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NKorean group demands US be turned to ‘ashes and darkness’

NKorean group demands US be turned to ‘ashes and darkness’.....»»

Category: newsSource: manilatimes_net manilatimes_netSep 14th, 2017

Marawi war victims unite, threaten to launch ‘holy war’

&'160; MARAWI CITY – A shadowy group calling itself the “Meranaw Victims Movement” has threatened to launch its own jihad or holy war if a set of demands, among them government compensation for the destruction of Marawi and the victims of war between security forces and local IS militants in the besieged city in southern Philippines. Speaking in Arabic, the group &'' comprising about 3 dozen masked gunmen &'' released a 14-minute video and statement on social media and stated the following demands: First, we would like to ask our kinsfolk from among the so-called ISIS/Maute Group to leave Marawi City at once and free their hostages, Muslims and Christians alike; Second, we would like to ask the Philippine Government, especially President Rodrigo Duterte, the following – to allow the civilians to return to their homes in areas in Marawi City that were already cleared by the military; stop the aerial bombings of Marawi City if only to salvage houses or buildings that may not have been destroyed yet; stop the abuses of some military and police personnel at checkpoints and accord respect to civilians, especially the women. And ease the access to and from Marawi City, especially the roads through the village of Maliwanag so that people in the 1st District of Lanao del Sur would have better and convenient road access; secure the remains of civilians so they may not be mixed with the garbage in the process of military clearing operations and so that they may be given proper burial even if only skeletons are left of them; to provide immediate appropriate material and financial support to all wounded civilian victims similar to the support being provided by the government to wounded military and police personnel; compensate for the damaged houses and buildings, wasted goods and merchandise of civilians and provide for their livelihood as well. And to rebuild or rehabilitate the mosques and madrasahs and other destroyed structures that represented the Meranao culture and heritage; importantly, the government should not make any hint that it would occupy the land of the Meranaws on the basis of military reservation, instead it should help legitimate owners to have their respective land titles; and for the military and police personnel to avoid occupying mosques and madrasahs. It also demanded from local politicians to account for all the relevant government funds such as the Calamity Fund and all other assistance and donations, and ensure transparent and equitable implementation or spending of the same. And has urged the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front to support its demands by ensuring that these reach all those concerned. The Meranaw Victims Movement strongly denied that locals &'' whom the government and authorities blamed for allowing militants to build up forces and occupy the city &'' condone the violence and said it is willing to face off with IS fighters in an effort to drive out the gunmen. It also blamed local leaders as responsible for failing to prevent the IS attacks. “First, we did not conform with the using of Marawi City as sanctuary neither did we approve of what some of our kinsfolk who claimed to be ISIS/Maute Group did which ignited the war in Marawi City that has brought about grave sufferings to the Meranaw people. Second, we deem unacceptable the actions of the Government that caused the displacement of tens of thousands and deaths of several civilians due to the aerial bombings and use of heavy armaments in Marawi City which are among those prohibited under International Humanitarian Law.” “Third, we hold our local leaders, past and present alike, responsible for failing to prevent the ISIS/Maute Group from carrying out their plan since they were fully aware of the group’s presence in the city prior to the siege, and for literally forsaking the civilians like orphans in the midst of great danger during the onset of the siege on May 23, 2017. Fourth, we are dismayed with the MILF since, until now, nothing was heard of them, let alone have they made a categorical position on the current Marawi crisis,” it said. If all the demands are not met, the group said it will take actions not only against IS militants, but the Duterte government as well. “To our ISIS/Maute Group kinsfolk, if you would not heed our call, we would be compelled to face you because by then you no longer care for the welfare of the people and you did not only fail to realize but have violated the essence of Jihad in Islam. To the Government, this will be the last time that we will ask in relation to previous demands of various sectors of the Meranaw society, and that if the foregoing demands will fall to deaf ears, likewise, we will be compelled to fight for our rights that have been trampled upon and that Jihad becomes our legitimate recourse.” “To our leaders, should we find out that you defraud or corrupt the assistance and support intended for the evacuees, we will unrelentingly pursue until we take them for the people in whatever means possible. To the MILF, take note that the demand for the approval of the BBL becomes irrelevant if the key area where it should be implemented would no longer be in the hands of the Meranaw, and that by then the support of the people of Lanao becomes weak in time that [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated News6 hr. 26 min. ago

