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 61 
 on: Apr 13, 2014, 05:12 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Russia accused of ‘aggression’ by Ukraine as tensions increase

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, April 12, 2014 17:51 EDT

Ukraine accused Moscow of “aggression” on Saturday after Kalashnikov-wielding gunmen seized two security buildings in its restive eastern rust belt amid spreading protests demanding the Russified region join Kremlin rule.

The coordinated attacks and a series of gunfights between militants and police in two eastern towns underscored the volatility of the crisis ahead of first direct talks between EU and US diplomats and their Moscow and Kiev counterparts in Geneva on Thursday.

They also threaten to lead to further violence as far right forces which hold sway over the ex-Soviet state’s western regions and which played a decisive role in this winter’s anti-government protests watch the nation of 46 million veer toward a possible breakup.

Ukraine’s foreign minister blamed the occupations on the “provocative activities of Russian special services” while a prominent nationalist called on militants in his Right Sector party — branded as a neo-Nazi organisation by Moscow — to “fully mobilise and prepare for decisive action”.

And acting president Oleksandr Turchynov convened an emergency security meeting after his interior minster reported that a “gunfight” had erupted between local security forces and militants who had attacked a police station in the eastern town of Kramatorsk.

“The authorities of Ukraine view today’s events as a display of aggression by the Russian Federation,” Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page.

Ukraine’s interim government has been facing relentless pressure from Russia since its February ouster of an unpopular Kremlin-backed president and decision to seek closer ties with the West.

The seizures highlight how little sway Kiev’s untested leaders have over pro-Russians who have since April 6 also controlled the Donetsk government seat and a state security building in the nearby eastern city of Lugansk.

Moscow has massed tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s eastern border after annexing the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and nearly doubled the rates it charges Kiev for gas.

Russia is now ready to demand prepayment from the cash-strapped government for future gas deliveries or halt supplies — a move that would impact at least 18 EU countries and deepen the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.

A letter obtained by AFP and dated April 11 showed European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso calling for a common EU response to President Vladimir Putin’s latest energy warning.

A note sent by Putin on Thursday cautioning that gas transits through Ukraine may cease due to Kiev’s debts to Moscow “raises serious issues for Europe’s collective energy security,” Barroso wrote.

Barroso said the issue would be raised at a meeting on Monday of EU foreign ministers and in a conference call with the 28-nation bloc’s energy chief.

He added that the commission would facilitate a “joint approach for a reply” to Russia.

- ‘Men in camouflage’ -

Saturday’s unrest began with morning raids on a police station and local security service centre in Slavyansk — a riverside town of 100,000 about 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of the regional capital Donetsk.

Ukraine’s interior ministry said the first assault was led by 20 “armed men in camouflage fatigues” whose main purpose was to seize 20 machine guns and 400 Makarov guns stored in the police headquarters “and to distribute them to protesters”.

An AFP reporter saw the Slavyansk police station surrounded by gunmen in masks and camouflage who had set up a barricade of old tyres and dumpsters in front of the police headquarters.

The interior ministry said some of the same militants had later occupied the city’s state security service building.

“The entire city… will defend the guys who seized this building,” Slavyansk Mayor Neli Shlepa told Russia’s Life News television outside the police headquarters.

The interior ministry later reported that its forces had also repelled an attack on a Donetsk chemical factory that manufactures explosives.

“Protection of the facility, which stores a considerable amount of explosive material, has been stepped up,” the interior ministry said.

- ‘People’s republic’ -

The police said a separate group of assailants had also unsuccessfully tried to seize the prosecutor’s office in Donetsk — a bustling city of one million that was the seat of power of president Viktor Yanukovych before his ouster and flight to Russia.

But an AFP reporter saw about 200 pro-Russian protesters armed with clubs and sticks storm the city’s police headquarters without meeting any resistance.

A few dozen anti-riot police who arrived at the scene were instead sporting orange and black ribbons symbolising support for Russian rule.

The Donetsk administration centre is already being held by gunmen who have proclaimed the creation of their own “people’s republic” and called on Putin to send Russian troops into eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s embattled Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk promised during an unannounced visit to Donetsk on Friday to grant more powers to the country’s regions and protect the east’s right to use the Russian language.

But the Donetsk and Lugansk gunmen want to hold independence referendums coinciding with snap presidential polls Ukraine will stage on May 25.

- ‘Russian agents’ -

Both Western leaders and Kiev have accused the Kremlin of orchestrating the unrest in order to justify a possible future invasion of eastern Ukraine — a charge Moscow flatly denies.

Kiev said Ukraine’s interim Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov by telephone on Saturday to “stop the provocative activities of Russian special services in the eastern regions of Ukraine.”

But Moscow said Lavrov firmly rejected the accusation and “noted that similar claims… have been made by Washington, although we still have not been presented with any concrete proof.”

Russia on Friday warned that it would boycott Thursday’s Geneva talks should Ukraine try to regain control of the seized buildings through force.

 62 
 on: Apr 13, 2014, 05:11 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Xenophobic Chill Descends on Moscow

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
APRIL 12, 2014

MOSCOW — The huge banner was unfurled on Friday morning outside one of Moscow’s biggest bookstores, Dom Knigi, a grand emporium of the written word on Arbat Street across from a Citibank, a Baskin-Robbins and a Dunkin’ Donuts, and down the block from a big movie theater where the main feature at the moment is “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

“Fifth Column,” the banner declared. “Strangers Among Us.” It showed black-and-white portraits of three of Russia’s better-known political opposition figures and two Soviet-era dissident rock musicians, along with two evil-looking space aliens, one carrying a briefcase marked with the white ribbon that has been the symbol of political protests against President Vladimir V. Putin and the Russian government.

From the moment that Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea cast a new, bitter chill over relations with the West, a sinister jingoistic vibe has pervaded this unsettled capital — stirred up by state-controlled television and Mr. Putin himself.

“Some Western politicians are already threatening us not just with sanctions but also the prospect of increasingly serious problems on the domestic front,” the president said in his speech announcing plans to absorb Crimea into the Russian Federation. “I would like to know what they have in mind exactly: action by a fifth column, this disparate bunch of ‘national traitors,’ or are they hoping to put us in a worsening social and economic situation so as to provoke public discontent?”

Moscow today is a proudly international city, where skateboarders in Gorky Park wear New York Yankees hats they bought on vacation in America, and where the designer French or Italian handbags might just as well have been picked out in Paris or Milan as in one of the boutiques in Red Square. Apple iPhones and iPads are nearly as common on the subway here as they are in Washington.

In the weeks since the military incursion into Crimea, however, Russian flags have been hung from the windows of apartment buildings all over the city, just as American flags appeared in profusion after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

There is also now a website with a name that translates as “traitor.net” that includes photos and quotations of public figures who have spoken out in some way against Russia’s policy toward Ukraine. The bottom of the site has a button inviting viewers to “suggest a traitor.”

