Asean Summit, Malaysia on Nov 21, 1015

Asean Summit, Malaysia  on Nov 21, 1015
Asean Establishes Landmark Economic and Security Bloc
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - Text version)

“….. Here is the prediction: China will turn North Korea loose soon. The alliance will dissolve, or become stale. There will be political upheaval in China. Not a coup and not a revolution. Within the inner circles of that which you call Chinese politics, there will be a re-evaluation of goals and monetary policy. Eventually, you will see a break with North Korea, allowing still another dictator to fall and unification to occur with the south. ….”

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk
North Korean defector and activist Hyeonseo Lee, who lives in South Korea, poses as she presents her book 'The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story' in Beijing on March 26, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fred Dufour)

US under fire in global press freedom report

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Children Day

Children Day

Search This Blog

Monday, May 31, 2010

Premier Wen calls for deepened friendship between China, Japan 2010-05-31 01:50:27

TOKYO, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Sunday evening called for both sides to deepen China-Japan friendship, playing down problems and misunderstanding between the two countries and peoples.

"Although there are still some problems and conflicts between the two countries, and some misunderstanding between the two peoples, I am confident the China-Japan friendship is rooted among the two peoples and we must inherit and push forward the friendship," said Wen while addressing representatives of China-Japan friendship organizations and Chinese societies based in Japan.

Wen arrived in Tokyo Sunday afternoon, kicking off his official visit to Japan. This is his second visit to Japan since 2007 when he paid the "ice-melting" journey to the neighboring country.

In the past three years, Sino-Japanese relations have made progress on the track of healthy development, said Wen, urging the two countries to take history as a mirror and look into the future.

Wen said that against the background of tackling the global crisis, China and Japan need to jointly promote cooperation in various fields to overcome difficulties and seek common development.

Echoing Wen's remarks, Masahiko Komura, president of the Japanese Diet's Japan-China Friendship League, said the two countries should enhance non-governmental exchanges, increase mutual understanding and lift bilateral ties to a new level.

Wen flew to Tokyo from South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju after winding up his visit to South Korea and attending the third trilateral summit of China, Japan and South Korea.

Wen is expected to meet Japanese Emperor Akihito, hold talks with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and meet speakers of the senate and the house during his visit, which lasts from Sunday to Tuesday.

China and Japan will also sign agreements on food safety, energy conservation, environmental protection and e-commerce.

Japan is the second stop of Wen's four-nation Asia tour, which will also take him to Mongolia and Myanmar.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Amnesty Backs World Court, Slams Global Injustice

Jakarta Globe, Guy Jackson, May 27, 2010

London. Amnesty on Thursday called for the US, China and Russia to sign up to the International Criminal Court, in a hard-hitting report alleging powerful governments have blocked advances in global justice.

The trio and four of their fellow G20 nations — India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — must drop their opposition to the ICC, Amnesty said, as it unveiled its annual snapshot of global human rights.

The head of the London-based organization also called on Thailand to allow international investigators to help probe the army’s crackdown on protesters this month.

Amnesty International’s interim Secretary General Claudio Cordone said the group wanted “to ensure that no one is above the law”.

“Our report shows that powerful states hold themselves above the law and protect their allies so justice is only served when expedient,” he said at the report’s launch.

The group said no country could justify its refusal to fully sign up to the ICC — the only independent, permanent court with authority to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

However, Cordone said he was confident that the initially fierce US opposition to the court was lessening under President Barack Obama. “We feel that such opposition may be softening,” he said in an interview.

“If governments are serious about justice then they realize that this court is operating to proper human rights standards, and there should be no reason why it shouldn’t be supported. “So in the end I am optimistic that the United States will join the court.”

While hailing the ICC’s arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir over alleged war crimes in Darfur last year as a “landmark”, Amnesty condemned the African Union for refusing to act on it.

Cordone said he hoped that, now South Africa had broken ranks and vowed to arrest Beshir if he steps on its soil, the rest of the African continent would follow suit.

Amnesty is deeply concerned about this month’s riots on the streets of Bangkok, said Cordone.

He conceded that Thai security forces had been confronted by opposition demonstrators using firearms. “But in their response we saw the army shooting indiscriminately among demonstrators and sometimes apparently they were targeting unarmed people.”

The riots had been quashed, but an unknown number of demonstrators remained in unofficial detention centres in which there was a risk that rights abuses could go unpunished, he said. “The first step for the government is to disclose how many people they are holding so that proper access can be granted.

“At the same time, there is also a need for a proper investigation and the Thai government may want to ask for international assistance to make sure that this investigation is independent and credible,” Cordone said.

Agence France-Presse

Membership (as of October 2009), Orange denotes states where membership treaty is signed but not yet ratified

Thursday, May 27, 2010

RI told to be active in alleviating Korean tensions

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 05/27/2010 10:33 AM

Experts have urged the Indonesian government to be proactive and take an immediate action toward the escalating dispute gripping the Korean peninsula as the issue may eventually affect the country’s economy.

University of Indonesia international relations expert Hariyadi Wirawan said Wednesday although a “military war” was unlikely, Indonesia should take up the role of mediator to calm the rhetoric between the two Koreas.

“Our foreign policy is not only being neutral, but also free and active. [Meaning Indonesia should be] active in peacemaking and [helping create] global order,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

The Indonesian government, however, seems to be in limbo as to how to respond, and faces a lack of initiatives to offer during any peace talks, Hariyadi said.

