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, May 30, 2015

Police Confiscate 176 Smuggled Shark Fins

Jakarta Globe, May 28, 2015

Indonesian authorities in Bali have confiscated smuggled shark fins which
are a protected species under Indonesian law. (AFP Photo/Sonny Tumelaka)

Jakarta. Police in Indonesia have arrested one person seized 176 shark fins destined for Bali from the island of Java.

Comr. Nyoman Wirya Sucipta, the chief of the port police in Gilimanuk, the main crossing point into Bali from East Java, said on Thursday that the fins were found wrapped in plastic and packed into boxes, and were believed to have been taken from several different species of sharks.

Wirya told Antara that port police officers also arrested a man, identified as Hasan Basri from East Java, for carrying the fins.

“We’re still questioning the owner of the fins. He couldn’t show us any proper documentation that would allowed him to carry the fins of endangered animals,” Wirya said.

Police have sent the fins to the Bali Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in Denpasar, the Bali capital, to test which shark species they come from.

Shark-finning, a brutal practice in which fishermen slice the fins off sharks and throw the animal back into the water to die, is technically not banned in Indonesia. However, the government lists several species of sharks as protected, and any trade in their parts is prohibited and punishable by law.

The shark-fin trade is driven by a growing demand for Chinese cuisine, where the part is considered a delicacy. Dozens of Chinese restaurants in Jakarta alone serve shark fin soup, advertising the dish prominently.

Volcano erupts on remote southern Japanese island

Police have ordered a small island in southern Japan evacuated after a volcano erupted on Friday. The volcano blasted a huge column of ash high into the sky, but officials said there is no threat to human life.

Deutsche Welle, 29 May 2015

Mount Shindake erupted at about 10 a.m. shooting towering black-gray plumes of smoke and ash into the sky.

There were no injuries reported, although the Japan Meteorological Agency reported that pyroclastic flows from the volcano had reached the shore to the northwest.

Japan's top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Toshihide Suga said there was no threat to human life after the eruption.

About 140 people live on Kuchinoerabu island in the Ryukyu archipelago, which is approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of the main southern island of Kyushu.

Japan's national broadcaster NHK reported local officials as saying that 80 residents had taken refuge in a shelter on the island.

Kuchinoerabu island is only accessible by ferry. It runs once a day from Yakushima island which has an airport and a population of more than 13,000 people.

Shindake also erupted in August last year for the first time since 1980.

av/bw (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Myanmar carries out first rescue operation of migrant boat

Myanmar's navy has rescued a migrant boat after increased pressure from its neighbors to tackle the issue. But questions remain whether the state can aid the Rohingya, which have been the target of attacks in the past.

Deutsche Welle, 23 May 2015

Myanmar's navy carried out the country's first rescue of a migrant boat, saving 208 people in the process, an official said Friday.

"A navy ship found two boats…on May 21 while on patrol," Tin Maung Swe, a senior official in the state of Rakhine, told AFP news agency. In 2012, Rakhine gained notoriety after Buddhist monks in the state violently attacked Rohingya Muslims, leaving approximately 140,000 displaced.

The official said that "about 200 Bengalis were on one of the boats," using the term pejoratively to refer to the Muslim Rohingya minority. "All of the 208 on board are from Bangladesh," Swe added, recapitulating Myanmar's official line that the minority group comes from its western neighbor.

'Discrimination and violence'

The rescue operation comes a day after a senior general met with US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss the migrant crisis.

However, the general cast doubts over the authenticity of some of the Rohingya migrants' claims during the meeting, Myanmar's state-backed newspaper The Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

"Senior General Min Aung Hlaing hinted that most victims are expected to assume themselves to be Rohingyas from Myanmar in the hope of receiving assistance from UNHCR," the newspaper said Friday.

During the meeting, Blinken urged Myanmar to tackle the cause of migration, "including the racially and religiously motivated discrimination and violence."

Myanmar's 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims are considered stateless and forced to live in camps for internally displaced people following deadly clashes in 2012, which Human Rights Watch called "a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya."

ls/kms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

BP oil spill caused dolphins' lung disease, deaths: study

Yahoo – AFP, Kerry Sheridan, 20 May 2015

Dolphins swimming in the oil-contaminated waters of the Gulf of Mexico after the
 2010 BP spill suffered unusual lung lesions and died at high rates because 
of petroleum pollution, US scientists said (AFP Photo/Fethi Belaid)

Miami (AFP) - Dolphins swimming in the oil-contaminated waters of the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 BP spill suffered unusual lung lesions and died at high rates because of petroleum pollution, US scientists said Thursday.

