Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'
EU leaders pose for a family photo during the European Summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2016 (AFP Photo/JOHN THYS)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)
The Treaty of Rome was signed in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, one of the Renaissance palaces that line the Michelangelo-designed Capitoline Square in the Italian capital

Merkel says fall of Wall proves 'dreams can come true'


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Police uncover gas arsenal at bomb factory as Barcelona mourns

Yahoo – AFP, Daniel BOSQUE with Hui Min NEO in Madrid, August 20, 2017

Mourners gathered in Barcelona's Sagrada Familia basilica to remember the 14
 people killed in two deadly vehicle attacks claimed by the Islamic State group
(AFP Photo/PASCAL GUYOT)

Barcelona (AFP) - Spanish police said Sunday they had uncovered a cache of 120 gas canisters at a house believed to be the bomb-making factory of suspects in terror attacks that claimed 14 lives, as Barcelona mourned victims of the rampage.

The suspected jihadists had been preparing bombs for "one or more attacks in Barcelona", regional police chief Josep Lluis Trapero told reporters, revealing that traces of TATP explosive had also been found.

But the suspects accidentally caused an explosion at the house on the eve of Thursday's attack in Barcelona -- an error that likely forced them to modify their plans.

Instead, they used a vehicle to smash into crowds on Barcelona's Las Ramblas boulevard as it was thronged with tourists, killing 13 people and injuring about 100.

Several hours later, a similar attack in the seaside town of Cambrils left one woman dead. Police shot and killed the five attackers in Cambrils, some of whom were wearing fake explosive belts and carrying knives.

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attacks, believed to be its first in Spain.

Police are hunting a Moroccan man suspected of driving the van used in Barcelona, and warn that he could be at large outside Spain.

"We don't know where he is," said Trapero of the 22-year-old suspect, Younes Abouyaaqoub.

'No music, no children, no women'

In the small town of Alcanar, investigators were combing the rubble of a house believed to be the suspects' bomb factory, and where the gas canisters were uncovered.

A French retiree Martine Groby, who lived next door, told AFP of her regret in notifying police about her neighbours.

She comes only several times a year to her pink-painted villa but noticed that four men "who all speak French" had been in the house next door since April.

"They were very discreet, too discreet. The shutters were closed, there was no music, no children, no women," she recalled.

"Sometimes they would stay just two days and they would leave. They said hello to me but never looked me in the eye," added the 61-year-old pensioner.

She said that on Wednesday she was flung to the floor by a violent blast.

"I didn't know they were terrorists. I thought it was our gas canister that exploded," she said.

- Imam's role? -

Traces of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) -- a homemade explosive that is an IS hallmark -- were also found at the house.

Investigators said they believe the terror cell comprised at least 12 men, some of them teenagers.

Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia were among the dignitaries
attending the ceremony (AFP Photo/PASCAL GUYOT)

An imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, is among the suspects, police confirmed.

He is believed to have radicalised youths in Ripoll, a small town at the foot of the Pyrenees, where several suspects -- including Abouyaaqoub -- grew up or lived.

On Saturday, police raided the imam's apartment there. Investigators are also looking for DNA traces to see if the imam may have been blown up in the explosion in Alcanar.

Radicalising youngsters

The imam was reportedly known to police, with Spanish media saying he had spent time in prison.

El Pais and El Mundo quoting anti-terror forces said the imam had met prisoners linked to the Al-Qaeda-inspired bombing of Madrid trains that killed 191 people in March 2004 in what remains the worst terror attack in Europe.

Nordeen El Haji, 45, who four months ago moved into the apartment that Satty occupied, said that "on Tuesday morning, (the imam) left saying that he was going on vacation to Morocco."

"He spoke little, spent most of the time with his computer in his room, and had an old mobile phone with no internet, and few books," said Satty's flatmate.

'Brainwashed'

In the Moroccan town of M'rirt, relatives of Abouyaaqoub accused the imam of radicalising the young man, as well as his brother Houssein.

