United Nations Declaration (Articles 1 - 30):

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts
Nigerian Minister of the Environment Amina Mohammed, seen in 2015, will be the UN's number two official (AFP Photo/Mireya ACIERTO)

Sustainable Development
"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.) -
"The Timing of the Great Shift" – Mar 21, 2009 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Text version)

“ … 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.)

The Declaration of Human Freedom

Archangel Michael (Via Steve Beckow), Feb. 19, 2011

Every being is a divine and eternal soul living in a temporal body. Every being was alive before birth and will live after death.

Every soul enters into physical life for the purpose of experience and education, that it may, in the course of many lifetimes, learn its true identity as a fragment of the Divine.

Life itself is a constant process of spiritual evolution and unfoldment, based on free choice, that continues until such time as we realize our true nature and return to the Divine from which we came.

No soul enters life to serve another, except by choice, but to serve its own purpose and that of the Divine from which it came.

All life is governed by natural and universal laws which precede and outweigh the laws of humanity. These laws, such as the law of karma, the law of attraction, and the law of free will, are decreed by God to order existence and assist each person to achieve life’s purpose.

No government can or should survive that derives its existence from the enforced submission of its people or that denies its people their basic rights and freedoms.

Life is a movement from one existence to another, in varied venues throughout the universe and in other universes and dimensions of existence. We are not alone in the universe but share it with other civilizations, most of them peace-loving, many of whom are more advanced than we are, some of whom can be seen with our eyes and some of whom cannot.

The evidence of our five senses is not the final arbiter of existence. Humans are spiritual as well as physical entities and the spiritual side of life transcends the physical. God is a Spirit and the final touchstone of God’s Truth is not physical but spiritual. The Truth is to be found within.

God is one and, because of this, souls are one. They form a unity. They are meant to live in peace and harmony together in a “common unity” or community. The use of force to settle affairs runs contrary to natural law. Every person should have the right to conduct his or her own affairs without force, as long as his or her choices do not harm another.

No person shall be forced into marriage against his or her will. No woman shall be forced to bear or not bear children, against her will. No person shall be forced to hold or not hold views or worship in a manner contrary to his or her choice. Nothing vital to existence shall be withheld from another if it is within the community’s power to give.

Every person shall retain the ability to think, speak, and act as they choose, as long as they not harm another. Every person has the right to choose, study and practice the education and career of their choice without interference, provided they not harm another.

No one has the right to kill another. No one has the right to steal from another. No one has the right to force himself or herself upon another in any way.

Any government that harms its citizens, deprives them of their property or rights without their consent, or makes offensive war upon its neighbors, no matter how it misrepresents the situation, has lost its legitimacy. No government may govern without the consent of its people. All governments are tasked with seeing to the wellbeing of their citizens. Any government which forces its citizens to see to its own wellbeing without attending to theirs has lost its legitimacy.

Men and women are meant to live fulfilling lives, free of want, wherever they wish and under the conditions they desire, providing their choices do not harm another and are humanly attainable.

Children are meant to live lives under the beneficent protection of all, free of exploitation, with unhindered access to the necessities of life, education, and health care.

All forms of exploitation, oppression, and persecution run counter to universal and natural law. All disagreements are meant to be resolved amicably.

Any human law that runs counter to natural and universal law is invalid and should not survive. The enactment or enforcement of human law that runs counter to natural and universal law brings consequences that cannot be escaped, in this life or another. While one may escape temporal justice, one does not escape divine justice.

All outcomes are to the greater glory of God and to God do we look for the fulfillment of our needs and for love, peace, and wisdom. So let it be. Aum/Amen.

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit
Pope Francis laughs alongside US President Barack Obama upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, on September 22, 2015, on the start of a 3-day trip to Washington (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

Today's doodle in the U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech on its 50th anniversary (28 Aug 2013)

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'
The White House released this image, of the building colored like the rainbow flag, on Facebook following the supreme court’s ruling. Photograph: Facebook

Same-sex marriage around the world

"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. …

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'
Reporters Without Borders labels Erdogan as 'enemy of press freedom'

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Indonesia to host Int`l humanitarian conference on Palestine

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia will host an International Humanitarian Conference on Assistance for Palestine at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) here from October 31 to November 2, 2008, the chief organizer said. 

Deputy Chief of Commission III of the House of Representatives (DPR) which deals with legal and human rights affairs, Suripto, said here on Thursday that about 300 domestic and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) would take part in the conference. 

Suripto who is also the conference`s chief organizer said that the participants would discuss various forms of assistance for the Palestinian people, both for those who lived the Palestinian areas and for those who still stayed in refugee camps in the Middle East. 

The conference is also expected to stress rejection of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Besides, it will also voiced its rejection of the Israeli oppression and captivation of Palestinians who are posing a threat to the people of Palestine. 

Indonesia will host the conference as part of its efforts to create world peace and justice. During the colonial era, Indonesia in its struggle for independence also got support from other countries, including nations in the Middle East. 

"India provided food assistance. So was Egypt, a country which was the first to give its international recognition of the Indonesian Independence in 1945," Suripto said. 

