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. …

Children Day

Children Day

Search This Blog

Monday, February 25, 2019

Princess Rima bint Bandar: First Saudi woman ambassador

Yahoo – AFP, February 24, 2019

Princess Rima bint Bandar: First Saudi woman ambassador

Riyadh (AFP) - Princess Rima bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia's first woman ambassador, is a social campaigner on the front line of government efforts to boost the kingdom's battered international reputation despite never having worked as a diplomat.

The 43-year-old princess was named envoy to Washington on Saturday as the kingdom faces pressure from US lawmakers over last year's murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents and its bombing campaign in neighbouring Yemen.

A member of the Saudi royal family, the divorced mother-of-two is a vociferous advocate of women's rights and previously worked at the kingdom's General Sports Authority, where she led a campaign to boost sports education for girls in schools despite opposition from hardliners.

The princess has an entrepreneurial background, having once served as the chief executive of luxury lifestyle store Harvey Nichols in Riyadh, according to Saudi state media, and has actively campaigned to raise awareness about breast cancer.

She has no diplomatic experience but spent several years in the United States during her youth as the daughter of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington from 1983 to 2005.

She received a bachelor of arts degree from Mount Vernon College at George Washington University in 1999.

A Saudi official who knows her told AFP she seems well-versed with the American political scene, as she takes on her role in Washington.

The new envoy has worked as an advisor to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has faced virulent criticism from US lawmakers over Khashoggi's murder in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate last October.

But the princess, fluent in English, has strongly defended the crown prince in international circles, describing his social reforms such as ending a ban on women drivers as "evolution, not Westernisation".

"You ask us to change, but then when we begin to exhibit change you come to us with cynicism," she said during the last World Economic Forum.

"I don't know how to explain how destructive that is when you wake up every morning and you go into the office and you're motivating people to make a change for their community... Then the article comes out and it says 'This was fabulous, but...'

"Why but? Do you say that to anyone else?"

The princess has spoken of "monumental leaps" for women's rights, but has refrained from commenting publicly on the arrest of several female activists last May and subsequent claims that some of them faced sexual abuse and torture in detention.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Myanmar army warns against changing 'essence' of constitution

Channel NewsAsia - AFP, 23 Feb 2019

Major General Tun Tun Nyi told reporters the army was against a panel formed by 
Aung San Suu Kyi's party to discuss reforming Myanmar's controversial constitution. 
(Photo: AFP/Ye Aung Thu)
YANGON: Myanmar's military on Saturday (Feb 23) said they would thwart attempts by leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party to alter the "essence" of the country's controversial constitution, putting the army and civilian administration on a collision course over the politically-charged issue.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) dominated 2015 elections ending decades of military-backed rule.

But because of a 2008 charter scripted by the military, the NLD was forced into an uneasy power-sharing agreement.

The constitution grants the armed services control of security ministries and a quarter of unelected parliamentary seats.

That hands the military an effective veto over constitutional change.

But the NLD-dominated parliament voted earlier this month to form a cross-party committee to look at reforms of the charter, a key campaign pledge.

The party will be allocated 18 out of 45 seats on the panel, the military will have eight and the remainder will be divided between other parties.

There has been no detail about the specific reforms, but military MPs stood up in protest when the idea was first mooted.

Major General Tun Tun Nyi told reporters in Yangon that 45 people is not enough to review the charter and the process "would not be fair".

Tun Tun Nyi said the army is not opposed to amendments but "we are rejecting trying to change the constitution this way".

Brigadier General and military MP Than Soe said they would take part in the panel but would oppose changes to the "essence of the constitution", echoing rare comments by commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing in an interview this month with Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun.

Debates over the constitution are highly sensitive in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, especially among nationalist movements.

The military is still fighting with ethnic armed groups in border areas and has said its role in politics is necessary for stability. But critics say it does not want to relinquish influence.

