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. …

Children Day

Children Day

Search This Blog

Friday, November 24, 2017

Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to start Rohingya return in two months

Yahoo – AFP, November 23, 2017

The United Nations says 620,000 Rohingya Muslims have arrived in Bangladesh
 since a military crackdown in Myanmar in August, to form the world's largest refugee
camp (AFP Photo/Munir UZ ZAMAN)

Yangon (AFP) - Bangladesh and Myanmar will start repatriating refugees in two months, Dhaka said Thursday, as global pressure mounts over a crisis that has forced more than half a million Rohingya to flee across the border.

The United Nations says 620,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since August and now live in squalor in the world's largest refugee camp after a military crackdown in Myanmar that Washington said this week clearly constitutes "ethnic cleansing".

After months of wrangling, Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Dhaka's Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali inked a deal in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw on Thursday.

Dhaka said they had agreed to start returning the refugees to mainly Buddhist Myanmar in two months.

It said that a working group would be set up within three weeks to agree the arrangements for the repatriation.

"This is a primary step. (They) will take back (Rohingya). Now we have to start working," Ali told reporters in Naypyidaw.

Impoverished and overcrowded Bangladesh has won international praise for allowing the refugees into the country, but has imposed restrictions on their movements and said it does not want them to stay.

Updated map showing major Rohingya refugee camp populations in Bangladesh 
on the border with Myanmar. Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to start 
repatriating Rohingya refugees in two months. (AFP Photo/Gal ROMA)

Myanmar, meanwhile, has bristled at the growing chorus of global criticism.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a one-time heroine of the human rights movement whose halo has been badly tarnished, shot back Thursday at foreign interference in what she said was a "bilateral" issue.

"Western countries as well the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had portrayed the matter as an international issue by passing resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations," her office said in a statement.

"The principled position of Myanmar is that issues that emerge between neighbouring countries must be resolved amicably through bilateral negotiations."

Thursday's agreement is a "win-win situation for both countries", the statement added.

'Horrendous atrocities'

The tentative deal comes the day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who met with Suu Kyi in Myanmar last week, issued Washington’s strongest-yet denunciation.

"It is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," Tillerson said.

"No provocation can justify the horrendous atrocities that have ensued."

The UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, has estimates that 25,000 children in the 
overcrowded Rohingya camps are suffering from severe malnutrition (AFP
 Photo/Munir UZ ZAMAN)

The tide of desperate humanity that has poured over the riverine border into Bangladesh is thick with horrifying stories of rape, murder and arson at the hands of Myanmar's military and Buddhist mobs.

The Burmese army insists its crackdown has been proportionate and targeted only at Rohingya rebels.

Thursday's outline deal offered no detail on how many Rohingya will be allowed back and how long the process will take.

The European Union's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said it was "an important and welcomed step towards addressing one of the worst humanitarian and human rights crises of our times".

Mogherini, who visited Myanmar on Monday, urged both nations to act swiftly to enable the "voluntary, safe and dignified return" of the refugees, in a statement.

Rights groups have raised concerns about the repatriation plans, including questioning where the minority will be resettled after hundreds of their villages were razed, and how their safety will be ensured in a country where anti-Muslim sentiment is surging.

'Won't go back'

The stateless Rohingya have been the target of communal violence and vicious anti-Muslim sentiment in mainly Buddhist Myanmar for years.

They have also been systematically oppressed by the government, which stripped the minority of citizenship and severely restricts their movement, as well as their access to basic services.

More than half a million Rohingya have fled across the frontier into Bangladesh 
since August, carrying harrowing stories of violence (AFP Photo/Munir UZ ZAMAN)

Tensions erupted into bouts of bloodshed in 2012 that pushed more than 100,000 Rohingya into grim displacement camps.

Despite the squalid conditions in the overcrowded camps in Bangladesh, many of the refugees say they are reluctant to return to Myanmar unless they are granted full citizenship.

"We won't go back to Myanmar unless all Rohingya are granted citizenship with full rights like any other Myanmar nationals," said Abdur Rahim, 52, who was a teacher at a government-run school in Buthidaung in Myanmar's Rakhine state before fleeing across the border.

"We won't return to any refugee camps in Rakhine," he told AFP in Bangladesh.

The signing of the deal came ahead of a highly-anticipated visit to both nations from Pope Francis, who has been outspoken about his sympathy for the plight of the Rohingya.