Suripto who is also chairman of the National Committee for the Palestinian People (KNRP), said that a number of KNRP noted members would attend the conference, such as Permadi (of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle), Abdullah Toha (of the National Mandate Party-PAN), Khofifah Indar Parawansa (of the National Awakening Party -PKB) and women`s prominent figure Tuty Alawiyah. 

Sometime in the past a number of countries in Asia and Africa (beginning from Indonesia and South Africa) in turn hosted ministerial conferences on capacity building for Palestine. 

Various sides were able to play significant roles in the program, Suripto said.

China says it can withstand world financial crisis

The Jakarta Post 

The Associated Press, Almaty, Kazakhstan  

China said Thursday its financial markets would remain stable enough to allow it help ex-Soviet Central Asian countries weather the global economic crisis - assistance that would augment Beijing's increasing influence in the region. 

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao appeared to snub Western calls, however, for Beijing to help boost the International Monetary Fund's bailout pot for countries worst hit by the financial meltdown. 

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on Beijing to put up money from its enormous cash reserves of $1.9 trillion for an enhanced fund aimed at helping countries whose banking systems and currencies are being devastated by the crisis. 

Wen, who was speaking to prime ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said that ensuring the security of China's economy would be the country's most important contribution toward global financial stability. The organization is a security grouping dominated by Moscow and Beijing that also includes the four Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. 

"It is necessary to exercise greater interaction between our financial and business communities," Wen said. "SCO members must work ... to enhance the coordination of monetary policies and improve financial controls to prevent and neutralize financial risks." 

China sits on the world's largest cash reserves, giving it significant clout in the energy-rich Central Asia and Caspian Sea region, which is believed to contain the world's third-largest energy reserves. 

Russia and China have used SCO to try to keep the West out of Central Asia, but they also compete with each other for regional dominance. The Kremlin's hand, however, has been weakened by the financial crisis, which has ravaged Russian markets and put some of the nation's top companies in trouble. 

At Thursday's meeting, Wen said China would consider issuing loans to members of the organization to ensure food security and support joint economic projects in the region. 

"Because of the increasing relevance of food security, China stands ready to assist SCO member organizations in the establishment of important technical facilities for agriculture," Wen said. 

Food prices across the region have soared drastically over the past year as a result of increasing energy costs and disappointing grain harvests. Impoverished Tajikistan has been worst hit. 

The global crisis has also prompted Moscow to ask China for loans to help top Russian energy companies pay their obligations to global lenders. The loans-for-shares deal currently being negotiated would oblige Russia to supply 15 million tons of oil a year to China in 2011-2030 in exchange for $25 billion in loans to the state-controlled Rosneft oil company and Transneft pipeline operator, Russian news reports said. 

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sounded an aggressive note at Thursday's meeting, blaming "economic egoism" for precipitating the current crisis in a thinly veiled attack on the United States. 

Putin added that it was necessary for governments to increase their role in national economies. 

"We believe that future developments will be accompanied by an increase in the role of the state as a guarantor of successful national development," he said. 

Russia and Kazakhstan - which both sit on vast mineral reserves - recently pledged to pump billions of dollars into their respective economies in a bid to stave off concerns of spiraling financial insecurity.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

RI will be more stable than India, Malaysia and Thailand in 2009

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 10/28/2008 9:41 PM  

With concern setting in about the declining rupiah and share prices, there is good news yet: Indonesia next year will be much more stable than regional peers India, Malaysia and Thailand, a Hong Kong-based political risk consultancy said Monday. 

"Indonesia is much more stable today than it was when the regional financial crisis hit in 1997-98. The coming election campaign is likely to see the present government return, with (President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) winning the presidency and keeping Jusuf Kalla as his vice president," the Political & Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) said in a report, whose executive summary is available on PERC's website. 

Source: PERC

Following a massive crackdown on alleged terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah in recent years, coupled with improving social conditions, Indonesia seems almost guaranteed of stability. But the threat of terrorism is still a factor, PERC warned. 

"There is still a possibility of more terrorist incidents, but overall social conditions are more stable now than at any time in a decade," it said. 

PERC assessed 16 countries in its Asian Risk Prospects -- 2009 on factors such as the risk of racial and communal tensions, struggle for power, the threat posed by social activism, and vulnerability to policy changes by other governments. 

Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy, rated as the fourth least stable country in the region, with a score of six on a scale of 10, in which zero represents the best socio-political conditions and 10 the highest risk. 

South Asian behemoth India topped the table with the highest political and social risk, scoring 6.87, mainly because of internal and external instability. PERC cited fears over Pakistan, a major player in the global war on terror. 

"India faces some of the biggest risks in 2009 because of uncertainties surrounding the coming general election, rising communal violence and terrorism incidents. 

"The biggest risk is that a deterioration in political and economic conditions in neighboring Pakistan could aggravate social unrest in India further and hurt national security," PERC said. 

Thailand is pegged to be the next least stable country in Southeast Asia next year, scoring 6.28, as the current political mayhem and the separatist violence looks set to run into 2009. 

