Lapang Islanders in Indonesia

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

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

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'
Representatives of Japan and Australia shake hands at the court in The Hague. (NOS/ANP) - 31 March 2014
"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 9, 2014. The Chinese envoy on Monday called for a harmonious maritime order, saying that maritime disputes should be settled through negotiation between the parties directly involved. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Brazil to sue dam spill mining companies for $5.2 bn

Yahoo - AFP, Damian Wroclavsky with Laura Binilla in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil's government says it will sue mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale for $5.2
 billion in clean-up costs and damages after the deadly collapse of a waste water
dam at an iron-ore mine (AFP Photo/Fred Loureido)

Brasília (AFP) - Brazil's government said Friday it will sue mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale for $5.2 billion in clean-up costs and damages after the deadly collapse of a waste water dam at an iron-ore mine.

Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said a lawsuit would be filed demanding that the companies and mine operator Samarco, which they co-own, create a fund of 20 billion reais. The money would go to environmental recovery and compensation for victims.

"There was a huge impact from an environmental point of view," Teixeira said at a press conference in the capital Brasilia.

"It is not a natural disaster, it is a disaster prompted by economic activity, but of a magnitude equivalent to those disasters created by forces of nature."

The suit will be filed on Monday, Attorney General Luis Inacio Adams said.

At least 13 people died and some 11 remain missing from the flood of mud and waste water triggered by the breaking dam at the Samarco iron ore mine near Mariana in southeastern Brazil on November 5.

The deluge swept down the River Doce to the Atlantic, sparking claims of major contamination, although the mining companies insist there is no serious pollution.

The fund being demanded by the government would dwarf initial estimates by Deutsche Bank that a clean-up could cost about $1 billion.

Adams said that the companies would be asked to pay the amount out gradually, as a percentage of their profits.

"The measure should guarantee long-term financing for actions to revitalize the (river) basin," Adams' office said in a statement.

Cooperation or denial?

Adams said he hoped the powerful corporations -- BHP Billiton is the world's biggest miner and Vale is the world's biggest iron ore specialist -- would cooperate with the government. Both have said they want to meet their obligations.

"The scale of the damage is very big but the companies have announced measures that show they are interested in repairing their image," Adams said.

Teixeira described the environmental impact as devastating and difficult to repair.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will attend the UN Climate Conference
 - COP21 - in Paris, where host of the summit, French Foreign Minister Laurent 
Fabius, has said he was counting on Brazil to help seal a global pact (AFP 
Photo/Evaristo Sa)

"What was lost there is lost. The biological chain that was broken will not be put back together in any way as it was before. We have to create conditions so that nature establishes new ecological conditions," she said.

Earlier Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Vale announced a compensation fund, but did not give figures. Executives also sounded a defiant note, rejecting allegations that the River Doce has been badly polluted.

Vania Somaville, director of human resources, health and safety at Vale, told a press conference that lead, arsenic, nickel and chrome had been detected at some points along the river.

However, Somaville argued that the potentially dangerous contaminants were not carried there by the waste water from the mine.

"They were (already) there at the edges or in the bed of the river" and were disturbed in the flood, she said.

"The good news is that these materials did not dissolve in the water" and are now diminishing, she said.

This was in stark contrast to a report by two UN experts on Wednesday accusing the corporations and the Brazilian government of failing to respond to a toxic disaster.

The UN's special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, said the equivalent of "20,000 Olympic swimming pools of toxic mud" spewed into the River Doce.

CEO on the defensive

Vale's CEO, Murilo Ferreira, has been criticized by environmental activists for what many saw as his slow response to the disaster and his attempt to distance himself from the tragedy by saying that Vale was only a shareholder in Samarco.

He told journalists Friday in a breaking voice that "the disaster has been extremely painful" for him and other executives.

"My soul is saddened and disturbed... We are very worried that there are 5,200 people who don't know what the future holds," he said, referring to the many jobs suspended in and around Samarco after the accident.

However, Ferreira once more sought to draw a distinction between Vale and the Samarco operation, saying that help was being offered only out of "solidarity."

