Baraka – Dead Can Dance – The Host Of Seraphim
Let the dead dance…
Let the dead dance…
Do remember that the boy was 17 at the time of his so-called offense. His offense? Blogging about political reform in the land of barbarism and hypocrisy. Can someone remove these medieval cave dwellers from the UN Human Rights Council, please?
A poet sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for abandoning his Muslim faith has had his sentence of beheading commuted – but must still face 800 lashes and eight years in jail. Ashraf Fayadh was detained by the country’s religious police in 2013 in Abha, southwest Saudi Arabia, and rearrested and tried in early 2014. His conviction was based on evidence from a witness who claimed to have heard him cursing God, Islam’s Prophet Mohammad and Saudi Arabia. Other evidence which led to the barbaric sentence was found in the contents of a poetry book the 35-year-old Palestinian refugee had written years earlier.
The new ruling, posted by Fayadh’s lawyer on his Twitter account, said the court has decided to ‘go back on the previous death sentence’ but confirmed the charges that prompted the death penalty. ‘The accused is sentenced to a punishment of eight years in jail and 800 lashes divided into installments, 50 lashes for each installment,’ the ruling stated, according to the Twitter posting.
A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s justice ministry could not immediately be reached for comment. A lower court had previously sentenced Fayadh to four years in prison and 800 lashes. The case went to the Saudi appeals court and was then returned to the lower court, where a different judge last November 17 increased the sentence to death. The second judge ruled defence witnesses who had challenged the prosecution witness’ testimony ineligible.
Saudi Arabia’s justice system is based on sharia, or Islamic law, and its judges are clerics from the kingdom’s ultra conservative Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam. In the Wahhabi interpretation of sharia, religious crimes including blasphemy and apostasy incur the death penalty. Saudi judges have extensive scope to impose sentences according to their own interpretation of sharia without reference to any previous cases. After a case has been heard by lower courts, appeals courts and the supreme court, a convicted defendant can be pardoned by King Salman.
The draconian scope of the its punishments has seen the country repeatedly condemned by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and popular protests hoping to force change through political pressure. Liberal writer Raif Badawi was flogged 50 times in January last year after his sentencing to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for blasphemy, prompting an international outcry. Badawi remains in prison and is said to be suffering fainting spells and deteriorating health due to a hunger strike, but diplomats have said he is unlikely to be flogged again.
Ensaf Haidar, who was granted asylum in Canada with the couple’s three children, said by phone she hoped her husband would end a hunger strike he had initiated more than 20 days ago to protest against his transfer to a different prison in Saudi Arabia.
Badawi, who created and managed an online forum, was found guilty in 2014 of breaking Saudi Arabia’s technology laws and of insulting Islam. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. He received his first 50 lashes in January, prompting strong criticism in Western countries of the kingdom’s human rights record. His wife added: ‘I am very worried about him. His health, both physical and mental, is very poor.’
Comment: Finally, poetic justice? See also:
Fukushima to financial collapse: Bank of Japan announces negative interest rates on account deposits to prop up collapsing economy
by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Japan’s economy grew only about 1.1 percent in 2015, and is predicted to grow only 1.7 percent this year.
The negative interest rate is only the latest effort by the administration of pro-nuclear prime minister Shinzo Abe to deliver on his ambitious – and thus far unsuccessful – plans to revitalize the country’s flagging economy. The Bank of Japan made it clear that it will cut interest rates even further if this current measure does not succeed at spurring an inflation rate of at least 2 percent.
The new policy does not affect consumers, but only banks. By Japanese law, banks are required to hold a certain amount of money in reserve for their customers. The interest rate on this required amount has now been set to zero. The interest rate on any money above this amount has been set to -0.1 percent – meaning that banks must pay the government 0.1 percent interest on any money above that minimum.
This amounts to a “storage fee,” designed to encourage banks to keep only the minimum required amount of money out of circulation, said economist Sung Won Sohn of Cal State Channel Islands.
“They are essentially saying, ‘I am going to make it more expensive to keep money at the central bank,'” Sohn said. “It’s to encourage banks to lend money rather than depositing it.”
Prices in Japan have been consistently falling for decades. This has stifled economic growth, partly because it makes consumers more likely to hold on to their money against the chance that prices will fall even further.
It is unclear whether a negative interest rate will be enough to counter this problem, however. A handful of other countries have also made use of negative interest rates, including Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Central Bank. But economists say there’s no clear evidence that these measures have actually stimulated economic growth.
In part, the problem is that Japan’s financial problems run much deeper than consumers who are slow to spend money or banks who are reluctant to lend it. The move to negative interest rates was actually spurred by concern over a flagging global economy, driven by falling oil prices.
“Global financial markets have been volatile against the backdrop of the further decline in crude oil prices and uncertainty such as over future developments in emerging and commodity-exporting economies, especially the Chinese economy,” Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda said.
Kuroda was appointed by Abe in 2012, shortly after the latter’s election to prime minister. The pair began an aggressive campaign to overhaul Japan’s economy, which was initially praised for boosting consumer optimism and causing gains to the Japanese stock market. But Abe and Kuroda could not sustain these gains, and Japan quickly slumped back into recession.
