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Archive for February, 2011

West moves to help Libya uprising, Gadhafi digs in

Posted by Admin on February 28, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110228/ap_on_re_af/af_libya

TRIPOLI, Libya – The U.S. military deployed naval and air units near Libya, and the West moved to send its first concrete aid to Libya’s rebellion in the east of the country, hoping to give it the momentum to oust Moammar Gadhafi. But the Libyan leader’s regime clamped down in its stronghold in the capital and appeared to be maneuvering to strike opposition-held cities.

In Washington, Defense Department spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said the naval and air forces were deployed to have flexibility as Pentagon planners worked on contingency plans, but did not elaborate. The U.S. has a regular military presence in the Mediterranean Sea.

The European Union slapped an arms embargo, visa ban and other sanctions on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, as British Prime Minister David Cameron told British lawmakers Monday he is working with allies on a plan to establish a military no-fly zone over Libya, since “we do not in any way rule out the use of military assets” to deal with Gadhafi’s embattled regime.

In the most direct U.S. demand for Gadhafi to step down, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the Libyan leader must leave power “now, without further violence or delay.”

France was sending two planes with humanitarian aid, including medicine and doctors, to Benghazi, the opposition stronghold in eastern Libya, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said. That would be the first direct Western aid to the uprising that has taken control of the entire eastern half of Libya. Fillon said it was the start of a “massive operation of humanitarian support” for the east and that Paris was studying “all solutions” — including military options.

The two sides in Libya’s crisis appeared entrenched in their positions, and the direction the uprising takes next could depend on which can hold out longest. Gadhafi is dug in in Tripoli and nearby cities, backed by security forces and militiamen who are generally better armed than the military. His opponents, holding the east and much of the country’s oil infrastructure, also have pockets in western Libya near Tripoli. They are backed by mutinous army units, but those forces appear to have limited supplies of ammunition and weapons.

In the two opposition-held cities closest to Tripoli — Zawiya and Misrata — rebel forces were locked in standoffs with Gadhafi loyalists.

An Associated Press reporter saw a large pro-Gadhafi force massed on the western edge of Zawiya, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, with about a dozen armored vehicles and tanks and jeeps mounted with anti-aircraft guns. An officer said they were from the elite Khamis Brigade, named after the Gadhafi son who commands it. U.S. diplomats have said the brigade is the best equipped force in Libya.

Residents inside the city said they were anticipating a possible attack.

“Our people are waiting for them to come and, God willing, we will defeat them,” one resident who only wanted to be quoted by his first name, Alaa, told AP in Cairo by telephone.

In Misrata, Libya’s third largest city 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli, Gadhafi troops who control part of an air base on the city’s outskirts tried to advance Monday. But they were repelled by opposition forces, who include residents armed with automatic weapons and army unites allied with them, one of the opposition fighters said.

He said there were no casualties reported in the clashes and claimed that his side had captured eight soldiers, including a senior officer.

The opposition controls most of the air base, and the fighter said dozens of anti-Gadhafi gunmen have arrived from further east in recent days as reinforcements.

Several residents of the eastern city of Ajdabiya said Gadhafi’s air force also bombed an ammunition depot nearby held by the opposition. One, 17-year-old Abdel-Bari Zwei, reported intermittent explosions and a fire, and another, Faraj al-Maghrabi, said the facility was partially damaged. The site contains bombs, missiles and ammunition — key for the undersupplied opposition military forces.

State TV carried a statement by Libya’s Defense Ministry denying any attempt to bomb the depot. Ajdabiya lies about 450 miles (750 kilometers) east of Tripoli along the Mediterranean coast.

Gadhafi opponents have moved to consolidate their hold in the east, centered on Benghazi — Libya’s second largest city, where the uprising began. Politicians there on Sunday set up their first leadership council to manage day-to-day affairs, taking a step toward forming what could be an alternative to Gadhafi’s regime.

The opposition is backed by numerous units of the military in the east that joined the uprising, and they hold several bases and Benghazi’s airport. But so far, the units do not appear to have melded into a unified fighting force. Gadhafi long kept the military weak, fearing a challenge to his rule, so many units are plagued by shortages of supplies and ammunition.

Gadhafi supporters said Monday that they were in control of the city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli, which has seemed to go back and forth between the two camps the past week. Several residents told The Associated Press that protesters set fire to a police station, but then were dispersed. Anti-Gadhafi graffiti — “Down with the enemy of freedom” and “Libya is free, Gadhafi must leave” — were scrawled on some walls, but residents were painting them over.

In the capital, several hundred protesters started a march in the eastern district of Tajoura, which has been the scene of frequent clashes. After the burial of a person killed in gunfire last week, mourners began to march down a main street, chanting against the Libyan leader and waving the flag of Libya’s pre-Gadhafi monarchy, which has become a symbol of the uprising, a witness said.

But they quickly dispersed once a brigade of pro-Gadhafi fighters rushed to the scene, scattering before the gunmen could fire a shot, the witness said. He and other residents in the capital spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

There were attempts to restore aspects of normalcy in the capital, residents said. Many stores downtown reopened, and traffic in the streets increased.

