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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bangladesh Orders Arrest of Factory Owners for Deadly Fire

Jakarta Globe – AFP, December 31, 2013

In this photograph taken on November 26, 2012, a Bangladeshi garment worker
 walks past debris on the floor of the nine-story Tazreen Fashion plant in Savar,some
30 kilometers north of Dhaka. (AFP Photo)

Dhaka. A Bangladesh court Tuesday ordered the arrest of owners of a garment factory where 111 workers were killed last year in the country’s worst such fire, after police laid charges.

The court in Dhaka issued the warrants for Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter and four others over the blaze that gutted the Tazreen factory where workers stitched clothes for Western retailers including Walmart.

Senior judicial magistrate Wasim Sheikh gave the order after declaring all six “fugitives” for failing to appear in court over charges laid by police earlier this month against 13 people over the tragedy, a prosecutor said.

The magistrate formally accepted the charges against the 13 including the owners, factory managers and security guards, who all face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

“Dhaka’s senior judicial magistrate Wasim Sheikh issued the warrants of arrest against the two fugitive owners… and four other company officials for the Tazreen factory fire,” prosecutor Anwarul Kabir told AFP.

“The owners and 11 others have been charged with arson, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and death by negligence,” Kabir said. Seven of those charged were in court or in custody.

The fire, the country’s deadliest at a garment factory, highlighted appalling safety problems in the sector, a mainstay of the economy, where about four million workers toil for some of the lowest sector wages in the world.

The country suffered an even greater tragedy just months later in April when the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed in Dhaka’s outskirts, killing 1,135 people in one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

The arrest order signals a toughening stand by local authorities against influential garment manufacturers, who openly flout safety rules for Bangladesh’s 4,500 garment factories, where deadly accidents are common.

Police last week said it was possibly the first time an owner has been charged over a fire in the sector, which accounts for up to 80 percent of the impoverished country’s exports.

Delwar Hossain, who since the tragedy has been barred from leaving the country, has been accused of breaching construction rules including building unsafe and narrow staircases in the nine-story building.

Hossain, who is the managing director of the factory and his wife the chairperson, could not be contacted for comment despite several calls to his mobile phone numbers.

Workers forced to jump from windows

Victims of the November 2012 fire, mostly women who were paid as little as $37 a month, found themselves overcome by smoke or were forced to jump from windows on upper floors, police have said.

Managers and security guards were charged over their insistence workers return to their duties even though smoke was billowing from the ground floor where the fire started, according to a police investigation report.

The factory, in the Ashulia industrial district, supplied clothes to a variety of international brands including US giant Walmart, Dutch retailer C&A and ENYCE, a label owned by US rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Some of the retailers have refused to compensate some 200 workers injured in the fire and families of workers killed, arguing that their orders to suppliers for garments were illegally diverted to the Tazreen factory.

Despite the charges and the arrest warrants, unions said it was unlikely the owners would face tough punishment, predicting that the case would drag on for years.

The industry is the world’s second largest after China and factory owners themselves — many of whom are also lawmakers and owners of banks and insurers — wield great influence in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh pledged to clean up the industry after the Rana Plaza disaster and more than 100 top Western retailers have signed up to new safety agreements to allow greater scrutiny of their operations.

The government last month raised minimum wages for workers by 76 percent and launched inspections of factories in the wake of mounting criticism that authorities were failing to improve the sector.

The new minimum wage of $68 a month still makes Bangladesh one of the lowest paid garment sectors in the world, according to activists.

Agence France-Presse

Xi Jinping and the steamed buns: What does it mean?

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-12-31

Xi Jinping enjoys his buns, Dec. 28. (Internet photo)

The meal Xi Jinping ate at Beijing's
Qingfeng Steamed Dumpling Shop
on Dec. 28. (Internet photo)
A dumpling house in Beijing has become the hottest restaurant in town following a visit by President and Communist Party chief Xi Jinping, who has sent China's blogosphere into overdrive with theories speculating on hidden meanings behind the humble meal.

Chinese microblogs went into meltdown on Dec. 28 after netizens uploaded photos of Xi Jinping lining up and paying for his own meal at the Beijing outlet of the Qingfeng Steamed Dumpling Shop. Xi's order of six pork buns and a plate of stewed chitterlings (pork intestines) and vegetables — valued at just 21 yuan (US$3.50) — has since become the most popular set meal at the shop, with most customers simply asking for "what President Xi had."

