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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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Taiwan holds Asia's largest pride parade as it waits for gay marriage

Yahoo – AFP, 28 October 2017

Taiwan looks set to become the first place in Asia to legalise gay marriage after
the constitutional court said in May that laws preventing same-sex unions violated
the constitution's guarantee of freedom of marriage

A sea of rainbow flags and glitzy costumes filled downtown Taipei Saturday as tens of thousands marched in Asia's largest gay pride parade, the first since Taiwan's top court ruled in favour of gay marriage.

The island looks set to become the first place in Asia to legalise gay marriage after the constitutional court said in May that laws preventing same-sex unions violated the guarantee of freedom of marriage.

It gave the government two years to implement the decision.

The anticipation was felt in Saturday's parade, as dancing crowds in colourful wigs and sequined outfits made their way through the capital's centre alongside vans blasting music.

Many spared no effort in dressing up, from a man posing in a sweeping bridal dress and a tiara to another donning an inflatable dinosaur costume.

But behind the celebrations, some are frustrated at the lack of progress in changing the current marriage laws since May.

"A lot of people cannot afford to wait two years," said Joseph Wu, 46, dressed in a matching kilt and rainbow turban with his partner of six years.

"We just want the same things heterosexual couples have. We also do our military service, we pay the same taxes, so why can't we have the same thing?" he said.

Taiwan's constitutional court gave the government two years to implement
the decision and the anticipation was felt in Saturday's parade

Hino Chen, 29, echoed this sentiment, adding that he hopes the government will change the civil code rather than enact a separate law to enable gay marriage -- which critics say is still discriminatory.

"We are the same. We also want to start our own families," he told AFP.

Gay rights activists expressed frustration last month when a Taipei administrative court rejected a request from a lesbian couple to marry, saying they can only register when relevant laws are in place.

Still, Taiwan is seen as one of the most progressive societies in Asia when it comes to gay rights.

For Benny Chan from Hong Kong, it was worth travelling to Taipei just for the parade.

He was dressed as a Chinese empress in a strapless full-length gold gown, which he says he would not dare to wear in Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong is more conservative, maybe because of China's influence," Chan, 35, told AFP.

"Only when I'm in Taiwan can I dress like this and not be afraid to express myself."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

'Moderate Saudi Arabia': crown prince shakes up kingdom

Yahoo – AFP, Anuj Chopra, October 25, 2017

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative
conference in Riyadh on October 24, 2017 (AFP Photo/FAYEZ NURELDINE)

Riyadh (AFP) - Unveiling blueprints for a futuristic landscape with robots and driverless cars, Saudi Arabia's young crown prince outlined his most emphatic vision yet to transform the ultra-conservative kingdom as he sought to charm investors.

In a rare public appearance Tuesday at an investor summit in Riyadh -- dubbed "Davos in the desert" -- Mohammed bin Salman pledged a "moderate" Saudi Arabia, long seen as an exporter of a brand of puritanical Islam espoused by jihadists worldwide.

The speech came as the 32-year-old prince oversees reforms that mark the biggest cultural and economic shake-up in the kingdom's modern history, while sidelining powerful clergy who have long dominated the public discourse.

"We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today and at once," Prince Mohammed told global business titans gathered in a chandelier-studded ballroom for the Future Investment Initiative.

MBS, as he is well known, promised his kingdom will return to "what we were before -- a country of moderate Islam that is tolerant of all religions and to the world".

His comment, while unveiling plans for a $500 billion development zone spread on the kingdom's western coast, chimes with his public image of a bold liberal reformer in a conservative country where more than half the population is under 25.

"I think this is the clearest articulation we've heard so far about where the crown prince plans to take Saudi," Lori Boghardt, from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told AFP.

"It's clear the crown prince is set on dramatically transforming the kingdom. This especially includes a quieter and less influential ultraconservative religious sphere."

Participants watch a film advertising Saudi Arabia's Red Sea project on the sidelines 
of the three-day Future Investment Initiatives conference in Riyadh, on October 25, 

'Laggards and reactionaries'

The vision of creating a "moderate Saudi Arabia" is fraught with risks and could trigger a backlash from conservatives.

Last month a royal decree said women would be allowed to drive. The kingdom is also expected to lift a public ban on cinemas and has encouraged mixed-gender celebrations -- something unseen before.

