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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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Myanmar bulldozed scores of Rohingya villages since November: HRW

Channel NewAsia - AFP, 23 February 2018

A satellite image taken by DigitalGlobe on Feb 19, 2018 and released by Human
Rights Watch on Feb 23, 2018 allegedly shows ongoing demolition of Rohingya
villages in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State. (Photo: AFP/Handout)

YANGON: Satellite imagery shows Myanmar authorities have bulldozed at least 55 Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine in recent months, Human Rights Watch said Friday (Feb 23), condemning the government for erasing evidence at sites where troops are accused of atrocities.

Northern Rakhine has been nearly emptied of its Rohingya population since last August, when a military crackdown drove some 700,000 of the persecuted group across the border to Bangladesh.

The UN has accused Myanmar of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Muslim minority, who face acute discrimination in the mainly Buddhist nation.

Myanmar denies the charge but has blocked UN investigators from investigating an area where thousands of Rohingya are believed to have been killed.

Hundreds of Rohingya villages were already damaged by fire during the initial months of violence last year, when soldiers and Buddhist vigilantes terrorised communities with arson, gunfire and rape, according to refugees.

Since November, Myanmar authorities have further demolished at least 55 villages with heavy machinery, clearing out all structures and vegetation, satellite images obtained by Human Rights Watch showed.

At least two of the flattened villages were previously undamaged by fires, the watchdog said.

"Many of these villages were scenes of atrocities against Rohingya and should be preserved so that the experts appointed by the UN to document these abuses can properly evaluate the evidence to identify those responsible," said HRW's Asia director Brad Adams.

"Bulldozing these areas threatens to erase both the memory and the legal claims of the Rohingya who lived there," he added.

Haunting images of levelled villages first circulated on social media earlier this month after they were posted by an EU diplomat.

At the time Myanmar's Social Welfare Minister Win Myat Aye told AFP the demolition was part of a plan to "build back" villages to a higher standard than before.

Myanmar has trumpeted a government effort to rebuild violence-gutted Rakhine and welcome back refugees under a repatriation agreement with Dhaka that was supposed to commence in January.

But many Rohingya refuse to return without the guarantee of basic rights and safety.

Analysts have also sounded the alarm over the government's rehabilitation projects, calling the sweeping destruction of villages, mosques and property only the latest move to erase the Rohingya's ties to their ancestral lands, and prevent them returning.

Members of the Muslim minority have been systematically stripped of their legal rights in Myanmar in recent decades.

They have also been targeted by bouts of violence and corralled into grim displacement camps in other parts of Rakhine state.

Myanmar's army says its August crackdown was a proportionate counterstrike against Rohingya rebels who attacked police posts in late August, killing around a dozen officials.

Many in the Buddhist majority revile the Rohingya and brand the group as foreign interlopers, despite their having lived in Rakhine for generations.


Monday, February 12, 2018

S. Korea's Moon watches concert with Kim Jong Un's sister

Yahoo – AFP, Jung Hawon, February 11, 2018

South Korea's Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (R) shakes hands with North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong (L) as North Korea's ceremonial head of
state Kim Yong Nam (C) looks on during their meeting at a hotel in Seoul (AFP Photo)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in sat next to the powerful sister of the North's leader Kim Jong Un at a concert in Seoul by musicians from Pyongyang, as conservative protesters burned the North's national flag outside Sunday.

The show was the final set-piece element of the North Korean delegation's landmark visit, the diplomatic highlight of the Olympics-driven rapprochement between the two halves of the peninsula.

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They have shared kimchi and soju, sat in the same box at the Olympics opening ceremony and cheered a unified women's ice hockey team.

Kim on Saturday invited Moon to a summit in the North, an offer extended by his sister and special envoy Kim Yo Jong, who made history as the first member of the North's ruling dynasty to visit the South since the Korean War.

Pictures showed Yo Jong seated between Moon and the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, who is officially leading the North's delegation, and applauding at Sunday's concert.

