Photostream : Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meets Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) walks with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during their meeting in Baku, November 18, 2010. The two heads of state discussed Iran’s nuclear programme and other issues. The Russian President emphasised the importance of continuing Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme. The construction of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, which was carried out by Russian specialists under IAEA control, is an example of effective cooperation in this sphere. Dmitry Medvedev and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also discussed issues pertaining to trade and economic ties, as well as other areas of cooperation between Russia and Iran. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the third Caspian Summit. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Dmitry Astakhov/RIA Novosti/Kremlin )

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (L) shakes hands with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Baku, November 18, 2010. World powers should stop threatening Iran if they want to achieve results at talks on Tehran's nuclear programme, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday. (Getty Images / REUTERS / Dmitry Astakhov/RIA Novosti/Kremlin )

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shake hands during their bilateral meeting on the sidlines of a regional summit in Baku on November 18, 2010. The two heads of state discussed Iran’s nuclear programme and other issues, says Kremlin. The Russian President emphasised the importance of continuing Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme. The construction of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, which was carried out by Russian specialists under IAEA control, is an example of effective cooperation in this sphere. Dmitry Medvedev and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also discussed issues pertaining to trade and economic ties, as well as other areas of cooperation between Russia and Iran. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the third Caspian Summit. (Photo by DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) looks at his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a Caspian regional summit in Baku on November 18, 2010. Iranian President was to meet Medvedev during one of the lowest points in relations between the two traditional allies. Once a reliable backer of Tehran throughout the nuclear standoff, Moscow has scrapped a controversial missile deal with Iran and backed United Nations sanctions against the country, which Russia now admits is nearing the ability to develop a nuclear bomb. (Photo by DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Government responsible over Sumiati abuse in Saudi Arabia, says Speaker of Indonesia People's Consultative Assembly

Taufik Kiemas, Speaker of Indonesia People's Consultative Assembly ( Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat / MPR)

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November 18, 2010. Jakarta (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST) — People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Taufik Kiemas has demanded that the government take responsibility for a recent case of maid abuse in Saudi Arabia. He also asked the relevant officials to directly tackle the problem.

Taufik said he regretted that the government had not learned from previous cases of abuse of maids and had not insisted on stricter regulations that would guarantee workers’ safety in Saudi Arabia. He said stricter regulations could be implemented in many other countries where Indonesians worked.

 

https://i1.wp.com/www.harianpelita.com/media/abig_1289838429.jpg

Photo : Sumiati

 

“I think this is the time for Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Muhaimin Iskandar and National Indonesian Workers Placement and Protection Agency head Jumhur Hidayat to take firm action. Please do something meaningful for our workers there,” he said.

An Indonesian worker by the name of Sumiati was recently sent to King Fahd Hospital in Saudi Arabia with severe wounds allegedly inflicted by her employer there. (*)

Indonesian Minister Heads to Saudi over Maid Torture

 

Indonesia's Women's Affairs Minister Mrs. Linda Agum Gumelar

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November 18, 2010. Jakarta (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA GLOBE) — Indonesia’s women’s affairs minister will fly to Saudi Arabia on Friday to check on the investigation into the brutal torture of an Indonesian maid, the foreign minister said.

Linda Agum Gumelar will lead an inter-ministerial team to ensure justice for Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, 23, whose shocking injuries highlighted the abuse of female migrant workers in the Middle East.

“As ordered by the president (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono), justice must be upheld,” foreign ministry spokesman Michael Tene told AFP.

Gumelar will visit Sumiati in a hospital in the Saudi city of Medina where she has been recuperating since November 8 from injures including deep cuts to her lips and face allegedly inflicted with scissors.

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Photo : Sumiati

Amnesty International appealed to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states on Wednesday to do more to protect migrant domestic workers in the oil-rich kingdom.

The London-based human rights watchdog said the maid’s treatment, which Yudhoyono on Tuesday described as “extraordinary torture,” symbolized the plight of foreign workers in the region.

“Women who go to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to be domestic workers face abuse and exploitation,” the watchdog’s Middle East and North Africa director, Malcolm Smart, said.

“At the root of the problem is the failure of the governments of the Gulf states to uphold the rights of women migrant domestic workers.

“Workers from countries like Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka underpin the Gulf states’ economies — it is high time that they got a fair deal,” he said.

Indonesia summoned Saudi ambassador Abdulrahman Alkhayat on Monday to express its deep concern.

The envoy on Thursday said what happened to Sumiati was “barbaric”.

He said no arrests had been made as a result of the ongoing investigation, and rejected suggestions that such abuse was all-too common in his country, saying he would “pray to God” to prevent similar abuses in future.

“We haven’t made any arrest and we have to wait for the result of the investigation,” he told a news conference in Jakarta.

