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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Friday, February 26, 2010

Blogger Auto Pagination Speeds Page Loads but Angers Bloggers

Susan's Blogging Blog, by Susan Gunelius, Thursday February 25, 2010

Last week, Blogger rolled out Auto Pagination, which automates the amount of content that is displayed on Blogger blog pages based on the amount of HTML and and images on each page. Google claimed that the purpose behind the change is to speed page load time. For example, with the new Auto Pagination feature, a Blogger blog might be limited to only display two posts per page if those posts include a lot of images. Visitors would need to click on the Next Post link to view additional posts from the blog.

While the change is unlikely to affect a lot of smaller bloggers, it has caused concern from larger bloggers, particularly those who use Blogger for photo blogs or blogs that are image-intensive, such as celebrity fan bloggers.

Many of the Blogger users who found their blogs suddenly altered to display only a couple of posts per page blogged about the new Blogger Auto Pagination feature in order to complain about the change. According to some of the more vocal bloggers, they were able to email Google and work with them to modify their blogs so the Auto Pagination feature doesn't affect their blogs. If you use Blogger and dislike the Auto Pagination feature, be sure to contact Blogger support and voice your concerns.

Has the new Blogger Auto Pagination function affected your blog or any of the blogs that you read? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

RI, M`sia agree to minimize sea border violations

Antara News, Wednesday, February 24, 2010 23:44 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian and Malaysian navies have agreed to minimize mutual violations of their sea boundaries, especially in Sulawesi waters.

"We have agreed and understand the rules that have been made by the two parties with regard to procedures for conducting patrols in the two countries` sea borders," Indonesian Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Agus Suharto said here on Wednesday.

When asked by ANTARA News regarding the result of his courtesy call on Malaysian Navy Chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Jafar last week he said the two parties had agreed to conduct patrol in their respective sea borders.

"So in case a sea border dispute occurs including in the Sulawesi waters we will refer it to the government to settle. We, the two countries` navies, will safeguard and patrol in our own regions in line with the standing procedures already agreed," Agus said.

Until now the Indonesian embassy has facilitated 13 rounds of talks on the Indonesia-Malaysia maritime border since 2005 with regard to delimiting four segments of the maritime border namely in Sulawesi waters, the Malacca Strait, the South China sea and the Singapore Strait.

In the Malacca Strait Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have conducted patrol cooperation under the Malsindo (Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia) program and a joint Eye in the Sky air patrol.

Indonesia and Malaysia however have not reached an agreement regarding the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) border line in the northern part of the Malacca Strait and in the South China sea.

In the Sulawesi waters the two countries also have not yet agreed with regard to continental shelf, territorial and EEZ borders.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

N. Korea ‘Allows Private Markets to Reopen’ After Currency Chaos

Jakarta Globe, February 18, 2010

North Korean farm workers weed a rice paddy in Unpha county, in North Korea's North Hwanghae province. (AFP Photo)

Seoul. North Korea has allowed private markets to reopen nationwide after a bungled currency revaluation worsened food shortages and fueled anger at the regime, a Seoul welfare group said on Thursday.

“All the markets across the country should be reopened — without exceptions — as before,” Good Friends said in a newsletter, citing what it said was a special order from the central committee of the ruling Workers’ Party. It said security organizations across the nation were ordered to launch “absolutely no crackdowns on trading in food” at the markets.

South Korea’s intelligence agency said this month that the curbs on private markets had been eased in various places.

The official policy turnaround came last week, “based on assessments that the currency reform has caused enormous pain to people by paralyzing distribution networks,” group director Lee Seung-yong said.

“I believe North Korea will not clamp down on market activities for a considerable period, or at least until its state distribution system is back to normal.”

The South’s Ministry of Unification, which handles cross-border relations, could not confirm the welfare group’s report.

“We’ve heard the North is gradually easing curbs on the markets but it is difficult to verify the full-scale reopening,” spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo said.

In recent years the Pyongyang regime has imposed a series of curbs on market traders in an attempt to regain control over the economy, even though the official food-rationing system was largely inoperative.

A currency revaluation announced on November 30, involving a 100-for-one swap of old won banknotes for new currency, was part of the crackdown on private traders. But it sparked widespread anger by wiping out savings, sent prices soaring and worsened already serious food shortages, according to numerous reports.

