Determined to keep abreast of affairs throughout the country, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon has installed a 'situation room' at the Presidential Palace. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Indonesian NGO to Build School in Gaza

Jakarta Globe, November 30, 2012


An Indonesian NGO is securing funds to build a school in the recently
battle-torn Gaza Strip. (AFP Photo)        

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An Indonesian NGO announced on Friday plans to build a school in the Gaza Strip, as construction of the first Indonesian hospital in the conflict-ridden region is reportedly nearing completion.

“We’ve secured a plot of land in Bait Lahiya, North Gaza, [which is] about 5,000 square meters. We will immediately kick off construction,” the director of Aksi Cepat Tanggap, Doddy Cleveland, told Indonesian news portal antaranews.com in Gaza on Friday.

Doddy is in Gaza with several Indonesian lawmakers and representatives of various other Indonesian NGOs, including Dompet Dhuafa and the National Committee for the People of Palestine (KNURP), who brought billions of rupiah in humanitarian aid.

He didn’t elaborate on any details concerning the project.

ACT’s website, actforhumanity.or.id, says that the school’s construction was part of the organization’s Sympathy of Solidarity for Palestine program, which includes medical support and clean water aid.

It will be a primary school, and ACT said it had secured a permission and a pledge of support from Palestine’s Ministry of Education to develop the school.

“The Indonesian school in Gaza will have an environmentally friendly design, which will be easy to rebuild if the school is damaged. Basic materials will be taken from the Gaza Strip area... we will partner with the locals to build the school,” the ACT says.

The hospital is also being built in Bait Lahiya. Its construction was halted earlier this month after Israeli rockets almost hit it several times.

It is not clear yet whether construction has resumed.

Another Indonesian NGO, Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C), initiated the trauma center and rehabilitation hospital. It has collected Rp 21.9 billion ($2.3 million) in donations from Indonesians to support its foundation, out of the estimated total need of Rp 60 billion, according to tempo.co.id.


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SRI Now Waiting for Sri Mulyani to Come Aboard

Jakarta Globe, Arientha Primanita, November 30, 2012


Former Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati. (EPA Photo/Bagus Indahono)

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The fledgling political party with lofty ambitions to nominate former Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati for president in 2014 said on Thursday that it had everything in place to proceed.

Efika Rosemarie, a spokeswoman for the Independent People’s Union (SRI) Party, said the party was optimistic that Sri Mulyani would return to Indonesia once her term as a managing director of the World Bank finished at the end of 2013.

“We’ve already prepared her political vehicle, so when she comes back to Indonesia, she’ll be ready to roll,” Efika said.

“We want Sri Mulyani to run for president, not for vice president.”

Sri Mulayani, who is in no way affiliated with the party, has acknowledged SRI’s intention to nominate her but has not said whether she will run for president.

The party’s reaffirmation of its intent comes days after the body overseeing polling authorities ruled that SRI and 17 other parties that failed to pass the first part of the administrative verification process could still contest the 2014 elections.

Jimly Asshiddiqie, the chief of the Election Organizers Ethics Council (DKPP), announced on Tuesday that his organization had approved a request from the Elections Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) and election watchdog Sigma that the General Election Commission (KPU) allow previously rejected parties to run in the elections.

On Thursday, SRI chairman Damianus Taufan warned the House of Representatives not to question the DKPP’s decision, saying that such a move would be considered meddling in the democratic process.

“It’s possible that they could try to meddle with the KPU commissioners later. That could compromise the KPU’s independence in carrying out its responsibilities,” he said.

Nobel peace laureates call for Israel military boycott over Gaza assault

Letter with 52 signatories including artists and activists also denounces US and EU 'complicity' through weapons sales

guardian.co.uk, Chris McGreal in Jerusalem, Wednesday 28 November 2012

A man looks at the ruins of a Hamas police station destroyed by an Israeli
air strike in Gaza City. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, prominent artists and activists have issued a call for an international military boycott of Israel following its assault on the Gaza Strip this month.

