Asean leaders, from left: Philippines President Benigno Aquino, Singapore Prime
Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana,
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Myanmar
President Thein Sein, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, Cambodia Prime Minister
Hun Sen, Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Laos Prime Minister
Thongsing Thammavong pose for the group photo after the opening ceremony of the
24th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Naypyidaw, Myanmar
on May 11, 2014. Myanmar hosts the ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw for the first time
since it joined the ASEAN community in 1997 and the theme for its Chairmanship of
ASEAN is ‘Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community’. (EPA
Photo/Lynn Bo Bo)

"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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Monday, September 15, 2014

Pope breaks taboo by marrying couples who lived 'in sin'

Yahoo – AFP, Ljubomir Milasin, 14 Sep 2014

Pope Francis married 20 couples from different social backgrounds during a ceremony
at St Peter's basilica in Vatican City, on September 14, 2014. (AFP, Alberto Pizzoli)

Vatican City (AFP) - A single mother, people who have been married before and couples who have been living together "in sin" were married by Pope Francis in a taboo-challenging ceremony at the Vatican on Sunday.

In another signal of the openness of his papacy, Francis asked to marry 40 people from different social backgrounds who would be a realistic sample of modern couples.

Popes very rarely perform marriages -- the last one was in 2000.

Marriage "is not an easy road, it's sometimes a contentious trip, but that's life", the pope told the couples, both young and old, as their families gathered for the solemn two-hour ceremony.

"It's normal that couples fight. That always happens, but don't end the day without making peace, even a small gesture is enough," said the pontiff, who donned a red robe for the occasion rather than his usual white.

One of the couples he married was single mother Gabriella and her partner Guido, whose previous marriage was annulled by an ecclesiastical tribunal.

The last time a pope performed a marriage was under the leadership of John Paul II in 2000, and before that in 1994.

It comes three weeks before a major synod of the Catholc Church will discuss the divisive issues of marriage, divorce and conception.

The church ban on allowing divorcees who have remarried to receive communion is one of the key topics up for debate, and resolving deep divisions over the issue inside the church is seen as a key test of Francis' leadership.

Francis has shown himself more open than his predecessors on the subject of marriage, and has spoken of more realistic attitude to social problems, raising the issue of broken marriages and abandoned women.

Last January he baptised the child of a single mother in the Sistine Chapel along with the daughter of a couple who had not been married in a church.

Related Article:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bangladesh meet begins to save endangered tigers

Yahoo – AFP, 14 Sep 2014

The wild tiger population has declined to just 3,200 in 2010 from 100,000 a 
century ago, according to wildlife conservationists (AFP Photo)

Dhaka (AFP) - Some 140 tiger experts and government officials from 20 countries met in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Sunday to review progress towards an ambitious goal of doubling their number in the wild by 2022.

The nations, including the 13 where tigers are still found in the wild, had vowed at a landmark meeting in 2010 in the Russian city of St Petersburg to double the population of critically endangered wild tigers.

Experts say the number declined to as few as 3,200 in 2010 from 100,000 only a century ago. But since then, poaching has reached critical levels and has emerged as the greatest threat to wild tigers.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina 
addresses the Global Tiger Recovery
Programme (GTRP) in Dhaka, on Sep 14, 
2014 (AFP Photo)
Statistics from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, show that a minimum of 1,590 tigers were seized between January 2000 and April 2014. That represents an average of two per week.

Officials, however, listed some progress in the four years since the St Petersburg summit, including a rise in the wild tiger population in major "tiger range" nations -- countries where the big cats are found in the wild.

"There has been some increase in the number of tigers in significant countries such as India, Nepal and Russia," said Andrey Kushlin, programme manager of the Global Tiger Initiative.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the conference, saying efforts to conserve the wild cats have reached a "turning point".

But her own government has been under fire from experts at home and abroad for setting up a giant coal-fired power plant on the edge of the Sundarbans mangrove forests, home to one of the largest tiger populations.

Local experts fear the 1,320-megawatt power plant now being built will pollute the water of the world's largest mangrove forest, jeopardising its delicate biodiversity and threatening the tiger population.

Bangladesh says some 440 Bengal tigers live in its part of the Sundarbans -- a figure disputed by local experts who say the number will be less than 200.

Kushlin said at the conference the 13 range nations are expected to agree by 2016 to provide an accurate census of their wild tiger populations.

