ASEAN meeting: U.S. president Barack Obama urges halt to island building in

November 22, 2015 David Gilbert 0

The Philippine president also slammed China’s reclamation works in disputed waters.

He then urged his fellow ASEAN leaders to develop a post-2015 ASEAN Connectivity Agenda “that articulates both our aspirations and the complexities we have to contend with”.

Meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the Summit, Modi said the two countries should raise their strategic coordination to tackle the threat of terror.

The two leaders shook hands and smiled broadly Saturday as their delegations watched on.

Obama described them as outstanding and courageous people.

“The United States is working…to uphold the freedom of navigation and ensure disputes in the region are resolved peacefully”, he said.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the Japanese Prime Minister’s vision for the bilateral relationship, and said he looks forward to the visit of Mr. Shinzo Abe to India.

Noting that science, technology and innovation constituted a vital pillar of cooperation and supported economic partnership, Modi said India would enlarge the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund from the current Dollars one million to USD 5 million.

Earlier, wooing foreign investors, Prime Minister Modi today promised reforms “with speed and boldness” along with a transparent and predictable tax regime and protection of intellectual property rights. ASEAN’s economy continues to forge ahead with dynamism and energy. Now, it is India’s turn. And we know that our time has come. We are at a take-off stage. “That is why I am here to invite you”.

After his speech, Obama visited a school where numerous children are Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar.

“They are terrorists and should be confronted as such, with the full force of the law”.

Mr. Abe said that Japan was partnering India in a number of initiatives such as the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), which had transformative potential. Modi will address the East Asia Summit tomorrow.

He added: “We do not impose our culture on others… we think together and move together with the local people”.

“You can set an example”, Obama said.

This story corrects Japan’s financial pledge. “The answer is to do trade the right way – and that’s what TPP does”, he said.

Obama has tried to keep the focus on promoting what he says are his successful efforts to expand US ties to Asia, specifically the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

Bilateral trade between China and ASEAN countries reached 397.2 billion USA dollars in the first 10 months of 2015, while 14.3 percent of China’s overseas investment went to ASEAN countries by the end of 2014, making China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation the most substantial and fruitful in East Asia, said Gao. “They are terrorists.”US President Barack Obama condemned the violence typified by the “appalling” jihadist hostage siege in Mali that left at least 21 dead, including an American citizen”.

‘This barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge, ‘ he said in Kuala Lumpur. This came a week after Islamic State militants killed 129 people in coordinated attacks in Paris.

He suggested evolving specific plans for cooperation with the 10-member grouping in key areas of maritime security, counter-piracy and humanitarian and disaster relief.

He spoke in Malaysia during a regional summit.

Malaysia’s prime minister has used his opening speech at the 27th ASEAN Summit to lash out at those who commit extremism and terrorism, saying that Malaysia was ready to provide any help towards eliminating a “new evil that blasphemed Islam”.

The attacks included the bombings and assaults in Paris and Beirut, the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt, and the taking of captives in Bamako, Mali, on Friday.…

Pakistan Army Chief meets Central Intelligence Agency head

November 21, 2015 David Gilbert 0

Afghan owned reconciliation process, challenges, and way forward were also discussed during the meeting.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif held meetings with top United States defence officials at Pentagon, with defence cooperation between the two countries dominating the discussion, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General Lt Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted on Wednesday.

Senator McCain lauded the efforts, sacrifices and steadfastness of the Pakistan armed forces, especially the leadership of Gen Raheel, in fighting terrorists on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Often switching to a dark suit instead of a military uniform, Sharif met Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, defense secretary Ash Carter, secretary of state John Kerry, and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in between engaging his military counterparts. For the first time since the nascent peace process in Afghanistan collapsed in August, Pakistan blamed Kabul government for “leaking information” that led to the fall of talks with the Taliban.

He further stated that Pakistan was a significant ally and U.S. will continue its support for the country in the fight against terrorism. “America will help Pakistan in every way to curb terrorism inside Pakistan”, ISPR told the press.

Generak Raheel Sharif emphasized terrorism a global threat, warrants coordinated global response.

General Raheel highlighted the Pakistan’s perspective of regional security and reiterated the desire to solidify Pak-US relations based on mutual interest and respect.