Surprisingly, Malaysia, which escaped much of the wrath of the 1997 financial crisis, will be the third least stable in the region, with the report noting the political wranglings were aggravating racial and religious tensions. 

"The status quo is changing in ways that will see a stronger political opposition than in the past and UMNO (the ruling party) forced to share more power with non-Malay groups," the report said. 

But these three countries could be relatively immune to the global financial fallout. 

"India, Thailand and Malaysia are not so much vulnerable to negative fallout from the global financial crisis as they are to factors that are mainly internal," Robert Broadfoot, PERC managing director, told Reuters on Tuesday. 

"For these countries, the coming global economic storm is only going to make a bad situation worse," he said. 

The tightly controlled city-state of Singapore was ranked the most stable country, boasting an extremely low political risk in 2009, though its economy is expected to take a big hit from the financial crisis as it heads toward recession. 

This is expected to mirror the current situation in the United States, badly weakened economically and psychologically. 

"It is a humbling experience that, coinciding with a change in government, is likely to see the U.S. become less aggressive in pushing its views on other countries," PERC said. 

With a score of 5.33, China will have a tough year economically in 2009 but not a disastrous one. 

PERC is a consulting firm specializing in strategic business information and analysis for companies doing business in East and Southeast Asia.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Manmohan urges Europe to "do more" to combat climate change

The Hindu

Beijing (PTI): India on Saturday appealed to its European partners to "do more" to combat climate change as it suggested adoption of a "holistic approach" to tackle the problem which threatened the global environment and development. 

Noting that the progress on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol has been slow, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that emissions of developed countries have actually increased by 2.6 per cent from 2000 to 2005. 

"We should call upon our European partners to do more in this regard. The developing world is committed to doing its share," Singh told the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit here. 

"A holistic approach is needed to tackle this problem. We cannot do so by perpetuating the poverty of the developing countries, or by preventing their industrialisation," he said. 

The challenge ahead is to put in place development strategies which improve living standards, create job opportunities and are also environment friendly, Singh said. 

"Thus, common but differentiated responsibility should be the cardinal principle of negotiations to find practical and pragmatic solutions within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change," Singh said, advocating India's stance. 

He also said the principle of convergence of per-capita emissions of developing countries with advanced developed countries is catching imagination of international community. 

"We should recognise that each citizen of the world has equal entitlement to the global atmospheric space," he said. 

Asserting that the dependence on fossil fuels was a "cause of many problems," Singh said "greater effort is needed to promote clean and renewable sources of energy, including nuclear energy" as he highlighted India's quest for enhancing its share of atomic power. 

The world, therefore, needs a new compact plan to increase efficiency in the use of available energy resources, he said.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mobile Phones and Vanishing Bees

The Institute of Science in Society

The recent boom in third generation mobile phones may be the main culprit for colony collapse disorder in honeybees. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

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Colony collapse a new phenomenon

Bees worldwide have been involved in a disappearing act called “colony collapse disorder” over the past two years [1] (Mystery of Disappearing Honeybees, this series), with little sign of the disease or infestations that have resulted in massive loss of colonies in the past. The bees simply leave the hives and fail to return. Beekeepers and scientists alike are stymied as to the cause of this strange phenomenon.

One likely culprit is a new class of systemic pesticides, which are not only sprayed on crops, but also used universally to dress seeds in conventional agriculture, and can confuse and disorientate bees at very low concentrations [2] (Requiem for the Honeybee, this series). Another candidate is radiation from mobile phone base stations that has become nearly ubiquitous in Europe and North America where the bees are vanishing; this possibility is considerably strengthened by preliminary findings that bees fail to return to the hives if cordless phone base stations are placed in them.

Simple experiment with dramatic results

Researchers at Landau University in Germany designed a simple experiment for students on the Environmental Science course [3]. Eight mini-hives, each with approximately 8 000 bees were set up for the experiment. Four of them were equipped with a DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication)-station at the bottom of the hive, and the other four without the DECT-station served as controls.

At the entrance of each hive, a transparent plastic tube enabled the experimenters to watch the marked bees entering and leaving the hive, so they can be counted and their time of return after release recorded for a period of 45 minutes.

The experimenters also studied building behaviour by measuring the area of the honeycomb and its weight.

In the course of the experiment, three colonies exposed to mobile phone radiation and one non-exposed control colony broke down. The total weights of the honeycombs in all colonies, including those at the time of breakdown were compared. The controls weighed 1 326g, while those exposed to the DECT-stations weighed only 1 045g, a difference of 21 percent. The total area of the honeycomb in the controls was 2 500, compared to just 2050 in the exposed hives.

But it was the number of returning bees and their returning times that were vastly different. For two control hives, 16 out of 25 bees returned in 45 minutes. For the two microwave-exposed hives, however, no bees at all returned to one hive, and only six returned to the other.

Cordless phone base station widely used in homes and offices

These dramatic results are of a preliminary nature, but one should bear in mind that the DECT-station is a simple cordless phone base, widely used in homes and offices.

It emits microwave radiation of about 1 900 MHz continuously, which is frequency modulated at 100 Hz. The average power is 10 mW, with a peak of 250 mW. It represents the exposure levels of perhaps tens of millions worldwide living near mobile phone base stations, or have cordless phones in their homes or offices.

