Asean Summit, Malaysia on April 27, 1015

"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.)

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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Friday, September 4, 2015

Switzerland opens criminal probe into Malaysian state fund

Swiss state prosecutors have begun criminal proceedings against executives from Malaysia's embattled 1MDB development fund, on top of freezing its assets. The organization has however denied having its resources frozen.

Deutsche Welle, 3 Sep 2015

Despite denials from Malaysian authorities, Switzerland confirmed on Thursday that it had frozen tens of millions of dollars in assets from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the country's troubled state investment fund. According to the Swiss state prosecutor, a criminal probe was also opened against two executives working for 1MDB.

"The Office of The Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has frozen assets amounting several tens of millions of US-dollars on Swiss bank accounts," spokeswoman Anna Wegelin told French news agency AFP. She added that the criminal proceedings now underway involved money laundering and "suspected misconduct in public office."

The move follows months of allegations that huge sums of money had disappeared during deals with 1 MDB and increasing anger at Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who launched the fund in 2009.

The fund, however, said it knew nothing about the Swiss claims, despite insistence from Bern that they had been in contact with Kuala Lumpur: "As far as 1MDB is aware, none of the company's bank accounts have been frozen."

The 1MDB statement continued, however, that it is in the process of developing a better understanding of the ongoing investigations in Switzerland so the company can cooperate to its fullest extent."

Prime Minister Razak has unequivocally denied any wrongdoing, even as tens of thousands of protestors have taken to the streets of Kuala Lumpur and other Malaysian cities in the past week, including former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, calling on their leader to come clean about 1MDB's activities.

The fund has been in the international spotlight since a July "Wall Street Journal" report implied that 2.6 billion ringgit (613 million dollars) discovered in Razak's bank accounts had come from the heavily indebted organization.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

South Korean president visits Beijing, praises China for 'strategic cooperation'

China's help played a key role in defusing an escalation between North and South Korea last week, South Korean President Park Geun Hye says. The comments came during a visit to the Chinese capital.

Deutsche Welle, 2 Sep 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with South Korean President Park Geun hye
South Korean President Park Geun Hye met with Chinese President Xi Jinping Wednesday in Beijing, with the agenda to include the "denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," according to her spokesperson.

The meeting comes amid diplomatic efforts to resume the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

Park told Xi she appreciated China's help in defusing tension with North Korea that had pushed the neighbors to the brink of conflict.

The deal "showcases how important it is to have strategic cooperations between South Korea and China for...regional peace," she said.

North and South Korea averted a full-on military confrontation last week and reached an agreement to improve ties following a rare exchange of artillery fire over their heavily fortified border.

Meanwhile, Park's Chinese counterpart called for the resumption of multilateral talks, which have stalled since 2008.

"China has all along upheld the aim of a denuclearized Korean peninsula, the maintaining of the peninsula's peace and stability and resolving issues via dialogue and consultations," Xi said, according to China's Foreign Ministry. China "opposes any actions which may cause tensions" and all sides should "work hard to resume talks," he added.

South Korean soldiers stand guard
at a checkpoint
During her visit, Park will also attend a military parade with Xi in Tiananmen Square to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on Thursday, her presidential office said.

Observers noted that Park's visit to China, historically the North's only diplomatic ally, contrasted with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's decision to send a representative to Thursday's parade rather than to attend it himself. Kim Jong Un has not yet met Xi since he took power in 2011. It is not yet clear whether the North Korean envoy will meet with President Park while in Beijing this week.

China, the world's largest exporter, is now South Korea's biggest trading partner. South Korea is one of the few developed countries that runs a surplus with China.

dr/kms (dpa, Reuters)

Swiss freeze millions in Malaysian PM corruption scandal

Swiss authorities have frozen millions of dollars linked to a troubled Malaysian state investment fund. The seizure is believed to be connected to huge cash withdrawals to Prime Minister Najib Razak's personal accounts.

Deutsche Welle, 2 Sep 2015

The office of the Swiss Attorney General announced the seizure on Wednesday, amid a probe into several people linked to the heavily-indebted 1Malaysia Development Fund (1MDB), including Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Swiss authorities said the accounts, which contained millions of dollars, were frozen amid suspicions about corruption and money laundering.