The show was given by some 140 members of Pyongyang's Samjiyon Orchestra as part of a cross-border deal in which the isolated nuclear-armed North sent hundreds of athletes, cheerleaders and others to the Pyeongchang Winter Games in the South.

At a dinner beforehand with senior Seoul officials, Yo Jong said she found the two Koreas still had much in common despite decades of separation.

Before flying south, she said, she had expected "things would be very different and unfamiliar", according to a statement from Moon's office.

"But it turned out that there were many things similar and in common," she went on. "I hope that the day we become one will be brought forward."

But the rapprochement pushed by the dovish Moon has angered conservatives, who accuse him of being a North Korea sympathiser and undermining the security alliance with the US.

"Having these red communists in the heart of Seoul is an utter humilation!" one shouted near the venue as dozens of others waved banners condemning both Moon and Kim Jong Un.

"We are against the ugly political Olympics!" read one banner.

South Korean protesters hold pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un 
during an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul (AFP Photo)

Some set a North Korean flag on fire before police intervened, and others chanted "Let's tear Kim Jong Un to death!" as they ripped up posters bearing his portrait.

The North's presence has dominated the headlines in the early days of the Olympics, with all eyes turning to Swiss-educated Kim Yo Jong, believed to be 30, who is among her brother's closest confidantes.

Political divide

Sunday's concert -- the orchestra's second and final show -- was expected to feature South Korean pop songs as well as North Korean music, with the diplomatic delegation due to fly home afterwards.

Public interest in the show was huge, with nearly 120,000 people applying for just 1,000 tickets.

Civilian contact is strictly banned between the two Koreas, which have been divided by the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

Tensions soared last year as the North staged a series of nuclear and missile tests in violation of UN resolutions, while leader Kim and US President Donald Trump traded colourful insults and threats of war.

Moon has long sought engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, and for months has promoted Pyeongchang as a "peace Olympics".

But controversy over the North's participation -- particularly the formation of a unified women's ice hockey team, seen as unfairly denying Seoul's own citizens a chance to compete on the Olympic stage -- has hit his approval ratings.

Many older South Koreans on both sides of the political divide harbour a nostalgic longing for some form of reunification -- conservatives through the North's collapse, liberals through a more amicable arrangement.

But younger South Koreans -- many of whom voted for Moon in May -- have spent their adult lives in a culturally vibrant democracy regularly menaced and occasionally attacked by Pyongyang. They have far less interest in unification and fear its social and economic consequences.

A poll last year found almost 50 percent of over-60s believed the two Koreas can be reunified, while just 20.5 percent of those in their 20s agreed.

Monday, February 5, 2018

N. Korea's ceremonial head of state to visit South

Yahoo – AFP, Jung Ha-Won, 4 February 2018

The trip by Kim Yong-Nam will be the diplomatic high point of the rapprochement
between the two Koreas triggered by the Pyeongchang Games

North Korea's ceremonial head of state will visit the South this week in connection with the Winter Olympics, Seoul said late Sunday.

Kim Yong-Nam will be the highest-level official from the North for years to travel to the other side of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.

His trip will be the diplomatic high point of the rapprochement between the two Koreas triggered by the Pyeongchang Olympics in the South, which have their opening ceremony on Friday -- although analysts warn that their newly warmed relations may not last long beyond the Games.

Tensions spiralled last year as the North carried out multiple weapons tests, including intercontinental ballistic missiles it says are capable of reaching the mainland United States, and its most powerful nuclear blast to date.

For months, it ignored Seoul's entreaties to take part in a "peace Olympics", until leader Kim Jong-Un indicated his willingness to do so in his New Year speech.

That set off a rapid series of meetings which saw the two agree to march together at the opening ceremony and form a unified women's ice hockey team, their first for 27 years.

The North's Olympic participation would include a visit by a high-level delegation, they agreed.

It will be led by Kim Yong-Nam, who is leader of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the North's ruling-party-controlled parliament, Seoul's unification ministry said in a statement.

