PH Embassy in Syria warns Filipinos of mortar attacks in Damascus

  Filipinos residing in Syria have been cautioned as mortar attacks continue to poundDamascus, the country's capital. The Philippine Embassy in Syria issued a security advisory calling on Filipinos based inDamascus and nearby areas to take precautionary measures when strolling outside theirhomes or traveling to and from of their work place, Radyo INQUIRER reported on Saturday. "In the spate of the recent mortar shelling in the areas of Bab Touma and Abbasseen, whichhave injured several individuals, all Filipinos residing in Damascus and nearby areas arereminded to take precautionary measures," the advisory said. Bab Touma and Abbasseen are both major boroughs in ...Keep on reading: PH Embassy in Syria warns Filipinos of mortar attacks in Damascus.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJan 13th, 2018

Investigators probe deadly twin attacks in Ouagadougou

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso – Authorities in Burkina Faso were on Saturday, March 3, hunting for clues about the masterminds behind Friday's deadly twin attacks on the French embassy and the country's military HQ. The coordinated attacks in Ouagadougou, which coincided with a meeting of regional anti-jihadist forces, underlined the struggle the fragile ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

Dozens dead or wounded in attacks on Burkina military HQ, French embassy

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso – Twin attacks on the French embassy in Burkina Faso and the country's military headquarters Friday, March 1 left dozens dead or wounded, security sources said. The apparently coordinated attacks underlined the struggle the fragile West African nation faces in containing a bloody and growing jihadist insurgency. The government said ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

US shrinks its Cuba mission after mystery attacks

WASHINGTON, USA – The United States is to permanently scale back its mission to Cuba after what it alleges was a series of mystery "attacks" on the diplomats, the State Department said Friday, March 2. The Havana embassy had already been operating with a reduced staff since September 2017, when diplomats and family ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

US makes Cuba embassy cuts permanent after ‘health attacks’

      WASHINGTON (AP) --- Citing mysterious "health attacks" in Havana, the United States said Friday it is making permanent its withdrawal of 60 percent of its diplomats from Cuba, extending an action that has hurt the island nation's economy and cramped Cubans' ability to visit the U.S. Last October, the State Department ordered non-essential embassy personnel and the families of all staff to leave Havana, arguing the U.S. could not protect them from unexplained illnesses that have harmed at least 24 Americans. But by law, the department can only order diplomats to leave for six months before either sending them back or making the reductions permanent. The...Keep on reading: US makes Cuba embassy cuts permanent after ‘health attacks’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

U.S. makes new push for UN Syria chemical weapons probe

UNITED NATIONS – The United States is asking the UN Security Council to set up a new inquiry of chemical weapons attacks in Syria following reports of suspected chlorine use in Eastern Ghouta, according to a draft resolution obtained by Agence France-Presse on Thursday, March 1. The US push to ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2018

Air strikes on Ghouta continue; poison gas symptoms seen

DOUMA, SYRIA — Fresh bombardment by the Syrian regime on Monday killed at least 10 civilians in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, including nine members of a same family, a monitor said. Air strikes destroyed a building in Douma, the main town in the Eastern Ghouta area east of Damascus, and buried alive an […] The post Air strikes on Ghouta continue; poison gas symptoms seen appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsFeb 26th, 2018

Syrian govt assault on Damascus suburbs to continue – Iran

Iran said pro-Damascus forces would press ahead with attacks on an insurgent enclave near the Syrian capital, as ground fighting raged on there in defiance of a U.N. resolution demanding a 30-day truce across the country......»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsFeb 26th, 2018

Demafelis slay suspect held

THE second suspect in the brutal murder of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis is now in the custody of authorities in Syria, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Saturday night. “We have just been informed by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait that Mona Hassoun, wife of Nader Essam….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsFeb 25th, 2018

PH officials meet nationals in Kuwait amid OFW deployment ban

A delegation of Philippine labor officials were in Kuwait City Sunday to assess the impact of a new ban on Filipinos working in the emirate, a source of much-needed remittances. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month announced a departure ban for Filipinos planning to work in Kuwait, after the murder there of29-year-old Joanna Demafelis. Her body was found in a freezer and a Lebanese-Syrian couple suspected of her murder have been arrested in the Syrian capital, Damascus, after an Interpol manhunt. Philippine Deputy Minister of Labor and Employment Ciriaco Lagunzad said the delegation was looking at the side effects of the ban, which will likely impact many ...Keep on reading: PH officials meet nationals in Kuwait amid OFW deployment ban.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 25th, 2018