The latest unrest occurred after Rohingya rebels attacked police posts on August 25.

The army backlash rained violence across northern Rakhine, with refugees recounting nightmarish scenes of soldiers and Buddhist mobs slaughtering villagers and burning down entire communities.

The military denies all allegations but has restricted access to the conflict zone.

Suu Kyi's government has blocked visas for a UN-fact finding mission tasked with probing accusations of military abuse.



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

N. Korean soldier defector regains consciousness: report

Yahoo – AFP, November 21, 2017

South Korean doctor Lee Cook-Jong, who carried out surgery on gunshot wounds
sustained by a North Korean soldier, speaks about his condition during a briefing
on November 15 (AFP Photo/str)

Seoul (AFP) - A North Korean soldier who was shot by his own side and severely injured while dashing across the border into South Korea has regained consciousness, a report said Tuesday.

The defector is awake after undergoing two major operations at a hospital in Suwon just south of Seoul, according to an unidentified government official quoted by Yonhap news agency.

"The soldier has regained consciousness and he requested to watch television," the official was quoted as saying, adding he was being shown South Korean movies for his "psychological comfort".

The defector ran across the border at the Panmunjom truce village on November 13 as former comrades from the North opened fire on him, hitting him at least four times.

He was pulled to safety by three South Korean soldiers who crawled to reach him just south of the dividing line.

It is very rare for the North's troops to defect at Panmunjom, a major tourist attraction and the only part of the border where forces from the two sides come face-to-face.

The patient was now able to express his thoughts to medical staff, the official said.

To allay his fears and reassure him he was indeed in the South, medical staff apparently placed a South Korean flag in his room and were also using psychotherapy.

In addition to his gunshot injuries, the defector was found to be riddled with intestinal parasites, an apparent result of poor food hygiene in the impoverished North.

Depending on medical advice, an interrogation team is expected to question him in four or five days' time, according to the official.




Tuesday, November 21, 2017

EU's top diplomat 'encouraged' by Rohingya talks with Suu Kyi

Yahoo – AFP, November 20, 2017

Aung San Suu Kyi (L) speaks with Mogherini after a family photo during the 13th
 Asia-Europe foreign ministers' meeting in Naypyidaw (AFP Photo/AUNG HTET)

Yangon (AFP) - The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday hailed "extremely encouraging" talks with Aung San Suu Kyi on the Rohingya crisis, welcoming steps towards the repatriation of Muslims driven from Myanmar into Bangladesh.

But her optimistic tone appeared sharply at odds with the realities on the ground in a crisis that has seen 620,000 Rohingya flee rape, murder and arson in Myanmar's Rakhine state since late August.

Deadly attacks by Rohingya militants on August 25 sparked a massive backlash from Myanmar's security forces that the UN says may amount to "ethnic cleansing".

Diplomatic pressure has been growing on Myanmar, especially on its Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader Suu Kyi.

In response the country has said it is ready and willing to take back refugees, if they can "verify" they belong in Rakhine.

Mogherini, who visited refugee camps in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar over the weekend, emerged from Monday's talks with Suu Kyi in a positive mood.

"I found it (the talks) extremely encouraging," she told reporters in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw at a meeting of Asian and European foreign ministers.

"I am very much encouraged by the possibility -- that I believe is real and concrete -- of Myanmar and Bangladesh" reaching an agreement for the repatriation of refugees.

The two countries have yet to strike a binding deal on repatriation.

Rights groups say a speedy and safe repatriation of significant numbers of Rohingya is highly unlikely since large numbers are still fleeing violence, fear and hunger on a daily basis.

The status of the Muslim minority also remains highly emotive in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and labelled "Bengalis", or illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Rohingya villages have been razed and rice fields commandeered or left to ruin, raising major questions over what they can return to.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, pushed out of Myanmar in several previous army-backed operations, have also yet to return despite decades-old repatriation deals with Bangladesh.

Those who have fled Rakhine in recent months have told horrific stories of rape, murder and arson by Myanmar troops and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.

Myanmar's military denies the allegations.

Washington's top diplomat Rex Tillerson last week cited "credible" reports of atrocities since late August.

Myanmar's diplomatic isolation over its treatment of the Rohingya has been eased by China, which has helped shield it from censure at the UN Security Council.

China was one of the few foreign friends of the country's former junta.

Beijing covets access to Myanmar's western coast for ports and pipelines including in Rakhine state, where Chinese businesses are spending billions of dollars.