Kim -- who is not a close blood relative of leader Kim Jong-Un -- will arrive on Friday for a three-day visit, accompanied by three other officials and 18 support staff, the ministry said it had been told by Pyongyang.

The South Korean ministry did not explicitly say whether Kim would go to the Pyeongchang opening ceremony -- which will be attended by the US Vice President Mike Pence.

Head of state

Kim Yong-Nam will be the highest-level Northern official to visit the South since 2014.

But it may be seen as disappointing by some if he proves to be the most important member of the delegation, as he is largely considered a figurehead whose public diplomatic role leaves it unclear how much political power he really has.

He is regarded as the ceremonial head of state, but does not hold the title of national president -- and nor does Kim Jong-Un.

Instead it is retained by Kim Jong-Un's grandfather, the North's founder Kim Il-Sung, who remains Eternal President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- the country's official name -- despite dying in 1994.

Speculation about who could lead the delegation had been rife in the South for weeks, with some analysts pointing to Choe Ryong-Hae, who is the vice chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party and seen as Kim Jong-Un's right-hand man.

Others had even suggested the leader's younger sister Kim Yo-Jong, who was recently promoted to a senior political position.

Choe was one of three senior Pyongyang officials who made a surprise visit to the South during the 2014 Asian Games along with former military chief Hwang Pyong-So and Kim Yang-Gon, a top official on inter-Korea affairs who died in a car crash in 2015.

They did not meet any senior officials of the government in Seoul, but it may be different on this occasion.

The South's new President Moon Jae-In has long argued for engagement to bring the North to the negotiating table over its nuclear ambitions, which have seen it subjected to multiple sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions.

Seoul and Washington have agreed to delay annual large-scale joint military exercises which always infuriate Pyongyang, but only until the end of the Paralympics in late March.

Friday, January 26, 2018

North Korean Olympic ice hockey players arrive in South

Yahoo – AFP, Jung Ha-Won, January 25, 2018

Ice hockey players from North Korea arrived in the South to join a team made
up of players from both sides of the border (AFP Photo/KOREA POOL)

Seoul (AFP) - A dozen North Korean female ice hockey players joined their Southern counterparts Thursday to form a unified team -- the Koreas' first for nearly three decades -- at next month's Winter Olympics.

The Pyeongchang Winter Games have triggered an apparent rapprochement on the divided peninsula, where tensions have been high over the nuclear-armed North's weapons ambitions.

But the unified women's team has provoked controversy in the South, with accusations that Seoul is depriving some of its own players of the chance to compete at the Olympics for political purposes.

Wearing padded team jackets against the cold -- emblazoned "DPR Korea", the North's official name -- the 12 athletes crossed the land border near Kaesong.

Their new teammates presented them with bouquets of flowers when they arrived at the South's national ice hockey facility at Jincheon to start training.

"I am glad that the North and the South have got together to compete," reports cited the North's coach Pak Chol Ho as saying.

A bus carrying North Korea's women's ice hockey players, who will form a unified Korean 
team at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, drives near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing 
the two Koreas (AFP Photo/KOREA POOL)

Since the division of the peninsula the two Koreas have only competed as unified teams in 1991, when their women won the team gold at the world table tennis championship in Japan, and their under-19 footballers reached the world championship quarter-finals in Portugal.

The North is contributing 12 players to the ice hockey squad, in addition to the original 23 South Korean skaters, the two sides and the International Olympic Committee agreed at the weekend.

Concerns have been expressed in the South that the sudden addition of so many players so close to the competition -- for which South Korea qualified as hosts, rather than on merit -- will disrupt team chemistry.

Public anger has also been fanned by senior Seoul officials who sought to justify the decision on the grounds that the women's team had no real medal chances anyway.

The row has taken its toll on the popularity of dovish South Korean President Moon Jae-In, whose job approval ratings have dived to 60 percent -- the lowest since he took office last May.

