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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Monday, June 17, 2019

Huge Hong Kong rally kicks off as public anger boils

Yahoo – AFP, Jerome Taylor and Elaine Yu, June 16, 2019

Crowds of black-clad protesters were mraching from a park on the main island to
 the city's parliament -- a repeat of a massive rally a week earlier that organisers
said more than a million people attended (AFP Photo/Dale DE LA REY)

Tens of thousands of people rallied in central Hong Kong on Sunday as public anger seethed following unprecedented clashes between protesters and police over an extradition law, despite a climbdown by the city's embattled leader.

Protesters chanted "Scrap the evil law!" as they marched through the streets to pile more pressure on chief executive Carrie Lam, who paused work on the hugely divisive bill Saturday after days of mounting pressure, saying she had misjudged the public mood.

Crowds of black-clad protesters were marching from a park on the main island to the city's parliament -- a repeat of a massive demonstration a week earlier that organisers said more than a million people attended.

Critics fear the Beijing-backed law will tangle-up people in China's notoriously opaque and politicised courts and damage the city's reputation as a safe business hub.

Protesters chanted 'Scrap the evil law!' as they marched through the streets to pile 
more pressure on Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam (AFP Photo/Hector RETAMAL)

"Carrie Lam's response is very insincere. Knowing that the government won't withdraw the bill, I decided to come out today," said protester Terence Shek, 39, who had brought his children on the march.

The city was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

"You're supposed to protect us not shoot at us" read one banner carried on Sunday, addressing the city's police force, while others marching held photos of police breaking up crowds in Wednesday's clashes.

Lam stopped short of committing to permanently scrap the proposal Saturday and the concession was swiftly rejected by protest leaders, who called on her to resign, permanently shelve the bill and apologise for police tactics.

Hong Kong activist Jimmy Sham likened chief executive Carrie Lam's offer to 
a 'knife' that had been plunged into the city (AFP Photo/HECTOR RETAMAL)

"The extradition bill being suspended only means it can be revived any time Carrie Lam wants," said activist Lee Cheuk-yan.

Nearly 80 people were injured in this week's unrest, including 22 police officers, and one man died late Saturday when he fell from a building where he had been holding an hours-long anti-extradition protest.

He had unfurled a banner saying: "Entirely withdraw China extradition bill. We were not rioting. Released students and the injured".

Huge queues formed outside the high-end Pacific Place mall with flowers and written tributes piling up as demonstrators paid their respects.

Suspending the bill has done little to defuse simmering public anger and protest organisers have called for a city-wide strike Monday as well as Sunday's rally.

Hong Kong has been rocked by the worst political unrest since its handover to 
China (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)

Jimmy Sham, from the main protest group the Civil Human Rights Front, likened Lam's offer to a "knife" that had been plunged into the city.

"Carrie Lam's speech yesterday in no way calmed down public anger," he said.

'Restore calm to the community'

Lam's decision to press ahead with tabling the bill for debate in the legislature on Wednesday -- ignoring the record-breaking crowds three days earlier -- triggered fresh protests, which brought key parts of the city to a standstill and led to violent clashes with police.

Opposition to the bill united an unusually wide cross-section of Hong Kong, from influential legal and business bodies to religious leaders, as well as Western nations.

Mourners place flowers and offer prayers at the site where a protester died
(AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)

The protest movement has morphed in recent days from one specifically aimed at scrapping the extradition bill to a wider display of anger at Lam and Beijing over years of sliding freedoms.

A huge banner hanging from the city's Lion Rock mountain on Sunday read "Defend Hong Kong".

Lam had been increasingly isolated in her support for the bill, with even pro-Beijing lawmakers distancing themselves from the extradition proposals in recent days.

The Chinese government said suspending the bill was a good decision to "listen more widely to the views of the community and restore calm to the community as soon as possible".

The police have faced criticism for heavy handed tactices to disperse 
protesters (AFP Photo/HECTOR RETAMAL)

'Keep the heat on'

Critics were also angry that Lam missed repeated opportunities to apologise for what many saw as heavy-handed police tactics.

Police said they had no choice but to use force to meet violent protesters who besieged their lines outside the city's parliament on Wednesday.

But critics -- including legal and rights groups -- say officers used the actions of a tiny group of violent protesters as an excuse to unleash a sweeping crackdown on the predominantly young, peaceful protesters.

