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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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Crackdown and charm offensive: Saudi prince shores up power

Yahoo – AFP, Anuj Chopra, September 18, 2017

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, often known as MBS, is set to be
the first millennial to occupy the throne in a country where half the population is
under 25 (AFP Photo/BANDAR AL-JALOUD)

Riyadh (AFP) - With a crackdown on dissenters and a charm offensive to woo the kingdom's swelling youth population, Saudi Arabia's king-in-waiting Mohammed bin Salman is cementing his grip on power, analysts say.

The 32-year-old crown prince, often known as MBS, is set to be the first millennial to occupy the throne in a country where half the population is under 25, though the timing of his ascension remains unknown.

Already viewed as the de facto ruler controlling all the major levers of government, from defence to economy, MBS is seen as stamping out traces of internal dissent before any formal transfer of power from his 81-year-old father King Salman.

Authorities last week arrested around two dozen people, including influential clerics, in what activists decried as a coordinated crackdown.

Analysts say many of those detained are resistant to MBS's aggressive foreign policy that includes the boycott of Gulf neighbour Qatar as well as some of his bold reforms, including privatising state assets and cutting subsidies.

Saudi officials have instead suggested a foreign plot to overthrow the government, without disclosing details.

"In recent years we cannot recall a week in which so many prominent Saudi Arabian figures have been targeted in such a short space of time," said Samah Hadid, a director at Amnesty International.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made a rare appearance this month in the 
football match that saw Saudi Arabia qualify for next year's World Cup (AFP Photo/STR)

Meteoric rise

To analysts, MBS's meteoric rise has seemed almost Shakespearean in its aggression and calculation. In June, he edged out a 58-year-old cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, to become heir to the throne.

At the time, Saudi television channels showed the bearded MBS kissing the hand of the older prince and kneeling before him in a show of reverence. Western media reports later said that the deposed prince had been placed under house arrest, a claim strongly denied by Saudi authorities.

Foreign diplomats predict MBS could well be in control of Saudi Arabia for at least half a century.

"I can't say when the formal ascension of Mohammed bin Salman might happen, but the real transfer of power has already happened –- he is effectively ruling Saudi Arabia," Perry Cammack, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told AFP.

"With the (older) generation having now left the scene and his main younger rivals having been removed, Mohammed is primed to enjoy a dominance over Saudi Arabia unseen since the rule of Abdulaziz, who founded the modern Saudi kingdom in the 1930s."

With his youth a novelty in a country accustomed to ageing rulers, MBS has sought to woo young Saudis by putting sports and entertainment on the cutting edge of his reform effort, dubbed Vision 2030, at the risk of riling conservatives.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting in Jeddah, under 
a portrait of King Abdulaziz al-Saud, the founder of the Saudi kingdom (AFP Photo/
BANDAR AL-JALOUD)

Public cinemas have long been banned inside the kingdom and there are few outlets for leisure activities.

MBS made a rare appearance this month in the football match that saw Saudi Arabia qualify for next year's World Cup. Alone in what appeared to be a bullet-proof royal box, the smiling prince flashed the victory sign —- an image embossed on a new government poster for Vision 2030.

"The image perfectly captures two aspects of his power: his appeal to youth and to nationalism," Kristin Diwan, from the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told AFP.

"National pride is replacing the appeal of Islamism. And sports and other forms of entertainment are compensating youth for the weakness of the welfare state."

A slump in oil prices has prompted Saudi Arabia to take steps to reduce the kingdom's generous welfare system after decades of using its vast energy resources to pay generous salaries and benefits.

Generational shift

This direct outreach to youth amid Saudi Arabia's transition to a post-oil era marks a clear departure from the past, when previous rulers appeared more inclined to court society's elders out of a deference to age.

But sluggish economic growth and soaring youth unemployment could hinder MBS's outreach.

His reform plan seeks to reduce reliance on oil and develop the kingdom's industrial and investment base to generate more private-sector jobs for young Saudis.

But recent reports that the government is rejigging its reform strategy, which has already fallen short in key areas, is a sign that "broader opposition to reform is building," said research firm Capital Economics.

"His own youth, his tendency to centralise power, and his rapid changes to foreign policy have all alienated some of the senior ruling family members, while his changes to the economy have upset some of the merchant families," Jane Kinninmont, from the London-based Chatham House, told AFP.

"Building up a youth support base may help MBS compensate for alienating some of the supporters that Saudi princes have traditionally counted on."