The RealMeter survey blamed the controversy over the joint team and public perception that Moon's administration made too many concessions to the North to secure its participation at the Olympics.

Dovish South Korean President Moon Jae-in has pushed for a rapprochement with 
the North during the Olympic games, but it is not universally popular in the South (AFP 
Photo/KIM HONG-JI)

'All Koreans'

The joint ice hockey team is scheduled to have a warm-up match against Sweden in the western city of Incheon on February 4.

Pyongyang -- which boycotted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul -- will have another 10 athletes taking part in the Winter Games: three cross-country skiers, three alpine skiers, two short-track speed skaters and two figure skaters.

A delegation from Pyongyang also arrived Thursday to prepare for their trip, Seoul's unification ministry said.

The figure skating pair, Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik, are the only North Korean athletes to have met the Winter Olympics qualifying standards.

The latest flurry of inter-Korea activities came after the North's leader Kim Jong-Un announced his willingness to take part in the Games in his New Year speech, after months of silence from Pyongyang in the face of repeated calls from the South to join in a "peace Olympics".

Pyongyang issued a rare statement to "all Koreans" on Thursday to rally support for Korean reunification -- the longed-for goal it sought to achieve by force when it invaded in 1950.

The North Korean ice hockey players were accompanied a sports delegation from
Pyongyang who will prepare for the arrival of its other athletes for next month's
Games (AFP Photo)

"Let us wage an energetic drive to defuse the acute military tension and create a peaceful climate on the Korean Peninsula!" said the statement carried by state-run KCNA, urging efforts to "remove mutual misunderstanding and distrust" by expanding civilian contact and exchanges.

Any civilian contact is banned between two Koreas, which technically remain at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

The moves by Kim are seen as aimed at easing tension on the peninsula, where fears of renewed conflict grew last year after the North staged a series of nuclear and missile tests, earning itself new layers of UN Security Council sanctions, and Kim traded threats of war with US President Donald Trump.

Moon, who advocates engagement with Pyongyang, sought the North's participation in the Games in a bid to eventually open a door for talks for nuclear disarmament.

His office said that bringing the North to the event was an "investment for the future" and quelled concerns among many nations over whether it was safe to send athletes to the flashpoint peninsula.

But analysts question whether momentum for peace will be sustained once the Olympics are over, given the North has already proclaimed itself a nuclear state in defiance of international condemnation.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Millions gather to 'purify souls' in Hindu bathing ritual

Yahoo – AFP, January 23, 2018

Shiv Yogi Moni Swami is among some 10 million Hindus who participate in the
45-day religious festival (AFP Photo/Xavier GALIANA)

Allahabad (India) (AFP) - Millions of Hindu devotees are gathering in northern India for the Magh Mela -- one of the world's biggest religious festivals involving ritual bathing in the holy waters of the Ganges river.

An estimated 10 million Hindus descend on the city of Allahabad every January for the festival staged at the sacred meeting point of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers.

The 45-day Mela is currently underway, with pilgrims camping across Allahabad and joining the colourful throngs for dips in the venerated waters.

Among them is Shiv Yogi Moni Swami, a holy man smeared in sandalwood paste, carrying a trident and clad in nothing more than beads and a leopard-print wrap around his waist.

Swami demonstrates his devotion not by walking to the confluence of the rivers known as the Sangam but by rolling the roughly one-kilometre distance from his tent to the waters.

It is not an easy task, with his body collecting dust and grime before he arrives at the confluence where he submerges himself fully.

Swami's body collects dust and grime before he arrives at the confluence (AFP 
Photo/Xavier GALIANA)

The act "purifies the soul and washes away all sins", he told AFP, after scattering rose petals to the rising sun and performing his ablutions.

"As we bathe on this holy day in the Ganges we are praying not only for peace of our soul but for the welfare of the whole world," Swami added.

Fellow pilgrims, impressed by his piety and fortitude, bow to touch his feet and take blessings.

Some even lie prostrate before him as he passes in a sign of reverence.