The letter also denounces the US, EU and several developing countries for what it describes as their "complicity" through weapons sales and other military support in the attack that killed 160 Palestinians, many of them civilians, including about 35 children.

The 52 signatories include the Nobel peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; the author Alice Walker; the US academic Noam Chomsky; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd; and Stéphane Hessel, a former French diplomat and Holocaust survivor who was co-author of the universal declaration of human rights.

"Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel's decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel," the letter says.

"Such a measure has been subject to several UN resolutions and is similar to the arms embargo imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past."

The letter accuses several countries of providing important military support that facilitated the assault on Gaza. "While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel's military complex through its research programmes.

"Similarly, the growing military ties between Israel and the emerging economies of Brazil, India and South Korea are unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom," it says.

The letter opens with a quote from Nelson Mandela: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

The other signatories include John Dugard, a South African jurist and former UN special rapporteur in the occupied territories; Luisa Morgantini, former president of the European parliament; Cynthia McKinney, a former member of the US Congress; Ronnie Kasrils, a South African former cabinet minister; and the dramatist Caryl Churchill.


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The Jewish-Palestinian Declaration (1997)

UN recognizes Palestine as non-member observer state

NO voters:

US
Israel
Czech Republic
Panama
Marshall Islands
Micronesia
Naura
Palau



“… Let us talk about the swords: When you hear the word sword, the first thing that occurs to you is battle. The Bridge of Swords is a battle and we told you that as well. Swords are metaphoric and they mean many things, so let us describe the things we mean them to say to you.

Number one: They are indeed a weapon in a battle. There is a battle coming. "Kryon, does that mean there's going to be a war?" Potentially, yes. Right now we will tell you that the Middle East cooks itself. You've noticed, haven't you? What do you know about the Middle East, dear one? Let's start examining things for a moment. What energy did you grow up in? What was the energy of the Middle East? In the '40s, what was the energy? With the establishment of the state of Israel, you built a wall of hate, both sides. The wall was so thick that the children of both sides were taught to hate one another as soon as they were able to understand the language. They were told who their enemies were. Now, where were you then?

Some of you weren't here yet. By the time you arrived, in your youth, were you aware of the Middle East? Not particularly. "What's the hatred about?" you might ask. What if I told you it's about a family feud? Two sons of a Jewish master are involved. One founded the Arabs and one remained a Jew. They don't want to hear this, but they are all Jews. (Don't tell them this.)

If you look at the lineage, it's pretty obvious and yet it's a complete and total set-up for either solution or war. The set-up would have this world ending in a conflagration that would have been brought about by this hatred. That's in the prophecy of Nostradamus and your scripture, but it is no longer the prophecy of the planet. Yet the hatred still exists. The hatred is as great today as it was then, but where was all the terrorism 40 years ago? It was isolated.

Those in Israel and Palestine and surrounding areas took the brunt of it, but now it's seemingly everywhere - and you're worried. Why would this be? The answer is that the old energy was happy to have this hatred contained, for it would keep it going and never involve outsiders. Outsiders tend to bring unwanted light to the party. Suddenly, the whole earth is involved and can see the entire scenario before them. The old guard wants war, just like all the eons before them. The ones on the bridge are holding the light and showing the earth how to cross. Even many younger ones in Israel and Palestine and Iran are holding light! It's all around the old guard and they are furious, for they are losing the "battle of hatred." …”



9. It can be no other way—simply, this is the physics that governs life in this universe. As Earth continues apace into successively higher planes, nothing with low vibrations in any form—physical bodies, subversive plans, theft, dishonesty, unjust laws and imprisonment, bigotry, cruel customs and deeds—can survive.

10. Moving on, no, it will not be quite like religions being “totally discarded and replaced by universal laws in the Golden Age.” When the truths come forth that science and spirit are one and the same and that religious dogmas were originated by early leaders of church and state to control the masses, people whose consciousness has risen beyond the constraints of third density will adhere to the spiritual aspects of their respective religions and the devised, controlling aspects will fall by the wayside.

