Brazil: "Ficha Limpa"

The "clean record" law was a bold proposal that banned any politician convicted of crimes like corruption and money laundering from running for office. With nearly 25% of the Congress under investigation for corruption, most said it would never pass.

Avaaz launched the largest online campaign in Brazilian history, helping to build a petition of over 2 million signatures, 500,000 online actions, and tens of thousands of phone calls.

We fought corrupt congressmen daily as they tried every trick in the book to kill, delay, amend, and weaken the bill, and won the day every time. The bill passed Congress, and already over 330 candidates for office face disqualification. avaaz
More gunfire and arrests reported in Syria

BEIRUT – Residents of the southern Syrian city of Daraa braved sniper fire Tuesday to pull the bullet-riddled bodies of the dead from the streets and hide them from security forces, a day after a brutal government crackdown on the popular revolt against President Bashar Assad, witnesses said. yahoo/AP

Note: advised and supported by the Iranian government, of course...


The Latest Enemies of Iran *

First the hooch, now the pooch. Iranian lawmakers target a worrisome trend among the country's rebellious upper-middle classes: dog owning. time

* Dogs and Their Owners
Royal couple face rogue's gallery of despots

Sitting in the front rows, well ahead of the pop stars, sporting heroes and celebrities, will be figureheads from some of the world's most controversial regimes. While Colonel Gaddafi's representative has been officially uninvited (but only after the attacks began on citizens in Libya), diplomatic niceties dictate that the representatives of other unsavoury members of the London diplomatic corps, including those of North Korea and Iran, will be welcome. independent

Bahrain crown prince declines royal wedding invite

Bahrain's crown prince on Sunday declined an invitation to attend Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding, saying he did not want the Gulf nation's unrest to tarnish the celebration. yahoo/AP
Slovenian philosopher, psychoanalytical theorist and film critic, Zizek has become a gadfly of the left establishment, a prolific provocateur whose principal aim seems to be to confound his tender-minded readers.
Now, more than ever, one should insist on the 'eternal Idea of Communism' - strict egalitarian justice, disciplinary terror, political voluntarism, and trust in the people." independent
Cut the head of the snake off

"My recommendation to Nato and the administration is to cut the head of the snake off, go to Tripoli, start bombing Gaddafi's inner circle, their compounds, their military headquarters in Tripoli," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN's State of the Union.

Senator John McCain, who has just returned from a trip to Benghazi, also supported bringing more pressure to bear on the Libyan regime, but warned that targeting dictators "is a little harder than you think".

"It's pretty obvious to me that the US has got to play a greater role on the air-power side," he told NBC's Meet the Press. "Our Nato allies neither have the assets, nor, frankly, the will." independent

Note: neither the assets nor the will...


Ascension (no use of photoshop or similar)
Syrian forces raid homes

AMMAN (Reuters) – Secret police raided homes near Damascus overnight, rights campaigners said on Sunday, as popular opposition to Syria's authoritarian President Bashar al-Assad increased following bloody attacks on pro-democracy protesters. yahoo/Reuters

Note: learnt those methods with Iran government's forces.

120 dead after 2 days of unrest in Syria

BEIRUT – Syrian security forces fired on funeral processions that drew tens of thousands Saturday, one day after the bloodiest crackdown so far in the uprising against President Bashar Assad. The shootings pushed the two-day death toll to more than 120 and two lawmakers and a religious leader resigned in disgust over the killings. yahoo/AP


Drink-related deaths among men in hard-pressed rural areas exacerbate the decline in the nation's population. guardian (Photograph: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)
Who are the most corrupt in the world?

Global Fraud Study
Where's the corruption in Europe?

Interesting... very interesting...
Citigroup investigated by Greece

Citigroup is being investigated by the Greek authorities after one of its staff warned the bank's clients of the possibility of the country announcing a debt restructuring this weekend. telegraph


Bahrain's secret terror

Desperate emails speak of 'genocide' as doctors who have treated injured protesters are rounded up.
Many of the doctors, aged from 33 to 65, have been "disappeared" – held incommunicado or at undisclosed locations. Their families do not know where they are. Nurses, paramedics and ambulance staff have also been detained. independent
No sign of Nato

The military difficulties were underlined when further details emerged of the death of British photographer Tim Hetherington, who was killed on Wednesday in a mortar attack along with a colleague, Chris Hondras. An Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Hetherington, 41, wrote in his last Twitter post on Tuesday: "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Gaddafi forces. No sign of Nato." guardian

Drones can be used

Earlier this week Nato's commander, Lt Gen Charles Bouchard, described the situation within Misrata as being akin to "a knife fight in a phone booth". He said Gaddafi forces were hiding on the rooftops of mosques, hospitals and schools, and that they were shielding themselves behind women and children. guardian

Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros killed

Two leading photojournalists have been killed covering escalating violence in Misrata, and two other western photographers working with them were injured.