"We need accurate figures so that we know where we stand," said Kushlin, who also works for the World Bank.

The 13 tiger range countries are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed the tiger as critically endangered. Poaching, encroachment on its habitat and the illegal wildlife trade are blamed for the declining number.

The conference will end Tuesday with the adoption of a Dhaka Declaration, which will set actions for the remaining eight years of the goal.

China, ASEAN police team up to fight terrorism

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-09-14

The police are on street duty in Kunming, Yunnan province, Sept. 12.
(File photo/CNS)

Police in China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are teaming up to fight terrorism and transnational crimes, said sources attending a security forum here Saturday.

Fighting terrorism was one of the major topics at the two-day forum, which closed Saturday in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said Li Wei, vice minister of public security in China.

He said it is crucial for police authorities in China and ASEAN to work together to maintain regional security.

Terrorist attacks targeting China and ASEAN have risen from 146 in 2003 to 575 in 2012, according to the Global Terrorism Database.

"It's noteworthy that terrorists nowadays are not just targeting police and government," said Zhu Lin, associate professor with the institute of China's armed police forces. "Many attacks in recent years have targeted ordinary people, foreign tourists included."

The wide use of information technology has also made it easy for terrorists and other transnational criminals to hijack information without revealing their own identities, said Zhu.

"It's therefore crucial to set up long-term cooperation mechanisms. By sharing information and increasing exchanges, it will enable police to stop terrorism and other crimes," Zhu said.

More than 120 representatives from China and the 10 ASEAN members attended the forum.

Myanmar Supends Work Permits for Maids Going to Singapore

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Sep 14, 2014

Indonesian migrant workers wait to exit a Saudi ship at Tanjung Priok Port,
in Jakarta. (JG Photo/Udhi Sukma Wijaya)

Yangon. Myanmar has temporarily banned its women from working as maids in Singapore due to concerns over abuse and exploitation, an employment body in Yangon said on Saturday.

The suspension comes amid a global spotlight on the working conditions of migrant domestic helpers in Asia after reports of widespread abuse, including the case of an Indonesian maid who allegedly endured months of torture by her Hong Kong boss.

Myanmar — which only last year passed a law allowing its nationals to work as domestic helpers overseas — will impose the ban until an agreement is reached with Singapore over issues including worker rights and salary.

“We have been informed of cases of abuse and ill-treatment of Myanmar maids in Singapore … That’s why we want proper protection for workers,” Soe Myint Aung, a vice chairman of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation, told AFP.

“The labour ministry has temporarily suspended permits for women until the federation signs a Memorandum of Understanding with [its counterpart in] Singapore.”

He did not specify when the suspension came into place but said discussions to thrash out an agreement began around a month ago.

After amending its migration law in 2013, the former junta–ruled state has officially only sent domestic helpers — most of whom are women — to Singapore and Hong Kong.

The official said there is also a suspension on permits for maids wanting to work in the southern Chinese city, which received its first official group of 19 helpers in February, but did not say when this came into effect.

The case of Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih — whose Hong Kong employer now faces charges including grievous bodily harm with intent — triggered international concern about the treatment of domestic helpers.

Around 30,000 maids from Myanmar are thought to work both legally and illegally in affluent Singapore.

Many more are estimated to be employed without official permits in neighbouring Thailand.

Migration experts have previously warned about poor working conditions for Myanmar nationals in these roles.

The country’s labour ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.

Agence France-Presse

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Putin, Xi urge stronger ties within security bloc

The BRIC Post, September 13, 2014

The SCO Council of Heads of State met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on
12 September 2014 [PPIO]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have said members of the Russia-China-led SCO share identical views on economic and political cooperation, including the Ukraine crisis and subsequent sanctions.

“At the meeting in narrow format we discussed some other current international affairs too, including the situation in Ukraine. We are very pleased to see that we share identical or similar views on the main areas of cooperation. This consensus of views is reflected in the Dushanbe Declaration that we are adopting,” said Putin.

As the US and EU step up pressure on Moscow with a new round of sanctions, Russia is seeking to strengthen ties with allies in the region, predominantly the SCO members.

Putin on Friday also warned against complacency regarding the global economy. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Thursday said global growth is unlikely to pick up significantly this year.