Malaysian leader Najib has been under growing pressure to resign since "The Wall Street Journal" revealed in early July that Malaysian investigators had found nearly $700 million (620 million euros) in mysterious deposits in his personal bank accounts.

The money had been withdrawn from 1MDB's bank accounts. The fund was set up by Najib in 2009 to boost Malaysia's economic prospects.

It was unclear whether the accounts frozen in Switzerland were directly linked to funds received by the Malaysian leader.

Najib denies any wrongdoing, describing criticism of his leadership as a "political conspiracy." Officials maintain the cash came from "political donations" from Middle Eastern countries.

Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamed has joined the call for Najib to step down.

Tens of thousands of people joined an
 anti-government protest in Kuala
Lumpur over the weekend
The 90-year-old, who himself ruled Malaysia for 22 years, spoke at huge rallies last weekend, accusing Najib of bribing politicians in the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), to secure their support.

Huge protests over the weekend, led by Berish, a coalition of Malaysian NGOs and activist groups, were declared illegal by police and several organizers have been brought in for questioning.

On Wednesday, the German-based Transparency International said Malaysia's fight against corruption wouldn't be credible until the truth about Najib's sudden personal windfall was revealed.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Higher wages in store for foreign caregivers in Taiwan

Want China Times, CNA 2015-08-30

Foreign caregivers at a park in Taipei, March 30. (Photo/Fang Chun-che)

Foreign caregivers planning to work in Taiwan will receive a monthly wage of NT$17,000 (US$525) beginning on Sept. 1, the country's labor minister Chen Hsiung-wen announced on Friday.

That represents an increase of NT$1,160 (US$35), or 7.32%, from the current monthly wage of NT$15,840 (US$490), which has been the fixed rate for the past 18 years.

In contrast to the minimum monthly wage of NT$20,008 (US$617.34) for workers in Taiwan, which has increased 26% during the period, Chen said the 7.32% raise was reasonable.

Foreign nationals working as domestic caregivers in Taiwan are not covered under Taiwan's Labor Standards Act and therefore not entitled to the statutory minimum wage.

The higher monthly wage will only be applied, however, to new applicants from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, and not to those already working in Taiwan.

With the monthly pay for migrant domestic helpers in Hong Kong and Macau at NT$16,530 (US$510), Taiwan hopes that the wage increase can attract quality domestic helpers to work in the country, Chen said, after a meeting with officials from the four Southeast Asian countries earlier in the day.

Indonesia and the Philippines, the two countries that provide the most migrant domestic helpers in Taiwan, have pressed Taiwan for months to increase the wages for their workers to NT$17,500 (US$540) per month, and have been holding back new workers from employers unwilling to pay that amount.

It was not immediately clear if the new wage settled the differences between Taiwan and the two countries.

But Agusdin Subiantoro, deputy director of Indonesia's National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers, told CNA on Thursday that Indonesia and Taiwan had reached the agreement to increase migrant caregivers' pay to NT$17,000 (US$525) after rounds of negotiations.

Groups of manpower brokers called for the ministry on Friday afternoon to require incoming migrant workers to have HIV/AIDS testing and pregnancy tests done.

But the Labor Ministry said that considering international human rights conventions and workplace gender equality, those tests should not be requirements for those workers.

Related Article:

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Protesters gather in Malaysian capital

Protesters have been gathering in the Malaysian capital ahead of a planned two-day anti-government rally, despite a ban on the demonstration. Many are wearing yellow pro-democracy T-shirts in defiance of another order.

Deutsche Welle, 29 Aug 2015

Two yellow T-shirted protesters take a selfie near a barrier manned by police
Reuters/Olivia Harris

Thousands of protesters congregated in several areas of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday ahead of the planned rally, during which huge crowds are expected to march to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib has been facing public outrage over a multi-million-dollar payment made to a bank account under his name.

Security is expected to be tight for the rally, which is due to run until Sunday evening. Police were reported to have blocked access to one square where protesters intended to converge.

A local news portal reported that the army might intervene if the crowds get out of hand, and a state of emergency could be declared. However, a military spokesman declined to comment on the report. The police, meanwhile, have declared the rally illegal and have banned online information about the event, while authorities have urged people not to join the protest.

Kuala Lumpur authorities rejected an application by pro-democracy group Bersih for a permit to protest, setting the stage for a possible showdown with security forces. Police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters at Bersih's last big rally in 2012. The activist group has also called for rallies in the cities of Kota Kinabalu and Kuching on the Malaysian side of Borneo.