"Over the last two years, Younes and Houssein began to radicalise under the influence of this imam," their grandfather told AFP.

Most of the suspects are children of Moroccan immigrants, including Ripoll-born Moussa Oukabir, 17, one of five suspects shot dead in Cambrils. His older brother Driss is among the four arrested.

Las Ramblas in Barcelona, where the deadliest attack took place, has been turned
into a sea of flowers and candles to honour the victims (AFP Photo/JOSEP LAGO)

A cousin said Moussa "loved playing football, having a good time, chatting up girls".

"The last few months, he started to become interested in religion. He used to go to a mosque in Ripoll. Maybe that's where he was brainwashed," the cousin said.

Snipers on rooftops

Three days after the attack that plunged the country into deep grief, locals and tourists turned out in force on Sunday to mourn victims at Barcelona's Sagrada Familia basilica.

King Felipe, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Catalonia's president, Carles Puigdemont, led the 90-minute ceremony commemorating the victims, who came from three dozen countries, some as far afield as Australia, China and Peru.

The individual tragedies lengthened on Sunday as the family of a seven-year-old British-Australian boy, Julian Cadman, who had been listed as missing, confirmed that he was among the 13 killed in Barcelona.

"He was so energetic, funny and cheeky, always bringing a smile to our faces," his family said.

"We are so blessed to have had him in our lives and will remember his smiles and hold his memory dear to our hearts."


Saturday, August 19, 2017

'They're our neighbours': Hometown of Spain attack suspects in shock

Yahoo – AFP, Alfons LUNA, August 19, 2017

Catalan police officers detain a handcuffed suspect in Ripoll during a search
 linked to the deadly terror attacks in Barcelona and the seaside resort of
Cambrils (AFP Photo/PAU BARRENA)

Ripoll (Spain) (AFP) - In the Spanish border town of Ripoll, everyone knows each other -- making it all the more shocking to residents that jihadists believed responsible for this week's deadly twin attacks lived among them.

"You are neighbours your entire life and they end up doing this," said Maria, a waitress in the town of around 10,000 inhabitants, who declined to give her full name.

The attackers killed 14 people and left 120 others wounded, using vehicles to mow down pedestrians in Barcelona on Thursday and in the nearby Catalan seaside resort of Cambrils early Friday.

At least seven of the 12 suspects grew up or lived in Ripoll.

Most were children of Moroccan immigrants, including Ripoll-born Moussa Oukabir, 17, one of five "suspected terrorists" shot dead after the Cambrils attack.

Likewise, his neighbour Mohamed Hychami, 24, and 18-year-old Said Aallaa, who were also in the car turned into a deadly weapon, called Ripoll home.

At least three of four other suspects detained were also inhabitants of the little town that attracts skiers en route to the Pyrenees mountains bordering France.

And on Saturday, officers raided the apartment of an imam in Ripoll, Abdelbaki Es Satty, according to his flatmate who gave his name only as Nourddem.

"The last time I saw him was Tuesday and he told me that he was going to see his wife in Morocco," Nourddem told AFP.

But Spanish daily El Pais, quoting police sources, said the imam may have been one of those killed in an explosion in a house in Alcanar, some 200 kilometres south of Barcelona, where the alleged jihadists were believed to have been building bombs.

'They came in for a beer'

Everywhere across town, the dismay that one of their own had carried out the deadliest attack in Spain since 2004 was palpable.

Stunned locals looked on as heavily armed officers raided several homes on Friday, including one next to the central Plaza Grande square filled with cafe terraces.

A waiter at one of the cafes told AFP he had served beers to the suspects numerous times, most recently just two days ago.

"They came to have beer at another bar in the square where I used to work. Two days ago they came, two of them and a child. They had a Heineken, a cafe au lait and the child had a juice," said the waiter, who declined to give his name.

