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, March 31, 2019

Pope signs Jerusalem declaration on Morocco trip

Yahoo – AFP, Sophie Pons and Catherine Marciano, March 30, 2019

Pope Francis is the first pontiff to visit Morocco since John Paul II in
1985 (AFP Photo/CIRO FUSCO)

Rabat (AFP) - Pope Francis on Saturday joined Morocco's King Mohammed VI in saying Jerusalem should be a "symbol of peaceful coexistence" for Christians, Jews and Muslims, on the first day of a visit to the North African country.

The spiritual leader of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics was invited by King Mohammed VI for the sake of "interreligious dialogue", according to Moroccan authorities.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said Jerusalem was "common patrimony of humanity and especially the followers of the three monotheistic religions."

"The specific multi-religious character, the spiritual dimension and the particular cultural identity of Jerusalem... must be protected and promoted," they said in the declaration released by the Vatican as the pontiff visited Rabat.

The Moroccan king chairs a committee created by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to safeguard and restore Jerusalem's religious, cultural and architectural heritage.

The joint statement came after US President Donald Trump's landmark recognition of the disputed city as capital of Israel, which sparked anger across the Muslim world, especially from Palestinians who see Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Improving relations with other religions has been a priority for the Argentine pontiff, whose papacy has been marred by clergy facing a wave of child sex abuse allegations.

Thousands of Moroccans greeted Pope Francis in the capital Rabat 
(AFP Photo/Alberto PIZZOLI)

Opposing extremism

Addressing thousands of Moroccans who had braved the rain to attend the welcome ceremony, Francis said it was "essential to oppose fanaticism".

He stressed the need for "appropriate preparation of future religious guides", ahead of meeting trainee imams later on Saturday.

Catholics are a tiny minority Morocco, where 99 percent of the population is Muslim. The king is revered across West Africa as "commander of the faithful".

Speaking at the ceremony at the Tour (or tower) Hassan mosque and nearby mausoleum in Rabat, the monarch also voiced opposition to radicalism.

"That which terrorists have in common is not religion, it's precisely the ignorance of religion. It's time that religion is no longer an alibi... for this ignorance, for this intolerance," he said.

Francis rode to the ceremony in his Popemobile, passing rows of Moroccan and Vatican City flags and an estimated 12,000 well-wishers who packed the esplanade.

Buildings had been repainted, lawns manicured and security stepped up ahead of the first papal visit to Morocco since John Paul II in 1985.

A 17-year-old was arrested after trying to throw himself onto the king's limousine to seek the monarch's help, the police said.

Pope Francis (L) was welcomed to Rabat by Morocco's King 
Mohammed VI (AFP Photo/Fadel SENNA)

Some 130,000 people across Rabat watched the first stage of the pope's visit, which was beamed onto giant screens, officials said.

'Right to a future'

After stopping by the royal palace, Francis and Mohammed visited an institute where around 1,300 students are studying to become imams and preachers.

There they heard from a French and a Nigerian student of the institute, which teaches "moderate Islam" and is backed by the king.

In Morocco, where Islam is the state religion, authorities are keen to stress the country's "religious tolerance" which allows Christians and Jews to worship freely.

But Moroccans are automatically considered Muslim, apart from a minority who are born Jewish. Apostasy is socially frowned upon, and proselytising is a criminal offence.

Those who try to "rock the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion" risk a prison term of up to three years.

After years in the shadows, since 2017 the small number of converts have called openly for the right to live "without persecution" and "without discrimination".

The pope finished his Saturday schedule by meeting migrants (AFP Photo/
Alberto PIZZOLI)

Around 30,000 to 35,000 Catholics live in Morocco, many of them from sub-Saharan Africa.

The pope finished his Saturday schedule by meeting migrants -- including children dressed in colourful hats -- at a centre run by Catholic humanitarian organisation Caritas.

"Everyone has the right to a future," said Francis, who has throughout his papacy highlighted the plight of migrants and refugees.

He criticised "collective expulsions" and said ways for migrants to regularise their status should be encouraged.

Caritas centres in Rabat, Casablanca and Tangiers welcomed 7,551 new arrivals in 2017, according to the charity, helping migrants access services.

The number of people taking the sea route from Morocco to Spain has recently surged as it has become harder for them to pass through Libya.

Rabat claims to have a "humanistic" approach to migration and rejects allegations by rights groups of "brutal arrest campaigns" and "forced displacement" to the country's southern border.

