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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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Asean an engine of growh

The Strait Times, By Yang Huiwen

Mr Jeffrey Immelt (left), chairman and chief executive of General Electric, the largest conglomerate in the United States, said the shape of the global economic recovery is still very much uncertain, but the good news is that Asia has decoupled from the US. --PHOTO: BT

MR JEFFREY Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric, the largest conglomerate in the United States, said the shape of the global economic recovery is still very much uncertain, but the good news is that Asia has decoupled from the US.

'Free money, easy money has always been the elixir to keep the economy in recovery mode' as seen in previous recessions in the US, he said in a speech at a conference hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce held at Raffles Hotel.

'Once interest rates get to zero you can't go much lower than that, which is where we are right now. So the credit can't be liberally applied given the deficits the US has. So the question on the shape of the recovery remains to be seen.'

'There's reason to believe this recovery could look different than those in the past.'

But the 'good news is decoupling really has occured', he said. 'There are economic engines of growth emerging around the world and they are quite exciting and bigger than we thought,' he said citing China and Brazil as examples.

Mr Immelt, 50, who took over the helm from the legendary Jack Welch four days before the 9/11 attack on the US, said companies should position themselves where growth is available, and for GE it means having a greater presence in Asia.

'Probably 10 years ago, if you were to look at one of our strategic plans, we would predict the incredible demise of the Asean region.'

But far from that, Asean could be another engine of growth in the next five to 10 years.

'There's probably one or two meaningful engines of growth that are going to emerge out of the Asean region.'

'(Singapore) is a place where the government really has a vision and really execute on that vision.'

'Our investments in Malaysia have been successful. Five years ago we made some substantial invesmtnets in Vietnam which are proving to be very's time for us to make a bigger statement in Indonesia and see what happens'.

Mr Immelt said GE is in the process of hiring 1,000 sales people to boost sales in the west and north of China.

'How the Chinese economy does in the short-term is probably more important than sitting there praying for a robust recovery in the US,' he said.

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Study: RP to gain $224.1B if infra gaps addressed

Business Mirror, Written by Cai Ordinario, TUESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2009 21:13

IF the Philippines will be able to address its infrastructure gaps in transportation, communication and energy, the country stands to gain some $224.1 billion in net income from 2010 to 2020 and beyond, according to a study.

A joint study of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), titled “Infrastructure for a Seamless Asia,” showed that the Philippines’ gains for transportation alone is estimated at P199.7 billion, while gains for transportation and communications amount to $199.1 billion, and gains from transportation, communications and energy will amount to $224.1 billion.

From 2010 to 2020, the Philippines stands to gain $70.4 billion in transportation; around $69.8 billion in transportation and communications and $77.9 billion in transportation, communication and energy.

For 2020 and beyond, gains for the Philippines will amount to $129.2 billion in transportation; $129.3 billion in transportation and communications and $146.2 billion in transportation, communications, and energy.

“Southeast Asian countries could be significant winners, mainly due to their high dependence on trade and large infrastructure requirements,” the study said.

“The total gains of Indonesia [$1,280 billion], Malaysia [$830 billion], Philippines [$220 billion], Thailand [$1,240 billion] and Vietnam [$400 billion] would be $3,970 billion, higher than both the PRC and India, thanks to improvements in pan-Asian connections,” it added.

Developing Asia as a whole would reap net income gains of $7,840 billion from the expanded regional transport infrastructure; $11,240 billion from the investments in both transport and communications; and $12,980 billion from the investments in transport, communications and energy.

The annual gains, the study stated, would vary from $80 billion in 2011 to $370 billion in 2015 and $900 billion in 2020. On average, annual gains in the second half or 2016-2020, around $670 billion per year, are much larger than in the first half or the years 2011-2015, about $210 billion a year. “The higher growth rate after 2016 can be explained by the effects of cumulative infrastructure investments made during the first half. This trend is visible in every country in the analysis,” the study stated.

However, the report stated that large benefits after 2020 will decline over time with the depreciation of infrastructure stock. This is due to the absence of new or replacement investments taking place.

The report also stated that the accumulated reduction in trade costs resulting from infrastructure investments in 2010 to 2020 as a percentage of trade value for the Philippines is 15.6 percent for transportation alone. “Regional infrastructure projects can boost growth and income, reduce poverty and improve household welfare. Regional energy projects can also benefit the environment by reducing carbon emissions,” the report stated. “The benefits of regional projects often spill over across countries in the region and beyond, illustrating the substantial and positive impact of creating regional infrastructure networks,” it added.