At Mr. Putin’s direction, a committee led by his chief of staff is developing a new “state policy in culture.” Widely expected to be enacted into law, the proposed cultural policy emphasizes that “Russia is not Europe” and urges “a rejection of the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance” in favor of emphasizing Russia’s “unique state-government civilization,” according to Russian news accounts that quoted a presidential adviser on culture, Vladimir Tolstoy.

A Russian news site, znak.com, also reported last week that a popular series of math textbooks would be dropped from an official list of recommended educational texts because it used too many non-Russian fairy tale and other characters in its illustrations.

“What do we see from the first pages? Gnomes, Snow White — these are representatives of a foreign-language culture,” an expert of the Russian Academy of Education, Lyubov Ulyakhina, told the site in a question-and-answer interview. “Here’s some monkey, Little Red Riding Hood,” Ms. Ulyakhina continued, “of 119 characters drawn here only nine are related to Russian culture. Sorry — no patriotism — this is not funny; this is our mentality.”

And in a statement last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned its citizens not to travel to countries that have extradition treaties with the United States, saying that the Obama administration “is trying to make a routine practice out of ‘hunting’ for Russian citizens in third countries with the goal of their subsequent extradition and conviction in the U.S. on the basis of, as a rule, questionable charges.”

In some cases, the xenophobic language has been accompanied by an intensified crackdown on political opponents and also on some media outlets that do not strictly toe the Kremlin line.

On the same day that Russian forces initially deployed across Crimea, Aleksei A. Navalny, the political opposition leader and anticorruption blogger, was placed under house arrest in connection with one of the several prosecutions — widely regarded as politically motivated — that were brought against him long before he spoke out against Mr. Putin’s policies toward Ukraine.

Mr. Navalny is generally confined to his home but has also been barred from speaking in public or using the Internet or other electronic communication.

Mr. Navalny’s photo is at the top of the website listing traitors, and he was among the opposition figures pictured on the banner outside the bookstore. In a separate development on Friday, prosecutors announced a new indictment against him, this one involving charges that he and his brother, Oleg, stole about $1 million by overcharging for courier services related to a basket-weaving business owned by their parents.

A previously unknown group called Glavplakat published a statement on its website taking responsibility for the banner outside the bookstore, and it promised additional street art in support of its antitraitor mission.

“Many films have been shot, many books have been written about how aliens have secretly captured the earth masking themselves as earthlings,” the group wrote. “At the time, no one suspects that they are others, enemies. For now we have not encountered real aliens. However, the ‘fifth column’ of national traitors in Russia has unfortunately become an incontestable reality.”

The group added, “In fact these are the very ‘others.’ Pretending that they act in the interests of Russia and our citizens, they serve the interests of completely different ‘civilizations.’ ”

Boris Y. Nemtsov, a longtime political opposition leader and a former deputy prime minister under Boris N. Yeltsin, who also appeared on the banner, wrote on Facebook that the situation seemed worse than during the Cold War. “In my opinion, even the Soviet Union wasn’t like this,” Mr. Nemtsov wrote.

Some of the language on Russian television in recent days has been far more charged than anything heard during Soviet times. One of the country’s most prominent television hosts, Dmitry K. Kiselyov, declared during an evening newscast last month that Russia remains “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive ash.”

In a telephone interview, Mr. Nemtsov said he believed that the banner was installed with Kremlin approval, given the prominent location on Arbat Street, a major thoroughfare that leads directly to Red Square and is heavily patrolled by the traffic police.

“March 2014 marks a turn in the country from authoritarianism to dictatorship,” Mr. Nemtsov said, adding, “Could you imagine a banner of the same size hanging on Dom Knigi if it said, ‘Putin get out!’ or ‘Putin stop lying!’ Can you imagine it? Of course not.”

The banner did not last long. It was removed by midmorning. It was also far from clear that Moscow was ready to give up its globalist tendencies for insular nationalism. About 50,000 people protested the military action in Ukraine last month, and last weekend “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opened at No. 1 in Russian box office proceeds, taking in more than $7 million.

On Arbat Street, the film, which features Captain America fighting a former sidekick who returns from a near-death experience as a brainwashed Soviet assassin, was showing in 3D, IMAX 3D, and regular 2D. Also playing: “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dallas Buyers Club.”

 63 
 on: Apr 13, 2014, 05:10 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Xenophobic Chill Descends on Moscow

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
APRIL 12, 2014

MOSCOW — The huge banner was unfurled on Friday morning outside one of Moscow’s biggest bookstores, Dom Knigi, a grand emporium of the written word on Arbat Street across from a Citibank, a Baskin-Robbins and a Dunkin’ Donuts, and down the block from a big movie theater where the main feature at the moment is “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

“Fifth Column,” the banner declared. “Strangers Among Us.” It showed black-and-white portraits of three of Russia’s better-known political opposition figures and two Soviet-era dissident rock musicians, along with two evil-looking space aliens, one carrying a briefcase marked with the white ribbon that has been the symbol of political protests against President Vladimir V. Putin and the Russian government.

From the moment that Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea cast a new, bitter chill over relations with the West, a sinister jingoistic vibe has pervaded this unsettled capital — stirred up by state-controlled television and Mr. Putin himself.

“Some Western politicians are already threatening us not just with sanctions but also the prospect of increasingly serious problems on the domestic front,” the president said in his speech announcing plans to absorb Crimea into the Russian Federation. “I would like to know what they have in mind exactly: action by a fifth column, this disparate bunch of ‘national traitors,’ or are they hoping to put us in a worsening social and economic situation so as to provoke public discontent?”

Moscow today is a proudly international city, where skateboarders in Gorky Park wear New York Yankees hats they bought on vacation in America, and where the designer French or Italian handbags might just as well have been picked out in Paris or Milan as in one of the boutiques in Red Square. Apple iPhones and iPads are nearly as common on the subway here as they are in Washington.

In the weeks since the military incursion into Crimea, however, Russian flags have been hung from the windows of apartment buildings all over the city, just as American flags appeared in profusion after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

There is also now a website with a name that translates as “traitor.net” that includes photos and quotations of public figures who have spoken out in some way against Russia’s policy toward Ukraine. The bottom of the site has a button inviting viewers to “suggest a traitor.”

At Mr. Putin’s direction, a committee led by his chief of staff is developing a new “state policy in culture.” Widely expected to be enacted into law, the proposed cultural policy emphasizes that “Russia is not Europe” and urges “a rejection of the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance” in favor of emphasizing Russia’s “unique state-government civilization,” according to Russian news accounts that quoted a presidential adviser on culture, Vladimir Tolstoy.

A Russian news site, znak.com, also reported last week that a popular series of math textbooks would be dropped from an official list of recommended educational texts because it used too many non-Russian fairy tale and other characters in its illustrations.