MBS, who boasts of close ties to the White House, also appears to be empowering third-generation royals, with several younger princes holding deputy positions in various ministries and regional governments.

A series of full-page ads in Saudi newspapers recently extolled the virtues of the "charismatic" prince, tackling the unease in some quarters over his youth and perceived inexperience.

"His teachers describe him: He has never been part of a problem," said the ad by a regional men's magazine that profiled MBS, splashed with pictures from his childhood.

"Takes initiative and acts older than his age."

Friday, September 15, 2017

Another town scraps Australia Day, drawing government ire

Yahoo – AFP, 14 Sep 2017

Another town scraps Australia Day, drawing government ire
   
Sydney (AFP) - Marking Australia Day is like celebrating the Holocaust, a Melbourne politician said as her council scrapped a holiday it deemed offensive to Aboriginal people, in a move the government on Thursday labelled "extreme and divisive".

The council in the Melbourne suburb of Moreland became the third in Victoria state to decide not to recognise Australia Day.

The annual holiday, on January 26, commemorates the arrival of the country's first British settlers in 1788 and is a time when citizenship ceremonies are held.

But it is termed "Invasion Day" by many indigenous Australians who say it marks the beginning of the decline of Aboriginal culture.

In debating the issue Wednesday, Moreland Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton said commemorating Australia Day "would be like celebrating the Nazi Holocaust", state broadcaster ABC reported.

Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke said in a statement the government rejected "the extreme and divisive nature of the discussion Greens and Socialist councillors are promoting".

He said the government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull "strongly condemns comparisons of Australia Day with the Nazi Holocaust as deeply offensive to all Australians".

"Australia Day is a recognition of our shared history and the Turnbull government, along with the vast majority of Australians, indigenous and non-indigenous, fully support Australia Day remaining on January 26."

Australia's colonial history credits Captain James Cook with discovering the country, but Aboriginal people inhabited the land for more than 60,000 years before the first European explorers arrived.

Last month a war of words erupted over colonial-era statues in Australia, with several in Sydney defaced, including one of Cook with the words "change the date" in reference to Australia Day.

The vandalism sparked a furious response from Turnbull, who brushed off calls for the statues to be torn down, adding that the defacement was "what Stalin did" in denying history.

Aborigines remain the most disadvantaged Australians. They were believed to have numbered around one million at the time of British settlement, but now make up only about three percent of the total population of 24 million.


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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Anger as Singapore gets first female president without a vote

Yahoo – AFP, Elizabeth Law, September 13, 2017

A supporter displays a figurine of former parliamentary speaker Halimah Yacob,
who has been named the country's new president (AFP Photo/ROSLAN RAHMAN)

Singapore (AFP) - Singapore got its first female president Wednesday, but the milestone was overshadowed by criticism that her selection was undemocratic after she was handed the job without a vote.

Halimah Yacob, a former speaker of parliament from the Muslim Malay minority, did not have to face an election for the largely ceremonial post after authorities decided her rivals did not meet eligibility criteria.

It was not the first time in the affluent city-state -- which is tightly controlled and has been ruled by the same party for decades -- that the government has disqualified presidential candidates, making an election unnecessary.

But there was already unease about the process as it was the first time that the presidency had been reserved for a particular race, in this case the Malay community. The decision to hand her the job without an election added to the anger.

Social media was abuzz with criticism as Halimah, a bespectacled 63-year-old who wears a headscarf, was formally announced as president-elect, with Facebook user Pat Eng writing: "Elected without an election. What a joke."

"I will call her President Select from now on," said Joel Kong on the networking site, while some posts were marked with the hashtag #NotMyPresident -- echoing the message used by upset Americans after the election of President Donald Trump.

'President for everyone'

Halimah was a member of parliament for the ruling People's Action Party for nearly two decades before resigning to contest the presidency. She addressed the concerns about the selection process after being named president-elect.

"I'm a president for everyone. Although there's no election, my commitment to serve you remains the same," she said.

Former parliamentary speaker Halimah Yacob (R), who was named the country's 
new president, waves to supporters with her husband Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee 
as they arrive at the nomination centre in Singapore on September 13, 2017 (AFP Photo/
ROSLAN RAHMAN)

Halimah added she would "start working immediately" to bring the country together.

She also insisted her status as Singapore's first female president was "not just tokenism", in a speech to a cheering crowd while wearing orange, a colour supposed to symbolise unity.

"Every woman can aspire to the highest office in the land when you have the courage, determination and will to work hard," she said.

