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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Monday, May 31, 2010

Israel flotilla action criticized by friends and foes

Reuters, Cynthia Johnston, DUBAI, Mon May 31, 2010 6:48am EDT

A pro-Palestinian activist is evacuated to a hospital in the northern city of Haifa May 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Alex Rozkovsky)

(Reuters) - Israel's storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla set off an international furor on Monday, threatening to further strain ties with Turkey and drawing criticism from friends and enemies alike.

France's foreign minister said he was "profoundly shocked" by the violence that killed at least 10 pro-Palestinian activists on board a convoy of six ships. The European Union called for an enquiry into the incident.

The head of the Arab League said Arab states must reconsider their dealings with Israel in light of the violence while Turkey, traditionally its strongest Muslim ally in the region, summoned the Jewish state's ambassador.

"Israel's attack indicates Israel is not ready for peace. Israel attacked the liberty fleet because it feels it is above the law," Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said in Doha.

"There is no benefit in dealing with Israel in this manner and we must re-assess our dealing with Israel," he said.

Israeli commandos intercepted the aid flotilla on Monday. Officials said they were met with knives and staves when they boarded the ships, which included a ferry flying the Turkish flag.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the interception was unacceptable.

"Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behavior," the ministry said in a statement.

Television images from Ankara showed dozens of people gathered outside Israeli Ambassador Gabby Levy's residence in the Turkish capital.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the killings as a massacre and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the violence could not be justified.

"I am profoundly shocked by the tragic consequences of the Israeli military operation against the Peace Flotilla for Gaza," Kouchner said in a statement.

"The circumstances of this drama must be fully brought to light and we wish for a thorough inquiry to be put in place without delay."


Iran, one of Israel's biggest foes in the Muslim world, said the killings were "inhuman" and would help lead to the Jewish state's demise.

"All these acts indicate the end of the heinous and fake regime and will bring it closer to the end of its existence," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state broadcaster


In the Arab world, analysts said the incident was such an overreaction to an attempt to challenge Israel's Gaza blockade that it could put the brakes on any further efforts at normalization and may derail the peace process.

Israel has previously halted such activist ships, although some others have reached the Gaza Strip before.

"For the Arab world, any hope of a peace process with this government is going to evaporate. If they are going to react to this simple issue of humanitarian supply this way, the message is very clear," said Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Center.

Israel says food, medicine and medical equipment are allowed in regularly to Gaza. It says an embargo is needed to stop weapons and materials that can be used to produce them from reaching Hamas Islamists.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said the move was a "crazy step" that risked inflaming conflict in the region.

The Arab League, which has endorsed indirect peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel that started last month, called an emergency meeting for Tuesday to discuss the violence.

In Cairo, the violence also inflamed public opinion on the streets.

"What do you expect from a state that even America fears and cannot stop or do anything to except use empty diplomatic words?" said Mohamed Morsi, a 45-year-old restaurant owner.

(Additional reporting by Marwa Awad and Alex Dziadosz in Cairo, Ramin Mostafavi in Tehran, James Mackenzie in Paris, Yara Bayoumy in Beirut, Tamara Walid in Dubai and Khaled Oweis in Damascus, Writing by Cynthia Johnston)

Demonstrators protest against Israel at Taksim square in Istanbul on Monday. At least 10 activists were killed in an Israeli naval takeover on Monday of a Gaza-bound aid convoy, an Israeli military spokesman said. (Reuters Photo/Osman Orsal)

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Indonesia to build hospital in Gaza

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/29/2010 6:49 PM

Just between friends: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) speaks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas prior to their meeting at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Saturday. During the bilateral meeting, Indonesia agreed to build a hospital worth Rp 20 billion in Gaza. – Courtesy of Presidential Palace

Indonesia has agreed to allocate Rp 20 billion (US$2.15 million) for construction of a hospital in Gaza while maintaining its support for an independent state of Palestine.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a joint press conference with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday that Indonesia was ready to extend humanitarian assistance to people of Palestine.

“We will build a hospital worth Rp 20 billion in Gaza with a hope it will add to health facilities there,” Yudhoyono said after 30 minutes of bilateral meeting with Abbas at the Presidential Palace.

Indonesia, Yudhoyono added, also offered to continue its assistance in the form of capacity building to Palestine when it gains its full-fledged independence.