"The pro-democracy group will not stop at this point, they want to build on the momentum against Carrie Lam," political analyst Willy Lam told AFP. "They will keep the heat on and ride the momentum."

People pray outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on the eve of 
Sunday's mass rally (AFP Photo/HECTOR RETAMAL)

Protest leaders have called for police to drop charges against anyone arrested for rioting and other offences linked to Wednesday's clashes.

Activist Lee said opponents feared reprisals by the government and wanted assurances "that our Hong Kong people, our protesters, are not being harassed and politically prosecuted by this government".

Lam has argued that Hong Kong needs to reach an extradition agreement with the mainland, and says safeguards were in place to ensure dissidents or political cases would not be accepted.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sister of N. Korean leader pays respects Panmunjom meeting

Yahoo – AFP, June 12, 2019

Kim Yo Jong's trip to Panmunjom was the first meeting by senior officials of the
two Koreas in months (AFP Photo/JORGE SILVA)

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday delivered a condolence message for former South Korean first lady Lee He-ho, the first high-level contact between the two countries in months.

Kim Yo Jong, who holds a powerful position in the reclusive state, delivered the message, and flowers, on her brother's behalf at a meeting with South Korean officials at Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone.

The meeting lasted about 15 minutes, said Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's top national security advisor.

"Kim commented we should continue co-operation in honour of Lee's efforts for inter-Korean harmony," he said, according to broadcaster YTN.

Lee, a lifelong companion of late president Kim Dae-jung, died on Monday aged 96.

Kim was known for his "sunshine policy" of engagement with North Korea, and Pyongyang also sent a delegation to Seoul to pay respects when he died in 2009.

Wednesday's meeting was the first by senior officials since the breakdown of a second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Vietnam in February.

Pyongyang has called on Seoul to implement joint economic projects agreed last year at inter-Korean summits, but sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes have blocked progress.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

India court orders release of jailed journalist

Yahoo – AFP, June 11, 2019

India's supreme court said its order to release the freelance journalist did not
reflect approval of his social media posts (AFP Photo/Sajjad HUSSAIN)

A journalist jailed for making derogatory comments on social media against a chief minister with the ruling-right wing party was ordered released by India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist, was arrested Saturday after he uploaded and commented on a video of a woman claiming to be in love with Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu monk who is chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state.

"The judges have directed (the) immediate release of Prashant today," defence lawyer Shadan Farasat told reporters.

Local media reports said the judges had criticised the high-handed manner of Kanojia's arrest, calling it "illegal" and "unconstitutional".

The court however said its order should not be seen as approval of Kanojia's social media posts and that legal proceedings against him would continue according to law.

The head of a local news channel that broadcast the video shared by Kanojia has also been arrested along with one of the editors, for operating without a license.

A fourth person was arrested Monday for allegedly uploading altered images of Adityanath on Facebook.

The Editors Guild of India had slammed Kanojia's arrest, calling the police action "arbitrary" and "an authoritarian misuse of laws".

"The Guild sees it as an effort to intimidate the press, and stifle freedom of expression," it said in a statement on Sunday.

In recent years, laws have frequently been deployed by politicians from all parties seeking to stifle social media criticism.

Last month, a ruling party activist was arrested for posting a meme on opposition West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. She was later released on bail by the Supreme Court.

A journalist in northeastern Manipur state was jailed last year for allegedly criticising the state's BJP chief minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Bhutan gays celebrate after homosexuality decriminalized

CNA – AFP, 8 June 2019

Bhutan's LGBT community celebrated Saturday after the tiny Himalayan kingdom's parliament became the world's latest to decriminalise homosexuality.

Bhutan's National Council will vote on Monday to pass the bill following the move
by the lower house of parliament to decriminalise homosexuality AFP/Arun SANKAR

THIMPU: Bhutan's LGBT community celebrated Saturday (Jun 8) after the tiny Himalayan kingdom's parliament became the world's latest to decriminalise homosexuality.

The lower house overwhelmingly voted late Friday to repeal two sections of the 2004 criminal code which made "unnatural sex" illegal.

"A lot of us cried," said Tashi Tsheten of Rainbow Bhutan that represents the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

"We are a small and marginalised community and when our rights are discussed in parliament, it makes us extremely happy," Tashi said.

The law had never been used, but Finance Minister Namgay Tshering, who submitted the recommendation to repeal sections 213 and 214 of the penal code, said they had become "a stain" on the country's reputation.