The 2008 charter also prevents anyone with a foreign spouse from becoming president, a measure believed to be aimed at Suu Kyi, who had a family with the late British academic Michael Aris.

The decision to form the panel came just a few days after a court handed death sentences to the killers behind the 2017 murder of Muslim lawyer and Suu Kyi advisor Ko Ni.

He was leading the charge on constitutional reform when he was shot dead in cold blood at Yangon airport, while cradling his grandson.

Ko Ni also helped craft the position of state counsellor for Suu Kyi after the election since she could not be president.

Tun Tun Nyi reiterated opposition to that legal manoeuvre, calling it "beyond the constitution", which is why "we condemned it when it was discussed".

Friday, February 22, 2019

Saudi sisters stopped in Hong Kong while fleeing kingdom

Yahoo – AFP, February 21, 2019

After failing to board a second flight and fearing they were about to be 'forcibly
abducted', the Saudi sisters say they left Hong Kong airport to enter the city as
visitors (AFP Photo/Dale DE LA REY)

Two young Saudi sisters in Hong Kong said Thursday they had been intercepted by kingdom officials at the city's airport while attempting to escape to Australia, in the latest case of women fleeing the ultra-conservative country.

The pair, who have adopted the aliases Reem and Rawan, said in a statement from their lawyer they had renounced Islam and fear the death penalty if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

The sisters aged 20 and 18, whose representatives say they suffered violent abuse, fled to Hong Kong in September from a family holiday in Sri Lanka and were planning to fly on to Australia.

But they say they were obstructed by Saudi officials and have been living in hiding in the Chinese city for nearly six months since.

"We fled our home to ensure our safety. We hope that we can be given asylum in a country which recognises women's rights and treats them as equals," the pair said in the statement shared by prominent lawyer Michael Vidler.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world's most restrictive countries for women.

The case has emerged a month after 18-year-old Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun drew global attention with her dramatic escape from an allegedly abusive family, gaining refugee status in Canada last month.

Justice Centre Hong Kong, a migrants' rights group aiding Reem and Rawan, said the sisters had also fled "gender-based violence".

According to the lawyer's statement, they were intercepted during their stopover by unknown men who took their passports and "attempted to deceive the sisters" into boarding a flight back to Saudi Arabia.

They later learned one of the men was Saudi Arabia's consul general in Hong Kong, and that their onward flight booking had been cancelled, it added.

The Saudi consulate in Hong Kong did not respond to requests for comment.

After failing to board a second flight and fearing they were about to be "forcibly abducted", the sisters say they left Hong Kong airport to enter the city as visitors.

They have been forced to change locations 13 times for fear of their safety, their statement said, after police reportedly tried to take them to meet with male relatives and Saudi officials.

"We dream of being in a safe place where we can be normal young women, free from violence and oppression," the sisters said.

They tweeted Thursday, using the account @hksisters6, to say their passports had been invalidated and they feared being forced to go to the Saudi consulate in Hong Kong.

"We do not want to face the same fate as Mr Jamal Khashoggi," they wrote, referring to the prominent journalist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who was murdered at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

Hong Kong police told AFP the case is under investigation and confirmed they received a missing person report and a separate report made by "two expatriate women" in September.

Hong Kong's Airport Authority declined to comment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Kim-dergarten: Vietnam's N. Korea nursery pines for visit by Supreme Leader

Yahoo – AFP, Quy Le BUI, 19 February 2019

The school was built almost entirely with North Korean donations

Wearing traditional dress, the children in Hanoi's only North Korean-founded kindergarten belt out Korean songs and recite their Korean vocabulary -- skills they hope to show off to Kim Jong Un when he visits Vietnam next week.

The reclusive North Korean leader is making his first trip to Vietnam to meet with US President Donald Trump between February 27 and 28.

It is their second summit, during which Washington hopes to see progress on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

The serious summit agenda was far from the minds of toddlers at the Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Kindergarten on Tuesday.

