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, January 31, 2010

Rwanda becomes African model state

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 31 January 2010 - 10:14am, by Sebastiaan Gottlieb
Fifteen years after it plunged into genocide, Rwanda has emerged as a safe and stable country. The economy of this small African nation is the fastest growing on the entire continent. Political order has come under the leadership of President Paul Kagame.

Almost all of those involved in the Rwandan genocide have now stood trial at the Gacaca community justice courts. Nearly 800,000 people have been convicted. A number of them are serving their sentences in Mpanga prison, which was partly funded by the Netherlands.
Many people outside of Rwanda still base their view of the country on the terrible massacres and atrocities which took place during the genocide of 1994. But that image is now outdated. Rwanda is rapidly developing into a model state for Africa.
The ethnic tensions between Hutus and Tutsis appear to be under control. A law has been passed which forbids making reference to different population groups. Everyone in the country is Rwandan and no more distinctions are made along ethnic lines.
Rwanda has not only raised its economic and political profile but it is also making significant strides on the environment, with a strong focus on renewable energy and combating pollution. Increasing numbers of people are hooked up to eco-friendly power. And once a month, everyone in Rwanda helps keep the streets and doorsteps clean.
Rwanda is by far the least polluted country in Africa. There is even a ban on plastic bags, which have been entirely replaced by paper. In many ways, Rwanda can serve as an example, not only to other African countries but also to the wealthy countries of the West.

Chinese vice premier proposes way forward for world economy at Davos

English.news.cn, 2010-01-29 21:37:18

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday outlined China's response to the economic crisis and its follow-up policies and put forward proposals for global recovery.

In a keynote speech delivered at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the eastern Swiss ski resort of Davos, Li said the theme of the meeting, "Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild", embodied the spirit of cooperation and innovation in discussing world economic development in the post-crisis era.

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech in the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 28, 2010. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

Detailing China's response to the crisis, Li said it was resolute decisions and timely measures taken by the central government that helped China post an overall growth of 8.7 percent last year during the global economic crisis.

"With an increase of 380 billion dollars in gross domestic product (GDP), China's contribution to world economic recovery is obvious," he said. "To effectively cope with the crisis, we increased public spending by a large margin and carried out structural tax cuts."

In the fourth quarter of 2009, China's central government revenue, household income and profits of businesses all increased in tandem with GDP growth, Li said.

The vice-premier said it should be stressed that, despite the international financial crisis, the fundamentals and long-term positive trend of China's economic development remained unchanged.

"As we stand at a new historical juncture, we must change the old way of inefficient growth and transform the current development model that is excessively reliant on investment and exports," Li said.

China would transform its current growth pattern and explore a new development model in the post-crisis era, he said.

The vice-premier said China's future direction had three aspects: a focus on boosting domestic demand to drive economic growth; reliance on technological innovation, energy conservation and emissions reductions to promote industrial restructuring and upgrading; deeper reforms and more opening up to the world.

To promote world economic recovery and sustained development in the post-crisis era, Li laid out a five-point proposal.

  • "First, we should continue to work together and prevail over the crisis. The policies of one country can well impact those of others. Only when global economic recovery is achieved can the recovery of national economies be secured," he said.

  • "Second, we should promote a more open market," Li said, adding that this was the only way forward in the continued response to the crisis. Opening-up could be both bilateral and multilateral. Trade protectionist practices would only exacerbate the economic crisis, slow down the recovery process and ultimately harm the interests of the very countries who applied such measures.

  • "Third, we should promote balanced development of the world," said the Chinese vice premier. Only by helping developing countries out of economic backwardness could the world ensure enough food and clothing for their people and poverty was reduced. And only by tapping the potential demand of developing countries could the global market be expanded and unemployment around the world reduced.

  • "Fourth, we should jointly tackle major challenges," he said. This was an urgent task to ensure sound recovery and sustained development of the world economy. The international community ought to coordinate actions to meet the challenges.

  • "Fifth, we should improve the structure of global governance," Li said. The world needed not only more consensus and actions but reliable institutional guarantees, i it was to overcome the crisis, open up markets, promote balanced development and address major challenges.

Li said he was confident that, as long as the international community pursued development in a spirit of cooperation and built a common future with inclusiveness, the world economy would embark on a path of sound recovery and sustained development.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Out of Aceh's experience, hope for rebuilding Haiti

The Washington Post, by Joachim von Amsberg, Friday, January 29, 2010

Haiti’s damaged National Palace.