“The global economy has not yet overcome the crisis and its problems, and the current political risks and various restrictions and barriers are only worsening the situation, causing direct damage to the global business climate and undermining confidence in international trade and the financial system,” said Putin.

SCO members will improve cooperation on security in food, transport, energy and finances, asserted the Russian President.

“We see great potential in the idea of developing a common SCO transport system that would make use too of Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway and Baikal-Amur Mainline and be tied into China’s plans for developing the Silk Road route. I am sure that big projects of this kind serve the interests of our organisation’s members and would benefit all countries in Eurasia.

Meanwhile, in Dushanbe, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called for joint efforts to fight extremism and internet terrorism among the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

“Currently, (we) should focus on combating religion-involved extremism and internet terrorism,” said Xi when delivering a speech at the 14th meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.

He suggested the SCO members launch consultations on an anti-extremism convention and initiate studies on “a mechanism for actions against internet terrorism”.

“(We) should take it as our own responsibility to safeguard regional security and stability, enhance our ability to maintain stability, continue to boost cooperation on law enforcement and security, and improve the existing cooperation mechanisms,” said Xi.

The president also called on the SCO members — China, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — to urgently grant the group’s Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure (RCTS) new functions to combat drug trafficking.

“(We) should make concerted efforts to crack down on the ‘three evil forces’ of terrorism, extremism and separatism,” Xi said.

The presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and China signed a package of agreements following the summit. The documents signed include the Dushanbe Declaration.

Russia takes over as acting chair of the organization and will host the next SCO leaders summit in 2015 in Ufa.

Pakistan arrests Malala's attackers

Yahoo – AFP,  Gohar Abbas, 12 Sep 2014

Malala Yousafzai, 16-year-old Pakistani campaigner for the education of women, 
speaks during a news conference with  World Bank President Jim Yong Kim 
(not pictured), celebrating International  Day of the Girl in Washington October 11, 
2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Islamabad (AFP) - The Taliban gunmen who tried to kill Pakistani schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai in the country's restive northwest two years ago have been arrested, the army said on Friday.

Militants boarded the teenage activist's school bus and shot her in the head in October 2012 for her outspoken views on girls' education, in an attack that also wounded two of her friends.

Malala survived and went on to earn international plaudits for her courageous and determined fight for all children to have the right to go to school.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the attack almost immediately but no arrests have been announced until now.

The detention of the 10 suspects involved the army, police and intelligence agencies and was part of the Pakistani military's ongoing offensive against the TTP and other extremist outfits.

"The group involved in the attack on Malala Yousafzai has been arrested," Major General Asim Bajwa told a news conference.

Bringing the men to trial will likely be a long process -- in Pakistan's sclerotic legal system, cases grind through the courts for years making little progress.

Bajwa said the group had a hitlist of 22 targets in addition to Malala, all ordered by the TTP's current leader Maulana Fazlullah.

All its members were from Malakand, close to Mingora, the main town of Swat where Malala was attacked, he said. The leader Zafar Iqbal ran a furniture shop.

A spokesman for the TTP's new hardline Jamat-ul-Ahrar faction Ehsanullah Ehsan denied the military's claims.

He denied the attack was ordered by Fazlullah -- who is no longer recognised as TTP chief by Jamat-ul-Ahrar -- saying it was planned by local militants.

On Twitter he denied the arrests, saying the two surviving attackers were free.


After narrowly surviving the murder bid -- one bullet grazed her brain and passed through her neck before lodging in her shoulder -- Malala was taken to Britain with her family for treatment, where she now lives.

The TTP have said they will try again to kill her if she ever returns to Pakistan.

Her courageous recovery has made her a global figure -- she won the EU's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize last year and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

An address she gave to the United Nations General Assembly in July last year, in which she vowed she would never be silenced, earned her a standing ovation.

Malala first rose to prominence in 2009, aged just 11, with a blog for the BBC Urdu service chronicling life under Taliban rule in Swat, the beautiful valley in northwestern Pakistan where she lived.

She had become well-known in Pakistan as a young campaigner for girls' right to attend school after the Taliban took control of Swat in 2007, speaking out against the militants' ban on female education and their bombing of local schools.

Under the Islamist militants' bloody rule, opponents were murdered, people were publicly flogged for supposed breaches of sharia law, women were banned from going to markets -- and girls were stopped from going to school.

In her autobiography published last year, Malala described receiving death threats in the months before the attack.

