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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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Singapore to ban sale of elephant ivory from 2021

Yahoo – AFP, August 12, 2019

Singapore authorities made their largest ever seizure of smuggled ivory last month,
impounding a haul of nearly nine tonnes of contraband tusks from an estimated
300 African elephants valued at $12.9 million (AFP Photo/Handout)

Singapore said Monday it will impose a blanket ban on the domestic sale of elephant ivory and products from 2021 as the government tightens its campaign against illegal wildlife trade.

The announcement on World Elephant Day followed two years of consultations with non-government groups, ivory retailers and the public.

Authorities in the city-state made their largest ever seizure of smuggled ivory last month, impounding a haul of nearly nine tonnes of contraband tusks from an estimated 300 African elephants valued at $12.9 million.

The illegal cargo was discovered in a container from the Democratic Republic of the Congo being shipped to Vietnam via Singapore and also included a huge stash of pangolin scales.

Singapore has banned international trade in all forms of elephant ivory products since 1990.

Such items could be sold domestically if traders could prove they were imported before that year or acquired prior to the inclusion of the relevant elephant species in an international convention protecting endangered species.

In a statement Monday, Singapore's National Parks Board banned the sale of elephant ivory and products with effect from September 1, 2021.

Violators face a jail term of up to one year and fines on conviction.

Traders can donate their ivory stocks to institutions or keep them after the ban takes effect, the board said.

Public consultation by the government last year showed that 99 percent of those who responded were in favour of a total ban.

Elephant ivory is coveted because it can be fashioned into items like combs, pendants and other jewellery.

The global trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after the population of the African giants dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to around 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Tourism in trouble: Hong Kong demos hit economy

Yahoo – AFP, Yan ZHAO, Catherine LAI, August 11, 2019

Hong Kong is a popular tourist destination (AFP Photo/ANTHONY WALLACE)

Empty hotel rooms, struggling shops and even disruption at Disneyland: months of protests in Hong Kong have taken a major toll on the city's economy, with no end in sight.

City leader Carrie Lam has warned that the international financial hub is facing an economic crisis worse than either the 2003 SARS outbreak that paralysed Hong Kong or the 2008 financial crisis.

"The situation this time is more severe," she said. "In other words, the economic recovery will take a very long time."

The private sector, in particular the tourism industry, has begun counting the cost of more than two months of demonstrations that erupted in opposition to a bill allowing extraditions to China but have morphed into a broader pro-democracy movement.

The figures are stark: hotel occupancy rates are down "double-digit" percentages, as were visitor arrivals in July. Group tour bookings from the short-haul market have plunged up to 50 percent.

"In recent months, what has happened in Hong Kong has indeed put local people's livelihoods as well as the economy in a worrying, or even dangerous situation," warned Edward Yau, Hong Kong's secretary for commerce and economic development.

The financial hub's tourism industry says it feels under siege (AFP Photo/
Anthony WALLACE)

The city's tourism industry says it feels under siege.

"I think the situation is getting more and more serious," Jason Wong, chairman of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, told AFP.

The impact is so bad that travel agents are considering putting staff on unpaid leave as they try to weather the storm, he warned.

Even Disneyland hit

Images of increasingly violent clashes between masked protesters and police firing tear gas in the city's streets have made global headlines, with protesters announcing new demonstrations throughout August as they press their demands.

A Hong Kong Tourism Board spokesperson told AFP that the number of forward bookings in August and September has "dropped significantly," suggesting the economic toll will linger throughout the summer season.

A string of travel warnings issued by countries including the United States, Australia and Japan is likely to compound the industry's woes.

The fall in arrivals has hurt Hong Kong's carrier Cathay Pacific, which was also forced to cancel flights this week during a general strike that caused chaos in the city.

Tourists flock to Hong Kong for its energy and urban character (AFP Photo/
Anthony WALLACE)

And even Disneyland Hong Kong has been hit, with CEO Bob Iger telling reporters: "We have seen an impact from the protests."

"There's definitely been disruption. That has impacted our visitation there."

The retail sector has also been hit by the drop in arriving visitors hunting for bargains, shops often forced to shutter during the sometimes daily protests.

Experts say the crisis is compounding the economic downturn Hong Kong was already experiencing as a result of being caught up in the US-China trade war.

It's a "double whammy," warned Stephen Innes, Managing Partner of Valour Markets."

"We always take a view that oh, this too will pass. But so far that view is not holding any water... and now it seems like every weekend we're dealing with further escalations," he told AFP.