Singapore's head of state has limited powers, including vetoing senior official appointments. But an establishment figure has always held the role and there are rarely tensions with the government.

Authorities decided to allow only candidates from the Malay community to put themselves forward for the presidency to foster harmony in the city-state of 5.5 million people which is dominated by ethnic Chinese, and give more opportunities to minorities.

Halimah is the first Malay president of Singapore for almost five decades. The last was Yusof Ishak, president from 1965 to 1970, the first years of the city-state's independence.

But the decision to limit candidates to one race had caused concern, including among Malays, as it was seen as positive discrimination that ran counter to the city-state's traditional meritocratic principles.

Five people had originally put their names forward for the presidency and the government had scheduled an election for September 23.

Two were quickly eliminated as they were not Malay. The two others, Malay businessmen, were disqualified on Monday as their companies were smaller than required by strict new eligibility rules introduced last year.

Halimah automatically qualified as she has held public office. She will be inaugurated in a ceremony on Thursday.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New UN sanctions on North Korea: what do they mean?

Yahoo – AFP, Hwang Sunghee, September 12, 2017

North Korea has shrugged off numerous sets of sanctions aimed at crimping
 its nuclear and missile programmes, and this month unveiled what it said was a
working hydrogen bomb (AFP Photo/STR)

Seoul (AFP) - The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted new sanctions on North Korea, including restrictions on oil shipments, to punish Pyongyang for its sixth and largest nuclear test.

But Washington toned down its initial proposals to secure backing from China and Russia.

Here are some key questions on UNSC resolution 2375, and its attempt to end the North's nuclear weapons and missile programmes.

What impact will the oil measures have?

The new resolution ends natural gas shipments to North Korea, caps crude oil shipments at their current levels, and puts a ceiling on refined oil products such as petrol and diesel.

North Korea has little oil of its own, relying on imports to keep its citizens and soldiers moving.

The US initially sought an oil embargo, which China -- North Korea's sole ally and main trading partner -- strongly opposed.

Instead the resolution limits crude oil shipments from any country to the amount sent to the North in the last 12 months.

Beijing does not publish statistics for crude oil shipments to the North, shrouding the issue in secrecy, but is believed to supply around 4 million barrels a year.

Chart showing the value of North Korea's refined oil imports 2012 to 2016, 
with China and Russia's share of the yearly total. Non-photo version. (AFP 
Photo/John SAEKI)

The resolution also limits the North to importing 2 million barrels a year of refined oil products -- representing a 15 percent cut based on UN-WTO International Trade Centre estimates, although some analysts put the effect as high as 56 percent.

"It's a red light for the growth of the North Korean economy," said Cheong Seong-Chang of Seoul's Sejong Institute, "but will not have huge impact on North Korea's military because the crude oil supply remains the same".

Crucially, the resolution includes an exemption for "livelihood purposes" -- similar to clauses in past resolutions that have been used as loopholes.

Kim Hyun-Wook, professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, warned there are "no means to check how much crude oil is delivered through the pipeline" between China and North Korea.

Koo Kab-Woo of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said the measures carried symbolic value as the "first US attempt at touching North Korea's economic lifeline".

How significant is the textiles ban?

The resolution bans the import and export of textiles -- both fabric and clothing -- by the North.

Textiles are one of North Korea's major exports, estimated to be worth around 
$750 million a year (AFP Photo/KNS)

Textiles are one of North Korea's major exports, estimated by Rajiv Biswas of IHS Markit to value $750 million.

Analysts say the move could cut off a major source of foreign currency for Pyongyang.

China supplies materials to the North, where they are made into clothing in factories using cheap labour, and re-exported to China.

Most go to China and Russia, so the effects will depend on enforcement by Beijing and Moscow, said Koo.

"It all depends on China and Russia's willingness."

A UN report published at the weekend said Pyongyang collected at least $270 million over a six month-period this year by exporting "almost all of the commodities prohibited" by existing sanctions.

What about overseas workers?

The resolution bars countries from issuing new permits to the roughly 93,000 North Korean labourers working abroad.

Map showing countries which host North Korean labourers, according to 
reports by UN and academics. (AFP Photo/Gal ROMA)

Their toil, mainly at construction sites in Middle Eastern countries as well as Russia and China, earns revenue for Pyongyang.

There is an exemption for existing contracts. Analysts are sceptical about any immediate effects of the ban, but say it could increase pressure on Pyongyang over time.

Will cargo inspections increase?

Under the measure, countries are authorised to inspect ships suspected of carrying banned North Korean cargo -- but must first seek the consent of the vessel's flag state, limiting the impact.

