Asean Summit, Malaysia on Nov 21, 1015

Asean Summit, Malaysia  on Nov 21, 1015
Asean Establishes Landmark Economic and Security Bloc
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - Text version)

“….. Here is the prediction: China will turn North Korea loose soon. The alliance will dissolve, or become stale. There will be political upheaval in China. Not a coup and not a revolution. Within the inner circles of that which you call Chinese politics, there will be a re-evaluation of goals and monetary policy. Eventually, you will see a break with North Korea, allowing still another dictator to fall and unification to occur with the south. ….”

“ … 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.)









North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk
North Korean defector and activist Hyeonseo Lee, who lives in South Korea, poses as she presents her book 'The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story' in Beijing on March 26, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fred Dufour)

US under fire in global press freedom report

"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. …

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

North Korea's Kim briefs China's Xi on Trump summit

Yahoo – AFP, Becky Davis, 19 June 2018

China retains a strong influence in North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un briefed Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday about his historic summit with US President Donald Trump, a visit that underscores Beijing's efforts to remain at the centre of fast-moving nuclear diplomacy.

Xi urged the US and North Korea to implement the agreements reached at the June 12 summit in Singapore, while Kim thanked Xi for his role in the diplomatic efforts, according to Chinese state media.

Kim's third trip to China since March comes as Beijing tries to strengthen its role as a mediator between the US and the North, where it claims compelling security and economic interests.

The North's leader, who is believed to have landed in the Chinese capital Tuesday morning, was greeted with a military honour guard at the ornate Great Hall of the People, as the Cold War-era allies repair ties that worsened when Pyongyang tested nuclear weapons and Beijing backed UN sanctions.

Kim "felt thanks for and highly praised China's promotion of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and its important role in protecting the peninsula's peace and stability," state broadcaster CCTV said.

North Korea "hopes to work with China and other concerned parties to promote and establish a solid, long-lasting peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula and make joint efforts to achieve a lasting peace on the peninsula."

For his part, Xi told Kim he "wants North Korea and the US to carry out the results of their leadership summit", the report said.

The motorcade believed to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un 
is escorted through Beijing

Trump and Kim pledged in a joint summit statement to "work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

In return, Trump made the shock announcement that he would stop joint military drills with South Korea, long seen as a provocation by Pyongyang and Beijing. The US and South Korean militaries confirmed Tuesday they have called off a major joint exercise.

Kim told Xi his summit with Trump "achieved results that are in line with the interests of all parties and the expectations of the international communities," according to CCTV.

"If the two parties can solidly implement the summit's consensus step by step, it will open a new, important phase of the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula."

The United States relies on China to enforce UN economic sanctions against the North, giving Beijing potential leverage in its looming trade war with Washington.

"I think that North Korea can be another card Beijing can play to win leverage in negotiations with Washington," Yang Moo-jin, professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies, told AFP.

Following the Singapore summit, China suggested the UN Security Council could consider easing the economic restrictions.

Wang Dong, an international relations expert at Peking University, said he expected Kim to ask China for help in easing the sanctions in return for his pledge to denuclearise.

The visit is the North Korean autocrat's third to China since March, when he made 
his inaugural foreign trip as leader. The two leaders are pictyred together on May

"The Chinese and North Korean leaders are carrying out consultations on how to jointly move the Korean nuclear issue forward," Wang said.

China may not have been at the table in Singapore but it retains strong influence behind the scenes, Wang said.

Tuesday's visit shows that "China is indispensable to the entire Korean nuclear issue," he said.

'Differences ahead'

Trump had hailed Kim's denuclearisation pledge as a concession. But critics said the stock phrase long used by Pyongyang stopped short of longstanding US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way.

It was urgent for Xi and Kim to discuss how North Korea would work towards meeting US demands, said Beijing-based international relations commentator Hua Po.

"There may be differences ahead between the DPRK (North Korea) and the US in regards to denuclearisation, because the US wants irreversible and verifiable denuclearisation. It may be difficult for Kim Jong Un to accept," Hua told AFP.

