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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

North Korean migrant 'slaves' in Russia. This is how Pyongyang tackles crisis.


North Korean migrant 'slaves' in Russia. This is how Pyongyang tackles crisis. (AN).

North Korea has concluded an agreement with Russia to increase the number of migrant workers from the regime in the North to the Eurasian Country. Thanks to their work, Pyongyang receives a part of their wages, increasing foreign currency to improve its shaky economy. This happens despite the series of sanctions that the UN imposed on North Korea because of its nuclear program and missile tests.

The agreement was signed last March 17 in Pyongyang between Ri Kwang-gun, Vice-Minister for External Economic Relations, and Dmitri Demidenko, Russian representative of the Interior Ministry, emigration sector.

Under the agreement, North Korean migrants must have a good knowledge of the Russian language so a cooperation program was set up between the Institute for Foreign Studies University in Pyongyang, and the Pushkin Institute for Languages. Already in 2015 Russia began to demand that North Korean migrants study the Russian language and history, and be tested before being sent abroad.

At present there are about 30 thousand North Korean workers in Russia. Most are engaged in forestry, mining and construction.

The latest available figures show that North Korean workers are paid around $ 100 US per month. Of these, 70% is taken by Pyongyang as "loyalty payment" to the state.

The UN Commission on Human Rights has condemned this form of slavery of North Korean migrants.

The United Nations says there are at least 50 thousand North Koreans working abroad, mostly in China and Russia. But groups of them are also in Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Poland, Qatar and the UAE.

These workers earn $ 120-150 per month and are often forced to work up to 20 hours a day, with only one or two days off a month, and insufficient food. Of course, a portion of their wages is passed by direct debit to the North Korea government.

Video - One year ago, the Brussels Airport was attacked by Islamist terrorists, 5 people recall the events.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Indonesian district bans three churches from worshiping.

Indonesian district bans three churches from worshiping. (Ucanews).

Indonesian authorities in Bogor, West Java have banned three churches from holding religious activities.

The churches were the Methodist Church Indonesia, Huria Batak Protestant Church and Catholics, who were using a house for catechism.

Bogor district chief, Nurhayanti told media that the churches were banned from holding services because the government cannot guarantee their safety.

The move follows what church representatives said were acts of intimidation last week in which a radical Muslim group called Group 11 staged marches demanding the churches and the house be closed.

Reverend Abdi Saragih of the Methodist Church said his church is legal and has been listed at the Religious Affair Ministry.

However, the congregation has been facing intimidation since 2014, he said.

According to Saragih, they have met all building permit requirements but the authorities had yet to issue one.

"We are struggling for our right to worship," he told

Complaints have been sent to President Joko Widodo and parliament, he added.

Alex A. Makawangkel, chairman of the St. John the Baptist parish council, told a similar story.
However, it is not the church that’s been targeted but a house used for catechism and Sunday school for students unable to learn Catholicism in their schools.

"Local Muslims think it is a church," he said.

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of rights group Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, said the government needs to use a special approach with West Java because it has seen a spike in acts of intolerance over the last 10 years involving radical groups and even the local government.

According to the institute, West Java has the highest incidents of religious intolerance, with 41 cases reported last year.

Video - Hamas is Stealing Funds Intended for Gaza’s Needy from the Turkish Agency TIKA.

Video - Hamas is Stealing Funds Intended for Gaza’s Needy from the Turkish Agency TIKA.(Cogat)

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai: "The egotistical Hamas terror organization has robbed funds that are meant for the needy of Gaza from international organizations. Hamas prospers at the expense of the residents of the Strip and uses donations meant for them to finance terror. How long will the world and the Gazan people ignore this?"

A recent example is Muhammad Faruq Sha’aban Murtaja, a Gazan building engineer, who was planted in the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) Murtaja is the latest in a long line of similar occurrences. World Vision, UNRWA and many other organizations have fell victims at the hands of Hamas’ infiltration and exploitation . The activities of these organizations have suffered, as their reputation has been tainted due to them being declared as facilitators of terrorism. These events have triggered diplomatic incidents between countries which finance these organizations and Israel. Ultimately, the primary victim is the Palestinian resident of Gaza whose access to food , shelter, education and a brighter future for their children is denied so that Hamas can continue its murderous terrorism.

From a Civil Engineer to a Terror Engineer

Approximately one month ago, Israeli forces arrested Muhammad Faruq Sha’aban Murtaja, a Gazan resident and civil engineer, who for the past several years served as the branch manager in the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). Murtaja’s interrogation revealed how he exploited his seniority in the agency in order to aid Hamas’ terror activities at the expense of the Palestinian public in Gaza - without the knowledge of the Agency’s senior leadership and the Turkish government.

