Asean Summit, Malaysia on Nov 21, 1015

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

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

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

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

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk

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

US under fire in global press freedom report

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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Indian, Pakistani leaders discuss terrorism in Iran

Deutsche Welle, 31 August 2012

After talks between Pakistani President Zardari and Indian PM Singh in Tehran, observers say Indo-Pakistani relations won't improve until Islamabad severs all ties with the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba organization.

On Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran that New Delhi wanted a speedy trial of the seven people who are being held in Pakistan in connection with the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. 

Kasab was found guilty on more than
 80 charges, including murder and
waging war on India
Singh reiterated India's position that the fair trial of these people was a necessary step for the improvement of relations between India and Pakistan.

On Wednesday, the Indian Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of the 24-year-old Pakistani citizen Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai attacks (also known as 26/11 attacks). Kasab was one of the ten gunmen who carried out the coordinated attacks in various parts of India's financial capital Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people.

For months Islamabad denied that Pakistan or Pakistani organizations had any involvement in the 26/11 attacks. However, in 2009, Pakistani authorities arrested seven people, including Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi of the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), for their alleged role in them.

On Thursday, the US placed sanctions on eight Pakistani citizens allegedly linked with Lashkar-e-Taiba.

"The individuals targeted today include LeT members based in Pakistan who are involved in LeT's propaganda campaigns, financial networks, and logistic support networks," the US Treasury said in a statement.

Differing viewpoints 

Pakistan initially denied that Kasab
was its citizen
Peace talks between India and Pakistan had completely broken off after the Mumbai attacks and resumed only last year.

This was the second meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Asif Ali Zardari this year. Last time, the two leaders met in New Delhi in April when President Zardari made a day-long private visit to India.

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told the media that the main focus of the Singh-Zardari Tehran meeting was on terrorism-related matters. He said that PM Singh "pressed for an expeditious conclusion in the 26/11 trial and said action taken in this sphere would be a major confidence-building measure (between India and Pakistan).

On his part, Pakistani President Zardari said that both countries needed to "move beyond the reiteration of positions to more substantive results."

"We have covered a lot of ground but we still have to go a long way," Zardari told the press after his meeting with Manmohan Singh. Zardari also said that he was looking forward to hosting PM Singh in Pakistan at an "early date."

The foreign secretaries of the two countries are expected to meet in Islamabad in September.

No action against Lashkar-e-Taiba 

Hafiz Saeed also heads the Islamic
 charitable organization known as
Political experts say that relations between India and Pakistan have slightly improved but that no real breakthrough can be achieved until Pakistan acts against LeT.

"India and Pakistan are not on the same page in terms of prioritizing their key issues. For Pakistan, the resolution of the Kashmir dispute is the biggest demand, whereas India considers Pakistan-based Islamic extremism the main problem," Malik Siraj Akbar, a Pakistan expert at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC, told DW.

Akbar further said that it was evident that Pakistan was still supporting LeT.

"Lashkar's chief Hafiz Saeed regularly appears on Pakistani television and makes public speeches enticing violence against India. I don't think that Pakistan is showing commitment to act against LeT. Such impunity granted to Hafiz Saeed has hurt the Indian confidence in Pakistan."

Akbar said that the Tehran meeting should not be mistaken for consensus on important issues between Islamabad and New Delhi and that a lot more needed to be done.

On his part, Pakistani peace activist and researcher Nizamuddin Nizamani told DW that the Pakistani government did not want to accept its own responsibility but rather blame "non state actors" for Mumbai attacks.

Improved bilateral trade 

India has recently allowed direct
investments from Pakistan
For the improvement of Indo-Pakistani ties, both countries' civil societies had to exert more pressure on their governments, said Nizamani, adding that it was encouraging that India and Pakistan were focusing on trade relations as well.

"The Pakistani government has given India the status of the Most Favored Nation (MFN) in terms of trade. I think it is a big step. India has also allowed direct Pakistani investment in its market. I also think that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) can also play a big role in making things better between Pakistan and India," said Nizamani.