11. One of the truths to come forth is that Zionism, which by dark intent has been made synonymous with Judaism, actually is a bellicose political movement within the Illuminati, and its aim for more than six decades has been to create conflict and instability in the entire Middle East. Zionists, who have wielded powerful influence within and behind major governments and their military forces, do NOT represent the Jewish peoples in Israel or anywhere else. And, like all other Illuminati factions, they have been committed to that cabal’s goal of global domination.

12. Although Semites are of diverse national origins and religions, the Zionists have been successful in convincing many that “anti-Semitic” is exclusively prejudice against the Jewish peoples and opposition to Israel’s right to defend itself from its “enemies.” By means of that blatant distortion, they obtained not only world sympathy, but also massive defense funding from Israel’s allies, most especially the United States, all of which served to increase the Illuminati’s vast profits from their industrial-military machine.

13. In addition to controlling the masses through dogmatic teachings, religions have served the dark purpose of divisiveness to such an extent that it resulted in centuries of trauma and bloodshed. Witness the Crusades, wars between Catholics and Protestants, pogroms against Jews, executions of “blasphemous” individuals who refused to “recant.”  (Read More …)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

ICBC opens branch in Barcelona

Want China Times, Xinhua 2012-11-29

A branch of ICBC in Malaysia. (File photo/Xinhua)

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on Tuesday opened a branch in Barcelona, a year after establishing its first Spanish office in Madrid.

It makes ICBC the first Chinese bank with an office in Spain's second largest city, which allows it to extend its business to Catalonia, the most economically advanced region in the country.

ICBC has always attached great importance to the Spanish market, said ICBC vice president Wang Xiquan at the opening ceremony of the Barcelona branch.

The Chinese bank decided to increase its business in Spain, offering its financial services not just to Chinese individuals and companies, but also to local and international firms and financial institutions, said Wang.

By the end of September this year, ICBC, the world's biggest lender by market value, has opened 270 overseas branches in 35 countries and regions, and its overseas assets stood at US$154.5 billion, up 21.5% from the beginning of this year.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Indonesia Earns UN Recognition for Cooperative Success

Jakarta Globe, Anastasia Winanti Riesardhy, November 24, 2012

Indonesia’s minister for cooperatives and small and medium enterprises,
Syarief Hasan. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)
 
        
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Indonesia’s cooperative program was named one of the world’s most successful during a United Nations event in New York earlier this week, according to the Indonesian cooperative minister.

Indonesia, along with Malta, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, was officially recognized during the closing ceremony of the UN’s International Year of Cooperatives on Nov. 19-20.

Officials from the four nations, including the Indonesian minister for cooperatives and small and medium enterprises, Syarief Hasan, were each given an opportunity to present at the event the strategies used in their respective countries that led to the prosperity of the programs.

“I was given the chance to describe programs we’ve been implementing that have led to Indonesia’s success in the cooperative and SME sector,” Syarief told journalists upon his return to Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Tangerang on Saturday.

“I gave examples of why Indonesia has succeeded. First, we have a large number of cooperatives. They [the audience] were surprised with the figure, especially when I mentioned that our cooperatives have a total of 33.6 million members.”

Syarief said in his presentation that Indonesia was currently home to 192,443 cooperatives, with 7,831 of them offering savings and loan services.

He added that evaluating the performances of cooperatives should not be based on their asset developments, or lack thereof.

“We should value cooperatives not based on their sales revenues, but on the amount of members and whether they feel the benefits of being members of the organizations. That’s the spirit,” Syarief said, reciting his own remarks made at the UN event.

He added that the Indonesian government supported the growth of cooperatives and SMEs since they helped reduce unemployment and poverty rates, which currently stand at 6.3 percent and 11.96 percent, respectively.

“They were surprised when I said our microfinance program can draw 7.8 million customers. ‘No wonder the poverty rate was reduced,’ they said.”

The UN designated 2012 as the International Year for Cooperatives.

Indonesia has organized a number of events and has launched some new programs this year in conjunction with the UN program, including training events for youth cooperatives, as well as seminars and conferences under the banner of “Indonesian Cooperatives Go Green.”