The report in the journal PLOS ONE presents the strongest evidence to date that the environmental disaster that was unleashed when the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010, pouring 4.9 million barrels of oil into the ocean, was the reason for an unusually high number of dead or dying bottlenose dolphins washing up on the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Crews work on stopping the flow of oil 
at the source site of the Deepwater 
Horizon disaster on May 29, 2010 in the
Gulf of Mexico (AFP Photo/Win Mcnamee)
Dolphins take big, deep breaths right at the surface of the water, where oil sheens are most concentrated, and "where there is a good chance of inhaling oil itself," said lead author Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist at the National Marine Mammal Foundation.

"Dolphins were negatively impacted by exposure to petroleum compounds following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and exposure to these compounds caused life threatening adrenal and lung disease that has contributed to increased dolphin deaths in the northern Gulf of Mexico."

Unusual lesions

Unusual lesions in the lungs and adrenal glands, which regulate hormones and stress response, were a key sign that something was wrong with dolphins in the area of the spill, according to the research which compared autopsies of 46 dolphins that were stranded and died in the spill area from June 2010 to August 2012 to a comparison population of stranded dolphins off the Gulf coast of Florida.

"We found that dolphins that died after the oil spill had distinct adrenal gland and lung lesions that were not present in the stranded dolphins from other areas," said Kathleen Colegrove, a veterinary pathologist at the University of Illinois.

"These dolphins had some of the most severe lung lesions I have ever seen in wild dolphins from throughout the US."

One in three of the stranded dolphins in the spill area had a thinned adrenal gland cortex, a rate that was significantly higher than the reference population of stranded dolphins in Sarasota Bay, Florida, in which one in 10 had such a condition.

"The thinning of the adrenal gland cortex was a very unusual abnormality for us, that has not been previously reported in dolphins in the literature," Colegrove told reporters during a conference call to discuss the findings, which are the latest in a series of research papers on dolphin health in the region after the spill.

Oil seen on the surface of the water near the site of the BP oil spill, named the
 largest environmental disaster in American history, in the Gulf of Mexico
on June 13, 2010 (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)

Bacterial pneumonia

One in five of the oil spill dolphins had bacterial pneumonia, a serious lung disease that was severe enough to cause or contribute to the animals' deaths.

By comparison, bacterial pneumonia was found in just one in 50 of the Florida dolphins to which the autopsies were compared.

Studies in other animals have shown that inhaling oil can cause adrenal dysfunction, lung disease and bacterial pneumonia, which Venn-Watson described as "one of the most common outcomes of chemical inhalation injury in other animals."

Scientists ruled out other diseases known to have killed dolphins in high numbers in the past, such as brucellosis and morbillivirus.

They also ruled out cancers, autoimmune diseases, fungal infections and tuberculosis.

"No feasible alternative causes remain that can reasonably explain the timing, location and nature of these distinct lesions," said Venn-Watson.

A 2013 study on cetaceans in Louisiana's Barataria Bay, found that dolphins were missing teeth, had lung lesions and high prevalence of disease after the worst oil spill in US history.

While researchers lacked a baseline study of dolphin health in Barataria Bay before the oil spill, they said the combination of live and dead dolphin analyses, including the latest study, have provided a strong body of evidence.

"We feel that this study is a critical link in the chain," said Venn-Watson.

BP disputes

A line of orange oil booms lie on the 
beach to block oil from the BP 
Deepwater Horizon spill in Grand Isle,
 Louisiana on June 4, 2010 (AFP 
Photo/Saul Loeb)
More than 1,200 dolphins have washed up in area of the Gulf of Mexico affected by the spill since April 29, 2010.

An additional 114 were stranded from February, two months prior to the spill, until April 20, according to figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In response to the study, BP took issue with the scientific findings.

"This new paper fails to show that the illnesses observed in some dolphins were caused by exposure to Macondo oil," said Geoff Morell, BP senior vice president for US communications and external affairs.

