Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)



.

.
"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. …

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Despite the clear seas and white sandy beaches of Raja Ampat, Indonesia, the islands' children face the gloomy reality of poor education

Friday, October 13, 2017

Indonesian bishop resigns amid mistress, corruption allegations

Indonesian bishop Hubertus Leteng was accused of having a mistress and siphoning off more than 100,000 euros in church funds. Leteng has denied the allegations.

Deutsche Welle, 12 October 2017


Pope Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Indonesia's Ruteng diocese, after the Vatican dispatched an investigator to look into allegations that he had had a mistress and skimmed over 100,000 euros ($118,000) from church funds.

The probe was triggered after dozens of priests resigned en masse to protest Leteng's conduct.

The 58-year-old Leteng has denied the allegations but did not offer any explanation about his premature retirement, almost 17 years before the usual retirement age for a bishop.

The Vatican also did not address the scandal or clarify why Leteng was retiring early. It named Sylvester San, a Bali-based Bishop of Denpasar, as a temporary replacement.

Leteng said the money was used to finance the education of poor youth, AP news agency reported, citing Ucanews, which reports on the Catholic Church in Asia. He termed allegations that he had a relationship with a woman "slanderous."

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, is home to some 45 bishops and 4,900 Catholic priests, according to 2015 Vatican data.

ap/bk (AFP, AP)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

First global pact backing indigenous land rights launched

MSN – AFP, Marlowe HOOD, 3 October 2017

Provided by AFP Brazilian natives demonstrate in front of the Planalto Palace in
Brasilia, during the National Mobilization Week to protest and demand their rights, in 2015

Native peoples struggling to retain or regain stewardship of forests that sustained them for countless generations may finally have backing from an organisation with both swag and sway.

The International Land and Forest Tenure Facility -- the first and only global institution dedicated to securing the land rights of indigenous communities worldwide -- was formally launched in Stockholm on Tuesday.

Funded by Sweden, Norway and the Ford Foundation, a major US philanthropy, the Tenure Facility has already provided grants and guidance for pilot projects in Peru, Mali, and Indonesia, helping local communities leverage rarely enforced laws to protect their land and resources.

Disputes over land rights in tropical forests teeming with exploitable resources -- from hard woods to precious stones to oil -- can quickly escalate into deadly conflict, and local peoples more often than not wind up on the losing end.

More than 200 environmental campaigners, nearly half from indigenous tribes, were murdered around the world in 2016 alone, according to watchdog NGO Global Witness.

Restoring some measure of control to the original inhabitants of forests appropriated by corrupt governments or extraction industries has also proven an effective bulkhead against global warming, according to a 2014 global survey by the US-based World Resources Institute, a think tank.

In Brazil, for example, deforestation in indigenous community forests from 2000 to 2012 was less than 1 percent, compared with 7 percent outside those areas.

'Unrelenting conflicts'

Provided by AFP Representatives of indigenous communities and activists protest
in front of the Chinese Embassy in Lima, Peru, on September 22, 2017, to support the
Achuar, Kichwa and Quechua Amazonic tribes affected by oil industry activities on their
ancestral lands


Tropical vegetation soaks up planet-warming CO2 emitted by the burning of fossil fuels.

Destroying these forests outright not only reduces the area available to absorb carbon dioxide, it also releases CO2 into the atmosphere, accounting in recent decades -- along with agriculture and livestock -- for more than a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

"We see climate change and inequality as two of the greatest existential threats facing the planet," said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker.

"Creating mechanisms that allow indigenous peoples and local communities to gain tenure over their land or forests is a way to tackle both these problems," he told AFP ahead of a conference keyed to the launch.

Walker has pledged five million dollars, and expects -- based on other grants in the pipeline -- the facility to have 100 million within a year.

The project aims over the span of a decade to boost forestland properly titled to indigenous peoples by 40 million hectares, an area twice the size of Spain.

Such efforts, they calculate, would prevent deforestation of one million hectares and the release of 500 million tonnes of CO2, more than the annual emissions of Britain or Brazil.