Indonesia’s House of Representatives also endorsed earlier this year the new cooperatives law, a revision of the 1992 version, which is expected to provide more protection to cooperative members and eradicate loan shark practices among cooperatives, among other things.

Suara Pembaruan

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

US ratings agencies face Chinese challenge

Deutsche Welle, 19 November 2012



Agencies Standard & Poors, Moody's and Fitch have dominated the global market for credit ratings. But their dubious role in the 2008 financial crisis has highlighted the need for more impartial alternatives.

In early 2008, the big three US ratings agencies. Standard & Poors, Moody's and Fitch, were till issuing first-rate credit ratings for banks and financial products which only months later collapsed in the financial crisis.

Some analysts have criticized the agencies' near-monopoly positions, arguing their inaccurate assessments helped inflate the subprime mortgage bubble in the United States that caused the crisis.

Since 2008, nothing much has changed as the "big three" agencies still dominate 95 percent of the global ratings market, passing crucial verdicts without which the world's finance markets wouldn't work.

However, China's independent ratings agency Dagong Global Credit is preparing a challenge which could challenge the US agencies. In October, it announced plans to form a joint venture with Russian agency RusRating and Egan-Jones Rating, the fourth largest US ratings group.

The three companies said in a statement that Universal Credit Rating Group, as the new agency will be called, intended to issue "impartial ratings" in an attempt to "speed up reform of the global credit rating system."

Dagong Chief Executive Guan Jianzhong said the group planned to be fully operational within the next six months, and that that "dozens" of smaller ratings businesses from more than 20 countries were interested in joining the group, which would be based in Hong Kong.

Doubts about independence

In an attempt to dispel concerns about state interference in the new group, Guan Jianzhong pointed out that his company was a private venture in which Chinese state and party officials had no political influence.

In addition, the three founders stated in their statement that the new agency wouldn't represent the interests of any country or group.

There are doubts as to how
independent Dagong can be
However, doubts remain about the agency's independence as CEO Guan is a Communist Party member with close ties to the Chinese leadership. Before he founded his private firm, he had worked for the government, which still employs him as an advisor.

Such ties are crucial for doing business in China, market analyst Oliver Everling told DW. "It's impossible to set up a ratings agency in China that is fully independent of the state and could act against state policy," he said. Close ties to politics and business were essential for any agency, Everling added.

Business model makes the difference

The new agency arrives amid mounting criticism of the ratings decisions taken by the US agencies and the business model they pursue.

"There is serious evidence that in the past decade a number of European countries were given worse credit ratings than would have been justified in respect to their finances and the general state of their economies," Manfred Gärtner of the University of St. Gallen told DW.

He welcomed the foundation of an "alternative" to the United States agencies, arguing the seat of the agency was of minor importance.

Gärtner said the biggest problem with ratings agencies was their complex network of inter-dependence with the finance industry as a result of joint ownership structures and shared profit interests, which were fostered by close private ties and business locations.

China's Universal Credit Rating Group, Gärtner added, could avoid the typical clash of interest by adopting the business model of its partner Egan-Jones rather than that of rivals Moody's, Standard & Poors and Fitch.

Egan-Jones Ratings charges the investors who buy their ratings reports, while the Big Three are paid by the company or bank which issues a financial product or seeks a rating.

As well as China, Europe, too is making efforts to launch its own ratings group next year - a project which is spearheaded by Roland Berger consultancy firm.

In addition, the influential Bertelsmann Foundation of Germany presented a proposal in spring 2012, suggesting an international not-for-profit agency.



Friday, November 16, 2012

Video of Jakarta Deputy Governor Scolding Public Works Officials Goes Viral

Jakarta Globe, November 16, 2012

Screen grab of YouTube video showing Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki
Tjahaja Purnama scolding officials of Jakarta's Public Work Agency on Nov. 8.
               
Related articles

A 46-minute video showing Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama getting tough on public works officials has gone viral on YouTube, getting more than a million views since it was posted a week ago.