Tripoli was in turmoil on Friday, when residents said gunmen opened fire indiscriminately on protesters holding new marches. But since then, the capital has been quiet — especially since foreign journalists invited by Gadhafi’s regime to view the situation arrived Friday.

Long lines formed outside banks in the capital by Libyans wanting to receive the equivalent of $400 per family that Gadhafi pledged in a bid to shore up public loyalty.

One resident said pro-Gadhafi security forces man checkpoints around the city of 2 million and prowl the city for any sign of unrest. She told The Associated Press that the price of rice, a main staple, has gone up 500 percent amid the crisis, reaching the equivalent of $40 for a five-kilogram (10-pound) bag.

Bakeries are limited to selling five loaves of bread per family, and most butcher shops are closed, she said.

Some schools reopened, but only for a half day and attendance was low. “My kids are too afraid to leave home and they even sleep next to me at night,” said Sidiq al-Damjah, 41 and father of three. “I feel like I’m living a nightmare.”

Gadhafi has launched by far the bloodiest crackdown in a wave of anti-government uprisings sweeping the Arab world, the most serious challenge to his four decades in power. The United States, Britain and the U.N. Security Council all slapped sanctions on Libya this weekend.

In Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was meeting Monday with foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany and Italy, pressing for tough sanctions on the Libyan government. A day earlier, Clinton kept up pressure for Gadhafi to step down and “call off the mercenaries” and other troops that remain loyal to him.

“We’ve been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east and as the revolution moves westward there as well,” Clinton said. “I think it’s way too soon to tell how this is going to play out, but we’re going to be ready and prepared to offer any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have from the United States.”

Two U.S. senators said Washington should recognize and arm a provisional government in rebel-held areas of eastern Libya and impose a no-fly zone over the area — enforced by U.S. warplanes — to stop attacks by the regime. But Fillon said a no-fly zone needed U.N. support “which is far from being obtained today.”

Sabratha, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Tripoli — a city known for nearby Roman ruins — showed signs of the tug-of-war between the two camps. On Monday, when the journalists invited to Libya by the government visited, many people were lined up at banks to collect their $400. When they saw journalists, they chanted, “God, Moammar and Libya.”

Ali Mohammed, a leader from the Alalqa tribe, the main tribe in the area, said in previous days Gadhafi opponents burned the main police station, an Internal Security office and the People’s Hall, where the local administration meets. “I then held a meeting with the protesters to stop these acts the people said they will control their children and since then there has been no problems,” he said.

“The thugs and rats were roaming the streets and they attacked the police station and then they disappeared,” said resident Taher Ali, who was collecting his $400. “They are rats and thugs. We are all with Moammar.”

An anti-Gadhafi activist in Sabratha told The Associated Press in Cairo by telephone that the opposition raided the police station and security offices last week for weapons, and had dominated parts of city. But then on Sunday, a large force of pro-Gadhafi troops deployed in the city, “so we withdrew,” he said.

“The city is not controlled by us or them. There are still skirmishes going on,” he said.

In Tripoli, a government spokesman blamed the West and Islamic militants for the upheaval, saying they had hijacked and escalated what he said began as “genuine” but small protests demanding “legitimate aand much needed political improvements.”

“On one hand, Islamists love to see chaos … this is paradise for them,” he said. “The West wants chaos to give them reason to intervene militarily to control the oil.”

“The Islamists want Libya to be their Afghanistan … to complete their crescent of terror,” he said. “This is not the first time the Islamic militants and the west find common cause.”

___

AP correspondents Hamza Hendawi, Bassem Mroue and Ben Hubbard in Cairo, and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

 

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Brent backs off $120, eyes on Libyan, Saudi supply

Posted by Admin on February 24, 2011

Traders work in the oil options pit on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York City
By Christopher Johnson Christopher Johnson 29 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil surged more than 7.5 percent to its highest since August 2008 on Thursday on concern that uprisings in Libya could spread to other major oil producers in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.

Brent crude oil for April spiked up $8.54 a barrel to a peak of $119.79 before easing to around $114 by 11:15 a.m. EST. U.S. crude futures for April rose as high as $103.41, the highest September 2009. They were up $1.00 at $99.10 at 11:15 a.m. EST.

Unrest in the world’s 12th-biggest exporter has cut at least 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Libya’s 1.6 million bpd output, according to Reuters calculations.

ENI Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni said Libyan output had fallen much more dramatically, estimating it was putting 1.2 million barrels per day less into the market.

The Financial Times quoted an unnamed official as saying Saudi Arabia was in active talks with European refiners who may be hit by a disruption in Libyan exports.

That would be the clearest sign yet that OPEC’s biggest exporter is ready to respond to the cut in Libyan output.

The kingdom had asked refiners “what quantity and what quality of oil they want,” the FT quoted the senior Saudi oil official saying on condition of anonymity.

Goldman Sachs said the spread of unrest to another producing country could bring oil shortages and require demand rationing.