The ongoing dispute on the peninsula would harm Indonesia’s economy because the matter also concerned some of the world’s big- gest economies, including China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea itself, said Hariyadi.

“Indonesia’s economy [also] relies on development of East Asia’s economy,” he said.

Hariyadi also said Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or Vice President Boediono should be involved to throw weight behind any mediation because Jakarta was perceived

by Pyongyang to be aligned with Seoul.

He said Indonesia had lost respect on the peninsula since President Yudhoyono cancelled his planned trip to both North and South Korea in 2006.

Yudhoyono took a trip to South Korea later in 2009 during a ASEAN meeting on Jeju Island.

Bandung-based Padjajaran University security expert Yan Yan Mochamad Yani said Indonesia should urge peace in the peninsula through global forums, like ASEAN, the G-20 and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), adding that Yudhoyono carried sway as one of the world’s top figures.

Both Indonesia and North Korea are members of NAM, but the South Korea is not.

“Indonesia can be a moderate in an ASEAN [forum], conveying the voice of ASEAN members [over Korean dispute], as the ongoing situation in East Asia will undoubtedly affect Southeast Asia,” Yani told the Post.

The renewed tensions between North and South Korea began when a guided torpedo tore apart South Korean navy vessel Cheonan near a disputed sea border off the west coast killing 46 sailors.

A team of international investigators have concluded the torpedo was fired from a North Korean submarine, prompting South Korea to take punitive measures ranging from slashing trade, resuming propaganda warfare and blockading the North Korean cargo ships.

Related Articles:

Asian trio: S Korea warship sinking 'threat to peace'

RI lawmaker hopes peace process initiated in Korean Peninsula

Thousands in Seoul Call for Revenge against N.Korea

Palestinian president to pay second visit to Jakarta

Antara News, By Fardah, Thursday, May 27, 2010 19:25 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will pay a working visit to Jakarta on May 28-29, 2010 or about three years after his first state visit here in October 2007.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Tuesday, apart from bilateral issues, he and Abbas would also discuss a new chapter in the peace process between Palestine and Israel.

In a statement shortly before leaving for Oslo, Norway, the President said Indonesia would remain consistent in its support for the cause of an independent state of Palestine.

Indonesia had demonstrated this stance at Asian-African forums to boost Palestine`s capacity to become an independent country, Yudhoyono stated.

Also known as Abu Mazen, Mahmoud Abbas was born in Safad, in Palestine in 1935. Following the Jewish invasion and military attacks in Palestine, his family fled Safed in 1948 and settled in Syria.

He co-founded Fatah with Yasser Arafat and accompanied him into exile in Jordan, then Lebanon and then Tunisia. In the early days of the movement, he became respected for his clean and simple living.

Abbas studied law in Egypt before doing a doctorate in Moscow. He is the author of several books.

He served as Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority in 2003, and on January 9, 2005, Mahmoud Abbas was elected President of the Palestine National Authority.

In addition to a bilateral meeting with President Yudhoyono, President Abbas during his one-day stay in Jakarta, as part of his Asian tour taking him also to Vietnam and Malaysia, will hold meetings among others with Vice President Boediono and Arab ambassadors, according to a source of the Palestinian embassy in Jakarta, Thursday (May 27).

Palestine and Indonesia most likely might also sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the construction of Indonesian hospital at Gaza Strip, Palestine, the source said.

Recently, Minister/State Secretary Sudi Silalahi told representatives of Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C) Indonesia, led by MER-C Presidium chairman dr Sarbini Abdul Murad that: "The presence of Indonesian hospital at Gaza Strip is urgent and therefore we have to support it."

He said the Health Ministry has agreed on the construction of the hospital and then allocated Rp20 billion funds to build the health facility at Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Sarbini Abdul Murad said MER-C has also allocated Rp13 billion fund for the construction of the Indonesian hospital at Gaza Strip with the donation from Indonesian community.

Indonesia, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation, has so far refused to establish diplomatic ties with Israel as long as the Jewish state is still occupying Palestine, as the country`s Constitution is against colonialism in any part of the world.

Indonesia and Palestine have committed to embarking on concrete cooperation as it was especially emphasized during President Mahmoud Abbas`s state visit in Jakarta in 2007.

Witnessed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and President Abbas in Jakarta, in 2007, Palestine and Indonesia signed a Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on training and courses for Palestinian diplomats and policemen, sister-city cooperation between Al Quds (Jerusalem) and Jakarta, and regular consultations between the two administrations.

Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz Mehdawi confirmed to ANTARA in 2007 that the two nations had decided to move forward to concrete cooperation from their previous efforts which were mostly political and moral in nature.

Indonesia has been tirelessly supporting Palestine in various international political and diplomatic arena, especially in the United Nations Security Council and other other bodies.

Last March 2010, The Indonesian government has condemned Israel for its provocative decision to build 1,600 illegal houses in Palestine`s East Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Indonesia`s permanent representative to the United Nations, World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international organizations, Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani, expressed the condemnation in his capacity as the head of the Indonesian delegation to the 13th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Indonesia`s chief delegate said Indonesia remained deeply concerned about the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where living conditions had deteriorated sharply since the excessive and disproportionate aggression of Operation Cast Lead.

"There were blatant infringements of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibited tampering with or modification of religious heritage sites in occupied areas, and Israel should halt that provocative and illegal policy, as such activities did nothing but increase tensions and hostilities in the region and ultimately hindered efforts towards a long-awaited peace process," Ambassador Djani said.

The report of the High Commissioner outlined many troubling incidents and painted a picture of unacceptable suffering and despair for the Palestinian people.