Good Friends said this week that about 2,000 people had starved to death across the nation this winter. Analysts told a parliamentary seminar in Seoul that the currency chaos was a blow to the regime itself.

“The failure in North Korea’s currency revaluation brought about severe damage to the endurance of the North Korean system,” said Baek Seung-joo, of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

Agence France-Presse

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Asia-Pacific MDG progress under threat from global economic crisis

Asian Development Bank

ESCAP, ADB and UNDP joint Report calls for strengthening social protection

MANILA (UN ESCAP Information Services) – A joint report by the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns that the global economic crisis could trap an additional 21 million people in the Asia-Pacific region in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 a day.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in an Era of Global Uncertainty: Asia-Pacific Regional Report 2009/10, launched today in Manila, examines the toll that the global economic crisis has taken on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region. Produced by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), ADB and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the report identifies opportunities for action – showing how countries of Asia and the Pacific can better protect themselves from this and future crises.

“This report shows that, while we are at a moment of crisis for the MDGs we also have an opportunity,” says Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP at the report launch. “As this crisis has exposed many vulnerabilities in the region – we can now address them and direct this recovery towards a stronger sustainable development path for the Asia-Pacific region.”

"Most stimulus measures have focused on areas other than social expenditures," says Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, ADB Vice President. "If we are to address the human impacts of the economic slowdown and achieve the MDGs, then social spending needs to be stepped up substantially."

"Asia has much weaker social protection compared to other regions such as Latin America and Eastern Europe,” says Ajay Chhibber, UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and UN Assistant Secretary-General. “Without better protection people fall back into poverty with economic crisis, health pandemics and natural disasters and cannot recover easily, making the achievement of MDGs more difficult."

The report notes that long-term social protection can actually strengthen Asia’s resilience against future shocks. Yet the report finds that across the region, only 20 per cent of the unemployed and underemployed have access to labour market programmes such as unemployment benefits, and only 30 per cent of older people receive pensions.

If fiscal stimulus packages have a strong component of social expenditures, notes the report, this is likely to produce a double dividend – not only boosting growth more rapidly but also accelerating progress towards the MDGs.

Prior to the economic crisis, the region as a whole had been making notable gains, including being on track to achieve three important targets: gender parity in secondary education, ensuring universal access of children to primary school, and halving the proportion of people living below the $1.25-a-day poverty line. However, the economic crisis undermined the momentum.

Asia and the Pacific is still the home to the largest number – more than 50 per cent – of people, both rural and urban, without basic sanitation, of under-5 children who are underweight, of people infected with TB, of people living on less than $1.25 a day, and of rural people without access to clean water, according to the report.

It notes that in 2009 the crisis trapped up to an additional 17 million people in extreme poverty, and in 2010, another 4 million, giving a total of 21 million or roughly the equivalent to the population of Australia.

The most adversely affected segment of the population is women, who constitute the majority of Asia’s low-skilled, low-salaried, and temporary workforce that can easily be laid off during economic downturns. Moreover the crisis has reduced the demand for migrant labour – and women form nearly two-thirds of the total Asian migrant population.

The report points to opportunities for the region to protect itself and the MDG progress from future crisis though regional cooperation. Regional cooperation would also be particularly valuable for the trade in food, and could include grain banks that are maintained in each country but readily accessible to others, notes the report.

Expanding Asian monetary and financial coordination would be particularly useful to reduce external shocks such as with the global financial crisis. While fiscal stimulus is the most practical way of filling the gap left by declining exports, in the medium and long term, countries will need to generate domestic demand in a more sustainable way.

Countries can consider diversifying their export markets to become less dependent on demand in the West, suggests the report. They can boost trade within the region by liberalizing trade regimes and improving transport links, simplifying customs and inspection procedures.

By lowering trade barriers and creating more opportunity for the Asia-Pacific region to invest within itself, there can be a greater insulation against such crisis in the future.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in an Era of Global Uncertainty: Asia-Pacific Regional Report 2009/10 is the fourth regional MDG report for Asia and the Pacific produced by the three agencies.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Burma frees NLD leader Tin Oo

BBC News

Burma has freed the vice-chairman of Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).

Tin Oo, 82, has been in prison or under house arrest for more than a decade.