Peace activists in India and Pakistan say there is no alternative to trade and "people-to-people" contact between the two hostile neighbors, which, in their view, can defeat warmongers and extremist groups on both sides of the border.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Egypt Leader Slams Syrian Regime During Iran Visit

Associated Press, Nasser Karimi, Aug 30, 2012

In this photo released by the official website of the Iranian presidency office,
 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, second right, welcomes Egyptian
 President Mohammed Morsi for the opening session of the Nonaligned Movement,
 NAM, summit, in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Morsi described the Syrian
 regime as "oppressive" and called for it to transfer power to a democratic system 
during a visit to Syria's key regional ally Iran on Thursday. Iranian Vice-President
 Mohammad Reza Rahimi stands at right, and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, left.
(AP Photo/Presidency Office)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- In a clear rebuke to Syria's key ally Iran, Egypt's new president said Thursday that Bashar Assad's "oppressive" regime has lost its legitimacy and told an international conference in Tehran that the world must stand behind the Syrian rebels.

The rallying call by Mohammed Morsi - making the first visit to Iran by an Egyptian leader since the 1979 Islamic Revolution - showed the huge divide between Iran's stalwart support of Assad and the growing network of regional powers pushing for his downfall.

It also drove home the difficulties for Iran as host of a gathering of the 120-nation Nonaligned Movement, a Cold War-era group that Tehran seeks to transform into a powerful bloc to challenge Western influence.

Iran's leaders say the weeklong meeting, which wraps up Friday, displays the inability of the West's attempt to isolate the country over its nuclear program. But Iran has been forced to endure stinging criticism from its most high-level participant as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited concerns about Iran's human rights record and said Iran's condemnations of Israel were unacceptable.

Morsi's address to the gathering further pushed Iran into a corner. In effect, he demanded Iran join the growing anti-Assad consensus or risk being further estranged from Egypt and other regional heavyweights such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Morsi has proposed that Iran take part in a four-nation contact group that would include Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to mediate an end to the Syrian crisis. The U.N. chief Ban also said Iran has a key role to play in finding a solution to end Syria's civil war, which activists say has claimed at least 20,000 lives.

But Iran has given no signals of breaking ties with Assad, and the Syrian rebels fighting the regime say they reject Iran's participation in any peace efforts.

"The bloodletting in Syria is the responsibility of all of us and we should know that this bloodletting won't be stopped without active interference by all of," Morsi said. "The Syrian crisis is bleeding our hearts."

Syrian delegates to the conference walked out during Morsi's speech.

In another possible dig at Iran, Morsi gave credit to the Arab Spring wave of uprisings that put him in power and touched off the civil war in Syria. Iran has endorsed many of the revolts - describing them as a modern-day reflection of its Islamic Revolution more than three decades ago - but denounces the Syrian uprising as orchestrated by "enemies" that include Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

At the United Nations, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is expected to urge the Security Council later Thursday to set up a safe zone in Syria to protect thousands of civilians fleeing the civil war. But the initiative is almost certain to meet resistance from Council members such as Russia, which has supported the Assad dynasty for decades.

Morsi's Sunni Muslim Brotherhood backers, Egypt's most powerful political group since the revolt, are opposed to Shiite Iran's staunch backing of the Syrian regime and its lethal crackdown on largely Sunni protesters. Assad is a follower of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

"We should all express our full support to the struggle of those who are demanding freedom and justice in Syria and translate our sympathies into a clear political vision that supports peaceful transfer (of power) to a democratic system," Morsi said in his opening statement.

Morsi slammed Assad's rule, saying that the world had a "moral duty" to stand with the Syrian people in their struggle "against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy."

He said having a democratic system in Syria "reflects the desire of the Syrian people for freedom, justice and equality and at the same time protects Syria from entering into a civil war or being divided by sectarian clashes."

Morsi also called for uniting the fractured Syrian opposition, which has not been able to agree on a clear transitional roadmap for governing the country if Assad should fall. The Egyptian president expressed Cairo's readiness to work with all parties to stop the bloodshed and "agree on a clear vision on which the new free Syria will be based."

