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, May 31, 2014

Bigger graft crackdown for China's energy sector still to come

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-05-30

The National Energy Administration's offices.
(File photo/CNS)

The Chinese government has extended the reach of its anti-corruption campaign to the energy sector by ousting a number of major figures in the field, which, said insiders, may be just the start of an even bigger crackdown.

There have been 21 energy-related ranking officials on the blacklist including three from the National Energy Administration, former chief Liu Tienan, former deputy chief Xu Yongsheng, and the former director of the administration's new energy and renewable energy department Wang Jun.

The authorities have taken extensive action against energy officials following over half-a-year investigation starting last year, in the wake of the ousting of Liu Tienan. "The government crackdown on energy officials will step up further," said an insider with close links to the National Energy Administration, according to Guangzhou's Time Weekly.

Many of the ousted officials are veterans in the energy field, which has had a profound influence on the nation's energy policy. Wang Jun, for instance, was one of the masterminds of the reform of the nation's power system and oversaw the promotion of new energies during his six-year tenure heading the new energy department.

Insiders said that those ranking energy officials might have taken bribes, taking advantage of their power to approve investments projects in the fields of power, coal, and new energies. Ren Haoning, senior researcher at CI Consulting, remarked that monopoly of energy markets previously gave ample leeway for profiteering to officials in charge, especially in the fields of power, petroleum, and coal.

The administration's department of coal for instance, has absolute say over the fate of enterprises and businesspeople intending to foray into the coal-mining business.

Insiders also said that the current crackdown on energy officials is in large part a ripple effect of the corruption scandal at China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

Related Article:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Post-mortem confirms girls found hanged from a tree in India were raped

Two girls found hanging from a tree in northern India had been gang-raped by their attackers. Police have arrested one of five suspects in the case.

Deutsche Welle, 29 May 2014

Police said on Thursday that a post-mortem investigation had found that the two girls, aged 14 and 15, had been raped and that the cause of death was hanging.

"We have registered a case under various sections, including that of rape, and one of the accused has been taken into custody. There were five people involved, one has been arrested and we are looking for the others," Singh Chouhan, the superintendent of police in the Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh state said.

The two girls, who were cousins, had first gone missing from their home in Katra village on Tuesday evening, when they had gone out into nearby fields as their home has no toilet. They were found hanging in a mango tree by local villagers the next morning.

The girls belonged to the Dalit community, considered the lowest in India's caste system.

The victims' family has accused five men from the village of being behind the killings and police of shielding them from prosecution. The Associated Press reported that the police chief in the village had been suspended.

Widespread problem

This is just the latest case to highlight the ongoing problem of sex crimes and against girls and young women in India. According to a report by the Asia Centre for Human Rights released in April of last year, 48,338 cases of child rape were reported in India between 2001 and 2011. Activists say such figures however, are low, due to a culture of tolerance for sexual violence in India, which discourages women from reporting assaults or rape.

A high-profile case in December 2012, in which a 23-year-old woman was fatally gang raped on a New Delhi bus, led to nationwide protests, resulting in the government tightening the country's laws on sexual violence.

Peres, Abbas to pray for peace at Vatican on June 8

Yahoo – AFP, 29 May 2014

Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) greets Pope Francis during a welcome
ceremony at Ben Gurion airport on May 25, 2014 (AFP Photo/David Buimovitch)

Vatican City (AFP) - Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas will pray for peace at the Vatican on June 8, the Holy See said Thursday.

Pope Francis had invited the pair to his home for a "heartfelt prayer" for peace during his three-day trip to the region, and the meeting "will take place on June 8, during the afternoon," a date "accepted by both parties," the Vatican said in a note.

Despite expectations Francis would steer clear of the thorny politics of the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict during his trip, the Argentine pontiff extended a personal invitation to the two men at the end of a mass in Bethlehem on Sunday.

"I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer... to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace," he said.

"Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment," he added.