"In four years I was never at the Samarco offices in Mariana," he said. Until the accident "I didn't know them... We don't know who their clients are or their prices."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pearl Jam donates concert proceeds to Brazil mine victims

Yahoo – AFP, 21 Nov 2015

Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam performs during the fourth annual Global Citizen
 Festival in Central Park Manhattan on September 26, 2015 in New York
 (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - US rock group Pearl Jam donated proceeds from a concert in Brazil to victims of a toxic mining spill that killed 12 people and was the country's worst environmental disaster.

The group's singer Eddie Vedder interrupted a show Friday night in Belo Horizonte, capital of the southeast state of Minas Gerais -- where the disaster occurred November 5 -- and called for the mining company involved to be severely punished.

As seen on a video on the news website G1, the group got a standing ovation when Vedder said the take from that concert would go to victims of the disaster.

It struck when a dam collapsed at the waste reservoirs of an iron ore mine, unleashing a torrent of yellowish muck that all but buried a village, left 280,000 people without water and smothered thousands of fish, turtles and other animals.

Besides the 12 dead, another 12 people remain missing.

The mining facility is owned by Samarco, a joint venture between the mining giants BHP Billiton of Australia and Vale of Brazil.

Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said Friday it was the worst environmental disaster in Brazilian history and that it will take 30 years to clean the basin of the Doce River, into which the sludge flowed.

Samarco has already been hit with damages, fines and frozen funds totalling more than $400 million.

Related Article:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Putin tells navy in Mediterranean to work with French 'as allies'

Yahoo – AFP, 17 Nov 2015

Russian warship the BSF Saratov 150 sails through the Bosphorus off Istanbul
en route to the eastern Mediterranean in September (AFP Photo/Ozan Kose)

Moscow (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday ordered the Russian navy in the Mediterranean to establish contact with its French counterparts and work together "as allies" in a campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria

Putin instructed his military to work out a joint Russian-French action plan against IS militants as he pushes the idea of establishing a broad anti-IS coalition that would involve both Russia and the West.

"It's necessary to establish direct contact with the French and work with them as allies," Putin told the military top brass at a meeting after French President Francois Hollande said the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle would be deployed to the eastern Mediterranean.

"It's necessary to work out with them a plan of joint actions both at sea and in the air," Putin said, adding that both the chief of the general staff and the defence ministry had received orders to that effect.

The Kremlin said separately that Putin and Hollande had agreed in phone talks to ramp up cooperation and tackle "international terrorism" together.

"It has been agreed to ensure closer contact and coordination between the military and security service agencies of the two countries during operations against terrorist groups by Russia and France in Syria," the Kremlin said in a statement following the phone call between Putin and Hollande.

The two will further discuss the fight against terrorism in a meeting in Moscow on November 26, the Kremlin said.

Putin has been seeking to capitalise on shifting dynamics in the West following Friday's terror attacks in Paris and the bombing of a Russian passenger plane over Sinai in October, arguing that Russia and the West should unite against a common enemy.

Earlier Tuesday Russia announced that the Airbus A321 carrying 224 people, most of them Russian tourists, was knocked out of sky by a bomb and pledged vengeance.

On Tuesday, Russian strategic bombers hit Islamic State group targets in Syria's Raqa and Deir Ezzor provinces, defence minister Sergei Shoigu said.

He added that cruise missile strikes had also hit Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

The strikes are the first time that Russia has deployed its strategic long-range bombers during its air campaign in Syria and came as Shoigu said Moscow had doubled the number of combat sorties it flew over the country.

In total, Shoigu said that Russian forces hit 206 "terrorist" targets in Syria in the latest wave of strikes.

Apart from a spate of missiles fired from its Caspian Sea fleet in October, up until now Moscow has mainly relied on smaller fighter jets to hit targets in Syria but has now deployed the more powerful long-range bombers from Russian territory.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This 15-year-old won $25,000 for devising a genius way to harvest energy from the ocean

Business Insider, Tanya Lewis,  Oct. 14, 2015

Hannah Herbst wants to bring renewable energy to the developing world.

The 15-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida, won this year's Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for designing a probe to generate power and fresh water for developing countries by harvesting it from ocean currents.

