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, July 31, 2012

India hit by second day of power cuts

BBC News, 31 July 2012

Related Stories 

A massive power breakdown has hit India for a second day running, leaving more than half the country without power.

Officials said the northern and eastern grids had both collapsed. All Delhi metro services have been halted and staff are trying to evacuate trains.

A massive power failure caused severe disruption and travel chaos across northern India on Monday.

It was unclear why the grid collapsed but reports said some states may have been using more power than authorised.

Power officials managed to restore the northern grid by Monday evening, but at 01:05pm (0735 GMT) on Tuesday, the grid collapsed again.

The eastern grid failed around the same time, officials said.

"Both the northern and eastern grids have collapsed. Please allow us to address the problem," AFP news agency quoted VK Agrawal, the general manager of the northern grid, as saying.

The two grids together serve more than half of India's 1.2bn people.

The breakdown has hit a large swathe of the country including Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan states in the north and West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand in the east.

An official in Orissa said the blackout in the eastern grid had been triggered by a fault and could take several hours to resolve.

Correspondents say India faces a chronic power deficit and unless there is a huge investment in the power sector, the country will see many more power failures.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Diplomacy first, asylum later: SBY spokesman on Rohingya

The Jakarta PostBagus BT Saragih, Jakarta, July 30 2012

Julian Aldrin Pasha: (JP)

Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha shunned when asked if the government had been thinking about granting political asylum to the Rohingya that have arived in Indonesia.

“I have no statement in regards to that,” Julian said at the Presidential Office on Monday.

Following prolonged communal violence in western Myanmar between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya, hundreds of the Muslim ethnics fled their country to several nearby states, including Indonesia.

Reports say the Rohingya are currently stranded in the Riau Islands, with some stranded in other locations around West and East Java. They left Myanmar to seek safety and asylum from the Indonesian government, with some apparently hoping to continue on to Australia for the same purpose. They are reportedly surviving in poor conditions, with a lack of food and other basic necessities.

When asked what the government would do concerning the situation, Julian said the government had carried out all necessary efforts, but for the time being, Indonesia could only utilize diplomacy. “The government has been maximizing diplomatic efforts with Myanmar. Hopefully the effort will help stop the violence,” he said.

“Our position is clear: we will carry out any possible diplomatic efforts to help our Rohingya brothers,” Julian added.

The United Nations claims there are about 800,000 Rohingya in Myanmar, and considers them to be among the most persecuted minorities in the world.

At least 78 people have been killed in communal violence there in the last month.

Senior North Korea Leader to Visit Vietnam, Laos

Jakarta Globe, July 30, 2012

Related articles

North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-Nam is to visit Laos and Vietnam, Pyongyang’s official news agency said Monday.

Kim “will soon pay official goodwill visits” to the two countries, the agency said in a brief report which gave no dates.

Analysts quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the North may seek to strengthen diplomatic ties and expand economic cooperation with the two fellow socialist nations.

A Lao government economic delegation headed home Friday from Pyongyang, while a foreign affairs delegation from Vietnam visited the city earlier this month.

Kim, North Korea’s parliamentary chief, acts as ceremonial head of state because late leader Kim Il-Sung has been declared the “eternal president”. He visited Singapore and Indonesia in May.

Agence France-Presse

Romney: US has moral duty to block Iran nuclear plans

BBC News, 29 July 2012

US Presidential Election 2012 

Mr Romney is hoping the visit
will boost his pro-Israel credentials
 with US voters
US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said his country has a "moral imperative" to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Mr Romney, speaking during a visit to Jerusalem, said Iran was the most destabilising country in the world.

He said the US recognised Israel's right to defend itself and that it was right for the US to stand with Israel.

US President Barack Obama has focused on using sanctions to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In his speech in front of Jerusalem's Old City, Mr Romney said Iran's leading ayatollahs were "testing our moral defences".

"They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel."

He said Iran was "the most destabilising nation in the world" and that the US had "a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions".

'All measures'

Earlier, one of Mr Romney's top advisers, Dan Senor, had said the presidential candidate would respect any decision by Israel to use military force against Iran.

While not directly addressing this, Mr Romney said the US should "employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course."

"It is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so. In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded."

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Romney held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.