"At night I would wait until everyone was asleep," she writes. "Then I'd check every single door and window."

Now living in Britain's second city Birmingham, where she was flown for specialist treatment after the shooting, Malala also spoke in the book of her homesickness and her struggle to adjust to life in England.

The book also revealed she is a fan of Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber and the "Twilight" series of vampire romance novels.

But it is for her education campaigning that the 17-year-old is best known.

Accepting the Sakharov prize last year, she urged politicians to cut military spending and invest instead in education to create "a country with a talented, educated and skillful people".

Despite her global profile -- hailed by the likes of Angelina Jolie and former British prime minister Gordon Brown -- Malala is viewed with suspicion by some in her homeland, who see her as a Western puppet.

Malala Yousafzai gives a speech after receiving the RAW in WAR
Anna Politkovskaya Award at the Southbank Centre in central
London on October 4, 2013 (AFP/File,Justin Tallis)

Related Article:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Overseas professional buying to be hit by new customs rules

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-09-11

A man from a computer dangles a handbag in front of a group of zombies. (Photo/CFP)

A month after China's General Administration of Customs announced a new law on cross-border e-commerce goods, overseas professional buyers have become wary of the risks they take, while coordination between authorities is needed to fully carry out the new regulations, reports People's Daily.

The Declaration No. 56 on Cross-border E-Commerce Goods Supervision released on Aug. 1 regulates that overseas purchases on someone else's behalf should be taxed and items have to be declared. Professional buyers not following the rules will be seen as guilty of tax evasion and smuggling. The rule comes partly in response to the rising volume of unreported merchandise entering the country in the guise of personal gifts or items that are free of tariffs and quality checks at customs.

These items are often purchased by professional buyers living overseas who receive requests online from buyers from China, purchase the items on their behalf and send them to China in return for a commission.

Many such professional buyers are Chinese overseas students or residents and supplement their income with the commissions from buyers.

The new law also seeks to guard the consumer, as many of the branded items bought in this way are knockoffs, the report said — perhaps somewhat speciously.

Xiao Lin is a Chinese student in Canada and a professional buyer of luxury bags. She claims to help people buy authentic branded merchandise. According to the People's Daily, she is selling knockoffs.

In many cases, the imitations were originally made in China, sent abroad to be repackaged and flown back to China to be sold as the real thing, said the report.

"Overseas purchasing via professional buyers is based on mutual trust between the buyer and the service provider." said Xu Xiao, another professional buyer. "It can be a barrier for the Chinese buyers, who cannot distinguish the fake from the real, and are not likely to take the items for inspection at a proper store."

A staffer at the customs administration said overseas professional purchasing occurs under the regulations on cross-border personal items. Some professional buyers split large quantities of merchandise into small packages disguised as personal items which seldom attract attention as long as the volume is kept within "reasonable" limits.

Xu Xiao, who has been in the trade for four years, said she has never been caught with a large amount of foreign goods with her when she goes through customs. In other words, the definition of a "reasonable amount" can be tricky and has there is certainly a gray area, according to the report.

Xiao Lin said the cost of her business will go up significantly if she has to report the items she sends and pay tax on them. "I will wait and see for a while," she said. "If the situation is not good, I'll have to change my job."

A customs officer in Shenzhen said however that the industry and authorities such as the finance department, customs, quality inspection departments and the banks are largely working independently. The rules should be strengthened and the authorities must cooperate in the system that carries out the supervision of the regulations.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

India-Pakistan flood disaster prompts frantic rescue bid

Yahoo – AFP, Bhuvan Bagga, 8 Sep 2014

Residents stand on a roof as raging waters from the overflowing Tawi river
inundate a Hindu Temple in Jammu on September 6, 2014 (AFP Photo)

Authorities in India and Pakistan made frantic efforts Monday to pluck tens of thousands of people to safety from floods which have killed at least 350 as desperate residents huddled on rooftops.

With phone lines down and roads cut off, the full scale of the disaster in the cross-border Kashmir region and in Pakistan's Punjab province was still to emerge but video footage shot from army helicopters showed entire villages under water, with only tin roofs visible.

As Pakistan's premier toured some of the worst-hit areas, India deployed naval commandos as part of a massive relief effort.