She was awarded $25,000 and the title of "America's Top Young Scientist" at a competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Herbst told Business Insider she was inspired by her 9-year-old pen pal in Ethiopia who has limited access to electricity. "I cant even imagine a day without electricity," said Herbst.

How the device works

Herbst's energy probe is made of recycled materials and costs just $12.

It consists of a 3D-printed propeller, connected by a pulley inside a plastic PVC pipe to a hydroelectric generator, which converts the mechanical movement of ocean currents to usable electricity. She tested her device in the Boca Raton Intracoastal Waterway, where the current coming in from the Altantic Ocean produces a large amount of untapped energy.

Using her device, she was able to power a set of LED lights.

She calculated that if her design were scaled up, she could generate enough electricity to charge three car batteries at once in less than an hour. That's enough energy to power saltwater desalinization pumps to provide a source of fresh water for developing countries. It could also power blood centrifuges for medical use, or coastal beacons for ship navigation.

The competitors

Herbst was one of nine finalists.

Over the past three months, each of them was paired with a 3M scientist as part of a summer mentoring program to take their inventions from design to prototype.

Herbst worked with 3M corporate scientist Jeffrey Emslander, whose research has helped the company reduce its emissions and produce its products using less energy. Here they are accepting the award:

The competition's second place prize went to Raghav Ganesh, an eighth grader from San Jose, California, for an invention that monitors physiological and environmental factors that can trigger meltdowns in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Third place went to Amulya Garimella, a seventh grader from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who created a system that monitors EEG brainwaves and alerts the user when he or she is distracted.

Iris Gupta, a seventh grader from North Potomac, Maryland, won fourth place for her project to stop allergies at their source by inhalation or injection of nanoparticles that block particles that trigger allergies.

As for Herbst, she plans to donate some of her winnings to her Ethiopian pen pal, and a new building at her school. The rest will go into her college fund, she said.

She also plans to keep working with her 3M mentor to improve her ocean energy device, and eventually deploy it in developing countries.

Giant tidal turbine 'performing well' in tests off Orkney

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

“…  4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“... Japan

Let us talk for a moment about Japan, and then I'll close the day of messages. There are thousands of souls on my side of the veil and they're just fine, more than fine. We have spoken so often of what happens at the Wind of Birth. I told you, before they even came in, they saw the potential. I looked in their eyes. "You may not last long. You know that, don't you? You're coming into this planet and you may not be here very long. And the passing that you will have with your family will not be pleasant, if any ever are. Why would you come in anyway?" I want to tell you what they said. When a soul has the mind of God, it understands fully what generates peace and what generates energy shift. You can clearly see what generates what the planet needs the most when you are about to arrive. So they said, "We're going to be part of one of the biggest compassion events the planet has ever seen." One earthquake, one tsunami. All of those who left that day will change the earth forever. And it already has. It was the same for the last tsunami as well.

Every single one of them on my side of the veil is getting ready to come back. Many old souls were involved, and just for a moment, if they could give you any information, if they could talk to you right now, if they could speak your language and look into your eyes, they would thank you for your compassion for them and those who are left. And they would say, "Be with those family members who are still alive. Enter their hearts every day and give them peace and keep them from crying, because we're OK."

Nuclear Power Revealed

So let me tell you what else they did. They just showed you what's wrong with nuclear power. "Safe to the maximum," they said. "Our devices are strong and cannot fail." But they did. They are no match for Gaia.

It seems that for more than 20 years, every single time we sit in the chair and speak of electric power, we tell you that hundreds of thousands of tons of push/pull energy on a regular schedule is available to you. It is moon-driven, forever. It can make all of the electricity for all of the cities on your planet, no matter how much you use. There's no environmental impact at all. Use the power of the tides, the oceans, the waves in clever ways. Use them in a bigger way than any designer has ever put together yet, to power your cities. The largest cities on your planet are on the coasts, and that's where the power source is. Hydro is the answer. It's not dangerous. You've ignored it because it seems harder to engineer and it's not in a controlled environment. Yet, you've chosen to build one of the most complex and dangerous steam engines on Earth - nuclear power.

