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Día Internacional de la Mujer 2011.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" ¡Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí! Más »

Entrega de Silla de Ruedas.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" ¡Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí! Más »

Compartiendo con nuestras socias y socios de la tercera edad de Molino Abajo, Temoaya, Estado de México.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí. Más »

Visita la página de “Código Ayuda A.C.” Aquí

Entrega de Reconocimiento por la AMS a la labor de Gabriela Goldsmith Presidenta de \"Código Ayuda A.C.” Más »

Día de la Niñez 2011 con nuestras socias y socios de San Lorenzo Tepaltitlán, Toluca, Estado de México.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí. Más »

Entrega de Silla de Ruedas.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí. Más »

“Yo Me Declaro Defensor” de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos

Participación en la campaña “Yo Me Declaro Defensor” de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos por la Alta Comisionada de los Derechos Humanos de la ONU Navy Pillay. Más »

Entrega de Reconocimiento al Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto por su apoyo como gobernador a los grupos vulnerables de nuestra Asociación.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí. Más »

Compartiendo con nuestras socias y socios de la tercera edad en Molino Abajo, Temoaya, Estado de México.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" ¡Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí! Más »

Compartiendo con nuestras socias y socios de la tercera edad en Molino Abajo, Temoaya, Estado de México.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" ¡Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí! Más »

Compartiendo con nuestras socias y socios de la tercera edad en Molino Abajo, Temoaya, Estado de México.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" ¡Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí! Más »

Compartiendo con nuestras socias y socios de la tercera edad en Molino Abajo, Temoaya, Estado de México.

Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" ¡Visita la página de Madres Solas Aquí! Más »

Thelma Dorantes Autora y Actriz principal de la obra de Teatro \"Hombre Tenía que Ser\".

Visita de Thelma Dorantes a las oficina de la Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" en Toluca, Estado de México. Más »

Thelma Dorantes Autora y Actriz principal de la obra de Teatro \"Hombre Tenía que Ser\".

Visita de Thelma Dorantes a las oficina de la Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" en Toluca, Estado de México. Más »

Thelma Dorantes Autora y Actriz principal de la obra de Teatro \"Hombre Tenía que Ser\".

Visita de Thelma Dorantes a las oficina de la Asociación de Madres Solteras y Grupos Vulnerables para el Desarrollo Social \"Por un Trato más digno Yo Madre Soltera Aquí Estoy A.C.\" en Toluca, Estado de México. Más »

Premio Nacional del Trabajo 2012.

Entrega a los trabajadores de la Dirección de Organización y Desarrollo Administrativo de la Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México del Premio Nacional del Trabajo 2012 por la Secretaría de Trabajo y Previsión Social del Gobierno de México. Más »

 

Category Archives: Noticias

Un tribunal de Seúl deniega la detención del heredero de Samsung

Fuente: El Pais Asia

Un tribunal de Seúl rechazó este jueves emitir la orden de arresto que solicitaban los fiscales contra “Jay” Lee Jae-yong, heredero del gigante empresarial Samsung. La corte encontró que no había elementos suficientes como para detener a uno de los hombres más poderosos de Corea del Sur en el caso de corrupción y tráfico de influencias que ha costado la destitución a la presidenta Park Geun-hye.

Lee, de 48 años y el máximo responsable de hecho de Samsung, regresó a su domicilio a primeras horas de la mañana después de haber pasado la noche en un centro de detención a la espera de que el tribunal decidiera su caso. La semana pasada había sido interrogado durante 22 horas seguidas y el lunes los fiscales encargados del caso anunciaron que habían solicitado su detención.

La decisión del Tribunal del Distrito Central de Seúl no elimina a Lee de las investigaciones en torno al escándalo que atenaza la vida política surcoreana desde el pasado octubre. El vicepresidente de Samsung Electronics es aún sospechoso de perjurio, malversación y soborno.

No obstante, la decisión del tribunal representa un alivio para Samsung, que el año pasado sufrió un duro golpe en su imagen pública al tener que retirar del mercado su móvil estrella, el Galaxy Note 7, por su riesgo de incendio. Las acciones de la compañía, que se habían hundido tras la solicitud de los fiscales, han vuelto a recuperarse este jueves. A las 9.17 hora local (0.17 GMT) las acciones de Samsung Electronics -la más importante del grupo y vicepresidida por Lee- acumulaban una subida del 2 %, informa Efe.

El mayor conglomerado empresarial de Corea del Sur -representa el 23% del PIB del país- se encuentra bajo sospecha de haber efectuado donaciones millonarias a una fundación que presidía la principal acusada del caso, la amiga de la presidenta Park Choi Soon-sil, de 60 años.

