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, April 30, 2013

Primark urges other UK retailers to join it in compensating Bangladesh victims

Clothing chain says it will help families of workers buried when Dhaka building collapsed but balks at union's safety demands, Ben Quinn and Rebecca Smithers, Monday 29 April 2013

A shopper passes protesters at a branch of the clothing chain Primark,
which had a supplier based in the collapsed factory. Photograph: Suzanne

Primark has announced that it will pay compensation to the victims of last week's collapse of a Bangladeshi factory complex, where one of the high-street retailer's suppliers was located.

The illegally constructed, eight-storey Rana Plaza collapsed in a heap while thousands of people were working inside in five garment factories that supply leading western brands including Primark, Matalan, Mango and Benetton.

About 2,500 survivors have been accounted for so far. Rescuers were using heavy machinery on Monday to cut through the debris after giving up hope of finding any more survivors.

The British-owned Primark, which said that the payment would include long-term aid for children who had lost parents and financial aid to those who were injured, also urged other clothing retailers who had suppliers based in the factory near Dhaka to come forward and offer assistance.

But the company stopped short of meeting the demands of campaigning organisations and trade unions to sign up to a building safety action plan aimed at preventing a repeat of the disaster, in which at least 382 people were killed.

Announcing the compensation package on Monday, Primark said it had joined with a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) to address the immediate needs of victims, including the provision of emergency food aid to families.

It added: "This will include the provision of long-term aid for children who have lost parents, financial aid for those injured and payments to the families of the deceased.

"Primark notes the fact that its supplier shared the building with those of other retailers," said the retailer, whose supplier, Simple Approach, had occupied the second floor of the eight-storey Rana Plaza building that collapsed.

"We are fully aware of our responsibility. We urge these other retailers to come forward and offer assistance."

A petition drawn up by the National Garment Workers' Federation, which called on Primark, Matalan and Mango to pay compensation to victims' families and to sign up to the Bangladesh fire and building safety agreement to prevent future deaths of garment workers, has so far received nearly 600,000 signatures.

Responding to calls for it to sign up to the agreement, a spokesman for Primark said that the issue of structural integrity was complex and that buildings had multiple ownership, tenants, floors and many international customers.

He added that Primark would work with fellow members of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), a UK-based grouping of retailers, unions and NGOs, "to agree and monitor an effective methodology to assess structural integrity, which can then be universally adopted".

"An equivalent action plan on fire safety has already been endorsed by the ETI and its members, demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach," he said.

Earlier on Monday, the Italian retail multinational Benetton admitted that it had been supplied for a one-off order by one of the factories in the building. It had previously denied any links with the businesses there.

The company's U-turn came as a Bangladesh court gave police 15 days to question the owner of the building. Mohammed Sohel Rana, who was arrested on Sunday as he tried to flee to India, will be held for questioning on charges of negligence, illegal construction and forcing employees to work in the building. His father, Abdul Khaleque, was also arrested on suspicion of aiding Rana to force people to work in a dangerous building.

Benetton's announcement follows the publication by the Associated Press of pictures of clothes bearing its labels in the debris. On the day of the tragedy, the Italian firm issued a statement saying: "None of the companies involved are suppliers to Benetton Group or any of its brands."

The new statement said: "Regarding the tragic accident in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we wish to confirm that none of the companies involved is a supplier to any of our brands. Further to this, a one-time order was completed and shipped out of one of the manufacturers involved several weeks prior to the accident.

"Since then, this subcontractor has been removed from our supplier list. A programme of random audits take place on an ongoing basis throughout our global supply chain to ensure that all direct and indirect suppliers comply with our long-standing social, labour and environmental standards."

New Wave Bottoms, one of the manufacturers based at Rana Plaza, lists Benetton as a client, while labour rights activists digging through the debris also said they found documents linking Benetton to the factory.

Bonmarché, a retailer with more than 200 stores across the UK, has acknowledged that its products were made in the block, while the UK chain Matalan also said it had been supplied from the factory in the past. The Spanish chain Mango said it had planned to obtain samples from a supplier in the complex.