We also have indicated that all you have to do is dig down deep enough and the planet will give you heat. It's right below the surface, not too far away all the time. You'll have a Gaia steam engine that way, too. There's no danger at all and you don't have to dig that far. All you have to do is heat fluid, and there are some fluids that boil far faster than water. So we say it again and again. Maybe this will show you what's wrong with what you've been doing, and this will turn the attitudes of your science to create something so beautiful and so powerful for your grandchildren. Why do you think you were given the moon? Now you know.

This benevolent Universe gave you an astral body that allows the waters in your ocean to push and pull and push on the most regular schedule of anything you know of. Yet there you sit enjoying just looking at it instead of using it. It could be enormous, free energy forever, ready to be converted when you design the methods of capturing it. It's time.

So in closing, do you understand what you're seeing? You're seeing intelligent design, quantum energy and high consciousness. You are seeing changes in Human nature. You're seeing countries putting things together instead of separating. You are seeing those who don't want war and instead want peace, good schools for their children, safety in their streets and a say in their government. We told you it was going to happen this way. I want my partner to teach these things that I have said in his 3D lectures for awhile. Many won't be able to know these things otherwise.  …”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Peru creates huge national park in Amazon basin

Yahoo – AFP, 7 Nov 2015

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, pictured on July 28, 2015, will create the Sierra
 del Divisor National Park in a region inhabited by a variety of indigenous communities
living in self-imposed isolation (AFP Photo/Ernesto Benavides)

Lima (AFP) - Peru is creating a national park to protect a vast territory in the Amazon basin that is vulnerable to drug trafficking and illegal logging and mining, the country's environment minister said Saturday.

Called the Sierra del Divisor National Park, it covers an area of about 14,170 square kilometers (5,470 square miles) in a region inhabited by a variety of indigenous communities living in self-imposed isolation.

Peru's President Ollanta Humala will travel to the region Sunday to sign a decree creating the park, Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal said on his Twitter account.

The park has an estimated 3,000 species of plants and animals, many of them found nowhere else in the world, according to the government.

The announcement comes just three weeks ahead of a UN summit aimed at sealing a global pact on climate change.

Advocates of the new park have said it will enable the capture of 150,000 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of nearly 40 percent of Peru's daily carbon output.

Sierra del Divisor has been a protected zone since April 2006. Since then, the communities living there have lobbied for its designation as a national park to stiffen legal protections against encroachment by loggers, miners and drug traffickers.

Sierra del Divisor is the second national park created since Humala took office in 2011, after the Gueppi National Park, a 6,260 square kilometer expanse centered on the Gueppi River in southeastern Peru.

Related Article:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

US to operate 'wherever' law allows in South China Sea

Yahoo – AFP, 3 Nov 2015

The USS Lassen destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of a disputed land
formation in the Spratly Islands (AFP Photo)

Beijing (AFP) - The US military will continue to operate wherever international law allows, a top US admiral said in Beijing on Tuesday, a week after America infuriated China by sailing close to artificial islands it is building in the South China Sea.

"International seas and airspace belong to everyone and are not the dominion of any single nation," Admiral Harry Harris said at the Stanford Center at Peking University.

"Our military will continue to fly, sail, and operate whenever and wherever international law allows. The South China Sea is not -- and will not -- be an exception," he added, according to a transcript.

Admiral Harry Harris heads the US Pacific
Command (AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman)
Harris is the head of the US Pacific Command and his public declaration in the Chinese capital is a mark of US resolve over the waterway, where Beijing has built up rocks and reefs into artificial islands with facilities for military use.

Last week the US gave a practical demonstration of its policy, sailing the USS Lassen guided missile destroyer within 12 nautical miles of at least one of the land formations China claims in the disputed Spratly Islands.

Chinese officials rebuked Harris over the action, with the People's Liberation Army chief of general staff Fang Fenghui telling him it had "created a disharmonious atmosphere for our meeting and this is very regretful".

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing that Washington's call for Beijing to stop militarising the South China Sea while sending warships there itself was "an attempt to deprive China of its self-defence right as a sovereign state".

"It is a typical manifestation of hypocrisy and hegemonism," she said.