"The Tenure Facility provides a powerful solution to save the world's forests from the ground up," said Carin Jamtin, director general of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, a key funder.

Corruption and abuses

More than two billion people live on and manage half the world's land area in customary or traditional systems, yet indigenous communities have formal legal ownership of only 10 percent.

And even where they do have title, corruption and abuses have led to protracted conflicts with local and national governments, companies and migrant workers.

Native populations can even run afoul of major green initiatives to fight climate change or stem biodiversity loss.

A controversial UN-backed programme, for example, known as REDD+ -- Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation -- creates incentives to keep forests intact, paid for by rich nations or companies seeking to offset pollution under carbon trading schemes.

But the projects that REDD+ finances can push aside the needs and rights of indigenous peoples who are often most directly affected by the changes set in motion, critics say.

A peer-reviewed 2013 study -- one of the few to examine the impacts on local communities -- concluded that less than half of 50-odd projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia did anything to alleviate the poverty of forest-dependent peoples.

But many did enhance their land tenure rights, they concluded.

Related Article:


Friday, September 29, 2017

Panda diplomacy: Two giant pandas from China land in Indonesia

Yahoo – AFP, 28 September 2017

One of two giant pandas stays inside a cage as they arrive at the
Sukarno-Hatta airport in Indonesia

Two giant pandas from China arrived in Indonesia on Thursday in an act of "panda diplomacy" aimed at celebrating 60 years of bilateral ties.

Cai Tao and Hu Chun, both aged seven, arrived from Sichuan province and will be housed at a safari zoo in Bogor, a city near the capital Jakarta.

The pandas were lent by Beijing to mark the diplomatic anniversary despite recent tensions between the nations, with a number of clashes between Chinese and Indonesian vessels in the South China Sea.

The delivery is the first time Indonesia has been lent pandas, the country's forest and environment ministry said, making it the 16th country to be gifted with the animals by China.

A safari zoo will be their home for the next ten years once they clear an initial month-long quarantine.

"We hope we can breed them, that Hu Chun and Cai Tao will mate so they'll have offspring while they're here," said Yulius Suprihardo, a spokesman for Taman Safari Indonesia.

The zoo has built a 1,300 metres squared panda home for Cai Tao, who weighs 128kg (282 pounds), and Hu Chun, who weighs 113 kg (249 pounds).

Giant pandas are considered vulnerable and there are only about 1,800 in the wild, according to conservation organisation World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

China's use of giant pandas -- a national icon -- as gifts has a long history and has been dubbed "panda diplomacy".

Indonesia maintains it has no maritime disputes with China in the South China Sea, unlike other Asian nations, and does not contest ownership of reefs or islets there.

But Beijing's expansive claims in the sea overlap Indonesia's exclusive economic zone -- waters where a state has the right to exploit resources -- around the remote Natuna Islands.

The skirmishes have prompted Indonesia to bolster defences there.

In July, Indonesia changed the name South China Sea to North Natuna Sea to show its sovereignty in the waters, prompting criticism from Beijing.

Balinese Hindus offer prayers to calm Mount Agung, a volcano that is threatening to erupt for the first time in more than 50 years


Related Article: 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Indonesia Rejects UN Recommendation to Abolish Death Penalty

Jakarta Globe, Sheany  September 25, 2017

Indonesia on Thursday (21/09) accepted 167 of the 225 recommendations it
 received from international delegations during the 27th session of the United
Nations Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, earlier in May, but crucially rejected
a recommendation to abolish the death penalty. (Photo courtesy of Foreign
Affairs Ministry)

Jakarta. Indonesia on Thursday (21/09) accepted 167 of the 225 recommendations it received from international delegations during the 27th session of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, earlier in May, but crucially rejected the recommendation to abolish the death penalty.

Indonesia said the remaining 58 recommendations, including ones on abolishing the death penalty, addressing past human rights violations and ending prosecutions under blasphemy laws, "were noted" but considered "not in line with the priorities in Indonesia’s human rights agenda."