He told Mr Peres he shared Israel's concern about the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities, saying: "The threat it would pose to Israel, the region and the world is incomparable and unacceptable."

After his meetings with Israeli officials, he went to Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of Judaism's holy sites.

Mr Romney will be hoping that burnishing his pro-Israel credentials will help him among key constituencies in a tight race with Mr Obama, analysts say.

Mr Romney says Mr Obama has undermined Israel and supported its enemies.

The Republican presidential hopeful also met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, though not Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

'Islamist winter' fears

While not explicitly ruling out military intervention, President Barack Obama's policy has emphasised non-military means of putting pressure on Iran.

The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell says Mr Romney is highly critical of the international talks taking place which might lead to Iran being allowed to enrich some uranium. Mr Romney wants zero enrichment.

The first leg of Mr Romney's trip, in London, was marred by controversy.

After talking of "disconcerting" signs in London's preparations for the Olympic Games, Mr Romney backtracked and predicted a "very successful" Olympics.

In a photo opportunity before his talks with Mr Fayyad, Mr Romney said the opening ceremony had been "spectacular" and praised the face that for the first time, every country has sent women to compete.

9. It can be no other way—simply, this is the physics that governs life in this universe. As Earth continues apace into successively higher planes, nothing with low vibrations in any form—physical bodies, subversive plans, theft, dishonesty, unjust laws and imprisonment, bigotry, cruel customs and deeds—can survive.

10. Moving on, no, it will not be quite like religions being “totally discarded and replaced by universal laws in the Golden Age.” When the truths come forth that science and spirit are one and the same and that religious dogmas were originated by early leaders of church and state to control the masses, people whose consciousness has risen beyond the constraints of third density will adhere to the spiritual aspects of their respective religions and the devised, controlling aspects will fall by the wayside.

11. One of the truths to come forth is that Zionism, which by dark intent has been made synonymous with Judaism, actually is a bellicose political movement within the Illuminati, and its aim for more than six decades has been to create conflict and instability in the entire Middle East. Zionists, who have wielded powerful influence within and behind major governments and their military forces, do NOT represent the Jewish peoples in Israel or anywhere else. And, like all other Illuminati factions, they have been committed to that cabal’s goal of global domination.

12. Although Semites are of diverse national origins and religions, the Zionists have been successful in convincing many that “anti-Semitic” is exclusively prejudice against the Jewish peoples and opposition to Israel’s right to defend itself from its “enemies.” By means of that blatant distortion, they obtained not only world sympathy, but also massive defense funding from Israel’s allies, most especially the United States, all of which served to increase the Illuminati’s vast profits from their industrial-military machine.

13. In addition to controlling the masses through dogmatic teachings, religions have served the dark purpose of divisiveness to such an extent that it resulted in centuries of trauma and bloodshed. Witness the Crusades, wars between Catholics and Protestants, pogroms against Jews, executions of “blasphemous” individuals who refused to “recant.”  (Read More …)

Activists Hope Gay Marriage Debate Will Stir Japan

Jakarta Globe, Harumi Ozawa,  July 29, 2012

This photo taken on June 2, 2012 shows Koyuki Higashi (R) tidying up loose
 hair of her partner Hiroko during an interview with AFP in Tokyo. Despite the
 increasing tolerance of gay marriage in much of the developed world, especially
 in Europe, and a gradual acceptance of the issue in more liberal states in the US,
 the subject is not on the radar in Japan or in many parts of Asia. (AFP Photo/
Yoshikazu Tsuno)

Related articles

Koyuki Higashi is slim, articulate and intelligent, things that make a would-be wife attractive to many in Japan. But Higashi knows she will probably never marry because she is a lesbian.

Despite the increasing tolerance of gay marriage in much of the developed world, especially in Europe, and a gradual acceptance of the issue in more liberal states in the US, the subject is not on the radar in Japan or in many parts of Asia.

But when Barack Obama gingerly put his head above the election year parapet, announcing he was in favor of same-sex marriage, it lit a spark of hope on the other side of the Pacific in conservative Japan.

“Seeing the US president expressing his support for same-sex couples was like being told it was ok to be who we are,” said Higashi, 27.

“Everyone now knows Obama supports same-sex marriage. The impact is so big, it’s incomparable.”

Her partner, 34-year-old Hiroko, who uses only one name, agreed.

