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

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"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. …
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Police Arrest Four in 4.25-Ton Aceh Marijuana Bust

Jakarta Globe, Jan 27, 2015

A marijuana plantation in Indrapuri, Aceh, discovered by police in
February 2013. (AFP Photo/Atha)

Jakarta. Indonesian police have announced the seizure of more than four tons of marijuana bound for Jakarta from Aceh, the latest such bust of the drug from the ostensibly staunchly conservative province.

Police discovered the drugs in a truck on the highway between Medan and Binjai in North Sumatra on Jan. 17, Insp. Gen. Eko Sutedjo, the chief of the North Sumatra Police, said in Medan on Monday as quoted by Detik.com.

The truck was loaded with 96 sacks of marijuana, weighing a combined 4,250 kilograms, Eko said.

Police arrested the driver, Nasir, 33, and his assistant, Fadli, 40, both from Aceh.

The suspects told investigators that the drugs came from Aceh and were destined for Jakarta. Two of their associates, Mursal, 40, and Zulkifli, 33, were picked up by police in Jakarta, Eko said.

“These two suspects worked as informants, letting the others know about any police raids,” the police chief said.

He added that the North Sumatra Police were working with their counterparts in Aceh to hunt down the suppliers and growers of the drugs.

Busts of large amounts of marijuana from Aceh are common, with the drug grown on vast farms in the province, which enforces a limited form of shariah, or Islamic law. In October last year, police seized a truck carrying 2,000 kilograms of the contraband after it broke down by the side of the road in Aceh. Police later tracked down and arrested the driver, who had wandered off to find spare parts.

In early December, police in Medan arrested nine people found with 350 kilograms of marijuana, which also came from Aceh. And in the last week of December, police in Jakarta arrested a truck driver from Aceh who had driven all the way to the capital with a load of 1,200 kilograms of marijuana.

Earlier this month, police discovered eight hectares of marijuana plants growing in Aceh Besar district. They have not been able to identify the owner.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

100 days in power - Has Indonesia's Jokowi shaken things up?

Joko Widodo came to power on pledges of ushering in an era of change and a new leadership style. But while many praise the Indonesian President for economic reforms, analysts say his 'Mr. Clean' image has been dented.

Deutsche Welle, 26 Jan 2015


For many Indonesians, October 20, 2014 seemed like the beginning of a new chapter in the country's recent democratic history. 53-year-old Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, was sworn in as president of the world's fourth most populous country, after narrowly defeating ex-general Prabowo Subianto in a hotly contested election in July.

The move symbolized not only the culmination of the remarkable career of a man who started off as a furniture seller on the island of Java and quickly rose through the ranks of government. It also indicated a generational change as Jokowi became the first president without links to the government of former dictator Suharto, who was overthrown in 1998 after more than three decades in power.

High hopes

Expectations were high when Jokowi came to power. His reputation for being corruption-free, direct and down-to-earth as governor of Jakarta had appealed to many voters, some of whom even compared the 53-year-old to US President Barack Obama who spent part of his childhood in the Southeast Asian nation.

Many say Jokowi's cabinet makeup
 reflects the strong influence exerted
by Megawati Sukarnoputri
Three months into his presidency, the Indonesian leader has been facing a host of major challenges inherited from previous governments, ranging from fighting the country's endemic corruption and rising inequality, to revitalizing the sluggish economy and improving the infrastructure.

In addition, Jokowi has had to deal with a hostile parliament, given that most of its members are aligned with losing candidate Prabowo.

Given the difficult task ahead and Jokowi's lack of experience in regional and international affairs, many had warned against expecting sensational developments in the first 100 days of his term. But has Jokowi laid the groundwork for a successful presidency? The results are mixed.

Jokowi's team

An early test for the new leader came with the formation of his cabinet. While Jokowi's outsider credentials made him appealing to the electorate during the campaign, they also meant that he lacked the political and patronage networks that other national politicians in Indonesia enjoy.

So he appointed a total of 18 technocrats and newcomers to lead several ministries to implement some of the country's much-needed reforms - a move welcomed both at home and abroad.

However, the other posts of his 34-strong cabinet went to members of his ruling coalition, a move criticized by many as reflecting the strong influence of his party's chairwoman and former president Megawati Sukarnoputri.