Many Indians believe that holy men like Swami possess mystical powers and are capable of curing all manner of illnesses.

For the duration of the Mela, Swami says he eats just one simple meal of fruit a day, apparently enough to sustain him through a busy schedule of chanting prayers and performing yagna, a centuries-old Hindu fire ritual.

"I believe that if you all bow before the Ganges you will be blessed with eternal peace and happiness," he said, explaining his devotion to the holiest river in Hinduism.

"She (Ganges) is just like a mother. Just like a mother is kind to all, be it a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or a Jain, the Ganges is all encompassing."

The annual ritual has been held in Allahabad for centuries and is a smaller version of the Kumbh Mela, a gigantic event attended by tens of millions that UNESCO describes as the largest peaceful gathering of pilgrims on earth.

Many Indians believe that holy men like Swami possess mystical powers and 
are capable of curing all manner of illnesses (AFP Photo/Xavier GALIANA)

Related Article:



Iranian woman skydiver looks to break down stereotypes

Yahoo - AFP, Siavosh GHAZI, 23 January 2018

For Iranian skydiving enthusiast Bahareh Sassani, her love of the sport is a way
of attempting to break down stereotypes in her deeply conservative homeland

For Iranian parachuting enthusiast Bahareh Sassani, skydiving is "a way to prove that women are just as capable as men" -- a small step from a big height for women's equality in her country.

The 35-year-old accountant has been skydiving less than two years but already has more than 220 jumps under her belt.

"I encourage all women to try this experience. It gives you the feeling you can do whatever you want. Women should not be excluded from anything," she said.

Sassani -- one of just a handful of female skydivers in her deeply conservative homeland -- refuses to describe herself as a "feminist".

But her motto is firmly "there is no difference between men and women and a woman can do anything she wants and succeed".

That still runs against the grain of Iranian society, where women have had a lower legal status than men since the Islamic revolution of 1979 even if they have battled to stay equal in daily life.

Her favourite pastime is still very much the preserve of men in Iran -- made more complicated by the fact there is no parachuting club so she must do it with the army.

"When they organise jumps, the army invites everyone, including civilians," she explained.

Liberating

There were a handful of women parachutists in pre-revolutionary Iran: archived images published recently by the ISNA news agency showed the first four female army skydivers from 1965.

Iranian Bahareh Sassani one of just a handful of female skydivers in her
deeply conservative homeland

But today, women are not permitted to join the army.

The police has an elite unit that does some parachuting practice, but Sassani says she knows only five other qualified women from the civilian population.

Unlike her friends who chose to buy a car, clothes or jewellery with their first pay cheques or savings, Sassani said she opted instead to invest in parachuting, despite the adventurous sport being a male bastion in Iran.

At the start, her motivation for taking up skydiving was to combat a fear of heights, she said. But now she loves the sense of liberation from everyday cares that it gives her, she added.

Male reactions can be rather extreme though, she says.

"Men often avoid women like me, thinking we aren't made for marriage because we are uncontrollable," she said, bursting into laughter.

"But a small number do show an interest in what I'm doing."

It can also generate interest abroad, said Sassani, who has jumped in Russia, Kenya, Thailand and the UAE.

"Even abroad, when I skydive, people are surprised. They think there are a lot of restrictions in Iran, but I explain to them that there are women doing motocross, flying planes and, yes, parachuting," she said.

A recent photo did the rounds in the Iranian media, showing Sassani jumping with an Iranian flag.

"I meet lots of cultures and beliefs abroad, but I'm a patriot and I love doing jumps in Iran more than anything," she adds.



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Two Koreas agree to march together at Winter Olympics opening

Yahoo – AFP, Hwang Sunghee, January 17, 2018

The two Koreas will march together under a unification flag -- a pale blue
silhouette of the whole Korean peninsula (AFP Photo/JUNG Yeon-Je)

Seoul (AFP) - The two Koreas agreed Wednesday to march together under a single flag at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony and field a united women's ice hockey team at the Games in a further sign of easing tensions on the peninsula.