“There are more than one million Indonesian workers in Saudi. What happened to Sumiati is a very rare occurrence and we pray to God that this won’t happen again.”


Agence-France Presse

Photostream : IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi meets US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

The IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi continued his work visit to North America and was hosted (Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010) at the Pentagon by the United States chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen. The photo show Navy Adm. Mike Mullen and Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi during the respective playing of their national anthems at the Pentagon ceremony welcoming Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, after which both leaders addressed the media during a press availability. ( IDFSpokesperson.com / DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

The IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi continued his work visit to North America and was hosted (Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010) at the Pentagon by the United States chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen. The photo show Navy Adm. Mike Mullen and Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi during the respective playing of their national anthems at the Pentagon ceremony welcoming Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, after which both leaders addressed the media during a press availability. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released) ( IDFSpokesperson.com / DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (left) and United States chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen at the Pentagon, Nov. 17, 2010. Photo by: Embassy of Israel Press Office )

IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (left) and United States chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen at the Pentagon, Nov. 17, 2010. Photo by: Embassy of Israel Press Office )

Photostream : Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Baku

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev (R) and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) listen as the national anthems of the two countries are being played during a welcoming ceremony in Baku November 17, 2010. Azerbaijan pledged to deepen energy cooperation with neighbouring Iran on Wednesday, signing a memorandum of cooperation with Tehran on gas supplies and electricity swaps. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Vugar Amrullaev )

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev (R) greets his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at his residence in Baku November 17, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Vugar Amrullaev )

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev (R) and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pose during their meeting in Baku November 17, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Vugar Amrullaev )

Russian, Iranian leaders to mend rift

File photo : Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) shakes hands with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) during their bilateral meeting in Dushanbe on August 28, 2008

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November 18, 2010 BAKU (KATAKAMI / CHANNEL NEWS ASIA) — The presidents of Russia and Iran will meet in the Azerbaijani capital Baku Thursday hoping to mend an unprecedented breakdown in relations between the two traditional allies.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be among the leaders of five states littoral to the Caspian Sea meeting to address overlapping claims to the sea’s vast energy riches.

But bilateral talks between Medvedev and Ahmadinejad scheduled for Thursday afternoon are sure to overshadow a summit that in previous meetings has ended with little progress.

The Kremlin Wednesday confirmed the highly anticipated bilateral meeting would take place on the sidelines of the summit.

A source in the Russian delegation said Medvedev understood the importance of the meeting with Ahmadinejad.

“We believe one needs to conduct negotiations, needs to talk, to try to convince,” the source said.

Analysts have billed the meeting as a last chance to repair relations that were Tehran’s most significant alliance with a major world power before the current crisis.

Russian-Iranian tensions came to the boil this September when Moscow — after repeated delays — officially dropped plans to supply Tehran with high-precision S-300 missiles and a batch of other sensitive arms.

Iran did little to hide its displeasure with Russia’s reversal. Ahmadinejad this month accused Russia of falling “under the influence of Satan (the United States)” and selling out “to our enemies.”

Russia has already backed a series of United Nations sanctions resolutions against the Islamic nation and Medvedev himself has voiced a growing sense of frustration with the persistent nuclear ambitions of Tehran.

“We are convinced that under the sanctions it is necessary to look for new incentives which will ensure greater cooperativity, constant cooperation with Iran including on nuclear issues and dialogue with it,” Medvedev’s top foreign policy aide Sergei Prikhodko said ahead of the meeting.

“The sanctions do not cover the entire volume and complex of ties with Iran. A significant part of cooperation does not fall and will not fall under the sanctions,” he added.

The Caspian summit itself — the third gathering of nations that also includes Azerbaijan and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan — was unlikely to make much progress on its most important dispute: how to split up the sea.

Iran insists on dividing the Caspian into five equal portions while the Azerbaijanis are angling for access that corresponds to each country’s coastline. (*)

Death toll from Indonesia's volcano climbs to 275

File photo : Indonesian Elite Forces (KOPASSUS) and rescue team evacuate a victim of Mount Merapi eruption at Pejambon in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on November 8, 2010. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

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November 18, 2010. Indonesia (KATAKAMI / THE STRAITS TIMES) — The number of people killed by a series of eruptions at Indonesia’s most volatile volcano in recent weeks has risen to 275.

The National Disaster Management Agency said Thursday that the toll climbed after more than a dozen victims succumbed to their injuries – mostly severe burns.

Mount Merapi began unleashing torrents of hot gas, rock and other debris late last month after years of dormancy. The most significant blast came Nov. 5, the deadliest day at the mountain in decades.

The disaster agency said most of the 275 people were killed by searing gas clouds. Others died during panicked evacuations or from respiratory problems and other illnesses linked to the mountain.