"The political mandate from the PDI-P and its party coalition for his presidency created an apparent headache for Jokowi when selecting his ministers. The new Cabinet is obviously not all the president's men," Wahyudi Kumorotomo, professor of Public Administration at Indonesia's Gadjah Mada University wrote on the academic site "The Conversation."

Even more controversial has been his choice for national police chief, Budi Gunawan, suspected by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) of receiving bribes - an appointment that has cast doubts on Jokowi's campaign promise to deliver clean governance.

The issue of corruption has been plaguing the country for years now, with Indonesia ranking 107th out of 174 nations in Transparency International's 2014 Corruption Perception Index. The president has therefore been under mounting pressure to replace his pick, but has so far refused.

But more than just graft, analysts argue the issue also reflects Jokowi's struggle with consolidating power. Budi is seen as close to Megawati and many in the country consider his nomination a political maneuver aimed at further appeasing the PDI-P.
Yohanes Sulaiman, political analyst and lecturer at the Indonesian Defense University, argues that by nominating Budi as police chief, the president has squandered a lot of the goodwill from people: "Many saw this as proof of Jokowi deferring too much to Megawati at the expense of his principles," he said.

Reducing fuel subsidies

As for the economy, one of the president's top priorities, Jokowi has shown decisiveness in taking on the task of reducing government fuel subsidies, which for years had been a major drain on government fiscal resources, earning him international praise.

Takehiko Nakao, President of the Asian Development Bank, said: "With the extra budget funds resulting from fuel subsidy cuts, the government can now allocate more resources for infrastructure, which are needed to revive and diversify sources of economic growth." In fact, many multinational companies were encouraged by Jokowi's "clean image" and announced plans to expand operations in Indonesia.

Jokowi earned international praise by acting decisively on
curbing fuel subsidies

"The move to cut fuel subsidies is encouraging since it suggests that Jokowi is serious about economic reform in Indonesia, and is even prepared to take steps that may prove unpopular in the short run," Gareth Leather, Asia Economist at Capital Economics told DW.

But while the cuts were welcomed by economists, they also partly dented his popularity as the price of petrol and diesel across the archipelago went up by more than 30 percent in mid-November.

The impact, however, was partly cushioned by the recent fall in global oil prices.

Helping the poorest

The president has also made good on his campaign promise to help the nation's poorest by diverting some of the extra funds to areas such as health and education. Just days after his inauguration, the government launched the Indonesia Smart Card and Indonesia Heath Card, guaranteeing free medical treatment for the poor as well free schooling.

Analyst Sulaiman argues this gesture towards the country's low and middle-classes certainly offset the impact of the fuel price hike. "Jokowi's biggest political capital comes from the impression among many that he genuinely cares about people and that he is one of them, which to some degree may come from his humble background," Sulaiman said.

And it seems that Jokowi has kept this personal connection with the people as seen in his reaction to the loss of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 where he met with the victims' families and organized a swift response.

Dealing with the opposition

A somewhat unexpected positive aspect of Jokowi's first three months in office has been the apparent improvement of relations with the opposition, which initially seemed bent on making his life very difficult in parliament.

"There have been internal squabbles within Golkar, one of the biggest parties within the opposition, which have led them to tone down the rhetoric," said Sulaiman.

Jokowi's relations with the opposition in
Parliament have apparently improved.
But how long will this last?
If Golkar as an organization were to switch sides, or if a large enough number of individual lawmakers was to defect to Jokowi, he could gain the legislative majority he now lacks.

On top of that, in an apparent concession to the president, the opposition-dominated parliament recently approved direct elections for governors and mayors, overturning controversial legislation passed in September under Jokowi's predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which had led to protests and criticism amongst many Indonesians.

'No clemency for drug traffickers'

Despite the signs of progress in parliament, one of Jokowi's latest decisions has led many outside the country to slam his stance on human rights and tarnish his image. Indonesia brushed aside last-minute appeals by foreign leaders and, on January 18, executed a total of six people convicted of drug trafficking, including five foreigners from Vietnam, Malawi, Nigeria, Brazil and the Netherlands.

