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, March 30, 2014

World Cup 2022 Host Qatar Holds Tournament for Foreign Workers

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Mar 30, 2014

Migrant laborers walk past a board on a construction site in Doha in
Qatar on October 3, 2013 (AFP Photo/Karim Jaafar)

Doha, Qatar. FIFA 2022 football World Cup host Qatar, criticized for the dire conditions of foreign laborers building facilities for the tournament, is holding a competition just for them, organizers said on Saturday.

And the manager of a public relations firm in Qatar said the tournament is aimed at deflating accusations that Doha is mistreating the migrants building the venues for the World Cup.

“We care about the workers because they are the ones building the stadiums and facilities,” said Nasser Kuwari.

Labor unions and rights campaigners say the migrant workers building the multi-million-dollar infrastructure for the World Cup facing difficult living and working conditions in energy-rich Qatar.

Amnesty International has they were being treated like “animals,” and urged FIFA to press Qatar to improve the conditions of the laborers, most of them from South Asia.

And a report by the International Trade Union Confederation said as many as 4,000 workers might die on building sites before the tournament kicks off.

Qatar has dismissed that report as full of “factual errors” and published a list of guidelines aimed at protecting the rights of the expatriate workers.

It is against this background that competition in the “Workers Cup” began this month for the second year running, as 24 teams started squaring off until two of them reach the April 25 finals seeking a grand prize of 18,000 riyals ($5,000).

The players, Asians and Africans mostly, are all migrant workers employed by construction companies, said Adil Ahmed, managing director of organizers QSports.

“We wanted to bring a program that the workers can actually call their own,” Ahmed told AFP.

On Friday FIFA accepted “some responsibility” over the welfare of migrant workers but its president Sepp Blatter told a Zurich news conference the football federation was powerless to intervene.

SBY Meets With Families of Migrant Workers Facing Death Sentences Overseas

Jakarta Globe, Mar 30, 2014

President Yudhoyono meets with the families of migrant workers on death
row in Central Java on March 30, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Twitter/@sbyudhoyono)

Jakarta. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Sunday met with families of Indonesian migrant workers facing the death penalty abroad, in the wake of recently announced negotiations to save the life of a worker who admitted to killing her Saudi employer — the latest in a string of high-profile cases involving Indonesian migrants.

“As you know, the government is making serious efforts to seek forgiveness from Saudi Arabia and the victim’s family,” Yudhoyono said at the meeting in Hotel Gumaya, in Semarang, Central Java, as quoted by news portal

Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad, 41, of Ungaran, Central Java, was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia after admitting to slaying former employer Nura in 2007 and fleeing with 37,970 riyal ($10,125). She is scheduled for execution on April 4 if the Indonesian government cannot collect the proper sum of diyat, or blood money, by that date.

The al-Garib family initially requested 10 million riyal in 2011, but the Indonesian government managed to negotiate the amount to 7 million — with 5 million to be paid now and another two due in the next to years.

The families of Siti Zaenab, Tuti Tursilawati and Karni, all awaiting execution in Saudi prison, were also in attendance at the meeting, as were Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi, Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha and foreign affairs advisor Daniel Sparingga.

On Friday, Yudhoyono sent an envoy to Saudi Arabia to meet with the al-Garib family before the execution deadline: Head of the task force on migrant worker protection (Satgas TKI) Maftuh Basyuni, accompanied by a team of Foreign Ministry and Manpower Ministry staffers. They delivered the 5 million riyal, according to a report published on the Cabinet Secretary’s official website,

Yudhoyono said that 246 Indonesian migrant workers were facing the death penalty abroad, but that 176 had been freed during his time in office.

“We have freed 176 people from death sentences,” he said, according to news portal “That is not a small number considering how hard it is to ask forgiveness for even one person.”

He said that the central government sought clemency for Indonesians facing foreign death sentences as a matter of principle rather than as the result of political pressure.

Satinah’s brother, Paeri Al Fery, expressed gratitude for Yudhoyono’s actions.

“Thank you for your help, mister President,” Paeri said. “Thank you for coming to Semarang. Please pray for us.”

Indonesian migrant workers wait to exit a boat at North Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok
 port in this file photo. The workers were sent home from Saudi Arabia. (JG Photo/
Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

Exclusive: 'locked-up' Saudi princesses' message for Obama

Channel 4, Fatima Manji, 28 March 2014

"He should be ashamed to meet a leader that has four grown women locked up" - the message from two Saudi princesses to President Obama as he meets with their father, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

In an exclusive on-camera interview with Channel 4 News, we talk to Princesses Sahar and Jawaher, who say they have been held under effective house arrest, by their father, the king, for more than a decade.