Samsung asegura que se fueron donaciones de buena fe, pero la acusación considera que ocultaban un soborno para conseguir el visto bueno del servicio nacional de pensiones, un accionista clave, a la polémica fusión de dos empresas del grupo. Esa fusión era necesaria para consolidar la posición de Lee al frente del conglomerado, que encabeza de hecho desde que su padre, el presidente de Samsung Lee Kun-hee, quedó hospitalizado en 2014 por un infarto.

En su decisión de rechazar la petición de arresto, el juez consideró que la detención no es necesaria por ahora. “Es difícil reconocer las razones, justificación o necesidad de un arresto en estos momentos”. Por su parte, Samsung ha declarado su satisfacción porque se pueda continuar adelante para determinar la validez del caso “sin necesidad de una detención”.

Choi, apodada la “Rasputina surcoreana” por su influencia sobre la presidenta, se encuentra detenida desde noviembre como sospechosa de haber utilizado su cercanía a la presidenta para conseguir, con la connivencia de Park, que las empresas surcoreanas donaran cerca de 70 millones de dólares a las fundaciones que encabezaba. La mayor parte de ese dinero, según la acusación, fue a parar a su bolsillo.

Samsung fue, según las sospechas de la acusación, el “chaebol” (conglomerado familiar) más generoso hacia Choi. El grupo donó cerca de 17 millones de dólares.

Además, Samsung firmó en agosto de 2015 un contrato de consultoría por valor de 22.000 millones de won (18,3 millones de dólares) con una empresa propiedad de Choi y basada en Alemania. Según los fiscales, transfirió a esa compañía miles de millones de won que se emplearon para que la hija de Choi recibiera clases de equitación.

 

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Migrants race to reach US before Trump takes over

Fuente: Channel News Asia World

SASABE, Mexico: Migrants trying to sneak into the United States from the parched Mexican desert have to contend with border guards’ drones overhead, poisonous snakes underfoot and human trafficking gangs at their backs.

But these challenges are nothing compared to their bigger fear: that someday soon, US President-elect Donald Trump will build a wall to keep them out altogether.

So before Trump takes office on Friday, they are racing against time, riding a freight train up to the border to look for a way across.

In the town of Caborca near the frontier, a group of Hondurans warm themselves by a fire of trash in the early morning cold.

One of them, Wilson, a 48-year-old builder, missed the birth of his daughter to make the journey. Getting to the United States before Trump takes control was more important.

“When I saw that man on the television saying how he hated migrants and was going to build a wall, I thought: ‘It’s now or never,” said Wilson, who would not give his last name.

“So we all spent Christmas and New Year traveling to try to get here in time. We want to beat him to it.”

Mexican authorities are arresting thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of undocumented migrants each month, according to government figures.

Governors of several northern states this week called for extra resources to deal with the surge.

Laura Ramirez, a local charity activist, has been serving more than 200 free lunches a day to migrants.

“There are more and more migrants coming,” she said.

WALK LIKE A COW

In the border town of Sasabe, marks in the rust on the border fence appear to show a spot where migrants climbed over, said Sergio Flores, leader of a government migrant task force.

“They have been getting sophisticated” in their efforts to get across undetected, he said.

Nearby on the sand lies a bottle of water, painted black — a common trick to stop the plastic shining in the sun and catching the eye of border guards.

That is just part of the typical migrant survival kit, Flores said.

The migrants wear soft-soled slippers so as not to leave footprints in the sand, along with camouflage clothes and masks.

Some have even made soles for their shoes that make their footprints look like cows’ hooves.

Some put sanitary pads in their socks to cushion their feet on long walks.

In their rucksacks they carry anoraks, remedies for snake bites, alcohol for lighting fires, talcum powder for their feet and painkillers.

They buy their supplies in the shops on the town square in the local village of Altar — an area dubbed “Migrants’ Wal-Mart.”

COYOTES AND MULES

The migrants pay about US$1,000 each to so-called “coyotes” — people traffickers — to bring them here from their native countries.

On arrival, some traffickers tell the migrants they must pay another US$5,000 to get across the border.

“It’s big business,” Flores said.

Some who cannot pay the traffickers instead cross the border as drug “mules,” with 50kg of marijuana on their backs.

“You have to bring your own water, food and blanket,” said one such “mule,” a Honduran migrant who called himself El Guero. “They don’t pay us. The payment is being allowed to cross.”

NOT WELCOME

Trump sparked outrage during his election campaign when he branded immigrants from Mexico criminals and rapists.

The insult rankles with the migrants on the migrant trail.

“That racist man is panicking,” said El Guero. “Our only sin is being born in an impoverished country and not having enough money to pay the gangs.”

Just across the US border in the town of Arivaca, Arizona, locals mistrust the migrants.