"According to NOAA, the Gulf 'unusual mortality event' (UME) began in February 2010, months before the spill," he added.

"Even though the UME may have overlapped in some areas with the oil spill, correlation is not evidence of causation."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

EU to launch Mediterranean naval mission to tackle migrant crisis

Ministers want to seize smugglers and destroy their boats off Libyan coast to combat rising number of migrants fleeing war and poverty in north Africa

The Guardian, Arthur Neslen in Brussels,Monday 18 May 2015 

Migrants queue at a detention centre in Tripoli on Monday. They were arrested
 as they attempted to board boats destined for Europe, authorities in the Libyan
capital said. Photograph: AFP/Getty

EU ministers have agreed to launch a sea and air mission that could in its later phases destroy vessels used by human traffickers, which have carried an estimated 1,800 migrants to their deaths in the Mediterranean this year.

An intelligence-gathering operation will herald the mission’s first phase, with the UK expected to offer drones and surveillance equipment as a partial riposte to calls for it to take in more refugees.

In later phases, hostile vessels suspected of harbouring migrants could be boarded, searched, seized or disposed of in Libyan territory or international waters – as long as a chapter 7 UN resolution to authorise the use of force to do so is obtained first.

The plan could be launched as soon as 25 June, the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a Brussels press conference.

“There is a clear sense of urgency as we all know that June is the beginning of summer and in this operation, seasons are important,” she said. “As summer comes, more people are travelling so we want to have the operation in place as soon as possible, if it is to deter the traffickers’ and smugglers’ organisations.”

Mogherini avoided mention of the “boots on the ground” option to destroy smugglers’ assets, outlined in an EU strategy paper revealed by the Guardian before the summit.

The mission’s rules of engagement have still to be thrashed out and one diplomat described the deployment of such forces as “the next step in terms of operational details”. The level of collateral damage considered acceptable would also be discussed after the mission was up and running, he said.
The operation will have its headquarters in Rome and be run by an Italian rear admiral, Enrico Credendino, with an initial year-long mandate.

Concerns about the militarisation of the migrants issue will probably be raised at the UN, though, with Libya already describing the mission as very worrying, citing concerns over its potential to mistakenly target fishermen’s boats.

Refugee rights groups fear that bombing the escape routes of people fleeing for their lives from Syria, Eritrea and west Africa – where most migrants begin their journeys – will simply lead to more deaths, away from the public spotlight.

“An unintended consequence of this mission is that it may even lead to more deaths,” said Michael Diedring, the secretary general of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). “If there is a shortage of vessels, even more people will be packed into them. There is even a possibility, given the desperate situation these people face, that they might try to construct their own boats.”

At present, smugglers’ vessels are often leased from local fishermen on a trip-by-trip basis by a wide variety of low-level criminals. The last-minute loading of human cargoes could prevent the timely targeting of such vessels.

Once loaded, the hulls of these boats are often crammed with people not visible from outside and Diedring said that there was a huge risk that boats could be targeted with people still on board.

“The solution to putting the smugglers out of business is to increase safe legal channels for migration,” he said. “It is ironic that people fleeing from war and persecution are being met with more of the same.”

Search and rescue operations have been stepped up in the Mediterranean since an estimated 800 people died when a ship sank off the Libyan coast in April. The UK has sent a Royal Navy flagship, HMS Bulwark, to join the operation and sent £800m in aid to help poor frontline countries such as Lebanon and Jordan deal with a refugee crisis of overwhelming proportions. About 1.5 million refugees have fled to the two small countries.

But the EU ended its Mare Nostrum search and rescue mission, despite warnings of the potential for an increase in tragedies at sea. Members currently remain at odds over a European commission proposal to more evenly share the number of migrants who arrive in Europe between EU member states.

Over the weekend, the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, joined the UK in opposing a quota measure which could stir anti-migrant feelings. “France has already done a lot,” he said.

Under the commission proposal, France would have been asked to take 14% of migrants who reached the EU’s shores, while 18% would be assigned to Germany, by far the largest recipient of migrants at present. Italy would have been asked to accept nearly 12% of the north African evacuees, and Spain 9%.