Indonesia went through its third UPR cycle in May, and had straight away accepted 150 recommendations put forward by 101 delegations during the review while placing the remaining 75 under further examination.

Indonesia stated its final position on the pending recommendations during the 36th session of the Human Rights Council last week.

During the session, Indonesia reaffirmed its position that "the death penalty is still a prevailing positive law in Indonesia."

"However, the revision of the penal code had provided a more robust safeguard in due process of law on the death penalty," Indonesia's deputy permanent representative to the UN office in Geneva, Michael Tene, said.

The United Kingdom said it "regretted that the recommendations on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty had not been supported" and repeated its call that no evidence suggests death penalty is a more effective deterrent than alternative forms of punishment.

Other delegations in the session also expressed concerns that the Indonesian government had not addressed discrimination against minority groups in the country, which include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and followers of religious minorities.

"Indonesia took note of the remaining 58 recommendations with the consideration that they are not in line with the priorities in Indonesia’s human rights agenda. Some of the recommendations were also inaccurate and not based on facts," Michael said, according to a statement released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) urged the Indonesian government nevertheless to take some measures to deal with the recommendations it did not accept, including "measures to eradicate impunity, prioritize the settlement of gross human rights violations, guarantee freedom of religion and belief, ensure freedom of expression and abolish the death penalty.”

Komnas HAM and Amnesty International also noted that Indonesia has yet to ratify several international human rights accords, including the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture and Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Former President Yudhoyono Praises Humanitarian Aid Sent to Rohingya Refugees

Jakarta Globe, September 24, 2017

Former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. (Photo courtesy of BeritaSatu
News Channel)

Jakarta. Former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono praised Indonesia's dispatch of humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees initiated by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, saying that the move is "correct" but needs to be followed up with a stronger push to encourage neighboring countries to pay more serious attention to the ongoing crisis in Myanmar's western Rakhine State.

On Sept. 13, Indonesia dispatched its first batch of aid in the form of rice, instant meals, sanitation supplies, tents and water tanks to Rohingya Muslim refugees displaced from their homes in Myanmar and who are now in neighboring Bangladesh.

"What President Jokowi has done was correct […] I have observed this [news] when I was in Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia] and Singapore. It was the right thing to do, it needs to be followed up with further actions, like encouraging Asean and other countries to help Myanmar in tackling the humanitarian crisis," Yudhoyono said last week, referring to the Association of Southeast Nations.

Susilo, commonly known as SBY, gave a special interview with Claudius Boekan, BeritaSatu News editor-in-chief, at the former president's home in Bogor, West Java, last week.

Jokowi's aid mission, dubbed "Civic Mission Indonesia," made national headlines two weeks ago following pressure put on the administration to provide assistance to Rohingya Muslims being driven from Rakhine State by the Myanmar military.

In recent weeks, many Indonesian Muslims have made daily demonstrations in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Central Jakarta to call for an end to the large-scale military operation taking place in Rakhine.

Embassy staff have put up barbed wire fence around the building in recent days, after a petrol bomb thrown at the edifice caused a small fire earlier this month.

Islamist groups in the country also planned to stage a massive protest at Central Java's Borobudur Temple — the largest Buddhist temple in the world — to protest against the Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya, though that plan was quickly quashed by police.

Jokowi and foreign minister Retno Marsudi earlier went on a diplomatic mission to Myanmar, where Retno met with Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar has seen mounting pressure to end violence that has sent more than 300,000 Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, with the United States calling for the protection of civilians and Bangladesh seeking international help to handle the crisis.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Poverty in paradise: The dark side of Indonesia's new tourism hope

Yahoo – AFP, Kiki Siregar, September 22, 2017

A tableau of white sandy beaches, colourful coral reefs and turquoise water, the
 islands of Raja Ampat are set to be Indonesia's next tourism hotspot -- but locals
fear the government is failing both them and the environment in its development
push (AFP Photo/GOH CHAI HIN)

Raja Ampat (Indonesia) (AFP) - A tableau of white sandy beaches, colourful coral reefs and turquoise water, the islands of Raja Ampat are set to be Indonesia's next tourism hotspot -- but locals fear the government is failing both them and the environment in its development push.

