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 29, 2014

Ferry disaster: South Korea's president apologises for official failings

Park Geun-Hye, whose PM resigned over sinking, says government should have fixed 'long-running evils' that caused it - AFP, Seoul, Tuesday 29 April 2014

Park Geun-hye at a memorial altar in Ansan for victims of the ferry disaster.
Photograph: AP

South Korea's president has apologised for her government's failure to prevent a ferry disaster that left some 300 people dead or missing.

Two days after her prime minister resigned over the tragedy, Park Geun-Hye voiced profound regret at the systemic and regulatory failings that contributed to the capsize of the 6,825-tonne Sewol on 16 April.

"I feel so regretful for having been unable to correct such long-running evils and letting an accident like this take place," she said in a statement to her cabinet that was broadcast on national television.

Park's government has been widely criticised over perceived corruption and lax safety standards that may have led to the disaster, with claims that the ferry was overloaded and the passenger list inaccurate and incomplete.

Relatives of the more than 100 passengers still missing have blasted the response to the sinking, saying delays in launching the rescue cost lives.

"I don't know how to apologise for the failure to prevent this accident and for the insufficient first response," Park said.

"I am sorry to the people and heavy-hearted that many precious lives were lost."

Earlier on Tuesday the president had travelled to Ansan, south of Seoul, where she paid her respects to a memorial for the hundreds of schoolchildren who died in the disaster.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Taiwan's young people are right to be angry

Want China Times, Editorial 2014-04-28

President Ma Ying-jeou, left, and Premier Jiang Yi-huah sought to address
young people's concerns at a KMT youth forum in Taipei, April 20. (Photo/
Fang Chun-che)

Although political factors were behind the recent Sunflower Student Movement, which saw Taiwan's Legislature occupied for more than three weeks in opposition to a controversial services trade pact with China, the movement would not have found the resonance it did among the general public were it not for economic factors in the country, including stagnant salary levels, difficulty in finding jobs and surging property prices in particular.

Addressing the latter issue, how difficult is it to buy a house in Taiwan? Last week, the Ministry of the Interior announced the house price to income ratio for the fourth quarter of 2013, a key measure of housing affordability, with Taipei surging to 15.01 and New Taipei rising to 12.67, ranking first and third in the world, respectively. The average house price to income ratio was 8.37 in Taiwan overall, far ahead of the South Korean capital Seoul at 6.0, indicating that houses are expensive in Taiwan no matter what part of the country one lives.

In the ruling Kuomintang's Youth Forum held on Sunday, the problem of property prices was a major focus, with Premier Jiang Yi-huah vowing to take action to get the ratio below 10 in the capital and surrounding area.

Taiwan's property prices were not always this high. A survey in 2003 showed that Taiwan's average house price to income ratio stood at just 5.3, with Taipei at 6.1 and New Taipei (then Taipei county) at 5.1. The ratio has jumped to the highs cited above in just 10 years, indicating the government's property control policy has totally failed. How can the country's young people not be disappointed? How can they not complain?

Taiwan's property prices are not the highest in the world, but its house price to income ratio has become No. 1 in the world chiefly because salary levels have simply not gone up, especially for younger members of the workforce. According to government figures, the salary for a person's first job after entering employment has stood at the same level for more than a decade. In 1999, college graduates could expect to earn an average monthly salary of NT$28,551 (US$943 at current exchange rate), but this had actually dropped to NT$26,722 (US$882) in 2012. Is it any wonder that students are opposed to a liberalized labor market policy?

Taiwan produces more than 200,000 college graduates and over 60,000 students with master's or doctorate degrees every year. Why is it that the government's investment in higher education cannot transform this talent into a workforce with economic competitiveness? Though the problem has existed for more than 10 years, Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan's president for six years should bear a good measure of the responsibility.

Last year, the ratio of single women of marriage age rose to a new high of 32.55%, and economic factors were cited as the second-most important reason why they had not married. This indicates many current political and social problems are caused by economic imbalance. According to a recent survey, only 6% of younger married couples under the age of 34 owned their own home. But even if they did, they would have to bear a huge pressure on mortgage repayments. On average, Taipei's homeowners have a housing cost burden ratio of 63.4% (53.5% in New Taipei), meaning these families have to pay more than 50% of their income just on their mortgages. The resulting lack of disposable income is one of the reasons Taiwan's economy has been stagnant in recent years as private consumption provides important momentum for economic growth.