Princesses Sahar and Jawaher are the daughters of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. They say they have been held in the royal compound in Jeddah for the last 13 years, and their sisters Maha and Hala are also being held in separate villas. They claim they are not allowed to travel or leave their home.
If he does that to his own children, how do you think the rest of the country is? - Princess Jawaher
Princesses Sahar and Jawaher claim they have little communication outside of their gates - "no-one is allowed in or out." They say the internet is their only window onto the world. Via Skype, they tell Channel 4 News they are "cut off, isolated... and alone" and that "our father, the king, is responsible."

Their mother Alanoud Al Fayez, who is divorced from the king, first went public with their story two weeks ago, giving her first broadcast interview to Channel 4 News. Since that interview was broadcast, the princesses say restrictions on them have been tightened and they are no longer even allowed to make trips with armed guards for food, as they were previously.

They say food is now becoming scarce in their home, that they are desperate for the world to listen to their story and for someone to help.

Their only hope is that our report will make a difference, and that is why they wanted to broadcast this interview. Princess Sahar says: "This is a risk we're taking, we're happy to do it, we understand full well the repercussions, but we don't know what's going to happen."

Princess Sahar said to reporter Fatima Manji "why are we, grown women, held against our will? I believe we are now hostages."

Her sister, Princess Jawaher, said: "If he does that to his own children, how do you think the rest of the country is?"

The Saudi embassy in London has so far only responded to these claims by saying "this is a private matter".

Related Articles:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Glimmer of Hope for Indonesian Migrant Worker Facing Execution

Jakarta Globe, Mar 29, 2014

Jakarta. An Indonesian domestic worker on death row for murder in Saudi Arabia is 1 million riyal (Rp 3 billion, $266,645) short of delaying her execution, as the victim’s family has agreed to shave off 2 million riyal from their initial “blood money” demand and accept a smaller payment for the time being.

“The family of Nura al-Garib has announced that they will accept the diyat if an additional 1 million riyal is [added] — making the total 5 million riyal,” head of the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) Gatot Abdullah Mansyur said on Friday, as quoted by the official website of the Cabinet Secretary

Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad, 41, of Ungaran, Central Java, was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia after admitting that she killed her former employer Nura in 2007 and fled with 37,970 riyal. She is scheduled to be executed on April 4 if the Indonesian government fails to collect the proper amount of diyat, or blood money, by that date.

The al-Garib family initially requested 10 million riyal in 2011, but negotiations between the family and the Indonesian government lessened the amount to 7 million riyal.

Gathering the funds has been a struggle thus far, but Indonesian celebrities, public officials and labor activists have campaigned on Satinah’s behalf to chip in for her cause.

According to BNP2TKI data, 4 million riyal (the equivalent of Rp 12 billion, or $1 million) has been collected — 3 million riyal from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, 500,000 riyal from Indonesian Association of Migrant Workers Service Companies (Apjati) and another 500,000 riyal from various donors.

Gatot added that if the victim’s family stuck to their agreement, Satinah would not be beheaded on April 4. The execution could be postponed for as long as two years while the remaining 2 million riyal in diyat is paid off.

“Inshallah [God willing], the execution will be postponed for two years,” Gatot said as quoted by news portal

He also aired hope that the victim’s family would forgive Satinah after receiving the 5 million riyal and not seek the remaining money.

A photo of Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad is seen on her sister’s phone
in Ungaran, East Java. (JG Photo/Dhana Kencana)

Capital punishment 2013

Malaysia Airlines' ticket sales suspended by 2 websites in China

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-03-29

A screenshot of the notice on the Elong site announcing the suspension
of Malaysia Airlines ticket sales. (Internet photo)

Two Chinese ticketing websites announced that they have suspended sales of Malaysia Airlines' flight tickets until the company reaches an agreement with the families of the 153 Chinese passengers on the missing plane MH370, reports the Chinese-language Beijing Times newspaper.

One of the two websites Elong said it made the decision because two of the passengers on the plane that disappeared March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur bought their tickets through their site. The firm said that they have also been dissatisfied with the airline's response to and handling of the incident. It began the suspension Thursday and will not lift it until the families reach an agreement with the airline. People who have already bought the airline's tickets through the site can still use them or get a full refund from Elong. The Chinese firm will also provide compensation of 100,000 yuan (US$16,100) to each of the families of the two passengers who were booked on the flight through the website.