“We cannot deny that they bring trouble,” said a waiter in the town, who asked not to be named. “I just think they shouldn’t be here. This is not their home.”

Last week, in his first press conference since winning the election, Trump reiterated his campaign promise to build a wall along the border.

In Caborca, Wilson gazes towards the north, where he hopes soon to cross over to a better life. “I trust God will soften Trump’s heart,” he said.

OSCE report cites concerns about US electoral system – German media

Fuente: Channel News Asia World

BERLIN: International observers documented a range of concerns during November’s U.S. elections, including cyber security risks, disenfranchisement of current and former prisoners, and an opaque campaign finance system, a German newspaper group reported.

“The American electoral system is very fragmented and in many places no longer meets international standards,” Michael Link, chief election observer for the 57-member Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain.

A report prepared by a team of OSCE observers who monitored the Nov. 8 presidential and congressional elections cited the need for steps to make the U.S. campaign finance system more transparent and address moves by many U.S. states to ban former and current prisoners from voting, Link said.

He said each state had different voting laws and varying usage of new voting technologies.

There were increasing moves across the United States to return to a paper-based voting system after negative experiences with electronic voting machines in recent years, but 15 states used computers that did not allow a manual recount, he said.

Link said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies had taken steps to ensure the security of electronic voting machines, but many machines in use across the country were old and did not meet international standards.

“This is a security risk,” Link said.

Link also criticised U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who will be sworn in on Friday, for “consciously and repeatedly overstepping the bounds of hate speech.”

“That he was successful with this sets a dangerous precedent,” Link said. “The international community expects the United States to provide a good example, also in this area.”

No further details of the report were immediately available.

The OSCE sent its biggest team ever to the United States for the 2016 election amid charges from Trump that the poll could be “rigged” and concerns by civil rights activists that black voters could face undue obstacles.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

World Bank Supports Greater Transparency and Efficiency in Public Service and Public Enterprises in Serbia

Fuente: Banco Mundial Europa Central y Asia

WASHINGTON, January 18, 2017 — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a Euro 182.6 million (US$200 million equivalent) development policy loan supporting the Government of Serbia in improving its management of public expenditures and making energy and transport public utilities more efficient and financially sustainable.

The First Public Expenditure and Public Utilities Development Policy Loan (PEPU DPL) – the first in a proposed series of two operations supports the Government of Serbia’s multi-year effort to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending and transform the energy and transport sectors. These reforms are important strategic objectives in the context of Serbia’s EU accession process.

“A more efficient public administration and performing public utilities are among the critical missing links in making the Serbian economy more investment friendly,” said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director for the Western Balkans. “The reforms supported under this program will therefore help attract private investors and contribute to job creation.”

Regarding public expenditure management, the main challenge facing Serbia today is improving the quality of public services, such as education and health, while controlling the public sector wage bill. The program supports reforms that will reduce public expenditures and address bottlenecks to improved delivery of these critical services to Serbian citizens. Reforms include revising the legislative and policy framework for public sector employment, reforming the pay and grading system, and adjusting staffing levels in a structured manner.

“The development policy loan supports implementation of challenging reforms that are critical to the Government of Serbia’s fiscal consolidation and structural reform agenda,: said Ashley Taylor, World Bank Senior Economist. “Their successful implementation will deliver benefits to households by improving economic efficiency and creating the foundations for faster growth and private-sector led job creation.”

Improvements in the efficiency and financial sustainability of Serbian public utilities, particularly in the energy and transport sectors, are needed from a fiscal and investment climate perspective. Public Enterprises and State-Owned Companies operating in these sectors have historically been a significant source of fiscal risk. Yet, sector reforms have been long delayed due to systemic institutional weakness and strong vested interests.

The government has initiated an ambitious reform program for these entities with the adoption of financial consolidation plans supported by the PEPU DPL. For example, adjustments in electricity tariffs have been adopted, accompanied by measures to limit their impact on vulnerable households, while efforts are being made to improve operational efficiency in the electricity utility through reducing labor costs.

In terms of rail service, a new financing policy and performance criteria will guide the operation of new state rail companies, and a process of labor rightsizing is ongoing. Apart from generating fiscal benefits, enhanced efficiency in these companies will also improve Serbia’s investment climate, by addressing infrastructure deficiencies and providing rapid access to reliable electricity which continue to feature among the concerns listed by potential investors in Serbia.

“Important progress has been achieved in the implementation of long overdue reforms in the energy and transport sectors”, said Claudia Ines Vasquez Suarez, World Bank Senior Energy Economist. “But, it will be critical to maintain the momentum so as to deliver the desired transformation, reduce fiscal risks and improve service delivery to the people of Serbia.”