The wearing of yellow

Ahead of the protests, Malaysia also banned the wearing of any yellow clothing which contains the word "Bersih", according to the German news agency DPA. Bersih, the Malay word for clean, refers to the Coalition of Free and Fair Elections. The coalition is comprised of 84 non-governmental organizations calling for a thorough reform of the electoral process in Malaysia as well as transparency in government.

But the director of independent pollster Merdeka Center, Ibrahim Suffian, said discontent with Najib, who took office in 2009, was concentrated in urban areas, adding that a national survey this month showed a slight majority were opposed to the rally. Najib also reshuffled part of his cabinet to ensure he had supporters on his side while weathering the storm.

Najib under investigation

The 62-year-old leader ran into trouble in July when it was reported that investigators had launched a probe into the "1Malaysia Development Berhad" (1MDB) debt-laden state fund. A payment of more than $600 million had been traced to an account under the premier's name.

Criticism of Najib has come even
from within his own part
Malaysia's anti-graft agency had verified the funds were a donation from the Middle East, which came just before a 2013 election. On August 3, it said it would ask Najib to explain why the donation was deposited into his private account.

The prime minister's fiercest critic, former leader Mahathir Mohamad, this week said he did not believe the money was a donation and called again for Najib to go. The premier denied any wrongdoing. Opposition parties, meanwhile, have filed a lawsuit against the prime minister.

ss/lw (Reuters, dpa)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thai elephant kills keeper, runs off with 3 Chinese on its back

Yahoo – AFP, 26 Aug 2015

Thai policemen attend to the body of a mahout killed by his elephant in Chiang
Mai province on August 26, 2015 (AFP Photo)

An elephant in northern Thailand went berserk Wednesday, killing his "mahout" keeper before running off into the jungle with three terrified Chinese tourists still on his back, police said.

"The mahout who was killed was Karen and he was not familiar with the elephant. They (the tourists) are safe now," Colonel Thawatchai Thepboon, police commander of Mae Wang district in Chiang Mai province, told AFP.

The Karen are an ethnic minority widespread in northern Thailand.

Police said the incident took place at 9.30am (0230 GMT) as a Chinese family of three -- a father, mother and a young child -- took a ride on the back of a male elephant.

Rides are a popular and lucrative tourist activity but many animal rights groups say it is cruel and stressful for the pachyderms.

Mahouts with their elephants after bathing them in a river at Anantara resort, 
home to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, in Chiang Saen on
April 10, 2015 (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)

The elephant had not taken easily to his new keeper and turned on him suddenly, goring him to death, Channel 3 reported.

The channel broadcast footage of the three frightened tourists being led back to camp still on the elephant's back once it had been calmed down by other mahouts and their rides.

Thailand's roughly 4,000 domesticated elephants outnumber an estimated 2,500 remaining in the wild.

Domestic elephants in Thailand -- where the pachyderm is a national symbol -- have been used en masse in the tourist trade since they found themselves unemployed in 1989 when logging was banned.

Accidents are not unheard of. In June an elephant killed a Thai man and injured another as they were eating dinner at a beachside restaurant. The pair had been talking to the animal's mahout when it suddenly flipped.

Elephants eat platters of fruit during the elephant banquet to mark "National 
Elephant Day" in Ayutthaya province on March 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Rights groups have documented the more unscrupulous mahouts using controversial techniques to crush the animal's spirit or severely overworking their rides to make more money.

"Elephants work every day, of every month, basically 365 days per year," Edwin Wiek, a campaigner from Wildlife Friends of Thailand told AFP.

"If you had to do the same, you would get stressed. It is the same for elephants. At some point they become crazy and we can't control them."

The accident comes as Thailand's tourism industry reels from last week's bombing of a religious shrine in Bangkok, an attack that killed 20 people, mostly ethnic Chinese devotees from across Asia.

Related Articles:

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Thai Department of National Parks (DNP) workers display pieces of ivory
during a destruction ceremony in Bangkok on August 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Thailand destroys ivory stockpile amid junta crackdown

Yahoo – AFP, 26 Aug 2015

Thai Department of National Parks (DNP) workers display pieces of ivory 
during a destruction ceremony in Bangkok on August 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Bangkok (AFP) - Thailand destroyed more than two tonnes of ivory Wednesday -- a victory for animal rights groups fighting against the trade in a country renowned for being a hub for illegal tusks.