Stretching across 67,000 square kilometres in Indonesia’s far east, the picture-perfect islands might be as close to paradise as visitors can find.

"It’s amazing. We’ve been to millions of islands and I would say it’s the most beautiful one," Canadian Angelika Redweik-Leung said at a lookout above the Pianemo island group.

Raja Ampat -- which means Four Kings -- is made up of 1,500 islands and is home to about 1,400 varieties of fish and 600 species of coral -- making it one of the most biodiverse marine habitats on earth.

Indonesia's government is intent on turning the area into a tourism hotspot, building hotels, restaurants and investing in new harbours.

But on a palm-fringed island about two hours boat ride from Raja Ampat's capital Waisai, villagers still live in simple huts that lack electricity and clean water, while the nearest high school is scores of miles away.

Locals in Indonesia's Raja Ampat told AFP they had seen no improvements to their
 lives despite the dramatic rise in visitors. According to government estimates around 
15,000 tourists now come to the area each year -- up from less than 5,000 in 2010
 (AFP Photo/GOH CHAI HIN)

Locals told AFP they had seen no improvements to their lives despite the dramatic rise in visitors. According to government estimates around 15,000 tourists now come to the area each year -- up from less than 5,000 in 2010.

"They've hurt us indigenous people. They took our land, our water and our forest. We feel betrayed," Paul Mayor, chief of the island's Byak Betew tribe, said of the government's tourism drive.

"That's our land, our ocean, which now is a world-class tourist destination, but we've gained nothing from the influx of tourists," he added.

Mayor also criticised authorities for failing to properly protect the area's unique ecosystem, pointing to a catastrophic cruise ship crash in March, which damaged 13,500 square metres of pristine coral reef.

The 4,200-ton Caledonian Sky ran aground near the island of Kri carrying 102 passengers and 79 crew, but half a year later no one has been held accountable.

Raja Ampat -- which means Four Kings in Indonesian --- is made up of 1,500 islands
 and is home to about 1,400 varieties of fish and 600 species of coral -- making it one
 of the most biodiverse marine habitats on earth (AFP Photo/GOH CHAI HIN)

'We are still poor'

Researchers from the University of Papua, who assessed the impact of the accident, said restoring the damaged reef could cost as much as $16.2 million.

The head of tourism for Raja Ampat, Yusdi Lamatenggo, said the company operating the boat -- Noble Caledonia -- will be summoned to appear in court soon but so far they have not accepted responsibility or paid any damages.

In the meantime, he told AFP, steps were being taken to prevent further accidents by establishing clearly demarcated cruise ship routes and world-class harbours.

But the accident has fuelled feelings of mistrust and exclusion often felt by Papua's indigenous Melanesian population. The resource-rich region was annexed by Jakarta in 1969 and most Papuans feel they have not been given an even share of its natural riches.

The military retains heavy influence in the region and regularly stifles dissent.

After taking office in 2014, president Joko Widodo pledged to speed up development in Papua, but many locals insist they have been forgotten.

"There has been no change," Ariel Fakdawer, head of Saukabu village in Raja Ampat told AFP.

"They've hurt us indigenous people. They took our land, our water and our forest. 
We feel betrayed," Paul Mayor, chief of the island's Byak Betew tribe, said of the
government's tourism drive (AFP Photo/GOH CHAI HIN)

"The yearly Raja Ampat festival, for example, attracts thousands of tourists but we gain nothing from that. We are still poor, but the organizers of such festivals, outsiders, they have made a fortune," he added.

Indigenous groups say they need communication satellites, electricity, better infrastructure, and the right to govern themselves by customary law.

"The government never fulfils our needs because they don't understand what we want," chief Mayor said.

"I believe the government has to approach us by bearing in mind our cultural needs. They have to talk to us indigenous people," he insisted.