Q&A: Minister Han Sung-Joo on Korea’s Constitutional Crisis & President Trump

Fuente: The Asia Foundation News

January 18, 2017

By Dylan Davis

South Korea’s former Foreign Minister Han Sung-Joo, who was recently decorated by Japanese Emperor Akihito with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, the top civilian medal of honor in Japan, for his distinguished achievements in promoting Seoul-Tokyo relations and friendship, spoke with The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Korea, Dylan Davis, on U.S.-Japan relations, Korea’s constitutional crisis, domestic challenges, and prospects for Korea-U.S. relations under a new Trump administration. On January 19, Minister Han will deliver opening remarks at the Seoul rollout of The Asia Foundation’s signature foreign policy report, Asian Views on America’s Role in Asia: The Future of the Rebalance.

As a seasoned diplomat dedicated to promoting Korea-Japan relations for over two decades, where do you see relations moving forward, particularly in light of recent confrontations over issues surrounding wartime sexual slavery and Japan’s announcement that it would recall its ambassador from Korea?

Over the past 50 years since normalization, Korea-Japan relations have gone through a pendulum-like movement, good and bad, and up and down. Both sides have complaints about the other’s attitude and behavior. The governments, even as they might prefer to restore and maintain good relations, are hamstrung by domestic politics. Very often provocative actions invite excessive reactions, starting a chain of events that amount to a vicious circle. The current situation is no exception.

I think the Japanese government, instead of pushing the Korean government too hard, should take into account the extraordinary political difficulties South Korea is currently experiencing.

South Korea’s Constitutional Court is expected to decide soon on whether to remove President Park Geun-hye over charges brought against her by the National Assembly. Her removal would trigger a presidential election. What is your reaction to this?

The best and only way to deal with the situation is to let the legal process take its course. Whether the Constitutional Court validates the impeachment vote of the parliament or not, it is most likely that the presidential election will be held sometime during the next few months. If the court decides to approve the impeachment, the presidency will become vacant, making it necessary to hold the election within two months of the court decision. Even if it doesn’t, it may still be wise for President Park to leave the office on her own to prevent further and more explosive political turmoil. It is highly unlikely that a constitutional reform, necessary as it is, can take place before the presidential election is held.

At the same time, Korea is facing a number of serious domestic challenges, including the highest household debt level in recorded history, high youth unemployment, a rapidly aging society, and an alarmingly low birthrate. What do you think can be done to pull Korea out of this malaise?

All the potential presidential candidates are calling for economic and financial reforms, the creation of jobs for the younger generation, and greater equity among the various sectors of the society. There is no panacea or silver bullet for the malaise. It requires finding a consensus among the political parties and factions that we face problems and challenges and that we need to be united to deal with them.

According to the PEW Research Center, roughly two in every three people in Korea hold favorable views of the United States, and many Asian countries view the United States as a counterbalance to China. Where do you see prospects for Korea-U.S. relations under a new Trump administration?

Whether Koreans like it or not, the American voters and their electoral system have chosen a president with whom South Korea has to work with. They have no choice but to maintain a strong alliance with the United States. Keeping the alliance strong is also in the vital interest of the United States. It is essential to maintain balance, stability, and peace in Northeast Asia; constrain and ultimately remove North Korea’s nuclear weapons and programs; and promote economic relations including trade and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Unpredictable as President-elect Trump is, since his election in November, he and his prospective administration seem to be moving gradually toward accepting or at least “reinventing” President Obama’s “pivot to Asia” policy. It seems that the Trump administration’s policy toward Asia, and particularly toward Korea, will not diverge too much from its predecessor administration although there will be adjustments and greater emphasis on “better” trade deals and a “fairer” share of defense cost by the Asian allies. The Korean government, regardless of which party wins in the forthcoming presidential election, will choose to work closely with the United States.

One of the most urgent issues continuing to face Korea and the entire Northeast Asia region is North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Despite strenuous international diplomatic efforts over the past two and a half decades, the situation has grown worse. What do you see as a way forward on this global crisis?

All the major actors in the region, South Korea, Japan, and even China and the United States, are seriously threatened by North Korea’s nuclear weapons. It is important that the two major powers—the United States and China—agree that it is in their vital interest to stop North Korea’s nuclear program and to go all-out to denuclearize North Korea. Other countries, including South Korea and Japan, will surely go along with such an effort. Short of using force, the only viable way now seems to be continuing and tightening the noose of economic sanctions—just as the P5+1 did in the case of Iran before the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. China would be remiss to go only half-way in putting pressure on North Korea. The United States should be prudent in the use of force in dealing with North Korean nuclear weapons.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the interviewee and not those of The Asia Foundation or its funders.

Reflecting on 17 Years as Country Representative in the Philippines

Fuente: The Asia Foundation News

January 18, 2017

By Steven Rood

After more than 17 years as The Asia Foundation’s Philippines country representative, I’m moving on to spend a year as a Distinguished Visitor at the Australian National University as part of the partnership between the two institutions.

