Climate change

Under canopies of dead angular branches and drooping fronds, UC Riverside ecologist Cameron Barrows made his way across a forest of skeletal Joshua trees that have not reproduced in decades.

As Barrows explained, it's a tough time to be a Joshua tree. Climate change is taking an enormous toll, and the current drought has hastened the decline of a species that is regarded as the symbol of California deserts.

"For Joshua trees, hotter, drier conditions are a problem − but a bigger problem is that what little rainfall occurs evaporates faster," Barrows said. "So, seedlings shrivel up and die before they can put down strong roots."

The region, including nearby Joshua Tree National Park, has not reached average precipitation rates of about 4 inches in several years. So far this year, it's gotten 1.71 inches of rain.

If warmer, drier conditions continue in the coming decades, scientific modeling suggests the trees will lose 90% of their current range in the 800,000-acre park by the end of the century.

With funding from federal wildlife officials, Barrows is trying to find ways to assess the effects of climate change on Joshua trees and the many species they shelter: yucca moths, skipper butterflies, termites, ants, desert night lizards, kangaroo rats and 20 species of birds including Scott's orioles, ladder-backed woodpeckers and great horned owls.

There is more at stake than the fate of the park's estimated 2.5 million Joshua trees, said biologist Rebecca R. Hernandez, a post-doctoral fellow at UC Berkeley. "Beyond its importance as a critical refuge for desert species, the Joshua tree is a cultural signature of California's desert landscape," Hernandez said.

Joshua trees, which grow in the Mojave Desert and nowhere else, have become mainstays for movies, fashion shoots, advertising campaigns and wedding ceremonies. The one that adorned the cover of U2's 1987 album "The Joshua Tree" became a pilgrimage site for fans from around the world until it was blown over by strong winds in 2000.

The species scientists know as Yucca brevifolia isn't actually a tree; it's a succulent. Joshua trees grow to 40 feet high, live more than 200 years and bloom sporadically. In 2013, extensive stands were festooned with yellow and white bell-shaped blossoms that drew tourists eager to take in the scenery before the bloom wilted in the harsh desert sun.

Los Angeles Times, Published: June 6,2015 10:00 AM
Drought hastens decline of the Joshua tree, California's desert symbol
By Louis Sahagun, reporter

Climate change is the biggest threat to all of civilisation our species has faced since the 80s. Scientists say rising seas will envelope major cities around the world while heatwaves will bring wildfires and torrential rains bring floods. And the global economy is stuffed.

But as if that wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that climate change might even mess up that most holy of traditions – your weekend.

The night out
The world’s most pre-eminent climate scientists have submitted thousands of reports warning of the danger of continuing to spew carbon into the atmosphere. And yet the governments of the world have continued to ignore them.

Thankfully, 42 breweries have weighed in to illuminate us about the true scale of the threat – we might actually run out of beer. From California to the Czech Republic, hop production is being hit by rising temperatures and a lack of water. Beer could also start to taste worse, according to the Czechs, but their beer is rubbish anyway.

“Changes in climate caused by human activity have the potential to create unprecedented social, economic and environmental challenges,” said a spokesman from Diageo, the company that owns Guinness. Maybe now people will start to listen.

The dessert
The world is running out of chocolate. That’s because climate change and crippling poverty are driving Africa’s cocoa farmers to produce other crops. Which is a bit rubbish because your date’s chocolate mousse is set to get a lot pricier.

In four decades, the amount of land available for growing cocoa has dropped 40%. In the next 40 years, the temperature in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, where 70% of cocoa is grown, is set to rise by 2C. That’s going to make it too hot and dry for cocoa trees.

We’re already on the way to peak chocolate. By 2020, world cocoa demand is set to outstrip supply by 1m tonnes.

The morning after
When there are people suffering in poor countries, there’s nothing worse than a hangover. Except maybe a hangover with no coffee. Annoyingly, the coffee growers of flooded Honduras and drought stricken Brazil and all those other places you didn’t know your coffee came from might not be able to get coffee beans to grow in a warmer climate …

The problem has already started to impact you in Vietnam, where farmers have run out of water and stopped sending coffee overseas.

Amazingly coffee growers don’t tend to drink much coffee. Maybe because they earn roughly half the price of a cappuccino a day...

The Guardian, Published: Tuesday 9 June 2015 13.00 BST
No more beer, chocolate or coffee: how climate change could ruin your weekend,
Not taking global warming seriously enough? Our failure to act, and bad weather, will mean many of the pleasures we take for granted will disappear
By Karl Mathiesen

New York (AFP) - Brazil, China, India and South Africa voiced disappointment Sunday over the failure of rich countries to come up with billions of dollars needed to help them sign on to a landmark climate change deal.

Ministers and top negotiators from the four key countries met in New York to close ranks as talks on the climate deal head into crucial months before a Paris conference in December...

World governments will try to forge a new global deal to address climate change at a UN climate conference in December, with both developed and developing countries committing to cutting greenhouse gas emissions...

Brazil's Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the four countries were committed to work hard to avoid a repeat of the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference that ended in failure...

China, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has joined forces with India, the third largest emitter, along with Brazil, which ranks among the top 10 and South Africa, which boasts the continent's most developed economy.

AFP, June 28, 2015 4:23 PM
Brazil, China, India, South Africa in push for climate financing

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with actor and environmental activist Robert Redford at the United Nations in New York on June 29, 2015:

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Robert Redford told the United Nations on Monday that negotiations on a global deal to tackle climate change could be the world's "last chance" to save the planet.

"This December, the world must unite behind a common goal," said the American actor and producer.

"Because look, this is it. This is our only planet, our only life source.

"This may be our last chance."...

"We are all responsible for this crisis," Redford told the gathering. "Your mission is as simple as it is daunting: save the world before it's too late."

Redford pointed to global warming fueling extreme weather such as the deadly heatwaves in India and Pakistan that have claimed thousands of lives.

"Everywhere we look, moderate weather seems to be going extinct," said Redford, who starred in such classic films as "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and founded the Sundance Film Festival.

"Unless we move quickly away from fossil fuels, we're going to destroy the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the health of our children, grandchildren and future generations."

Redford told the gathering that he was an "actor by trade" but an "activist by nature" and that his convictions on the need for action to save the environment had grown over the past 40 years.

The 78-year-old celebrity recalled that he had invited mayors from key cities to Sundance to galvanize action to stop global warming and that the local leaders were ready "for action now."

Redford urged world governments to "assume a leading role" to combat climate change at the Paris conference, adding that the "citizens of the world will be watching."

AFP, Jun. 29, 2015, 5:38 PM
Robert Redford sees 'last chance' to fix climate
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Pope and Ban Ki Moon

In a highly anticipated papal letter released Thursday, 18 June 2015, Pope Francis called on Catholics worldwide to make safeguarding the environment and battling climate change an urgent and top priority of the 21st century.

1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “ Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.

2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.


Pope Francis has warned “the powerful of the Earth” they will answer to God if they fail to protect the environment to ensure the world can feed its population.

“The planet has enough food for all, but it seems that there is a lack of willingness to share it with everyone,” Francis said at a mass to mark the opening of the general assembly of the Catholic charitable organisation Caritas.

“We must do what we can so that everyone has something to eat, but we must also remind the powerful of the Earth that God will call them to judgment one day and there it will be revealed if they really tried to provide food for Him in every person and if they did what they could to preserve the environment so that it could produce this food.”

Tuesday 12 May 2015 18.53 BST
Pope says environmental sinners will face God's judgment for world hunger
AFP in Vatican City

Ban Ki-moon, Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis I (Rome, Vatican)
9 May 2014 - United Nations counts on Catholic Church to help promote dignity for all, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Pope Francis.


9:45 p.m. (1945 GMT, 3:45 p.m. EDT)

President Barack Obama says he hopes world leaders will consider Pope Francis' plea for bold action to curb climate change, ahead of the United Nations climate talks in December in Paris.

In the teaching document, the pope chastised international lawmakers for failing to adopt effective, long-term policies that would protect the environment and help those who suffer most from global warming.

"We have a profound responsibility to protect our children, and our children's children, from the damaging impacts of climate change. I believe the United States must be a leader in this effort," Obama said in a statement.

Though the president has taken steps to address the issue using the power of his office, his efforts have met with resistance from Republican lawmakers in Congress.

Francis will be making his first trip to the U.S. in September, starting in Washington, where he will meet with Obama and address a joint session of Congress.

"As we prepare for global climate negotiations in Paris this December, it is my hope that all world leaders − and all God's children − will reflect on Pope Francis's call to come together to care for our common home," Obama said.


6:20 p.m. (1620 GMT, 12:20 p.m. EDT)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has made the issue of climate change his top priority since taking the reins of the world body 8½ years ago, thanked Pope Francis "for taking such a strong stand on the need for urgent global action."

"His moral voice is part of a growing chorus of people from all faiths and all sectors of society (who) are speaking out for climate action," Ban told reporters. "I urge all the governments to place the global common good above national interests and to adopt an ambitious, universal climate agreement in Paris this year."

Ban said that during his meeting with the pope at the Vatican in April "we discussed the need for all humankind to come together to address climate change, one of the principal challenges facing the human community."

"Pope Francis and I agree that climate change is a moral issue that requires collective urgent actions. It is an issue of social justice, human rights and fundamental ethics. People everywhere share a responsibility to care for and protect our common home, our one and only planet Earth."

Ban said: "We must do far more to help the poorest and most vulnerable members of society who are suffering most from climate impact yet have the least to do with causing the problem. We must also show solidarity with generations that will follow ours and bequeath to them a sustainable world."

Jun 18, 2015, 3:48 PM ET
Obama Welcomes Pope's Call for Climate Action
By The Associated Press

Mr. Tom Steyer, Distinguished climate leaders,
I am pleased to meet with you today.
Climate change is at the top of the global agenda.
It is a key priority for President Obama and an issue receiving growing interest from Wall Street, as well as citizens, CEOs and cities – not least San Francisco.
I greatly appreciate the leadership represented in this room today.

The direct costs and growing risks from climate change are affecting the bottom lines of companies large and small, and influencing investor and corporate decision-making as never before.

There is a growing realization that the costs of inaction are far greater – and far more dangerous – than acting prudently today.

But beyond just smart risk management, there is also an increased understanding that acting on climate can benefit our economies – that it is a catalyst for building a clean energy future that’s good for air quality and public health, for business and for national security.

Countries are now realizing they don’t have to sacrifice growth to protect the environment.

The world’s three largest economies – US, China and the European Union – are all placing their bets on a low-carbon future.

Many CEOs and investors are moving toward more sustainable investments and business practices.

Those of you in this room realize this; it is why you are here.

An ambitious global climate agreement in Paris can put us on a much safer path will enable green growth.

US leadership is essential.

The Paris agreement, unlike Kyoto, will be a universal one, including all countries.

Importantly, Paris must provide the private sector with the clear signals it needs to move money and markets in a low-carbon direction.

If we are to put the world on a low-carbon climate-resilient pathway, both the public and private sectors need to take immediate action.

I would like to hear about what you are doing in your own companies.
I would like to focus our discussion on three important areas.

First, pricing carbon.
I would like to hear your views and suggestions on how we could advance these efforts.

Second, I would like to hear your thoughts on how the private sector can maximize the scale and impact of existing and future green investments.

Third, how can the private sector work with and encourage governments to adopt an ambitious, universal agreement in Paris?

We need your leadership, your ideas, and your resources.
Thank you for joining me.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Remarks at Climate Leaders' Roundtable hosted by UNA/USA and the UN Foundation
By Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, San Francisco (USA), 26 June 2015

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UN at 70

South Korea's economy has taken a beating due to Seoul's frayed ties with Tokyo, and the South Korean pop culture craze in Japan has also lost some of its fizz since then South Korean President Lee Myung Bak visited the Takeshima islands in Shimane Prefecture in 2012.

Last year, 2.28 million Japanese tourists visited South Korea, a drop of 35 per cent from 2012.

Direct flights linking Japan and the tourist resort of Jeju Island will be discontinued in October, the first such suspension since a service from Osaka to Jeju was launched in 1981...

In 2003, China eclipsed Japan as a trading partner of South Korea by value, and overtook the United States in 2004 to become South Korea's top trading partner. In 2014, bilateral trade with China accounted for 21 per cent of South Korea's total trade.

On June 1 this year, China and South Korea formally signed a bilateral free trade agreement.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has high expectations for this pact, saying, "This will become a historical milestone which will further deepen the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries."

Seoul dawdled while other nations announced they would participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal being spearheaded by Japan and the United States.

South Korea is not among the 12 countries holding these negotiations, which are nearing completion.

Despite being urged by the United States not to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, South Korea signed up as a founding member and holds the fifth-largest shareholding in the bank...

A close aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told The Yomiuri Shimbun: "Prime Minister Abe often says that if South Korea remains fixated on these history issues, we should just leave it alone.

He isn't trying to attract their attention by acting as if he isn't interested in its actions. The prime minister doesn't have any special sentiment toward South Korea."

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Questions remain as to whether the leaders of both nations have the resolve to get bilateral ties back on the road to improvement during this significant year.

AsiaOne Published: Friday, Jun 26, 2015
S Korea cozies up to China to revive economy as trade with Japan plunges

I was 6 years old when the Korean War broke out. I have memories of my village in flames as my family sought refuge in nearby mountains. But another sight is even more lasting: the UN flag.

We were saved from hunger by UN food relief operations; we received textbooks from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco); and when we wondered whether the outside world cared about our suffering, the troops of many nations sacrificed their lives to restore security and peace.

I know from my childhood, and now from decades of public service, the immense difference the UN can make.

As we mark the anniversary of the adoption of the organisation’s founding Charter on June 26, 1945 in San Francisco, my hope is that the human family will come together with greater determination to work for a safer and more sustainable future for “we, the peoples”, in whose name the Charter was drafted.

The UN at 70 can look back on a proud record of working with many partners to dismantle colonialism, triumph over apartheid, keep the peace in troubled places and articulate a body of treaties and law to safeguard human rights.

Every day, the UN feeds the hungry, shelters refugees and vaccinates children against polio and other deadly diseases. Our relief workers brave remote and dangerous environments to deliver humanitarian assistance, and our mediators strive to find common ground between warring parties and peaceful solutions to grievances and disputes.

The UN was founded to prevent another world war, and it has succeeded in that core mission; despite grave setbacks, the past seven decades would surely have been even bloodier without the UN...

New powers have emerged since the representatives of 50 nations gathered to draft the Charter, and membership in the organisation has grown to 193.

Globalisation, urbanisation, migration, demographic shifts, technological advances and other seismic developments continue to remake our societies and transform international relations.

Yet the Charter’s vision of a world of peace, and the values enshrined in the text − dignity, equal rights, tolerance and freedom − remain touchstones for people everywhere...

With our fates ever more entwined, our future must be one of ever deeper cooperation − nations united by a spirit of global citizenship that lives up to the promise of the organisation’s name.

