Archive for ‘Political/Comentary’

April 8, 2014

“ຄຳວ່າຮັກຊາດ” ຟັງແລ້ວມ່ວນຫູ

Thanks to Samanxon Laoislao and Khounta KeudKèo:

https://www.facebook.com/samanson.laoislao
https://www.facebook.com/khounta.keudkeo.9

 

“ບົດວິເຄາະ“

ຄຳວ່າຮັກຊາດ ຟັງແລ້ວມ່ວນຫູ ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າພູມໃຈ ແລະດີໃຈທີ່ທຸກຄົນມີຄວາມຮູ້ສຶກໃນຄວາມເປັນຄົນ ທີ່ມີສະຕິຊາດອັນເລິກເຊິ່ງ ແລະໜັກແໜ້ນ.

“ຮັກຊາດ”ບໍ່ແມ່ນພຽງແຕ່ການປົກປ້ອງເຂດນໍ້າແດນດິນເທົ່ານັ້ນ ມັນໄດ້ກວມເອົາທຸກສິ່ງທຸກຢ່າງຊຶ່ງເປັນຊັບສິນ, ເປັນຊັບສົມບັດຂອງປະເທດຊາດ ພວກເຮົາທຸກຄົນຄືເຈົ້າຂອງແຜ່ນດິນຕ້ອງມີພັນທະໃນການປົກປັກຮັກສາໄວ້ໃຫ້ດີ ຕາບຊົ່ວຊີວິດ ພ້ອມນັ້ນກໍຍັງຕ້ອງໄດ້ປູກຝັງຈິດສຳນຶກນີ້ໃຫ້ລູກຫຼານລຸ້ນຕໍ່ໆໄປ ອັນທີ່ສຳຄັນຄືການຢູ່ຮ່ວມກັນຢ່າງມີຄວາມສຸກຄວາມສົມດຸນໃນສັງຄົມ ນັ້ນຈະກາຍເປັນຄວາມໝັ້ນຄົງຂອງຊາດ ຊາດຈະໝັ້ນຄົງ ແລະຈະເລີນເຕີບໂຕໄດ້ ພວກເຮົາຕ້ອງມີຄວາມສາມັກຄີຮັກແພງ ຊ່ວຍເຫຼືອຊຶ່ງກັນແລະກັນ ມີຄວາມກະຕັນຍູ ຮູ້ບຸນຄຸນ ຮັກເຊື້ອແພງຊາດ ຮ່ວມມືກັນເພື່ອປົກປ້ອງເຂດນໍ້າ ແດນດິນ ປົກປັກຮັກສາຊັບໃນດິນ ສີນໃນນໍ້າບໍ່ໃຫ້ສູນເສຍ ບໍ່ໃຫ້ຖືກທຳລາຍ ຮູ້ຮັກບ້ານເກີດເມືອງນອນ ອັນເປັນທີ່ຫວງແຫນຂອງຕົນ.