The restaurant has been packed out with customers since news of Xi's visit went viral, with lines of around 40 people at all times ensuring at least a half-hour wait. Eight or nine chefs can be seen making buns around the clock in the shop's glass kitchen, with one chef telling reporters that he has never seen anything like it and that he does not even have the time to use the bathroom.

The table and chair Xi used during his visit have also been removed by the shop's owner and will be kept as collectors items.

Store manager He Yuanli said when she delivered garlic and chili sauce to Xi during his meal he asked her where the ingredients came from and whether they were safe to consume. After she showed him photos of the factory on her smartphone and assured him of the ingredients' quality, Xi reportedly said, "Food safety is most important. People eating at ease is what concerns me the most."

When waiters asked Xi whether he would like some complimentary dishes or beverages the president reportedly replied that they only needed to serve what he ordered.

Netizens have scrutinized every aspect of Xi's steamed bun meal, saying that lining up and paying for such a cheap meal himself is sending a signal that the president wants all Chinese officials to avoid special privileges and excess, while his comments to the store manager suggest that a new food safety campaign could be imminent.

Related Articles:


Pakistan appoints first female judge to sharia court

Google – AFP, 30 December 2013

Pakistan Federal Shariat Court Chief Justice, Agha Rafiq Ahmed (right) listens
 as Justice Ashraf Jehan (left) reads her oath of office at the sharia court in Karachi,
on December 30, 2013 (AFP/File)

Karachi — Pakistan's national sharia court, which hears cases under the country's Islamic legislation, on Monday appointed a female judge for the first time in its 33-year history.

Ashraf Jehan, 56, who was serving as an additional judge at the high court in southern Sindh province, made history as she took the oath in Karachi.

"It was a historic oath-taking ceremony today when an able lady judge had joined the Shariat Court," Agha Rafiq Ahmed, the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan, told AFP.

The court was established in 1980 during the rule of military dictator Ziaul Haq as part of a sweeping Islamisation of Pakistan's institutions.

It examines the country's laws to check them for conformity with Islamic injunctions and hears appeals under religious legislation known as the "Hudood Laws", which run parallel to the penal code.

"There was no bar in the constitution to make a woman the judge of Shariat Court and there is no discrimination between men and women," Ahmed said.

The chief justice of the Shariat Court, who rarely speaks to the media, said he was pleased to comment on an historic moment.

"I took the initiative as it would send the message in the world that we are enlightened people and would dispel many misconceptions," he said.

Monday, December 30, 2013

North Korea Recalls UNESCO Envoy for Purge: Report

Jakarta Globe – AFP, December 30, 2013

A picture released by the North Korean Central News Agency shows a gathering
 under way at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Dec. 29,
 2013 to celebrate the second anniversary of the selection of Kim Jong-un as North
Korea’s new leader. (EPA Photo/KCNA)

Seoul. North Korea’s deputy ambassador to UNESCO returned home on Monday after being recalled as part of a purge prompted by the execution of the once-powerful uncle of leader Kim Jong-un, a report said.

Jang Song-thaek, once the North’s unofficial number two and Kim’s political mentor, was put to death on Dec. 12 on an array of charges including treason and corruption.

The shock purge – staged in an unusually dramatic and public fashion in the isolated communist state – was the biggest political upheaval since the young ruler took power after the death of his father and the former leader, Kim Jong-il, two years ago.

Seoul’s spy chief earlier this month said two of Jang’s associates had also been executed, while Pyongyang reportedly recalled some diplomats or trade officials overseas who were believed to have been close to Jang.

Hong Yong, the North’s deputy permanent delegate to UNESCO, and his wife were spotted at Beijing airport on Monday before taking the flight to Pyongyang, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.

Hong, one of Jang’s associates, took the post only six months ago, it said, quoting a diplomatic source in Beijing.

Yonhap said earlier this month that Jang’s nephew and the North’s ambassador to Malaysia, Jang Yong-chol, had been recalled.

It said last week the North’s ambassador to Sweden, Pak Kwang-chol, and his wife had also been summoned back to Pyongyang.

Pak, who had taken the post in Sweden in late 2012, was seen at Beijing airport being escorted by North Korean officials before taking the flight to Pyongyang on Friday, Yonhap said.

Ryoo Kihl-jae, South Korea’s unification minister in charge of cross-border affairs, told a parliamentary committee on Monday that the North has been purging officials close to the executed uncle.

“We are seeing signs that those who were deeply involved with Jang are being recalled and purged,” he said.