Between 2010 and 2020, Asia will need to invest $8 trillion in overall national infrastructure for energy, transport, telecommunications, water and sanitation, and $290 billion.

The Philippines is one of the economies threatened by the serious implications of not addressing infrastructure gaps. The report stated that the Philippines was one of several developing Asian economies whose infrastructure programs were among the first to be cut.

The report stated that Asia should heed the lessons of the crisis of 1997–1998. At that time, public and private infrastructure investments were substantially reduced in many Asian economies, where in many cases they were already too low.

Ketsana wreaks havoc across Southeast Asia

The Jakarta Post, Manila | Wed, 09/30/2009 2:15 PM

One of the most destructive storms in years extended its deadly path across Southeast Asia, blowing down wooden villages in Cambodia and crushing Vietnamese houses under mudslides after submerging much of the Philippines capital. The death toll Wednesday was at 298 and rising.

Rescuers from the Philippine Navy carry a victim of flash floods caused by Typhoon Ondoy at Provident Village in Marikina City, Metro Manila September 27, 2009. (REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo)

"We're used to storms that sweep away one or two houses. But I've never seen a storm this strong," said Nam Tum, governor of Cambodia's Kampong Thom province. The immediate threat was easing as Typhoon Ketsana was downgraded to a tropical depression as it crossed Wednesday into a fourth nation, Laos. But its powerful winds and pummeling rain left a snaking trail of destruction.

Landslides triggered by the storm slammed into houses in central Vietnam on Tuesday, burying at least seven people including five members of the same family, the government said.

They were among 41 people killed in the country, some by falling trees, with 10 missing. The storm destroyed or damaged nearly 170,000 homes and flattened crops across six central Vietnamese provinces, officials said. More than 350,000 people were evacuated from the typhoon's path, posing a logistical headache to shelter and feed them.

Parts of one hard-hit province, Quang Nam, were still isolated by floodwaters and its main highway remained partially submerged, provincial disaster official Nguyen Hoai Phuong said. In neighboring Cambodia, at least 11 people were killed and 29 injured Tuesday evening as the storm toppled dozens of rickety houses in Kampong Thom province, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of the capital, Phnom Penh. Five members of the same family died when the storm toppled their home as they ate dinner, said Neth Sophana of the Red Cross. Others were swept away by floodwaters.

Neth Sophana said about 90 homes were destroyed. Authorities were searching for more victims and rushing food, medical supplies and plastic sheeting for temporary tents to storm-hit aras. Light rain was falling over some parts of the disaster zone Wednesday, and most rivers had peaked Wednesday morning and were starting to slowly recede, Vietnam's National Weather Forecast Center said. But the cleanup task was enormous.

In the Philippines, Ketsana on Saturday triggered the wors flooding in 40 years across a swath of the island nation's north and submerged riverside districts of the sprawling capital of 12 million people. Officials said 2.3 million people had their homes swamped, and 400,000 were seeking help in relief centers hastily set up in schools and other public buildings- even the presidential palace.

The Philippines death toll stood at 246, with 42 people missing. Frustration boiled over at some sites. Flood victims rushed at an army helicopter delivering boxes of clothes to a relief center in Rodriguez town in hard-hit Rizal province just east of the capital, an Assciated Press photographer at the scene said.

No one was apparently injured, and the scene returned to calm after the helicopter dropped off its goods. Elsewhere in Rizal, police said they were investigating reports that flood victims mobbed two convoys carrying relief supplies and pelting thetrucks with stones. "Apparently victims who were hoping to receive the relief goods blocked the convoy," police official Leopoldo Bataoil told The Associated Press, adding that the report was unconfirmed.

Another tropical storm was headed toward the southern Philippines and could hit on Wednesday aftrnoon, government forecaster Malou Rivera said. Officials fear more heavy rain could flood already hard-hit areas and complicate cleanup efforts.

At relief centers Wednesday, women and children clutching bags of belongings lined up for bottled water, boiled eggs and packets of instant noodles for a fourth ay. Their husbands waded through sludge to return to their homes to clean up the mud - sometimes two feet (half a meter) deep - that carpeted their houses and shops.

Thick, gooey mud lay in some streets, while others were still under a foot or two (half a meter) of water. Mountains of garbage piled up. Neighborhoods rich and poor along the rivers that thread through the greater Manila area were hard hit, but the main downtown business and tourist district was largely unscathed and workers went back and forth as normal.