A Catalan police officer holds a bag in Ripoll after carrying out a search linked 
to Spain's deadly terror attacks (AFP Photo/PAU BARRENA)

The suspects behaved normally, and gave no reason to be watchful of them, he added.

"Of course it is surprising," a customer of one of the bars, Alberto Batlle, told AFP of the attacks.

"You usually see these things on television happening in other countries and you always believe it will continue to happen to others. And it really affects you, when it happens in Barcelona and it is the work of people from Ripoll."

Yasmila, the neighbour of one of the alleged jihadists, also said that the suspect Said Aallaa was a hardworking and good youth.

"A friend apparently called him on Thursday at 3pm and he went out for a drive," she said, recalling the event two hours before the Barcelona attack.

Signs of radicalisation?

But other locals say there had been visible signs that some in the local Muslim community may have become more radicalised, with some becoming less social.

The opening of a mosque in 2008 prompted controversy in a town that is home to a monastery dating back to the year 888, according to media reports, while more recently a local newspaper column had urged authorities to "check the speech of some imams who were preaching during Ramadan".

Ripoll Mayor Jordi Munell angrily rejected this, saying that if someone saw something suspect, they must tell authorities.

"Today, for example, a person told me that one of (the suspects) had written a radical message on social media. That's true, four years ago! And never again," he said.

"When it's happened, it's very easy to say 'I knew it'."

That's exactly what a man of around 60 said.

"Those who know these north Africans are not surprised," he told AFP.

"You can't say that, they're not all the same," was the retort of a woman who lived next door to Moussa Oukabir.

She added that Moussa's older brother, Driss -- arrested on Thursday -- was a "very well-raised boy".

He told officers that his identity papers, which had been used to rent the van that ploughed into pedestrians in Barcelona, had been stolen by Moussa, according to police sources.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Using vehicles as weapons of terror in Europe

Yahoo – AFP, August 17, 2017

Police cordon off Barcelona's popular Las Ramblas area after a van drives into a
crowd of people in what is described as a terrorist attack (AFP Photo/Josep LAGO)

Barcelona (AFP) - A driver deliberately ploughed a van into pedestrians on one of Spain's busiest streets on Thursday, killing 13 people in what police called a "terrorist attack".

Vehicles have been used as weapons of terror several times over the past year, often by by followers of the Islamic State (IS) group, attacking nations in the US-led coalition fighting the jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

The IS propaganda agency Amaq claimed that "soldiers" from the jihadist group carried out the attack, according to the Site Intelligence Group which monitors Islamist websites.

Police said they had arrested two suspects.

Bastille Day Nice attack

On July 14, 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian, ploughs a 19-tonne truck into a Bastille Day crowd leaving a fireworks display in Nice on the Promenade des Anglais, killing 86 people on the famous beachfront avenue.

IS later claims Bouhlel as one of its followers.

- On June 19, 2007, Adam Dzaziri, a 31-year-old radicalised Islamist who had sworn allegiance to the IS, is killed when he rams a car loaded with guns and a gas canister into a police van on Paris's Champs-Elysees. No one else is injured.

- On August 19, 2017, a 36-year-old Algerian man, named as Hamou B., drives a BMW into soldiers outside a barracks in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, injuring six. After a car chase, police shot and wounded the suspect.

Major attacks in Europe using vehicles as a weapon (AFP Photo/Simon 
MALFATTO, Valentina BRESCHI)

London targeted twice

On March 22, 2017, a 52-year-old British convert to Islam, Khalid Masood, mows down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge near parliament and stabs a policeman, killing five people and injuring around 50 before being shot dead by police. The attack is claimed by IS.

On June 3, the British capital is hit again when three attackers strike pedestrians with a van and go on a stabbing spree wearing fake suicide vests in bars in the London Bridge area. Eight people are killed before the assailants are shot dead by police. The attack is also claimed by IS.