“What do we see from the first pages? Gnomes, Snow White — these are representatives of a foreign-language culture,” an expert of the Russian Academy of Education, Lyubov Ulyakhina, told the site in a question-and-answer interview. “Here’s some monkey, Little Red Riding Hood,” Ms. Ulyakhina continued, “of 119 characters drawn here only nine are related to Russian culture. Sorry — no patriotism — this is not funny; this is our mentality.”

And in a statement last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned its citizens not to travel to countries that have extradition treaties with the United States, saying that the Obama administration “is trying to make a routine practice out of ‘hunting’ for Russian citizens in third countries with the goal of their subsequent extradition and conviction in the U.S. on the basis of, as a rule, questionable charges.”

In some cases, the xenophobic language has been accompanied by an intensified crackdown on political opponents and also on some media outlets that do not strictly toe the Kremlin line.

On the same day that Russian forces initially deployed across Crimea, Aleksei A. Navalny, the political opposition leader and anticorruption blogger, was placed under house arrest in connection with one of the several prosecutions — widely regarded as politically motivated — that were brought against him long before he spoke out against Mr. Putin’s policies toward Ukraine.

Mr. Navalny is generally confined to his home but has also been barred from speaking in public or using the Internet or other electronic communication.

Mr. Navalny’s photo is at the top of the website listing traitors, and he was among the opposition figures pictured on the banner outside the bookstore. In a separate development on Friday, prosecutors announced a new indictment against him, this one involving charges that he and his brother, Oleg, stole about $1 million by overcharging for courier services related to a basket-weaving business owned by their parents.

A previously unknown group called Glavplakat published a statement on its website taking responsibility for the banner outside the bookstore, and it promised additional street art in support of its antitraitor mission.

“Many films have been shot, many books have been written about how aliens have secretly captured the earth masking themselves as earthlings,” the group wrote. “At the time, no one suspects that they are others, enemies. For now we have not encountered real aliens. However, the ‘fifth column’ of national traitors in Russia has unfortunately become an incontestable reality.”

The group added, “In fact these are the very ‘others.’ Pretending that they act in the interests of Russia and our citizens, they serve the interests of completely different ‘civilizations.’ ”

Boris Y. Nemtsov, a longtime political opposition leader and a former deputy prime minister under Boris N. Yeltsin, who also appeared on the banner, wrote on Facebook that the situation seemed worse than during the Cold War. “In my opinion, even the Soviet Union wasn’t like this,” Mr. Nemtsov wrote.

Some of the language on Russian television in recent days has been far more charged than anything heard during Soviet times. One of the country’s most prominent television hosts, Dmitry K. Kiselyov, declared during an evening newscast last month that Russia remains “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive ash.”

In a telephone interview, Mr. Nemtsov said he believed that the banner was installed with Kremlin approval, given the prominent location on Arbat Street, a major thoroughfare that leads directly to Red Square and is heavily patrolled by the traffic police.

“March 2014 marks a turn in the country from authoritarianism to dictatorship,” Mr. Nemtsov said, adding, “Could you imagine a banner of the same size hanging on Dom Knigi if it said, ‘Putin get out!’ or ‘Putin stop lying!’ Can you imagine it? Of course not.”

The banner did not last long. It was removed by midmorning. It was also far from clear that Moscow was ready to give up its globalist tendencies for insular nationalism. About 50,000 people protested the military action in Ukraine last month, and last weekend “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opened at No. 1 in Russian box office proceeds, taking in more than $7 million.

On Arbat Street, the film, which features Captain America fighting a former sidekick who returns from a near-death experience as a brainwashed Soviet assassin, was showing in 3D, IMAX 3D, and regular 2D. Also playing: “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dallas Buyers Club.”

 64 
 on: Apr 13, 2014, 02:45 AM 
Started by Deva - Last post by Rav
Hi Deva,

I am also glad to hear this thread has been picked up again! I am also trying to improve my own understanding of looking at transits and how they link to our evolutionary growth.

Many thanks,

Rav.

 65 
 on: Apr 12, 2014, 05:01 PM 
Started by ari moshe - Last post by Emily
Hello,

Thank you for the response to my question on the nodes.

Here's an attempt at SN Capricorn, NN Cancer and SN Cancer, NN Capricorn.

Thanks again so much for this opportunity to practice!

Blessings,
Emily


South Node in Capricorn or the 10th House:

A soul with the South Node in Capricorn has previously been identifying itself with its role in society.  The soul has perhaps been over identified with its career or public life.   The soul could have had a position of power and authority over others.  Or the soul could have been dominated by the authority of another or others.  The prior life identity may be very crystalized in the consciousness of the individual - not that it wouldn't be in other placements, but with capricorn symbolizing the structure of consciousness, the identity has become rigid and maybe overly defined.  The definition could be a situation where the identity has been formed based on the values, norms of the consensus.  The soul may have been working with an identity - creating the kind of life that looks like everyone else's - including the kind of work, the lifestyle, etc.  The soul may be carrying shame about who it is - it could have received judgements and there could have been a repression of the true identity.  Or the soul could have also been very judgmental of others.  The soul could also have been very strongly rooted in an inner sense of authority - being who it is without needing to conform to the consensus.  This placement may be very different for a man or a woman and an exploration of traditional or non-traditional gender roles may have been something the soul was working with and continues to be working with.  This is a placement of the identity being very conditioned by the patriarchy? (not that all other positions don't have patriarchal distortions) With the nodes in Capricorn/Cancer a recent gender switch for the soul is a possibility.   Souls with a South Node in Capricorn or the 10th will feel focused and driven in some way to 'succeed'.  What they are basing that success on will be different based on the different evolutionary states and cultural conditioning.  The soul has either put forth the appropriate effort to make itself useful to society or it hasn't.  The soul may have developed talent as a leader.  Or the soul may have neglected its responsibilities.  The soul may also have been identifying with itself with a defeatist attitude.  The soul can be very identified with structures of the past.   There is karma around how the soul was identified with itself and how it operated in society.  The soul may choose to come into a family where it is forced to grow up at a young age or have strong karma with the father or main provider.

Consensus State:

The roles the soul has been identified with will have been very traditional in nature.  The soul would have been very identified with trying to conform to the consensus and to further its ambitions in society.  It may have been striving to attain more material wealth, social status and power, and have used any means necessary to get there.  There may have been depression when its ventures were blocked or failed.  This could symbolize the soul being very identified with a position of power within society.  In the later stages of the consensus state, with some sort of position in politics or business, or some other sort of leader.  The ultimate authority is seen as coming from outside of the individual.

Individuated State:

The soul has begun to desire to shed layers of conditioning.  The soul may have become deeply reflective as it begins to connect with a sense of inner authority that may be at odds with how the consensus says it should be living.  There may be periods of depression when the gap between how the soul has been living and how it inwardly feels becomes very great.  In the second stage the soul can experience not being able to integrate its identity into society - there is a complete rebellion against society.  The soul will begin and eventually will actualize a role in society that is in tune with its uniqueness and the gifts it has to bring to help move society forward.  The soul could have already learned how to do this and have had a very important role in society.  Success may be based on being able to create structures in one's life that reflect the inner essence of who the soul feels itself to be.