Yudhoyono underlined Indonesia’s commitment to playing its part in the peace process as requested by Palestinian leaders. A new peace process that involves Middle East countries will be the most acceptable negotiation to realize an independent Palestine state and to permanently bring peace back to the region.

In his statement, Abbas wished he could say a prayer with Yudhoyono in Al Aqsa Mosque when an independent Palestine state took shape.

Related Article:

Gaza hopes to welcome blockade-busting flotilla

UN talks back conference on nuclear-free Middle East

BBC News, Saturday, 29 May 2010 9:56 UK

Iran has faced international pressure over its nuclear programme

Nearly 200 nations, signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), have agreed to work towards a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

The members, meeting at the UN in New York, called for a conference in 2012 attended by Middle Eastern states - including Iran - to establish the zone.

The unanimously agreed document also said that Israel should sign the NPT.

US President Barack Obama backed the deal but said he was "strongly opposed" to Israel being singled out.

The US says the reference could jeopardise efforts to persuade the Israelis to attend the 2012 talks.

An Israel official later denounced the document as "hypocrisy".

"Only Israel is mentioned, while the text is silent about other countries like India, Pakistan and North Korea, which have nuclear arms, or even more seriously, Iran, which is seeking to obtain them," a senior government official told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

'Important step'

The 28-page final declaration was agreed by 189 member states following intense talks on the last day of a month-long conference on strengthening the NPT, the cornerstone of global disarmament efforts.

The document calls for the United Nations secretary general to organise a meeting of Middle East states in 2012 to agree to the creation of a "zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction".

"All eyes the world over are watching us," said conference president Libran Cabactulan, of the Philippines, as the final text was approved.

Egypt's Maged Abedelaziz, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement of 118 developing nations, welcomed the decision, saying it was "an important step forward towards the realisation of the goals and objectives of the treaty".

Diplomats discussing the proposals had continued talks late into the night on Thursday before resuming on Friday.

One of the sticking points involved Israel, which is not a member of the NPT, and is widely believed to have nuclear weapons. It has never admitted possessing them.

Arab states and Israel's allies had to work hard to find agreement over wording for the proposed nuclear-weapons-free zone.

Correspondents say Arab nations want to put pressure on Israel to relinquish its undeclared nuclear arsenal.

Iran also made a late demand that the five recognised nuclear-armed nations agree to a timetable for negotiating a treaty to abolish their arsenals.

In the final document adopted, no specific timetable is set out but the five states commit to "accelerate concrete progress" towards reducing their nuclear arsenals and to report back on that in 2014.

Iran has faced repeated questions over its own nuclear programme, which the West believes is aimed at making weapons. Tehran insists it is solely designed to meet its energy needs.

Iran, a member of the NPT, says it will stick to its obligations under the treaty.

The NPT has encountered difficulty in coming up with the best method for monitoring suspect nuclear programmes in Iran and North Korea.

India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel - which are known or suspected to have nuclear weapons - are not signatories to the treaty. They are not covered by any NPT agreement.

The NPT conference meets every five years. The last review conference, in 2005, failed to adopt a consensus declaration.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Earthquake sparks South Pacific islands tsunami warning

BBC News, 18:32 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 19:32 UK

A tsunami warning has been issued to islands in the South Pacific after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake in the area.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said that the Solomon islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia had received warnings.

The earthquake hit 133 miles (244 km) northwest of Santo on the island of Vanuatu at 1714 GMT.

Vanuatu lies on the so-called Ring Of Fire, a series of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches which encircle the Pacific basin.

"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours," the tsunami centre told Reuters.

It said it was not yet clear whether a tsunami had actually been generated

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Saudi woman activist: government must grant women's rights

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 27 May 2010 - 4:18pm | By Abir Sarras

(Photo: YouTube + news.gov.kw)

For many, the typical image of a Saudi woman is an oppressed veiled figure deprived of basic rights. Saudi activist Wajeha Al Huwaider has been showing the defiant side of Saudi women by the simple act of putting a video on YouTube.

With this alternative form of activism she has attracted Western media to the issues that have been brushed under the diplomatic carpet for too long.


One of the videos was a big hit on the internet two years ago. For the occasion of International Women's day, Al Huwaider was shown behind the wheel of a moving car. In the video she says:

"I am driving the car now in Saudi Arabia in a remote area where women are allowed to drive cars. But in cities, where women need them, they are forbidden to drive".