New Straits Times, Published: 27 June 2015 12:00 PM
UN has made a difference in last 70 years
By Ban Ki-Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations
Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/node/89896

Hundreds of people packed the rotunda of San Francisco City Hall to mark the 70th birthday of the signing of the United Nations charter.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who traveled to San Francisco to mark the anniversary, called the two-month conference that led to the signing an audacious endeavor, one where a desire for a better world overcame the horrors of two world wars.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the drafting of the charter was a glorious gamble. Delegates from dozens of countries bet on humanity," he said, adding, "For two months, they turned San Francisco's War Memorial into a peace palace."

The United Nations was born on Oct. 24, 1945, after governments in a majority of countries approved the charter.

The ceremony on Friday was just one of several events on Ban's schedule...

In the audience was 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was shot by a gunman in 2012 for advocating education for girls in Pakistan. She sat serenely on the second floor of City Hall and waved to the crowd below and all around her.

Also in the audience was Libba Patterson, a 97-year-old woman whose San Francisco Bay Area family hosted a teenage Ban as part of an international Red Cross effort in 1962. It was the first trip abroad for Ban, who had suffered through the Korean War as a young boy, and who found relief in the food handed out by U.N. peacekeepers.

"San Francisco is not just the birthplace of the United Nations," Ban said. "For me, personally, it was the place where my passion as a young boy to be a global citizen, that was born."

SAN FRANCISCO − Jun 26, 2015, 7:41 PM ET
United Nations Charter, Signed in San Francisco, Turns 70
By JANIE HAR Associated Press

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Do you know that UNESCO has placed Turkish coffee is on its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity?

Mr Yahoo still remembers the taste of Turkish coffee when he was invited to take it in March of this year in Turkey.

Turkish coffee combines special preparation and brewing techniques with a rich communal traditional culture. The freshly roasted beans are ground to a fine powder; then the ground coffee, cold water and sugar are added to a coffee pot and brewed slowly on a stove to produce the desired foam. The beverage is served in small cups, accompanied by a glass of water, and is mainly drunk in coffee-houses where people meet to converse, share news and read books. The tradition itself is a symbol of hospitality, friendship, refinement and entertainment that permeates all walks of life. An invitation for coffee among friends provides an opportunity for intimate talk and the sharing of daily concerns. Turkish coffee also plays an important role on social occasions such as engagement ceremonies and holidays...

Turkish coffee culture and tradition

Meanwhile he would like to point out the current issue about UNESCO and the ties between South Korea and Japan:

HISTORY has always plagued relations between Japan and South Korea. What was the then Empire of Korea was​ annexed by Imperial Japan in 1910. This started 35 years of Japanese exploitation of the Korean population, until the end of World War 2 in 1945. Japan’s reticence to acknowledge the use of “comfort women” to service Japanese troops during WW2 is a long-festering issue that has made international headlines. As recent as this week, 10 Korean comfort women say they will file a US$20 million suit in a California court against Japan and other companies allegedly involved in the war-time exploitation of women.

But in recent years, right-wing revisionists are becoming more prominent in Japan. They refuse to accept their country’s culpability in WW2 and the atrocities committed. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to be one of the main proponents of a whitewashing of Japanese history. Before Abe was prime minister, he led the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform. As leader of that group and other various points in the career, Abe has questioned whether the comfort women were coerced, only to back down when faced by a vociferous backlash from the international and Japanese media. However, political expediency seems to have tempered Abe’s revisionist tendencies. In a move seen as a bid to thaw Sino-Japanese ties this year, Abe avoided visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, a Shinto altar that honours Japan’s war dead, including convicted war criminals. In a speech to the United States Congress this year, Abe expressed “deep repentance” over Japan’s role in WW2.

The latest issue to fray Japanese-South Korean ties is Japan’s bid to list 23 Meiji-era industrialisation sites as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Heritage. These sites are monuments to Japan’s rapid modernisation during the Meiji period, to become the first non-Western state to industrialise. According to the description of the listing application on the Unesco website, these modernisation efforts began with the construction of Western-style furnaces to cast iron canon. Supposedly, these first baby steps “began with a single Dutch technical manual for reference”. As we can see today, Japan is now a world leader in technology and innovation.

A 21-member committee will meet in Bonn, Germany, beginning this Sunday to decide on this application. Malaysia is among the 21 members of the committee. But what has offended the South Koreans is that these industrialisation efforts were achieved on the backs of Korean slave labourers.

They say that in Japan’s listing application documents, no mention was made that at seven of the 23 sites, 57,900 Koreans were drafted in to work under intolerable conditions during the 1940s. Apart from Koreans, Chinese and Allied prisoners of war were also brought to work at these sites. Japan sidesteps this fact by saying that the listing application is for activities at the sites from 1850 to 1910. In recent weeks, Seoul has been sending envoys across the globe to lobby committee members to block Japan’s application unless Tokyo owns up to this past.

26 June 2015 1:01 PM
A history of frayed ties between Japan, S. Korea
Tokyo should admit its past wrongs to soothe the hurt feelings of its neighbours
By Syed Azahedi, NST foreign editor
Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/node/89818

The families of British prisoners of war forced to labour in Japanese mines, shipyards and foundries have expressed concern that Japan is glossing over their suffering as it tries to have the locations listed as Unesco World Heritage sites.

Tokyo has applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to have 23 industrial facilities across southern Japan recognised for their contribution to Japan's development as the first industrial power outside Europe and North America.

A decision on whether to add "Sites of the Meiji Industrial Revolution" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries will be taken at a meeting of the Unesco World Heritage Committee that convenes in Bonn on June 28.

The Japanese application makes no mention of the use of tens of thousands of slave labourers from the Korean Peninsula, which was part of the Japanese empire in the early decades of the last century, or Allied prisoners captured after war broke out in the Far East.

"It must be pointed out that my father and his friends suffered when they were forcibly put to work for the Japanese war machine," Christopher Stone, a retired bank executive Surrey, told The Telegraph.

"The granting of World Heritage status could, in this case, be conferred upon sites that saw atrocities carried out back then," he said. "I'm not happy about that and I know my father wouldn't have been happy either."

12:05PM BST 23 Jun 2015
British PoW families complain as Japan asks for World Heritage protection for slave labour sites
By Julian Ryall, Tokyo

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Mt Kinabalu to reopen

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Sabah is hoping to re-open Mount Kinabalu to climbers by September, said Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

However, the number of climbers would be limited to fewer than 100 per climb for safety purposes.

Masidi said the mountain has been closed to climbers since June 5 following an earthquake. Climbers would only be allowed up the mountain again once restoration work was completed.

"However, we will reduce the number of climbers by half compared to previously (from about 192 to 90 per trip), as the safety of climbers is of utmost priority," he told reporters after handing over contributions to victims of the earthquake that killed 18 people.

"We do not want to take a risk by maintaining the number as in the past," Mr Masidi said.

"Restoration work on the climbing routes, with the aid of technical expertise, is continuing and we hope it would be ready by early September," he said adding that any delay would be due to aftershocks.

"The aftershocks continue to occur and, up to yesterday, 91 aftershocks have been recorded," he added...

Those who wish to be updated on the Mount Kinabalu restoration work can log on to the Sabah Parks website at www.sabahparks.org.my.

The Straits Times, Published on Jun 25, 2015 6:31 PM
Sabah hopes to re-open Mount Kinabalu by September, limit number of climbers
See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/sabah-hopes-re-open-mount-kinabalu-september-limit-number-climbers-2#sthash.mxL6OzUG.dpuf

State Tourism, Culture and Envir-o--n--ment Minister Masidi Manjun in a tweet also said that they have cancelled the annual 29th edition of the Mount Kinabalu Climbathon scheduled for October17 and 18 due to the damage.

Sabah Parks chairman Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Maha--m-ood said mountain guides had been engaged to help in the repair works.

Sabah Parks had hoped to get the mountain up and running in three weeks after the quake but continuing aftershocks has derailed many plans to repair destroyed trails and accommodation facilities at the mountain.

Tengku Adlin said that they have started the repairs on the trails and have engaged mountain guides to assist in the repairs,

He said mountain huts at Panar Laban would be replaced and repairs carried out at the Laban Rata rest house.

He said their main concern now was the loose rocks and the safety of the Sabah Parks workers and mountain guides carrying out the repair work.

“We are hoping the tremors would eventually taper off. Otherwise the repair work would be interrupted,” Tengku Adlin added.

The damaged trails included the stretch between the 1.5km and 1.8km stretch near the base of the mountain, between the 6.1km and 7km stretch between Laban Rata and the Summit Plateau that had been blocked by rocks and boulders, and at the 6th kilometre of the Mesilau-Layang Layang trail.

Sabah Parks personnel as well as mountain guides are planning a new route between Laban Rata and the Summit Plateau.

A team of mountaineering experts would evaluate the proposed new trail before it is built.

The Star, Publication Date : 26-06-2015
Mount Kinabalu closed three more weeks

SINGAPORE - Mountain guide Mohd Rizuan Kauhinin woke up extra early at 6am on Tuesday, in anticipation of a reunion with the Singaporean boy he rescued after the earthquake on Mount Kinabalu.

It was his first time catching up with Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) pupil El Wafeeq El Jauzy, 12, after carrying him down the mountain and to safety. A photograph, taken shortly after the earthquake, of Mr Rizuan carrying the injured Wafeeq on his back went viral on social media last week. It has become emblematic of the heroism displayed by the mountain guides.

The meeting took place at TKPS on Tuesday morning, less than two weeks after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Sabah on June 5.

"I am not a hero," Mr Rizuan told The Straits Times on Tuesday. He added that many mountain guides and aid teams also contributed to rescue efforts...

The reunion was arranged as part of an upcoming Channel NewsAsia documentary to be aired next Tuesday.

Seven pupils and two teachers from the school lost their lives in the disaster, as did a Singapore adventure guide accompanying them.

The Straits Times, Published on Jun 17, 2015 8:29 AM
Mountain guides meet Singaporean boy whom they rescued after Sabah quake
By Calvin Yang
See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/mountain-guides-meet-singaporean-boy-whom-they-rescued-a#sthash.0VigN4sb.dpuf

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Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Seventy years after the Battle of Okinawa, Yoshiko Shimabukuro still has terrifying nightmares of watching friends and Japanese soldiers die as they hid in caves to escape fierce American shelling.

One of 222 female students mobilized as a battlefield nursing unit for the Imperial Army in March 1945, she also suffers deep pangs of guilt for surviving the war while many of her classmates perished in the hell holes that served as military hospitals on the island's southern tip.

"We only had basic training in how to put on bandages, but the wounded soldiers they brought in were beyond help," Shimabukuro told AFP ahead of a ceremony Tuesday to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the battle.

"They had legs ripped off, their intestines were falling out, faces missing. We simply had no idea what to do. I was 17. We all thought we would be back at school in a week."

Fewer than half of the girls known as the "himeyuri students" -- an amalgam of the names of the two schools they came from -- survived the 82-day battle, which wiped out a quarter of the subtropical island's population.

Many died after being ordered by Japanese soldiers to leave their caves in a hail of bullets as the enemy closed in. Others plunged off cliffs or blew themselves up with grenades rather than surrender.

"We wanted to stay in the caves and die together but the Japanese soldiers sent us away," said Shimabukuro, fighting back tears. "People were quickly killed or badly injured. But we couldn't take the injured with us, we had to leave them.

"I still have dreams where I see my dead friends and I wake up screaming. It breaks my heart that I lived and my friends died, without me knowing how, when or where."

The battle claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Okinawan civilians and 80,000 Japanese troops, whose grim resistance only ended after Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, the senior officer on the island, committed ritual suicide on a cliff...

Resentment over the war still runs deep in Okinawa, a formerly independent kingdom annexed by Japan in the 19th century.

With thousands of American troops still stationed on the island -- a legacy of a long US occupation -- tensions run high, and the planned relocation of a controversial US air base, which some locals want moved off Okinawa instead, has triggered angry protests in recent months.

That has coincided with a push by the nationalist government to give the military greater scope for action -- something opponents say runs counter to the hallowed pacifism enshrined in Japan's constitution.

Shimabukuro fears that Okinawa, which returned to Japanese rule in 1972, could become a battle ground once again.

"I'll never forgive Japan for what happened," said the 87-year-old, now the director of a museum dedicated to the nursing corps.

"And now we have peace, Japan is trying to change the constitution and turn itself into a country that can wage war again," she added. "And that would drag this poor island back into the firing line."

Jacarta Post, Published: Mon, June 22 2015 5:26 PM
Okinawans still haunted by horror of war 70 years on
By Alastair Himmer, Agence France-Presse, Itoman, Japan
See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/06/22/okinawans-still-haunted-horror-war-70-years.html

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- A top United Nations official advised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday to meet former Korean sex slaves in person to understand their sincerity in demanding a formal apology and proper reparations from Tokyo.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said his office has been in talks with the Japanese government over its handling of the "comfort women," a euphemistic term for the Korean and other Asian women who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II. Korea was under Japan's brutal colonial rule from 1910-45.

"It is clear that Japan over the years has taken significant steps but at the end of the day the opinions of the victims matter the most," he said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. "If the victims themselves feel that there is more that can be done I think they have to be honored."

On Wednesday, Zeid met with three of the 49 surviving victims. He said they left a deep impression on him with their "sentiment of compassion and generosity of spirit" for other victims of sexual violence in conflicts in other parts of the world.

"Only they can speak about whether they feel satisfied that their suffering has at least been recognized deeply. So I think there is room to still work in this area," he said. "I think if the prime minister of Japan experienced what I experienced by sitting with them, it would have a profound experience."

Relations between South Korea and Japan have long been dogged by disputes over the issue.

Seoul is pressing Tokyo to address the matter, while Japan claims its legal responsibility was already settled in a 1965 deal to normalize bilateral diplomatic ties.

Abe has yet to offer a clear apology for the tragic history in his own words.

"I firmly believe and hope that a satisfactory solution can be found," Zeid said in a press conference before the interview.

2015/06/25 23:22
Top U.N. official asks Abe to meet 'comfort women'

The United Nations has opened a new office in Seoul to monitor North Korea’s human rights record, prompting a warning from Pyongyang of “resolute toughest” action against what it termed a grave provocation.

The office was formally opened in a ceremony on Tuesday attended by UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, despite the North’s repeated threats of “merciless punishment” against South Korea if the mission was launched.

The North has already announced it will boycott next month’s World University Games in the southern South Korea city of Gwangju in protest at the office.

“The Seoul office will monitor and document human rights issues in North Korea,” Hussein said in a statement to mark the opening, “building on the landmark work of the commission of inquiry and special rapporteur. We firmly believe this will help the basis for future accountability,” he said.

The Guardian, Published: Wednesday 24 June 2015 11.35 BST
'Seoul-based investigators will bring Kim Jong-un to justice', vows UN
Newly opened human rights office, dramatically denounced by North Korea, could be a ‘game changer’ for documenting abuses
By AFP and Ina Yoon for NK News, part of the North Korea network

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Democracy in South Korea

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has been heckled at an event marking the anniversary of the end of the bloodiest battle of the Pacific during the second world war, as criticism mounts over his attempts to allow Japanese troops to fight overseas for the first time in seven decades.

Shouts of “Go home!” and “Warmonger!” could be heard as Abe, a nationalist whose attempts to reinterpret Japan’s pacifist constitution have sent his approval ratings to record lows, arrived at a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the end of the battle of Okinawa in which more than 200,000 civilians and soldiers died...