Spiritual State:

In this state the identity may have been linked to doing work in the world on behalf of the creator.  It may have been linked to feeling a great responsibility to do the 'right' thing (at any evolutionary stage).  The soul may have been overly identified with a specific spiritual teaching or institution - that was perhaps limiting the evolution of the soul.  The soul may be in the spiritual state but be identified with a consensus religion in a spiritual way.  The soul will feel that God is the ultimate authority and defer to source when needing direction, finding the answers within itself in that way.  The soul has perhaps identified itself with creating structures related to its spirituality and being of service (healing).  In the first stage the soul may not have felt good enough to bring its talents out into the world and may not have developed them sufficiently - or may have developed them but not allowed them to be put to use.  In the second stage this seems like someone who could definitely have been over identified with a role as a spiritual leader or guru of some kind.


North Node in Cancer or the 4th House

Where the identity has become overly conditioned and rigid, the North Node in Cancer is about coming home to oneself.  The soul can evolve by shifting the identity to the inner emotional realm vs. being so focused on its public role.  All of the responsibility and leadership one has potentially already developed can be brought forward but in a way that is more emotionally intelligent.  Any way the identity has limited the processing of emotions needs to be opened up.  This includes touch and nurturing.  Where the soul has perhaps suppressed or shut out certain feelings, the soul now needs to learn how to soften and allow its emotional body to flow.  The soul may need to focus more actively on family life - the identity shifting to being a nurturer (a nurturing provider).  The soul also needs to learn how take care of itself - nurturing itself as well as others on an emotional level.  The soul is learning to take responsibility for its emotions. Where in the past emotions may have seemed scary or too messy or chaotic to deal with they will need to be accessed for evolution to occur.  The soul is not meant to revert its identity to being like a child, but certain aspects that have perhaps become too rigid or serious need to be softened and the person needs to open up their self-image to be more human.  Where the soul may have become bitter or jaded it can grow by seeing things as a child would see them, being in the moment and rediscovering a sense of wonder.  Bringing the SN with it, the soul will create the structures in its life that support emotional grounding and wellbeing.  The soul can evolve by acknowledging its basic emotional needs and learning to meet them for itself, as well as opening up to others and allowing itself to be vulnerable.  The soul will begin to identify strength with vulnerability.

Consensus State:

Basic emotional needs will be met in a consensus way?  Consensus family structures, gender assignments etc.  The soul will need to internalize a sense of security and authority(SN).

Individuated State:

The soul can evolve by embracing an identity that is true to who it is on an individuated level.  Breaking free from definitions related to the soul's role in society, the soul will be opening up to how it is different from everyone else.  It will be seeking emotional security even as the identity is shifting to one that may be very different from those around it and thus trigger a feeling of insecurity.  The intention is to find emotional security within - to be oneself and love oneself.

Spiritual State:

In this state the soul will be progressively broadening its identity beyond itself, the ego humbling itself and moving closer and closer to re-merging with source.  Opening up to feelings is essential to evolution, and in this state maybe the soul moves from a more ascetic form of spirituality to one of devotion (not that that is the only path).  The soul has perhaps become too identified with its public role or trying to control its life and needs to come back to itself as a child of God – equal and vulnerable as everyone else on the path. Perhaps someone moving towards a path as a householder. Finding security through connecting to source within.  And learning to see emotions as part of the totality of creation?


South Node in Cancer or the 4th House

With this placement of the south node the soul has perhaps not been receiving emotional nurturing from the environment - as a child and later in life.  The soul may choose parents who can’t meet its emotional needs or who treat it like a child for too long and neglect helping the child mature.  Or the parents may be able to mirror the child very well and support the internalization of the parental role.  If unmet needs of the child are not learned to be met by the individual,  they will be carried into adulthood and projected onto partners, friends, one's own children, etc.  The soul may be used to co-dependent type relationships.  The soul will be a natural nurturer, having been identified with this in the past life.  Family may be very important to the soul and there may be strong karmic ties with the mother, or main nurturer, in particular.  The soul can still be working on anchoring emotional security within itself, learning how to take care of itself.  Or the soul may be good at this, having been thrown back on itself often in the past and learned to internalize a sense of emotional security.  There may be strong emotional imprints from the past - from the childhood in this life, or from the childhood in another life - that the soul is still working to integrate.  In some way the focus on the past life ego is emphasized as the 4th house partly represents the current life identity.  The soul has perhaps been over identified with its emotions and needs to to step back and learn how to navigate the emotional waters without getting swept away in them.  The soul may be fearful of growing up or leaving home - identifying very strongly with home and family - finding safety there and not wanting to leave - perhaps due to loss of family in a past life.  Or the soul may not feel that it has a secure home base in this life.

North Node in Capricorn or the 10th House

This symbolizes the need to mature in some way.  The identity needs to shift towards one of self-responsibility and accountability.  The soul needs to build a strong foundation for itself, within and without.  Within, a strong emotional foundation is needed - some structure to contain the emotional body - healthy boundaries and space to hold one's own vulnerability - not to repress it but some sort of form that allows the identity to be more contained and workable.  The potential oversensitivity of the south node placement can benefit from some solid structures in the life.  Definition can lend a sense of security to the soul - without it needing to be excessively rigid definition.  Without, solid foundations can be in the form of actual structures (home etc.) and in the lifestyle that support the soul's comfort and ability to grow. The role the soul plays in society can help pull the person out of themselves, out of the inner emotional focus.  The soul can do work in the world that involves nurturing others and be very good at that.  They can support emotional self sufficiency in others.  The soul can learn to identify as their own parent - taking care of their own inner child, meeting their own needs.  The soul can learn to see its childhood as necessary for learning the lessons it needed to learn.  Somehow the way the soul has been identifying with itself in the past will be restructured.

 66 
 on: Apr 12, 2014, 08:05 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
In the USA..United Surveillance America

Bernie Sanders: Greedy billionaires twisting American dream into nightmarish oligarchy

By Travis Gettys
RawStory
Friday, April 11, 2014 10:17 EDT

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) asked Thursday whether the U.S. was evolving into an oligarchy during a speech on the Senate floor.

The senator said recent Supreme Court rulings on campaign finance law would further tip the economic and political balance toward the very wealthiest Americans.

“We are moving toward a situation where people such as the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson have so much money it would hardly matter to them to write a check for more than both Obama and Romney spent in the last presidential election,” Sanders said. “They could write out a check for $2 billion, and it would be insignificant – a fraction of their increase in wealth over a one-year period.”

The Koch brothers, who fund a variety of conservative political operations, saw their wealth increase from $68 billion to $80 billion in just one year, Sanders said.

He said the loosening of restrictions on campaign spending favored by conservatives had imperiled representative government.