The video of the budget meeting posted by the official Jakarta administration YouTube account, PemprovDKI, on Nov. 8 shows the deputy governor asking Public Works Agency officials whether they have already slashed project budgets by 25 percent to remove “mark-ups,” as instructed by Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

“The cost of public works projects are too high. Rough calculations already show that budgets can be cut by as much as 40 percent, but we're only asking for 25 percent,” Basuki told the officials in the meeting.

“I'm offering two solutions to solve this. The first is for you to cut the budget. The second is that we cancel the project. And then I'll use my own operational funds to build the same project. Just give me the specifications.”

But if he resorts to the second option, the deputy governor said he would look into all previous public works projects and ask the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and Attorney General to inspect them.

“If you don't want to open old wounds, let's start with a new Jakarta,” Basuki said. “It might not sound nice. If you disagree, then it's better for there to be no construction. We'll replace all of you, from the top to the third echelon. We might be waging an open war, but we have no other option than to cut the Public Works budget.”

Basuki said he asked that the video be posted online to let people know that from now on, under Jokowi's leadership, all Jakarta budget discussions would be made transparent. As of Friday, it had more than 6,300 mostly positive comments.

“If you insist on disagreeing, I'm going to put the budget online, so everyone can look at it, and I will have KPK investigators check,” he continued in the video. “I'm sorry, but I'm really disturbed when someone steals the people's money. You can choose: if you can adjust, you can stay in the agency. If you disagree, you can leave the agency and leave Jakarta.”

Ahok cited as examples of excessive spending the Rp 1 billion spent to create a police post in Pluit and the Rp 34 billion for constructing a fire station.

After around 10 minutes of this talk, the deputy chairman of the Public Works Agency, Tarjuki, said that he agreed to the budget being cut by 25 percent.

“The point is I agree,” Tarjuki said. “My calculations have been checked by consultants.”

But this did not immediately cool down the deputy governor.

“Don't hide behind the consultant,” Basuki responded. “We tell the consultants what to do, don't hide behind them. You're an older man with a lot of experience, but I'm 46 years old, not a child, so I also understand.”

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chevron Caused $9.9 Million in State Losses: AGO

Jakarta Globe, Rangga Prakoso, November 15, 2012

The Attorney General's Office said that Chevron Pacific Indonesia's
bioremediation project lost the state $9.9 million. (AFP Photo)
 

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Millions of dollars have been lost due to the corruption case related to Chevron Pacific Indonesia’s bioremediation project, the Attorney General’s Office revealed on Wednesday.

“Based on the audit report completed by the State Finance Development Comptroller (BPKP), $9.9 million in state losses were accrued,” Agung Setia Untung Arimuladi, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, commented. “Given this result, the case will be taken further and an indictment will be issued.”

The AGO alleges that CPI was paid $23.4 million in recovery costs by BP Migas for a bioremediation project at Duri in Riau that was never completed. Chevron appointed Green Planet Indonesia and Sumigita Jaya to recover the polluted soil with the method of bioremediation. Investigation of AGO shows that both companies did not have technical qualification and certificate from the authorities to manage the waste, and that the project was never done.

CPI has denied the charges and BP Migas has reiterated that the state lost nothing from the site clean-up project. CPI said that all costs relating to its project had been borne by the company, and not yet included in the cost recovery program.

“No state funds have been used in the execution of this project,” Chevron said in a statement issued recently.

Bioremediation projects are meant to normalize soil contaminated with toxic substances. CPI said that its bioremediation project was approved and monitored by the appropriate government authorities.

Investigation team of AGO has questioned 80 witnesses and four experts and named seven suspects, five of them from Chevron.

Heineken Completes Acquisition of F&N Stake in APB

Jakarta Globe, November 15, 2012

Heineken and Tiger beer crates sit at the back lane of a restaurant in Singapore
 on September 28, 2012. Shareholders in the parent company of the Singapore-
based  brewer that makes Tiger Beer approved its takeover by Heineken on
 September 28, increasing the Dutch giant's footprint in the growing Asian market.
 (AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman)
 

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The Hague. Dutch beer giant Heineken said Thursday it had completed its acquisition of Fraser and Neave’s (F&N) share of Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) as part of the takeover of brand Tiger Beer.