Activist nun warns of erosion of Filipinos’ moral fiber

Activist nun Sister Mary John Mananzan has warned about the erosion of the Filipinos' moral fiber, describing the development as "worse than martial law."   Mananzan --- one of the most recognizable faces in the events of the 1986 People Power Revolution in February that eventually toppled the dictator Ferdinand Marcos --- said the Catholic faithful now "see the loss of respect for people, for life, for law."   "We are threatened by something worse than martial law. We are seeing an erosion of our moral fiber as a people," said the outspoken nun from the Benedictine Order.   A former president of St. Scholastica's College, Mananzan was on the front line o...Keep on reading: Activist nun warns of erosion of Filipinos’ moral fiber.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 25th, 2018

Syria enclave a ‘hell on earth’

DOUMA, Syria -- International pressure mounted Thursday to end civilian suffering in a rebel-held enclave near Damascus where Syrian jets have been raining bombs in a blitz that has killed more than 300. United Nations chief Antonio Guterres described the death and devastation that has engulfed Eastern Ghouta since Sunday….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsFeb 22nd, 2018

Syria: A father says last goodbye to child

    BEIRUT --- A father saying his last goodbye to his dead child, before the shelling starts again.   It's a grief shared by all too many parents trapped with their children under a brutal, government siege of the eastern Ghouta region outside the Syrian capital of Damascus. The government, backed by Russia, is determined to bring the once rebellious region back under its authority.   In one poignant video shared by residents inside, a father who isn't identified picks up the shrouded body of a child from the back of a truck and holds him close to his chest. Someone off camera tells others nearby to let the man say goodbye to his son. The man ro...Keep on reading: Syria: A father says last goodbye to child.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 22nd, 2018

Nearly 200 dead in Syria enclave as UN warns situation out of control

ARBIN, Syria (UPDATED) – Air strikes hit Syria's Eastern Ghouta for a third straight day on Tuesday, February 20, bringing the civilian death toll to nearly 200 as the UN warned the situation in the rebel enclave was spinning "out of control". Air strikes and rocket and artillery fire have battered ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsFeb 20th, 2018

12th Ambassador’s Tour of PH launched

WASHINGTON, D.C.--- The 12thAmbassador's Tour, which will feature the top tourist attractions in Manila, Cebu and Bohol on July 9 to 15 was recently launched at the Philippine Embassy. The 12thAmbassador's Tour provides a unique opportunity to US-based Filipinos and Americans to see firsthand one of the best value travel destinations in the world and one of the most dynamic economies in Asia.It is a joint undertaking of the Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the United States, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism, and Rajah Tours. "I am pleased to invitebalikbayansand our American friends to explore the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of the Philippin...Keep on reading: 12th Ambassador’s Tour of PH launched.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 19th, 2018

Do not test Israel s resolve, Netanyahu warns Iran

MUNICH, Germany – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tehran on Sunday, February 18, over aggressions by Iran and its "proxies" in Syria, saying he would not allow them to "put a noose of terror around our neck." Calling it "a message to the tyrants of Tehran," ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsFeb 19th, 2018

Israel warns over Iran s presence in Syria after air strikes

JERUSALEM – Israel issued stark warnings on Sunday, February 11 over Iran's presence in neighbouring Syria after a confrontation threatened to open a new and unpredictable period in the country's seven-year civil war. Israel carried out major air raids in Syria on Saturday, February 10 including against what it described as ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2018

U.N. demands Syria ceasefire as air strikes pound rebel areas

The United Nations called on Tuesday for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Syria of at least a month, as heavy air strikes were reported to have killed scores of people in the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus......»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2018

Air strikes pound Syria’s last rebel strongholds, gas chokes civilians

Warplanes launched heavy attacks on the two last major rebel-held areas in Syria, killing at least 29 people in the Ghouta suburb near the capital and choking people with gas in Idlib in the northwest, rescue workers and a war monitor said on Monday......»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsFeb 6th, 2018