“The market cannot accommodate another disruption, in our view,” analyst Jeffrey Currie said in a research note.

Also supporting oil prices were figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing a lower-than-expected build in crude inventories and hefty drawdowns in gasoline and distillate stocks last week.

EYES ON SAUDI

Major banks joined the chorus of calls on Thursday for OPEC to act quickly on fears the strong oil prices could derail the fragile economic recovery.

Barclays Capital and Citi said it saw no downward pressure on prices until more oil comes to the market.

“Unless we see an explicit move from … producer countries, i.e. Saudi Arabia, I don’t think there is necessarily going to be any downward pressure on prices,” said BarCap analyst Amrita Sen.

Eugen Weinberg, Commerzbank’s head of commodities research, said the situation called for “some extraordinary measures.”

“This is an opportunity for OPEC to prove whether they are really able to (step) into this production gap,” he said.

Eastern areas holding much of Libya’s oil have slipped from the control of Muammar Gaddafi, who has unleashed a bloody crackdown on protesters to keep his 41-year grip on power.

The cuts in Libyan oil output represent the first disruption to supply as a direct result of protests that have swept through the oil-producing regions of north Africa and the Middle East.

The concern for oil markets is how unrest might affect Saudi Arabia, which not only pumps around 10 percent of the world’s oil but is also the only holder of significant spare crude production capacity that can be used to plug outages.

The FT report said Saudi Arabia was waiting for a response from European customers before making a decision on whether or not to increase output. It said options included pumping more oil through an East-West pipeline or boosting shipments to Asia in order to free up West African crude for Europe.

Without Saudi Arabia’s 4 million bpd of spare capacity, there is little margin in the global oil supply system.

To date, Saudi Arabia has escaped popular protests that have raged across the Arab world, toppling the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia and spreading as far as Saudi neighbor Bahrain.

Saudi King Abdullah has unveiled benefits for Saudis worth $37 billion in an apparent bid to insulate the oil exporter from protests in the region. However, hundreds of people have backed a Facebook page campaigning for a ‘day of rage’ across the kingdom on March 11 to demand reforms and greater democracy.

U.S. crude oil inventories rose less than expected and refined product stocks fell last week as the United States imported less crude, according to a report from the IEA.

Domestic crude stocks rose 822,000 barrels to 346.7 million barrels in the week to February 18, the report showed, compared with expectations for a 1.2 million barrel build in a Reuters poll of analysts.

(Additional reporting by Nia Williams, Emma Farge, Claire Milhench and Dmitry Zhdannikov in London; Editing by Jason Neely and Alison Birrane)

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UK court agrees Assange extradition to Sweden

Posted by Admin on February 24, 2011

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks after his extradition hearing at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court
By Michael Holden Michael Holden 1 hr 55 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who rocked the U.S. government by publishing thousands of secret diplomatic memos, must be extradited to Sweden to face sex crimes allegations, a British judge ruled on Thursday.

Assange’s lawyers said immediately they planned to appeal against the decision to London’s High Court and it could still be months before the legal process in Britain reaches an end.

The 39-year-old Australian computer expert remains in Britain on bail in the meantime.

Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange about allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denies, made by two WikiLeaks volunteers during his time in Sweden last August.

Judge Howard Riddle dismissed Assange’s arguments that he could not get a fair trial in Sweden and said extradition to Sweden would not violate his human rights.

“I must order Mr Assange be extradited to Sweden,” he told London’s top-security Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court in a case covered by scores of reporters from around the world.

Assange, smartly dressed in dark suit and tie, showed no emotion as Riddle gave his verdict.

About a dozen Assange supporters, wearing masks and costumes or Guantanamo Bay-style orange boiler suits, chanted at the front of the court.

THUMBS-UP

Speaking to a crowd of reporters after the hearing, Assange attacked the fast-track European arrest warrant used to seek his extradition to Sweden and called the court hearing a “rubber-stamping process.”

“There was no consideration during this entire process as to the merits of the allegations made against me,” he said, accusing the United States of putting pressure on Britain, Sweden and the media over his case.

He gave a thumbs-up sign as he walked away from the court while his supporters clapped and cheered.

Assange’s lawyers have accused Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of creating a “toxic atmosphere” in Sweden and damaging his chances of a fair trial by portraying him as “public enemy number one.”

WikiLeaks caused a media and diplomatic uproar late last year when it began to publish its cache of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, revealing secrets such as that Saudi leaders had urged U.S. military action against Iran.

The U.S. government is examining whether criminal charges can be brought against Assange over the leaks and Assange fears extradition to Sweden could be a stepping-stone to him being taken to the United States, although legal experts say that could not happen without Britain giving permission.

CONTROVERSY

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the Assange case was a matter between Britain and Sweden.

“Notwithstanding claims to the contrary, the U.S. is not involved,” he said.

Swedish prosecutors had no immediate comment.

Assange is a controversial and flamboyant character who inspires strong loyalties among his supporters, but his former right-hand man described him in a recent book as an irresponsible, autocratic bully.

