Bisharah, 71, a doctor.

Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, called the law an attempt to advance “ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies”.

 on: Today at 04:48 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

'It destroyed the girl she was': the toll of pregnancy on Paraguay's children

Rampant child abuse, a culture that sexualizes young girls and draconian abortion laws have contributed to a child pregnancy rate that is among Latin America’s highest

Laurence Blair and Santi Carneri in Asunción
Thu 19 Jul 2018 08.30 BST

When she took her 10-year-old daughter to hospital suffering stomach cramps and vomiting, Florencia had little idea of the ordeal ahead.

Several clinics had prescribed medicine for stomach parasites. One diagnosed a tumour. But a scan showed that the girl was several months pregnant.

Within days, Florencia’s partner was on the run, later convicted of raping his stepdaughter. Police dragged Florencia away from her daughter’s hospital bed on suspicion of allowing the abuse.

Meanwhile, the girl – who became known as Mainumby – became the focus of an international media storm over Paraguay’s high rates of child pregnancy and its draconian abortion laws.

Paraguay forbids abortion unless a risk to the mother’s health can be proven – an exception that is rarely applied. In 2016, 24 women died from unsafe clandestine abortions, according to official statistics.

And despite the recommendation of local doctors and global health authorities, Mainumby was made to give birth a few months after her 11th birthday.

“It’s like they were pushing her to the limit – even if it cost her life,” said Florencia, whose name has been changed. “She made it. But with how much suffering?”

Mainumby’s case is far from unique in Paraguay. According to official data obtained by Amnesty International, 634 children between 10 and 14 gave birth in 2016. This was down from 699 in 2014, but the real number is likely to be more.

Paraguay’s rate of child pregnancy is one of the highest in Latin America, according to Cladem, a regional NGO. At least three girls died in childbirth between 2010 and 16, rising to 74 aged 15-19.

This March alone, three more girls died, aged 10, 14, and 16. Two of them died in childbirth.

Mainumby, now 14, suffers chronic pain in her hips and waist, the result of her pregnancy drawing calcium and vitamins from her growing body.

More painful still are the psychological scars. Her daughter, now nearly four, is a constant reminder of the traumatic end to her own childhood. Mainumby regularly self-harms, said Florencia.

“She’s taking medication, her anti-depressants, pills to help her sleep,” said Florencia. “She has panic attacks … several times, she’s wanted to commit suicide.”

Florencia told the family’s side of the story – often through tears – in an interview at a friend’s house on the outskirts of the capital, Asunción.

At the time of the abuse, she left the home at 4am daily to work as a school caterer, returning after 7pm. She tried several times to report her suspicions to a local clinic but was brushed off, she said.

When the case hit headlines, Florencia was detained for nearly two months. In prison, inmates assaulted her and doused her with scalding water. “It’s like I was a criminal,” she said. She was later released and all charges were eventually dropped.

Meanwhile, Mainumby was kept in a local Red Cross shelter with nine underage mothers. Here, they were made to clean and taught with a doll how to change their babies.

After the birth, “they even made her breastfeed,” she added. “Imagine how much it hurts us adults when we breastfeed for the first time. You can’t explain the pain. And for her?”

“This left a mark on her … She won’t be able to grow normally,” Florencia said. “They destroyed the girl that she was.”

Child motherhood is strikingly normalised in Paraguay.

On a visit to the Rosa María shelter – one of Paraguay’s four homes for young mothers – Oscar Ávila, an elderly manager, praised the “maternal ability” of the younger girls in his care.

“The nine-year old girl we once had here was extraordinary in how she cared for her baby,” he added. “The 10-year-old … and 11-year-old as well.”

The volunteers are well-meaning, offering support to girls who are usually from poor, rural families, often emotionally broken, and sometimes addicted to drugs.

But they rely on collection-plate donations and coffee mornings for funding, said Cilsa Rosa, another volunteer. “We’re not specialists,” she admitted.