Related Article:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Activists Urge Asean to End Deadlock on Migrant Workers’ Rights

Jakarta Globe, April 29, 2013

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) pose for a
 group photo during the 22nd ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan on Thursday.
 The leaders are, from left, Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Singapore’s Prime
 Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam’s
 Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Myanmar’s
 President Thein Sein, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia’s President
 Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and
Malaysia’s Senate President Abu Zahar Ujang. (Reuters Photo/Bazuki Muhammad)

A human rights group is urging Asean to conclude a six-year debate on an instrument protecting migrant workers and develop a draft during a meeting this week.

“We, various civil society elements concerned with the protection of the rights of migrant workers, urge the Asean drafting team committee on migrant workers [ACMW] to complete the debate on the Instrument for the Protection for Migrant Workers and Their Families,” a statement issued by the Human Rights Working Group Indonesia (HRWG-Indonesia) said.

The statement also said that the group hoped that the ACMW would complete the discussion during its two-day Asean Forum on Migrant Labor, which kicked off today in Jakarta.

The instrument, it said, was mandated by the Asean Declaration on the Protection of Migrant Workers of January 2007.

The debate on the instrument, involving representatives from the 10 member states of Asean, has been deadlocked over three points — whether the instrument should be legally binding, the definition of the family of migrant workers and whether the protection should be extended to undocumented migrant workers.

“It should be that this instrument of protection is legally binding for all Asean member states,” the HRWG-Indonesia statement said, adding that the 2007 declaration also was binding.

On the two other points, the organization said that the ACMW should refer to the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which provides a definition of migrant worker families and extends protection to undocumented migrant workers.

“We deem that the debate or negotiations that have been going on for six years, both in substance and in duration, has been going on for far too long, showing that Asean states do not have the good will to protect migrant workers,” the group said.

The group urged the drafting team to complete the instrument as soon as possible, and to uphold human rights standards and various International Labor Organization conventions ratified by Asean member states.

HRWG-Indonesia also called on the government to make the draft instrument available to the public as soon as possible so that concerned citizens and migrant workers can contribute.

The group also pushed for the government “to press for several points in the instruments, including a mechanism for legal assistance and rehabilitation to assist migrant workers who became victims of violence.”

China becoming global climate change leader: study

Google – AFP, Martin Parry (AFP), 28 April 2013

Solar panels in the Sino-Singapore Eco-city near Tianjin on June 11, 2012
(AFP/File, Ed Jones)

SYDNEY — China is rapidly assuming a global leadership role on climate change alongside the United States, a new study said Monday, but it warned greenhouse gas emissions worldwide continue to rise strongly.

The report by the independent Australian-based Climate Commission, "The Critical Decade: International Action on Climate Change" presents an overview of action in the last nine months.

It was released on the same day as a fresh round of UN talks were to start in Bonn on boosting action on climate change -- a two-decade-long process that has been dogged by procedural bickering and defence of national interests.

The study found that every major economy had policies in place to tackle the issue, but China was at the forefront in strengthening its response, "taking ambitious strides to add renewable energy to its mix".

A wind turbine complex on the Zhemo 
Mountain in the outskirts of Dali in China's
 Yunnan province on November 5, 2009
 (AFP/File, Liu Jin)
"China is accelerating action," said Tim Flannery, the co-author and a key figure at the Climate Commission, which brings together internationally-renowned scientists, as well as policy and business leaders.

"China has halved its growth in electricity demand, dramatically increased its renewable energy capacity, and decelerated its emissions growth more quickly than expected.

"After years of strong growth in coal use, this has begun to level off. They are beginning to put in place seven emissions trading schemes that will cover quarter of a billion people," he said.

The report added that China, which this month agreed to work with the US to tackle global warming, wanted "to position themselves as the world's renewable energy leader".

"Whatever the reason, the results speak for themselves. China is quickly moving to the top of the leader board on climate change," said Flannery.

The report found that in 2012 alone China invested US$65.1 billion in clean energy, 20 percent more than in 2011. This was unmatched and represented 30 percent of the entire G20 nations' investment last year.

It pointed to new solar power capacity in China expanding 75 percent last year while the amount of electricity generated from wind in 2012 was 36 percent higher than 2011.