Last month, US-led peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators collapsed in bitter recriminations. That ended a nine-month bid to reach a solution and left no political initiative on the horizon.

Pope Francis (R) and Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas attend a
 welcome ceremony on May 25, 2014 in the West Bank Biblical town of Bethlehem
(AFP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The meeting had to be scheduled to take place before the 90-year-old Israeli president retires at the end of July.

"The meeting in the Vatican is to pray together, it's not a mediation," the pope said during the return flight to Rome.

"It is a prayer without discussions," said the pontiff, who has made interfaith dialogue a cornerstone of his 14-month-old papacy.

Peres is known for his close relationship with Abbas and has frequently pushed for a peaceful resolution of the decades-long conflict.

Earlier this month, he told an Israeli television channel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had blocked a peace agreement he had secretly negotiated in Jordan with Abbas in 2011.

Rami Hamdallah, the new Palestinian prime minister, left, with
 Mahmoud Abbas. (Photograph: Thaer Ghanaim/AFP/Getty Images)

Related Articles:

Pakistani man protesting 'honour killing' admits strangling first wife

Muhummad Iqbal, who is demanding justice after his pregnant second wife was killed by her family, admits his own crime, Jon Boone in Islamabad, Thursday 29 May 2014

Mohammad Iqbal said he had killed his first wife in order to be able to
marry his second, Farzana Parveen. Photograph: Rahat Dar/EPA

A Pakistani man demanding justice after his pregnant wife was murdered outside Lahore's high court this week admitted on Thursday to strangling his first wife, in an admission that is likely to focus even more attention on the prevalence of so-called "honour" killings in the country.

Muhummad Iqbal, the 45-year-old husband of Farzana Parveen, who was beaten to death by 20 male relatives on Tuesday, said he strangled his first wife in order to marry Parveen.

He avoided a prison sentence after his family used Islamic provisions of Pakistan's legal system to forgive him, precisely those he has insisted should not be available to his wife's killers.

"I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love," he told Agence France-Presse.

Police confirmed that the killing had happened six years ago and that he was released after a "compromise" with his family.

Iqbal has also claimed that Parveen's family killed another one of their daughters some years ago. Speaking to a researcher from the Aurat Foundation, a women's rights organisation, he claimed that Parveen's father, Muhammad Azeem, had poisoned the other woman after falling out with her husband-in-law.

The foundation has been unable to confirm Iqbal's claim about a second killing.

The extraordinary twists to the affair came after Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, ordered an urgent investigation into the killing of Parveen, a woman who had enraged her family after marrying without their consent.

In a statement he said the crime was "totally unacceptable and must be dealt with in accordance with the law promptly".

He also ordered the chief minister of Punjab province, his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, to take immediate action and launch an urgent investigation.

The deadly attack on Parveen, which reportedly lasted for around 15 minutes, began soon after she and Iqbal arrived at the court where she was due to testify against her father's claim that she had been kidnapped and coerced into marriage.

Her father, who is the only one of the group to be have been arrested so far, told police that his daughter had been killed because he had dishonoured her family.

Iqbal has claimed that Parveen's father only withdrew his support for their marriage after demanding more money than had initially been agreed at the start of a long engagement. Sharif's intervention followed international uproar, including a lengthy and stinging condemnation from the UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, who said Pakistan must take "urgent and strong measures to put an end to the continuous stream of so-called 'honour killings' and other forms of violence against women".

She said: "The fact that she was killed on her way to court shows a serious failure by the state to provide security for someone who – given how common such killings are in Pakistan – was obviously at risk."

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that the media had reported thatnearly 900 women had been killed in "honour" crimes in 2013 alone, but the actual figure is likely to be far higher.

Until Thursday there had been little comment on the case domestically, with newspapers and television stations focussing on other stories.

One journalist, an editor of an Urdu national paper who did not want to be named, said the country's media reflected its audience.

"Although we have some educated people, most are still living in semi-tribal societies in far-flung rural areas," he said. "In a country where people are being killed every day by miscreants and militants it is not so important when one woman is killed by one husband."