Cuba's Elian Gonzalez, now grown up, hopes to return to US

Yahoo - AFP, 18 May 2015

Elian Gonzalez (R), in a church in Havana, during the celebration of 10th
Anniversary of his return from Miami, on June 30, 2010 (AFP Photo/
Adalberto Roque)

Washington (AFP) - Elian Gonzalez, who as a child was at the center of a bitter international custody battle between his Cuban father and his Miami relatives, now dreams of returning to the United States, he said in an interview broadcast Monday.

Now 21, Gonzalez was just six years old when he was found floating off of Florida's coast in November, 1999.

A rickety boat carrying his mother and several other would-be refugees, capsized, and Elian -- found floating in a car inner tube -- was the only survivor.

Fifteen years later, asked where he would like to go if he could travel anywhere in the world, Gonzalez in an interview with ABC television replied without hesitating: "Los Estados Unidos" -- the United States.

"I want the time to give my love to American people," he added in halting English.

He recalled for ABC the trauma of his mother's death.

"I remember when the boat capsized, when we fell on the sea," he said.

"I remember when I was put on the raft and my mom was covering me and I was raising my head, looking around... and at some point I raised my head and I didn't see her again," Elian recounted.

"I was alone in the middle of the sea."

The six-year-old was sent to live with his relatives in Miami, but soon became the object of an international battle, after his father demanded he be returned to live with him in Cuba.

The dispute made international headlines after Elian's relatives -- and the larger Cuban-American community in Miami -- insisted they would not allow him to return to Cuba, fearing he faced a life of privation and political oppression there.

Eventually, US courts sided with Elian's father and then-US attorney general Janet Reno ordered that US federal agents seize the boy.

Iconic news photos of the April 2000 raid showing the terrified child being taken at gunpoint were beamed around the world.

Little more was heard from Elian, other than when his image was occasionally beamed on Cuban television as a model member of the communist party's youth wing.

Now an adult engaged to be married and pursuing engineering studies, Gonzalez said he has put the traumatic episode behind him.

"For my family it has always been, we always have the desire to say to the American people, to say to each household our gratitude, appreciation and love that we have," he said, repeating his wish to see America.

"I could personally thank those people who helped us, who were there by our side. Because we're so grateful for what they did."

'We helped out of solidarity': Indonesian fishermen come to aid of boat migrants

While governments have refused to receive migrants stranded in Andaman Sea, Aceh villagers have stepped up to fill humanitarian void

The Guardian, Kate Lamb in Langsa, Monday 18 May 2015

Boats leaving Pusung, a small island fishing village off the coast of
Langsa. Photograph: Antonio Zambardino/Guardian

When Myusup Mansur, a fisherman from the small island village of Pusung, first caught a glimpse of the boat in the distance in waters off North Sumatra, it was dark and impossible for him to make out the hundreds of migrants huddled on the deck.

It was only when two other fishermen pulled up and told him what they had seen that he realised what was happening: scores of people were jumping from the boat into the sea.

They headed in the direction of the boat while radioing in for rescue reinforcement on the way. “We helped them because they needed help,” said Mansur, 38. “What is more human than that?”

Six hundred and seventy-seven migrants were brought ashore late last Thursday by Mansur and his fellow fishermen. While governments around the region have refused to receive what is thought to be thousands of migrants from Burma and Bangladesh stranded and starving in the Andaman Sea, the fishermen of Indonesia have stepped up to fill the humanitarian void.

More than 1,350 migrants, a mixture of ethnic Rohingya from Burma and migrants from Bangladesh, have landed on the shores of Aceh, Indonesia, this week and it has been the fishermen who have come to their rescue.

Mansur and the other two fishermen’s small boats could each take only about 30 people but there were many more migrants waiting to be rescued. “I was lost for words,” he said. “I was panicked, because I have never seen so many people in the water like that. I kept pulling them from the water one by one, I couldn’t count how many, but my boat was full. After that I couldn’t take any more and there were still people crying for help.

“I didn’t understand their language. I couldn’t ask them anything, and I couldn’t understand what they were asking,” he added. “They just kept calling to me for help.”

Nearly two hours passed before six large fishing boats that had also been out at sea arrived to help. The fishermen laboured together, pulling the migrants from the sea and transferring them from boat to boat. Finally Mansur linked his small turquoise and orange boat to the migrant vessel to collect the women and children who had remained on board. He said he would do the same again if faced with another similar situation.