The purge however appears to be targeting a relatively small circle of officials, Ryoo said, rejecting speculation of a sweeping clear-out of party and military ranks.

“We do not see that it [the purge] is being carried out on a large scale, though it still needs to be seen to what direction it would develop,” he said.

The execution of Jang raised questions about political instability in the impoverished but nuclear-armed North.

Jang is believed to have played a key role in cementing the leadership of Jong-un. But the 67-year-old’s growing political power and influence was increasingly resented by the young leader barely half his age, analysts say.

The Kim family has ruled the North for more than six decades through a pervasive personality cult. Those showing the slightest sign of dissent have been sent to prison camps or executed.

Agence France-Presse

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thousands of African migrants march through Tel Aviv to demand refugee status

Deutsche Welle, 29 December 2013

Thousands of African migrants who entered Israel illegally have marched through Tel Aviv to demand that the government grant them refugee status. They were joined in the protest by local human rights activists.


Several thousand migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, marched from a neighbourhood in the south of Tel Aviv to Rabin Square in the center of the city.

Some carried candles and chanted things like "freedom yes" or simply "freedom." Others carried signs with slogans such as "we are refugees."

Human rights activists and other Israeli supporters of the migrants held up signs that read things like "their freedom, our democracy!"

The march was held to demand that Israel recognize them as refugees, but also to protest against their being held in a detention facility near Israel's border with Egypt, which opened just last month.

'Open' detention

The facility is described by Israeli officials as "open" because those being held there are allowed to leave during the day, but are not allowed to seek employment. They are also required to report to the authorities several times daily and to return voluntarily within 48 hours or face arrest.

Several hundred are being held at the facility in the southern Israeli desert, where they wait to find out if they will be granted asylum or be deported. Israeli officials have also said they offer grants of several hundred dollars to migrants who agree to return home voluntarily.

Many of the more than 60,000 people believed to be living in Israel illegally argue that going home is not an option, as their lives would be in jeopardy if they returned to their countries of origin.

New legislation

The migrants are being held under a new law passed on December 10, which allows the government to detain illegal immigrants for up to a year without trial. This replaced earlier legislation, which had allowed the authorities to detain migrants for up to three years. That law was struck down by Israel's top court back in September.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel is among the organizations that have already filed a legal challenge to the new legislation.

pfd/lw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Holland's Got Talent 2013 (Finale) - Amira





Amira receives the trophy from Holland's Got Talent.
(NOS / ANP Kippa)

Related Articles:

Holland's Got Talent 2013 (LiveShow) - Amira

Holland's Got Talent 2013 - Amira Willighagen (9)




"Common Questions from Non-Lightworkers" - Feb 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) 

"... Question Three: Is there life on other planets?

... I will tell you, as long as you stay in 3D, you'll still be getting in little metal cans and air suits and going to planets. As soon as you begin the quantum age, however, you will simply wish yourself there, because you will be entangled with everything and can go with intent. If you don't believe this now, you will later, for what I give you is true. It may be lifetimes and lifetimes from now, but the group that is before me is the group that is going to come back over and over. The difference is that you're done coming back in an old energy. This is a new energy..

When you come back, dear one, everything you know will be in your DNA and be on top [available]. You're not going to have to go through what you did before. As soon as you decide to look around and open the door [metaphor for free choice to awaken], everything you've learned this time around will be right there.

This is the attribute of what you would call "a child of new consciousness," which you have labeled with a color - indigo. The child remembers who they are. They are conceptual, and you believe they have to be taught from scratch! Hardly! They remember! Do you understand what is taking place? We told you this last time, but we want to review something with you: The animal on the prairie drops its calf and within hours, the calf is up, running with the herd. Did you know that the calf instantly knows who its enemies are, what water to drink that doesn't smell right, and what berries to eat that are not poison? Where did that come from? How did that infant animal know these things? The answer is that this information was biologically inherited. You call it instinct. But when you have a Human baby - nothing! It doesn't know anything but that it's hungry. It requires 20 years of teaching! Aren't you tired of that? Did you ever think about why the animals have so much knowledge to begin with and you have so little? Does that seem correct for the top of the evolutionary ladder? It's time for that to change.

You're starting to see it, even with the indigos. They come in knowing. That's why they're so impatient. You're trying to teach them things they already know instinctively. Just like the calf on the prairie, they come in knowing. Some of them try to teach you. That doesn't always go well. That was question three...."


