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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Friday, November 30, 2012

Pakistan Agrees to Release of More Taliban Prisoners

Jakarta Globe, November 30, 2012

Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul, left, shakes hands with
 Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Asharaf, right, during their meeting
 in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Nov. 30, 2012. Afghanistan's foreign minister on
 Friday asked Pakistan to free all Taliban prisoners in its custody in order to
enable a sustained process of negotiation aimed at ending the 11-year-old
Afghan conflict. (EPA Photo/T. Mughal)  

Related articles

Islamabad. Pakistan on Friday agreed to release another batch of Taliban prisoners in a bid to facilitate peace talks between insurgents and the Afghan government, a joint foreign ministry statement said.

The announcement came after talks in Islamabad between visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul and his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar. The number of prisoners to be released was not specified but is not thought to include the Taliban’s former deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was captured in 2010.

A senior Pakistani security official earlier told AFP that “no decision” had been taken on his release.

The joint statement said both sides agreed the “release of more prisoners, facilitating contacts and urging the Taliban to renounce ties to Al-Qaeda.”

It was the second high-level delegation to visit Pakistan this month to press for the release of Taliban prisoners in a bid to kick-start peace efforts. Talks two weeks ago between Pakistan and Afghanistan’s High Peace Council resulted in the release of nine Taliban.

Afghan officials believe senior Taliban leaders held in Pakistan could help bring militants to the negotiating table, if released from jail, to end over a decade of war ahead of the 2014 pull-out of US-led NATO troops.

“I hope that we will continue to implement other concrete measures in a timely manner and push the peace process forward… so that all those who can help advance the peace process go free,” Rassoul told reporters after talks with his Pakistani counterpart.

An Afghan official had told AFP ahead of the meetings that Rassoul would ask for the release of further Taliban detainees, including Baradar.

But a senior Pakistani security official told AFP that “no decision” had so far been taken on whether to release him.

“We have to ascertain how important he can be. Pakistan believes Baradar may not be enjoying the same clout he used to have before being arrested in Karachi two years ago,” the official said.

The Taliban, leading an 11-year insurgency since the 2001 US-led invasion, has welcomed the releases, but refuses to negotiate directly with Kabul, calling the government of President Hamid Karzai a US puppet.

Preliminary contacts between the United States and the Taliban in Doha were broken off in March when the militants failed to secure the release of five of their comrades held at the Guantanamo Bay prison on the US base in Cuba.

Support from Pakistan, which backed the 1996-2001 Taliban regime in Kabul, is seen as crucial to peace in Afghanistan after the departure of NATO forces.

The joint statement said the two sides also discussed the issue of cross border incursions and shelling and agreed to have an institutionalized mechanism to address this issue.

Afghanistan and Pakistan blame each other for a number of recent cross-border attacks that have killed dozens of people.

Afghanistan shares a disputed and unmarked 2,400-kilometer border with Pakistan, and Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked militants have carved out strongholds on either side.

Agence France-Presse

Indonesian NGO to Build School in Gaza

Jakarta Globe, November 30, 2012

An Indonesian NGO is securing funds to build a school in the recently
battle-torn Gaza Strip. (AFP Photo)        

Related articles

An Indonesian NGO announced on Friday plans to build a school in the Gaza Strip, as construction of the first Indonesian hospital in the conflict-ridden region is reportedly nearing completion.

“We’ve secured a plot of land in Bait Lahiya, North Gaza, [which is] about 5,000 square meters. We will immediately kick off construction,” the director of Aksi Cepat Tanggap, Doddy Cleveland, told Indonesian news portal in Gaza on Friday.

Doddy is in Gaza with several Indonesian lawmakers and representatives of various other Indonesian NGOs, including Dompet Dhuafa and the National Committee for the People of Palestine (KNURP), who brought billions of rupiah in humanitarian aid.

He didn’t elaborate on any details concerning the project.

ACT’s website,, says that the school’s construction was part of the organization’s Sympathy of Solidarity for Palestine program, which includes medical support and clean water aid.