'Frontline forces'

Washington says it takes no position on sovereignty disputes in the region and the sail-by was intended to protect freedom of navigation under international law, which it sees as potentially threatened by China's activities.

The USS Lassen's mission was part of the US's "routine freedom of navigation operations", Harris said in his speech, intended to "prevent the decomposition of international laws and norms".

Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea on the basis of a segmented line that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s.

The "ambiguous maritime claims" represented by China's "so-called nine-dash line" pose a challenge to navigation, Harris said.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims in the sea.

Washington has repeatedly said it does not recognise Chinese claims to territorial zones around the artificial islands.

The contretemps comes as the world's two largest military powers work to keep their cool over the troubled waters.

Harris made some conciliatory remarks, praising US-China ties and pointing out that Chinese and American ships were visiting ports in each other's countries.

"Some pundits predict a coming clash between our nations. I do not ascribe to this pessimistic view," Harris said.

Two days after the USS Lassen's voyage, the chief of US naval operations spoke with his Chinese counterpart via video.

A satellite image of what is claimed to be an under-construction airstrip at the top 
end of Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands, in the disputed South China Sea 
(AFP Photo/DigitalGlobe)

US officials said the call between Admiral John Richardson and Admiral Wu Shengli, who commands the Chinese navy, was "professional and productive".

But China's official Xinhua news agency paraphrased Wu as warning his counterpart of the risk of "a serious situation between frontline forces... or even a minor incident that could spark conflict".

Beijing's response to the USS Lassen sailing appears to have been carefully calibrated, with authorities expressing outrage, summoning US ambassador Max Baucus to protest, and saying they monitored and warned away the vessel -- but without physically intervening.

China's position on the islands is leading many countries in the region "to want to intensify their security cooperation with the United States", US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said on Sunday in South Korea.

The Pentagon chief was in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday for meetings with regional partners as part of America's ongoing strategic "rebalance" toward the Asia-Pacific.

A key theme of the trip is likely to be Beijing's island-building and its wide-ranging sovereignty claims.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Amnesty: Australia paid off people smugglers to turn back boats

International rights group Amnesty International claims it has uncovered evidence suggesting Australian officials paid people smugglers to turn back a boat full of migrants attempting to reach New Zealand.

Deutsche Welle, 29 Oct 2015

Released on October 28, the Amnesty International (AI) report, titled "By hook or by crook," examines Australia's policy of intercepting and pushing back boats carrying migrants on high seas.

The 38-page document focuses on an incident that took place in May 2015, when a boat transporting 65 migrants from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar to New Zealand was turned back by Australia.

By conducting interviews with the asylum seekers on board, the boat crew as well as the Indonesian police, the report's authors say they found evidence that Australian officials paid the migrant boat's six-member crew about $32,000 and told them to take the people to Indonesia instead.

The Australians reportedly also provided verbal instructions and maps showing the crew where to land in Indonesia, the rights group added. The report also raises questions about whether Australian officials paid money to the crew of another boat turned back in July.

'A lawless venture'

Amnesty says Australian officials
paid about $32,000 to the migrant
boat's crew
Furthermore, AI criticized Australia's efforts to control its maritime border as "a lawless venture with evidence of criminal activity, pay-offs to boat crews and abusive treatment of women, men and children seeking asylum."

"All of the available evidence points to Australian officials having committed a transnational crime by, in effect, directing a people-smuggling operation, paying a boat crew and then instructing them on exactly what to do and where to land in Indonesia," said AI Refugee Researcher Anna Shea.

"In the two incidents documented by AI, Australian officials also put the lives of dozens of people at risk by forcing them onto poorly equipped vessels. When it comes to its treatment of those seeking asylum, Australia is becoming a lawless state," she noted.

A tougher policy

Allegations that Australian authorities paid people smugglers initially emerged in June this year. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) raised similar concerns after speaking with people on the ship. But then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to respond to the allegations, saying he wouldn't comment on operational issues.

Australia's approach towards irregular migrants has come under increased scrutiny in recent times.