In the video she pleads with the Saudi interior minister to allow women to drive. She also offers her services giving driving lessons to other women. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to be alone in a room or a car with men they are not directly related to.

Blocking forces

But while Al Huwaider agrees that the problem lies mostly in the social acceptance of giving women more rights, in an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide she says: "Regardless of what forces exactly are blocking our rights, the responsibility lies with the Saudi government which must change the legislation that discriminates against women".

It is unlikely, however, that women will take to the streets of Riyad or Jeddah in a mass protest. According to Al Huwaider, most women are too afraid to take any kind of action. She had to conduct some of her activities alone because other female activists bailed out at the last minute.

But the biggest stumbling block is the delicate relationship between Saudi Arabia and the West and the powerful position it enjoys because of its wealth, thinks Al Huwaider. This has prevented foreign governments from pressuring Saudi Arabia to clean up its human and women's rights records.

In an article published in The Washington Post late last year, Al Huwaider described the "guardianship rules" that Saudi woman are subjected to as "most humiliating". Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to travel, study or start a business of their own without the written agreement of a male guardian like a father, brother, husband or son.

When Al Huwaider, who is divorced and the mother of two boys, was detained for questioning at the border between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the authorities refused to release her on her own. She had to call her younger brother in order to be released.

Alternative protest

After her arrest, Al Huwaider was banned from continuing her activism including writing articles on the matter. Instead she has been campaigning in alternative ways and on various women's issues such as driving, child marriage and the freedom to travel. During a visit to Virginia last year, she staged a protest in front of a car dealer and addressed the American auto industry. Her message to them was: "Saudi women want to buy your cars (and many can afford to). But first, you must support our fight for the right to drive".

Al Huwaider is an award-winning writer and activist. In 2004, she received the PEN/NOVIB Free Expression award in The Hague. For a while she also wrote for the Saudi newspaper Al Watan, the largest in the country. But she suspects her activism has prompted the editors to stop publishing her articles.

(Photo: Al Nisa)

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Amnesty Backs World Court, Slams Global Injustice

Jakarta Globe, Guy Jackson, May 27, 2010

London. Amnesty on Thursday called for the US, China and Russia to sign up to the International Criminal Court, in a hard-hitting report alleging powerful governments have blocked advances in global justice.

The trio and four of their fellow G20 nations — India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — must drop their opposition to the ICC, Amnesty said, as it unveiled its annual snapshot of global human rights.

The head of the London-based organization also called on Thailand to allow international investigators to help probe the army’s crackdown on protesters this month.

Amnesty International’s interim Secretary General Claudio Cordone said the group wanted “to ensure that no one is above the law”.

“Our report shows that powerful states hold themselves above the law and protect their allies so justice is only served when expedient,” he said at the report’s launch.

The group said no country could justify its refusal to fully sign up to the ICC — the only independent, permanent court with authority to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

However, Cordone said he was confident that the initially fierce US opposition to the court was lessening under President Barack Obama. “We feel that such opposition may be softening,” he said in an interview.

“If governments are serious about justice then they realize that this court is operating to proper human rights standards, and there should be no reason why it shouldn’t be supported. “So in the end I am optimistic that the United States will join the court.”

While hailing the ICC’s arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir over alleged war crimes in Darfur last year as a “landmark”, Amnesty condemned the African Union for refusing to act on it.

Cordone said he hoped that, now South Africa had broken ranks and vowed to arrest Beshir if he steps on its soil, the rest of the African continent would follow suit.

Amnesty is deeply concerned about this month’s riots on the streets of Bangkok, said Cordone.

He conceded that Thai security forces had been confronted by opposition demonstrators using firearms. “But in their response we saw the army shooting indiscriminately among demonstrators and sometimes apparently they were targeting unarmed people.”

The riots had been quashed, but an unknown number of demonstrators remained in unofficial detention centres in which there was a risk that rights abuses could go unpunished, he said. “The first step for the government is to disclose how many people they are holding so that proper access can be granted.

“At the same time, there is also a need for a proper investigation and the Thai government may want to ask for international assistance to make sure that this investigation is independent and credible,” Cordone said.

Agence France-Presse

Membership (as of October 2009), Orange denotes states where membership treaty is signed but not yet ratified

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

RI told to be active in alleviating Korean tensions

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 05/27/2010 10:33 AM

Experts have urged the Indonesian government to be proactive and take an immediate action toward the escalating dispute gripping the Korean peninsula as the issue may eventually affect the country’s economy.

