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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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pakistani girl falsely accused of blasphemy 'in Canada'

BBC News, 29 June 2013

Rimsha and her family received death threats and were forced into hiding

Related Stories

A Pakistani Christian girl who was falsely accused of blasphemy has fled to Canada with her family, a Christian organisation says.

Rimsha Masih, aged 14, was detained in a maximum security prison for several weeks in August 2012, accused of burning pages from the Koran.

The case attracted widespread international concern.

Although charges against Rimsha were dropped, she and her family were forced into hiding after death threats.

Rimsha, who is believed to have learning difficulties, was arrested in a Christian area of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, after a furious crowd demanded she be punished.

A local Muslim cleric has since been accused of framing her.


The teenager has now settled in Canada with her family, although their exact location has not been made public.

A Christian activist in Canada told the BBC that the teenager was learning English and enjoying school. "They feel free," he said.

Critics have accused Pakistani courts of using the country's harsh blasphemy laws to target members of minority religions, according to the BBC's Orla Guerin, in Islamabad.

There seems little chance of a change in the law, our correspondent adds.

At least two prominent Pakistani politicians who had campaigned for a change in law have been killed in recent years.

Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl accused of blasphemy sits in helicopter after
her release from jail in Rawalpindi Photo: FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Im

Friday, June 28, 2013

US downgrades Bangladesh trade ties

BBC News, 27 June 2013

Related Stories

The factory collapse in Savar was
Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster
The US has suspended trade privileges for Bangladesh until it improves workers' safety conditions in the clothing industry.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman pointed to several recent fatal accidents in its huge clothing sector.

These "had served to highlight some of the serious shortcomings in worker rights and workplace safety standards in Bangladesh", he said.

Two months ago, a factory collapse near Dhaka killed 1,129 people.

The collapse of the nine-storey complex, on 24 April, was Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster, and one in a series of accidents involving the world's second-biggest exporter of garments after China.

The high death toll focused global attention on low safety standards in garment factories and prompted the Bangladeshi government to launch inspections of all plants to try to reassure Western retailers that safety conditions had improved.

Twelve people have so far been arrested over what happened, including the building's owner.

But unions and experts say hundreds of factories are still operating in shoddy buildings, raising fears that another tragedy could occur at any time.

President Obama's order suspends Bangladesh's duty-free trade privileges under the terms of a US trade programme called the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), designed to promote economic growth in developing countries.

"The US government has worked closely with the government of Bangladesh to encourage the reforms needed to meet basic standards," said US Trade Representative Michael Froman.

"Despite our... clear, repeated expressions of concern, the US government has not seen sufficient progress towards those reforms", he added.

Related Articles:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Malaysia Pushes Indonesia for Anti-Smog Asean Treaty

Jakarta Globe,  JG/AFP,  June 27, 2013

Haze hangs over a river in Siak, Riau Province, Indonesia on Wednesday,
June 26, 2013 (Bloomberg Photo/Dimas Ardian)

Heavy rains continued to fall on the fires still smoldering on the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Thursday as Malaysian officials pushed Indonesia to ratify a long-ignored treaty banning hazardous slash-and-burn clearing for plantations.

Malaysian Environment Minister G. Palanivel visited his Indonesian counterpart on Thursday after nine days of widespread plantation fires in Riau left the region choking on some of the worst levels of air pollution in more than a decade. The minister urged Indonesia to get serious about tackling what has become an annual problem.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) issued a treaty in 2002 after a similar crisis in 1997 cost the region an estimated $9 billion in losses. Indonesia, which was responsible for the 1997 haze crisis, has refused to ratify the treaty.

“The environment minister has to deal with this ratification,” Palanivel told the Agence France-Presse. “If they can ratify the treaty then they can go forward.”

Indonesian Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya said the nation was “in the process” of ratifying the treaty.

Thursday’s meeting came as the dangerous haze covering Malaysia and Singapore continued to dissipate after days of favorable winds and heavy rains. The number of hotspots reported in Sumatra fell to 59 on Thursday, down from 264 record at the height of the blaze, the Pekanbaru chapter of the Meteorology, Geophysics and Climate Agency said.