On Sunday, the pope will celebrate mass at a Rabat stadium with an estimated 10,000 people attending.

Related Article:

Friday, March 29, 2019

Saudi Arabia releases three detained women activists: family

Yahoo – AFP, March 28, 2019

The women, including activist Aziza al-Youssef, were held for a year before facing

Riyadh (AFP) - Saudi Arabia on Thursday released three out of 11 women detained last year in a sweeping crackdown on activists, a close relative and London-based rights group ALQST said.

Blogger Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Youssef, a retired lecturer at King Saudi University, and academic Rokaya al-Mohareb were freed following the second hearing on Wednesday of their high-profile trial in Riyadh's criminal court, a relative of one of the women told AFP.

The conditions of their release were unclear and there was no immediate comment from the court.

But the relative said that the women, freed after nearly a year in detention, will still have to appear in court next Wednesday when the trial resumes.

ALQST confirmed the news on Twitter, adding that the other detained women were expected to be released on Sunday.

Most of the women were detained last summer in a sweeping crackdown on campaigners just before the historic lifting of a decades-long ban on female motorists.

The women had long campaigned for the right to drive and to abolish the restrictive guardianship system that gives male relatives arbitrary authority over women.

Their trial has intensified criticism of the kingdom over human rights following global outrage over journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder by Saudi agents last October.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

North Korea returns to inter-Korean liaison office

Yahoo – AFP, March 25, 2019

The office in the Northern city of Kaesong was opened in September as the two
Koreas knitted closer ties, but the North pulled its staff out last week (AFP Photo)

Seoul (AFP) - North Korea has returned its staff to an inter-Korean liaison office, Seoul said Monday, just days after unilaterally withdrawing from the joint facility.

The office in the Northern city of Kaesong was opened in September as the two Koreas knitted closer ties, but the North pulled its staff out last week amid a deadlock in talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

The unification ministry said some of the North Korean staff were back at work on Monday saying they had come to cover their "shift as usual".

"Thus, the South and the North held consultation at the liaison office this morning and will continue to operate the office as usual," the ministry said in a statement.

It said the North did not offer details on why they had returned or pulled out in the first place.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was instrumental in brokering the talks process between the nuclear-armed, sanctions-hit North and the US, Seoul's key security ally.

Moon has long backed engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, and has been pushing the carrot of inter-Korean development projects, among them an industrial zone also in Kaesong and cross-border tourism for Southerners.

But the failure by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump to reach agreement in Hanoi last month on walking back Pyongyang's nuclear programme in exchange for relaxation of the measures against it has raised questions over the future of the process.

In his New Year speech -- a key political event in the North -- Kim said without giving details that Pyongyang might see a "new way for defending the sovereignty of the country and the supreme interests of the state" if Washington persisted with sanctions.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Dubai projects NZ PM's image on iconic skyscraper

Yahoo – AFP, March 23, 2019

Ardern has been widely praised for her handling of the tragedy which left 50
Muslims dead (AFP Photo)

Dubai (AFP) - Dubai has projected the image of New Zealand premier Jacinda Ardern onto its iconic Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper, in thanks for her response to last week's mosque shootings.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum praised Ardern's "support to the Muslim community" after a white supremacist gunman attacked two mosques on March 15, killing 50 people.

"Thank you PM @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world," he wrote on Twitter.

A photo from Dubai's Public Diplomacy Office showed Burj Khalifa lit up with a picture of Ardern in a hijab, warmly embracing a Muslim affected by the tragedy, under the word "peace" in Arabic and English.

Ardern has been widely praised for her handling of the tragedy, meeting victims' families and moving quickly to tighten gun laws while calling for global efforts against extremism online.
Related Article:

Friday, March 22, 2019

Vietnamese blogger who vanished in Thailand jailed in Hanoi

Yahoo – AFP, March 21, 2019

Blogger Truong Duy Nhat on trial in Danang in 2014.  He is believed to be back
in jail in Hanoi after vanishing in Thailand (AFP Photo/Vietnam News Agency)

A Vietnamese blogger who vanished in Thailand earlier this year is being held in a Hanoi prison, his friend and wife confirmed Thursday.

Truong Duy Nhat wrote weekly posts about politics and current affairs for Radio Free Asia (RFA) and last posted about the prospects for change in Vietnam in light of major anti-government demonstrations in Venezuela.

All independent media is banned in Vietnam and bloggers, activists and rights lawyers are routinely jailed.