The government recently set up an Islamic centre tasked with certifying the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed in a stated bid to curb extremist texts.

The government appears to have clipped the wings of the once-feared religious police -- long accused of harassing the public with rigid Islamic mores -- who have all but disappeared from big cities.

Some conservative clerics -- who for years staunchly opposed more social liberties for women -- have backpedalled and come out in favour of the decree allowing them to drive.

"MBS has been working hard behind the scenes to bring the conservatives along and he has succeeded with a material number of them," said Ali Shihabi, director of the Washington-based Arabia Foundation think tank.

"There will always be laggards and reactionaries but his drive and strength combined with a substantial constituency among the young for change has created the space for him to move down this road."

'Only dreamers are welcome'

In tandem with reforms, Prince Mohammed has been shoring up power and over the summer carried out a wave of arrests in a crackdown on dissenters, including influential clerics and some liberals.

"One element that's not part of the transformation drive is more tolerance of political differences and differences in opinion about the directions Saudi should take," said Boghardt.

"The crown prince has made this clear."

Foreign and Saudi investors attended the Future Investment Initiative conference
in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017 (AFP Photo/FAYEZ NURELDINE)

But a common refrain among his proponents is that it is impossible to attain consensus as he carries out reforms on a scale that are unprecedented in the country's modern history.

Inside the Future Investment Initiative at Riyadh's Ritz Carlton, a palatial hotel originally planned as a palace for guests of the royal family, the kingdom sought to display its massive transformation as it opens up its economy and seeks to diversify away from oil.

The $500 billion economic zone straddling Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt will be spread over 26,500 square kilometres, Prince Mohammed said, in a slick marketing pitch to investors.

In a promotional video featuring the project -- dubbed NEOM, women were seen jogging in sports bras and working alongside men in laboratories, an image that contrasts with the country's notorious dress code.

At the conference itself, some delegates including foreigners marvelled at how many of the female participants were dressed in business attire and no headscarf -- something not commonly seen in public spaces in Riyadh two years ago.

Some government officials have likened Saudi Arabia's reform drive to a fast-moving bus -- either people get on board or risk being left behind.

"Only dreamers are welcome to join," Prince Mohammed said as he unveiled plans for NEOM.

Some experts say his reforms symbolise too much change happening too quickly.

"Or you might say he is doing too little too late?" said Stephen Potter, vice president of the Chicago-based Northern Trust Company, who attended the presentation.

"We all agree change is necessary. Some change is better than no change."

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Crown Prince pledges a 'moderate' Saudi Arabia

Yahoo – AFP, October 24, 2017

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment
Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017 (AFP Photo/FAYEZ

Riyadh (AFP) - Powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged a "moderate, open" Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, breaking with ultra-conservative clerics in favour of an image catering to foreign investors and Saudi youth.

"We are returning to what we were before -- a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world," he said at an economic forum in Riyadh.

"We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today," he added.

"We will end extremism very soon."

The crown prince's statement is the most direct attack by a Saudi official on the Gulf country's influential conservative religious circles, who have for decades wielded influence on policy.

While the Saudi government continues to draw criticism from international rights groups, Prince Mohammed has pushed ahead with reforms since his sudden appointment on June 21.

The Saudi ban on female drivers is set to be lifted next June (AFP Photo/

Authorities have vied to modernise certain sectors in the kingdom, hinting that long-banned cinemas would soon be permitted as part of ambitious reforms for a post-oil era that could shake up the austere kingdom's cultural scene.

The young prince is widely regarded as being the force behind King Salman's decision last month to lift a decades-long ban prohibiting women from driving.

Earlier Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund announced the launch of an independent economic zone along the kingdom's northwestern coastline.

The project, dubbed NEOM, will operate under regulations separate from those that govern the rest of Saudi Arabia.

Monitors, including Amnesty International, say Saudi Arabia has in parallel stepped up its repression of peaceful rights activists.

Saudi authorities last month arrested dozens of activists, including clerics, without disclosing any charges against them.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Jordan's Queen Rania sits with Rohingya children inside a temporary school run by UNICEF during her visit to a refugee camp in Bangladesh

In Communist China, it's a man's world at the top

Yahoo – AFP, Joanna CHIU, October 23, 2017

Women represent only a quarter of the 2,300 delegates attending the week-long
congress held just twice a decade, highlighting China's yawning gender gap (AFP

When Xi Jinping warned against "pleasure seeking" in a stern message to the Communist Party congress last week, the audience included few women and some notable absentees -- officials ousted by graft scandals involving illicit affairs.

