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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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Motley crew comes to rescue of blockaded Gazans

The Jakarta Post

The Associated Press, Khuzaa, Gaza Strip | Fri, 11/28/2008 4:19 PM  

A tattooed Italian trucker, middle-aged twin sisters from San Jose, California, a polite Scottish couple and a solemn-faced Greek hailed a cab in Gaza City, drawing stares from passers-by unused to visitors.

The party was off to southern Gaza to plant wheat with Palestinian farmers in a dangerous area near an Israeli-patrolled border. 

They were among some 80 foreign volunteers who have sailed across the Mediterranean to Gaza in three trips since August, defying a closure of the Hamas-ruled territory imposed by Israel and Egypt. 

The blockade-runners from the Free Gaza Movement are a motley bunch. They have included physicians, lawmakers and Yvonne Ridley, a British woman who was kidnapped by the Taliban and afterward converted to Islam. 

One high-profile volunteer was Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who is now the international community's Mideast peace envoy. 

They bring medicines, accompany fishermen and farmers to dangerous areas, and say they want to draw attention to the hardship the blockade has inflicted on 1.4 million Gazans. 

"Governments in the West are asleep," said Vittorio Arrigoni, 33, the trucker, whose black cap featured the face of Che Guevara. 

Activists accompany Gaza fishermen beyond the 3-mile (5-kilometer) limit enforced by the Israeli navy. They also escort farmers to border area fields that Israel has declared off-limits because militants have launched rockets from there. 

Israel's navy has not tried to stop the boats, apparently to avoid unwanted publicity. "The entry of a few people doesn't mean the blockade is off," said Andy David, a Foreign Ministry official. 

Israel's patience is clearly limited. On Nov. 18, a week after their wheat-planting effort, Arrigoni and two others were arrested for going to sea with Palestinian fishermen. 

After Hamas, the militant Islamic group, seized control of the territory by force in June 2007, Israel and Egypt virtually sealed Gaza. They mainly allow in humanitarian aid, rationed fuel and some commercial goods. Since early November, Israel has kept its crossings mostly sealed in response to Palestinian rocket fire. Booth, Blair's sister-in-law, was stuck in Gaza for weeks because of the closure. 

The activists' presence shines a spotlight on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, said Chris Gunness, spokesman for a U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees. 

They have also won praise from Hamas, which is pledged to Israel's destruction, and which cracks down on political rivals. 

Activists say they are focused on the plight of ordinary Palestinians, but are aware Hamas is using their presence to legitimize its rule. 

The group in the taxi traveled to the farm of Yousef Najjar, 47, in the southern Gaza village of Khuzaa. Najjar said he hadn't approached his land for two years, fearing he would be shot from an Israeli watchtower. 

The visitors drew excitement and inquisitive stares — Arrigoni with his eyebrow ring and black sleeveless shirt showing off his tattoos, Californian Donna Wallach wearing a hat emblazoned with pro-Palestinian slogans. 

They walked onto Najjar's land. He followed them, strewing handfuls of wheat. An Israeli army jeep drove by along the fence but didn't stop. 

Village women soon rushed to the area hauling seed sacks on donkey carts to be sowed. 

But when children ran to the border fence, Israeli soldiers fired in the air, then into the soil around the farmers. Nobody was injured. 

The next day, Israeli forces and Hamas militants fought a gunbattle in the same area. 

Israel will likely let the activist boats keep coming, provided they carry legitimate cargo, Israeli military analyst Shlomo Brom said. "If anyone on these boats tries to do something that is not kosher, they will be stopped," he said. 

Since their fishing-boat outing, Arrigoni has been deported along with Scotsman Andrew Muncie, 34. The third detainee, Darlene Wallach, 57, was to be deported Wednesday, according to her twin sister. 

Activists say some of their deported colleagues will return on their boat, Dignity, which they hope will make a monthly 240-mile (386-kilometer) run from the island of Cyprus to Gaza. It's expected back in December, said organizer Greta Berlin. 

Each trip costs some $38,000, but donors are generous, Berlin said. 

"This kind of thing has caught the imagination of the world," she said.

Related Article:

Unilever to sell stake in plant based in West Bank settlement

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Space association calls for UN strategy against asteroids

Vienna (ANTARA News/dpa) - The international Association of Space Explorers (ASE) on Tuesday called on the United Nations to develop strategies against asteroids threatening to hit earth, in a report presented at the United Nations in Vienna.

