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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Saturday, August 31, 2013

China joins anti-tax evasion convention

Want China Times, Kuo Chi-yun and Staff Reporter 2013-08-31

Wang Jun of the State Administration of Taxation of China, shakes hands
 with OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria after signing the Multilateral Tax
Convention in Paris on Aug. 27. (Photo/Xinhua)

In demonstrating its determination to crack down on tax evasion, China has partnered with the European Commission and OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) in signing the the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters this week, becoming its 56th signatory.

China's participation in the convention may have considerable influence on Taiwanese-invested companies in China, especially those who often conceal their profits offshore, a practice which will be liable to huge fines under the rules of the convention, said Tuan Shih-liang, a certified public accountant at PwC Taiwan.

Crackdowns on cross-border tax evasion have been a major global issue since the last financial crisis in 2008, with many multinationals such as Google, Amazon, Apple and Starbucks having been criticized for committing paying low amounts in taxes despite their huge profits. The signing of the convention is meant to underscore the Chinese government's determination in dealing with problems of tax-base erosion and profit transference.

Insiders noted that many Taiwanese businesses have invested in mainland China via tax havens such as the Cayman Islands. Tuan noted that the agreement allows taxation authorities of signatory nations to provide specific income information about taxpayers to other signatories, greatly boosting the risk of tax investigations about Taiwanese businesses.

China is the last G20 member nation to sign the convention, underscoring the consensus among developed and emerging nations on cracking down on cross-border tax evasion.

China started tightening its regulations in 2011. The effort generated 34.6 billion yuan (US$5.7 billion) of extra tax revenue in 2012, 27.9 times the amount in 2008, according to the State Administration of Taxation.

Offshore Secrets

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Zhou Yongkang linked to four oil execs under investigation

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-08-28

Zhou Yongkang in Beijing last July, when he was still a member
of the Politburo Standing Committee. (Photo/Xinhua)

Four senior executives from China's oil industry recently placed under investigation for corruption are all linked to retired political heavyweight Zhou Yongkang, reports Boxun, a citizen journalism website offering an alternative source of news on China but whose sources are not always verifiable.

On Monday, state media reported that Wang Yongchun, vice-president of state-owned oil giant China National Petroleum Corporation, has been put under a formal investigation for "severe breaches" of Communist Party discipline.

This announcement was followed by the resignation of three top managers, identified as Li Hualin, chairman of CNPC subsidiary Kunlun Energy, Ran Xinquan, CNPC subsidiary PetroChina's vice president and manager of its largest oilfield, and Wang Daofu, chief geologist for PetroChina. The three managers are said to be under investigation for "serious disciplinary violations," a code word for graft.

All four executives are said to be linked to Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's highest decision-making body, and the former chief of the Central Political and Legislative Committee, which oversaw China's security forces and law enforcement institutions. Zhou was also formerly the general manager of CNPC and the Minister of Land and Resources. A WikiLeaks cable from 2009 revealed that the US government believes he heads a group of individuals who control the interests of China's lucrative oil industry.

Rumors related to the downfall of the 70-year-old Zhou have been spiraling on the internet since his close political ally, disgraced former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai, was stood down last March. Bo's five-day corruption trial for taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power ended on Monday, with a likely guilty verdict expected in the coming weeks. Foreign media have recently ramped up speculation that Zhou could be the next big name to fall as part of president Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

According to a Boxun source, one of the first places Zhou visited after stepping down from the Politburo Standing Committee last November was the CNPC's Daqing oilfield. The source claims that the officials currently being investigated transferred as much as 100 billion yuan (US$16.3 billion) of assets to Zhou and his son Zhou Bin, who has allegedly fled to the United States to avoid disciplinary authorities. The source also claims that Bin's in-laws, who have been living in Los Angeles for the past 10 years, have made significant investments in oil fields in Russia and South America through US intermediaries.

Though it remains unclear whether Zhou has been placed under watch by China's disciplinary authorities, what is clear is that his wings are being clipped, the source said.