"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

"..... DNA - A Quantum Force 

Now we get to the core truth, don't we? So I will tell you. The ninety percent of DNA which is quantum, is filled with information, both esoteric and timeless. It is a quantum blueprint for everything you are and have been since you arrived on the planet the first time. DNA contains instruction sets for your life; everything from your full Akashic Record - every single lifetime you have had - to the benevolent creator's fingerprint within the seeds of creation itself. Every single talent you ever had is there, even if you don't have any of those today... the record is there. Every predisposition of weakness and strength are there. Biologically, every single instruction to every single stem cell is there. . ..."

"..... DNA is a Dynamic Molecule, not a static one.

Humanity is stuck in the 3D portion of their biological thinking. In your 3-D life, you simply accept the chemistry you're given. You act as though the three percent gene producing part is all there is. You believe it is a chemical protocol that is unchangeable and simply "you." You don't see it for the way it's designed. It's dynamic and always has been. It's not set, but will continue to simply repeat what it does unless there is another quantum influence on it.

Therefore you live with the 3 percent as though it were all there is, and since it just "came with your body" and seems to control everything, you never talk to it. Many of you come in with pre-dispositions based upon the karma which is put upon you from your past lives. You don't come in clean [without karmic energy]. Instead, you arrive with pre-dispositions, fears and phobias. Some are positive. Perhaps you come in as a prodigy continuing your last life... the 8-year-old who can paint like a master and do brushstrokes that take 30 years to develop. What does that tell you about what must be in the DNA?

Perhaps you come in as the composer, the pianist, the prodigy, the violinist, just waiting until your hands can go on the fingerboard or can reach up and fret the notes. Perhaps you come in knowing how to play the piano, just waiting for your hands to get big enough to do what you used to do... without any lessons. How do you explain that, dear ones? The answer is that all this is contained in the dynamic quantum instruction sets of your DNA... the part you never talk to it. .."



Question: Dear Kryon, would you please tell me if Indigo Children and Star Children are the same? Can someone born in the 1960’s be an Indigo?

Answer: Dear Human, don’t get bogged within your linearity in these things. You wish to compartmentalize everything, and thereby feel more comfortable in your understanding. Know this: All children being born on the planet have strong potential to be of the Indigo consciousness. Within that group there are many parts and attributes. What you have called a “Star Child” is a type of Indigo. The same goes for the “Crystal Children.”

Years ago we identified a new breed of Human that was slowly being introduced to earth. Now they are so plentiful that many are beginning to notice and categorize them. Our admonition is NOT to, but we know that sometimes make you feel better to do so. Another name for these “Star Children” are the Interdimensional or even the Interplanetary, if you wish.

As far as the potential of those born before or during the 1960’s: The answer is yes, but with a qualification. The “pure” Indigo Children have really only been arriving slowly for the past 25 or 30 years, but there are many who have what we call an “Indigo overlay.” This is Human who fits the generalizations, but without some of the absolutes that are buried in what you call the DNA that really qualify this new Human experience.

— Kryon


"THE THREE WINDS" – Feb 23-24, 2013 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Humanity, Home - other side of the veil, Wind of Birth - Birth, Wind of Existence - Life, Wind of Transition - Death) (Text version)



Hundreds of Chinese lawmakers quit over fraud scandal

Deutsche Welle, 28 December 2013

More than 500 lawmakers have resigned and over 50 legislators sacked in a mass electoral bribery case, according to state media. The scandal occurred in the southern province of Hunan.


The 512 municipal officials resigned, were disqualified or dismissed after it was found they had taken bribes from 56 members of the provincial assembly to elect them to their posts.

State television channel CCTV said on Twitter on Saturday that local officials had dismissed the 56 representatives of the 763-member Hunan People's Congress, after they were "elected by bribery."

It added later that an initial investigation revealed the total amount of the bribes was more than 110 million yuan (13.2 million euros, $18.1 million). The Xinhua news agency said the money was used to swing the results of elections.

"The number of people involved in the Henyang election case are many, the amount of money is large, the substance serious, the effect pernicious; this is a serious challenge to our People's Congresses system," Xinhua said. "It must be seriously dealt with in accordance with the law."

Xinhua named Tong Mingqian, the former Party chief of Hengyang, a city in Hunan province, as being "directly responsible" for the election scandal.

In China, municipal officials have the power to appoint representatives of their provincial assembly, the local parliament which generally acts as a rubber stamp for party decisions, rather than a forum for policy or debate.