Among the known 5,600 so-called near-earth objects, and the 500,000 additional ones expected to be discovered in the next 15 years, "several dozen will pose an  uncomfortably high risk of striking Earth and inflicting local or regional devastation," the astronauts said in their report. 

To counter this threat, the association called on UN bodies and member states to develop a framework for sharing information about dangerous asteroids, and a decision-making mechanism to destroy or deflect them. 

Technical capabilities to prevent such collisions with earth already exist, said the ASE, which is comprised of 320 people who have travelled in space. 

The options being studied include destroying an asteroid with a large spacecraft or nuclear weapon, or changing its course by using the gravitational force of a spacecraft hovering near the asteroid. 

Such strategies would "temporarily put different populations and regions at risk in the process of eliminating the risk to all," for example from impacts of asteroid particles, the report said.   

To consider this and other problems before authorizing a mission to avoid a collision, ASE said decision-making structure should be set up soon, in which the United Nations Security Council would have the last say. 

The biggest impact from a space object in recent history was the Tunguska event in 1908, in which an meteoroid destroyed 2,000 square kilometres of Siberian forest.

Related Articles:

UN: Prepare for natural disasters despite downturn


Mumbai operation appears nearly over

MUMBAI, India (CNN) -- The last gunmen in a standoff at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai were killed early Saturday, the city's police chief told CNN sister station CNN-IBN, but another official said more attackers could be inside the hotel. 

It's completely over, except for the fact that now we will start searching the hotel and sanitizing it against any explosives and against any other things that may have been left behind," police Chief Hussain Gafoor said. 

The announcement coincided with the end of intermittent gunfire from the historic Taj, which has been the scene of a violent and drawn-out standoff resulting in numerous deaths and injuries since Wednesday. 

It also signaled a potential end to two nights and three days of terror attacks targeting several high-traffic landmarks in Mumbai known to be frequented by tourists. 

The casualty toll from the attacks reached 160 dead and 327 wounded Friday, officials said. 

However, J.K. Dutt, director-general of the national security guard, said there could be more terrorists and that the operation was still ongoing. 

Dutt also differed from Gafoor on the number of gunmen involved, saying three, not two, had been killed. 

He appealed to guests hiding in their rooms to open their curtains to signal their presence to security officials, saying it would help police snipers determine whether someone in a room was actually a terrorist with a weapon. 

The announcements came shortly after a fire swept through the ground floor, enveloping much of the historic building. By 8:30 a.m. local time, the fire was under control, CNN-IBN reported. 

Dutt said the fire had been set by the attackers as a diversionary tactic. 

CNN-IBN also reported that someone had jumped from the hotel during the fire and appeared to be dead. It broadcast a picture of the body taken with a cell phone. 

On Friday, scores of hostages trickled out of the Taj and the nearby Oberoi hotel; some had spent as many as 48 hours huddled with strangers in guest rooms, closets or darkened banquet halls. 

It is still unclear who is behind the attacks, but the gunmen were men in their 20s who "obviously had to be trained somewhere," a member of the Indian navy's commando unit said Friday.  

They fired at guests "with no remorse" and knew the layout of the hotels well enough to "vanish" after confronting security forces, the commando said. 

British Parliament member Sajjad Karim was in a herd of people running from gunfire in the lobby of the Taj when another gunman appeared before them and opened fire. 

Karim said he spent eight hours barricaded in a room at the Taj with 40 to 50 people before commandos rescued him. 

But many did not make it out alive. The 160 who died included Westerners and Asians of all walks of life, including Indian police and military, five Americans and a British yacht magnate.  

Maharashtra state official Bhushan Gagrani said the death toll is expected to rise further. Eleven terrorists have also been killed. 

Earlier, police said they found 36 bodies during a sweep of the Oberoi hotel; they killed two militants and freed hundreds of trapped guests. 

Americans Alan Scherr, 58, and his daughter Naomi, 13, of Virginia died at the Oberoi. They were visiting India with a meditation group.  

The bodies of five hostages were found at the Chabad House Jewish center, which houses the Mumbai headquarters of the Chabad community, a Hasidic Jewish movement. Commandos stormed the building through a hole blasted in the wall.   