Another website also announced a suspension for an indefinite period of time and offered full refunds for customers who wanted to cancel flight tickets and tours they had bought through the ticketing website. The refunds are available to all customers no matter whether or not Malaysia Airlines have agreed to refund tickets.

The Malaysian civil aviation authority pledged to continue the search for the plane for as long as it takes, citing the example of an Air France plane, for which search teams spent two years looking before recovering the black box of the crashed flight in 2009. Several countries have been taking part in the search effort for the missing plane, and there has been no talk of putting an end to the search as yet.

The black box of the missing flight is set to run out of battery in ten days. The air operations commander of the Royal Malaysian Air Force Lieutenant General Datuk Seri Ackbal Abdul Samad said the search area for the missing plane has been narrowed. A ship specializing in probing has also joint the search effort.

Related Articles:

INTERPOL rejects claim attributed to Malaysia that checking INTERPOL's databases may have slowed immigration checks

Interpol, 28 March 2014

LYON, France – Malaysia’s decision not to consult INTERPOL's Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database before allowing travellers to enter the country or board planes cannot be defended by falsely blaming technology or INTERPOL. If there is any responsibility or blame for this failure, it rests solely with Malaysia's Immigration Department.

INTERPOL’s SLTD database takes just seconds to reveal whether a passport is listed, with recent tests providing results in 0.2 seconds.

The fact is that the US consults this database more than 230 million times per year; the UK more than 140 million times; the UAE more than 100 million times and Singapore more than 29 million times. Not one of these countries, or indeed any INTERPOL member country, has ever stated that the response time is too slow.

The truth is that in 2014 prior to the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, Malaysia’s Immigration Department did not conduct a single check of passengers’ passports against INTERPOL’s databases.

Consequently, two individuals possessing stolen Austrian and Italian passports were able to board MH 370. Had Malaysia consulted INTERPOL's SLTD database, the fact that both passengers were using stolen passports would have been discovered almost instantaneously.

Malaysia’s Immigration Department owes it to all passengers boarding flights originating in, or passing through, Malaysia to make sure that passports registered as stolen or lost in INTERPOL’s databases cannot be used to board any flight.

In this regard, despite this unjustified attack on INTERPOL, we remain ready, willing and able to help Malaysia better safeguard its citizens and visitors from those seeking to use stolen or fraudulently altered passports to board planes.

INTERPOL has no idea why Malaysia’s Home Minister chooses to attack INTERPOL instead of learning from this tragedy.

After years of witnessing countries fail to consult INTERPOL’s SLTD database prior to allowing travellers to cross borders and board planes, INTERPOL created I-Checkit which will allow airlines and cruise lines to ensure that no passenger can use a stolen or lost passport registered in INTERPOL’s database to board one of their planes or ships.

Related Articles:

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

....SB: That’s very good, Lord. Thank you. I’m going to move quickly to Flight 370, and then hopefully a short talk on global citizenry.

Ashira said that Flight 370 had exploded, but he didn’t say what the cause of the explosion was. Others have said that a secret naval weapon was used to cause it to disintegrate. And recently a prominent channel said the plane was suffering from hydraulic failure, was in an uncontrolled state, at risk of imminent destruction; whisked out of the air in mid-flight, was taken aboard an enormous spaceship from Sirius claimed to be part of the Federation fleet under the Ashtar Command whose full report is available from a certain website.

Now, Ashira said they took a few people up who still wanted to remain in form, but the rest — they passed on. What is the truth, Lord?

AAM: This is not an action — let us put it this way — this is not an action that your star brothers and sisters have been deeply involved in. This is an action of what we would refer to, or Gabrielle would refer to, as of violence, of sabotage, of subterfuge. And it has continued.

So there are lies upon lies upon lies. And what is occurring … this is a terrible situation. And it is painful to so many. But what it is also doing for humanity, it is bringing up what we would call shared compassion and grief. Because if you were to look at the grief and the confusion and the compassion component of what is being felt and emanating from the hearts of the collective, individuals all over the planet, it is out of alignment with the situation even including those who have been on the plane and who have suffered and the families that are left suffering the loss of their loved ones.