But not everyone is against the rush to open up Raja Ampat to the world.

Villager Medzke Karoswaf explained: "This is a modern world. We cannot live isolated like in a cave forever. We have to be open-minded. Like it or not, we don’t live alone in this world."

Bali volcano on highest alert level, thousands flee

Yahoo – AFP, September 22, 2017

Hundreds of small tremors have rattled the mountain this week, causing almost
10,000 people to leave their homes as of Friday over fears of a volcanic eruption
(AFP Photo/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

Indonesian officials raised the highest possible alert for a volcano on the resort island of Bali late Friday, after tremors prompted thousands to flee over fears it could erupt for the first time in more than 50 years.

Mount Agung, about 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August and officials have recommended that people stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

Hundreds of small tremors have rattled the mountain this week, causing almost 10,000 people to leave their homes as of Friday over fears of a volcanic eruption.

"Tremors happen very often, so we are afraid and I have taken all my family members to the refugee shelter," villager I Wayan Suwarjana told AFP.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho advised people to stay calm and not to believe rumours.

The airport on Bali's capital Denpasar, a top holiday destination that attracts millions of foreign tourists every year, has not been affected but airport management are watching the situation closely.

The Australian government put out a travel advisory Friday instructing travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia and follow the instructions of authorities.

More than 1,000 people died when Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Another town scraps Australia Day, drawing government ire

Yahoo – AFP, 14 Sep 2017

Another town scraps Australia Day, drawing government ire
   
Sydney (AFP) - Marking Australia Day is like celebrating the Holocaust, a Melbourne politician said as her council scrapped a holiday it deemed offensive to Aboriginal people, in a move the government on Thursday labelled "extreme and divisive".

The council in the Melbourne suburb of Moreland became the third in Victoria state to decide not to recognise Australia Day.

The annual holiday, on January 26, commemorates the arrival of the country's first British settlers in 1788 and is a time when citizenship ceremonies are held.

But it is termed "Invasion Day" by many indigenous Australians who say it marks the beginning of the decline of Aboriginal culture.

In debating the issue Wednesday, Moreland Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton said commemorating Australia Day "would be like celebrating the Nazi Holocaust", state broadcaster ABC reported.

Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke said in a statement the government rejected "the extreme and divisive nature of the discussion Greens and Socialist councillors are promoting".

He said the government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull "strongly condemns comparisons of Australia Day with the Nazi Holocaust as deeply offensive to all Australians".

"Australia Day is a recognition of our shared history and the Turnbull government, along with the vast majority of Australians, indigenous and non-indigenous, fully support Australia Day remaining on January 26."

Australia's colonial history credits Captain James Cook with discovering the country, but Aboriginal people inhabited the land for more than 60,000 years before the first European explorers arrived.

Last month a war of words erupted over colonial-era statues in Australia, with several in Sydney defaced, including one of Cook with the words "change the date" in reference to Australia Day.

The vandalism sparked a furious response from Turnbull, who brushed off calls for the statues to be torn down, adding that the defacement was "what Stalin did" in denying history.

Aborigines remain the most disadvantaged Australians. They were believed to have numbered around one million at the time of British settlement, but now make up only about three percent of the total population of 24 million.


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Philippine church bells ring in drug war protest

Yahoo – AFP, September 14, 2017

Philippine police have reported killing more than 3,800 people to fulfil President
Rodrigo Duterte's vow to rid the country of narcotics (AFP Photo/NOEL CELIS)

Church bells rang across the mainly Catholic Philippines late Thursday as bishops rallied opposition to the "reign of terror" that has left thousands dead in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war.

Police have reported killing more than 3,800 people to fulfil Duterte's vow to rid the country of narcotics, with the 15-month crackdown triggering wider violence that has seen thousands of other people found dead in unexplained circumstances.

An elderly church sexton tugged on a rope to ring a 171-year-old bell atop the San Roque cathedral, its slow, deep peals sweeping over the vast slums of northern Manila around the 211-year-old church.

"Many of the drug killings had taken place in this diocese," Ryan Rezo, another church employee, told AFP.