The release comes as Burma's ruling military junta prepares to hold national elections in 2010, though no date has yet been set.

Rumours inside Burma say Ms Suu Kyi could also be freed, probably after the elections, and once her period of house arrest expires in November.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RI sends letter to China to renegotiate ACFTA

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 02/09/2010 10:04 PM

The Indonesian government has sent a letter to China requesting a renegotiation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement [ACFTA].

“Director General for International Trade Gusmardi [Bustami] sent a letter of request to renegotiate with China. The request is still in process and will take some time,” Industry Ministry M.S. Hidayat told Antara on Tuesday.

Hidayat further said that Gusmardi had been communicating with the Chinese government over the renegotiation, which he believed to be in progress.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono previously said that he would pursue talks with China to avoid negative impacts from the free trade deal between ASEAN and China.

The ACFTA, based on an agreement signed in 2004 and fully effective as of Jan. 1 this year, has introduced zero tariffs on 6,682 tariff posts in 17 sectors, including 12 in manufacturing and five in agriculture, mining and maritime sectors. (nkn)

Monday, February 8, 2010

PRC Gets $135 Million ADB Loan for Power Plant Using New Coal Technology

Asian Development Bank (ADB) , 8 February 2010

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is supporting the construction and operation of a coal-fired integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the first such plant in a developing nation.

The ADB Board of Directors today approved a $135 million loan to build a 250-megawatt IGCC plant in Tianjin City that can generate up to 1,470 gigawatt-hours of electricity every year.

PRC is the world’s largest coal producer and consumer. Its heavy use is causing serious pollution, including sharply lowered air quality and widespread acid rain. The large coal usage is also causing global concerns due to rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In response, PRC has launched a clean coal power generation program, GreenGen, to sharply reduce pollution as well as lower the GHG emissions, with the Tianjin project being the cornerstone of the first phase.

ADB is also providing $1.25 million in technical assistance to pave the way for the second and third phases of the program which will result in a scaled-up IGCC plant fitted with carbon capture and storage technology by 2013.

Plants using IGCC technology turn coal into a synthetic gas, removing impurities, before the gas is burned in a gas turbine. It is more efficient than other clean coal technologies and emits less GHG and only a fraction of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollutants, but its adoption has been slow due to high costs and some perceived technology complexity and risks.

The advent of IGCC technology combined with a carbon dioxide capture and storage function, however, has provided fresh impetus for its use, with studies showing that it is now the least-cost option to cut carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants by up to 90%.

“The project will demonstrate the advantages of a technology with the potential for large greenhouse gas emission reductions. Its successful implementation will bolster the confidence of investors, project developers, and policymakers leading to scaled-up IGCC power plants and their expanded deployment,” said Ashok Bhargava, Principal Energy Specialist in ADB’s East Asia Department.

To help curb risks linked to the adoption of the new technology and to keep costs down, ADB is providing a $5 million grant from its Climate Change Fund to finance direct supervision and technical support from the component suppliers during the critical initial operation and maintenance phase. It will also be used to help strengthen project management capacity and to ensure compliance with key safeguards.

As the IGCC technology reduces coal use and GHG emissions, the project is expected to be eligible for carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. ADB is providing technical support to help with the CDM registration process.

ADB’s loan from its ordinary capital resources makes up 32% of the total project cost of $419.59 million. The loan has a 26-year term, including a grace period of six years, with the interest rate determined in accordance with ADB’s LIBOR-based lending facility.

The loan component is due for completion by June 2012 and the grant component by June 2015.

The remaining costs will be funded from equity contributions of $84 million, a loan of $195.59 million from a group of local banks, and the grant from ADB’s Climate Change Fund - established in 2008 to invest in projects which address the causes and consequences of climate change.

China Huaneng Group, the managing partner of the government’s GreenGen program, is the executing agency for the project.

About ADB

China shuts down training website for hackers

China has more internet users than any other country

China has closed down what is believed to be the country's biggest training website for hackers, state media has reported.

They say the site, Black Hawk Safety Net, gave lessons in hacking and sold downloads of malicious software.

The reports say three people suspected of running the site were arrested.

Hacking is a sensitive topic for China, especially since the internet giant Google recently threatened to pull out of the country.