Indian residents look on towards threatened
 houses as waters from the overflowing Tawi
 river rage past in Jammu on September 6, 
2014 (AFP Photo/STRDEL)
Some of the famous shikara wooden boats, which ferry tourists across the Dal Lake in Indian Kashmir's main city of Srinagar, were pressed into service to reach isolated homes.

Divers toiled to help bring people to safety while residents on both sides could be seen waving from rooftops as vehicles and livestock were washed away by surging waters below them.

Disaster officials say at least 350 villages have been submerged on the Indian side of the de facto border in Kashmir by monsoon rains, making it the deadliest flooding there in over half a century.

Thousands of troops, police and other emergency personnel, backed by helicopters and boats, fanned out across the state to deliver relief supplies, including protein biscuits and bottles of drinking water.

Others were being fed in mass volunteer-run kitchens set up by mosques.

An Indian soldier carries a toddler as
 evacuated families alight from an Indian
 Air Force Mi-17 helicopter flying a rescue
 sortie in the Rajouri district of Jammu
 and Kashmir on September 7, 2014
(AFP Photo)
The home ministry said around 20,000 people had been rescued so far but the head of the army's northern command said many more remained marooned.

"For the next 48 hours, our focus remains on Srinagar and South Kashmir because there are still large numbers of people who are stranded and who are without any food and water," General D.S. Hooda told reporters.

"It's our idea to get them out as soon as possible. We will continue... until everyone is pulled out of this situation."

An Indian Navy spokesman said teams of divers were working "day and night" to rescue survivors.

Airport cut off

Srinagar airport was cut off from the city by heavy flooding just 700 yards outside the terminal, according to an AFP correspondent.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks
 over a flood-affected area from an 
aeroplane during a visit to the state of 
Jammu and Kashmir on September 7, 
2014 (AFP Photo/PIB)
Delhi resident R. S. Gandhi was stuck at the airport after flying up from the capital to rescue his in-laws.

"The last time I was able to speak to them was yesterday and they had already moved up to the second floor of their building. Twelve feet of water had come into their building in just three hours," he told AFP.

"Now that I am here I don't know what to do next, how I can help or get them back to Delhi."

Communications were lost Sunday when the rain-swollen Jhelum river flooded large parts of Srinagar. Srinagar's main hospital and army barracks were among the buildings badly hit.

There was no fresh rainfall Monday and forecasters said only light drizzle was likely in the next few days. But Indian officials warned the death toll of 150 was bound to rise.

Refuge on roofs

Residents sit by the rubble of collapsed
houses which were destroyed by flood
waters from the raging Tawi river in Jammu
 on September 7, 2014 (AFP Photo/STRDEL)
In Pakistan officials said the number of dead on their side now stood at 206, with most killed in Punjab province.

Helicopters, troops and other emergency personnel have been deployed, according to Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif handed out compensation cheques to flood victims at Rawalakot in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

"There is no compensation for life, but government will help the affected brothers and sisters to rebuild their homes," he said.

In the remote mountainous district of Haveli in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, landslides have caused major damage to roads and electricity supplies, leaving residents without power or drinking water for days.

Pakistani residents wait to be evacuated
 by boat from the flood-affected town of 
Jalalpur Bhattian in the Hafizabad district
 of Punjab province on September 8, 2014
(AFP Photo/Arif Ali)
Local politician Masood Rathor said there was a shortage of food and medicine in the area, with only one doctor to treat the population.

Tariq Umer, 38, a labourer, told of his desperate struggle to save his family and possessions.

"I was sleeping with my wife and three children when the floodwaters came at around midnight. I barely managed to get my family out and could not save anything from the house," he told AFP.

"My house and all my belongings have been swept away in the water and I have been left with nothing. Now I am taking my family to relatives for refuge."

Raja Moazam, deputy director of the disaster management authority, told AFP the death toll in Pakistani Kashmir now stood at 64.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi toured his country's sector of Kashmir Sunday, describing the situation as "a national-level disaster" and also offering relief assistance to Sharif.

Related Articles:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Japan PM's new picks deny neo-Nazi links

Yahoo – AFP, 8 Sep 2014

Newly-appointed Japanese Internal Affairs and Communication Minister Sanae Takaichi
 at a press conference at the prime minister's residence in Tokyo on September 3, 2014
(AFP Photo/Toshifumi Kitamura)

Tokyo (AFP) - Two newly-promoted Japanese politicians moved Monday to distance themselves from allegations of extremism after pictures emerged of them posing alongside the leader of a domestic neo-Nazi party.