Namgay Tshering said the sections had become redundant since Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy in 2008. "There is a high degree of acceptability of the LGBT community in our society," he said.

The minister added that he was optimistic that the code sections would be definitively scrapped when the upper house in the country of 750,000 people votes on Monday.

Tashi said some ministers had been social workers with contacts in the LGBT community and Prime Minister Lotay Tshering is a surgeon. "So we had lot of hopes in this government."

There is no annual Gay Pride rally or other public display in Bhutan.

And while Tashi said there was a general acceptance of transgenders, especially in rural areas, they still face much discrimination, especially in schools.

"There are lots of barriers and our education system does not understand LGBT," Tashi said, adding that most LGBT youths drop out of school.

Once the bill is passed by the National Council, the upper chamber, it will be sent for royal assent.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Thousands of Hong Kong lawyers march against China extradition plans

Yahoo – AFP, June 6, 2019

Thousands of legal professionals marched on the Central Government Offices in
Hong Kong to protest against a proposed extradition law (AFP Photo/ISAAC LAWRENCE)

Thousands of black-clad Hong Kong lawyers took to the streets Thursday in a silent march against a controversial extradition law proposal, as the city's last colonial governor slammed the plan as "a terrible blow".

The city's pro-Beijing government is pushing a bill through the legislature that would allow extraditions to any jurisdiction with which it doesn't already have a treaty -- including mainland China for the first time.

The proposal has sparked some of the biggest protests the city has seen in recent years as well as criticism from influential legal groups, business associations and western diplomats.

This week has seen escalating criticism from the city's influential legal communities, including the Law Society -- which published a detailed critique of the proposals -- adding to opposition already voiced by the Bar Association and multiple chambers of commerce.

Critics fear the law, if passed, will entangle people in China's opaque and politicised court system.

The lawyers, mostly dressed in black, walked in silence from the Court of Final Appeal to the government headquarters, where they gathered to observe three minutes of silence.

Organisers said around 2,500 to 3,000 people attended the march.

"As you can all see that they come out for one reason and one reason only, because they see there is a threat to the rule of law in Hong Kong," said lawmaker Dennis Kwok, who organised the march.

"This extradition bill, if passed, would do irreparable damage to our legal system, to the rule of law, to the values that we treasure."

Legal professionals have gathered to protest only five times since the former British colony was handed to China.

Pro-democracy heavyweight and lawyer Martin Lee said: "Once the bill becomes law, we can not guarantee the safety of any person living or working in Hong Kong, or even passing by Hong Kong."

Another former lawmaker, Audrey Eu, added: "This amendment is being rushed through with indecent and inexplicable haste. There is absolutely no justification for pushing it through like this."

Earlier, Hong Kong's last British governor, Chris Patten, described the plans to allow extraditions to China as "a terrible blow" to the financial hub's reputation.

"It's a proposal, or a set of proposals, which strike a terrible blow... against the rule of law, against Hong Kong's stability and security, against Hong Kong's position as a great international trading hub," he said in a video statement.

The government has argued the proposal is needed to plug existing loopholes and that the law needs to be passed quickly in order to extradite a Hong Kong man who is wanted in Taiwan for murdering his girlfriend.

But critics fear the Taiwanese case is being used to ram the law through the city's parliament at the behest of Beijing.

Patten described the move as an attempt "to remove the firewall between Hong Kong's rule of law" and China "where there aren't any independent courts, where the courts and the security services and the party's rules... are rolled all together".



Sunday, June 2, 2019

South Korea's pride parade marks 20 years in blaze of colour

Yahoo – AFP, Claire LEE, June 1, 2019

Parade organisers say some 70,000 people took part in the event (AFP Photo/Ed JONES)

Seoul (AFP) - Tens of thousands of LGBT South Koreans and their supporters paraded through central Seoul Saturday for the capital's 20th gay rights march, with ruling Democratic Party members taking part for the first time.

The parade, some 70,000 strong according to organisers, made its way through the South Korean capital with participants dancing on open truck beds and waving rainbow flags.

"People who used to be invisible are here to show that they exist," said Jeong Min-hee, a 26-year-old participant.

"It's so much fun, I'm very excited and it feels so good to be in solidarity with others."

South Korea is Asia's fourth biggest economy and a capitalist democracy, but lived through decades of military rule when evangelical Christianity was widespread and framed the communist North as evil.