The walls are bare, the rooms empty and echoing. Girls attend religious service seven days a week. They are not allowed to go to school for fear of further drug or sexual abuse; teachers and psychologists come to them.

“We feel genuinely comforted that 213 babies saved from abortion have passed through here,” said Rosa.

But there is a growing sense that Paraguay’s high rates of child pregnancy – and the underlying factor of rampant child abuse – can no longer be ignored.

A string of abuse scandals emerged in March during the country’s presidential election campaign, including the case of a 14-year-old girl who died giving birth, the victim of abuse by a 37-year-old man.

Government data show that reported cases of child sexual abuse have risen, from 2,196 in 2015 to 2,461 in 2017.

Some of the underlying reasons are cultural. Women in Paraguay are sexualised at an early age, said Milda Rivarola, a sociologist and historian.

“In the countryside, they say as soon as girl weighs 50kg, she’s ready to be a lover. It’s a mentality of child abuse,” she added.

The practice of criadazgo – whereby poor families send their young children away to work as live-in help in return for their upkeep – also plays a role. “They’re abused by the boss and his sons,” said Rivarola. “They’re not servants, but slaves.”

Men often abandon their families, meaning that working single mothers are forced to leave children in the care of relations or neighbours. Officials suggest that 70% of cases of minor abuse take place within the home.

Yet many argue that the poor quality of sex education in Paraguay is to blame.

“This is proven at a global level with study after study,” said Norma Duarte, the director ofCalle Escuela, an organisation that supports child workers. “The more a child knows and understands, the harder it is for them to fall victim to abuse.”

But sex education is restricted to rudimentary anatomy lessons, said Tatiana Monge, 16, a domestic helper.

“If you know and talk about more than they tell you, they look at you and treat you badly, like it’s a sin,” she added.

Last November, amid a moral panic over the alleged spread of “gender ideology”, education minister Enrique Riera banned all scholastic materials referring to gender and sexuality.

Legislation to help prevent sexual abuse was brought before congress this July – although conservative senators blocked the clauses referring to sexual education.

Officials point to some progress in protecting young women. Birth rates among 15- to 19-year-olds have fallen by 10% since 2010, and the government has increased the number of drop-in teenage health centres from eight to 21.

New legal reforms mean stealing a cow no longer carries more jail time (12 years) than raping a child (formerly three years; now a maximum of 20 years).

In May, the secretariat for children and adolescents launched a 15-day media campaign under the slogan “niñas, no madres” (girls, not mothers).

But their budget is limited, acknowledged Eduardo Sosa, an official with the secretariat for children and adolescents. As for abortion, “as long as it’s not permitted by the constitution, we’re not allowed to discuss it,” he added.

There are fears that women’s rights could be further rolled back under the conservative incoming president, Mario Abdo Benítez, who takes office in August.

In a campaign debate, Abdo Benítez vowed to open more shelters, but said Paraguay would always have child mothers.

“The girls they force to be mothers are poor,” concluded Duarte. “Middle- and upper-class teenagers that get pregnant can easily get abortions … It’s clearly a question of class.”

Óscar González, the vicar-general of Asunción, attributed child pregnancy to rural-urban migration and the breakdown of traditional families.

“Abortion comes from a lack of care of the person … we need greater care in the family,” he said.

But Florencia has little patience for the bishops, priests and pastors who regularly come knocking.

“They say that women are for giving birth – that everything that comes from God is meant to be so,” said Florencia. “They say, the baby is fine. Her mother is fine. They look fine. But on the inside? They don’t think about that. These people from the church are terrible.”

Florencia is determined to speak out for other child mothers. “If I have to shout it in the streets, I will. Because this has to stop.”

At the Rosa María shelter, a small room was filled with the sound of hairdryers and chatter. A visiting beautician – herself a former resident – offers weekly classes to the girls.