The same scientists had carried out an earlier experiment with the cordless phone base on a standby mode, in which the average power is 2.5 mW, and that appeared to have had no effect on the bees [4, 5].

Clearly the present findings need to be taken much further, but their significance should not be downplayed for a number of reasons. The findings are compatible with evidence accumulating from investigations on many other species including humans, showing that mobile phone radiation is associated with a range of health hazards including cancers [6] (Drowning in a Sea of Microwaves, SiS 34). Furthermore, bees are known to be extremely sensitive to magnetic and electromagnetic fields, and there have been many suggestions that they could be used as an indicator species for electromagnetic pollution.

Bees as indicator species for electromagnetic pollution

Experiments dating well back to the last century have documented the phenomenal sensitivity of honeybees to electromagnetic fields. Bees use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate. Free-flying honeybees are able to detect static intensity fluctuations as weak as 26 nT against the background earth-strength magnetic field (average 500 mT) [7]. This has been demonstrated in experiments where individual honeybees have been trained to discriminate between the presence and the absence of a small static magnetic anomaly in the lab. Honeybees can also learn to distinguish between two 360o panoramic patterns that are identical except for the compass orientation. In this case, the difference was a 90o rotation about the vertical axis [8]. The most powerful cue to direction for the honeybee comes from the sky, but discrimination between patterns is possible in the absence of celestial information, as when the sky is overcast. Under those conditions, bees can use a magnetic direction to discriminate between patterns.

The bees’ waggle dance on the honeycomb, which tells hive mates where to find food, can also be misdirected by anomalies in the earth’s magnetic field or very weak pulsed magnetic fields at about 250 MHz applied in the correct direction [9]. Bees can even learn to detect very low levels of extremely low frequency alternating electromagnetic fields [10].

But mobile phones have been around for close to 20 years, so why now? There has been a recent change in cell phone technology that coincides with the current crisis. At the beginning of the present century, 3G (third generation) mobile phone systems became publicly available, leading to a surge in popularity of mobile phones, and many more phone towers [11]. Bees are disappearing in North America, Europe and also Australia, wherever mobile phones are greatly in use. Stay tuned.

UN head seeks crisis aid for poor

Mr Ban asked world leaders not to forget climate change


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for drastic measures to protect developing countries against the global financial crisis. 

He said central banks and the IMF might have to set up major credit lines to help poorer nations meet emergencies. 

Mr Ban said the crisis might otherwise be a blow that many of the world's poorest people could not survive. 

Meanwhile Asian and EU leaders called for the IMF to play a leading role in stabilising the world financial system. 

Meeting in Beijing for the second day of a summit of 43 nations from the two continents, the leaders said they were moving towards consensus ahead of next month's meeting of the 20 largest economies in Washington. 

"Leaders agreed that the IMF should play a critical role in assisting countries seriously affected by the crisis, upon their request," a draft summit statement said. 

It added that the leaders agreed to "undertake effective and comprehensive reform of the international monetary and financial systems". 

On Friday markets fell back amid fears of a sustained global recession.     

Wall Street tumbled sharply following similar falls across Europe and Asia, before clawing back some ground. 

Investors have been dumping shares worldwide because of gloomy prospects for the global economy - and are looking at other forms of investment. 

Global money markets have showed renewed signs of stress, despite the billions of dollars that central banks and governments have pumped into the markets in recent weeks. 

Investors worldwide are worried about falling share prices and the possibility of companies defaulting on their debts. 

However, there was one glimmer of hope and a sign that banks may be more willing to lend to each other. Three-month lending rates among banks in the US and Europe dipped slightly. 

'Short on resources' 

In a meeting with heads of UN agencies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Mr Ban said the financial crisis could be the last straw for many of the world's poorest people. 

He said the countries where these people lived faced the same pressures as the United States and Europe, yet many lacked the resources to withstand runs on their banks. 

"It threatens to undermine all our achievements and all our progress," he said. 

"Our progress in eradicating poverty and disease. Our efforts to fight climate change and promote development. To ensure that people have enough to eat." 

Mr Ban said he would put the case for the world's poor at the Washington summit. 

He also called for continuing efforts to pursue the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate hunger, poverty and disease, and to combat climate change.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Asian nations commit to US$80 billion crisis

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 10/24/2008 3:25 PM  

Asian nations on Friday recommitted themselves to establishing an US$80 billion emergency fund, as leaders from across Asia and Europe gathered in Beijing to discuss the global financial meltdown. 

The pledge by South Korea, China, Japan and the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations was reached at a breakfast meeting, according to the office of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who attended the meeting. 

Few details were given, although a preliminary agreement reached in May stated that Japan, South Korea and China would contribute 80 percent of the fund, to be set up by next June, with ASEAN countries covering the remainder. ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 

The deal would enable countries to borrow from the fund when facing a liquidity crunch. 

It builds on the so-called Chiang Mai Initiative, in which the 13 nations set up bilateral contracts to supply funds through currency swap lines. 