It will be a primary school, and ACT said it had secured a permission and a pledge of support from Palestine’s Ministry of Education to develop the school.

“The Indonesian school in Gaza will have an environmentally friendly design, which will be easy to rebuild if the school is damaged. Basic materials will be taken from the Gaza Strip area... we will partner with the locals to build the school,” the ACT says.

The hospital is also being built in Bait Lahiya. Its construction was halted earlier this month after Israeli rockets almost hit it several times.

It is not clear yet whether construction has resumed.

Another Indonesian NGO, Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C), initiated the trauma center and rehabilitation hospital. It has collected Rp 21.9 billion ($2.3 million) in donations from Indonesians to support its foundation, out of the estimated total need of Rp 60 billion, according to

Related Article:

Nobel peace laureates call for Israel military boycott over Gaza assault

Letter with 52 signatories including artists and activists also denounces US and EU 'complicity' through weapons sales, Chris McGreal in Jerusalem, Wednesday 28 November 2012

A man looks at the ruins of a Hamas police station destroyed by an Israeli
air strike in Gaza City. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, prominent artists and activists have issued a call for an international military boycott of Israel following its assault on the Gaza Strip this month.

The letter also denounces the US, EU and several developing countries for what it describes as their "complicity" through weapons sales and other military support in the attack that killed 160 Palestinians, many of them civilians, including about 35 children.

The 52 signatories include the Nobel peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; the author Alice Walker; the US academic Noam Chomsky; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd; and Stéphane Hessel, a former French diplomat and Holocaust survivor who was co-author of the universal declaration of human rights.

"Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel's decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel," the letter says.

"Such a measure has been subject to several UN resolutions and is similar to the arms embargo imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past."

The letter accuses several countries of providing important military support that facilitated the assault on Gaza. "While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel's military complex through its research programmes.

"Similarly, the growing military ties between Israel and the emerging economies of Brazil, India and South Korea are unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom," it says.

The letter opens with a quote from Nelson Mandela: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

The other signatories include John Dugard, a South African jurist and former UN special rapporteur in the occupied territories; Luisa Morgantini, former president of the European parliament; Cynthia McKinney, a former member of the US Congress; Ronnie Kasrils, a South African former cabinet minister; and the dramatist Caryl Churchill.

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The Jewish-Palestinian Declaration (1997)

UN recognizes Palestine as non-member observer state

NO voters:

Czech Republic
Marshall Islands

“… Let us talk about the swords: When you hear the word sword, the first thing that occurs to you is battle. The Bridge of Swords is a battle and we told you that as well. Swords are metaphoric and they mean many things, so let us describe the things we mean them to say to you.

Number one: They are indeed a weapon in a battle. There is a battle coming. "Kryon, does that mean there's going to be a war?" Potentially, yes. Right now we will tell you that the Middle East cooks itself. You've noticed, haven't you? What do you know about the Middle East, dear one? Let's start examining things for a moment. What energy did you grow up in? What was the energy of the Middle East? In the '40s, what was the energy? With the establishment of the state of Israel, you built a wall of hate, both sides. The wall was so thick that the children of both sides were taught to hate one another as soon as they were able to understand the language. They were told who their enemies were. Now, where were you then?

Some of you weren't here yet. By the time you arrived, in your youth, were you aware of the Middle East? Not particularly. "What's the hatred about?" you might ask. What if I told you it's about a family feud? Two sons of a Jewish master are involved. One founded the Arabs and one remained a Jew. They don't want to hear this, but they are all Jews. (Don't tell them this.)

If you look at the lineage, it's pretty obvious and yet it's a complete and total set-up for either solution or war. The set-up would have this world ending in a conflagration that would have been brought about by this hatred. That's in the prophecy of Nostradamus and your scripture, but it is no longer the prophecy of the planet. Yet the hatred still exists. The hatred is as great today as it was then, but where was all the terrorism 40 years ago? It was isolated.