The ceremony, in which 2,155 kilograms of raw tusks and carved trinkets were fed into an industrial rock crusher before being incinerated, was presided over by the Thai junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha and is the first time the kingdom has taken steps to destroy part of its stockpile.

"This is to show the Thai government's strong determination to oppose ivory trafficking and that Thailand will comply with international rules," he said during the ceremony.

Animal rights campaigners have long accused successive Thai civilian and military administrations of turning a blind eye to the lucrative trade.

They have pushed for Bangkok to destroy its stockpile to signal its determination to stamp down on the trade and avoid the risk of seized ivory finding its way back onto the black market through corrupt officials.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha (2nd R) looks at pieces of ivory
 on display during a destruction of confiscated ivory exercise at Thailand's 
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation in Bangkok on
August 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Trade in ivory was banned in 1989 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). But that has not stopped criminal gangs seeking to exploit a continued demand for tusks in Asia.

Ivory and other body parts of elephants are prized for decoration, as talismans, and for use in traditional medicine across parts of Asia with Thailand a key transit point.

The country's generals, who seized power in a coup last spring, have vowed to crack down on the illegal ivory trade.

Earlier this year, they ordered all Thais to register any ivory they owned, warning that those who failed to do so would see their items confiscated.

They have also made a series of high profile seizures including four tonnes of ivory found hidden in containers in April that originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was destined for Laos.

Thai police seized more than three tonnes of ivory a week later in a second haul, this time from Kenya that was again destined for Laos.

Trade in ivory was banned in 1989 - but that has not stopped criminal gangs
 seeking to exploit a continued demand for tusks in Asia (AFP Photo/
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

The ivory destroyed on Wednesday accounts for most of Thailand's stockpile where criminal cases have been completed.

A further 540 kilograms has been donated to museums, government institution and universities to be used for educational and awareness raising purposes.

Janpai Ongsiriwittaya, from the World Wildlife Fund, said Thailand's junta had taken significant steps to tackle the illegal trade and that the destruction of the stockpile was "more than just a symbolic act".

"For too long Thailand has been exploited by wildlife criminals as both a gateway and marketplace for ivory poached in Africa and Asia," she added.

The ceremony came as state media in Vietnam reported two significant seizures of elephant tusks in the last few days, including two tonnes from Nigeria and another yet to be weighed haul that came via Malaysia.

Related Article:

Vietnam seizes illegal ivory from Malaysia

Customs officials in Vietnam have confiscated illegally imported ivory for the second time in two weeks. The elephant tusks and pangolin scales were hidden amongst red beans in a container imported from Malaysia.

Deutsche Welle, 26 Aug 2015

Seized ivories and ivory products prior to its destruction in Brussels, 
Belgium(Photo: Xinhua/Gong Bing)

According to the Vietnamese VNExpress news website, the police seized ivory in central Danang's Tien Sa port on Tuesday.

"This is a very big case. At least a ton of elephant tusks and pangolin scales were hidden inside the container," said Dang Van Toan, head of the control division of Da Nang customs.
In a similar case last week, Vietnamese police busted two tons of ivory from Nigeria.

Earlier this month, officials confiscated more than 700 kilograms of rhino horns and elephant tusks imported from Mozambique.

Ivory products are popular in the Southeast Asian country. A kilogram of elephant tusk sells for at least $2,100 (1,822 euros) on the black market - around double the country's annual per capita GDP.

Vietnamese activists have long campaigned to convince people not to buy ivory products, but they haven't had much success.

Trading in ivory has been a crime since 1989 following the hunt of scores of elephants in Africa. Their population had dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to just 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

shs/msh (AFP, dpa)
Related Article:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Indonesia Wants to Use Yuan for Trades in Asean

Jakarta Globe, 2 August 2015

Jakarta. Indonesia is proposing the use of China's yuan for trade and investment purposes in Asean‎ countries in a bid to counter further impacts from the stronger US dollar against currencies in the region, a minister said on Tuesday.

The 10 members of the Asean region, including Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, mostly use US dollars for international trade. But a strengthening greenback has made imports and servicing debt more expensive, pushing some to consider turning to the yuan.