By the time the fighting ended, about 100,000 Okinawan civilians were dead, as well as 80,000 Japanese troops. At least 12,000 US soldiers also died in a battle that many believed offered a bloody foretaste of what could happen if the US attempted an invasion of the Japanese mainland...

Some local people fear their island could once again be dragged into war if Abe pushes ahead with plans to reinterpret the US-authored pacifist constitution and allow Japanese troops to engage in collective self-defence – or coming to the aid of an ally under attack.

Article 9 of the constitution prohibits Japan from threatening or using force as a means of settling international disputes. Successive administrations in Tokyo have interpreted that to mean that troops can only go into battle in defence of direct threats to Japanese territory.

Abe’s quest to end that strictly defensive posture recently suffered a setback after three respected scholars said the changes were unconstitutional.

Voters also appear to doubt Abe’s reassurances that the change would not increase the likelihood of Japanese troops becoming embroiled in US-led conflicts...

Mainstream historians say up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, were forced into sexual slavery during the war. Japan insists all compensation claims were settled when the two countries normalised bilateral ties in 1965.

Tuesday 23 June 2015 11.57 BST
Japan's PM Shinzo Abe heckled at Okinawa battle anniversary event

In the past, economic ties and cultural interactions have continued despite ups and downs in the relationship, but in the past two years diplomatic frictions have impacted on the other aspects of bilateral relations. Japanese investment into South Korea has dropped significantly, trade growth is stalling, and fewer Japanese tourists are visiting South Korea, although, thanks to the weak yen, Korean visitors to Japan are actually increasing.

The Japanese remain fascinated by Korean popular culture − Abe’s wife, Akie, is well-known for her love of Korean dramas − but recent public opinion polls show declining levels of trust in Koreans amongst Japanese, while Koreans too increasingly dislike Japanese.

But neither Park nor Abe seem willing to make the first step. Park is in a sensitive position since it was her father, Park Chung-hee, who actually pushed through the establishment of relations in 1965 against much popular opposition. If anything, she has tried to distance herself from this legacy by depicting herself as standing up to the Japanese and refusing to meet Abe.

Abe too has a historical legacy in that his grandfather was a member of wartime cabinets. Through his determination to revive the Japanese economy after two “lost decades”, Abe has gained domestic popularity, but his ambitions to reinterpret the constitution and strengthen Japan’s military contributions to the alliance with the United States have been less well-received within Japan and certainly have provoked critical comments from the South Korean media and public...

North-east Asia remains an area of contention and instability. A re-worked and re-energised Japan-South Korea relationship can contribute much to ensuring regional order and stability. The writer is

22 June 2015 12:01 PM
Japan and South Korea still distant neighbours
By Dr Brian Bridges, adjunct professor at the Lingnan University of Hong Kong, with a special interest in North-East Asia

Ahn Sung-rye was a nurse when the limp, bloodstained bodies of young men and women started arriving at her hospital in central Gwangju on 18 May 1980.

"There were bodies strewn across the corridors and mothers screaming as they searched for their children, but it was so chaotic, there was nothing I could do to help them," she says. "We didn't even have time to sterilise the medical instruments before taking patients into surgery."

Ahn had no idea at the time, but her patients were the first casualties of an uprising that was to mark the beginning of South Korea's transformation from military dictatorship to liberal democracy. Those events live on in the city's collective memory in the form of the Gwangju Biennale – two months of art, film and performance launched in 1995 to honour its citizens' sacrifice, seven years before South Korea became a democracy.

When the ninth biennale opened in the south-west city earlier this month, Ahn, who appears in one of the most talked about exhibits, was not alone in bringing South Korea's tumultuous path to democracy full circle.

Among the guests was Park Geun-hye, whose father, Park Chung-hee ruled the country with an iron fist for 18 years until his assassination in October 1979. Ms Park, who acted as first lady after her mother was killed by a North Korean sympathiser in 1974, is hoping to become South Korea's first female president in December...

Like the women of Gwangju who are trying to keep the memories of May 1980 alive, Park Geun-hye could struggle to make a clean break with South Korea's dark past. Only this week, she vowed to clarify her position on her father's controversial legacy.

A recent survey by Seoul National University found that voters are taking an increasingly dim view of his regime; her emergence as a presidential candidate, the poll said, is "shining the spotlight on the Park Chung-hee era, which is bringing about changes in opinion."

Park's visit to the Gwangju Biennale may prove to have been an early display of courage on the presidential campaign trail. Or it could go down as a dangerous misreading of the public mood in country where, in the minds of some citizens, the road to democracy still glistens with the blood of Gwangju's martyrs.

Tuesday 25 September 2012 07.00 BST
Gwangju Biennale honours sacrifice that brought democracy to South Korea,
Presidential hopeful Park Geun-hye's visit recalls the brutality of her father Park Chung-hee's regime with a picture stating: A South Korean paratrooper clubs a man arrested during anti-government demonstrations in Gwangju on 20 May 1980

Twenty-five years ago today, Roh Tae-woo, the handpicked successor to President Chun Doo-hwan, announced a sweeping democratization proposal, including the adoption of direct presidential elections and an amnesty for Kim Dae-jung who was under house arrest.

It was a drama which citizens had initially welcomed, ending three weeks of street demonstrations, which had started on June 9 when Yonsei University student Lee Han-yeol was injured by a teargas canister that penetrated his skull. He became the symbol of the ensuing nationwide protests, which peaked at 1.5 million people on June 26 in 37 cities. On June 10, President Chun Doo-hwan handpicked Roh as his successor.

Neck-tied white collar workers returned to work. Street honking ended as gas grenades disappeared. Police restored power. Many restaurants and coffee shops provided free meals and beverages in jubilation over the victory of the people’s power. Just days before the declaration, talks of martial laws and disbanding of the National Assembly haunted the country.

In hindsight, it was a conspiracy between Chun and Roh to prolong power by dividing the opposition − Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung. The two coup leaders had no choice but to accept the popular demands ahead of the historic Seoul Olympics a year later. Roh won the presidential election in December, the first direct election in 15 years since the late Park Chung-hee introduced the October Yushin (Revitalizing Reform) in 1972.

Korea Times, Updated : 2012-06-28 17:28
Revisiting June 29 in 1987

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Democracy in the Philippines

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines – A tiny military exercise in the Philippines this week may presage something much bigger: the entry of Japan into the tussle for control of the South China Sea.

A Japanese surveillance plane and about 20 troops conducted the first of two days of joint training with the Philippine navy on Tuesday off the coast of Palawan, a strategically important island not far from contested islands claimed by several countries including China and the Philippines...

The exercise follows the first-ever joint drill between the two navies six weeks ago, and is part of a confluence of developments that suggest Japan may at least test the waters in the South China Sea. Consider this:

− Japan's parliament is debating legislation this summer that would loosen post-World War II restrictions on its military to allow it operate outside of the immediate area. Under questioning by opposition lawmakers, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said that could include patrols in the South China Sea in certain situations − though he added Japan has no current plans for that.

− The new head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, told the Japanese media on a recent visit to Tokyo that the P-3 aircraft, which the U.S. also uses, is well suited to patrol the South China Sea. He added that he welcomes Japan's willingness to play a larger role in regional security. The U.S. is looking for help from Japan, Australia and other allies as it confronts Chinese challenges to its naval dominance in the Pacific.

− The drill coincides with rising American criticism of China for reclaiming land and building structures on disputed islands and outcroppings in the South China Sea. Japanese officials are also openly critical of China's attempts to establish its territorial claims through construction.

"Certainly the current Japanese government seems to be seriously signaling that this is a possibility," said Corey Wallace, a security analyst joining the Freie Universitat in Berlin in July. "My sense is that the Japanese government is putting into place the necessary legal and military mechanisms as preparation ahead of making a final decision about whether to get more directly involved later down the track."

Fox News Published June 23, 2015
Tiny Japanese navy drill with Philippines may lead to bigger role in South China Sea
By Associated Press

The hero-leader of the 1986 revolution (*), when the then general, Fidel V. Ramos, overthrew his cousin, dictator Ferdinand Marcos...

Karma reigns in the Philippines. The Marcos’ assassination of Aquino led to the presidency of his widow and his son. Now, the kleptomania and electoral fraud of Gloria Arroyo (daughter of a former president) is leading possibly to the election of the daughter of the late actor who surely won the 2004 election. It means that the accusation and visible evidence of the corruption of Binay is gaining traction. The Philippines is a paradise not just for its magnificent beaches, like those of Boracay, but for political economists like your humble servant. In most of the rest of the world, politicians at least say that their motivation is the good of the people. It has the additional virtue of sometimes being true. But in the Philippines, no one bothers to say any such thing. You don’t go into business here to make enough honest money to afford a life of service to your country. You go into politics to make enough money to buy businesses and enrich your family.

12 June 2015 12:01 PM
Karma reigns in Philippine politics
By W. Scott Thompson, emeritus professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, the United States
Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/node/88007

Eight in 10 Filipinos are worried a festering South China Sea territorial dispute could lead to "armed conflict" with the world's most populous nation, an independent polling outfit said on Friday.

Manila-based Social Weather Stations said this sentiment had weighed on people's minds since the Philippines backed down from a tense standoff with China over control of rich fishing grounds around Scarborough Shoal in 2012.

The study showed 84 percent of 1,200 respondents were "worried" about armed conflict with China.

The same poll has been conducted every year since 2012, and in each of the surveys at least 80 percent of respondents have been concerned that the sea dispute could escalate into a full-blown conflict with the Philippines' powerful Asian neighbour.

"It is natural for us to worry about armed conflict as it is a fact that it does not benefit anyone," presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte told AFP, reacting to the survey results.

"This is precisely why our government has pursued peaceful means to resolving the dispute."

Updated: 07:09 GMT, 19 June 2015
Filipinos fear 'armed conflict' with China over sea row: poll

(*) The 1986 People Power Revolution
Path to revolution
The seeds of what has become known as the People Power revolution were sown long before February 1986.

President Marcos had been in power for more than 20 years, much of which was under martial law. One of the few people who openly challenged him was Ninoy Aquino - who, after being imprisoned for seven years, lived in self-imposed exile in the United States.

When Mr Aquino decided to come back to Manila in 1983, he was assassinated before he had even descended the steps of his plane.

In the months that followed, opposition movements gathered momentum around Mr Aquino's widow, Cory, and in a bid to ease the mounting tension President Marcos held a snap election. When he won, hardly anyone believed he had not rigged the result.

But it was only when a senior military official and the defence secretary both announced their opposition to the Marcos regime that the crowds started pouring onto EDSA - encouraged by the head of the country's powerful Catholic Church, Cardinal Jaime Sin.

On the afternoon of the protest's second day, the president sent in tanks to clear the street. But the troops refused to fire, prompting one of the most iconic images of the revolution - nuns standing in front of the tanks, offering flowers.

By then, even the US was urging Ferdinand Marcos to step down - a huge blow for the Philippine leader. Washington had seen him as an autocratic but useful regional ally, and President Ronald Reagan faced a dilemma similar to that which Barack Obama recently faced in Egypt.

On 25 February Ferdinand Marcos realised his time was up, and fled the country.

25 February 2011
The 1986 People Power Revolution
BBC News, Manila

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Malaysia in UNSC seat

NEW YORK: Malaysia has returned to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after a 15-year absence with an absolute victory.

Of the 192 votes cast at the UN General Assembly here Thursday, 187 was in support of Malaysia’s unopposed candidacy to represent the Asia Pacific region.

The results were a culmination of months of intense lobbying by Wisma Putra to clinch one of the five arising vacancies of the total 10 non-permanent seats.

Malaysia had officially put in its bid for the seat soon after completing its last two-year UNSC term in 1999.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman immediately pledged to honour the commitments Malaysia had made in the run-up to the vote, saying he was humbled by the trust and solidarity demonstrated by the larger UN membership in supporting Malaysia’s UNSC bid.

“The number of votes received bears testimony to Malaysia’s long-standing reputation as a responsible member of the international community, particularly in the context of international peace and security.

“We reaffirm the pledge to work together with other Council members, the wider UN membership as well as with other partners and stakeholders in fulfilling the mandate of the Council and in upholding the Charter of the United Nations for the common good of all.

“The resounding number of votes provides Malaysia with a solid platform of support and credibility as it embarks on its membership of the Security Council.

“At this stage, I wish to also express Malaysia’s deep appreciation for the endorsements by members of regional groupings in particular by Asean, by the Asia Pacific Group and by the Gulf Cooperation Council.

“These endorsements were instrumental in boosting Malaysia’s chances of being supported by other regional groups which is reflected in the outcome of the elections,” he told Malaysian journalists covering the UNSC vote.

Updated: Friday October 17, 2014 MYT 12:23:26 AM
Malaysia wins UN Security Council seat
by Paul Gabriel

Anifah Aman (Malaysia) on Children and Armed Conflict - Security Council Media Stakeout (18 June 2015)

18 Jun 2015 - Informal comments to the media by His Excellency Mr. Anifah Aman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and President of the Security Council for the month of June 2015 on the situation of Children and Armed Conflict.


"Children in South Sudan and Somalia continue to be recruited in large numbers by armed groups and militias," he said, adding that children abducted by violent extremist groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) are "forced into sexual slavery, coerced or brainwashed to inflict bloodshed, including as suicide bombers, combatants and executioners."

The increasing abductions perpetrated primarily by non-state armed groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS are "grave and disturbing." Because the use of abduction by violent extremist groups as a terror tactic against local communities and minorities is an acute concern that cannot be easily addressed using available tools or mechanisms, "… the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2225 … is important as it underscores our unified stance in denouncing the abduction of children".

Resolution 2225 denouncing the abduction of children, which was tabled by Malaysia and sponsored by 56 member states, was unanimously adopted during the UNSC session on June 18.

Anifah also called on providing proper training to U.N. security forces and peacekeeping missions to proactively respond to situations where children are at risk of abduction and other grave violations. He made it clear that reintegration of children is a long-term effort requiring collective responsibility of all stakeholders, including the international community.

"Strengthening the monitoring and reporting on abductions as well as identifying perpetrators will contribute to ensuring accountability," Anifah continued. "… We must also ensure that security forces and peacekeeping missions are trained and equipped to proactively respond to situations where children are at risk of abduction and other grave violations."

Speaking to Daily Sabah after the "open debate," Anifah also touched on another disturbing phenomenon that has shaken the international community – the increasing incidents of attacks on schools and hospitals as well as the military use of schools by both state and non-state armed groups, which denies thousands of children access to education and healthcare. He announced Malaysia's endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration adopted on May 29, 2015 in Oslo, Norway.

Accountability is a serious issue and "cannot go unaddressed," as it is a vital component of a comprehensive approach to child protection. He expressed dismay that the credibility and integrity of the mechanism – the Security Council framework for children and armed conflict and various tools to ensure accountability and compliance by parties to conflict, including through the listing mechanism of the annual report – were questioned this year, reflected in the killing of 500 Palestinian children and injury to over 1,000 children during last year's 50-day war in Gaza. These, he emphasized, were the "direct result of Israeli attacks."