The one-party state has seen an uptick of arrests under a hardline leadership in charge since 2016, with nearly 60 put behind bars last year according to an AFP tally.

Nhat, 55, fled to Thailand in January and applied for refugee status with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, according to RFA.

His employer and family lost contact with him soon after and he has not been heard from since. The UN said it does not comment on individual cases.

Nhat's friend Pham Xuan Nguyen said he visited Hanoi's T-16 jail on Wednesday and received confirmation Nhat was being held there.

"I took Nhat's wife to the jail yesterday. I saw the book the jail gave to her to register future visits," he told AFP Thursday.

"Inside the book, the date of his arrest was written January 28, 2019... it said that he was transferred to the jail the same day," the friend said, adding that they did not see Nhat.

The blogger's wife Cao Thi Xuan Phuong confirmed the account to AFP, declining to comment further.

His daughter Truong Thuc Doan, who lives in Canada, said she believes he was taken from Thailand against his will.

"It's clear that my father did not voluntarily go back to Vietnam," she told RFA.

The circumstances of Nhat's return have not been confirmed by Hanoi and he has not yet been formally charged.

RFA spokesman Rohit Mahajan said Thursday the organisation remains "very concerned about our contributor and his treatment in detention".

This is Nhat's second prison stint. He was jailed for two years in 2014 for "abusing democratic freedoms" after writing blogs critical of Vietnam's communist leadership.

Hanoi has in the past forcibly returned corruption suspects, including a former state oil executive kidnapped by Vietnamese security agents from a Berlin park in 2017.

Last year, a fugitive spy was sent back from Singapore to face trial for divulging state secrets.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Singaporean couple jailed for 'worst of its kind' maid abuse

Yahoo – AFP, March 18, 2019

Singapore has taken a tough stand against maid abuse to protect some 250,000
domestic workers from other parts of Asia who work in the affluent nation for higher
salaries (AFP Photo/Roslan RAHMAN)

A Singaporean couple was on Monday jailed for abusing a Myanmar maid after the pair force-fed her with a funnel, made her eat her own vomit and threatened to kill her family if she reported the maltreatment.

In a case described by Singapore prosecutors as "arguably one of the worst of its kind" in the city-state, the married couple -- who were sentenced two years ago over the abuse of another maid -- beat and kicked their helper and made her clean the house in her underwear.

Moe Moe Than, 32, was also given little food, limited use of the toilet and faced threats that her parents in Myanmar would be killed if she reported the abuse, court documents showed.

District Judge Olivia Low on Monday sentenced the woman, Chia Yun Ling, to 47 months in prison and ordered her to pay a fine. Her husband, Tay Wee Kiat, a former information technology manager, was jailed for 24 months.

They were also ordered to pay compensation to the maid.

The sentence however drew angry reactions online, with readers demanding a harsher punishment.

"Pathetic sentences. Should each be doing 10 years and have their kids taken off them," reader Rich Mackereth wrote on the Facebook page of state broadcaster Channel NewsAsia.

"Such deplorable human beings!! They need also to be whipped and caned," wrote reader Andrew Siah with the symbol of an angry emoji.

The couple's mistreatment of Than during her employment of nearly a year in 2012 was detailed in more than 20 charges.

"In the present case, the accused persons had systematically and persistently abused Moe Moe Than both physically and psychologically throughout the period of her employment," state prosecutors told the court, also noting a lack of remorse from the couple.

One charge said Chia, a former senior sales manager, force-fed the maid a mixture of rice and sugar through a funnel after the helper told her she did not have enough food to eat.

This caused the victim to choke and she ran to the toilet to throw up, the charge said.

Chia followed, scolded and slapped the maid, and instructed her to throw up into a plastic bag "and thereafter (made) to eat her own vomit," the charge added.

The same couple were in March 2017 sentenced to jail terms for abusing their Indonesian maid -- the husband for two years and four months and the wife for two months. They have yet to serve those sentences.

Singapore has taken a tough stand in prosecuting abusers to protect some 250,000 domestic workers from other parts of Asia who work in the affluent nation for higher salaries.

In February, a Singaporean salon manager who abused her Myanmar maid by forcing her to pour hot water on herself was jailed for three years.

And in March 2017, a Singaporean couple who starved their Filipina maid had their jail sentences increased to 10 months by the High Court after an appeal by the prosecution.

The High Court had agreed that their original jail terms ranging from three weeks to three months were "patently and manifestly inadequate".