Given all of Japan’s preexisting economic travails, the literal and metaphorical fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster has certainly been no help. Fallout from the nuclear meltdowns led to the potentially permanent radioactive contamination of so much land that 310 square miles of residential and agricultural land have been abandoned. The economic value of this land is estimated to run between 250 and 500 billion U.S. dollars. Nearly 160,000 people have been evicted from their homes in the exclusion zone, perhaps permanently, creating an entire class of economic refugees.
Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Company’s expensive efforts to clean up the failed plant continue failing to yield any results.
Sources for this article include:
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is being taken seriously, with some countries setting up designated EHS Refuge Zones and support groups.
Catherine Frompovich, Guest
The State of Maine Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently received what it thinks is the ultimate verdict in the issue of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) when the Maine Supreme Judicial Court agreed with the PUC that utility companies’ smart meters are safe and not harmful to human health and safety.
Perhaps the judge who rendered that decision ought to reconsider what’s going on regarding EHS, especially at the United Nations and during their conference where EHS issues were discussed.
Dr. Yael Stein, MD, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel, gave an 83 slide presentation titled, “Environmental Refugees,” wherein Dr. Stein pointed out key factors that need to be addressed in the modern age of microwave technology that super saturates humans with EMFs and RFs from cell phones and towers, Wi-Fi, utility companies’ AMI smart meters, smart phones, routers, monitors, etc. and other electronics that can send and receive data, information, voice, photographs, etc.
Dr. Stein’s comprehensive presentation was before the UNESCO 10th World Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics and Health Law held January 6 to 8, 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel. 
One very prominent classification regarding EHS, pointed out by Dr. Stein, is that in Sweden, electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) officially is recognized as a functional impairment and not regarded as a disease! Furthermore, there’s a published peer-review paper, “Electrohypersensitivity: state-of-the-art of a functional impairment,”  wherein Sweden’s position on EHS is discussed. The Abstract for that paper states:
Survey studies show that somewhere between 230,000-290,000 Swedish men and women report a variety of symptoms when being in contact with electromagnetic field (EMF) sources.
Where do U.S. states’ PUCs and utility companies come off with claims that there are no adverse health effects and that EMFs are safe?
Furthermore, the World Health Organization states,
EHS is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms that differ from individual to individual. The symptoms are certainly real and can vary widely in their severity. Whatever the cause, EHS can be a disabling problem for the affected individual.
Source: Dr. Yael Stein, MD, Slide 67 of 83 / UNESCO 10th Word Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics and Health Law
In Slide 68, Dr. Stein refers to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and that discrimination against a person with a disability, which a functional impairment as recognized in Sweden also should be included, “is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.” Aren’t there federal and state laws against discrimination against disability individuals  in the United States, and why aren’t PUCs and utilities made to abide by them?
In Slide 70, Dr. Stein emphasizes via a red outline that, “States Parties undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities,” to which end State Parties have certain obligations to meet and enforce, including appropriate legislative measures, which the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other U.S. states apparently deliberately are neglecting or accommodating those who suffer with EHS by not allowing opt-outs from AMI smart meters.
Slide 73 deals with Accessibility, which would apply to an EHS person if he/she cannot live or be in an area contaminated with EMFs from AMI smart meters, Wi-Fi, etc. Consequently, those barriers or obstacles to that person’s accessibility to remain safely without adverse health effects within the home, workplace, etc. need to be eliminated or, as in the case of a personal home, allow a legal opt-out from utilities’ AMI smart meters on their homes.
Dr. Stein emphasizes that EHS is being taken seriously for those who suffer with it. In file 80, he lists what are designated as EHS Refuge Zones or areas, plus support groups, in France, Canada, the UK, and Sweden. How come there’s nothing listed for the USA? Probably because utility companies and PUCs work too closely together to get all the federal funding [3-4] that’s available for creating the smart grid that eventually will lead to the Internet of Things .
God help us!
SLIDE SHOW – Electrohypersensitive individuals (EHS) in the digital world – a disabled population, deprived of home, work and basic rights, Dr. Yael Stein, MD http://www.slideshare.net/YaelStein1/ehs-human-rights
Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice, plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.
Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.
Her 2012 book, A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.
Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)
Greeks are on strike against Athen’s pension reform plans.
Greek police use tear gas as they scuffle with protesters during a mass rally in Athens against government’s austerity measures sought by Western creditors.
About 50,000 Greeks marched on parliament Thursday, carrying banners and flags and chanting anti-bailout and anti-government slogans.
Black-clad youths hurled stones and petrol bombs at police, who responded with rounds of tear gas and stun grenades, Reuters reported.
The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, first elected just over a year ago on a platform of anti-austerity policies, is under pressure from all sides.
He is stuck between either bowing to creditors’ demands for more stringent measures or siding with thousands of Greeks opposed to such plans.
Main labor unions observed a 24-hour strike against the government’s pension reform plans on Thursday, bringing Greece to a standstill.
The strike paralyzed most public transportation, grounded domestic flights and ducked ferries in ports.