The city's notorious traffic jams appeared marginally worse as drivers avoided flood-hit aeas. In Marikina, a suburban district of the capital, police used forklifts to remove mud-caked cars stalled along the road.

Elsewhere, people used shovels and brooms to muck brown mud from their homes and businesses, some of them inundated up to the second floor. The government has declared a "state of calamity" in Manila and 25 storm-hit provinces and estimated the damage at $100 million.

It concedes its ability to cope with the disaster is stretched to the limit and has appealed for foreign aid, and accepted pledges from the United States, Australia, Japan and other nations.

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Indonesia steps in to fill the Fiji vacuum

The Jakarta Post, Duncan Graham, Contributor, Suva | Tue, 09/29/2009 11:03 AM

No entry: Fiji’s parliament building is locked up, a powerful symbol of the state of democracy in the small island nation. JP/Duncan Graham

One of the saddest sights in Suva, the capital of the tiny nation of Fiji, is the Parliament building.

It’s reputed to be a splendid example of Pacific Island architecture representing traditional Fiji values.

But this can’t be confirmed: The gates are locked and rusting, and weeds are pushing through the driveway. Three years ago, Fiji went through yet another coup and the power of the ballot box yielded to the rule of the gun.

There have been four coups in the past 22 years but this didn’t stop Indonesia opening an embassy in this troubled former British colony.

It was a smart move. As the Commonwealth and European Union punished Fiji for overthrowing democracy, other countries have filled the gap.

“Indonesia’s interests in the Pacific Islands used to be served by our embassy in Wellington, but because Suva is the hub of a growing region it was decided to establish a presence here in 2002,” said Indonesian Charge d’Affaires Pinardi Priambodo.

“Fiji doesn’t produce much so most of the trade is in Indonesia’s favor. In the past five years the growth rate has been 2.77 percent.

“The other issue that takes our time is caring for the interests of Indonesian seamen and sorting out disputes with employers. Many problems come about because the Indonesians haven’t read or understood the job contracts they signed back in Jakarta.”

Indonesia isn’t the only nation taking a new interest in a zone once dominated by Australia and New Zealand. The imposition of sanctions and other controls on aid, sporting contacts and government visits by fellow Commonwealth countries has created a vacuum largely exploited by China, which is now ramping up trade and aid.

Last year, Indonesia did business worth US$24.5 million (Rp 250 billion) in the Pacific Islands served through Suva. By Indonesian standards, it’s little more than a mid-size town with only 200,000 people, but it’s the biggest city in the South Pacific outside New Zealand, and a multicultural mix of locals, transients, other islanders, Indian traders and Europeans seeking a quiet life.

Indonesia’s natural sphere of influence has long been Southeast Asia but its push into the Pacific is logical, according to Pinardi.

There are historical Indonesian links with the peoples of Polynesia. The current theory is that they arrived about 3,000 years ago after traveling south from Taiwan and China, then moved through the Indonesian archipelago, the Philippines and then deeper into the Pacific, reaching Fiji via Tonga.

Although Indonesia isn’t part of the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum, it has the status of a “dialogue partner”. Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda attended the forum’s post-summit meeting in Queensland, Australia, in August this year.

Pinardi, who is also known as Pak Klik, a nickname that defies simple etymology, is single and “under 40”. He was previously stationed in Seoul where he specialized in economic issues, spending his spare time on the snowfields. By the time his tour of duty had finished, he’d skied seven of the 12 slopes near the Korean capital.

Seeing his love of snow, it fits the curious posting system of Foreign Affairs that he should be sent to a tropical island. He runs a staff of six Indonesians including four lively young diplomats seemingly uninfected by the past rigid bureaucracy of the Soeharto era (Pinardi labeled them “the fantastic four”), and five locals.

Unlike many embassies, it’s a relaxed low-security office. Despite the military coup and alleged human rights abuses, Suva isn’t full of soldiers and most locals seem indifferent to the political tension, more concerned with public service sackings, the devaluation of the Fiji dollar and the resulting high cost of living.

With no direct air links to Indonesia, there’s little demand for visas. For Indonesians wanting to see Fiji, the good news is that they don’t need visas, prices are cheap and they can stay for four months, enough time to explore the 300 lush, coral-fringed islands.

Indonesia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fiji to develop tourism but so far little has happened.

Pinardi arrived in Fiji in June after the departure of the last ambassador. The son of a Christian pastor and academic, Pinardi was born and educated in Salatiga in Central Java and educated at the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta.