Thousands of fire fighters doused the remaining fires on Thursday as local police arrested five more farmers allegedly responsible for the initial fires that sparked the massive blaze. Riau Police have detained 14 people in their widening investigation into this year’s plantation fires as officers looked into allegations that four plantation companies were involved in illegal land clearing.

“The suspects are still being questioned and are under police investigation,” Riau Police spokesman Adj. Comr. Hermansyagh said of the farmers.

The farmers reportedly lost control of fire set to clear their lands, Hermansyagh said.

This year’s forest fires ignited a diplomatic row between Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia and prompted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to issue a formal apology to Indonesia’s neighbors over the haze. But as the situation returned to normal on Thursday, the Indonesian Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) warned that the dry season — and the annual forest fires it brings — had only just begun.

“We will have a dry season until October,” Heru Widodo, head of the artificial rain unit at the BPPT. “So it’s possible that the number of hotspots will increase again.”

Twitter CEO defends 'principled' data request policy

Google – AFP, 26 June 2013

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo speaks during a discussion on social
media on June 26, 2013 at the Brookings Institution (AFP, Mandel Ngan)

WASHINGTON — Twitter is holding to a "principled" policy on national security data requests and will "push back" in some cases to protect the privacy of its users, its chief executive said Wednesday.

Dick Costolo, appearing at a forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington, declined to comment on whether Twitter had specific requests under the vast data-gathering program called PRISM made public this month.

But he said the popular messaging service maintains its policy of allowing users to be informed of any requests from authorities, both in the United States and abroad.

"We've been very clear about having articulated a very principled policy around access to user data," he said.

"When we receive a valid, legal request in the countries in which we operate we will abide by the rule of law."

He added that for "other requests that may be more broad in scope and not specific legal requests that don't meet our principle... we will push back on."

Twitter was not among the nine Internet firms cited in documents for providing access to the secretive National Security Agency, which seeks to identify potential terrorist threats from abroad.

Costolo steered clear of questions on why Twitter was absent from the list, which includes Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.

But he noted that Twitter has gone to court in certain cases to fight "gag" orders and to allow users to be in informed of how their own data is used.

"We feel that our users have a right to know when their information is being requested," he said.

"This is not just something we deal with in the US, it's something we deal with in all the countries (where) we operate."

Costolo also defended the messaging platform in the face of criticism from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who branded Twitter as a "troublemaker" inciting protests against his rule.

"The beauty of having this open public platform that allows everybody around you to see and hear what you think is that... that it's this public town square. That's what it is. We don't editorialize what's on it," he said.

"We don't say, 'If you believe this you can't use our platform.' You can use our platform to say what you believe... The platform itself doesn't have any perspective on this. It's a vehicle for people to give their perspective."

Spending spree: Saudi billionaire Prince
Alwaleed bin Talal has announced today
that he is investing $300 million into social
networking site Twitter

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“... In March of 2011, Bloomberg news reported that JPMorgan Chase & Co., arguably the largest corporate bank in the world, “has invested in a fund that has bought about $400 million in Twitter Inc. shares....”

Well connected: Prince Alwaleed leaves
Westminster Abbey after attending the wedding
of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Arab Idol winner in triumphant return to Gaza

Google - AFP, 26 June 2013 

Arab Idol winner Palestinian Mohammed Assaf speaks in the southern
Gaza Strip, on June 25, 2013 (Pool/AFP, Khaled Omar)

RAFAH, Palestinian Territories — Thousands of Gazans gave an ecstatic welcome to Mohammed Assaf on Tuesday as the 23-year-old Palestinian singer returned home after winning this year's Arab Idol talent competition.

Young and old waved Palestinian flags and held up posters of Assaf, raising banners congratulating him on his win in Beirut on Saturday, when he beat off stiff competition from fellow singers from across the Arab world.

Recordings of Assaf's songs blasted out from loudspeakers while crowds thronged his motorcade as it made its way up the Gaza Strip after crossing the Rafah border from Egypt.
Huge crowds also gathered outside his home in the southern city of Khan Yunis.