President Jokowi not only rejected clemency requests, but also refused a last-minute appeal by Brasilia and Den Haag to spare their countrymen. Instead, he defended the executions, saying those convicted of drug trafficking would not receive a presidential pardon since Indonesia is facing an "emergency" over drug use.

The incident didn't only heighten diplomatic tensions, but also triggered international criticism from human rights groups. Amnesty International said the first executions under Indonesia's new president were "a retrograde step" for human rights. Jakarta had an unofficial four-year moratorium on executions until 2013, when five people were put before the firing squad. There were no executions last year.

Jokowi rejected clemency for
drug trafficking convicts
Another controversial issue, especially among Indonesia's neighbors, has been Jakarta's decision to sink foreign boats caught illegally fishing in Indonesian waters. While the new administration has defended the policy as a "necessary deterrent," others argue the issue is not one of legality but propriety.

"If any Malaysian fishermen accidentally enter into Indonesian waters, there is no need to sink their boats. Just escort them back to the Malaysian waters," Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Ad was quoted as saying by the "The Rakyat Post."

The road ahead

It's been 100 days since Jokowi assumed office, and the so-called "Jokowi-effect" seems to have been replaced by realism. The new leader has offered Indonesia the prospect of a fresh start, but he also has his work cut out for him. Analyst Gregory Poling, Indonesia expert with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies says Jokowi has passed through the period of post-election euphoria and into the gritty realm of day-to-day governing.

"For every step taken toward necessary reforms, his administration seems to take another backward," Poling underlines. Moving forward, he argues, the electorate will be looking to see whether his pledges of good governance will outweigh patronage politics within his coalition, and especially whether he can step out of Megawati's shadow.

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More Than 40 Philippine Police Killed in Clash With Muslims

Officers claim to have killed Zulkifli, a bombmaker for Jemaah Islamiyah that staged 2002 Bali bombings

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Jan 26, 2015

An injured police commando on stretcher waits to be loaded onto a waiting US
 military helicopter in the town of Mamasapano, on the southern Philippine island
 of Mindanao on Jan. 26, 2015, following clashes with Muslim rebels. (AFP Photo/
Mark Navales)

Manila. More than 40 Philippine police commandos were killed in an 11-hour firefight with Muslim rebels which erupted while they were chasing one of the region’s most wanted militants, police said on Monday.

The clash — which broke out despite a peace pact with the main rebel group — was “the single largest loss of life in recent memory by our security forces”, said interior secretary Manuel Roxas.

A total of 43 commandos were killed Sunday in the remote town of Mamasapano, a known rebel stronghold, on Mindanao island in the south, the national police chief Leonardo Espina told a news conference.

Regional police spokeswoman Judith Ambong told AFP separately the bodies of 49 policemen were recovered.

Eleven police were injured but there was no information on any Muslim rebel casualties.

Almost 400 police commandos swooped before dawn on the hideout of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a splinter group which rejects the peace pact, in search of Zulkifli bin Hir.

Roxas said police claimed to have killed Zulkifli, a bombmaker for the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) group which staged the 2002 Bali bombings and other deadly attacks.

He is among the United States’ most wanted militants, with a $5 million bounty for his capture.

But as the commandos were leaving they encountered the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), sparking a “misencounter”, he said.

The 10,000-strong MILF, the main Muslim rebel group in the south, signed a peace treaty with the government in March last year.

The BIFF, a breakaway faction of several hundred Muslim gunmen, was not part of the deal.

President Benigno Aquino ordered an investigation into the incident, a major test of the accord intended to end a 40-year insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The MILF said police did not coordinate the operation as required under the ceasefire accord.

“There will be an impact but we are hopeful and confident that this will not derail the peace talks,” Roxas said.

He said Zulkifli was believed killed based on pictures from the encounter site, but his body had not been recovered or positively identified.

The Malaysian is the most prominent of the 10 to 12 foreign JI members believed hiding in the Philippines. He slipped into the southern region in 2003 and has since been training local militants, according to the military.

‘Big problem’

Roxas said the leader of the BIFF, Basit Usman, escaped. He had been blamed for recent bomb attacks in the south.

“This is going to be a big problem,” the MILF’s chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal told AFP when asked how the fighting would affect the peace process, adding that it still stood.

The MILF had agreed to end its revolt in the mainly Catholic nation in exchange for a proposed law now being debated in parliament that would give minority Muslims self-rule in several southern provinces.