Google said China-based hackers had attacked its operations but the Chinese government denied any involvement.

The hacker training operation openly recruited thousands of members online and provided them with cyber attack lessons and Trojan software, the China Daily and the Wuhan Evening News said.

Trojans, which can allow outside access to a computer when implanted, are used by hackers to illegally control computers.

Black Hawk Safety Net recruited more than 12,000 paying subscribers and collected more than 7 million yuan ($1m: £650,000) in membership fees, while another 170,000 people had signed up for free membership, the paper said.

The Hubei government refused to comment on the reports.

It was unclear when the shutdown had taken place but the Black Hawk Safety Net site was unavailable on Monday.

Cyber attack

Google threatened last month to pull out of China unless the government relented on censorship.

It said it had uncovered a computer attack that tried to plunder its software coding and the e-mail accounts of human rights activists protesting against Chinese policies.

Government officials have defended China's online censorship and said the country is the biggest victim of web attacks.

China has some 350 million internet users - more than any other country - and provides a lucrative search-engine market worth an estimated $1bn last year.

Google holds about a third of the country's search market, with Chinese rival Baidu having more than 60%.

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RI, Malaysia close to deal on worker protection

Lilian Budianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 02/08/2010 9:53 AM

Malaysia and Indonesia are close to signing a comprehensive agreement on migrant workers that will better protect Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia from abuse by employers.

Both governments have settled all differences except for the issue of minimum salary for the more than 2 million Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia, Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Da’i Bachtiar said.

He said the Malaysian government had agreed to give Indonesian migrant workers one day off in a week, allow them to hold their passports for the duration of their contract and cover the workers’ transportation costs as well as periodic salary increases.

“We have reached a deal in all those measures, except for the minimum salary. We expect negotiations will be concluded at the end of February, and that the ban on sending workers will be revoked before March,” he said on Saturday.

Indonesia has imposed a ban on sending migrant workers to Malaysia since last June after a string of abuse cases that sparked public protests. The Indonesian government said it would not lift the ban unless Kuala Lumpur agreed to a number of measures it proposed to protect migrant workers.

Under the current deal, Malaysian employers have the right to hold employees’ passports while the workers are given identity cards issued by Malaysian authorities.

A number of Malaysian employers and the police have allegedly abused the system. Many reports have shown that without a passport, migrant workers cannot run away from employers if they were abused, while police officers forced them to pay bribes if they knew the workers didn’t have passports.

The story of Indonesian worker Siti Hajar illustrates the plight of Indonesian migrant workers.

With red blisters and scabs on her face and upper body, Siti Hajar fled her employer’s house in June.

Hajar told the media her female employer hit her and poured boiling water over her and repeatedly

beat her with a cane over a 34-month period.

Last year, in a high-profile case that began in 2004, a Malaysian court sentenced a housewife to 18 years in prison for three attacks on her Indonesian domestic worker, Nirmala Bonat, using an iron and boiling water.

Most Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia work as domestic helpers and plantation laborers. They sent home US$8.2 billion in 2008 according to the government, making remittances one of the country’s top foreign-exchange earners.

The Malaysian government said it expected Indonesia to lift the ban because it had a significant impact on labor-intensive industries.

Addressing the minimum salary, Da’i said the average salary of Indonesian migrants in Malaysia was RM 500 ($130) while Jakarta proposed it be increased by 300 ringgit.

Migrant worker issues continue to strain bilateral relations between Indonesia and Malaysia, in addition to border disputes and heritage claims.

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar also called on regional administrations, the police and the immigration office to coordinate to prevent job seekers from going overseas illegally.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said the ministry would continue to send home illegal migrants, not only from Malaysia but also worldwide.

Risk takers: Several illegal Indonesian workers, whose boat collided with another on Monday morning, rest at the headquarters of the Barelang Water Police, Batam. They were among 14 Indonesians who intended to go and work in Malaysia without proper documentation. JP/Fadli

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reports: Malaysia finds drugs in Iranians' luggage

The Jakarta Post, (AP), Kuala Lumpur | Sun, 02/07/2010 1:06 PM

Three Iranians were detained at Malaysia's main airport after $4 million worth of illegal drugs were found in their luggage, in the nation's biggest drug haul in three years, reports said Sunday.