“I was really happy to see Obama use his starpower in that way,” she said.

Obama’s pronouncement preceded a global campaign aimed at encouraging a stronger voice for gay rights.

His administration dispatched Mark Bromley, chair of advocacy group Council for Global Equality, to Japan in June — gay pride month — where he told reporters equality for same sex couples was an important tenet of human rights.

“[Hillary] Clinton was very elegant in saying that minorities can never fully protect themselves; minorities need majorities to find full protection and full acceptance,” said Bromley, who has a 2-year-old daughter with his husband.

“That requires laws and political support, and social space.”

‘Will of the people’ not a priority

Homosexuals in Japan welcomed the gesture, but, warned gay expat David Wagner, it was likely to disappear into the void.

“I doubt it will have much impact on other nations such as Japan where the will of the people rarely takes priority,” said Wagner, who has lived in Japan for 25 years.

“Japan is clearly more tolerant than many places,” he said, adding gays and lesbians in Japan are unlikely to encounter outright hostility, something he puts down less to acceptance than to a people who “are agnostic and tend to mix religions.”

But “tolerance has limits in Japan,” he said.

A week after Obama became the first sitting US president to back gay marriage, Higashi scored a little victory for the lesbian, gay and bisexual community in Japan when she confirmed with Tokyo Disneyland that same-sex couples could hold their wedding ceremonies at the theme park.

But the park warned that celebrations would have no legal standing because Japanese law does not recognize same-sex partnerships.

Nor does it recognize or give the same rights to any number of other family arrangements long considered acceptable in some countries.

Under rules that have changed little since World War II, married couples must use the same surname and women are barred from remarrying within six months of their divorce.

Any baby born within 300 days of a divorce is automatically the former husband’s and children born out of wedlock have far fewer rights to inherit than their legitimate siblings.

Women can marry at 16; men must wait until they are 18; one divorcing parent must completely give up custody of their child, a rule that usually means an estranged father all but disappears.

‘Imported’ debate

The nation’s divorce rate began climbing in the 1960s, after decades in which about 70,000 couples terminated their marriage each year.

In 2011, nearly 236,000 couples separated, according to welfare ministry statistics. Around 660,000 couples tied the knot in that year.

Shuhei Ninomiya, professor of law at Ritsumeikan University, said the imported debate over gay marriage may help, in the long run, to provoke discussion over how the family as an idea can adapt to the needs of 21st century Japan.

“The law is not designed for divorcing parents to communicate and share child custody after they separate,” he said. “Under the law, marital diversity is largely denied.

“Discrimination against children born out of wedlock, stigmatizing them because of their parents’ marital status, has been justified to protect legitimate marriage.”

“We need to hear Obama’s support for same-sex couples as a broader message that forms of marriage can be colorful and different for each couple.”

Hiroko said the gay marriage debate was an important one for everyone in Japan, where the pressure to conform to social norms is high.

“Both majority and minority groups should join hands, otherwise we cannot hope to see a change in the law,” she said.

Agence France-Presse

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Flooded North Korea expects more rain

Deutsche Welle, 29 July 2012

North Korea's official news agency has said the country can expect more rain on Sunday and Monday, contributing to floods that have already killed nearly 90 people.

Over the past month, North Korea has been hit with a deluge of rain that has also left 60,000 people homeless. The KCNA news agency said about 4,800 hectares (11,860 acres) of cropland had been washed away and 25,700 hectares (63,500 acres) submerged.

The full scope of the disaster was only confirmed on Saturday when North Korea released the latest figures related to the typhoon rain damage. The death toll was significantly higher than was reported just a few days before.

The flooding, which comes on the heels of a drought earlier in the summer, will likely worsen North Korea's food crisis. Last month the United Nations said it expected three million people in the country to require food aid this year. North Korea has a population of 24 million.

mz/ncy (AFP, AP, dpa)

China waste water pipeline scrapped after protest

BBC News, 28 July 2012

The demonstrators stormed government buildings in protest

Related Stories 

Authorities in China say a project to build a waste water pipeline in the city of Qidong has been scrapped after a protest over pollution.

Demonstrators took to the streets of the city, north of Shanghai, and ransacked local government offices.

They said the pipeline, proposed as part of a paper-making company, would pollute their coastal waters.