An 11-year-old girl sat quietly as her hair was curled. A crucifix rested atop her stomach, which showed the signs of a three-month pregnancy.

 on: Today at 04:43 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Spain to introduce ‘yes means yes’ sexual consent law

Move follows outrage over release of la manada gang who assaulted woman in Pamplona

Stephen Burgen in Barcelona
19 Jul 2018 12.45 BST

Spain’s socialist government is to introduce a law on consent aimed at removing ambiguity in rape cases.

Under the law, consent would have to be explicit. It states that “yes means yes” and anything else, including silence, means no. Sex without explicit consent would therefore be considered rape.

The move follows outrage over the verdict in the la manada (wolf pack) case. The five men involved were accused of gang-raping an 18-year-old woman in Pamplona during the bull-running festival.

Two of the men filmed the assault, during which the woman is silent and passive. The judges interpreted this as consent – one judge even commented that she appeared to be enjoying herself – and the charge was dropped from rape to the lesser crime of sexual assault.

Under Spanish law, rape must involve violence and intimidation. The la manada ruling provoked outrage and led to demonstrations across the country. The five men are out on bail pending an appeal against their nine-year sentence. Among them are a soldier and a member of the civil guard, both of whom have been returned to duty.

In her summing up for the prosecution, Elena Sarasate said: “The defendants want us to believe that on that night they met an 18-year-old girl, living a normal life, who after 20 minutes of conversation with people she didn’t know agreed to group sex involving every type of penetration, sometimes simultaneously, without using a condom.”

Proposing the law, Carmen Calvo Poyato, Spain’s deputy prime minister and equality minister, said: “If a woman does not expressly say yes, then everything else is no.”

Patricia Faraldo Cabana, a law professor at the university of A Coruña, who helped draft the law, said the proposal understood consent not just as something verbal but also tacit, as expressed in body language.

“It can still be rape even if the victim doesn’t resist,” she said. “If she is naked, actively taking part and enjoying herself, there is obviously consent. If she’s crying, inert like an inflatable doll and clearly not enjoying herself, then there isn’t.”

In a letter to a Spanish TV station, the la manada victim wrote: “Don’t keep quiet about it because if you do you’re letting them win. No one should have to go through this. No one should have to regret having a drink, talking to people at a fiesta, walking home alone or wearing a miniskirt.”

The law mirrors similar legislation that came into force in Sweden at the beginning of July.

 on: Today at 04:39 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

India: 17 men charged with raping 12-year-old girl over months

Police allege girl was sedated and raped in apartment block multiple times since January

Michael Safi and agencies
19 Jul 2018 12.12 BST

Seventeen men have appeared in court in the south Indian city of Chennai charged with repeatedly raping a 12-year-old girl over the course of seven months.

The case is generating intense anger, including from the city’s legal fraternity, some of whom were part of a mob that allegedly attacked some of the accused before they appeared in court on Tuesday.

The accused men included security guards, lift operators and plumbers working at the 300-apartment block where the girl lived, police said.

The men, whose ages range from 23 to 66, allegedly sedated the girl and then took her into the elevator and into vacant apartment buildings to assault her. Indian media have reported that the girl, whose hearing is impaired, was also taken to a basement, terrace, gym and public restrooms.

The Times of India reported that the first to assault her was a 66-year-old elevator operator in the largely unoccupied apartment complex. It was alleged he then brought other men from outside the complex who filmed the assaults.

Local media said the men threatened the girl with knives and told her they would release videos of the assault if she told anyone.

On Saturday the girl told her sister, who was visiting from Delhi, prompting the family to file a complaint, the Times of India reported.

The men were arrested on Monday on charges of rape, attempted murder and criminal intimidation.

Television footage showed chaotic scenes as lawyers and members of the public attacked the suspects on the staircase of the city’s high court as they were brought in.

    ANI (@ANI)

    #WATCH: Dramatic visuals from Mahila Court in Chennai where lawyers thrash the 18 accused, who sexually harassed an 11-year-old girl for over a period of 7 months. #TamilNadu pic.twitter.com/8ASDOlm7gW
    July 17, 2018

The Madras high court advocates association (MHAA) announced no lawyers from its group would appear for the suspects.