The summit later Friday of 43 Asian and European nations hopes to establish a consensus on a common approach to the global crisis. 

The meltdown has injected a new sense of urgency into the normally plodding biennial Asia-Europe Meeting, known as ASEM, with EU Commission President Jose Barroso saying "unprecedented levels of global coordination" are needed to deal with the crisis. 

"It's very simple: We swim together, or we sink together," Barroso said at a news conference Thursday in Beijing ahead of meetings with top Chinese leaders. 

ASEM has no mandate to issue decisions, but participants hope it will build momentum toward a common stance ahead of a Nov. 15 meeting of the world's top economies in Washington to discuss the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. 

However, ASEM's members differ widely on their views toward international cooperation and intervention by global bodies. Free-trading Singapore and economic powerhouse Germany are attending, along with isolated, impoverished Myanmar and landlocked, authoritarian Laos. 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to use the ASEM meeting to persuade Asian nations to back a plan to redraw the rule book for international capitalism, calling for a global system of regulation. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao echoed the need for changes to the current system. 

"We need to explore the possibilities of reforming the international economic structure ... (to) stabilize the international financial markets, and ensure the stable operation of the international economy," he said. 

Europe has already approved a plan under which the 15 euro countries and Britain put up a total of 1.7 trillion euros (US$2.3 trillion) in guarantees and emergency aid to help banks. 

China's financial system had less direct exposure to the toxic sub-prime mortgages that are wreaking havoc on U.S. and European markets, although it and other Asian economies are expected to take a major hit from a drop in exports and foreign investment. 

The vice president of one of China's main state-owned lenders said Thursday he expected the crisis to start to bite over the next six months. 

"We shouldn't think this is going to be over soon. The key issue for Asian countries is to prevent the banking crisis from turning into a currency crisis," the Bank of China's Zhu Min said in remarks to the Asia-Europe Business Forum in Beijing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

UK: Jet captain reported UFO sighting


LONDON, England (CNN) -- Thousands of documents about reported UFO sightings -- ranging from calm accounts by professional pilots to unhinged rants about the extraterrestrial menace -- have been released by the British Ministry of Defence. 

The 4,500 pages cover sightings that were reported from 1986 through 1992. The British military released them to a curious public as part of a four-year project to transfer all such documents to the National Archives. 

One highlight from the batch released Monday involves the captain of an Italian airliner. He shouted "Look out!" to his co-pilot in April 1991 after claiming to see a beige "missile-shaped object" shoot past the cockpit. 

In that instance, the defence ministry ruled out a missile and "all the usual explanations," wrote David Clarke, a UFO expert and journalism instructor at Sheffield Hallam University, who worked with the National Archives to prepare the new materials for release. 

"The end result was this was a genuine UFO and the file was simply closed," he wrote. "There was nothing more they could do." 

The newly released documents also carry an account by a U.S. Air Force pilot who says he was told to shoot down an unidentified flying craft over eastern England. But before he could fire, the object disappeared. 

The next day, a man arrived to debrief the pilot and "he was told in no uncertain terms that what he had seen on his radar was top secret and he wasn't to speak about it to anyone," Clarke wrote. 

The first set of files was made available to members of the public in May. It covered reported UFO sightings from 1978 to 1987, and included hundreds of police reports taken from witnesses who described seeing lights or strange objects in the sky. 

People who reported having seen UFOs typically describe various shapes and colors of lights, moving in formation or hovering in the sky. Witnesses reported orange, red, white and green lights that were diamond-shaped, square, or cigar-shaped. 

They reported them to police, who have a standard 16-question form specifically for UFO sightings. 

"The vast majority of them are just ordinary people who've seen something unusual and thought that they ought to tell someone about it," Clarke has said. 

The Ministry of Defence said it examined the reports solely to determine whether enemy aircraft had infiltrated British airspace. Once it was determined that no enemy aircraft were in the sky, it did not investigate further. 

"The Ministry of Defence has no other interest or role regarding UFO matters and does not consider questions regarding the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial life-forms," it said in May.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is Asia`s century, says Indonesian president

Sanur, Indonesia (ANTARA News) - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono believes the 21st century will mark the unstoppable rise of Asia with events like the Asian Beach Games here showcasing the continent's dynamism. 

Yudhoyono added that with the global economy in crisis and conflict wracking the world, the inaugural Games, which brings together athletes from 45 Asian nations, was a reminder that the "spirt of man cannot be broken." 

"This Games is important in the way it highlights the rise of Asia. The 21st century, I am convinced, is the Asian century," Yudhoyono was quoted by AFP as saying in a speech officially opening the nine-day event late Saturday here in Bali. 

"More and more Asians will be brought to prosperity in this century, more and more Asian cultures will benefit from the growing labyrinth of globalization. 

"And that Asian renaissance will be felt across all sectors -- in diplomacy, in economy, in technology, in arts and of course in sports. 

"That is why I have every hope and confidence that this Asian Beach Games will grow and spread to reflect the dynamism and strengths of Asian sportsmanship on the world stage." 