"Therefore, both China and the DPRK want to strengthen communication and form an overall strategy to deal with the United States going forward," Hua added.

Analysts saw the summit outcome as a sign of China's influence.

Beijing has repeatedly called for a "suspension for suspension" approach, under which the North would stop its nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the US and South Korea halting military exercises.

Related Article:


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thai king granted full ownership of crown billions

Yahoo – AFP, June 16, 2018

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn inherited one of the world's great fortunes when he
ascended the Thai throne following the October 2016 death of his father (AFP Photo/
Panupong CHANGCHAI)

Thailand's king has been granted full ownership of the palace's multi-billion dollar assets under a law passed last year, according to a rare "explanatory note" published by the financial arm of the powerful but secretive monarchy.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn inherited one of the world's great fortunes when he ascended the Thai throne following the October 2016 death of his father, who ruled for seven decades.

Analysts say the Chakris are one of the world's richest royal dynasties, with estimates varying between $30-60 billion, although the monarchy does not publicly declare its wealth and is shielded from scrutiny by a draconian lese majeste law.

Most of the money is controlled by the opaque Crown Property Bureau (CPB), a vast portfolio that includes massive property ownership and investments in major companies.

But last July the Thai junta amended a royal property law for the first time in 69 years to give Vajiralongkorn full control over the CPB.

It is one of several steps taken by Vajiralongkorn to increase his personal control over the palace bureaucracy and its wealth since taking the throne.

The amendment means "all 'Crown Property Assets' are to be transferred and revert to the ownership of His Majesty, so that they may be administered and managed at His Majesty's discretion," according to a note featured prominently on the front page of the CPB's website.

The document was not dated and the CPB, which rarely grants interviews, could not be reached for further comment.

The note clarified that all of the CPB's shareholdings will also "be held in the name of His Majesty."

The CPB has major investments in some of Thailand's largest companies, such as Siam Commercial Bank and Siam Cement Company.

The note also said that previously tax exempt CPB assets will now be liable to taxation "in line with His Majesty's wishes."

Public discussion of the monarchy's actions remains taboo due to Thailand's lese majeste law, which punishes any perceived criticism with up to 15 years per offence.

All media based in Thailand must self-censor when reporting on the monarchy to avoid violating the lese majeste law.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Trump, Kim hail historic summit; questions over way forward

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew BEATTY, Sebastien BERGER, June 12, 2018

Standing in front of the flags of their two countries, Donald Trump and
Kim Jong Un made history in Singapore (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Singapore (AFP) - Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un hailed their historic summit Tuesday as a breakthrough in relations between Cold War foes, but their agreement was short on details about the key issue of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons.

The unprecedented encounter in Singapore saw the leader of the world's most powerful democracy shake hands with the third generation scion of a dynastic dictatorship, standing as equals in front of their nations' flags.

Kim agreed to the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula", a stock phrase favoured by Pyongyang that stopped short of long-standing US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way.

And in a blockbusting press conference after the summit, Trump said the US would halt military exercises with Seoul -- something long sought by Pyongyang, which claims the drills are a rehearsal for invasion.

With Pyongyang having declared a moratorium on weapons testing on the grounds its development programmes were complete, the move looked like a tacit acceptance of the "freeze for freeze" proposal pushed by Beijing and previously decried by Washington.

Map showing the venue of the June 12 summit between US President
Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AFP Photo/Laurence CHU)

The US stations around 30,000 troops in security ally South Korea to protect it from its neighbour, which invaded in 1950 in an attempt to reunify the peninsula by force.

"We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money," Trump told reporters, adding that "at some point" he wanted to withdraw US troops from the South.

Both Seoul and US military commanders in the South indicated they had no idea the announcement was coming, and analysts expressed immediate concern.

Ending the drills "is in excess of all expert consensus, South Korean requests, and even a close reading of North Korean demands", said Adam Mount of the Federation of American Scientists.