North Korea also said it would send a 550-member delegation to the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in the South, Seoul said, as the two sides met to discuss athlete numbers in the latest in a flurry of cross-border talks.

Nuclear-armed Pyongyang agreed last week to take part in next month's Pyeongchang Games which are taking place just 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the peninsula.

Seoul has long sought to proclaim the event a "peace Olympics" in the face of tensions over the North's weapons programmes -- which have seen it subjected to multiple UN Security Council sanctions -- and the discussions represent a marked improvement.

The two Koreas will march together under a unification flag -- a pale blue silhouette of the whole Korean peninsula -- at the opening ceremony for the February 9-25 Games, according to a press statement issued by the South.

They also agreed to form a unified women's ice hockey team.

North Korea, however, declined to discuss plans to send a high-level delegation to the Games when the issue was raised by Seoul, the South's vice unification minister Chun Hae-Sung said.

The statement additionally said that the South will send skiers to the Masikryong ski resort in the North for joint training with North Korean skiers. Chun clarified these would be non-Olympic skiers.

South Korea has long sought to proclaim the Pyeongchang Games a "peace 
Olympics" amid tensions with the North (AFP Photo/JUNG Yeon-Je)

IOC meeting

"The South and North must continue working on remaining issues on the basis of today's agreements," Chun told reporters following the meeting at the southern side of the border truce village of Panmunjom.

"We hope the South and North will be able to make the Pyeongchang Olympics a peace Olympics," he added.

Three officials from each side took part in the talks and the results will be discussed by both Koreas with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday.

"This will then enable the IOC to carefully evaluate the consequences and the potential impact on the Olympic Games and the Olympic competitions," an IOC spokesperson said.

"There are many considerations with regard to the impact of these proposals on the other participating (nations) and athletes," with final decisions to be made on Saturday.

The IOC must approve extra Olympic slots for the North's athletes after they failed to qualify or missed deadlines to register.

The North agreed to send 230 cheerleaders to support athletes from the two Koreas during the Olympics and to form a joint cheering squad with the South.

A 30-strong North Korean taekwondo delegation will also visit the South next month for demonstrations in Pyeongchang and Seoul.

Pyongyang also said it will send a separate 150-member delegation of supporters, athletes, performers, journalists and delegates to the Paralympics in March.

The statement said Seoul will "guarantee the safety and convenience of North Korea's delegation", which Chun said referred to transportation, accommodation and other necessary facilities.

South Korea will need to find ways to accommodate the North Korean delegation without violating UN Security Council sanctions, which block cash transfers to Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-Un announced his willingness to take part in the Pyeongchang 
Games in his New Year speech (AFP Photo)

Any blacklisted officials in the North's high-level delegation could be another potential stumbling block.

A North Korean delegation will visit the South next Thursday to inspect the facilities at Pyeongchang.

In another meeting on Monday, the two reached an agreement over a trip by a 140-member North Korean orchestra to the South to hold concerts in the capital and in Gangneung, one of the Games' venues.

Frosty reception

The talks come after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un abruptly announced his willingness to take part in the Games in his New Year speech.

The move was seen as a bid to ease searing tensions on the peninsula and was rapidly welcomed by Seoul.

Last year, the nuclear-armed North tested missiles it said are capable of reaching the US -- its "enemy" -- and Kim traded threats of war with President Donald Trump.

Seoul's proposal for a unified team in women's ice hockey has met a frosty reception in South Korea, where critics accused the government of robbing some of its own players of the opportunity to compete at the Olympics for the sake of politics.

Tens of thousands have signed dozens of online petitions on the presidency's website urging President Moon Jae-In to scrap the plan.

Chun emphasised the need for IOC approval but added: "I think it is quite meaningful to show the South and North in harmony."