University of Indonesia international relations expert Hariyadi Wirawan said Wednesday although a “military war” was unlikely, Indonesia should take up the role of mediator to calm the rhetoric between the two Koreas.

“Our foreign policy is not only being neutral, but also free and active. [Meaning Indonesia should be] active in peacemaking and [helping create] global order,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

The Indonesian government, however, seems to be in limbo as to how to respond, and faces a lack of initiatives to offer during any peace talks, Hariyadi said.

The ongoing dispute on the peninsula would harm Indonesia’s economy because the matter also concerned some of the world’s big- gest economies, including China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea itself, said Hariyadi.

“Indonesia’s economy [also] relies on development of East Asia’s economy,” he said.

Hariyadi also said Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or Vice President Boediono should be involved to throw weight behind any mediation because Jakarta was perceived

by Pyongyang to be aligned with Seoul.

He said Indonesia had lost respect on the peninsula since President Yudhoyono cancelled his planned trip to both North and South Korea in 2006.

Yudhoyono took a trip to South Korea later in 2009 during a ASEAN meeting on Jeju Island.

Bandung-based Padjajaran University security expert Yan Yan Mochamad Yani said Indonesia should urge peace in the peninsula through global forums, like ASEAN, the G-20 and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), adding that Yudhoyono carried sway as one of the world’s top figures.

Both Indonesia and North Korea are members of NAM, but the South Korea is not.

“Indonesia can be a moderate in an ASEAN [forum], conveying the voice of ASEAN members [over Korean dispute], as the ongoing situation in East Asia will undoubtedly affect Southeast Asia,” Yani told the Post.

The renewed tensions between North and South Korea began when a guided torpedo tore apart South Korean navy vessel Cheonan near a disputed sea border off the west coast killing 46 sailors.

A team of international investigators have concluded the torpedo was fired from a North Korean submarine, prompting South Korea to take punitive measures ranging from slashing trade, resuming propaganda warfare and blockading the North Korean cargo ships.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One billion ton blast from the Sun headed to Earth

TheWeatherSpaceNews — 25 mei 2010 — One billion ton blast from the Sun headed to Earth

A magnetic filament on the sun erupted yesterday, May 24th, and the blast hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) in the general direction of Earth. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action around the blast site.

Shortly after the eruption, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spotted a billion-ton CME darting away from the sun. NOAA forecasters say there is a 35% chance of geomagnetic activity on May 27th when the cloud delivers a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

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Red Cross in Afghanistan gives Taliban first aid help

BBC News, 11:24 GMT, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 12:24 UK

Afghanistan is one of the ICRC's largest areas of operation

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it has given first aid training to Taliban members in Afghanistan.

An ICRC statement said the organisation had provided basic training and first aid kits to about 70 members of the "armed opposition" last month.

The ICRC said that it had also provided training to civilians.

A spokesman said that the training had been going on for some time to ensure that everyone is treated humanely.

The spokesman said the ICRC's constitution stipulates that all parties harmed by warfare will be treated as fairly as possible.

He said that giving first aid training to armies and armed opposition groups was "routine" in other conflict areas of the world such as Sri Lanka.

Correspondents say that revelations that the ICRC is providing first aid training to the Taliban are not a surprise, but will nevertheless not go down well with many in the Afghan government.

A Nato spokesman in Kabul said that the alliance respects the humanitarian work carried out by the ICRC and recognises the need for this work to be carried out impartially.

The spokesman pointed out that Nato frequently provided first aid to injured Taliban fighters.

'Impartial organisation'

The ICRC spokesman denied that by giving first aid training to the Taliban - rather than merely treating injured insurgents - it was crossing an important dividing line.

The ICRC attaches great importance to its impartiality

"Our aim is to treat people when and where it matters most, irrespective of what side they are on," he said. "It is a fundamental part of our objectives.

"We treat and train people on the basis of medical necessity as an impartial organisation, regardless of race or politics."

In a report on Tuesday looking at the state of Afghanistan's health services, the ICRC said that "fighting, mines and road blocks" were preventing many people in the conflict-affected areas from getting to hospital.

"The armed conflict is taking a heavy toll on health services around the country. Even basic first aid is often lacking, let alone advanced war surgery. And when health care is available, it is not always easy to get it," it said.