Murtaja was born in 1977, studied in Turkey and was recruited by Hamas in 2008. During 2009, he joined an engineering unit of Hamas’ military wing, while at the same time serving as deputy director of IHH in Gaza - an Islamic Turkish NGO, declared as a terrorist organization by several countries, which seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel. 

Murtaja subsequently sought to infiltrate TIKA, an organization which provides humanitarian aid to Muslims across the world. In light of TIKA’s resources and his extensive past experience with Turkish organizations, Murtaja set forth to become involved in the organization. Hmmmm......As usual the IHH is involved. Read the full story here.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Istanbul governor’s interference in the election of the new Armenian Patriarch is a violation of the Treaty of Sevres.

Istanbul governor’s interference in the election of the new Armenian Patriarch is a violation of the Treaty of Sevres. (AN).

In a statement that evokes the obscurantist despotism of the Ottoman Empire, the Governor of Istanbul recently intervened in an issue under ecclesiastical jurisdiction, saying that it was "legally impossible" to elect the Armenian Patriarch, with serious implications for the process.

“Considering the unfavourable developments that took place during the meeting on February 16 at the patriarchate, it is determined that starting the election process is legally impossible given the facts that this process might cause disturbance and divisions in the society, that there is already an incumbent vicar and that your society knows the basic proceedings and practices concerning the patriarchal election,” said the governor in a statement signed by the deputy governor of the Turkish metropolis.

Such interference by Turkey’s secular state in the affairs of the Armenian Church is in complete violation of the Treaty of Sevres establishing peace between the Allied Powers and the Ottoman Empire signed in August 1920 after World War I. It is also nothing new. However, Turkey's meddling had had never been so direct nor reached such high levels in such a tactless and undiplomatic manner.
The Istanbul patriarchal seat has been vacant since the former office holder, Mesrob II Mutafyan, was declared to be "affected by Alzheimer" At the Synod in 2016 he was retired in accordance with the canon law of the Armenian Church because the disease "had lasted for over eight years".

The Turkish government welcomed the patriarch’s illness. The latter, who was trained in Germany, the United States and in Rome, was always seen him as a person of great charisma and honesty, someone incorruptible.

In 2016 Diyarbakir native Archbishop Aram Ateşyan was called to lead the Patriarchate as vicar general. Along with a 25-member ecclesiastical Council, he ran the religious affairs of the Armenian Church in Turkey ahead of the election of a new patriarch.

In less than a year, Archbishop Aram Ateşyan indicated time and again that he was not really interested in maintaining the independence of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul from the government. Instead, on several occasions he strongly aligned himself with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party – even on the issue of Armenophobia – sparking criticism and raising suspicions in the local Armenian community and Armenian language press as well as among the Armenian diaspora.

Agos, Turkey’s only Armenian language newspaper, citing local sources, reported that the statement by the Governor of Istanbul "was prepared before the meeting to elect the vicar". The paper’s founder, Hrant Dink, was brutally murdered in one of the most mysterious and murky cases in the country’s recent history that saw the investigation often hampered by those in power, amid alleged plots linking Turkey’s military secret services, police, politicians, Grey Wolves and ultra-nationalist groups.

On 15 March, the Clerical Assembly met to elect the değabah, the lieutenant, responsible once elected for the process of choosing the new patriarch.

Three candidates were up for the post, all Turkish nationals under Turkish law: the current vicar general of the Patriarchate, Archbishop Aram Ateşyan (pictured with his "friend" Erdogan), Bishop Sahag Mashalian, and a third candidate, the Armenian Apostolic primate of Germany, Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian. For unknown reasons, the second candidate pulled out at the last moment, leaving only the other two.

Various people present at the meeting spoke to AsiaNews noting that immediately after the vote count, following the announcement of Archbishop Bekdjian’s victory for the office of vicar, Archbishop Aram Ateşyan left the assembly.

A few moments later he came back with the statement of the Governor of Istanbul in his hands. After the accident, the two candidates withdrew to talk behind closed doors whilst many Clerical Assembly members spoke of a clash between local authorities and Archbishop Ateşyan.

It is widely believed that Archbishop Ateşyan had the statement all along, and that he would not have used it had he come first for the office of patriarch.

The clerical Assembly organised a group to meet the governor to show him how the election took place and defend the legitimacy of the process.

Under existing rules, adhered to by the patriarch, Archbishop Bekdjian (pictured) is the vicar general chosen ahead of the election for the new patriarch. By contrast, the Turkish government already sees Archbishop Ateşyan as the future Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul.


Istanbul Governor Claims Election of Armenian Patriarch Locum Tenens is Illegal

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