The 120 pounds (54.5 kilograms) of methamphetamine was in plastic bags stuffed among clothes in two hand-carried suitcases, The Star newspaper quoted customs investigations director Zainul Abidin Taib as saying.

It said customs officers detained the man and two women a the Kuala Lumpur International Airport upon their arrival late Friday from Dubai. They have not been charged. The death penalty is mandatory for drug trafficking in Malaysia.

The drugs were estimated to be worth 13.6 million ringgit ($4 million), the reports said. The New Straits Times newspaper said it as the biggest drug haul in three years and that 10 Iranians now have been detained on suspicion of smuggling drugs into Malaysia this year.

"This is a worrying sign as we do not want our airports to become an easy target for drug smugglers," Zainul was quoted as saying.

Last year, customs officials detained 41 foreign suspected drug traffickers, including 29 Indians and seven Iranians.

Zainul and other customs officers could not immediately be reached Sunday for comment.

Myanmar told to have inclusive elections

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 02/06/2010 10:11 PM

Indonesia expects Myanmar to meet its promise to hold inclusive general elections this year, Ambassador Sebastianus Sumarsono said Saturday.

"A general election is considered a success if everyone participates. The Myanmar government has promised this," Sumarsono said on the sidelines of a foreign ministerial meeting.

He said Indonesia was actively following the development of the democratic process in Myanmar and would be ready to provide support if needed, including sharing its experience.

Indonesia has maintained a good relationship with Myanmar for 60 years.

Sumarsono refrained from predicting the chance of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), to win the election that may take place between June and October.

"A group of senior members have expressed their unwillingness to participate, while the younger generation is more willing," he said.

Myanmar’s home affairs minister, Maung Oo, said last month Suu Kyi might be released in November.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Absence of direct banking links hampering RI-Myanmar economic cooperation

Antara News, Saturday, February 6, 2010 21:32 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The absence of direct banking links and airline flights between Indonesia and Myanmar are among the main constraints in efforts to develop their bilateral economic ties, an Indonesian envoy said.

Indonesian Ambassador to Myanmar Sebastianus Sumarsono made the statement here Saturday on the sidelines of a Foreign Ministry Working Conference.

"These constraints are having a discouraging effect on our entrepreneurs (to develop economic relations with Myanmar)," he said.Sumarsono said, in 2008, the Indonesian representative in Yangon met with Myanmar`s central bank governor, Col. Than Nyein, in Nay Pyi Taw to explore possible ways to step up bilateral banking and monetary cooperation, especially establishment of direct banking links.

The Myanmar central bank chief welcomed the Indonesian effort and pointed out that Myanmar already had long-standing banking relations with such countries as China, India and Thailand.

According to Than Nyein, Indonesian commercial banks could support trade activities using the US dollar or other currencies with Myanmar through a "book transfer" system in collaboration with a number of Myanmar counterparts such as MFTB of Myanmar, Myanmar Economic Bank (MEB), and Myanmar Investment Commercial Bank (MICB).

Sumarsono hoped that Indonesian entrepreneurs would be more prepared to do business in or with Myanmar as the potential for closer economic cooperation between the two countries was quite large.

Indonesia-Myanmar trade in 2008 reached a total value of about US$250 million and in 2009 it rose to US$290 million.

Indonesia and Myanmar established diplomatic relations on December 27, 1949. The two countries are both members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ACFTA seen as serious threat to small Industries

Antara News, Saturday, February 6, 2010 18:13 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (AC-FTA) poses a serious threat to numerous people`s industries in Indonesia, a students movement spokesman said here on Saturday.

"It is a serious problem that needs special management. We should not focus our attention only on acts to save a small bank like Bank Century from a difficult situation, while ignoring the security of the people`s industries at home," Indonesian National Students Movement (GMNI) Center Presidium chairman Cokro Wibowo said.

He made the statement to respond to the pros and cons on the implementation of AC-FTA since January 1, 2010 while the domestic people`s industries were still unprepared to face the free trade area.

"The ASEAN China-Free Trade Area including Indonesia is feared to cause a systematic de-industrialization in the country," Cokro Wibowo said.

He said he was afraid that besides causing people`s industries in the villages to go bankrupt, the AC-FTA would in the long run also cause massive layoffs and kill business opportunities for the people at large.