Some members of the public in Lahore clearly share the media's ambivalence.

Muhammad Yaqub, a student at a private university in the city, said he understood the loss of honour for the family but disliked the brutal way the woman had been killed.

"He did some right and some wrong," he said.

Pakistani human rights activists hold placards during a protest in Islamabad on
May 29, 2014 following the killing of Farzana Parveen (AFP Photo/Aamir Qureshi)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beijing cuts off oil supply to North Korea for four months

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-05-29

South Korean president Park Geun-hye gives a speech at Beijing's
Tsinghua University, June 29, 2013. (File photo/CNS)

China has stopped oil exports to North Korea for four months in an attempt to halt the country from continuing its nuclear development program; the move also aims to strengthen China's ties with South Korea to form an alliance against Japan, reports Duowei News, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.

Following the suspension of oil exports, trade between China and North Korea was around US$179 billion between January and April, 2.8% lower than the US$224 million-worth of oil China exported to North Korea in same period last year. On average, China exports around 50,000 tonnes of oil a month to North Korea, and around 500,000 tonnes a year.

Ri Tong-il, North Korea's deputy ambassador at the UN, has defied criticism regarding Pyongyang's nuclear program and announced in early May that the country will continue to carry out nuclear tests and launch nuclear missile tests every year.

Beijing has previously attempted to curb Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, negotiating with North Korea to halt its nuclear tests, while suspending oil exports for four months in 2009 after the regime continued to launch missiles and carry out its second nuclear experiment in May of that year.

Duowei News said that Beijing wants to stop Pyongyang's nuclear development since it plays a key role in the stability of northeast Asia, the power balance between China and the United States as well as the fact that it wants to form an anti-Japan alliance with South Korea.

South Korea has leaned toward China as the two countries share historical disputes with Japan, and its president, Park Geun-hye, also needs to resolve North Korea's nuclear issues to reallocate more of its resources to resist Japan, Duowei said.

China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, recently told Park that China is prepared to shoulder the responsibility of freeing the Korean peninsula of the nuclear threat. Wang made the comments during their meeting at the Blue House, the presidential office in Seoul, on May 26.

However, North Korea is unlikely to suffer serious consequences from Beijing's oil moves, Duowei said, as it continues to receive aid and loans at low interest rates from China. Meanwhile, around 500,000 tonnes of oil was said have entered North Korea from China through alternative ways, Duowei added.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sudanese woman on death row gives birth

A Sudanese woman sitting on death row has given birth. The 27-year-old was sentenced to be hanged for converting from Islam to Christianity.

Deutsche Welle, 27 May 2014

Little over a week after receiving the death sentence, Sudanese inmate Meriam Ibrahim Ishag gave birth to a girl. The death row inmate, jailed for refusing to deny her Christian faith and convert to Islam, was eight months pregnant.

The woman's husband, Daniel Wani, saw them on Tuesday. In addition to his weekly permitted visits to the prison, located in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, Wani has not yet received special permission for an additional visit.

"I'm disappointed really," Wani told news agency AFP. "We weren't able to speak. There [was] a guard sitting there beside us."

The 27-year-old mother would continue to care for the newborn for the next two years, according to news agency DPA. Rights activists have told reporters that the inmate has already been caring for her 20-month old son in prison.

The case emerged last year when relatives of her father's family complained that she had been born Muslim but was married to a Christian man.

On May 15, a Sudanese court handed down the death sentence to the pregnant woman. Ishag was raised as a Christian in Sudan, where Sharia, or Islamic law, has applied since the early 1990s. Judge Abbas Mohammed al-Khalifa said that she would be hanged for not declaring Islam to be the religion of her birth.

One of Ibrahim Ashag's lawyers, Al-Shareef Ali al-Shareef Mohammed, has vowed to appeal the sentence before Sudan's constitutional court if necessary. According to Mohammed, Ishag's Muslim father had left her mother when she was a child and her mother - an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia - had raised her as a Christian.