ແຕ່ເມື່ອສັງຄົມມັນປ່ຽນໄປໃຈຄົນກໍປ່ຽນແປງ ສະຕິຊາດຄ່ອຍໆຫາຍໄປ ຍ້ອນປວງຊົນຊາວລາວທົ່ວທັງປະເທດ ພາກັນນິ້ງເສີຍ ປ່ອຍປະລະເລີຍບໍ່ສົນໃຈ ການບ້ານການເມືອງ, ການພັດທະນາປະເທດຈຶ່ງເປັນໄປຕາມມີຕາມເກີດ ຕາມຍະຖາກຳ, ຜູ້ມີອໍານາດຕັດສີນອານາຄົດຂອງປະເທດພຽງຜູ້ດຽວ ຢາກເຮັດຫຍັງກໍເຮັດໄປໂດຍພາລະການ ປະຊາຊົນຄືເຈົ້າຂອງແຜ່ນດິນບໍ່ມີປາກ ບໍ່ມີສຽງ ບໍ່ມີສ່ວນຮ່ວມ ຫຍັງທັງໝົດ ເພາະສະນັ້ນເລີຍກາຍເປັນສ່ອງຫ່ວາງທີ່ດີໃຫ້ຜູ້ມີອຳນາດຊອກ ສະແຫວງຫາຜົນປະໂຫຍດມາໃສ່ຕົນເອງໄດ້ສະບາຍໆ ໂດຍຂຽນໂຄງການພັດທະນາຕ່າງໆ ເພື່ອລວງຕາປະຊາຊົນ.
ປະເທດຊາດຖືກພັດທະນາມາ39ປີແລ້ວກໍດີ ນັ້ນກໍເຫັນວ່າມີອັນປ່ຽນແປງ ເປັນຕົ້ນການກໍ່ສ້າງພື້ນຖານໂຄງລ່າງ ໃນຂອບເຂດເມືອງໃຫຍ່ໆ ເຫັນວ່າແປກຕາຂຶ້ນແດ່ເລັກນ້ອຍ ສ່ວນເມືອງນ້ອຍກໍບໍ່ມີຫຍັງແປກ ນັ້ນມັນບໍ່ຄຸ້ມຄ່າກັບເວລາທີ່ເສຍໄປ ບໍ່ດຸນດຽງກັບຊັບພະຍາກອນ ທຳມະຊາດຂອງປະເທດທີ່ສູນຫາຍໄປ ຍົກຕົວຢ່າງນຶ່ງ ທີ່ເປັນພະຍາດຊໍາຮື້ອແລະອັນຕະລາຍທີ່ສຸດຄື: ການຂາຍໄມ້ ຊຶ່ງເຄີຍພົບເຫັນມາແຕ່່ ປີ1976 ເປັນຕົ້ນມາຈົນເຖິງປະຈຸບັນ ແລະດຽວນີ້ກໍຍັງແກ່ໄປຂາຍຢູ່ ແຕ່ບໍ່ຮູ້ວ່າເງິນ ຈຳນວນນັ້ນຢູ່ໃສ? ເອົາໄປເຮັດຫຍັງ? ເຮັດຢູ່ໃສ? ປະຊາຊົນບໍ່ມີໃຜຮູ້ເລີຍ, ເວົ້າແລ້ວຂາຍໄມ້ມາເກືອບ39ປີ ຖ້າເອົາເງິນຈຳນວນດັ່ງກ່າວ ມາເຮັດທາງປູຄອນກຣີດແຕ່ຫົວຂອງຮອດຫຼີ່ຜີກໍໄດ້ແລ້ວ ຫຼືບໍ່ກໍຊອຍເປັນໄມ້ແປ້ນ ປູເຮັດທາງຈາກຫົວຂອງຮອດຫຼີ່ຜີກໍໄດ້ເໝືອນກັນ, ມາເບິ່ງແລ້ວມັນຄຸ້ມບໍ? ກັບຄວາມຈະເລີນຂອງຊາດ.