"We want to push [the use of the yuan] when Indonesia trades with China in particular," Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said at the House of Representatives. "Bank Indonesia is preparing the mechanism so it will be attractive for traders."

Trade Minister Thomas Lembong also brought up the issue on Monday after a meeting with the president.

He said Indonesia should push harder for broader use of the Chinese currency in the region because Asean economies were "much more in tune" with China.

The rupiah traded at an average of 14,700 per US dollar on Monday morning, its weakest point since 1998, according to the counter price at state-owned Bank Rakyat Indonesia. It has lost about 13 percent of its value against the dollar this year.

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China and Japan will start direct currency trading

"The U in Kundalini"- Oct 18, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Kundalini, Unification, EU, Nobel Peace Prize 2012, Middle East, South America, Only 5 Currencies on EarthOld Souls, Duality will dismiss, 3D Humanity will melt with Multi dimensional higher self, Global Unity… etc.)

Singapore to hold snap election on September 11

Yahoo – AFP, Bhavan Jaipragas, 25 Aug 2015

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at the Istana presidential 
palace in Singapore on July 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman)

Singapore will hold a snap general election on September 11, officials said Tuesday as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong seeks a new mandate from voters worried over immigration and the high cost of living.

Despite a slowing economy the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled for more than 50 years thanks to strict political controls and Singaporeans' rising affluence, is expected to keep its overwhelming majority in parliament against a fragmented opposition.

But the party will be under pressure to improve on its electoral performance in 2011, when it won just 60 percent of votes cast -- its lowest-ever share -- despite retaining 80 of the 87 seats in a block-voting system.

This photo taken on August 9, 2015 shows 
Singaporeans celebrating the country's
50th National Day in Singapore (AFP
Photo/Roslan Rahman)
It will be the first election without the prime minister’s hugely influential father, independence leader Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March.

The election department set the shortest possible campaigning period of nine days after President Tony Tan dissolved parliament at the prime minister's request.

Lee, who has been in power for 11 years and had until January 2017 to hold an election, sought support in a Facebook post.

"I called this general election to seek your mandate to take Singapore beyond SG50, into its next half century," he said, referring to the 50th anniversary of independence from Malaysia.

Singapore celebrated half a century as a republic on August 9 with a massive parade which highlighted its rapid economic development and stability under PAP rule.

All eyes will be on whether the opposition can gain more than the seven seats it currently holds.

Watershed election

"I would say this would be the watershed election after independence because we will see whether Singapore moves in a definitive manner towards a two-party system," said analyst Eugene Tan, an associate law professor at the Singapore Management University.

A survey by local research firm Blackbox said the government enjoyed a "satisfaction index" of 76.4 percent in July after peaking at 80 percent in April following Lee Kuan Yew’s death, which triggered an outpouring of grief and stirred patriotism.

Singapore's satisfaction rating on the cost of living in July stood at just 42 percent, 
housing affordability at 53 percent, public transport at 57 percent and population
 management at 61 percent (AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman)

But its satisfaction rating on the cost of living in July stood at just 42 percent, housing affordability at 53 percent, public transport at 57 percent and population management at 61 percent.

An influx of foreign workers and immigrants as the local birthrate declined has seen the population surge from 4.17 million in 2004 to 5.47 million last year, of whom over 2.46 million are eligible Singaporean voters.

Middle-class Singaporeans complain that newcomers are competing with them for jobs and housing while straining public services like mass transport.

After the 2011 election the government invested billions of dollars in building new public housing flats and metro lines while curbing the intake of foreign workers and immigrants.

Michael Barr, a Singapore politics researcher at Flinders University in Australia, said the PAP had no doubts about being re-elected. "But they are worried about losing more seats than the last time, which was a record for the opposition."

However the main opposition Workers' Party has indicated it will contest only 28 of the 89 seats in the next parliament, with weaker parties fighting the PAP in the rest.

"Most of the opposition will simply secure a protest vote," said local analyst Derek da Cunha.

Rights groups have long criticised the PAP, particularly under Lee Kuan Yew, 
for jailing dissidents and driving political opponents to self-exile or financial ruin 
as a result of costly libel suits (AFP Photo/Philippe Lopez)

Singapore is now one of the world's richest cities, boasting top-notch education, health care and high-tech industries and financial institutions that attract workers and executives from around the world.