The scene was a reminder that China's leadership remains a man's world, where women have been excluded from the highest echelons of power and men have abused their positions in sex-for-favours scandals.

Women represent only a quarter of the 2,300 delegates attending the week-long congress held just twice a decade, highlighting the yawning gender gap in the world's most populous nation.

Since the Communists took power in 1949, under Mao Zedong who famously declared that "women hold up half the sky", no woman has ever risen to the top ruling council.

Delegates at the congress will choose members of the party's Central Committee, where women account for just 4.9 percent of the 205-strong membership -- down from 6.4 percent in 2012.

The committee then has the task of selecting the 25-person executive Politburo, which currently has only two women, and its elite standing committee -- which boasts seven ageing men.

When the new Politburo Standing Committee lineup is unveiled on Tuesday or Wednesday, no woman is expected to break the glass ceiling and join them.

Guo Jianmei, a leading lawyer and women's rights advocate, had prepared a letter to the party congress criticising China's lack of attention to women's participation in politics.

"The letter describes this situation but there is no way to submit it, because no party representative is willing to help us," Guo told AFP.

"China has generally not given any thought on how to promote women's leadership status."

Since the Communists took power in 1949, no woman has ever been appointed
 to its Politburo Standing Committee, the nation's top decision-making body, 
seen here in 2012 (AFP Photo/MARK RALSTON)


Gender equality is enshrined in the constitution but analysts say traditional social structures have kept women from gaining more space in politics, pressuring them to prioritise family roles over their careers.

The official All China Women's Federation coined the derogatory term "leftover women" in 2007 to describe unmarried professionals after the government announced a campaign to improve population "quality" by encouraging educated women to have babies.

A party congress delegate from Shanghai said she did not see a problem.

"China has already achieved equality between the sexes. The government supports women's aspirations," she told AFP, declining to give her name.

While women have been left out of top jobs, Xi's anti-corruption drive has revealed a large number of cases involving men committing adultery, which is against party rules.

"All thinking and behaviour in the vein of pleasure seeking, inaction and sloth, and problem avoidance are unacceptable," he intoned last week, reminding party members to lead by example.

The most prominent figure netted so far in the graft campaign is 74-year-old former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, who was accused of committing adultery with a number of women "in power-for-sex and money-for-sex trades".

And last month rising political star Sun Zhengcai from the Chongqing megalopolis was expelled for "serious violations of party discipline" including allegations that he took bribes and "exchanged money for sex", state media said.

Xi's anti-corruption drive has revealed a large number of cases involving men 
committing adultery, which is against party rules (AFP Photo/Nicolas ASFOURI)

Activists jailed, silenced

The litany of alleged crimes in corruption cases can sometimes be cover for factional score-settling. But official data shows that men in power hand ample ammunition to their critics.

A 2013 study from Renmin University in Beijing found that 95 percent of corrupt officials had extramarital affairs, and at least 60 percent had kept a mistress, which typically involves providing an apartment and an allowance.

"It's definitely still prevalent," said Beijing-based writer Zhang Lijia, who conducted research on China's sex industry for her novel, "Lotus".

"The traditional practice of men showing their social standing with numerous concubines has returned in the form of mistress culture."

In recent years, authorities have jailed and intimidated outspoken critics on women's issues.

Ye Haiyan, one of China's most prominent feminist activists, gained fame for her brazen protests against a string of child sexual abuse cases.

But she said she does not dare to even write blog posts about women's rights issues now.

"They get deleted right away, and authorities have pressured multiple landlords to evict me," she said. "The harassment only stopped after I moved in with my husband."

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pomp and pageantry as Thailand rehearses late King's funeral

Yahoo – AFP, Sally MAIRS, 21 October 2017

Royal guards in uniform march during a dress rehearsal for the late Thai King
Bhumibol Adulyadej's funeral in Bangkok

Gilded chariots, horses and columns of military men in bright costumes swept through Bangkok's old quarter on Saturday in a final dress rehearsal for late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's funeral -- a meticulously-planned spectacle of devotion to a man known as the "soul of the nation".