Instead the three-to-five-year-olds sang and danced in the 'Kim Il Sung' classroom named after Kim Jong Un's grandfather, one of Hanoi's closest allies during the Vietnam War.

"Jal gaseyo!" the kids chanted -- goodbye in Korean -- at the school where portraits of communist leaders past -- Kim Il Sung, his son Kim Jong Il and Vietnam's revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh -- hang on the wall.

Established in 1978 at a time when conflict-battered Hanoi still received aid from Pyongyang, the school was built almost entirely with North Korean donations, from the blankets and mattresses for naptime to the bowls and utensils used at mealtime.

Pupils learn about North Korean culture, from kimchi and kimbap to traditional dress

Today some of the school's 450 pupils learn about North Korean culture, from kimchi and kimbap to traditional dress, and occasionally receive visits from North Korean officials and embassy personnel.

"Even though North Korean friends are in difficult conditions, they still pay due attention to this kindergarten," former head teacher Hoang Thi Thanh told AFP.

The school's current headmaster Ngo Thi Minh Ha is hoping that support extends to North Korea's top leader, who will meet Trump in Hanoi.

"We really hope to welcome North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit Vietnam and the Vietnam-DPRK friendship kindergarten, we have proposed our wish (to the embassy)," she told AFP.

Pyongyang has not yet confirmed the summit, with news about its date and location coming only from the White House, and details of the ultra-secretive leader's trip remain unknown.

The meeting is aimed at building on Trump and Kim's first summit in Singapore in June, the first ever meeting between sitting leaders from the US and North Korea, who have never formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Former head teacher Thanh said she would love to see Kim visit the school, but is also hoping for a productive summit.

"I hope for peace and stability in Korean peninsula in the next meeting. I also hope this meeting will bring closer the two sides of Korea like (north and south) Vietnam," she said.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Six charged over 2015 murder of Bangladesh blogger

Yahoo – AFP, 18 February 2019

Activists protested in Bangladesh after the grisly 2015 murder of atheist blogger
Avijit Roy. Police said on Monday they had charged siux people with his killing

Six people have been charged with the gruesome murder four years ago of a controversial atheist blogger, Bangladesh police said Monday.

Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born US national, was hacked to death on a busy road outside Dhaka University in February 2015. His wife was critically injured in the attack.

Police investigators said 11 of the 12 militants from the outlawed Ansar al Islam group implicated in the murder took part in the street killing.

"Six people have been charged over the murder of Avijit Roy. Of the six, two are on the run," Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman told AFP.

A sacked army major who masterminded the attack was one of those still on the loose, Rahman said, adding police could not identify the other five involved.

One suspect was killed by police in a crackdown that followed the murder.

Roy, who migrated to the United States two decades ago, was known in Bangladesh for his Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog, where he railed against all forms of organised religion.

One of his books, "The Virus of Faith", became a controversial bestseller in Bangladesh, which is officially secular even though 90 per cent of the population is Muslim.

Ansar al Islam has been accused of the 2013-14 murders of atheist and secular bloggers and gay activists that prompted many to flee the country.

The government launched a crackdown on Ansar and other radical groups after an attack on a Dhaka cafe in July 2016 left 18 foreigners dead.

Nearly 100 extremists have since been killed by police while hundreds have been arrested.

Maldives arrests ex-leader Yameen over witness tampering: officials

Yahoo – AFP, Mohammed VISHAM, February 18, 2019

Yameen came to power in 2013 and jailed many of his opponents or forced
them into exile (AFP Photo/Ahmed SHURAU)

Malé (Maldives) (AFP) - Maldives authorities on Monday detained former strongman president Abdulla Yameen after he was accused of trying to bribe witnesses in his money laundering trial, officials said.

The arrest came after the Criminal Court began a hearing into allegations that Yameen received nearly $1.5 million in illicit payments just before he lost an election in September and was forced out of power.