Under Sudanese President Omar Bashir, sharia prohibits Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims. Children must follow their father's religion.

kms/jm (AFP, dpa)

Mohammad Iqbal, right, in an ambulance next to the body of his pregnant
 wife who was stoned to death by her own family in Lahore. Photograph:
KM Chaudary/AP

Monday, May 26, 2014

Modi sworn in as India PM promising 'inclusive' agenda

Yahoo – AFP, May 27, 2014

Modi sworn in as India PM promising 'inclusive' agenda (AFP)

New Delhi (AFP) - India's Narendra Modi was sworn in as prime minister Monday with the strongest mandate of any leader for 30 years, promising to forge a "strong and inclusive" country on a first day that signalled his bold intentions.

The 63-year-old Hindu nationalist broke with tradition and invited his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to the ceremony. Sharif hailed a "great moment and a great opportunity" for peace in the region.

The pro-business leader was also expected to reveal a sharply reduced government of 45 members, a cut of 26 from that of his predecessor Manmohan Singh, to try to speed up decision-making and slash India's notorious bureaucracy.

"Together we will script a glorious future for India," Modi said in a statement posted on the website of the prime minister shortly after he took the oath in front of President Pranab Mukherjee.

"Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and development," the statement said.

Ten days after his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the first parliamentary majority since 1984, Modi entered office riding a wave of public support that has obscured his past as a controversial politician tainted by religious violence.

The former teaboy has risen through the ranks of right-wing Hindu organisations and was boycotted by Western nations for a decade over anti-Muslim riots that occurred while he was running his home state of Gujarat in western India in 2002.

He said in his statement that he was elected with "a mandate for development, good governance and stability" -- avoiding any reference to the Hindu nationalist plank of his party's election manifesto.

Senior members in his government are Arun Jaitley, tipped as finance minister, Sushma Swaraj, likely to be foreign minister, and Rajnath Singh, who is lined up for the home portfolio.

Figures such as Uma Bharti, a hardliner once expelled from the BJP after accusing the party of abandoning core Hindu concerns, indicated that the religious right would retain some influence.

'Chance to reach out'

As stocks markets rose at the prospect of a pro-business leader taking the helm of the world's largest democracy, the prime minister of India's nuclear-armed rival gave voice to a widespread sense of optimism.

"This is a chance to reach out to each other. Both governments have a strong mandate," Pakistan premier Sharif told India's NDTV network, according to a transcript provided by the Pakistan High Commission.

"Both countries should rid the region of instability and security that has plagued us for decades," he said.

He promised to pick up the threads of a failed peace process which went on during his second term in office -- which coincided with the last BJP government in India.

In 1999, then-Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee rode a bus to the Pakistani city of Lahore to sign an accord with Sharif, but three months later the neighbours nearly went to war over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

Sharif sat among other leaders from South Asia invited for the ceremony at the vast colonial-era presidency building, where thousands of dignitaries sweltered in the mid-summer heat during the oath-taking.

'Right turn'

After a decade of left-leaning Congress party rule, the 63-year-old Modi is expected to move India firmly to the right in the next five years with a mantra of "Minimum Government, Maximum Governance".

The BJP secured the first majority since 1984 at the election, trouncing the scandal-plagued Congress on a promise of reviving manufacturing and investment to create millions of jobs.

Modi's pledge to overhaul the flagging economy won over voters, along with his rags-to-riches story and reputation as a clean and efficient chief minister of prosperous Gujarat state.

"The country needs to be steered in the right direction now and only Modi can do it. He's got a strict school headmaster quality about him," Kavita Lal, a 32-year-old IT professional, told AFP.

Like many, she mocked the prime ministership of the 81-year-old Singh who rarely spoke to the media and was widely seen as lacking authority.

"It just seemed like for the last 10 years we had no leader in the country," she said.

Since election results on May 16, Modi has been at pains to put his divisive past behind him, appearing statesmanlike and generous even to political opponents.