Oscar-nominated British documentary-maker Tim Hetherington, 40, co-creator of the Sundance-winning documentary Restrepo, was killed covering fighting between Muammar Gaddafi's forces and the opposition.

Chris Hondros, 41, a US Pulitzer finalist who works for Getty Images, was also killed. His work has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world. His awards include World Press Photo honours and the Robert Capa gold medal, one of the highest prizes in war photography. guardian
How Many Chernobyls Can the World Afford?

The global community has pledged a half-billion euros at the donor conference in Kiev for a new sarcophagus to cover the ruins of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Tobias Münchmeyer of Greenpeace argues the conference is only the beginning. The dangers of Chernobyl will be with us for thousands of years to come and will remain extremely expensive for Europe. spiegel


Chinese regime targeted dozens of critics

The recent disappearance of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei made headlines around the world. But the Chinese regime has also targeted dozens of other critics and activists in a major crackdown. Many are still missing. spiegel
Dozens of Fish Species Threatened

Many species of fish could disappear from the waters of the Mediterranean in the near future, says a new study. Several types of sharks and rays are threatened, as are many commercial fish. spiegel

Question: why EU "killed" fish industries in Portugal - wich would work basically in the Atlantic Ocean - favouring the spanish fishing fleet?


$785m to seal Chernobyl under new 'shell'

Governments from around the world today pledged $785m (€550m) to seal the stricken nuclear reactor at Chernobyl within a 20,000-tonne steel shield that would be large enough to enclose St Paul's Cathedral in London. The huge arch is designed to prevent any further radiation from escaping for 100 years. guardian

Note: be care because in Ukraine the money can disappear on the way...
Hungary breaches EU values

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Germany has warned the conservative Hungarian government that its new constitution, passed by parliament on Monday (18 April), is not compatible with European Union values.

"We are observing the developments in Hungary with great attention and some worry," German deputy foreign minister Werner Hoyer said in an emailed statement. "The media law adopted at the start of the year shows an attitude towards fundamental rights which - despite some amendments - is hardly compatible with European Union values."

"Our worries over the media law are made worse, not better, by today's adoption of the constitution and its future implementation," he added. euobserver

Hungarian mothers may get extra votes

In a move that would be unprecedented in a modern democracy, Hungary's new government is considering giving mothers with small children extra votes in elections.

The conservative Fidesz party has made several controversial decisions since coming to power on a populist rightwing agenda, including a crackdown on the media, but the latest proposal could be prove to be its most contentious. guardian

Question: why Hungary still in EU?


Restructuring state debt

Lars Feld: Restructuring state debt is a fundamentally sensible thing to do. Making private creditors partially liable in the case of national bankruptcies provides incentives to everyone involved: It encourages banks to be less lavish about lending money. It encourages debtors to pay off their debts. And it encourages less deeply indebted countries to continue responsibly managing their budgets.
Our current problems stem from the fact that banks -- particularly those in Germany and France -- wouldn't be able to cope with a massive restructuring of state debt. That's why we are rescuing heavily indebted countries. Restructuring the banking sector is just as urgent.
I advocate pragmatic economic policies. I think that we need less state regulation in many areas. But, when it comes to the financial sector, we can't make it without state intervention. spiegel

Trouble for Europe

The right-wing populist party True Finns won 19 percent of the vote in Finland on Sunday. The euroskeptic party has said it is opposed to a bailout package for Portugal, which could spell trouble for the euro zone. spiegel

Irish and Spanish credit default swaps rose

The party leader said he expects the EU to change plans for a bailout of Portugal. "Of course there will have to be changes," Timo Soini said.

Portuguese five-year credit default swaps climbed 26 basis points to 625bps this morning, according to data monitor Markit.

The cost of insuring Greek debt also soared after a newspaper report that the country had asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union to restructure its debt, although this was later denied by Greece's finance ministry.