Addressing reporters, he said that the open debate had provided Malaysia with a platform to discuss the recently published annual report of the Secretary General on children and armed conflict (CAAC).

Daily Sabah, Published 2015/06/22/, 18 hours ago
Resolution on children and armed conflict adopted by UN
Manik Mehta, New York

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Angelina Jolie

Do you know 20 June 2015, Saturday was the "World Refugee Day" and Angelina Jplie (1975-), Oscar winning actress visited Syrian refugees in Turkey.

After visiting a camp for Syrian refugees in southeastern Turkey on Saturday, actress Angelina Jolie said the world is living through an era of mass displacement.

Jolie, who serves as a United Nations special envoy for refugees, was speaking at a news conference in southeastern Turkey, home to Syrians and Iraqis displaced by war, on World Refugee Day.

'Never before have so many people been dispossessed or stripped of their human rights,' Jolie said.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said in a report last week that there were now more refugees than at any other time in history, with 59.5million people displaced from their homes worldwide.

'There is an explosion of human suffering and displacement on a level that has never been seen before,' Jolie said, warning that Syrians and Iraqis were running out of safe havens as neighbouring states reached the limit of their capacity.

As numbers increase, many countries are scrambling to find ways to close their doors to the new arrivals.

Hungary recently announced plans to build a 13ft-high fence on the border with Serbia to stop the flow of migrants from Asia and Africa, and anti-immigrant sentiment has flared elsewhere in Europe.

Jolie spoke of the problem in general terms.

'People are running out of places to run to,' she said, emphasizing 'the need to be open and tolerant to people... who may not be able to return home.'

Turkey now officially hosts the world's largest refugee community - about 1.6million, according the latest U.N. figures.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3132868/Angelina-Jolie-visits-Turkish-refugee-camps-filled-Syrians-Iraqis-displaced-war.html#ixzz3ds0Vcdyj

BERLIN – Syria overtook Afghanistan to become the world's biggest source of refugees last year, while the number of people forced from their homes by conflicts worldwide rose to a record 59.5 million, the United Nations' refugee agency said Thursday.

Pointing to crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Burundi and elsewhere, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said he doesn't expect any improvement in 2015.

"There is a multiplication of new crises," he said. "The Iraq-Syria crisis gained the dimension of a mega one ... and at the same time the old crises have no solutions."

The report comes at a time when Europe is grappling with how to deal with a flood of new migrants crossing the Mediterranean to escape the fighting in Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

UNHCR estimated that a total of 59.5 million people worldwide had been displaced by conflict by the end of last year − including 38.2 million displaced within their own countries. That was up from 51.2 million in 2013 − the previous highest since the U.N. began collecting numbers in the early 1950s. Syria alone accounted for 11.6 million of those people, the biggest single figure.

The agency counted nearly 3.9 million Syrian refugees in 107 countries last year, the fourth year of the country's civil war. That made it the leading source of refugees − pushing Afghanistan, which had held that status for more than 30 years, down to second place with 2.6 million refugees.

Syria's northern neighbor, Turkey, became the world's biggest refugee host with 1.59 million refugees. Pakistan, which had held that position for over a decade, was second with 1.51 million.

Published June 18, 2015
Global refugee numbers reached alarming levels in 2014, Syria the biggest source
Associated Press

GENEVA, June 18 (UNHCR) – Wars, conflict and persecution have forced more people than at any other time since records began to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere, according to a new report from the UN refugee agency.

UNHCR's annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on Thursday (June 18), said that worldwide displacement was at the highest level ever recorded...

Half of all refugees are children
Most alarmingly, however, it showed that over half the world's refugees are children.

"With huge shortages of funding and wide gaps in the global regime for protecting victims of war, people in need of compassion, aid and refuge are being abandoned," warned Guterres. "For an age of unprecedented mass displacement, we need an unprecedented humanitarian response and a renewed global commitment to tolerance and protection for people fleeing conflict and persecution."

Syria is the world's biggest producer of both internally displaced people (7.6 million) and refugees (3.88 million at the end of 2014). Afghanistan (2.59 million) and Somalia (1.1 million) are the next biggest refugee source countries.

Almost nine out of every 10 refugees (86 per cent) are in regions and countries considered economically less developed.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly.
News Stories, 18 June 2015
Worldwide displacement hits all-time high as war and persecution increase
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AUNG San Suu Kyi

KUALA CANGKOI, Indonesia: Muhammad Yunus came ashore in Indonesia by accident after a harrowing boat journey -- but he and hundreds of other Rohingya migrants are delighted to be spending Islam’s holiest month in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

The boat people in Aceh province are among thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants who arrived in countries across Southeast Asia in May after a Thai crackdown threw the people-smuggling trade into chaos and sparked a regional crisis.

Yunus had hoped to reach relatively affluent Malaysia, like many of the region’s migrants, but after a months-long voyage was dumped in shallow waters off Aceh.

He is nevertheless relieved to have washed up in Indonesia -- particularly in time for Ramadan, which starts on Thursday -- and be far from his native Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country where the Rohingya have long faced discrimination and are denied citizenship.

“Praise be to God, we were saved and brought to a Muslim country,” said the 35-year-old religious education teacher, who was rescued off the coast of Aceh on May 10 with around 580 other migrants.

“The people here are very kind and have helped us, they see Rohingya refugees as their brothers.”

Others, such as 16-year-old Muhammad Shorif, who fled a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh where he had lived with his family, echoed his sentiments.

“I miss mother’s cooking in the refugee camp,” he said, but added he was “very happy” to be in Aceh for Ramadan, when Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset.

Ramadan will be a busy time for Yunus, who left Myanmar in 2012 when his Islamic school was destroyed during fierce communal violence between local Buddhists and Rohingya, as he acts as prayer leader for the Rohingya in the camps.

He said that at the time he fled, it was impossible for Muslims to worship in peace, with mosques being razed to the ground and security forces stopping them from performing prayers.

Yunus spent several years at a camp in Bangladesh but got on a boat earlier this year in an attempt to escape the pitiful conditions there.

Updated: Thursday June 18, 2015 MYT 1:49:52 PM
Rohingya hope for peaceful Ramadan in Indonesia

AUNG San Suu Kyi’s enforced silence throughout almost twenty years of house arrest helped her become a global democratic icon, but her voluntary silence about the deplorable situation of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingyas jeopardises this standing.

During her lengthy house arrest, Suu Kyi demonstrated a stoic dignity and steadfast commitment to the welfare and rights of Myanmar’s ordinary people, earning her standing as a much loved national figure and as a worthy Nobel Laureate.

Since her release from house arrest in 2010, Suu Kyi has been far from silent, speaking freely about political matters, including the economic liberalisation, ethnic and international relations, and the national constitution. With a re-energised National League for Democracy (NLD) party, the Lady, as she is adoringly known to many in Myanmar, was elected to Parliament in 2012, giving her an official platform to express her political views.

Over the last five years, she has had a lot to say, platforms from which to say it and, owing to her iconic status, a willing audience in Myanmar and internationally.

The Lady has become suddenly silent as Myanmar’s discriminatory policies towards the Rohingyas have created a regional migration crisis. This silence risks irrevocably tarnishing her image and political credibility as a future Myanmar and Asean leader, prompting many to ask why does Suu Kyi stay silent.

The answer can be found...

15 June 2015 12:01 PM
Why Suu Kyi stays silent
By Ronan Lee, a doctoral candidate at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Australia

YANGON (AFP): Myanmar’s indomitable opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has entwined her life with the politics of her country, but as she turned 70 yesterday, “The Lady” is facing one of the greatest challenges of her decades-long freedom fight.

While her National League for Democracy (NLD) party is expected to triumph at key elections this year, Suu Kyi’s pathway to the presidency is blocked by a controversial clause in Myanmar’s junta-era constitution.

With polls slated for November, time is running out to change the contested clause before the vote and Suu Kyi’s advancing age adds urgency to her quest of leading a democratic Myanmar.

Analyst Mael Reynaud said she was likely to defer an attempt to take the top job, but added that much would depend on her acceptance by the country’s old elites, in the form of the army and current ruling party, which remains dominated by former generals.

“The fact that she’s getting older is indeed one further reason why she would want to get the constitution changed before the 2020 elections so she could become the president then,” he said.

Locked away for years by a former junta fearful of her huge popular support, Suu Kyi’s decision to compromise with former military figures has seen her take a seat in parliament and opened the way for her hermetic homeland to step onto the global stage.

It is in keeping with her reputation for non-violent opposition to the junta, a fight that earned her a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and near rock star status at home and abroad.

Today, she is expected to speak to hundreds of NLD supporters at a Yangon restaurant, as the nation’s focus intensifies on the polls.

While still wildly popular, the rough and tumble of political life has muddied Suu Kyi’s once flawless image.

She has faced censure for a reluctance to speak out on behalf of the country’s maligned Muslim population.

She has also been criticised for failing to nurture a political successor within the NLD, meaning the party has no alternative presidential candidate to propose, regardless of how well it does in the polls.

A president will be selected by parliament after the elections.

The Myanmar constitution excludes those with foreign spouses and children from top political office – Suu Kyi’s two sons are British.

The charter also enshrines the military’s continued political clout with a quarter of parliamentary seats – a voting bloc that army MPs have vowed to use to stop major amendments.

As the daughter of the country’s adored independence leader, having spent years abroad and a swathe of international dignitaries, including US President Barack Obama, among her avowed admirers, Suu Kyi’s political pedigree is unmatched in Myanmar, according to biographer Peter Popham.

“There is nobody she could pick who she could deal with on equal terms,” he said.

Updated: Saturday June 20, 2015 MYT 9:02:06 AM
Suu Kyi’s at the crossroads

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nuke disasters

AS SELECTED Southeast Asian states such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia look to utilise nuclear energy from 2020, it is imperative for ASEAN to start developing a regional nuclear emergency response and incorporating technological disaster and nuclear crisis into its disaster management and response framework. ASEAN member-states have been institutionalising national and regional disaster response mechanisms to effectively mobilise international humanitarian response to natural disasters that typically hit Southeast Asia. Currently, national and regional strategies and various disaster response simulation exercises of ASEAN and its dialogue partners focus heavily on natural disasters such as earthquake, volcanic eruption, flooding and typhoon, but not on technological disasters.

The 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) held in Sendai, Japan in March 2015 cast the spotlight on preparedness for technological disasters with a working session on a range of technological disasters including chemical and nuclear emergencies. Natural disasters can trigger technological disasters (“natech”) and these simultaneous crises may pose tremendous risks to countries and communities that are unprepared for them. The most recent example is the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami which triggered a nuclear disaster in Fukushima prefecture and led to the evacuation of more than 120,000 residents.

The director-general of Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency recently stated that Vietnam would only begin constructing its first nuclear power plant when all safety conditions are met. Though Vietnam has the most advanced nuclear preparatory programme in the region it is also vulnerable to disasters. Its government’s climate modelling exercises found that due to climate change, the coastal province of Ninh Thuan, where the first nuclear reactor will be built, is now more vulnerable to stronger typhoons which can generate severe storm surges that damage infrastructure, according to government scientists. The Vietnamese coastline is also vulnerable to tsunamis potentially originating from a strong tremor in the South China Sea...

Considering the need to coordinate responses to nuclear crises, ASEAN can set up a regional nuclear crisis centre in which the region’s highly trained radiation emergency responders can come together and participate in workshops, trainings and joint drills. This would facilitate information exchange and increase response coordination in case member states will get affected by radiation plumes. In times of crisis, the centre can act as a special coordinating body for regional and civil-military nuclear emergency response...

Early preparations can help the region identify and address its gaps and limitations in its response readiness even before any of its members builds a nuclear power plant.

09 June, 2015
An ASEAN Nuclear Crisis Centre: Preparing for a Technological Disaster in Southeast Asia
By Julius Cesar Imperial Trajano, senior analyst wiht the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme, Center for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of Int'l Stusdies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapor

WCDRR Highlights
Monday, 16 March 2015, Sendai Japan

The third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction continued its deliberations with two ministerial roundtables taking place on “Governing Disaster Risk: Overcoming Challenges” and “Reducing Disaster Risk in Urban Settings.” A high-level partnership dialogue convened in the afternoon, on “Risk-sensitive Investment: Public-private Partnerships.”

Working sessions addressed several topics, including resilient tourism and preparing for disaster-induced relocation. The World Bank, the Government of Japan and partners hosted a special round of the Resilience Dialogue series, exploring how to scale up and sustain funding and implementation of disaster and climate risk programs to advance post-2015 resilience goals...

Risk sensitive investmentsPublic-private partnerships: Chair Fuat Oktay, Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, Turkey, introduced the dialogue, noting that strong public-private partnerships can make DRR a driving force for sustainable development.

Keynote speaker Gaëlle Olivier, AXA Asia, noted there are now five times the number of disasters annually compared with 50 years ago, with the costs having increased tenfold. She noted the insurance sector has US$30 trillion of assets under management, representing a third of global assets. She stressed the sector needs to be more proactive in working with government and regulators to invest responsibly, including by better understanding, preventing and managing risk.

In a panel discussion, moderated by journalist David Eades, senior public and private sector representatives agreed on the critical importance of public-private partnerships in achieving DRR and managing recovery to “build back better,” given that every taxpayer dollar invested could leverage between US$3 and US$8 from the private sector. Panelists noted that there are strong incentives for the private sector to seek partnerships, given increased costs from interruptions to supply chains in a globalized economy, and stressed that trust-building across governments and societies would be crucial. They highlighted the need for the public sector to “lay down codes” for a disaster resilience framework, and for the private sector to consider its role in effective investment to ensure business continuity in the aftermath of a disaster.

Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)
Volume 26 Number 13, Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The nuclear-power industry opens a $40 million response center near Phoenix today that aims to back up reactors around the country in the event of a major disaster.

Industry officials hope the 80,000-square-foot center, which was built in Arizona because of the state's low exposure to natural disasters, will never be put to use. But it gives them peace of mind to know that the equipment is there, and it helps meet new regulatory requirements added since the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Japan...

Lessons from Japan
One of the biggest problems in Fukushima was keeping nuclear fuel cooled without electricity to run water pumps, and that concern is directly addressed by the equipment now housed west of Phoenix.

While the earthquake did not damage the plant, the backup power generators and their backup batteries used to pump water on to the nuclear fuel were damaged by the tsunami, which was larger than the protective sea wall at the power plant.

Three of the Fukushima reactors were running at the time of the disaster, and they eventually melted down because they could not be kept cool.

Fukushima's emergency workers responded by using firetrucks to spray water on the fuel and attempted to cool it by dumping water from a helicopter.

Fukushima experienced hydrogen-gas explosions caused by the heat from the fuel and released large amounts of radiation into the atmosphere and sea.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. continues to face problems with cleaning up the contaminated and damaged site.

A large exclusion zone still prevents residents from returning to their homes near the plant other than for brief trips.

Chief nuclear officers from U.S. utilities visited Fukushima last fall to talk with the Japanese plant operators about the challenges they faced during the emergency, and they brought those lessons back home.