ISIS claims London terror attacks that killed 7; police arrest 12 in raids – Fox News

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the latest London terror attack through its propaganda wing Amaq News Agency, the SITE intelligence group reported Sunday. The terror network reportedly claimed a &'8220;detachment&'8221; of its fighters crashed a rented van into a crowd of people on London Bridge before going on a stabbing rampage Saturday night, killing seven people and wounding nearly 50 others. However, ISIS gave no evidence to back up its claim. Earlier on Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the “evil ideology” behind the London attacks. May addressed the attacks Sunday after a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergency committee. She called for a tougher stance against extremists and tougher controls on cyberspace to prevent its use by extremists. She said the measures were needed because “terrorism breeds terrorism” and attackers copy each other. Counterterrorism police carried out raids in east London and arrested 12 people in connection with the attacks. &'8220;Searches of a number of addresses in Barking are continuing,&'8221; London Metro Police said as the raids were being conducted. The homes raided included one belonging to one of the three terrorists who carried out the attacks, Sky News reported. &'8220;He's lived here for about three years,&'8221; neighbor Damien Pettit said. &'8220;He's one of our neighbors. I've said hello in passing more than 50, 60 occasions. He has two young kids. He was a very nice guy.&'8221; ISIS has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in recent years &'8212; but police have pushed back in some instances. The terror network announced it was behind the deadly attack on a casino and shopping complex in the Philippines last Friday &'8212; but Manila police said the killer was a Filipino gambling addict heavily in debt, with no terror links. Saturday’s horror began around 10 p.m. local time when a white van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on London Bridge. The van’s three occupants then jumped out with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market, police said. Elizabeth O’Neill said her son was stabbed in the stomach by a man who approached him and yelled “this is for Islam.” Daniel O’Neill, 23, suffered a 7-inch knife wound, she said, according to Sky News. He was recovering. &'8220;He had just stepped outside the bar for a second and a man ran up to him and said 'this is for my family, this is for Islam' and stuck a knife straight in him,” the mother said. Gerard Vowles, 47, told local media that he saw the three attackers stabbing a woman at the south end of London Bridge. He said he threw chairs, glasses and bottles at the attackers in a bid to stop them. &'8220;They went 'this is for Allah' and then they just started stabbing her multiple times,” he told Sky News. The Guardian quoted Vowles as saying, “They kept coming to try to stab me. They were stabbing everyone. Evil, evil people.” He added, according to the paper, &'8220;I want to know if this girl is still alive. I've been walking around for an hour and a half crying my eyes out. I don't know what to do.&'8221; Brad Myers, an American vacationing in London, told “Fox &'38; Friends” Sunday that he had just taken some pictures and was about to walk along the Thames River when he heard a noise. “Then I saw the van come on to the pavement and continue along the side of the road just right where I was a few moments before, just mowing down pedestrians,” he said. “Everyone was in shock,” he said. What he saw reminded him of the truck attack in Nice, France. “It’s crazy to think I was right there,” Myers said. Eight police officers killed the attackers after arriving on the scene within eight minutes. The officers fired 50 shots, London's assistant police commissioner Mark Rowley said at a press briefing Sunday, calling the number unprecedented. One of the bullets struck an innocent bystander. The person was recovering in a hospital. Rowley said that the officers had no choice. &'8220;The situation these officers were confronted with was critical &'' a matter of life and death &'' three armed men, wearing what appeared to be suicide belts, had already attacked and killed members of the public and had to be stopped immediately,&'8221; he said. It turned out the suicide belts were fake. Rowley said the van had been rented recently by one of the attackers. May said 48 people were injured and many had life-threatening injuries. Thirty-six remained hospitalized Sunday. A courageous cop was one of the wounded. He confronted the three knife-wielding terrorists armed only with a baton. He was stabbed in the face, head and a leg. He was in stable condition. British Transport Police Chief Constable Paul Crowther said of the officer that &'8220;it became clear that he showed enormous courage in the face of danger.&'8221; Crowther added that &'8220;for an officer who only joined us less than two years ago, the bravery he showed was outstanding and makes me extremely proud.&'8221; Those killed included a Canadian and a French national. May said the Thursday's national election would be held as scheduled because &'8220;violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process.&'8221; Major parties suspended national campaigning Sunday out of respect for the victims. Speaking to Fox News from London, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said the latest [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJun 5th, 2017

Ex-cop turned gang leader nabbed

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines – A former police officer and alleged leader of a crime group was arrested in Bamban, Tarlac on Friday.           .....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2017

US airstrike turned a home in Iraq s Mosul into a death trap

CAIRO — Accounts from witnesses and survivors cast doubt on American suggestions that the Islamic State group was to blame for the deaths of more than 100 pe.....»»