The United States, which with China produces some 37 percent of world emissions, also significantly strengthened its climate change response, pumping US$35.6 billion into renewable energy last year, second only to Beijing.

The report said the impact of the economic downturn and a progressive shift from coal to gas had kept Washington on track to meet its national goal of reducing emissions by 17 percent on 2005 levels by 2020.

"Important foundations have been set that are likely to have a lasting impact in the coming decades," it added, pointing to California, the world's ninth largest economy, beginning an emissions trading scheme in January.

More than half of US states now have policies to encourage renewable energy.

Beyond China and the US, momentum globally has grown with 98 countries committing to limit emissions.

Workers check a solar panel in a field in Hami, China's Xinjiang region,
on August 6, 2012 (AFP)

"Renewable energy is surging globally with solar capacity increasing 42 percent and wind 21 percent in just one year," said Flannery. "With so much global momentum this is clearly the beginning of the clean energy era."

But while progress was being made, the report cautioned that "it is not enough".

"Globally emissions are continuing to rise strongly, posing serious risks for our society," it said.

"This decade must set the foundations to reduce emissions rapidly to nearly zero by 2050. The earlier such action is under way the less disruptive and costly it will be."

The five-day Bonn negotiations beginning Monday are the first since United Nations talks in Qatar last December that set down a two-track process for tackling greenhouse gases.

The goal is a new climate treaty that will be concluded by 2015 and take effect by 2020. 

Countries would also pledge greater commitment on tackling the carbon problem in the interim years before 2020.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Syria says chemical weapons claims 'barefaced lie'

Google – AFP, 27 April 2013

Omran al-Zohbi gives a press conference in Damascus on March 19, 2013

MOSCOW, Russia — US and British accusations that the regime in Damascus may have used chemical weapons are a "barefaced lie," Syria's information minister told Russian television Saturday.

"First of all, I want to confirm that statements by the US Secretary of State and British government are inconsistent with reality and a barefaced lie," Omran al-Zohbi said in an interview published on the Kremlin-funded RT's website.

"I want to stress one more time that Syria would never use it -- not only because of its adherence to the international law and rules of leading war, but because of humanitarian and moral issues," Zohbi said in comments that were published in English on the website.

US President Barack Obama on Friday warned Syria that using chemical weapons would be a "game changer," after the US, Israel and Britain all cited signs that the regime attacked with the deadly agent sarin.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon has called on Syria to approve a UN mission of inspectors to probe the alleged use of chemical weapons in the spiralling two-year conflict.

But Zohbi told RT that the Syrian government could not trust UN inspectors from Britain and the US.

"We do not trust the American and British experts from a political point of view," Zobhi said.

"We also do not trust their qualifications. Their aim is to juggle with facts."

He added that the Syrian government would accept Russian inspectors.

"We won't mind if Russians would be among the experts, quite the contrary, we only welcome this idea. We are quite sure in their high qualification and ability to clearly see into such matters," he was quoted as saying.

Along with China, Russia has blocked several UN Security Council draft resolutions threatening sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

During his visit to Russia, Zobhi on Saturday met the deputy speaker of the upper house of parliament, Ilyas Umakhanov.

Asean Bank Pact Moves Closer

Jakarta Globe, ID/Grace Dwitiya Amianti on 6:49 pm April 27, 2013.

Indonesian banks, many of which are eager to expand abroad, lag their
 Southeast Asian peers with regard to the size of their assets. (Bloomberg
Photo/Dimas Ardian)

Central banks in Southeast Asia inched closer to agreeing on rules allowing commercial banks to expand within the region in a deal that may pave the way for Indonesian lenders such as Bank Mandiri and Bank Negara Indonesia to broaden their horizons.

Officials from central banks at the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Friday came closer to agreeing on requirements for Southeast Asian banks to do business in other nations in the region. To qualify for the improved market access, banks must reach the status of Qualified Asean Banks.

Requirements to be a QAB will include having headquarters in Asean and meeting certain thresholds on capital adequacy and consolidation, restrictions on large exposures, accounting and transparency.