Many well-known people have flocked to Assange’s support, defending him as a crusader for free speech.

Socialite Jemima Khan was in court on Thursday and celebrities including British film director Ken Loach and Australian journalist John Pilger offered sureties in December to persuade the British court he would not abscond.

One of the alleged victims accuses Assange of sexually molesting her by ignoring her request for him to use a condom during sex. The second woman has said Assange had sex with her while she was asleep and that he was not wearing a condom.

Prosecutors say the second allegation falls into the least severe of three categories of rape in Sweden, carrying a maximum of four years in jail.

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Gun battles rage as rebels seize Libyan towns

Posted by Admin on February 24, 2011

A protester covers his face with a Libyan flag ...
A Protester covering his face with the Libyan Flag
By Alexander Dziadosz Alexander Dziadosz 23 mins ago

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi launched a fierce counter-attack on Thursday, fighting gun battles with rebels who have threatened the Libyan leader by seizing important towns close to the capital.

The opposition were already in control of major centers in the east, including the regional capital Benghazi, and reports that the towns of Misrata and Zuara in the west had also fallen brought the tide of rebellion closer to Gaddafi’s power base.

Gun battles in Zawiyah, an oil terminal 50 km (30 miles) from the capital, left 10 people dead, a Libyan newspaper said.

France’s top human rights official said up to 2,000 people might have died so far in the uprising.

In a rambling appeal for calm, Gaddafi blamed the revolt on al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and said the protesters were fueled by milk and Nescafe spiked with hallucinogenic drugs,

Gaddafi, who just two days ago vowed in a televised address to crush the revolt and fight to the last, showed none of the fist-thumping rage of that speech.

This time, he spoke to state television by telephone without appearing in person, and his tone seemed more conciliatory.

“Their ages are 17. They give them pills at night, they put hallucinatory pills in their drinks, their milk, their coffee, their Nescafe,” Gaddafi said.

A Tripoli resident, who did not want to be identified because he feared reprisals for speaking to the foreign media, told Reuters: “It seems like he realized that his speech yesterday with the strong language had no effect on the people. He’s realizing it’s going to be a matter of time before the final chapter: the battle of Tripoli.”

FIGHTBACK

Forces loyal to the Libyan leader attacked anti-government militias controlling Misrata, Libya’s third-biggest city, 125 miles east of Tripoli, and several people were killed in fighting near the city’s airport.

Soldiers were reported along the roads approaching Tripoli. In Zawiyah, witnesses said pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces were firing at each other in the streets.

“It is chaotic there. There are people with guns and swords,” said Mohamed Jaber, who passed through Zawiyah on his way to Tunisia on Thursday.

Al Jazeera television broadcast pictures of what it said was a burning police station in Zawiyah. A witness told Reuters the Libyan army was present in force.

Anti-government militias were in control of Zuara, about 120 km (75 miles) west of Tripoli. There was no sign of police or military and the town was controlled by “popular committees” armed with automatic weapons.

The uprising has virtually halted Libya’s oil exports, said the head of Italy’s ENI, Libya’s biggest foreign oil operator. The unrest has driven world oil prices up to around $120 a barrel, stoking concern about the economic recovery.

Key Libyan oil and product terminals to the east of the capital are in the hands of rebels, according to Benghazi residents in touch with people in region. The oil and product terminals at Ras Lanuf and Marsa El Brega were being protected, they said, amid fears of attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces.

The desert nation pumps nearly 2 percent of the world’s oil.

World leaders condemned Gaddafi’s bloody crackdown on the week-long revolt, but did little to halt the bloodshed from the latest upheaval reshaping the Arab world.

U.S. President Barack Obama joined western leaders in condemning the violence in Libya.

“It is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice,” Obama said. “The suffering and bloodshed are outrageous.”

French Defense Minister Alain Juppe said he hoped Gaddafi was “living his last moments as leader”. British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged the world to increase pressure on Gaddafi.

UP TO 2,000 DEAD

France’s top human rights official said up to 2,000 people could have died in the unrest and he feared Gaddafi could unleash “migratory terrorism” on Europe as his regime collapses.

“The question is not if Gaddafi will fall, but when and at what human cost,” Francois Zimeray told Reuters. “For now the figures we have … more than 1,000 have died, possibly 2,000, according to sources.”

Benghazi, the eastern regional capital where the rebellion started a week ago, is starting to run itself under “people’s committees” as the dust of rebellion settles. In the east of Libya, many soldiers have withdrawn from active service.

A Reuters correspondent in the city was shown about a dozen people being held in a court building who residents said were “mercenaries” backing Gaddafi. Some were said to be African and others from southern Libya.

“They have been interrogated, and they are being kept safe, and they are fed well,” said Imam Bugaighis, 50, a university lecturer now helping organize committees to run the city, adding that they would be tried according to the law, but the collapse of institutions of state meant the timing was not clear.

Angry residents destroyed a barracks compound they said had been used by the mercenaries.