In a rare sign of emotion last week, he choked back tears as he promised to try to live up to the expectations of all Indians including "our weakest and poorest" during a speech in parliament.

The invitation to Sharif was seen as a significant olive branch to India's Muslim neighbour and marked the first time that a leader from either country had attended his counterpart's inauguration since independence in 1947.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence. Bilateral ties broke down after the 2008 attacks by Pakistani gunmen in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed.

Narendra Modi, standing centre, takes the oath of office in Delhi. (Photograph: AP)

Narendra Modi shakes hands with Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif 
after the ceremony. Photograph: Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images

In this handout photograph received from the Gujarat Information Bureau on
 May 22, 2014, India’s prime minister-elect and BJP leader Narendra Modi speaks
with his mother Hira Ba before leaving for New Delhi at her home. PHOTO / AFP

Pope Francis offers prayers at Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem

Stop rouses controversy as pontiff invites Peres and Abbas to Rome in unprecedented papal intervention in peace process

The Guardian, Peter Beaumont in Manger Square, Bethlehem,  Sunday 25 May 2014

Pope Francis visits Israel's separation barrier in Bethlehem. Photograph: AP

It is an image that will define Pope Francis's first official visit to the Holy Land. Head bowed in prayer, the leader of the Catholic church pressed his palm against the graffiti-covered concrete of Israel's imposing "separation wall", a Palestinian girl holding a flag by his side. It was, as his aides conceded later, a silent statement against a symbol of division and conflict.

The powerful gesture was made minutes after an appeal to both sides to end a conflict that the pope said was "increasingly unacceptable". The unscheduled, conspicuous stop halfway through his three-day visit to the Holy Land – made en route to an open-air mass in Manger Square, Bethlehem – confirmed Francis's reputation for determined independence.

So too did his invitation to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli president, Shimon Peres, to join him in Rome to meet and pray together for peace – an unprecedented papal intervention in the stalled peace process.

Francis waves to the crowds at Manger Square. He invited the Israeli and
 Palestinian presidents to come to the Vatican to pray for peace a month after
the collapse of US-backed peace. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/reuters

Built by Israel as a so-called security fence to protect its citizens from attack after the second intifada, the barrier weaves through the West Bank, cutting through swaths of Palestinian territory and containing Palestinian residents. It has become an emblem of the Israeli occupation.

The pope's scheduled route took him alongside the wall, near Rachel's Tomb outside Bethlehem. His decision to step out of his white, open-sided popemobile and approach it – just days after the Vatican insisted his visit would not be controversial – was a surprise, not least for members of his own entourage.

Surrounded by Palestinian children, Francis's progress towards the concrete barrier was followed carefully by photographers and television cameras, as well as Israeli soldiers revealed in silhouette at the window of a nearby watchtower. "I know all about this," he is reported to have told one Palestinian official.

The Vatican's spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said afterwards: "I was not informed [of his plans to stop]. It was planned by him the day before … It was a very significant way to demonstrate his participation in suffering … It was a profound spiritual moment in front of a symbol of division."

Pope Francis touches the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank,
on his way to celebrate a mass in Manger Square. Photograph: AP

Despite attempts by the Vatican to insist the visit was "purely religious", it has been loaded with political significance since Francis's arrival in a convoy of Jordanian military helicopters from Amman. While other popes might fly into Tel Aviv and proceed through Israel into Palestinian territory, Francis elected to bypass all Israeli border points.

In a carefully worded statement, delivered with Abbas in Bethlehem on Sunday, Francis referred directly to "the state of Palestine" and called on both sides to summon the courage to forge peace.

"For decades the Middle East has known the tragic consequences of a protracted conflict which has inflicted many wounds so difficult to heal," the pontiff declared. The situation, he said, had become "increasingly unacceptable".

Francis leads an open air mass in Manger Square. Photograph:
Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

"Even in the absence of violence, the climate of instability and a lack of mutual understanding have produced insecurity, the violation of rights, isolation and the flight of entire communities, conflicts, shortages and sufferings of every sort."