Competition to become lawmakers in some areas has opened the door to corruption, as holding office can provide the opportunity to influence the decision-making process in areas like business contracts.

Since taking power last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping has led a sweeping crackdown on corruption, promising to stamp out high-flying "tigers" as well as low-ranking "flies" amid widespread disquiet over government corruption.

China reforms one-child policy, labor camps

Meanwhile China's legislature formally approved on Saturday a relaxation of the country'sone-child policy.

The standing committee of the National People's Congress passed a resolution that will allow couples to have two children if either of the parents is an only child, Xinhua said. Until now, only in cases in which both partners were only children, were they allowed to have two children.

The change is expected to allow around 10 million couples to have a second child if they so choose. The one-child policy was introduced by Beijing more than three decades ago in an effort to prevent overpopulation in what was already by far the world's most populous nation.

Also on Saturday, the committee approved the abolishment of re-education labor camps, which were introduced in the late 1950s as a way of dealing with petty offenders.

Both changes had been agreed at a previous meeting of top Communist Party officials.

Hot off the press: Xi Jinping buys his own steamed buns

Want ChinaTimes, Staff Reporter 2013-12-28

Xi handles his own tray. (Internet photo)
  
The president pays for his buns. (Internet photo)
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been spotted buying steamed buns in Beijing, causing the internet to go into meltdown with photos of the president carrying the buns and paying for them himself, according to state-run Chinese News Service.

A Chinese internet user going by the name "Four Seas Micro Broadcasting" posted a message on Sina Weibo at Saturday noon saying: "Dear netizens, I cannot believe what I saw?! President Xi came to Qingfeng to grab a steam bun! Uploading picture immediately." The post came with a picture of the president.

The netizen posted another message at 1:21 pm saying: "President Xi queued in person and paid for his buns. He also took a plate himself to collect the purchased bun. Qingfeng should launch a set meal for President Xi."
 
Xi poses with a boy at the steamed
bun shop. (Internet photo)
The posts have been reposted by state media including People's Daily, Xinhua and China National Television.

Four Seas Micro Broadcasting's personal profile showed the netizen is a senior internet worker and has been certified as a news commentator by Sina Weibo.

The store where Xi bought his buns, Qingfeng Steamed Dumpling Shop, was founded in 1948. It began focusing on steamed buns since 1956 and established a well-known brand. It is a subsidiary of state-run Huatian Foods and Drink Group.

Qingfeng Steamed Dumpling Shop
in Beijing. (Internet photo)

Saudi police 'pounce on woman defying drive ban'

Google – AFP, 28 December 2013

Image grab taken from a video uploaded by Saudi activists to YouTube claims
 to show a fully veiled woman driving in Riyadh -- during a planned day of defiance
of the ban on women driving -- on October 26, 2013 (YouTube/AFP/File)

Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) — Saudi police on Saturday pulled over a woman minutes after she got behind the wheel in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after activists called for a new challenge to a driving ban.

"Only 10 minutes after Tamador al-Yami got behind the wheel police stopped her," activist Eman al-Nafjan told AFP, adding that Yami carries an international driving licence and was with another woman who was filming her in the car.

Tamador's husband was called to the scene and she was forced to sign a pledge not to drive again without a Saudi licence, said Nafjan on her Twitter account.

Women are not allowed into driving schools in the ultra-conservative kingdom are not granted licences.

Elsewhere in Khobar, in Eastern Province, another woman drove for two hours, accompanied by her husband, without being stopped, Nafjan said.

Activists say Saturday was chosen as a "symbolic" date as part of efforts first launched more than a decade ago to press for the right for Saudi women to drive.

The call for action is a "reminder of the right so it is not forgotten," activist Nasima al-Sada had told AFP.

The absolute monarchy is the only country in the world where women are barred from driving, a rule that has drawn international condemnation.

Saturday's action is a continuation of a campaign launched on October 26, when 16 activists were stopped by police for defying the ban.

In addition to not being allowed to drive, Saudi women must cover themselves from head to toe and need permission from a male guardian to travel, work and marry.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

China formally relaxes one-child policy, abolishes re-education camps

Deutsche Welle, 28 December 2013

China’s legislature has formally approved a relaxation of the country’s one-child policy and abolished re-education camps. Both changes had been agreed at a previous meeting of top Communist Party officials.


The standing committee of the National People's Congress passed a resolution on Saturday that will allow couples to have two children if either of the parents is an only child, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Until now, only in cases in which both partners were only children, were they allowed to have two children.