Monday, March 18, 2019

Graves prepared as New Zealand looks to bury mosque massacre dead

Yahoo – AFP, Jerome TAYLOR, March 17, 2019

People in Christchurch lay flowers in tribute to those killed in Friday's attack (AFP
Photo/Marty MELVILLE)

Dozens of graves were being dug in a Christchurch cemetery on Monday for the 50 worshippers killed in two mosque attacks, as families clamoured for the return of their dead.

Coroners said they hoped to let grieving relatives fulfil Islamic burial customs soon, but insisted they had to move carefully through their investigation into the horrific multiple murder.

As New Zealand grappled to come to terms with the slaughter -- the worst attack on Muslims in a Western country -- tales of heroism, suffering and incredible grace emerged.

Farid Ahmad, whose 44-year-old wife Husna was killed as she rushed back into a mosque to rescue him, refused to harbour hatred toward the alleged gunman, Australian-born, self-avowed white nationalist, Brenton Tarrant.

"I would say to him 'I love him as a person'," Ahmad, who uses a wheelchair, told AFP.

Asked if he forgave the 28-year-old suspect, who is being held in custody after appearing in court, he said: "Of course. The best thing is forgiveness, generosity, loving and caring, positivity."

Residents pay their respects by placing flowers for the victims of the mosques attacks
 in Christchurch at the Masjid Umar mosque in Auckland on March 17, 2019 (AFP Photo/
Michael BRADLEY)

Husna Ahmad was among four women believed to have been killed by Tarrant, who documented his radicalisation and two years of preparations in a lengthy, meandering and conspiracy-filled far-right "manifesto".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her office and some 30 other officials had received the document by email about nine minutes before the attack.

"It did not include a location, it did not include specific details," she said, adding that it was sent to security services within two minutes of receipt.

Around Christchurch, New Zealand and the world there have been vigils, prayers, memorials and messages of solidarity.

"We stand together with our Muslim brothers & sisters" were the words on a large red banner, above a sea of flowers at one of the sites in what one resident dubbed the "city of sorrow".

An emotion-filled haka -- the Maori war dance -- was performed by a New Zealand biker gang to honour the Christchurch dead.

Police forensic officers are carrying out painstaking work at the Dean Avenue 
mosque (AFP Photo/Marty MELVILLE)

The country remained on high alert, with police on Sunday briefly closing an airport in the southern city of Dunedin -- where Tarrant had lived -- after an unidentified package was spotted on the airfield. The airport reopened a few hours later.


Islamic custom dictates that the dead should be buried within 24 hours, but strained authorities, desperate to make sure no mistakes are made or the complex investigation harmed, said a quick process was difficult.

"All of the deceased have had a CT scan, their fingerprints are taken, the property they were wearing or had with them is removed," said Chief Coroner Deborah Marshall, adding that dental impressions were taken and post-mortems performed.

Ardern said she expected all the dead would have been returned to their families by Wednesday.

An AFP reporter early Monday saw workers and excavators preparing dozens of graves in a cemetery in Christchurch though it was unclear when any funerals might start.

There has been an outpouring of grief in the wake of the attack (AFP Photo/

"It's a massacre, what else do they need to know?," said school principal Sheikh Amjad Ali, expressing frustration over the wait for loved ones' remains.

The dead from Friday's attack span generations, aged between three and 77, according to a sombre list circulated among relatives.

Some victims came from the neighbourhood, others from as far afield as Egypt. At least two of the dead came from the same family -- a father and son.

Delhi said Sunday that five of its nationals were killed, while Pakistan said nine of its citizens were among the dead, including one man who died trying to rush Tarrant.


Authorities said 34 people remained in hospital.

Gestures of sympathy have been made all around the world since Friday's 
horrifying attack (AFP Photo/Salty Dingo)

Among those fighting for their lives is four-year-old Alin Alsati. The pre-schooler was praying alongside her father Wasseim at the Al Noor mosque when she was shot at least three times.

Her father, who was also shot, recently emigrated to New Zealand from Jordan.

"Please pray for me and my daughter," he pleaded in a Facebook video message from his hospital bed before undergoing surgery.

The number of dead and injured could have been higher, were it not for people like Afghan refugee Abdul Aziz.

Aziz was at the Linwood mosque with his four sons when he rushed the attacker armed with the only weapon he could find -- a hand-held credit card machine.