We have cared about the wealth gap between the rich and the poor, but have ignored the wealth distribution between the younger and older generations. Today's young people face worse employment prospects than their parents and have to continue to rely on their financial assistance in consequence. Such a gap in wealth distribution from generation to generation will continue to expand and the government should not underestimate its future effects.

Anti-nuclear activists rally in front of the Taipei Main Station to urge the government
 to stop the construction of the fourth nuclear power plant, Apr. 27. (Photo/
Wang Chin-ho)

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Obama heads to Philippines as defence pact inked

Yahoo – AFP, Stephen Collinson, 28 April 2014

US President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One at Haneda
 Airport in Tokyo on April 25, 2014, before departing for South Korea (AFP Photo/
Toshifumi Kitamura)

US President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on April 25, 2014, before departing for South Korea

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - US President Barack Obama heads to the Philippines Monday for the most complex leg of his Asian tour balancing act of reassuring allies wary of a rising China while avoiding antagonising Beijing.

Obama will land in Manila hours after the allies sign a new defence agreement allowing rotations of US troops and ships through the Philippines, part of a US rebalancing of military power towards rising Asia.

US President Barack Obama (2nd L)
inspects troops during an official arrival
ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo 
on April 24, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)
Anti-China sentiments run high in the Philippines, which is locked in a showdown with the Asian giant over disputed atolls in the South China Sea, part of a proliferation of maritime hotspots that has stoked Asian tensions.

During an Asian tour that has taken him to Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, Obama has repeatedly warned that small nations should not be bullied by larger ones, a clear reference to China's increasingly sharp geopolitical elbows.

"Disputes need to be resolved peacefully, without intimidation or coercion, and... all nations must abide by international rules and international norms," Obama said in Malaysia Sunday.

That is also a message that has resonance in America's East-West showdown with Russia over Ukraine -- a row to which Obama has had to return time an again during his Asian journey.

Simmering disputes

Opening his trip Obama made clear that US defence treaties with Japan did cover disputed islands long administered by Tokyo in the East China Sea, which are known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China.

The Philippines has its own territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea -- notably over the Second Thomas Shoal, an outpost in the remote Spratly Islands.

US officials have not been so specific over perceptions of their obligations towards Manila on territorial disputes -- but it is clear they do not believe them covered by the American Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines.

"With respect to some of the difficult territorial issues that are being worked through, it is hard to speculate on those because they involve hypothetical situations in the South China Sea," said deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes.

"The US Japan agreement has very specific coverage of territory under Japanese administration.

"Some of the disputes in the South China Sea raise more hypothetical circumstances."

In essence, the difference lies in the fact that Japan already administers the Senkakus/Diaoyus while the status of other islands and reefs is disputed -- even though they lie within the Philippines' internationally-mandated exclusive economic zone and more than 1,000 kilometres (580 miles) from the nearest Chinese landmass.

Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan, also have overlapping claims to the sea, believed to contain vast deposits of natural gas and oil.

Obama has repeatedly stressed that despite Beijing's territorial disputes with its allies, his Asia rebalancing strategy is not aimed at containing China's rise to regional, and perhaps global super power status.

But officials also make clear that they blame China for hiking tensions in the region over claims often well outside its territorial waters.

"We oppose the use of intimidation, coercion or aggression by any state to advance their maritime territorial claims," said Evan Medeiros, senior director for Asia at the National Security Council.

US 'rebalance' to Asia

The Philippines has accused China of becoming increasingly aggressive in staking its claims to the sea, and has called on the United States for greater military as well as diplomatic support.

Activists wear masks of US President Barack
 Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping
during a protest in Manila on April 27, 2014,
one day ahead of Obama's arrival to the
Philippines (AFP Photo/Noel Celis)
During his overnight stay in the Philippines, his first visit as president and his last stop on this Asian journey, Obama will meet President Benigno Aquino, hold a press conference and attend a state dinner. The new defence agreement will not allow Washington to establish a permanent base in the Philippines or bring in nuclear weapons to the country.