The official death toll of the recent earthquake in Haiti is more than 110,000. That tens of thousands more may have been killed puts this tragedy on par with that wrought by the tsunami that struck South Asia in December 2004, killing about 200,000 people and displacing more than half a million just in Indonesia's Aceh province. There are other parallels between these disasters. Haiti is a poor country long plagued by governance issues. Even though Indonesia is a well-functioning state, Aceh at that time had been ravaged by decades of conflict between the Indonesian government and Acehnese groups fighting for independence. Whatever government had existed in Aceh was severely diminished by the tsunami.

Yet Aceh today is a vibrant place where families live in houses and communities, children attend school and farmers tend to their fields. Its reconstruction is widely recognized as a success, and that work could offer a silver lining for Haiti.

In Aceh, about 140,000 houses have been rebuilt, 2,500 miles of roads have been constructed, and 200,000 small and medium-size businesses have been supported. Indonesia concluded an agreement seven months after the tsunami with the independence fighters that gave important autonomies to Aceh in return for a peace that has lasted. That pact laid the foundation for the investment and economic development that have taken place.

While the memories of the tragedy linger, what can be rebuilt has been rebuilt. In numerous trips to Aceh over the past 2 1/2 years, I have seen enough redevelopment and spoken to enough local people to know that Aceh has been built back better than it was before the tsunami. Today, Aceh has functioning local and provincial governments that work together with the national government to provide services for its people. There is a functioning state in Aceh. By no means is it flawless, but it holds promise for more social and economic progress and development.

Aceh's experience provides hope that at least the physical and economic damage from natural disasters can be overcome. Hope that out of the desperation of disaster can come the desire for reconciliation after conflict and for establishing an effective state or nation that can address the challenge of rebuilding. No two disasters are the same, but a few keys to success from the Aceh tsunami reconstruction experience should be kept in mind as international support is channeled to Haiti:

  • First, local and national leadership count. While Aceh's local government was decimated, Indonesia's national government led the recovery and reconstruction efforts. The president appointed a personally trusted, experienced leader to manage the reconstruction and created an agency with overarching powers to coordinate billions of dollars of investments by 350 organizations in 12,500 projects. International partners may have to take the lead in Haiti during a transition period, but there is no substitute for national leadership in the long run.

  • Second, empowering people is key. In Aceh, strong top-down leadership was complemented by the empowerment of the people and communities. Victims became development workers. Aid recipients and former combatants became community facilitators. Displaced families became workers who rebuilt their houses. By channeling a large share of reconstruction funds directly to communities, the people of Aceh's problems were transformed as they became part of the solution. Their hard work meant that houses were built faster, at a lower cost, and better met the needs of the people.

  • Third, coordinating global aid is critical. International development partners supported reconstruction through coordinated approaches that were aligned behind government leadership and Aceh's priorities. Fifteen donor countries and donor organizations pooled $700 million in a multi-donor fund administered by the World Bank. Instead of 15 separate housing and road projects with different procedures and criteria, which would have overstretched the limited capacity of local institutions, one well-coordinated program was implemented by communities, government and U.N. agencies, and respected nongovernmental organizations.

There are, of course, many differences between Haiti today and Aceh five years ago. But as we found in Aceh, recovery is possible. The first priority, as it was after the tsunami, is the vast humanitarian task that is underway. But if the international community comes together, aligns its efforts and coordinates support that prioritizes the interests of the people affected by disaster and puts them in the driver's seat, Haiti's future can look much brighter than its past ever did.

Joachim von Amsberg, the World Bank's country director for Indonesia since 2007, oversees the bank's management of the Multi Donor Fund for Aceh and Nias.

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Haiti survivors facing disease outbreaks

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 29 January 2010 - 9:07pm

Survivors of Haiti's earthquake are facing outbreaks of diarrhoea, measles and tetanus, according to the World Health Organisation.