In Washington, Pentagon personnel -- also caught off guard -- spent the morning discussing what could amount to an epic shift in the US military's posture in South Korea.

All smiles

The Singapore summit was a potentially legacy-defining meeting for both men -- comparable to president Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China, or Ronald Reagan's 1986 summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shared upbeat words as they
sat down together for the first time (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

World powers from China to Japan, the European Union and Russia welcomed its outcome -- while cautioning it was only the first step towards resolving the nuclear stand-off with Pyongyang.

Many agreements have been made in the past with North Korea that have later fallen apart, and ahead of the meeting, critics expressed concerns that it risked being more about headlines than substantive progress.

It also legitimised Kim, whose regime stands accused of widespread human rights abuses, critics charged.

In the event, the two leaders showered each other with compliments in the sumptuous setting of a luxury Singapore hotel, a marked contrast from their previous rounds of mutual insults, such as "mentally deranged" and "little rocket man".

Trump said he had formed a "special bond" with Kim, whom he described as "very talented". As well as abuses at home, Kim is also suspected of ordering the assassination of his brother at a Malaysian airport last year.

In a blocbusting press conference after the summit, President Donald Trump 
said the US would halt joint military exercises with Seoul (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

After a day filled with smiles and handshakes watched around the world, the US "committed to provide security guarantees" to North Korea, while Pyongyang committed to "work towards" denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Melissa Hanham of the US-based Center for Nonproliferation Studies said on Twitter that North Korea had "already promised to do this many times," adding the two sides "still don't agree on what 'denuclearisation' means."

Asked about the issue -- the crux of the summit -- Trump said "we're starting that process" which would begin "very, very quickly", but gave no concrete details.

Speaking later as he flew out of Singapore bound for the US territory of Guam -- towards which Pyongyang last year threatened to lob missiles -- Trump said he intended to hold North Korea to its word on denuclearisation.

"We're going to have to check it and we will check it. We'll check it very strongly," he told reporters on Air Force One.

In the meantime, the US leader declared himself satisfied with the summit outcome, saying "there was nothing more we could have done."

Asked whether he trusted Kim, he replied: "I do."

We'll meet again

Standing with Kim after the signing ceremony in Singapore, Trump vowed they would meet again.

"We will meet many times," said the president, who declared himself "absolutely" willing to invite Kim to the White House, when the time was right.

For his part, Kim -- who made headlines the evening before the summit with an nighttime visit to major tourist sites -- said the two Cold War foes had vowed to "leave the past behind", pledging "the world will see a major change".

Abraham Denmark of the Wilson Center in Washington tweeted: "It seems Kim got a huge propaganda win and a metric ton of legitimacy, and the US gave up joint exercises, for little new and nothing in return."

But he added: "The silver lining is that dialogue will continue, and where there is diplomacy there is hope."

Monday, June 11, 2018

Australia state to allow sex abuse victims to sue churches

Yahoo – AFP, 10 June 2018

Commissioners at the final sitting of the Royal Commission into Institutional
Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney last December

Victims of child sex abuse will be able to sue institutions such as churches under proposed new laws in Australia's most populous state, authorities said Sunday.

The proposed legislation came after a five-year royal commission -- which released its final report late last year -- detailed thousands of harrowing abuse cases involving churches, orphanages, sporting clubs, youth groups and schools and going back decades.

The overhaul of civil litigation laws in New South Wales state will allow claims of child abuse to be brought against organisations including churches which could not previously be sued, said NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman.

"The NSW Government will remove legal barriers that have stopped survivors of child abuse from seeking the justice they deserve," Speakman said in a statement.

"The Royal Commission found many survivors felt let down by the current civil litigation system which made it difficult for them to seek damages and hold institutions to account."

Under current laws, organisations such as churches whose assets are held in a trust can avoid liability for offences such as child sex abuse.

The proposed legislation will allow courts to appoint trustees to be sued if such organisations fail to appoint an entity with assets as a defendant, Speakman said.