“As a result Heineken currently owns in aggregate a 95.3% stake in APB and will consolidate APB into its accounts in November 2012,” the brewer said in a statement.

The company said it would also make an offer for the remaining shares in APB that it does not already own.

F&N shareholders in September approved Heineken’s offer of Sg$5.6 billion (3.6 billion euros) for its 40 percent stake in APB, which has breweries in 14 markets including China.

Amsterdam-based Heineken is seeking to boost sales in fast-growing Asian economies as demand falls in mature markets like Europe, where a prolonged financial crisis is dampening consumer spending.

Agence France-Presse

Argentina takes ship dispute with Ghana to UN court

BBC News, 14 November 2012

Related Stories 

A skeleton crew remains on the
Libertad held in the Ghanaian port
of Tema
Argentina has asked a United Nations court to order the release of one of its navy ships impounded in Ghana because of a debt dispute.

Argentina argues that the seizure violates maritime law.

The ship was prevented from leaving Ghana last month, after a local court ruled in favour of a financial fund backed by an American billionaire.

The fund says it is owed $370m (£233m) by the Argentine government as a result of its debt default a decade ago.

It is seeking $20m in return for the release of the ship, a three-masted training vessel.

International dispute

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said Argentina had approached the International Sea Tribunal, based in Germany, to request the "immediate and unconditional release of the frigate ARA Libertad and its restocking so it can leave the port of Temar [in Ghana] with the utmost urgency".

On Monday, Mr Timerman had given Ghana one day to release the ship or face legal action.

The government said it saw itself forced to take the case to the International Sea Tribunal after the Ghanaian government failed to meet its deadline.

Argentina argues that the ship is a military vessel and was on an official visit to Ghana and should therefore not have been impounded.

It says the seizure violates the immunity of military vessels under international maritime law.

The Libertad has been detained in the Tema since 2 October. Only a skeleton crew remain after more than 300 sailors flew home about three weeks later.

Sailors on board the Libertad reportedly pulled guns on Ghanaian officials last week after they tried to board the vessel to move it to another berth.

Water and electricity had reportedly been shut off to the ship a few days earlier in response to Argentina's refusal to let officials move the ship to a less busy part of the port.

NML Capital is a subsidiary of US hedge fund Elliot Capital Management, one of Argentina's former creditors.

In 2001 and 2002, Argentina defaulted on more than $100bn of debt. Most of these loans were subsequently restructured, giving creditors about 30% of their money back.

However, some creditors including Elliot chose to hold out, pursuing the Argentine government through the courts.

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Argentina orders sailors to evacuate Libertad ship seized by Ghana


Among the loans underwritten by the Export Credits Guarantee
Department  was one for £35m to Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe for
the purchase of five of BAE Systems' Hawk fighter jets. 
Photograph: PA


Former Indonesian president General Suharto. Britain lent 
the country  more than £630m at a time when Suharto 
was stifling demonstrations. Photograph: AP

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Constitutional Court Invalidates BP Migas

Jakarta Globe, November 13, 2012

Constitutional Court chief Mahfud MD. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
           
Related articles

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday annulled select articles within the Oil and Gas Law that allowed BP Migas to act as a state upstream oil and gas regulation company.

In a ruling published on the court’s website, chief judge Mahfud MD noted that all provisions within the law and the explanatory portion related to the phrase “regulator company” was both unconstitutional and not legally binding.

“The function and role of the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulator Company should be carried out by the government or a related ministry until a new law related to the matter is issued,” Mahfud said.

The court declared invalid various articles that gave BP Migas, the country’s upstream oil and gas regulator company, the right to represent the government, manage its oil and gas resources and sign contracts with foreign companies.

Several Muslim activists, including Muhammadiyah chairman Muhammad Din Syamsuddin, former Nahdlatul Ulama chairman Hasyim Muzadi, the chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council Amidhan, Muslim politician Ali Mochtar Ngabalin, former Manpower and transmigration minister Fahmi Idris and twelve Islamic organizations filed for the judicial review of the law.