Those in Israel and Palestine and surrounding areas took the brunt of it, but now it's seemingly everywhere - and you're worried. Why would this be? The answer is that the old energy was happy to have this hatred contained, for it would keep it going and never involve outsiders. Outsiders tend to bring unwanted light to the party. Suddenly, the whole earth is involved and can see the entire scenario before them. The old guard wants war, just like all the eons before them. The ones on the bridge are holding the light and showing the earth how to cross. Even many younger ones in Israel and Palestine and Iran are holding light! It's all around the old guard and they are furious, for they are losing the "battle of hatred." …”

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 …)

Section 66A: India new rules to make Facebook arrest tougher

BBC News, 29 November 2012

Related Stories 

India has more than 100 million
internet users
India has issued new guidelines which make it harder for the police to arrest people for comments on social networking and other internet sites.

Now, a senior officer must approve before a complaint can be registered under the controversial Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.

Last week, two women were arrested for comments on Facebook following the death of politician Bal Thackeray.

The arrests led to an outrage with many calling for scrapping the law.

Separately, the Supreme Court will hear a petition challenging the law on Friday.

Delhi student Shreya Singhal, who has filed a petition in court, says "the phraseology of Section 66A is so wide and vague and incapable of being judged on objective standards that it is susceptible to wanton abuse".

Sweeping powers

The new guidelines were issued by the telecoms ministry on Thursday.

A "police officer or police station may not register any complaints unless he has obtained prior approval at the level of an officer not below the DCP [deputy commissioner of police] rank in urban and rural areas and IG [inspector-general] level in metros", Press Trust of India quoted an official as saying.

Section 66A of India's Information Technology [IT] Act is sweeping in its powers - it can send a person to jail for three years for sending an email or other electronic message that "causes annoyance or inconvenience".

In recent months, several arrests have been made under the law with critics accusing the government of "abuse of authority".

Earlier this week, two senior policemen were suspended over the arrest of Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan.

Ms Dhada was held for criticising Mumbai's shutdown after Bal Thackeray's 17 November death. Ms Srinivasan, who "liked" the comment, was also arrested. The two were later released on bail.

In October, Ravi Srinivasan, a 46-year-old businessman in the southern city of Pondicherry, was arrested for a tweet criticising Karti Chidambaram, son of Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram. He was later released on bail.

In September, there was outrage when a cartoonist was jailed in Mumbai on charges of sedition for his anti-corruption drawings. The charges were later dropped.

In April, the West Bengal government arrested a teacher who had emailed to friends a cartoon that was critical of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He too was later released on bail.

Related Articles:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Amnesty wants 15 Saudis held at protest released

The Daily Star, AFP, November 29, 2012

In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Royal family and other
prominent Saudis prepare to give the oathes of loyalty to New Saudi crown
 prince Nayef bin Abdel-Aziz, unseen, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday,
Oct. 29, 2011. (AP Photo)
RIYADH: Rights watchdog Amnesty International urged Saudi authorities to release or charge around 15 men held during a protest they staged in Riyadh to call for the release of their Islamist relatives.

Saudi "authorities must release all those detained on Tuesday's protest or charge them with recognisable criminal offences if there are legitimate reasons for doing so," said Amnesty's regional director Philip Luther in a late Wednesday statement.

The rights group said that police have detained 15 men outside the offices of the Human Rights Commission in Riyadh. Some 22 women and eight children also detained for taking part in the protest were later released.

On Tuesday, police dispersed dozens of protesters gathered in Riyadh calling for the release or immediate trial of imprisoned Islamist relatives.

"Participating in a peaceful protest or appearing to criticise state authorities for the treatment of detained relatives would never be a legitimate reason for arrest and detention," said Luther.

Demonstrations are banned in Saudi Arabia -- an absolute ultra-conservative monarchy that has remained relatively untouched by the Arab Spring uprisings.

Riyadh warned in October it would deal "firmly" with demonstrations.