On Sunday Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Suu Kyi and reaffirmed support for Myanmar over the Rakhine issue, according to the state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

He added that "poverty alleviation" was the crux of the problem and urged Myanmar and Bangladesh to solve the crisis through "dialogue".

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Senior Chinese envoy meets aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang, as both sides stress longstanding ties despite deep divisions over North's nuclear activities

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Celebrations spread after Australia backs same-sex marriage

Yahoo – AFP, David MILLIKIN, 15 November 2017

Thousands of marriage equality supporters took to the streets, dancing and singing
when the results were announced, as colourful confetti filled the sky at rallies in cities
across Australia

Celebrations swept across Australia Wednesday as voters emphatically endorsed same-sex marriage after more than a decade of divisive debate, and political leaders immediately began moves to enshrine the historic shift in law by Christmas.

Thousands of marriage equality supporters took to parks and squares across the vast country, hugging, dancing and singing under clouds of glitter when the results of the two-month-long postal survey were announced.

Revellers wrapped in rainbow colours swarmed the entertainment districts of Sydney, Melbourne and other cities, closing streets as the party continued late into the evening.

"This means everything, this means everything," shouted one partygoer named Chris at a huge rally in Sydney, fighting back tears and hugging his partner Victor.

"It has been fantastic. I have been with my partner for 35 years and he was so joyed up that he burst into tears," added another reveller, Gerry Boller.

Almost 62 percent of the 12.7 million people who participated voted "yes" to the question: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

Just 38.4 percent voted "no", according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which carried out the poll.

Irish-born Qantas Airlines chief Alan Joyce, who is openly gay and campaigned strongly for the "yes" campaign, also fought back tears as he spoke of his delight.

Graphic showing places where gay marriage is legal, or an agreement has been
 made to make it legal. Australians have voted in favour of changing the law to legalize
same-sex marriages

"I was so proud of Ireland in May 2015 when they became the first nation in the world to vote for marriage equality... But today I am even more proud of Australia, the country of my selection," he said in Sydney.

Nearly 80 percent of eligible voters took part in the poll, with the "yes" vote winning a majority in all of Australia's states and territories.

'Yes for love'

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a moderate conservative who backed the "yes" camp, hailed the result of the non-binding vote and vowed to pass a bill legalising marriage equality "before Christmas".

Australians "voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love", Turnbull said, adding that he had already been invited to "stacks" of gay weddings once the law takes hold.

"Now it is up to us, here in the Parliament of Australia... to get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us to do and get this done, this year, before Christmas."

Within hours of the vote result, Dean Smith, a Senator from Turnbull's Liberal Party who is gay, introduced a bill that would legalise gay marriage while allowing religious institutions and clergy to refuse to celebrate same-sex unions if they conflict with their beliefs.

Hardline opponents in Turnbull's party have pressed for more extensive religious protections to allow commercial service providers to reject same-sex weddings and let parents pull their children from school programmes they feel undermine heterosexual traditions.

They have support notably from Muslim and some conservative Christian communities which returned a high percentage of "no" votes in the survey.

Almost 62 percent of the 12.7 million people who participated voted "yes" to the
question "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

But Turnbull rejected those calls this week and he and the opposition Labor Party are expected to back a bill based on Smith's proposal with a "conscience vote" in the two houses of parliament.

"We will have a bill that will deliver on the instructions the Australian people have given us to change the law to allow same-sex couples to marry. That is our job. It is over to us now," he said.

A survey of federal politicians by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation published Tuesday found that 72 percent of House members and 69 percent of Senators would support the change to marriage laws.

Turnbull called the postal vote in the face of opposition from hardliners who refused to back a national plebiscite on the issue.

The move was opposed by proponents of same-sex marriage, who wanted direct legislative action.

They said the lengthy vote process was both a waste of money –- it cost just under Aus$100 million (US$76 million) -– and exposed gay people and their families to hate speech.

"No" campaigners said they would continue defending their cause.

"In a democracy, just because you win it doesn't mean you... bulldoze forward," said Senator Eric Abetz, a prominent "no" campaigner.

"Keep in mind there are 4.8 million of our fellow Australians that actually voted no... do we say they should no longer be heard? Or do we actually ask them questions as to how can their concerns be alleviated so we can move forward as a nation?"