The rebels were scheduled to start disarming at the start of this year.

“This is the first encounter between the MILF and [government forces] this year. Hopefully, this will be the last,” Iqbal said.

“We are committed [to the peace process]. For the MILF, the ceasefire still holds,” he said.

The rebel group’s vice chairman, Ghazali Jaafar, said the peace treaty signed last March was the only solution to the conflict.

Sunday’s bloodbath highlighted “security challenges” but nonetheless strengthened the resolve of negotiators, government peace panel chairperson Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in a statement.

Over 1,000 people displaced by the violence have begun returning to their homes after the fighting stopped Sunday afternoon, Mamasapano town mayor Tahirodin Benzar Ampatuan said.

The firefight was only the second since the ceasefire. Two soldiers and 18 Muslim gunmen were killed in a clash on the southern island of Basilan in April 2014.

Since the peace accord was signed, authorities have been hot on the trail of the BIFF. The group pledged allegiance to Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria last year.

Agence France-Presse

Indonesian to Join US Activists in First Peace Delegation to Cuba

Jakarta Globe, Jan 26, 2015

US flags are seen in a bici-taxi near the capitol in
Havana on Jan. 23, 2015. (AFP Photo/Yamil Lage)

Jakarta. US-based peace activist group Codepink will be leading a delegation of 150 people — including an Indonesian participant — to Cuba to mark the recent thaw in US-Cuba relations, particularly the easing of travel restrictions.

Timed to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the “To Cuba With Love” delegation will include a number of renowned activists and leaders from peace and justice movements, environmental groups, women’s  rights organizations, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) advocacy groups.

Indonesian activist Tunggal Pawestri will be the only representative from Asia to join the delegation.

“I’m jumping on this opportunity to reach out to the Cuban people and its government,” Tunggal said.

She added that she was anxious to exchange ideas on issues critical to Indonesia, including women’s rights, health care, environmental sustainability, poverty reduction and LGBTQ rights.

“I believe that Indonesia has a lot to learn from Cuba, especially its legendary health care system,” said Tunggal, who has been active in advocating for the rights of the archipelago’s minority groups, including its LGBTQ community.

The multinational delegation will have the opportunity to conduct high-level meetings with government officials; visit members of the Cuban Five, Cuban intelligence officers who were incarcerated in the United Stares in 1998 and recently released; speak with doctors working to combat Ebola in Africa; meet with entrepreneurs concerning new business opportunities; and interact with local residents to discuss the Caribbean nation’s cultural, economic, environmental, educational, agricultural and health care issues.

The delegation includes a number of activists who have been involved with Cuban-US issues for years by protesting the Guantanamo Bay prison and the US-led economic embargo, and by calling for an end to travel restrictions.

Some, including Codepink co-founder Medea Benjamin, have had their passports confiscated and bank accounts frozen for their efforts.

“It’s so exciting that after 50 years, the US government is finally beginning to lift the ridiculous restrictions on our right to visit our Cuban neighbors,” Benjamin said.  “We look forward to the day when all restrictions are lifted.”

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Kalla Flies to Saudi Arabia to Pay Respects to King Abdullah

Jakarta Globe, Jan 24, 2015

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, center, arrives at Heathrow Airport in west
London, in this Oct. 29, 2007 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Dylan Martinez)

Jakarta. Vice President Jusuf Kalla flew to Jeddah on Saturday to pay his respects to late Saudi Arabian king Abdullah bin Abdul Azis.

“The Vice President will also congratulate Crown Prince Salman as the new Saudi Arabian king,” said the vice president’s spokesman, Hussein Abdullah.

Kalla flew to Jeddah on Saturday morning accompanied by his wife, Mufidah Jusuf Kalla, and Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin using the presidential plane from Halim Perdanakusumah airport.

Hussein said Kalla’s visit to Saudi Arabia was an official order from President Joko Widodo.

Kalla and his wife are also scheduled to perform a minor hajj pilgrimage or Umrah during their visit to Saudi Arabia.

Indonesia is lobbying Saudi Arabia to increase its hajj quota for Indonesian pilgrims after the limit was reduced by 20 percent to accommodate reduced capacity while the Grand Mosque in Mecca underwent renovation works.