China has seen rising anger about environmental damage after three decades of rapid economic growth.

The thousands of protesters overturned cars as well as storming the local government offices and throwing documents from the windows.

Items which the protesters allege are often received as bribes by officials - such as wine - were also seized from the offices, reports say.

Official 'stripped'

One local official was even reported to have been stripped of his shirt by angry protesters. 

Users of the Chinese microblogging site Weibo said that having found luxury items in the government offices, demonstrators wanted to know what brand of clothing local Party Secretary Sun Jianhua was wearing.

On discovering it was an expensive Italian brand, they are said to have stripped him to the waist and tried to make him wear shirt which bore an anti-pollution slogan.

Local authorities had tried to appease local anger by suspending construction on the plant, but protesters rejected this.

"If the government really wanted to stop this project, they should have done it right from the beginning. At this point they are too late," 17-year-old protester Xi Feng told Reuters.

Earlier this month plans for a copper plant in Sichuan province were halted after thousands clashed with police.

Demonstrators in such cases are becoming more outspoken, and their protests better organised and more effective.

Analysts say this is a measure of social tensions in China as the Communist Party prepares for a leadership transition later this year.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Clinical trials go wrong in India

Deutsche Welle, 27 July 2012

Indian activists say pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for deaths caused by unauthorized clinical trials of drugs on human beings.

Prabha Devi's son Manish is yet to fully recover after developing white spots on his skin which he developed after undergoing a clinical trial in a private hospital in the northern Haryana state of India.

"Medical workers came to our village and spoke of a new vaccine for newborn babies. What was tempting about it was that the vaccine was free, which otherwise would have cost us 6000 Rupees (80 Euros)," Devi's husband Jagan Das told DW. Manish, he said, was now being treated by doctors so that his spots could be removed.

In another incident in the southern Andhra Pradesh state, some 35 women, all limekiln workers from Guntur district, were allegedly put through clinical trials to test a breast cancer drug. The women were paid money to undergo these tests. But the doctors had to abruptly stop the tests after the women complained about nausea, joint and chest pains.


Experts say Indian health
sector needs treatment
The Indian Supreme Court has recently asked the Madhya Pradesh state government to explain its position on why it allowed large-scale illegal drug trials in the state.

"Human beings are being treated as animals. This is unfortunate," Justice R M Lodha told DW.

Experts blame the lack of proper laws and regulations to hold multinational pharmaceutical companies accountable for the deaths allegedly caused by unauthorized clinical trials.

“Things are getting worse. Between 2004 and 2006, many pharmaceutical companies carried out clinical trials on patients and repeatedly violated the prescribed guidelines and regulations. Sadly, no hospital or doctor was ever penalized,” Puneet Singh of the Swasthya Adhikar Manch (Health Rights Forum) told DW.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in India, on an average 10 people have died every week in clinical trials since 2006.

Between 2008 and 2011, 2,031 deaths were reported during these trials, forcing the Indian government to set up a committee to review clinical trial approval procedures in the country. However, the number of deaths remained high despite the public outcry with 438 deaths reported in 2011 - preceded by 668 in 2010; 637 in 2009; and 228 in 2008.

“The lack of supervision by Indian health officials has created a culture of impunity for drug research companies and the doctors who work for them,” said Dr Lalit Kumar.

International standards

Drug companies say they conduct trials on people suffering from serious ailments with limited or no cure, and that they should not be blamed for the deaths.

“The standards applicable to clinical trials in India are no different from those in the US, the EU, or elsewhere in the world,” a spokesperson of a multinational company told DW on conditions of anonymity.

But it is not enough to convince the Indian activists who demand that a committee of experts consisting of members of civil society and the All India Drug Action Network be formed to examine existing legal provisions related to clinical trials in India and abroad.

Author: Murali Krishnan
Editor: Shamil Shams

Friday, July 27, 2012

'A golden age for Saudi women'

Deutsche Welle, 27 July 2012

Gabriela Keseberg Dávalos recently visited Saudi Arabia on a UN fellowship. What she encountered there surprised her and completely changed her views on the lives of women in the kingdom.

For the first time this summer, women from Saudi Arabia will be allowed to take part in the Olympic Games.The fact that this subject is even being debated in the 21st century is a sign of just how closed the Gulf kingdom has been. Indeed, before I went there recently on a fellowship from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, I had never heard anything good about the place. Nothing, niente, nada.