The change is expected to allow around 10 million couples to have a second child if they so choose.

The one-child policy was introduced by Beijing more than three decades ago in an effort to prevent overpopulation in what was already by far the world's most populous nation. Since the 1990s, the birth-rate in China has dropped to an average of around 1.5 per couple. At the same time, the country is seeing a rapidly aging population as well as a shrinking labor force.

Re-education camps abolished

The committee also used the meeting to approve the abolishment of re-education labor camps, which were introduced in the late 1950s as a way of dealing with petty offenders. The re-education camp system, in which police panels had the power to hand down sentences to alleged offenders of up to four years without trial had long been criticized by human rights groups.

The reforms passed on Saturday came at the end of a six-day meeting of the National People's Congress' standing committee.

They also came as little surprise, as leading members of the ruling Communist Party had pledged to introduce the changes following a meeting last month. The legislative body's approval was a formality required before the reforms could be implemented.

pfd/av (dpa, AFP)

Afghan Authorities Probe Child Marriage

Radio Free Europe, Alem Rahmanyar, December 27, 2013

Debt and penury often force many Afghan families to marry off girls for
money at a very young age. (file photo)

Authorities in the Afghan province of Jowzjan have annulled the marriage of a seven-year-old girl, whose father admits giving her away in return for $2,000.

Authorities in the northern Afghan province of Jowzjan have launched a probe against a father, who has acknowledged forcing his seven-year-old daughter to marry a man five times her age.

Ramadan, who like many Afghans goes by one name, blamed his action on poverty that has plagued his family.

"We didn't have a place to live, we were hungry, we had debts," he said. "I regretted doing this the day I did it. I regret it now."

He acknowledged marrying off his underage daughter in return of some $2,000, and foodstuffs, including rice and wheat.

Jowzjan police officials say a criminal case was opened after Ramadan's wife complained to local human rights groups and officials that her eldest daughter was being subjected to violence by her in-laws.

"My daughter was married for nearly one year, and during this time she ran away from her home twice," said the mother, who didn't give her name. "Her husband beat her frequently. I didn't want my daughter to go back to her marital home but her husband would come and take her back by force."

Police have arrested Ramadan and his 35-year-old son-in-law, Asadullah, as well as the mullah who conducted an Islamic marriage ceremony for the couple.

The mullah, Mawlawi Noor, who was released on bail, insists the parents lied to him about the girl's age.

Many Afghans do not have birth certificates, and it's not uncommon for religious marriage ceremonies to be conducted without the bride's and the groom's identity documents.

Instead, two witnesses and two representatives of each party are invited to be present at the marriage ceremony to testify about the couple's real names, ages, and marital status, if the mullah requires such information.

Poverty, Drug Addiction

According to Ewazali Saberi, a children's rights advocate for Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission, the authorities should also punish the witnesses and the family representatives for "withholding information about the girl's age" during the marriage ceremony.

"The two witnesses and the two family representatives should be held responsible for their actions," he said. "Police haven't investigated these people so far."

Authorities have annulled the marriage, as the investigation continues.

"This marriage violates both Afghan laws and religious norms," said Abdulmalek Mamnun, the head of the criminal investigation department of Jowzjan Province.

Human rights groups as well as women and children's organizations have been involved in the case.

Maghferat Samimi, the head of the regional Human Rights Organization said "locking up a few culprits doesn't resolve the problem, we need to do more."

"The father of the girl is a drug addict," she added. "He doesn't understand his children's rights. Poverty in one hand, and drug addiction in the other, has led the man to take such actions against his own children."

In a joint meeting this week in the provincial capital, Sheberghan, local authorities, court representatives, and human rights officials decided to send  Ramadan to a drug rehabilitation center in neighboring Balkh Province.

The mother was placed in a Sheberghan safe house for women, while her four children have been transferred to a nearby children's home.

Local authorities say they are considering "finding a suitable job for the mother -- in the women's shelter or children's home -- to help the family rebuild their lives."

Written by Farangis Najibullah based on reports by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent in Sheberghan Alem Rahmanyar

Zimbabwe's envoy to Australia asks for asylum: media

Google – AFP, 27 December 2013

A Zimbabwean woman, wearing a T-shirt bearing a portrait of Robert Mugabe, 
waves a national flag as she greets President Robert Mugabe during his swearing-in
 ceremony on August 22, 2013 at the 60,000-seater sports stadium in Harare (AFP/
File, Alexander Joe)

Sydney — Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia is asking Canberra for asylum, lashing out at her country's "illegitimate" government and voicing fears for her safety if she returns home at the end of her posting next week, reports said Saturday.