Denouncing the reform plans, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) demanded in a statement that the government “revoke this monstrosity.”
The walkout is the second nationwide strike since Prime Minister Tsipras came to power in January 2015.
The pension plan is part of Greece’s promises to its Western creditors for carrying out reforms in the economy.
The heads of the European Union and International Monetary Fund mission arrived in Athens this week to discuss the pension plan, tax reforms and bad loans.
Critics of the reform plan say it will cause majority of the professions to pay most of their income in social security contributions and taxes.
Thank you France for having the fortitude to allow the truth to come out. There is hope for you after all.
By Stephen Lendman
Canal’s web site said journalist/documentary filmmaker Paul Moreira “strips the masks of modern-day Ukraine and carries out an investigation on the firing line of the new ‘Cold War’ between the East and the West.”
He discussed how US-backed Nazi-infested elements instigated deadly Maidan violence, a coup, ousting the democratically elected Yanukovych government, illegitimate putschists replacing it.
He also covered the Kiev-ordered May 2014 Odessa massacre, premeditated mass murder, using Nazi-infested Right Sector thugs.
Moreira’s hard-hitting documentary counters “the commonly accepted narrative,” he said. “I knew I was going to meet a strong opposition, would be accused of playing into the hands of Putin, of using elements of propaganda,” he explained.
“I didn’t expect to meet such denial, bordering on hysteria…I was called a ‘terrorist’ in the pay of the Russian secret services.”
Notorious neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (a Hillary Clinton appointee) orchestrated the Maidan coup – shamelessly calling it “peaceful protest(s) by ordinary Ukrainians.”
At the time, Sergey Lavrov cited hard evidence of fascist thugs’ responsibility for what happened. Former Estonian Foreign Minister Urman Paet was ignored, saying “there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”
“All the evidence shows” they were shooting police and nonviolent Maidan protesters.” Former Ukrainian Security Service head Aleksandr Yakimenko confirmed Paet’s assessment. He blamed putschist official Andrey Parubiy, a Nazi Svoboda party leader.
“Shots came from the Philharmonic Hall,” Yakimenko explained.
What took you so long UN?
See video that started all this at the bottom.
A United Nations panel has ruled that Julian Assange’s three-and-a-half year confinement in the Ecuadorean embassy amounts to “arbitrary detention”, the Guardian understands, leading his lawyers to call for the Swedish extradition request to be dropped immediately.
Assange had appealed to the UN working group on arbitrary detention in 2014, arguing that he was illegally confined to the embassy because he risks arrest if he leaves. The Wikileaks founder sought asylum from Ecuador in July 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations.
The panel’s findings were disclosed to the Swedish and British governments on 22 January, and will be published tomorrow.
Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, said if the WGAD found in his favour, “there is only one solution for Marianne Ny [the Swedish prosecutor seeking Assange’s extradition], and that is to immediately release him and drop the case. If he is regarded as detained, that means he has served his time, so I see no other option for Sweden but to close the case.”
His lawyers also demanded assurances from the UK that Assange would not be arrested and subjected to potential extradition to the US, which he fears.
The British Foreign Office said it would not pre-empt the panel’s findings, but said in a statement: “We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy.
“An allegation of rape is still outstanding and a European arrest warrant in place, so the UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden.”
Anna Ekberg, a spokesperson for the Swedish foreign ministry, said it would not comment ahead of the formal publication on Friday.
Assange has said that if the panel finds against him, he will voluntarily leave the embassy and accept arrest, “as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal. However, should I prevail and the state parties be found to have acted unlawfully, I expect the immediate return of my passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest me.”
It is not clear if Assange has any knowledge of the findings of the UN investigation, which concluded on 4 December.
The Metropolitan police have said they will make “every effort” to arrest the WikiLeaks founder should he leave the embassy, and it is not clear if the panel findings will have any bearing on this position.
Outside the embassy on Thursday there was one police car and a growing media presence. A source familiar with the UN working group told the Guardian that if the Swedish or British governments ignored its decision, “it would make it very difficult for them to make use of UN human rights council decisions in the future to bring pressure on other countries over human rights violations – the ruling sends a strong political message”.
Assange has not been charged with any offense, but has been sought for questioning in Sweden in relation to sexual assault allegations made against him by two women.
The appeal was a last-ditch legal attempt by Assange to get a ruling that his detention is arbitrary and unlawful. It rests on a challenge to the European extradition system, his inability to access the benefit of the grant of asylum by Ecuador, and what he argues is his long-term detention.
The submission to the UN was launched with little fanfare. Assange said in a statement that the UN encourages the adjudicators to carry out its task with “discretion, objectivity and independence” and that the UK and Swedish governments had submitted their responses to the working group on arbitrary detention confidentially.
In a statement issued by WikiLeaks on Twitter, Assange said: “Should the UN announce tomorrow that I have lost my case against the United Kingdom and Sweden, I shall exit the embassy at noon on Friday to accept arrest by British police as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal.
“However, should I prevail and the state parties be found to have acted unlawfully, I expect the immediate return of my passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest me.”