Oppressed women, gruesome beheadings, human rights violations: you name it. The fact that one of our fellows was denied a visa and we had to say good-bye to him in Amman did not improve my opinion. To top it all off, the women in our group had to spend the first evening "locked" up in a hotel, as we didn't have black head-to-toe abayas to cover up with. Needless to say, after that great start, we weren't exactly looking forward to our visit.

But then things turned around 180 degrees; not just because we, the women of the group, finally got abayas and could leave our "gilded cage," but also because we were lucky enough to visit the Dar al-Hekma College for women. Dar al-Hekma means "the House of Wisdom" and that is just what we encountered. We met impressive young women and their female professors, who explained the college's ideology and introduced us to some extraordinary young ladies.

Teaching women to be confident

It may not appear so on the surface but Saudi society is opening up

At the college, they teach women to be confident about their knowledge, cultural background and roots. When the students designed affordable houses for a project, they not only took into account the fact that the houses needed a maid's room, something normal in Saudi Arabia, but also that the kitchen must be constructed so that women can move around freely without being seen from other rooms.

Our next stop was a working lunch with Arab News. One of the first questions we were asked was about our perception of Saudi women. That answer was simple enough. Throughout our entire trip, which also took us to Morocco and Jordan, the women in our group connected very easily to the local women, but especially so in Saudi Arabia. There are certain values, concerns, challenges and experiences that are universal among women. It does not matter what culture we come from, there are more similarities than differences between us.

We were impressed by all the women we met, but the Saudi ones impressed us the most. They were nothing like the stereotypes we had expected. Far from being oppressed, silent and shy, they were confident, intelligent and outspoken. They were brave enough to take on challenges and fight for their dreams.

Saudi women driving change

Change in this Gulf country is well underway, and Saudi women are a driving force. It is not a quick and violent revolution, but rather a smart, tactical one. "Always evaluate the impact and timing of changes," we were counselled. At the college, they are breeding a new kind of woman, one who is comfortable meeting heads of state and discussing issues on the same level. How much we in the West can learn from this approach, especially when it comes to women's education.

Later, during a visit to the King Abuldaziz Center for World Culture, yet another bright, young lady said: "This is a golden age for Saudi women. Whatever we do, we will always be 'the first Saudi woman who did this or that.'" She said that there are more opportunities to succeed in Saudi Arabia than in the West, even though life might not necessarily be easier. We congratulated them for being so active. In contrast, the men in the meeting said very little. "We have been shoved aside for so long, now it's our turn to speak up," the young woman said.

Women are gaining more rights
It might be easy to think that I was brainwashed and remain ignorant about the problems that persist. But Saudi women themselves pointed out that they still need permission from a male guardian to take up a job or travel, that they are not allowed to drive or openly take part in sports. Their challenges are many and complex.

Still, my perception of this country has changed entirely, having seen it from the ground. Saudi women are inspiring, and Western women can learn from them: learn that change is possible, even in the most closed and patriarchal societies. Who knows, some of these brave women may even inspire in the sporting arena in London this summer.

© 2012

Gabriela Keseberg Dávalos is a Bolivian/German journalist, co-founder and board member of the International Young Women Partnership in Brussels and UNAOC Fellow 2012.

Bo Xilai's wife charged with Neil Heywood murder

Gu Kailai and a family aide charged with intentional homicide after British businessman's sudden death in Chongqing last year, Tania Branigan in Beijing, Thursday 26 July 2012

Gu Kailai and her husband, Bo Xilai. Gu has been charged with the
intentional  homicide of Neil Heywood. Photograph: Kyodo/Reuters

The wife of the disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been charged with the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, state media said on Thursday, the latest development in the country's biggest political scandal in decades.

Gu Kailai and a family aide, Zhang Xiaojun, were recently charged with Heywood's murder, the state news agency Xinhua said, in the first official comment on the case since an announcement in April that the pair were suspected of killing him.

"The facts of the two defendants' crime are clear, and the evidence is irrefutable and substantial. Therefore, the two defendants should be charged with intentional homicide," the statement said.

It said the investigation showed that Gu and her son had been in conflict with Heywood over economic interests. As in previous statements it referred to her as Bogu Kailai, although friends say she is known as Gu.