Francis proceeded from the separation wall to Manger Square in Bethlehem, which was packed with thousands of Palestinian Christians waiting for him to say mass. He entered the square – the reputed site of Christ's birth – to calls of "Viva al-Baba!" – or "Long live the pope!"

The service began with a rendition of the Palestinian song Mawatani – My Homeland – that speaks to the Palestinian desire for independence. The singers' voices echoed across a plaza hung with images linking Christ's suffering to that of the Palestinian people. The altar from which Francis delivered his message showed a baby Jesus wrapped in a keffiyeh, the traditional Arabic scarf that is a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Francis ate lunch with five families in a community centre on the edge of Deheishe refugee camp before flying out of Bethlehem into Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, where he was officially welcomed to Israel by Peres.

The helicopter flight meant Francis avoided crossing through the separation wall via a checkpoint as his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, had done.

At Ben Gurion, Peres welcomed Francis, saying: "On behalf of the Jewish people and in the name of all the people of Israel, I welcome you with the age-old words from the Book of Psalms: 'Welcome in the name of the Lord.' Welcome at the gates of Jerusalem."

Here, Francis once again diverted from his prepared script. In Tel Aviv, the pope deplored an attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels on Saturday that left four dead, which he described as "this criminal act of antisemitic hatred". He added: "With a deeply pained heart, I think of those who have lost their lives in the cruel attack that occurred yesterday in Brussels."

While in Israel the pope will visit the Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem, lay a wreath at the grave of the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, and meet the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew.

The pontiff visits Israel's separation barrier in Bethlehem. Photograph:
Ariel Schalit/AP

Francis will visit the holiest Christian sites in Jerusalem – including the Room of the Last Supper and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – amid a long-term decline in the population of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land. A survey conducted by Near East Consulting and released in April found that two-thirds of Palestinian Christians would like to emigrate.

Israeli authorities have imposed tight security measures during his visit, deploying an extra 8,000 police officers. Restrictions on movement throughout the city have prompted some Christians to complain they will have little chance of seeing Francis.

Some of the security has been prompted by the pope's plan to celebrate mass at the Room of the Last Supper – or "Cenacle" – which has angered some Jewish religious hardliners who venerate the site as the tomb of King David.

Twenty-six people were arrested after stones were thrown at police close to the site.

Pope Francis prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, on the
final day of his Middle East tour

Pope joins Orthodox patriarch in historic prayer for unity

Pope calls for Syria peace at start of Mideast tour
Pope's Middle East mission sows discord

Pope Francis places his hands on a plaque at the Memorial to Victims
of Terror in Jerusalem. Photograph: Government Press Office/EPA

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Asian Development Bank set to appoint first Chinese chief economist

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-05-25

Dr Shang-Jin Wei attends the "New Openness in China" forum held
at Beijing's Tsinghua University, Oct. 17, 2012. (Photo/CFP)

For the first time in its 48-year history, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invite a Chinese national to serve as its chief economist, reports the Shanghai-based China Business Daily, citing bank sources on May 23.

Dr Shang-Jin Wei, a professor of finance and economics at Columbia University in the US, may soon be appointed as chief economist of ADB, while serving concurrently as director of its Economics and Research Department. ADB has yet to announce the appointment as of press time, however.

Wei has been a shining star among Chinese economists. He has held the position of professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Business since 2007 and is also director for the National Bureau of Economic Research's (NBER's) Working Group on the Chinese Economy. His main academic research has focused on such fields as international finance, international trade, government's governance and reform, the Chinese economy and macroeconomics.

According to rankings of a total 31,000 global economists issued in 2012 by IDEAS, a RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, Wei ranked in 152nd place, the best ranking among Chinese economists.

When Justin Yifu Lin wound up his four-year service as chief economist of the World Bank in June 2012, Wei was one of the hottest candidates for the post. Some in the economics circle even commented that as far as academic achievements and age are concerned, Wei will most likely become the first Chinese national to win the Nobel Prize for Economics.