Jacqueline Zwambila condemned President Robert Mugabe's government, and said she has moved out of her official residence but has no intention of using her business class ticket to return home, the Canberra Times reported.

"I don't feel safe about returning to Zimbabwe at all," said Zwambila, who is aligned with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"Once the elections of 31 July were stolen by the current government -- which is illegitimate -- I knew that this was the end of the line," Zwambila, whose tenure as ambassador ends on Tuesday, said in a video posted on the Canberra Times website.

"End of the line for the people of Zimbabwe... and for people like me, who were appointed by the ex-prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai."

Zwambila said she was seeking a protection visa from Australia so she can stay on in the country along with her family once her diplomatic status expires. But it was not immediately clear whether Canberra would approve her request.

Mugabe, Africa's oldest leader who has been in power for 33 years, began a new five-year term after winning a landslide victory in disputed elections end of July.

His rival, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, described the vote as "fraudulent", citing an unusual number of voters had been turned away in urban constituencies that are considered opposition strongholds.

Australia, which had offered reduced sanctions as an incentive for free and fair elections, joined the United States and Britain in questioning the credibility of the polls and called for a re-run.

But the 89-year-old veteran leader dismissed the view, brusquely telling his opponents to accept defeat.

Zwambila said that when she learned about Mugabe's victory, she saw "doom, a black cloud".

"I knew then it was the end of my term," the report quoted her as saying.

She voiced fears of indefinite detention if she returned home, saying she had been threatened with arrest in Zimbabwe after a court found that she owed several hundred dollars to a tradesman. She denied the charge.

"So many things have been done to me since I've been here in Australia, the smear campaigns and threats... There is no way I feel safe being in Zimbabwe or going back to Zimbabwe," she said.

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, is serving under a new constitution and has not ruled out running again when he will be 94.

Tsvangirai had shared power with Mugabe until the July elections, with his MDC party controlling the finance ministry after they forged a unity government in 2009 following violent disputed polls.

But the shaky power-sharing deal ended when the veteran president won the July 31 polls with 61 percent against his rival's 34 percent.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Filipinas Take on Rebels to Unlock $300b

Jakarta Globe, Joel Guinto & Clarissa Batino, December 26, 2013

The Government of the Philippines (GPH)
peace panel chairwoman Miriam Coronel-
Ferrer talks to the media during a press
conference at the Philippines Embassy
in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on January 26,
2013. (EPA Photo/Shamshahrin
Shamsudin)
Of the more than a dozen women Philippine President Benigno Aquino appointed to senior administration posts since gaining power in June 2010, one of the most diplomatically sensitive was Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.

Coronel-Ferrer’s credentials for the position of chief negotiator with rebels from the embattled island of Mindanao were excellent: A member of the peace panel since 2010, she was a political-science professor at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City near Manila and an advocate of a negotiated settlement for more than a decade. The problem was whether her gender would be an issue with the rebels.

“I’m not anti-women, but is your counterpart ready?” Coronel-Ferrer, 54, recalls Aquino saying. At that time, the all-male team of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or MILF, assured Aquino it would accept anyone he appointed.

Success after four decades of conflict would help reintegrate the Muslim-majority region with the largely Catholic nation and boost incentives for investment in an estimated $300 billion of minerals and resources. Failure would risk a resurgence of fighting that has cost as many as 200,000 lives. Coronel-Ferrer has won agreements in the past year on the key issues of wealth- and power-sharing and aims for a final accord with the biggest rebel group in talks scheduled for next month.

“What’s at stake is a golden opportunity that could potentially bring much-needed foreign direct investment,” said Jeff Ng, an economist at Standard Chartered in Singapore who has examined the impact of the conflict on the Philippines. He estimates a peace accord could boost the nation’s gross domestic product growth by as much as 0.3 percentage point.

Typhoon damage

The economic boost would help offset damage from Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people in November. The government has the momentum to complete a final peace deal next month, Coronel-Ferrer said on Dec. 17.

Mindanao can attract as much as $1 billion of investments after an agreement is reached, Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal said in an interview on Oct. 24. Investment pledges in the first nine months jumped more than four times from a year earlier, with projects mostly in power and property, he said.

“Once you have the peace deal in place, there will be stronger investor interest in the region,” Cristobal said. “Investments won’t be immediate, but $1 billion is feasible.”

