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. …

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.

Related Articles:

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

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.

Related Articles:

“… 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.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Philippine Church head urges end to drug killings

Yahoo – AFP, Ayee Macaraig, August 20, 2017

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has launched an unprecedented crackdown
on illegal narcotics since winning the presidency last year (AFP Photo/TED ALJIBE)

Manila (AFP) - The head of the Philippines' powerful Catholic Church called Sunday for an end to the "waste of human lives" following a brutal week in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war in which a 17-year-old boy was among dozens killed.

Police raids dubbed "One Time Big Time" saw at least 76 people shot dead, authorities said, as rights groups and lawmakers condemned the operation as an alarming "killing spree" in Duterte's flagship campaign.

On Sunday, the highest-ranking Church official in the predominantly Catholic nation expressed concern about the increase in the number of deaths.

"We knock on the consciences of those who kill even the helpless, especially those who cover their faces with bonnets, to stop wasting human lives," Manila Cardinal Luis Tagle said in a statement read in Sunday Masses in the capital.

"The illegal drug problem should not be reduced to a political or criminal issue. It is a humanitarian concern that affects all of us."

Duterte, 72, launched an unprecedented crackdown on illegal narcotics after winning the presidency last year on a promise to kill tens of thousands of criminals.

The Church, one of the nation's oldest and most influential institutions, had been among the few voices denouncing the deaths as polls showed Duterte continued to enjoy widespread popularity.

During the 14 months Duterte has been in power, police have confirmed killing more than 3,500 people -- insisting they acted in self-defence.

More than 2,000 other people have been killed in drug-related crimes and thousands more murdered in unexplained circumstances, according to police data.

The numbers saw a sudden increase this week, with Duterte praising officers who shot dead 32 people in a single province as he urged for more.

Following Duterte's call, at least 44 people were killed in various cities, including a 17-year-old boy whose death on Thursday sparked a national furore.

Relatives of Kian Delos Santos released CCTV footage of the boy being dragged away by two officers as they questioned a police report that he shot at them first.

'Awaken consciences'

In Sunday's statement, Tagle called for nine days of prayer for people who have died in the drug war.

"Those with sorrowful hearts and awakened consciences may come to your pastors to tell your stories and we will document them for the wider society," he said.

The Catholic Church has been a central figure in some of the Philippines' most tumultuous political events, including the 1986 "People Power" revolution that overthrew dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The Church had initially declined to criticise Duterte's drug war but as the death toll of mostly poor people mounted, it began last year a campaign to stop the killings.

Church groups have sheltered witnesses and provided financial and emotional support for families of those slain.

In response, Duterte had launched a broadside against priests and bishops whom he accused of "hypocrisy".

On Sunday, the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines joined Tagle in denouncing the deaths, calling on the faithful to ring church bells daily in solidarity with the victims.

"The sound of the bells is a wake-up call for a nation that no longer knows how to condole with the bereaved, that is cowardly to call out evil. The sound of the bells is a call to stop consenting to the killings!" Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.

Duterte's spokesman said Saturday the government would investigate the deaths but added the president would "vigorously pursue" his drug war.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Record-breaking dance in Indonesia's Aceh promotes unity

Yahoo – AFP, August 13, 2017

Participants take part in a mass traditional Saman dance performance in Aceh
on Indonesia's Sumatra island on August 13, 2017

More than 10,000 people turned out in Indonesia's Aceh on Sunday to stage a record-breaking song and dance performance stressing the need to conserve a threatened national park in the westernmost province.

The men, clad in elaborate black and yellow traditional costumes, sat in neat rows, clapping their hands on their shoulders and laps and moving in an increasingly fast-paced rhythm to a traditional song.

The saman, or "the dance of a thousand hands", is one of the country's most popular. In 2011 it was included in the UNESCO list of items of intangible cultural heritage.

The event was aimed at attracting more visitors to the province, the head of the local tourism agency, Syafruddin, told AFP.

The men, mostly from the ethnic Gayo community, made occasional wave-like movements without breaking formation.