"We know that before the implementation of AC-FTA, inexpensive products from China already inundated markets down to village level in Indonesia . Is this not a serious threat?", he asked.

Therefore, Cokro Wibowo on behalf of GMNI asked the government, especially the Trade Ministry and related House of Representatives` Commissions to take positive measures to enforce national economic sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Fayakhun Andriadi, a member of the Golkar faction in the House Commission-I said on a separate occasion that mismanagement in the free trade area cooperation could have a negative impact on economic growth and economic justice for the people in Indonesia.

"The AC-FTA for me is like a time bomb, because it can become a serious problem in the future," said the young politician from the Golkar party.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Obama’s Plan to Double US Exports Targets Asian Economies

Jakarta Globe, February 04, 2010

US President Barack Obama. (AFP Photo)

Washington. US President Barack Obama has ordered a cabinet-level group to oversee a new strategy to double exports in five years, mainly to rapidly growing Asia, including Indonesia, with a drive to remove trade barriers, his administration said on Thursday.

Under the National Export Initiative, the government will provide US companies with greater access to export financing and help them penetrate emerging high-growth markets such as Indonesia, China, India and Brazil.

Last week Obama picked Jakarta for his administration’s first overseas trade mission as the US aims to make good on a pledge to boost exports of climate-friendly products, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.

The policy will create an “export promotion cabinet” reporting to the president, including leaders of the commerce, state and agriculture departments and the US Trade Representative.

The move “represents the first time the US will have a government-wide export promotion strategy with focused attention from the president and his cabinet,” Locke said.

The policy proposes to identify opportunities in fast-growing sectors like environmental goods and services, renewable energy, health care and biotechnology.

“If we just increased our exports to Asia by a percentage point, by a fraction, it would mean hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of jobs here in the United States,” Obama said. “And it’s easily doable.”

US exports to the Asia-Pacific region were up more than 8 percent in 2008 over the preceding year to $747 billion, figures from the US Trade Representative’s Office showed.

“It’s all about jobs. And if done right, President Obama and I firmly believe that a smart, aggressive, progressive trade policy can be a critical part of our overall economic recovery program,” the president’s top trade official Ron Kirk said.

Agence France-Presse

Monday, February 1, 2010

Singapore Mulls New Limits on Foreign Workers

Jakarta Globe, Alex Kennedy, February 01, 2010

Singapore's finance minister wants a "quantum leap" in productivity. (AFP Photo)

Singapore. Singapore must limit the influx of foreign workers and develop the skills of its own population to keep one of Asia’s richest countries growing, a high-level commission said on Monday.

The commission representing government, corporate and union leaders warns that Singapore’s economic growth will slow to between 3 percent and 5 percent a year over the next decade even if reforms are implemented. Growth has averaged about 7.5 percent a year since 1961.

“We’re not against foreign workers,” said Lim Swee Say, secretary general of the National Trades Union Congress and a commission member.

“But like wine, too much is a bad thing, and it dilutes focus from productivity.”

Foreign workers account for a third of the city-state’s workforce. Most toil as construction laborers, maids and other low-paying occupations. Critics say cheap foreign labor has held down wages for Singaporeans though few want to take low-status jobs.

Singapore, one of the world’s richest nations with GDP per capita of $37,700 in 2008, is becoming a victim of its own success as other Southeast Asian countries vie for a slice of the manufacturing that propelled it to prosperity. Economies with lower-cost labor are luring away manufacturing jobs, while the city-state’s high cost of living and education have led to a low birth rate and dependence on ever-more foreign workers to boost output.

The commission recommended that the government should improve worker skills, invest more in research and development and limit the increase in foreign workers in a bid to spur productivity gains of between 2 percent and 3 percent a year during the next 10 years. Growth in productivity — output per worker — has averaged 1 percent a year in the previous decade.

“We’re proposing a quantum leap in productivity to fuel a quantum leap in wages,” said Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the commission’s chairman. Singapore is looking for productivity gains to account for two-thirds of the next decade’s GDP growth, up from 20 percent of the past decade.

“The catch-up process is probably over for Singapore,” said Tai Hui, head of research for Southeast Asia at Standard Chartered in Singapore, referring to its rapid industrialization. “Growing an economy is a challenge for many developed countries, as we’re seeing in the US and Europe.”