Furious Greeks are urging their government to default on its debt as the country struggles to dig itself out of its crisis despite a €110bn (£97bn) bailout. Five-year credit default swaps on Greek government debt surged by 84bps to 1220bps. This means it costs €1.22m to protect €10m of exposure to Greek bonds. Irish and Spanish credit default swaps also rose. guardian

Number of Violent Neo-Nazis Rising in Germany

"The neo-Nazi scene that is prepared to commit violence has become larger. It grew by 600 to 5,600 people in 2010," Heinz Fromm, the president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper. In 2000, the number had been far lower, at 2,200. spiegel


Holbox Island and the Yalahau Lagoon on the northeast corner of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are featured in this image, acquired by the Korea Multi-purpose Satellite (Kompsat-2) of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). CREDIT: KARI via ESA
Berlin's Hesitancy in the UN and the World

The Russians did not use their veto, though the resolution included authorization to intervene militarily. The Chinese did not block the resolution, though it involved a deep intervention into Libya's internal affairs. The Americans voted for the resolution, though the International Criminal Court in The Hague, of which they disapprove, remained in play.

The Lebanese voted in favor, though it meant paving the way for attacks on a fellow Arab country. The South Africans and the Nigerians voted yes, even though their vote was a violation of African solidarity. And the Germans? They abstained. They had concerns -- not to mention state elections. spiegel

Note: "Even more serious than a possible end to the dream of "permanent" membership, though, is the impression that Germany abdicated responsibility at a historic moment -- instead of participating in the attempt to stop a lunatic dictator."
Libya's Stalingrad

The besieged and battered bastion has become Libya's Stalingrad. The fall of Misrata would not only be a huge symbolic and psychological triumph for Muammar Gaddafi, but also end significant opposition to his rule in the west of the country.

It is this defiance and determination only 150 miles from where he sits in Tripoli that seem to enrage the dictator of Libya. The daily rocket and artillery attacks are vengeful and often indiscriminate, destroying homes and killing and maiming civilians. More than 200 attacks have been launched in the past 48 hours, killing 40 people and injuring 105 others. independent


Gaddafi forces using cluster bombs

Rebels in Misrata, which came under heavy shelling yesterday from troops loyal to Colonel Gaddafi, claimed the dictator's forces had been using cluster bombs.

These pose a particular risk to civilians because they scatter small bomblets over a wide area. independent
Greek Debt Restructuring Looks Inevitable

Europe's sovereign debt crisis is threatening to take on new dimensions as Portugal becomes the third euro-zone member to ask the EU for a bailout. Germany is opposed to giving Greece any more financial aid, meaning that Athens will have little choice but to restructure its debt. spiegel
UK will welcome IMF oversight

Britain will find itself on a list of systemically important major economies whose economic performance could give rise to such cause for international concern that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will regularly review them.

The G20 will this weekend agree a set of "indicative guidelines" – criteria for whether a nation will be subject to this higher level of IMF scrutiny. They will cover areas such as a country's budget deficit, trade imbalances, and whether the country's economy is large enough and internationally connected enough to threaten wider "spillover" damage and add to the global economic imbalances. independent


Gadhafi forces attack rebel city in western Libya

TRIPOLI, Libya – Moammar Gadhafi's troops launched a powerful assault with tanks and rockets Friday on Misrata, the last major rebel city in western Libya, sending residents fleeing to increasingly crowded safe areas of the city that are still out of the Libyan leader's reach. yahoo/AP

Note: "Friday's attacks on Misrata — even as NATO foreign ministers meeting in Berlin debated handling of the Libya air campaign — highlight rebel worries that international intervention won't come fast enough or will be ineffective."
More women are using pornography

Increasing numbers of women admit to being hooked on internet porn. guardian

Note: be careful when using it in China...
Ai Weiwei arrest

A lawyer linked to Ai Weiwei went missing on Thursday night and a designer from the company handling the artist's affairs was taken by police six days ago, according to supporters. guardian
Italian activist murdered by extremists

Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, was killed on Thursday by the Tawheed and Jihad group, one of several extremist Islamist groups in the Gaza Strip. About 2,000 people attended a rally to honour him yesterday. His abduction is thought to have been an attempt to force Hamas to release the group's leader, Sheikh Abu Walid-al-Maqdas, a Jordanian Palestinian who was arrested last month. guardian
Syria's silent majority