The warning had been slammed by Amnesty which urged the authorities to "withdraw their threat."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

With Easing Censorhip, Myanmar Author Explores New Literary Freedom

Jakarta Globe, November 28, 2012

Myanmar novelist Nu Nu Yi speaking during an interview at her home in Yangon.
 With easing censorship rules, Nu Nu Yi plans to republish her critically acclaimed
 fiction novel about two gay lovers, restoring sex-laced passages that the censors
deemed too risque for publication. (AFP Photo/Khin Maung Win)
Related articles

Yangon. As Myanmar's censors loosen their grip, one of the country's most acclaimed authors plans to republish her novel about two gay lovers, restoring sex-laced passages once deemed too risque for readers.

Chunks of paragraphs from Nu Nu Yi's 1994 novel "Smile as They Bow" were purged by the all-powerful censorship office — seen as an Orwellian-style arbiter of all that is fit for publication.

For decades they vetted every article, book manuscript, photograph and illustration before publication, eliminating anything considered inflammatory or damaging to the nation's military dictators.

But the quasi-civilian government that took office last year has effectively abolished direct censorship, a totemic indicator of the reforms sweeping Myanmar as it emerges from the shadows of outright military rule.

No one is cheering that more than Nu Nu Yi, who in 2007 became the first living Burmese to be nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize.

Her accomplishment was tempered by the fact that the celebrated novel was heavily censored at home, slammed as culturally insensitive in a society where homosexuality is illegal, although the law is not strictly enforced.

"Smile as They Bow" is set against the backdrop of Taung Pyone — a phantasmagoric cultural festival that celebrates mythical "nat" spirits found in Myanmar folklore.

Ceremonies at the annual festival, seen as a stomping ground for Myanmar's marginalized sexual minorities, are guided by spirit mediums — usually transvestites decked up in glittering outfits and garish makeup.

The novel describes the tumultuous romance between a transvestite spirit medium in his fifties and his 20-something apprentice, with love leading to heartbreak as the young man falls for a beggar girl.

In an interview in her apartment in Yangon, Nu Nu Yi held out a copy of her original manuscript returned by the censors — with several passages blotted out by silver ink.

Among those erased was a passage containing an intimate, invective-laced conversation which one of the protagonists uses to express reservations that he may never have sex with another woman.

It was a classic sign of how the former military rulers for decades maintained one of the world's tightest censorship nets in Myanmar, suppressing a generation of writers and intellectuals.

But censor officials — who occupy the decrepit Press Scrutiny and Registration Department in Yangon — also invited parody.

In other objections raised, they had a problem with one of the effeminate gay characters adoringly referring to his partner as "husband." They demanded that it be changed to "son."

"We finally settled for 'adopted son' — in a desperate attempt to lend legitimacy to their romance," she told AFP.

Even more ludicrous, she said while trying to suppress fits of laughter, censor officials complained the main characters were strikingly similar in demeanor to two top generals.

"I really didn't know if I should get angry or laugh. It's hard not to laugh at the excesses of propaganda and control."

"Smile as They Bow" just about made it past the censors, but the heavy-handed cuts caused her much anguish.

"I felt helpless," she said. "Writers have a social contract with readers. We're meant to shed light on reality... not offer a 'sanitized' version of reality."

But after the government earlier this year abolished pre-publication censorship for novels, Nu Nu Yi plans to self-publish the unabridged, uncensored version of her novel in 2013.

The bold move is symptomatic of changes afoot in Myanmar society, where ordinary citizens are increasingly pushing the boundaries of newfound freedoms after the government stunned the world with a series of reforms.

President Thein Sein has won widespread praise for moving to release political prisoners and overseeing the election of democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

He has also shown tolerance for candle light vigils to protest power outages, farmer agitations against alleged land grabs, and lively parliament debates led by a newly resurgent opposition — all unthinkable under military rule.

In a sign of liberalizing social attitudes paralleling the political reforms, activists held Myanmar's first ever gay pride celebrations in May.

Myanmar is fast "becoming a normal democracy," said Aung Naing Oo of the Bangkok-based Vahu Development Institute, who believes that the end of harsh media restrictions is among the "top achievements" of the government.

But Nu Nu Yi cautions that self-censorship is a bigger threat than enforced censorship.

"For a vast majority, censorship exists in the head," she said.