ຜູ້ນໍາລັດຖະບານຕ້ອງຮູ້ຈັກພາລະໜ້າທີ່ຂອງຕົນເອງຖ້າຮັກຊາດແທ້.

ການສ້າງສາພັດທະນາປະເທດຊາດຕ້ອງໄດ້ຄໍານຶຶງເຖິງປະຊາຊົນໃຫ້ໄດ້ປະໂຫຍດສູງສຸດ ລັດຖະບານຕ້ອງຮັບຟັງ ບັນຫາແລະເຫດຜົນຈາກປະຊາຊົນ,ໃຫ້ພວກເຂົາໄດ້ໃຊ້ສິດເຕັມ100ໃນການມີສ່ວນຮ່ວມ ໃນການອອກຄໍາຄິດຄໍາເຫັນສະທ້ອນຕໍ່ບັນຫາຜົນກະທົບທີ່ຈະຕາມມາ ສິ່ງສໍາຄັນລັດຖະບານ ເຮັດຫຍັງກໍຕ້ອງໃຫ້ຢູ່ພາຍໄຕ້ຄວາມໂປ່ງໃສ, ກວດສອບໄດ້ ໃຫ້ມີຄວາມສັດຊື່ແລະຈິງໃຈ ຜ່ານມາການປົກຄອງຂອງລັດຖະບານແມ່ນຫຼົ້ມເຫຼວຢາງມະຫັນຕະລາຍທີ່ສຸດ ບໍ່ວ່າທາງດ້ານການເມືອງ ເສດຖະກິດ ສັງຄົມ ວັດທະນະທໍາ ແລະອື່ນໆ ຂາດຫຼັກທີ່ຖືກຕ້ອງໃນການປົກຄອງປະເທດ ເອົາປະເທດເປັນເປັນໜູລອງຢາໄປເລື້ອຍໆ ໜ້າສົງສານອະນາຄົດຂອງປະເທດຊາດ ທີ່ປາສະຈາກຫຼັກໄຊ.
ຍ້ອນມີຫຼາຍຄົນທີ່ຍັງໄຮ້ດຽງສາ ຊຶ່ງພວກນີ້ຈະມົວແຕ່ປະໂຫຍດສ່ວນຕົວເປັນໃຫຍ່ ພວກເຂົາຮູ້ດີຮູ້ຊົ່ວທຸກຢ່າງ ແຕ່ແກ້ງເຮັດ ໜູໜວກກິນຟານ ເພາະເມົາມົວຍົດຖາບັນດາສັກ ເມົາມົວອຳນາດ ຍາດແຍ່ງຜົນປະໂຫຍດເພື່ອ ພວກສະໝູນບໍລິວານທັງຫຼາຍທີ່ພອຍເພິ່ງປາລະມີ ແລະທີ່ສໍາຄັນແມ່ນຜູ້ທີ່ມີຄວາມສາມາດພິເສດຄືລູບແຂ່ງ ເລຍຂາຫົວໜ້າໄດ້ດີ ກໍອອກມາປົກປ້ອງກັນໃນFBທຸກຮູບແບບ ພວກນີ້ເປັນຕົວແປທີ່ສຳຄັນ ທີ່ຈະນໍາຄວາມຈິບຫາຍມາ ສູ່ບ້ານສູ່ເມືອງ, ເຖິງບ້ານເມືອງຊິຫຼົ້ມຊິຈົມລົງພຽງໃດມັນບໍ່ໄດ້ສົນໃຈ.
ທຸກສິ່ງທຸກຢ່າງທີ່ເກີດຂຶ້ນຜ່ານມາຈົນເຖິງປະຈຸບັນ, ກ່ອນທີ່ທ່ານຈະຮູ້ສຶກຕົວ ຊັບສິນດິນດອນຕອນຫຍ້າ,ຊັບໃນດິນສີນໃນນ້ຳມັນຫາຍໄປໝົດ ແລ້ວພີ່ນ້ອງເອີຍ! ປະໂຫຍດຂອງປະຊາຊົນມີຫຍັງແດ່? ປະໂຫຍດຂອງບຸກຄົນທີ່ມີອໍານາດມີຫຍັງແດ່? ປະໂຫຍດຂອງຊາດມີຫຍັງແດ່?
ມັນຄຸ້ມຄ່າຫຼືບໍ? ຄວາມຮັກຊາດມັນຢູ່ໃສ? ໃຜຮັກຊາດກັນແທ້? !!!

ທຸກຄົນມີຄວາມຮັກຊາດ! ແຕ່ຖ້າຂາດສະຕິຊາດ ຜູ້ນໍາທຸກຄົນຫວັງປະໂຫຍດສ່ວນຕົວ ກອບໂກຍເອົາຜົນປະໂຫຍດ ຂອງຊາດໄປໃສ່ກະເປົ໊າ ແລະຄອບຄົວ ພ້ອມວົງສາຄະນາຍາດ ຊາດຫຼົ້ມຈົມ ແນ່ນອນ.