The meteoric rise of Gaza's Assaf to snatch the top prize in the pan-Arab singing contest sparked an unprecedented outpouring of joy across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, bringing rare unity to the divided territories.

"We are making him an official welcome," said Gaza's culture ministry director Fakri Judeh, at the head of a Hamas government delegation to receive him.

"Assaf is a Palestinian citizen who has made an outstanding achievement... and we support him," he said.

"We hope he will use his God-given talent to serve the Palestinian cause."

Fans wait for the arrival of Palestinian "Arab Idol" Mohammed Assaf on
June 25, 2013 in the Gaza Strtip (AFP, Mahmud Hams)

Assaf bent over and kissed the ground as he crossed the border, an AFP correspondent reported, before holding a news conference alongside officials from Gaza's ruling Islamist Hamas movement.

"I thank you for your wonderful welcome and hope the celebrations won't feature gunfire," Assaf said, alluding to the shots in the air that sometimes accompany celebrations in the Middle East.

"I hope with all my heart that the division can end, and my message to our Palestinian people is: unity, unity," Assaf said, referring to internal divisions that have plagued Palestinian politics for years.

Hamas and Fatah, which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, have been locked in a bitter rivalry which worsened when the Islamists seized the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Yellow Fatah flags, which are rarely seen in Gaza, could be seen flying among the crowds in Rafah ahead of Assaf's arrival.

Assaf left Gaza for an audition in Egypt in October last year, and made it through each stage of the competition, eventually staying in Beirut alongside other contestants for the final rounds.

His victory in the final, screened live on television across the Arab world, marked the first success for a Palestinian entrant.

"Mohammed Assaf is the Arab Idol," declared the presenter of the show which is modelled on the British hit show Pop Idol, as confetti rained down on the cheering audience.

People wait for the arrival of Palestinian
 "Arab Idol" Mohammed Assaf at the Rafah
 crossing on June 25, 2013 (AFP, Said 
The handsome, tuxedo-clad singer immediately dedicated his win to "the Palestinian people, who have been suffering for more than 60 years from (Israeli) occupation".

He won a professional recording contract and a car, a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro.

Assaf's competition included singers from as far west as Morocco and Tunisia, from Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, from war-torn Syria and from Iraqi Kurdistan.

The victory of the young man from the besieged Gaza Strip united tens of thousands of Palestinians in celebration, temporarily overshadowing the political crisis at home.

The resignation of West Bank prime minister Rami Hamdallah and internal political wrangling was largely overshadowed by Assaf's victory.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas crowned the young singer national goodwill ambassador, and the UN Palestinian refugee agency named him its youth ambassador.

Hamas disapproves of shows such as Arab Idol, which are considered to be un-Islamic, but the movement has not clamped down on support for the contest.

Related Article:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In Asia, ancient writing collides with the digital age

Yahoo – AFP, Miwa Suzuki (AFP), 25 June 2013

University student Akihiro Matsumura uses his tablet computer in Tokyo
on June 19, 2013. (Photo By Yoshikazu Tsuno)

As a schoolboy, Akihiro Matsumura spent hundreds of hours learning the intricate Chinese characters that make up a part of written Japanese. Now, the graduate student can rely on his smartphone, tablet and laptop to remember them for him.

"Sometimes I don't even bother to take notes in seminars. I just take out my tablet to shoot pictures of what instructors write on blackboards," he told AFP.

Like millions of people across East Asia, 23-year-old Matsumura is forgetting the pictographs and ideographs that have been used in Japan and greater China for centuries.

While some bemoan what they see as the loss of history and culture, others say the shift frees up brainpower for more useful things, like foreign languages, and even improves writing as a whole.

Naoko Matsumoto, a professor of law who heads international legal studies at the prestigious Sophia University near Tokyo, said the students in her classes now write more fluently than their predecessors.

Akihiro Matsumura (L) uses his tablet
computer as his friend practices writing
Chinese characters in Tokyo on June 19,
2013. (Photo By Yoshikazu Tsuno)
"I'm in my 40s and compared with my generation, they have more and more opportunities to write using Twitter" and other social networking services, she said.