Rood participates in a panel discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on political approaches to development. Photo/Pete Marovich

I leave the Philippines with decidedly mixed emotions. On the one hand, I’ll have time to read and write, give a few lectures, and begin to try to make sense of what I’ve learned about the many aspects of the Philippines after almost 36 years of residence there. On the other hand, I will be absent from the country at an incredibly exciting and pivotal time. The election of the iconoclast President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has called into question not only the constitutional order (will the Philippines shift from a unitary to federalist system of government?) but also the regional order (as the Philippines distances itself from the United States). This will be my longest absence from the country in 35 years, and I will miss being close to the action—but I am confident that the resilience of the Filipino people will continue to be demonstrated in the face of trying times, and I’ll look forward to returning after a year to spend the rest of my life in the Philippines.

My time as representative is by far the highlight of my professional career—I sometimes joke that I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I was 50 years old, when I got this job. Much of my previous life in the Philippines seems, in retrospect, to have been preparing me for the role. But the key to this capstone of my career has been the nature of the Foundation, the opportunities it has afforded, and the lessons I take away: the importance of partnership, deep empirical knowledge, flexibility and opportunism, and an understanding of the political influences on policy reform and development outcomes.

Partnership is essential to how we have been able to operate. When I joined in late 1999, concerns were growing about the levels of corruption in the Philippines, and many local and international organizations were enlisted to try to fight it. Social Weather Stations conducted diagnostic studies on the issue which have since evolved into an ongoing periodic survey of corruption as experienced by Philippine businessmen to track corruption levels over time. City-level work against corruption enlisted willing mayors and the private sector in improving governance and the business climate. Journalists and academics deepened understanding of governance issues, and in Mindanao, a special focus on improving more rural municipal governments led to partnerships with academia, civil society organizations, and professional organizations—particularly in Muslim Mindanao.

Rood speaks with guests during a grand kanduli (thanksgiving ritual feast) in Paidu Pulangi, Pikit, in 2007 to mark the end of a 21 year-old rido between two rival clans.

Rood (center) speaks with participants during a grand kanduli (thanksgiving ritual feast) in Paidu Pulangi, Pikit, in 2007 to mark the end of a 21 year-old rido between two rival clans.

It is worth emphasizing that, in particular, business men and women have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to contribute their time, intelligence, and political capital to a wide range of issues—anti-corruption, economic reform, infrastructure planning, and promoting peace. Prominent all these years have been partnerships at the national, local, and sectoral levels dedicated to solving these pressing issues. At the other end of the influence spectrum lies the civil society in Muslim Mindanao, which a decade ago was quite weak and is now an influential political force, thanks in part to the ongoing support from The Asia Foundation.

The desire for empirical knowledge has driven our work on conflict in the Philippines from the very start. A 2002 survey of households in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao unexpectedly demonstrated that the most common experience was not of insurgency-related violence but of feuds between clans (known as rido). This striking finding led to a series of groundbreaking studies of the phenomenon, and the collective research culminated in a book which won a National Book Award in 2016. These findings have been influential in helping to resolve feuds as the increased knowledge has led the media and security forces to cease mistaking a clan feud for insurgent activity, and thus treating the violence in a more appropriate way that was less likely to lead to escalation of the violence.

Similarly, specialized surveys in Mindanao have allowed Muslim Filipinos to have a statistically recognized voice on such matters as peace, conflict, the role of women, and the specific fate of peace agreements with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. These results were shared with both government and MILF negotiators and made available to the broader public.

This set of interactions, networks, and knowledge enabled The Asia Foundation in 2009 to apply and be appointed to the International Contact Group (ICG) for the negotiations between the government and the MILF. This role gave us the ability to respond flexibly to particular issues in the negotiation—for instance, the issue of natural resources and revenue sharing—in ways that both parties found valuable. Then in 2013, as the process of implementing peace agreements began, I shifted from the ICG to the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), whose mandate was to judge whether the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was being fulfilled. Similar opportunism was demonstrated when our work on clan feuds—with communities, religious leaders, and the like—came to the attention of the security forces who requested help in understanding and responding to community situations. As we became a trusted partner, our interaction with the Armed Forces of the Philippines led to a deepening involvement in security sector reform.

Political influences must always be taken into account when partnering (making sure that the Foundation is not perceived to be favoring one side or another, often by making grants to many different organizations), doing empirical work (understanding which influential actors will need what kind of information to work toward mutually agreed goals), and seizing opportunities (such as introducing reforms when the time is right). In all of these endeavors—whether persuading a mayor to support anti-corruption activities, supporting alcohol or tobacco tax reform, reporting to policymakers on public opinion toward peace and development, or working to ease the logistical concerns of inter-island shipping in this archipelago of 7,107 islands—it was not only the technical work that was necessary to succeed, but also ensuring that the alternatives provided were politically feasible.