Minister Sanae Takaichi and party policy chief Tomomi Inada are seen in separate photographs next to Kazunari Yamada on the home page of the National Socialist Japanese Workers Party.

The pictures will add fuel to claims that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is increasingly surrounding himself with people on the right of Japanese politics.

Party policy chief Tomomi Inada speaks to
 reporters after she visited the controversial 
Yasukuni Shrine to honour the war dead on
April 28, 2014 in Tokyo (AFP Photo/Jiji Press)
Yamada's blog postings indicate admiration for Adolf Hitler and praise for the 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre.

In video footage posted on the website, Yamada is seen wearing a stylised swastika during street demonstrations.

Captions for the photographs claim they were taken "sometime in June or July 2011 when (Yamada) visited the conservative lawmakers for talks".

Spokesmen for both senior lawmakers acknowledged Monday that the photographs were genuine and had been taken in their offices over the last few years, but denied there was any political affiliation.

"He was an assistant for an interviewer, and was taking notes and photos," a member of staff at Takaichi's office told AFP, referring to Yamada.

"We had no idea who he was back then, but he requested a snap shot with her. (The minister) wouldn't refuse such requests."

Following media enquiries, the office has asked that the pictures be removed, he said.

"It was careless of us," he said, adding that Takaichi did not share Yamada's view "at all... it is a nuisance".

A staffer at Inada's office said the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) policy chief did not subscribe to Nazi ideology.

"It is disappointing if there are people who would misunderstand that she does," he said.

Abe has courted criticism for his strident nationalism and views on history that some find unpalatable.

In particular his unwillingness to condemn Imperial Japan's behaviour up to and during World War II has proved a sticking point in international relations.

His equivocations about the formalised system of sex slavery -- known euphemistically as "comfort women" -- has particularly irked South Korea and China, and both regularly call on him to re-think his views.

Abe's new 18-strong cabinet, announced last week, includes a number of people with hawkish views.

Takaichi and Inada have both visited Yasukuni Shrine, the supposed repository of the souls of Japan's war dead, including a number of convicted war criminals. The shrine is seen in Asia as a symbol of Japan's lack of repentance for the war.

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

UK diplomat weds same-sex partner in Beijing

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-09-07

Brian Davidson, the UK consul-general in Shanghai, marries his partner
Scott Chang, in Beijing, Sept. 6, 2014. (Internet photo)

Notwithstanding China's opposition to gay marriage, United Kingdom's consul-general in Shanghai, Brian Davidson, has tied the knot in Beijing with his same-sex partner Scott Chang, an American citizen.

The wedding, held Saturday at the official residence of the UK's ambassador to China, Sir Sebastian Wood, is reportedly the second same-sex marriage to be conducted by the British diplomatic mission in China, with the first taking place just last week.

Davidson announced the marriage through his account on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, with the declaration, "Love is GREAT."

"I am very proud that the law in the United Kingdom today affords me the same rights as any other British national to be married to whomever I love. This is one very real example of how the United Kingdom practices equality for all," Davidson wrote in Chinese.

"For me, it means that finally, our family and friends (British, Americans and Chinese) can witness the moment we commit to love and cherish each other till death do us part. This is extremely important for both me and my partner," he added.

As of noon Sunday the post has been shared more than 27,000 times and commented on over 16,000 times, with a photo of Davidson and Chang at the wedding liked nearly 44,000 times.

Ambassador Wood also posted a photo of himself with the newly weds on his own Weibo page, together with the following comment in Chinese: "I am delighted and honored to have officiated the same-sex wedding of the UK's consul-general in Shanghai, Brian Davidson, and his partner at my residence today. We wish them a lifetime of happiness together."

Wei Jiangang, founder of the Chinese website Queer Comrades and a friend of the couple, said during the ceremony that it was the first time he was attending a legal same-sex marriage in China. There are still seven countries in the world where homosexual couples would be put to death and 70 countries where they would be thrown into prison, Wei said, adding, "China's gay rights movement still has a long way to go."

Though same-sex marriage and civil unions are not recognized under Chinese law, the wedding is legal under British law as diplomatic missions are afforded special privileges pursuant to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Beijing could have still objected to the marriage and prevented it from taking place in Chinese jurisdiction but did not.