Their song focused on the importance of protecting the province's Mount Leuser National Park, home to rare Sumatran tigers and elephants, which is threatened by rampant poaching and rainforest destruction due to the expansion of palmoil plantations.

More than 10,000 people turned out in Indonesia's Aceh to stage a record-breaking
song and dance performance stressing the need to conserve a threatened national park

Thousands of spectators flocked to an open field tucked amid lush green hills in Gayo Lues district to watch the performance.

The Indonesian Museum of Record certified it as breaking a national record with 10,001 participants -- beating last year's record of 6,600.

The dance is usually accompanied by a song performed in unison. It emphasises teamwork, a symbol of unity.

"In the old days the lyrics were usually about spreading Islamic teachings. These days we can adjust the lyrics to deliver any message we wish to convey to the audience," Syafruddin said.

Aceh's international image has been tarnished by its public punishments under Sharia law, such as caning for homosexuality.

"I am very impressed with the performance, the dancers synchronised very well and it makes me proud as an Indonesian. It was incredible," Sarah, a visitor from Jakarta, told AFP.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Aborigines in Australia longer than previously thought: study

Yahoo – AFP, Martin PARRY, July 19, 2017

New evidence uncovered by a team of archaeologists and dating specialists,
 including the oldest ground-edge stone axe technology in the world, indicates
Aborigines arrived in Australia 65,000 years ago

Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 65,000 years, longer than previously thought, roaming the area alongside giant megafauna, scientists said in a finding that sheds fresh light on when modern humans left Africa.

Australian Aborigines are believed to be custodians of the oldest continuous culture on the planet, but when they first arrived has been a contested issue. Previous estimates have ranged from 47,000 to 60,000 years ago.

A key site in the debate is Madjedbebe, a remote rock shelter in northern Australia's Kakadu region that is the oldest-known human occupation area in the country.

New evidence uncovered by a team of archaeologists and dating specialists during a dig there, including the oldest ground-edge stone axe technology in the world, has pushed back their presence even further.

The findings, published in the journal Nature this week, set a new minimum age for the dispersal of modern humans out of Africa and across south Asia.

"It's hugely significant in tying down what happened," the University of Queensland's Chris Clarkson, the lead author who led the team that excavated the site, most recently in 2015, told AFP.

"It means that we can set the minimum age for modern humans coming out of Africa, which until now has been a bit tenuous. We can now say with certainty that they arrived in Australia 65,000 years ago."

New evidence uncovered during a dig in Madjedbebe, a remote rock shelter 
in northern Australia's Kakadu region, sheds fresh light on when modern
humans left Africa

It also indicates that they arrived on the continent before the extinction of Australian megafauna such as giant wombats, kangaroos and lizards.

In addition to showing the deep antiquity of Aboriginal occupation, the dig also revealed evidence of activities and complex lifestyle, including flaked stone tools and grinding stones.

"The site contains the oldest ground-edge stone axe technology in the world, the oldest-known seed-grinding tools in Australia and evidence of finely made stone points which may have served as spear tips," said Clarkson.

"Most striking of all in a region known for its spectacular rock art are the huge quantities of ground ochre and evidence of ochre processing found at the site, from the older layer continuing through to the present."

It was clear the population was "technologically sophisticated".

First major water crossing

Some 11,000 artefacts were discovered in the lowest layer from the 2015 dig, with the team carefully assessing the position of each one to ensure they matched the ages of the sediments in which they were found.

New findings from excavations at Madjedbebe, a rock shelter in northern 
Australia's Kakadu region that is the oldest-known human occupation area 
in the country, show Aborigines arrived thousands of years earlier than 
previously thought

Extensive dating by optically stimulated luminescence methods -- which estimates the time since mineral grains were last exposed to sunlight -- showed a general pattern of increasing age with depth, and provided a timeframe that the scientists said was far more accurate than before.

The new dates for Madjedbebe fit well with genetic analyses indicating modern humans left Africa between 60,000 and 80,000 years ago.

At that time, there were much lower sea levels and the crossing distance from the islands of Southeast Asia to Australia was shorter than today.

"This would have been the first major water crossing ever by humanity," said Clarkson.