Category: worldSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2017

Rights group urges China to release NKorean refugees

Rights group urges China to release NKorean refugees.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsApr 24th, 2017

BATANG MINDANAW: Cry of Mt. Apo: Let it Heal

By Bess A. Tulio DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 19 April) &'8212; Fire grew bigger by the second as the mountain burned. Animals wailed in pain as they tried to escape the intense heat threatening to kill them in one gulp. Flora and fauna turned into ashes, and Mt. Apo screamed in pain while pieces of her [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsApr 19th, 2017

Why do airlines overbook? – BBC News

A common overbooking problem on a United Airlines flight on Sunday ended with a man being bloodied and dragged from his seat and an already troubled airline earning more bad press. How did it all go so wrong? Overbooking on flights happens all the time. Empty seats cost airlines money, so they offset the number of passengers who miss flights by selling too many tickets. In this case, the problem arose because United decided at the last minute to fly four members of staff to a connection point and needed to bump four passengers to make way for them. When there's an overbooking issue the first step is to offer an inducement to the passengers to take a later flight. On Sunday passengers were offered $400 (£322), a hotel room for the night, and a flight the following afternoon. When no-one took the offer, the amount was upped to $800. Still no-one bit, so a manager boarded the flight and informed passengers that four people would be selected to leave the flight. That selection is based on several factors, but frequent fliers and higher fare-paying passengers are given priority to stay aboard, a spokeswoman for United confirmed. A couple who were selected agreed to leave the plane voluntarily. A third passenger, reportedly the wife of the man who was forcibly removed, also agreed. The man, who said he was a doctor and had to see patients in the morning, refused. At this point, the airline could have identified another passenger for removal or raised its offer anywhere up to a maximum of $1,350. Erin Benson, a spokeswoman for United, could not confirm whether other passengers were sought. She did confirm that no offer was made above $800, but could not comment on why. According to eyewitnesses, the man who refused to be ejected said he was a doctor and he had appointments to keep the following day, though this has not been confirmed. This was a Sunday night flight; the next flight on offer didn't leave until 15:00 on Monday. An eyewitness said the man was &'8220;very upset&'8221; about the possibility of being bumped and attempted to call his lawyer. An airline manager told him that security would be called if he did not comply. At this point, security officers came to speak to him, first one then two more. As the video shows, their conversation ended with the man being yanked from his seat onto the floor and dragged off, blood visible on this face. United is technically within its rights to forcibly remove the man for refusing to leave the flight, and the step is part of the airline's carriage guidelines, but such instances are extremely rare. Of the 613 million people who flew on major US carriers in 2015, 46,000 were involuntarily denied boarding, according to data from the Department of Transportation &'' less than 0.008%. The majority of those would have been informed before they boarded the flight, said Charles Leocha, the founder of passenger advocacy group Travelers United. He could not remember seeing a passenger violently dragged off a plane. &'8220;It turned my stomach,&'8221; he said. Removing passengers at the last minute to make way for staff was also highly unusual, he said. Staff transport should be identified ahead of time and factored into bookings. US fliers have become resigned to chronic delays and poor service, according to Mr Leocha, and a lack of readily available information about their rights meant they were too dependent on the airline managers in situations like these. &'8220;Our expectations have been driven so low that passengers have begun to accept it,&'8221; he said. &'8220;What they shouldn't have to accept is being dragged off the flight to make way for an employee.&'8221; Oscar Munoz, CEO of United, said in a statement: &'8220;This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.&'8221; Mr Munoz said the airline would review the event and &'8220;reach out&'8221; to the passenger, though a spokeswoman could not confirm whether United was in touch with him yet. One of the security officers involved in the incident was suspended on Monday afternoon, pending a review, said the Chicago Department of Aviation in a statement. The actions of the officer were &'8220;obviously not condoned by the Department&'8221;, the statement said. Whatever happened on the flight &'' and the details will undoubtedly emerge in the coming days &'' it was a bad day for United, Mr Leocha said. The airline had only recently been at the centre of another controversy, when a fortnight ago it refused to let two girls board because they were wearing leggings. &'8220;This isn't really a lesson for passengers it's a lesson for airlines,&'8221; he said. &'8220;The only lesson here for passengers is when security get on throw up your hands, because otherwise you're going down the aisle with a fat lip.&'8221;( Oscar Munoz, CEO of United, said in a statement: &'8220;This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.&'8221; Mr Munoz said the airline would review the event and &'8220;reach out&'8221; to the passenger, though a spokeswoman could not confirm whether United was in touch with him yet. One of the security officers involved in the incident was suspended on Monday afternoon, pending a review, said the Chicago Department of Aviation in a statement. [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsApr 11th, 2017