"Worrying about Neil Heywood's threat to her son's personal security, Bogu Kailai along with Zhang Xiaojun … poisoned Neil Heywood to death," Xinhua said.

Heywood's sudden death at a hotel in the south-western city of Chongqing in November was originally blamed on excessive alcohol, although friends said he was only a light drinker.

Three months later Bo's police chief and ally Wang Lijun fled to the US consulate in nearby Chengdu, where he reportedly told diplomats that he believed Gu had poisoned Heywood. Lurid rumours surfaced online, prompting Britain to request a reinvestigation of the death.

Gu, 53, and Zhang, 32, have been charged with intentional homicide by prosecutors in Hefei, Anhui province, Xinhua said, and will be tried there "on a day to be decided". Heywood, 41, died in Chongqing, and Gu appears to have divided her time between Chongqing, Beijing and overseas.

The statement said prosecutors had informed Gu and Zhang of their legal rights and heard the opinions of their defence team. Shen Zhigeng, a lawyer who had been employed by Gu's family, told Reuters he believed that Gu's trial was likely to start on 7 or 8 August.

Legal experts had assumed Bo and Zhang would be prosecuted, as it would be highly unusual for Chinese officials to announce that people were "highly suspected" of a crime without taking further action. Most trials end in convictions. If found guilty the pair could face the death penalty.

Analysts had expected an early trial, given that the Communist party is gearing up for its once-a-decade transition of power to a new generation of leaders this autumn.

Last week French architect Patrick Devillers flew from Cambodia to China as a potential witness in the case, Phnom Penh's information minister said. Devillers, who is said to have known Heywood when they were both part of Gu's inner circle, had been detained for several weeks at Beijing's request, but Cambodian officials said he travelled of his own free will and China had assured them he would return within 60 days.

The announcement of Gu's detention in April was published along with a separate statement saying Bo – once tipped for the country's top political body, the politburo standing committee – had been suspended from the politburo for unspecified but serious violations of discipline. He had already been removed from his post as party secretary of Chongqing.

Thursday's report did not comment on Bo or the internal party investigation against him. Neither he nor his wife have been seen since he was ousted.

Heywood is thought to have become close to Bo and Gu after he helped smooth the way for their son Bo Guagua's schooling at Harrow, Heywood's alma mater. He was said to have remained on good terms with the young man, who went on to study at Oxford University and is now living in the US after graduating from his masters course at Harvard this year.

A Foreign Office spokesman in London said: "The details of the ongoing investigation are a matter for the Chinese authorities. However, we are glad to see that the Chinese authorities are continuing with the investigation into the death of Neil Heywood. We are dedicated to seeking justice for him and his family and we will be following developments closely."

Heywood's wife in Beijing and family in London have previously declined to comment on his death.

Xinhua's report was not mentioned on the state broadcaster China Central Television's main evening news programme, although the announcement was included in other broadcasts. It was published on mainstream news sites, but commenting was disabled on most pages, though some included remarks supporting the prosecution, AP reported.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

London 2012: North Koreans walk off after flag row

BBC News, 25 July 2012

Images of the North Korean players were shown on a big
 screen at Hampden beside the South Korean flag

The North Korean women's football team have walked off the pitch at their Olympic match in Glasgow after their images were shown on a screen beside a South Korean flag.

Kick-off was scheduled for 19:45 BST. The game started over an hour late.

North Korea are playing Colombia in the second of the Olympic matches being held at Glasgow's Hampden stadium.

Games organisers in London have apologised to North Korean officials for the mistake.

The error occurred when a video package was being shown ahead of kick-off, with the North Koreans noticing that their faces were being pictured alongside the South Korean flag.

Relations between the two Koreas have been tense since the armistice which brought an end to fighting in the Korean War in 1953.

South Korea will face North Korea in the first round of the men's Olympic table tennis team event after the pair were drawn against each other on Wednesday.

A statement released by London 2012 organisers said: "Today ahead of the women's football match at Hampden Park, the South Korean flag was shown on a big screen video package instead of the North Korean flag.

"Clearly that is a mistake, we will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again."

It was not immediately clear who had produced the video which was shown in the stadium.