But it represents a new era in defence ties. The Philippines hosted two of the largest overseas US military bases until 1992, when Manila voted to end their lease amid growing anti-US sentiment.

Amid rising regional disquiet over the implications of China's rise, the Philippines has sought greater military ties with Washington in recent years. John Blaxland, a security analyst at the Australian National University said that the new defence deal would be seen as an important US assurance for Manila.

"The presence, and the aura of the presence is something that the Philippines desperately wants, and is something that the US sees as being necessary to effect the rebalance to Asia," said Blaxland.

"Bolstering the US presence will undoubtedly induce the Chinese to think hard about ratcheting further the confrontation with the Philippines in the South China Sea."

Rohingya in Indonesia Wait for Resettlement

Jakarta Globe, Kristy Siegfried, Apr 28, 2014

Mohammed Musa, 20, a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar has been in Indonesia
 for a year, eight months of which he spent in detention. Now he is staying at
 accommodation provided by the International Organization for Migration in
Makassar. (Photo courtesy of IRIN/Kristy Siegfried)

Makassar. When Mohammed and Minara Ali ran from their burning home in Sittwe, capital of Myanmar’s Rakhine State, nearly two years ago, they had no idea where they were going or how they would get there.

“To save our lives, we ran away,” said Mohammed. “The military were shooting at us; my father was killed by the shooting and until now, I don’t know what happened to my two younger brothers.”

Mohammed, 35, and his wife, Minara, 26, are Rohingya — an ethnic, Muslim minority group who have faced decades of persecution and discrimination in Myanmar. Myanmar law does not recognize them as citizens, hampering their access to health care, education and employment.

The Alis joined thousands of Rohingya who were fleeing riots that had erupted between the majority Rakhine Buddhist population and local Rohingya residents in June 2012. They boarded a crowded boat and used Minara’s wedding ring to pay for their passage.

After many days at sea, they reached Malaysia where Mohammed found work laboring in paddy fields. However, local police regularly stopped him and confiscated his meager salary and after six months during which the Alis’ asylum application remained undecided, survival had become almost impossible. They decided to sell what was left of Minara’s wedding jewelry to pay a smuggler to organize their passage to Australia from Indonesia.

“After two days, the [boat’s] engine broke down and we were floating at sea for three days,” recalled Mohammed. “Then we came to an island, but there was no food there, only monkeys, so someone phoned the police to come and rescue us.”

They spent the next year in detention in Jakarta — five months in separate cells at the city’s immigration headquarters and the remaining time at an immigration detention center where they were able to apply for asylum.

“We suffered a lot in detention,” said Mohammed. “There were many mosquitoes and it was dirty and, in the first place, we weren’t allowed to talk to UNHCR [the UN Refugee Agency] or IOM [International Organization for Migration].”

After being granted refugee status two months ago, they were moved to accommodation managed by IOM in Makassar, a bustling city on the southwest coast of Sulawesi. IOM also provides them with a small monthly stipend to buy food and basic necessities.

“We’re free here, but we always have tension, thinking about my mother and other siblings [in Myanmar],” said Mohammed. “From here, we can’t assist them.”

Barred from working

Refugees are barred from working in Indonesia and even if they had any jewelry left to sell to pay a smuggler, “there’s no way now to go to Australia by boat,” said Abdul Ghani, 23, another Rohingya refugee staying in the same building in Makassar.

Over the last six months, Australia’s military-led operation to prevent boats carrying asylum seekers from reaching its shores has been extremely effective, even if its practice of towing boats already in Australian waters back towards Indonesia has been criticized by UNHCR as in breach of the Refugee Convention. Smugglers and their clients have now largely abandoned attempts to reach Australia by sea.

Mohammed and Minara Ali are Rohingya refugees from Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
 After a failed to attempt to reach Australia by boat, they spent a year in detention
in Jakarta. (Photo courtesy of IRIN/Kristy Siegfried)

Mohammed and Minara Ali are Rohingya refugees from Myanmar’s Rakhine State. After a failed to attempt to reach Australia by boat, they spent a year in detention in Jakarta. (Photo courtesy of IRIN/Kristy Siegfried)

The Alis spend their days waiting for UNHCR to come with “good news.” Good news would mean resettlement to a country where they could live without fear and earn a living, but their wait is likely to be a long one.