Labor group demands Andanar resignation

Labor group demands Andanar resignation.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 6th, 2017

US warns of unilateral Syria moves if UN fails to act – Al Jazeera

The United States has warned it could take unilateral action if the United Nations fails to respond to a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town in Syria that killed more than 80 people, including many children. &'8220;When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action,&'8221; US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Wednesday. The warning came during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by France and Britain after an early morning attack on Tuesday in Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province. Britain, France and the US presented a draft resolution demanding a full investigation of the attack, which they blamed on the Syrian government. But talks ended without a vote after Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said the text was &'8220;categorically unacceptable&'8221;. Syria has denied the allegations, while Russia had blamed the rebels, saying the deaths occurred when a government shell hit a rebel chemical weapons depot. Haley lashed out at Moscow for failing to rein in Damascus, standing in the council chamber to hold up photographs of victims &'' one showing a young child lying lifeless, a mask covering his face. &'8220;How many more children have to die before Russia cares?&'8221; she asked. &'8220;If Russia has the influence in Syria that it claims to have, we need to see them use it,&'8221; she said. &'8220;We need to see them put an end to these horrific acts.&'8221; The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said at least 86 people, including 30 children, were killed in the raid on Khan Sheikhoun. Dozens more were left gasping for air, convulsing, and foaming at the mouth, doctors said. If confirmed, it will be be the worst chemical weapons attack in Syria since 2013, when sarin gas was used on a rebel-held area of Damascus. &'8220;If we are not prepared to act, then this council will keep meeting, month after month to express outrage at the continuing use of chemical weapons and it will not end,&'8221; Haley said. &'8220;We will see more conflict in Syria. We will see more pictures that we can never unsee.&'8221; The draft resolution backs a probe by the Organisation of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and demands that Syria cooperate to provide information on its military operations on the day of the assault. Russia's Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told the council the proposed measure was hastily prepared and unnecessary, but voiced support for an investigation. &'8220;The main task now is to have an objective inquiry into what happened,&'8221; he said. Negotiations continued on the proposed resolutions throughout most of Wednesday. Diplomats said it could come up for a vote at the council as early as Thursday. In a press conference at the White House later in the day, US President Donald Trump said the chemical attack had crossed &'8220;many, many lines&'8221; and had abruptly changed his thinking about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. &'160; Only days earlier multiple members of Trump's administration had said Assad's ouster was no longer a US priority, drawing outrage from Assad critics in the United States and abroad. But Trump said Tuesday's attack &'8220;had a big impact on me &'' big impact&'8221;. &'8220;My attitude towards Syria and Assad has changed very much,&'8221; he said, but refused to telegraph any potential US military retaliation. Since the attack, Trump has been under increasing pressure to explain whether it was egregious enough to force a US response. Robert Ford, former US ambassador to Syria, expressed scepticism that Trump would resort to military action. &'8220;As a presidential candidate he could not have been more clear that he wanted to avoid military involvement in the Syrian civil war,&'8221; he told Al Jazeera. &'8220;For him to order military strikes, even limited military strikes, in response to the chemical attack in Idlib, would be a gigantic change and not one that I'm at all sure that the administration is actually going to do.&'8221; Ford said all fingers point to the Syrian government as the culprit of the attack. &'8220;I find it laughable that governments such as Russia would suggest that rebels have a chemical weapons capacity but they always seem to use it on their own people and never on the Syrian army,&'8221; he added. Idlib hospitals overwhelmed after suspected gas attack Trump's first reaction to the attack was to blame former president Barack Obama's &'8220;weakness&'8221; in earlier years for enabling Assad. Obama had put Assad on notice that using chemical weapons would cross a &'8220;red line&'8221; necessitating a US response, but then failed to follow through, pulling back from planned air strikes on Assad's forces after Congress would not vote to approve them. Trump and other critics have cited that as a key moment the US lost much global credibility. &'8220;I now have responsibility,&'8221; Trump said. &'8220;That responsibility could be made a lot easier if it was handled years ago.&'8221; Joshua Landis, director for the Centre of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told Al Jazeera that the US would likely warn Moscow if it was to resort to using military might in Syria. &'8220;They have to disambiguate and they have to make sure that they don’t hurt any Russian soldiers,&'8221; he said. &'8220;But there’s a wide palette of things they can do. They can bomb airports and destroy the [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsApr 6th, 2017