Mulya Siregar, executive director of banking research and regulation at Bank Indonesia, said the region’s central bankers agreed that a preliminary document about the agreement principles was being finalized.

“This will be complete by the end of this year,” Mulya said, adding that the final decision would rest with Asean leaders. The Asean leaders are scheduled to meet at a summit in October in Brunei.

Mulya said that even though the general requirements for QAB had been laid out, the final decision of a bank expanding  to other country had to be reached by mutual agreement between the bank’s home country and its host country.

A home country’s QAB can enter a host country within the Asean region only if the host country has its own QAB that wishes to enter the former.

“This has to be done simultaneously to ensure a reciprocal treatment,” Mulya said.

Sigit Pramono, chairman of the Indonesia Banking Association (Perbanas), welcomed the advance in reciprocal talks.

Sigit said he was confident that Indonesia banks could meet the requirements to be QABs. But he warned that the country’s bank still lacked the human resources to compete abroad.

“We understand the local market very well, but we still lack, for example, English proficiency,” Sigit said.

State-owned banks Bank Mandiri, Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Negara Indonesia are currently applying to open full branches in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Bank Mandiri is also holding back from opening a full branch in Malaysia due to capital requirement and ATM permits that it deems too restrictive.

Bank Mandiri applied to the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 2009. Discussion with the MAS is progressing as part of Bank Indonesia’s push for reciprocity.

The Indonesian central bank is assessing a $6.8 billion bid by Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings to buy control of Bank Danamon Indonesia from Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. Bank Indonesia Governor Darmin Nasution, whose term ends in May, hinted two weeks ago that DBS is likely to learn the outcome of its bid early next month. He said a decision by the authorities in Singapore on whether to allow greater market access from Indonesian banks is a key factor.

Despite having strong lending growth and high margins, Indonesian banks are behind regional peers in terms of assets.

State lender Bank Mandiri ($66 billion), Bank Rakyat Indonesia ($57 billion) and Bank Negara Indonesia ($35 billion) are at 11th, 13th and 19th place respectively in Southeast Asia, with private lender Bank Central Asia ($46 billion) holding 16th place.

Blow for Cameron as China welcomes Hollande

Beijing punishes PM for his meeting with Dalai Lama while French president gets full state visit treatment

The Guardian, Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent, Friday 26 April 2013

The French president, François Hollande, meets his Chinese counterpart,
 Xi Jinping, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. Photograph:
Pool/Getty Images

David Cameron's mission to change the focus of British foreign policy by boosting trade links suffered a setback after Downing Street was forced to abandon a trip to China as Beijing punished the prime minister for meeting the Dalai Lama.

In a blow to Cameron, who had hoped to hold an annual summit with the Chinese leadership, the French president François Hollande was on Friday feted in Shanghai on a full state visit a few weeks after the prime minister was due to visit China.

Cameron is understood to have abandoned the planned trip after Beijing indicated that he was unlikely to be granted meetings with senior figures. He is now expected to visit in the autumn, two years after his first and only visit as prime minister.

Britain accepts that Beijing is exacting punishment after Cameron met the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, at St Paul's Cathedral last May. The meeting, which was similar to Gordon Brown's discussions with the Dalai Lama at Lambeth Palace in 2008, was designed to minimise offence in China by showing that Britain regards him as a spiritual leader. Downing Street has made clear to Beijing that it accepts Tibet is part of the People's Republic of China.

Government sources said that tentative plans for the prime minister to visit China this month were put on hold before his visit to India in February for the simple reason that the new Chinese leadership only took over in March. Cameron spoke to Li Keqiang, his new Chinese counterpart, after his appointment.

But the Guardian understands from diplomatic sources that a visit was firmly placed in the prime minister's diary for earlier this month. This was abandoned when it became clear that the prime minister would be denied the access usually granted to a G8 leader.

Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary who has just returned from China, told the Guardian: "David Cameron came to office claiming he would prioritise the UK's diplomatic and trade relationship with China, and yet the real difficulties in relations have now been laid bare. I was in China this week and it is clear that the new Chinese leadership are focused on the French president's visit, along with a large number of French companies looking for business.