“I do not believe democracy is about a handful of billionaires, such as the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson, being in a position in which they can spend as much money as they want on any political race in this country,” Sanders said. “It is very hard for me to imagine how anybody could defend that as being democracy. It is not. It is oligarchy.”

He said millions more Americans must become engaged in the political process to push back against greedy billionaires who are “not content to have $10 billion or $20 billion in wealth.”

“They feel the need to have more and more and more and to take that money out of the hides of working families, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor,” Sanders said. “They want more tax breaks for billionaires, and then they want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, and every other program that is of importance to working families.”

The senator, who is mulling a presidential run to offer a true progressive option, said he was voicing the concerns of voters all over the country who feared wealth inequality had derailed the American dream.

“There was the feeling that economically what America was about, and what we celebrated, was the great middle class,” Sanders said. “People today, both from an economic perspective and from a political perspective, are beginning in a very serious way to question that reality.”

He said the U.S. had the most unequal distribution of income of any major country in the world – including European countries that still maintain kings, queens, and other hereditary royalty.

Sanders frequently cites a statistic showing that the top 1 percent of Americans own 38 percent of the nation’s financial wealth, while the bottom 60 percent owns just 2.3 percent of the nation’s wealth.

“If you had a big pizza with 100 slices in it, one person would get 38 percent of those pieces of pizza, if we looked at wealth, and the bottom 60 percent of the people would have to share 2.3 percent of the pizza,” Sanders said. “I don’t think that is what America is supposed to be about, and that situation is getting even worse.”

He said millions of Americans were working longer hours for less and less money while paying more for health care and seeing their pensions shrink.

“Do you want to know why people are angry, why people are concerned, and why people are worried what is going to happen to their kids?” Sanders asked his Senate colleagues. “It is because the median family income has gone down by $5,000 since 1999.”

Meanwhile, he said, 95 percent of all new income generated between 2009 and 2012 – during the Great Recession – went to the top 1 percent.

“More and more income goes to the millionaires and billionaires, while millions of people are working longer hours for lower wages, and while we have the highest rate of childhood poverty, at 22 percent, of any major country on Earth,” Sanders said.

The senator said he was astonished that the typical male worker made $283 less than he would have in 1970.

“Imagine that,” Sanders said. “In the last 44 years, with all of the increase in productivity, with all of the robotics, with all of the space technology, all of the iPhones, iPads, and everything else where people are now producing much more, the typical male worker made $283 less last year than he did 44 years ago.”

Amazingly, he said, the typical female made $1,775 less than she would have just seven years ago, before the recession.

“We have more people living in poverty than ever before, and that is 46.5 million people,” Sanders said. “Here is a fact that should frighten everybody: That is, half of Americans have less than $10,000 in their savings account right now. Can you imagine that? That means if your car breaks down and you need that car to get to work or you have a serious health problem and you don’t have particularly good health insurance, there it goes. It goes.”

That prevents Americans from retiring with dignity, he said because Social Security wasn’t enough to supplement living expenses on just $10,000 in savings.

He compared the top-heavy distribution of wealth to post-Soviet Russia.

“After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a small number of bureaucrats were able to steal a lot of public property, and they became multibillionaires,” he said. “They controlled oil companies, banks, gold mines, aluminum companies, television stations, and other state-owned companies, and that is how they became oligarchs.”

That allowed just five oligarchs to control most or all of Russia’s industrial production by 2001, he said.

“That is the direction in which we are moving,” Sanders said.

Click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWApW2eliRM

**************

Maine Governor Vetoes Bipartisan Medicaid Bill

By karoli April 11, 2014 6:00 pm -

Governor LePage denies Maine's working poor access to health care.

Governor Paul LePage has blood on his hands over this one. In spite of the fact that the Maine legislature approved a Medicaid expansion plan with a bipartisan majority, LePage refused to allow it to become law.

ThinkProgress: Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) on Wednesday vetoed a GOP-sponsored proposal that would have extended health coverage to roughly 70,000 low-income residents in his state. The governor has been particularly resistant to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which intends to extend public insurance benefits to additional poor Americans who struggle to afford the cost of health coverage. This is the third time he has rejected it.

The state’s Democratic-controlled legislature has repeatedly attempted to get LePage to expand the program. The newest expansion bill was spearheaded by two moderate Republicans and passed with bipartisan support — but it ultimately didn’t matter to the fiercely anti-Obamacare governor, who once called the Affordable Care Act “the degradation of our nation’s premier health care system” and said he wouldn’t lift a finger to implement it.

Even though the federal government would cover the full cost of the first year of the expansion, and up to 90 percent of the cost after that, LePage is still wary to implement the policy. He’s one of a handful of Republican leaders who claim that the government can’t be trusted to follow through on its funding promise.

“Proponents of this bill tout ‘free’ federal money and unspecified state ‘savings’ with no backup for these claims,” LePage said in a statement. “It is shortsighted to think federal funds will always be available, especially after watching the federal deficit climb and witnessing continual delays and changes from Washington.”

It's even more short-sighted, Governor LePage, to deny needy people access to health care. Good luck explaining that one to families of dead folks who might otherwise have lived.

Here's a question for every Republican governor and legislator standing in the way of people's access to health care: Are you violating your residents' civil rights?

***************

President Obama Makes Republicans Pay For Trying to Take Away Your Right To Vote

By: Jason Easley
PoliticusUSA
Friday, April, 11th, 2014, 10:45 pm   

President Obama gave a rousing and passionate call to action where he told Republicans that he will continue to challenge every single attempt to suppress the vote.

The president said:

    Opportunity means making the minimum wage a wage you can live on. It means equal pay for equal work. It means overtime pay for workers who have earned it. It means continuing to extend the right of quality, affordable health care for every American in every state, because we’ve got some states that aren’t doing the right thing. We have states who just out of political spite are leaving millions of people uninsured that could be getting health insurance right now. No good reason for it. If you ask them what’s the explanation they can’t really tell you.
    …

    The principle of one person, one vote is the single greatest tool we have to redress an unjust status quo. You would think there would not be an argument about this anymore. But the stark, simple truth is this: The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago.

    Across the country, Republicans have led efforts to pass laws making it harder, not easier, for people to vote. In some places, women could be turned away from the polls just because they’re registered under their maiden name but their driver’s license has their married name. Senior citizens who have been voting for decades may suddenly be told they can no longer vote until they can come up with the right ID.
    …

    And as President, I’m not going to let attacks on these rights go unchallenged. We’re not going to let voter suppression go unchallenged. So earlier this week, you heard from the Attorney General — and there’s a reason the agency he runs is called the Department of Justice. They’ve taken on more than 100 voting rights cases since 2009, and they’ve defended the rights of everybody from African Americans to Spanish speakers to soldiers serving overseas.

What the president was talking about was all part of the same Republican agenda. Denying people access to healthcare while also denying them access to the vote is all part of punishing the “takers” in order to give more to the “makers.”