In a recent e-mail to Shanghai's National Business Daily in response to questioning on the rumors, Wei said, "As ADB has yet to announce the appointment, I have no comment on it." But he acknowledged to the paper that if the appointment becomes a reality, he will be first native Chinese to serve as ADB's chief economist in its history.

ADB's current chief economist, Changyong Rhee, is from South Korea, while his predecessor, Dr Jong-Wha Lee, was also South Korean. The bank's current deputy chief economist Zhuang Juzhong is Chinese, however.

After graduating from Fudan University in Shanghai in 1986, Wei received his masters in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, and receive a masters in business administration (finance) and a PhD in economics from University of California, Berkeley in 1991 and 1992, respectively.

Wei's outstanding performance in the economics field has mainly resulted from his dedicated research efforts, China Business Daily said. Wei's most prominent research paper in China is a NBER working paper titled "Tracing Value-added and Double Counting in Gross Exports."

The research paper found that China contributes a value-added of only US$6 to the entire global supply chain of Apple's smartphones for each iphone assembled in the mainland, but the whole export value of US$358 for each iphone exported from China is calculated into the nation's gross exports. It marked the first time for a Chinese economist to use the value-added accounting method to figure out how China's gross exports are seriously bloated.

Chinese blogger ‘fired’ after John Kerry meeting

South China Morning Post - AFP, 25 May, 2014

Online activist and blogger Zhang Jialong (first left) in the meeting with
John Kerry in Beijing in February. Photo: Reuters

A Chinese blogger who called on US Secretary of State John Kerry to push for Internet freedom in China has been fired by his employer, he told AFP on Sunday.

Journalist Zhang Jialong was one of four bloggers who met with Kerry in February, where he urged the United States to help “tear down the great Internet firewall”.

Beijing tightly censors the Internet, banning websites including Facebook and Twitter with a system labelled the “Great Firewall of China”, and ordering domestic Internet firms to delete content that government officials deem “sensitive”.

Zhang’s employer Tencent dismissed him on Friday for “leaking business secrets and other confidential and sensitive information”, he said, calling it a reprisal for his meeting with Kerry.

Zhang said that authorities at Tencent, one of China’s best known Internet firms, told him his dismissal was prompted by the meeting, and his posting online of censorship orders issued by China’s government.

Directives published by Zhang included an instruction for websites to delete a video by a Taiwanese singer because it briefly showed “a man on an ambulance wearing a Free Tibet scarf”.

“Tencent told me they reached the decision after consulting with the government, so it’s a political decision,” Zhang said, adding that “the situation for online freedom in China is getting worse”.

Tencent’s Beijing office could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday.

China has more than 600 million Internet users, the largest online population in the world.

Its ruling party has long been engaged in a “cat and mouse” game with Internet users, tightening restrictions in periodic crackdowns before new forums emerge to challenge restraints.

The rising popularity of microblogs in recent years has triggered a government-backed campaign to assert greater control over social media.

China’s Supreme Court last year said Internet users could face three years in jail if “slanderous” information spread online was viewed more than 5,000 times or forwarded more than 500 times.

Hundreds have been detained under the regulation, according to rights groups.

Pope calls for Syria peace at start of Mideast tour

Yahoo  - AFP, Jean-Louis De La Vaissiere, 24 May 2014

Pope Francis (L) sits in a golf cart with King Abdullah II of Jordan (R) as they
 visit Bethany, a site on the eastern bank of the River Jordan where some
Christians believe Jesus was baptised, on May 24, 2014

Amman (AFP) - Pope Francis made an urgent plea Saturday for peace in war-torn Syria as he kicked off a three-day pilgrimage to the Middle East.

And he called for religious freedom to be upheld throughout a region ravaged by war and bloodshed, where a dwindling Christian population faces daily persecution.

As he walked off the plane onto a red carpet at Amman airport, his white robes flapping in the hot desert wind, he was greeted by officials and two children dressed in traditional costume who handed him bouquets of irises, the national flower of Jordan.