"In the past, UK prime ministers have met with the Dalai Lama without the deterioration in relations with China that we are now seeing. For all of their initial boasts and bluster, the UK government has lacked a strategic or a joined-up approach to China since it came to office, and that's now showing."

A No 10 source said: "Of course, as any good diary planner would, we pencil in early on dates when the prime minister could potentially travel overseas without going firm on destinations. We decided several weeks ago that we wanted to visit some European capitals in the time we had earlier this month. When the prime minister and Premier Li Keqiang spoke in March they looked forward to meeting in due course."

Officials said trade with China is still rising and the two countries are on course to achieve £1bn in bilateral trade by 2015. Exports to China grew 13.4% last year.

But the decision to abandon the visit is a personal setback for Cameron, who said after coming to office that he would place trade at the heart of foreign policy, with a particular emphasis on the so-called Bric countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. A visit to India in February fell flat after private complaints that the prime minister appeared to regard the country as a trading opportunity rather than an emerging world power.

Hollande was greeted by Xi Jinping, the new Chinese president, when he arrived in Beijing with his partner Valerie Trierweiler on Thursday. They agreed to hold an annual summit – Cameron's original aspiration when he first visited China in November 2010 – after Hollande said he hoped to build a "multipolar" world. This is the classic French ambition to ensure the US cannot dominate the world in a "unipolar" world.

Cui Hongjian, director of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, a foreign ministry thinktank, told the South China Morning Post that this message was well received in Beijing. "France sometimes has different ideas from the US. China may co-operate with France."

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chinese official's son jailed for trying to bribe UK professors

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-04-26

Recruiters from Leeds Metropolitan University at an education exhibition in
Shanghai. (File photo/CFP)

The son of a Chinese official has been sentenced to a year in prison by a British court for trying to bribe his university teachers and carrying a concealed weapon when he met with them.

26-year-old Yang Li, studying for an MSc in Innovation and Technology Management at Bath University, learned he had not been given a passing mark for his dissertation, jeopardizing his plans to enroll at the school for a further year or to exchange his student visa for one for highly skilled professionals.

Yang made an appointment with Professor Andrew Graves and Dr Stephen Shepherd to discuss what his options were, according to Britain's Daily Mail. Yang told his teachers "I am a businessman" and placed 5,000 (US$7,730) in cash on the table. "There is a fourth option: you can keep the money if you give me a pass mark and I won't bother you again," Yang is reported to have said.

The two teachers refused and told him to leave. But when Yang picked up his jacket, an air pistol fell out of his pocket.

Yang's lawyer said his client's father is a government official and business man in China and that his client is accustomed to carrying a large amount of cash on him. He offered the money as a rash gesture on the spur of the moment, he said. The lawyer also said that Yang used the imitation firearm for target practice in his garden and this was not a premeditated act of intimidation.

The judge accepted that the gun was not acquired for the purpose of the meeting but ruled that the bribery attempt was premeditated. He sentenced Yang to 12 months for attempted bribery and another six months on a firearms charge, which will run concurrently.

Related Article:

Lebanon's first civil marriage registered: agency

Google – AFP, Serene Assir (AFP), 25 april 2013

Kholoud Sukkariyeh (R) and Nidal Darwish pose for a picture next to Beiurt's
landmark Pigeon Rock on January 25, 2013 (AFP, Joseph Eid)

BEIRUT — Lebanon's interior minister took the unprecedented step Thursday of registering a civil marriage contract after a years-long campaign to allow such unions in the multi-confessional country, the official news agency reported.

"Marwan Charbel has signed the civil marriage contract of Nidal Darwish and Kholoud Sukkarieh, the first Lebanese couple to celebrate a civil union" on home soil, the National News Agency said.

Lebanon has a population of some four million people with Muslims -- Sunnis and Shiites -- making up the majority but with a Christian minority of around 35 percent and a sprinkling of other religions.

Sukkarieh and Darwish's campaign to register their marriage began more than a year ago. It started in secret to sidestep political obstacles, but in recent months their story triggered a massive debate over whether civil unions should be allowed in Lebanon.

Most faiths have their own regulations governing marriage, divorce and inheritance, and mixed Christian-Muslim weddings in Lebanon are discouraged unless one of the two converts.