ບໍ່ເປັນຫຍັງ? ຍັງບໍ່ສວຍເກີນໄປ! ພີ່ນ້ອງຮ່ວມສາຍເລືອດລາວທຸກຄົນທັງພາຍໃນ ແລະທົ່ວທຸກມູມໂລກ ທີ່ຍັງຮັກແລະຫວງແຫນຜືນແຜ່ນດິນລາວ ຈົ່ງມາຮ່ວມໃຈຈັບມືແລະເຂົ້າໃຈກັນເປັນພະລັງອັນນຶ່ງອັນດຽວລຸກຂຶ້ນສະສາງ ລະບອບການປົກຄອງທີ່ຊົ່ວຮ້າຍນີ້ ໃຫ້ມັນຫາຍສາບສູນ ກ່ອນຊາດລາວຈະພົບກັບຄວາມຫາຍະນະຈະພິນາດ ປະເທດຊາດບໍ່ແມ່ນຂອງຜູ້ໃດຜູ້ນຶ່ງ ພີ່ນ້ອງຈົ່ງໃຫ້ຄວາມສໍາຄັນຕໍ່ຊາດຖ້າພວກເຮົາມີຄວາມຮັກຊາດທີ່ແທ້ຈິງ.

ຈົ່ງຖິ້ມຄໍາພີທີ່ວ່າ:
ຂ້ອຍມີອໍານາດ! ຂ້ອຍມີອິດທິພົນ! ຂ້ອຍໄດ້ຜົນປະໂຫຍດ! ຊາດ-ປະຊາຊົນບໍ່ກ່ຽວ.

March 22, 2014

Religious Freedom: Christian Converts in Laos Told to Leave Faith or Face Expulsion

Christian Converts in Laos Told to Leave Faith or Face Expulsion; Eight Families Under Threat of Being Expelled from Village

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://crossmap.christianpost.com/news/christian-converts-in-laos-told-to-leave-faith-or-face-expulsion-eight-families-under-threat-of-being-expelled-from-village-9473

By Jeremy Reynalds/Assist News

March 21, 2014

Lao village. (News4Christians)

More than two dozen Christian converts in a village in southern Laos could be expelled for their faith if government officials fail to keep local authorities from violating their constitutional rights, according to an advocacy group.

A story by Morning Star News reported that the Christians from eight families in Natahall village, in Savannakhet Province’s Phin District, were told to renounce their faith three months ago, according to a representative with Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).
“The threats are very real … Officials are still intending to carry out the threats. The deadline for expulsion has passed,” said the HRWLRF source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The source added, “Christian residents of Natahall village are fighting hard to keep their homes as well as their constitutionally guaranteed right to believe in the Christian faith.”

Religious affairs officials from Phin District are holding discussions with the Natahall village chief, identified only as Amka, leaders of the local chapter of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and district police. The threat of expulsion, however, has not been withdrawn, the source said.

Local officials on Dec. 2 sent an eviction order to five Christian families, according to HRWLRF.

On Dec. 8 2013, the village chief publicly declared that the Christian families who had converted to Christianity would be held responsible for any deaths villagers might suffer as a result of spirits angered by violation of traditional beliefs and customs. Animism and ancestor worship are prevalent across Laos.

Morning Star News said the village chief offered to relocate the Christian families to another village in the same province. Not only did the Christians refuse to renounce their faith, but three more families in the village put their trust in Christ, the source said.

On March 11, the village chief and local police summoned the eight Christian families for a four-hour meeting and once again ordered them to abandon their faith.

“We fought to get rid of the Americans, and now you are bringing their religion into our homes,” an official told the Christians, according to the HRWLRF source.

Sections of the Hmong tribe in Laos and Vietnam, some of whom were Christians, sided with the United States in the fight against communism in Southeast Asia.

HRWLRF has urged the communist government of Laos to allow the Christian families to exercise their religious freedom as guaranteed in the country’s constitution.

Article 30 of the 1991 constitution recognizes religious freedom, saying, “Lao citizens have the right and freedom to believe or not to believe in religions.”

However, to restrict religious freedom, the government often cites Article 9, which reads, “All acts of creating division of religions and classes of people are prohibited.”
In 2004, then-U.S. President George W. Bush extended normal trade relations to Laos, overlooking calls from human rights groups for the continuation of the boycott of the communist regime.

The legislation Bush signed into law to normalize relations with Laos argued that “expanding bilateral trade relations that include a commercial agreement may promote further progress by the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on human rights, religious tolerance, democratic rule, and transparency, and assist that country in adopting regional and world trading rules and principles.”