"I think they are actually better at writing" because they write in a simple and easy-to-understand way, she said.

Priorities are changing with more emphasis placed on building logical thinking strategies -- a case of content becoming more important than form.

"The skill of handwriting kanji (Chinese characters) perfectly is becoming less necessary compared with earlier times," the professor said.

Kanji developed in China as a mixture of pictographs -- characters that represent a thing, like "mountain" -- and ideographs -- those that depict an abstract concept, like "think".

Greater China uses only these characters -- a simplified version on the mainland and the traditional form in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Japan imported kanji some time during the first millennium to use as a writing system, despite there being no linguistic link between Japanese and Chinese.

By around the 8th-9th centuries, it developed a syllabary -- a system of consonant/vowel blends -- called "hiragana".

Where kanji contain a meaning, but no inherent sound, each hiragana character represents a sound, but has no inherent meaning -- like a letter in the Latin alphabet. Unlike the alphabet, however, each syllable only ever has one sound.

A second syllabary, called "katakana", also developed. Modern-day written Japanese is a mixture of kanji, hiragana and katakana, with an increasing amount of Western script also thrown in (known as "romaji" or Roman letters).

In both Chinese and Japanese, computer and smartphone users need only to type the pronunciation of the kanji from the constituent sounds using either the syllabary or the alphabet. They then choose one of several options offered by the device.

Very different meanings can come from the same sounds. For example, in Japanese, "shigaisen" produces "street fighting" and "ultra-violet rays".

"It's easy to forget even the easiest of characters," said Zhang Wentong, an assistant at a calligraphy centre in Beijing.

"Sometimes you've got to think for ages. Occasionally I'll repeatedly type the character out phonetically in my phone" until the right one pops up.

Graduate student Matsumura said his reliance on devices leaves him adrift when faced with filling in forms for repairs at the electronics shop where he works part-time.

University student Akihiro Matsumura
writes sentences on a tablet computer
in Tokyo on June 19, 2013. (Photo By
Yoshikazu Tsuno)
"I sometimes can't recall kanji on the spot while a customer is watching me," he said. "I remember their rough shapes but can't remember exact strokes... It's foggy."

Traditionalists fear that forgetting kanji means the irrevocable loss of a fundamental part of culture.

In Hong Kong, Rebecca Ko said her 11-year-old daughter uses the computer more and more, but she insists the child learn traditional characters, and sends her to a Chinese calligraphy class.

"We cannot rely too much on computers, we should be able to write... (and) we should be able to write neatly, it's a basic thing about being Chinese," she said.

But, says Matsumura, times change and the spread of technology gives people opportunities to develop their language capability in other ways, for example allowing some to read more.

"I'm one of them. I used to listen to music blankly on trains, but I now read news and other things," he said.

Guardians of the characters say there is no evidence of any drop-off in enthusiasm.

The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, a Kyoto-based organisation, says the number of people who take its exam every year is holding steady at around two million.

People are "increasingly using text messages rather than making phone calls", which means they need to know which characters to use, said a spokeswoman.

And kanji characters are not falling out of favour with all younger people.

Yusuke Kinouchi, a 24-year-old graduate student at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, thought children should keep learning the characters in the way they have done for hundreds of years.

Kanji provide a certain economy, he said, where one character can stand in for the sounds made by several letters in a language such as English -- something particularly useful on Twitter, for example, with its 140-character limit.

But beyond the economy, there is one other good reason to keep them alive, he said.

"They are beautiful."

Monday, June 24, 2013

SBY Apologizes to Singapore and Malaysia For Haze

Jakarta Globe, June 24, 2013

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gestures while Greenpeace
 International executive director Kumi Naidoo and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono
 look on during a visit aboard Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ship, which was
anchored in Jakarta on June 7. (AFP Photo)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has offered a formal apology to Singapore and Malaysia for the haze that has been blanketing both countries as a result of forest fires in Riau.

The president blamed the forest fires on both humans and nature, saying the winds in Sumatra that were headed towards Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines had contributed to the thick haze.