“I got into diplomacy by chance,” he said. “I planned to be a banker because I’d trained in economics. But when I went to get the transcript of my studies legalized I chanced to see an advert for the Foreign Service.

“I later spent 18 months at Monash University in Australia learning trade negotiation skills, knowledge that came in useful in Korea.

“In Fiji we’re not just concerned with trade. We’re very keen on providing technical assistance, sending Pacific Islanders for training in Indonesia.”

It’s a strange reversal of positions. While the big Western nations are giving aid to Indonesia, the Republic is busy providing assistance to the Pacific. This has ranged from training farmers in artificial insemination of dairy cattle, using the latest fishing technology and navigation aids, and rehabilitating people with disabilities.

“We’ve been passing on our skills in rice planting,” Pinardi said. “Farmers in Fiji used to broadcast their rice seeds. We’re training them in our system planting seedlings in rows while walking backwards.

We’ve also donated small agricultural tractors.

“The other skill we’re teaching is in the multiple uses of bamboo. Fiji people don’t do as much with bamboo as we do in Indonesia.”

So while other countries may consider Indonesia to be a poor, low-tech developing nation, Fijians have another view, particularly those who’ve been the lucky recipients of programs such as “capacity building for poverty reduction”.

The Indonesian touch can be found everywhere from imported Toyota Kijang vans through to handicrafts and women’s clothing. Fiji was once a big garment exporter but Commonwealth sanctions and cheap Chinese imports have crushed the industry, creating opportunities for smart Indonesian businesspeople — and not just clothing manufacturers.

Furniture is a sector where Indonesia has few competitors. The big resorts have been ordering large quantities of tropical-style rattan and water hyacinth chairs, tables and sofas that can be used inside and outside. They appeal to the environmentally conscious because they’re made from renewable materials.

“We want to improve people to people ties and build cultural understanding. We’ve been giving scholarships for higher studies at Indonesian universities, said Pinardi.

“Fijians are very musical people and great singers. We do have a set of angklung [bamboo xylophones] but no gamelan orchestra. Maybe in the future.”

Monday, September 28, 2009

Indonesia lauds US policy shift on Myanmar

Ary Hermawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 09/28/2009 1:36 PM

Hopeful faces: Khin Aye, a member of the detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party, dances during the party’s 21st founding anniversary celebration at the party’s headquarters, on Sunday. AP/Khin Maung Win

Indonesia has hailed the United States' decision to engage the reclusive Myanmar junta, urging the latter to respond positively to the appeasing gesture from Washington.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda called on Yangon to respond to the shift in US policy by taking positive action such as reducing the jail term of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said in a text message sent to The Jakarta Post from the US.

Both Hassan and Faizasyah are in the US for the UN General Assembly, along with Myanmar Foreign Minister Maj. Gen. Nyan Win, who was granted entry to New York amid strained relations between the two countries.

"The foreign minister conveyed his message during the ASEAN foreign ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly," Faizasyah said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced last Wednesday that Washington would pursue engagement with the generals in Yangon. But she also made clear the lone superpower would not immediately end the economic sanctions it had imposed, saying that "engagement versus sanctions is a false choice in our opinion".

Clinton also said during the announcement that the decision for the policy shift was taken after discussing the Myanmar issue with Hassan, during the secretary of state's visit to Jakarta in February, Faizasyah said.

However. Analysts are doubtful this new strategy will soften up the junta in the short term. Others even fear the junta will take the gesture as a tacit endorsement of its current behavior.

"While the decision is indeed a welcome breakthrough, the result will depend heavily on the way Myanmar responds to the US's new gesture," said Bantarto Bandoro, an analyst from the Indonesian Institute for Strategic Studies.

"The US has been using more sticks than carrots all this time when dealing with Myanmar.

"I think ASEAN has already been using the stick-and-carrot approach, only it has never used the stick in a way the US did."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon again urged Southeast Asian countries to take a tougher line with neighbor Myanmar in hopes its military junta will free political prisoners and hold fair elections, Reuters reported. He was speaking to the ASEAN foreign ministerial meeting in New York.

Ban said it was in the best interests of the rest of ASEAN to lean on Myanmar to free political prisoners.

"Our collective interest is to find ways to encourage Myanmar to free Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners, start a genuine political dialogue, and create conditions conducive to credible elections," Ban said.

ASEAN member states have refrained from criticizing each other, despite calls for the organization to condemn Myanmar for its mistreatment of Suu Kyi, under ASEAN's policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of fellow member states.