Christian churches still have enduring political influence in the South, and they are now targeting sexual minorities, activists say.

"The conservative Christians consider both -- communists and sexual minorities -- as deserving to be demonised in South Korean society," said Lim Bo-rah, a senior pastor at an LGBT-friendly church in Seoul.

Homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea but there is currently no legislation 
outlawing discrimination (AFP Photo/Ed JONES)

But changes in society are afoot. Members of the ruling, left-leaning Democratic Party (DPK) participated in the event for the first time this year and CASS, one of the South's largest beer brands, on Friday became the country's first major company to openly support gay rights.

The South Korean President Moon Jae-in -- a former human rights lawyer -- has spoken only vaguely on gay rights. His political rivals and LGBT activists say he is trying not to alienate supporters.

As the front-runner in the presidential race in 2017, Moon said in a television debate that he "opposed" homosexuality in the military.

'We were invisible'

"We decided to participate because we wanted to show that LGBT people and their allies exist even within the ruling party," said Kim Min-seok, one of some 30 DPK members who showed up at the parade, waving the party flag.

"I often felt we were invisible within the DPK -- many members wouldn't even think about the possibility of our existence", Kim said.

Thousands of Christian protesters turned out to protest the event on Saturday 
(AFP Photo/Ed JONES)

The participation of the ruling party's members was announced prior to the event and sparked intense controversy, triggering the spokesperson for the main opposition, conservative party Min Kyung-wook to say the Democrats should "come out" as a "queer" party.

Homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea but there is currently no legislation outlawing discrimination.

It is also the world's only advanced economy to make consensual gay sex between soldiers a crime under military rules.

It is a marked contrast to Taiwan -- which also has Confucian cultural components, a history of dictatorship, and has enjoyed an economic boom in recent decades.

But earlier this month Asia's first gay marriages took place on the island after it legalised the change.

Activists say the difference is religion: South Korea has proven fertile ground for religious groups that offered comfort and salvation that appealed during times of deep uncertainty following the Korean War.

A cross-section of South Korean society attneded the parade (AFP Photo/Ed JONES)

Now more than 20 percent of South Korea's population are Protestant Christians, surveys show, compared to about five percent of Taiwanese.

Thousands of Christian protesters turned out to protest the event on Saturday, holding up signs that read "Repent and come back to Jesus. He loves you."

A cross-section of society were present, including buddhists, Korean-American adoptees, asexuals and parents of sexual minorities.

In previous parades, "young LGBT people would come to us and cry in our arms whenever we gave them free hugs," said Lee Sun-young, who works for Parents and Families of LGBTAIQ people of Korea.

"We always remember them. I hope they know that the world is changing, although slowly."

Sunday, May 26, 2019

In Asia, Trump finds more than ever he's among friends

MSN – AFP, 25 May 2019 

US President Donald Trump arrives for lunch with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe at the Kasumigaseki Country Club golf course outside Tokyo in November 2017

In Europe, Donald Trump's relationships with leaders range from lukewarm to hostile. But in Asia, more than ever, the US president is finding that he's among friends.

At a time that Trump is ramping up pressure on China, he has built warm relationships elsewhere in Asia and has recently seen surprise electoral triumphs by key partners.

Japan is rolling out the red carpet for Trump, who will become the first foreign leader to meet newly enthroned Emperor Naruhito. Trump will bond with conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over sumo wrestling and, weather permitting, their latest rounds of golf.

Trump's trip comes on the heels of India's election in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist who has enthusiastically built ties with Washington, won an unexpectedly strong new mandate, as well as Australia's polls, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison stunned pundits by beating back a challenge from the Labor Party, whose promises included a "more considered" approach to China.

Trump will return to Japan in June for the Group of 20 summit in Osaka and also visit South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in, despite coming from the opposite end of the political spectrum, laid the groundwork for one of Trump's signature foreign policy initiatives -- direct negotiations with North Korea.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet Prime Minister 
Shinzo Abe at the White House in April 2019 on one of the Japanese leader's many visits

The diplomacy comes amid an intense trade war between the United States and China that has no end in sight, with Trump blacklisting Chinese tech titan Huawei and demanding an end to allegedly rampant theft of US technology.

"Why would Kim Jong Un insult me by calling me 'old,' when I would NEVER call him 'short and fat?' Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!"

On Nov. 11, 2017, Trump tweeted a reply to North Korea's insults that described him as a "destroyer."