Indonesia wants Saudi Arabia to transfer other countries’ unused allocations to enable more people from the world’s largest Muslim-majority country to go on Islam’s most sacred pilgrimage.

Jusuf Kalla may also advocate on behalf of the 45 Indonesians awaiting execution in the kingdom. The 45 are mostly female domestic workers, and serious questions have been raised about the legitimacy of many of their criminal convictions.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Direct Elections ‘Bring Democracy Back’ to Indonesia

‘People’s Victory’ The House has ratified the emergency government regulation that restores direct elections of regional leaders

Jakarta Globe, Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Yustinus Paat,Jan 21, 2015

Ministers and other members of House Commission II after signing the perppu
 in to law. All parties in the House have committed their support to direct elections,
 though all but the Democratic Party have argued for some revision.  (Antara Photo/
Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Jakarta. The House of Representatives on Tuesday ratified into law an emergency government regulation that restores direct elections of regional leaders in Indonesia.

The ratification quickly drew praise from analysts who said that Indonesia’s democracy was back on track.

“It’s a people’s victory,” said Arie Sudjito, a political expert from the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta.

In September, the House agreed on a proposal put forward by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government to give local legislative councils the power to appoint district heads, mayors and governors, ending nearly a decade of direct elections.

The move sparked anger from people across the country, accusing the House and Yudhoyono of betraying the people, and claiming Indonesia’s democracy had returned to a system similar with that of Suharto’s totalitarian New Order regime.

Many also feared the opposition would dominate the regional leaders posts because they dominate most of the legislative councils, opening the possibility for them to block any policies by President Joko Widodo, who at that time was declared the president-elect by the General Elections Commission (KPU) after he defeated Prabowo Subianto in a tightly contested  national election.

After seeing the public anger, Yudhoyono backpedaled, saying that he never wanted indirect elections as his Democratic Party had proposed as a revision to the existing system of direct elections.

He quickly proposed an emergency government regulation, known as perppu, while declaring that indirect election law was scrapped.

“Now, the perppu has become a law. So we can begin direct elections in many regions across the nation,” Arie said.

But the KPU would not be able to make preparations for some 200 local elections, set to be held simultaneously this year, as nine of the 10 factions at the House demanded some changes in the newly passed law.

“Each faction has presented its views, which in general accepts the perppu to be ratified into law,” said Rambe Kamarul Zaman, chairman of the House Commission II, which oversees home affairs.

Rambe was referring to the government regulation in lieu of law passed by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his last days in office.

The perppu annulled the 2014 regional elections law, which eliminated regional elections and instead provided authority for local legislatures to appoint governors, district heads and mayors.

However, Rambe said that most factions have urged for some changes to the new law.

“We will propose a bill, drafted by House Commission II, which will improve the new law pertaining to candidate eligibility, stages of elections and public hearings, among others,” the Golkar Party politician said.

The Democratic Party, chaired by the former president, was the only party that opposed any revision arguing the law is already perfect.

“We don’t want any more revisions. The regulation itself already contains enough substance on the direct regional election system and revisions from the previous law. It already includes suggestions to make the elections better,” Commission II member Saan Mustopa, a Democrat, said on Tuesday.

Moreover, making revisions will take time and Indonesia needs the new law immediately, Saan added, as more than 200 local elections are set to be held this year.

The process of preparing more changes will affect the preparations for local elections, he stressed.

“It will be difficult for the KPU to do its job,” the politician said.

Last year, parties from the opposition Red-White Coalition, including representatives of the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Golkar Party and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), voted in favor of abolishing regional elections.

But their stance changed after the Democratic Party announced that it would be  leaving the bloc.

All 10 factions at the House on Monday expressed their commitment to ratify the perppu. House Speaker Setya Novanto called on Commission II members to expedite the drafting of the new bill and conclude the ratification process before the House sitting period ends on Feb. 18.

“I have asked each faction to conclude the revision during this sitting period so they would not disrupt the simultaneous regional elections schedule,” said Setya, who is also a Golkar politician.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon, of Gerindra, said the revision would not change the substance of the newly passed law. He added that the changes “are very technical.”

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said the government was open to revisions and pledged to work with the House “intensively” on the planned revisions.