Kholoud Sukkariyeh (L) and Nidal Darwish 
pose for a photograph during a photoshoot
 at an undisclosed location (Darwish Family/
Despite some clerics and politicians rejecting Darwish and Sukkarieh's union, public figures including President Michel Sleiman have been overwhelmingly supportive of the step.

"Congratulations on the registration of Kholoud and Nidal's marriage contract," Sleiman posted on Twitter on Thursday.

Speaking to private news network LBC, Darwish described the registration as "the first victory for the civil state in Lebanon, the state we all dream of".

He echoed calls for a state for all its citizens in Lebanon, rather than a nation fractured along sectarian lines.

"I am very happy today, and I never had any fear that my marriage to Nidal would not be legal," Sukkarieh told LBC.

"This is Lebanon's first historic step" towards institutionalising civil marriage, she added.
Sukkarieh is four months pregnant, the broadcaster reported.

The couple's efforts to legalise their civil union "is a good thing for us all" in Lebanon, their lawyer Talal al-Husseini said.

"We have here a situation where something could have been legal all along, but where the right to practise civil marriage was blocked," he told AFP.

Lebanese authorities have all along recognised civil marriages registered abroad, and it has become common for mixed-faith couples to marry in nearby Cyprus.

Rather than follow that route, however, Sukkarieh and Darwish decided to work with legal advisers to try to create new jurisprudence, despite no history of civil marriage in Lebanon.

Both had their sect, Shiite and Sunni Muslim, legally struck from their "sejel an-nufoos" or family register, to be wed as a secular couple under an article dating from the 1936 French mandate that makes reference to civil unions.

"They decided to stand before the Lebanese state as citizens, not as members of this or that sect," said Husseini.

"Now that they have established this precedent, there is no going back. It is a big success, and it gives the right to others to follow suit," he added.

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Jerusalem Women of the Wall win ruling against arrests

"Perceptions of God" – June 6, 2010 (Kryon channeled 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

Jerusalem Women of the Wall win ruling against arrests

BBC News, 25 April 2013

The Women of the Wall say they have the right to pray out loud at the holy site

Related Stories

Jerusalem's district court has upheld a ruling that Israeli security forces were wrong to arrest women who were praying at the Western Wall.

The ruling comes after five women were arrested at the wall, one Judaism's holiest sites, earlier this month.

They were part of a movement seeking to overturn a 2003 High Court ban on women performing religious rituals which Orthodox Jews say are reserved for men.

Police had appealed against an earlier ruling that the arrests were illegal.

The Western Wall - a relic of the Biblical Temple compound - currently has separate sections where men and women are allowed to pray.

For several months, a group of women, dubbed the Women of the Wall, have held prayers in the female side, wearing traditional shawls and reading aloud from the Torah.

'Liberated the wall'

This has sparked outrage and protests from Orthodox groups, who say women should not perform the rituals.

On 11 April, five of the women were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace. A lower court had dismissed the charges and the women were freed, but the police appealed against this.

But on Thursday, Judge Moshe Sobel rejected the appeal, saying that the 2003 "did not ban the Women of the Wall from praying in any particular place" and that there was no "reasonable suspicion" that the women had broken laws relating to holy sites, Haaretz news agency reports.

He said police concerns that the women's actions could create a public disturbance was not grounds for arrest, as they had shown no signs of violence or being a security threat themselves.

Anat Hoffman, who chairs the women's group, said the ruling had "liberated the Western Wall for all Jewish people".

"We did it for the great diversity of Jews in the world, all of whom deserve to pray according to their belief and custom at the Western Wall," Haaretz quoted her as saying.

There was no immediate comment from police.

Correspondents say the dispute over the wall has become a symbol of the greater tensions in Israeli society between ultra-Orthodox Jews who abide by a very strict interpretation of Jewish law, and more modern Jewry.

"Perceptions of God" – June 6, 2010 (Kryon channeled 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

The ultra-Orthodox make up 10 percent of Israel’s population
 of 7.5 million, but are increasing rapidly amid a growing backlash 
to the privileges and subsidies long granted to the ultra-religious.
(Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times)