After several hours of gunfire and explosions from inside, all went quiet, and CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson said it appeared that the operation was over. 

Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor told CNN-IBN that the gunman at the Taj was shooting and throwing grenades at security forces. 

Gafoor said most of the attackers had been heavily armed. "They were carrying an AK assault rifle, one or two handguns and grenades." 

Throughout the day, there were explosions, some blowing out windows at the 105-year-old landmark. Some guests have been able to get out of the building.   

The identity of the attackers remained a mystery. Police said they came by boats to the waterfront near the Gateway of India monument and the two hotels. 

Indian naval and coast guard investigators have determined that two vessels recently seized in the Arabian Sea have no links to the Mumbai attacks. A fishing trawler, however, remains in custody. 

International hot lines

India: Mumbai: JJ Hospital, 91 22 2373-5555; Mumbai: St. George Hospital, 91 98 6905-0622; Mumbai: Police control room, 91 22 2262-5020, 91 22 2262-1855; New Delhi: Indian External Affairs Ministry: +91-11-23015300 

Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs offers these numbers: In Australia, call 1-800-002 214. Australians overseas, call 61 2 6261-3305. 

UK: The British Ministry of Foreign Affairs is directing concerned UK nationals to call 44 (0)20 7008-0000 

U.S.: The State Department has established a Consular Call Center: The number is 888-407-4747. 


For Canadians in India, call 1-800-387-3124. In Canada, call 613-996-8885.

The Press Trust of India, citing Union Cabinet Minister Kapil Sibal, reported that the gunmen had worked for months to prepare, even setting up "control rooms" in the two luxury hotels that were targeted. 

Indian authorities said no one had claimed responsibility, although the Deccan Mujahideen took credit in e-mails sent to several Indian news outlets. 

Interpol said it would send a delegation to India, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to send a team, but India has not officially asked for its help. 

Pranab Mukherjee, the external affairs minister for Maharashtra state, said the preliminary investigation "indicates that some elements in Pakistan are involved." 

"Until the investigation is complete, it will be difficult to say where they came from and how they came," he said. 

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also indicated that the gunmen came from Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, in a call with his Pakistani counterpart Friday. 

In response, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said he would send a representative from his country's intelligence agency to help with the investigation. 

A British security source told CNN that British security officials are investigating why two bodies believed to be those of terrorists were found with British identification documents. 

"Not everybody can fire the AK series of weapons; not everybody can throw a grenade like that," a commando said outside the Taj hotel. "It is obvious that they were trained somewhere."  

The shell-shocked city woke Friday to television images of Indian soldiers rappelling down ropes from military choppers on to the roof of Chabad House. 

The Chabad-Lubavitch International group said Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, 29, made a phone call to the Israeli Consulate to report gunmen in the house. 

"In the middle of the conversation, the line went dead," the organization said. His wife, Rivka, 28, was also killed. 

The couple's toddler son, Moshe, escaped with his nanny, the organization said in a written statement. 

The bodies of three other hostages were found in the building. Two gunmen died in the battle at Chabad House, CNN-IBN reported.

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Terrorism threatening business

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thai protesters shut down airport


The protesters say they will not leave until the PM resigns

Flights from Thailand's international airport have been suspended after hundreds of anti-government protesters stormed the building outside Bangkok. 

The demonstrators are in full control of Suvarnabhumi airport, leaving at least 3,000 passengers stranded. 

A BBC correspondent says it is the most dramatic move so far in the protesters' campaign to oust the government. 

The government is to hold an emergency cabinet meeting, and the head of the army is due to make a statement. 

There is speculation that the army chief may impose emergency rule. 

A leader of the protesters has rejected a government offer of talks to end the stand-off. 

The head of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), Sondhi Limthongul, said his group would only agree to talks if Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigned. 

A series of small explosions among the PAD protestors on Wednesday morning injured several people, underlining the risk of more violent clashes with pro-government groups, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok. 


Yellow-shirted protestors from the PAD took over strategic areas of the airport, such as the control tower, on Tuesday. 

The protesters, who have been occupying a government compound in the capital, claim that the government is corrupt and hostile to the monarchy.

They also accused it of being a proxy for former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup, but who critics say is still very influential.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat is Mr Thaksin's brother-in-law.     