However, Morning Star News reported, critics claim that the U.S. decision has not reduced persecution of Christians and other minorities, which involves expulsion from villages, forced relocation, pressure to recant faith, arrest, destruction of livestock and crops and closure of churches.

Laos has been a single-party state since the end of the Laotian civil war in 1975. The government also keeps the majority Buddhist population somewhat under its control. It severely restricts freedom of assembly and association as well, apparently out of fear that any unrestrained grouping in the country might one day become a threat to communist rule.

Morning Star News said the HRWLRF notes that the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Laos in 2009, upholds the right to adopt a religion/belief of choice as well as the right to manifest that religion/belief in a corporate worship (Article 18).

Any form of coercion impairing the freedom to have and manifest one’s religion/belief of choice is condemned in the Covenant.

©2014Assist News

February 25, 2014

Ukraine revolution: live

Ukraine revolution: live

Ukraine’s interim president Oleksander Turchinov has delayed plans to form a new government by Tuesday evening, saying that the deadline has been extended to Thursday to allow for further consultations. All the day’s developments as they happen

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10659755/Ukraine-revolution-live.html?fb 

By

2:04PM GMT 25 Feb 2014

Latest

14.04 It’s certainly been a busy 48 hours for Russian diplomats, too (see 11.20).

Now Grigory Karasin, a deputy foreign minister, has met in Moscow with Ukraine’s Ambassador to Russia, Volodymyr Yelchenko.

The meeting was called to raise concerns over the safety of Russians in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“From the Russian side questions were raised about … the safety for Russian citizens and diplomatic representatives on the territory of Ukraine,” the ministry statement said.

13.36 Former Georgian president claims that Yanukovych openly boasted of corruption in Ukraine

13.18 With the hunt for Yanukovych in full cry, the Paddy Power publicity machine senses the biggest flood of bets since Col Muammar Gaddafi went missing in Libya. Here are the odds for those inclined to indulge in a wager:

Where is Yanukovych?

Ukraine 5/4

Russia 6/4

UAE 3/1

Georgia 6/1

Turkey 8/1

13.10 Additional information has come in about the alleged shooting of the former head of the presidential bureaucracy:

Andriy Klyuev, a former presidential aide who is said by the new Ukrainian authorities to be on the run with ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich, has been shot in the leg, his spokesman said.

Spokesman Artem Petrenko said a “trusted source” had told him that Klyuev, the head of the presidential administration until Yanukovich was toppled on Saturday, had come under fire twice and was wounded, but his life was not in danger.

Petrenko said by telephone that he had not spoken to Klyuev himself and he did not know where Klyuev was. He also said he did not know whether Klyuev was with Yanukovich, who fled Kiev on Friday and is wanted by the Ukrainian authorities to face accusations of murder.

12.55 More details emerging of Vitali Klitschko’s decision to run for the presidency.

Mr Klitschko, 42, a former WBC heavyweight champion, has been one of the main opposition leaders championing the cause of thousands of protesters who took to the streets last November.

“I will run for the post of president of Ukraine because I firmly believe that the rules of the game have to be changed in Ukraine,” he was quoted as telling journalists.

12.40 Speaking of sidekicks, one has been shot according to this newsflash:

UKRAINIAN EX-PRESIDENTIAL AIDE ANDRIY KLYUEV HAS BEEN WOUNDED BY GUNFIRE, NOT CLEAR IF HE IS WITH YANUKOVICH (Reuters)

12.35 A reminder of times past emerges from pictures from the house of a presidential sidekick:

12.30 For a background read on the alleged role of two oligarchs in Viktor Yanukovych’s downfall, see Der Spiegel’s english language version of events in Kiev here

It claims that Rinat Akhmetov (see below) and Dmitry Firtash pulled the rug from under the now missing president.

12.20 Another oligarch – this time Victor Pinchuk – has his say in the FT(£)

12.15 The baroness meets the gas baron – a picture of two of the women who play a big role in determining Ukraine’s fate in the months to come. Lady Ashton, the EUs foreign affairs supremo meets newly-freed Yulia Tymoshenko.

12.10 A lot of people are coming out of the woodwork after the horse has bolted, including Ukraine’s richest men who are lining up to say what should happen

12.00 Vitali Klitschko has confirmed that he will be a candidate for the presidency. News that was expected but it demonstrates there is no appetite for a cosy deal between the opposition candidates.