Republicans deny millions of Americans their fundamental rights, and President Obama isn’t going to tolerate it. President Obama has fought the Republican effort to suppress the vote for years. This president understands that inequality begins with unequal access to the polls.

The Republican governors who refuse to expand Medicaid can’t offer a justification for their actions, but they think that denying people healthcare is good politics. President Obama is the last line of defense for equality, and opportunity. Obama will not be a candidate in another campaign, but he is going fight to make sure that all Americans have access to the polls for years to come.

*************

Don’t Worry, Greg Abbott Cited a White Nationalist for Informational Purposes Only

By: Sarah Jones
PoliticusUSA
Friday, April, 11th, 2014, 4:01 pm   

State Senator Wendy Davis (D-TX) has been fighting against Attorney General Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) desire, based upon the “ideas” of a white nationalist who hates women, to use Big Government to regulate 4-year-olds to determine if they’ve earned pre-K funding or not.

Abbott is taking refuge in saying his plan isn’t really his plan. It was just there “for informational purposes.” Wendy Davis was not impressed.

Senator Davis is taking Abbott’s failed education plan on today in Corpus Cristi and touting her own plan that is meant to help all kids. According to prepared remarks, she said, “I’ve laid out a comprehensive education plan that begins even before kindergarten through an initiative called ‘Great Start, Great Texas.’ My plan offers every four-year-old in our state an early start on education through full-day, quality pre-K. It also promotes early-childhood reading so that every student is reading at grade-level by the third grade.”

Davis called Abbott out for denying the facts in his own plan, “Now, Greg Abbott is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. His campaign spokesman says that Abbott’s pre-k plan, and I quote, ‘does not impose more tests on four-year-olds and suggestions to the contrary are absurd.’”

    But that’s not what the Texas press found.

    From the March 31st Austin American-Statesman, Abbott’s pre-K plan would, quote, “include testing and other measurements.”

    On April 1st, KUT radio reported that Abbott’s plan was dangled resources to schools based on, quote, “a determination that would be made through testing.”

    The April 5th San Antonio Express-News made it clear: “Abbott suggested three ways schools could measure student progress, including direct assessments or “‘norm referenced standardized tests.”‘

    As did yesterday’s Corpus Christi Caller-Times, noting that Abbott’s plan uses “measurement, which is another way of saying testing.

Davis then brought up Abbott canceling a press conference he called on education after the whole white nationalist teeny women’s brains thing. Not a great move on his part. And then, “A day later, his campaign claimed that the new tests for four year olds are there for, and – I’m going to try to say this with a straight face – ‘informational purposes only.’”

Yes, she points out, “In 26 pages, the plan never uses the words ‘informational purposes.’”

She hammered her point home (emphasis mine):

    And the truth on testing is right here on page 21:
    Lawmakers should amend the Education Code to REQUIRE school districts with prekindergarten programs to administer assessments at the beginning and end of the school year. There are at least three methods of assessing students at the prekindergarten level: ● #1. Direct Assessments, norm referenced standardized tests.

So Senator Davis wants to know, “What other unpopular ideas are now for ‘informational purposes only?’ Did you cite fringe thinker Charles Murray in your plan for “informational purposes only?” Well, since his plan is based in part on Murray’s ideas, he already sorta pulled that card.

Abbott’s get out of trouble free card: “Dear Texas, don’t worry, y’all! I only cited a white nationalist for informational purposes. Don’t you feel better now?”

The pre-K brawl is going down just like the fight over Fair Pay brawl: The Texas Republican says and does some foolish things, and then walks them back and tries to claim they don’t mean what they mean, and then eventually Democrat Wendy Davis clobbers him with his own policies by simply revealing them to the public.

So first Abbott tried to claim that his plan does not call for the “testing” of 4-year-olds. But inherently his plan calls for measurements, which is another way of saying testing. This might make more sense if you realize that Abbott, who is the Attorney General, denied that women make less than men and claimed that he loved women because he was married to a woman, so women didn’t need legal protections. But then it turned out that the women in his very office, an office which upholds Texas law, were paid less than men for the same job.

Anyway, that’s a no go on Abbott’s denials about what constitutes testing. He was for it before he was against it, but he’s still for it so long as we don’t call it testing, even though his own plan uses the word testing and this concept is based in part on Murray’s ideas. That whole plan is for informational purposes, y’all!

Lest the parents of Texas breathe a sigh of relief, however, white nationalist Charles Murray is the guy who claims that women’s brains are smaller than men’s. He also believes, “No women has been a significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions.”

It’s almost funny that Abbott is clinging to an Archie Bunker type who needs to believe that women have smaller brains in order to feel better about his place in the world, given the contest thus far between Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott. What I’m saying (not just for informational purposes, either) is that Wendy Davis seems to be smarter than Greg Abbott. After all, she has him fleeing his own positions and saying really silly things in order to deflect from his dangerous, fringe beliefs. Davis is driving the narrative of this race so far, and this is a race that was supposed to be a cake walk for Abbott.

************

Mitch McConnell Asks If Americans Prefer Him Or Harry Reid: Hilarity Ensues

CrooksAndLiars
04/12/2014

It’s been tough for Mitch McConnell lately. Like Ted Cruz, he attempted to drum up some support for himself on Facebook when things went utterly, disastrously, horrifyingly wrong for him.

Last month, Ted Cruz posted a “poll” on Facebook asking if people were better off now than when Obamacare was signed into law four years ago. While he expected the usual echo chamber response, the comments quickly filled to the brim with support for the Affordable Care Act.

While conservatives should have learned from Green Eggs and Bullsh*t‘s utter humiliation, McConnell decided that he would just try something similar and hope for the best:
 
He was probably expecting an influx of “Get rid of Reid” style comments, but what he got was…stomped. The comment section flooded with remarks indicating that America does not want him to lead the Senate–or anything else:

Click here to read the reaction/ comments that followed: http://crooksandliars.com/2014/04/mitch-mcconnell-asks-if-americans-prefer

***************

David "I am not a used corporate condom" Gregory and Meet The Press Hit a New Low By Disrespecting A Boston Bombing Victim

By: Jason Easley
PoliticusUSA
Friday, April, 11th, 2014, 5:19 pm   

David "I am not a used corporate condom" Gregory’s Meet The Press continues to tarnish the legacy of the show. A Boston bombing victim walked off of the set in tears after the program lied to her and used the bombers’ names after they promised that they wouldn’t.

In a series of tweets Adrianne Haslet-Davis ripped Meet The Press:

    Cannot believe @meetthepress chose to use the bombers name instead of respect their guest. Had to walk off set crying.