"There is no doubt that the occupation had resulted in widespread violations of the civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people, and there were breaches of the fundamental human rights to water, sanitation and decent housing, as well as to freedom of religion," he said.

All of those violations, alongside documented incidences of torture and arbitrary detention, were a testament to the occupying power`s clear disregard for basic human rights, he said.

Indonesia also deeply regretted that the protracted conflict remained unresolved, and expressed steadfast support to the diplomatic efforts by the international community to find a just and comprehensive two-State solution leading to the establishment of an independent and democratic State of Palestine.

The Muslim-majority nation also reminded the world that no progress on peace had been made after the Goldstone report, and the recommendations of the latter had not been fully implemented.

In April 2010, the Indonesian government has urged Israel to stop its air raids on the Gaza Strip in Palestine which targeted the civilian population.

The Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, Tengku Faizasyah, said in Jakarta that the recent air raids would hamper the peace efforts between Israel and Palestine.

"The use of military force by Israel in the Gaza Strip will have a great impact on the local people. Their actions in the Gaza Strip are a violation of international law," Faizasyah said recently.

Also early April this year, President of the Palestinian Red Crescent Younis Al-Khatib visited Jakarta and conveyed invitation to Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) Chief Jusuf M Kalla to visit Palestine.

The Palestinian Red Crescent wanted to strengthen cooperation with red cross and red crescent organizations throughout the world, including with PMI, Al-Khatib said.

On the occasion, the PMI chief presented humanitarian aid worth US$100,000 for the Palestinian people.

Last February 2009, PMI and the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) dispatched 2,000 blankets and US$120,000 in funds donated by the Indonesian people, for victims of Israeli military attacks in Gaza, Palestine.

In the United Nations Headquarters in New York, early May this year, Indonesia`s Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, criticized Israel for refusing to sign and ratify the NPT which has resulted in the continued exposure of non-nuclear weapon states of the region to nuclear threats by the only country possessing these weapons of mass destruction.

Israel, he warned, has also unleashed risks associated with the operation of "unsafe-guarded nuclear facilities and activities of unknown safety standards".

The Jewish state has also implicitly triggered the threat of a nuclear arms race of "a catastrophic regional and international potential" thereby jeopardising the NPT regime in its entirety, said Natalegawa, echoing the views of the largest single political coalition at the United Nations.

"This situation is unsustainable," as it also jeopardizes the implementation of the 1995 resolution calling for the creation of a nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, Natalegawa warned.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Indonesia Rising: What a Difference a Decade Makes

Jakarta Globe, Andrew Marshall, May 24, 2010

Singapore. Indonesia is the big winner as Southeast Asia’s investment landscape is transformed, with politics driving the tectonic shifts in market perceptions.

Thailand, the archetypal Asian tiger long a favored destination for global conglomerates and emerging markets investors, is increasingly being viewed as the region’s basket case, as chronic political conflict batters its image.

As protesters paralyzed central Bangkok in a protracted standoff that exploded into gun battles and arson attacks in the heart of the capital’s business district, Indonesia has been experiencing a profound shift in how it is viewed by fund managers and multinationals.

A decade ago it was regarded as among the world’s riskiest countries, riven by sectarian and ethnic violence, and crippled by rampant corruption.

Even 18 months ago, in the global panic that ensued after Lehman Brothers collapsed, investors desperate to lower their risk exposure dumped the rupiah and local stocks.

Now Indonesia is on course to achieve sovereign investment grade and is widely regarded as deserving inclusion in the BRICs bloc of emerging markets that investors cannot afford to ignore.

Across the region, whether driving markets up or down, political risk is back at the top of the investor agenda.

“As sovereign debt concerns in Europe unfold, risk aversion is spreading across global financial markets, and political events in Asia are likely to receive more scrutiny than usual,” Standard Chartered said in a research note this month.

While it is clear that political risk is central to market performance in Asia, quantifying it and predicting its impact on asset prices is anything but a straightforward process.

One of the most respected gauges of political risk is the World Governance Indicators data set produced annually with the support of the World Bank. They aggregate a large number of risk ratings from several sources, and they paint a telling picture.

In 2002, they rated Thai political stability at 59.1 out of 100. By 2008, it had dived to 12.9. Events since then will have dragged it even lower. Over the same period, Indonesia saw strong gains, while the Philippines drifted sideways.

Those trends have been mirrored in flows of portfolio funds and foreign direct investment. Following the re-election of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last year, Indonesia has seen a surge in inflows, Thailand the reverse.

Deutsche Bank, in a report this month on the region that focused heavily on politics, ranked Thailand as the least attractive of the major regional markets.

“Our pecking order: Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand,” it said.

Sovereign ratings are another key gauge.

Indonesia is being steadily upgraded toward investment level while Thailand risks further downgrades. Moody’s has a negative outlook on its Baa1 rating on Thailand and warned on Monday that “a protracted undermining of investor sentiment would have adverse effects on Thailand’s longer term credit fundamentals.”


China crisis: Soccer rocked by corruption scandals

CNN, By James Montague and Jaime Flocruz for CNN, May 24, 2010

Chinese fans cheer on their team during the 2002 World Cup finals. Their qualification, the first in the country's history, was supposed to mark the start of a socer boom in China.


  • Players and officials from China and Hong Kong arrested for match fixing
  • Start of the Chinese soccer league postponed because of corruption
  • Former World Cup referee Lu Jun amongst those arrested
  • China plummets on the FIFA rankings to 85th

Beijing and London, England (CNN) -- No one thought anything was particularly amiss when Happy Valley lost 2-0 to Fourway Rangers in the Hong Kong First Division last October.

After all, Happy Valley was enduring a miserable season, which would end in a humiliating relegation. The match would have remained an obscure result in one of soccer's most obscure backwaters, watched by just 442 people at the Sham Shui Po Sports Ground, had it not been revealed that there was something far more sinister than Happy Valley's ineptitude at work.

Earlier this month five soccer players were arrested on suspicion of taking bribes from gambling syndicates to throw the match. Four have since been released on bail but one, Yu Yang, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for attempted bribery on 20 May according to the official Chinese press agency, Xinhua.

This was not an isolated incident either. Soccer on the Chinese mainland is in crisis, mired in seemingly endless corruption scandals off the pitch, and dogged by woeful performances on it.

Soccer woes

China has missed out on this summer's World Cup in South Africa, plummeted down the FIFA world ranking and, even worse, the state-run Chinese Super League (CSL) is experiencing its own corruption scandal that has spread to Hong Kong.

As well as the five players in Hong Kong, a further 20 officials have been arrested, including former Chinese Football Association (CFA) boss Nan Yong and his deputy Yang Yimin. Two CSL clubs, Guangzhou and Chengdu were relegated from the top division for match fixing, postponing the start of the soccer season.

Most damaging of all, however, was the arrest of Lu Jun, a former international World Cup referee known as the "Golden Whistle" for his impartiality, on suspicion of taking bribes. If found guilty he could face the death penalty.

"It was really, really shocking news in China, not just in sports but with everyone, especially when the soccer chief had to step down from the position," Tang Yue, a sports journalist for the government-run China Daily, told CNN.

Huge market

It really shouldn't have been like this. While Hong Kong, which has its own football association, has a national team that has consistently been ranked as a less than mediocre side in world football, China was seen as the next great hope for spreading the gospel of the "beautiful game."

Soccer, after all, is China's most popular sport. It is estimated that anywhere up to 30 million people watch the English Premier League every weekend while 180 million watched last year's CSL on television.

Sepp Blatter, the president of football's governing body FIFA, was so keen to shore up support for the game that when China hosted the 2004 Asian Cup Blatter flew in for the final and controversially declared that it was the Chinese, and not the English, that had invented soccer.

"You cannot deny the history that in China there is a recollection and evidence [that] they played the game a thousand years ago," Blatter told a soccer expo in Beijing, giving FIFA's official seal to claims that the ancient sport of "cuju" was the great-grandfather of the modern game.

Endemic corruption

In 2004 money was poured in and the CSL set up with much fanfare. With history and the world's largest sports market on its side -- a ready made 1.3 billion-strong soccer-crazy population -- China seemed destined to be the game's next global super power. But now the national team languishes on a world rank of 85, between Moldova and Angola, and there are fears that the true extent of the influence of Chinese betting syndicates has only just begun to be revealed.

"The CSL was already the third attempt at setting up the league because the other two collapsed due to corruption and fan violence," Rowan Simons, author of Bamboo Goalposts, a recent book about soccer in China, told CNN.

"There's corruption at every single level of the game, from the top to the very bottom. It's an indictment of wider Chinese society and representative of a much bigger problem with corruption and nepotism. It's more visible with football because your results are taken by your performance in international competition. So there is nowhere to hide. They are 85th in FIFA's world rankings with a population of over a billion people."

Xinhua reported earlier this year that 106,626 government officials were found guilty of corruption by the Central Commission For Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog in the first 11 months of 2009. Still, according to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index China is ranked 79th in the world.

According to Simons, corruption in Chinese football is so ingrained that even players at the national level have to pay bribes to get a game.

"There was even a rate card published in the press," he said. "£10,000 ($14,960) to get selected for the national squad. To get a run out as a sub its £20,000 ($17,950). Players have come out and said they can't play for the national team because they can't afford it." When CNN put these concerns to the CFA they declined to comment.

Government intervention

The scandal has generated such bad headlines, however, that the government is now taking the problem extremely seriously. A replacement has been found in the shape of Wei Di, who was in charge of China's water sports federation and who has no previous experience in soccer.

"Even the sports minister had to be involved, and President Hu Jintao," explained Tang Yue. "He has said he wants to improve soccer in China. It shows the level of determination [that he is involved]."

But this in itself presents another problem. FIFA rules seek to protect soccer officials from government interference. Chad, Kenya, Iraq and Iran have all faced suspension after FIFA claimed they suffered from such meddling. But in China, where the line between government and private involvement has become blurred, no action has been taken.

It is this government interference, according to Simons, that has created the space for corruption and match fixing to exist in the first place.

"Sport is government-owned and government-controlled," Simons said. "People don't have the same personal responsibility for sport. They don't think sport is theirs. Football is not the people's game; it's the government's game and always has been in living memory."

Others looking at the role of the Chinese government in sport agree that it is this relationship that has helped to undermine the game.

"The government really needs to loosen its grip," explained Christopher Renner, president of sports consultancy Helios Partners China.

"Obviously, that's never going to happen entirely, but they should focus on policy and not the day-to-day running of sports, especially when commercial elements are involved. This is where money comes in and the temptation is too great for these underpaid bureaucrats. At least with football, they need to let market forces have more of an impact on leadership, owners, coaches and players. Those who get results, and not those who play the political game, need to be rewarded."

Brazil 2014?

Tens of millions of Chinese fans will still tune in to June's World Cup in South Africa, cheering on adopted teams from South America and Europe. But as Simons points out, whether the Chinese national team makes it to the 2014 finals in Brazil depends largely on their ability to keep soccer clean locally.

"This is a central government crackdown which you get periodically: lots of people are arrested and [gambling] syndicates broken up," he said. "The football crackdown is wider and deeper than many had predicted. Has it ended everything? No. It has killed everything dead, for now. But it will creep back in if the main issues can't be addressed."

Asian Films Make it Big at Cannes Film Festival

Jakarta Globe, Andrew McCathie, May 24, 2010

Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who won the Palme d’Or. (Reuters Photo)

iThe curtain came down on the 63rd Cannes Film Festival on Sunday with Asian cinema emerging as a major winner at the world’s leading movie showcase.

Bangkok-born director Apichatpong Weerasethakul won the festival’s coveted Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) for best film for his controversial movie “Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat” (“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”), with two South Korean directors also awarded top prizes.

The recent media coverage of Thailand might have shown a nation in turmoil. But Weerasethakul showed another side of his country’s life in his film, which was inspired by a Buddhist monk’s sermons.

Known for avant-garde filmmaking, Weerasethakul took the festival to Thailand’s remote jungles, where people believe in ghosts and human beings take on animal forms.

Speaking at a press conference, the 39-year-old director said his country was in a very serious state.

“Thailand needs some kind of hope,” said Weerasethakul, who is often known by the nickname Joe.

Uncle Boonmee’s win was something of surprise, with the quirky story leaving some festival goers perplexed, while others were enthralled.

Animism and nature are themes that often run through Weerasethakul’s movies.

In Uncle Boonmee, the main character’s son returns as a ghost monkey — a black, guerrilla-like animal with red, iridescent eyes. His dead wife also returns as a ghost.

In another scene in the film, a Thai princess has sex with a catfish in a pool at the foot of a waterfall.

US director Tim Burton, who headed up this year’s festival jury, described Uncle Boonmee as “the type of cinema you don’t usually see.”

“You always want to be surprised by films, and this film did that for most of us,” Burton said.

Weerasethakul has gained strong recognition at film festivals around the world over the years, winning the 2004 jury prize in Cannes for “Tropical Malady,” about gay lovers and a trek to find a metamorphosed tiger. Two years earlier, he gained the festival’s Un Certain Regard section’s top prize for “Blissfully Yours.”

“Uncle Boonmee” was one of 19 films vying for the Palme d’Or. It was only the sixth Asian film to win Cannes’ top prize in the festival’s 70-year history.

“This is very important for Thai cinema history,” Weerasethakul said.

The Cannes’ jury awarded South Korean director Lee Chang-dong the best screenplay prize for his moving film “Poetry,” about a grandmother trying to find poetry in life as her world unravels.

Another South Korean director, Hong Sang-soo won the prize for one of the festival’s key sections for his comedy “Hahaha,” about two men who meet and realize they’ve have met the same people during their travels.

The award was made as part of the Un Certain Regard section, which showcases new and emerging filmmakers.

This year’s Cannes Film Festival included a strong lineup of movies from Asia across all its sections, with five films from the region entered in the top category.

Among the Asian movies was Im Sang-soo’s remake starring Jeon Do-yeon of the 1960s thriller “The Housemaid” by Kim Ki-young.

Wang Xiaoshuai spearheaded China’s presence at the festival with his “Chongqing Blues,” set against the backdrop of the gray, sprawling metropolis of Chongqing.

Wang’s inclusion in the race for the Palme d’Or comes five years after the 43-year-old filmmaker won Cannes’ jury prize for his movie “Shanghai Dreams.”

Images of the new China emerged from a string of movies shown during the 12-day festival.

Chinese investors were at the high table of US capitalism in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street remake, and a Chinese firm’s takeover of a smart Chad hotel triggers a string of events in Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s “Un Homme qui Cri”(“A Screaming Man”).

Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Bituful” put the spotlight on the Chinese caught up in Europe’s grey underbelly of illegal immigrants and counterfeiting.

Deutsche Presse Agentur

Indonesia Shows Greece There's Life After Austerity in BRIC Bid

San Francisco Chronicle, Bloomberg News, Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- If al-Qaeda-linked terrorists thought they could drive foreign investors out of Indonesia, they didn't reckon with the likes of Jim Castle.

Seven years ago, Castle, a Michigan-born consultant for 100 multinational companies -- including Citigroup Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Nestle SA -- was having lunch at Jakarta's JW Marriott hotel when a truck bomb detonated outside the building, killing 12 people and injuring 150. Castle walked away unhurt.

Last July, he was less lucky while hosting a breakfast meeting at the same hotel. Two suicide bombers struck in near- simultaneous blasts at the Marriott and the nearby Ritz-Carlton. Nine people died in the attacks, and Castle clambered from the rubble grazed, dazed and with temporary hearing loss.

A year after that second escape, Castle, 64, continues to do business in Jakarta and shrugs off the dangers he faces, Bloomberg Markets reports in its July issue.

"More people here die from dengue fever than from terrorist attacks," he says.

The resilience displayed by Castle, founder of CastleAsia, is paying off as the world's fourth-most populous nation -- home to the single largest Muslim population -- basks in a consumer and resources-driven boom.

"Indonesia's potential is dramatic," says Hugh Young, who helps manage $260 billion, including Indonesian shares, at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc in Singapore. "It is resource- rich, has lots of people and some of its companies are as good as any you will find in Asia."

Beating the BRICs

Indonesia's $514 billion economy, the biggest in Southeast Asia, will grow at 6 percent this year, up from 4.5 percent in 2009, the International Monetary Fund forecast in April. That would make the nation of 240 million the best-performing economy after China and India among the Group of 20 countries -- outpacing both Brazil and Russia, the two other emerging giants grouped with China and India as the so-called BRIC economies.

Now, both Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley say Indonesia is a contender to be included in the BRIC club. Yet analysts disagree on exactly when the acronym will get an extra I. Chetan Ahya, a Singapore-based managing director at Morgan Stanley, says Indonesia should be considered for BRIC status if gross-domestic-product growth nears 7 percent next year.

Jim O'Neill, the London-based Goldman Sachs chief global economist who came up with the emerging-nation designation, says it will take much longer because he believes a true BRIC economy should be near to 3 percent of global GDP, while Indonesia currently accounts for just 1 percent.

'Great Potential'

"Indonesia has the ultimate potential," O'Neill says. "It has done well post-crisis and is showing signs of sustainable demand growth."

Investors say Indonesia -- a lush archipelago of 17,500 islands that stretches like a 5,100-kilometer (3,170-mile) chain of stepping stones from the Southeast Asian mainland to northern Australia -- is finally unlocking its full potential. The country is the world's No. 1 exporter of coal used in power stations and contains the largest gold mine and the single largest recoverable copper reserve.

It's also the biggest supplier of palm oil -- used in one- third of the world's frying pans and woks -- and the third- biggest exporter of natural gas. Indonesia is also geographically blessed due to its proximity to Japan and China, its two biggest export markets.

Domestic Market

Both U.S. president Barack Obama, who lived in Indonesia as a child, and China's premier, Wen Jiabao, scheduled June visits to Jakarta to strengthen relations. Trade between Indonesia and China more than doubled to $25.5 billion from 2005 to 2009. During the same period, U.S.-Indonesia trade rose about 20 percent to $18 billion.

At home, an emerging middle class is driving economic growth. Although 33 million Indonesians live in poverty, the World Bank says, the country has a middle class of 35 million. Unlike in many export-dependent Asian countries, private domestic consumption accounts for 61 percent of Indonesia's GDP.

"It looks to us that more wealth is trickling down than in the past," says Eugene Galbraith, chairman of PT Bank Central Asia, Indonesia's biggest financial services company by market value. "There are tens of millions of households on the edge of making the leap into the bankable class."

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a retired general first elected in 2004, heads a government sprinkled with Western- educated technocrats that has halved interest rates and signed a free-trade agreement with Japan. Under his Vision for Change program, he pledged to boost foreign investment, raise living standards, fight endemic corruption and fix crumbling roads and power grids. His initial efforts lured investors and lifted more people out of poverty.

Pace of Prosperity

Under Yudhoyono, 60, foreign direct investment reached $14 billion last year compared with $4.6 billion in 2004. Per-capita income has doubled to $2,300, while interest rates are at a record low 6.5 percent. The pace of prosperity has quickened. Indonesia's currency, the rupiah, gained 10.4 percent against the U.S. dollar in the 12 months ended on May 21, making it the best performer among 26 leading emerging markets. On March 12, Standard & Poor's raised Indonesia's credit rating to BB from BB-, two levels below investment grade. London-based Standard Chartered Plc predicts Indonesian debt will reach investment grade by 2012.

Yudhoyono is fighting back against Islamist terror factions. Since the attack on Jim Castle's business breakfast, Indonesian security forces have arrested or killed scores of suspected terrorists. Among the dead: Noordin Mohammad Top, the al-Qaeda- linked terror chief who the U.S. says masterminded both Jakarta hotel attacks and the 2002 nightclub bombings on Bali in which 202 people died.

Attack Foiled

On May 12, Indonesia's anti-terror squad killed five suspects who were plotting an attack on Yudhoyono at the country's Aug. 17 Independence Day ceremonies.

Now, the challenge for Western investors is to decide whether Indonesia's $234 billion stock market is overheated. Indonesian shares have outperformed those of all their BRIC rivals.

The Jakarta Composite index, which soared 87 percent in local currency terms in 2009, has risen another 3.5 percent by the same measure this year as of May 21 even after last week's global sell-off. By comparison, Indian stocks were down 5.8 percent for the year through May 21 as measured by the rupee; Russian shares were down 10.2 percent in Moscow's dollar- measured index; while Brazilian shares were down 12.1 percent and China's Shanghai composite index plunged 21.2 percent in their local currencies.

Bubble Concerns

Last month, the central bank said that Jakarta shares were in a bubble.

"The actual stock price now is actually exceeding the fundamental value," Perry Warjiyo, the bank's head of economic research and policy, said on April 8.

Older investors know how quickly things can change in Indonesia, a former Dutch colony that declared its independence in 1945. In 1967, the dictator Suharto became president after crushing a coup attempt, an era immortalized by both Christopher Koch's novel The Year of Living Dangerously and the Mel Gibson movie of the same title. Under Suharto's rule, government- aligned businessmen exploited an economy reliant on crude oil exports, which hummed along at a pace of 7 percent annual growth in the 10 years from 1987.