The Beach Games, which features traditional Asian sports such as kabbadi, pencak silat, sepaktakraw, and dragon boat racing, follows hot on the heels of the hugely successful Beijing Olympics. 

With International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge sitting next to him, Yudhoyono told the athletes the spirit of the two events was the same. 

"Your presence here is no different. Just as they did at the Beijing Olympics, you are here to compete with the best of the best in beach sports," he said. 

"You are here to battle the arena of sportmanship and excellence, and I hope you realise you are also making history by becoming part of an international competition for a new breed of sport - beach sport." 

He added that once again sport had shown it could break down barriers, with 45 countries represented despite political and religious differences. 

"With all that is going on around the world -- economic crisis, conflict, violence, poverty, disease -- what you do here will remind us that the spirit of man cannot be broken," he said. 

"You remind us that life is worth fighting for and we must reach out to one another, and you remind us of the glory of our common humanity. 

"That is why I see the first Asian Beach Games as an agent to advance the harmony of civilisations and an antidote of the clash of civilisations because it brings man, woman, and nations even closer in a spirit of togetherness and mutual respect."

Indonesian universities climb world's top 400 rankings

Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post 

Indonesia's three most prominent universities were once again ranked among the world's top 400 institutions of higher education, but still remain a far cry from cracking the prestigious top 200 list. 

The University of Indonesia (UI) rose significantly in the 2008 rankings published by the Times Higher Education Magazine-QS (THE-QS), climbing from 395th place in 2007 to 287th. 

The Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) rose from 369th last year to 315th, while Gadjah Mada University (UGM), the country's oldest university, improved from 360th place to 316th. 

THE-QS published its fifth annual top 200 university rankings last week. 

The remaining list of the top 400 were publicly released Monday. However, many of the universities ranked have been notified in advance. 

For the fifth straight year, Harvard University topped the rankings. 

The top 10 has been largely dominated over the past few years by acclaimed institutions from the United States and England. 

THE-QS' rankings are based on data gathered in the following categories: Peer academic review, recruiter review, international faculty ratio, international student ratio, student faculty ratio, and citations per faculty. 

While the three Indonesian universities improved on their placement, their 2008 rankings are a far cry from their best showing in 2006 when UI, ITB and UGM ranked 250th, 258th and 270th respectively. 

Even among their Asian counterparts, Indonesian universities lagged far behind. 

The University of Tokyo was the top Asian university, in 19th place, while the National University of Singapore (NUS) was the top Southeast Asian institution, tying for 30th place with the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). 

Chulalongkorn University in Thailand for the first time broke into the esteemed top 200 list, placing a joint 166th with Germany's Universit*t Gottingen. 

Fasli Jalal, the Indonesian National Education Ministry's director general for higher education, acknowledged the progress made during the past year. 

"UI, for instance, proclaimed itself a research university. Research makes a big difference in the rankings. UI is also encouraging international publications, and it is going international by inviting more international students and lecturers," Fasli said. 

UI rector Gumilar Rusmiwa Sumantri said he was hopeful that reforms and improvements would bolster the university's showing. 

"If we continue doing this, we hope next year UI will be able to enter the top 200," Gumilar said in a phone interview with The Jakarta Post from Paris, adding he was informed of the rankings earlier this month. 

"Why do universities in the U.S. and UK dominate the top spots? Not just because of their English publications, which are accessible to everyone, but also because of their significant research funds," Gumilar explained, noting the tax deductions available to philanthropists donating to universities. 

He also cited the Japanese government's generous support of its universities, with state-owned institutions receiving 90 percent of their budget from public funds, while private ones can get a 20 percent government subsidy.

Top 10 world universities:

1Harvard University 
Yale University 
University of Cambridge 
University of Oxford 
California Institute of Technology 
Imperial College London 
University College London 
University of Chicago 
10Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
11Columbia University 

Top 5 Asian universities:

1917University of Tokyo 
25Kyoto University 
2618University of Hong Kong 
Hong Kong 
30=33=National University of Singapore 
3953=Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 
Hong Kong 

Source: THE-QS

Leaders Move Toward Meetings on Economic Crisis

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG, The New York Times, Published: October 18, 2008 

WASHINGTON — President Bush and European leaders, who have been tussling over whether to revamp the regulatory framework for global finance, agreed Saturday night to take steps toward a series of international meetings to address the economic crisis, the White House said. 

After a private dinner at Camp David, Mr. Bush, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, issued a joint statement saying they agreed to “reach out to other world leaders” to propose an international summit meeting to be held soon after the United States presidential election, with the possibility of more gatherings after that. 

The statement was delicately worded. In it, the leaders said the goal of the first meeting would be to “review progress being made to address the current crisis and to seek agreement on principles of reform needed to avoid a repetition and assure global prosperity in the future.” 

With the American economy in its deepest crisis since the Great Depression, Mr. Bush has been under intense pressure from European leaders to take steps to tighten oversight and better coordinate financial market regulation around the world. 

But any discussion of international oversight of financial markets is delicate and, in the White House’s view, problematic. American officials do not want other nations to control this country’s banking system. 