He has, in the past, spoken out against international military intervention in Syria.

Egyptian officials had said they did not expect top-level bilateral meetings with their Iranian counterparts during Morsi's visit. However, semiofficial ISNA news agency said Morsi and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met later.

Morsi's visit represents a major step toward ending decades of friction between the two countries despite the still-cool rapport.

Tehran cut ties with Egypt following Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Under Morsi's predecessor who was ousted, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt sided with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-dominated Arab states in trying to isolate Shiite-led Iran.

In an attempt at outreach with Iran, Morsi stressed that it is the right of countries to develop nuclear energy for peaceful as long as it adheres to international protocols. The West fears Iran's uranium enrichment could lead to atomic weapons, but Iran has insisted that it only seeks reactors for energy and medical purposes.

The U.N. chief called Iran's nuclear program "top concern" of international community and urged Tehran's "full cooperation" with the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, which seeks greater access to Iranian sites for inspections.

He also urged all parties - apparently including Israel - to "stop provocative and inflammatory threats; a war of words can quickly spiral into war of violence."

But he added specific censure for Iranian condemnations of Israel. Earlier this month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel will "disappear from the scene of geography." In his speech Thursday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "fake regime."

"I strongly reject threats by any member states to destroy another or outrageous attempt to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust , claiming that another state, Israel, does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms," Ban said.

Earlier, Khamenei repeated his claims that Iran has never pursued nuclear weapons - calling use of atomic arms a "big and unforgivable sin" - but also noted it will never give up its work on nuclear technology.

"I declare that the Islamic Republic of Iran has never been after nuclear weapons and it never will abandon its right for peaceful use of nuclear energy" he told the gathering.

Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Cairo and Brian Murphy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

(Subjects: Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, ArabsEU, USIsrael, 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. ....."

"Perceptions of God" – June 6, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects: Quantum TeachingThe Fear of God, Near-death ExperienceGod Becomes Mythology, Worship, Mastery, Intelligent Design, Benevolent Creator
Global Unity.... etc.(Text version)

“.. For centuries you haven't been able to think past that box of what God must be like. So you create a Human-like God with wars in heaven, angel strife, things that would explain the devil, fallen angels, pearly gates, lists of dos and don'ts, and many rules still based on cultures that are centuries old. You create golden streets and even sexual pleasures as rewards for men (of course) - all Human perspective, pasted upon God. I want to tell you that it's a lot different than that. I want to remind you that there are those who have seen it! Why don't you ask somebody who has had what you would call a near-death experience?

"Healing the Military Energies in our family Tree" – Jun 13, 2011 (Kryon channelled by David Brown)

“ … There’s much violence and anger throughout the world; when we look at the Middle East, we can see that changes are coming there. The West has a lot of power over the Middle East, but that power will begin to dissolve. The Muslim people of this world will begin to have their own power, and their own prosperity, and they will begin to disconnect from the Western World. This disconnection doesn’t have to be violent as violence only happens when somebody hangs onto what doesn’t belong to them....

... What Military Energy means if we use an analogy: it would be like putting grinding paste into the oil of your motor car. Once you release these energies you will begin to feel lighter as you disconnect from this reality, and, you will find it easier and easier to release any other negative emotions. Military Energies are the core of all your problems...."

US Waives Visa Ban for Myanmar Official Visits

Jakarta Globe, August 30, 2012

Myanmar President Thein Sein, left, shakes hands with Babatunde Osotimehin,
 executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), during their
 meeting at the presidential house in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Monday. (AP Photo/
United Nations Population Fund)

Related articles

Washington. The Obama administration took another step Wednesday in unraveling tough US sanctions against Myanmar by waiving a visa ban to promote engagement with its reformist government.

The White House announced the step ahead of a visit next month to New York by President Thein Sein to the UN General Assembly.

Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said it is not a blanket lifting of the ban, and the US will still screen Myanmar officials for evidence of complicity in gross human rights abuses.

President Barack Obama delegated authority to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to waive the ban for “certain individuals.” Under 2008 legislation, the ban covers officials of the former ruling junta, the military and those who lend it financial support. Immediate family members of such individuals are also banned.