the terror and torment of Turkey’s jailed journalists – The Guardian

Scores of imprisoned Turkish journalists face a Kafkaesque nightmare of legal limbo, farcical charge sheets, maltreatment and even solitary confinement in the country that locks up more reporters than any other in the world. A series of Guardian interviews and written exchanges with several of those jailed as a result of a sweeping media crackdown found a huge mental burden on the incarcerated, as well as tough social and intellectual restrictions. “I have been broken and twisted in more ways than I can imagine,” says the recently released novelist Aslı Erdoğan (no relation to the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan), who spent five days in solitary confinement at the start of four months of pretrial detention. Mehmet Altan, a journalist awaiting trial for supposedly attempting to bring down the government describes his life in prison as an environment “where no needs of a mature mind are met. It is like wearing striped pyjamas. It is a very narrow life without any joy or feeling to it.” “Never have I seen this much wrongdoing,” said Barış Yarkadaş, an MP in the opposition Republican People’s party (CHP) and a member of the media commission that monitors journalists’ arrests and provides them with legal aid. The media crackdown followed a coup attempt last July that left more than 200 people dead and more than 1,400 injured. The purges have led to tens of thousands of civil servants, members of the police, military and judiciary as well as academics and journalists being either detained or dismissed for alleged links to the network of Fethullah Gülen, an exiled preacher blamed for instigating the coup. Opponents of President Erdoğan say the purges have turned into a witch-hunt against dissidents in government, academia and the media, to stifle them before a historic referendum in April that would grant sweeping powers to the president. The CHP says 152 journalists are behind bars and 173 media outlets have been shut since the coup attempt, including newspapers, magazines, radio stations, websites and news agencies. More than 2,500 journalists have been laid off because of the closures and 800 have had their press cards revoked, with many also having their passports confiscated. The government only acknowledges that 30 journalists are in prison. In November, a dozen journalists at Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest newspaper and a bastion of opposition to Erdoğan, were arrested and most have remained in custody without formal indictments. The government has threatened to appoint a trustee board to manage the publication’s affairs in a move that would silence its critics. Many Kurdish outlets have been shut and often recreated under different names after accusations of propaganda on behalf of the PKK. Kurdish journalists have been repeatedly arrested while reporting on demonstrations against the government, only to be quickly released after one hearing, in a practice seen as an attempt to intimidate them. Last month Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist who works for Die Welt newspaper, was formally arrested because of his reporting on the hacking of the personal emails of Berat Albayrak, the energy minister and Erdoğan’s son-in-law. “Turkey now has the dubious honour of being the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, and free media in the country is in its death throes,” Amnesty International said after Yucel’s arrest. Aydın Doğan, head of the Doğan Group, which publishes one of the country’s leading newspapers, the Hürriyet, was recently summoned to court after an article published by the paper indicated there was discomfort in the military about what was happening politically – a move interpreted as a call for the military to intervene in politics. Some observers have described the accusations levelled against some leading journalists as bizarre. Ahmet Şik, an investigative journalist who is in prison, was accused of propaganda on behalf of the Gülen network, even though he authored a book called The Imam’s Army that exposed the group’s corrupt practices. “It’s a bit like arresting Martin Luther King for being a member of the Klan,” said one rights worker. Cumhuriyet has also often reported on the damaging influence of the Gülenists, who once shared power with the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP). When the director of the newspaper’s board, Akın Atalay, returned from overseas to challenge the order for his arrest he was detained because investigators determined he was a flight risk. “We all know this is absurdity,” said Yarkadaş, the CHP lawmaker who recently visited the Cumhuriyet journalists in prison. “This is not rule of law. This is undermining the law. “The government is saying if you oppose the regime we are planning to plant in Turkey, you will find yourself in prison and we will isolate you from the outside world.” Media outlets also face financial pressures. Monitors say the government is leaning on businesses to avoid advertising in opposition newspapers in order to curtail their revenues. The result has been that the vast majority of mainstream outlets are either openly supportive of the AKP government or are mildly centrist in their politics. The only major opposition outlets are Cumhuriyet and Halk TV, a station close to the CHP, and Sözcü, a tabloid similar to the Sun in the UK. Opposition officials say the oppressive media environment has limited the debate around the referendum and masked many problems in the country, including a worsening economic crisis, high youth unemployment, spiralling tensions with the PKK, terrorism and foreign policy woes. They say the stifling of discussion [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsMar 23rd, 2017