"Prosecutors said that Yameen had allegedly attempted to bribe witnesses," a court official said, adding that the former president would be held at the Dhoonidhoo prison island near the capital.

If convicted, the 59-year-old could face up to 15 years in jail and be fined three times the amount of the fraud involved.

Yameen, who came to power in 2013 and jailed many of his opponents or forced them into exile, was summoned to the Criminal Court Sunday to formally receive his indictment. He sent his lawyers in his place.

The court then scheduled a rushed hearing after prosecutors told judge Ahmed Hailam that Yameen was attempting to interfere with witnesses.

Since Yameen's shock election defeat, all dissidents have returned to the Indian Ocean archipelago and most have had their convictions overturned.

During his five-year tenure, Yameen relied heavily on China for political and financial support as he came under international criticism over his dismal human rights record.

Former justice minister Azima Shakoor was also charged with embezzlement and
helping Yameen to launder money (AFP Photo/Ishara S.KODIKARA)

The nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims is now heavily in debt to China.

Loot stashed abroad

Authorities believe millions of dollars allegedly siphoned off by Yameen could be stashed abroad, and have said that talks are under way with foreign entities to repatriate any cash found.

The court has already frozen Yameen's local bank accounts holding about $6.5 million, a decision the former leader has contested.

Last week, an anti-corruption body came up with a report saying $79 million was embezzled from state-run Maldives Media and Public Relations Corporation during Yameen's tenure.

There was no immediate comment from Yameen or his legal team on the detention order.

The arrest of Yameen came a day after his chief lawyer and former justice minister Azima Shakoor was also charged with embezzlement and helping her boss to launder money.

Maldivian police earlier announced they had evidence linking Yameen and Shakoor to the theft of millions from the country.

The Maldives was on the verge of being slapped with Western-led sanctions before opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won an unexpected landslide in last year's election, campaigning on a pledge to end corruption in the country otherwise known for its luxury tourism.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Japan to recognise indigenous Ainu people for first time

Yahoo – AFP, February 15, 2019

Japan's indigenous Ainu people have long suffered oppression and
exploitation (AFP Photo/TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA)

Tokyo (AFP) - Japan's government introduced a bill Friday to recognise the country's ethnic Ainu minority as an "indigenous" people for the first time, after decades of discrimination against the group.

The Ainu people -- many of whom live in northern Hokkaido -- have long suffered the effects of a policy of forced assimilation, and while discrimination has receded gradually, income and education gaps with the rest of Japan persist.

"It is important to protect the honour and dignity of the Ainu people and to hand those down to the next generation to realise a vibrant society with diverse values," top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

"Today we made a cabinet decision on a bill to proceed with policies to preserve the Ainu people's pride."

The bill is the first to recognise the Ainu as "indigenous people" and calls for the government to make "forward-looking policies", including measures to support communities and boost local economies and tourism.

The Ainu have long suffered oppression and exploitation, and the modern Japanese government in the late 19th century banned them from practising their customs and using their language.

Factfile on Japan's ethnic Ainu people. (AFP Photo/John SAEKI)

The Ainu traditionally observed an animist faith, with men wearing full beards and women adorning themselves with facial tattoos before marriage.

But like many indigenous people around the world, most of Japan's Ainu have lost touch with their traditional lifestyle after decades of forced assimilation policies.

The Ainu population is estimated to be at least 12,300, according to a 2017 survey, but the real figure is unknown as many have integrated into mainstream society and some have hidden their cultural roots.

"It is the first step for ensuring equality under the law," Mikiko Maruko, who represents a group of Ainu people in eastern Japan near Tokyo, told AFP.

"There are lots of things to be done, for example, creating a scholarship for families who struggle to send their children to high schools," she added, a system currently only available to Ainu in Hokkaido.

Under the new plan, the government will also allow the Ainu to cut down trees in nationally-owned forests for use in traditional rituals.