For refugees living in desperate circumstances around the world, resettlement is often the hope that sustains them. However, for the vast majority, it remains a distant hope with less than 1 in 10 of the 700,000 refugees globally that UNHCR estimates to be in need of resettlement departing for resettlement countries in an average year.

For refugees in Indonesia, the odds are slightly better with nearly 900 refugees out of about 3,300 who were eligible departing for resettlement in 2013. However, none of them were Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

“Why is it that other nationalities get resettlement and not Rohingya? This is my very important question,” said Ghani. Other Rohingya refugees that IRIN interviewed in Makassar repeated the same question.

According to UNHCR, refugees from Myanmar have been major beneficiaries of resettlement programs in recent years. In 2012, they accounted for 22,000 of the nearly 75,000 cases that UNHCR submitted to resettlement countries for consideration. How many of those (refugees from Myanmar) were Rohingya is not recorded but a large number were non-Rohingya refugees living in camps along the Thai-Myanmar border who were resettled to the United States through a group resettlement program which ended in early 2014.

Malaysia versus Indonesia

In the last year, over 1,000 asylum seekers from Myanmar have arrived in Indonesia. Anecdotal reports suggest the vast majority are Rohingya who, like the Alis, tired of waiting for refugee status in neighboring Malaysia which is host to over 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar.

Neither country is a signatory to the Refugee Convention, but refugee status determination by UNHCR is generally quicker in Indonesia and more care and support programs for refugees are available, most of them provided by IOM with funding from the Australian government.

Although there are more informal work opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, Ghani opted to come to Indonesia after five years working in restaurants and factories there while waiting for his asylum application to be processed.

“In Malaysia I got money, but not enough for me, for my future, because I had no identity, no documents,” he told IRIN. “I applied for refugee status there, but after such a long time I gave up.”

Call for regional response

In an e-mailed response to questions from IRIN, Vivian Tan, a regional spokeswoman for UNHCR based in Bangkok, wrote: “Partly because of the limited scope of resettlement, we have to be very careful not to create false expectations or a ‘pull factor’ through resettlement.”

However, Steve Hamilton, deputy chief of mission for IOM in Indonesia said there was a need for UNHCR to provide greater public clarity concerning the current lack of resettlement of Rohingya refugees from Indonesia so that “other Rohingya don’t get false hopes and make the journey to Indonesia thinking they will be resettled.”

Tan acknowledged that continued tensions in Rakhine State preclude the option of voluntary repatriation for Rohingya refugees and that “there is no prospect for local integration in their host countries.”

“UNHCR has been advocating with host governments for temporary protection for them … and access to basic services such as shelter, food, health care and education. Where possible, we are also urging governments to grant them the right to legal work so that they can support themselves while waiting for other options to open up,” she added.

Sarnata Reynolds, a senior human rights adviser at Refugees International, pointed out that “resettlement has to be used carefully” to avoid playing into the Myanmar government’s “policy of exclusion” of the Rohingya. However, she disputed the suggestion that it could act as a pull factor. “Conditions in Myanmar [for the Rohingya] are so bad that they can’t survive there,” she told IRIN over the phone from Washington DC.

“I think over time there will have to be a regional response that’s more orchestrated and takes into account the fact that they’re not going anywhere,” she added.

Ghani is well aware that his future is likely to remain on hold for some time to come. “I can’t make a plan, I can only hope for a better life through resettlement,” he said. “UNHCR told me only to wait and I’m not considering going to back to Malaysia, but I don’t know how long I can wait. I’m always thinking about my family.”

Sunday, April 27, 2014

S Korean PM steps down for gov't response to ferry tragedy

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-04-27

South Korean prime minister Chung Hong-won. (File photo/Xinhua)

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won resigned on Sunday over criticism of the government's response to the April 16 Sewol ferry disaster that has left nearly 300 people dead or missing.

"The right thing for me to do is to take responsibility and resign," Chung told a told a nationally-televised press conference, 11 days after the accident that is one of the country's worst maritime disasters.

