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Sunday, May 10, 2009

UN chief calls for global compassion, solidarity on Buddhist day of Vesak

UNITED NATIONS, In a message commemorating the Vesak Day, which marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday called upon the world to learn from the spiritual leader's sense of compassion.

"The financial crisis, climate change, pandemics, terrorism and other international threats prove that the fates of all people are linked," the secretary-general wrote in his message.

He noted that a problem for one country can quickly turn into a global threat, saying that "I constantly remind leaders that we must act together or we will fail individually."

It is in the world's best interest to join forces in solidarity, as well as the right thing to do, Ban said. "More than 2,500 years ago Buddha taught that nothing exists in isolation."

Underscoring the idea, Ban noted that Buddha also taught that we "cannot be happy as long as others suffer, and that when we do reach out, we discover the best in ourselves."

"On this day of Vesak, let us resolve to help people who are suffering so that we may secure a better future for all," he said.

Vesak is an annual holiday observed traditionally by practicing Buddhists in South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, such as Nepal, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan and India.

Sometimes informally called "Buddha's birthday," it actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment Nirvana, and passing (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha.

The exact date of Vesak varies according to the various lunar calendars used in different traditions. In Theravada countries following the Buddhist calendar, it falls on the full moon Uposatha day (typically the 5th or 6th lunar month). While the Vesak Day in China, it is on the eighth of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar but falls in April or May.
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Cambodia to strengthen security for ASEAN-EU ministerial meeting

PHNOM PENH, More than thousand of police and military police will be in force in order to safeguard the upcoming ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting to be held here in late May, national media reported on Sunday.

The Interior Ministry will be responsible for the security of the meeting, and military and police will be deployed to have the meeting not be affected by demonstrations and terrorism activities, the Chinese-language newspaper Cambodia Sin Chew Daily quoted Khieu Sophak, the ministry spokesman, as saying.

"Tight security will be in force in meeting-place," said Khieu, but he did not give the details of the deployment of the security force.

Delegations from 40 ASEAN and EU countries will gather here in late May to discuss ways to fight terrorism, human trafficking, drug smuggling, weapon proliferation, according to a statement from the government.

The 17th Ministerial Meeting between ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and EU (European Union) will review previous and future cooperation between the two regional bodies from May 27 to 28, said the statement issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong and Vaclav Klaus, Czech President and current EU President, will be named as co-presidents of the meeting.
The 16th Ministerial Meeting between ASEAN and EU was held in Germany from March 14 to 15, 2007 with the adoption of the Nuremberg Declaration on an ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership which sets the direction and the agenda for ASEAN-EU relations in the years to come.

The meetings rotate between ASEAN and EU countries.
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