Steered by the Buddhist ritual, palace protocol and social hierarchy that underpin Thailand's powerful monarchy, the elaborate cremation ceremony will befit a king who commanded a cult-like following during his 70-year reign.

The five-day fanfare, which kicks off next Wednesday, is the culmination of months of painstaking preparation that began after Bhumibol died a year ago, aged 88, plunging the nation into grief.

It will feature mass parades, cultural performances and Buddhist ceremonies centred around a gleaming funeral complex that has been erected from scratch outside Bangkok's Grand Palace.

On Saturday thousands of black-clad Thais watched a dress rehearsal of the procession that will deliver Bhumibol's body to the tiered funeral pyre on October 26.

Men march with drums during a dress rehearsal for the late Thai King 
Bhumibol Adulyadej's funeral

Onlookers marvelled at the rich array of ancient garb on display -- from puffy blue helmets to embroidered red caps and pointy white hats -- as marchers beating drums and bearing tiered umbrellas strutted through Bangkok's historic heart.

Junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha and the late king's daughter, Princess Sirindhorn, were also among those striding through the blistering heat.

"Officials had to study and work very hard to manage this event, because it is the first time our generation has prepared for a king's funeral," 54-year-old Rataya Kobsikarn told AFP.

"All of us love our King so much and this is the last chance we have to be close to him," she added.

Many Thais have worn only black-and-white since Bhumibol's death, draining colour from Bangkok's streets in a striking act of collective mourning encouraged by the ultra-royalist junta.

Royal propaganda has gone into overdrive in the run-up to his cremation, with portraits of the bespectacled monarch popping up all over the country.

A draconian royal defamation law criminalises criticism or perceived snubs of the monarchy.

Prosecutions under the law have surged since the arch-royalist junta grabbed power in a 2014 coup, with record decades-long sentences handed down for insults often posted on social media.

A cadet holds the reigns of a horse dressed with special ceremony adornments near the 
Grand Palace before a dress rehearsal for the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's funeral

Dressing for a demi-god

Strict dress codes for the royal funeral have been set for the public and officials.

"Ceremonies for the king are still viewed as ceremonies for a demi-god," explained Eakkarak Limsunggas, a police commander tasked with enforcing proper funeral attire.

"The language and dress code used for the monarchy must be different than what we use in normal life."

Boosted by the late king's charisma, Thailand's once-weak monarchy grew in popularity during Bhumibol's reign and the palace revived royal rituals that had been dropped by previous sovereigns.

By the time of his death, Bhumibol sat at the apex of Thailand's power networks and was revered as a moral paragon in a country riven by corruption.

Many Thais refer to him as the "father" of the nation and are moved to tears at the prospect of bidding him a final goodbye next week.

Bhumibol's heir, 65-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, has yet to command that level of devotion and spent much of his first year in power abroad.

He is expected to be formally crowned after his father's cremation, though no date has been set.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Saudi Arabia's next revolution: female taxi drivers

Yahoo – AFP, Anuj CHOPRA, October 12, 2017

An employee of Careem, a car booking service, talks during a training session for
 new female drivers at their Saudi offices in Khobar City on October 10, 2017 (AFP

Khobar (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) - Hunched over platters of dates and Arabic coffee, Saudi women raring to drive once a government ban ends next June signed up for another revolution —- to be the kingdom's first female cab drivers.

King Salman last month decreed that women will be allowed driving permits, a historic reform that could put not just millions of women behind the wheel but potentially many more into the workforce.

Sensing a lucrative opportunity, ride-hailing company Careem says it plans to hire up to 100,000 female chauffers to lure new clients in the gender-segregated kingdom.

This week, the company invited AFP to its first recruitment session in the coastal city of Khobar, which attracted a diverse crowd —- from housewives to working women —- who already have foreign driving licences.

"For years I felt helpless. My car would be parked outside and I could not drive," said Nawal al-Jabbar, a 50-year-old mother of three, sipping coffee from a thimble-sized cup.

A chorus of hoots and claps erupted in the auditorium as the women, who learned about the recruitment by word-of-mouth, watched news footage on a projector screen of last month's royal decree.

"It felt like we had woken up in a new Saudi Arabia," Jabbar said.