The Army Chief discussed defence cooperation, strengthening military to military relations, regional security, need for enhanced coordination and increased training exchanges during meeting with top U.S. military officials.

Gen. Sharif, during his visit, will also meet vice-president Joe Biden.…

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Paris Bloodbath Suspect Salah Abdeslam Sighted in Brussels

November 21, 2015 David Gilbert 0

A man who investigators believe is the 26-year-old fugitive misfired his AK-47 after aiming the assault rifle at the head of a young woman outside the café, the Mail reported.

The left side shows Abdeslam in a normal outfit and without any accessories, while the right side shows him donning a dark wig and glasses. He confessed he was the getaway driver in a Seat Leon – along with his brother Ibrahim and another French suspect – but denied being one of the shooters, insisting his role in the attack was simply make French contacts on behalf of the gang. She added that they hope Salah will surrender after hearing about the death of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the attacks that killed at least 129 people and injured about 350 others.

Belgian police posted a video message, warning the public that Abdeslam is unsafe, and likely armed.

A friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I met Salah on Tuesday night”. His current whereabouts are not clear.

They report that he may be using the name Yassine Baghli to pass through borders undetected.

Although Van Der Sypt admitted the Belgian authorities knew the brothers were radicalized and capable of joining ISIL, he said warning French authorities would probably not have made a difference.

Pictures of victims are placed behind candles outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, Sunday, November 15, 2015. “This could have consequences for his family”, implying that he feared members of Isis would take revenge.

Police said Abdeslam is believed to be one of the gunmen who fired indiscriminately at a series of restaurants and cafes during the Friday night massacre that in all claimed 130 lives.

“It is possible he panicked or chickened out of killing himself”, he said.

“It is possible that he was disgusted by what he had been involved in or that his explosive suicide belt failed to detonate”.…

Hopes rise of nuclear breakthrough as United Nations chief visits North Korea

November 19, 2015 David Gilbert 0

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said that the South Korean government will roll up its sleeves in attracting infrastructure investments of up to US$63 billion annually for North Korea and other parts of Northeast Asia if Pyongyang gives up its nuclear program.

Ban had been all set to make the trip in May, before Pyongyang canceled the plan at the last minute. “He will be in NY most of next week and then travel to Malta for the Commonwealth Summit”, Stephane Dujarric said, in a statement.

Earlier reports had said that he was due to visit for four days and would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. As Ban would also face questions over the whole point of his visit, it is possible that he demanded a guarantee of a meeting with Kim.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency indicated that negotiations may be under way regarding a visit by Ban, saying the case was in the process of confirmation.

Prior to his career at the United Nations, Ban served in the South Korea’s ministry of foreign affairs.

Two serving United Nations chiefs have travelled to the North. Kurt Waldheim visited the capital, Pyongyang, in 1979 and again in 1981, followed by Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993.

North Korea’s rights record has been called abysmal and led to a recommendation that the country be prosecuted by the global Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The North Korean travel firm has “more than 200 foreign counterparts”, it said.

Under global sanctions over nuclear and missile ambitions, North Korea has promoted tourism as a source of earning much-needed hard currency since Kim took power in late 2011.

“The draft resolution is the product of political confrontation and vicious slander of the hostile forces against my country and it has nothing to do with the genuine promotion of human rights”, North Korean ambassador-at-large Ri Hung-sik told a news conference.…

Facebook now averages over 1 billion active users every day

November 16, 2015 David Gilbert 0


The social networking giant’s expenses skyrocketed, increasing 68% year-on-year to $US3.04 billion, but a huge drive in video advertisements provided the capital needed for Facebook to bank on new, revolutionary technologies. The report’s figures beat the Wall Street’s estimate because analysts were only looking for $0.52 a share on sales of $4.37 billion.

Facebook had 1.55 billion monthly active users at the end of September, up 14 percent from the same time past year. The company has reported $4.5 billion revenue and the profit of $1.46 billion. ‘Year on Year’ results also portrays that company made more money on mobile advertising alone than the whole business. Facebook’s GAAP net income for the last three months – its real profit – was $896 million compared to $719 million last quarter.

Mobile daily users gained about 27 percent to 894 million on average for September, while mobile monthly users increased 23 percent to 1.39 billion.

Facebook said advertising revenue grew 45% from a year ago to $4.29 billion.