But the solid margin for the "yes" vote and the high turnout looks to limit the influence of "no" campaigners.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

In Saudi visit, Lebanese patriarch backs PM Hariri over resignation

Yahoo – AFP, Anuj Chopra, November 14, 2017

A handout picture from the Saudi Royal Palace shows Lebanon's Christian
Maronite patriarch Beshara Rai (R) meeting powerful Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on November 14, 2017 (AFP Photo/
BANDAR AL-JALOUD)

Riyadh (AFP) - The head of Lebanon's Maronite church, in a historic visit to Saudi Arabia, voiced support Tuesday for prime minister Saad Hariri over his resignation, which tipped his country into crisis.

Beshara Rai arrived in Riyadh on Monday in the first trip to the kingdom by a senior Lebanese figure since Hariri quit on November 4 in a shock announcement from the Saudi capital.

Hariri had cited fears for his life and accused Hezbollah, the powerful Shiite movement that is part of his government but close to Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran, of controlling Lebanon.

"I am convinced by the reasons for his resignation," Rai said. "He will return to Lebanon as soon as possible."

Many observers suspected Riyadh had ordered him to resign, and senior Lebanese politicians have alleged he is under de facto house arrest in the capital.

Lebanon's resigned prime minister Saad Hariri meets the country's Christian 
Maronite patriarch Beshara Rai in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 14, 
2017, in a handout picture released by the press office of Lebanon's Maronite 
Patriarchate (AFP Photo/HO)

But in his first tweet in several days on Tuesday, Hariri brushed aside those allegations.

"Everybody, I'm totally fine. God willing, I'll be back in these two days. Let's calm down," he wrote.

He added that his family would stay in Saudi Arabia, calling it "their country".

Hariri's resignation came against the backdrop of mounting tensions between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, which back opposing sides in conflicts and power struggles from Syria to Yemen.

Rai's trip to Saudi Arabia, though overshadowed by Hariri's resignation, is significant as it symbolises a rare inter-religious exchange in the ultra-conservative Sunni kingdom, home to the holiest sites in Islam.

Rai is the top cleric in Lebanon's powerful Maronite community, and is regularly consulted by both Christian and non-Christian political figures as well as receiving foreign dignitaries when they visit the country.

Lebanon's Christian Maronite patriarch Beshara Rai with King Salman on 
November 14, 2017 in Riyadh (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)

During his visit to Saudi Arabia, he met King Salman and powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday.

The patriarch and the king "reviewed fraternal relations between the kingdom and Lebanon and confirmed the importance of the role of different religions and cultures in promoting tolerance, renouncing violence, extremism and terrorism," the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

Separately, Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan said the Maronite patriarch's visit "stresses the kingdom's approach for peaceful coexistence, closeness and openness for all sections of Arabic people."

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said France was "worried by the situation in Lebanon" and wanted to see the government there "stabilise as quickly as possible".

Le Drian is set to visit Riyadh on Thursday.

France joined Germany on Monday in calling for an end to external interference in Lebanon -- buffeted for decades by conflicts between bigger players in the region such as Iran and Syria.

Last week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also warned other countries against using Lebanon for "proxy conflicts", adding that he had no evidence that Hariri was being held against his will in the oil-rich kingdom.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Vietnam and China agree to avoid conflicts in S. China Sea

Yahoo – AFP, November 13, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hands with Vietnamese President Tran
Dai Quang (R) at the presidential palace in Hanoi (AFP Photo/LUONG THAI LINH)

Vietnam and China agreed Monday to avoid conflicts in the hotly contested South China Sea, as a new pathway to dialogue on easing tensions was opened with other Southeast Asian nations.

The communist neighbours have long sparred over the sea, through which $5 trillion in shipping trade passes annually and which is believed to sit atop vast gas reserves.

Hanoi and Beijing agreed Monday to keep the peace in the sea, the countries said in a joint statement during a state visit to Hanoi by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

They agreed to "well manage disputes at sea, make no moves that may complicate or expand disputes, (and) maintain peace and stability on the East Sea," the Vietnamese version of the statement said, using Hanoi's term for the waters.

China claims nearly all of the sea, even approaching the coasts of its neighbours. It is also partly claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan in addition to Vietnam.

China has in recent years built artificial islands and airstrips capable of hosting military installations in contested areas to cement its claims, inflaming tensions with its neighbours.

Relations between China and Vietnam hit a low in 2014 when Beijing moved an oil rig into waters claimed by Vietnam, sparking weeks of protests.