Same-sex marriage was legalized in the UK via the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which was passed with a strong majority vote and given royal assent on July 17 last year. The key provisions of the act came into effect on March 13, 2014, with the first officially legal sex-same marriages taking place on March 29.

Same-sex couples can now marry at 23 British consulates around the world, including those on mainland China. The only British mission in China where same-sex marriages are not permitted is in Hong Kong, due to an objection raised by the region's government following aggressive lobbying from Christian groups.

Davidson, 50, who grew up in Northern Ireland and has a law degree from the University of Cambridge, has been consul-general in Shanghai since Jan. 2011, having previously served as consul-general in southern China's Guangzhou province from Oct. 2006.

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Detention of rights group researchers confirmed by Qatar

Authorities in Qatar have confirmed they are detaining and interrogating two international rights group workers. The men had been investigating conditions for workers building facilities for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Deutsche Welle, 7 Sep 2014

The Gulf nation's foreign ministry said in a statement that Krishna Upadhyaya and Ghimire Gundev (pictured), who were working for the Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), were being "interrogated for having violated provisions of the law" in Qatar. The statement, released by the official Qatar News Agency late on Saturday, did not elaborate on what those provisions were.

"All of the actions that have been taken against the two Britons are consistent with principles of human rights enshrined in the constitution," the statement said.

The two men were detained on August 31 in Doha. They had been carrying out follow-up research for the GNRD about the working conditions of migrant laborers, after authorities in Qatar promised reforms to improve safety, pay and conditions in response to an international outcry over the expatriates' treatment.

The emirate is in the midst of a construction boom as it prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Rights group welcomes news

The Qatar news agency reported a representative of the British embassy in Doha had visited the two men, something confirmed by the GNRD which on its website said a British representative had passed on a message from Upadhyaya to his family.

"I am well, I have been well looked after and I will be home soon. We have been arrested due to problems with our paperwork," the message read.

Rights group Amnesty International had raised concerns about the pair's disappearance. Their whereabouts had been unknown for several days, prompting Amnesty International to express fears for their safety.

GNRD reported that researcher Upadhyaya and photographer Gundev and had complained of being followed and "harassed" by police prior to their disappearance. The group has called for the men's release.

'No regrets' for Qatar vote: UEFA President

Meanwhile, the president of European football's world organizing body, UEFA's Michel Platini, stood by his controversial choice to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 tournament, in comments published Sunday in German newspaper "Bild am Sonntag." He also defended his vote for Russia to host the 2018 tournament, despite suggestions to strip Russia of the tournament as a penalty for its role in the Ukraine conflict.

"I don't regret voting for Qatar and Russia. I wanted the Football World Cup to be played in countries which had not yet hosted it before. It was no mistake to vote for Qatar."

se/hc (AP, AFP, dpa, sid)

Afghan court hands down death penalty to seven men for gang-rape

Afghanistan has handed down the death penalty to seven men found guilty of the gang-rape and robbery of four women. The case has sparked nationwide outrage and was broadcast live on television.

Deutsche Welle, 7 Sep 2014

Four of seven men convicted of raping and robbing stand trial at a court
in Kabul September 7, 2014

In a trial that lasted only a few hours, an Afghan judge on Sunday convicted the seven men of armed robbery and sexual assault.

"Based on criminal law these individuals are sentenced to the severest punishment which is death sentence," he said of the summary trial which was televised nationwide.

The men were found guilty of kidnapping and attacking the female members of a group that was driving home to Kabul from a wedding last month. Police said the attackers were dressed in police uniforms and armed when they stopped the convoy of cars that included the women.

They then dragged the four women - one of whom was reported to be pregnant - out of the vehicles, robbed them, beat them and raped them.

"This kind of gang rape is unprecedented in Kabul," Kabul police chief General Zahir earlier said in his testimony. Crimes against women in Afghanistan are common but mostly take place inside homes.

Outside the courtroom dozens of activists gathered demanding speedy justice. Inside the court, applause erupted after General Zahir called for the men to be hanged.

Widespread outrage

The gang-rape unleashed a wave of public concern nationwide via the media and the Internet.

The reaction echoed that to similar crimes in India including the fatal attack on a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 that made headlines worldwide.

The Kabul assault has led to such outpouring of rage that President Hamid Karzai had earlier called for the men to be hanged.

The men can appeal the verdict in a higher court.

hc/se (AFP, Reuters)