So it has amplified and shown the global community, in a time when there has been much strife and conflict on the ground, the other side of the scale, where you are seeing the global community coming together in compassion and sending healing for many. It is also bringing together the global community in saying, “We require, we demand truth.” Because there have been such significant untruths, every step of the way. And now what is occurring, among what you think are responsible agencies of many countries, is that they are looking for scapegoats. They are looking for situations to hang this on.

The truth will come out, but the function of this act of violence has been hijacked in many ways not by your star brothers and sisters but by the Company of Heaven to teach several very important, critical, timely lessons. The ship has not been taken on board a mothership elsewhere. That is false hope.

SB: Where is the ship, Lord? Is it blown to smithereens, or is it at the bottom of the ocean?

AAM: For all intents and purposes, it is not intact. We cannot give you the totality because that would be breaking our agreement.

SB: And then of course you couldn’t tell us what nation did it, either?

AAM: It is not so much a nation as individuals acting independently.

SB: All right. I’m not sure whether I should go further in trying to get more details, or…. whether….

AAM: Please do not.....

Friday, March 28, 2014

India could declare Switzerland “non-cooperative jurisdiction”

The Brics Post, March 27, 2014

Citing tight bank secrecy laws, Switzerland
 has amassed assets worth trillions of dollars
from foreigners over the past decades [AP]
India has lashed out at Swiss officials for a lack of zeal in going after Swiss banks that helped Indians dodge taxes, threatening to declare Switzerland as a “non-cooperative jurisdiction”.

Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram has threatened to drag the European nation to multilateral foras like G20 for continuing to block its requests of sharing information on Indians stashing money in its banks.

In a letter to Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer Schlumpf, Chidambaram reminded her of the April 2009 declaration adopted by G20 leaders stating the “era of bank secrecy is over.”

In a strongly worded letter, he said India might examine further steps like declaring Switzerland a non-cooperative jurisdiction if non-cooperation continues.

Citing tight bank secrecy laws, Switzerland has amassed assets worth trillions of dollars from foreigners over the past decades. The US Justice Department is probing 14 Swiss banks over taxes.

Chidambaram said Switzerland has not honoured the terms of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two nations, under which information about Indians with accounts in Swiss banks has been sought by the tax authorities.

“Switzerland’s refusal to provide information to India and other countries on the grounds that the source of the information requested is based on ‘stolen data’ means that, in practice, Switzerland still believes in bank secrecy and is therefore not in tune with the modern era,” he said in the letter dated March 13.

Recalling the G20 stand that sanctions may be deployed to protect their public finances and financial systems, he said:

“If information continues to be denied to India under DTAC (Double Taxation Avoidance Convention), the Government of India will be constrained to take a position in the global forum.”

He said India would not hesitate to tell global forums that Switzerland still does not comply with the standards of transparency and that the required legal and regulatory framework is still not in place in Switzerland.

“Further, the Government of India may also have to raise this issue in other multilateral fora such as the G20,” he added.

Switzerland is a hub for private banking and a popular destination for the global wealthy elite.

Source: Agencies
Offshore Secrets

EU Offshore Secrets

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lawmakers urge Obama to press Saudis on human rights

Google – AFP, 27 March 2014

Saudi women browse the annual International Book Exhibition in
the capital Riyadh on March 4, 2014 (AFP/File, Fayez Nureldine)

Washington — Dozens of US lawmakers have urged President Barack Obama to publicly address Saudi Arabia's "systematic human rights violations" when he visits the kingdom Friday.

With their decades-old alliance fraying amid tensions over Washington's efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran and its reluctance to engage more forcefully in Syria, regional issues are expected to take precedence when Obama meets with King Abdullah on the US leader's second visit to Riyadh since taking office in 2009.

Sixty-five members of Congress urged him to nevertheless bring up the prickly subject of human rights in Saudi Arabia, including efforts by women activists to challenge the country's ban on female drivers.

"We urge you to combine symbolic actions with direct advocacy for human rights reforms," the lawmakers, led by conservative Trent Franks and rights champion Frank Wolf, wrote to the president late Wednesday.

"Your meetings with King Abdullah and other officials will be an opportunity to publicly integrate human rights concerns... into the US-Saudi relationship," the bipartisan group wrote.

Highlighting what they called Riyadh's systematic discrimination of minorities, its ban on public gatherings, its imprisonment of leading human rights activists and its suppression of free speech, the lawmakers said the Saudi government must "stop the use of torture and reform the new so-called 'anti-terror' laws that practically criminalize all forms of peaceful dissent."

They also urged Obama to address the issue of religious freedom and the "oppressive treatment of women and religious minorities."