Experts say Hong Kong's tourism crisis is compounding the economic downturn 
caused by the US-China trade war (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)

'Nastier than expected'

The property market, which fell over 20 percent during the 2008 financial crash, remains strong.

But Innes warned that the deepening crisis could result in capital outflows.

"All the money from the mainland that has propped up Hong Kong property markets could reverse as quickly as it flowed in," he said.

"This is getting a little bit nastier than any of us had expected."

The economic picture for the city was far from pretty even before the protests began, with growth shrinking from 4.6 percent to 0.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter -- the worst quarterly performance in a decade.

Preliminary data suggests the second quarter fared no better, and while the government still hopes for 2-3 percent growth this year, predictions from major banks are more pessimistic.

A Hong Kong Tourism Board spokesperson said the number of bookings in 
August and September has 'dropped significantly' (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)

Those falls reflect the effects of the US-China trade war on an economy that relies heavily on logistics processing and is vulnerable to a fall in trade.

The impact of the protests on growth will not be clear until later in the year, but Martin Rasmussen, China Economist at Capital Economics, said the crisis was likely to weigh heavily.

"In the beginning they were quite peaceful, you could say comparable to the protests back in 2014," he said, referring to pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in the city.

"Now they've become much more extreme, so we think the impact on the economy will begin to take its toll."

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Trump sides with Kim criticism of US-SKorea war games

Yahoo – AFP, 9 August 2019

US President Donald Trump said he had received a 'very beautiful' letter
from North Korea's Kim Jong Un

US President Donald Trump told reporters Friday he agreed with Kim Jong Un's opposition to US-South Korea war games, after receiving what he was a new letter from the North Korean leader.

"I got a very beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un yesterday," Trump said. "It was a very positive letter."

"He wasn't happy with the war games," Trump added, referring to new military exercises between US forces and the South Korean military that began this week.

"As you know, I've never liked it either. I've never been a fan. And you know why? I don't like paying for it," the US leader said.

Trump received Kim's three-page letter on Thursday after Pyongyang undertook four missile tests in the past two weeks that it said were a response to the joint exercises between the South and the United States.

While the weapons fired were not the medium- and long-range ballistic missiles that have posed an implicit threat to Japan and the United States, they were seen to be a new type of extremely fast, short-range guided ballistic missile that could pose a potent danger to South Korea.

On Tuesday North Korea threatened more weapons tests, and said the US-South Korea war games were "an undisguised denial and a flagrant violation" of the diplomatic process between Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul.

Trump continued to play down the missile tests and said he could have a third summit with Kim in the future.

"I think we'll have another meeting," he said.

"In the meantime I'll say it again. There have been no nuclear tests. The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests, no long-range missiles," he said.

Saudis accused of 'sportswash' by hosting world heavyweight fight

Yahoo – AFP, 9 August 2019

Andy Ruiz celebrates his win over Anthony Joshua in New York in
June (AFP Photo/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

London (AFP) - Saudi Arabia will host the world heavyweight title rematch between Anthony Joshua and champion Andy Ruiz Jr in December, a controversial choice which immediately sparked accusations of the Gulf kingdom attempting to "sportswash" its tarnished human rights image.

The high-profile December 7 duel, dubbed 'Clash on the Dunes', will see Britain's Joshua trying to win back the IBF, WBA and WBO titles he sensationally lost to American fighter Ruiz in New York in June.

The bout will take place in Diriyah, which incorporates the UNESCO World Heritage site of Al-Turaif, on the outskirts of Riyadh -- a dramatic contrast to the iconic Madison Square Garden which hosted the first fight.

Promoters Matchroom Boxing said the fight details will be officially revealed at a news conference in London on Monday.

The rematch had been widely touted but Cardiff's Principality Stadium was tipped as favourite to stage the event.

The Saudis have faced intense diplomatic fallout over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi which took place in the conservative kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Saudi rulers, also under fire for the war in neighbouring Yemen, have utilised sport as a tool to try and soften their international image and to provide a showcase, they claim, for reforms inside the oil-rich state.

But Friday's announcement was quickly denounced by human rights campaigners.

"If Anthony Joshua fights Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia, it's likely to be yet another opportunity for the Saudi authorities to try to 'sportswash' their severely tarnished image," said Amnesty UK's head of campaigns Felix Jakens.

"Despite some long-overdue reforms on women's rights, Saudi Arabia is currently in the grip of a sweeping human rights crackdown -- with women's rights activists, lawyers and members of the Shia minority community all being targeted.

"There's been no justice over the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen is carrying out indiscriminate attacks on homes, hospitals and market-places with horrific consequences for Yemeni civilians."

Amnesty said Joshua should "inform himself of the human rights situation and be prepared to speak out about Saudi Arabia's abysmal human rights record".

In February this year, the Saudis hosted a first European Tour golf event which was won by former world number one Dustin Johnson while the world's most gruelling motor sports race, the Dakar Rally, will be raced in the country in 2020.

In July, British boxer Amir Khan won the WBC international welterweight title with a fourth-round stoppage of Australian Billy Dib in Jeddah.

Khan said he did not regret agreeing to the trip despite Amnesty describing the Saudi human rights record as "abysmal".

Khan was reportedly paid £7 million to headline the event.

The former unified world welterweight champion is a Muslim and has embarked on pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions, offering him his own perspective on the country.

"When I was there last, it had all changed. I started seeing women not wearing head scarves. Women were out driving," Khan said.

"They had a huge concert where everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves. I'd never seen that side of Saudi Arabia before.

"Maybe now they are changing to make it that new place where people can enjoy themselves and it's fair for women. I think they're trying to change now."

Friday, August 9, 2019

'Rainbow wedding': Indian transgender couple marry in emotional ceremony

France24 – AFP, 7 August 2019

Indian transgender woman Tista Das (L), 38, and transgender man Dipan
Chakravarthy, 40, perform the rituals of a traditional Hindu marriage ceremony,
pledging their love for each other before family and friends, in Kolkata (
AFP)

Kolkata (AFP) - An Indian transgender couple who both underwent sex re-assignment have tied the knot in a traditional Bengali ceremony, in what is believed to be the state's first "rainbow wedding".

Surrounded by family and friends, bride Tista Das, 38, and groom Dipan Chakravarthy, 40, took part in rituals and pledged their love for each other in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state.

"We are feeling awesome actually. We are out of the gender box and we love to be an exception and we think this is a strong bond between us," Tista Das told AFP on Monday.

"It's a bond of love. It's a bond of liberty also," she said. "And this is the solidarity of our souls."

Das said she battled for a long time to "achieve her identity as a woman, as a human being", adding: "I was not even considered as a human being in this brutal society."

A transgender friend of the couple, Anurag Maitrayee, said the ceremony was a "beautiful, emotional union of two hearts and two souls".

"Despite all the oddities and all the atrocities, I have seen how Tista and her journey from a man into a woman and her relation, emotion, love with a person with a soul whose journey is from a woman to a man," Maitrayee said.

Official estimates for India's transgender population are not known but they are thought to number several million.

Transgenders often live on the extreme fringes of Indian society, with many forced into prostitution, begging or menial jobs.

Over the centuries transgenders have assumed different roles in society, from royal courtesans to participants in birth ceremonies and other auspicious occasions.

They have waged a lengthy battle to protect their rights and end discrimination.

India's Supreme Court recognised them as a third gender in a historic 2014 ruling.

On Tuesday, India's lower house passed a transgender bill to enshrine the rights of transgender people in law. The bill is currently being discussed in the upper house.

But the community as well as human rights activists have raised concerns that the bill's language is unclear over whether it allows transgender people to self-identify.

"The Transgender Persons Bill should be a remarkable achievement for a long-persecuted community, but the current draft fails on the fundamental right to self-identify," Human Rights Watch South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly said last month.

"It's crucial that the law be in line with the Supreme Court's historic ruling on transgender rights."

India's Modi defends powderkeg Kashmir move

Yahoo – AFP, August 8, 2019

New Delhi announced Monday that the Indian-held part of Kashmir had been brought
under its direct rule and has kept the region on lockdown for four straight days (AFP
Photo/Tauseef MUSTAFA)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday his powderkeg move to strip the disputed Kashmir region of its autonomy was necessary to stop "terrorism", as Pakistan voiced further outrage and the UN chief urged "maximum restraint."

Modi's Hindu-nationalist government imposed direct rule on the Indian held portion of Kashmir on Monday, setting off a new crisis in one of the world's most volatile security flashpoints.

Speaking for the first time since the move, and with the people of Kashmir enduring a military lockdown, Modi hailed it as a "historic decision" that would bring peace to the region.

"Friends, I have full belief that we will be able to free Jammu and Kashmir from terrorism and separatism under this system," Modi said in a televised address.

He accused Pakistan of using the special status "as a weapon against the country to inflame the passions of some people" against India.

Modi said the special status had "not given anything other than terrorism, separatism, nepotism and big corruption".

But with Kashmir now fully part of the Indian union, the region would enjoy more jobs, corruption and red-tape, he said, adding that key infrastructure projects would be expedited.

Kashmir has been divided between Pakistan and India since independence from the British in 1947.

The contesting claims over Kashmir have led to two of the three wars between the neighbours.

Pakistan said Thursday it would not take military action this time.

Indian troops block a road during a curfew in Srinagar, Kashmir (AFP Photo/
TAUSEEF MUSTAFA)

"Pakistan is not looking at the military option. We are rather looking at political, diplomatic, and legal options to deal with the prevailing situation," Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said at a press conference in Islamabad.

Tensions remained high, however, with Qureshi's comments coming on the heels of a decision by Islamabad to downgrade its diplomatic ties with India, suspend bilateral trade, and expel the country's envoy.

Pakistan has also promised to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan displayed his rage in a series of tweets calling for international action to stop India.

"What should be obvious is the int community will be witnessing the genocide of the Kashmiris," Khan posted in one tweet.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called Thursday on India and Pakistan "to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir".

"The Secretary-General has been following the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with concern and makes an appeal for maximum restraint," his spokesperson said.

Hundreds detained

In India, a petition was filed to the Indian Supreme Court by an activist challenging the curfew in Kashmir, which was imposed to suppress any unrest in response to the loss of autonomy.

Pakistani Kashmiri lawyers burn an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi 
during a protest in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (AFP 
Photo/SAJJAD QAYYUM)

Activist Tahseen Poonawala and lawyer M.L. Sharma asked the Supreme Court to lift the lockdown and release people who have been detained as part of the crackdown.

University professors, business leaders and activists are among the 560 people rounded up by authorities and taken to makeshift detention centres -- some during midnight raids -- in the cities of Srinagar, Baramulla and Gurez, the Press Trust of India and the Indian Express reported.

ANI news agency also reported that the leader of the opposition in the upper house, Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress party, was turned back at Srinagar airport when he flew to the city.

Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, on Thursday tweeted that she was "worried about the safety of the Kashmiri children and women, the most vulnerable to violence and the most likely to suffer losses in conflict".

"I believe we all can live in peace," she added, in comments that were supported and criticised by Twitter users from India and Pakistan.

Tens of thousands of Indian troops are enforcing the lockdown which includes no internet or phone services, and are allowing only limited movement on streets usually bustling with tourists flocking to the picturesque valley.

Experts warn that the valley is likely to erupt in anger at the government's shock unilateral move once the restrictions are lifted, which could come on the Muslim festival of Eid on Monday.

Late Wednesday India's aviation security agency advised airports across the country to step up security as "civil security has emerged as a soft target for terrorist attacks" on the back of the Kashmir move.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

NKorea's Kim won't 'disappoint me,' despite missile tests: Trump

Yahoo – AFP, August 2, 2019

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) and US President Donald Trump shake hands
during their meeting in the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea
on June 30, 2019 (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

Washington (AFP) - President Donald Trump on Friday underlined his intense personal support for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, even if he admitted that Pyongyang's recent missile tests "may" violate a UN resolution.

"There may be a United Nations violation, but Chairman Kim does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust, there is far too much for North Korea to gain," Trump said in a series of tweets on the subject.

"Chariman Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as President, can make that vision come true," Trump added, misspelling the North Korean dictator's official title.

Nuclear-armed North Korea is barred from ballistic missile tests under UN resolutions, and its recent repeated testing of short-range missiles have been condemned by European members of the UN Security Council.

Trump, however, has dismissed the tests as "standard."

The US president has invested a huge amount of political capital in his attempt to persuade Kim to end his country's isolation and give up its nuclear arsenal.

However, despite three massively publicized face-to-face meetings and numerous exchanges of letters, Trump has modest gains to show for his diplomacy.

In Trump's latest tweets, he has again suggested that his personal touch will be enough to persuade Kim to reverse the regime's years-long push for military nuclear power.

"He will do the right thing because he is far too smart not to, and he does not want to disappoint his friend, President Trump!" the US president said.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Australia pledges US$55 mn to fight human trafficking in SE Asia

Yahoo – AFP, 1 Auguts 2019

Many Rohingya Muslims are leaving Bangladesh's squalid refugee camps, in an
attempt to reach Malaysia and Indonesia for work (AFP Photo/JANUAR)

Australia pledged US$55 million to fight human trafficking in Southeast Asia on Thursday, vowing to tackle "modern slavery" ensnaring vulnerable populations across the region, from low-paid workers to underage brides and Rohingya refugees.

The funding is part of a 10-year scheme that includes training for police and judges to probe criminal networks, Australia's foreign affairs minister Marise Payne said at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Bangkok.

"The initiative will also support joint international investigations to help rescue victims and ensure traffickers are charged," she said.

Rising demand for cheap labour, especially in the fishing and construction industries, has spurred trafficking networks across Southeast Asia where porous borders allow for the easy movement of people.

China's thirst for brides from the Mekong region has also fuelled an illicit trade of mostly young women, thanks to Beijing's decades-long one-child policy and preference for boys.

"There are many deep-rooted factors that enable transnational crime, from corruption through to the unequal status of children and other vulnerable groups," Payne added.

The persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's restive Rakhine state is also prompting new and dangerous networks to form.

Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne pledged $80 million to combat human
trafficking in Southeast Asia (AFP Photo/Romeo GACAD)

Some 740,000 of the stateless Rohingya fled Myanmar for Bangladesh, following a brutal military crackdown in 2017 -- but many are leaving the squalid refugee camps in an attempt to reach Malaysia and Indonesia for work, where they are vulnerable to exploitation.

The sophisticated and lucrative trafficking trade in Southeast Asia was exposed in 2015 when Thailand tried to shut down a million-dollar people smuggling route for Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.

The route came to light after the discovery of the migrants' mass graves in southern Thailand.

Payne highlighted the Rohingya's plight on Thursday.

"We are also concerned by the situation in Rakhine State. We're committed to working with Myanmar, with Bangladesh, with ASEAN, and other partners towards a long term and durable solution," she said.

John Quinley from Fortify Rights, which documents trafficking cases in the region, called on ASEAN countries to boost cooperation and punish perpetrators.

"Human trafficking is a transnational crime that needs a transnational solution," he said.

In 2016, there were an estimated 25 million people trapped in modern slavery across Asia-Pacific, according to the Global Slavery Index.

Related Article:


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Indian Muslim 'instant divorce' ban hailed but faces court challenge

Yahoo – AFP, Jalees ANDRABI, July 31, 2019

The banning of triple talaq, or 'instant divorce', led to celebrations across
India by some Muslim women's groups (AFP Photo/Sajjad HUSSAIN)

New Delhi (AFP) - The Indian government and women's groups hailed "historic" legislation Wednesday that criminalised "instant divorce" for Muslims, but an influential Islamic group said it would launch a legal challenge.

India's upper house passed a bill Tuesday banning the centuries-old practice that allowed men to separate from their wives by saying "talaq" -- or divorce -- three times.

Husbands who use it now can be jailed for up to three years or be fined.

Some Muslim women's groups celebrated at events across India, which has followed Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in regulating "triple talaq".

Zakia Soman, a social activist who launched a campaign against the practice nearly a decade ago, said the legislation would serve as a deterrent against the unjust treatment of women, some of whom were divorced with a WhatsApp message or by phone.

"This law is the result of decades of injustice meted out to Muslim women and the unsympathetic attitude of the political class and clergy," Soman told AFP.

The government called the parliament vote "historic".

"An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter late Tuesday.

'Medieval' divorce banned

But other Muslim groups fought the law and even the opposition Congress Party was against it, accusing Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of targeting one minority group.

Zafaryab Jilani of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board vowed Wednesday to challenge the new legislation in court.

He said the action was part of a wider campaign by Modi's Hindu nationalist party to undermine religious freedom.

"We are not surprised by the legislation as it is part of their larger agenda to change the country's constitution and snatch away the rights of minorities," Jilani, secretary of the Muslim group, told AFP.

Jilani said a petition against the law had nearly 50 million signatories across India.

Asaduddin Owaisi, a leading Muslim lawmaker, said the new legislation "should be seen only as one part of many attacks on Muslim identity and citizenship" since Modi came to power in 2014.

India's Supreme Court ruled triple talaq illegal in 2017, following a campaign by Muslim women whose marriages were ended by the practice. But the top court said the government had to pass legislation to ban it.

Law minister Ravi Shanker Prasad quoting media reports told parliament that around 350 cases had been reported since the Supreme Court ruling in 2017.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Dubai ruler's wife seeks UK forced marriage protection order for children

Yahoo – AFP, Robin MILLARD, 30 July 2019

Jordanian royal Princess Haya has long championed causes close to her
heart including youth and education

The estranged wife of the ruler of Dubai has applied for a UK forced marriage protection order relating to their children, a London court heard Tuesday.

Princess Haya, 45, a wife of 70-year-old United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, has applied for the order, as well as for wardship of their children, and a non-molestation order relating to herself, the High Court heard.

The couple are locked in a legal battle in London over the welfare of their two children.

At a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, judge Andrew McFarlane allowed media to report that Princess Haya, a Jordanian royal, had made the applications.

The court also heard that Sheikh Mohammed has applied to the High Court for the summary return of the children to Dubai.

Distinct from arranged marriages, forced marriages, in UK law, are those without the full and free consent of both parties.

A forced marriage protection order can be used to help someone who is being forced into marriage or who has been subjected to one, according to the government's official leaflet on the orders.

They can be applied for by the person in question, a relevant third party or anyone else with the permission of the court.

Applications must include details of how the applicant wants to be protected by the court, with the leaflet giving the example of stopping a person from being taken out of the UK to enter into a marriage without consent.

Foreign media excluded

After a previous hearing held in private in London, the couple issued a statement relating to the nature of the case.

"These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances," it said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (L) did not attend the court 
proceedings on Tuesday

It said the preliminary case management hearing would "deal with issues relating to how to proceed to a final hearing to determine the welfare issues".

Judge McFarlane -- who presides over the family division of the High Court of England and Wales -- decided Tuesday that only accredited journalists with media based within the jurisdiction of England and Wales were allowed to sit in on the proceedings.

Reporters from media organisations not based in the UK were in attendance but were told they could not hear the proceedings.

Princess Haya is a daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and a half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The princess was in court for the proceedings while Sheikh Mohammed was not.

She left the court accompanied by her lawyer Fiona Shackleton who represented Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, in his divorce from Diana, princess of Wales.

Sheikh Mohammed is being represented by Helen Ward, who acted for Guy Ritchie in his divorce from pop star Madonna and for former Formula One motor racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone in his divorce.

A small anti-Sheikh Mohammed demonstration took place outside the courts complex.

The two-day preliminary hearing is set to continue on Wednesday.

Princess Haya is locked in a legal battle with the ruler of Dubai over the welfare of their two children

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (L) did not attend the court proceedings on Tuesday.





Tuesday, July 23, 2019

New Zealand tightens gun laws again after mosque attack

Yahoo – AFP, 22 July 2019

Ardern said the March 15 killings had changed attitudes towards gun ownership
in New Zealand

New Zealand announced plans for a national firearms register Monday in its second round of gun law reforms following the Christchurch mosque attacks which killed 51 Muslim worshippers.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said regulations around who could hold firearm licences would also be tightened to "stop weapons falling into the wrong hands".

Ardern said the March 15 killings, when a gunman opened fire at two Christchurch mosques as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers, had changed attitudes towards gun ownership in New Zealand.

"There is a new normal around firearms, it is a change of mindset," she told reporters.

"The most dangerous weapons are being taken out of circulation."

The government's initial response to the attack was an immediate ban on the military style semi-automatic rifles (MSSAs) used in the worst massacre in modern New Zealand history.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the latest changes were needed to keep track of firearms in the community.

"Under the current law, we do not know exactly how many guns are in circulation, who owns them, who is selling them, who is buying them or how securely they are stored," he said.

The register, which is expected to take five years to complete, will contain details of the estimated 1.2 million firearms in New Zealand, for a population of around five million.

The second round of gun law reform also includes a ban on foreign nationals purchasing firearms -- the accused Christchurch gunman Brenton Tarrant is an Australian who allegedly bought an arsenal of rifles while living on the South Island.

It also bars people with convictions for violence, gang activity, drug or firearm offences from holding a licence.

A nationwide buyback scheme including 250 "collection events" run by police, was launched this month, allowing members of the public to hand in weapons before a six-month amnesty expires.

Nash said there had been a strong response during the first week of the buyback, with more than 11,000 prohibited firearms and parts handed in.

"Firearms owners want to do the right thing. Many events have seen people queueing before the doors open, ready to hand in firearms, parts and ammunition," he said.

Ardern said the March 15 killings had changed attitudes towards gun ownership in New Zealand.