11.50 National Geographic has a slideshow depicting the faces of the Ukrainian revolution here:

11.46 Ukraine raises prospect of an international criminal court trial of Viktor Yanukovych:

Ukraine’s parliament has voted to send fugitive President Viktor Yanukovich to be tried for ‘serious crimes’ by the International Criminal Court once he has been captured.

A resolution, overwhelmingly supported by the assembly, linked Yanukovich, who was ousted on Saturday and is now on the run, to police violence against protesters which it said had led to the deaths of more than 100 citizens from Ukraine and other states.

The resolution said former interior minister Vitaly Zakharchenko and former prosecutor-general Viktor Pshonka, who are also being sought by the authorities, should also be sent for trial at the ICC, which is based in The Hague.

11.33 Ukraine’s parliament has just passed a resolution saying that ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych and others caused the deaths of more than 1000 citizens. Here is another picture from the top of the building.

11.20 And in Moscow, the diplomacy continues.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has spoken to Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and David Cameron about the crisis. Today he summoned his top security officials to discuss the situation – but no details of their meeting were released.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said earlier today that Ukraine must not be forced to choose between East and West.

And yesterday Dmitri Medvedev, the prime minister, strongly condemned the new authorities, saying Monday they came to power as a result of an “armed mutiny” and their legitimacy is causing “big doubts.”

“If you consider Kalashnikov-toting people in black masks who are roaming Kiev to be the government, then it will be hard for us to work with that government,” he said.

11.00 Meanwhile, back in Ukraine, campaigning has officially begun for the presidential election – due to be held on May 25.

Mr Yanukovych’s archrival, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is widely seen as a top contender for the post. She was freed from prison on Saturday after spending two-and-a-half years there. Her lawyer said, however, that she hasn’t yet declared whether to run.

10.50 But a Conservative MP respectfully disagrees with the diversion of taxpayers money to the tussle for Ukraine.

10.45 Behind the scenes efforts to ensure a new government enjoys Western financial support are breaking into view.

10.36 More from Baroness Ashton, the first senior foreign official to visit Kiev since the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych as president.

Voicing “strong support” for Ukraine’s new leaders at a news conference, Baroness Ashton urged them to form an “inclusive” government and focus on getting the country through short-term problems.

She spelled out no details of any foreign financial assistance, saying the EU would work with the International Monetary Fund but the IMF would make its own assessment of the situation.

10.15 Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, is in Kiev today, and is speaking now.

Key points from her speech so far:

- Russia, as a neighbouring country, should help Ukraine move forward.
– The focus should be on getting Ukraine through short-term problems
– Then Ukraine needs to look at reforms to agriculture and energy

10.08 Protesters in Kiev are still hard at work – here cutting the Soviet pentagram symbol out of the parliamentary building.

“The star on top of the Verkhovna Rada is no longer there,” said Oleh Tyahnybok, head of the nationalist Svoboda party, which has been a strong force in the protest movement.

09.50 Meanwhile, the hunt for Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted president, continues.

Our correspondent Roland Oliphant has sent this dispatch from the Crimea – one of the regions where Mr Yanukovych could be hiding. An arrest warrant has been issued for him.

09.45 Oleksander Turchinov, the interim president, has put off plans to vote on the formation of a national unity government until Thursday to allow consultations to continue. We were expecting the announcement of a new prime minister and cabinet today.

“The vote on the national unity government should be on Thursday,” said Mr Turchinov, the speaker of the assembly and the acting president. The vote had been expected to take place during Tuesday’s session.

Later on Tuesday he will meet law enforcement agencies to discuss “dangerous signs of separatism” in some areas.

09.30 Welcome again to our continuing coverage of the extraordinary events in Ukraine.

February 25, 2014

Obamacare to Raise Premiums for 65 Percent of Small Businesses

Entrepreneur

Obamacare to Raise Premiums for 65 Percent of Small Businesses

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231764#ixzz2uLL6faS1

The government says that roughly two-thirds of small businesses in America — and their employees — will see an increase in health-insurance premiums under Obamacare.