Sandberg said the average adult in the US spends 25 minutes of their weekly media time on mobile devices.

“We had a good quarter and got a lot done”, said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive.

Facebook also reported that developing markets had seen strong growth in the number of users.

Worldwide, Facebook accounted for 8% of worldwide digital ad revenues, in 2014 and that share should increase to 9.6%, this year, according to eMarketer.

Facebook used to be criticized for not having a solid mobile strategy, but those days seem to be long gone.

The shares instantly jumped in after-hours trading, rising around 4pc to a new all-time high that values Facebook at close to $300bn.

Shyam Patil of Susquehanna Financial Group said: “I think the investors would like the company to continue to invest given that the opportunity is pretty large”.…

Matt Bevin begins first day as new governor-elect

November 8, 2015 David Gilbert 0

Top health policy experts contacted by TPM the day after Bevin’s victory weren’t panicking or predicting a dramatic rollback of Obamacare in Kentucky.

The elimination of the kynect program is just one of an assortment of conservative policies Bevin will seek to impose as governor. But Republicans held control of both chambers. In Houston, voters repealed a law to protect gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination with the slogan – “No men in women’s bathrooms”. Fox News: “Ross Mirkarimi and his office received heavy criticism after Mexican illegal immigrant Francisco Sanchez allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle on San Francisco’s waterfront July 1”. The city also rejected new regulations on Airbnb.

And in Kentucky, Republican Matt Bevin’s win for the governorship could be a sign that many voters are serious about electing outsider candidates. And it’s also possible that, in a political climate now so hospitable to outsider candidates, Bevin’s bizarreness actually helped him at the polls. I will be forever thankful that he came to visit me while I was in jail.

“I believe we can develop a system where they will have health insurance”, Stivers said. Knochelmann says leaders need to approach the new governor with a unified message. President Obama is toxic, even in non-federal elections. In Pennsylvania, the Republicans now have the hugest majority over the Democrats in their state Senate in the past 61 years. Nor is it easy to generate a long list of great young candidates who sat out 2016 because of Clinton’s name and fundraising advantage; there are a few, but not almost as many as the party needs to have in reserve, because like Scott Walker, promising hopefuls often flame out under the pressure of a presidential campaign. The incumbent state auditor, Adam Edelen, who national Democrats hoped would challenge Paul in next year’s Senate race lost in a stunning upset.

Democrats say they’ve had rough nights before and people shouldn’t read too much into the results of one election. “Not only has President Obama destroyed the party in Kentucky, he’s destroyed the bench. The bench that was supposed to rise up and run for office – that’s gone”.

“There is a lesson to be learned: Conservatives can win when they refuse to be bullied by elites into silence”, Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Ryan T. Anderson said in The Daily Signal.

A big part of Bevin’s statewide victory was a stronger-than-usual showing in the state’s metropolitan counties.

And on December 8, when Bevin becomes governor, he may well do so.

Kentucky was one of the most heated races in the country, especially for the Democrats, as the state was the last stronghold the party had amongst the southern United States. I promised an orderly transition as I hand off the reins of state government to him. As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent wrote recently, the Democrat Party has dug a “deep, deep hole” for itself on the state level. In other words, the unpopularity of a national figure such as Obama in Kentucky isn’t as important as the regional, historical and individual factors that allowed a Democratic governor to succeed there. About half a million Kentuckians stand to lose their health insurance if Bevin follows through on his campaign promise to end Medicaid expansion and close Kynect; Conway managed to get less than half a million votes in total. Turnout is far lower and the voters who do show up tend to be older and less diverse, favoring Republicans. Mitch McConnell ran a reelection campaign in Kentucky, dominating Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Of course markets work for most people, and of course there are exceptions to that. It gives Republicans the ability to push through legislation that obviously otherwise would not get through Congress on a whole host of hot button issues ranging from abortion rights to election law changes such as Voter Identification laws and other provisions that have been the subject of litigation for several years now, and is likely to do so for years to come. Steve Beshear, the current governor, is a twice-elected democrat. He won a bitter GOP campaign by a mere 83 votes in May over outgoing Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a year after a sound defeat by Sen.

Republicans are calling the election a watershed moment in Kentucky politics, saying Democrats don’t appeal to an increasingly conservative electorate.…