Afghan refugee and local resident Abdul Aziz chased the gunman with the only weapon 
he could find -- ahand-held credit card machine (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)

He then picked up an empty shotgun discarded by the gunman and shouted "come on here" in an effort to draw him away from his sons and the other worshippers.

"I just wanted to save as much lives as I could, even if I lose my life," he told AFP.

Gun policy on agenda

The mosque attacks have shaken this usually peaceful country, which prides itself on welcoming refugees fleeing violence or persecution.

Later Monday Ardern will gather her cabinet to discuss changing the country's gun laws.

That could include a ban on semi-automatic weapons of the type used by Tarrant. A series of reform attempts in recent years have failed.

Ardern also wants answers from social media giants over the livestreaming of the carnage.

Facebook said it had removed 1.5 million videos of the attack around the world in the first 24 hours.

Kiwis say they will not be beaten by the horror that was visited on them by a lone 

After days of lockdowns and security warnings, police have urged Kiwis to go back to their normal business.

When they return to work and school on Monday however, they will find a high police presence, said commissioner Mike Bush.

Related Articles:

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Malaysia court frees woman in North Korea murder case

Yahoo – AFP, M. Jegathesan, March 11, 2019

Indonesian Siti Aisyah waves to the press after her return to Jakarta having been
freed by a Malaysian court (AFP Photo/ADEK BERRY)

An Indonesian woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader's half-brother was freed Monday after Malaysian prosecutors dropped a murder charge against her, in a shock decision that delighted her friends and family.

Siti Aisyah smiled as she was ushered into a car outside the court, where she had been on trial for a year and a half alongside a Vietnamese woman for the 2017 murder of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur airport.

"I feel happy. I did not know this will happen. I did not expect it," said the 27-year-old, who earlier hugged her tearful Vietnamese co-accused, Doan Thi Huong, in the dock when the news was announced.

Indonesian officials mounted a major diplomatic effort to free Aisyah, which included pressure from the president. The Indonesian justice minister had written to Malaysia's attorney general seeking her release, citing problems with the case, and he agreed last week.

The women had always denied murder, saying they were tricked by North Korean spies into carrying out the Cold War-style hit using VX nerve agent, and believed it was a prank for a reality TV show.

Elite Malaysian police secure the court hearing the North Korea assassination case 
(AFP Photo/Mohd RASFAN)

Their lawyers presented them as scapegoats, saying that authorities were unable to catch the real killers. Four North Koreans -- formally accused of the murder alongside the women -- fled Malaysia shortly after the assassination.

The trial, which began in October 2017, had been due to resume Monday with the defence stage of proceedings after a break of several months.

But at the start of the hearing at Shah Alam High Court, prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad requested that the murder charge against Aisyah be withdrawn and she be given a discharge, without providing a reason.

The judge agreed to a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, and ordered Aisyah's immediate release. This means Aisyah has not been formally cleared of the charge and could, in theory, be re-arrested.

The news was a surprise as the court had only been scheduled to hear Huong testify Monday, and the Vietnamese woman was left in shock that she was not released alongside Aisyah.

"I do not know what will happen to me now. I am innocent -- please pray for me," the 30-year-old said. Her testimony was adjourned Monday as her lawyers said they would also apply to get the charge against her dropped.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah adjusts hear headscarf during a press conference on 
her return to Indonesia (AFP Photo/ADEK BERRY)

Homecoming party

Aisyah arrived later Monday in Jakarta, where she was reunited with parents. In her hometown of Sindangsari on Java island, there was shock and delight as word spread of her release.

"We've heard the news and we're so happy. We're getting a celebration ready!" her aunt Darmi, who goes by one name, told AFP.

Indonesia often makes concerted diplomatic efforts to free its citizens detained overseas, particularly those who may face the death penalty.

Speaking at the Indonesian embassy in Malaysia, Indonesian Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly reeled off a list of figures in government -- from President Joko Widodo to the foreign minister -- who had pushed for Aisyah's release.

A murder conviction carries a mandatory penalty of death by hanging in Malaysia. The government vowed last year to abolish capital punishment but has yet to amend the law.

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong is escorted into the Malaysian court hearing
the assassination trial (AFP Photo/MOHD RASFAN)

There does not appear to have been any such aggressive lobbying effort from Vietnam for Huong, however.

Vietnam generally does not get publicly involved in individual criminal cases overseas, and foreign affairs officials did not respond to AFP’s request for comment Monday.