Zhou Yongkang  周永康
Wang Yongchun  王永春
Li Hualin  李華林
Ran Xinquan  冉新權
Wang Daofu  王道富
Bo Xilai  薄熙來
Xi Jinping  習近平

Britain says no Syria action before UN inspection results

Google – AFP, Katy Lee (AFP, 30 August 2013

David Cameron arrives at 10 Downing
 Street in central London on August 27,
 2013 (AFP/File, Carl Court)
LONDON — Britain will not take military action against the Syrian regime before UN inspectors report back on evidence of chemical weapons attacks, according to a motion published by the government Wednesday that is set to be put to a parliamentary vote.

Lawmakers are due to vote on Britain's response to the attacks on Thursday but any military action will require a further vote of parliament's lower House of Commons after the UN experts confirm their findings in the coming days.

"Before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place," the motion said.

The opposition Labour party had threatened to vote against Thursday's motion unless lawmakers were promised a second vote on the basis of the UN evidence -- which had left Prime Minister David Cameron facing possible defeat in his bid for targeted strikes against the Syrian regime.

Along with the United States and France, Britain claims Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government is responsible for horrific poison gas attacks believed to have left hundreds dead near Damascus a week ago.

The Syrian government strongly denies this and blames opposition fighters for the attacks.

Cameron will on Thursday try to convince lawmakers that targeted strikes would punish the Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons and deter any further attacks.

The parliamentary motion, released by Cameron's office, said "every effort" should be made to secure approval from the United Nations Security Council before any military action goes ahead.

Britain had already sought backing from the council on Wednesday, submitting a draft resolution to its five permanent members calling for action to protect Syrian civilians.

But British ministers concede that a UN resolution supporting military action is extremely unlikely as permanent members Russia and China fiercely oppose a strike against Assad.

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague
 leaves Downing Street in central London
 on August 28, 2013 (AFP, Carl Court)
Expectations of a Western military assault rose as the United States ruled out any chance of securing a UN resolution, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the international community had a responsibility to act even if the Security Council could not agree.

A UN spokesman suggested that the world body's team in Damascus will not report back until at least Friday.

British lawmakers will be asked on Thursday to back "a strong humanitarian response" that "may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on savings lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria's chemical weapons".

Cameron has recalled lawmakers from their summer break for the marathon debate, in which he is set to propose targeted military strikes to "degrade" the regime's chemical weapons capability.

He will also attempt to persuade lawmakers that any strikes would not drag Britain into the wider conflict.

Some MPs are reluctant to back British military involvement, haunted by their experience of the Iraq war.

In 2003, parliament gave then prime minister Tony Blair a mandate to join the US-led offensive in Iraq on the basis of allegations that dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The weapons never materialised and Britain became embroiled in the war for years.

"The PM is acutely aware of the deep concerns in the country caused by what happened over Iraq," a spokeswoman for Cameron said.

"That's why we are committed to taking action to deal with this war crime -- but taking action in the right way, proceeding on a consensual basis."

Women with Syrian flag colours 
painted on their faces take part in a 
demonstration in London on August 28,
 2013 (AFP, Carl Court)
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, whose Liberal Democrats are the junior coalition partners of Cameron's Conservatives, sent an email to his MPs late Wednesday headlined: "This is not Iraq."

"This is not about regime change," Clegg wrote, urging Lib Dems to back the motion.

"This is about upholding international and humanitarian law and deterring the use of chemical weapons to protect innocent people from being murdered in future by brutal dictators."

A YouGov poll for The Sun newspaper showed that Britons overwhelmingly oppose the use of British missiles against military sites in Syria.

Hundreds of anti-war protesters gathered outside Cameron's Downing Street residence on Wednesday, chanting slogans including "Hands off Syria".

"I'm here today because even though Syrian people are suffering massively at the hands of Assad and his brutal regime, I think a Western intervention would be essentially throwing petrol on the fire," protester Nathan Rodgers told AFP.

"We've seen over the last decade that Western intervention into countries in turmoil only leads to more killing."