Envisioning a long-term US struggle against China, the Trump administration has said it is working on a comprehensive policy to counter the rising Asian power, akin to the Cold War doctrine of containing the Soviet Union.

Asian model for managing Trump

Toshihiro Nakayama, a professor at Keio University in Tokyo, said the Japanese were fully aware of the controversial nature of Trump, who is facing rising calls for impeachment from Democrats.

But the United States, which stations some 50,000 troops in Japan under a defense alliance, is by far the most important ally for Tokyo -- as well as an often difficult partner on trade.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison won a surprise re-election victory after campaign 
promises that mirrored US President Donald Trump on immigration and climate

"There's a consensus that if the American people chose Mr Trump, it's not our job to criticize it; it's our job to manage the relationship," said Nakayama, also a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International scholars in Washington.

French President Emmanuel Macron "initially tried to embrace him with style and nuance and it didn't succeed. So the Japanese government and people say that if you're going to embrace Mr Trump, you have to totally embrace him," Nakayama said.

Trump came of political age talking tough on trade in the 1980s, when Japan loomed large in the US imagination as a competitor. But Abe has courted Trump assiduously since the mogul's stunning election in 2016, gifting him gold-plated golf clubs and flying halfway around the world to celebrate his wife Melania's birthday.

Patrick Buchan, a longtime Australian official who directs the US Alliances Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Abe served as a global model on how to woo Trump -- making the relationship personal and resolving concerns through private channels.

"The Europeans, in my opinion, completely mishandled the Trump phenomenon. By responding to his public rhetoric or his Twitter tirades, you only created a vicious circle," Buchan said.

"I think it is partly, if you want, the Asian way of not engaging in megaphone diplomacy," he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a victory speech after leading
his Bharatiya Janata Party to an unexpectedly sweeping re-election

Common cause on China

To be sure, Trump's ties with allies in the region have also hit rocky patches. Shortly after Trump's election, he reportedly exploded and hung up the phone on Australia's then prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, when he heard of a deal on moving refugees from Australia to America.

And in India, accounts that Trump likes to mimic Modi's accent have sparked outrage.

But on strategy in Asia, leaders have found common ground. China has longstanding claims on territory administered by both Japan and India, while Australia has also voiced worries about Beijing's trading practices.

Modi -- who will meet Trump alongside Abe in Osaka -- has sided unabashedly with the United States despite India's historic resistance to alliances, building a defense relationship but stopping short of accepting any joint military operations.

Modi "has been willing to take the relationship with the US further than any of his predecessors," said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center.

But Kugelman warned that trade disputes could cloud the relationship. Trump is ending key trading preferences for India and forced the energy-hungry economy to stop buying from Iran and Venezuela.

Still, "I think Modi recognizes that India's national interests are tightly aligned with the US on issues like China's increasing presence in Asia and the terrorism threat in South Asia," Kugelman said.

Modi plots course after landslide Indian election win

Yahoo – AFP, Simon Sturdee and Abhaya Srivastava, May 24, 2019

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures during his victory speech at the
BJP headquarters in New Delhi (AFP Photo/PRAKASH SINGH)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met allies and former mentors Friday to plot a course for his second term after a landslide victory left the once-mighty Gandhi dynasty reeling.

A considerable to-do list includes addressing India's lacklustre economic growth and reducing unemployment, as well as fixing a stricken agriculture sector on which 70 percent of households depend.

Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 303 seats, its best ever score, giving it an even bigger majority than five years ago and defying predictions of a dip, final results confirmed Friday.

The main opposition Congress party, which has ruled the roost in India for much of its post-independence history, improved on its historic low five years ago of 44 seats but still only managed a paltry 52.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi even lost his own seat in Amethi, long a family bastion. He did win a seat in the southern state of Kerala, however, a quirk allowed under Indian election rules.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, meanwhile, joined a chorus of international well-wishers, with US President Donald Trump hailing Modi's "BIG" win and even Pakistan's Imran Khan tweeting congratulations.

On Thursday there were delirious scenes at BJP party offices across the nation of 1.3 billion people, including its headquarters where Modi, 68, was showered with petals by chanting fans.

"The voting numbers in India's election is the biggest event in the history of (the) democratic world. The entire world has to recognise the democratic strength of India," Modi told cheering crowds.

"Modi will make India great again. Modi is the strongest prime minister India has ever had and will get. We need to support his policies to prosper," said one supporter, Santosh Joshi.