The biggest initial benefits from a peace deal may come from mining. The rebels will get 75 percent of the royalties from metals and an equal share with the national government on fossil fuels, according to the agreement signed in July.

A unit of San Miguel is building a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Mindanao, the company’s first in the southern island. Manila Electric Company, the nation’s largest power retailer, which is returning to generation after a four-decade hiatus, plans to erect a 300-megawatt coal-fired plant.

The nation’s $250 billion economy expanded 7.65 percent in the first half from a year earlier, outpacing China, before growing at 7 percent in the three months through September.

The development hasn’t been even. While the capital Manila has boomed, the struggle with rebels seeking an independent Muslim state has left Mindanao with two of the poorest provinces in the Philippines: Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.

The incidence of poverty across the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or ARMM — a delineation created during a previous attempt at peace — climbed to 48.7 percent in 2012 from 39.9 percent in 2009, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board in its latest report. The agency defines poverty as living on less than $1.20 a day.

The government and the MILF have signed three of the four annexes needed to forge a final accord, with the deal on power- sharing completed on Dec. 8. In January, the two groups will discuss the schedule of disarming the rebels and approving judicial compensation for the victims of fighting.

Power sharing

“This peace is in sight with the signing of the annex on power-sharing,” Aquino said in a speech in Manila on Dec. 19.

Coronel-Ferrer, the first female head of the government’s peace panel, was part of the team led by Marvic Leonen that negotiated a framework peace agreement signed in October 2012. She took over in December 2012 after Leonen was appointed as judge at the nation’s top court.

Together with Teresita Deles, 65, Aquino’s adviser on the peace process, Coronel-Ferrer is pushing for an expansion of the role of women in the post-conflict development plan.

“In the beginning, it was a stumbling block but that has been overcome,” Coronel-Ferrer said of being a female negotiator with the Muslim rebels. “Let’s just say it creates a different dynamic.”

Coronel-Ferrer’s mostly female team includes Iona Jalijali, 39, who helped draft a bill to promote breast feeding by regulating advertising of baby formula. She sometimes attended the talks with a bag of expressed milk for her son on the table.

Mohagher Iqbal, Ferrer’s counterpart on the rebel panel said he initially found it “very challenging” to deal with women in the talks.

“It is not in my character to shout, but it would have been easier between gentlemen — no inhibitions,” said Iqbal, who has negotiated for the MILF for a decade. “Under Muslim tradition, we have the highest respect for women,” making it difficult to argue, he said.

Even as negotiations with the MILF were taking place this year, other armed groups continued to battle government forces in Mindanao. More than 400 fighters of Nur Misuari, a former governor of the autonomous region and head of one of the factions of the Moro National Liberation Front, or MNLF, attacked coastal villages around Zamboanga City in September, burning houses and forcing 100,000 to flee.

In three weeks of fighting, at least 203 people died and 288 rebels were arrested. Misuari, who founded the MNLF in 1969 to fight for an independent Muslim state, escaped and may be hiding in Sulu, according to the police.

‘Visible’ participant

The Philippines sought support this month from the worldwide Organization of Islamic Cooperation to review the 1996 peace deal with the MNLF and converge it with the MILF agreements, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Dec. 16.

An earlier peace agreement, signed in 1996 with Misuari’s MNLF during the presidency of Fidel Ramos, collapsed partly because “it was struck by men through a combatant structure that failed to put post-conflict rebuilding mechanisms in place,” Deles said in an interview in Manila on July 24. “If we don’t put women now as a priority and visible participant, then that’s likely to happen again.”

The MILF in August introduced a woman, Raissa Jajurie, on their team for the first time. During the power-sharing talks in December, the Philippine team had nine women and three men and the MILF camp had two women, Coronel-Ferrer said.

Coronel-Ferrer led a group of women on Feb. 14 last year who gave each of their male counterparts a heart-shaped box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates as a Valentine’s Day gift before starting a day-long debate over the inclusion of a line on the “meaningful participation” of women in the framework agreement that Aquino and the rebels signed eight months later.

Giving women a larger role in their communities is vital to securing a lasting peace, said Coronel-Ferrer, who leaves the cooking and other chores to her “ very supportive” husband, a partnership that she says has liberated her to do other things.

“The desire of Bangsamoro women to play more significant roles is blossoming,” said Coronel-Ferrer, who has two children and three grandchildren. “We will see more women taking active roles, not just as wives or mothers or sisters of politicians but because they are leaders in their communities.”

Bloomberg