Weekly Reflections: A woman named Maria

March 8 is International Women’s Day. It is time for us to remember the more than a hundred women who were burned to death in New York City many years ago and to promise that never again women would be treated this way. Women were hired to work in a garment factory in that American city and the owner had to padlock them inside the factory for fear that they might steal. Unfortunately, there was a fire and the women workers inside were mercilessly turned into ashes......»»

Category: newsSource:  nordisRelated NewsMar 12th, 2017

Venezuela may have given passports to people with ties to terrorism – CNN News

The stunning postcard-perfect vista surrounding Misael Lopez in this town about one hour from Madrid belies his constant anxiety, even fear. That's because the former legal adviser to the Venezuelan Embassy in Iraq is revealing secrets he says his government doesn't want disclosed. &'8220;I'm concerned about my safety and my family's safety everywhere I go,&'8221; Lopez said as he walked the cobble-stoned streets of Toledo. Lopez, 41, says he reported what he says was a scheme to sell passports and visas for thousands of dollars out of the embassy and repeatedly turned down offers to get a cut of the money. But it was the response from his government &'8212; which has denied his allegations &'8212; that surprised him the most. CNN and CNN en Español teamed up in a year-long joint investigation that uncovered serious irregularities in the issuing of Venezuelan passports and visas, including allegations that passports were given to people with ties to terrorism. The investigation involved reviewing thousands of documents, and conducting interviews in the U.S., Spain, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. One confidential intelligence document obtained by CNN links Venezuela's new Vice President Tareck El Aissami to 173 Venezuelan passports and ID's that were issued to individuals from the Middle East, including people connected to the terrorist group Hezbollah. The accusation that the country was issuing passports to people who are not Venezuelan first surfaced in the early 2000s when Hugo Chavez was the country's president, interviews and records show. A Venezuelan passport permits entry into more than 130 countries without a visa, including 26 countries in the European Union, according to a ranking by Henley and Partners. A visa is required to enter the United States. Over the course of the CNN investigation, Lopez provided documents that show he repeatedly told Venezuelan officials about what he discovered. But he said instead of investigating his allegations, the government targeted him for disclosing confidential information. U.S. officials were also made aware of his findings. &'8220;You cannot be a cop, and a thief at the same time,&'8221; Lopez said. &'8220;I decide to be a cop and do the right thing.&'8221; Doing the right thing has cost him. It didn't start out that way. Lopez, a lawyer who worked as a police officer in Venezuela, said he thought becoming a diplomat was a great career opportunity, which would also allow him to serve his country. With that in mind, he moved to Baghdad to start his new life at the Venezuelan Embassy. But, he recalled, he got an unwelcome surprise on his first day in July 2013. His new boss, Venezuelan Ambassador Jonathan Velasco, gave him a special envelope, he said. &'8220;He gave me an envelope full of visas and passports,&'8221; Lopez recalled. &'8220;He told me, 'Get this, this is one million U.S. dollars.' I thought it was like a joke. Then he told me here people pay a lot of money to get a visa or a passport to leave this country.&'8221; About one month later, Lopez said he realized it was no joke. An Iraqi employee of the embassy, who was hired to be an interpreter, told him she had made thousands of dollars selling Venezuelan passports and visas, he said. And he could make a lot of money, too. But Lopez said he told her it was wrong and he refused. The employee pressed the issue, telling him there were thousands of dollars to be made, he said, even discussing an offer to sell visas to 13 Syrians for $10,000 each. And, Lopez, said, she told him he could get a cut of the money, too. Again, he said he refused. &'8220;I suspect it might be terrorists; that's why I reject, of course, immediately,&'8221; Lopez said. And he said it just got worse. Lopez said he was stunned when he found a document inside the embassy. It was a list of 21 Arabic names with corresponding Venezuelan passport numbers and Venezuelan identification numbers. A Venezuelan immigration official told CNN that a cross-check of the passport numbers indicated that the passports are valid and match the names on the list Lopez found &'8212; meaning the people on the list could be able to travel using those passports. But incredibly, a publicly available database in Venezuela examined by CNN shows 20 of the 21 identification numbers are registered to people with Hispanic names &'8212; not the Arabic names listed on the passports. Lopez kept investigating what was going on inside the embassy. He said he even found the case of a convicted drug dealer with an Iraqi identification certificate that appears to show he was born in Iraq. But the man had a Venezuelan passport that said he was born in Venezuela. He kept evidence and notes of what he found. Concerned that the passport and visa scheme was continuing without his knowledge, Lopez investigated the embassy employee who he said had offered to sell passports. He took photos of her desk where he says he found the embassy's official stamp, used to authenticate visas, as well as sheets of papers printed with the Venezuelan government seal. He eventually fired the employee. Lopez did not have any other documents that would confirm the allegations against her. The employee did not respond to repeated requests from CNN for comment. In April 2014, only nine months after he started the job, he emailed a report to Ambassador Velasco about [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsFeb 9th, 2017