She also cautioned that Myanmar is still "a reforming state, not a reformed state" and though the steps towards democracy are a welcome change, the threat of backsliding exists.

"The changes are not set in stone," Nu Nu Yi said.

"So before the censors change their mind... let's change the 'adopted son' back to 'husband,' she laughed.

Agence France-Presse

Offshore companies and the boom in villas on Phuket

BVI companies have helped British buyers snap up luxury villas in Thailand – not for tax avoidance, they say, but to avoid Thai curbs on foreign owners

The Guardian, David Leigh, Harold Frayman and James Ball, Tuesday 27 November 2012

Sales of luxury villas in Thailand have boomed, with many British owners using
 offshore companies to circumvent Thai foreign ownership laws. Photograph: Alamy

One of the side-effects of Britain's financial bubble was a temporary boom in sales of luxury villas on the island of Phuket in Thailand.

These exotic hideaways had infinity pools, their own gyms and waiting speedboats. They could be rented out for cash when not in use by their owners, and cost anything up to £5m to buy.

Offshore Secrets
Britons commonly bought them through anonymous British Virgin Islands (BVI) offshore companies.

A Bangkok law firm, Limcharoen Hughes and Glanville, employed a couple of expatriate British solicitors and were active with UK clients. When approached by the Guardian, the lawyers denied involvement. Their deputy chief executive officer, Desmond Hughes, said: "Let me categorically correct your assertion that our law firm 'sets up' BVI companies. We do not 'set up' BVI companies." He called this a "fundamental error".

But his denial turned out to be more a matter of semantics. Records show the law firm in fact commissioned a specialist incorporation agency in the BVI on their British clients' behalf, to do the detailed work of setting up a series of such offshore companies.

One of the Britons who buys and develops villas, the former tennis player David Lloyd, pictured right, was willing to explain.

Lloyd, who set up a profitable chain of UK gyms when he retired from sport, says the reason for his two BVI entities, Rise Bright Development and High Joy Group, was not tax avoidance. It was to circumvent Thai laws on land ownership.

"It's purely because in Thailand, you can't own the land if you're a foreigner. What you have to do is form a company to buy the land in which a Thai partner owns 51%. That company then gives a lease of the property to a BVI company which you do own. There are no tax advantages: it is purely because of the restrictions on land ownership".

One buyer, Chris Sharp, a retired London shop-owner, told us he had been advised that his BVI company would also allow him to avoid Thai capital gains tax, if he sold the Phuket villa on.

Another Thai villa owner is Ian Brimecome, the chairman of the Equitable Life insurance company. He and his wife, Charlotte, used an entity called Fortune Green Holdings in the BVI to buy a holiday home after visiting Phuket in 2007.

He told us that another reason why local estate agents and lawyers used offshore companies was to avoid Thai legal problems on inheritance.

"Instead of having to change ownership of the property, you can simply transfer the shares in the existing company to the person who inherits."

The British tax authorities depend on offshore villa owners volunteering the existence of their overseas assets and income.

Brimecome said HMRC had mounted a detailed investigation in 2010 of such Thai villa purchases, and had given him a clean bill of health.

The Guardian/ICIJ Offshore Register: Thailand

Ian & Charlotte Brimecome
Company: Fortune Green Holdings
Chairman of Equitable Life who used offshore entity to buy Phuket villa.
Brimecome, who has a £2m home in Pirbright, Surrey, joined the boards of Equitable Life and Axa in 2007. The same year the Brimecomes visited Phuket, the Thai beach resort, to buy a villa. The BVI company to own it was set up through a local law firm.
Intermediary: Limcharoen Hughes & Glanville, Bangkok.
Brimecome: "The local estate agents and lawyers arrange the sales this way. They say it is less cumbersome than using an on-shore company, and avoids the problems in Thailand of changing the property ownership to your heirs if you die. The shares in the company can simply be transferred instead."