Seventeen years is a long time—by far the longest single country stint in Asia Foundation history—and this blog can’t possibly do justice to all that the Foundation has accomplished in the Philippines, particularly all that the talented, passionate staff in Manila have done with their ability to utilize partnerships, knowledge, opportunism, and political nous. My time at The Asia Foundation will no doubt serve as the sub-stratum of what I’m able to accomplish in the future.

Steven Rood is The Asia Foundation’s country representative in the Philippines. He tweets @StevenRoodPH. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and not those of The Asia Foundation or its funders.

Can a New Law Help Timor-Leste’s Land Rights Crisis?

Fuente: The Asia Foundation News

January 18, 2017

By Bernardo Almeida, Todd Wassel

Voters in Timor-Leste will head to the polls twice this year—for presidential elections in March and parliamentary elections in July—in what will be the first such elections to be held since the UN Mission departed in 2012. The next government will be faced with dwindling oil reserves and the urgent need to switch from a petroleum fund-based economy to one that is more diversified and sustainable. While these issues will factor heavily on the minds of Timor-Leste’s citizens on election day, another issue could factor as a potentially even bigger priority: land.

Fifteen years after independence from Indonesian occupation, Timor-Leste still lacks a legal basis for determining land ownership. At the time of independence, post-colonial and post-conflict legacies resulted in a variety of challenges, including landlessness and forced displacement caused by Indonesian occupation, disputes caused by the massive land occupation that occurred after the 1999 violence, and the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of formal land titles issued during the Portuguese and Indonesian administrations.

Fifteen years after independence from Indonesian occupation, Timor-Leste still lacks a legal basis for determining land ownership. This is particularly a problem for residents in Dili, where a quarter of the country’s 1.2 million people live. Photo/Bernardo Almeida

Most Timorese in the countryside access and hold land through customary and informal systems, which have no legal recognition. Only a minority ever got access to formal land titles during the Portuguese or Indonesian administrations. This situation is further complicated by urban migration, especially to Dili, where without mechanisms to legally access land, people can only rely on informal schemes. Land occupation (sometimes peaceful, other times violent) and informal arrangements are common; even those that acquire land from formal owners do not have the legal mechanisms to securely formalize an acquisition.

In 2012, Parliament approved a draft land law to clarify the current confusion regarding land rights by establishing a set of criteria to determine initial ownership. However, after being vetoed by then-President Ramos Horta, the law has been going back and forth between the government and parliament, and is currently once again under debate. Initial versions of the draft included provisions to protect those households from eviction that do not fulfil the criteria of the law for land ownership recognition and cannot afford resettlement. But this protection has been removed in the current draft, and it is not clear how many people could face eviction.

Despite the high stakes involved, there is little reliable, consistent, and independently collected data about land. The Asia Foundation and the Van Vollenhoven Institute in Leiden University this week released a new survey that provides quantitative data regarding land-related issues in Timor-Leste. The survey, which interviewed 1,152 households in the municipalities of Ainaro, Ermera, and Dili, will assist the government and parliament in developing evidence-based land policies and legislation.

Increased Urban Migration in Dili and fears of Eviction
Any new legislation will have the greatest effect on the capital, Dili, where a quarter of the country’s 1.2 million people live. Dili has seen a boom in urban migration, with 39 percent of new households established after 1999 (and 21% after 2008). Despite high levels of recent arrivals, 87 percent of survey respondents in Dili considered that they own the land where they live, even though almost half also say they do not have a land title. Without a land title, land rights are not recognized under the current land law, leaving approximately 101,000 people without any legal tenure security.

Timor development

As more people migrate to Timor-Leste’s towns to find work, fears of eviction is on the rise. Photo/Bernardo Almeida

Despite high levels of perceived ownership, and more than half of respondents in Dili saying they have a land title, the majority of households in Dili have low perceived tenure security, with 70 percent fearing in higher or lower degrees that they will be evicted in the next five years. Such a high level of fear seems to indicate a low trust in the quality of their documents combined with recent, ongoing state dispossessions that have further flamed widespread fears of land-related instability and of social and political exclusion.

Ownership and Timorese Land Practices
The concept of “ownership” perceived by the great majority of citizens is very different from western-like definitions of ownership, in which the owner can freely transfer and avail of the property. Despite claiming to be the owners of the land, the majority of respondents reported not being allowed to transact or rent or lease the property. Many civil society organizations following the land debate are concerned that if the land reform law passes, the disruption of the traditional social and cultural fabric that binds villages together may have a greater negative impact than the current lack of titling.