"Keeping my post too great a burden on the administration," Chung said.

The prime minister apologized on behalf of the government for the deadly accident and its less-than-effective early response measures.

"There are too many irregularities and malpractices in parts of society that have been with us too long and I hope those are corrected so that accidents like this will not happen again."

Chung was hit by a water bottle thrown by angry families of the missing passengers the day after the disaster when he visited the gym on Jindo Island where friends and relatives of the passengers gathered.

The 6,825-ton Sewol sank on April 16 on its way from the port of Incheon, west of Seoul, to the holiday island of Jeju.

Over 180 people, most of them high school students who were on a field trip, have been confirmed dead, with more than 110 others still unaccounted for.

The government has come under fierce criticism over the unprecedented disaster and its mishandling of the rescue operation.

All 15 surviving crew members responsible for sailing the ferry have been in custody and face charges ranging from criminal negligence to abandoning passengers.

Both South Korea's opposition party and ruling party have demanded that the whole cabinet resign for their poor response to the ferry disaster.

Obama, Malaysia PM Najib vow closer ties

Deutsche Welle, 27 April 2014

US President Barack Obama and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak have vowed closer ties. The announcement came during Obama's Asia tour, as he seeks to rebalance diplomatic relations with the region's leading nations.

The visit of US President Obama to Malaysia over the weekend was expected to result in an agreement of closer security and trade ties between the two nations. Following a private meeting on Sunday morning, the two leaders held a joint press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Obama had agreed to greater cooperation.

"This marks a new phase in our relationship, with greater collaboration in economy, security, education, science, technology," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib said.

"We also decided to (reconfigure) senior officials' dialogues as a key forum for high-level discussion,” he added.

Obama is the first US president to visit Malaysia since Lyndon Johnson in 1966. His stop in the Asian country - home to a diverse ethnic and religious population - came on the third leg of his tour of the continent. Relations were strained during the 1981-2003 tenure of Malaysia's authoritarian leader Mahathir Mohamad, who was a strong critic of US policies.

Obama calls for greater transparency

The US leader gave few details of how future relations with Malaysia would look at the Sunday press conference. Instead he opted to focus on implications of theMalaysian government's handling of missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 and its human rights records.

Referring to Kuala Lumpur's failure to effectively disclose key information about the missing Boeing 777 early on in the search, Obama stressed that it must cooperate between its foreign partners.

"There should be full transparency in terms of what we know and what we don't know," Obama said.

"I can tell you the United States is absolutely committed to providing whatever resources and assets that we can," Obama said.

Kuala Lumpur has drawn the most criticism from Beijing, in particular, for its handling of the mysterious disappearance of MH370. Nearly two-thirds of the 239 passengers on board were Chinese nationals.

Malayisa still has 'work to do'

Ahead of his visit, human rights activists urged Obama to meet with convicted opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who faces a jail sentence on sodomy charges. Ibrahim has said the charges were politically motivated by a "corrupt and authoritarian regime."

Obama – who has sent national security advisor Susan Rice to meet with Ibrahim on Monday – called for the Malaysian government to be more aware of the dangers of discrimination.

"I think we just have to be clear and stead in denouncing it, teaching our children differently," the US president said, adding that he would continue encouraging the Malaysian premier to "make sure he makes progress on that front."

"I think the prime minister is the first to acknowledge that Malaysia's still got some work to do," Obama added.

Muslims comprise roughly 60 percent of the ethnically and religiously diverse country's population, while Buddhists account for about 19 percent and Christians roughly 10 percent. Approximately 50 percent of Malaysians come from the ethnic Malay community, and a further 23 percent from the ethnic Chinese community.

Obama is scheduled to wrap up his Asia tour, which began with visits to Japan and South Korea, with a visit to the Philippines on Monday.

kms/se (AP, AFP, dpa)
Related Article:

Beijing eyes improved EU ties to increase global leverage

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-04-27

Xi Jinping shakes hands with European Council president Herman Van
Rompuy, right, during his visit to Brussels on March 31.