Berlin Christmas market

On December 19, 2016, Tunisian national Anis Amri, 24, hijacks a truck and slams into a crowd of people at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48.

Amri is shot dead by Italian police in Milan four days later after travelling through several European countries. IS claims responsibility.

Stockholm shopping street

An April 7, 2017 a truck attack in the Swedish capital kills five people, including an 11-year-old Swedish girl, a Briton, and one Belgian. Fifteen others are injured.

An Uzbek national, Rakhmat Akilov, 39, confesses to using a stolen beer truck to mow down pedestrians on Stockholm's busiest shopping street Drottninggatan. According to Uzbek police he had tried to join IS in 2015.

Related Articles:

2015 Kryon Kundalini Tour (Cusco #2, Peru) - "The Dysfunction of Darkness" - Nov, 14, 2015 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Paris/ISIS/Dark-Old Energy/USA+Warning for Governments around the World !!!) (Text version)

"... Funding is the Grease of the Engine of Darkness

Everyone on the planet will have to get off the fence in order to eliminate the dark army. Now we have told you before how to do it. And politicians will roll their eyes. Those on the inside of government who know how things work will roll their eyes. You can eliminate the dark army without death. The very thing they're afraid of losing, you can take from them now. Money! How does a dark army work when they can't eat? How will they function when they have no weapons? I guarantee you, even the darkest member of a dark army will go home if they're not fed, or there's no one around to organize them because the leaders are hungry and left. It's impossible, some say. The money is coming from unknown sources, they say. Let me tell you something. No, it isn't. It is coming from very known sources. Much of it comes from the resources of conquered land, but not all. They will start losing their land soon, so they will need funds all the more. If the sources of their income were totally exposed - there are those listening who need to hear this - if the sources of their income were totally exposed, it would make a big difference to the public, who would be shocked.

Let me talk to politicians. You regularly sit across the table from those who are from other countries and who are allies. They smile at you as they fund the dark side. After all, there is money to be made with war! This has been the way of it for years. But this won't last long. Politician, when it's found out that you knew about it, you are the one who will be held responsible. You didn't do anything about it.

I want to talk to Americans, because my partner [Lee] is an American. I'm going to tell you something now, and you're not going to believe it. Many of your hard-earned tax funds are finding their way to the dark army! And there are those within your government who know it. I'll give you an answer as to what to do about it in just a few words: International transparent forensic accounting. International transparent forensic accounting! It is time to clean up the funding of the dark, and kill their ability to make war. (***)

I have a warning for any of those in leadership who know about where the money is coming from, and are not doing anything about it. Your leadership days are numbered. The light is going to expose it and you will lose. Why not get on the right side of the fence now?

Is this too high-minded? Is this too simple? To think that the world could come together and pull the rug from under the darkness where they sit and the cocoon of money that they're in - could this actually happen? Watch for a wild card! [Kryon chuckles again.]

If you did this, would it change the kind of attack you had in Paris? After all, that wasn't an army at all, but just a few. The answer is yes - for the few answer to the many and were trained by the many. They saw the many as an established core to work from. Without the core, there is no purpose. The few are then on their own, without anything backing them up.

It's up to you listening, not the ones in this room. The ones listening and reading later may not even be into Kryon or channeling, but they hear this and know I'm right. This is not a dark message. It's a light message! The beginning is here. Things are changing. You are witnessing the change as we speak.

There'll come a day when you will never see this happen again, these organized groups of evil. This is the joyful message I have for you today. History will remember these times when the world finally got together and realized where they were going. It is tough now. It changes the paradigm of existence. Lives, governments and business will all start to understand the battle is here and is theirs to win. What is your reaction?

I want you to congratulate, love, and understand those who were lost yesterday [in Paris]. I've said this before: They are on my side of the veil now. They're all right. They're now looking back at you and - we have used the phrase before - they're saying, “We did our part. Now you do yours.” They will return to this planet, all of them, and participate in the beauty of the light you are creating at this time of shift on your planet.