An instructor stood next to the screen, holding up a smartphone to show the inner workings of the app.

The firm plans to add a new "Captinah" button to the app next June that would allow customers to choose women chauffeurs. The option will only be available to other women and families, Careem spokesman Murtadha Alalawi said.

Around 30 women registered for the event in Khobar.

A Saudi woman registers to take part in a training programme for new female drivers 
at Careem, a car booking service, at their Saudi offices in Khobar City on October 10, 

Many arrived unaccompanied by men, something not commonly seen in a country where male "guardians" have arbitrary authority to make crucial decisions on behalf of women.

'Rite of passage'

"This is a rite of passage for women," said Sarah Algwaiz, director of the women chauffeurs program at Careem, referring to the reform.

"For women to drive their own cars signals autonomy, mobility and financial independence."

The Gulf kingdom was the only country in the world to ban women from taking the wheel, and it was seen globally as a symbol of repression.

For decades, hardliners cited austere Islamic interpretations to justify the ban, with some maintaining women lack the intelligence to drive and that allowing them to would promote promiscuity.

"Society portrays women to be strong when it's convenient and weak when it's convenient," said trainee Jabbar.

"I say if you can depend on a female doctor to deliver a baby, then you can depend on a woman to drive a car."

The lifting of the driving ban has been widely credited to 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who styles himself as a moderniser in the conservative kingdom, where more than half the population is aged under 25.

Prince Mohammed has cracked down on dissent while also showing a rare willingness to tackle entrenched Saudi taboos such as promoting more women in the workforce.

Becoming a chauffeur would mean "extra income", said Banain al-Mustafa, a 24-year-old medical lab technician who obtained her license while she was studying in West Virginia in 2015.

Sarah Algwaiz, director of the women chauffeurs programme which trains new 
female drivers at Careem, a car booking service, at their Saudi offices in Khobar
 City, on October 10, 2017 (AFP Photo/FAYEZ NURELDINE)

"I drove for two-and-a-half years," she said, including once on her own in a nine-hour road trip from New York to West Virginia.

"If I can drive there, why not in my own country?"

Cultural backlash

The reform is in line with the kingdom's Vision 2030 programme that seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 percent now.

Authorities have highlighted the economic benefits of the reform as the kingdom reels from a protracted oil slump; Saudi families would no longer need foreign chauffeurs, often a major source of financial strain.

Riyadh is moving to bring female driving instructors from abroad, local media reported, and Princess Nourah University said it will inaugurate a women's only driving school.

Authorities this week warned against violations of the ban until it is formally lifted after a woman was filmed driving out of a luxury hotel in Riyadh.

Careem said it would wait for government regulations to be formally announced before putting female recruits behind the wheel.

Its rival Uber is reportedly planning a similar initiative to recruit female drivers.

The new Careem recruits in Khobar were seemingly unperturbed by pockets of resistance from men or sexist comments on social media over women driving.

"Look at how women's abayas have evolved -- different styles and colours -- despite strong resistance," Jabbar said, referring to the traditional black gown.

"After a while, even women drivers will become a new normal."

Related Articles:

“… With free choice, the percentage of DNA efficiently started to go down as humanity grew. As soon as the DNA started to lose percentage, the gender balance was dysfunctional. If you want to have a test of any society, anywhere on the planet, and you want to know the DNA percentage number [consciousness quota] as a society, there's an easy test: How do they perceive and treat their women? The higher the DNA functionality, the more the feminine divine is honored. This is the test! Different cultures create different DNA consciousness, even at the same time on the planet. So you can have a culture on Earth at 25 percent and one at 37 - and if you did, they would indeed clash. …”

“… You're at 35. There's an equality here, you're starting to see the dark and light, and it's changing everything. You take a look at history and you've come a long way, but it took a long time to get here. Dear ones, we've seen this process before and the snowball is rolling. There isn't anything in the way that's going to stop it. In the path of this snowball of higher consciousness are all kinds of things that will be run over and perish. Part of this is what you call "the establishment". Watch for some very big established things to fall over! The snowball will simply knock them down. …”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

India's top court says sex with child is always rape

Yahoo – AFP, 11 October 2017

Sex with a minor amounts to rape even if the couple are married, the Indian Supreme
 Court ruled on October 11, closing a legal loophole that had allowed some perpetrators
to escape punishment

Sex with a minor amounts to rape even if the couple are married, India's top court ruled on Wednesday, closing a legal loophole that had allowed some perpetrators to escape punishment.