The PAD is a loose grouping of royalists, businessmen and the urban middle-class opposed to Mr Thaksin.

The protesters had hoped to intercept Mr Somchai as he returned from an Asia-Pacific summit in Peru, but his flight has been diverted elsewhere. 

Now the PAD says it will keep the airport closed until Mr Somchai resigns. 

"We will stay until the government steps down. This government is not legitimate," retired university lecturer Sunthorn Kaewlai told the Reuters news agency. 

The PAD also handed out leaflets to stranded passengers, apologising to tourists for the disruption, adding that "the alliance believes the measure is crucial to bring an end to the traitorous killer government". 

Reports say the authorities have begun evacuating stranded passengers. 

However, the evacuation appeared chaotic, with the authorities making no announcement, the Agence France Presse news agency reported. 

Christopher Persson, from Sweden, spent the night underneath a check-in desk. 

"I understand the people but the airlines are terrible. They've given us no information," he told the Reuters news agency. 

Thousands of other passengers spent the night sprawled across suitcases, luggage carts and even security conveyor belts. 


Airport director Serirat Prasutanon said operations had been "totally shut down" since early on Wednesday, and that 78 outbound and incoming flights had been affected. 

"We are trying to negotiate with them to allow outgoing passengers stranded by the protest to fly," he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.


Monday, November 24, 2008

No ban on yoga for RI Muslims yet: Ulema body

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 11/24/2008 9:05 AM  

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said Sunday it would not follow its Malaysian counterpart in banning yoga, if only because it did not know how widely yoga was practiced here. 

MUI deputy chairman Umar Shihab said the board of clerics would have to conduct a study before issuing an edict to ban it. 

"It's OK if it's for sport. I guess we can allow it here. But I don't know if it is proved it can destroy our beliefs as Muslims or contains ideas of polytheism," he said. 

Umar said the MUI had never conducted a study on yoga because there had been no public complaints. 

Malaysia's National Fatwa Council, which has the authority to rule over how Muslims practice their faith, took the international community by surprise Saturday when it issued a fatwa or edict banning Muslims from practicing yoga, saying the Indian physical exercise contains elements of Hinduism and could corrupt Muslims. 

The council said yoga involved not just physical exercise but also Hindu spiritual elements, chanting and worship. 

A fatwa is not legally binding on Muslims, who comprise nearly two-thirds of Malaysia's 27 million people, unless it is enshrined in national or sharia laws. However, many Muslims abide by the edicts out of deference, and the council does have the authority to ostracize an offending Muslim from society. 

Many analysts have said the fatwa reflects the growing strain of conservatism in Malaysia, which has always taken pride in its multiethnicity. About 25 percent of Malaysians are ethnic Chinese and 8 percent ethnic Indians, mostly Hindus. 

Creeping conservatism has also been observed in Indonesia, as evident in the recent passage of the controversial pornography bill and enforcement of sharia-based ordinances in regions. 

Deputy chairman of the MUI edict commission Ali Mustafa Yakub said Muslims here were allowed to practice yoga as it was not clear how popular it was. 

"I've rarely heard of Muslims here practicing yoga. We don't need to ban it because we haven't found Muslims practicing it here. If they do, they are not publicly visible, so there will be no problems," he said. 

Yakub said he was sure the Indian influence in Indonesia was not as strong as in Malaysia, arguing the influence was limited to dangdut music. 

Hundreds of yoga classes with thousands of participants throughout the country have emerged since the 1998 financial crisis, with many adherents regarding yoga as a way of relieving stress and frustration. 

"All of a sudden, the classes are full," Janet Wijaya, a senior yoga instructor, was quoted as saying by Tempo magazine recently. 

With a financial crisis looming over the country, more people -- regardless of their religion -- may take up yoga.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oct 27 Declared National Bloggers Day In Indonesia

By Mohd Nasir Yusoff , Malaysia National News Agency

JAKARTA, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- In line with its aim to bring its people up to speed in the digital age, Indonesia has declared Oct 27 as National Bloggers Day, the republic's Information and Communications Ministry announced in conjunction with the Bloggers Carnival 2008 here Saturday. 

The ministry's director-general for applications, Cahyana Ahmadijaya said blogs in Indonesia were mushrooming not only for fun (blogfun) but also for business (blogpreneurs) and that the trend would continue exponentially in future. 