Believe me, the end has already happened. This is the beginning.

I am in love with humanity, because of what I have seen you do.

And so it is.

KRYON

(*) "The Recalibration of Dark and Light"

(**) "Revelations of Darkness"



US Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew (R) votes yes on a wide-ranging draft
 resolution aimed at ramping up sanctions against the Islamic State group as
 finance ministers gather at the United Nations Security Council on December 17,
2015 (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)


“ .. Do Not Despair

There's too much information to give you in one channelling, in one sitting, so I refer to past messages for you to better understand and reference the information in order to get the bigger picture. So I wish to remind you of something I also told you in a recent channelling called Do Not DespairYou're winning! It's because you're winning that the dark consciousness on this planet is feeling it, and the humanity that represents darkness is pulling out everything it has to survive.

It Has Always Been There

Let's look at it, because it's all over the news. Are you shocked at the sudden existence of the organization that will remain unnamed [for this channelling]? Where did it come from? How could it be so organized? How could it be so well funded? This organization could have its own country soon! They might as well name it, “The Old Energy Dark Country”, for that's what it will represent.

The barbaric past of humanity comes forward to show its face. It has always been there, hiding under the rocks and between the cracks of civilized humanity. It couldn't show itself until now, but now it has to. It's ugly and it's not for the faint at heart, is it, dear ones? Seeing evil personified in Human action is abhorrent. It is so ugly and so dark that you cannot look upon it with a gentle heart. God is not a part of it and this is obvious.

You're winning! Light is winning! The uprising of dark consciousness would not have shown itself with this strength, or this quickly, if this were not so. This is exactly what I told you to look for, and it is proof that those representing this dark consciousness are in trouble. Dear ones, dark consciousness has always had a tried-and-true system. It lurks in the shadows and influences all the power places of the planet - government, commerce, finance. Suddenly, it can't hide there as well anymore and it's out in the open.

Where is the funding coming from? It is coming from a storehouse that has always been there, dear ones. It uses income that has been generated from low consciousness acts, collected for a very long time. Funding didn't just appear. It has been stored, waiting to be used in order to spread fear and darkness to save what they believe is their way.

Who Will Win?

Dear ones, they haven't got a chance! But it looks like they do, doesn't it? Everything that they are doing is calculated to scare you into submission. Are they winning? Now, that's a question I want you to take from here and examine every day.

Fear is black. If you're in fear, there is no light. You can be the grandest Lightworker, or even be the channeller, but if you're in fear, it doesn't matter how many years you've done light work, or how much light you've accumulated personally. It all goes away with fear, and then they've won the battle for your mind. Do you understand this?

The Strength of the Old Soul - YOU

Old souls, Lightworkers reading this, the experiences you have had over lifetimes and lifetimes are incredible! The old soul knows fear. I don't want to be too graphic, but I want you to understand! What was it like when you put your head in the guillotine because you talked about God in a way that was inappropriate? What was it like to be bound hand and foot when they lit the match at your feet? Old soul, that's fear! You carry those experiences in your Akash.

I want to tell you they haven't got a chance to scare you! You absolutely know what fear is, and they haven't got a chance as long as you cling to that part of you that is the strength of God. You've been through it all. That means you've got the weapons of truth, wisdom and light. Don't forget it. Don't forget who you are!

Do you see how fast they assembled? It seemed like only yesterday that there was no organization at all. Where did they come from? Have you noticed a certain hesitancy to fight them? Why is it that the citizens of the lands that they are invading are hesitant to fight them? Instead, these leaders are calling on others to help. Why is it that the others are also hesitant? I want to show you that there are some anomalies of logic that are not making sense, because this is a battle you have never seen before on this planet. We've expected it, but you haven't. It's about consciousness, not land or resources.

How to Win?