Afghanistan is the ICRC's biggest operation worldwide. It has 140 international and 1,540 national staff based in its main delegation in Kabul and in five sub-delegations and 10 offices countrywide.

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Red Cross defends first aid training for Taliban

Italy joins euro austerity drive

BBC News, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 21:26 UK

Silvio Berlusconi's cuts have already sparked protests from unions

The Italian government has approved austerity measures worth 24 billion euros (£20bn; $29bn) for the years 2011-2012.

The announcement makes Italy the latest eurozone country to announce cuts in an effort to reduce the gap between spending and earnings.

The UK and Danish governments also this week announced plans to curb spending.

Italy will take measures to reduce public sector pay and will put a freeze on new recruitment.

Public sector pensions and local government spending are also expected to be hit.

Added to these, a clampdown on tax avoidance is also planned.

The cuts are equal to some 1.6% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Similar reductions in spending measures have already been announced by Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Heavy price

Some Italian workers have already been out protesting.

In Rome, workers at the Italian Institute for the Professional Development of Vocational Training of Workers (Isfol) held protests against the cuts at their headquarters.

One worker, Simone Casadei, said the public sector had already paid a heavy price.

"The sector of public research has already paid its toll and suffered cuts in the past," said Ms Casadei. "So we are asking for our sector to be left out of the new budget cuts."

She added that the money should be raised by getting tough on tax evasion.

"We also demand that the money needed to face this problems... is obtained through a tough action against tax evasion.

"The state cannot always take the money from the same sources, that is workers and pensioners."

The government hopes to bring its deficit down to below 3% of GDP by 2012 - from 5.3% now - in order to help maintain the confidence of international investors and prevent the spread of a Greek-style debt crisis.

Concerns over the level of Greece's debts have led to an effective boycott of Greek debt on the world markets, and have spilled over into deepening worries about the other weakest members of the 16-nation eurozone: Spain, Greece and Italy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Strong earthquake hits western Brazil

English.news.cn, 2010-05-25 03:33:18

BRASILIA, May 24 (Xinhua) -- An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 occurred on Monday in the Amazonian state of Acre in Brazil's North Region, but had virtually no effect on the surface and caused no damage or casualties, the Seismological Observatory of Brasilia University (Obsis-UnB) told Xinhua.

The tremor happened at 11:18 local time (1618 GMT), measuring 6. 5 on the Richter scale and located at a depth of 580.5 kilometers. The epicenter is some 127 km from the city of Cruzeiro do Sul, where no damage was reported.

According to Obsis-UnB, the state of Acre is located in a place where the Nazca Plate meets the South American Plate, resulting in frequent earthquakes.

Though often strong in magnitude, the earthquakes usually occur in great depths and are hardly felt on the surface, explained Kate Tome Algarte, a geologist from the UnB seismological center.

The Fire Department of Cruzeiro do Sul told local media that nothing was perceived at any point in the city.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SKorea to take NKorea to UN over ship sinking

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Seoul | Sun, 05/23/2010 5:34 PM

Alive and kicking: A South Korean child shows a kicking motion in front of a poster of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, painted by North Korean defector Sun Moo, displayed at a Korean War exhibition in Seoul on Sunday. Officials say that South Korea will take Pyongyang to the U.N. Security Council over the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack. (AP/Ahn Young-joon)

South Korea will take Pyongyang to the U.N. Security Council as part of measures it will pursue over the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack, officials said Sunday.

An international team of investigators announced last week that a North Korean submarine fired a homing torpedo on March 26, tearing apart the 1,200-ton Cheonan and killing 46 sailors on board. North Korea called the investigation results a fabrication and warned any retaliation would trigger war.

On Monday, President Lee Myung-bak is to address the nation to define the tragedy as a "clear armed provocation" by North Korea and disclose his resolve to take "stern" action against the regime, according to his press adviser, Lee Dong-kwan.

Lee will announce what measures South Korea can take against North Korea on its own and in cooperation with the international community, the adviser said. The president "will also speak about referring (North Korea) to the U.N. Security Council," he said.

It is unclear what measures Seoul would solicit from the world body against Pyongyang. In general, however, punitive measures against a country involved in provocative acts include economic sanctions and adopting a statement condemning its acts, a presidential official said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

President Lee will also announce that South Korea will take all available "strong countermeasures" if North Korea engages in additional provocations, the adviser said.

After Lee makes a speech, his defense, foreign and unification ministers will hold a joint news conference later Monday to disclose what specific steps they will take against North Korea, according to the presidential adviser.