"I had a really life-changing experience in September," Michael Pacilio, chief nuclear officer of Exelon Generation, said of the trip. Exelon runs 23 nuclear reactors at 14 sites in the U.S.

"One significant takeaway was the need for a national response," he said. "These response centers are very important facilities for adding redundancy."

U.S. reactors made other changes as well. Palo Verde purchased millions of dollars in new equipment to be more prepared for an emergency, including five new firetrucks.

The NRC also required more instrumentation at U.S. reactors to monitor pools of used fuel, which was a concern at one of the reactors in Fukushima that didn't melt down because workers couldn't tell if it had enough water to keep the fuel cool.

Officials from Japan's nuclear industry will tour the new response centers in October, when they will be fully operational.

Each of the response centers will employ three to six people to maintain the machinery.

Officials hope they never need to call in more workers to deploy the equipment.

"Hopefully, they will be the most boring places in the world," Pacilio said.

8:41 am MST May 22, 2014
Nuclear response center opens in West Valley
By Ryan Randazzo

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freedoms, democracy, equality

THE fall of Ramadi last month to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) drew harsh United States criticism of the weak Iraqi military performance. Most importantly, a year after the strategic northern Iraqi city of Mosul was captured by Isil in June last year, it took both Iraqi and international leaders by surprise. The militant group has remained resilient and powerful. The event then led to US-coalition airstrikes to defeat the self-described Islamic State.

The emergence of Isil took a decade in the making. It was the Syrian civil war that served as the vacuum that allowed Isil to regroup and distinguish itself from al-Qaeda, emerging as the most tenacious armed Islamist group in the region. Another solid argument is the American intervention in Iraq subsequent to this. This relates to the tragic actions of former US president George W. Bush, who lost his way almost immediately after the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. The event demonstrated that America had a new enemy, Islamist radicalism. On Feb 15, 2003, millions of people in around 60 countries and over 800 cities marched in a coordinated effort to stop the impending war on Iraq. It was the biggest demonstration ever seen in London with 1.5 million, in Madrid with 1.5 million and in Rome with three million. Despite this, the US and its allies invaded Iraq in March 2003, three weeks before Hans Blix, head of the weapons inspections mission in Iraq, had been allowed to finish his job and confirm that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was not hiding weapons of mass destruction.

Bush and then British prime minister Tony Blair did not want Blix to finish his job, and they certainly did not care about the massive, democratic peace protests. Many claimed they wanted to wage a war on Iraq to control its oil reserves, at any cost. And the cost was huge, as 4,491 American service members were killed in Iraq between 2003 and last year. Surveys vary on the number of Iraqis killed, and they range from 150,000 to over a million. The US officially withdrew from the country in 2011, but the insurgency and various dimensions of the civil armed conflict continue.

Syria was in a state of ruin when the Americans withdrew, and the West, with its loss of appetite for war after Iraq and Afghanistan, and the United Nations Security Council failed to prevent war through negotiation, diplomacy and sanctions. The international community has failed to alleviate the suffering of millions of refugees, most of them women and children, made homeless and hungry by the conflict. The West failed spectacularly to provide a viable structure with which to replace it, leading to further conflict, the impoverishment of thousands and a vacuum that became particularly conducive to the proliferation of militias and extreme groups such as al-Qaeda and Isil. They also failed to give adequate support to neighbouring countries Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, who are hosting the Syrian refugees and creaking under the political, economic and social strain...

17 June 2015 12:01 PM
How IS grew stronger By Dr. Paridah Abd. Samad, former lecturer of Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam, and International Islamic University Malaysia, Gombak

Beirut (AFP) - In the year since it declared its "caliphate," the Islamic State group has become the world's most infamous jihadist organisation, attracting international franchises and spreading fear with acts of extreme violence.

IS proclaimed its self-described caliphate on June 29, 2014, urging Muslims worldwide to pledge allegiance to its Iraqi leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, renamed Caliph Ibrahim.

Vowing to make "the West and the East... submit", IS has expanded its territory throughout northern and western Iraq and eastern and northern Syria.

It now controls some 300,000 square kilometres (115,000 square miles), terrifying residents with a gruesome brutality that analysts say has become central to its existence.

June 19, 2015 9:26AM
A year on, Islamic State 'caliphate' infamous for brutality
By Rita Daou (AFP)

At least 700 people from the UK have travelled to support or fight for jihadist organisations in Syria and Iraq, British police say. About half have since returned to Britain. Most of those who went to the conflict zone are thought to have joined the militant group that calls itself Islamic State.

This BBC News database details the stories of those who have died, been convicted of offences relating to the conflict or are still in the region. The information on these pages has been compiled from open sources and BBC research. Some details have been withheld for legal reasons or are unavailable...

18 June 2015
Tracking Britain's jihadists

The Home Secretary Theresa May said IS wanted to "lure" young women and families to Syria and Iraq, through the "powerful allure of propaganda".

Appealing to those thinking of travelling, Mrs May said they would be going to a place with "no democracy, no rule of law, no equality".

She said: "If you travel, you reject those freedoms. You turn your back on your families and your communities and instead embrace hatred, intolerance and brutality."

Mrs May added: "Do not travel. Do not engage in dangerous activities."

Speaking to the police from 20 countries and 100 law enforcement officials attending the event, she warned: "If you do not follow this advice, if you become involved in illegal and harmful activities, we will do everything in our power to keep the people of this country safe from terrorism."

Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, speaking before the conference, said there was a "growing phenomenon" of British people taking their families to Syria.

The commissioner said: "How could anybody want to go to a war zone? Why would you take a child there? This is a worry.

"We're just struggling to understand what drives people to do this."

He said more research was needed to understand why people were attracted to the Islamic State regime that most people regarded as "barbaric".

18 June 2015
Theresa May issues warning to Britons considering joining IS

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reading and writing

“I really didn’t believe I would make it through childhood, but the act of writing brought me through.”

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s voice is whispery on the other end of the telephone as she relates some of the experiences she’s overcome: living with a schizophrenic mother, growing up in a variety of foster homes, battling cancer, struggling with drug abuse − the list goes on.

Now 56 and an award-winning poet, Coke teaches writing as a way of healing to cancer patients, at-risk youth, doctors, families and just about everyone else.

Writing can be a type of meditation, says Coke in a phone interview from her home in Oklahoma. It’s a process that helps us unravel and understand both the good and bad things that happen to us.

Reading is also healing, she says.

We learn vicariously through the experiences of the characters we read about, Coke says. Because we empathize with them, we both expand our understanding of other people in other circumstances and are less concerned with our own misfortunes...

Updated: 25 May 2015 10:46 PM
How storytelling affects our health
By Elizabeth Hamilton, staff writer

Unlike cheese boards or sunbathing, reading is one of the few life pleasures that comes with actual health benefits.

Neurological researchers have spent years studying the impact of books on the brain. They've identified a compelling link between the act of chomping through a novel and enhanced cognitive ability. Reading, it transpires, has a profound effect on mental agility, the memory and our aptitude for imagination and compassion.

It can also help to alleviate stress and aid sleep.

Of course, these effects may vary according to whether you're reading on a Kindle or from an actual book. Studies are still continuing in this area, but we discuss some emerging trends below...

* It reduces stress...
* It refines brain function...
* It helps your memory...
* It enhances mental agility in old age...

Health benefits; the differences between actual books and eBooks:
Data is still emerging on this relatively new topic, but research so far seems to indicate that the health benefits of reading can be negated in digital books.

For example, reading a book has long been associated with one of the routines that leads to better quality sleep. However, a study out last year found that reading from a tablet or iPad before bedtime may actually disrupt sleep quality...

11 Mar 2015
Book smart; the unexpected health benefits of being an avid reader

With more than half of the country’s population of 50 million living in the Seoul metropolitan area, South Korea’s other cities, even those with strong infrastructure and attractive surroundings, can seem eerily hollowed out. Certainly, the farther I travel away from Seoul on my urbanist’s odyssey, the older the average age of the people around me gets.

Governments at several levels have launched ambitious, verging on the surreal, efforts to recalibrate the balance between Seoul and the jibang (the word literally means ‘region’, but is often used derisively to refer to ‘anywhere other than Seoul’). Two such projects in particular demanded visits on my whistlestop tour.

I first heard of Paju Book City from a friend employed at a publishing house there, who makes the 90-minute commute north by bus from Seoul every day. His situation seems typical: few people actually live there, instead travelling in only to work in one of its many publishers, bookstores, book cafés and art galleries.

Paju Book City – with a touted ratio of 20 books to every human – arose as “a place devoted to planning, producing and distributing books by well-intentioned publishers”, according to its website, in the dramatic, slightly contorted English typical of Korean publicity materials. “Our [purpose] is simple and clear: the city aims to recover the lost humanity.”

Said humanity has gone missing, apparently, in older cities such as Seoul – and this brave attempt at rediscovering it has been inspired by Wales’s famously bibliophilic market town of Hay-on-Wye. Sadly, the South Korean version has produced not a town or city in any sense but rather, a literary theme park, built to aesthetic principles of a rigidity in league with Disneyland. And yet, perverse as it may seem to concentrate so many bookshops and reader-friendly coffee spots well outside Korea’s cultural centre, the place has proved popular with Seoul’s weekend literati...

Wednesday 16 July 2014 11.22 BST
Welcome to Paju Book City, the South Korean town inspired by Hay-on-Wye
By Colin Marshall in Songdo

Mr Yohho wants to take a bus bound to "Paju Book City" but South Korea is now fighting MERS outbreak and please refer today's newspaper article with video from New York Times published: JUNE 17, 2015 as follows:

South Korean Hospital Scrutinized in MERS Outbreak
By Choe Sang-Hun

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umbrella revolution

BEIJING, Dec 12, 2014 (AFP) - Chinese state-run media Friday triumphantly declared the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement “defeated”, warning domestic and foreign “hostile forces” against destabilising the city.

“The defeat of the‘umbrella revolution’ has also sent a clear message to hostile forces -- both local and overseas,” the government-published China Daily said in an editorial.

“On matters of principle, the central government will never make any concessions.

“And in a free and prosperous civil society such as Hong Kong, there is simply no soil for political schemers to advance their agenda.”

The editorial -- titled “’Umbrella revolution’ defeated” -- was published a day after police in the territory cleared tents and barricades that were used in more than two months of pro-democracy rallies calling for fully free leadership elections.

The movement has long been derided by Chinese state media, who claim it lacks local support and is backed by outside forces opposed to China’s rise.

The China Daily lamented the “great damage” caused by the protests, but said one positive had come out of the campaign -- “the‘one country, two systems’ principle (was) straightened out”.

“By now Hong Kong people know better that the‘high level of autonomy’ doesn’t mean full autonomy,” the editorial said.

Meanwhile the Global Times, which is close to the Communist Party, warned of the dangers of “street politics” in its editorial on Hong Kong.

“Street politics can easily ravage a society and are addictive to some members of the public,” said the newspaper, which often takes a nationalist tone.

“We firmly oppose the notion that society can be overhauled through street violence. This is a key political principle,” it added.

The demonstrators were calling for fully free elections for the city’s leader in 2017, but Beijing has insisted a loyalist committee vet the candidates, which protesters say would ensure the selection of a pro-China stooge.

Updated: Friday December 12, 2014 MYT 3:08:56 PM
Hong Kong ‘revolution’ defeated, say China media

A pro-democracy talk in Petaling Jaya continues even though two of its key speakers from Hong Kong had been denied entry to Malaysia.

Updated: Sunday May 31, 2015 MYT 4:19:59 AM
Joshua and Leung join pro-democracy talk via cyberspace

LIKE a trusted lieutenant, Prince Wong Ji-Yuet was called up once Scholarism founder Joshua Wong was deported from Malaysia on May 26.

She immediately booked a flight ticket and within two days, she was in Malaysia to speak in Joshua’s place at a few forums across the country – mainly about their experiences spearheading the “Umbrella Revolution” in Hong Kong.

But Prince isn’t a seasoned speaker. At 17, she hasn’t even finished her studies.

In fact, it was Prince’s first time travelling outside of Hong Kong. She posted on Facebook about how nervous she was over taking her first flight.

If she was nervous, it showed during the forum in Petaling Jaya. Her voice trembled when she started speaking to the 250-strong crowd. If not for the bold “Democracy Not Found” t-shirt she was wearing, you’d probably think Prince was just one of the many young people who were in the hall.

And yet, she has been an important part of a movement that has made headlines across the world and brought an entire city to a standstill.

Led by Joshua, the Umbrella Revolution brought together an estimated 500,000 secondary school and university students for a peaceful and surprisingly orderly sit-in protest on the streets of Hong Kong, lasting 79 days starting Sept 2014. Though the leaders of the movement say it is a civil disobedience movement and not a “revolution”, the term stuck after protesters were pictured protecting themselves with umbrellas from police pepper spray.

“The protest happened during my final year in school,” said Prince during the talk. “Like any other student, I wanted to spend time with my friends, but because of the protest, I didn’t have time.

“There was a time when I asked myself – is this persistence worth it?”

Her parents didn’t think it was, as they pleaded with her not to join the protests and constantly sent her text messages asking her to come home.

“The one moment where I cried was when my mother said ‘I don’t want to be a Tiananmen mother’ (mothers who lost children at the Tiananmen Square massacre), but my parents understand what I am doing,” she said...

The Star published: June 16, 2015
Occupational hazard
By Christine Cheah and Ian Yee

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong's leader warned on Tuesday that violence will not be tolerated as six people were charged with conspiracy to cause an explosion ahead of a crucial vote on a China-backed electoral reform package this week.

Security has been stepped up across the Chinese-ruled city, including at government buildings and train stations, as it braces for a fresh showdown over plans for how its next leader is elected in 2017.

Authorities are taking no chances after mass pro-democracy protests crippled parts of the former British colony late last year and presented China's Communist Party leadership with one of its biggest political challenges in decades.

"Hong Kong society should not tolerate any illegal activities. Whether these are violent or non-violent, we should not allow any illegal activities to be justified," Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in a televised briefing.

Ten people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to manufacture explosives, police said on Monday, adding that some belonged to a radical group. Six people were charged on Tuesday with conspiracy to cause an explosion.

Police said they would patrol inside the city's Legislative Council overnight ahead of the debate due to start on Wednesday. A vote is due by the end of the week. Pro-democracy protesters are staging evening rallies throughout the week.

Beijing has proposed a direct vote for Hong Kong's next leader in 2017, but only from among pre-screened, pro-Beijing candidates. Democracy activists say that makes a mockery of China's promise of universal suffrage...

Some of those arrested in the raids belonged to a little-known group called the National Independent Party, media reported on Tuesday. According to its Facebook page the group was set up in January, but the page has now been deleted...

Updated: Tuesday June 16, 2015 MYT 9:30:03 PM
Hong Kong on high alert as new democracy showdown looms
by Anne Marie Roantree and Clare Baldwin

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Mt Kinabalu earthquake episode

WHICH part of “Do NOT strip/pee/touch the animals/litter/exit your vehicle” do you not understand?

Some of us may consign the cultural take on the Mount Kinabalu earthquake episode to a quirk. Yet, it underscores the issue of respecting culture or at least being cultured enough to respect codes of conduct or beliefs you may not necessarily share.