The commission recommended the government raise research and development spending to 3.5 percent of GDP from its current 3 percent, establish an export-import bank to lend small and medium companies 1.5 billion Singapore dollars ($1.1 billion) over the next 10 years and raise the fees companies must pay to bring in foreign workers.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a statement that the government will respond to the recommendations during a speech announcing the 2010 budget later this month.

Singapore’s economy contracted 2.1 percent last year after growth of 1.1 percent in 2008.

Associated Press

Jakarta’s role in ASEAN could make it the regional hub

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 02/01/2010 10:13 AM

Kebayoran Baru, a residential area in South Jakarta for members of the capital’s upper class may get a lot busier and see more expatriates moving in soon.

Blok M, with its popular amusement center and shopping malls, could be an attraction for many foreigners, not only Japanese or Koreans, who have become traditional customers of the nightclubs and bars dotting the area.

Officials are saying this might be the beginning of a busy period as more countries will appoint their representatives to ASEAN, whose secretariat office is located at the heart of the area.

Currently, 33 countries, including major economies, such as the US, UK, Germany, China and India, have sent their own ambassadors to ASEAN in addition to the ambassadors posted to the diplomatic missions.

ASEAN deputy secretary-general Bagas Hapsoro said Sunday that although several countries still attached their ASEAN representatives to embassies in Indonesia, most of them will have their own office as relations become more complex, with the expectation that they will open their office close to the Kebayoran Baru premises where the ASEAN Secretariat is located.

He went on to say that as interest in ASEAN grows, so too will the number of permanent missions, with Kebayoran Baru expected to be a prime location.

Also, he added, more jobs will be available as, for example, if one representative brings five foreign assistants and employs several other local workers, then hundreds or even thousands of jobs could be created.

“Many representatives are looking for offices and residences in the areas surrounding the secretariat,” Bagas, the outgoing Indonesian ambassador to Lebanon, said.

“These developments can only benefit ASEAN’s centrality and Indonesia’s primary role as a member and host of ASEAN,” he said.

ASEAN has established free trade agreements (FTAs) with many countries, including China, Australia, New Zealand and India, with many more to be implemented soon.

“The FTAs will make ASEAN and its secretariat much busier. And the world will look to Jakarta as an important city,” Bagas said.

Interest is rising among more distant countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, he said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah agreed that the Dec. 15, 2008, ASEAN Charter, soon to come into force, has strengthened the position and relevance of the grouping as a rules-based organization, both in regional and international arenas, while giving Jakarta huge leverage as the host of the grouping’s secretariat.

“It will bring huge financial benefits to the Indonesian economy. It will also shape Indonesia’s changing role within the region and the entire world,” he said.

Faizasyah underlined, however, that to reap these benefits Indonesians should enhance their awareness of the new environment that requires Indonesians to be more open and to have a cosmopolitan outlook.

“We have been trying to raise awareness of people across the country through seminars, talk shows and other activities so that more Indonesians know about ASEAN and its impact on them,” he said.

As far as the government is concerned, Faizasyah said a national secretariat under the command of a director general has been established to coordinate other ministries’ activities within ASEAN.

“Indonesia has also sent its permanent representative to ASEAN to channel diplomatic efforts to lobby for our national interests,” he said.

The Government of Indonesia, Bagas said, has agreed to donate more land to enlarge the current ASEAN Secretariat office to prepare for more activity within the grouping.

The ASEAN Secretariat, which the ASEAN leaders have entrusted with the task of implementing the ASEAN Charter, has more than 270 employees, of whom only 70 are professionals, serving 10 countries with a combined population of 585 million people, Bagas said.

“By comparison, the EU employs 14,000 people serving 27 members with a smaller combined population,” he said, adding that Brussels, the headquarters of the EU, has evolved from being a sleepy Belgian town into the robust capital of a new Europe.

“It is time for us to think of Jakarta as an international city by defining it as the new ‘Brussels of the East’, and this includes more support to enhance the role of the ASEAN Secretariat. We should take a fresh look at how we can accommodate both ASEAN and non-ASEAN citizens who work to sustain the centrality of ASEAN,” Bagas said.