Kidnapped Korean ship captain, Pinoy freed after 86 days

DAVAO CITY  (MindaNews  /14 Jan) &'8212;  Korean ship captain Chul Hong Park and Filipino ship officer Glenn Alindahaw had practically lost hope they would come out of Sulu alive until Saturday morning, January 2017,  when an unidentified group turned them over to Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza, ending 86 days in captivity. Park, captain [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Terror group rises from jihadist ashes

SECURITY officials are closely monitoring a new umbrella organization of Mindanao-based terrorist groups, police and military sources told the Manila Standard Monday......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Nation: P18-M alleged extortion money now with CIDG

IMMIGRATION Commissioner Jaime H. Morente claimed on Thursday that the P18 million out of the P50 million allegedly extorted money from Chinese gaming tycoon Jack Lam was already turned over to the police Criminal Detection and Investigation Group (CIDG)......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsDec 22nd, 2016

US turns over new anti-terrorism equipment to Philipppine

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines – The Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) based in the US embassy has turned over 24 pallets of new anti-terror.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 15th, 2016

Queen guitarist Brian May protests Japanese dolphin hunts

TOKYO (AP) — Brian May, guitarist of British rock group Queen, is taking a stand against Japan's dolphin killing, saying the slaughter of animals should end in the same way society has turned against slavery or witch-burning......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2016

ARMM gov’t takes over Sayyaf camp in Basilan

THE former Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) stronghold in Barangay Baguindan, Tipo-Tipo in Basilan was turned over by the military to officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), restoring full civilian control over the area. The turnover came afte.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2016

FARMER TURNED drug group leader surrenders

A farmer and alleged drug group leader surrendered on Wednesday evening to the police in Pili, Camarines Sur. Senior Supt. Wilfredo Pornillos, Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office (CSPPO) director, identified the surrenderer as Julian Morallo Sr., alias.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsSep 15th, 2016

Cham, Magsakay top ABC monthly

MANILA, Philippines - Jerry Canuday Cham of Boysen Paints turned in a six-game series of 1217 to capture the Group 1 crown while Violy Magsakay of Boysen Pai.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 5th, 2016