Hayden said that by engaging Thein Sein and select Myanmar ministers and deputy ministers, “we can build trust, create opportunities to press for further reform, and give key reformers a better understanding of democracy and US policy.”

In recent months, the US has restored full diplomatic relations and suspended investment sanctions to reward the country also known as Burma for shifting from five decades of authoritarian rule. It has already allowed some US visits by officials.

The US, however, has left in place an import ban and remains concerned over political prisoners, ethnic conflict, and Myanmar’s ties with North Korea.

Thein Sein’s upcoming visit to the US will coincide with one by democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who will meet administration and congressional leaders and receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the legislature’s highest civilian honor.

In Myanmar’s latest effort to ease state control, it announced Tuesday that it is cutting about a third of the names from a blacklist that has restricted more than 6,000 people — both foreigners and Burmese — from traveling to and from the country.

But the US Campaign for Burma, a Washington-based activist group, complained Wednesday that Myanmar authorities have yet to grant passports to 15 veteran student activist leaders and many former political prisoners.

“Their application for passports is delayed while many government officials, ruling party members, and cronies are freely traveling all over the world including the US and Europe,” said the group’s executive director, Aung Din.

Associated Press
Related Article:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Zealand passes 1st stage of gay marriage law

The Huffington Post, Nick Perry, Associated Press, August 29, 2012

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly cast a first vote in favor of a gay marriage law that was given impetus by President Barack Obama's public support of the issue.

The 80 to 40 vote in front of a packed and cheering public gallery was the first of three votes Parliament must take before the bill can become law, a process that typically takes several months and allows the public to weigh in. Only a simple majority was needed to ensure a second vote, and the margin is a strong indication that the law will be passed.

Should New Zealand pass the measure into law, it would become the 12th country since 2001 to recognize same-sex marriages. Some states in the U.S. also recognize such marriages, but the federal government does not.

Polls indicate about two-thirds of New Zealanders support gay marriage. It also has the support of most of the country's political leaders.

New Zealand already has in place same-sex civil union laws that confer many legal rights to gay couples, although activists argue those laws don't give them equal social status. One important change under the proposed legislation, however, is that same-sex married couples could jointly adopt a child, something they can't do under current laws.

The proposed changes here can be directly traced back to Obama's declaration in May in support of gay marriage. That prompted center-right Prime Minister John Key to break his long silence on the issue by saying he was "not personally opposed" to the idea. Then lawmaker Louisa Wall, from the opposition Labour Party, put forward a bill she had previously drafted.

"If I'm really honest, I think the catalyst was around Obama's announcement, and then obviously our prime minister came out very early in support, as did the leader of my party, David Shearer," Wall told The Associated Press. "The timing was right."

Wall, 40, is openly gay. She represented the country in both netball and rugby before turning to politics, a background she said helps give her focus. She said she's gotten thousands of emails both supporting and opposing her stance on gay marriage, including her fair share of hate mail.

This week, opponents of the bill presented a petition to lawmakers signed by 50,000 people. Bob McCoskrie, founder of the conservative lobby group Family First, which helped organize the petition, said civil unions go far enough in providing legal rights to same-sex couples and there's no need to redefine marriage.

"Equality doesn't mean sameness," he said. "Marriage has always been about the relationship of a man and a woman because of their natural potential to have children."

Despite sponsoring the bill, Wall said that if it passes, she has no plans to marry her partner of five years, lawyer Prue Tamatekapua. She said that for them, the civil union celebration they enjoyed two years ago was enough.

"I'm happy. Other people aren't," she said. "I'm not driven by self-interest, if I can say that. For me, this is fundamentally about living in a fair and just society."

Same-sex marriage is currently recognized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. Several other countries, including France, are considering making it legal.

Anger over Australian supermarket 'no Indians' job ad

BBC News, 28 August 2012

An Australian supermarket's cleaning firm has sparked outrage by posting an advert for staff that stipulated: "No Indians or Asians please."