“For this incident, I as the president would like to apologize especially to Singapore and Malaysia and hope they would understand. Indonesia did not want this to happen and we are trying to overcome this responsibly,” said Yudhoyono in a press conference at the State Palace on Monday.

Yudhoyono also criticized the Riau administration for its slow response to anticipating the haze from the beginning and called on provinces prone to forest fires to focus on containing fires in their respective areas.

“To be honest, I think Riau was quite slow in anticipating this from the beginning. But there’s no need to play the blame game. Let’s just [work] to overcome the haze and fires immediately,” he said.

Earlier, the president took to Twitter to say he would take strict action against companies involved in burning forests to clear land for new plantation areas.

“Indonesia will seriously overcome the forest fires in Riau and will take stern action against foreign companies that were involved,” the president tweeted on Monday.

Yudhoyono said the government was still working hard to contain the fire, adding the forest fires in Riau not only caused haze at home but also in neighboring countries Singapore and Malaysia.

Both neighboring countries have lodged protests and offered help to contain the forest fires. Yudhoyono said efforts to contain fires from the land turned out to be ineffective and that’s why the government had deployed helicopters.

“The government is deploying two Bolco helicopters and one Colibri helicopter to contain hotspots in Riau. The efforts through land have been ineffective,” he said.

Minister of Environment Balthasar Kambuanya previously said there were indications that eight Malaysian-owned companies were involved in setting off fires to open new plantation areas in Riau.

The eight companies implicated are Langgam Inti Hiberida, Bumi Rakksa Sejati, Tunggal Mitra Plantation, Udaya Loh Dinawi, Adei Plantation, Jatim Jaya Perkasa, Multi Gambut Industri, and Mustika Agro Lestari.

The Forestry Ministry and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) as well as other related ministries had sent teams to the fields to ensure efforts to contain the fires were successful and to take legal measures against people or companies that violated regulations to start a fire to clear lands.Meanwhile, Sime Darby Plantation denied that its subsidiaries in Indonesia were involved in the fire.

“There have been no area-expansion activities in the operational areas of Tunggal Mitra Plantation, and Bhumireksa Nusa Sejati in Riau since April 2013. This needs to be emphasized given the planting process of oil palm trees can only be done every 20 to 25 years, not every year,” said Inasanti Susanto, head of Minamas Plantation Corporate Communications in a press release on Monday.

Inasanti said Sime Darby Plantation strictly adopts a zero burning policy in its operational areas and the policy has been implemented since 1985. However, Inasanti admitted a small portion of its plantation areas were inhabited by local residents to comply with Indonesian laws that require companies to protect  local residents who lived around the operational areas.

Riau Police said it has arrested two people suspected of setting of fire in Riau, including a former Bank Rakyat Indonesia official identified as HP. “One of them , S (64), a resident at Rupat Utara, Bengkalis, is being processed by the Bengkalis Police and the other one is HP (56), a Rokan Ilir resident.

‘‘They cleared the land by starting fires,” said National Police spokesman Sr Comr Agus Rianto at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta on Monday.Agus said that both men were farmers and were not related to any companies.

Related Articles:

Palestinian joy as Gaza singer wins Arab Idol

Google – AFP, 23 June 2013

Thousands of Palestinians celebrate the victory in the Arab Idol contestant
of Mohammed Assaf on June 23, 2013 (AFP, Abbas Momani)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Tens of thousands of jubilant Palestinians celebrated into the early hours of Sunday after a 23-year-old Gazan singer won the prestigious Arab Idol talent show that has captivated millions across the Middle East since March.

The meteoric rise of Gaza's Mohammed Assaf to snatch the top prize in the pan-Arab singing contest sparked an unprecedented outpouring of joy across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, unifying an often divided public.

Assaf's victory in the finals, held in Beirut and screened live on television across the Arab world, marked the first such success for a Palestinian entertainer.

"Mohammed Assaf is the Arab Idol!" declared the presenter of the show which is modelled on the US hit show Pop Idol, as coloured confetti rained down on the cheering audience.

The handsome, tuxedo-clad singer immediately dedicated his win to "the Palestinian people, who have been suffering for more than 60 years from (the Israeli) occupation".