Indonesia's Culture and Tourism Ministry also wanted bloggers help promote tourism to the country. 

"This carnival provides and excellent networking opportunity to promote tourism effectively," said its minister Jero Wacik. The text of his speech was read out by the ministry's director-general for tourism destinations development, Firmansyah Rahim. 

Meanwhile, Research and Technology Minister Kusmayanto Kadiman assured bloggers that government would not restrict their freedom but they must not flout the republic's laws. 

Some 1,000 bloggers turned up for the carnival including Jeff Ooi of Malaysia , who is also the Member of Parliament for Jelutong in Penang, and Singapore's Mr Brown. 


Related Article:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Analysis: US Global Trends report

By Paul Reynolds, World affairs correspondent BBC News website

US power: on the wane? 

The latest offering from the US intelligence community paints a picture of a fragmented world over the next 20 years. 

The predictions are contained in a report called Global Trends 2025 from the National Intelligence Council (NIC), which brings together all the US intelligence agencies. The Global Trends reports are issued every five years and this is the fourth of its kind. 

Among its predictions: the US will remain the most powerful country but will be less dominant; power will shift from West to East; the appeal of al-Qaeda will lessen; a multipolar world will emerge with China, India and others playing greater roles; an "arc of instability" will stretch round the world among countries with young populations. 

First, a note of scepticism about these reports. 

In 1980, when Ronald Reagan was campaigning against President Jimmy Carter for the US presidency, he did so on the basis that the United States was about to be overwhelmed by the Soviet Union and Japan. At that time, Japan filled the role that China does now - it was going to take over the world with its economic muscle. 

United States 

In fact it was the US that reasserted itself. Part of it was the Bill Gates effect. A whole new industry was invented to help cushion the impact of the death of the old. Microsoft ruled the world. It was Japan that entered a long period of relative stagnation and indeed is hardly ever talked of these days as a world influence. As for the Soviet Union, we know what happened. 

That collapse in itself should give us pause when looking at this kind of long-range report. Almost nobody predicted it. Those that did were crying in the wilderness. The same people who failed in their predictions were then wheeled out to explain why the collapse they had not foreseen had taken place.

The same thing is going on right now over the financial crisis. 


If you look back at the Global Trends report issued in 1997, which peered ahead to 2010, the nearest time to our own, you can see the problems of prediction. That report said of Russia: "The erosion in the authority of the central Russian government that has occurred will not be easily reversed." 

President Putin has already reasserted central control and we have over a year to go before 2010.

Further, the 1997 report was quite optimistic about democracy in Russia: "President Yeltsin's successors could try to arrest the current sense of drift in Moscow. That said, authoritative leadership would not necessarily be the same as authoritarian rule. Strong leadership could buttress democratic institutions and norms still in their infancy..." Has that happened? 

To be fair, that report did accurately forecast one future trend of Russian policy: "The most likely outlet in foreign policy would be Russian efforts to rebuild a sphere of influence over its immediate neighbours." 

And I noticed that, on Iraq, it correctly said that Saddam Hussein would be gone. 

So one must arm oneself with prudence when reading these reports. They are often influenced by what is going on right now, which they then simply project into the future. For example the current report appears to have been written before the worst of the current credit crunch and assumes that economic growth will continue in much the same way that it has in the past. 

There are also flashes of the blindingly obvious. If oil prices go up, we are told, major exporters will do well. If prices come down, they will not. Yes. 

But having said that, there are some useful indicators and overall the importance of a document like this, if it does its job properly, is to remove from national leaders any suggestion that they have all the answers. 

This report will be welcomed round the world and by many in a United States that has just elected a new president committed to changing the way America does business. It puts an end to talk that came to the fore just before the Bush administration took office in 2001 - which was that a "New American Century" was at hand, in which the US would use its power to assert its beliefs for the good of the world as it saw fit. 

The report says that the Western model of economic liberalism, democracy and secularism "may lose its lustre". The implication of that is we will hear less about democracy as a way of justifying policy than we have in recent years. 

That will not be welcome to those for whom democracy is a beacon. But it is probably a realistic expectation. 


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

India: Pirate 'mother ship' left in flames

(CNN) -- An Indian warship has exchanged fire with a pirate "mother vessel" off the hijacking-plagued Horn of Africa, leaving the ship ablaze in the Gulf of Aden, an official said Wednesday.