Earlier this month a Saudi court jailed a Twitter user for 10 years for insulting the kingdom's political and religious leaders, while the interior ministry published a list of "terror" groups which analysts have warned could further affect civil liberties in the absolute monarchy.

Australian cardinal apologises to child sex abuse victim

The West Australian – AFP, March 27, 2014

Australian cardinal apologises to child sex abuse victim

Sydney (AFP) - Australia's top Catholic cleric George Pell apologised to a child sexual abuse victim Thursday, saying the church's defence of a case he brought could be seen as morally wrong, even if it was legally correct.

Cardinal Pell, recently appointed by Pope Francis to head a new Vatican finance ministry, was giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia.

Wrapping up his testimony, he apologised to former altar boy John Ellis, who was abused by a priest from the age of 13.

Ellis sued the church seeking compensation from the Archdiocese of Sydney, at the time headed by Pell, but lost his case.

Pell said it was legally proper to defend the case, even though he did not deny that Ellis, now an adult, suffered at the hands of paedophile priest Aidan Duggan, who is now deceased.

"I never at any stage contemplated doing anything improper and I don't believe that our lawyers ever suggested anything that was legally improper," Pell said.

He conceded, however, that taking such a hard-line stance against an abuse victim could be seen as a moral failure and apologised to Ellis.

"As former archbishop and speaking personally, I would want to say to Mr Ellis that we failed in many ways, some inadvertently, in our moral and pastoral responsibilities to him," Pell said in the apology.

"I want to acknowledge his suffering and the impact of this terrible affair on his life. As the then Archbishop, I have to take ultimate responsibility, and this I do."

The national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is under way after a decade of growing pressure to investigate widespread allegations of paedophilia.

Its hearings are covering harrowing allegations of child abuse involving places of worship, orphanages, community groups and schools.

Pell, who is not accused of any sexual abuse, said earlier this week that mistakes were "made by me and others in the Church that resulted in driving Mr Ellis and the Archdiocese apart rather than bringing healing".

The royal commission follows an Australian state inquiry into the handling of child sex cases by the Catholic Church last year which found that religious leaders trivialised the problem of child sex abuse.

Last month Pope Francis handed Pell, formerly Archbishop of Sydney, a posting which makes him one of the most important men in the Catholic Church.

As such Pell is charged with helping overhaul the much-criticised central administration following a wave of scandals, including allegations of waste, corruption and even money-laundering.

Philippines, Muslim rebels seal historic peace deal

Google – AFP, Karl Malakunas (AFP), 27 March 2014

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels celebrate the signing of the peace
 agreement during a rally at Camp Darapanan, in the southern island of Mindanao, 
on March 27, 2014 (AFP, Ted Aljibe)

Manila — The biggest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines signed an historic pact Thursday to end one of Asia's longest and deadliest conflicts, promising to give up their arms for an autonomous homeland.

Following four decades of fighting that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the peace deal with President Benigno Aquino's government at a high-profile ceremony in Manila.

"The comprehensive agreement on Bangsamoro is the crowning glory of our struggle," MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim said at the signing ceremony, using a local term that refers to a Muslim homeland.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino
 (right) shares sweets with Moro Islamic
 Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad
Ebrahim during a visit to the rebels
stronghold in Sultan Kudarat, on
February 11, 2012 (AFP/File, Karlos
"With this agreement the legitimate aspirations of the Bangsamoro and the commitment of the government of the Philippines to recognise those aspirations are now sealed."

The pact makes the MILF and the government partners in a plan to create a southern autonomous region for the Philippines' Muslim minority with locally elected leaders by mid-2016.

"What is being presented before us now is a path that can lead to a permanent change in Muslim Mindanao," Aquino said at the ceremony, attended by more than 1,000 people.

The Bangsamoro region would cover about 10 percent of territory in the mainly Catholic Philippines. The planned region has a majority of Muslims, but there are clusters of Catholic-dominated communities.

Muslim rebels have been battling since the 1970s for independence or autonomy in the southern islands of the Philippines, which they regard as their ancestral homeland dating back to when Arabic traders arrived there in the 13th Century.

The conflict has condemned millions of people across large parts of the resource-rich Mindanao region to brutal poverty, plagued by Muslim and Christian warlords as well as outbreaks of fighting that has led to mass displacements.

The conflict and poverty have also been fertile conditions for Islamic extremism, with the Al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf group and other hardline militants making remote regions of Mindanao their strongholds.