Senior ASEAN officials last month recommended that their foreign ministers officially appeal to Myanmar to let Suu Kyi participate in next year's elections, after a three-day meeting in Jakarta.

The international community says the 2010 elections - the first since the 1990 elections won by Suu Kyi's National League of Democracy - will not be fair and credible if Suu Kyi and other dissidents currently being detained by Myanmar are not allowed to take part.

GE Expects 20 Pct Revenue Growth In Asean, China And India


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 (Bernama) -- General Electric (GE) expects its business in Asean, China and India to grow at least 20 percent in respect of revenue this year, despite the current global economic challenges, said its chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Immelt.

Immelt said GE's business in Asean had contributed US$3.9 billion to the company's revenue last year while for China it was US$3.8 billion and India US$2.1 billion.

"The growth in China and India has accelerated," he told a media briefing, here on Monday.

GE, an American company, is a diversified entity with its principal activities embracing aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, healthcare and television programming.

On its healthcare business, Immelt said:"We are already the big investor in healthcare. So, what we are trying to do with it, is drive the business transformation model.

"The long term demographics in healthcare is quite positive. In the emerging market, it is based on a growing population.In the United States and Japan, it is the aging population.

"So, either way, there is going to be more demand for healthcare products."

He stated that healthcare is a long term growth market and needs new solutions.

GE indicated recently that it would spend US$3 billion over the next six years on healthcare innovation,to deliver better care to more people at a lower cost.

In addition, the company will commit US$2 billion in financing and US$1 billion in related GE technology and content to drive healthcare information technology and health in rural and underserved areas.

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Obama keen on Asean-US summit

President says meeting should be held in Singapore this year


US President Barack Obama has confirmed to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that he would like the first ever Asean-US Summit to take place in Singapore later this year.

The two leaders met prior |to the G-20 Summit session |on Friday at the David L Lawrence Convention Centre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Abhisit welcomed Obama's keen interest in Asean-US relations.

"It will commemorate the most productive and enduring relationship Asean has with its dialogue partners," he said, according to a source attending the meeting.

Thailand currently holds the Asean chair and the PM was representing the grouping at the G-20 Summit.

The source said the US |president had also informed Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, who was accompanying Abhisit, that he would like |to see US-Asean engagement becoming even more productive and meaningful in all areas.

This came one day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made public at a Friends of Burma meeting at the United Nations that there would be a review of US-Burma relations.

"The president appears to be very keen and very clear about his desire to see our partnership moving onto a higher plane. That is very encouraging and gratifying indeed," said Surin when asked via e-mail about Obama's comments to Abhisit.

Since the Asean meeting in Phuket in late July, Asean and US diplomats have been engaged in a frenzy of activity to improve the Asean-US dialogue partnership, which is 32 years old.

A new momentum toward better relations has gained pace since the new US administration came into power in January. Clinton's visit to the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta in February - the first ever by a US secretary of state - promised a reversal in the long-standing US low-profile engagement with the grouping.

The US in July signed an agreement to accede to the Asean Treaty of Amity and Cooperation after 17 years of consideration. The accession has increased mutual confidence between Asean and the US.

A total of 26 countries have now signed the 1976 regional code of conduct.

The first Asean-US Com-memorative Summit, which |was originally planned for September 2007, is expected to take place in Singapore when the island-state hosts the next summit of leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) countries in November.

Most Asean countries and the US are part of Apec.

Surin also said via e-mail that Asean-US relations being put back on centre stage formed part of Washington's Asian diplomatic drive.

At the G-20 Summit, Abhisit reiterated the role that Asean+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) was playing in solving the global financial crisis.

He discussed the regional liquidity-support mechanism known as the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation, which will become effective later this year.

He said the multilateral self-help mechanism would enable Asean+3 countries to systemically support each other in solving their liquidity problems.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Outsiders flag intention to apply for club membership

The Australian, Dennis Shanahan, in New York | September 28, 2009

WHEN US President Barack Obama stood at the end of the leaders' summit in Pittsburgh and declared the G20 was the new premier economic forum in the world, there was a confusing background of 25 flags flying on the stage.

That there were so many flags when there are only 19 national members of the G20 is testimony to the tensions and infighting going on beneath the surface about who should be part of the new global economic order.

During months of diplomatic campaigning over the issue, there has been strong opposition, particularly from Europe, to any eclipsing of the G8 as the premier multilateral economic decision-maker, and even more dispute over how big any new body should be and which nations should be members of the group.