In Tripoli, which remains largely closed to foreign media, locals said they were too scared to go outside for fear of being shot by pro-government forces.

“People have started working today. But that does not mean they are not afraid. But until now, people are moving around,” a resident told Reuters. (Reporting by Tarek Amara, Christian Lowe, Marie-Louise Gumuchian, Souhail Karam, Firouz Sedarat, Tom Pfeiffer; Brian Love, Daren Butler; Dina Zayed, Sarah Mikhail and Tom Perry; Martina Fuchs, Michael Georgy; writing by Giles Elgood; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Scientist: Baby dolphin deaths unprecedented

Posted by Admin on February 24, 2011

Wendy Hatchett

AP – Institute for Marine Mammal Studies veterinary technician Wendy Hatchett lifts a dead bottlenose dolphin

NEW ORLEANS – A scientist says the deaths of about two dozen baby bottlenose dolphins is unprecedented in 30 years of studying dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico.

Moby Solangi says the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss., has no record of previous mass deaths in which the majority were infants.

The recent deaths occurred in birthing areas off Mississippi and Alabama. Six bodies intact enough for dissection were a mix of stillborn, premature and full-term calves that died shortly after birth.

Solangi says possible causes include cold winter and disease. He said scientists are investigating whether there was a link to the BP oil spill. But he says only one dolphin species — and no other kind of animal — appears to be dying in unusual numbers.

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New Discoveries About the Human Chakra System

Posted by Admin on February 23, 2011

Cover of "The Chakra System"

Cover of The Chakra System

by Owen Waters

In my first book, The Shift: The Revolution in Human Consciousness, told the story of how I had made five new discoveries relating to the chakras, or human energy system.

I was fascinated by the similarity of the nature of the chakras to the stages of human development observed by social scientist, Clare Graves. He had documented eight stages of human development, ranging from ‘caveman consciousness’ all the way up to today’s world. He had also spotted an emerging ninth stage, but did not have enough data to reach solid conclusions on that one.

Graves had come to the realization that, today, humankind is preparing for a momentous leap from the first tier of six stages into the second tier. This leap, he said, would be a mega-change within civilization which would dwarf all previous changes.

When you compare his work to the human chakra system, he was pointing to the emergence of heart-centered consciousness. When the compassion and sense of social responsibility of the heart chakra goes mainstream, the world will become a very different place.

Traditionally, there are seven major chakras, but the more I questioned the traditions, the more discoveries I made. Humans are progressing through a total of twelve stages of experience which are a built-in design feature of human consciousness. It was this realization which led me to discover the hidden link between these stages and the natural frequency bands of human consciousness.

Most reference books list seven major chakras as vortices of energy. Here is how they are typically portrayed:

1. Instinctual. The chakra connected to the base of the spine prepares vitality, or life energy, for the chakras above it. It provides the base frequency of human existence including the instinct for survival.

2. Emotional. The sacral chakra powers the basic emotions or passions of human life.

3. Intellectual. The solar plexus chakra is used in the development of intellect or mental ability in a linear direction. For example, arithmetic is linear, so is algebra, so are computer processes. Linear thinking is a logical, left-brain skill. Holistic, right-brain skills, on the other hand, include the ability to see a pattern within a whole picture.

4. Holistic. The heart chakra is developed as issues of separation become resolved and integrated. Mind, body & spirit are seen as facets of the whole human being.

5. Creative. The throat chakra’s function is creativity. It is capable of inspiring the imagination to create new ideas, inventions and works of art. Its further development results in the power of conscious creation, the ability to consciously transform your reality.

6. Spiritual. The third eye chakra is the home frequency of your soul family. While a person’s closest soul mates can be usually counted on the fingers of two hands, soul families are much larger. They are extended, related groups of, typically, 1,000 individuals. When you feel a yearning for your true spiritual home, you are remembering your connection to this level of consciousness. In the sequence of reincarnation, it is to this frequency of consciousness that you ultimately ascend in spirit before planning your next incarnation.

7. Universal. The crown chakra is your connection to the universe on a cosmic scale. Its complete activation brings the peak state of human achievement and enlightenment, that of cosmic consciousness.

Within the entire range of human consciousness, we have seven major chakras and, yet, twelve stages of human development. Could there be a relationship between the two? Obviously seven does not equal twelve… unless, of course, you’re playing the C octave on a piano keyboard.

There are seven white, or major, keys within each C octave, and yet an octave always contains a total count of twelve black and white keys before the sequence repeats itself in the next higher octave.

I found it eerily coincidental that there would be seven major keys within a twelve-note octave, and also seven major chakras within a frequency range covered by twelve social stages. It was as if I had stumbled upon some beautiful, synchronistic design feature within Creation, but, initially, I couldn’t yet identify exactly what it was.

Then, when I remembered that the seven chakras have a total of twelve faces, the excitement of discovery began to fill the air.

I pursued the path which had opened up in front of me and made a total of five new discoveries relating to the human chakra system.

If you would like to follow the unraveling of these discoveries, the whole story is included in my first book, The Shift: The Revolution in Human Consciousness.