Fans of Mohammad Assaf celebrate in
 Khan Yunis after the Palestinian singer
 won the final of the Arab Idol
competition (AFP, Said Khatib)
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas immediately crowned him a national goodwill ambassador, and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees named him their UNRWA Youth Ambassador.

Since the contest began in March, Assaf has earned himself an army of followers who have been glued to the big screens in cafes and restaurants across the territories, listening enraptured as his powerful voice propelled him further and further ahead in the weekly sing-off.

As his name was read out, his mother, who was wearing a traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, her shoulders wrapped in the black, green, white and red of the national flag, burst out crying.

Spontaneous celebrations broke out across the Gaza Strip, and in the West Bank, where tens of thousands took to the streets, cheering and dancing, car radios blasting the traditional Palestinian song which propelled him to victory as people handed out sweets to passers by.

His victory was splashed across Sunday's front pages with many making a play on words linked to a remark by one of the judges who described him as "the best rocket" to have come out of Gaza - "a rocket of peace, not war".

"'The rocket hit the target and brought joy to the Palestinians," said Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, while the rival Al-Ayyam went with: "Assaf - the Palestinians' art rocket."

Each edition of the twice-weekly show, aired by the pan-Arab MBC channel in Beirut, has been followed with increasing anticipation, with social networks mobilising to boost votes for their favoured candidate.

In Ramallah, the West Bank's political capital, the streets were jammed with people until the early hours of Sunday.

Similar scenes were played out in Gaza, where a sea of smiling faces packed the streets.

"The mood is indescribable. Everyone is celebrating. Thank you, Mohammed Assaf, for bringing joy to our hearts!" said Gaza resident Mohammad Dahman.

"We haven't felt this joy in a long time!"

Celebrations also erupted in annexed east Jerusalem, but soured as young Palestinians clashed with Israeli police, resulting in several arrests.

Mohammed Assaf performs after winning
 the "Arab Idol" singing contest in Beirut,
on June 23, 2013 (AFP, Anwar Amro)
In northern Lebanon, Palestinian refugees in the Beddawi camp fired into the air and honked car horns to celebrate, while major partying also took place in the southern city of Sidon, an AFP correspondent said.

Born in Misrata, Libya, Assaf grew up in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in southern Gaza, one of the world's poorest and most densely-populated areas which has been subjected to a tight Israeli blockade since 2006.

Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers disapprove of shows such as Arab Idol, which are considered to be un-Islamic, but they have not clamped down on support for the contest.

"All Palestinians share in his success. Mohammed's music is a universal language and speaks to all of us," said UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi.

"How fantastic that a Palestine refugee from Gaza should bring us all together in this way."

There were even congratulations from Israel, with the army's Arabic spokesman Avichai Adraee hailing his victory on Twitter.

"Congratulations Assaf on winning - we wish Hamas would allow the people in the Strip to be happy instead of restraining all signs of happiness as they have been doing so far," he said.
And the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper also hailed his success saying: "A Palestinian hero is born."

"Not since the IDF (army) incursions into Gaza in 2002, have Palestinians had a unifying experience on par with Mohammed Assaf's success on Arab Idol," the paper said.

Related Article:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Myanmar mystics give supernatural help to Asia elite

Google – AFP, Kelly Macnamara (AFP), 23 June 2013

ET, Myanmar's most famous fortune teller, attends a local television
programme in Bangkok on July 23, 2012 (AFP, Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

YANGON — Tiny, frail and barely able to speak, Myanmar's most famous fortune teller -- known as ET -- has for years whispered predictions to Asia's rich and powerful, from generals to foreign politicians.

The soothsayer, whose popularity has inspired a recent Thai biopic, is one of a plethora of mystics in Myanmar, where generations of rulers have sought ethereal advice.

Sprightly despite a range of disabilities -- including, her family say, that her internal organs are all on the wrong side of her body -- ET looks every bit the mystic when accompanied by her sister Thi Thi, whose penchant for shawls and elaborately embroidered frocks enhances the spiritualist image.