We gave you the secret before of how to defeat them without taking even one life: Simply take away their funding. They cannot exist without their funding. The funding has to be organized, stored, and distributed. It has to be generated in such a way that it must also go through institutions. Did you hear that? All you have to do is stop the system. Winning won't be done with bombing. It's going to be done with intelligence, clever thinking and financial forensics. It's time to get smart on some of these things and not to be afraid to look at this puzzle differently than you have before. Do not apply the energy they are using in order to fight them, because you won't win. Figure it out. It's the last bastion of organized darkness and evil thinking on this planet coming together to try to survive the assault of your light. Don't be afraid to look at the funding trail, no matter where it takes you.

Fear is Their Weapon

I want you to know something as you look at your news. It may appear that you are unable to stop them. In many places, they will gain strength as they create fear. The fear is easily created in those who are not old souls and who don't know fear like you do and who don't have the armor of your spiritual experiences. This puts you in the front line, dear one. Did you realize that? But you don't have to go fight them on their terms. All you have to do is broadcast light. High consciousness will beat fear any day.. .”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Estonia 'e-residency' offers Brexit Brits EU loophole

Yahoo – AFP, Mike COLLIER with Mary SIBIERSKI in Warsaw, August 13, 2017

Taavi Kotka, Estonia's chief information officer, presents the e-residency IDs
project. As Brits brace for the upheaval that Brexit could bring, some are turning to
Estonia's e-residency digital ID programme to keep doing business across
the EU. (AFP Photo/RAIGO PAJULA)

Tallinn (AFP) - As Brits brace for the upheaval that Brexit could bring, some are turning to Estonia's e-residency digital ID programme to keep doing business across the European Union.

Using its knack for digital innovation to capitalise on the global explosion in e-commerce, the small cyber-savvy Baltic eurozone state became the first country to offer e-residency identification cards to people worldwide in 2014.

Touted as a "trans-national government-issued digital identity", e-residency allows users to open a business in the EU and then run it remotely with the ability to declare taxes and sign documents digitally.

It does not provide citizenship, tax residency, physical residency or the right to travel to Estonia. Applications can be made online via the www.howtostayin.eu website and cost 100 euros ($112).

Just over 22,000 people from 138 countries across the globe have become e-residents so far, including around 1,200 Brits and last year's Brexit vote triggered a boom in applications from the UK.

Before it, only three British citizens applied per week, but that shot up to over 50 in its aftermath. There was also a 75 percent spike in UK traffic on the website after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the Article 50 EU exit clause in March.

A "soft Brexit" would mean that Britain could retain access to the European single market like non-EU member Norway. But the "hard Brexit" option that has prevailed so far would see Britain leave the European single market and the customs union, creating a nightmare scenario for UK businesses as there would no longer be free movement of goods and services.

"The UK may have chosen to leave the EU, but its entrepreneurs can still choose to remain inside the EU's business environment" through e-residency, programme director Kaspar Korjus told AFP.

E-residency spokesman Arnaud Castaignet explaind that if a British entrepreneur becomes an Estonian e-resident and establishes a company producing goods in Estonia then they "will have the same access to the EU market as any EU company."

So far the majority of companies established by e-residents are in consultancy services, IT programming, web developing, business support services.

'Insurance policy'

Winners of the Mayor of London's 2017 Entrepreneur competition say they signed up for e-residency to mitigate the risk Brexit poses for their business, a startup making environmentally-friendly wet wipes.

Ellenor McIntosh and Alborz Bozorgi both live in London but say they took up e-residency in order to be able to keep their company, Twipes, inside the EU's single market.

Billing Twipes as "the future of toilet paper", its owners say they have registered it both in the UK and Estonia to boost investor confidence.

"We had discussions with many investors from across Europe, Cyprus and Estonia in particular, and they view the uncertainty of Brexit as a huge risk," Bozorgi told AFP via email.

"We had to incorporate in both the UK and EU as a method of hedging risk," he added.