    — AdrianneHD (@AdrianneHaslet) April 11, 2014

    I feel so disrespected @meetthepress I asked politely yesterday and you said yes. Now you choose to use the name instead

    — AdrianneHD (@AdrianneHaslet) April 11, 2014

    Let's change the dialect to honor the survivors and not focus on the criminals. Shame on you @meetthepress

    — AdrianneHD (@AdrianneHaslet) April 11, 2014

NBC News told Politico that they never promised not to use the bombers’ names, “Adrianne Haslet-Davis is an inspiring survivor with an important story to share. She was due to take part in a roundtable discussion for Meet the Press with three other participants. She requested that the alleged bombers’ name not be used in the entire program, but given the nature of the discussion we couldn’t make that guarantee. We regret any distress caused by this miscommunication.”

It wasn’t a miscommunication. Haslet-Davis made a very simple request that anyone over the age of seven should have been able to comply with. This is a woman who lost part of her leg in the bombing. The least that Meet The Press could do is respect her wishes for one hour.

Someone at Meet The Press decided to use the names of the bombers because they thought it would make for good television. It was a desperate act from a desperate show that has fallen to third place in the Sunday show ratings. Future guests will think twice in the future before they trust any promises made to them by anyone at Meet The Press.

David Gregory "I am not a used corporate condom" has been pushing viewers away for years, and now guests are walking out on the show.
 
Meet The Press is wilting and dying. Tim Russert would be ashamed of what his show has become.

 67 
 on: Apr 12, 2014, 07:31 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Why are geocentrists trying to undo centuries worth of accepted science?

By Travis Gettys
RawStory
Saturday, April 12, 2014 7:00 EDT

Most people probably assume the scientific debate over the Earth’s place in the universe has been settled for centuries, but a small group of conspiracy theorists have been quietly pushing the idea that Galileo was wrong.

The Raw Story brought them blinking into the light earlier this week with a report on their plans to release “The Principle,” a film narrated by “Star Trek: Voyager” actress Kate Mulgrew and featuring interviews with several prominent scientists, that questioned the Copernican principle placing the sun at the center of the universe.

Mulgrew and scientist Lawrence Krauss both reacted to the controversy by claiming they’d been duped by the geocentrists — and two of their ideological opponents say the group intends to dupe the public.

The film’s producers deny it promotes geocentrism but instead focuses only on the Copernican principle that lends the movie its name.

“The difference between geocentrism and denying the Copernican principle is not subtle,” said physicist Alec MacAndrew. “In the former case, the claim is that the Earth is stationary at the center of the universe. In the latter case the claim is much more vague – that the Earth is somehow in a privileged or unusual position.”

While he called the geocentric view “utter bunkum,” MacAndrew said the Copernican principle offered “a nice cosmological and philosophical question.”

The film’s principle backer – Robert Sungenis — is also developing another film that will focus on geocentrism to be released after “The Principle.”

“There can be no doubt that for these individuals a full-blown geocentrism is the end game in view,” said David Palm, a theologian who has tangled online with Sungenis and his allies over their philosophies. “It has always been the ulterior motive behind finding scientists who could be enlisted to question the Copernican principle. They’re essentially trying to soften up their audiences by presenting less fringe and controversial material before hitting them with the full monty, so to speak.”

The new geocentrists believe scientists have conspired for centuries to undermine religious faith by promoting the heliocentric model of the universe proposed by Copernicus and famously championed by Galileo.

“Just as there are those on one extreme who incorrectly hold that science is antithetical to faith because they have a false or incomplete understanding of philosophy and/or religion, we have the geocentrists on the other extreme who reach the same incorrect conclusion, but because they have a false and/or incomplete understanding of science — and even their own faith,” Palm said. “For these geocentrists, their personal understanding of faith trumps all appeal to reason and physical evidence.”

Americans may be particularly vulnerable to such “bunkum.”

Recent polls have suggested that one in four Americans are unaware the Earth revolves around the sun, just as one-fourth of Americans believe President Barack Obama may be the Antichrist, 33 percent hold creationist beliefs, nearly 40 percent believe global warming is a hoax, and about half believe in one or more medical conspiracy theories.

Against that backdrop are efforts by state legislators to allow or insist teachers teach creationism or intelligent design by arguing that the theory of evolution is somehow controversial.

“A surprisingly wide spectrum of people – obviously anyone predisposed to be anti-science or to believe in conspiracy theories (is vulnerable),” MacAndrew said. “But at a certain level some of the arguments can seem more complex than at first sight, and anyone insufficiently knowledgeable in physics could be taken in — especially since the geocentrists often deploy dishonest, inconsistent or plain incorrect arguments.”

Palm, who maintains the website GeocentrismDebunked, said it would be a mistake to assume geocentrists are stupid or acting in bad faith.

“Belief in this theory seems to be largely a product of being emotionally affected by the false idea that our physical location in the universe must convey something about our existential and/or theological significance,” he said.

Indeed, many of the group’s social media postings plaintively ask: “Are you significant?”

The view has attracted a rogue’s gallery of crackpots who promote a stupefying variety of conspiracy theories – usually anti-Semitic – that casts doubt on the lunar landing, the Holocaust, and the official investigations into 9/11, the JFK assassination, and even the sinking of the Titanic.

One adherent blames the waning popularity of the King James Bible translation for rising sea levels, while others believe Jews control NASA — which Sungenis himself believes creates crop circles using lasers or plasma projectors.

“All NASA would have to do is put a digital pattern in a laser/plasma projector aboard a satellite and then shoot it down to earth, and presto, you have a crop circle,” Sungenis wrote. “It gets everybody talking about UFOs. But really, all they are doing is getting our minds off the Bible and Christ by making it look like neither are true.”

Palm, a Catholic, said he became involved in pushing back against the geocentric fringe several years ago after Sungenis posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on his website claiming an affiliation to the Catholic Church.

His local bishop asked Sungenis to stop writing about Jewish people and issues and ordered him to stop calling his organization a Catholic one after he criticized a catechism related to Judaism.

Palm said he was most concerned that Sungenis had duped sincere Catholics by claiming geocentrism was an official church teaching that had been covered up for centuries.

“That is simply false and it leads people into a very dark and conspiratorial view not just of the world at large, but even of their own church,” said Palm, who fears this can be harmful to faith.

“Of course, for those who believe Sungenis, it no longer really matters what physical or historical evidence is presented because it’s a matter of faith for them,” he added. “He basically sets himself up as the only one they can really trust – he’s the ultimate arbiter of both religious and scientific ‘truth.’ It can be very tough to break through that kind of wall.”

For MacAndrew, an atheist, the danger posed by geocentrism is similar to those posed by “young earth” creationism or anti-vaccine advocacy.

“(It) irrationally (undermines) public confidence in the scientific method in support of a literal interpretation of a religious text,” MacAndrew said.

“’Scientific’ beliefs which are plainly wrong short change people – the actual science is so much more interesting, awe-inspiring and life enhancing,” he added.

 68 
 on: Apr 12, 2014, 07:27 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Venezuela's Maduro, Opposition Spar in Crisis Talks

by Naharnet Newsdesk
11 April 2014, 21:41

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leaders traded barbs during six hours of nationally televised talks that ended at dawn Friday, a rocky first attempt to end deadly anti-government protests.