An e-book version is readily available, but please note that the printed version is about to go out of print.

To order The Shift as an e-book or to secure one of the last available copies of the printed version, go to:

http://www.infinitebeing.com/theshift

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Bahrain king orders release of political prisoners

Posted by Admin on February 23, 2011

Some thousands of Bahraini mourners participate ...
Some thousands of Bahraini mourners participate in a funeral march Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, in Malkiya
By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI and BARBARA SURK, Associated Press Hadeel Al-shalchi And Barbara Surk, Associated Press 1 hr 15 mins ago

MANAMA, Bahrain – Tens of thousands of red-and-white draped, flag-waving protesters flooded this tiny kingdom’s capital Tuesday, a massive show of force against the embattled monarchy as the king made another concession to the marchers — a promise to release an unspecified number of political prisoners.

Upbeat, determined demonstrators took over Manama for the day, circling the Bahrain Mall and Manama’s financial district, symbols of the country’s recent prosperity, in a march to the heart of the protest at Pearl Square.

“Egypt, Tunisia, are we any different?” marchers chanted, calling for the Sunni rulers they accuse of discriminating against the island’s Shiite majority to fall as the presidents of two other Arab countries have in recent weeks.

Helicopters hovered overhead but security forces offered no resistance after opening fire on protesters last week, and the size of the event rivaled any of the major demonstrations so far in the eight-day uprising.

The decree issued earlier Tuesday by Bahrain’s king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa covers several Shiite activists accused of plotting against the state. It underlined how much the absolute rulers of Bahrain want to kick start reform talks with opposition leaders, and the huge march in a nation of 525,000 citizens showed how much they need to.

The exact number of prisoners to be freed remains unclear, government spokeswoman Maysoon Sabkar said. But the inmates will include some of the 25 Shiite activists on trial for allegedly plotting against the monarchy, a leading member of Bahrain’s Shiite opposition, Abdul Jalili Khalil, told The Associated Press.

He called the prisoner release “a good step” and a “positive gesture.”

Two of those in the case are being tried in absentia, including prominent opposition leader Hassan Meshaima, who has been in self-exile in London since last year. Meshaima’s return to Bahrain was imminent, his supporters said.

The activist’s presence could bolster opposition forces seeking a harder line against the Bahrain dynasty, including some who have called for the complete ouster of the king and the family that has ruled for more than 200 years.

Meshaima’s group, known as Haq, is considered more radical than the main Shiite political bloc that has taken a central role in the revolt and is seeking the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.

A small group of Bahraini army officers joined the ranks of protesters to demand reforms and the resignation of the current government. They condemned the soldiers who shot at protesters on Friday.

“What we did to the people was not heroic,” said Yeussif Najri, an army officer. “We ask the people to forgive us, we ask the people for forgiveness.”

The government said Tuesday that the overall death toll was seven from last week’s clashes. Previous reports from opposition groups and hospital officials in the past week set the death toll at eight, but the government tally now appears accurate.

The government also said 25 people were hospitalized, but it’s unclear what degree of injury authorities used to arrive at that figure. Opposition groups place the figure at more than 200. Associated Press journalists at the main state hospital witnessed many dozens of people being treated.

The attacks on protesters have brought stinging denunciations from Bahrain’s Western allies, including the United States. The U.S. maintains very close ties with Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Bahrain authorities withdrew the military Saturday and allowed protesters to reclaim Pearl Square, the gathering point for the uprising and now a tent city of protesters.

Bahrain’s Shiite majority has complained of discrimination and political persecution in the kingdom. They have staged protests in the past, but the current unrest is the most serious against the Sunni rulers.

On Monday, Bahrain’s crown prince called off Formula One’s season-opening race scheduled for March 13, handing another victory to protesters. Shiite leaders said it would have been disrespectful the hold the race to which Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa owns the rights

Sabkar told reporters the “immediate priority is to keep the peace and maintain calm.” She said the government, led by the same prime minister — the king’s uncle — for 40 years, was “deeply saddened by the tragic events of the past few days and its condolences go out to those families who have lost loved ones.”

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Pirates kill four U.S. hostages near Somalia

Posted by Admin on February 23, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110222/ts_nm/us_somalia_pirates_usa;_ylt=AmQoAqYx4fh5dsKMCkCttcd34T0D;_ylu=X3oDMTJybzVyZWM5BGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTEwMjIyL3VzX3NvbWFsaWFfcGlyYXRlc191c2EEcG9zAzQEc2VjA3luX2FydGljbGVfc3VtbWFyeV9saXN0BHNsawNwaXJhdGVza2lsbGY-

Somali Islamists, pirates dispute ransom cuts
Armed Somali Pirate watches on…
By Phil Stewart Phil Stewart 13 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pirates shot dead four U.S. hostages on a private yacht on Tuesday, the deadliest incident involving Americans kidnapped for ransom in the increasingly dangerous waters off Somalia.

The U.S. military said the pirates shot the hostages before American special forces boarded the vessel.