It comes after the Catholic Church became the first non-government institution to join a national redress scheme for victims of institutional child sex abuse.

All but one of Australia's state governments have signed up to the programme, which will offer victims up to Aus$150,000 ($114,000) in compensation.

The royal commission found that Australian institutions "seriously failed" children in their care, with thousands sexually assaulted.

It heard horrific testimony during often emotionally exhausting hearings, with more than 15,000 survivors detailing their claims.

More than 4,000 institutions were accused of abuse.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Anti-nuclear group offers to foot summit bill for N. Korea's Kim

Yahoo – AFP, June 4, 2018

Who will cough up for lodgings is one of many reported logistical and protocol
headaches surrounding this month's Singapore summit between North Korea's
Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/handout)

Tokyo (AFP) - A Nobel Prize-winning anti-nuclear group offered Monday to pay for next week's historic summit between the US and North Korea -- including the delicate issue of Kim Jong Un's hotel bill.

Who will cough up for lodgings at the five-star Fullerton Hotel, believed to be the North Korean leader's preferred option, is one of many reported logistical and protocol headaches surrounding this month's meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump.

The United States is prepared to pay but fears offending cash-poor but pride-rich North Korea, the Washington Post wrote last week.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) said it was willing to help resolve the impasse by bankrolling Kim's delegation, using part of the $1.1 million cash prize it received for winning last year's Nobel Peace Prize.

"We are ready to shoulder the cost of the summit, naturally including expenses for accommodation and conference venues," Akira Kawasaki, an ICAN representative in Japan, told AFP.

"If holding the summit is in danger because of financial problems, we are ready to shoulder the cost as it is an important, historic meeting," he added.

Kawasaki declined to say how much ICAN could stump up but said part of the Nobel Prize award would be put to the summit "in order to support peace in the Korean peninsula and a nuclear weapon-free world".

The sum would be negotiated if North Korea accepted the offer, he said.

The presidential suite at the Fullerton boasts, according to its website, a baby grand piano and claims to be "the most exclusive hotel suite in Singapore."

With a private elevator offering exclusive access, the suite is 201 square metres (2,164 square feet) and reportedly costs more than $6,000 for one night.

Reporters camped outside the hotel last week to catch a glimpse of Kim Chang Son, Kim's de facto chief of staff, who travelled to Singapore to lay the groundwork for the June 12 summit.

The Singapore dialogue will be the first time a sitting US president has met a North Korean leader.

Talks are expected to focus on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and improving relations between Washington and Pyongyang.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

US-NKorea summit back on, Trump says after meeting Kim envoy

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew Beatty and Dave Clark, June 1, 2018

US President Donald Trump (R) poses for photographs with North Korea's Kim
Yong Chol (L) at the White House after their Oval Office talks (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Washington (AFP) - US President Donald Trump said Friday he will meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un as originally scheduled on June 12 for a historic summit after extraordinary Oval Office talks with a top envoy from Pyongyang.

Speaking after more than an hour of talks with Kim Yong Chol in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters that denuclearization -- and a formal end to the decades-old Korean war -- would be on the table in Singapore.

But the US leader warned that he did not expect to immediately sign a deal to bring a halt to the North's nuclear program.

"I never said it goes in one meeting. I think it's going to be a process, but the relationships are building and that's very positive," he said, after waving farewell to the North Korean envoy, Kim's right-hand man.

Ending the war

Trump said they had discussed formally ending the Korean War, which has been largely frozen since an armistice ended hostilities, but not the underlying conflict, in 1953. Since then, there have been occasional clashes on the divided peninsula.

"We talked about it. We talked about ending the war," Trump said.

"Historically it's very important, but we'll see. We did discuss that, the ending of the Korean War. Can you believe we're talking about the ending of the Korean War?"

Washington is determined that Kim should agree to what US officials call the "complete, verifiable and irreversible" end of North Korea's nuclear weapons and intercontinental missile programs.