Pope says Catholics do not need to breed 'like rabbits'

Yahoo – AFP, Jean-Louis De La Vaissiere, 20 Jan 2015

Pope Francis speaks to journalist onboard a plane during his trip back to
Rome on January 19, 2015 (AFP Photo/Giuseppe Cacace)

Rome (AFP) - Pope Francis has said that good Catholics do not have to breed "like rabbits", defending the Church's stance on artificial contraception and appealing to the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to practise responsible parenting.

Speaking to journalists on his flight back from the Philippines, the pope said that he once asked a mother of seven children who was pregnant with her eighth if she wanted to "leave behind seven young orphans".

"She said, 'I trust in God.' But God gave us the means to be responsible," the pope said. "Some think, and excuse the term, that to be good Catholics, they must be like rabbits."

Pope Francis takes part in a mass at a
 park in Manila on January 18, 2015
(AFP Photo/Osservatore Romano)
Francis said creating new life was "part of the sacrament of marriage" and in Manila strongly defended his predecessor Paul VI's outlawing of artificial contraception for Catholics in 1968.

Following the church's teachings did not mean "Christians should have children one after the other", he said.

His comments came at the end of a trip to the Philippines, the Catholic Church's Asian stronghold, which last year passed a family planning law after a 15-year battle by the Church to block state-sanctioned contraception.

The law allows the government to begin distributing free contraceptives to millions of poor Filipinos.

It was a rare loss for the Church, which has for centuries been one of the nation's most powerful institutions and continues to count more than 80 percent of the nation's 100 million people as Catholics.

'Responsible parenthood'

The pope said that his predecessor had foreseen the rise in policies restricting childbirth.

"Paul VI was worried by the growth of neo-Malthusianism" (which advocates restricting the number of children the poor can have) which tried to "put a control on humanity... he was a prophet," he said.

"The key teaching of the Church is responsible parenthood. And how do we get that? By dialogue. There are marriage groups in the Church, experts and pastors," he added.

In 2013, six months after becoming pope, Francis urged the Church to drop its "obsession" with contraception, divorce, gays and abortion, in an interview signalling a dramatic shift in the Vatican's tone.

Pope Francis greets the crowd after
celebrating mass at a park in Manila on
January 18, 2015 (AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe)
The Argentine pope has brought a series of fresh perspectives to the notoriously rigid Church since he took over, signalling a strong reformist drive.

He stressed at the time that the Church's official position had not changed, but said that it should "always keep in mind the individual".

Francis' papacy -- he is the first Jesuit pope and the first from South America -- has marked a series of breaks with Vatican tradition.

The pope has become known for his humility and concern for the poor, and has reached out to non-believers and those in other religions. He regularly picks up the phone to call ordinary people who write to him.

His latest comments are not the first this month to attract attention for their candour.

Last week when discussing the deadly attack by Islamist gunmen angered by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's depiction of the Prophet Mohammed, the pope said: "If a good friend speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched."

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Japan’s Centenarian Population Swells to Record, at Almost 59,000


"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…  3 - Longer Life is Going to Happen, But…

Here is one that is a review. We keep bringing it up because Humans don't believe it. If you're going to start living longer, there are those who are frightened that there will be overpopulation. You've seen the way it is so far, and the geometric progression of mathematics is absolute and you cannot change it. So if you look at the population of the earth and how much it has shifted in the last two decades, it's frightening to you. What would change that progression?

The answer is simple, but requires a change in thinking. The answer is a civilization on the planet who understands a new survival scenario. Instead of a basic population who has been told to have a lot of children to enhance the race [old survival], they begin to understand the logic of a new scenario. The Akashic wisdom of the ages will start to creep in with a basic survival scenario shift. Not every single woman will look at herself and say, "The clock is ticking," but instead can say, "I have been a mother 14 times in a row. I'm going to sit this one out." It's a woman who understands that there is no loss or guilt in this, and actually feels that the new survival attribute is to keep the family small or not at all! Also, as we have said before, even those who are currently ignorant of population control will figure out what is causing babies to be born [Kryon joke].