The common definition of “being cultured” often implies its prevalence amongst people of a certain stature. Yet I found one that totally resonates with me: “being cultured is to respect what you’re ignorant of” – regardless of stature.

While some (including myself) may not subscribe to the belief that a bunch of obnoxious nude tourists caused our mighty Mount Kinabalu to tremble, most of us nevertheless share the outrage of the locals whose code of conduct on said mountain was breached.

In fact, if it weren’t for this episode, some of us Malaysians may not have grasped the cultural significance of this mountain that graces the back of our banknotes.

Therefore it irked me upon reading reports that the group’s guide was issued a show-cause letter because of the group’s antics atop Aki Nabalu. What more, the social media post of one claiming to be part of the 10, who thumbed his nose in so many words at the national park’s rules and the locals’ beliefs...

My husband once visited Pulau Perhentian for a snorkelling excursion with a group of tourists. While heading for the designated spot, their tour guide laid down some pretty simple ground rules: “You can take pictures. You CANNOT touch anything.”

He firmly reiterated the latter, adding that if anyone touched anything, the trip would be over. As everyone prepared to descend into the water, a turtle swam past and one person dived right in and swam after the startled turtle, trying to touch it. That effectively ended the excursion...

June 15, 2015
Sambal On The Side: Of culture and being cultured
By Brenda Benedict, a Malaysian living in DC

Here’s what I’m told happened.

The tourists started to strip and a mountain guide who was standing about 30m away told them, “Don’t do that.” The foreigners called him “stupid” and told him to “go to hell” and also used the F word...

"Each time I leave my house without eating food prepared at home, my mum would ask me to touch the food to show respect to the spirit of the rice. I’m Catholic but I still do what my (70-something) mother asks me to do as it is adat,” I said.

“In the jungle, I will ask permission (from the jungle spirits) before I pee. I do it because it is adat (custom). That’s how I’ve been taught. It has got nothing to do with science or religion.”

I also related a story that happened to me in the 1980s when I was a college student. I was cooking rice in my kampung house in Pogunon, Penampang, near Kota Kinabalu.

I left the rice cooking and rushed out to drive to a public telephone, in a shop about 4km from my house, to call a potential girlfriend. (Note: this was before the age of the mobile phone.)

On the way to make the phone call, I had a car accident – my car overturned at a sharp corner. The car was wrecked but I survived.

Until now I still wonder whether the accident happened because I didn’t respect the spirit of the rice or I was an inexperienced driver who couldn’t handle a sharp corner.

After the accident, my mother – a staunch Catholic – called my aunt to get a black rooster. It had to be sacrificed to appease whatever spirit I must have offended.

I’ve climbed Mount Kinabalu four times – Form Three, Form Five, during college and about 10 years ago. Each time I climbed it, the mountain guides would tell me the pantang (guidelines) that we have to follow.

I’m told to respect the mountain, as it is the resting place of the dead for the Kadazandusun community. I’m also told that I should not shout, scream or curse while climbing the mountain.

I follow the pantang, because they are adat.

I don’t think the guide ever told me not to strip. But then again at 6°C, who in their right mind would strip on Mount Kinabalu?
“Why is Mount Kinabalu sacred to the Kadazandusun?” I asked.

“It is our temple. The top of Mount Kinabalu is the highest tip of where we are living and it is the lowest level of the upper world (heaven),” he said.

“When we die, our spirit will go there. It is like purgatory. We – through the bobolians – can communicate with the spirits (gimbaran). If the spirits help us, they will receive emancipation and they will go higher and higher until they get purified.”

“Why do we have the pantang (guidelines)?” I asked.

“It is part of our adat system which we respect places and existential beings seen and unseen, known and unknown to our human faculties,” Topin said.

“Mount Kinabalu is a holy temple with its own divinities such as Aki Nabalu (grandfather) and Odu Nabalu (grandmother) who are guardians of the mountain. We should respect them. For example, asking their permission when we want to urinate.”

“It is the tourists who offended the spirits, why did the spirits punish the innocent victims?” I asked.

“Kinoringan (the Kadazandusun’s God) has a strange way of thinking. It is not the human way of thinking. It is beyond our capacity to understand Kinoringan’s action,” he said.

Updated: Saturday June 13, 2015 MYT 12:40:56 PM
Respecting Mount Kinabalu
by Philip Golingai

PETALING JAYA: The British backpacker deported from Malaysia after pleading guilty to stripping on Mount Kinabalu said she was “truly sorry” on her return home yesterday.

Eleanor Hawkins, 23, was one of four Western tourists who were deported after admitting to obscenity charges.

“I know my behaviour was foolish and I know how much offence we all caused to the local people of Sabah. For that, I am truly sorry,” she said in a statement outside her house in Draycott, central England, reported AFP yesterday.

Her mother Ruth added: “She knows what she did was wrong and disrespectful and she has been appropriately and fairly judged by the Malaysian authorities and has served her sentence in full.”

The four were arrested earlier last week in the wake of a deadly June 5 quake which killed 18 people on Mount Kinabalu.

They were each fined RM5,000 by the Sessions Court last Friday and sentenced to three days’ jail starting from when they were arrested on Tuesday, meaning they had served their term.

The four will automatically be barred from coming back to Malaysia under the country’s Immigration laws.

They are considered as undesirable under Section 8 of the Immigration Act 1959/1963 whereby the Immigration director-general has considered them such due to their conviction, legal officials explained.

The others who were convicted are Canadian siblings Lindsey, 22, and Danielle Pertersen, 23, and Dutchman Dylann Snel.

They were among 10 tourists who stripped on the mountain on May 30.

The act was considered sacrilege as the mountain is considered sacred to the native Kadazandusun communities.

The legal officials also said Sabah had immigration powers to bar them from entering the state indefinitely if the state government declares them persona non grata (unwelcome person).

Updated: Monday June 15, 2015 MYT 11:32:45 AM
British backpacker apologises for foolish behaviour

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boat people crisis

YANGON: Buddhist hardliners backed by monks protested in Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state against help being offered to desperate migrants found adrift on boats in the Bay of Bengal.

Rakhine, one of Myanmar’s poorest states, is a tinderbox of tension between its Buddhist majority and a persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, many of whom live in displacement camps after deadly unrest erupted there in 2012.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled Rakhine in recent years, joined increasingly by economic migrants from neighbouring Bang-ladesh, mainly headed for Malaysia and Indonesia.

The exodus was largely ignored until a crackdown on the people-smuggling trade in Thailand last month caused chaos as gangmasters abandoned their human cargos on land and sea.

Some 4,500 Rohingya and Bangla-deshi migrants have since washed ashore in the region while the United Nations estimates around 2,000 others are still trapped at sea.

After mounting international pressure, Myanmar’s navy rescued more than 900 migrants who were brought to Rakhine.

Some 150 have since been repatriated to Bangladesh.

But the rest are being held in border camps while Bangladesh and Myanmar decide their original nationality.

The rescues have infuriated Buddhist hardliners who want the Rohingya – one of the world’s most persecuted minorities – expelled from Myanmar altogether and say the central government should not help those stranded in the Bay of Bengal...

Anti-Muslim sentiment has been on the rise across Myanmar in recent years with radical monks accused of stoking religious tensions with fiery warnings that Buddhism is under threat from Islam.

Neither the government nor opposition parties have shown much appetite to confront communal tensions for fear of alienating Buddhist voters ahead of crunch elections slated for later this year.

Updated: Monday June 15, 2015 MYT 7:26:37 AM
Anti-Rohingya group calls on Myanmar govt not to help stranded boatpeople

Bangladesh is home to 32,000 registered Rohingya refugees who are sheltering in two camps in the south-eastern district of Cox’s Bazar. The Muslim Rohingya leave Burma largely to escape discriminatory treatment by the Buddhist majority.

The UN refugee agency, which has been helping the refugees in the camps since 1991, said such a scheme would have to be voluntary to succeed. “The success of the plan would depend on what will be on offer in the new location and if the refugees would like to be there,” said a UNHCR spokeswoman, Onchita Shadman.

A forced relocation would be “very complex and controversial”, she said.

A government official, Amit Kumar Baul. said the move was partly motivated by concerns the camps were holding back tourism in Cox’s Bazar, home to a 125km-long sandy beach. “The government has been giving importance to the tourism sector. Therefore, a plan to relocate them to an isolated area is under way.”

Thousands of Rohingya from Burma, as well as Bangladeshi migrants, have been attempting perilous boat journeys organised by people smugglers to south-east Asia.

Migrants often travelled to Thailand by boat, then overland to northern Malaysia. But Thailand has cracked down on smuggling after the discovery of mass graves there, which appears to have thrown regional human-trafficking routes into chaos.

More than 3,500 migrants have arrived on Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian soil in recent weeks and hundreds or thousands more are feared trapped on boats.

Seven camps – some with dozens of graves believed to contain the bodies of Rohingya – have been uncovered in Thailand’s Songkhla province, close to the Malaysian border.

Malaysian media have reported that police are investigating 12 of their own officers to determine whether they had links to mass graves found in Malaysia, close to the Thai sites. A total of 139 grave sites and 28 abandoned camps have been found on the Malaysian side of the frontier, but the number of dead is unclear.

The US has backed the investigation, calling for a “transparent, credible and expeditious effort” and urging Malaysian authorities to prosecute those responsible.

Details of Bangladesh’s plans emerged just days after Hasina slammed her country’s own economic migrants, calling them “mentally sick” and accusing them of damaging the country’s image.

The island plan, reported this week in local media, has not been formally announced but officials have been asked to prepare for it. Badre Firdaus, the government administrator of Hatiya Island, said 200 hectares had been identified as a suitable site.

The move would not include the estimated 200,000 unregistered Rohingya asylum seekers who have fled across the border over the past decade and taken refuge in Muslim-majority Bangladesh

Bangladesh plans to move Rohingya refugees to island in the south
Agence France-Presse
Thursday 28 May 2015 03.15 BST

HATIYA, Bangladesh (AFP) - The remote Bangladeshi island of Thengar Char disappears completely under several feet of water at high tide, and has no roads or flood defences.

But that has not stopped the government from proposing to relocate thousands of Rohingya refugees living in camps in the south-eastern district of Cox's Bazar, which borders Myanmar, to its marshy shores.

Bangladesh said last month it was looking to move the around 32,000 registered refugees, in part because they were hampering tourism in the coastal resort district - home to the world's longest unbroken beach.

The proposal has been met with alarm from leaders of the Rohingya, who began arriving more than two decades ago after fleeing persecution in Myanmar, and whose desperate search for a secure homeland has recently been thrown into the spotlight by a regional smuggling crisis. The UN refugee agency, which has been helping them since 1992, said a move would be "logistically challenging" - an assessment confirmed by a recent visit to the area by AFP.

Police on the neighbouring island of Hatiya prevented the boat AFP was travelling on from going to Thengar Char, saying they could not guarantee its safety.

But accounts from local people and a forest department official who oversaw the 2011 planting of mangroves on Thengar Char gave an indication of the challenges.

"At high tide the entire island is under three to four feet (about 1m) of water," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"It is impossible to live there," he said, comparing the plan to "compelling a guest to sit on a spiked chair after inviting him to your home".

Low-lying Thengar Char, around 30km east of Hatiya island, only emerged from the sea around eight years ago and does not appear on Google Maps.

The 4,047ha island is administered from Hatiya, which has a population of 600,000, but local boat operators told AFP they rarely went there.

Such a journey would in any case be impossible during the monsoon months of June to September, when the seas are perilous - and the island would be completely cut off.

The island, around two hours away from the mainland by speedboat, is in an area frequently hit by cyclones, which have killed thousands in Hatiya and Bangladesh's southern coast in the past...

The Muslim minority Rohingya are denied citizenship and face a raft of restrictions in Myanmar, including on their movement, family size and jobs, leading thousands to flee every year.

The exodus was largely ignored until a crackdown on the people-smuggling trade in Thailand last month caused chaos as gangmasters abandoned their human cargoes on land and sea.

Thousands are now living in tents on scrubland on the frontier between the two countries, wanted by neither.

Most of Myanmar's 1.3 million Rohingya have no citizenship and are considered by the government to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh...

Bangladesh plan to relocate Rohingya to 'uninhabitable' remote island raises concerns
Agence France-Presse
Published on Jun 14, 2015 3:00 PM

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South China Sea

Documented evidence suggests that prior to the name South China Sea (SCS), the surrounding waters were described with various names, including Champa Sea or Sea of Cham, East Sea, or Luzon Sea. Ancient Chinese empires such as Western Zhou and Qing dynasty named the widely contested sea territories as “South Seas”.

The name “South China Sea” came to be used officially in 1947, during the time of Chiang Kai-Shek’s nationalist government...

In an effort to mitigate and find a middle ground in the disputed waters, there is a need for smaller countries, particularly Asean member states, to include a finer strategy in its overall diplomatic approach. One of such involves the need to consider alternative names to an already entrenched “South China Sea”. The seas in the disputed territory can be changed into a neutral name, which reflects a collective sharing of water territories among close neighbours. Various names have been suggested to reflect this, such as the “Southern Seas” or “Southeast Asia Seas”...

However, it is important to consider a softer and subtler policy as part of Asean’s long-term plans, in view of China’s increasing military assertiveness.

The tackling of this invincible form of problem is just as important, if not more, than the tangible part of the issue (China’s warship and jet plane incursions/building of artificial islands).

13 June 2015 12:02 PM
Give a neutral name to South China Sea
By Ferooze Ali, a doctoral candidate in Politics and International Relations at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Yes, the policy as ASEAN is now very important and challenging in this area, even though they have a lot of issues to be resolved. As more major powers crowd into South East Asia, ASEAN countries need to develop the necessary strategy to keep their territories safe and stable.

The United States announced its “pivot’’ to the region with an urgency Washington felt it deserved. When that generated waves in the maritime East Asia and Pacific regions, US officials quickly renamed it “rebalancing’’.

The change in terminology may be justified if it indicates a scaling down of initial ambitions. Sophisticated weaponry and vessels has had to be held back due to tighter defence budgets...

Japan is also modernising its military to extend its strategic reach particularly through an upgraded navy. As a US ally, Japan’s plans add greater strategic weight to the US-led side.

As an indication of the scale of the effort, Japan is also tweaking its post-war “peace’’ Constitution to accommodate the change. Opponents of the move have emerged, not least from Japan itself.

Even at the best of times, such a move by Tokyo would raise more than eyebrows in more than a few countries. With quarrels breaking out over South China Sea territories between China and Vietnam, and between China and the Philippines, these are not the best of times.

In parts of Asia, particularly Japan’s immediate neighbours Korea and China, Tokyo has yet to atone fully for its wartime military crimes. And already Japan is set to strike out on its own again in military terms.

It is no secret that the United States is encouraging Japan in its forward “collective defence’’ posture. Nobody is rushing to characterise it as a reaction against China, and perhaps nobody needs to – further denials may just confirm suspicions that it has plenty to do with a rising China.