Chronology of diplomatic tensions between the US and North Korea
(AFP Photo/Sophie RAMIS)

Kim says he is committed to "denuclearization" in some form, but he is expected to demand security guarantees -- one of which could be an formal end to the conflict with the US and South Korea.

Most expert observers are skeptical that even an unprecedented summit between the two leaders can lead to a rapid breakthrough, and Trump admitted it would be a long and difficult process.

"We're not going to go in and sign something on June 12. We never were. I told him today, 'Take your time'," he said, adding nevertheless that he expects "a really positive result in the end."

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling party executive and the most senior North Korean to visit the United States in 18 years, spent almost 90 minutes in the Oval Office.

Afterwards, Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walked the North's small delegation to their waiting cars, smiling and shaking hands in front of the media before the motorcade pulled away.

Security guarantees

North Korean officials said Kim Yong Chol was expected to return to Pyongyang shortly. Meanwhile, discussions between US and North Korean officials continue in Singapore and in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.

On Thursday, Kim Jong Un told Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that his commitment to denuclearization remains "unchanged and consistent and fixed," but experts warn he will seek concessions from Washington.

US President Donald Trump (R), flanked by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 
shakes hands with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) outside the White House 
(AFP Photo/Saul LOEB)

In addition to an end to the war, he is likely to seek international recognition as well as guarantees against any strike by the US forces stationed in South Korea.

As expected, Kim Yong Chol handed Trump a letter from Kim that may clear up some of the questions. The US leader said the missive was "very nice" -- but then admitted he had not yet read it. An aide later confirmed he did after the talks.

The Oval Office talks and letter delivery came only a week after Trump threatened to consign the entire process to history, abruptly cancelling the summit in a sharply worded letter, only to revive preparations shortly afterwards.

Trump said that, after Friday's talks, the parties are "totally over that and now we're going to deal and we're going to really start a process."

Since the short-lived boycott threat, diplomats from both countries have conducted an intense flurry of talks, culminating this week when Pompeo sat down in New York with Kim's envoy.

'Their decision'

Pompeo said on Thursday that, after what have now been two meetings with Kim Jong Un and three with Kim Yong Chol, he believes the North is at least ready to consider addressing US demands for denuclearization.

"I believe they are contemplating a path forward. They can make a strategic shift. One that their country has not been prepared to make before. This will obviously be their decision," he said.

The flurry of diplomacy has also seen a rapprochement on the Korean peninsula, with the two Koreas holding high-level talks Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom.

The meeting followed two landmark summits between the leaders of North and South Korea in the last five weeks.

North and South Korea agreed to hold more meetings throughout this month to carry out the agreements reached between their leaders at the April summit, according to a joint statement issued after Friday's talks.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Korean leaders meet to salvage Trump-Kim summit

Yahoo – AFP, Jerome Taylor and Park Chan-kyong, May 27, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Moon Jae-in met in the border
truce village where they held their first summit last month (AFP Photo/Handout)

North and South Korea's leaders held surprise talks on Saturday to get a historic summit between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump back on track after a head-spinning series of twists and turns.

The meeting is the latest remarkable diplomatic chapter in a roller coaster of developments on the Korean peninsula.

Trump rattled the region on Thursday by cancelling his meeting with Kim which had been due to take place in Singapore on June 12, citing "open hostility" from Pyongyang.

But within 24 hours he reversed course saying it could still go ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Kim Saturday for two hours in the truce village of Panmunjom in an effort to ensure the landmark meeting between Trump and the North Korean leader goes ahead.

"They exchanged views and discussed ways to implement the Panmunjom Declaration and to ensure a successful US North Korea summit," Seoul's presidential Blue House said in a statement, referencing a declaration the two leaders signed last month vowing to improve ties following their historic first meeting in the same village.

Pictures showed them shaking hands and embracing on the North Korean side of the Demilitarised Zone separating the two nations.

The North's state-run KCNA news agency said the two leaders agreed to "meet frequently in the future to make dialogue brisk and pool wisdom and efforts, expressing their stand to make joint efforts for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

Specifically, Moon and Kim will hold "high-level talks" on Friday, the agency added.