A report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services looked at the new rules facing insurers under the Affordable Care Act, namely the inability to charge premiums based on factors like the health of their employees. Small businesses have always seen a high variability in premiums because of worker health. Since they don’t have many employees, just one worker who is ill can raise premiums for the whole organization.

However, most small businesses employ young, healthy workers — people who wouldn’t otherwise be charged high premiums for insurance. Under Obamacare, however, the good health of employees will not be a factor in setting rates, so the majority of small businesses will see premiums go up. The government estimates that 65 percent of small businesses will see rates rise.

Related: Obamacare Mandate for Many Businesses Pushed Back a Year

What’s more, since most small businesses make their workers contribute to their own health coverage in some way, as many as 11 million individuals could see their own premiums rise, too.

It is unclear how much the rates will go up. The report makes no mention of the magnitude of any increases, either for small businesses or for their employees. However, the White House has consistently argued that Obamacare would lower rates for small businesses by 4 percent, not raise it for the vast majority of small companies.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report notes the numbers may not pan out, though — primarily because some companies may decide to drop health insurance altogether. That would force the employees into individual health exchanges. “There is a rather large degree of uncertainty associated with this estimate,” the report notes.

Related: How Both Parties Were Wrong About Obamacare and Jobs

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November 8, 2013

Sombath Disappearance Could See a Review of EU Aid to Laos

Asian Beat

Sombath Disappearance Could See a Review of EU Aid to Laos

By  Luke Hunt

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://thediplomat.com/asean-beat/2013/11/08/sombath-disappearance-could-see-a-review-of-eu-aid-to-laos/

November 8, 2013

Image credit: Flickr (AK Rockefeller)

The European Union has put the case of the prominent development worker Sombath Somphone back on the international agenda, threatening to review foreign aid to Laos after officials there failed to offer a credible explanation for his disappearance 11 months ago.

Speaking on Australian radio, Werner Langen, delegation leader and Chairman of the ASEAN delegation in the European Parliament, also said Laos could become isolated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) if the human rights situation in the country fails to improve.

“In our view, it seems to be impossible that the government knows nothing on this case. It was a disappearance under the guise of the Laos police and we say to the government we need a life sign, first of all. We need a life sign of Sombath,” he said.

With the exception of Singapore, ASEAN has, however, failed to act on Sombath’s probable kidnapping and possible murder, casting doubts on the group’s ability to do little more than trade among themselves.

Equally, the authority of Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong has been found wanting. His failure to provide any explanation at all has raised doubts over who is in charge – his communist party or the police.

Langen has just returned from Laos and was part of a second EU delegation to visit the country this year. After his first trip, in August, Langen concluded that the country was in a state of denial in regards to Sombath and as a result his case will now be discussed in the European parliament.

CCTV footage of Sombath surfaced shortly after he went missing on December 15, 2012. He was stopped by police on a major road and taken away by two unidentified men. The Laos government has rejected offers of forensic help from the EU and U.S.

Last month, Sombath’s Singaporean wife, Shui Meng, pleaded for her husband’s return. She said that he needed medical attention and promised to leave the country and live with him in quiet retirement.

Meng added that every day since her husband’s disappearance was “an eternity of waiting, wavering between hope and despair.”

“All I want is only the safe return of Sombath,” she said.

Previous calls have been made for donor countries to think twice before handing over taxpayer dollars to a country that still behaves like a police state.

“The human rights group calls also on other countries to do more to demand that the civil society leader, a victim of enforced disappearance, is found and returned safely to his family,” Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, said recently.

Luke Hunt can be followed on Twitter at @lukeanthonyhunt.

—-

Radio Australia

Laos facing possible aid review over missing activist, says Euro MP

Updated 7 November 2013, 13:31 AEST

A European parliamentary delegation says the Lao government has yet again failed to offer a credible explanation as to the whereabouts of a well-known rights activist.

It’s almost 11 months ago since the disappearance of the internationally-recognised development worker and teacher, Sombath Somphone.

And for the second time this year, a European delegation has visited Laos to press authorities on the case of the missing activist, but they say little progress has been made.