South Korea only qualified for the ice hockey tournament as hosts, rather than on merit, and are not seen as medal contenders.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

N. Korea orchestra to perform in S. Korea during Winter Games

Yahoo – AFP, Jung Ha-Won, January 15, 2018

This handout photo provided by the South Korean Unification Ministry shows South
 Korea's chief delegate Lee Woo-Sung (front L) and his delegation crossing the border
 line to attend the talks (AFP Photo/Handout)

Seoul (AFP) - A 140-member North Korean orchestra will perform in South Korea during next month's Winter Olympics, the two sides announced Monday, amid a tentative rapprochement after months of tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

The North agreed last week to send athletes, high-level officials and others to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The two sides agreed an artistic troupe would be part of the delegation, and four officials from each country met Monday at the border truce village of Panmunjom to thrash out details of that visit.

The 140 members of the Samjiyon Orchestra will hold concerts in the capital Seoul and the eastern city of Gangneung close to Pyeongchang which is hosting the Games, said a joint statement after the talks.

"The South will ensure the safety and convenience of the North's performing squad to the utmost extent," it said, without elaborating on the dates for the concerts.

The concerts, if they go ahead, would mark the first time that a North Korean artistic troupe has performed in the capitalist South since 2002, during a previous rare period of rapprochement.

The North's then-leader Kim Jong-Il sent dozens of state singers, dancers and musicians to Seoul to perform at a political event when South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung, known for his reconciliation policy, was in office.

The North's delegates at Monday's meeting included Hyon Song-Wol, the leader of Pyongyang's famed all-female Moranbong music band, raising expectations the band would perform in the South.

Monday's joint statement however did not mention it.

The South's delegates to Monday's talks included senior officials from the state-run Korean Symphony Orchestra, raising the prospect of groups from both sides of the border performing together.

The two nations also agreed on Monday to hold talks at Panmunjom on Wednesday on logistics and details for the visit by the North's athletes.

The Koreas are set to hold talks with the International Olympics Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday over the number of the North's athletes.

South Korea has proposed a joint march for the opening ceremony and a unified women's ice hockey team, reports quoted a minister as saying last week.

This handout photo provided by the South Korean Unification Ministry shows North
 Korea's chief delegate Kwon Hyok-Bong (L) greeting South Korea's chief delegate 
Lee Woo-Sung (R) (AFP Photo/Handout)

'Corn without teeth'

The South Korean government and Olympic organisers have been keen for Pyongyang -- which boycotted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul -- to take part in what they have been promoting as a "peace Olympics".

The North remained silent on the offer until current leader Kim Jong-Un said in his New Year's speech that it could participate, a move seen as aimed at easing military tensions with the US.

Tension has been high as the North staged a flurry of nuclear and missile tests since last year and Kim traded threats of war and personal attacks with US President Donald Trump.

Kim's declaration triggered a rapid series of moves, while Seoul touted talks last week -- the first inter-Korea meeting for two years -- as a potential first step to bringing the North into negotiations over its nuclear arsenal.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In, who advocates dialogue with the North but remains critical of Pyongyang's weapons drive, said last week he was willing to have a summit with Kim "under the right conditions", but added that "certain outcomes must be guaranteed".

In a setback for such hopes, Pyongyang on Sunday slammed Moon as "ignorant and unreasonable" for demanding preconditions -- possibly a step towards denuclearisation -- for a summit.

"The south Korean chief executive should not be dreaming," the state-run KCNA news agency said in an editorial, accusing Moon of "brownnosing" the United States.

KCNA added that the North could still change its mind about taking part in the Olympics. "They should know that train and bus carrying our delegation to the Olympics are still in Pyongyang," it said.

A spokesman for Seoul's unification ministry played down the editorial, attributing it to "internal reasons and circumstances".

But on Monday, a senior North Korean journalist warned the South's media against criticising Pyongyang

"Tongue may bring calamity and miswritten pen may become a sword beheading oneself," Kim Chol Guk said in an essay published by KCNA.

"The South Korean authorities may find the wedding ceremony turning into a mourning ceremony if they fail to hold tight control of media and of their own tongue."