There have been two armed conflicts between China and Vietnam in the sea -- brief clashes in 1974 and 1988 that claimed the lives of dozens of Vienamese troops.

On Sunday US President Donald Trump offered to help Vietnam resolve the long-simmering tensions.

"If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know... I am a very good mediator," Trump said on his own state visit to Hanoi at the tail end of his marathon tour of Asia.

Vietnam offered no response.

And China, which has long insisted the United States has no role to play in the dispute, spoke out against what it deemed foreign interference.

"We hope non-regional countries can respect the regional countries' efforts in maintaining the regional stability of the South China Sea, and play a constructive role in this aspect," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

More talks agreed

Trump was in Manila on Monday for meetings with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and several other countries.

At that meeting China and ASEAN, which includes Vietnam, announced on Monday night they had agreed to begin talks on a much-delayed code of conduct for the sea.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sealed the accord with the ASEAN leaders in Manila, according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

However no timeframe was announced for an actual code.

China initially agreed in 2002 to begin talks on a code, but delayed doing so while carrying out its expansionist strategy.

And at China's insistence, ASEAN also agreed in August that any future code would not be legally binding, despite a strong push from Vietnam.

After the Philippines backed China's position, ASEAN agreed it would not have legal force.

The Philippines had for many years stood alongside Vietnam as one of the region's strongest opponents to Chinese expansionism.

Following Manila's complaint to a United Nations-backed tribunal, the panel ruled last year that China's territorial claims in the sea were without legal basis.

But the Philippines, after President Rodrigo Duterte took office last year, decided not to use the ruling to pressure China.

He instead chose to build closer ties in return for billions of dollars in investments and aid.

Critics accused Duterte of giving in to Beijing. But he said his tactics had eased tensions and opened the door to dialogue.

Dutch nationals, one in Nepal, arrested for child sex abuse abroad

DutchNews, November 13, 2017    


Two Dutch nationals have been arrested in connection with a major investigation into child pornography and child abuse abroad, the public prosecution department has confirmed. 

Henk K, who is 75, was arrested in Nepal on Friday and an unnamed 46-year old man was picked up at his home in Zuid-Holland. 

In total, four homes in the Netherlands were raided in connection with the investigation and further arrests have not been ruled out, the department said in a statement

Child rights organisation Terres des Hommes is keeping watch on at least 350 Dutch nationals who go on holiday to have sex with children, the Telegraaf said on Monday. Their number include the two men picked up last week, the paper said.

Spokesman Gideon van Aartsen told the Telegraaf that the 350 people came into the spotlight as part of a special cyberspace project and that their online activity is now being monitored. 

‘Child sex tourists have all sorts of friendships in countries where sex tourism is a problem,’ Van Aartsen told the paper. The organisation also says it works with airlines to monitor sex tourists’ travel arrangements. 

According to the Telegraaf, most of the 128 Facebook friends belonging to Henk K, arrested in Nepal at the weekend, are Nepalese teenagers. K, who is 75, has a house in Nepal and has been visiting the country for years. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Top Thai royal aide sacked for 'evil acts': palace

Yahoo – AFP, November 11, 2017

The latest aide to fall from grace is Distorn Vajarodaya, a senior official in the Royal
Household Bureau who served as Grand Chamberlain under the late Thai King
Bhumibol Adulyadej (AFP Photo/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL)

Bangkok (AFP) - A senior Thai royal official has been sacked for "evil acts" including having an extramarital affair and forcing his alleged mistress to get an abortion, the palace said, the latest top aide to be axed under King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Vajiralongkorn, 65, took the throne one year ago following the death of his widely revered father King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for seven decades.

He has yet to attain his father's widespread popularity but remains insulated from any criticism by one of the world's harshest royal defamation laws.

Since ascending the throne the new monarch has axed a number of powerful palace officials from his father's era.

The latest aide to fall from grace is Distorn Vajarodaya, a senior official in the Royal Household Bureau who served as Grand Chamberlain under the late King Bhumibol and was often seen by the ailing monarch's side during the final years of his reign.

A statement published by the Royal Gazette late Friday stripped Distorn of his royal decorations and listed his alleged wrongdoings -- including having an extramarital affair, "forcing" his mistress to get an abortion, and then coercing her into marrying another man.

"When the woman got pregnant for the second time, he forced her to have another abortion but the woman refused. So he forced her to get married with another man she hadn't had a relationship with," the statement said.