If Britain loses access to the single market, however, the company would need to source materials and produce Twipes inside the EU to keep duty free access to the bloc.

Brit Dirk Singer established his Rabbit digital marketing agency six years ago in the UK, but wary of Brexit he digitally relocated it to Estonia last year thanks to e-residency.

"I applied for e-residency shortly before the EU referendum last year. Essentially, I was not so optimistic that we would vote to stay and so I saw this as an insurance policy," Singer told AFP.

"Two of my five biggest clients are from the EU. I'm concerned that as a small UK service-based business, Brexit could start to make life difficult for me."

British writer Will Mawhood who runs the "Deep Baltic" culture website says he jumped at the opportunities and flexibility e-residency offers, especially having his company registered in a eurozone member.

"I split my time between the UK and Latvia, but since all my work is online, I often spend prolonged periods of time in other countries," he told AFP.

"People involved in my company are based in a variety of countries, so having to sign important documents in person would be unnecessarily time-consuming and complicated," he added.

Digital banking

An upgrade to the e-residency programme in May saw Finnish fintech company Holvi team up with Estonia to launch , eliminating the need for e-residents to travel to take care of business banking.

Korjus told AFP that there are signs that this uniquely Estonian digital innovation is catching on abroad.

"We've had interest from governments around the world who are keen to understand the programme and even introduce their own versions of e-residency."

He insists that safeguards are in place to prevent the programme from being abused for tax evasion or money laundering, including police checks of applicants.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Contaminated eggs scandal spreads from Europe to Asia

Yahoo - AFP, Danny KEMP, August 11, 2017

Contaminated eggs have been found in at least 11 countries since the scare
went public on August 1, with millions of eggs and egg-based products being
pulled from supermarket shelves

A scandal involving eggs contaminated with insecticide spread to 15 EU countries, Switzerland and as far away as Hong Kong on Friday as the European Commission called for a special meeting on the growing crisis.

Ministers and food safety chiefs from around the European Union are set to meet on September 26 in a bid to get countries to stop "blaming and shaming" each other over the scare involving the chemical fipronil.

Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves across Europe and dozens of poultry farms closed since the discovery of fipronil, which can harm human health, was made public on August 1.

The issue has sparked a row between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, the three countries at the epicentre of the crisis, about how long they knew about the problem.

"Blaming and shaming will bring us nowhere and I want to stop this," Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for health and food safety, told AFP as he announced the meeting.

"We need to work together to draw the necessary lessons and move forward instead."

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that "this is not, let's be clear, a crisis meeting" and it is being held next month to get "distance to the events".

Fipronil is commonly used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks from animals but is banned by the European Union from use in the food industry.

The EU insists there is no threat to human health, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says that when eaten in large quantities it can harm people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

Dutch admit 'errors'

Brussels said the 15 affected EU countries were Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Britain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark, along with non-EU Switzerland.

But in a sign the crisis is going global, Brussels also announced that Hong Kong had received some tainted eggs from the Netherlands, with the southern Chinese city becoming the first place in Asia known to be affected.

As well as dealing with the immediate food safety issue, the EU is also seeking to calm tempers over the egg row after a series of divisive crises in the bloc in recent years, from Brexit to migration.

Belgium earlier this week accused the Netherlands of knowing about the fipronil eggs since November 2016 and failing to notify other countries.

On Thursday Dutch Health Minister Edith Schippers admitted the government had made "errors" but denied a cover-up.

Dutch Health Minister Edith Schippers has admitted that 
mistakes were made in handling the eggs crisis

"We were well aware of a report of the presence of fipronil in the pens of egg-laying hens in November 2016, but there was no indication at the time that fipronil itself was found in the eggs," said Schippers.

A Dutch whistleblower separately said he had told the authorities that Chickfriend, the Dutch company at the centre of the scandal, was illegally using fipronil in the treatment of lice in chicken pens in The Netherlands.