He gave no details. But news reports have said those measures include South Korea's massive anti-submarine drills with the United States near the site of the sinking, resuming propaganda broadcasts near the land border, drastically scaling back remaining economic exchange programs with North Korea and barring North Korean vessels from its waters.

Any such action is certain to draw angry response from North Korea, which has stepped its war rhetoric n recent days over the ship sinking.

"The army and people of (North Korea) will never pardon the group of traitors getting hell-bent on confrontation and war (and who) dare taking issue with fellow countrymen," the North's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary Sunday, carried by the officialKorean Central News Agency.

It threatened to "crush" South Korea, calling its Cheonan report an "enormous fabrication."

The two Koreas are still technically at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The tension comes amid U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to the region. Clinton is in China where she faces a diplomatic struggle to win Beijing's support for penalizing its ally North Koreafor the sinking.

In Tokyo on Friday, Clinton said the evidence was "overwhelming" that North Korea was behind the sinking and that the reclusive communist country must face international consequences.

She is expected in Seoul on Wednesday.

(Photo: BBC)

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BP refuses EPA order to switch to less-toxic oil dispersant

Oil washes ashore on 50 miles of Louisiana shoreline as tensions mount over how to treat the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

By Margot Roosevelt and Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times, May 23, 2010

Terrance Castle of Houma, La., wipes off sweat while cleaning up the oil on a beach near ElmerÂs Island, La. BP hired workers to clean beaches in southern Louisiana, where oil is 2 inches thick in some places. (Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times / May 22, 2010)

BP has rebuffed demands from government officials and environmentalists to use a less-toxic dispersant to break up the oil from its massive offshore spill, saying that the chemical product it is now using continues to be "the best option for subsea application."

On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the London-based company 72 hours to replace the dispersant Corexit 9500 or to describe in detail why other dispersants fail to meet environmental standards.

The agency on Saturday released a 12-page document from BP, representing only a portion of the company's full response. Along with several dispersant manufacturers, BP claimed that releasing its full evaluation of alternatives would violate its legal right to keep confidential business information private.

But in a strongly worded retort, the EPA said that it was "evaluating all legal options" to force BP to release the remaining information "so Americans can get a full picture of the potential environmental impact of these alternative dispersants."

So far, 715,000 gallons of dispersant has been applied since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, mostly on the spill's surface. The chemical has also been released near the leaking pipe on the seafloor.

Government officials have justified both uses, saying that if oil reaches the shore, it would do more environmental harm than if it were dispersed off the coast.

Dispersants break oil into droplets that decompose more quickly. But scientists worry that extensive use of the chemicals in the BP spill is increasing marine life's exposure to the toxins in oil.

"While the dispersant BP has been using is on the agency's approved list, BP is using this dispersant in unprecedented volumes and, last week, began using it underwater at the source of the leak — a procedure that has never been tried before," the EPA noted last week, acknowledging that "much is unknown about the underwater use of dispersants."

In the company's May 20 letter to the EPA and the Coast Guard, responding to the EPA's directive, BP operations chief Doug Suttles wrote that only five products on the EPA's approved list meet the agency's toxicity criteria. And only one, besides Corexit, is available in sufficient quantities in the next 10 to 14 days, it said.

But that alternative product, Sea Brat #4, according to BP, contains a chemical that could degrade into an endocrine disruptor, a substance that creates hormonal changes in living creatures, and could persist in the environment for years.

As the tensions over how to treat the spill escalated, reddish-brown washes of oil, 2 inches thick in places, soiled Louisiana beaches. Hundreds of workers scooped up gooey piles of sand and stuffed them into plastic bags.

"It is worse today than on the past two days," said Darren Smith, 43, sweating from his work raking sand at a wildlife refuge on Elmer's Island. "There's definitely more oil, and it's just going to keep coming."

Oil reach the marshlands on the NE pass of the Mississippi Delta May 23, 2010. (Credit: REUTERS/Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace/Handout)

No booms protected the Elmer's Island beach because the National Guard had focused on building dams to divert oil from the wetlands behind the beach.

A few miles away at Port Fourchon, plastic barriers that looked like pompoms were strung together along the beach but did a poor job of keeping out the oil. More than 50 miles of Louisiana shoreline has been contaminated so far.



BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, leaves the US interior department in Washington following meetings to discuss the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

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