Europe is becoming more and more important to China's strategic goals as evidenced by President Xi Jinping's first EU trip as leader earlier this year, reports Guangzhou's South Reviews.

China has faced difficulty in building up its geopolitical leverage, while the United States has a number of aces up its sleeve: its military alliances with Japan and South Korea, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These alliances provide the US with leverage and put pressure on China.

To address this disparity, Beijing will have to seek leverage by conducting acts of goodwill with major powers, notably in Europe, which is at the heart of the global political games, the magazine said.

For a long time, Beijing has at most seen the EU as a trading partner and a technology transfer, failing to cultivate its geopolitical potential. But after Xi's successful EU tour, its potential to China's geopolitics has gradually emerged. Beijing will now look to build closer ties with European countries to improve China's strategic position.

Meanwhile, changes have occurred between the two sides, seeing each other on equal footing. During the tour from March 22 to April 1, Xi was greeted warmly in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium, with the Dutch King Willem Alexander even going to the airport to receive him, showing respect to China.

However, there are still many obstacles facing Europe and China as the current strong bilateral economic and trade relationship cannot guarantee a sound strategic partnership. Without deeper military and security cooperation and the interaction of society and culture, the Sino-European strategic partnership will lack a solid foundation.

King Willem-Alexander and queen Maxima officially welcome Chinese
 president Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at Schiphol airport. Photo: Novum

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“ … 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 

These leaders are going to fall over. You'll have a slow developing leadership coming to you all over the earth where there is a new energy of caring about the public. "That's just too much to ask for in politics, Kryon." Watch for it. That's just the beginning of this last phase.

Many years ago, the prevailing thought was that nobody should consider China as a viable player on the economic stage. They were backward, filled with a system that would never be westernized, and had no wish to become joined with the rest of the world's economic systems. Look what has happened in only 30 years. Now, look at Africa differently. ...”

Palestinian unity government will reject violence, Abbas says

Yahoo – AFP, Hossam Ezzedine,  26 April 2014

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas gestures as he gives a
 speech during a meeting with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)'s 
Central Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 26, 2014 (AFP
 Photo/Abbas Momani)

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Saturday the new unity government he is set to head with the backing of Hamas would reject violence and recognise Israel and existing agreements.

Abbas was speaking to the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Central Council, which had convened to chart a course of action after Israel suspended US-brokered peace talks in response to a reconciliation deal with the Islamist Hamas.

The agreement between the rival Palestinian factions came as the United States and Israel had been hoping to extend the faltering peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline.

Palestinians gather to celebrate the
 agreement to form a unity government
 in Gaza on April 23, 2014 (AFP Photo/
Mahmud Hams)
Israel said it would not negotiate with a government backed by Hamas, the armed Islamist movement ruling the Gaza Strip, which is pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state and has always rejected peace talks

"The upcoming government will obey my policy," Abbas told the PLO council. "I recognise Israel and reject violence and terrorism, and recognise international commitments."

And he stressed that the new government would not be charged with negotiations, but rather the PLO, which "represents the entire Palestinian people."

A senior Hamas official in Gaza concurred in a reacting to what he called a "mostly positive" speech.

“It is not the government’s mission to take care of political issues," Bassem Naim, an adviser to Hamas' Gaza premier Ismail Haniya, told AFP.

"It has only three main missions: unifying the Palestinian organisations, preparing for elections and reconstructing Gaza,”

The PLO is the internationally recognised representative of the Palestinians and their interlocutor in peace talks.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) was created as part of the Oslo peace process in the 1990s to administer the occupied Palestinian territories.

Abbas heads both, as well as the secular Fatah party, which dominates the PLO.

A new Israeli air force military cargo plane
the 'Samson' C-130J Super Hercules (C)
flies with Israeli military planes over Israeli
flags at Nevatim air force base near the
southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva on
April 9, 2014 (AFP Photo/David Buimovitch)
Under the Wednesday PLO-Hamas agreement, Abbas would head an "independent government" of technocrats, to be formed within five weeks.

That new interim administration would be charged with holding parliamentary and presidential elections within six months of taking office.

Israel and Western nations view Hamas as a terrorist organisation, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas must choose between reconciling with the Islamist group and negotiating peace with his country.