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Archangel Michael and Sanat Kumara Comment on the Truth of the Syrian Gas Attacks - New

The Declaration of World Peace - Archangel Michael (Via Steve Beckow), Oct 8, 2012

 "Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version) 

“…  8 - The End of War

The last one is the best. For thousands of years on this planet, Human Beings have warred with each other. If you take a look at the reasons they warred with each other, you will quickly see there aren't any good ones - land, resources, greed. Those are not reasons. That is a description of old energy. Those are not reasons. Reasons would be perhaps defense against an aggressor. But what if there is no longer the consciousness of the aggressor?

When I appeared in my partner's life more than 20 years ago, I said to him privately that the first messages we're going to give will be unbelievable. There would be laughter. We told him that Human nature and consciousness itself would change, and that the seeds of peace would be planted and there would come a time where there is no more war. Indeed, the laughter was great because humans look at history and they see patterns based on an absolute energy called Human Nature. "Impossible! There always has to be war. There always has been. Therefore, there always will be." This is you, in a box, in a black and white potential, where you can only see the black and white of what is and the black and white of what has been. You have no idea the shades of color that are there in your consciousness and the beauty of the love of God.

North Korea is on the edge of change, as we told you it might be. What did this require? The death of the old energy, and I want you to watch this take place. The advisors of the young leader are going to do their best to pull him back into an old energy. This free choice of his will be far different than his father, for he sees some color. Watch for these things. They'll take longer than you want, but it is the beginning of the beginning.

You'll see a fresh unification of South America sooner than not, for what is going to take place potentially this year in Venezuela. You'll see Iran changing. We have no clock. These are the potentials. These can change with free choice. These are not prophecies. This is a reality shift, dear ones, so number eight becomes the propensity not to war again. This is what Humans are going to want. This is what governments are going to want. There is a wisdom factor that will begin to happen on the planet that is grander than what you think is possible. For when you look at government, what do you think about? You see dysfunction, and there is an axiom that says the more people that try to do something together, the worse it gets. It all settles to the lowest common denominator. I'm telling you even those things are going to become old energy concepts. Instead, you're going to watch wisdom become the top potential.

I have no clock. I cannot tell you when. I can just tell you it is in the works, and there will be the seeds of it for you to observe soon - right now, in every single of the eight categories I showed you.

There are those who will say, "Well, Kryon, you're doing a lot more predictions than you used to." I want to tell you what's going on, dear one. I am not predicting anything. I am just telling you what's already there in the potential soup of your reality. That's what Humans are doing on this planet, and for those who believe this communication, you should breathe a sigh of relief and say, "It's about time." ….”

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hebron style: Israeli soldiers' dance with Palestinians angers top brass

Gangnam Style remix causes moment of K-pop unity in West Bank as video shows patrol group joining dance hall party, Associated Press in Jerusalem, Thursday 29 August 2013

A group of Israeli soldiers has danced up a storm of criticism after they were filmed boogying alongside Palestinians while on patrol in the West Bank.

The soldiers were making their rounds in the city of Hebron when they entered a dance hall and joined dozens of Palestinian men dancing to South Korean rapper Psy's hit Gangnam Style.

The Israeli military said on Thursday that it considers the incident serious, adding "the soldiers exposed themselves to unnecessary danger and were disciplined accordingly," without elaborating.

Footage aired on Israeli Channel 2 TV shows the solders in uniform, flak jackets and carrying guns.

One was shown hoisted on the shoulders of Palestinian dancers. Other soldiers joined hands and grooved with the partygoers. The channel said the incident occurred on Monday.

Hebron has been a flashpoint of violence between Israelis and Palestinians for decades.

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AFP Photo/Menahem,Kahaha

Woman in $230 mn scandal surrenders to Philippine leader

Google – AFP, Jason Gutierrez, 29 August 2013

Janet Napoles (2nd L), in a handout from Malacanang Photo Bureau,
released August 29, 2013 (Rodolfo Manabat/MPB/AFP/Ho)

MANILA — A Philippine businesswoman who allegedly helped legislators embezzle 10 billion pesos ($230 million) in government funds has surrendered to President Benigno Aquino, officials said Thursday.