"I am the anonymous whistleblower," Nick Hermens told the NPO public broadcaster.

A Belgian company, Poultry Vision, has said it provided Chickfriend with the chemical.

Dutch and Belgian investigators carried out coordinated raids on several premises on Thursday, arresting two people at Chickfriend.

However, Belgium itself has been forced to admit that it knew about fipronil in eggs back in June but kept it secret for nearly two months because of a criminal investigation.

Fresh discoveries

Fresh discoveries of contaminated eggs have continued daily.

Denmark said on Friday it had found two tonnes of fipronil-tainted scrambled eggs, bringing the total of contaminated eggs to 22 tonnes, mainly from Belgium.

Poland said it had discovered about 40,000 eggs imported from Germany.

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said that since April the country had sold nearly 250,000 contaminated eggs, imported from Belgium and the Netherlands, but the risk for consumers was "very low" given French eating habits.

The food scare is one of the biggest to hit Europe since the 2013 horsemeat scandal when equine meat was falsely labelled and mis-sold.

Previous food scandals include contamination of chickens and eggs by dioxin in 1999, which began in Belgium, and mad-cow disease -- cattle feed contaminated by the ground-up carcasses of animals infected with a deadly brain disorder -- which ran from roughly 1986-1998 and started in Britain.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

French parliament approves Macron's labour reform drive

Yahoo – AFP, Charlotte HILL and Clare BYRNE, August 2, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to give employers more power to
negotiate conditions with workers at the company level rather than being bound
by industry-wide agreements (AFP Photo/CHARLY TRIBALLEAU)

Paris (AFP) - France's parliament on Wednesday adopted a bill allowing the government to fast-track changes to the labour code, the first major reform of Emmanuel Macron's presidency which aims to slash unemployment.

After weeks of at times heated debate between lawmakers, the Senate approved a bill allowing the government to loosen the labour laws after negotiations with unions and employers' groups.

Liberalising France's labour market -- long a demand of its eurozone partners led by Germany -- was one of the central planks of the centrist Macron's election manifesto.

The upper house Senate adopted the final version of the text by 225 votes to 109, completing its adoption.

Former investment banker Macron wants to give employers more power to negotiate conditions with workers at the company level rather than being bound by industry-wide agreements.

France's 39-year-old leader also wants to cap the compensation awarded by courts in dismissal cases.

Employers cite the current lack of visibility on the amount of damages awarded by courts as a disincentive to hiring.

With nearly 3.5 million people out of work, Macron has made job creation his top priority, pledging to cut unemployment from a projected 9.4 percent this year to 7 percent by 2022.

The government says the labour reforms, which have been the subject of several rounds of negotiations with employers and trade unions, will benefit both bosses and workers.

While companies will, for instance, find it easier to lay off staff during a downturn, jobless workers will receive higher payouts.

The reforms also aim to streamline negotiating channels within companies, by fusing the plethora of workers' committees dealing with everything from working hours to health and safety into a single body.

The bill easily passed the National Assembly, or lower house, where Macron's Republic on the Move (REM) party has a large majority.

The stiffest resistance came from the leftist France Unbowed, which accused the ruling party's novice lawmakers of being presidential "stooges" for waving through a bill they said would unravel decades of social gains.

Political minefield

Successive French governments have attempted to reform France's labour laws, without much success.

Ex-president Francois Hollande's Socialist government sparked months of at times violent protests by pushing through a labour bill last year that was far more timid than that of Macron.

Macron immediately got down to negotiations with union leaders to try to avoid a similar debacle.

Despite his attempts to disarm them, some unions leaders are already calling for demonstrations.

The hardline CGT union has called for countrywide strikes and protests on September 12.

Employers, by contrast, have welcomed the imminent changes, which will be implemented by means of executive orders in September.

"France must become as attractive as its neighbours," the head of the Medef employers' federation, Pierre Gattaz, said last week, calling the overhaul "absolutely essential for the country."