Updated: Sunday June 14, 2015 MYT 8:41:33 AM
Vigilance still the key
by Bunn Nagara, senior fellow of the Instituteof Strategic and Int'l Studies (ISIS) Malaysia

ASEAN does not stand in US-led side nor in any major power's side. Mr Yahoo is thinking today reading the topic in the newspaper about the Rohingyas.

THE plight of the Rohingyas has gone into the inside pages of newspapers everywhere. It is as if the issue has been dealt with once and for all. Out of sight and therefore out of mind − this is what it seems to many people.

But last Friday, a group of international speakers from diverse backgrounds made their way to the Islamic Museum auditorium to air their views and make bold suggestions on resolving the issue.

Organised by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, the conference had speakers who articulated their views about the plight of the Rohingyas, tagged as a “crime against humanity”...

Lawyer Jason Kay Kit Leon, who heads the Defence Division of the Legal Team, Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, said the Rohingya issue was not a religious issue.

It’s a clear case of the strong bullying the weak; of the majority bullying the minority. How could there be a civil discussion involving all parties when Myanmar won’t even recognise the word “Rohingya”.

The plight of the Rohingyas is not even recognised at the world stage, referring to a draft resolution in 2007 by the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Draft resolution S/2007/14 read: “Calls on the government of Myanmar to cease military attacks against civilians in ethnic minority regions”.

China and Russia exercised their veto powers and the watered-down draft resolution didn’t even get to see the light of day.

In rejecting the draft, China said: “The Myanmar issue is mainly the internal affair of a sovereign state. The current domestic situation in Myanmar does not constitute a threat to international or regional peace and security.”

Russia echoed similar sentiments.

This is where Asean comes in. A careful revisit of its policy of non-interference must be done urgently. Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad summed it up best when he called on the regional association to review its non-interference policy.

“The Rohingya issue is no longer a Myanmar issue. It is now an international issue,” Dr Mahathir said.

Reverand Alan Rey Sarte from the Philippines, another speaker, said: “Clearly, we can’t play deaf and mute on this issue. If Asean is serious in wanting to promote and protect human rights, the Rohingya issue should be on Asean’s roadmap.

Backing this call was Datuk Dr Ismail Noor, a local activist who was recently made international peace ambassador by the Universal Peace Foundation.

He said: “Let’s not point the finger at others in trying to resolve the issue. All of us should come forward to help find an enduring solution.

Talk is cheap. The onus is on all stakeholders to join forces to save lives and avert what could be another human tragedy, if it is not one already.

14 June 2015 12:04 PM
Asean has failed the Rohingyas
By Ahmad A Talib, chairman of Yayasan Salam Malaysia

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TPPA analysis under way

Did the Japanese publicize the result of TPPA analysis?...today Mr Yahho is wondering so much whether the same analysis has been done or not because even the parliament member could not approach what is the contents of the negotiation between US and Japan so that everything has been done behind the closed door.

BOTH the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are carrying out a cost-benefit analysis on Malaysia joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

ISIS will focus its analysis on national interest while that of PwC will be on other overall interests.

International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the report would be shared with the Parliament caucus, set up in August 2013 and made up of both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat MPs, after its completion next month.

“The report and taxes (to be imposed) will be made public and be brought up for debate in Parliament before we decide,” he said.

Saying that Malaysia took joining the TPPA seriously, Mustapa told Dewan Rakyat that he had held over 100 meetings with the Parliament caucus group and non-governmental bodies.

“TPPA has its benefits and weaknesses. The reason why we keep the consultation going is to weigh if it benefits the country.

“The way forward has always been to protect the nation’s interest,” said Mustapa in reply to Lee Boon Chye (PKR-Gopeng).

On concerns that medicine prices and the country’s sovereignty might be affected from joining the TPPA, Mustapa said no one could pressure Malaysia into signing the agreement.

On the patenting of medicine, Mustapa said the intellectual protection was only for 20 years, adding that currently, 11 out of the 29 “non-controversial” chapters under the TPPA had been finalised.

Updated: Thursday June 11, 2015 MYT 12:51:33 PM
Mustapa: TPPA analysis under way
at the dewan rakyat

Yesterday in US, the Public Citizens announced the following comment in the web site;

June 12, 2015

Defeat of Fast Track Package Highlights Americans’ Concerns About More of the Same Trade Policy – Senate-Passed Bill NOT Adopted

Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

The Fast Track package sent over from the Senate was rejected today by the House because two years of effort by a vast corporate coalition, the White House and GOP leaders – and weeks of procedural gimmicks and deals swapped for yes votes – could not assuage Americans’ concerns that more of the same trade policy would kill more jobs and push down our wages.

Passing trade bills opposed by a majority of Americans does not get easier with delay because the more time people have to understand what’s at stake, the angrier they get and the more they demand that their congressional representatives represent their will...

Today’s outcome is a testament to the strength and diversity of the remarkable coalition of thousands of organizations that overcame a money-soaked lobbying campaign by multinational corporations and intense arm-twisting by the GOP House leadership and the Obama administration. The movement now demanding a new American trade policy is larger and more diverse than in any preceding trade policy fight. It includes everyone from small business leaders and labor unions to Internet freedom advocates and faith groups to family farmers and environmentalists to consumer advocates and LGBT groups to retirees and civil rights groups to law professors and economists.


In order to know about its background and its hiddren story, please read the under and watch the video by Democracy Now!, a daily independent global news hour;

House Republicans are set to push for a vote as soon as Friday on approving a measure to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. The secretive TPP deal involves 12 countries and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. On Wednesday, WikiLeaks released a leaked draft of another chapter of the secret negotiating text, this time the TPP’s so-called Healthcare Annex. Newly revealed details of the draft show the TPP would give major pharmaceutical companies more power over public access to medicine and weaken public healthcare programs. The leaked draft also suggests the TPP would prevent Congress from passing reforms to lower drug costs. One of the practices that would be allowed is known as "evergreening." It lets drug companies extend the life of a patent by slightly modifying their product and then getting a new patent. This is a video explaining the practice, produced by Doctors Without Borders.

Evergreening. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But evergreening is what drug companies do when they want to increase their profits. And it leaves people in developing countries without the medicines they need. Here’s how. A drug company develops a new drug and is rewarded with a patent. The patent stops other producers making the medicine for 20 years. So the drug company can charge very high prices without anyone else undercutting them−for 20 years. When the patent ends, other producers can come in and compete with each other, and bingo, the prices come tumbling down. So the medicines become affordable for everyone. But the drug companies want more profits, so they make a tiny little change to their drugs and ask for another 20-year patent.

Well, for more, we’re joined by two guests in Washington, D.C. Peter Maybarduk is director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program. And John Sifton is advocacy director with Human Rights Watch. Today he’s hosting a briefing at the National Press Club on human rights and humanitarian concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, along with Oxfam America and the Council on Global Equality.

Thursday, June 11, 2015
Backlash Against TPP Grows as Leaked Text Reveals Increased Corporate Control of Public Health

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Asian varsity rankings

TOKYO - Chinese institutions outnumbered Japanese for the first time in the annual Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings, released on Thursday.

While the University of Tokyo retained its crown as the region's best, Japan "has lost ground overall, taking 19 of the top 100 positions, down from 20 last year," the rating body said.

"By contrast, mainland China has increased its presence in the prestigious league table, taking 21 places, up from 18 last year," it said...

It also emphasises the increasingly inward-looking trend some commentators see in Japan as fewer young people go abroad to study and as China overtakes it as the destination of choice for foreign students...

South Korea came third in the rankings, with 13 universities, while Taiwan was fourth with 11 institutions...

By institution, the National University of Singapore ranked second and the University of Hong Kong ranked third, the same spots from last year.

Tellingly, China's top-ranked institutions gained ground, with Peking University taking fourth place and Tsinghua University fifth.

Japan's second-best institution, Kyoto University, came ninth, and Tokyo Institute of Technology 15th, both down two notches from last year.

In contrast, China has made significant progress, with Sun Yat-sen University (42nd) securing a top 50 spot, rising 14 places, while Shanghai Jiao Tong University (39th) jumped eight notches.

There was no immediate comment from China's two top-ranked universities.

The University of Tokyo declined to comment on the result, but its newly appointed president Makoto Gonokami told the ranking body he will develop new academic disciplines and promote cooperation between the state, industry and academia to reverse Japan's decline.

"I want to make our institution a place where students and researchers can experience the excitement and joy imparted by knowledge gained, while conducting cutting-edge research," he was quoted as saying.

Updated: Thursday June 11, 2015 MYT 4:21:30 PM
China beats Japan in Asian university rankings

PETALING JAYA: No Malaysian university made it to the top 100 of the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2015 this year.

The last time a local varsity made the cut was in 2013 when Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia was in joint 87th place with the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

Times Higher Education Rankings editor Phil Baty said only four Malaysian universities took part this year but declined to name them.

Although the four universities did submit their data, the results did not allow them to be positioned in the top 100.

However, in a similar rankings list released on Tuesday, the QS University Rankings: Asia 2015 had five of Malaysia’s research universities in the top 100.

(The five are Universiti Malaya at 29th, Universiti Sains Malaysia (49th), Universiti Teknologi Malay-sia (61st), Universiti Putra Malaysia (66th) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia at 56th this year and in 2014.)

Baty said more Malaysian varsities need to take part in the rankings in order to be recognised.

“Many of Malaysia’s universities deliberately withhold their data as they believe they will not perform well if they are ranked. However, this is simply not true.

“As the saying goes, ‘you have to be in it to win it’, and Malaysia’s universities simply are not,” he told The Star.

Baty said Asia is expected to be the next global higher education superpower, after Europe and North America.

Updated: Thursday June 11, 2015 MYT 12:05:46 PM
No Malaysian varsity in Times’ top 100 ranking
by Rebecca Rajaendram

According to a letter of Sugiman Sabri, Kulim, Kedah addressed to today's New Straits Times:

The programme for Int'l Student Assessment 2012 is a survey of over half a million 15-year-olds in 64 countries on their levels of knowledge and skills in reading, mathematics, and science and problem solving.

In terms of reading, Malaysia ranked 58 out of 64 countries. In comparison, Singapore is ranked third. Therefore, Education Minister's concern is understandable...

Firstly, reading is a habit and it can't be taught by rote. Instead, it needs to be inculculated and taught by example rather than through rigid systems or programmes. It is a form of culture and arts, not science.

Also please watch the following YouTube:


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Restoring Mt Kinabalu

Mr Yahho is posting his today's diary at the Penang Library.

TOKYO: Japanese search teams returned to a volcano peak for the first time in eight months to look for the bodies of six climbers still missing after an eruption that killed dozens.

Around 50 people, including police, firefighters and volcanologists, began an exploratory of Mount Ontake in central Nagano prefecture aimed at resuming a full-scale search next month, after the rainy season.

The 3,067m high Mount Ontake was packed with hikers out to see the region’s spectacular autumn colours when it burst unexpectedly to life on September 27 last year.

The shock eruption was Japan’s deadliest for almost 90 years, leaving an estimated 63 people dead, many of their bodies at least partially entombed in volcanic sludge.

Dramatic mobile phone footage showed hails of rock raining down as clouds of ash and smoke engulfed walkers on the volcano, which was popular among casual hikers.

Search and rescue teams trudged through thick, clay-like ash to recover 57 bodies in sometimes treacherous conditions, despite fears over toxic fumes and further eruptions.

The operation was suspended in October as autumn’s rains began to give way to snow, which soon made the peak impassable.

“There is a part of me that feels rather worried about what it is like up there” around the summit, Noriyuki Hayashi, senior officer at Nagano prefecture police, told journalists yesterday as the team prepared ascend Mount Ontake.

“But we will do what we can.”

The team observed a moment of silence in front of the mountain, which – even in the summer months of June – still has snow-covered ravines.

Aerial footage showed the searchers’ bright outerwear against the grey lunar landscape of the ash-covered peak. Ontake is one of scores of active volcanoes in Japan, which sits on the so-called “Ring of Fire”. − AFP where a large proportion of the world’s quakes and eruptions are recorded.

Last month, authorities evacuated a small island off Japan’s far south coast when the volcano there erupted.

Autopsies on bodies recovered from Ontake last year revealed many of them died from injuries caused by flying rocks.

That led to a recommendation in March that people who climb Mount Fuji -- also a volcano -- should carry helmets and goggles with them.

Updated: Thursday June 11, 2015 MYT 1:44:03 PM
Search for bodies at Japan volcano, eight months on

In Malaysia, the police declared June 10, 2015 the end of Search and rescue (SAR) operations following the earthquake in Sabah on Friday with the final death toll of 18. According to today's New Straits Times, Queen Elizabeth Hospital director Heric Corray said that the remains of a 35-year old Japanese national, said to be Masahiro Ozaki, was awaiting the arrival of his family today, before the procedures towards release could be completed.

Tourism is an important source of foreign exchange revenue and Sabah, with its Rafflesia, orang utan and Mount Kinabalu, takes the lead. The initiative to reconstruct must then come from the Federal Government and monies must be prioritised for the purpose so that everything is up and running sooner rather than later. For, what better way is there for the country to show its gratitude to the heroes of Mount Kinabalu who have made the country proud than to ensure that their livelihood is quickly restored to them? Mount Kinabalu needs them if the mountain climbing industry is to go on. Business on Mount Kinabalu must resume, without delay.
10 June 2015 12:00 PM
Restoring Mt Kinabalu

In the meantime, the front page of today's Star is covered by the shocking article "Yes, we went to nude":

It was reported that Eleanor was touring Southeast Asia when she was arrested at Tawau airport as she was about to catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur as part of an extended tour of Southeast Asia following her graduation from the University of Southampton with a Masters degree in aeronautical engineering.

The tour, which began in January saw Eleanor traveling alone from Thailand to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam before arriving in Malaysia. She was planning to continue from Malaysia to Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

She had reportedly expressed her love for Southeast Asia and Malaysia in particular, saying that Malaysia has " proper palm trees and decent sunsets. It’s pretty damn amazing.”

On May 30, a group of tourists allegedly stripped naked and indiscriminately urinated atop Kinabalu. They posed for pictures that went viral after they were posted on social media.

Their antics angered Sabah’s Kadazandusun tribe who revere the mountain and view them as an insult and desecration of a sacred place.

On Wednesday, two of the four tourists remanded by police for desecrating Mount Kinabalu confessed to going naked while on the mountain. The four were remanded the same day while police hunt for six other tourists who allegedly committed the offence together.

The four were Eleanor, a 23-year-old male and his 22-year-old sister, from Canada; and a 23-year-old Dutchman.

They were remanded until June 13 for investigations under Section 294(a) of the Penal Code for committing obscene acts in a public place. They have yet to be charged in court.

If convicted, they face a maximum three-month jail term or a fine, or both.

Police believe the other six tourists, mostly Europeans, were still in the state.

Updated: Thursday June 11, 2015 MYT 2:46:22 PM
Sabah quake: Father of British nudist pleads for mercy
by Tan Yi Liang and Dina Murad

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SINGAPORE: Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) has organised school trips to Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia multiple times, and participants have successfully completed the hike for seven years, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Sunday (Jun 7).

During a technical briefing, it was revealed that at least one international school in Singapore has also organised trips to Mount Kinabalu for its students.