Clad in jeans, pink sneakers and a hoodie, Janet Napoles strode into Malacanang presidential palace late Wednesday, according to photographs released by Aquino's office.

The middle-aged woman had eluded a nationwide police manhunt as details of her family's lavish lifestyle fuelled popular outrage in social media.

"Now that we got her, we can bring her to court," Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino
 delivers a speech in Congress in Manila
on July 22, 2013 (AFP/File, Jay Directo)
"We are doing our best to further bring us closer to the truth."

Napoles faced arrest for allegedly detaining a former aide-turned-whistleblower to keep him from revealing details of the alleged embezzlement.

However justice officials are readying additional charges that she allegedly connived with legislators to syphon off money from a development fund.

Lacierda said he fetched Napoles from a Manila cemetery on Wednesday night and brought her directly to the palace after her lawyer alerted the government that she wanted to surrender.

Lacierda said no special treatment was afforded the fugitive, but acknowledged that Napoles was not hand-cuffed and had even been given a 10-minute audience with Aquino, who assured her of her safety amid alleged threats to her life.

Aquino went with the group that took Napoles to the national police headquarters, Lacierda said.

Napoles' surrender came three days after tens of thousands of Filipinos held a mass protest demanding her arrest and the abolition of legislators' controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The fund is supposed to finance lamakers' pet development schemes, but critics charge they are "pork barrel" projects which have traditionally been a source of corruption.

Napoles allegedly syphoned off money through fake non-governmental organisations.

"We're all after Ms. Napoles. Everybody was so outraged. She has become the symbol of what we were so angry about last Monday," Lacierda said.

File photo of the Philippine National
Police headquarters in Manila (AFP/
File, Jay Directo)
The protest germinated on Facebook as people vented their frustrations.

The online movement snowballed into a protest call, and on Monday up to 100,000 people joined the peaceful rally in Manila.

While Aquino had backed the protest, critics on Thursday said they were suspicious of the circumstances surrounding what they called a "VIP surrender".

"Our challenge is for her to bare all and for Malacanang to ensure that she is not coached or censored under custody," said the Labor Party group.

Aquino won the presidency in 2010 on a platform to end the pervasive corruption he blames for many of the country's woes.

Among his first acts was to work for the impeachment of a Supreme Court chief justice he accused of protecting his predecessor Gloria Arroyo from prosecution.

Arroyo is in detention and is now facing charges of massive corruption.

Thousands of protesters make a thumbs down sign during a rally against
corruption at a park in Manila on August 26, 2013 (AFP, Ted Aljibe)

Related Article:

Saudi Arabia cabinet approves domestic abuse ban

BBC News, Sebastian Usher, 28 August 2013

Related Stories

A Twitter campaign to criminalise
 domestic violence was launched in
Saudi Arabia earlier this year
Saudi Arabia's cabinet has approved a ban on domestic and other abuse for the first time.

The new law sets penalties for all forms of physical and sexual abuse, both at home and in the workplace.

These include penalties of up to a year in prison and fines of up to $13,000. The law will also provide shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

Rights activists have welcomed the move but also questioned the effectiveness of the implementation of the law.

In legal terms, violence against women and children in the home has been a private matter in Saudi Arabia until now.

'Positive step'

A women's rights activist told the BBC that the new law was a positive and long overdue step, but it needed to be fully implemented.

Suad Abu Dayyeh from the rights group Equality Now said the police and courts that would administer the law needed training programmes to adjust to it. She added that male guardianship - which still dominates relations between the sexes in Saudi Arabia - was likely to remain a major obstacle in enforcing the law.

Violence within the home against women and children used not to be discussed openly in Saudi society, but that has been changing recently.

A striking public information campaign against domestic abuse was launched earlier this year, featuring an image of a veiled woman with only her eyes visible - one clearly blackened. Underneath it said: "Some things can't be covered up."

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UN team takes samples from Syria 'chemical victims'

Google – AFP, 28 August 2013

UN chemical arms investigators wait to leave a hotel in Damascus
on August 28, 2013 (AFP)

DAMASCUS — UN experts visited the site Wednesday of a second alleged chemical attack near Syria's capital, and took blood, urine and hair samples from reported victims, an AFP photographer said.