Part of the new Africa will be education and healing, and eventually a zero population growth, just like some of the first-world nations currently have. Those who are currently tied to a spiritual doctrine will actually have that doctrine changed (watch for it) regarding Human birth. Then they will be able to make free choice that is appropriate even within the establishment of organized religion. You see, things are going to change where common sense will say, "Perhaps it would help the planet if I didn't have children or perhaps just one child." Then the obvious, "Perhaps I can exist economically better and be wiser with just one. It will help the one!" Watch for these changes. For those of you who are steeped in the tradition of the doctrines and would say that sounds outrageously impossible, I give you the new coming pope [Kryon smile]. For those of you who feel that uncontrolled procreation is inevitable, I encourage you to see statistics you haven't seen or didn't care to look at yet about what first-world countries have already accomplished on their own, without any mandates. It's already happening. That was number three.….”

Why didn't Indonesia's Jokowi stop the execution of drug traffickers?

Indonesia has ignored last-minute appeals by foreign leaders and executed six people convicted of drug trafficking. Analyst Yohanes Sulaiman tells DW President Jokowi is trying to convey the image of a "decisive leader."

Deutsche Welle, 20 Jan 2015


Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors from Indonesia on January 18 after Jakarta ignored their pleas and executed two of their citizens by firing squad along with four other drug offenders from Vietnam, Malawi, Nigeria and Indonesia. The six were the first people executed under new Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who has disappointed rights activists by voicing support for capital punishment.

President Jokowi defended the executions, saying those convicted of drug trafficking will not receive a presidential pardon since Indonesia is facing an "emergency" over drug use. Jakarta had an unofficial four-year moratorium on executions until 2013, when five people were put before the firing squad. There were no executions last year.

In a DW interview, Indonesia analyst Yohanes Sulaiman says President Jokowi appears to have been under no apparent pressure to restart executions and that he is simply trying to convey the image of being a decisive leader in a country where there seems to be public support for the death penalty.

DW: Why does Indonesia have such a strong policy against drug traffickers?

'Overt international pressure to stop the 
executions will backfire spectacularly,' 
says Sulaiman
Yohannes Sulaiman: Drug abuse is a big problem in Indonesia. Each year the number of addicts is increasing. Since it is believed that the majority of drugs in Indonesia are imported, the government believes that by imposing harsh punishment on traffickers, they could reduce or halt the importation of drugs.

Why has President Joko Widodo decided to stick to the country's policy of executing drug offenders?

There is actually no overt pressure from either the party, the media, or the public. However, while there are a lot of discussions on death penalty, generally the public and media in Indonesia are clamoring for the death penalty to be expanded to people engaged in corruption.

A quick glimpse of the media in the past couple of years reveals that there have been few discussions on the death penalty being imposed on drug traffickers - except during a couple of occasions when there were new developments such as the release of Schapelle Corby, an Australian who was convicted and imprisoned for drug smuggling. So the sudden restart of executions comes out of the blue.

My guess is that President Jokowi wants to show "results" and his "decisiveness" especially in the first 100 days of his administration. Keep in mind that the issue of "being decisive" has hobbled Jokowi since the election campaigning, where the opposition kept claiming that he was and would be a very weak leader.

It seems to me that burning ships engaged in illegal fishing and re-imposing the death penalty are things that he could do to stress and buttress the idea that he is a strong, decisive leader, while giving him a huge boost in popularity. In fact, if he stops executions now, he could actually lose a huge amount of prestige and popularity. The death penalty genie is already out of the bottle.

How do you think the latest executions will affect Indonesia's relations with nations such as Brazil or the Netherlands?

I don't see any long-term damage in ties between Indonesia and the Netherlands. Indonesia is one of the most important countries in Southeast Asia and, one could argue, even in the world, thanks to its demographic and geostrategic position. The Dutch have a strong economic relationship with Indonesia - the Netherlands is one of the five main investors in Indonesia. The situation is similar with Brazil, with bilateral trade booming.

Sulaiman: 'The death penalty is
 popular in Indonesia'
Furthermore, both Netherlands and Brazil have close political ties with the country. It is therefore very doubtful that both countries would risk this strong relationship. So while there will be a short-term dip in relations, I don't think this will have a strong impact in the long run.

What about the reactions from human rights groups?

The human rights groups are obviously disappointed, considering many believed that Jokowi would have much better track record in terms of human rights than his electoral rival Prabowo Subianto, who was suspected of being involved in human rights abuses back during the era of Indonesian strongman Suharto.