According to them, the existence of BP Migas was violating Article 33 of the Constitution which stated that “the land, the waters and the natural resources within shall be under the powers of the State and shall be used to the greatest benefit of the people.”

The court agreed, and stated that some articles within the law were nullified in order to liberate the management of the oil and gas sector, which is highly influenced by foreign parties and therefore antithetical to the provision that such resources should be under state control.

Hikmahanto Juwono, an international law expert on the government’s side, previously said that the law placed the government in a safe position since contracts were only signed between BP Migas and the other business involved.

“It’s indeed good, because there’s a fear that if the state makes the agreement it could cause state losses,” Hikmahanto said. “The state’s assets could be taken away [if a losing dispute in international arbitration]. This way, it’s limited to the assets of BP Migas.”

Din Syamsuddin said that the court’s ruling represented a triumph for all Indonesian people.

“This oil and gas law caused losses for [Indonesian] people, so, this is a victory for the people,” Din said, as quoted by Detik.com. “We hope that with this ruling, oil and gas resources will be better managed.”



China, Australia in talks over direct currency trading

Want China Times, Xinhua 2012-11-13

People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan. (Photo/Xinhua)

The Chinese and Australian central banks are considering the launch of direct trading between the yuan and the Australian dollar, China's central bank governor said Sunday.

If the deal is reached, the Australian dollar would be the third major currency allowed to be traded directly against the Chinese currency, following the US dollar and the Japanese yen.

Other major currencies that have been used as intermediaries for the China-Australia currency trading are sometimes unstable, said Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China.

Bilateral trade, investment and tourism relations between China and Australia have developed rapidly in past years, resulting in growing demand for the direct currency trading, Zhou told reporters at a group interview on the sidelines of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

The Chinese and Australian central banks support the direct trading, said Zhou, adding that such a direct trading would be "a good thing, a matter of course and a choice that respects the market."

China announced in May the direct trading of its currency against the Japanese yen, bringing the yuan one step closer to a truly global currency.

China has been taking steps to internationalize the yuan, facilitating the use of the yuan in cross-border trading and investment, and signing currency swap agreements worth at least 1.5 trillion yuan (US$238 billion) with a dozen countries.


Related Article:


Monday, November 12, 2012

To Reform the United Nations, BDF Needs Global Support

Jakarta Globe, Pitan Daslani, November 11, 2012

A more democratic United Nations was on the agenda of the Bali Democracy
 Forum attended by leaders such as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono,  Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Afghan President Hamid Karzai
 and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AFP Photo/Sonny Tumbelaka)
 
   
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The issue of reforming the United Nations Security Council loomed large during the two-day Bali Democracy Forum, which was attended by 11 heads of state and government.

The essence of their speeches on this particular topic was to restructure the council, or UNSC, to the extent that it represents “actual realities” of the present-day global constellation so that the world’s most powerful authority is not “undemocratically controlled” only by the five permanent members, often referred to as the “Perm Five.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recognized that the current constellation of the UNSC was the result of a global power imbalance in the aftermath of World War II. Now that this reason is out-dated, he said, it is time for the council to be restructured.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai also spoke about the need to overhaul the UN system and make it more democratic because the current constellation is “no longer suitable” for present-day realities.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gave a broader perspective on the issue and emphasized the need to democratize the United Nations to the point that it reflects the globe’s potential strengths in all fields. This would include rewriting the criteria for membership to the UNSC.

To do so, the UN Charter must be amended. And that is where huge problems arise. If amending a country’s constitution is a big and very sensitive issue, more so is the proposition to amend the UN Charter.

Where to begin? Who will have the authority to conduct reform? And, the most crucial question is, how to get the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France to agree to relinquish their exclusive veto rights? These states would then no longer enjoy the exclusivity of such rights and be “downgraded” to the level of ordinary, non-permanent members. Reforming the UNSC would mean scrapping exclusive rights and sharing them with the rest of the UNSC members.