Suryadi, who only uses one name, from the fishermen association in Langsa, Aceh, said: “We helped out of solidarity. If we find someone in the ocean we have to help them no matter who they are. The police did not like us helping but we could not avoid it. Our sense of humanity was higher. So we just helped with the limited resources that we had at the time.”

Over recent weeks, boats full of migrants have been pushed back and forth between the navies of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, with no country willing to take them in. The United Nations estimates there are up to 8,000 more migrants languishing at sea.

Those who have been rescued and brought to land have recounted horrific stories of murders over the last supplies of water and food during almost a month stranded at sea.

Andreas Harsono, from Human Rights Watch in Jakarta, said the fishermen were offering assistance that official channels had failed to provide. “The fact that these fishermen are helping these people shows that they have a better humanitarian understanding than government officials in Jakarta,” he said.

Harsono said that in Aceh, a province that in the past was wracked by a decades-long separatist conflict, people understood suffering and the value of compassion. In Mansur’s village a 45-minute boat ride away from the Langsa temporary camp where the 677 migrants are now being housed, that observation resonates.

When Mansur collected 30 women and children at sea and made the six-hour journey back to Pusung, the migrants were greeted with open arms. “We bought them a big bunch of bananas and water and they all bathed in our homes,” said Saipul Umar, 54. “They were so weak, especially the small children. They were traumatised.”

The migrants were given food, water, coffee and cakes, and a place to wash. “We treated them like family,” said Sulaiman, 76. Others asked questions about their stories and why they were fleeing their countries.

After learning about the treatment of the ethnic Rohingya in Burma, where they are persecuted and denied citizenship, one village resident said that perhaps the migrants should have stayed in Pusung.

“They wanted to live here,” she said, “They didn’t want to go.”

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Japan volcano island 'natural lab' for life

Yahoo – AFP, Kyoko Hasegawa, 17 May 2015

The newly-created Nishinoshima island at the Ogasawara island chain, 
1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo, pictured on March 25, 2015 (AFP Photo)

Tokyo (AFP) - A brand new island emerging off the coast of Japan offers scientists a rare opportunity to study how life begins to colonise barren land -- helped by rotting bird poo and hatchling vomit.

Researchers say bird waste will be the secret ingredient to kickstart Mother Nature's grand experiment on what is a still active volcano that only poked its head above the waves in November 2013.

That speck of land, some 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) south of Tokyo, has grown to engulf its once larger neighbour, Nishinoshima, a part of Japan's Ogasawara island chain known for the wealth and variety of its ecosystem.

The new Nishinoshima, a respectable 2.46 square kilometres (0.95 square miles), the Japan Coast Guard said in February -- roughly the size of 345 football pitches -- is currently almost all bare rock, formed from cooling lava.

But scientists say it will one day be humming with plant -- and possibly animal -- life, as nature moves in to what is being called a "natural laboratory" on one of the latest bits of real estate in the Pacific Ocean.

"We biologists are very much focusing on the new island because we'll be able to observe the starting point of evolutionary processes," said Naoki Kachi, professor and leader of Tokyo Metropolitan University's Ogasawara Research Committee.

After the volcanic activity calms down, "what will probably happen first will be the arrival of plants brought by ocean currents and attached to birds' feet," he said.

Those seabirds, who could use the remote rock as a temporary resting place, could eventually set up home there.

Their excreta -- along with their dropped feathers, regurgitated bits of food and rotting corpses -- will eventually form a nutrient-rich soil that offers fertile ground for seeds carried by the wind, or brought in the digestive systems of overflying birds.

"I am most interested in the effects of birds on the plants' ecosystem -- how their bodily wastes-turned-organic fertilisers enrich the vegetation and how their activities disturb it," Kachi told AFP.

The old Nishinoshima, measuring just 0.22 square kilometres, was home to bird colonies until the eruptions scared the creatures away.

A small number have clung on to the only patch of the old island that is still visible, making their nests among ash-covered plants.


Japan, which sits at the junction of several tectonic plates, is home to more than 100 active volcanoes.

The newly-created Nishinoshima island at the Ogasawara island chain, 
1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo, pictured on April 27, 2015 (AFP Photo/)

Scientists have no idea when Nishinoshima will stop spewing lava, but its expansion is being offset by erosion around the edges.