But rights groups have long criticised the PAP, particularly under Lee Kuan Yew, for jailing dissidents and driving political opponents to self-exile or financial ruin as a result of costly libel suits.

Singapore continues to impose strict rules on free speech and assembly, but social media have undermined the government's control over information and political debate.

Braema Mathi, president of independent human rights group Maruah, said the PAP has largely abandoned its "big stick approach" under the younger Lee, a British-educated former army brigadier general.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Koreas agree to defuse crisis after marathon talks

Yahoo – AFP, Jung Ha-Won, 24 Aug 2015

South Korean soldiers ride a military truck on the road leading to the truce village 
of Panmunjom in the border city of Paju on August 24, 2015 (AFP Photo)

Seoul (AFP) - North and South Korea wrapped up marathon talks Tuesday with an agreement on a series of measures to defuse a crisis that had pushed the two rivals to the brink of armed conflict.

The measures detailed in a joint statement included what amounted to an extremely rare public apology from North Korea, which "expressed regret" over mine blasts this month that maimed two South Korean soldiers on border patrol.

In response, the South agreed to halt loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts into North Korea which it had resumed -- after a break of more than a decade -- in retaliation for the mine blasts.

Anti-North Korean activists shout slogans
 as they protest on the Unification Bridge
that leads to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
 between North and South Korea in Paju on
August 24, 2015 (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)
The loudspeakers will be switched off midday (0300 GMT) Tuesday, at which time the North will lift a "semi-war state" declared last week by leader Kim Jong-Un.

The two also agreed to work towards a resumption next month of reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, and to hold official talks in either Seoul or Pyongyang at a date to be decided.

The agreement, which appeared to cover all the major areas of contention, came after days and nights of gruelling negotiations which began early Saturday evening in the border truce village of Panmunjom.

The talks had played out against a dangerous military stand-off, which triggered a rare artillery exchange over the border last week, with both sides ramping up the military rhetoric and flexing their weaponry.

Rising tensions

Tensions continued to rise as the discussions were taking place, with South Korean and US jets flying simulated bombing runs, and North Korea reportedly deploying two thirds of its 70-vessel submarine fleet.

"I hope that from now on, (both sides) sincerely implement the agreement and build trust through dialogue and cooperation in order to build new inter-Korean ties that meet the people's expectations," South Korea's lead negotiator, National Security Adviser Kim Kwan-Jin, told reporters.

Kim said the agreed measures would not only settle the current crisis, but also provide a "new momentum" for inter-Korean relations in the future.

The Panmunjom talks between Kim and his North Korean counterpart Hwang Pyong-So -- a close confidant of leader Kim Jong-Un -- were the highest-level inter-Korean talks for nearly a year.

There was some surprise at the unequivocal nature of the North Korean expression of regret over the mine blasts -- which many had predicted would be the main stumbling block to any agreement.

North Korea had repeatedly denied any responsibility for the blasts, and apologies for anything -- especially where South Korea is concerned -- are not in its usual diplomatic vocabulary.

A 'clear apology'

"Past inter-Korea agreements at a time like this have tended to be extremely ambiguous," said Jeung Young-Tae, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul.

"But in the world of diplomatic language, this is a clear apology, with the object of the regret -- the landmine blasts that maimed the soldiers -- clearly stated," Jeung said.

Television crews gather at a checkpoint on the Unification Bridge that leads to the 
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea in Paju on August 23, 2015
(AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

On Monday, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye had insisted that Seoul would only switch off the propaganda loudspeakers if the North provided a "clear apology" for the landmine incident.

In televised remarks to a meeting of senior aides, a combative Park had also vowed "no retreat" in the face of North Korean provocation.

Tuesday's agreement noted that the South's undertaking to turn off the propaganda loudspeakers would be null and void if "an abnormal case occurs" -- an apparent reference to future provocations.

The agreement will be welcomed by neighbouring countries like China and Japan, which had viewed the stand-off on the Korean peninsula with growing concern and urged both sides to show calm and restraint.

It will also be viewed with some relief by the United States, which has nearly 30,000 US troops permanently stationed in South Korea and had repeatedly reiterated its commitment to the defence of its key Asian ally.

Technically, the two Koreas have been at war for the past 65 years since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a ceasefire that was never ratified by a formal peace treaty.