What the Bali Democracy Forum leaders had in mind was that if the UNSC could be reformed, it should begin by abolishing the distinction between permanent and non-permanent membership, thereby sharing the exclusive veto right equally among all members as a matter of democratic fairness.

The next step would be to rewrite the criteria for obtaining UNSC membership status.

That should reflect the real strength of the world, from economic to socio-demographic, technological, geo-strategic and soft-power excellence, and not merely based on perception of a country’s military strength, which is how it has been done for nearly seven decades.

Idealistically, that would usher in a more balanced global order in which key decisions on global peace, security, governance and economic policy formulation are made democratically by a reformed UN whose resolutions would no longer be suspected of advancing or siding with the agendas of certain countries.

In step with such endeavors, the UN General Assembly must be given greater authority to establish a “democratic superbody” under its auspices with the mandate to appoint the right people to lead various international agencies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and all UN organs.

The conduct of the assembly, or UNGA, itself needs to be reformed so that it no longer becomes a forum for adversaries to attack each other, as in the ugly annual shows by warring countries, or those involved in various kinds of undeclared, yet open, war.

Delegates to UNGA should be required to present their best practices so others can learn from and their concerns and propose solutions to global problems affecting their existence.

That way, the UNGA could become an annual forum for obtaining answers and solutions instead of a platform for displaying hegemony, hatred, provocation and enmity. What a wonderful world the final outcome would be! In fact, US President Barack Obama has for some time envisaged such a UN. But for now, these reforms remain in my daydreams after reading the speeches of the Bali Democracy Forum leaders.

The speeches taught me to dream about a new world in which the UN is the peacemaker and problem-solver for its member countries. I was taught by those speeches to smile optimistically at future harmonious international relations, rather than frowning at the current realities.

But after a while, I realized that none of what those leaders were saying about UN reform during the forum was actually new.

Even as early as 1992, when leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) gathered for their 10th summit in Jakarta, they had already issued a joint declaration that aimed to, among other things, reform the UN.

Even before that, Ali Alatas, who served as Indonesia’s foreign minister from 1988 to 1999 and was very well respected for his diplomatic acumen, strove through various international forums to achieve a consensus for reforming the UN.

Alatas — who co-chaired the Paris International Peace Conference on Cambodia with then-French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas and was the spokesman of the Third World Group of 77 for talks with advanced countries — used Asean, the Group of 77, NAM, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and other forums to advance this goal. And yet untilhis death, he had not seen his painstaking efforts come to fruition.

The global power constellation remains undemocratic despite the rhetoric of those self-proclaimed “champions of democracy.” It is a big illusion to expect the Bali Democracy Forum to correct the situation by relying on its own network.

BDF needs to be expanded to include the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France as permanent participants, as well as other regional powers such as Brazil and Mexico to represent South America; South Africa, Egypt and perhaps Nigeria or other strong economies on the African continent; as well as Germany, Canada and OIC members.

Besides, leaving NATO members out of the picture would be counterproductive — if indeed reforming the UNSC is part of the goal that BDF leaders had in mind during their Bali meeting. The time is right because NATO does not have an enemy today to justify its huge weaponry.

Before talking about reforming the UN what BDF must do is strengthen its membership network to represent the actual strength of international constellations so that its aspirations can be supported by those participants that represent the majority of global strength.

But that alone is not enough. How the BDF can amend the UN Charter and reform the UN is a wilderness that has yet to be explored.

Perhaps it will remain in my daydreams for many more years until I give up and acknowledge that this is not simple work that can be solved through a loose forum’s appeals and declarations.

The world needs a new democratic conscience movement to push such strategic issues forward. And it needs great statesmen to make it happen.

The next BDF needs to go a lot further than just a collection of keynote speeches. The forum must attract other centers of power so that they too may lend a helping hand in creating a more balanced global order.

Pitan Daslani is a senior political correspondent at BeritaSatu Media Holdings, of which the Jakarta Globe is a subsidiary. He can be reached at pitandaslani@gmail.com


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