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Trump s Mideast team to push peace plan in region

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Donald Trump's Mideast negotiating team will visit the region next week as it finalizes its as-yet unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and will hold talks on deteriorating conditions in the Gaza Strip. The trip comes as officials say the Trump administration is near completion of the plan with an eye on a possible release this summer......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarJun 14th, 2018

Khashoggi killing threatens Trump dreams for Mideast peace

JERUSALEM: In recent months, the Trump administration has repeatedly put off the release of its long-awaited Mideast peace plan. Now, the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands...READ MORE The post Khashoggi killing threatens Trump dreams for Mideast peace appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2018

Abbas rejects biased U.S. as sole Mideast mediator

UNITED NATIONS – Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas tore into the Trump administration Thursday, September 27, refusing to accept the United States as the sole mediator in the Middle East conflict, a day after Donald Trump promised a "very fair" peace plan. The 82-year-old Palestinian Authority president used his address to the ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 28th, 2018

As Saudis wilt on field, kingdom pursues soccer power grab

By Rob Harris, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — The Saudis have ambitions to seize control over parts of international soccer. Losing 5-0 by Russia in the World Cup opener shows they might have bigger problems at home. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had to endure the humiliation in the stadium on Thursday, with Saudi Arabia's mauling in Moscow coming at the hands of a side just below the Saudis in the FIFA rankings. Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi studiously sidestepped a question about whether his federation had been distracted lately. But it has. Just when the Saudis had a first World Cup appearance in 12 years to prepare for, the federation has been mounting a power grab of soccer far beyond the kingdom. What appears the creation of just another bureaucratic institution within the sport could actually have wider ramifications. On its face, the establishment of the South West Asian Football Federation by the Saudis, including the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, to help to develop the game appears a benevolent undertaking, especially when the existing regional governing body is so vast. "Football is about growth and if you don't grow economically, socially, technically, you will not be moving," Saudi federation president Adel Ezzat told The Associated Press. "It's not enough for us to be in the World Cup. "We have a vision that an Asian country will win the World Cup one day, but there must be a start for that. Football is underdeveloped in many areas in Asia." Is the Asian Football Confederation to blame? "Ambitions have to be higher than winning the Asian Cup," Ezzat said. Confederation president Sheikh Salman, a Bahraini, said he "had no objection to the creation of SWAFF as long as it remains as a football body outside of the AFC's zonal structure." Scratch deeper below the surface and the true objectives of the new body seem a little cloudy. It is unclear why SWAFF is required when there are already regional offshoots of the AFC, including the West Asian Football Federation, which is led by Jordan's Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein who resisted an attempt by the Saudis to seize power of his organization before the new regional force emerged. "It will help Asia and it will help FIFA," Ezzat told The Associated Press. "We don't see anything wrong creating that connection between the south and the west. Football needs to grow." Ezzat maintained that SWAFF had followed the right legal steps to avoid breaching the rules of world football's governing body. Ezzat said FIFA governance committee head Mukul Mudgal had been dispatched by FIFA President Gianni Infantino to the SWAFF meeting on May 31 in Jeddah. The Indian judge denied he was in attendance. SWAFF said the founding members also include Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Maldives, Yemen, Oman and Kuwait. Oman Football Association General Secretary Said Othman Al Bulushi told the AP his nation was waiting to assess the statutes and legality of the body within FIFA before confirming its membership. The entire Gulf is not in SWAFF. Take a look at the map and three countries in particular are missing: Iran, Qatar and Yemen. "It's not about the geographic map," Saudi federation president Adel Ezzat said. "It's about zones." Could it also be about politics? For three years, a Saudi-led coalition has been trying to drive out Iranian-aligned Shiite rebels known as Houthis from Yemen to break the civil war in the Arab world's poorest nation and restore the exiled government. Across the Gulf, the Saudis are part of a quartet, including the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, which has spent the last year putting the squeeze on Qatar. Diplomatic ties with the energy-rich country have been severed amid allegations that Qatar supports extremist groups in the region, which Doha denies. The Qataris, though, have plowed ahead with preparations to host an event that will put them at the center of the world's attention: the next World Cup in 2022. Ezzat won't discuss Qatar, or the 2022 World Cup. Turki Al-Sheikh, head of Saudi Arabia's General Sports Authority, has been less circumspect, demanding earlier this year that Qatar be stripped of the hosting rights if corruption around its bid was proven. For now, in Saudi sights is Qatar's flagship sports network, which owns exclusive Middle East and North African rights to the World Cup. The BeIN Sports coverage of the Russia World Cup opener was watched across Saudi Arabia — but on a pirate channel. The beoutQ signal is transmitted by a Riyadh-based satellite provider, whose largest shareholder is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Still, the BeIN coverage was seized on by Al-Sheikh to threaten legal action against the network for "wrongdoings against KSA, its sports and officials, and for exploiting sports to achieve political goals." In a tweet, Al-Sheikh added Friday that this "proves Saudi authorities' true stance when banning this network from airing on its soil." Soccer's world body, though, is finally intervening. FIFA said it is "exploring all options to stop the infringement of its rights, including in relation to action against legitimate organizations that are seen to support such illegal activities." What FIFA would not say is whether Infantino raised Qatar's concerns when he watched the opener in the Luzhniki Stadium alongside the Saudi crown prince. Infantino has been a keen visitor to Saudi Arabia over the last year, including meeting King Salman, as intrigue has swirled about the country's role in a consortium's plans to underwrite $25 billion to launch a vastly expanded Club World Cup and an international Nations League. "He knows for a fact the importance of Saudi Arabia in the region," Ezzat said. "That's why I believe he is paying a lot of attention to Saudi Arabia. ... That's a very important sign. (FIFA) know this country can play a very important role in the development of football." Infantino, though, said he believed the backing for the new competitions was "not part of a wider Saudi sports grab." The proposals have stalled because of opposition within the council to Infantino's secrecy over the financial backers. Growing football is part of a sweeping "Vision 2030" plan to wean Saudi Arabia off its near-total dependence on oil money. Prince Mohammed is trying to push Saudi Arabia to become a more cosmopolitan nation that appeals to international investors. Ezzat wants to create new soccer competitions under the auspices of SWAFF and invite countries to participate from beyond the region — particularly Europe. "The country is going through an important change," Ezzat said. "Football can be a catalyst for change. The FIFA president I'm sure knows this very well. ... My country can play an important role in football." Just not the Saudi national team at the moment......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 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