Gender and Access to Land and Housing
The survey found that in all the target municipalities, men have greater access to and ownership of land and housing. However, there are several cases where the land is claimed to be owned individually by men, but the house built on the land is jointly owned by the couple. Any process of land registration or titling that does not incorporate clear measures to mitigate gender discrimination will most likely reinforce these inequalities and create another structural barrier for women to own land.

Exclusion and Dispossession
Under the current draft law, the survey found that a least a quarter of the population in urban Dili (63,000) would not have any land rights recognized by law and will not be entitled to any compensation. This number could increase substantially depending on the strictness of assessing legal validity of land titles and the means of proof accepted.

The lack of any protection against evictions in the current draft law will leave these households without any social protection and may cause further marginalization due to difficulties in assessing equivalent land. Clearly, evicting a quarter of the population is not a viable solution to the land problem in Dili, and would cause new problems, including potential violence and disruption to the economy.

While new land legislation is urgently needed in Timor-Leste, it’s critical that it protects the rights and security of its citizens, while also helping to provide increased confidence to businesses for increased investments.

Todd Wassel is The Asia Foundation’s deputy country representative in Timor-Leste and Bernardo Almeida is preparing his PhD thesis at the Van Vollenhoven Institute of Leiden University Law School, focusing on the development of the formal land tenure system in Timor-Leste. They are co-authors of the “Survey on Access to Land, Tenure Security, and Land Conflicts in Timor-Leste.” The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not those of The Asia Foundation or its funders.

VIDEO: Asian Views on America’s Role in Asia—The Future of the Rebalance

Fuente: The Asia Foundation News

About our blog, In Asia

In Asia is a weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of over 70 renowned experts in over 20 countries, In Asia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.In Asia is posted and distributed every Wednesday evening, Pacific Time and is accessible via email and RSS. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].

Xi calls for world without nuclear weapons, equality for all nations

Fuente: Channel News Asia World

GENEVA: Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a world without nuclear weapons at the UN on Wednesday (Jan 18) and urged a multilateral system based on equality among nations large and small.

His speech at the United Nations in Geneva came at the end of a diplomatic tour that included a landmark address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, just days before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

Some experts have seen Xi’s Swiss tour as a bid to capture the mantle of global leadership at a time when Washington is clouded by uncertainty with an unpredictable political novice about to take charge.

“Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited and destroyed over time to make the world free of nuclear weapons,” Xi said, according to an official translation.

“Guided by the principle of peace, sovereignty, inclusiveness and shared governance, we should turn the deep sea, the polar regions, the outer space and the Internet into new frontiers for cooperation rather than a wrestling ground for competition.” 

China has been a nuclear power since 1964.

In an address that stretched beyond 45 minutes, Xi also sought to make the case for a global governance system that strives for a level playing field among countries where interventionist tendencies are resisted.

“We should reject dominance by just one or several countries”, Xi said, adding that “major powers should respect each other’s core interests.”

COMMITMENT TO UPHOLD WORLD PEACE

Xi also said that China is committed to upholding world peace. “Amity with neighbors, harmony without uniformity and peace are values cherished in the Chinese culture,” said Xi.

“In over 100 years after the 1840 Opium War, China suffered immensely from aggression, wars and chaos. Confucius said, ‘Do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you.’ We Chinese firmly believe that peace and stability is the only way to development and prosperity.”

Xi added: “China has grown from a poor and weak country to the world’s second largest economy not by committing military expansion or colonial plunder, but through the hard work of its people and our efforts to uphold peace.

“China will never waver in its pursuit of peaceful development. No matter how strong its economy grows, China will never seek hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence. History has borne this out and will continue to do so.” 

TREAT SMALL COUNTRIES AS EQUALS

“Big countries should treat smaller countries as equals instead of acting as a hegemon, imposing their will on others,” he further said, speaking alongside the new UN secretary general Antonio Guterres. “No country should open the Pandora’s box by willfully waging wars or undermining the international rule of law.”

Xi added: “The essence of sovereign equality is that the sovereignty and dignity of all countries, whether big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, must be respected, their internal affairs allow no interference and they have the right to independently choose their social system and development path.

“In organizations such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, World Meteorological Organization, International Telecommunication Union, Universal Postal Union, International Organization for Migration and International Labor Organization, countries have an equal voice in decision-making, constituting an important force for improving global governance.

“In a new era, we should uphold sovereign equality and work for equality in right, opportunity and rules for all countries.”

He also praised UN organisations governed by the principle of one nation, one vote.

China has reacted harshly against attempts to influence what it considers its internal domestic affairs, from concerns over human rights issues in Tibet to a democracy push in Hong Kong.