Top US, Israeli Military Leaders Meet Amid Iran Controversy

Chairman of the U.S.Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen (left) and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi

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November 17, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — The top U.S. and Israeli military officers met Wednesday amid some disagreement among senior leaders of the two countries on how best to pressure Iran to abandon its alleged nuclear weapons program.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, hosted his Israeli counterpart, General Gabi Ashkenazi at the Pentagon

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a “credible military threat” from the international community to convince Iran’s leaders to abandon their nuclear program.  But U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates disagreed, saying in a separate appearance that international sanctions are having more impact than had been expected, and should be given more time to work.

On Tuesday at the Pentagon, Netanyahu’s military chief, General Ashkenazi, agreed that the sanctions are having an impact, but questioned whether that will be enough.

“The real question here [is whether] it’s sufficient enough to persuade the Iranians to change the course of action in terms of the nuclear program,” said Ashkenazi. “And that has to be determined.  And we still have some time to watch it and see what will be the final outcome.”

General Ashkenazi would not say how long he thinks the international community can wait before threatening or taking military action.

The top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mullen, said the military option has never been abandoned, but he echoed Secretary Gates’ view that the sanctions are having a significant impact and should be given more time.

“I’ve certainly seen a body of evidence that indicates that the sanctions are taking their toll, much more rapidly than some had anticipated, more deeply,” said Mullen. “They’re very broadly supported.  These aren’t just U.S. sanctions, they’re UN sanctions.”

Admiral Mullen said he has no doubt Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, and said that would be a “disaster for the region,” and an “incredibly destabilizing” development.

Iranian leaders consistently deny charges they are trying to develop a nuclear weapon. (*)

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to visit Russia, Tajikistan

File photo : Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) meets with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, capital of Russia, Oct. 28, 2008.

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November 18, 2010 (KATAKAMI) — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will pay official visits to Russia and Tajikistan from Nov. 22 to 25 at the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Tajikistan Prime Minister Akil Akilov.

During the visits, Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the 15th Chinese-Russian prime ministers meeting and the ninth prime ministers meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Source: Xinhua

Mount Merapi evacuees start returning home

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November 18, 2010. Gunung Kidul (KATAKAMI / ANTARA) – A total of 1,625 evacuees of Mt Merapi have started leaving their shelters in Gunung Kidul regency, Yogyakarta, returning to their villages.

“The 1,625 evacuees started leaving their shelters on Sunday. They were part of the 11,714 refugees sheltering outside the main command post of the Gunung Kidul regency administration, known as Rest Area Bunder,” Gunung Kidul regency administration spokesman Azis Shaleh said on the sidelines of monitoring the condition of the refugees at the shelters in Bunder, Playen, Gunung Kidul, Wednesday.
He said that the number of evacuees at the main command post at Rest Area Bunder had even increased from 730 to 747.
Azis did not know for sure what exactly made the refugees to return to their homes. Maybe they now felt safe following the announcement that the danger zone had been reduced, and many others wished to observe the Day of Sacrifice at their hometowns, he said.
He added that the home-going evacuees had already asked for permission from their coordinator or volunteers at the refugee command posts in each subdistrict.
One of the refugees of Cangkringan, Tugiman, said he preferred to stay at the Bunder refugees command post until an official statement on the safety of status of Mt Merapi.
“We have been moving several times from one place to other refugee camps so that we preferred to stay put until the government issued an official announcement on the safe status of Mr Merapi, and allow us to return to hour homes,” he said. (*)

All Russia Invited To Help Name Vladimir Putin's New Puppy

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hugs a Bulgarian shepherd dog, a present from his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov after their press conference in Sofia on November 13, 2010. (Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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November 17, 2010 (KATAKAMI / PostChronicle.Com) — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has invited Russians to help him come up with a name for his new puppy, which he received as a gift from his Bulgarian counterpart over the weekend.

“Anyone who wishes to can send their suggestion of a male name for the prime minister’s new dog to his site,” a government statement said on its official website http://www.premier.gov.ru .

After Moscow and Sofia signed a series of accords to boost the South Stream gas pipeline, Putin was all smiles when Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov presented the Karakachan dog to the 58-year-old leader.

Putin, who has a black belt in judo and has cultivated a macho image, snuggled the fluffy, floppy-eared puppy of three months before gently planting a kiss on his snout.

The puppy will have to share the canine spotlight with Putin’s beloved black Labrador Connie, who is 11.

Putin once boasted that Connie was bigger than former U.S. President George W. Bush’s Scottish terrier Barney, according to Bush’s memoir “Decision Points,” published earlier this month.

“Of course, it is very important that they build their relationship,” the government statement said of the dogs.  (*)

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