Church leaders said bells around the country would simultaneously ring for five minutes from 8:00 pm (1200 GMT) to honour the dead and remind the living that the bloodshed must stop. The ritual will continue for 40 nights.

"We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal. We cannot govern the nation by killing," Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said in a pastoral letter last week launching the campaign.

The president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, followed up this week with an even stronger pastoral letter.

'Reign of terror'

"For the sake of the children and the poor, stop their systematic murders and spreading reign of terror," Villegas wrote.

Duterte won last year's presidential elections on a brutal law-and-order platform in which he promised an unprecedented campaign to eradicate illegal drugs in society by killing up to 100,000 traffickers and addicts.

Duterte has made the drug war the top priority of his administration, and has regularly encouraged more bloodshed with comments such as describing himself as "happy to slaughter" three million addicts.

Nevertheless, the president and his aides reject allegations they are overseeing a crime against humanity.

They say police are killing only in self-defence, and the thousands of other unexplained murders could be due to drug gangs fighting each other.

Many Filipinos looking for quick solutions to crime continue to support Duterte, according to polls, and he enjoys majority backing in both houses of Congress.

But the Church has emerged as the leader of a growing opposition in recent months.

The killings of three teenagers, two of them at the hands of police in the northern Manila district of Caloocan on consecutive nights last month, sparked rare street protests against the crackdown.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo David said earlier Thursday he was giving refuge to two witnesses to the killing of one of the three slain boys.

"If you are a relative of a victim of extrajudicial killing or a witness to the extrajudicial killing of a particular victim, now is the time to come out," he told reporters.

Church officials say the tolling of bells for the dead originated from the Crusades, when Christian nations of Europe sent military expeditions to reclaim holy places in the Middle East.

The Catholic Church, to which eight in 10 Filipinos belong, has a history of influencing politics in the Philippines and helped lead the "People Power" revolution that overthrew dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Duterte has repeatedly praised Marcos as a "hero", and made speeches seeking to discredit the Church.



Tunisia scraps ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims

Yahoo – AFP, September 14, 2017

Tunisia is viewed as being ahead of most Arab countries on women's rights
(AFP Photo/FETHI BELAID)

Tunis (AFP) - Tunisia has abolished a decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, the presidency said Thursday.

"Congratulations to the women of Tunisia for the enshrinement of the right to the freedom to choose one's spouse," presidency spokeswoman Saida Garrach wrote on Facebook.

The announcement comes a month after President Beji Caid Essebsi called for the government to scrap the ban dating back to 1973.

Until now a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.

Human rights groups in the North African country had campaigned for the ban's abolition, saying it undermined the fundamental human right to choose a spouse.

Tunisia is viewed as being ahead of most Arab countries on women's rights, but there is still discrimination particularly in matters of inheritance.

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“… With free choice, the percentage of DNA efficiently started to go down as humanity grew. As soon as the DNA started to lose percentage, the gender balance was dysfunctional. If you want to have a test of any society, anywhere on the planet, and you want to know the DNA percentage number [consciousness quota] as a society, there's an easy test: How do they perceive and treat their women? The higher the DNA functionality, the more the feminine divine is honored. This is the test! Different cultures create different DNA consciousness, even at the same time on the planet. So you can have a culture on Earth at 25 percent and one at 37 - and if you did, they would indeed clash. …”

“… You're at 35. There's an equality here, you're starting to see the dark and light, and it's changing everything. You take a look at history and you've come a long way, but it took a long time to get here. Dear ones, we've seen this process before and the snowball is rolling. There isn't anything in the way that's going to stop it. In the path of this snowball of higher consciousness are all kinds of things that will be run over and perish. Part of this is what you call "the establishment". Watch for some very big established things to fall over! The snowball will simply knock them down. …”

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Suu Kyi and Myanmar face chorus of anger over Rohingya crisis

Yahoo – AFP, September 4, 2017

Malala Yousafzai said she is waiting for fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung
 San Suu Kyi to condemn the 'tragic and shameful treatment' of the Rohingya
Muslims in Myanmar (AFP Photo/ALFREDO ESTRELLA)

Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai and mainly Muslim countries in Asia led a growing chorus of criticism on Monday aimed at Myanmar and its civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi over the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Nearly 90,000 Rohingya have flooded into Bangladesh in the past 10 days following an uptick in fighting between militants and Myanmar's military in strife-torn western Rakhine state.