‘Freedom and Crime’ by Jun Ledesma

Letters From Davao:  AM NOT SURPRISED when some quarters are exploiting to the hilt the order of the Securities and Exchange Commission to shut down the operations of Rappler.The bannered story warns of the muzzling of the press. Rappler itself, quoting Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, wrote that if Duterte wants to close the media establishment they could have just sent the military. Of course it is the usual Rappler’s furtive way of saying it which is very characteristic of this media outfit.  But this is not about press freedom. It is about media ownership which, under Philippine laws, should be 100% owned by Filipinos. For years since the inception of Rappler, the impression was that it is fully owned by Pinoys. There are Filipinos  with extra money to spare who invested money in Rappler in the hope that they can support an independent media outfit. As every body knew, the big media establishments are tools used by the wealthy and famous to protect their interest from political predators but they end up using the muscle of the press to either promote or destroy politicians and their adversaries.  Not until SEC ordered the closure of Rappler that it came out in the open that  the notorious ON OMIDYAR had wormed its way in and into the heart and brain of Rappler. The characters behind these outfits are shrewd but not wise enough their own disclosures in their PDRs gave them away. The Philippine Deposit Receipts which Rappler through its holding company issued explicitly granted ON OMIDYAR to have a say in the operations and business of Rappler.  Ma. Ressa’s attention was called by SEC on this critical item but it appears that she was not paying attention or might have thought she can deal with the problem anyway.  Looks like she sat on the problem that even the  members of the 5-man Commission who, except for one,  are all appointees of ex-Pres. Noynoy Aquino have reach a point of decision.  As the story unravels, again it showed that there was an attempt to correct the provisions in the PDRs by submitting ON OMIDYAR’s waiver on its right to intrude into the conduct of business of Rappler. Again Rappler showed its cavalier attitude, it submitted the waiver document which was not even notarized.  Obviously even the Aquino-controlled SEC cannot take the lackadaisical attention of Ma. Ressa. It revoked the SEC registration of Rappler.  Even as it had been axed, Ressa and Pia Ranada fought back, the later calling Pres. Rodrigo Duterte names as if they reign supreme and they alone know what freedom of the press means. To add to her dramatics Pia intoned  that she is prepared to go to prison for exercising her rights of free expression. She forgot that It was Duterte who, early in his presidency signed an EO on Freedom of Information.  Ressa and Ranada wailed their press freedom had been curtailed. But such is not the case. Every word that they say saw print and broadcasted in nearly 2,000 media outlets in the Philippines and not counting the social media. The revocation of Rappler’s permit is not about freedom of the press but its violation of the constitution which succinctly underlines that media establishment must be 100% Filipino owned.   In hindsight the Duterte government was even too kind to Rappler even as it was the leading media organization that demonize Duterte in every turn. I had seriously doubted its overtures that brag it stands for truth and fairness. During the senate hearing on extra-judicial killing allegedly carried out by the Davao Death Squad which Sen. Leila De Lima and Sen. Antonio Trillanes claimed was organized by Duterte, Rappler simply swallowed what witnesses Matobato and Lascanas said.  In 2009 when as CHR Chair De Lima conducted a probe on EJK the number of victims she alleged then was less than 300. The probe lasted for months with nary a piece of evidence was found to indict Mayor Duterte. She pursued her quest to pin Digong when she became Justice Secretary but again she failed. When she became senator she became even more aggressive she placed a bungling Matobato in the witness stand. But Matobato was flawless in his delivery when he was interviewed by Time Magazine. It was unmistakable he was reading from an idiot’s card. He proudly state that as member of DDS he killed and buried more than 200 persons in an abandoned quarry. Yet he cannot find the grave of his victims.     When it was the turn of Lascanas to testify in the senate inquiry, he casually said that they buried more than 2,000 EJK victims in the same quarry.  Between the two perjured witness they  confessed to the  killing of over 2,200 victims of EJK which they buried, they said, in the abandoned quarry. It is simply a classic fantasy. A manslaughter of such magnitude cannot escape notice especially when that narrow piece of land is just about four kilometers from city hall and so adjacent to a number of housing subdivisions. Nevertheless, if they were so sure then why cannot they find a single piece of viable evidence.   In all these occasions Rappler gave the hearings liberal space and took the testimonies of the witnesses as the biblical truths. Both Rappler and Time Magazine adopted exactly the same flawed statistics which in their recent count had reached 13,000 EJK victims. I am based in Davao and frankly I am amazed […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJan 27th, 2018