Beijing has also used its veto on the UN Security Council to block intervention in some global hotspots, including notably in Syria.

‘CHINA WILL CONTINUE TO TAKE STEPS TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE’

Xi also called for more attention to climate change, adding that any “harm to nature will eventually come back to haunt man”.

“Industrialisation has created material wealth never seen before, but it has also inflicted irreparable damage to the environment,” he said. “We must not exhaust all the resources passed on to us by previous generations and leave nothing to our children or pursue development in a destructive way.”

Xi added: “We should pursue green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable way of life and production, advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a balanced manner and explore a model of sound development that ensures growth, better lives and a good environment.

“The Paris Agreement is a milestone in the history of climate governance. We must ensure this endeavour is not derailed. All parties should work together to implement the Paris Agreement. China will continue to take steps to tackle climate change and fully honour its obligations.”

FOIL TO TRUMP?

In his disarmament call and plea for sovereign equality Xi offered China as a nation “committed to building a world of lasting peace.”

In Davos, Xi backed unity in the face of mounting global challenges such as resistance to globalised trade.

Some analysts saw that as a bid to contrast Trump, whose often bombastic rhetoric has at times defined international relationships in terms of winners and losers.

While he made no mention of the incoming Republican administration, Xi’s message on nuclear weapons stood apart from Trump’s at times contradictory remarks on American nuclear power.

In a tweet last month, Trump said “the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”.

But this week, the real-estate mogul and former reality TV star Trump struck a different note, saying “nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially”.

He also suggested he would be open to a disarmament deal with Russia in exchange for easing sanctions imposed by Washington against Moscow.

Bush senior in intensive care, wife Barbara also hospitalised

Fuente: Channel News Asia World

WASHINGTON: Former president George H.W. Bush was admitted to an intensive care unit on Wednesday (Jan 18) suffering from pneumonia, highlighting concerns about the health of a political dynasty’s patriarch just as a new US leader prepares to enter office.

Bush, 92, was initially hospitalised on Saturday for shortness of breath, but was moved to intensive care “to address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia,” Bush’s office said in a statement.

“Doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his airway that required sedation.”

Early on Wednesday, Bush’s wife, the former first lady Barbara Bush, 91, also was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital “as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing,” it said.

“President Bush is stable and resting comfortably in the ICU, where he will remain for observation,” said the statement, posted by Bush spokesman Jim McGrath on Twitter.

President Barack Obama, who was holding his final news conference before Donald Trump is sworn in as his successor Friday, said he has been in touch with the Bush family and that he and First Lady Michelle Obama were sending their prayers.

“They have not only dedicated their lives to the country, but they have been a constant support and good counsel for Michelle and me,” Obama told reporters. “They are as fine a couple as we know.”

Bush, who served as the nation’s 41st commander-in-chief from 1989 to 1993, is the oldest of the four living former US presidents and uses a wheelchair. He has seemed frail in recent public appearances.

Former president Bill Clinton tweeted: “41 and Barbara – thinking about you both and sending wishes for a speedy recovery. Love, 42.”

Trump also said he was thinking of the Bushes. “Looking forward to a speedy recovery for George and Barbara Bush, both hospitalized,” Trump tweeted. “Thank you for your wonderful letter!”

‘IN SPIRIT’

On Jan 10, he wrote President-elect Donald Trump a warm personal letter offering regrets that he and his wife would not be able to make it to Friday’s presidential inauguration in Washington.

“My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it likely will put me six feet under. Same for Barbara,” Bush wrote. “So I guess we’re stuck in Texas. But we will be with you and the country in spirit.”

In July 2015, the elder Bush was treated in a Maine hospital after falling and breaking a bone in his neck. The previous December, he was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital for breathing problems.

He was treated at the same facility in November 2012 for bronchitis, spending nearly two months in the hospital.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born Jun 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts to a wealthy New England political dynasty, the son of Prescott Bush, a successful banker and US senator for Connecticut.

He deferred his acceptance to Yale University in order to join the US Navy and head off to World War II, before marrying Barbara and heading to west Texas to crack into the oil business.

As a rising political star, he served in the US House of Representatives, as US ambassador to the United Nations, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming vice president to Ronald Reagan for eight years.

As president, Bush steered the United States through the end of the Cold War and drove Iraq from Kuwait, only to be denied a second term over a weak economy.

Bush is father to former president George W. Bush (2001-2009) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who was a contender in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

Barbara Bush has been protective of her powerful family. But she made headlines when she suggested that Jeb not run for the office, even though he was the “best qualified man” to serve.

“I think it’s a great country, there are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever,” she told NBC’s Today show in 2013 when asked if she wanted to see Jeb, who was then governor, make a White House run.

“There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes.”



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