“We have decided not to represent these characters,” the MHAA’s president, G Mohana Krishnan, said. “After seeing the entire incident and also the condition of the victim, we have said we will not appear for the accused.”

He said it was the first time the lawyers’ group had decided to boycott a group of suspects. “None of us will change our minds, and if anyone does, we will oppose them,” Krishnan said.

The family of the girl are staying with relatives to escape media scrutiny around the case, which has attracted national headlines.

On average more than 100 cases of women and girls being raped were reported every day in India in 2016, according to the most recent figures made available by the national crime records bureau. About six of those were girls below the age of 12.

In January an eight-year-old girl was kidnapped, drugged and raped for five days in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir before being killed with a rock. This led to the introduction of the death penalty for the rape of girls under the age of 12.

In June a report from Thomson Reuters Foundation found that India was the least safe country in the world to be a woman, followed by Afghanistan and Syria.

 on: Today at 04:34 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Some Experts Say Icelandic Whaling Company Killed an Endangered Blue Whale


Anti-whaling group Hard to Port posted photos on their Facebook page Tuesday that activist group Sea Shepherd claims show an endangered blue whale recently killed by an Icelandic whaling company, the Australian ABC News reported Thursday.

Kristjan Loftsson, the CEO of the Hvalur hf whaling company that killed the whale, told ABC News Friday that it was in fact a hybrid of a blue and fin whale, which is not protected by the International Whaling Commission.

If the whale is a blue whale, it would be the first of its kind intentionally killed since 1978, according to BBC News.

"I know a blue whale when I see one and this whale slaughtered by Kristjan Loftsson is a blue whale," Sea Shepherd Founder Paul Watson said in a statement reported by ABC News.

Some scientists agreed with Watson's assessment.

"From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale," U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Alaska Fisheries Science Center scientist Dr. Phillip Clapham said in a statement reported by BBC News.

"Given that, notably the coloration pattern, there is almost no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea," Clapham said.

Arne Feuerhahn of Hard to Port, which posted the photos, said that most experts her group had consulted thought it was a blue whale, but some said it could be a hybrid.

This is also the view currently taken by Gisli Arnor Vikingsson from the Iceland Marine Institute.

"Photographs point to the fact that it's a hybrid whale and we're almost certain that it is one, but we can't be sure until autumn when we get it DNA tested," he told ABC News.

The whale's species matters in part because it would determine whether Hvalur hf faces consequences for the kill.

While there is an international moratorium on whaling, Iceland does issue permits for the hunting and killing of fin whales, which it does not consider endangered species. It does, however, agree with the international prohibition against killing blue whales, which are one of the largest creatures on Earth and can grow to weigh up to 200 tonnes (approximately 220.46 U.S. tons) and stretch 30 meters (approximately 98.43 feet), according to BBC News.

"If this is a blue whale, it would be illegal and a breach and there could be fines and perhaps the company might lose their licence to hunt whales," Feuerhahn told BBC News.

But while a hybrid catch would be better news for the whalers, it isn't much better for hybrid whales, which Astrid Fuchs from the charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation told BBC News are also extremely rare.

"Since 1983, they've only recorded five of them," Fuchs said.

Blue whales were decimated by 90 percent during the 20th century, according to ABC News.

Iceland and Norway are the only two countries who persist in open, commercial whaling, though Japan also slaughters whales for what it claims are scientific reasons, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Hvalur hf has killed 21 fin whales so far this season, according to Sea Shepherd.

Humane Society International's Head of Campaigns Australia Nicola Beynon told ABC News she hoped the publicity around the recent kill would prompt the people of Iceland to turn away from the practice.

"It looks like a blue whale, but if not a blue whale then it's a hybrid. They're highly endangered animals," she said.

"It is unforgivable. We hope that the Icelandic public give their whaling group a hard time about this. The cruel and inhumane practice of commercial whaling does not belong in the 21st century, it's time to give it up," Beynon said.

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