Hampden Park media manager Andy Mitchell said: "The South Korean flag was shown in the video package on the screen before the kickoff and the North Koreans were naturally very upset about that.

"We have made a full apology to the team and the North Korean NOC. A genuine mistake was made for which we apologise."

The woman presumed to be Ri Sol-ju was  pictured
in images released by
the state news agency

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rohingyas risk their lives to escape persecution in Myanmar

Deutsche Welle, 25 July 2012

In a desperate attempt to sneak into Thailand and cross over to Malaysia to seek asylum, many stateless Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s Arakan state have booked seats on illegal ferries, operated by people smugglers.

Over the past few years, during autumn and winter, when the sea is calmer, Rohingya men have regularly taken illegal ferries to reach Thailand and then go overland to Malaysia to work illegally and support their families back home.

Now, however, many Rohingya men are planning to take their wives and children along. "With my brothers and my wives and our five children, we are set to take the boat for Thailand, with the hope that finally we will get shelter in Malaysia," Mr Faizullah, a cloth trader from a village near Maungdaw in Rakhine state told DW over the phone.

"Many other Rohingya families are also planning to flee Myanmar the same way. Persecution is increasing day by day. Life for all of us is extremely unsafe here."

Last month, the alleged rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by Rohingyas triggered an outbreak of ethnic violence that has killed at least 80 people so far.

An unidentified old Rohingya couple
 mourns the death of their son
Persecution reaches unprecedented levels

As the violence grinds on, persecution of the Rohingyas has increased to an unprecedented level.

Amnesty International has accused the Burmese security forces as well as ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of assault, rape and unlawful killings, as well as looting Rohingya households.

Moreover, Rohingya sources from inside Myanmar said that thousands of young men had gone into hiding because Rohingya were being arrested on sight. Hundreds of boys and men are in detention.

"The security forces and Rakhine Buddhists have stalled most income-generating activities in Rohingya villages," Mr Faizullah said. "In many villages, Buddhists have stopped selling rice and other provisions to Rohingyas. Security forces and Buddhists are asking us to flee Myanmar. We shall starve to death or get killed here."

"With women and children the boat voyage for Thailand is dangerous," he added. "Yet we are taking the risk because we don't have any income. We hope Thailand will be sympathetic to us because we shall be with women and children. We are sure that Malaysia will grant us asylum on humanitarian grounds."

Nurual Islam, a Chittagong-based Rohingya rights activist said that many Rohingyas shared this view. "They are saying death at sea will be less painful than dying at the hands of the Rakhines and the security forces."

He also said Myanmar's border security force was encouraging Rohingyas to take the risky boat voyage in exchange for bribes worth 10,000 kyats per person.

Parveen Akhtar, an illegal Rohingya
refugee woman and her children
Risky voyage to Malaysia

Mr Faizullah said he had already got in touch with a Bangladesh-based agent who would charge about three million kyats(about 3750 US dollars) to take his family to Malaysia.

Kashem, an agent based in Bangladesh's Teknaf, said that he was planning to help at least nine Arakan-based Rohingya families reach Malaysia later this year, when the sea became calmer.

"Our boat will pick up those five families from a point on the Rakhine coast and take them to Thailand from where they will be taken to Malaysia overland. Some of these families failed to enter Bangladesh last month after they were turned back by Bangladesh border guards," Kashem, who has been in the illegal business for eight years, said.

Bangladesh is keeping to its stand to not allow new Rohingya refugees onto its territory. Last week, the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni even urged Myanmar's government to start the immediate repatriation of the 350,000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh.

An illegal Rohingya refugee camp
in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Chowdhury R Abrar, who teaches international relations in Dhaka University, said Bangladesh should reopen its border to the Rohingyas who are fleeing Myanmar.

"The persistent refusals by the Bangladeshi authorities to admit the Rohingyas have left them with no other choice but to undertake this risky life-threatening voyage. It's horrifying to think what will happen to the men, women and children if the Thai authorities do not allow them access to the Thai shores."

Earlier this week, Colonel Manat Kongpan, who heads Thailand's Internal Security Operations Command, said his agency already had an intelligence input that Rohingyas would in increased numbers target Thailand this autumn and winter. He added that they would not be allowed to use Thai territory to go to Malaysia.

Author: Shaikh Azizur Rahman, Dhaka