The MILF, which the military estimates has 10,000 fighters, is easily the biggest Muslim rebel group in Mindanao, and the political settlement was greeted with relief and optimism in the south.

Graphic fact file on the Moro Islamic LIberation Front (MILF), in a new peace
 deal the Philippines government after decades of conflict that has claimed about
150,000 lives (Graphic/AFP)

"I am really happy. In the face of all the hardship of our parents, we the next generation hope and pray that Christians and Muslims will have peace," Mona Rakman, 42, a mother of four who lives close to the MILF headquarters, told AFP.

The autonomous region would have its own police force, a regional parliament and power to levy taxes, while revenues from the region's vast deposits of natural resources would be split with the national government.

It would have a secular government, rather than being an Islamic state. The national government would retain control over defence, foreign policy, currency and citizenship.

There are about 10 million Muslims in the Philippines, roughly 10 percent of the population, according to government statistics. Most live in the south of the country.

Fragile peace

However there are no guarantees the peace deal will be implemented by the middle of 2016, a crucial deadline as that is when Aquino is required by the constitution to end his six-year term.

Aquino needs to convince Congress to pass a "basic law" to create the Bangsamoro autonomous region, ideally by the end of this year to allow time for other steps such as a local plebiscite.

But even though Aquino's ruling coalition has a loose majority and he enjoys record-high popularity ratings, there are concerns politicians could reject or water down the proposed law.

Young Muslims hold a Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) miniature flag as
they gather for a rally in support of the
peace agreement with the government in
 Cotabato City, on the southern island of
Mindanao, on March 27, 2014 (AFP,
Ted Aljibe)
Powerful Christian politicians in Mindanao are regarded as potential deal breakers, while others elsewhere may see political advantage in opposing the deal to appeal to some Catholics ahead of the 2016 national elections.

The deal is also likely to be challenged in the Supreme Court, which in 2008 struck down a planned peace deal the MILF had negotiated with Aquino's predecessor, Gloria Arroyo.

Islamic militants opposed to the peace deal are another threat, and could continue to create enduring violence in Mindanao.

Among the potential spoilers is the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, an MILF splinter group of a few hundred militants that has carried out deadly attacks in the south in recent years.

"We will continue to fight against the government of the Republic of the Philippines because we are for independence and nothing else," BIFF spokesman Abu Missry Mama told AFP by phone from his southern hideout.

The MILF leadership has committed to working with the government to neutralise the threat of the BIFF.

However the MILF will not give up its arms or the identities of its fighters until the basic law has been passed, highlighting the fragility of Thursday's peace deal.

Merkel pledges German support for Korean reunification

Deutsche Welle, 27 March 2014

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Germany would be happy to play a role in the reunification of the Korean peninsula. Meanwhile the UN Security Council is preparing to discuss missile tests by the North.

Merkel on Wednesday said that Germany’s own past experience of reunification meant that it had a duty to help in Korea.

"We would very much like to support Korea in this important issue," said Merkel, after meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Berlin. "Germany was divided for 40 years. Korea, meanwhile, has been in such a situation for 70 years."

"It’s our goal and, to a certain extent, our duty to help other countries to re-establish their national unity," said Merkel. The Chancellor, a pastor’s daughter raised in East Germany before going on to lead her country years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, described herself as a product of reunification.

Park said that her country and Germany had a "bond" as they shared the "painful experience" of division, which ended in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

"German unity is for us an example and model for a peaceful reunification," the South Korean president told reporters though an interpreter.

The disparity of wealth between North and South Korea dwarfs that between East and West Germany immediately before reunification, with the prospect of reunification worrying many in the South. Nevertheless, Park herself has said the country could enjoy a "bonanza," bringing together the South’s thriving technology base and the North’s extensive natural resources.

Behind closed doors

The North and South - divided along the 38th parallel of latitude north of the equator - technically remain in a state of war, the 1950-53 Korean War ending with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

On Thursday, the United Nations Council was due to hold closed-door consultations, where condemnation of recent ballistic missile tests was to be discussed. Early on Wednesday, North Korea launched what appeared to be two mid-range Rodong ballistic missiles - capable of hitting Japan - in an apparent test.

The United Nations Security Council has agreed to meet for a special session after a request from the US, which claims the test violate Security Council resolutions. It is uncertain in China would veto such a condemnation. Although a traditional ally of Pyongyang, Beijing has become increasingly willing to take the side of the international community in rebuking North Korea in recent years.

rc/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)