Earlier Saturday, Netanyahu spokesman Ofir Gendelman wrote on Twitter that "abbas forged a pact w/ a global terrorist organisation," noting Hamas was on the "terror lists" of various states, including the United States and Egypt.

No recognition of 'Jewish' state

Abbas also reiterated that the Palestinians would never recognise Israel as the "Jewish state," saying they recognised it as a state in 1993 and should not have to accept its religious identity, which has been a central Netanyahu demand.

He pointed out that no similar demand was made of Egypt or Jordan when they signed peace treaties recognising Israel.

And he said the Palestinians would refuse a state that did not have east Jerusalem as its capital.

Hamas's Naim said the Abbas "speech had mostly positive points, and we cannot but support it on... not recognising (Israel as) the Jewish state."

US State Department spokeswoman
 Jen Psaki speaks at the daily briefing at
the State Department in Washington,DC
on March 10, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nicholas
The dispute over recognition and Israel's continuing construction of settlements in the occupied territories presented major obstacles to US Secretary of State John Kerry's dogged efforts to coax the two sides towards a historic peace agreement.

Efforts to extend hitherto fruitless talks to hit a wall last month when Israel refused to release a final batch of Palestinian prisoners.

The Palestinians retaliated by applying to adhere to 15 international treaties as Abbas listed conditions for extending the talks beyond the deadline.

Abbas reiterated on Saturday he would agree to an extension if Israel freezes settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, frees the prisoners and begins discussion on the borders of a promised Palestinian state.

Last week, Israel dismissed the same conditions.

"If they don't want to commit there is the other solution -- for them to take over everything," Abbas said, implying a consequence of not renewing talks could be the dismantlement of the PA.

After Abbas's speech, the PLO meeting adjourned until the evening.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Obama arrives for Malaysia trade and security talks

Deutsche Welle, 26 April 2014

US President Barack Obama has arrived in Malaysia as part of a tour of Asia. He faces a delicate balancing act, seeking cooperation on security and trade with a government whose democratic integrity has been questioned.

After stepping off of his plane at Kuala Lumpur's Royal Malaysian Air Base, the US president was whisked away to the city's Parliament Square to be greeted by the country's monarch, King Abdul Halim, and Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Obama's next stop was the Istana Negara, the country's national palace, for an audience with the country's royal family.

Obama - who has said he wishes to rebalance the US' foreign policy focus towards Asia - is the first US president to visit the island nation since Lyndon Johnson in 1966. Relations were strained during the 1981-2003 tenure of Malaysia's authoritarian leader Mahathir Mohamad, who was a strong critic of US policies.

However, Obama and Najib are believed to be seeking improved relations, including greater cooperation on defense. Trade, which remained strong even when relations were acrimonious, is also likely to be on the agenda.

"The good rapport between Prime Minister Najib Razak and President Barack Obama will ensure the bilateral discussions on economy, on security and on the people-to-people relations are open, constructive and productive," Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said in a press briefing ahead of the trip.

There were mixed messages about whether Obama would meet opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, with one senior official saying that a "packed" presidential schedule would not allow for it.

National security advisor Susan Rice, on the other hand, said the meeting would take place.

Appealing a prison sentence

Ibrahim - who is appealing against a jail sentence on a conviction of sodomy - called the government a "corrupt and authoritarian regime" in a statement on Saturday, urging Obama to stand up for "freedom and democracy."

Prime Minister Najib is under fire amid accusations of rampant corruption from members of his coalition, which has held power for decades.

The government is also accused of stifling opposition views, particularly after an election last year that saw most of the popular vote go to Najib's opponents. Critics say the only reason Najib has clung to power is a skewed electoral system that favors the ruling coalition.

Obama began his four day tour in Japan, where he offered Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assurances about US support, particularly in a stand-off over Japanese-controlled islands that are claimed by China.

He moved on for a visit to South Korea, where he visited some of the approximately 28,500 US troops stationed there, before heading to Malaysia.

Obama visits the Kuala Lumpur's National Mosque on Sunday and will hold the talks with Najib before meeting youth leaders from around Southeast Asia. He heads for the Philippines on Monday morning.

rc/kms (AP, dpa)