Rebels who control the area said they had travelled in a six-vehicle convoy to the outlying Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, one of the areas hit in the suspected August 21 attacks.

They visited the site, northeast of the capital, under the protection of rebel fighters, said the Syrian Revolution General Commission activist group.

"We took blood, urine and hair samples" from people in a field hospital in Eastern Ghouta, one of the inspectors said.

Asked if they had done the same with those who died in the incident, the inspector said that was not necessary.

"The test (for the presence of chemical agents) can show positive even after weeks," he said.
The inspectors resumed their mission on Wednesday, a day after postponing it for security reasons.

On Monday, they had braved sniper fire when they initially tried to enter Eastern Ghouta, with bullets hitting the tyres and front window of the lead vehicle, the United Nations said.

Later that day, they managed to enter Moadamiyet al-Sham, southwest of Damascus, to collect evidence of the other main area allegedly hit by chemical weapons on August 21.

The 13 UN inspectors, seven interpreters and backup staff arrived in Syria on August 18 to start an investigation into whether chemical weapons have been used in the 29-month old conflict that has left more than 100,000 dead.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday they needed four days to conclude their probe.

The team's findings would then be analysed and the result sent to the UN Security Council for "any action they would deem to take."

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban was referring to a total of four working days, suggesting the inspectors needed at least until Friday to complete their mission.

Ban's comments came as the United States and its allies were building their case for military action against the Syrian regime over the alleged chemical weapons attacks.

Opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's regime say more than 1,300 people, including children, died when his forces unleashed toxic gases on Eastern Ghouta and Moadamiyet al-Sham.

The regime strongly denies the claim and has blamed rebels.

One senior official even said they were put up to it by Britain, France and the United States to justify Western military intervention in the 29-month civil war.

Complex interplay of religious movements within the context of
the crisis in Syria

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

N. Korea sees 'bright future' in tourism

Google – AFP, 28 August 2013

Chinese tourists pose for photos at the Mount Kumgang international
tourist zone in North Korea on September 1, 2011 (AFP/File, Goh Chai Hin)

SEOUL — North Korea said Wednesday it saw a "bright future" for tourism and would offer more international and domestic flights and open up the sector to foreign investors.

"Abundant in tourism resources, the (North) has a bright future to develop tourism," Jo Song Gyu, director of the International Travel Company, told the state news agency.

The country was making "big efforts" to develop tourism as one of its major industries, Jo said, promising new flights to the capital Pyongyang from China, Southeast Asia and Europe.

Hotels in the showpiece capital were being renovated "at the world's level" and new fitness centres and duty-free shops would be built, he said.

Foreigners would also be allowed to run independent business or joint ventures in projects such as resorts, hotels and shops, Jo said.

Overseas companies which invested in the early stages of development would get preferential treatment so that they could begin making profits as soon as possible.

Foreign experts would be invited to help build and manage resorts, hotels and restaurants, he said.

The impoverished nuclear-armed state has recently stepped up efforts to lure more foreign tourists, to try to prop up an economy damaged by mismanagement and international sanctions.

Direct air links with other countries are currently limited, with China the main conduit for most travellers heading to Pyongyang.

Foreign travellers are constantly accompanied by government minders and rarely allowed to speak to ordinary citizens on their own, or to mingle with them.

The North is also far from a cheap tourist destination. The nation, which is strapped for hard currency, charges high prices for everything from beer to accommodation.

Payments must be made in euros and foreigners are not allowed to use the local won currency.

Iran 'to name first female ambassador'

Google – AFP, 27 August 2013

A woman flashes a victory sign as she holds a portrait of Hassan Rowhani
after elections in Tehran on June 15, 2013 (AFP/File, Behrouz Mehri)

TEHRAN — Iran plans to appoint a woman ambassador and a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry for the first time in the Islamic republic's history, Iranian media reports said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif "wants to employ women for two post: as spokesperson and to lead an embassy," current ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said, quoted in the media.

A final decision is expected "within a week," Araqchi said.