It was an episode that at any other time in Syria's history might have gone unnoticed. A month ago, a group of Syrian children, aged between 10 and 13, daubed anti-regime graffiti on a wall in a dusty town near the Jordan border. The security forces made some arrests. Relatives of the children protested. They were insulted and beaten. guardian
Allies say Gaddafi must go

A fresh hail of government rockets crashed into Misrata today after Western allies denounced a "medieval siege" of the city and vowed to keep bombing Muammar Gaddafi's forces until he stepped down. independent

Two days of talks without agreement

Nato foreign ministers, meeting in Berlin, ended two days of talks without agreement on calls by London and Paris to intensify the military action against the regime.

The alliance's Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told a closing news conference that the discussions on the deployment of additional warplanes would continue. independent

Note: would continue after how many (more) massacres by Gaddafi's forces? Why France and Britain (and US?) don't go further?


Ai Weiwei has begun "confessing"

Hong Kong newspaper says police suspect artist of tax-dodging, bigamy and spreading pornography on web. guardian

Note: everyone would confess everything...

Ai Weiwei was offered advisory role

Artist was visited by officials at his studio who invited him to join Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, says aide. guardian
Goldman Sachs accused of fooling clients

In a frenzy to protect its interests at the start of the credit crisis, Goldman Sachs sold mortgage-linked derivatives to clients at inflated prices and misrepresented the nature of the deals, according to documents released by a Senate subcommittee. guardian
Protesters thrown out of BP AGM

A number of protesters were ejected from BP's Annual General Meeting today after attempting to storm the stage.

The group, dressed in matching T-shirts, were carried out of the Excel Centre in east London by security guards as BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg was involved in a heated discussion over oil extraction in Canadian tar-sands. independent
Nato must stop Misrata 'massacre'

Libyan rebels begged for more Nato air strikes today, saying they faced a massacre from government artillery barrages on the besieged city of Misrata, but Western allies squabbled over the air campaign.

Rebels said a hail of Grad rockets fired by besieging forces into a residential district of Misrata, Libya's third largest city, had killed 23 civilians, mostly women and children. independent

Nato commander pleads for better fighter jets

Admiral James Stavridis says precision ground-attack jets would help minimise civilian casualties. guardian


Mubarak detained

CAIRO – Egypt's prosecutor general announced Wednesday the 15-day detention of former President Hosni Mubarak pending inquiries into accusations of corruption, abuse of authority and the killings of protesters during the uprising that ousted him from power. yahoo/AP

Nota: how worst Gaddafi is? Why Gaddafi, and his sons, is not yet defeated by the "international forces"? Maybe because the oil...


Japan nuclear crisis upgraded to Chernobyl level

Japan put its nuclear calamity on a par with the world's worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl, today after new data showed that more radiation leaked from its earthquake-crippled power plant in the early days of the crisis than first thought. independent
Gaddafi's forces continue their savage assault

The missiles came in at 3.20am, exploding in regular bursts, smashing down walls and shattering windows. The possible target was an oil depot, but again it was the civilians who paid a lethal price – as they had done so often in Misrata. Five bodies were dug out of the rubble and another 20 were wounded. The attack had taken place four hours after Muammar Gaddafi had supposedly accepted a peace deal to end this vicious civil war. independent

Note: "the attack had taken place four hours after Muammar Gaddafi had supposedly accepted a peace deal to end this vicious civil war."


Would not be acceptable

South African President Jacob Zuma says the Libyan government has accepted an African Union peace proposal to end the eight-week-old conflict.

A rebel spokesman said any deal designed to keep Colonel Gaddafi or his sons in place would not be acceptable. bbc

Note: Gaddafi is a murder and a war criminal. How can AU believe him? (well... AU is very used to deal with and trust bandits...). Gaddafi does not want the peace. Him just want - because absolutely need - to win some time.
Japan: Powerful earthquake hits north-east

A powerful earthquake has hit north-east Japan, exactly one month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The 7.1-magnitude tremor triggered a brief tsunami warning, and forced workers to evacuate the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. bbc


Finance Watch

Last June, European elected officials in charge of regulating financial markets and banks launched a call to civil society to organize the creation of a non-governmental organization capable of developing a counter-expertise on activities carried out on financial markets by the major operators (banks, insurance companies, hedge funds, etc ...).