Kim also "expressed his fixed will on the historic DPRK-US summit talks," KCNA added, using the official abbreviation for North Korea.

Key meetings between North Korea, South Korea, China and the United 
States (AFP Photo/john saeki)

Remarkable detente

Trump's original decision to abandon the historic summit blindsided South Korea which had been brokering a remarkable detente between Washington and Pyongyang.

However, there was a further signal from the US Saturday the June 12 summit may yet go ahead as the White House said it would send a team to Singapore to prepare for the meeting.

"The White House pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Last year Trump and Kim were trading war threats and insults after Pyongyang tested its most powerful nuclear bomb to date and launched test missiles it said were capable of reaching the United States.

Tensions were calmed after Kim extended an olive branch by offering to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, sparking a sudden detente that led to Trump agreeing to hold direct talks with Pyongyang.

Moon won election last year partly by vowing to be open to dialogue with Pyongyang and finding a solution to a Cold War-era sore that continues to blight the region.

But the flurry of diplomatic backslapping and bonhomie disappeared in recent weeks as the summit was thrown into doubt by increasingly bellicose rhetoric from both top US administration officials and Pyongyang.

Trump eventually pulled the plug on talks in a personal letter to Kim on Thursday.

But he left the door open to future meetings and Pyongyang responded by saying it was willing to sit down "at any time", prompting Trump to reply that the Singapore summit could still take place.

Saturday's meeting between Moon and Kim took place in a grand building on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a heavily fortified village that lies between the two countries and marks the spot where the armistice ending the Korean War in 1953 was signed.

The surprise meeting comes a day after US President Donald Trump said his 
summit with Kim Jong Un might go ahead after all (AFP Photo/Handout)

Only last month the two leaders met in the same village, with Kim famously inviting Moon to step briefly into the North before they both held talks in a building on the South's side.

Koh Yu-hwan, an expert on Korean relations at Dongguk University, said Saturday's meeting between Moon and Kim increased the likelihood of the Singapore summit taking place as originally intended.

"Today's summit is aimed at resolving the misunderstanding caused by communication glitches between Washington and Pyongyang and lay the groundwork for the US-North Korea summit," he told AFP.

Adam Mount, a nuclear policy expert at the Federation of American Scientists, said it was a "bold but risky" move by Moon, describing the sudden summit as "a clear demonstration of how dangerous Trump's temper tantrum was".

"Trump says 'everybody plays games'. Moon Jae-in is not playing a game: he must keep his people safe from war," he wrote on Twitter.

Utmost secrecy

Unlike last month's summit, which was held in front of live TV cameras, Saturday's meeting took place in utmost secrecy, with reporters only being told later that the face-to-face had taken place.

Footage released by the Blue House on Twitter, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral score, showed Moon arriving in a convoy of cars and first shaking hands with Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong, who has played a major public role in recent talks with the South, including leading a delegation across the border during February's Winter Olympics.

Saturday's talks were only the fourth time serving leaders of the two Koreas, who remain technically at war, have ever met.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Graft-busting journalist returns to new Malaysia

Yahoo – AFP, Dan Martin, May 21, 2018

British journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown has been a thorn in the side of
Malaysia's ruling elite for years (AFP Photo/Mohd RASFAN)

Clare Rewcastle Brown was harassed and vilified for years for waging a quixotic campaign to expose Malaysian corruption that helped topple the country's long-ruling regime.

The British investigative journalist is now back in the country of her birth after being blacklisted for years, and being treated as a celebrity in a sign of the whirlwind changes since historic May 9 elections.

No one is more stunned than Rewcastle, who said she expects to see further startling revelations of corruption and misrule emerge as a reformist administration cleans house.

"There is so much that’s going to come tumbling out now," she said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

"Everyone is gob-smacked as they see these things happening. There are going to be more amazing scenes to come."