The island is expected to follow a route laid out by Surtsey, an island that emerged from the sea in 1963, around 30 kilometres from the coast of Iceland.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage spot is known globally as an outstanding example of a pristine natural laboratory where researchers have been able to trace the evolution of a habitat.

"Since they began studying the island in 1964, scientists have observed the arrival of seeds carried by ocean currents, the appearance of moulds, bacteria and fungi, followed in 1965 by the first vascular plant," UNESCO says on its website.

"By 2004, (vascular plants) numbered 60, together with 75 bryophytes, 71 lichens and 24 fungi. Eighty-nine species of birds have been recorded on Surtsey, 57 of which breed elsewhere in Iceland. The 141 hectare island is also home to 335 species of invertebrates."

Not bad for somewhere that has only existed for half a century.

Nishinoshima might not be quite as quick as Surtsey to establish itself as a teeming wildlife haven -- it is a long way from mainland Japan and not too close to its neighbours in the Ogasawara island chain, which limits the number of species of birds and seeds that will make it that far.

Nonetheless, it is an exciting blank canvas, said Kachi, and needs to be treated with respect -- which means keeping out foreign invaders that would not naturally drift or fly in.

"I'd like to call on anyone who lands on the island to pay special attention to keeping it the way it is -- not to take external species there," he warned.

He said when he conducted a field study on another island in the chain in 2007, his team prepared a fumigated clean room where they packed all research equipment, after making sure everything they had was either brand new or scrupulously clean.

While Nishinoshima is currently only being monitored from the air, the first field researchers will need to take similar precautions.

"Biologists know the business, but probably the first batch of scientists who will land on the island will be geologists and vulcanologists -- who may not be familiar with the problems," he said.

"I'd be pleased to offer advice on this to scientists in other fields."

PKS Calls for Immediate Response to Growing Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Jakarta Globe, May 17, 2015

Rohingya migrants who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat wait in line to be
registered in Kuala Langsa, in Aceh province, on Sunday. The United Nations has
 called on countries around the Andaman Sea not to push back the thousands of
desperate Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar now stranded in
rickety boats, and to rescue them instead. (Reuters Photo/Roni Bintang)

Jakarta. Legislators from an Indonesian Islamic party have urged the government to address the Rohingya boatpeople crisis by issuing a regulation allowing Jakarta to assist the migrants, including by providing temporary shelter for them.

Fahri Hamzah, a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, said in Jakarta on Sunday that he was concerned with media reports that Indonesian officials had prohibited boats carrying hundreds of Rohingya migrants from reaching Indonesian shores.

He said he understood that officials were turning the boats back because of a lack of legal grounds to assist the refugees, but added this should not be the case.

“[Lack of regulation] should not be an excuse to turn a blind eye to the suffering of people from other nations,” said Fahri, also a deputy secretary general of the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS.

“Their suffering is evident. Do we, as a nation that believes in humanity, have the heart to see them suffer?”

He urged President Joko Widodo to issue a presidential regulation to specifically address the growing crisis at sea.

Fahri added that Indonesia should not treat the boatpeople the same way that neighboring Malaysia and Thailand are doing, by pushing the boats out of their national waters in what the International Organization for Migration has blasted as a perverse game of “maritime ping-pong.”

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have been criticized for sending Rohingya refugees back to sea on rickety, unseaworthy boats after catching them in the countries’ waters or after also giving them food.

Indonesia and Malaysia last week saw a surge in refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar following a Thai government crackdown on human trafficking, under which the Thai authorities are blocking boats carrying migrants from landing.

Neither of the governments of the three countries has responded to an appeal made by the United Nations’ refugee agency, the UNHCR, last week for an international search and rescue operation for the thousands believed to be stranded in Southeast Asian waters.

The UNHCR has said several thousand migrants were abandoned at sea by smugglers after the Thai crackdown, warning that the region is risking a “massive humanitarian crisis,” Reuters reported.

Another PKS legislator, Sukamta, said last week that Indonesia’s immigration law and international relations law actually addressed the matter of migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers.

He added, though, that the lack of derivative regulations meant there were no technical details for officials to adhere to in addressing actual problems.