Just hours before the joint statement, Mr. Bush, in an appearance with Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Barroso at Camp David, warned that any effort to overhaul the international financial system must “preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism — a commitment to free markets, free enterprise and free trade.” 

The Europeans had been pressing for a meeting of the Group of 8 industrialized nations, but Mr. Bush went one step further, calling for a broader global conference that would include “developed and developing nations” — among them China and India, a senior White House official said. 

The White House will seek the president-elect’s input, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the plans publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. 

Mr. Bush, with Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Barroso at his side, said, “Given that the world has never been more interconnected, it is essential that we work together because we’re in this crisis together.” He added, “For this meeting to be a success, we must welcome good ideas from around the world.” 

Mr. Barroso said, “Together, we should show the way towards an international response,” adding, “We need a new global financial order.” 

Mr. Sarkozy said, “This may be a great opportunity if we do not fall back into the hateful practices of the past, practices that have led us exactly where we are right now.” He added, “We cannot continue along the same lines, because the same problems will trigger the same disasters.” 

Mr. Bush’s offer to hold a summit meeting in the United States appeared to be an effort by the administration to wrest control of the proceedings from Mr. Sarkozy. Earlier Saturday, Mr. Sarkozy secured the agreement of the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to host a meeting in December. But the senior White House official said that offer was now moot. 

“We appreciate the suggestion by the secretary general, but the United States has committed to hosting the summit,” the official said. “There’s lots of force out there coming from the Europeans for ideas on what ought to be on the agenda, but there are lots of very important countries in the world that have a stake in this, and they have their views, and we have our own views.”

Related Article:

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

IMF in global 'meltdown' warning

Strauss-Kahn said rich nations had so far failed to restore confidence

The world financial system is teetering on the "brink of systemic meltdown", the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned in Washington. 

Dominique Strauss-Kahn said rich nations had so far failed to restore confidence, but he endorsed a new action plan by the G7 group. 

He also said the IMF was ready to lend to countries in dire need of capital. 

The 15 eurozone leaders will meet in Paris later to try and establish a common approach to the markets crisis. 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they would present a number of proposals at the summit to ease the credit freeze that has caused the collapse of several leading international banks. 

But after meeting in Paris on Saturday, the two leaders said the summit would not result in a joint financial rescue fund for Europe, in the model of a $700bn rescue by the US government. 

French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said the eurozone leaders would discuss the possibility of guaranteeing interbank lending and put "meat" on the "skeleton" of a five-point plan by the G7 group of most industrialised nations to resolve the crisis.

Earlier, G7 ministers had released the five-point plan to free up the flow of credit, back efforts by banks to raise money and revive the mortgage market. 

"Intensifying solvency concerns about a number of the largest US-based and European financial institutions have pushed the global financial system to the brink of systemic meltdown," said Mr Strauss-Kahn. 

He later told a news conference: "The first co-ordination between advanced countries and the rest of the world is now on track." 

The IMF chief's strong words reflect a belief that the global financial crisis can be contained, says the BBC's economics correspondent Andrew Walker in Washington. 

Mr Strauss-Kahn was joined at the White House by finance ministers from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Japan, as well as World Bank President Robert Zoellick. 

Following talks with the economic leaders, Mr Bush also pledged co-ordinated action, saying it was serious global crisis which demanded a serious global response. 

Panic selling 

The meeting came a day after Asian, European and US markets continued to panic sell despite rate cuts and cash injections by central banks, amid widespread fears of a global recession.

Late on Friday, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the US planned to invest directly in banks for the first since the 1930s, following a similar UK programme of partial bank nationalisation.     

The G7 had earlier not ruled out adopting another part of the British plan - to guarantee borrowing between banks - as they issued their plan in Washington. 

The G7 also left the door open to further reductions in interest rates, which six central banks this week jointly cut by half a percentage point. 

But our correspondent says there is some disappointment that the G7 plan lacks detail.

Ahead of the emergency summit of eurozone leaders, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will hold talks with Mr Sarkozy. 

Chancellor Merkel said governments must "redirect the markets so they serve the people, and not ruin them". 

The heads of the EU's four biggest economies - Britain, France, Germany and Italy - held a first crisis summit last week, but were split over the need for a common plan. 

Analysts say another week of plunging stock markets has focused minds and the real test of this weekend's scramble by world leaders to shore up the international financial system will come once markets reopen again on Monday.

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Indonesia As the New India

This stable democracy with a hot market economy resembles another Asian giant in the 1990s.