Rewcastle, now 58, has been a thorn in the side of Malaysia's ruling elite for years, working from abroad to expose larceny and misrule centring mostly on the rainforested state of Sarawak where she was born and spent her early years.

But her biggest bombshell may have been the 2015 revelation by her website Sarawak Report that nearly $700 million was funnelled into the bank account of ex-premier Najib Razak.

That helped super-charge allegations that Najib and his entourage plundered billions from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, in a scandal that led to his electoral defeat, ending six decades under an increasingly corrupt government.

He is now under investigation and expected to be charged.

Smear campaign

Rewcastle's work over the years triggered Malaysian arrest warrants, lawsuits, threats, and a sustained campaign of online vilification that she suspects was orchestrated by Najib's government using western PR firms.

The sister-in-law of former British prime minister Gordon Brown, Rewcastle was still recently being approached by shadowy characters offering pay-offs if she'd publish juicy "revelations" for them -- ham-fisted attempts to entrap and discredit her, she says.

"Millions have gone into trying to destroy my reputation, which could have been spent on something useful," she said. "But all they did was help make me famous, the stupid idiots."

Never welcome, and officially barred from Malaysia in 2015, Rewcastle has gone almost overnight from persona non grata to welcome guest.

British journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown has been a thorn in the side of 
Malaysia's ruling elite for years (AFP Photo/Laurence CHU, John SAEKI)

She met AFP following an interview with a state-aligned newspaper that formerly maligned her but gave her glowing front-page treatment on Monday.

She was halted repeatedly by ordinary Malaysians who recognised her distinctive ginger locks, stopping to thank her and snap selfies.

Many more have praised Rewcastle on social media after learning of her arrival. "It's extremely gratifying," she said.

Few foreigners were as feared by Malaysia's government.

Born in Sarawak when it was a British crown colony, she spent several years there, often following her mother -- a midwife for indigenous people -- on jungle jaunts to remote clinics.

She later worked for the BBC and others in London in investigative journalism before devoting herself to publicising Sarawak corruption, deforestation, and eviction of native peoples from traditional lands.

"I did this partly because I was mad, and partly because I thought there was a slim chance something could be done," she said of the state which environmentalists believe has lost nearly all of its original rainforest.

In 2010, she started Sarawak Report and short-wave broadcaster Radio Free Sarawak -- operated in secret from London, and later Bali, Brunei and Sarawak itself.

Rewcastle drew on a network of contacts in Malaysia to repeatedly expose the plundering of Sarawak. Najib's regime eventually blocked the website -- a move the new government has reversed -- and radio signals were jammed.

Winding down

With Malaysia on a reform path, Rewcastle expects to wind down her anti-graft work, which she said was a money-losing project reliant on financial backers she won't name.

But she pledged to "do my darnedest" to continuing advocating for Sarawak.

That includes pushing for investigations into its former chief minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud.

The retired 82-year-old, who was loosely aligned with Najib's regime, is accused by indigenous activists of ruling Sarawak like a family fiefdom for 33 years, plundering its timber and building ecologically harmful dams.

Sarawak Report, along with the Bruno Manser Fund, a Swiss NGO, has documented huge investments around the world by Taib's circle.

"Taib needs to be taken by the ankles and shook, so the money falls out," Rewcastle said.

"There's still a lot to be done. But we're in a terrific position now to really campaign for what this was originally about."

Monday, May 21, 2018

Wrongful imprisonment sheds light on slow justice in Pakistan

Yahoo – AFP, Ashraf KHAN, May 20, 2018

Asma Nawab spent two decades in jail after she was wrongfully accused of
 the murder of her family (AFP Photo/RIZWAN TABASSUM)

Asma Nawab spent two decades in jail, wrongfully accused of murdering her family. Finally acquitted, she is seeking a new life, free from whispers and memories, as her plight draws fresh questions over Pakistan's woeful justice system.

Nawab was just 16 years old when someone slit the throats of her parents and only brother during an attempted robbery at their home in Pakistan's chaotic port city of Karachi in 1998.