Distorn was also accused of "using the King's name to avoid taxation in importing a foreign vehicle" to replace a damaged royal car.

The aide also allegedly ordered staff to forge documents about a donation to a royal foundation he chaired.

Thailand's lese majeste law, which criminalises insulting the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison per offence, makes it impossible to publicly counter such charges.

Many of those purged from the new monarch's inner circle have been charged with lese majeste and jailed.

In one of the most dramatic episodes, Vajiralongkorn divorced his third wife in late 2014 after half a dozen of her relatives were charged with lese majeste -- and later jailed -- for allegedly abusing their royal ties to him.

All media inside Thailand must heavily self-censor when reporting on the royal family to avoid falling foul of the defamation law.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Afghan university sees first graduates in women's studies

Yahoo – AFP, November 5, 2017

An Afghan female student looks on during the graduation ceremony of the first-ever
 class of Gender and Women’s studies master's programme in Kabul (AFP Photo/
SHAH MARAI)

Kabul (AFP) - Afghanistan's first graduates in women's studies donned caps and gowns on Sunday to collect their unusual qualifications in the patriarchal country.

Kabul University is the country's first higher education institute to offer a degree focused on gender and women's issues, according to the United Nations Development Programme and university officials.

Feminist theories, media, civil society and conflict resolution were among the largely women-focused topics covered in the two-year Master's course, funded by South Korea and run by the UNDP.

Offering such a degree would have been unthinkable during the Taliban's repressive 1996-2001 Islamist regime, when female issues were taboo and women were largely confined to their homes and banned from education.

While protection of women's rights has improved since a US-led invasion toppled the Taliban, they remain second-class citizens in the male-dominated country.

Among the 22 graduates were seven men, including Mujtaba Arefi.

"This is the beginning of a change," Arefi told AFP as he waited to receive his certificate.

"With these programmes we can understand the women's place and status in our society. There is the possibility that we will reach a level of gender equality like the West."

Another graduate, Sajia Sediqqi, said she hoped her classmates would use their degrees to improve the situation of women in Afghanistan.

"In a short period of time we cannot bring about any dramatic change, but with our higher education we can help change our society and serve our people, particularly our women."

Saudi Arabia in sweeping purge as prince cements power

Yahoo – AFP, Anuj Chopra, November 5, 2017

Saudi Arabia has arrested dozens of senior figures as Crown Prince Mohammed
bin Salman (pictured) consolidates power (AFP Photo/FAYEZ NURELDINE)

Riyadh (AFP) - Saudi Arabia pursued a sweeping purge of the kingdom's upper ranks on Sunday, saying it would freeze the accounts of dozens of princes, ministers and a tycoon arrested as the crown prince cements his hold on power.

Prominent billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal was among the princes arrested late Saturday, a government source told AFP, immediately after a new anti-corruption commission headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was established by royal decree.

Separately, the head of the Saudi National Guard, once a leading contender to the throne, as well as the navy chief and the economy minister were replaced in a series of high-profile sackings that sent shock waves through the kingdom.

The dramatic shake-up comes at a time of unprecedented social and economic transformation in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, as Prince Mohammed steps up his reform drive for a post-oil era.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported that 11 princes, four current ministers and dozens of ex-ministers were arrested as the commission launched a probe into old cases such as floods that devastated the Red Sea city of Jeddah in 2009.

The government official gave AFP a list of 14 of the most high-profile names including Prince Al-Waleed, ranked among the richest men in the world.

The information ministry separately said the bank accounts of those arrested will be "frozen" and any assets related to the corruption cases will be registered as state property.

"The suspects are being granted the same rights and treatment as any other Saudi citizen," attorney general Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement, adding that a number of investigations had been initiated.

"A suspect's position or status does not influence the firm and fair application of justice."

Key members of the ruling Saudi dynasty after reports Sunday of arrests of 
senior figures as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidates power. 
(AFP Photo/Sabrina BLANCHARD)

'A new era'

Shares in Kingdom Holding, 95 percent of which is owned by Prince Al-Waleed, dived 9.9 percent as the Saudi stock exchange opened Sunday after reports of his arrest. The share price later recovered some of its losses to end the day down 7.6 percent.

In a statement Kingdom Holding said it was "aware" of Saturday's developments but insisted that it was "business as usual" after the chief executive of the company was assured of support from the government.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said the crackdown "heralds a new era and policy of transparency, clarity and accountability".