From an Australian, Chinese, Brazilian and US standpoint there was little doubt that the G20 - originally including finance ministers and central bankers from 19 countries and the European Union who were brought together to deal with the Asian financial crisis - should be the supreme new body.

Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan have been trying to ensure Australia would be at the table of whatever body was formed arising from the global financial crisis.

Officially the membership of the G20 is Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US, as well as the European Union, represented by the rotating council presidency and the European Central Bank.

So when Mr Obama strode across the stage at Pittsburgh, all 19 of those national flags, plus those of the EU and the UN were behind him, making 21. As the current European council president, Sweden was represented and had its flag flying.

Although temporarily at the G20 through Sweden, the Scandinavian countries want a permanent representative, which would make the G20 the G21.

But there was also the flag of Ethiopia - as a regional representative of the Organisation of African Unity, despite South Africa's permanent membership; and the flag of Thailand, a member of ASEAN, which was present as an Asian regional member, although there are four Asian members.

And then there were the leaders of Spain and The Netherlands. Both were invited guests and are keen to join the G20, although there are four separate European members plus the EU.

After the announcement of the new economic order, Mr Rudd said: "It's important for Australia that our voice be heard in the councils of the world. It's important for Australia that our voice is heard directly - not indirectly through the agency of others - on the major economic decisions of our time."

The Prime Minister went on to thank "the President of the United States and others, including the Prime Minister of India, President Hu Jintao of China, Prime Minister Hatoyama of Japan, President Lee of Korea, President Yodhoyono of Indonesia, President Zuma of South Africa and others for their strong support for the establishment of this new institution as a permanent part of the global governance system of the future".

Apart from naming those who had been helpful - it's also known the Latin American members were supportive - Mr Rudd would not be drawn on the tussle over membership.

Asked about the background to Australia becoming part of the G20, he said: "This was a consensus decision."

However, there are going to be continuing hidden ructions about just who gets to sit at the G20 table, and fly their flag on the group's stage.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Emerging economies 'get new role'

The G20 group of leading and emerging economies will take on a new role as a permanent body co-ordinating the world economy, a US official has said.

The move will give more power to emerging economies, rather than to the developed powerhouses of the G8 group.

The Obamas welcomed world leaders to Pittsburgh

The G20 is meeting in the US city of Pittsburgh for a two-day summit.

Senior EU officials later announced a deal to shift the balance of voting in the International Monetary Fund to benefit growing economies like China.

Currently, China wields 3.7% of IMF votes compared to France's 4.9%, although the Chinese economy is now 50% larger than that of France.

Near the venue, police fired rubber bullets at protesters on a march. The previous G20 meeting, in London in April, was marred by clashes.

The disturbances are thought to have begun after hundreds of protesters tried to march, without permission, towards the convention centre where the summit is being held.

'Party over'

"The G20 is going to be the new body counsel that will be the coordinating body for international economic cooperation," said an unnamed US official, quoted by Reuters news agency, as the two-day meeting began on Thursday evening.

The plan is expected to be outlined in detail by President Obama on Friday.

With many major economies beginning to climb out of recession, attention at the G20 will turn to when and how to withdraw government stimulus packages.

Cracking down on bankers' bonuses has popular appeal with the public, it is expected that an agreement will be reached on how that might be achieved.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said G20 countries had reached a consensus on the "basic outline" of a proposal to limit pay and bonuses by the end of 2009.

Each country would set their own standards, he said, but that these would be overseen by the G20's Financial Stability Board - made up of central bankers and regulators.

Earlier, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling warned bankers that the "party was over" and they must realise that the world has changed.

Balance growth

A spokesman for the White House said that financial regulatory reform was the most important agenda item for summit, but that addressing global economic imbalances was also a priority.

President Obama has led a campaign to smooth out imbalances in the flow of global capital to try to secure greater long-term economic stability.

The US proposal calls on economies such as China, Brazil and India to boost domestic consumption in order to lower their trade surpluses.

Meanwhile the US and Europe would encourage more saving to reduce long-term budget deficits.

"The US can't, should not and won't continue to experience the consumption-led growth driving very high volumes of imports and lending impulse to the rest of the world economy," director of the US president's National Economic Council, Larry Summers, told the BBC.

"That's not a sustainable financial situation for the US and that's why we're in the process of adjusting."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Máxima special advisor to UN head, Tuesday 22 September 2009

Princess Máxima has been named a special advisor to United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon in the field of financial services.

Máxima's role will be to advise Ban Ki-moon on how to make banks accessible to everyone, including in developing countries where it is often impossible to open a bank account or borrow money. The princess will give a speech in her new role in New York on Tuesday.

Máxima has been a member of a UN committee on bank accessibility for the past few years and is a known supporter of micro-financing in developing countries.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beyonce to play Malaysia concert

R&B star Beyonce has announced plans to perform in Malaysia, two years after scrapping a concert over the country's strict dress code.

The singer is due to stage a leg of her world tour in the capital Kuala Lumpur next month, according to her website.

Beyonce may have to dress more demurely for her Malaysian gig

In 2007, her planned appearance drew opposition from the Islamic Party and organisers said the concert was called off due to "scheduling conflicts".

Female performers are expected to dress and behave conservatively in Malaysia.

Islamic groups have already expressed their opposition to the concert and say they will send a protest note to the government.

"We are against Western sexy performances. We don't think our people need that," said Sabki Yusof, youth leader of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

Organisers for Beyonce's show, which will be her first career performance in Malaysia, have yet to comment.

The singer performed in Indonesia after shelving the concert in 2007, where rules governing stage performances are more relaxed.

Other singers have encountered problems with performing in Malaysia, including The Pussycat Dolls, who were censured in 2006 after their concert flouted the rules.

Related Article:

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Maldives named as second best Asian holiday destination


A global vote by readers of has placed Maldives and Phuket in Thailand as second best Asian holiday destination.

Bali in Indonesia stands first and Kerala as the third best. Kerala is followed by Hong Kong (4th), Bangkok and Hoi An (5th), Boracay, Goa and Langkawi (6th), Chiang Mai and Palawan (7th), Angkor, Shanghai and Tokyo (8th), Dubai and Koh Samui (9th) and Penang and Rajasthan (10th).

This was revealed in the 2009 best in Travel Poll by Smart Travel Asia – the region’s only dedicated online travel magazine which puts the spotlight on ‘inspirational’ brands and travel trends.

Voters polled in 12 categories including Asia’s best business hotels, luxury resorts, spas, destinations, business cities, shopping spots, and the world’s best airlines and airports. The poll was conducted through May-July this year.

Despite poor tourist arrival rates throughout 2009, statistics by the Department of Immigration and Emigration shows that August 2009 shows an increase. The statistics shows that 52,388 tourists visited Maldives in August 2009, while 51,824 tourists arrived in August 2008, registering a 1.1% increase. However, for the period from January to August 2009, a reduction of tourist arrivals by 8.8% was registered compared to the same period last year. During January and August 2009, 415,433 tourists arrived while 455,423 tourists arrived during the same period last year.

From the Asian region 12,085 tourists visited Maldives during August 2009. Chinese arrivals have shown the biggest increase from the region. During August 2009, 6197 Chinese tourists visited Maldives, registering an 80.1% increase.

In addition to the China, tourist arrivals from American region had also increased during August 2009, registering an 11.5% increase.

During the August 2009, tourists had spent 426,063 nights in the Maldives marking a 5.9% reduction. At the end of August 2009 of the 96 resort’s registered 20,614 beds, 85 resorts had operated 19,428 beds. Occupancy rates for August 2009 were at 66.9% and tourists had spent 8.8 nights in the Maldives.

Related Article:

Best Asian Travel Brands 2009

Obama, Abbas, Netanyahu to meet

JTA, September 19, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama, Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu will meet in a summit.

The leaders of the United States, the Palestinian Authority and Israel will meet Tuesday, according to a statement released Thursday night by the White House. Obama will meet separately with each leader before the summit.

"These meetings will continue the efforts of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Special Envoy George Mitchell to lay the groundwork for the relaunch of negotiations, and to create a positive context for those negotiations so that they can succeed," the statement said.

Mitchell met Friday with Netanyahu and Abbas. After the Abbas meeting in Ramallah, Saeb Ereklat, the top Palestinian negotiator told reporters that Mitchell had failed to achieve the breakthrough necessary to renew talks. Abbas wants Israel to totally freeze settlement building; Netanyahu is willing to freeze such building for a limited time, and to make allowances for "natural growth."

Additionally, the Palestinians want to have comprehensive talks on all issues, including Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees; Israel wants only to discuss borders.

The statement did not say whether the meeting would take place in Washington or in New York, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

Indonesia to make the most of G20 Summit

Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 09/19/2009 12:22 PM

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will head to Pittsburgh, United States, next week for the third G20 Leaders Summit, where he is expected to "voice the interests" of developing countries and fight for the forum's permanency.

Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said Thursday at a press conference that during the Sept. 24-25 meeting of the leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies, Indonesia would voice the interests of developing countries.

He said Indonesia also hoped the summit would not exclude climate change issues in its agenda, with the COP 15 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen coming up in December.

"We also want an acceleration in the reforms of multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank," Dino said.

"The process is ongoing, but we want it to be accelerated.

"And Indonesia wants the G20 to explore other issues such as aid effectiveness and food and energy security," he added.

"These are important things for Indonesia."

Dino said the summit would follow up on the results of the previous two meetings, including on multilateral banks' reforms and financial sector reforms, including the changing of the financial stability forum into the financial stability board.

"The G20 leaders are also expected to make a stronger base for the global economic recovery and global economic activities in the future, to make the world economy more sustainable, and to take social issues into consideration," Dino said.

He added Indonesia would also fight for the G20 forum to be made permanent and institutionalized, with members still arguing over which forum to grant permanency to: the G8, G14 or the G20.

"The economic landscape has now changed. The global economic growth is now boosted not by the US or Europe, but by Asia; by India, China, as well as Indonesia," Dino said.

"It is a heated debate. We hope the direction will be clearer in Pittsburgh."

During the trip, Yudhoyono will hold bilateral talks with new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Australian PM Kevin Rudd.

After three days in Pittsburgh, the President will be in Boston from Sept. 26 to 29, during which he will meet with CEOs of 200 companies, speak on "Harmony of Civilization" at Harvard University, and greet Indonesian students and citizens living in the city.

Yudhoyono will be accompanied by a handful of Cabinet ministers.

Related Article:

Obama wants G20 to rethink global economy

Friday, September 18, 2009

Noordin death makes region safer: Singapore PM

Antara, Friday, September 18, 2009 19:25 WIB

Singapore (ANTARA News/AFP) - Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Friday the death of terror leader Noordin Mohammed Top in an Indonesian police raid was a "significant achievement" that would make the region safer.

"This is a significant achievement that will make Indonesia and the region safer," Lee said in a letter to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono released by Singapore`s foreign ministry.

But he also cautioned that while groups linked to Noordin would be weakened by his death, "they still pose a threat to our countries and the region."

Lee said Singapore would continue to work closely with Indonesia and other regional governments in the fight against militancy.

"I am confident that under your able leadership, and the professionalism of the Indonesian police and security agencies, Indonesia will score more successes against terrorists in future," the Singapore leader said.

Noordin, a 41-year-old Malaysian who led a violent splinter faction of the Jemaah Islamiyah radical network, was killed along with three other militants during a raid on a village house in central Java on Thursday.

His death ended a six-year manhunt for the man blamed for a series of deadly suicide attacks including the July double bombing of Jakarta`s JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels.

Singapore, one of Asia`s most affluent cities and a regional base for thousands of multinational companies, is a prime target for attacks by hardline groups, officials have said.

One of the plots foiled by Singapore authorities was a plan by Islamic hardliners to hijack an airliner in Bangkok and crash it into Changi airport in 2001 following the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Singapore has also arrested several militants allegedly involved in a plot to bomb the US embassy and other targets in the city-state.

Related Article:

US praises RI for eliminating long-sought terrorist

Australian lower house passes ASEAN trade bill



Australia's House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation that would enable the country to join in a free trade agreement with its Southeast Asian neighbors and New Zealand.

The government plans to have the Senate vote on the legislation on Thursday to enshrine in law Australia's participation in a free trade zone including the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus New Zealand.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said all 12 nations involved were passing similar laws before the free trade area comes into effect on Jan. 1 next year.

"The agreement will reduce or eliminate tariffs across a region that is home to 600 million people and a region with a combined GDP of $3.2 trillion," O'Connor told Parliament on Wednesday.

"This means greater job opportunities in Australia," he said.

The trade pact was signed in February in the Thai resort town of Cha-Am.

While Australia's major political parties support the deal, some lawmakers have questioned the value of other free trade deals Australia has negotiated to date.

Australia already has bilateral free trade pacts with Singapore and Thailand -- both ASEAN countries -- as well as New Zealand, United States and Chile.

The only three independent lawmakers in the House of Representatives released a union-commissioned report on Wednesday that argues a proposed bilateral free trade agreement with China would cost 26,000 Australian jobs.

"We're most certainly not singling out China here," independent lawmaker Bob Katter told reporters.

"I personally would feel far more comfortable if it were a report saying we should reverse the United States free trade deal" which took effect in 2005, Katter said.

ASEAN also includes Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.