With the killings dominating headlines, prosecutors pushed for swift justice in a 12-day trial that ended with a death sentence handed to Nawab and her then-fiance.

The next 20 years were "very painful", Nawab, now 36, says tearfully.

At first the other inmates were sceptical at her protests of innocence, but eventually she formed a new "family" of women -- some convicted of kidnappings, others of murders.

They supported one another when progress on their cases was poor, or family neglected them.

"We would cry on Eid and other festivals... It was very painful. I would feel it intensely" when relatives failed to visit, she said through sobs. "Only once my uncle came to see me."

Though her trial was speedy, her appeal moved at a glacial speed through Pakistan's creaky justice system.

It was not until 2015 that her lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court, which -- after a three-year hearing -- ordered Nawab released due to lack of evidence last month.

"The verdict of this case was given in 12 days but it took 19 and a half years to dispose of the appeals," her lawyer Javed Chatari told AFP.

Nawab said the acquittal left her stunned. "I really couldn't believe it," she told AFP.

The verdict left her "perplexed", she said, and she struggled to understand what would come next. "How would I face the world after living so long in jail?"

Nawab meets her former neighbours as she returns to her childhood home in 
Karachi after her release from prison (AFP Photo/RIZWAN TABASSUM)

Judicial woes

Stories like Nawab's are common in Pakistan, where the judiciary lacks the capacity to cope with the country's surging population and an expanding case load, resulting in a mammoth backlog.

In 2017 alone, there were more than than 38,000 cases pending in Pakistan's Supreme Court in addition to hundreds of thousands awaiting trial across the judiciary, according to a Human Rights Commission Pakistan report released in April.

Rampant corruption in Pakistan's police force also means the wealthy are able to bypass the law, while deep-seated patriarchy means women in particular face an uneven playing field in the justice system.

"Unequal power structures allow for people with advantage -- money or power -- to rise above the law. For the poor, the system is sluggish and sometimes is so weak that it is safe to label it as almost non-existent," said lawyer Benazir Jaoti, who specialises in women's legal and political empowerment in Pakistan.

"Within the system, women are one of the groups of people that are significantly disadvantaged, it being a patriarchal society and a patriarchal system."

Even when the system finally comes through, as it did with Nawab's acquittal, that is usually as far as it goes, leaving those whose lives have been dismantled to repair the damage with little or no support.

Nawab's lawyer Javed Chatari breaks the lock at her home in Karachi, nearly
20 years after her wrongful arrest (AFP Photo/RIZWAN TABASSUM)

Going home again

Nawab has had little to return to since leaving Karachi's central prison in early April.

With her loved ones dead, her family house was looted then fell into disrepair.

Any potential compensation from the state will take time to process, her lawyer admits, acknowledging there's a high chance she will receive nothing. In the meantime, she is unemployed.

During her first visit back to her humble family home she quietly wept as her lawyer broke the gate's lock with a hammer.

"(The police) left nothing behind," she said after walking through the dilapidated house covered in dust and cobwebs.

"I lost my parents and now I see none of their belongings."

Nearly two decades after being convicted, Nawab still holds the media as much as the courts responsible for her treatment, saying she was unfairly portrayed as the culprit in the murders, including in a TV drama based on the case.

Although she has been exonerated, her release has done little to change the public narrative.

Nawab says people still whisper cold remarks when she walks past and 
refuse to accept she was wrongfully imprisoned (AFP Photo/RIZWAN TABASSUM)

Persecution persists, Nawab says, with people in the streets frequently whispering cold remarks when she walks past.

"Society will not accept the verdict," agreed Supreme Court lawyer Mohammad Farooq, commenting on the case. "She cannot get rid of this stigma as far as society is concerned."

But Nawab says she must move on and has plans to finish her studies and find a job.

She has also vowed to raise awareness for other wrongly imprisoned women. Her lawyer says he will help her set up an NGO to give women like her the support she never had.

"I don't want any other woman to have to endure the ordeal that I lived through," says Nawab.

"So I will raise their voices for them."