"The decisive decisions will preserve the investment environment and boost trust in the rule of law," the Saudi Press Agency quoted him as saying.

The kingdom's top council of clerics also lauded the anti-corruption efforts as "important", essentially giving religious backing to the crackdown.

An aviation source told AFP that security forces had grounded private jets at airports, possibly to prevent high-profile figures from leaving the country.

There was fevered speculation on social media that the arrested figures were being held at Riyadh's Ritz Carlton, a palatial hotel originally planned as a palace for guests of the royal family.

The hotel appeared to be closed off to the public on Sunday and its website said the property was fully booked.

"The breadth and scale of the arrests appears to be unprecedented in modern Saudi history," said Kristian Ulrichsen, a fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

"The reported detention of Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, if true, would send shock waves through the domestic and international business community," Ulrichsen told AFP.

The purge comes less than two weeks after Prince Mohammed welcomed thousands of global business leaders to Riyadh for an investment summit, showcasing his reform drive that has shaken up the kingdom.

Meteoric rise

It follows a wave of arrests of influential clerics and activists in September as the 32-year-old prince, often known as MBS, consolidates his hold on power.

Analysts said many of those detained were resistant to Prince Mohammed's aggressive foreign policy that includes the boycott of Gulf neighbour Qatar as well as some of his bold policy reforms, including privatising state assets and cutting subsidies.

The latest purge saw Prince Miteb bin Abdullah sacked as the head of the National Guard, an elite internal security force. His removal consolidates the crown prince's control of the kingdom's security institutions.

To analysts, Prince Mohammed's meteoric rise has seemed almost Shakespearean in its aggression and calculation. In June, he edged out a 58-year-old cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, to become heir to the throne.

Already viewed as the de facto ruler controlling all the major levers of government, from defence to the economy, the prince is widely seen to be stamping out traces of internal dissent before a formal transfer of power from his 81-year-old father King Salman.

At the same time, he has projected himself as a liberal reformer in the ultra-conservative kingdom with a series of bold moves including the decision allowing women to drive from next June.

Related Articles:



Friday, November 3, 2017

Hong Kong to become first Asian host of Gay Games

Yahoo – AFP, October 31, 2017

Hong Kong, which does not recognise gay marriage and only decriminalised
 homosexuality in 1991, is often accused of lagging on LGBT rights (AFP Photo/
PHILIPPE LOPEZ)

Hong Kong (AFP) - Hong Kong will become the first Asian city to host the Gay Games in 2022 with rights campaigners celebrating the winning bid for a city often criticised for lagging on LGBT rights.

Hong Kong beat Mexico's Guadalajara and Washington DC to host the 11th edition of the event, with the jubilant bid team saying it would attract 15,000 participants and bring HK$1 billion into the local economy.

Organised by the LGBT community, the Gay Games features a range of sports and is open to all participants, "without regard to sexual orientation, and there are no qualifying standards", the Hong Kong bid team said in a statement.

Competitors come from many countries, including those where homosexuality remains illegal, it added.

The Gay Games was founded by former Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell and first held in San Francisco in 1982. The next edition will be held in Paris in August next year, featuring 36 sports, from mountain biking to fencing and athletics.

Hong Kong's Pink Alliance, which promotes equal rights for the LGBT community, said the games would "help to bring a wider understanding and acceptance of our community", not only in the southern Chinese city but throughout the region.

When the constitutional court in neighbouring Taiwan ruled in favour of allowing gay marriage in May, campaigners in socially conservative Hong Kong highlighted the city's lack of progress on equality issues.

Hong Kong does not recognise gay marriage and only decriminalised homosexuality in 1991.

But a landmark court decision in September that granted a British lesbian in Hong Kong -- known as "QT" -- the right to live and work in the city as a dependant of her long-term partner was hailed as a decision that could reduce more hurdles for same-sex couples.

QT had previously been denied a dependant visa by immigration authorities, forcing her instead to stay in Hong Kong on a visitor visa, which did not allow her to work.

Hong Kong's Gay Games bid chair Dennis Philipse said there was a "spirit and passion for increased inclusion and diversity" in Hong Kong.

However, the campaign for LGBT rights continues to elicit fury from anti-gay campaigners.

Last year, banking giant HSBC placed a pair of rainbow-painted lions in front of its landmark building in the heart of the city to promote support of gay rights, a move slammed as "disgusting" by opponents who rallied in protest.

Related Article: