Asean Summit, Malaysia on Nov 21, 1015

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

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

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

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

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk

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

US under fire in global press freedom report

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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Indonesia ends Malaysia maids row

BBC News, 31 May 2011

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Indonesia is allowing maids to apply for work in Malaysia for the first time in two years, after ending a long-running row over abuse of workers.

Rights activists say the new rules will not
help those maids already in Malaysia
The countries signed a deal aimed at improving working conditions for maids, guaranteeing them one day off a week.

They will also be allowed to keep their passports, rather than having to give them to their employers.

Indonesia banned its citizens from working as maids in June 2009, after allegations of abuse emerged.

Last year, a Malaysian woman was jailed for inflicting injuries on her maid using hot water, scissors and a hammer.

Indonesian migration minister Muhaimin Iskandar said the deal was part of a long-term plan to protect the rights of workers.

"After going through a long negotiation process, we have eventually reached an agreement that is a 'win-win solution', with a number of improvements for the Indonesian worker," he said in a statement.

But Irene Fernandez, with the Malaysia-based rights group Tenaganita, criticised the new deal because she says it does not cover domestic workers who are already in the country.

More than one million Indonesians work in Malaysia, most as maids or labourers.

Related Article:

Detained Saudi woman driver to be freed on bail

Google/AFP, May 30, 2011

A Saudi woman gets out of a car after being given a ride by her driver in
Riyadh on May 26 (AFP/File, Fayez Nureldine)

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi authorities decided Monday to free on bail Manal al-Sharif, who was detained for 10 days for breaking the ultra-conservative kingdom's ban on women driving, her lawyer said.

"We were informed today of the decision to free Manal on bail. The procedural steps towards her release are under way," Adnan al-Saleh told AFP, adding that he hoped the case would now be closed.

Sharif had called upon King Abdullah to release her, Saleh told AFP on Sunday after meeting his client in prison.

Sharif, a 32-year-old computer-security consultant, was arrested on May 22 after posting on YouTube a video of herself driving her car around the eastern Saudi city of Khobar.

The divorced mother of one explained in the video that getting around was often a headache. Women in Saudi Arabia without the means to hire a chauffeur must depend upon the goodwill of male family members to drive them.

The authorities decided on Thursday to extend Sharif's detention to 10 days after her arrest sparked debate about women's rights within the kingdom.

A petition calling for Sharif's release had by Monday garnered 3,345 signatures.

Addressed to King Abdullah, it demanded her release "pending a clear decision on the question of the right of women to drive" in the kingdom.

A Facebook page titled "We are all Manal al-Sharif: a call for solidarity with Saudi women's rights," on Sunday had over 24,000 supporters.

However, another Facebook page called on men to use "iqals" -- the cords used with traditional headdresses by many Gulf men -- to beat Saudi women who drive their cars in a planned June 17 protest against the kingdom's ban on women taking the wheel.

The organisers of the June 17 demonstration emphasise that no law in Saudi Arabia forbids women from driving and that the ban is based on a religious edict (fatwa) issued in the kingdom whose laws are based on a puritanical version of Islam that prohibits men and un-chaperoned women to mix in public.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Saudi moves to limit foreign workers' permits

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Mon, 05/30/2011

Saudi Arabia's labor minister says the kingdom will not renew work permits of expatriate workers who have been in the country for six years or more, a step aimed at boosting job opportunities for Saudis.

The pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat on Monday quoted Labor Minister Adel Fekyeh as saying unemployment in the kingdom is 10.5 percent.

Unemployment is a main cause behind uprisings in the Arab world, which have largely bypassed Saudi Arabia.

Fekyeh said 90 percent of the private sector labor force is foreign, and the country's 8 million foreign workers send home roughly $26.7 billion a year. It was not clear how many would be affected.

Saudi Arabia's king has pledged over $80 billion to boost the quality of life for his citizens, including job creation and new housing.

China shuts battery factories due to lead poisoning

BBC News, 30 May 2011

Related Stories

Battery factories across China have been closed amid fears about poisoning from metals used by the industry.

About 74 people have been detained this year after reports that more than 100 people were affected by lead and cadmium poisoning.

Reports from China suggests hundreds of factories have been closed as a result of efforts to tackle poisoning.

The rechargeable lead batteries are used in scooters, cars and some mobile phones.

The detentions and closures are part of moves by regional governments in China to decrease environmental damage and improve working conditions.

Increased demand for electric scooters alongside higher car production has driven up the demand for lead batteries.

In Zhejiang's Deqing county 53 people were hospitalised following tests earlier in the year which found high levels of lead in the blood of 332 residents.

Several major battery manufacturers with shares traded in China have issued notices saying production is suspended.

"We are already seeing an economic process where the Chinese are moving up the value chain and away from low cost production which has quite serious environmental impact," said Roderic Wye, an associate fellow at Chatham House.

But environmental concerns were not the only factor driving China to moderate its policies. "It is because wages are going up and the costs of inputs are going up," he added.

A statement on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection warned that companies must meet environmental standards.

"These situations are completely avoidable," it added.

Inner Mongolia protests cause Communist party to order crackdown

Hu Chunhua, party chief in Inner Mongolia, orders censorship of information and clampdown on visitors to region, Jonathan Watts in Beijing, Monday 30 May 2011

Chinese police officers on the streets of Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.
Photograph: AP

A communist official tipped to be a future leader of China is moving to defuse a wave of protests in Inner Mongolia by choking information, tightening campus controls and promising a reform of the mining industry, that is one of the causes of the uprising.

A demonstration by ethnic Mongolians on Monday in the regional capital, Hohhot, was the latest test for Hu Chunhua, whose appointment as party chief of the resource-rich region last year was widely seen as a step towards top office in 2020.

Censors have blocked information about the biggest surge of unrest the northern region has seen in 20 years, but witnesses and overseas groups say there have been rallies in at least six communities over the past week sparked by the killing of a Mongolian herder who tried to stop a convoy of coal trucks from trespassing on the grasslands. The case has become a symbol of unease about economic development that is marginalising ethnic rights and the steppe environment.

Locals told The Guardian the latest protests took place today in Hohhot despite a tightened security presence. "It was about 20 Mongolians in Xinhua Square," said a blogger, who goes under the name Blue Sky Pigeon. "But I doubt it will last long because the controls are tight."

An employee at a hotel on the square confirmed a demonstration was taking place, but it was unclear how the security forces responded. The local police, government and propaganda offices either refused to comment or let their phones ring unanswered, but the authorities have been working for several days to quash dissent with a mix of restrictions and conciliatory gestures.

After a thousand students took to the streets in Xilinhot last Wednesday, paramilitary police are reportedly stationed at the gates of Inner Mongolia University in Hohhot and checking the identities and intentions of everyone going in and out. In other areas, schools associated with both Mongolian and Han ethnic groups have been subject to restrictions.

The Youth League Committee of Inner Mongolia University declined to discuss the new security measures, but acknowledged the students' online bulletin board and chatroom – known as Qizhi – had been shut down for "maintenance" until 10 June. Other reports suggest popular social networking sites such as QQ, Weibo and Tencent have been either blocked or heavily censored. A Chinese language internet search for "Inner Mongolia" and "protest" yielded no mention of the events of the past week.

Hotels near universities and schools have been forbidden from accepting foreign guests since last Friday. "The security has become tougher," said a taxi driver in Xilinhot – the site of an earlier disturbance.

Hu – a protege of president Hu Jintao (though no relation) – has tried to pacify the protesters with a promise of justice for the perpetrators of the killing of the herder – known as Mergen – on 11 June, and another death related to a coal mine protest four days later.

Recent incidents "have triggered a great deal of public anger," Hu told teachers and students last week, according to the Inner Mongolian Daily. "We will firmly protect the dignity of law and the rights of the victims and their families."

Local TV stations – which are controlled by the communist party – have shown Hu's deputy visiting Mergen's family to present a bundle of money. The chairman of the coal trucking company — Liaoning Chuncheng Industry – has also made a public apology. Police have arrested four people and provide frequent bulletins on the cases via local radio, TV and mobile phone short messages.

The official Xinhua News Agency said regional authorities will investigate the mining industry's impact on the environment and traditional livelihoods with the aim of improving grasslands protection. But many locals are suspicious. Mongolian independence activists said concilliatory words could not disguise the long-term trends of resource exploitation that prompted the deadly clash between truckers and herders.

"Mongols have good reasons to doubt the intentions of the government. For the past six decades, the destruction of the grassland ecology, cultural assimilation, political oppression and economic exploitation have characterised the policies of the Chinese government in southern Mongolia," said a group calling itself the "Co-ordinating Committee for May 29/30 Protest".

If the demonstrations continue, "Little Hu" – as the Inner Mongolian governor is nicknamed – may rely more on coercion and intimidation to impose order on a restless ethnic minority. There are precedents, including the crackdown imposed in Tibet by the current president Hu Jintao in the 1980s.

Recent mobile phone messages from the Inner Mongolian authorities have warned that the police are ready to "intensify the crackdown," according to Reuters. Amnesty International has urged restraint and called on the authorities to "respect freedom of expression and assembly for protesters".

Monday's relatively small demonstration, however, suggests Hu's efforts to silence, intimidate and buy-off critics may be working.

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ADB Vice-President Says Wider Solar Power Use Critical for Asia's Future Growth

BANGKOK, THAILAND - Asia must expand solar energy generation if the region is to stay on its strong economic growth path and reduce carbon emissions, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President (Operations 1) Xiaoyu Zhao said today.

Mr. Zhao was speaking here at the opening of the 3rd meeting of the Asia Solar Energy Forum, which is gathering over 300 government officials, private companies, and solar energy experts.

The forum, set up to promote knowledge exchange, is part of the Asia Solar Energy Initiative, established in May 2010 with support from ADB. The initiative aims to boost solar power use in the region by identifying and developing suitable projects. To do so, it will work closely with the private sector to design suitable business models that help spread the cost and risks of using new technologies.

"Asia could account for half of global output, trade, and investment by 2050," said Mr. Zhao. "To sustain its impressive growth momentum, Asia must manage its energy security and innovate away from the traditional, high-resource, high-carbon development path toward sustainable, low carbon growth."

Many countries in Asia have a natural solar energy advantage given they are both sunny and have large areas of land unsuitable for other uses. However, large-scale solar power generation has been hampered by a lack of suitable project financing mechanisms, institutional and policy constraints, and knowledge gaps. Around 900 million people in developing Asia have no access to electricity, and many others in remote areas pay very high prices for power that is typically generated by fossil fuels.

At present, less than 0.25% of Asia's overall electricity production comes from solar power. Pointing to the "significant potential" for solar energy, Mr. Zhao said the aim is to increase that contribution to 3% to 5% in the near future. The ultimate goal of the Asia Solar Energy Initiative is to provide solar energy at a cost equal to, or lower than, electricity from the grid.

"The initiative is consolidating our efforts to take advantage of the wider adoption of solar technologies resulting from rapid technological advances, larger scales of production, and lower production costs," said Mr. Zhao.

Promoting clean, renewable energy is one of ADB's highest priorities. In 2010 it invested $1.8 billion in clean energy, exceeding its $1 billion target for a third year in a row. From 2013, the target will rise to $2 billion a year.

In Thailand, ADB is helping to finance the construction of two private sector solar projects. The Natural Energy Development Company's initial 73-megawatt plant in Lopburi – one of the world's largest solar photovoltaic power plants – and the 38-megawatt project from Bangchak Petroleum Company PCL in Ayutthaya will both be generating electricity later this year.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Arab League backs Palestinian membership bid at UN

BBC News, 28 May 2011

Israel and the Palestinians

The Arab League says it will seek full UN membership for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Mahmoud Abbas is pressuring
Israel to return to the negotiating
The decision was made at a meeting in Doha attended by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Abbas had reiterated his determination to seek UN recognition in September unless Israel began negotiations on a "substantial basis".

US-led peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for months.

A statement issued by the Arab League monitoring committee on Saturday said it "supports the appeal to the UN asking that Palestine, within the 1967 borders, becomes a full-fledged state" of the international organisation.

Mr Abbas had told the meeting: "Our option is still negotiation, but it seems that because of conditions imposed by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu... we have no choice but to use the UN to get recognition of our state.

"We are serious in our decision to use the UN, it is not manoeuvring. We will do it unless Netanyahu accepts to begin negotiations today on a substantial basis."

Basis for talks

In a keynote policy speech on 19 May, US President Barack Obama issued a clear call for Israel and the Palestinians to use the borders existing before the 1967 Six Day War, with land swaps, as the basis for talks.

However, he made it clear that an appeal to the UN for full membership for Palestine would be a mistake.

Mr Netanyahu rejected President Obama's proposal outright, saying the Jewish state would be "indefensible" if it returned to the 1967 borders, which would exclude dozens of Jewish settlements.

He also rejected the idea of dividing the city of Jerusalem. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital.

On Friday, UN General Assembly president Joseph Deiss said that a Palestinian state would need the support of all five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council to be recognised.

Correspondents say this seems unlikely, although even as a symbolic gesture the move could make Israel look politically isolated.

Former Shin Bet chief Yacov Peri and other backers
of the plan want to put pressure on Mr Netanyahu

"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

" ... If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening. ....."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

First time RI-Saudi high officials discuss TKI problems

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/28/2011

Head of the Indonesian Workers Placement and Protection Agency (BNP2TKI) Moh Jumhur Hidayat said the high officials meeting between the Indonesian and Saudi governments on Indonesian migrant workers (TKI) was the very first of its kind.

“This is a historical event. It is the first time that a high officials meeting was held to discuss the TKI problems,” he said, reported on Saturday.

Jumhur and a number of members of the Indonesian delegation arrived in Dubai in transit on their flight to Jeddah for the RI-Saudi high officials meeting on TKIs on May 28 and 29.

Jumhur was at the head of an Indonesian government delegation for the high officials meeting to discuss the problem of TKIs with a Saudi government delegation led by Manpower Minister Adel Mohammad Fakeih.

Jumhur said that the high officials meeting will discuss improvement in the placement and protection of TKIs in Saudi Arabia.

Jumhur believed that, with the reception of the BNP2TKI chief and entourage by the Saudi Manpower Minister, shows that the Saudi government has a strong commitment to improve the outlook for the TKIs.

He said the number of TKIs in Saudi Arabia has reached 1.5 million, 90 percent of whom work in the informal sector as household personnel or personal drivers for their employers.

Related Articles:

Palestinian`s national unity government to be formed in ten days: official

Antara News, Sat, May 28 2011

Related News

Gaza (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - A senior Palestinian official in Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas` Fatah party said on Friday that the national unity government is to be formed in ten days.

Nabil Shaath, a member of Fatah`s Central Committee, told a news conference in Gaza following a meeting with leaders of Islamic Hamas movement that a technocrat Palestinian government is to be formed in ten days.

"The meeting was positive and we stressed on implementing the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo on May 4, and as the result of the agreement, the government will be formed," Shaath told reporters.

Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a interim government, restructure the security forces and reform Palestine Liberation Organization, according the reconciliation deal.

"Two weeks after forming the government, the Palestinian parliament will convene and several committees will be formed in order to carry out the agreement," said Shaath, who arrived at Gaza on Thursday. However, he declined to reveal the candidates in the upcoming new government.

Meanwhile, Shaath said that he will hold talks with the deposed prime minister of Hamas government Ismail Henya, adding that "I will meet with Haneya Sunday."

Shaath also revealed that he decided to stay in Gaza. "I came to renovate and paint my house and I will bring my family to Gaza next week," he said.

Editor: B Kunto Wibisono

Related Article:

Palestinians have no wish to isolate Israel—Abbas

Antara News, Sat, May 28 2011

Related News

Doha (ANTARA News/Reuters) - Palestinians are not seeking to isolate Israel on the international stage, but will pursue their unilateral drive for U.N. recognition of statehood unless peace talks resume, President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday.

He was in Doha for a meeting of Arab states on Saturday called to discuss U.S. President Barack Obama`s latest ideas for reviving the moribund peace process and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s negative response to them.

The Arab League will almost certainly endorse any suggestions put forward by the Palestinians, and in an interview with Reuters, Abbas said negotiations remained the best option for bringing about the creation of an independent state.

"We will review ... the steps we will take -- persisting with negotiations as the fundamental way to achieving a resolution," Abbas said. "If we fail in reaching this solution, then we confirm that we will go to the United Nation ."

The Palestinians currently have the status of U.N. observers without voting rights, but are hoping that at September`s General Assembly they can persuade other nations to accept them as a sovereign member.

Both Netanyahu and Obama have criticised the move, and although U.S. opposition means the Palestinians have very little chance of success, the Israelis fear the manoeuvring will leave them looking increasingly vulnerable on the diplomatic front.

"Israel believes that if we go to the United Nations we will work to isolate it and delegitimise it," Abbas said.

"This is not at all possible because we do not want to isolate Israel or to delegitimise it. On the contrary, we want to co-exist with it," he added.

U.S.-brokered talks between the Palestinians and Israel broke down last September in a dispute over continued Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

In a bid to break the deadlock, Obama said in a major policy speech last week that a future Palestinian state should be based on the borders as they existed on the eve of the 1967 Middle East, with land swaps mutually agreed with Israel.

Netanyahu immediately rejected the proposal saying it would leave Israel with "indefensible" borders. But Abbas described the idea as "a foundation with which we can deal positively".

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told Reuters in an interview that Israel will not gain security by clinging to territory beyond the 1967 West Bank frontier. "It is peace that will bring Israel security, not increasing the width of Israel or finding a military solution to defending (its) borders."

Editor: B Kunto Wibisono

Former Shin Bet chief Yacov Peri and other backers
of the plan want to put pressure on Mr Netanyahu

Friday, May 27, 2011

Indonesia ex-treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin 'flees'

BBC News, 27 May 2011

Related Stories

A senior figure in Indonesia's governing party has flown to Singapore a day before he was due to receive a travel ban for suspected corruption.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has promised
to clamp down on corruption in Indonesia
The ex-treasurer of the governing Democratic party, Muhammed Nazaruddin, is accused of accepting bribes worth almost $3m (£1.8m).

The case centres on tenders for the South East Asian games, to be hosted by Indonesia later this year.

Mr Nazaruddin has always denied the corruption allegations.

Mr Nazaruddin was dismissed by the party last week, and Indonesia's anti-corruption agency announced that it would be questioning him about the allegations.

However, Mr Nazaruddin flew to neighbouring Singapore on Monday, a day before the agency was to issue a travel ban for him.

Mr Nazaruddin had threatened to disclose details about other party members' misdeeds, in retaliation for his dismissal as party treasurer, says the BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta.

His quick departure has raised questions about why it was so easy for him to leave, given the gravity of the allegations against him, our correspondent says.

However, Mr Nazaruddin told the Jakarta Globe that he had travelled to Singapore for a medical check-up and would return to face Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) as soon as his results were available.

"What did I do wrong? I have never been summoned by the KPK. If they call me I will come," he said, adding that he had sought permission from his party before he left the country.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has always tried to project an image of himself as the "Mr Clean" of Indonesian politics - one of the reasons it is believed Indonesians voted his party in for a second term in 2009.

He is hoping that his new economic agenda will spur more foreign investment in Indonesia - but these sorts of corruption scandals suggest that he still has a lot to do to prove he can change his country's culture of impunity, our correspondent adds.

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Singapore rejects British author Alan Shadrake's appeal

BBC News, 27 May 2011

Related Stories

A British author of a book about the death penalty in Singapore, Alan Shadrake, has lost his appeal against a six-week jail sentence.

Shadrake now faces a second trial on
defamation charges
The 76-year-old, convicted of insulting the judiciary, will undergo medical tests before beginning his sentence.

His book, Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, alleges a lack of impartiality in the implementation of Singapore's laws.

Singapore has a history of sensitivity to how it is portrayed.

Mr Shadrake was sentenced by the High Court last November and was fined S$20,000 ($16,150; £9,900).

"We affirm the sentence imposed by the judge," said Justice Andrew Phang of the three-member Court of Appeal panel.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said the ruling was a "major setback for free expression in Singapore".

The rights group said the charges should be dropped.

"The prosecution of Alan Shadrake for doing nothing more than calling for legal reform is a devastating blow to free speech in Singapore," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"More broadly, until the government releases its iron grip on basic freedoms, the Singaporean people will remain all the poorer."

The Singapore government says it has the right to ensure what it sees as accuracy in any reporting of the young state.

Malaysia-based Shadrake was arrested last July when he visited Singapore to launch his book.

The book contains interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers, as well as a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Singapore's Changi Prison.

It claims he executed around 1,000 men and women from 1959 until he retired in 2006.

"I think I've been given a fair hearing," Shadrake told the media after the verdict was issued last year.

Separately, Shadrake is being investigated by the police for criminal defamation; his passport is being held by the police.

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Muslim divorces hit all-time high in Malaysia

The Jakarta Post, Hazlin Hassan, Asia News Network/The Straits Times | Fri, 05/27/2011 

Muslim couples get divorced every 15 minutes in Malaysia, a startling number that has the government worried.

The latest statistics from the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) showed there were 27,116 divorces in 2009, up from 17,749 in 2005.

Divorce rates among Muslims are now at an all-time high, making up about 82 per cent of total divorces in Malaysia, though Malay Muslims comprise 60 per cent of the population.

Divorce cases among well-known Malays often make headlines. Last year, popular actress Maya Karin announced she and her British husband Steven Shorthose were divorcing after just two years. This month, Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, son of the Sarawak chief minister, divorced his wife of 19 years, Shahnaz Majid, due to irreconcilable differences. Shahnaz is seeking an eye-popping 400 million ringgit (US$132 million) in the divorce.

Irreconcilable differences - defined by Jakim as "disrespectful towards spouse, communication problems, selfishness, laziness, unwilling to help and psychological issues" - is one of the top factors for Muslim divorces.

Jakim provided a laundry list of other reasons including irresponsible spouses, health, sexual, social and financial problems, third-party interference, religious background and cultural differences.

However, the religious department did not break out polygamy as a factor - Muslim men are allowed four wives - though such issues could fall under third-party interference or irresponsible spouses.

The government blames the rising divorce rate on neglect of Islamic teachings. "If they can't even perform their five daily prayers, imagine how hard it is for them to carry out their duties and roles as husband and wife," Mashitah Ibrahim, deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said last month.

Those who have gone through divorce, however, blame the breakdown of their marriages on the strains of modern life.
"There isn't any effective communication between spouses, especially when both are working and have children," said a 40-year-old advertising director, who is divorcing her unfaithful husband after 15 years of marriage. "They are busy with their own lives and their children's lives."

A 37-year-old business planning manager said his wife asked for a divorce after nine years because he was "too busy with work". They also found it "tough" to live in Kuala Lumpur on his 5,000 ringgit ($1,650) monthly salary, he said.

Younger couples appear at greater risk of divorce. In 2009, the most recent numbers available, separations were common among couples aged between 25 and 30 in the Malay-majority state of Terengganu. The reasons they gave included body odor, humdrum sex and boring sleepwear.

Singapore, by contrast, has managed to reverse the trend of rising divorces by raising the legal age of marriage to 21 from 18.

The number of Muslim divorces in Singapore dropped by 17 per cent over the last five years - to 1,626 last year - while the number of marriages with at least one partner under 21, fell by 35 per cent.

Malaysian sharia lawyer Halimatunsa'diah Abu Ahmad, said many couples, particularly younger ones, do not understand each other's obligations. "They are spoon-fed and expect to be rewarded all the time," she said. "They expect people to do everything for them."

The Facebook social networking site is a common cause of break-ups, she noted: "For every five divorce cases I see, two or three will have been caused by Facebook. That is where they rekindle their old relationships with their first girlfriend or boyfriend."

In Malaysia, Jakim is planning a campaign to create more awareness on the roles of spouses, parenting skills, family education and how to handle finances. Troubled couples may also seek counselling from state religious departments. Muslim couples already go through three-day pre-marriage courses.

But some feel the new campaign will not do much. The 40-year-old art director said: "Any initiative by the government in the form of education has many advantages. But I don't think it has anything to do with religion or faith per se. It's a society problem."