Goodbye BBL, Hello Federalism

COTABATO CITY – For the third time around, majority Christian lawmakers in the House of Representatives are expected to reject the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL being pushed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014. Instead of BBL, lawmakers are now pushing for a federal form of government and President Rodrigo Duterte is also strongly advocating the shift to federalism, an advocacy he made even before when he was the mayor of Davao City. Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque also said Duterte’s priority now is to change the form of current government and this can only be achieved through amendments in the Constitution which lawmakers are currently working on. There was also a proposal to hold a plebiscite next year in time for the mid-term elections for Filipinos to decide whether to accept or reject federalism. But there are also many lawmakers who wanted to cling to power and extend their term of office until 2022 when voters would have to choose their leaders in national elections. BBL Duterte has previously backed the BBL and expressed optimism that the draft law will pass the scrutiny of Congress that previously opposed it – during Arroyo and Aquino’s presidency. But Duterte himself has been campaigning for BBL and federalism even before he won the presidency in 2016. And his political allies in Congress are supporting the proposed shift from the current presidential system to federalism, and not the BBL. The MILF, whose ageing leaders, called for the passage of BBL may be overridden by Duterte’s plans to grant regions autonomy through federalism. It said the administration of Duterte should immediately work for the passage of the BBL where the Aquino government left off. It stressed that the negotiation is completed following the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the MILF and government peace panels. Politicians questioning the BBL said the provisions in the draft law remain the same.  Zamboanga City Representative Celso Lobregat, who was one of those who opposed the BBL during the Aquino administration citing unconstitutional provisions in the draft law, is again raising the same issue. Unconstitutional In a previous statement, Lobregat made it clear, he will be vigilant and consistent with his stand with regards to the BBL. “I am for peace, I am not anti-peace, but we need a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is just, that is fair, that is acceptable, feasible and more importantly, it should not be contrary to the Constitution and existing laws,” he said. He said the BBL which the Bangsamoro Transition Commission submitted to Duterte still contains the same and even more contentious and questionable provisions. “Among the contentious provisions in the present version of the BBL is that there will be six plebiscites – one for ratification of the law, and second the periodic plebiscite every 5 years for a period of 25 years in the cities, municipalities and other geographic areas outside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which did not join the Bangsamoro after the ratification of the BBL,” Lobregat said. Lobregat, who was also former mayor of Zamboanga City, said Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was the predecessor of the old BBL filed during the previous 16th Congress. The MOA-AD was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2008 describing the process that led to its crafting as “whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic.” He said the MOA-AD and the BBL have similar provisions, with some unconstitutional and controversial provisions. “Instead of promoting peace, there will be a constant tug of war on the political boundaries that will promote instability. The Bangsamoro will try to expand its area of jurisdiction and in turn, the local government adjacent, surrounding or neighboring the Bangsamoro will also fight tooth and nail in order to retain their territory,” Lobregat said. Lobregat said he will again be active and vigilant in the committee deliberations, plenary debates and caucuses to ensure that the interest of Zamboanga City and the rest of Mindanao are protected. Davao del Norte Representative and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte’s ally in the lower chamber, said the country’s push for federalism has almost the same concept of the BBL. “The BBL will be absorbed by the federal form of government, because that’s the same. The concept of BBL is the same in federal form of government,” he said, suggesting an amendment in the Constitution. “How can you implement the provisions of the BBL without amending the Constitution? You cannot do it because there are provisions in the BBL that run contrary to the provisions of the Constitution,” said Alvarez. MILF’s rival group, the Moro National Liberation Front under Nur Misuari, has strongly opposed the government peace talks with the MILF, citing a 1996 peace accord with Manila. And Misuari, who eventually became government of the Muslim autonomous region, is now facing rebellion charges for deadly attacks in Sulu’s Jolo town and in Zamboanga City in 2001; and another raid in 2013 in retaliation to government’s failure to fully comply with the peace agreement. Under the accord, Manila would have provided a mini-marshal plan in the restive region and livelihood and housing facilities for thousands of MNLF rebels. Misuari, a close friend and political ally of Duterte, also wanted to become a perpetual regional governor. He is also […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJan 27th, 2018