This call has been given the name Finance Watch. It's objective is to end the imbalance between the force of the financial industry and the absence of lobbying from NGOs in the financial field, which is a democratic problem.


Right now, Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning is being tortured in a US military prison. Manning is subjected to utter isolation that can drive many people insane, with short periods each day where he is stripped naked and abused by jeering inmates. avaaz


No apology from Nato

Nato has refused to apologise for an attack on Libyan rebel forces in the east of the country in which at least five people were killed, saying it had not been informed that the rebels had tanks. independent

Note: it would be much better if it was only Europe to help "rebels" in Libya. Nato and US always make lots of collateral casualities. Europe should withdraw from Nato.


Gaddafi's men try to obliterate traces of massacre

The full history of what happened in Zawiya from mid February to mid March will not be written until Libya is free.

Even then it may be dwarfed by the probably greater carnage being wrought on his people by Gaddafi forces in the other western Libyan city of Misrata.

But for now it is as if the regime is trying to eliminate any memory of Zawiya's rebellion. independent


Industries on Life Support

The Internet's role as a creator/destroyer is also behind the constant talk of the demise of newspapers. Newspaper publishing, a $41 billion industry last year, fell 36% since 2000, with a 20% decline likely by 2016.

Failing to see the writing on the wall, and how the online world would snare eyeballs and advertisers, is once again a major part of the problem these companies face. It's been years and years since the "information superhighway" was a hot concept, and yet such companies as The New York Times {NYSE: NYT - News) are just now getting serious (though not yet successful) about such concepts as "paywalls" for their content. yahoo/thestreet
Ivory Coast presidential palace besieged

With the help of international forces, the armed group fighting to install the country's democratically elected leader Alassane Ouattara pushed their way to the heart of the city to reach Mr Gbagbo's home. independent


Ai Weiwei is missing

One of China's most famous contemporary artists remained missing, more than a day after he was blocked from leaving the country and police raided his home, his wife said.

The disappearance of artist Ai Weiwei comes as China carries out a massive crackdown on lawyers, writers and activists, arresting and detaining dozens since online calls for protests similar to those in the Middle East and North Africa began to circulate in February. independent


Iman al-Obeidi still missing

A petition demanding the release of a young Libyan women who stormed into a Tripoli hotel full of journalists and accused government soldiers of rape was on the way to reaching its target of half a million signatures on Saturday.

Iman al-Obeidi achieved worldwide celebrity after footage of her bursting into the Rixos hotel last Saturday and throwing open her coat to reveal scars and bruises was posted on the Internet.

"Words cannot express the courage Iman showed in speaking out - and we can only imagine the terror she must be facing right now in the hands of Kadhafi's infamous thugs," said Avaaz.org, organiser of the online campaign. yahoo/AFP
Regime moves towards deal

There is, however, deep hatred of the dictator and his family among the supporters of the revolution and the demands for retribution against the Gaddafis have ranged from trial on charges of human rights abuse, to forced exile. independent

Note 1: "charges of human rights abuse" and war crimes.

Note 2: "Saif al-Islam, who supposedly wants to remain to play a "constructive role" in a post-war Libya"? Ridicule! Him should be charged as his father.

Note 3: Europe must support "rebels" with heavy weapons and military training.


Ferrari tax in UK

Opinion is divided in Portugal. While many see Ronaldo's agreement to the move as the "ultimate patriotic gesture" others regard the transfer as a "surrender". Paolo Fril, professor of political economics at Lisbon University, told The Independent: "We were ruled by a Spanish king for 60 years [1580-1640] and had to go to war to win back our independence. This is not about Spain saving us –they are restoring the Iberian Union by the back door."

There are doubts in Spain, too. The issue is not naturalising Ronaldo, but whether he is needed. Spain are the current world and European champions, with a style of play that relies more on passing than the soloist skills for which Ronaldo is known. "If we are going to buy foreigners we should buy Lionel Messi [Barcelona's Argentinian star]," said one fan.

But if Ronaldo is unappreciated in Spain, his skills may be in demand elsewhere. Late last night, reports suggested that David Cameron was preparing a counter-offer, of £200m, to persuade Ronaldo to play for England. "The Premier League is where Ronaldo became a star," said the Prime Minister, "so it is only right and proper he should play for England." He added that Vince Cable had proposed a "Ferrari tax" to pay for it, though Ronaldo himself would be given exemption. independent