The Mirarr clan, traditional owners of large parts of Kakadu and western Arnhem Land, have now closed access to Madjedbebe, but applications have been made by archaeologists to examine other sites in the area to see if they have the same sequences.

"This study confirms the sophistication of the Australian Aboriginal toolkit and underscores the universal importance of the Jabiluka area," said Justin O'Brien, chief executive of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which works to advance the interests of the Mirarr.

"These findings reinforce the need for the highest level of conservation and protection for this site."

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Surf's up! N. Korea tourism agency tries to woo foreigners

Yahoo – AFP, July 19, 2017

Pyongyang city skyline: the national tourism agency is wooing visitors

North Korea's tourism agency has launched a website offering holiday options ranging from surfing to rice planting, despite strong US warnings to avoid travel to a nation where several trips have ended in jail.

Sixteen Americans have been detained in the past decade in North Korea, including 22-year-old student Otto Warmbier who was given a long prison term for stealing a hotel propaganda banner. He was sent home in a coma in June but died several days later.

The "DPR Korea Tour" website, run by the North's National Tourism Administration, depicts the country -- which is subject to stiff sanctions over its weapons programmes -- as just another tourist destination.

It introduces package trips to various parts of the country including the capital Pyongyang, and offers various "theme tours" for travellers seeking something more unusual.

Visitors are invited to check out beaches on the east coast, including the Majon Bathing Beach, where "surfing has come into vogue among tourists" for its favourable conditions and clean water.

The website also provides basic travel information like air and train routes and ways to get around Pyongyang using public transport such as cabs and buses.

However, it does not allow users to book tours directly and does not list the handful of foreign agencies that arrange trips to the isolated state.

The site is available in Korean, English, Chinese, Russian and Japanese and can be found at The country's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The US State Department strongly warns Americans against travelling to North Korea, citing "serious risk of arrest and long-term detention".

Canada, Australia and New Zealand are among other nations giving similar warnings.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Grand Imam of Istiqlal Mosque Calls for Preservation of Indonesia's Diversity

Jakarta Globe, July 07, 2017

Jakarta. Nasaruddin Umar, the grand imam of the Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta, said Indonesian communities should preserve their diversity by continuing to celebrate the differences and dynamics between them.

Speaking at an Idul Fitri gathering hosted by the Lippo Group in Karawaci, Banten, on Thursday (06/07), the former religious affairs minister said the country's people should strive to overcome these differences.

"The most important issue for Indonesia now is to acquaint ourselves, our younger generation, to get accustomed to a pluralistic lifestyle," said Nasaruddin, who heads the capital's largest mosque.

"If we are already living with diversity, the entire world will become jealous of us, as we, Indonesia, with more than 15,000 islands, may create a [new] model culture," he added.

Nasaruddin described diversity in Indonesia as beautiful, calling for its preservation.

"Being different is beautiful, so it is better to celebrate differences," he said, adding that these differences should not cause any problems.

He further highlighted tolerance as the best way to accept diversity in Indonesia.

"Tolerance may be present in our hearts and minds if we have the capacity to accept differences. There is no tolerance without acceptance of others [who are different from us]. Indonesia is a laboratory for tolerance in the world," he said.

Related Article:

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / CreatorReligions/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)

“.   New Tolerance

Look for a softening of finger pointing and an awakening of new tolerance. There will remain many systems for different cultures, as traditions and history are important to sustaining the integrity of culture. So there are many in the Middle East who would follow the prophet and they will continue, but with an increase of awareness. It will be the increase of awareness of what the prophet really wanted all along - unity and tolerance. The angel in the cave instructed him to "unify the tribes and give them the God of Israel." You're going to start seeing a softening of intolerance and the beginning of a new way of being.

Eventually, this will create an acknowledgement that says, "You may not believe the way we believe, but we honor you and your God. We honor our prophet and we will love you according to his teachings. We don't have to agree in order to love." How would you like that? The earth is not going to turn into one belief system. It never will, for Humans don't do that. There must be variety, and there must be the beauty of cultural differences. But the systems will slowly update themselves with increased awareness of the truth of a new kind of balance. So that's the first thing. Watch for these changes, dear ones. ...."