U.S. troops killed two pirates as they took control of the boat, and took 15 pirates into custody. Another two pirates were found dead when U.S. special forces arrived but they were not killed by U.S. forces, the military said.

“We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest,” said Gen James N. Mattis, the head of the U.S. military’s Central Command.

Pirate gangs preying on shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean typically target large merchant ships, with oil tankers the prize catch, but the snatching of foreigners can also yield high ransoms. There were around 750 pirate hostages at the end of January.

The Americans killed on Tuesday were Jean and Scott Adam, from California, as well as Phyllis Macay, Bob Riggle, from Seattle, Washington.

U.S. forces learned of the hijacking on Friday.

The U.S. military said negotiations with the pirates had been under way when on Tuesday morning, without warning, a pirate fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett.

Then gunfire broke out inside the pirated vessel.

“The intent always had been that this would be a negotiated process and not ever go into a point where we actually had gunfire,” said Vice Admiral Mark Fox, the head of U.S. naval forces in the turbulent region.

President Barack Obama had authorized the use of force in the case of an imminent threat to the hostages, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

Obama was notified of the deaths at 4:42 a.m. EST

REVENGE

Two Somali pirates who spoke with Reuters by telephone said the hostages were ordered killed since the pirates themselves were under attack by U.S. forces.

“Our colleagues called us this morning, that they were being attacked by a U.S. warship,” Mohamud, a Somali pirate, told Reuters. “We ordered our comrades to kill the four Americans before they got killed.”

Pirate leader Farah, speaking from Bayla, a pirate haven in the northern semi-autonomous region of Puntland, vowed to avenge the deaths and capture of his comrades.

“I lost the money I invested and my comrades. No forgiveness for the Americans. Revenge. Our business will go on,” he said, adding he had spent $110,000 so far in the hijacking, including on weapons and food and salaries.

Vice Admiral Fox said the incident was yet another sign of how pirates are using larger “mother ships” to move further out to sea, and cautioned vessels to heed warnings about pirate activity in the region.

“The pirates have been able to go for long distances out to sea, up to 1,300, 1,400 nautical miles away from Somalia,” Fox said, saying pirate activity went all the way to off the coast of India and down to Madagascar.

In April 2009, U.S. Navy special forces freed the captain of the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama by killing three Somali pirates who held him hostage in a lifeboat. Obama had authorized the use of force in that incident as well.

(Additional reporting by Alister Bull in Washington and Mohamed Ahmed and Abdi Sheikh in Mogadishu; Editing by Vicki Allen and Frances Kerry)

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Oil rises as Libyan unrest disrupts supplies

Posted by Admin on February 23, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110222/bs_nm/us_markets_oil;_ylt=Alr_cjnQRICBiLJNFjuLIDZ34T0D;_ylu=X3oDMTJrc2l2ZHE4BGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTEwMjIyL3VzX21hcmtldHNfb2lsBHBvcwMzMgRzZWMDeW5fYXJ0aWNsZV9zdW1tYXJ5X2xpc3QEc2xrA2Z1bGxuYnNwc3Rvcg–

Protesters stand in the street in this undated ...

Protesters stand in the street in this undated picture made available on Facebook February 20, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Brent crude rose and U.S. oil hit a 2-1/2 year high on Tuesday as the revolt in Libya disrupted the OPEC nation’s supplies and raised concern unrest could spread to other oil producing countries in the region.

More than 8 percent of Libya’s 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil production has been shut down by the political violence, with Italian ENI and Spain’s Repsol shutting in output.

Trade sources said the country’s marine oil terminals were disrupted by a lack of communications as rebel soldiers said the eastern region of the country had broken free from Muammar Gaddafi. Libya also declared force majeure on all oil product exports, traders said.

Oil gave up some early gains after Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would be ready to meet any shortage from a supply disruption.

Brent crude traded up 76 cents to $106.50 a barrel at 11:44 a.m. EST, off earlier highs of $108.57 a barrel. Brent hit a 2-1/2 year high of $108.70 a barrel on Monday.

U.S. crude for March delivery, which expires at the end of the session, rose $5.65 to $91.85 a barrel, after touching $94.49 a barrel, which was the highest level since October 2008. The more actively traded April contract gained $5.15 to trade at $94.86 a barrel.

The stronger gains in U.S. crude was partly explained by the fact that while the contract was active in electronic trading on Monday, there was no settlement as the exchange in New York was closed for the Presidents Day holiday.

“Geopolitical events have sparked a move higher as oil prices have rocketed on the headlines out of Libya,” said Chris Jarvis, president of Caprock Risk Management in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.

Saudi Arabia’s Naimi, speaking on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Riyadh, said worldwide oil spare oil capacity was between 5-6 million bpd.

(Reporting by Matthew Robinson, Gene Ramos, David Sheppard in New York; Claire Milhench in London and Francis Kan in Singapore; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Over 500 Indian workers sue US firm for human trafficking

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/over-500-indian-workers-sue-us-firm-for-human-trafficking.html

PTI – Tue, Feb 22, 2011 6:35 PM IST

Houston: Lawyers for a group of Indian guest workers, trafficked to the US from India to work in ship yards after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, have sued an American company, Signal International, along with its co-conspirators and other entities for human trafficking and racketeering.