By George Wehrfritz | NEWSWEEKPublished Oct 11, 2008 

Jakarta today could be any of Asia's 21st-century boomtowns. The malls buzz, traffic snarls and modern office towers dominate the skyline. It all feels profoundly normal—but that's big progress in a place that, barely ten years ago, seemed destined for ruin. Following the fall of longtime strongman Suharto, and with Indonesia reeling from the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, many analysts feared that Asia's third-biggest country (population: 235 million) would go the way of Yugoslavia. Instead, it has become a cohesive, robust and exuberantly democratic moderate Muslim nation. Things are so buoyant that Indonesia invites comparison to another Asian giant:India

Both remain corrupt, chaotic and excruciatingly complex. Yet each is also an attractive emerging economy, and in India's case, a star of the developing world. Could Indonesia be next? Its economy grew by 6.3 percent last year, the main stock exchange ranks among the world's best performers since 2003 and last year foreign direct investment nearly tripled, to a respectable $4 billion. All of which resembles India in the 1990s, when reforms kick-started a potentially massive economy—though outsiders barely noticed until the IT sector took off and growth passed 8 percent. In Indonesia, the key sectors are energy, mining and soft commodities like rubber, palm oil and cocoa. And in an exclusive interview, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says he sees no inherent reason why a big democracy like his can't grow as fast China, which has posted 10 percent growth rates in recent years. 

That would put Indonesia on a lot of magazine covers. In fact, the country already looks better than India in two ways: its per capita income ($3,348) is a third higher, and thanks to Jakarta's fiscal austerity, it now boasts one of the lowest debt ratios in the world. "After ten years of restructuring, Southeast Asia's largest economy is in great shape," says Nicholas Cashmore, CLSA's country head and chief researcher in Jakarta. 

Indonesia's political turnaround has been just as dramatic as its economic one. The president, known universally as SBY, is a former general who was elected in mid-2004 and has since become the country's most effective democratic leader. In four years, he has helped Indonesia roll up its terrorist problem and rebuild from the 2004 tsunami. Less appreciated (but more enduring), he has backed a profound political decentralization program, empowering hundreds of local administrations. Jakarta now rules by consensus, not decree. This has its downsides: it makes it impossible to railroad through big national development projects of the sort China is famous for. As SBY himself admits, "in many circumstances, we face local communities that don't agree with government projects, so we have to convince them. I do not think the system is wrong. In a democracy like ours, change, reform and resistance are normal." 

The country's largest parties now basically agree on economic policy and the need to reduce corruption, improve the rule of law and make government more efficient. Key democratic institutions—including a free press, impartial courts and a legislature chosen by voters—are remarkably robust, and the once all-powerful military has largely removed itself from politics. Meanwhile, regional autonomy has triggered economic booms at the periphery, in contrast to the typical Southeast Asian model. "From the U.S., the U.K. or even Hong Kong," writes Cashmore, "it is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of Indonesia's potential [or] appreciate just how much more there is to the country beyond Jakarta." By his calculation, greater Jakarta now accounts for just 15 percent of Indonesia's GDP, a relatively small share compared to other Asian capitals. 

Indonesia's accomplishments are all the more impressive when you remember how far and fast the country has come. The fall of Suharto's New Order (a highly centralized system that vested absolute power in the dictator and his cronies) 10 years ago was accompanied by a financial meltdown so severe that the IMF had to step in. Indonesia also faced fierce separatist insurgencies, Christian-Muslim violence and Islamic extremism underscored by the 2002 Bali bombing. The country seemed to be teetering on the brink of wholesale disintegration. Yet today, as Australian National University economist Andrew MacIntyre and the Asia Foundation's Douglas Ramage argued in a recent report, observers should start thinking of Indonesia "as a normal country grappling with challenges common to other large, middle-income, developing democracies—not unlike India, Mexico or Brazil."

 Read whole article ....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

For peace: Bali to host international spiritual event

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post 

Bali will host an international event this month in which dozens of world-famous spiritual leaders would encourage participants to put their good faith into daily practice. 

The travel agent cum spiritual activist who chairs the event's organizing committee, Sudiarta Indrajaya, said on Friday, "I hope their messages will encourage us to continue practicing good behavior in our day-to-day lives." 

"We should allow this event to provide solid proof for our children that we have done our best to maintain love and peace through pluralism." 

Dubbed as the Echo of Peace, the annual event is scheduled to be held at Bajra Sandhi (Bali People's Struggle Monument) in Renon, Denpasar, on Oct. 12. 

"Last year, more than 13,000 people attended the event. Let us hope more attend this year," Sudiart said. 

International figures like UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus of Pakistan and sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar are among those who have confirmed they would contribute their voice recordings for the event. 

Meanwhile in Indonesia, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika, noted spiritualist Gede Prama, Archbishop of Jakarta Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja SJ, Hindu leader Ida Pedanda Gunung and Ida Bagus Wiyana were slated to attend. 

Official invitations have been sent to leaders in Jakarta, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the People's Consultative Assembly chairman Hidayat Nur Wahid, but only the House of Representatives' speaker Agung Laksono had confirmed his attendance. 

"We hope they can participate in the event by sending us recorded peace messages if they are not able to attend in person," he said. 

Representatives from foreign embassies were also invited. 

The Echo of Peace event was inspired by a collective prayer session conducted by the then Australian prime minister John Howard held in 2005 for the victims of the 2002 and 2005 terrorist attacks on the resort island. 

Spiritualist Wayan Wisnaya said the event would likely add more charisma to Bali, an island that was already known as one of the world's sanctuaries of peace. 

Wisnaya said, "In the end, I hope all the good intentions, hopes and prayers that manifest through this event will attract more positive energy to not only Bali but also to the whole country so that we can live more peaceful lives."