In the first stage of the trial that ran until August last year, prosecutors presented their case.

Witnesses described how the victim -- the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong Un and once seen as heir apparent to the North Korean leadership -- died in agony shortly after being attacked.

Prosecutors said Aisyah and Huong were well-trained assassins but their lawyers argued the four North Koreans were the masterminds, and provided them with poison on the day of the murder.

South Korea has accused the North of ordering the hit, which Pyongyang denies.

Malaysia had been one of the nuclear-armed North's few allies but the assassination badly damaged ties, and led to the countries expelling each other's ambassadors.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Tibet supporters in India mark 60 years since uprising

Yahoo – AFP, Archana THIYAGARAJAN, March 10, 2019

Supporters of the Dalai Lama chanted and prayed at the Buddhist shrine in mountainous
Dharamsala - home to Tibet's government in exile (AFP Photo/Money SHARMA)

Huge crowds gathered at the Dalai Lama's temple in India Sunday to commemorate 60 years since the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule that drove the spiritual leader into exile.

Supporters of the 83-year-old peace icon chanted and prayed at the Buddhist shrine in mountainous Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama established a government-in-exile after fleeing a deadly Chinese crackdown in Tibet in 1959.

Devotees in the Indian hill station the Dalai Lama has called home for six decades waved Tibet's colourful "snow lion" flag, which China has outlawed as a symbol of separatism.

Some had "Free Tibet" painted on their faces along with the colours and distinct golden sun of the iconic flag.

"This is a proud day," Lhakpa Tsering, a Tibetan living in exile in India, told AFP in Dharamsala.

Performers danced and recited Tibetan songs at the temple for guests, which 
organisers said included parliamentarians from 10 nations (AFP Photo/Money SHARMA)

"Sixty years we've been in exile. Still, our struggle is young and fresh and strong, so we can give a message to China that until Tibetans remain, our struggle will never end."

The Dalai Lama himself was not present at the anniversary ceremony, but chief representatives of the exiled Tibetan administration and foreign dignitaries gathered for the solemn occasion.

Performers dressed in traditional attire danced and recited Tibetan songs at the temple for guests, which organisers said included parliamentarians from 10 nations.

A minute's silence was held at the outset to remember those killed when China brutally crushed the fledgling Tibetan revolt, a crackdown the government-in-exile claimed killed tens of thousands.

Call for dialogue

Buddhist Tibet, a vast Himalayan area of plateaus and mountains, declared independence from China in the early 20th century but Beijing took back control in 1951, having sent in thousands of troops.

The Dalai Lama himself was not present at the ceremony, but chief representatives 
of the exiled Tibetan administration and foreign dignitaries were present (AFP Photo/

The Dalai Lama -- chosen at the age of two in 1937 as the 14th incarnation of Tibetan Buddhism's supreme religious leader -- was enthroned as head of state after the Chinese invasion.

His co-existence with the Beijing authorities was tense and when the Chinese authorities summoned him to an event without his bodyguards on March 10, Tibetans feared a trap that could endanger their leader.

Thousands of his supporters assembled at his summer palace to prevent him from leaving; thousands more demonstrated in Lhasa to demand the Chinese depart, the Dalai Lama would later say.

Beijing sent more troops into Tibet, and in the bloodshed that followed, refugees poured over the border into Dharamsala -- already then a sanctuary for Tibetan exiles fleeing Chinese repression.

The Dalai Lama evaded Chinese authorities and slipped away dressed as a soldier, escaping to India with an entourage of supporters in a gruelling two-week trek through the Himalayas.

Prime Minister of the Tibetan government in exile Lobsang Sangay addressed the huge 
crowds gathered at the Dalai Lama's temple in Dharmasala (AFP Photo/Money SHARMA)

There he formed a government-in-exile and demanded autonomy for Tibet, a decades-long quest that would earn him worldwide respect as a figure of nonviolence. He won the Nobel Prize in 1989.

He remains a thorn in the side to China, which adamantly rejects any suggestion of Tibetan autonomy and blacklisted the Dalai Lama as a dangerous "separatist".

Beijing continues to be accused of political and religious repression in the region, but insists Tibetans enjoy extensive freedoms and that it has brought economic growth.

"If (China) earnestly believes that co-operation can bring more peace, it should renew dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness Dalai Lama," Lobsang Sangay, President of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

"As we have seen repeatedly, the envoys are ready to talk and peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet through the 'middle-way approach'".