Under former PM Abbott, who was in office until September, the government hardened its asylum policy as part of its "Operation Sovereign Borders" initiative, and began to either push back the boats to Indonesia or to send the migrants to offshore detention centers on islands such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Australia hardened its asylum policy under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Last year, Australia also signed a deal with Cambodia to resettle asylum seekers there in exchange for millions of dollars.

The Australian government argues that this tough policy saves lives and prevents people smugglers from exploiting vulnerable and desperate migrants. Former PM Abbott even recently urged European countries, which are currently facing a refugee influx, to adopt similar policies to stem the flow of migrants.

Widespread abuse

Although rights groups acknowledge that Australia's approach has been ruthlessly effective in stopping boats packed with migrants from reaching the country's shores, they accuse Canberra of inhumane treatment of refugees and of failing to honor its international obligations.

Activists note that claims of abuse are rampant at the offshore detention sites, where hundreds of people - including women and children - are currently held.

The offshore detention centers in Nauru hold hundreds of migrants, including children

An Australian senate committee, dominated by the country's opposition, recently lambasted the detention centers as unsafe for asylum seekers and called for the immediate removal of children from the controversial facilities.

Despite criticism from rights advocates, polls have consistently shown that a significant number of Australians approve of the government's tough stance.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pacific's Palau creates huge ocean sanctuary the size of Spain

Yahoo – AFP, 28 Oct 2015

A photo received on October 28, 2015 shows Palau's Rock Islands as the tiny
 Pacific island nation created a vast marine sanctuary the size of Spain, saying it 
wanted to restore the ocean for future generations (AFP Photo/Matt Rand)

Koror (Palau) (AFP) - The tiny Pacific island nation of Palau created a vast marine sanctuary the size of Spain on Wednesday, banning fishing across the bulk of its waters to preserve the ocean for future generations.

At 500,000 square kilometres (193,000 square miles), the new sanctuary is one of the largest in the world and covers an underwater wonderland containing 1,300 species of fish and 700 types of coral.

Palau President Tommy Remengesau said the sanctuary, comprising 80 percent of the nation's maritime territory, would allow the ocean to heal after decades of industrialised fishing which has driven some species to the brink of extinction.

"A small island nation can have a big impact on the ocean," he said ahead of a ceremony Wednesday to officially sign off on the reserve.

A photo received on October 28, 2015 shows a 'spotted sweet lips' fish on the tiny 
Pacific island nation of Palau, which has created a marine sanctuary the size of 
Spain, saying it wanted to restore the ocean for future generations (AFP Photo)

"Island communities have been among the hardest hit by the threats facing the ocean. Creating this sanctuary is a bold move that the people of Palau recognise as essential to our survival."

The archipelago, part of the larger island group of Micronesia in the west Pacific, has a population of just 18,000.

The sanctuary will be phased in over five years, eventually leaving only a relatively small area of Palau's waters open to fishing by locals but not the foreign trawlers which dominate the Pacific industry.

The no-fishing plan prioritises tourism -- which contributes about US$160 million or 50 percent of gross domestic product annually -- over the tuna industry, which contributes around US$5.5 million a year.

Palau created the world's first shark sanctuary in 2009 and about one-third of countries have now followed suit, changing attitudes to the predator and helping curb demand for shark fin soup.

A photo released on October 28, 2015 shows a shark off the tiny Pacific island 
nation of Palau, which has created a vast marine sanctuary the size of Spain, 
saying it wanted to restore the ocean for future generations (AFP Photo)

Conservation efforts are underway in the Pacific to create a network of marine parks across the region to ensure one of the world's last pristine ocean ecosystems is managed sustainably.

In 2012 the Cook Islands unveiled a 1,065 million square kilometre marine park while Kiribati and Tokelau have also declared huge protected zones.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Going Dutch to help conquer the rising seas

Yahoo – AFP, Nicolas Delaunay, 27 Oct 2015

The Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier (Oosterscheldekering) in Vrouwenpolder,
The Netherlands (AFP Photo/Bas Czerwinski)

Zeeland (Netherlands) (AFP) - Had nature been left to take its course much of the Netherlands would be a muddy swamp and the tiny coastal nation would never have risen to be the eurozone's fifth largest economy.