IMF Rescue

That came to an abrupt halt in 1997, when financial turmoil spread south from debt-ridden Thailand. The crisis devastated the Indonesian economy: From July 4, 1997, to June 17, 1998, the rupiah plunged 85 percent against the dollar. Loaded with debt borrowed in dollars, hundreds of Indonesian companies, including more than a dozen banks, became insolvent. In October 1997, the IMF stepped in with a $43 billion rescue package that forced the breakup of some Suharto-controlled monopolies. Within a year, prices for basic food items such as rice and cooking oil jumped by more than 200 percent, triggering street protests. Suharto, then 76, was pressured by his own allies to resign in May 1998.

IMF crisis management measures in Indonesia -- which delivered long-term fiscal responsibility at a cost of short- term political unrest -- are similar to those being imposed on Greece. In April, Greece agreed to raise taxes, reduce pension rights and cut public worker pay to slash a budget deficit estimated by the government to be 14 percent of GDP. In return, the European Union and the IMF are providing 110 billion euros ($134 billion) in emergency loans.

'Amazing' Transformation

"Indonesia after the financial crisis was where Greece is today," says Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney, which oversees the equivalent of $90 billion. "The transformation has been amazing."

Indonesia's external debt, which hit 150 percent of GDP in 1998, was 27 percent in March. The political transformation from dictatorship to democracy took less than a decade. Three presidents presided over the country in the four years after Suharto's departure. Yudhoyono won office in the first direct presidential elections in 2004. Four years later, he pulled his country out of OPEC, the bloc of oil-producing nations, after lack of investment and domestic energy demands transformed Indonesia into a net importer of crude. Yudhoyono won a second five-year term in 2009 after promising to more than double foreign investment to $35 billion within five years.

Power Struggles

To do so, he'll have to confront internal power struggles among Indonesia's political elite.

"It is hard to exaggerate the importance of the fights taking place in government today," says Kevin O'Rourke, Jakarta-based author of Reformasi: The Struggle for Power in Post-Soeharto Indonesia (Allen & Unwin, 2002). "It is a continuation of tensions between reformers and the remnants of the elite who prospered under Suharto-era patronage."

Those fault lines were evident in March when Indonesia's parliament, including some members of parties that support Yudhoyono, voted for a police investigation into alleged mismanagement of a 6.7 trillion rupiah ($723 million) bank bailout in 2008. The deal was approved by then-Central Bank Governor Boediono -- one of millions of Indonesians who have only one name -- and former Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the most senior woman in the government. Both have said the deal was necessary to save the financial system. Sri Mulyani, 47, who has a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois, resigned from the government in May to be a managing director at the World Bank. Yudhoyono replaced her with Agus Martowardojo, 54, president director of PT Bank Mandiri, the country's biggest lender by assets.

Growth Resolve

Boediono, now Indonesia's vice president, says the government is targeting annual GDP growth of 7.3 percent by 2014.

"Growth must be accelerated, and this is our resolve," says Boediono, who has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "We are lucky. Our commodities are in great demand at the moment, but we should not be complacent."

Some wealthy Indonesians fret that income disparities could spark instability.

"I have become richer, but not the people," says Sofjan Wanandi, chairman of the Employers Association of Indonesia and head of the closely held Gemala Group. "The country needs to grow faster."

Indonesia bulls such as Patrick Walujo, founder of Jakarta- based private equity firm Northstar Pacific Partners, are betting that the government will deliver greater growth.

More Competition

Since 2006, Indonesian-born Walujo, 35, has teamed up with Fort Worth, Texas-based TPG Capital and other international fund managers to invest more than $1 billion in companies such as PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional, a lender whose shares have risen 74 percent this year to May 21, and PT Delta Dunia Makmur, a coal mining services company.

"When we started out in 2003, nobody wanted to look at Indonesia," says Walujo, who studied in the U.S. at Cornell University and worked as an associate at Goldman Sachs in New York. "Now, we are seeing much more competition."

Many key investment opportunities stem from the government's effort to modernize by spending $140 billion on public works.

"It boils down to two things: building 20,000 kilometers of roads and adding 15,000 megawatts of power generation over the next five years," says Gita Wirjawan, a Harvard-educated former banker who is chairman of Indonesia's Investment Coordinating Board. "I believe in the old Chinese adage that if you want to get rich, you build a road."

Mining Riches

Among U.S. investors lining up to win contracts: General Electric Co., the world's biggest maker of power-plant turbines and railway locomotives. The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company aims to make an additional $1 billion in revenue by 2014 from new infrastructure projects in Indonesia, according to David Utama, GE's Jakarta-based country president. GE won't disclose how much it currently earns in Indonesia.

The surging demand for Indonesian resources is perhaps most apparent on the remote east coast of Borneo, the world's third- largest island, where former headhunters still live in longhouses and orangutans build nests in a diminishing jungle.

One recent Monday just north of the equator, nine bulk carriers are anchored in shimmering heat off the palm-fringed port of Sangatta in East Kalimantan province, waiting to fill their hatches with coal from the world's biggest thermal coal mine.

Quality Coal

Twelve kilometers inland, inside pits up to 400 meters (1,300 feet) deep and 2.5 kilometers wide, trucks with tires twice the size of the men and women who drive them cart coal to conveyor belts that whisk the haul through the jungle to the port.

Last year, owner PT Bumi Resources dug 60 million tons of coal from Sangatta and other mines it owns in Borneo. By 2012, it aims to have almost doubled exports to 111 million tons. Last year, Beijing's sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp., loaned Bumi $1.9 billion to help it reschedule debt.

"Operationally, Bumi has some of the best mines in the world," says Adam Worthington, a Singapore-based analyst at Macquarie Capital Securities Pte, a unit of Australia's biggest investment bank, who has an "outperform" rating on the stock. "Extraction, transport and labor costs are low, and the coal quality is very good."