Monday, July 3, 2017

World-Class Tourist Attractions and Nostalgia Bring Obama Back to Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, July 02, 2017

Barack Obama at Prambanan Temple near Yogyakarta on Thursday (29/06).
(Antara Photo/Fitri Atmoko)

Jakarta. Nostalgia brought former United States President Barack Obama back to Bali, Yogyakarta and Jakarta for a holiday with his family this week. The visit has also highlighted many world-class tourist attractions in Indonesia, including the great Buddhist and Hindu temples of Java.

Obama, the 44th US President, was born in Hawaii but spent some of his childhood in Indonesia after his mother Ann Dunham married an Indonesian man, Lolo Soetoro, in 1965.

His stepfather Lolo, who was geographer, returned to Indonesia in 1966 to help create maps of Papua.

Along with his mother, Obama, who was six years old at the time, moved to join his stepfather in Jakarta in 1967 and lived in the country until 1971.

When they lived in Indonesia, Obama's family frequently traveled to Yogyakarta where his mother, who was an anthropologist, carried out a research on village industries.

Obama, with his wife Michelle and his two daughters, visited the Buddhist temple Borobudur and the Hindu temple Prambanan near Yogyakarta and Becici Peak during their trip, visits which Obama indicated brought up strong feelings of nostalgia.

The trip has even made some international headlines. American fashion and lifestyle bible Vogue published an article about the holiday titled "President Obama’s Trip to an Ancient Indonesian City Had a Deeply Personal Meaning."

The family spent three days in Yogyakarta after spending five days in Bali, before delivering a speech at the 4th Indonesian Diaspora Congress in Jakarta.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said Obama's visit is a perfect endorsement for the country's Wonderful Indonesia tourism campaign since it highlights Indonesia's top tourist destinations, including the resort island of Bali, the royal city of Yogyakarta and the capital city of Jakarta.

"[Obama's visit] brings great media value and should attract many people to visit Indonesia. Thank you Obama," Arief said in a statement sent to the Jakarta Globe on Saturday (01/07).

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Obama calls for tolerance and unity in childhood home Indonesia

Yahoo – AFP, July 1, 2017

Former US President Barack Obama waves to the audience alongside Indonesian
media figure Eddy Kusnadi Sariaatmadja (C) and former Indonesian Ambassador
 to the United States Dino Patti Djalal during the 4th Congress of Indonesian
Diaspora in Jakarta (AFP Photo/ADEK BERRY)

Jakarta (AFP) - Barack Obama called for tolerance and respect in his childhood home of Indonesia Saturday, amid rising religious tensions in the country where the former US president spent four years as a boy.

At the end of a 10-day family holiday, Obama spoke to a packed crowd in the capital Jakarta, where he praised the spirit of tolerance in Indonesia, saying you could see mosques, temple and churches alongside each other.

"That spirit is one of the defining things about Indonesia, the most important characteristics to set as an example for other Muslim countries around the world," Obama said.

The 44th president of the United State then said: "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika," -- Indonesia's motto, which means unity in diversity, prompting huge cheers from the crowd of thousands of leaders, business people and students at the Fourth Congress of Indonesian Diaspora.

Obama lived in Indonesia when he was a six-year-old boy with his mother, an anthropologist, and his Indonesian stepfather and half-sister.

His mother later divorced and Obama moved back to Hawaii at the age of 10 to live with his grandparents.

The Muslim-majority country has recently seen a rise in Islamic radicalism.

Its track record as a tolerant nation is being tested after former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama -– an ethnic Chinese Christian -- lost Jakarta's mayoral election in April against a prominent Muslim candidate.

Purnama was later sentenced to two years prison in May for blasphemy over comments he made about the Koran which divided the nation and stirred up issues of religion and ethnicity in the archipelago, which was long hailed by other countries for it's ability to tolerate different religious.

Prior to Jakarta, Obama and his family visited the resort island of Bali and the ancient city of Yogyakarta which is known for its temples.

The Obamas will leave Indonesia for South Korea on Sunday.