However, the main question is: Who voted for Jokowi? As already mentioned, the death penalty is popular in Indonesia even though you can argue that its effectiveness is overrated and it is not applied fairly.

What's important is to convey the image that you have a decisive president willing to impose the death penalty on those who are bent on poisoning the minds of the youths with drugs. That could be the image that wins the next election - or shows at least that the president is doing something in the first 100 days of his administration.

Will diplomatic appeals help prevent other executions?

It is a difficult question to answer because there are plenty of factors that might influence this. Obviously, overt international pressure, I think, will backfire spectacularly. The last thing Jokowi wants to have is the image of him kowtowing to foreign governments and pardoning drug smugglers on the death row.

Sulaiman: 'The government believes it
could halt the importation of drugs by
imposing harsh punishment on traffickers'
The opposition and the media would have a field day condemning the government and that also runs counter to the image that Jokowi wants to cultivate, which is the image of him as a "decisive leader" who wants Indonesia to be respected abroad.

I think diplomatic appeals, done quietly and with some incentives behind it, could prevent the executions. The death penalty genie is already out of the bottle, so there's no way that Jokowi could declare that he would stop the executions.

But, he could use the oldest trick in the book: just do nothing and people will forget about it. In order to do that, though, the Australians should put something on the table in exchange for another moratorium on the death penalty. That might work, but it has to be done very quietly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Foreign Ministry: Netherlands, Brazil Ties Not Harmed, Oz Efforts ‘Respected’

Jakarta Globe, Jan 20, 2015

An ambulance carrying the body of one of those executed on Sunday,
in Cilacap, Central Java. (Antara Photo/Idhad Zakaria)

Jakarta. In an apparent effort to play down the international fallout of the recent execution of six drug convicts, the Foreign Affairs Ministry stressed on Tuesday that the ambassadors of the Netherlands and Brazil were only called back for consultation — and not withdrawn — and that Indonesia “respects” Australian efforts to save the lives of two of its citizens on death row here.

Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir said that both Brazil and the Netherlands – whose governments have expressed their serious disappointment over Indonesia’s decision to kill their nationals despite high-level requests to commute their death sentences — still have a diplomatic presence in Jakarta.

“I have to stress again that this is not a withdrawal of ambassadors but a recall for consultation. Last week they sent us a letter informing us of this recall. If you say ‘withdraw’ that means severing diplomatic ties, and it’s not like that,” Armanatha said.

The spokesman added that such a diplomatic move should not be considered as very unusual, that the relations with Brazil and the Netherlands would not be harmed by this measure, and that Indonesia still considered its ties with both as friendly.

“The Foreign Affairs Ministry is of the opinion that every government has the right to recall their ambassador for consultation,” Armanatha said.  “We keep our lines of communication open with these two countries, and we try to maintain good bilateral relations with the Netherlands and Brazil.”

Nigeria

The spokesman already made similar comments on Sunday, but since then the Nigerian government also summoned the Indonesian ambassador over the execution of two of its nationals.

It was previously reported that one of those executed was a citizen of Malawi, but the Nigerian government said the man identified as Namaona Denis based on the Malawian passport he was using, was in fact one of its nationals.

Six people were executed for drug offenses on Sunday, one Indonesian national, a Dutchman, a Brazilian, a Vietnamese woman, and the two Nigerians.

Australia

Armanatha also said that Indonesia respected the efforts by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to get Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan off death row, but that the supremacy of Indonesian law should be honored.

The spokesman said he was confident ties with Australia would not be damaged over the execution of the two men who were part of the so-called Bali Nine heroin smuggling network.

“What we know is that the Australian PM has said that the ties between Indonesia and Australia are very strong and they have also said that this factor [the planned executions] will not disturb diplomatic relations,” Armanatha said.

Chan is still waiting for a response from President Joko Widodo to his clemency request. His execution, or that of Sukumaran, has not been scheduled yet, but the Indonesian government has stressed it plans to put to all drug convicts on death row before the firing squad, regardless of nationality.


Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo, left, talks with journalists at the
Attorney General's Office about the execution of six death row
inmates on Jan. 18, 2015.(Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

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