Bumi's potential may be blunted by a lack of corporate transparency that shadows too many Indonesian businesses. The mining company is controlled by the family of billionaire politician-businessman Aburizal Bakrie, a former Suharto associate.

Investment Risks

When the global credit crunch hit in 2008, the Bakrie family holding company, PT Bakrie & Brothers, had $1.1 billion of debt that had been raised by pledging shares in Bumi and other listed units. Bumi shares plunged 32 percent on Oct. 6, 2008, and then were suspended from trading for a month -- at a time when Aburizal Bakrie was serving as welfare minister. Since then, the loans have been restructured by the company's lenders and the stock has risen fivefold from its lows.

"For those investors willing to bear the corporate governance risks, Bumi is attractive," Worthington says. Aburizal Bakrie didn't respond to requests for an interview.

Investors will soon have the chance to bet on arguably Indonesia's least-likely success story: PT Garuda Indonesia, the state-owned airline with a once miserable safety record. In 2007, the EU banned the airline from Europe's airspace on safety grounds after flights operated by Indonesian carriers suffered three fatal air crashes that killed 272 over two years.

Airline Turnaround

In 2004, one Garuda passenger was even murdered in flight. Munir Said Thalib, 39, a human rights lawyer who had investigated abuses by Indonesia's military, was on his way to Amsterdam when he died midair from arsenic poisoning. An off- duty Garuda pilot who had been sitting in the next seat was jailed for 20 years for the crime in 2008, which prosecutors said during the trial was carried out for Indonesia's intelligence agency.

Five years ago, Yudhoyono gave Emirsyah Satar, a Paris- educated diplomat's son, the job of rescuing the airline. "We were losing money on 85 percent of our routes, and our planes were always late," Satar says.

He called in foreign experts to audit Garuda's safety practices, retrained pilots and retired old planes. Regaining customer confidence helped the airline make a profit of 1 trillion rupiah in 2009, just three years after getting a 1 trillion rupiah cash injection to stay in business. The EU flight ban was lifted in July 2009. Now, Garuda is preparing to sell as much as $300 million worth of shares in the third quarter as it seeks to double the fleet to 116 planes by 2014. The transformation of an outcast airline into an investment opportunity may be the surest sign yet that Indonesia is ready to join the emerging-market big leagues.

--With assistance from Greg Ahlstrand, Berni Moestafa, Yoga Rusmana, Achmad Sukarsono and Aloysius Unditu in Jakarta, Netty Ismail in Singapore and David Ellis in London. Editors: David Ellis, Jonathan Neumann

Sunday, May 23, 2010

At least 158 feared dead in India plane crash

CNN, May 22, 2010 4:49 a.m. EDT

Rescue personnel, volunteers and onlookers are seen near the wreckage of the Air India crash in Mangalore on Saturday.


  • NEW: Eight of 165 passengers aboard plane taken to hospitals
  • Remaining passengers feared dead after plane crashed into valley, burst into flames
  • At least 25 bodies from the wreckage by mid-morning Saturday, officials say
  • Jetliner was arriving in India on flight from Dubai, according to Air India

(CNN) -- At least 158 people are feared dead after a passenger jet overshot a runway, crashed into a valley and burst into flames in southern India on Saturday morning, officials said.

Eight of the 166 people on board Air India Flight IX-812 were taken to hospitals after the crash outside Mangalore International Airport, the airline's director told reporters.

The Boeing 737 took off from Dubai and crashed while trying to make its scheduled landing in Mangalore at 6:30 a.m. Saturday (9 p.m. ET Friday), Air India Director Anup Srivastava said.

Witnesses said the plane crashed through the hilltop airport's boundary wall and fell into a valley, CNN-IBN reported.

Survivors told CNN's sister network that they jumped out of the plane after it crashed, seconds before it burst into flames.

Rescue workers struggled to reach the crash site in a hilly wooded area beyond the 2,038-foot runway, the network said. Smoke from the plane also hampered rescue efforts, CNN-IBN reported.

Rescuers had recovered at least 25 bodies from the wreckage by mid-morning Saturday, the civil aviation ministry said in a statement.

Abhay Pathak, a regional manager for Air India based in Dubai, said there were 160 passengers on board the plane and six crew members.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced financial aid for the victims Saturday and canceled scheduled events at his residence to mark the end of his first year in office.

The government said families would receive 200,000 rupees, or about $4,260, for each dead passenger and 50,000 rupees, or $1,064, for every injured passenger.

The airline has offered any relatives of crash victims in the United Arab Emirates free passage to India, Pathak said, and about 20 people have accepted the offer.

Srivastava said India Air was investigating the crash and trying to confirm casualties.

The pilot did not report any problems before landing the plane, the civil aviation ministry said.

The Mangalore airport reported calm wind, no rain and a visibility of 6 km at the time of the crash, the ministry said.

Boeing released a statement saying the company would send a team to provide technical assistance to Indian authorities during their investigation.

The 8,000-foot runway at Mangalore's airport opened in 2006, and officials say it has an end-safety area of about 90 meters.

Air India has released the following telephone numbers to learn more information about the crash:

General: +91 2560 3101 +91 2565 6196

In Mangalore: 0824 222 0422

Dubai (Air India Express): 00971 4 2165828/29

Related Articles:

Air crash puts focus on India infrastructure, safety

Environment group blames air crash on faulty runway construction