"My sister (is a) very, very grand and special one," Thi Thi told AFP in a recent interview in Bangkok, adding that her guidance has been sought across the region.

"Some is politician, some is business people... Everybody happy, became very famous," said Thi Thi, who acts as an interpreter for her sister.

Myanmar's fortune tellers are thought to be behind several unexplained occurrences in the country, from the abrupt decision by the former junta to relocate the capital in 2005, to bizarre episodes when the generals appeared wearing women's longyi -- a sarong-like skirt.

The Myanmar fortune teller known as ET
 during a television programme in Bangkok
on July 23, 2012 (AFP, Pornchai
Normally sartorially conservative, the top brass resorted to cross-dressing "so that a woman would not become president in the country," said Aung Zaw, editor of the Irrawaddy, a news magazine started by Myanmar exiles, referring to the junta's fear of democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

"They are very superstitious," he said.

Mystics have been ascribed great influence in a country where the workings of the secretive junta were kept hidden from the public for decades.

Aung Zaw said that amid the wilder speculation were strong indications that the army chiefs did dabble in the dark arts to try to reinforce their power.

"There is a lot of interpretation... but they do these things quite often," he said, adding that the practice of consulting astrologers dated back hundreds of years, with Myanmar's former kings regularly consulting fortune tellers.

Ne Win, the strongman who ruled Myanmar for around three decades, was notorious for his reliance on fortune tellers and their "yadaya" -- an occult practice where a symbolic act is performed to influence the future.

Rumours about the former junta chief's use of yadaya to ward off adversity include that he stood in front of a mirror and shot a gun at his own reflection, according to one foreign observer who has long studied the old regime.

Even Myanmar's new reformist President Thein Sein has indicated his openness to heed the predictions of mystics.

"I don't know a lot about astrology, but there are many people who know astrology very well in Myanmar," he said in a recent documentary "Un oeil sur la planète" (An Eye on the World) by French broadcaster France 2.

"Sometimes they give me advice on how the situation of the country could be affected from the astrological point of view. I willingly take this advice into account."

Thi Thi said her sister, who is in her 40s, had also met former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and predicted his rise to power.

"He come and see my sister, before politics. At that time he is (in the) telephone business," she said.

Thaksin reportedly visited ET just days before he was ousted in a 2006 coup, but Thi Thi declined to give details of the relationship, saying only that her sister's predictions over the years were "80 percent correct".

In three decades on the road, she said ET has travelled to "many many countries", including Japan, China, Singapore and Thailand, and now ploughs a portion of her income into a hospital foundation at home.

While her clients include the occasional Westerner, most are local businessmen and wealthy Asians.

"It's definitely hard to get an appointment," said one Western diplomat, who said prices have now risen to a hundred dollars a session.

ET begins her consultations with theatrical flair by writing out the serial number of an apparently unseen banknote in the client's wallet -- a "convincing" start, the diplomat said.

Soon after Suu Kyi was released from her last bout of house arrest in 2010, amid uncertainty about how much freedom the Nobel peace laureate would be allowed, the diplomat asked ET for a prediction of the veteran activist's future.

"In spite of a warning that she doesn't predict politics or the lottery, she did say that 'Aung San Suu Kyi would be more free, very free'," the diplomat said.

Suu Kyi has since been elected to parliament and is eyeing a bid for the presidency.

ET -- whose name is also written E Thi -- has predicted her own early death from heart failure, but her sister says it does not worry the soothsayer because she will be "very pretty" in her next life.

Her family say her powers, including visions of ghosts and future events, were discovered after she was struck by fever while praying at a pagoda as a small child.

Others took a more prosaic route to otherworldly insight and international popularity.

Hein Tint Zaw says he studied for five years under a famous Myanmar soothsayer, learning astrology, tarot and numerology with around 100 other pupils before graduating in the mystic arts and moving to Thailand to set up shop among the many migrants from Myanmar.

His little studio in the industrial town of Mahachai mainly attracts workers from his homeland, who staff local factories in their thousands, but Thais also seek his services and bring along their own interpreters.

"I have never had to advertise," he said.

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