If class status is granted, the lawsuit could be the largest human trafficking case in US history, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said in a statement.

Workers were allegedly lured here with dishonest assurances of becoming lawful permanent US residents, the statement said.

The ACLU joined a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of over 500 guest workers from India charging that the workers were trafficked into the US through the federal government’s H-2B guest worker programme with dishonest assurances of becoming lawful permanent US residents and subjected to squalid living conditions, fraudulent payment practises, and threats of serious harm upon their arrival.

The complaint alleges that recruiting agents hired by the marine industry company Signal International held the guest workers’ passports and visas, coerced them into paying extraordinary fees for recruitment, immigration processing and travel, and threatened the workers with serious legal and physical harm if they did not work under the Signal-restricted guest worker visa.

The complaint also alleges that once in the US, the men were required to live in Signal’s guarded, over crowded labour camps, subjected to psychological abuse and defrauded out of adequate payment for their work.

The ACLU charges that the federal government has fallen short of its responsibility to protect the rights of guest workers in this country.

According to the lawsuit, the treatment of the workers violates the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO).

In addition to the federal court litigation, in partnership with the ACLU, the workers have testified before the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and senior staff at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Signal, a marine and fabrication company with shipyards in Mississippi, Texas and Alabama, is a subcontractor for several major multinational companies.

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Libya unrest: India readying evacuation plan, 1 Indian killed in accident

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2011

The leader de facto of Libya, Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Muammar Al Gaddafi

http://in.news.yahoo.com/libya-unrest-india-readying-evacuation-plan-1-indian-20110222-062153-441.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS – Tue, Feb 22, 2011 7:51 PM IST

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) With the protests in Libya cascading, the Indian government is is readying a contingency plan to evacuate its nationals residing in the violence-torn country, even as an Indian was killed in a road accident in the North African country.

An Indian was killed and two others injured in a road accident Feb 19, the Indian embassy in Tripoli said, while stressing that the death was not due to due to gunfire in the wake of protests.

Murugaiah, a contract worker from Tamil Nadu, reportedly succumbed to his injuries Monday.

The other Indian nationals are still in the hospital and recuperating, the Indian embassy said, adding that it was in regular touch with the Medical Center.

The story of Murugaiah’s death being a result of firing appears to be incorrect, the embassy said while alluding to some media reports.

India’s ambassador to Libya Manimekalai told CNN-IBN that the government will help in bringing back the body of the deceased, but added that certain procedures will have to be followed. She denied reports of Indians being trapped in a mosque.

New Delhi is keeping a close watch on the developments in the violence-torn North African country.

‘The situation is being closely-monitored by the external affairs ministry and we are in constant touch with the ambassador there. I am happy to inform that all Indians are safe in Libya,’ External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna told reporters outside parliament.

Krishna added that the Indian mission in Libya was in constant touch with Indian citizens there and ‘whatever needs to be done, will be done’.

‘We don’t differentiate between mazdoors and non-mazdoors (labourers and non-labourers). Every Indian is precious to us,’ he said when asked about the help being provided to workers there.

The external affairs ministry is coordinating with other ministries and is ready to fly in planes or send a ship with medical teams to help around 18,000 Indians living in that country if the situation takes a turn for the worse, informed sources said.

Krishna is also understood to have met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and briefed him on steps to ensure the safety and security of Indians in Libya.

Sources, however, added that the government had no immediate plans of evacuation and was monitoring the situation closely.

There was a marathon internal meeting on the situation in the North Africa-West region, with Rajeev Shahare, joint secretary in charge of the region, reviewing measures for the safety of Indians and fine-tuning potential contingency plans.

‘Saw on Stratfor that Turkish Air flight to evacuate their citizens from Benghazi denied permission to land. Returned to Turkey…Please understand that we have 18000 Indians there. It is not a question of evacuating a few hundred people…Situation Room numbers: +91-11-23015300, 23012113, 23018179. Email:controlroom@mea.gov.in’, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao tweeted.

The Indian government has also set up a committee to monitor the situation in Libya and prepare plans to meet any eventuality in the wake of the unprecedented protest against the four-decade old Muammar Gaddafi regime in that country.

‘The committee would comprise the foreign secretary and overseas Indian affairs secretary among others. This committee would be planning to meet any eventuality,’ Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said here Monday.

Libyan Ambassador to India Ali al-Essawi had also reportedly resigned in protest against the Muammar Gaddafi government’s violent crackdown on demonstrators rooting for a change to his four-decade old rule.

The Libyan envoy has called on the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to be fair and honest to protect the Libyan people.

With the popular unrest spreading in the Arab world, the external affairs ministry has set up a round-the-clock situation room to assist Indians in in the Middle Eastern and North African regions, home to an over 5-million strong Indian diaspora.

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