David Lloyd
Company: Rise Bright Development; High Joy Group; David Lloyd Asia Co.
Tennis star turned property developer in Thailand.
Lloyd was Davis Cup captain and formerly coached Tim Henman. He built up a chain of gyms in the UK, sold them and became a resort developer on Phuket in Thailand. He is developing luxury villas at Cape Sawan, to sell between £2m-£5m and set up BVI ownership entities in 2007-8.
Intermediary: Limcharoen, Hughes & Glanville, Bangkok.
Comment: "It's purely because in Thailand, you can't own the land if you're a foreigner. What you have to do is form a company to buy the land in which a Thai partner owns 51%. That company then gives a lease to a BVI company which you do own. There are no tax advantages: it is purely because of the restrictions on land ownership."

Chris Sharp
Company: Charm Nice Group
Retired London shop-owner who bought villa on Phuket.
Sharp listed as retired. Company incorporated 1.11.2007.UK flat in Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN5 4NG, sold for £292,000 in 2009.
Intermediary: Limcharoen, Hughes & Glanville.
Comment: "I retired from running a greeting card shop. I met a lady here. The lawyers advised me to have a BVI company because otherwise, they said, when you sell, the Thais take a lot of tax off you."

Gerry Matthews
Company: Kinetic Country Group
Retired clothing wholesaler who bought villa on Phuket.
BVI company was incorporated in July 2005, to buy a villa at the Cape Yamu development in Phuket, with pools and gyms, developed by Irishman Peter Hamilton. At retirement from his clothing wholesale firm, Smith & Brooks, Matthews owned £3m house in Buckinghamshire.
Intermediary: Campbell Kane, Phuket developers.
Comment: no response to approach.

Michael Macareavey
Company: Add Merit Group
Macareaveyof Aberdeen AB11 7SQ, bought offshore company in 2007, while in Malaysia. Formerly director of MTM Process Engineering Ltd in UK.
Intermediary: Limcharoen, Hughes & Glanville.
Comment: no response to email.

Related Article:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

India policemen suspended over Facebook arrests

BBC News, 27 November 2012

Related Stories 

Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan
 said they were "traumatised" by their
Two senior Indian policemen have been suspended over the arrest of two women for comments made on Facebook following the death of politician Bal Thackeray.

Maharashtra state's home minister said the men had disobeyed orders. The judge in the case has also been transferred.

Shaheen Dhada was held for criticising Mumbai's shutdown after the 17 November death. Her friend Renu Srinivasan, who "liked" the comment, was also arrested.

The two were later bailed amid outrage that free speech was not being upheld.

Critics have accused the government of "abuse of authority" and the women told the BBC they had been "traumatised" by their arrest.


Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil said the state government had taken the decision to suspend the officers.

"Superintendent of Police for Thane (rural) district Ravindra Sengaonkar and Palghar sub-inspector Srikant Pingle have been suspended for disobeying the orders of superiors," Mr Patil was quoted as saying by the CNN-IBN news channel.

The suspensions came after a police inquiry called the arrests "unjustified".

On Monday, the high court in Mumbai transferred magistrate Ramchandra Bagade, who had ordered the women to pay 15,000 rupees ($270; £169) each before they were freed on bail.

Although the court did not give any reasons for the transfer, Indian media reports have linked it to the women's arrest.

The death of Bal Thackeray, the Hindu nationalist politician who founded the Shiv Sena party, brought Mumbai to a halt.

In her Facebook comment, 21-year-old Shaheen Dhada wrote: "People like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a 'bandh' [shutdown] for that."

After Ms Dhada's comment appeared on Facebook, a mob attacked and vandalised her uncle Abdul Dhada's clinic in Palghar.

Ms Dhada and Ms Srinivasan were charged with "creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes". They were also charged under the Information Technology Act.

Freedom of speech

Several other recent cases have raised concerns about freedom of expression in India, the world's largest democracy.

In October, Ravi Srinivasan, a 46-year-old businessman in the southern city of Pondicherry, was arrested for a tweet criticising Karti Chidambaram, son of Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram. He was later released on bail.

In September, there was outrage when a cartoonist was jailed in Mumbai on charges of sedition for his anti-corruption drawings. The charges were later dropped.