Six students and a teacher from the school, and a Singaporean adventure guide were among the 18 killed at Mount Kinabalu when a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck Sabah state on Friday morning. One teacher and one student are still missing. The group of 29 students and eight teachers had gone to Mount Kinabalu for a leadership programme.

The student participants had undergone physical training such as climbing stairs to prepare for the trek. The climb was not a technically challenging one, though it could be physically tiring, said MOE.

No injuries have been reported on the route before, MOE added. The ministry attributed the presence of casualties to the earthquake.

Participants were all equipped with a helmet, shock-absorbing lanyards, harnesses and rope, and safety cables that are permanently bolted to the sides of the mountain. Each participant would have two red-coloured lanyards, both clipped to the safety cables. There would also be a yellow-coloured rope attached to other participants as a back-up for the lanyards.

On the day before the quake, according to the teachers' accounts, the group climbed from the starting point of Mount Kinabalu's parks headquarters to a resting area called Pendant Hut. Their plan was to have a short and simple activity before heading to the summit on the following day.

(Mount Kinabalu, Sabah quake: 8 Singaporeans dead, 2 more missing - 07Jun2015)


KUNDASANG: Even as they made the daily 7km trek up Mount Kinabalu to help in the search for the remaining victims of Friday’s earthquake, the mountain guides couldn’t help but worry about their future.

Veteran guides like Rahili Supilin anticipate a substantially longer period out of work though all mountain activities have been stopped for three weeks due to the severe damage of facilities there.

Rahili is among the 250 local folks from villages around Kundasang and Ranau who depend on a steady income from guiding climbers up the mountain.

For some families, it is a livelihood that began decades ago and continued through the generations - from grandfather to father and now to son.

Guides can earn from RM850 to as much as RM1,500 guiding groups of climbers, trekking up the mountain with climbers about five times a month.

Most of these guides are men as young as 18 though the oldest is over 60. About 10 of them are women.

All 250 of the guides are registered with the Mt Kinabalu Guides Assocation and act as navigators for climbers for a fee of RM175 per climb.

Rahili, who is the association’s deputy president, said most guides solely depended on the mountain to support their families.

"We need the income from guiding fees to sustain us. It is something that we thought we could depend on to cari makan (earn a living)," said Rahili, a father of six.

He said the guides were hoping to be involved in the clean-up of the mountain or finding new trails to replace those damaged by the avalanche of boulders and rocks following the earthquake.

"Perhaps there will be some income there and we can do our part to help to normalise the situation on the mountain," said Rahili.

Even Md Rizuan Kauhinin, 25, who became a hero after a photo of him carrying an injured teenager went viral on social media, is uncertain about his future.

Rizuan said he would have to consider looking for other jobs to make ends meet.
"Some of us have been doing this most our lives- we don't know how else to survive.
Some of us have families to feed. Hopefully help will come to us," he told The Star.

(Sabah quake: Hero guides face bleak future, updated: Tuesday June 9, 2015 MYT 2:42:50 PM, by Muguntan Vanar, Ruben Sario, Stephanie Lee, and Natasha Joibi)


On Friday, one week after the group allegedly took the naked photos and posted them on social media, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck 5 miles south of the 13,500-foot summit on Malaysian Borneo. Sixteen people were killed, and more than 100 climbers were trapped for a time on the mountain.

The Kadazan-Dusun tribe believe that the "disrespectful" actions of the tourists were responsible for triggering the earthquake, Manjun said.

"Mount Kinabalu is considered a very sacred place by the natives of Sabah, and any action that could be interpreted as belittling the mountain is considered a very serious offense," Manjun said.

"The belief among the natives is that the souls of the departed will rest on the mountain before the day of judgment," he said. "They practice rituals to honor the mountain."

He added: "Do I believe that their actions triggered the quake? God only knows."

The Kadazan-Dusun people make up 30 percent of Sabah's population of 3.2 million.

Some 70 percent of the Kadazan-Dusuns are "native or indigenous people," Manjun said, and the group operates under a system of "native" law, which runs separate from the Westernized legal system implemented by British colonialism.

The tribal chiefs believe that the alleged actions of the tourist group were illegal under this system of law, Manjun said.

(Malaysian Tribes Blame Quake on Tourists' Nude Photos on Mount Kinabalu, Jun 8 2015, 11:42 am ET, by Alexander Smith)

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 そのなかで言及した『明治大学所蔵 村絵図の世界−故郷の原風景を歩く−』(明治大学博物館、2007年)。

 大村であったが、近世 中期以降、上・中・下の3組に分かれ、それぞれに名主が立てられていた。













 2012年2月に付いた愛称というが、その由来は、どうやら、 空港を出ると「妊婦が寝ているようだ」といわれている「寝姿山」が出迎えてくれるからだという。
 奄美群島の一つである徳之島には、徳之島町、伊仙町、天城町の3町があるが、この島には「子やたぼらゆんしこ」(子供は恵まれるだけなるべく多く生んだほうがいい)という考えが根付いていて、なんと、 2009(平成21)年1月30日に厚生労働省が発表した合計特殊出生率では、伊仙町が全国1位の2.42、天城町と徳之島町が2.18で、2と3位であった。





(注)では、屋久島町、屋久島の西方約12Kmにある口永良部島(くちのえらぶじま)の現状は? と言いますと:

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 先月、バレンボエム(Daniel Barenboim, 1942年生まれ、国籍はイスラエル)はこんなことをおっしゃったそうです:

To Daniel Barenboim, as he put it in a discussion with journalists in Berlin last month, Edward Elgar is simply “a universal composer.” The great conductor is determined to stop his audiences from thinking of Elgar as English or British first and a composer second. And tomorrow evening, Barenboim will once again put his music-making where his mouth is, when he conducts at the Royal Festival Hall his Berlin Staatskapelle in Elgar’s E flat major second symphony, written in 1911.

“I am not on a missionary expedition to make Elgar popular,” says Barenboim. “But I really would like to get rid of this ‘British’ subtitle every time Elgar’s music is mentioned. Because the music is not only English.”

Barenboim’s efforts to give Elgar a wider hearing have a big hinterland. In fact Elgar first made his breakthrough on the continent during the fertile pre-first world war high-point of his creative career. In 1902, after a performance of Elgar’s oratorio The Dream of Gerontius in Düsseldorf, no less a figure than Richard Strauss toasted the composer as “the first English progressivist.” Elgar was naturally delighted. He wrote: “It was worth some years of anguish − now I trust over − to hear him call me Meister.”

(Monday 20 April 2015 14.02 BST
Martin Kettle: Barenboim celebrates Elgar: 'It is music fit for universal consumption')


☆ エルガー/エニグマ "謎" 変奏曲/岩城宏之/フランクフルト放送響(1984 2 17)

☆ エルガー作曲/行進曲「威風堂々」第一番

☆ 2013年11月18日「音楽の秋」
☆ 2014年1月17日「ブラームスはお好き」
☆ 2014年11月30日「指揮者・和田一樹」

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About half of the live dolphins caught in the Japanese coastal town of Taiji were exported to China and other countries despite global criticism of the hunting technique used, a news report has said.

The so-called “drive hunt” method has been criticised overseas as cruel and Japanese zoos and aquariums were recently forced to vow not to buy animals caught with the controversial fishing.

A total of 760 live dolphins were sold between September 2009 and August 2014 in Japan, Kyodo News said Saturday, quoting data from Japan’s Fisheries Research Agency and other statistics.

They show that 354 were exported to 12 countries, including 216 to China, 36 to Ukraine, 35 to South Korea and 15 to Russia. One dolphin was exported to the United States.

Eleven dolphins were also exported to Thailand, followed by 10 each to Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, seven to Georgia, five to Tunisia and four each to Egypt and the Philippines, Kyodo said.

UN data showed the export of live dolphins from Japan between 2009 and 2013 was almost entirely to zoos or aquariums, Kyodo added.

(Agence France-Presse, Last modified on Sunday 7 June 2015 05.49 BST)
Half the dolphins caught in Japan hunt exported despite global outcry: report.
Of the live dolphins caught in the town of Taiji about half find buyers in China and other countries, it’s reported, despite criticism of the hunt

 違うのであれば反論すればよし、これが debate?なんかいま学校の教科にも入っているって…
(追い込み漁の和歌山県太地町「これ以上どうすれば…」と漁師の動揺収まらず 観光客は「イルカを知る機会を奪わないで」) 



KUNDASANG: A list of the 19 victims of the Mount Kinabalu earthquake has been posted in the search and rescue operations room with the names of one seriously injured Singaporean Prajesh Dhiman Patel, 12.

The first two victims brought out from the mountaintop were mountain trainer Robbie Sapinggil, 30, and Singapore student Wee Ying Ping Peony.

The largest number of foreigners was from Singapore with one group of 29 Singaporean and international students and eight teachers from Tanjong Katong School on an expedition to Mt Kinabalu.

The full list of the 19 is as follows.
Ozaki Masahiro, 29, (M)
(Updated: Sunday June 7, 2015 MYT 1:48:23 PM
Sabah quake: List of 19 victims

(朝日新聞デジタル6月7日(日)13時28分配信「日本人とみられる男性発見、搬送へ ボルネオ島地震」)



SINGAPORE: National triathlete, Rikigoro Shinozuka rode his way to secure a silver medal in the men’s triathlon event of 2015 SEA Games at East Coast Park, here, today.

The 20-year old athlete, who is of Japanese descent, clocked 2 hours 5 minutes and 35 seconds to clinch the medal in the race which involves a 1.5km swim, 40km cycling before ended with a 10km run.

His father, who is Japanese, married a Malaysian Chinese woman.

Huelgas Nikko Bryan of the Philippines took the gold medal after posting 2 hours 4 minutes and 32 seconds while trailing 2 minutes and 29 seconds behind him was Singaporean triathlete, Loo Chuan Rong.

Another Malaysian triathlete, Lee Chein Wern finished the race in seventh place out of 11 participants after clocking 2 hours 12 minutes and one second.

Speaking to reporters after the medal giving ceremony, Shinozuka who started competing in the triathlon event since 2009 said, he was very delighted to finish the race in the top three positions in his debut in the biennial games.
“The weather was also in perfect condition. My swimming and cycling race runs very smoothly and I’m not putting so much pressure on my ride but I feel great right now,” Shinozuka said.

(7 June 2015 @ 1:49 PM
SEA Games: Malaysian triathlete of Japanese descent clinches silver medal in triathlon)
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当時としては、恵まれた暮らしであったように今にして思うけれども、運命の1934(昭和9)年がやってくる。私の小学校入学を翌年の春にひかえ、内地に帰る日が来る… 今に思うに、当時の母の年齢は何歳だったのかと思うのであるが、数え年の17歳で結婚し、25歳だったと確認してみると、外地の朝鮮から数え年2歳の子、5歳の子、7歳の子を3人連れて、よくも長旅に耐えてくれたものだと驚く外はない。母は強く、偉大であると心底そう思う」(同書45頁)







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(2013/11/24 6:30日本経済新聞、ウーマン、キャリア、直木賞作家・木内昇「並木路子:つらい経験、希望の歌に変えて」)





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 1941(昭和16)年11月末から1942(昭和17)年4月末まで、朝日新聞夕刊の連載小説、藤沢恒夫の「新雪」のモデルと言われている。主役は月丘夢路、水島道太郎で映画化され、灰田勝彦が「紫けむる新雪の 峰ふり仰ぐこのこころ…」の「新雪」主題歌を歌った。




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 この松井やよりさんが建てたかったのがアクティブ・ミュージアム「「女たちの戦争と平和資料館」(新宿区西早稲田2-3-18AVACOビル2F Tel 3202-4633)。
 この事務局長・渡辺美奈の激白「もの言えぬ社会をつくるな−戦争をする国にしないために−」に耳を傾けて共有しましょう(注1) :




 その時点で、体育教師として勤務していた「共栄女子商業学校」(京成本線「お花茶屋駅」からほぼ真北に徒歩5分、現:共栄学園中学高等学校、葛飾区お花茶屋2-6-1 Tel 3601-7136)の生徒たちと別れます。











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○ 芭蕉庵史跡展望庭園(無料、芭蕉が奥の細道にでかける頃、深川の三股と呼ばれていた頃に想いを馳せます)
○ 深川江戸資料館(400円、江戸時代末期、天保年間頃の深川佐賀町の町並みを想定復元した「情景再現、生活再現展示」と企画展示 「相撲と本所・深川」を見ます)
○ 都立清澄庭園(65歳以上70円、この地の一部は江戸の豪商・紀伊國屋文左衛門の屋敷跡と言われ、1880
○ そして清澄公園(庭園隣接地の公園、無料)で「みどりの宴」でお昼。
○ 戦時中の風刺漫画でヒットした田河水泡の「のらくろロード」(高橋商店街)に会場を移し、昭和歌謡のど自慢大会!


○ 深川江戸資料館(写真を添付)⇒


○ 霊厳寺(江戸六地蔵のひとつがたっております、写真を添付、また寛政の改革、老中在任期間中の1787〜1793年に行なわれた幕政を改革した松平定信の墓所があります)⇒


○ 清澄庭園(写真を添付)⇒


○ 清澄公園。

 それにしても話すほど、聞くほどにご先祖様の出羽の国村山郡山口村、ムカシからの村落風景、われわれが育 った頃の村落風景、そして先の連休に訪れ、ビデオに撮ってきたとしおくんの今ころの風景と、みどりの風に吹かれて望郷への想いは深まるいっぽう、とっても良い会でしたね。





秋の風 乞食は我を見くらべる



元日も 爰(ここ)らは江戸の田舎哉



…前掲書 青木美智男『小林一茶、時代を詠んだ俳諧師』(岩波新書、2013年)51-52頁

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 京成金町駅におりたった山歩クラブの面々、JR金町駅北口で待っていた仲間とも合流し、まず向かった先は、東水元公園から「南蔵院(しばられ地蔵)」(葛飾区東水元2-28-25 Tel 3607-1758)へ。


 この地は「牡丹燈籠」や「真景累ヶ淵」などの口述筆記で、二葉亭四迷(1864〜1909)らの言文一致運動に影響を与えた落語家・初代三遊亭円朝(1839〜1900)の代表作の一つ「怪談 乳房榎」の舞台となった寺としても知られている。



 伊勢物語で知られる平安時代の歌人 在原業平が東下りの際に、隅田川で舟遊びをした時、船が転覆して多くの人が亡くなりました。





※ しばられ地蔵の由来(南蔵院パンフレットより)









 旧制中学まで栃木・今市(現・日光市)で育ち、人気作曲家になった後も今市に楽想館という仕事場を持ち、常に故郷を意識して生きてきた。日光市は2011年に市街地活性化計画を立て、日光街道に面した中心地約2800平方メートルの敷地に「道の駅 日光」に併設する形で「ニコニコ本陣 日本こころのうたミュージアム・船村徹記念館」建設を計画。5年がかり総事業費37億円をかけて完成させた。

posted by fom_club at 08:52| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする












『男はつらいよ』の記憶のすべてがある。それが寅さん記念館(葛飾区柴又6-22-19 葛飾区観光文化センター内 Tel 3657-3455)です。





◇ 帝釈天の商店街が毎月10日イベント


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