The age of consent and thus the legal age for girls to marry in India is 18, but millions of children are made to do so when they are much younger, particularly in poor rural areas.

India's rape laws specifically exclude married couples, which historically meant that even non-consensual sex with a minor could not be classed as rape if it took place within marriage.

But the Supreme Court said that contradicted India's strict laws on the age of consent.

It ruled that police should in future prosecute cases of marital rape if the victim was under 18 and registered a complaint within a year of the incident.

Vikram Srivastava, a lawyer who petitioned the court on the issue, welcomed the ruling which he said would give child victims some protection.

"The judgement today in two lines says that if anyone now marries a girl child below the age of 18 years and if the girl complains within a year of sexual intercourse, then that person can be prosecuted for rape," he said in comments broadcast on the NDTV news network.

"(Child marriage) is prohibited, but we all know the number of children who are married below the age of 18 years."

Many parents in India marry off their children in the hope of improving their financial security and to avoid the shame associated with pre-marital sex.

The results can be devastating, with girls dropping out of school to cook and clean for their husbands and suffering health problems from giving birth at a young age.

A separate challenge to the laws on marital rape is currently going through the Indian courts.

The government has said it opposes criminalising marital rape as this would damage the institution of marriage.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Couple in Nepal's 'first transgender marriage' finds acceptance

Yahoo – AFP, 9 October 2017

Monika Shahi Nath, 40, became Nepal's first transgender person to be issued with
 a marriage certificate by district officials when she married 22-year-old Ramesh Nath
Yogi in May, even though Nepal has no formal laws for such unions

Born and raised as a boy in rural Nepal, Monika Shahi Nath never dreamed that one day she would be a bride, adored and accepted as a wife and daughter-in-law.

But the 40-year-old has made history, becoming Nepal's first transgender person to be issued with a marriage certificate by district officials, even though the country has no formal laws for such unions.

Nath, who married 22-year-old Ramesh Nath Yogi in May, initially feared that her in-laws would not welcome her -- a transgender woman -- into their family but the couple have found rare acceptance in Nepal.

Many transgender people in the country still struggle to be open about their identity despite progressive laws that include a third gender option on identity cards and passports.

"We are happy and feel accepted as husband and wife," said Nath, who was the first Nepali to get a passport with the 'O' for 'other' gender designation in 2015.

Some activists in Nepal say members of the LGBTI community continue to live
in the shadows of society

"I never dreamed that one day I would be someone's wife, that I would be loved as a daughter-in-law," she told AFP.

Nath grew up in a remote village in western Nepal as a boy called Manoj, and said she always felt different.

"At school, I wanted to sit with the girls and was fascinated with women's clothing," she said.

In her early twenties she started experimenting with dressing as a woman, stealing her sister's clothes and running away for days at a time to the closest city.

"Away from my home, I would secretly become a woman. It would make me very happy, but I was afraid to tell my family, I felt I would shame them," she said.

Despite her work as an activist, Nath's new identity was not talked about within her family.

When she came home with her new husband, wearing a short red dress and a wedding ring, it was one of her first visits as a woman.

"But my marriage has made it easier. They truly see me as a woman now," she said.

Yogi's family -- who live in a village a six hour drive away -- was also initially resistant to the marriage, but the community has now accepted the couple.

Monika Shahi Nath, 40, grew up in a remote village in western Nepal as a boy called 
Manoj, was the first Nepali to get a passport with the 'O' for 'other' gender 
designation in 2015

"Her relationship with the family and with the people in the community is very good. We think it is okay," said neighbour Laxmi Nath Bista.

"The idea of third gender is very new to people around here, many people don't understand what it means. But her behaviour is good with everyone, so they are accepting of her."

Despite the changes, some activists say members of the LGBTI community continue to live in the shadows of society.

A bill to legalise same-sex marriage was proposed two years ago, but has not progressed, and it is not clear what legal standing Nath's marriage has.

The couple could also face allegations of polygamy -- which is illegal in Nepal, though not uncommon -- as Yogi was already married with two children.

Nath said: "I am blessed to be someone's wife, but the government needs to make the legal changes so people can easily marry the person they love."