In April, the West Bengal government arrested a teacher who had emailed to friends a cartoon that was critical of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He too was later released on bail.

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Japan, North Korea to hold talks next month in Beijing

Want China Times, Xinhua and Staff Reporter 2012-11-27

North Korean soldiers in a troop review in Pyeongyang
in April. (Photo/Xinhua)

Japan and North Korea will hold next round of talks between senior officials on Dec. 5 and 6 in Beijing so as to further discuss issues concerned by both sides, a senior official said Tuesday.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Osamu Fujimura, made the announcement Tuesday and said North Korea will be represented by Song Il Ho, ambassador for talks to normalize relations with Japan, and Japan by Shinsuke Sugiyama, director general of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at Japan's foreign ministry.

Japan's foreign minister, Koichiro Gemba, said in the same occasion that with cautious negotiation, his country intends to achieve outcomes in the talks.

The two countries held a two-day meeting in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator on Nov. 15-16, achieving an agreement to continue talks over the deadlock issue of abductions.

Abductions in the 1970s and 1980s by North Korea have been one of the major obstacles between the two countries to establish diplomatic ties.

Australia apologises for sex abuse in military

Yahoo – AFP, Martin Parry, 26 November 2012

Photo illustration. The Australian government has made a parliamentary apology
 to victims of abuse in the military and set up a compensation fund after allegations
of rape and sexual assault

The Australian government on Monday made a parliamentary apology to victims of abuse in the military and set up a compensation fund after hundreds of claims of rape and sexual assault.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith also established an independent taskforce to individually assess each allegation uncovered by a report commissioned by the government last year.

The taskforce will be able to refer appropriate matters to police for formal criminal investigation, while offering victims help in accessing counselling, health, and other services.

Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith,
 pictured on November 14, says the 
government will no longer turn a blind 
eye to "inappropriate conduct" in the military
"Young men and women have endured sexual, physical or mental abuse from their colleagues which is not acceptable and does not reflect the values of a modern, diverse, tolerant Australian society," Smith told parliament.

"Such experiences have had a lasting, serious, traumatic and adverse impact on the people who have experienced them."

In his statement, Smith lashed out at senior military figures who occupied positions of trust and who "abused that trust through their behaviour, including through the turning of a blind eye".

"Today's men and women of the Australian Defence Force or the Department of Defence who have suffered sexual or other abuse, on behalf of the government I say sorry," he said.

"You should never have experienced this abuse. Again, I say sorry."

A capped compensation fund was set up with the taskforce, headed by former West Australian Supreme Court judge Len Roberts-Smith, to determine who qualifies for payouts of up to Aus$50,000 (US$52,000).

The move follows an independent report sparked by the so-called Skype scandal in 2011, when footage of a young male recruit having sex with a female classmate was streamed online to cadets in another room without her knowledge.

The report detailed 24 allegations of rape that never went to trial, among more than 1,000 claims of sexual or other abuse from the 1950s to the present day, involving both men and women.

As well as the rape claims, it said that "from the 1950s through to the early 1980s, many boys aged 13, 14, 15 and 16 years of age in the defence force suffered abuse including serious sexual and other physical abuse".

Until the 1960s, boys as young as 13 were recruited into the Navy, while 15-year-olds were accepted into the Army, Navy and Air Force up until the early 1980s. The minimum enlisting age is now 17.

The report also highlighted brutal initiation ceremonies and depicted a culture in the military of covering up, failing to punish perpetrators and hostility towards victims who complained.

Smith said the Defence Force would bear the financial burden of any compensation, with military and government officials "committed to zero tolerance in the future".

"Acknowledging the past and taking responsibility for it is only the first step," he said.
"We must ensure that such abuse can never be tolerated again."

Defence Force chief General David Hurley also apologised, saying he recognised "the damage and suffering that has been caused to some".

"The Australian Defence Force has begun addressing these causes through its cultural reform programme," he said.

"On behalf of the Australian Defence Force, I say that I am sorry to those who have suffered sexual, physical or mental abuse while serving."

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