 A file photo shows the Indian frigate Tabar, which was involved in the skirmish.


The skirmish took place Tuesday evening about 525 kilometers southwest of Oman's Salalah port when the frigate INS Tabar spotted a suspected pirate ship with two speedboats in tow, India's 

Defense Ministry reported. 

"This vessel was similar in description to the 'Mother Vessel' mentioned in various piracy bulletins," the ministry said in a written statement. 

The battle follows a recent surge in piracy off the Horn of Africa, including the weekend hijacking of a Saudi-owned supertanker by pirates based in largely lawless Somalia.   

Three other vessels have been captured since then in what a London-based maritime official called a "completely unprecedented" situation. 

When the Tabar's crew hailed the ship and demanded it stop for inspection, the pirates threatened to destroy the Indian ship, the ministry reported. 

"Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The vessel continued its threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar," the ministry said. 

The Indian frigate returned fire, setting the pirate ship ablaze and setting off explosions on board, 

the statement said. Two speedboats in tow behind the ship fled; one was found abandoned after a pursuit by the Tabar. 

It was not clear Wednesday whether the mother ship sank after the fighting, naval spokesman Prem Raj Rawat told CNN. 

Michael Howlett, assistant director of the International Maritime Bureau in London, which tracks pirate attacks, said the recent upsurge in activity was unprecedented. "We've never seen a situation like this," he said.  

On Tuesday, pirates hijacked a Thai fishing vessel and a Chinese-flagged Iranian cargo ship carrying wheat in the waters off the Horn of Africa. 

A third ship -- a Chinese fishing vessel -- was hijacked Saturday, but word did not reach authorities until Tuesday, Howlett said. 

Noel Choong, who heads the IMB's Piracy Reporting Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said 95 pirate attacks have taken place so far this year in the Gulf of Aden. 

Of those, 39 resulted in successful captures; 17 of those vessels and their crews -- a total of about 300 sailors -- remain in the hands of the pirates. 

But the seizure of the 300,000-ton supertanker Sirius Star took place well south of the gulf, in the Indian Ocean off Kenya. 

Pirate attacks are spreading farther north to the Gulf of Aden and farther south off the Kenyan coast, Choong said. 

"The risks are low and the returns are extremely high for these pirates," he told CNN. Pirates know that their chances of getting killed or captured during a hijacking are very low, he said.

Related Article:

Sunken 'pirate ship' was actually Thai trawler, owner says

Somali Islamists 'hunt pirates'

India navy 'to go after pirates'

Somali pirates transform villages into boomtowns

Russian Navy to increase anti-pirate patrols

World grapples with pirate problem

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The Jakarta Post, Tue, 11/18/2008 7:54 AM



A soldier waves to his family shortly before taking part in a ceremony to mark the official dispatch of Indonesian troops to Lebanon on Monday. Indonesia sent 1,136 troops to join peacekeeping efforts with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

President calls for speedy realization of independent Palestine state

Washington DC, (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on the US administration to push for the speedy realization of an independent Palestine state. 

As could be concluded from the recent US presidential election campaigns, Iraq and Afghanistan were two issues that would be of immediate priority to the US administration, President Yudhoyono said when speaking before 200 members of the US-Indonesia Society (USINDO) here on Friday. 

"But I also would like to make an appeal that the present and next US administration push -- and push hard -- for the speedy realization of an independent Palestine state," the Indonesian head of state said. 

Yudhyono on the occasion commended President George Bush for his important policy shift, advocating a two-state solution where Palestine and Israel can live side by side peacefully."That is also the position of Indonesia," he said. 

However, despite the Annapolis Conference's recommendation for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in 2008, the President regretted that there was still no sign that it would happen in the remaining time in 2008. 

"I therefore sincerely hope that the next US administration would pick up where President Bush left off, and make it a priority issue," he said. 

The realization of the much awaited two-state solution would considerably reduce strategic and political tension in the Middle-East and also significantly enhance America's image in the Muslim world, he said. 

"And it will be good for the 21st century world order," he added. 

According to Yudhoyono, President-elect Barack Obama is well equipped to deal with all this. He has a strong electorate mandate. 