The advert, posted on the Gumtree website, appealed for cleaners at a Coles supermarket in Hobart.

The authorities say they are investigating for race discrimination.

Coles, Australia's second-biggest chain, said the advert was posted by a sub-contractor who was no longer connected to the company.

The firm said the advert had been placed without its knowledge,

"We were extremely concerned to learn of the ad and its contents," Coles spokesman Jim Cooper told the Hobart Mercury.

"Coles is a proud, equal-opportunity employer and at no time have we ever issued the directives contained in this ad. We have made these points in no uncertain terms to the cleaning contractors in question."

Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks said she had launched an inquiry into the advert.

She said both the contractor and the Gumtree website could have broken the law.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Myanmar leader announces cabinet reshuffle

Deutsche Welle, 27 August 2012

Myanmar's leader has coordinated a significant cabinet reshuffle, as the country edges towards political reform. Reformists have been promoted and conservatives have been demoted in the overhaul.

Myanmar's president Thein Sein reshuffled his cabinet on Monday, according to his office. The political maneuver had been long-anticipated and has been greeted as a sign that reform is starting to take root in the country.

Thein Sein, a former general, gave four of his key ministers a joint additional role as minister of the president's office. Thein Sein's aides said the appointment was with a view to speeding up the current pace of reform in Myanmar. Those appointed to the position include Railway Minister Aung Min, Finance Minister Hla Tun and Industry Minister Soe Thein. The latter two in particular are thought to have been instrumental in the introduction of recent economic reforms in Myanmar.

"They will work for the president. So the president will only need to make final decisions and he will have more time to work on the important matters," said a top government official.

Labor Minister Aung Kyi is also set to take on the role of information minister, replacing Kyaw Hsan, a hard-liner who had experienced thorny relations with the country's media. Aung Kyi was previously the former junta's official liaison to Aung San Suu Kyi when the democratic figurehead was under house arrest.

With opposition to reforms from the more conservative elements of government and parliament enduring, the reshuffle is the latest chapter in Myanmar's incremental but tangible move towards democratization. Since taking up the presidency last year, Thein Sein has overseen a number of major changes in the country, from setting hundreds of political prisoners free to electing Suu Kyi to parliament.

sej/ccp (AFP, AP)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Facebook Israel-Arab youth group has rare meeting

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Jerusalem, August 27 2012

A Facebook-based movement for Mideast youth says the group has held its first gathering, bringing young activists from Israel and Arab countries to Germany to promote peace.

Nimrod Ben-Zeev of the YaLa-Young Leaders group says 18 members from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq and Kuwait met in Berlin over the weekend.

Ben-Zeev, an Israeli, said the group was selected from the most active of YaLa's 162,000 Facebook members.

Meetings between Israelis and citizens of Arab nations are rare. Except for Egypt and the Palestinians, none of those represented have diplomatic ties with Israel.

Ben-Zeev said Monday the movement wants to empower Middle Eastern youths to work together to improve their communities. It plans an online university next year.

(Subjects: Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, ArabsEU, USIsrael, 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. ....."

Rich-Poor Gap Hinders Asean Integration: Cambodia

Jakarta Globe, August 27, 2012

This 2010 file photo shows Cambodia Prime Minsiter Hun Sen. Southeast
Asian  nations must redouble efforts to bridge development gaps which threaten
 the region’s efforts to create an EU-style single market, Hun Sen said Monday.
Building an Asean economic community by 2015 is the “top priority,” Hun Sen said
 as he opened the annual meeting of economic ministers from the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations in the Cambodian tourist hub of Siem Reap. (AFP Photo
Related articles

Phnom Penh. Southeast Asian nations must redouble efforts to bridge development gaps which threaten the region’s efforts to create an EU-style single market, Cambodia’s prime minister said Monday.

Building an Asean economic community by 2015 is the “top priority,” Hun Sen said as he opened the annual meeting of economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Cambodian tourist hub of Siem Reap.

Emulating the European Union’s example, Asean wants to establish a single market and manufacturing base of about 600 million people — a goal that has been spurred by intensifying competition from China and India.