President Hassan Rowhani, a moderate cleric whose all-male cabinet took power earlier this month, has reportedly asked the government to appoint women to high-level posts in the Islamic republic, which was founded in 1979.

Rowhani has already named two women: Elham Aminzadeh , who like himself holds a doctorate in law from the University of Glasgow, as vice president for parliamentary affairs, and Parvin Dadandish as his women's affairs advisor.

His predecessor as president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, secured approval from the conservative-dominated parliament to appoint Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi as the republic's first-ever female minister.

Dastjerdi was sacked as health minister in late 2012 over disagreements with Ahmadinejad over price hikes for imported drugs.

Reformist former president Mohammad Khatami, in office from 1997 to 2005, appointed Massoumeh Ebtekar as vice president in charge of environmental protection.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Three Chinese newspapers exposed for false reporting

Want China Times, Xinhua 2013-08-27

the website of the Sanxiang City Express. (Internet photo)

The All-China Journalists Association on Monday named and shamed three newspapers for publishing false reports.

In one case, a group sent by Beijing-based newspaper China Business Herald blackmailed multiple organizations while interviewing in west China's Qinghai province in June, and released false stories online after failing to receive hush money.

In another case, Sanxiang City Express, a major paper based in central China's Hunan province, published a story in May accusing officials in a local village of neglecting their duties and conspiring with mine owners whose operations destroyed local farmland.

Follow-up investigations revealed abundant paddy fields in the village, with no evidence of dereliction of duty among local officials.

The third case involved Shenzhen Economic Daily, which published a series of stories on illegal hospital registration fees that mixed up key definitions while failing to interview a pivotal party.

"These media groups and reporters' behavior seriously violate journalistic professional ethics...resulting in a negative impression on the public while damaging the reputation of journalists," the association said in a statement, without details on the punishments for violators.

The association urged media workers to draw lessons from the cases, and called on media groups to strengthen management and correctly balance social responsibilities and economic concerns. 


Sanxiang City Express  三湘都市報
China Business Herald  中國商報
Shenzhen Economic Daily  深圳商報

India's parliament approves landmark food security program

Deutsche Welle, 27 August 2013

India's parliament has approved an $18 billion (13.5 billion euro) plan to provide cheap grain to the poor. The bill, meant to "wipe out" hunger and malnutrition, is a key part of the ruling Congress' re-election plan.

The Food Security Bill was approved by India's lower house of parliament on Monday after nine hours of debate. Under the program, the government will subsidize grain for around two-thirds of its 1.2 billion people.

India is one of the world's biggest food producers and has experienced years of economic growth. However, a quarter of the world's hungry poor live in the country, according to the UN, and more than 40 percent of Indian children are malnourished.

The bill would allow each person in eligible households to receive 5 kilograms of food each month, costing just 3 rupees (0.05 dollars, 0.03 euros), 2 rupees and 1 rupee per kilogram for rice, wheat and coarse grains respectively. Up to 75 percent of the rural population and half the urban population would be eligible for the program.

The measure was initially implemented through an executive decree in July, but now must be passed in the upper house and signed into law by the president - moves that are expected to happen.

'National shame'

The food security program was one of the electoral promises made by the ruling United Progressive Alliance government in 2009. The current bill is seen as a populist, albeit expensive, program. With general elections scheduled for next year, the measure received widespread support.

In a speech to parliament, Congress party chief Sonia Ghandi said that India was ready to eliminate malnutrition, which she described as a "national shame."

"The big message which will go out to the country and rest of the world is clear and concrete: that India is taking the responsibility of providing food and security of all its citizens," she said. "Our goal for the foreseeable future must be to wipe out hunger and malnutrition from our country."

India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) had initially opposed the measure, saying it did not go far enough. But on Monday the BJP voted for the bill.

"We will support it today, but we wait for the day when we can enforce a better bill," said the BJP's lower house leader, Sushma Swaraj.

In a moment of drama during the debates, Ghandi had to be admitted to the hospital several hours after her speech, apparently suffering from a fever. Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury told Zee News TV that the 66-year-old had been working "under tremendous stress."