Pope Francis (2nd-L) is greeted by Jordan's King
 Abdullah II (R) and his wife Queen Rania (L) 
at the Royal Palace in Amman on May 24,
2014 (AFP Photo/Andrew Medichini )
On a trip which continues Sunday in the Palestinian territories and Israel, Francis reserved his biggest public event for Jordan, an open-air mass at Amman's main international stadium where he was joyously welcomed by 40,000 pilgrims.

Entering the stadium in an open-topped white jeep, he smiled and waved at the crowds, his white skullcap flying off in the breeze.

Babies and toddlers were passed through the crowd to be held by him for a moment and blessed, as thousands of balloons were released into the air.

"Peace is not something which can be bought, it is a gift to be sought patiently and to be crafted through the actions, great and small, of our everyday lives," he told the crowd packed into a sea of blue and red chairs on a sweltering May afternoon.

His landmark first visit to the Holy Land, billed by the Vatican as a "pilgrimage of prayer," is chiefly aimed at boosting ties with Muslims and Jews, as well as seeking closer unity with Orthodox Christian leaders.

'Humanity and wisdom'

"Lasting peace for the entire region... requires that a peaceful solution be found to the crisis in Syria, as well as a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the pope said at the royal palace, ahead of a meeting with Syrian refugees on the banks of the River Jordan.

Syria's civil war, which began in 2011, is estimated to have claimed at least 162,000 lives and forced another 2.7 million people to flee to neighbouring countries, 450,000 of them Christians.

Jordan's King Abdullah II told Francis his "humanity and wisdom" could contribute to easing the crisis confronting Syrian refugees and the burden on host countries like Jordan.

Abdullah himself drove the pontiff in a golf cart to the reputed site of Jesus' baptism on the River Jordan, chatting to the 77-year-old Francis squeezed in beside him, another sign of the pontiff's famed informality.

Pope Francis leads (R) a mass at Amman 
stadium in the Jordanian capital on May 24,
2014 (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)
The pope stood for a few minutes in silent prayer on the riverbank, his head bowed, before being driven by the king, once again in the cart, to speak and pray with some of the 600,000 refugees hosted by Jordan and hear their accounts of suffering in Syria.

Speaking earlier, Francis urged respect for religious freedom in a region where the Holy See has called for an end to the ongoing persecution of Christians.

"Religious freedom is, in fact, a fundamental human right and I cannot fail to express my hope that it will be upheld throughout the Middle East and the entire world," he said.

Thousands of Christians around the world are killed every year because of their faith, and persecution has become more widespread in countries torn by conflicts involving radical Islamists, including Syria and Iraq.

Ahead of his arrival in a region roiled by political and religious division, the Argentine pope said he felt like the biblical prophet Daniel heading to the lions' den.

"I feel like Daniel, but now I know that the lions don't bite," he told reporters travelling with him on his plane.

Open-topped tour

At the stadium mass, he revelled in the raucous greeting of pilgrims as he toured the crowd in his open-topped vehicle, reaching out to grasp hands as people pressed around his slowly moving jeep on all sides, prompting scuffles with the security detail jogging alongside.

Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, 
Bartholomew I (C) prays at the Church of
 the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City
on May 23, 2014 (AFP Photo/Gali Tibbon)
"This pope is special," said 77-year-old Sister Rachel, highlighting his dedication to the downtrodden.

"He only wants to see the poor and the diseased. He is the protector of the helpless."

The pope will take a short helicopter flight early on Sunday across the River Jordan to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus in the West Bank.

There he will hold a mass and begin his two-day tour of the Palestinian territories and Israel.

Francis said the main reason for his visit is a historic meeting in Jerusalem with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, and "to pray for peace in that land, which has suffered so much".

Key events in Pope Francis' visit to the Middle East, with photo
and map (AFP Photo/V Breschi / J Jacobsen, vb/jj/gil)

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