“There is no presidential decree yet for those laws. The presidential decree should serve as an operational guideline for how we should treat refugees,” said Sukamta, a member of House Commission I, which oversees defense and foreign affairs.

“We want to make sure that this country, Indonesia, sides with humanity, at least by providing [the refugees] with temporary shelter. The government can do this as long as it has the will to,” he added as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman on Sunday said he would hold separate meetings this week with his Indonesian and Thai counterparts to discuss the Rohingya migrant crisis — including to work out a collective proposal under Asean and discuss it with Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya migrant crisis.

“As Asean chairman, we will discuss in depth, so that this problem will be solved. I hope Myanmar will sit with us to find solutions before we take it to the international level,” Anifah said, according to Malaysian newspaper The Star.

“If necessary, we will call for an emergency Asean meeting as suggested by the Prime Minister,’’ he  added.

University of Indonesia international law professor Hikmahanto Juwana said Indonesia must be able to convince Malaysia and Thailand to allow Rohingya migrants to enter their territories so that the ill sick could be given medical treatment.

“We’ve already done the right thing if we focus on the humanitarian aspect, especially for those who have entered Indonesia, such as those who have been rescued by Indonesian fishermen,” he said.

“Don’t ever send them back to sea; don’t give them food and then send them away like Thailand and Malaysia have done.”

He suggested Indonesia could set up a refugee camp on one of its thousands of islands, as it did for Vietnamese war refugees on Galang Island in Riau Islands province.

“Financially, we cannot run such an island alone. We would need help from others. We need to discuss this with the UNHCR,” Hikmahanto said.

Most importantly, he went on, the issue would never be resolved without serious discussions with Myanmar, which refuses to recognize the Rohingya or acknowledge the discrimination and violence they face in the country.

Myanmar has refused to attend crisis talks on the issue slated for May 29 in Thailand if other countries use the word “Rohingya” at the meeting, saying it does not recognize the term.

One of migrants housed in a makeshift camp in Langsa,
 Indonesia, shows the scars he says are from violence that erupted
 on the boats while still at sea. Photograph: Antonio Zambardino/

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Neither China nor US budging on South China Sea dispute

President Xi Jinping has said ties between Beijing and Washington and US Secretary of State remain 'stable.' John Kerry has sought to defuse tensions over a maritime territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

Deutsche Welle, 17 May 2015

As US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a two-day visit to China on Sunday, both sides stressed the need for dialogue to resolve competing claims for a group of islands in the South China Sea.

“In my view, US-China relations have remained stable overall,” Xi told Kerry at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, adding “that he look(ed) forward to continuing to grow this relationship,” on his planned September trip to Washington.

Kerry's trip to Beijing had been dominated by deepening security concerns about the country's maritime ambitions in the South China Sea.

China is going ahead with projects which the US, and most members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, suspects are aimed at building islands and other land features over which China will then claim sovereignty.

Before departing for Seoul, South Korea, Xi told Kerry China and the US should handle disputes so not to damage bilateral ties.

China asserts about 90 percent of the 3.5 million square kilometer (1.35 million square mile) South China Sea belongs to Beijing. While the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam also claim ownership.

During a joint press conference on Saturday, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded saying Beijing would not back down on defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Not backing down

“I would like to reaffirm that China's determination to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity is as hard as a rock,” Wang said.

“It is the people's demand of the government and our legitimate right,” he said.

“With regard to construction on the Nansha islands and reefs, this is fully within the scope of China's sovereignty,” Wang said using the Chinese name for the seven reefs in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea.

Wang also expressed concern at the US' plans to send military aircraft and ships to the South China Sea.

Kerry did not respond to Wang's claims on whether the US intended to send military ships and aircraft to the region.

However, Washington did maintain that it does not take a position on the sovereignty claims but insists there needs to be negotiations between the parties.

Kerry's trip to the country is seen as a forerunner for the annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue next month in Washington and Xi's expected visit to the capital in September.

jlw/bw (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Over 900 migrants rescued as pressure grows over SE Asia crisis

Yahoo – AFP, Nurdin Hasan, 15 May 2015

A group of rescued migrant children at a shelter in the Indonesian fishing
 town of Kuala Langsa, Aceh province, on May 15, 2015 (AFP Photo/Chaideer

About 900 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants made it to shore in Indonesia and Thailand Friday, as Myanmar undermined calls for a coordinated response to Southeast Asia's human-trafficking crisis by threatening to boycott a planned summit.