The life, personal experience and heritage of President-elect Barack Obama is such that he commands an appeal that on the international stage can cut across cultures, race and religion. 

President-elect Obama can therefore capitalize on the high degree of expectation and goodwill that he is receiving from the international community. 

"I am confident that the next US administration will be able to meet these global challenges with imagination, with resolve, and with great effect," the president said. 

He also said that he had noted the US President-elect's positions on several international issues such as on UN reform, MDGs, climate progress, Global Education Fund, and aid to developing countries. 

"..and I have found his approach to be refreshing," he said. 

He said that 20th century was the century of hard power marked by two World Wars, plus several other major and minor wars. 

"The 21st century will be the century of soft power. It will be shaped not by wars, but by globalization, diplomacy, cultures, exchanges, connections, outreach, technology, integration," he said. 

Yudhoyono recalled President-elect Barack Obama, in a speech before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, insisted that 'the American moment has not passed', and called for today's generation to 'seize that moment'. 

"I am utterly convinced that such 'American moment' will depend on how much soft power America is able to effectively spread throughout all corners of the world. This would be the best transformation that American can make as a 21st century superpower," he stated.


Summit pledge to 'restore growth'


World leaders at the G20 financial summit in Washington have pledged to work together to restore global growth. 

They said they were determined to work together to achieve "needed reforms" in the world's financial systems. 

US President George W Bush said that finance ministers would now work on detailed reform proposals, and then report back. 

Leaders of emerging economies said the summit marked a historic shift of power away from the richer countries. 

Mr Bush's successor in the White House, Barack Obama, said in a statement that he was ready to work "together on these challenges" with the G20 when he takes office in January. 

"The president-elect believes that the G20 summit... is an important opportunity to seek a coordinated response to the global financial crisis," said a statement issued in his name. 

The meeting brought together leading industrial powers, such as the US, Japan and Germany, and also emerging market countries such as China, India, Argentina, Brazil and others - representing 85% of the world economy. 

Summit agreements 

For the leading emerging economies, the significance of this G20 summit was clear - they now have to be taken into consideration in the management of the global economy. 

Brazil's President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, said: "We are talking about the G20 because the G8 doesn't have any more reason to exist." 

Key issues agreed by world leaders at this summit included: 

  • reform of international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
  • an agreement by the end of 2008, leading to a successful global free-trade deal
  • improvements to financial market transparency and ensuring complete and accurate disclosure by firms of their financial conditions
  • making sure banks and financial institutions' incentives "prevent excessive risk taking"
  • asking finance ministers to draw-up a list of financial institutions whose collapse would endanger the global economic system
  • strengthening countries' financial regulatory regimes
  • taking a "fresh look" at rules that govern market manipulation and fraud.

In his address at the end of the summit, Mr Bush said there was no doubt that the financial crisis facing the United States and many other countries was a severe one. 

He said it had even been conceivable that the US "could go into a depression greater than the Great Depression". 

"We are adapting our financial systems to the realities of the 21st century," he said. 

Speaking after the summit, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the group had reached important conclusions "about trade, about financial stability and about the expansion of our economies". 

'Market principles' 

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the global financial structures created at the end of WWII were now inadequate. 

"It will be necessary to rebuild the whole international financial architecture, make it open and fair, effective and legitimate". 

The stalled Doha round of global trade talks should be pushed forward so that a basic agreement can be reached before President Bush leaves office in January, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

"If there is the political will, it would be good if we could reach an agreement in the Doha round with the present US administration." 

In their joint closing statement, leaders said the reforms would only be successful, if they were "grounded in a commitment to free market principles". 

G20 leaders say they will meet again by 30 April, 2009, to review progress. 

The next summit looks set to be held in London, with US President-elect Obama attending. 

Although no formal decision has been announced, France's President, Nicholas Sarkozy, made it clear that he expects London to be chosen as the venue. 

The G20 group of countries consists of 19 leading industrialised and developing countries, as well as the European Union.


It's a bit rich, Sir Bob Geldof

Michael Warner, Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia, November 15, 2008 12:00am  

ANTI-poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof charged $100,000 to come to Melbourne and give a speech about world suffering. 

Geldof, 54, spoke about the tragedy of Third World poverty and the failure of governments to combat the crisis, at a Crown casino function on Thursday night. 