The impoverished region bordering Bangladesh has been a crucible of communal tensions between Muslims and Buddhists for years, with the Rohingya forced to live under apartheid-like restrictions on movement and citizenship.

The recent violence, which began last October when a small Rohingya militant group ambushed border posts, is the worst Rakhine has witnessed in years, with the UN saying Myanmar's army may have committed ethnic cleansing in its response.

Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner of Myanmar's junta, has come under increasing fire over her perceived unwillingness to speak out against the treatment of the Rohingya or chastise the military.

She has made no public comment since the latest fighting broke out on August 25.

Indonesian activists protest in Bandung, West Java about the humanitarian 
crisis in western Myanmar's Rakhine state (AFP Photo/TIMUR MATAHARI)

"Every time I see the news, my heart breaks at the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar," Pakistani activist Yousafzai, who famously survived being shot in the head by the Taliban, said in a statement on Twitter.

"Over the last several years I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment. I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same," she added.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman also questioned Suu Kyi's silence.

"Very frankly, I am dissatisfied with Aung San Suu Kyi," Anifah told AFP.

"(Previously) she stood up for the principles of human rights. Now it seems she is doing nothing."

Muslim neighbours riled

The growing crisis threatens Myanmar's diplomatic relations, particularly with Muslim-majority countries in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia and Indonesia where there is profound public anger over the treatment of the Rohingya.

The Maldives announced on Monday that it was severing all trade ties with the country "until the government of Myanmar takes measures to prevent the atrocities being committed against Rohingya Muslims", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Updated map of northern Rakhine state showing areas where fires were detected
 from satellite imagery. A total of 87,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have arrived in 
Bangladesh since violence erupted on August 25 in Rakhine. (AFP Photo/Gal ROMA)

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met Suu Kyi as well as Myanmar's army chief General Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw on Monday in a bid to pressure the government to do more to alleviate the crisis.

"Once again, violence, this humanitarian crisis has to stop immediately," Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters on Sunday as he announced Retno's mission.

Hours before Widodo spoke, a petrol bomb was thrown at Myanmar's embassy in Jakarta while police there have previously thwarted two attempts by Islamist militants to bomb the compound.

Dozens demonstrated in front of the embassy on Monday, where armed police were deployed and the mission cordoned off behind barbed wire.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said it was "deeply concerned over reports of growing number of deaths and forced displacement of Rohingya Muslims" and urged Myanmar to investigate reports of atrocities against the community.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif added in a recent tweet: "Global silence on continuing violence against #Rohingya Muslims. Int’l action crucial to prevent further ethnic cleansing - UN must rally."

Rohingya refugees travel on an open-back truck near the Kutupalong refugee
camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh (AFP Photo/Jasmin RUMI)

Analysts have long warned that Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya would lead to homegrown militancy as well as support from international jihadists.

Since the latest fighting broke out, Al-Qaeda's offshoot in Yemen has called for retaliatory attacks against Myanmar while the Afghan Taliban urged Muslims to "use their abilities to help Myanmar's oppressed Muslims".

Thousands gathered in Russia's Chechnya region Monday for an officially staged rally over the plight of the Rohingya.

Defenders of Suu Kyi say she has limited ability to control Myanmar's notoriously abusive military, which under the junta-era constitution is effectively independent of civilian oversight.

The Rohingya are also widely dismissed in Myanmar as Bangladeshi interlopers despite many tracing their lineage back generations, making supporting them hugely unpopular.

But detractors say Suu Kyi is one of the few people with the mass appeal and moral authority to swim against the tide on the issue.