With less than three years to go, Asean must “address challenges and bridge the development gap, which hinders the realization of (the) Asean Economic Community as planned,” said Hun Sen, according to an official translation.

The development gap among Asean nations “is still huge,” he said. The bloc’s 10 member states range from deeply impoverished Myanmar to advanced city state Singapore and emerging powerhouse Indonesia.

“This requires us to double our efforts to promote further growth and improve equitable distribution of the fruits of growth at both national and regional levels,” Hun Sen said.

In a step towards narrowing the gap between richer and poorer nations and achieving regional integration, the bloc last year set up a nearly $500 million Asean infrastructure fund offering loans to build roads, railways and other projects without direct foreign assistance.

But according to Hun Sen, whose country currently holds the Asean chair, the fund “is still very small.”

He urged the bloc’s economic and finance ministers “to attract more financing partners to increase the fund size” by approaching dialogue partners such as Japan, China, South Korea.

Asean economies grew by 4.7 percent in 2011, Hun Sen said, despite the weak global economy, high oil prices and volatile capital flows.

The figure was down from 7.6 percent growth in 2010, according to Asean data.

Despite a slowdown in exports, Asean countries posted a combined trade surplus of more than $90 billion in 2011, Hun Sen said.

Asean groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

During their week-long meeting, the economic ministers will also seek to deepen economic engagement in talks with other nations including China, the United States, Russia and India.

The meeting marks the first gathering of Asean members since a foreign ministers’ meeting in July ended in disarray over a maritime dispute in the South China Sea, exposing deep divisions within the bloc.

Agence France-Presse

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vietnam Political Battles Heat Up as Economy Falters

Jakarta Globe, August 26, 2012

A photo made available on Tuesday shows Nguyen Duc Kien, one of the founders
 of the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), chairman of Hanoi Football Club watches
 a soccer match in Hanoi, Vietnam in Januray. Kien, 48, was arrested on Monday for
suspected "economic violations," according to the local media. (EPA Photo/
Related articles

Hanoi. The arrest of one of Vietnam’s top banking tycoons reflects a wider power struggle among the Communist rulers over how to tackle the country’s deepening economic troubles, experts say.

Flamboyant multi-millionaire Nguyen Duc Kien, a shareholder in some of Vietnam’s largest financial institutions and a founder of Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), was detained on Monday, and ACB’s ex-head officially joined him in custody three days later.

The arrests, for unspecified economic crimes, caused public panic, wiping some $5.0 billion in value from Vietnam’s stock markets and triggering a bank run as depositors rushed to pull hundreds of millions of dollars out of ACB.

But “the bigger concern is the potential for political instability . . . Kien’s arrest could signify increasing discord among political elites and factions,” according to a report by intelligence group Stratfor.

Football-mad Kien, an instantly recognizable 48-year-old financier with a shock of white hair, is widely reported to have close connections to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his daughter, a Swiss-trained private banker.

Since the 1990s, as Vietnam opened up economically, power moved from the communist party to the state — and, since he assumed the post in 2006, to Dung, who is said to be the country’s most powerful prime minister ever.

Dung, who was reelected to a second five year term in 2011, has used this power to aggressively push for high growth rates and champion a South Korean chaebol-style development path, relying on huge state-owned companies to drive overall economic growth.

At first, Vietnam was notching up seven percent-plus annual growth rates and quickly became a favorite of foreign investors including global banking giant Standard Chartered, which owns 15 percent of ACB.

But with economic growth now just 4.4 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2012, foreign direct investment down nearly 30 percent in the same period and toxic debt in the fragile banking system at “alarming levels” according to the central bank, there has been increasingly vocal criticism of Dung.

“Never has Vietnamese society faced so many unheavals which weaken the Party’s leadership and threaten the survival of the whole political regime,” a retired National Assembly deputy told Agence France-Presse.

“Some party leaders have lost patience, and feel it is time to act to eliminate these potential threats and regain public confidence,” he added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In a scathing op-ed on Thursday, President Truong Tan Sang — one of Dung’s main political rivals — said that “Vietnam is now under not insignificant pressure because of broken state-owned enterprises.”