Washington had sought authorisation for searches by force, which Koo said China and Russia "strongly opposed".

North Korea is suspected of engaging in arms trade with countries in Africa and the Middle East.

The UN report said it was investigating "chemical, ballistic missile and conventional arms cooperation" between North Korea and Syria.

UN member states had interdicted shipments destined for Syria believed to be from the North's state-owned arms dealer, the Korea Mining and Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), it said.

North Korea is already under multiple UN sanctions but has still made rapid 
progress in its nuclear and missile programmes (AFP Photo/STR)

Will the sanctions curb Pyongyang's ambitions?

Analysts say the sanctions were significantly watered down from the initial draft proposal to get China and Russia on board and are sceptical about whether they will curb Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

North Korea is already under multiple UN sanctions but has still made rapid progress in its nuclear and missile programmes.

"It is not enough to cause pain," said Go Myong-Hyun at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies.

Instead, said Koh of Dongguk University, the new sanctions will drive Pyongyang to accelerate its programmes.

"North Korea will try to become a nuclear state as quickly as possible to negotiate with the US as an equal before the effect of the sanctions fully kicks in," he said.

Pyongyang habitually attributes UN measures to the "hostile" US, which it blames for the body's actions.

And Kim Hyun-Wook of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, predicted: "The sanctions will only provide North Korea with an excuse for further provocations, such as an ICBM launch."

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

UN warns of 'ethnic cleansing' of Myanmar's Muslims

Yahoo – AFP, Nick Perry,  September 11, 2017

Rohingya girl walks through a refugee camp in the Bangladeshi district of 
Ukhia (AFP Photo/Munir Uz Zaman)

The situation in Myanmar is a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing", the United Nations rights chief said on Monday, as the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing the country for Bangladesh topped 300,000.

The UN warning came as it emerged the Dalai Lama had written to Aung San Suu Kyi urging Myanmar's de facto civilian leader to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in the mainly Buddhist country.

The Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority, have faced decades of persecution in Myanmar where they are regarded as illegal immigrants.

But since the latest upsurge in violence on August 25, hundreds of thousands have flooded across the border into Bangladesh bringing stories of entire villages burned to the ground by Buddhist mobs and Myanmar troops.

On Monday the UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein accused Myanmar of waging a "systematic attack" on the Rohingya and warned that "ethnic cleansing" seemed to be under way.

"Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed, but the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing," he told the UN Human Rights Council.

The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority who have faced decades of 
persecution in Myanmar, where they are regarded as illegal immigrants 
(AFP Photo)

'Appalled'

Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, has come in for strong international criticism over the military crackdown on the Rohingya, which began when militants ambushed security forces on August 25.

The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has said the latest violence may have left more than 1,000 dead, most of them Rohingya.

A further 27,000 ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as well as Hindus have also fled violence that has gripped northern Rakhine, where international aid programmes have been severely curtailed.

On Monday it emerged that the Dalai Lama had joined fellow Nobel peace laureates Malala Yousafzai and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in urging Suu Kyi to intervene.

"Questions that are put to me suggest that many people have difficulty reconciling what appears to be happening to Muslims there with Myanmar’s reputation as a Buddhist country," the Tibetan spiritual leader wrote in a letter to Suu Kyi shortly after the latest fighting broke out.

A Rohingya refugee carries two children in buckets as they arrive in Bangladesh
at Shah Porir Dwip in Teknaf on September 9, 2017 (AFP Photo/Emrul KAMAL)

"I appeal to you and your fellow leaders to reach out to all sections of society to try to restore friendly relations throughout the population in a spirit of peace and reconciliation."

The UN refugee agency says at least 313,000 Rohingya have now arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar's Rakhine state since August 25, around a third of the total population of 1.1 million.

The true figure could be even higher -- the UN said many new arrivals are still on the move and are therefore left out of the calculations.

Most have walked for days and the United Nations says many are sick, exhausted and in desperate need of shelter, food and water.

Safura Khatun, 60, was among the hundreds who crossed into Bangladesh on Monday.

She told AFP it had taken her 15 days to reach Bangladesh from her village south of Maungdaw, where her husband and three sons had been killed.

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has come in for strong international 
criticism over the military crackdown on the Rohingya (AFP Photo/ROMEO GACAD)

"I had only water for the last five days," she said, rocking on the spot in a yellow headscarf.

"I don't know what I will do here. We will follow the others."