Presenter: Tom Maddocks

Speakers: Soren Sondergaard, delegation leader (August) and member of the European parliament; Werner Langen, delegation leader (October) and Chairman of the ASEAN delegation in the European Parliament; Rupert Abbott, Laos researcher, Amnesty International

MADDOCKS: In August, a European parliamentary delegation drew the conclusion that Lao authorities were “still in a state of denial” about the disappearance of Sombath Somphone.

The delegation was led by Danish member of parliament Soren Sondergaard.

SONDERGAARD: Our key message was that it is impossible in a country like theirs to accept that a person can disappear a few metres in front of a police control station, taken on camera, everything is taken on camera, and despite of that, eight months have gone without any result in the investigation.

MADDOCKS: And now almost 11 months on since Sombath Somphone’s apparent abduction, it seems the message is not getting through.

LANGEN: In our view, it seems to be impossible that the government knows nothing on this case. It was a disappearance under the guise of the Laos police and we say to the government we need a lifesign, first of all. We need a lifesign of Sombath.

MADDOCKS: Werner Langen led the latest effort to find out what happened.

His delegation met with the parliament, government and civil society. The case of Sombath Somphone was at the top of the agenda.

Soon after his disappearance on a busy road in the capital Vientiane on the 15th of December last year, CCTV footage surfaced.

It shows Sombath Somphone being stopped at a police checkpoint on the way home from his office, before being taken away in a truck by two unidentified men.

A sophisticated forensic analysis of the footage has not yet been made.

Laotian authorities continue to refuse offers of technical assistance from the EU and the United States.

As Chairman of the ASEAN delegation in the European Parliament, Werner Langen says Laos could become isolated in ASEAN if the human rights situation in the country fails to improve.

LANGEN: Our understanding is we discuss inside and outside view of human rights situation. We have ASEAN declaration on Human Rights. Laos has been a member of ASEAN since 1997 and Laos was completely isolated before, only 15 years ago. We understand our work as ASEAN delegation. We discussed human rights situation, democratic issues and our visit was in a situation for better understanding.

MADDOCKS: The delegation will present their findings in a report to the EU subcommittee on human rights and the foreign affairs committee.

The EU is one of the largest donors to Laos and when the parliament meets in the next month or so, Werner Langen says the EU’s sizeable support might well be reviewed.

LANGEN: Inside European parliament we need more access and better regulation on human rights. The European Union opened a delegation in 2003 and it’s giving an average of nearly 16 million Euros per year, especially against poverty and in different sectors, governance, rule of law, human rights, health education, agriculture, trade, climate change and this is the reason to discuss special cases like Sombath.

MADDOCKS: To coincide with the latest delegation to Laos, rights groups urged the EU to “use all its leverage”.

Amnesty International was one of those groups.

They’ve welcomed renewed pressure on the case of Sombath Somphone but they say it needs to go beyond just raising the case… concrete questions need to be asked.

ABBOTT: There are a lot of outstanding questions around Sombath’s disappearance including why can’t any of us see the original CCTV footage, the traffic camera footage that captured him being taken from a police post? Why can’t the families see that? Why can’t other countries help with analysing the footage to find out who might have been responsible for taking Sombath. You know, we welcome the fact that many countries had raised the case when it happened, raised their concern. But what we’ve found is often it stops at that. That it’s kind of an item on the agenda when foreign dignitaries meet with their Laos counterparts and then kind of that’s it.

MADDOCKS: Ng Shui Meng is the wife of Sombath Somphone.

Last month, she told The Age newspaper in Australia that if her husband is returned, they will leave Laos and retire quietly.

Every day since Sombath disappeared has been “an eternity of waiting,” she said, “wavering between hope and despair.”

European delegation chair Werner Langen says the Laos government needs to give a sign that Sombath is still alive.

LANGEN: I think the government could be able to deliver.

MADDOCKS: Why do you think that? What indication have they given you?

LANGEN: No concrete indications. That is the problem. Our ambassador in Laos is also on the way to discuss it with authorities in Laos and we hope that Sombath could be, I don’t know exactly, we don’t have a lifesign at the moment and we hope that Sombath could come back to his family.

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