He criticized “the degradation of political ideology and the morals and lifestyle” of officials — a swipe at wealthy tycoons like Rolls Royce-driving Kien — and called for economic reform and a new anti-corruption drive.

A new round of factional fighting has begun and “the main battleground is economic reform and probity including the state-owned sector and the banking sector and weeding out entrenched large-scale corruption”, said Vietnam expert Carl Thayer.

“Sang and Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong are now repeating an old but true refrain that corruption is one of the major threats to the legitimacy of Vietnam’s one-party system,” Thayer said.

Public discontent over official corruption has bubbled over into violent protests several times this year.

The case of a farmer who used home-made explosives to fight forced eviction by corrupt local officials dominated the front pages in January.

Thayer pointed to the significance of a decision earlier this month to remove control of the anti-corruption steering committee from the prime minister and hand it back to the party.

Dung has previously come under pressure for corruption scandals in the state-owned companies he promoted, and in 2010 was forced to accept personal responsibility for the near-collapse of state shipping giant Vinashin.

While the moves against Kien are not expected to force Dung from his post, more of the prime minister’s allies are likely to be targeted, observers predict.

Kien “may be the most prominent and wealthy” thus far, but he was not the first nor will he be the last, said Thayer, emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Dung himself, in what experts see as an effort at self-protection, has praised the police efforts to investigate corruption in bank reform and called for punishment of culprits “no matter who they are.”

Agence France-Presse
Related Article:

Anti-Nuclear Protests Signal New Activism in Japan

Jakarta Globe, August 26, 2012

In this June 29 file photo, protesters stage an anti-nuclear protest rally near
 Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's office in Tokyo when at least 10,000 protesters
 demanded Noda's government to stop the resumption of two reactors in western
Japan. Japan’s nuclear crisis (and the government’s handling of it) has spawned
 a new breed of protesters. Drawn from the ranks of ordinary citizens rather than
 activists, they are a manifestation of a broader discontent with government and could
 create pressure for change in a political system that has long resisted it. (AP Photo/
 Koji Sasahara, File)
Related articles

Tokyo. This is Japan’s summer of discontent. Tens of thousands of protesters — the largest demonstrations the country has seen in decades — descend on Tokyo every Friday evening to shout anti-nuclear slogans at the prime minister’s office. Many have never protested publicly before.

“I used to complain about this to my family but I realized that doesn’t do any good,” said Takeshi Tamura, a 67-year-old retired office worker. “So I came here to say this to his office. I don’t know if we can make a difference but I had to do something, and at least it’s a start.”

The government’s much-criticized handling of the Fukushima nuclear crisis has spawned a new breed of protesters in Japan. Drawn from the ranks of ordinary citizens rather than activists, they are a manifestation of a broader dissatisfaction with government and could create pressure for change in a political system that has long resisted it.

What started as relatively small protests in April has swollen rapidly since the government decided to restart two of Japan’s nuclear reactors in June, despite lingering safety fears after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

As many as 20,000 people have gathered at the Friday rallies by unofficial police estimates, and organizers say the turnout has topped 100,000. Officials at the prime minister’s office say their crowd estimate is “several tens of thousands.” Either way, the two-hour demonstrations are the largest and most persistent since the 1960s, when violent student-led protests against a security alliance with the United States rocked Japan.

The protesters include office workers, families with children, young couples and retirees.

“No to restart!” they chant in unison without a break.  “No nukes!”

Despite the simple message, the anger runs much deeper, analysts say.

“It’s not only about nuclear,” says writer and social critic Karin Amamiya. “It mirrors core problems in Japanese society, and the way politics has ignored public opinion.”

Distrust of politics runs deep in Japan, and many think politicians are corrupt and only care about big business. Some voters were angered when the government rammed through a sales tax hike in July that had divided public opinion and the ruling party. The government has also done little to reduce the US military presence on the southern island of Okinawa despite decades of protests there, under the security alliance that had initially triggered violent student protests.