The WHO says medical teams have been reporting a growing number of cases of the diseases over the past few days. Cases have also been reported in the resettlement camps, where many of those who have lost their homes are now sheltering. UN agencies and the Haitian government are planning to launch a vaccination campaign next week. The authorities are also warning of soaring crime after 7,000 inmates escaped from prison on the day of the quake. The country's police chief, Mario Andresol, says there has been a growing number of violent assaults and rape cases.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Twitter Working on Ways to Evade Government Censorship

Jakarta Globe, January 28, 2010

Twitter helped get photos and information out of Iran during anti-government protests last year. (AFP Photo/Twitter)

Developers are coming up with new strategies to help Twitter evade censorship in countries like China and Iran, says the CEO of the popular micro-blogging service.

Evan Williams said programmers were working on "interesting hacks" to get around roadblocks erected by foreign governments.

“We are partially blocked in China and other places and we were in Iran as well,” he said as quoted by the Financial Times.

Instead of negotiating with governments that censor, "whose very being is against what we are about," Williams said he would rather find technological ways to get around such barriers.

He said he admired Google for standing up to China over its web censorship, but said Twitter was too small to adopt a similar strategy.

The company did not release details of the work, but said it was being done by third-party developers.

Williams said Twitter had an advantage over some other web-based media because it "is accessed in thousands of ways" through multiple internet and mobile applications.

Twitter played a key role in getting information out of Iran during anti-government protests there last year, while traditional media outlets were hobbled by government censorship.


Iranian riot policemen pursue opposition supporters during protests in Tehran on December 27, 2009

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Editorial: Don’t Underestimate SBY’s First 100 Days

I will listen to positive criticism: SBY

No laughing matter: College students participate in a rally denouncing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's performance after the first 100 days of his second term in office in front of the Gadjah Mada University compound in Yogyakarta on Thursday. Similar rallies were being staged elsewhere across the country on Thursday. Antara/Wahyu Putro

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rights group slams treatment of Mideast minorities

The Jakarta Post, Paul Schemm, (AP), Cairo | Tue, 01/26/2010 10:33 PM

A New York-based human rights organization criticized the governments of five Middle Eastern countries Tuesday, including close U.S.-allies Jordan and Saudi Arabia, for their treatmen of women and minorities.

Human Rights Watch released the chapters of its 2010 World Report that deal with Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, accusing them of poor treatment of women, minorities and refugees.

"Middle Eastern governments need to recognize that the rights of minorities, refugees, and stateless persons need greater protections," the group's Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson, said in a statement.

The release of these latest chapters of the annual report follows Sunday's description of the post-election crackdown in Iran and the mistreatment of migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates.

The chapters described a pattern of discrimination against minorities in the region, including Saudi Arabia's treatment of its 2 million-strong Shiite population and Syria's repression of its Kurds.

In Lebanon, the report criticized the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, while asserting that the Yemeni government committed violations in its battle with Shiite rebels in the north.

Tensions with Shiites in Saudi Arabia reached new heights in 2009 when clashes between Shiite pilgrims and security guards in the city of Medina resulted in scores of arrests. At least one Shiite mosque was closed down in the kingdom.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

RI wins US praise for religious tolerance

Lilian Budianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 01/26/2010 9:54 AM

Indonesia’s religious tolerance has won praise from the US government and civil society groups despite concerns that the country may tilt toward more radical Islamic ideas, with several regions enacting sharia-based bylaws and hardliners reportedly trying to stifle pluralism.

Indonesia and the US kicked off a three-day interfaith dialogue Monday in Jakarta to deepen bilateral cooperation and cultural relations.

The 20-member US delegation is led by Pradeep Ramamurthy, senior director for global engagement of the White House National Security Council.

The Indonesian delegation comprises 30 people from religious organizations, including Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, and is headed by Andri Hadi, the Foreign Ministry’s director general for information and public diplomacy.

A member of the US delegation, William F. Vendley, who is the secretary-general of Religions for Peace, said the American perception of Indonesia was positive, with people increasingly aware Indonesia was the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.

“The US government is enormously impressed with both the Indonesian government’s and the people’s commitment to pluralism. Although the majority of the population is Muslim, they welcome diversity... They see Indonesia as a model for a religiously diverse society functioning in a harmonious and peaceful fashion.”

Vendley said the American community did not see the enactment of sharia-based bylaws and hardliners’ recent moves to ban Muslim pluralist activities as a looming threat to diverse religious life as “there is deep confidence that there is a profound [national] commitment to Pancasila”, the country’s ideology that defends freedom of religion.