"It is a major step forward on policies towards the Ainu people," said Masashi Nagaura, chief of the Ainu policy bureau of the Hokkaido prefectural government that has spearheaded policies for the ethnic minority.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pakistan announces 'massive' social media crackdown

Yahoo – AFP, 13 February 2019

On Tuesday an opinion piece in the International New York Times criticising
Pakistan's powerful army was censored and replaced by a blank space

Pakistani authorities Wednesday vowed to carry out a "massive" crackdown targeting hate speech and extremism on social media, as a minister boasted arrests have already been made.

Officials in Pakistan are frequently accused of muzzling the media and targeting individuals critical of the country’s powerful military establishment and have blocked hundreds of websites and social media accounts over the years.

Information minister Fawad Chaudhry announced the government was setting up a new enforcement arm to regulate social media during a speech in the capital Islamabad.

"We made some arrests last week and by the will of Allah we are launching a massive crackdown against social media users spreading hate speech and violence," he said.

Self censorship in the South Asia nation is widely believed to be rife at traditional news outlets.

"Our problem is that digital media is over taking formal media so it is important for us to regulate this," Chaudhry added, saying: "Informal media is a greater problem than formal media.”

The announcement comes days after authorities arrested a journalist for allegedly posting defamatory content on social media.

And on Tuesday an opinion piece in the International New York Times criticising Pakistan's powerful army was censored by its local publisher and replaced by a blank space.

Activists and bloggers frequently report receiving warnings from Facebook and Twitter for posting unlawful content.

Local media also complained about pressure in the run-up to a general election in July to self-censor in favour of the eventual victor, cricketer-turned-prime-minister Imran Khan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said the army had "quietly but effectively, set restrictions on reporting" in a report released September last year.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Refugee footballer makes triumphant return to Australia

Yahoo – AFP, Daniel DE CARTERET, 12 February 2019

Hakeem al-Araibi (C) was greeted by a throng of well wishers at Melbourne Airport
after an overnight flight to freedom

Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi made a triumphant return to Australia Tuesday, ending a harrowing two months in Thai detention, as his supporters called for an investigation into why he was arrested in the first place.

"I want to thank Australia," said a smiling Araibi, ending an ordeal that saw him jailed during his honeymoon and threatened with extradition to his native Bahrain. "This is my country."

"I don't have citizenship yet, but my country is Australia. I will die in Australia and I love Australia," he said.

A throng of well-wishers decked in #SAVEHAKEEM T-shirts cheered and sang the football anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone" as they greeted the 25-year-old defender at Melbourne Airport, after an overnight flight to freedom aboard Thai Airways flight 465.

Araibi was detained at a Bangkok airport on November 27 at the request of Bahraini authorities who accuse him of offences linked to the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

Hakeem al-Araibi (R) was greeted by a crowd of supporters including former 
Australian football captain Craig Foster (C) who led a campaign for his release

His detention sparked worldwide outcry and a protracted diplomatic dispute between Bahrain, Thailand and Australia that raised questions about the neutrality of Interpol and the writ of Canberra's refugee protections.

Araibi had expressed fear that he would be tortured and killed if he returned to Bahrain and supporters allege his prosecution was politically motivated.

Former Australian football captain Craig Foster, who led a campaign in the sporting community for Araibi's freedom, expressed his "deepest gratitude" at his release.

But he also launched a broadside against politically linked officials who dominate sports governing bodies and who "played a role in bringing this about".

"We're not going to stop until we hold people accountable for what has occurred," he said. "We want to see an investigation in Interpol and the use of red notices."

Araibi has been a vocal critic of Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain's ruling family.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed Araibi's release, saying many Australians' prayers had been answered.

The footballer's detention sparked worldwide outcry and a protracted
diplomatic dispute between Bahrain, Thailand and Australia

"We know all Australians will deeply appreciate the decision, allowing him to return to his wife, family and friends."

Morrison thanked the Thai authorities, who had earlier left his written appeals for Araibi's return unanswered, but abruptly dropped extradition proceedings on Monday at Bahrain's request.