In a country not known for mass protests, the nuclear crisis has galvanized people to an unusual extent. Unlike other issues, it cuts across ideological lines. For Japanese from all walks of life, it has shattered a sense of safety they felt about their food, the environment and the health of their children.

That helps explain why the long-standing frustration with government exploded in protests after the restart of two reactors in Ohi in western Japan. They were the first of Japan’s 50 reactors to resume operation under a new regime of post-tsunami safety checks.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was criticized for making the restart decision behind closed doors and calling the weekly chanting and drum-beating outside his office “a loud noise.” An apparently chastised Noda met with rally leaders, who have proposed talks, allowing them inside his office compound for the first time Wednesday. Noda also met with leaders of Japan’s influential business lobbies afterwards.

“It’s not a loud noise that we are making. It’s desperate voices of the people,” said Misao Redwolf, an illustrator who heads the weekly protests, as she demanded Noda immediately stop the two recently resumed reactors and eventually abandon nuclear energy. “We’ll continue our protests as long as you keep ignoring our voices.”

Noda promised to listen to the people’s voices carefully before deciding Japan’s long-term energy policy, but refused to stop the two reactors.

Protest leaders said they don’t expect anything to happen just because they met Noda, but at least hold on to their hope for a change.

“All these years, lawmakers have only cared about vested interests, and that was good enough to run this country,” Kiyomi Tsujimoto, an activist-turned lawmaker, said at a recent meeting with protest organizers. “The government is still seen doing the same politics, and that’s what people are angry about. I think (the demonstrations) are testing our ability to respond to the changes.”

Masanori Oda, cultural anthropologist at Chuo University who heads a drum section of the protest, said many Japanese also contributed to prolong such a system “very convenient” to politicians by not getting angry or standing up against unfavorable policies.

“Now more Japanese are learning to raise their voice. Japanese politicians should develop a deeper sense of crisis about the situation,” Oda said.

Separately, an even larger rally, joined by rock star Ryuichi Sakamoto and Nobel laureate author Kenzaburo Oe, drew 75,000 by police estimates on July 16, a public holiday. Organizers put the crowd at Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park at nearly 200,000. Thousands also ringed Japan’s parliament after sunset on July 29 and held lit candles.

Smaller rallies have sprung up in dozens of other cities, with participants gathering outside town halls, utility companies and parks.

“Obviously, people’s political behavior is changing,” says Jiro Yamaguchi, a political science professor at Hokkaido University. “Even though a lot of people join demonstrations, that won’t bring a political change overnight. The movement may hit a plateau, and people may feel helpless along the way. But there could be a change.”

Already, there are signs of change. Many lawmakers have converted to supporting a nuclear-free future amid speculation that a struggling Noda will call an election in the coming months and that nuclear policy will be a key campaign issue.

A new party, established by veteran lawmaker Ichiro Ozawa and about 50 followers who broke away from Noda’s ruling party after opposing the sales tax hike, has promised to abolish atomic energy within 10 years. Some lawmakers have launched study groups on phasing out nuclear power. A group of prefectural, or state-level, legislators has formed an anti-nuclear green party.

The government was also forced to step up transparency about the method and results of town meetings to better reflect public views on energy policy to determine the level of Japan’s nuclear dependency by 2030. The options being considered are zero percent, 15 percent and 20-25 percent.  That already delayed the energy report for several weeks, and officials set up a new panel Wednesday to discuss how to factor in public opinion in policies.

“If we carry on, we could get more people to join in the cause around the country,” said Mariko Saito, a 63-year-old homemaker from nearby Kamakura city, who joined the protest outside the prime minister’s office on a recent Friday. “I’ll definitely vote for an anti-nuclear candidate. Their nuclear stance would be the first thing I’ll look at.”

The rallies are peaceful compared to the 1960s, when activists wearing helmets and carrying clubs threw stones and burst into the parliament complex. One died and dozens were injured.

Today’s protesters hold flowers or handmade posters and even chat with police officers.

“It’s almost like a festival,” journalist and TV talk show host Soichiro Tahara wrote in his blog. “The people have finally found a common theme to come together.”

Associated Press