“Educated Americans are alert to the shape of Islam globally actually look to Indonesia as a bridging country... well-positioned to understand pluralism, which is very characteristic of the US, and at the same time a country that is uniquely positioned to function as a faithful interlocutor and partner with other countries that have less pluralism,” he said.

Under the regional autonomy system, several local administrations in Indonesia have enacted sharia-based bylaws that require Muslim women to wear a hijab or put them under restrictions at night in relation to outdoor activities. Moderates have also been alarmed by hardliner groups attempting to impose harsh restrictions on the way women may dress and perform on television broadcast shows, especially under the pornography law, as well as recent attacks on minority places of worship.

“We haven’t focused so much on these issues and what we want to emphasize is that Indonesia is diverse and embraces diversity...” said Darcy Zotter, deputy political counselor of the US Embassy in Jakarta.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the idea of the interfaith dialogue was floated by then foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda during a visit to the US to meet US Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton last June.

“Today, we convene to... implement the commitment to strengthen the voice of moderation and foster dialogue for cooperation as one way to address today’s critical challenge,” Marty said.

The interfaith dialogue is part of US-Indonesia cooperation covering a range of areas from education to counter terrorism to sanitation that have been established in the context of a comprehensive bilateral partnership.

Masjid Istiqlal Jakarta Indonesia

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Tibet envoys leave for fresh talks with China

Reuters, Krittivas Mukherjee, NEW DELHI, Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:13am EST

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Top envoys of the Dalai Lama will arrive in China for talks on Tuesday, the Tibetan government-in-exile said, the latest attempt to revive dialogue that has stalled since 2008.

The two sides have held eight rounds of talks since 2002, but little of substance has been achieved. The last round of discussions in July 2008 ended in acrimony.

The envoys, Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, will be accompanied by three other Tibetan officials, the Tibetan government-in-exile based in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala said in a statement on Monday.

China's Foreign Ministry referred questions relating to the Tibetan envoys to the United Front Work Department, which was not available for comment. The Religious Affairs Bureau was also unavailable.

The envoys' visit come days after Beijing held a top policy meeting on Tibet. The meeting pledged to "leap-frog" the development of Tibet by raising infrastructure quality and agricultural incomes to national levels by 2020, according to a Xinhua news agency report at the weekend.

Tibet's potential for social instability makes it a possible risk for investors in China and a key area for foreign governments interested in the country's peaceful development, analysts say.

But any significant progress at the talks on Tuesday was unlikely and the dialogue could be more a Chinese need to be seen as engaging the Tibetans to resolve the issue.

"Because the international community is beginning to perceive all these years of talks as a cynical Chinese exercise, there is a greater degree of accountability now devolving on Beijing," said Alka Acharya, professor of East Asia studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

China accuses Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, who fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Communist rule, of manipulating opinion and governments in the West.

China has blamed the Dalai Lama's "clique" for the deadly unrest in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas in 2008.

The Dalai Lama says he is campaigning for meaningful autonomy for the strategic Himalayan border region. But China, which says it sent troops in 1950 to Tibet to liberate the country from feudal serfdom, says he is bent on independence.

(Additional reporting by Lucy Hornby in BEIJING; Editing by Matthias Williams and Sanjeev Miglani)

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OPM founder supports autonomy

Antara News, Monday, January 25, 2010 18:48 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The founder of the separatist Free Papua Organization (OPM), Nicolaas Jouwe, here Monday declared his commitment to supporting development in Papua under the special autonomy law enacted by the central government.

"I and my associates are ready to work with the government to develop Papua province," Jouwe said here on Monday after a meeting with Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono.

But Jouwe who is a member of the supervisory council of the Independent Group Supporting Special Autonomy for Papua within the Republic of Indonesia (IGSSARPRI) also said the government should evaluate its special autonomy policy on Papua province.

"The government`s budget for the implementation of special autonomy in Papua province is quite large. It is hard to believe that the budget funds made available are not enough to develop Papua," Jouwe said in a written recommendation.

Jouwe who had for the past 40 years lived in the Netherlands said the government should strictly supervise the use of state budget funds allocated to Papua, and investigate those suspected of corrupting the money.

He also urged the government to widen the local people`s access to banks and medical services.

"What is also needed now is a meeting between the government and prominent Papua figures to discuss plans to develop Papua," he said.

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Burma hints of Aung San Suu Kyi release in November

By Rachel Harvey, BBC South East Asia correspondent, Bangkok

Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained for 14 of the past 20 years

Reports from Burma suggest the military government may be planning to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi later this year.