More than half of the country's 17 million people live in low-lying at risk areas, but thanks to hard work, perseverance and a lot of technical savvy they snuggle safely behind an ingenious network of 17,500 kilometres (10,800 miles) of dykes, dunes and barrages.

After struggling against the seas for hundreds of years, the Netherlands prides itself on being the "safest delta" on the planet and now exports its expertise around the world.

As water levels rise thanks to climate change and turbulent weather patterns unleash fierce storms, Dutch know-how in protecting low-lying areas has turned the country into the leader in its field.

"It's thanks to our history," Infrastructure Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen told AFP. "We have been battling for centuries to hold back the seas."

Just like the legend of the boy who stuck his finger in crumbling dyke, necessity has been the mother of invention.

As water levels rise thanks to climate change and turbulent weather patterns
 unleash fierce storms, Dutch know-how in protecting low-lying areas has turned
the country into the leader in its field (AFP Photo/Bas Czerwinski)

Dutch companies now account for some 40 percent of the global dredging business open to international competition.

"Water is not so much a threat, but an asset. It can bridge economy and ecology," said Henk Ovink, the country's special representative on water issues.

More than 70 percent of the country's gross domestic product is produced on land at risk of flooding. Amsterdam's sprawling Schiphol airport -- the fifth busiest in Europe -- should by rights be a playground for fish.

Floods trauma

The turning point for the Netherlands came in 1953 when devastating floods swept in from the North Sea killing 1,835 people and leaving 72,000 homeless in the southwest.

Traumatised and shocked, the Dutch decided the only way forward was to improve their sea defences.

"Now Holland's level of protection is 100 to a 1,000 times better than most other countries," said Bart Schultz, a researcher at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education based in Delft.

The Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier is a gargantuan construction stretching an impressive nine kilometres (five miles) between the southern islands of Schouwen-Duiveland and Noord-Beveland.

Thanks to a series of massive sluice gates it can completely close off the mouth of the estuary, preventing the unpredictable North Sea from surging through.

But simpler solutions also work. A huge man-made sand bank, bigger than 200 football fields, was inaugurated in December 2011 just south of The Hague.

The giant Maeslant surge barrier guards the entrance to the largest
port in Europe, Rotterdam (AFP Photo/Kina Rob Doolaard)

Like a pregnant belly it juts out into the sea from the beach, and swept by the winds and tides protects the beautiful dunes behind from erosion.

According to the UN's Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change, the oceans rose some 19 centimetres (seven inches) from 1901 to 2010.

They predict sea levels will now rise from 26 to 82 centimetres by 2100 compared with the end of the 20th century.

Deltas at risk

And the world's burgeoning and resource-rich delta zones where some 10 percent of the world's population lives are at the greatest risk, according to the Delta Alliance organisation.

It's here that Dutch technology has proved so valuable. Some 2,500 Dutch firms work in the water industry, doing some 17 billion euros of business every year, said Lennart Silvis, director of the Netherlands Water Partnership.

After Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans in August 2005, the Netherlands played a huge role in reconstructing the city's sea defences.

That led to an increased cooperation with the United States, and when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and Jersey in 2012, Dutch help was again called upon.

After struggling against the seas for hundreds of years, the Netherlands prides
itself on being the 'safest delta' on the planet (AFP Photo/Koen Suyk)

"There is often huge interest after a disaster. But we would like to see greater preventative work which will help protect people in the long term," said Schultz van Haegen.

In Southeast Asia, Dutch experts have worked to shore up defences from Jakarta to the Mekong delta.

"Obviously we need to protect against the water, but there are other aspects of urban planning such as purification and access to drinking water, or even how to build roads," said Silvis.

Learning to live with the water has also spurred creative thinking -- Dutch experts are researching how to farm with salt-water, or how to produce energy by mixing salt and fresh water.

From building floating platforms off the Philippines to restoring wetlands areas in Kenya and Uganda, it seems there are no limits.

And there's even a little room for some luxury, when it comes to mastering the seas.

Sand islands shaped into a palm-tree and a network of islands formed like a map of the world off Dubai are the work of the Dutch international dredging company Van Oord.