Refugee camps and makeshift settlements near the border with Myanmar already hosted hundreds of thousands of Rohingya before the latest influx and are now completely overwhelmed.

That has left tens of thousands of new arrivals with nowhere to shelter from the monsoon rains.

Dhaka, which initially tried to block the Rohingya from entering, said Monday it would start registering all new arrivals.

The Bangladesh government plans to build a huge new camp that will house a quarter of a million refugees.

It remains unclear when or whether they will be able to return.

The UN refugee agency says at least 313,000 Rohingya have now arrived in 
Bangladesh from Myanmar's Rakhine state since August 25 (AFP Photo/
Munir UZ ZAMAN)

The UN's Zeid said he was "appalled" by reports that Myanmar security forces were laying mines near the border to stop the Rohingya returning.

Three Rohingya are reported to have been killed by a mine, and at least two more have lost limbs. One of the victims was a young boy.

On Sunday the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army militant group whose attacks sparked the latest crackdown, declared a unilateral ceasefire to allow aid to reach the increasingly desperate refugees.

There was no immediate response from Myanmar's military, but on Saturday authorities said they would set up three relief camps in Rohingya-majority areas.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Mongolia parliament votes out PM, cabinet

Yahoo – AFP, September 7, 2017

42 out of 73 members of Mongolia's legislature, the Great Khural, voted to oust
 Jargaltulgiin Erdenebat along with his 15 cabinet ministers (AFP Photo/
JOHANNES EISELE)

Mongolian parliamentarians voted Thursday to throw out the country's prime minister and cabinet over allegations of corruption and abuse of power a little over a year after a landslide election victory by the ruling party.

42 out of 73 members of Mongolia's legislature, the Great Khural, voted to oust Jargaltulgiin Erdenebat along with his 15 cabinet ministers.

A majority of the ruling Mongolia People's Party (MPP) voted for the removal measure. The party now has 45 days to appoint a new PM.

Legislators accused Erdenebat of granting 800 billion tugrik ($328 million) in concessions to eight companies related to his cabinet ministers, providing illegal cash allowances to voters and presenting a poor image to the public.

Erdenebat has fiercely denied the allegations and in a statement before the vote he lashed out against "Mongolia's practice of ousting its cabinet", which he said had been toxic to the "country’s development and poisons our economy".

"Although, some of us point to foreign investments as economic killers, in reality we politicians are the internal killers of our economy and suffocate our own growth," he said.

Mongolia’s economy has performed well under Erdenebat's government, with a dramatic improvement in the first half of 2017 on the back of growing demand for coal from China.

Political instability, however, has been a constant problem for the young Central Asian democracy, which passed its first constitution in 1992 after decades of Communist rule.

The country has been through 15 different cabinets in the years since, each lasting an average of 1.5 years.

Late last month, the MPP issued a letter calling for Erdenebat and other senior leaders to resign, alleging they had violated the law in pursuit of their own business and political interests.

The letter came just weeks after a close loss by the party's candidate in a scandal-plagued presidential election.

The decision to demand Erdenbat's resignation was made after the party leadership declined to punish its bigwigs for their alleged role in a $25 million conspiracy to sell government positions that many believe cost the MPP the presidency.

The MPP won by a landslide in the 2016 elections, taking 65 out of 76 seats in the national parliament, and formed the cabinet headed by Erdenebat, who is alleged to have used his political powers to spy on fellow party members.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Iran says hajj success opens way for talks with Saudi

Yahoo – AFP, September 5, 2017

Iran thanked Saudi Arabia for its handling of the annual hajj pilgrimage, saying
 it opened the way for negotiations between the regional rivals (AFP Photo/
KARIM SAHIB)

Tehran (AFP) - Iran thanked Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for its handling of the annual hajj pilgrimage, saying it opened the way for negotiations between the regional rivals.

"We thank Saudi Arabia... for adopting a new approach in dealing with Iranian pilgrims," said Ali Ghazi-Askar, the head of the hajj organisation in Tehran, according to the state broadcaster.

Some 86,000 Iranian pilgrims took part last week in the hajj. They were unable to attend in 2016 after talks collapsed over security concerns.

Iran had been highly critical of Saudi Arabia's organisation efforts in the wake of a stampede during the 2015 hajj that killed up to 2,300 people, including hundreds of Iranians.

"There are always differences arising among countries but the important thing is for the parties to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation," said Ghazi-Askar, according to the ISNA news agency.

"Right now, after holding a successful hajj, it is a good time for both parties to negotiate to resolve their bilateral issues in other fields."