Sources say the Burmese home minister told a meeting of local officials that Ms Suu Kyi would be freed in November.

This is when her current period of house arrest is due to expire.

Her detention was extended by 18 months last August, over an incident in which an American man swam, uninvited, to her lakeside home.

Burmese officials have hinted many times that Aung San Suu Kyi may be released, but it is the first time in recent months that a putative date has been attached to the idea.

Appeal pre-empted?

The comments are reported to have been made by a senior minister at a provincial town meeting four days ago.

It is a measure of how tightly information is controlled in Burma that it has taken this long for the reports to filter out.

Aung San Suu Kyi's own lawyer told the BBC he had heard the rumour but could not confirm it.

And if indeed she is released in November, key questions about the terms of Aung San Suu Kyi's possible freedom remain.

Would there be conditions attached? Would her activities be restricted? And, crucially, would her release come before or after planned elections?

There is also the matter of the legal appeal against Aung San Suu Kyi's current detention.

The Supreme Court is due to deliver its verdict in the next couple of weeks.

But if the military government says she will continue to be detained until at least November, the court's decision has been somewhat undermined.

Tin Oo

The minister, Maung Oo, is also reported to have said that the vice chairman of Aung San Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), will be released in February.

Tin Oo, 82, has been in prison or under house arrest for more than a decade.

If he is released, he could have a key role in deciding whether or not the NLD participates in the elections due later this year.

No date for the poll has yet been set.

But if Tin Oo is released in February, and Aung San Suu Kyi remains in detention until November, it could indicate that the elections are pencilled in for a date sometime between the two.

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US commander signals peace talks with Taliban

Gen Stanley McChrystal says there has been "enough fighting"

The top US commander in Afghanistan has said a negotiated peace with the Taliban is the way forward.

Gen Stanley McChrystal told the UK's Financial Times that there had been "enough fighting" and he wanted a political solution to the conflict.

President Obama's deployment of 30,000 extra US troops to Afghanistan would weaken the Taliban enough to force it to agree a peace deal, he said.

He added that the Taliban could help run the country in future.

His comments come ahead of an international conference on Afghanistan due to be held in London later this week.

"I'd like everybody to walk out of London with a renewed commitment, and that commitment is to the right outcome for the Afghan people," Gen McChrystal said.

Recently, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the BBC that he planned to introduce a scheme to attract Taliban fighters back to normal life by offering money and jobs.

He said he would offer to pay and resettle Taliban fighters to come over to his side.

Mr Karzai said he hoped to win backing for his plan from the US and UK at the London conference.

'Right outcome'

"As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there's been enough fighting," Gen McChrystal told the Financial Times.

"I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it's the right outcome," he said.

Gen McChrystal said the arrival of the extra 30,000 US troops pledged by President Obama and the additional 7,000 troops promised by other Nato countries should deliver "very demonstrably positive" progress.

"It's not my job to extend olive branches, but it is my job to help set conditions where people in the right positions can have options on the way forward," he said.

Gen McChrystal also said that the Taliban could have a role in a future Afghan government.

"I think any Afghans can play a role if they focus on the future, and not the past," he said.

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US envoy praises Indonesia for sending aid to Haiti

Antara News, Monday, January 25, 2010 13:28 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - US Ambassador to Indonesia Cameron R. Hume has praised the Indonesian government for sending aid to earthquake-devastated Haiti.

"Yet this week Indonesia is making generous contributions to the people of Haiti in their greatest need. Indonesia`s extended hand is not a mere gesture. It is a significant act of leadership," Ambassador Cameron said in his statement published on the official website of the US embassy in Jakarta, Monday.

The aid for Haiti, in many ways, was similar to Indonesia`s pledge to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a pledge that triggered positive promises from other governments, he said.

"Indonesia is playing a key role in creating a world community ready to respond to the challenges of the 21st century," he said.

Fate and geography make Indonesia uniquely vulnerable to natural disasters. The Aceh tsunami of five years ago made an indelible impression on the entire world, but other events as recent as last year`s earthquakes in western Java and Padang reminded the people of Indonesia`s vulnerability, Hume said.

"First, why is Haiti important? Despite its favorable location in the Caribbean, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest countries in the world," Hume said.