The Indonesian and Malaysian policy of turning away stricken boats filled with Bangladeshis and ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar has been met with outrage, including from Washington and the United Nations.

Activists estimate up to 8,000 migrants may be at sea in Southeast Asia, with horrific tales emerging of passengers abandoned by abusive smugglers, horribly cramped conditions, starvation and death.

In his first public comments on the issue, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he was "very concerned with the plight of migrants" but gave no indication of a policy shift on an issue that has caused regional finger-pointing.

A group of rescued women and children migrants, mostly Rohingya from
 Myanmar and Bangladesh, pictured at a confinement area in the fishing town 
of Kuala Langsa in Aceh province, northern Indonesia on May 15, 2015 
(AFP Photo/Januar)

"We are in contact with all relevant parties, with whom we share the desire to find a solution to this crisis," he said in a statement, without elaborating.

It was not clear whether those "relevant parties" included Myanmar, which faces harsh criticism of its treatment of Rohingya and on Friday snubbed neighbouring Thailand's call for a regional meeting on the problem on May 29.

'We cried for help'

The unfolding humanitarian crisis appears to have been precipitated by a Thai police crackdown that has thrown busy people-smuggling routes into chaos just as a surge of migrants has taken to the sea.

"We are unlikely to attend... we do not accept it if they (Thailand) are inviting us just to ease the pressure they are facing," Myanmar presidential office director Zaw Htay told AFP.

Indonesian police said at least 797 people were rescued Friday by fisherman in Aceh province on the east coast of huge Sumatra island.

Rescued migrants, mostly Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladesh, gathere
 on arrival at a confinement area in the fishing town of Kuala Langsa in Indonesia's
Aceh province on May 15, 2015 (AFP Photo/Januar)

One overloaded boat was sinking off the coast when local fishermen came to the rescue, picking up migrants as they jumped from the stricken vessel, police said.

Muhammad Amin, a Rohingya, told AFP that the boat had first been turned back by the Indonesian navy towards Malaysian waters, only for the Malaysian navy to direct it back towards Indonesia.

In an increasingly desperate situation -- after nearly two months at sea and the crew having abandoned ship -- he said the Bangladeshis attacked the Rohingya and threw some of them overboard, and he was forced to swim for hours before being rescued.

"As we were swimming, we saw a fishing boat, and we cried for help, then fishermen pulled us one by one from the sea," said the 35-year-old.

'Human ping pong'

Search and rescue officials said it was not immediately clear whether all those rescued had come from the same boat.

Fishermen and National Park officials provide food supplies to Rohingya migrants
 stranded on a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe 
on May 14, 2015 (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)

At least 61 children were ferried to shore by Indonesian fishermen. Nearly 600 migrants were already sheltering in Aceh after managing to get ashore in recent days.

A military spokesman said earlier the navy had prevented a boat carrying migrants from entering Indonesian waters but he later clarified that the boat had been empty, and the navy found migrants in the water nearby and helped them to shore.

In Thailand, the navy discovered 106 Rohingya on an island off the coast of Phang Na province but it was unclear whether their boat had a problem or they had been abandoned, the provincial governor said.

Earlier Friday, a boat carrying about 300 Rohingya left Thailand's waters, a Thai official said, after authorities repaired its engine and provided food.

A Thai official said the passengers -- who wanted to reach Malaysia -- declined offers to come ashore in Thailand, fearing they would be sent back to Myanmar.

They planned instead to make for Indonesia, the official said.

Rohingya migrants on a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh
Lipe in the Andaman sea on May 14, 2015 (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)

Regional governments have been roundly chastised for what Human Rights Watch described as a deadly game of "human ping pong" in rejecting migrants.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein voiced serious concern, saying he was "appalled" at the migrant boat push-backs "which will inevitably lead to many avoidable deaths."

The Muslim Rohingya flee by the thousands each year to escape state-sanctioned discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and recent sectarian violence against them.

There are more than a million Rohingya living in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine, many going back generations, but Myanmar insists they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshis are thought mainly to be economic migrants escaping their country's grinding poverty.

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