The two countries severed diplomatic relations after Iranians stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in January 2016 in response to Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif remained circumspect, however, saying he had yet to see "a clear prospect for change" in the relationship.

"If such a development occurs in the Saudis' mentality, it will definitely be a positive development and will be met with Iran's positive reaction," he told Khabar Online newspaper.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Suu Kyi and Myanmar face chorus of anger over Rohingya crisis

Yahoo – AFP, September 4, 2017

Malala Yousafzai said she is waiting for fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung
 San Suu Kyi to condemn the 'tragic and shameful treatment' of the Rohingya
Muslims in Myanmar (AFP Photo/ALFREDO ESTRELLA)

Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai and mainly Muslim countries in Asia led a growing chorus of criticism on Monday aimed at Myanmar and its civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi over the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Nearly 90,000 Rohingya have flooded into Bangladesh in the past 10 days following an uptick in fighting between militants and Myanmar's military in strife-torn western Rakhine state.

The impoverished region bordering Bangladesh has been a crucible of communal tensions between Muslims and Buddhists for years, with the Rohingya forced to live under apartheid-like restrictions on movement and citizenship.

The recent violence, which began last October when a small Rohingya militant group ambushed border posts, is the worst Rakhine has witnessed in years, with the UN saying Myanmar's army may have committed ethnic cleansing in its response.

Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner of Myanmar's junta, has come under increasing fire over her perceived unwillingness to speak out against the treatment of the Rohingya or chastise the military.

She has made no public comment since the latest fighting broke out on August 25.

Indonesian activists protest in Bandung, West Java about the humanitarian 
crisis in western Myanmar's Rakhine state (AFP Photo/TIMUR MATAHARI)

"Every time I see the news, my heart breaks at the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar," Pakistani activist Yousafzai, who famously survived being shot in the head by the Taliban, said in a statement on Twitter.

"Over the last several years I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment. I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same," she added.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman also questioned Suu Kyi's silence.

"Very frankly, I am dissatisfied with Aung San Suu Kyi," Anifah told AFP.

"(Previously) she stood up for the principles of human rights. Now it seems she is doing nothing."

Muslim neighbours riled

The growing crisis threatens Myanmar's diplomatic relations, particularly with Muslim-majority countries in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia and Indonesia where there is profound public anger over the treatment of the Rohingya.

The Maldives announced on Monday that it was severing all trade ties with the country "until the government of Myanmar takes measures to prevent the atrocities being committed against Rohingya Muslims", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Updated map of northern Rakhine state showing areas where fires were detected
 from satellite imagery. A total of 87,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have arrived in 
Bangladesh since violence erupted on August 25 in Rakhine. (AFP Photo/Gal ROMA)

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met Suu Kyi as well as Myanmar's army chief General Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw on Monday in a bid to pressure the government to do more to alleviate the crisis.

"Once again, violence, this humanitarian crisis has to stop immediately," Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters on Sunday as he announced Retno's mission.

Hours before Widodo spoke, a petrol bomb was thrown at Myanmar's embassy in Jakarta while police there have previously thwarted two attempts by Islamist militants to bomb the compound.

Dozens demonstrated in front of the embassy on Monday, where armed police were deployed and the mission cordoned off behind barbed wire.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said it was "deeply concerned over reports of growing number of deaths and forced displacement of Rohingya Muslims" and urged Myanmar to investigate reports of atrocities against the community.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif added in a recent tweet: "Global silence on continuing violence against #Rohingya Muslims. Int’l action crucial to prevent further ethnic cleansing - UN must rally."

Rohingya refugees travel on an open-back truck near the Kutupalong refugee
camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh (AFP Photo/Jasmin RUMI)

Analysts have long warned that Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya would lead to homegrown militancy as well as support from international jihadists.

Since the latest fighting broke out, Al-Qaeda's offshoot in Yemen has called for retaliatory attacks against Myanmar while the Afghan Taliban urged Muslims to "use their abilities to help Myanmar's oppressed Muslims".

Thousands gathered in Russia's Chechnya region Monday for an officially staged rally over the plight of the Rohingya.

Defenders of Suu Kyi say she has limited ability to control Myanmar's notoriously abusive military, which under the junta-era constitution is effectively independent of civilian oversight.

The Rohingya are also widely dismissed in Myanmar as Bangladeshi interlopers despite many tracing their lineage back generations, making supporting them hugely unpopular.

But detractors say Suu Kyi is one of the few people with the mass appeal and moral authority to swim against the tide on the issue.