But the Herald Sun can reveal the outspoken human rights activist charged about $100,000 for his trouble -- a speaker's fee that included the cost of luxury hotel rooms and first-class airfares. Fellow activist the Rev Tim Costello, World Vision's CEO, spoke for free. An event insider said the Geldof payments included the costs of a minder. 

"It was an inspiring speech. But when you think he got paid $100,000 to talk about poverty, it seems like a bit of a contradiction," the insider said. 

"That's $100,000 that could have made a difference to poverty right there. Everyone in the audience would have walked away in awe. If only they knew the full story." 

The payment is believed to have been funded by event sponsors including the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Geldof's speech was the highlight of Thursday night's eighth annual Diversity@Work business awards at Crown Palladium.

Diversity@Work is a private company providing workplace consulting and training. 

Its CEO, Mark Heaysman, last night refused to say how much was spent to lure Geldof, who was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1986 for his Live Aid campaign. 

"The aim of the Diversity@Work awards is to bring the very important issue of providing better opportunities for people with disabilities and those from diverse backgrounds to the public spotlight," Mr Heaysman said. 

"It is important to have high-profile supporters of the awards, to help spread this important message. It is a great shame if this issue is overshadowed." 

Geldof appears on various websites spruiking the lucrative international speakers' circuit. Mr Costello confirmed yesterday that he was not paid to speak. "I know nothing of any fees," he said.

Related Article:

Sir Bob Geldof unimpressed with NZ

Saturday, November 15, 2008


The Jakarta Post

The Associated Press, USA | Sat, 11/15/2008 7:54 AM

U.S. President George W. Bush (top center) welcomes world leaders (from left to right) President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina, President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, President Hu Jintao of China, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, to the State Dining Room of the White House for the start of the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy in Washington on Friday. (AP/Lawrence Jackson)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hong Kong Enters Recession

By CHESTER YUNG, The Wall Street Journal 

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong joined the growing list of economies that have slipped into recession as growth in the third quarter was hit by softening global demand for goods and services, prompting the government to cut its economic growth forecast for 2008. 

Hong Kong's gross domestic product fell 0.5% from the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, following a fall of 1.4% in the second quarter, according to government data released Friday. 

Economists predict this economic downturn will be deep as the world struggles to recover from the financial crisis. They said Hong Kong is now in a technical recession as the economy has 

contracted on a quarterly basis for two consecutive quarters, and expect that it will worsen next year and possibly last until 2010. 

"This is only the beginning of the economic aftershock, and the territory will likely continue to suffer from tremors in the coming quarters," DBS economist Connie Tse said. 

"The local economy can no longer rely on household spending and private investments to fuel growth," Ms. Tse said. "The melt down in the equity market and declining job security have left business and consumer confidence flagging." 

The Hong Kong government also cut its full-year 2008 GDP outlook to 3% to 3.5% from the previous 4% to 5% forecast, but kept its expectations for the consumer price index unchanged at 4.2% for the full year. Last year, Hong Kong's economy grew 6.4%. 

The government said the economy was hit hard in September as the "outbreak of the global 

financial tsunami" battered the local stock market and hurt consumption at the same time weak external demand slowed exports. 

Irina Fan, senior economist at Hang Seng Bank, said Hong Kong won't recover until 2010 "at the earliest." 

"The whole world has changed radically since September, and we expect the recession will deepen," Ms. Fan said. 

Hong Kong now joins the European Union, Germany, Singapore and New Zealand as an economy in recession. Japan is close to recession and will release its third-quarter GDP figures Monday. 

Hong Kong's last recession came in 2003 when the SARS outbreak devastated the economy in the first and second quarters. While that was a sharp downturn, the recovery was quick as the disease was contained. 

Core-Pacific Yamaichi economist Benny Lui said the situation now is worse than it was during the SARS outbreak. 

Government economist Helen Chan said Hong Kong was in better shape now than it was during the 1997-98 financial crisis, though she acknowledged it wasn't clear if a turnaround can begin next year. 

On a year-to-year basis, Hong Kong's economy grew 1.7% in the July-September quarter, slowing sharply from the second quarter's 4.2% year-to-year rise. 

—Jeffrey Ng and Jackie Cheung contributed to this article. 

Write to Chester Yung at chester.yung@dowjones.com