Opposition leaders demanded amnesty for people arrested in two months of protests and the disarmament of radical pro-government civilian groups they accuse of terrorizing demonstrators.

Maduro rejected their demands, but the socialist leader invited his political rivals to another meeting on Tuesday.

The talks put the Venezuelan president in the same room as opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who refused to recognize his razor-thin defeat to Maduro in last year's presidential election.

But the more radical wing of the opposition, which is seeking Maduro's ouster through the street protests, was absent.

The protests have left 41 dead and 600 wounded, and prompted accusations of human rights violations by police.

After 15 years of socialist rule, protesters are denouncing rampant street crime, soaring inflation, poor job prospects and shortages of such essential goods as milk and toilet paper.

Maduro has branded the protesters as "fascists" leading a U.S.-backed plot to overthrow his government. Authorities have jailed three opposition leaders, accusing them of promoting the violence.

The Maduro administration held "peace conferences" aimed at ending the protests, but the opposition refused to attend the meetings, which they described as a sham.

The government and the opposition finally agreed to sit down at the same table at the insistence of foreign ministers of the UNASUR group of South American nations.

The foreign ministers of Ecuador, Brazil and Colombia attended the talks as "good faith witnesses," along with a Vatican envoy.

Maduro launched the talks with a one-hour introduction during which he railed against those seeking his ouster, warning there would be no negotiations "nor a pact."

The chosen political heir of late president Hugo Chavez urged the opposition to "condemn violence as a way of doing politics, as a form and strategy for changing governments."

Capriles warned that Venezuela was "in a deeply critical situation" but he insisted that he was not calling for Maduro's ouster.

"We don't want a coup d'etat or a social explosion," said Capriles, who last year gave the opposition its best election result since Chavez was elected in 1998.

"We want this problem to be resolved," he said, calling for the government to respect the constitution and "end the repression."

Ramon Aveledo, representative of the opposition umbrella group known as MUD, also demanded the government disarm pro-government civilian groups known as "colectivos."

Protesters say the colectivos are armed gangs that have terrorized demonstrators, but the groups describe themselves as social-welfare organizations that work to improve life in the slums.

"I ask for respect for the colectivos. Essentially, they are social work groups," Maduro said.

Luis Vicente Leon, a prominent pollster and analyst, said Maduro had "lost a great opportunity" to accept some of the opposition's demands in order to "raise hope in the dialogue."

 69 
 on: Apr 12, 2014, 07:26 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
This is what happens’: Police violently evict squatters around Brazil’s top World Cup stadium

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, April 11, 2014 16:13 EDT

At least seven people were injured Friday as authorities ousted squatters from an abandoned building and shacks surrounding it just steps from Rio’s iconic Maracana stadium.

With the start of the World Cup two months away, Brazil has stepped up security efforts in the metropolis, where tens of thousands of football fans will fly in for the tournament and which will stage seven matches — including the July 13 final at Maracana.

At dawn, more than 1,600 heavily armored police arrived at the building — which had been occupied by squatters in recent weeks — brandishing an eviction order requested by the Oi phone company, which owns the property.

Meanwhile, cranes and tractors demolished wooden huts built around the building — many still full of the belongings residents had had no time to pack.

Hundreds of desperate and angry residents and neighbors poured into the street protesting the loss of their new homes.

“This is what happens in the (World) Cup country,” was a repeatedly heard lament.

Dozens of furious youths threw stones and bottles at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Several buses were set on fire.

Most residents were dispersed within minutes, but about a hundred protesters resisted police orders to vacate the building for several hours. Two were ultimately arrested for refusing to leave.

The newspaper O Globo also reported that suspected drug traffickers from neighboring favelas fired guns at the police.

The official tally from civil defense authorities was seven injured, none seriously. But media reports put the figure higher, at 19, of whom 12 were police.

The confusion and violence later spread to neighboring favelas, where a police car and several buses and trucks were burned, and banks and supermarkets were looted.

In all, police said they had arrested 22 people for the unrest, including 10 who did not live in the shantytown but participated in the later destruction.

Meanwhile, on-edge police officers hit a pedestrian with pepper spray, and then when witnesses protested he had not done anything to provoke the spraying, another officer pulled a gun but fired no shots.

The shantytown emerged on March 31 when about 5,000 people who were homeless or tired of paying high rents in other slums decided to commandeer the building, which had been empty for years, and the surrounding area, where they quickly built makeshift homes.

 70 
 on: Apr 12, 2014, 07:24 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
New Mali PM Chooses Ministers with Focus on Reconciliation

by Naharnet Newsdesk
12 April 2014, 07:45

Mali's new Prime Minister Moussa Mara formed a government Friday, with the outgoing foreign minister becoming reconciliation minister as the deeply-divided nation recovers from months of ruinous conflict.

Former planning minister Mara, 39, was promoted to the premiership last weekend after Mali's first post-war prime minister Oumar Tatam Ly quit just six months into office.

The make-up of the new cabinet, announced by presidential decree on public television, places reconciliation at the top of the agenda.

Mara has promised "to mend the social fabric that has been particularly traumatized by the troubles of the previous years".

President Ibrahima Boubacar Keita's office gave no reason for the resignation of Ly and his ministers, but it later emerged that the outgoing prime minister had become frustrated over being unable to enact reforms in the administration.

Mara said this week that he wants to strengthen governance and public services, improving relations between citizens and the state in post-coup Mali.

Army officers angry at the level of support they had received to combat a separatist Tuareg rebellion in Mali's vast desert north overthrew the democratically elected government of president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22, 2012.

In the chaos that followed, the Tuareg seized control of an area larger than France before being ousted by Al-Qaeda-linked groups which imposed a brutal interpretation of Islamic law on the local population, carrying out punitive amputations and executions.

Their actions drew worldwide condemnation and prompted France to launch a military offensive at Mali's behest in January last year that ousted the Islamists.

Mara said Wednesday that "the safety of all Malians wherever they are, and on the whole national territory" would be the focus of his administration.

Malians need "to mend the social fabric that has been particularly traumatized by the troubles of the previous years", he added.

"We will lead the government with the mindset of absolute integrity among its members," he said, promising loyalty to Keita.

His new government consists of 21 ministers, four fewer than the outgoing administration, including eight women.

Outgoing foreign minister Ould Sidi Mohamed, an Arab from northwest Mali, replaces Cheick Oumar Diarrah as minister for reconciliation.

His foreign ministry is now headed by diplomat Abdoulaye Diop.

Many ministers retain their portfolios in the new cabinet, including

Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga at defense and Sada Samake, the interior and security minister.

Keita's landslide victory in the first presidential polls since 2007 was seen as crucial for unlocking more than $4 billion (2.9 billion euros) in aid promised by international donors who halted contributions in the wake of Mali's 2012 coup.

In his resignation letter, seen by Agence France Presse, Ly spoke of a disfunctionality and "insufficiencies" which hampered his government's capacity to act.

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