The case had also become a cause celebre in the football world, with stars like Didier Drogba calling for Araibi's release and FIFA urging the Thai football authorities to intervene.

The international football governing body on Monday thanked Thailand in a statement for "doing the right thing" and said it hoped the athlete "will be able to resume his footballing career soon".

'Cruel and inhumane'

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said the case had brought the plight of others imprisoned in the country to light.

"Two moments captured the world's attention this month: the photo of footballer Hakeem al-Araibi shackled and barefoot, and the moment of Hakeem breaking the chains and reunited with his beloved wife, friends and the football community in Melbourne."

Thailand's treatment of refugees has been thrust under international scrutiny in recent weeks.

Hakeem al-Araibi was detained in Thailand on November 27 while on honeymoon

In January, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who ran away from her "abusive" family arrived at a Bangkok airport and -- armed with a smartphone and a captive Twitter audience -- managed to outmanoeuvre Thai authorities and gain refuge in Canada following her pleas for asylum.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha brushed aside questions about Araibi's detention, saying "everything was proceeded in an orderly way so please stop criticising -- there were many agencies involved in solving this case."

Bahrain's reversal of Araibi's extradition request is surprising.

Only last week the Gulf state issued a statement defending its decision to pursue the footballer after he fled while awaiting trial, and he was convicted in absentia in 2014 for damaging a police station.

A statement from Bahrain's foreign ministry on Monday said it "takes note of the halt in legal proceedings" though it did not confirm it had withdrawn its extradition request.

"The guilty verdict against Mr. Al Araibi remains in place.... (Bahrain) reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against (Araibi)," the statement said.

The reversal came a day after Thailand's foreign minister met with Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa in Manama to "discuss... areas of interest", according to Bahrain's state-run news agency.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Thai King lambasts 'highly inappropriate' move to make princess PM

Yahoo – AFP, Sippachai KUNNUWONG, Aidan JONES, February 8, 2019

A party official holds a registration document bearing the image of Thai Princess
Ubolratana, who will run for PM (AFP Photo/Krit Phromsakla Na SAKOLNAKORN)

Bangkok (AFP) - Thailand's powerful King Maha Vajiralongkorn late Friday described an unprecedented move to make his older sister Princess Ubolratana prime minister as "highly inappropriate" and against "royal traditions".

Ubolratana, 67, the older sister of Vajiralongkorn, was announced hours earlier as a candidate in the upcoming elections for the Thai Raksa Chart party, which is steered by the divisive Shinawatra political clan.

Her shock entrance into frontline Thai politics was a first by a member of the powerful royal family and promised to reshape the political landscape of the country.

But a late-night statement from the palace left no doubt over the King's displeasure at the move.

"The king and royal family exist in a status above politics," said the statement, published in the Royal Gazette and given blanket television coverage.

The statement did not criticise Ubolratana, instead praising her public work.

But it appeared aimed at those behind her sudden stride into politics.

"To bring a senior royal family member into the political system in any way is against royal traditions and the nation's culture... which is highly inappropriate."

While the monarchy, which is vastly wealthy and protected from criticism by a harsh royal defamation law, has been seen as above the political fray, royals have intervened in moments of political crisis.

In a day of high drama, junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha also declared his candidacy for premier, running for the pro-military Phalang Pracharat party, moments after the princess's announcement.

Election authorities have a week to review which candidates put up by each party are allowed to run for premier after the March 24 poll.

Graphic looking at the two main candidates who will face 
off against each other in Thailand's upcoming general 
election. (AFP Photo/John SAEKI)

Political drama

Ubolratana's candidacy had electrified the build-up to the election, which has long seemed poised to return the ruling junta and its proxies to power.

Her involvement gave a royal sheen to the political machine of Thaksin Shinawatra, the self-exiled billionaire whose parties have won every election since 2001.