On Friday, ahead of a cabinet meeting, Modi conferred with two now-sidelined former mentors, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, touching their feet in sign of respect.

'Can Modi deliver?'

With the election behind him, Modi must now tackle the economy and unemployment -- notably among women, who have one of the lowest labour market participation rates in the world.

The Congress Party under Rahul Gandhi suffered a major rout at the polls
(AFP Photo/SAJJAD HUSSAIN)

"The real question is can Modi deliver on his economic commitments -- for example creating the high number of jobs needed?" said Champa Patel, of the Chatham House think-tank.

"This is essential to address India's growing wealth inequalities. Can he address the challenges that millions of Indians face on a daily basis in a highly stratified country?"

India's agriculture industry is also in a dire state with drought, low prices and debt driving thousands of farmers to suicide in recent years.

The country's waterways are filthy and India is home to 22 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, killing 1.24 million people early in 2017 according to a Lancet Planetary Health study.

On Friday, around 80 to 100 people held a demonstration in Delhi as part of a global day of climate change to demand Modi does more on the environment, .

"We are here to fight for our right to breathe clean air," said Ishika Goyal, 16.

Modi and the Hindu nationalist BJP must also try to heal divisions which have left religious minorities -- including India's 170 million Muslims -- feeling anxious for the future.

During the campaign he managed to deflect criticism on these issues by focusing on national security, claiming he alone could defend India.

Congress meanwhile was picking up the pieces after the second election debacle in a row, having failed to win a single seat in 13 states and five union territories.

These included Rajasthan where it won state elections late last year. This time the BJP swept all 25 seats, and in Uttar Pradesh Congress took just one constituency.

An anti-Modi alliance in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state with 200 million people, also failed to prevent the BJP juggernaut sweeping 64 out of 80 seats.

Even in West Bengal, run by formidable Modi critic Mamata Banerjee, the BJP made major inroads, boosting its seat tally from two to 18.

Congress on Friday was forced to deny media reports that Gandhi -- the great-grandson, grandson and son of three former premiers -- had offered to throw in the towel.

"The Congress leadership has clearly failed. It is a discredited and bankrupt leadership," Kanchan Gupta from the Observer Research Foundation think-tank told AFP.

"It is astonishing that Rahul Gandhi has not yet resigned", Ramachandra Guha, a renowned historian, said on Twitter. "The Congress should dump the Dynasty."

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hong Kong transport authorities approve LGBT ad after backlash

Yahoo – AFP, May 21, 2019

Campaigners have criticised Hong Kong for lagging behind on equality issues
(AFP Photo/Yan ZHAO)

A Cathay Pacific advert featuring two men holding hands can now be displayed across Hong Kong's transport network, after its reported ban sparked a public outcry.

Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported Monday that the city's airport and MTR train operator had barred the gay-friendly ad from its crowded terminals, citing sources.

The news emerged just after Taiwan's parliament legalised same-sex marriage last week in a landmark first for Asia, placing the island at the vanguard of the region's burgeoning gay rights movement.

By contrast, campaigners have criticised semi-autonomous Hong Kong for lagging behind on equality issues.

Neither Cathay Pacific nor the transport authorities directly confirmed or denied the ban which triggered a massive backlash.

LGBT group Big Love Alliance launched a campaign on Monday encouraging Hong Kongers to share on social media photos of themselves holding hands with their same-sex partners or friends at the airport or the MTR.

As public pressure mounted, airport authorities said on Tuesday the advert now had their full blessing.

The ad is deemed "not in infringement of the Airport Authority's established guidelines on advertisements displayed in the terminal", a spokesperson said in a statement.

JCDecaux, an agency that handles advertising bookings for the MTR Corporation, also appeared to have reversed course.

"We have advised... that the design can be posted at MTR stations," a JCDecaux spokeswoman in Hong Kong told AFP.

Ray Chan, Hong Kong's first openly gay lawmaker, welcomed the move saying public and media pressure have made transport officials and their advertising agencies "right their wrong".

The city airport is operated by a Hong Kong government body, while the MTR Corporation is majority-owned by the government.

Hong Kong does not recognise same-sex marriage or civil unions and only decriminalised homosexuality in 1991.

But a British lesbian won the right to live and work in Hong Kong with her partner in a landmark ruling last year hailed by rights groups.

A separate case has been lodged by two Hong Kong men directly challenging the same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.

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