Its people suffer from disease, malnutrition, wretched public services, and lack of economic opportunity. But they also have a proud history of being the second country to fight for and win their independence from colonialism, and they have a rich artistic culture. But for the past century development has passed Haiti by. There must be a way to turn around that decline, according to the US ambassador.

"Second, what does Indonesia have to offer? Quite a lot that is in greatest need, especially skill and experience: 30 doctors with a field hospital and medicine, 25 communication workers, 10 electricians, plus supplies and food. Indonesia knows how to respond to a natural disaster, and it knows that human solidarity counts. Anyone who has watched the extensive television reports from Haiti would know that Indonesia will be helping to meet Haiti`s most urgent needs," he stated.

"Third, why can`t others meet these needs? My own country, like others, has been quick to dispatch rescue workers, medical teams, and supplies - but we know that acting alone cannot be adequate. Isn`t it likely that the resourceful Indonesian who brought emergency cell phone service back to Padang might have just the skills most needed?," he said

The US ambassador said that Haiti lacked basic infrastructure even before the earthquake.

The roads, port, electricity grid, water and sanitation service, and communications are broken or destroyed by the earthquake.

"Little wonder that delivering assistance the last meter to a victim is so hard," he said.

The United Nations, including its Brazilian-led peace-keeping force, is at the center of international efforts to help Haiti. The organization has its own reasons to grieve the loss of so many able and dedicated staff.

Hedi Annabi, the Secretary-General`s special representative, died in the rubble of the UN headquarters last week.

"He was a remarkable man -- calm in crises, straightforward in discussions, dedicated to doing the good he could, able to appreciate irony, but never cynical. Others now need to step forward," Hume said.

According to the envoy, Indonesians should be proud of their government`s actions to help Haiti.

"Although Haiti is a small, poor country on the other side of the world, our future depends on leadership that brings together global responses to what might appear as local needs. Indonesia is playing its part to provide that kind of leadership, both on the ground in Haiti and at the conference tables of the climate change talks, the G-20, and elsewhere. Indonesia`s leadership makes it an important partner for the United States," he said.

`Men anpil, chay pa lou` is a Haitian proverb which means, with many hands, the burden is light. "Indonesia is lending an impressive hand to the Haitian relief effort," he added.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Dutch complain about Chinese protectionism

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 21 January 2010 - 3:17pm

Dutch complain about Chinese protectionism

Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Frank Heemskerk wants the World Trade Organisation to rap China on the knuckles for alleged protectionist behaviour. He accuses Beijing of forcing Finnish shipbuilder Wärtsilä to move its ship engine and thruster production from the Netherlands to China. At least 570 Dutch jobs will be lost because of the move.

Mr Heemskerk says China's action violates international trade laws. Beijing is stepping up its demands that all parts of Chinese products are made in China.

The issue had been raised with the Ministry of Economic Affairs by the employers' organisations VNO-NCW and EVO.

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Thousands rally against free trade treaty in Surabaya, Semarang

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 01/21/2010 4:50 PM

Act local: Members of labor associations shout protests against the free trade agreement between ASEAN countries and China (ACFTA) during a rally in Semarang, Central Java. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said the government may provide incentives for industries negatively affected by the agreement. Antara/R. Rekotomo

Thousands of workers took to the streets in Surabaya, East Java, and Semarang, Central Java, on Thursday to protest the implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), Antara state news agency reported.

The protesters in Surabaya, who came from the East Java regencies of Gresik, Sidoarjo, Pasuruan, Mojokerto and Jombang, staged their protest rally outside the East Java Legislative Council on Jl. Indragiri.

Sudarmadji, the coordinator of the rally, said ACFTA would pose a serious threat to workers in East Java because it would make domestic products less competitive than Chinese products that would flood domestic markets.

"The government should anticipate it because ACFTA will only make the people miserable," Sudarmadji said in front of the legislative building.

Separately in Semarang, Central Java, thousands of workers also staged a similar rally in front of the state radio station RRI office on Jl. Ahmad Yani from where they marched to the Central Java Legislative Assembly building under tight police guard.

Central Java Provincial Legislative Assembly deputy speaker Bambang Sadono came out of the building and met the protesters. He said the workers' plea would be taken into consideration by the council and would be voiced to the central government.

"Central Java Governor Bibit Waluyo will today send a letter to the central government and ask for a postponement of the free trade agreement," Bambang told the demonstrators.