The princess, who gave up her royal titles to marry a foreigner, took to Instagram earlier Friday to say she was allowed to run under the constitution as a "commoner" had "allowed Thai Raksa Chart Party to use" her name.

The party falls under the tutelage of Thaksin, who stands at the heart of Thailand's bitter political schism -- loathed by the army and Bangkok elite, yet adored by the rural poor for health, welfare and education schemes.

The announcement appeared set to thrust him back onto the centre stage of Thailand's political drama.

He was toppled in a 2006 coup, while his sister Yingluck was booted from power in a 2014 military takeover and forced into exile to avoid a jail term.

The King's intervention has cast Thaksin's future role in politics into doubt.

Colourful royal

Ubolratana, a colourful, public-facing royal in contrast to her more restrained brother King Maha Vajiralongkorn, relinquished her royal titles after marrying the American Peter Jensen in 1972.

Thai Princess Ubolratana's decision to run for prime minister has shaken
up Thai politics (AFP Photo/Martin BUREAU)

But the couple divorced and she moved back to Thailand where she is still considered part of the royal family.

In Thailand, she experienced tragedy, losing her autistic son Poom to the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Known to the public for lead roles in Thai films, onstage singing performances, a vibrant fashion sense and a sizeable Instagram following, Ubolratana is the first-born child of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The stride into politics by a royal left Thais scrambling to work out what it may mean for the nation's tattered democracy.

"This is quite unprecedented and nobody is prepared for this," Professor Anusorn Unno of Thammasat University told AFP.

"I don't think it's the victory for the people, I think this is part of the adaptation of the ruling elite in terms of changing the landscape of politics."

Since ascending the throne in 2016, King Maha Vajiralongkorn has reorganised palace affairs.

The vastly wealthy Crown Property Bureau is now under his personal stewardship, he has appointed several new privy counsellors and established a highly trained personal guard.

Crucially he has appointed a new army chief from a different faction of the military to the ruling junta.

His coronation will be held in May.

Related Article:

Thursday, February 7, 2019

'The world trusts us': Vietnamese proud to host Trump-Kim summit

Yahoo – AFP, February 6, 2019

Analysts say the trip could offer the North Korean leader a model of post-war
 economic transformation under a communist state with capitalist leanings

Vietnamese young and old expressed their delight Wednesday after hearing their country had been chosen for the second face-to-face meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The communist-run Southeast Asian country was announced during Trump's State of the Union address as the location for the high-profile summit due to take place later this month.

It follows the pair's historic handshake and brief declaration on denuclearisation at their inaugural meeting in Singapore in June last year.

The pick brings prestige to the former US foe-turned-ally and is symbolic for Vietnamese of a certain generation, who welcomed the move.

"Our country now has a new position and the world trusts us," Pham Van Thau, an 82-year-old communist party member, told AFP in Hanoi.

"The summit will help the world understand more about Vietnam."

The precise location for the summit -- to be held on February 27 and 28 -- has not been announced, though both the capital Hanoi and beach resort town Danang have been rumoured.

Nguyen Hong Nhung, a masters student, hoped the summit could expand her country's budding tourism industry.

"We have a chance... to show everyone that Vietnam is a beautiful country and that the Vietnamese are friendly," she said.

Analysts say the trip, which is set to be Kim's first to Vietnam, could offer the North Korean leader a model of post-war economic transformation under a communist state with capitalist leanings.

Nhung agreed: "I think North Korea now is like Vietnam before the US embargo was lifted, poor and economically limited."

On Facebook and other social media platforms, users beamed with pride at the prospect of the summit.

Commenters on one site said Kim could even take inspiration from the country's north and south reunifying after the war.

"They meet in Vietnam so that Kim can see how the two parts of a country will look like after reunification," Gia Hoang commented on

Vietnam is looking to follow up on its successful hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in 2017 and the regional World Economic Forum last year -- boosting its diplomatic gravitas on the global stage.