Trump flouts world’s warnings, to name Jerusalem a ‘capital’

Published: 10:50 a.m., Dec. 6, 2017 | Updated: 1:18 a.m.. Dec. 7, 2017 WASHINGTON --- Defying dire, worldwide warnings, President Donald Trump prepared Wednesday to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move upending decades of US policy and carrying unclear consequences for Mideast peace efforts. Although officials said Trump would again delay action on his oft-repeated campaign promise to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital risks infuriating the Muslim world, and potentially sparking protests that could fray American alliances in the world's most volatile region. Trump administration officials...Keep on reading: Trump flouts world’s warnings, to name Jerusalem a ‘capital’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 6th, 2017

North Korea ‘fires’ missile over Japan – Al Jazeera

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile that flew over Japan before plunging into the northern Pacific Ocean, in a step termed by the Japanese prime minister as a &'8220;grave threat&'8221;. The launch appeared to be the first to cross over Japan since 2009, and comes amid ongoing annual military drill being carried out between the US and its close ally in the region, South Korea. The  South's joint chiefs of staff said the missile travelled abouit 2,700km and reached a maximum height of 550km as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and landed in the sea. The projectile was launched from the Sunan region near the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, just before 6am local time on Tuesday (21:00 GMT on Monday), the South Korean military said. Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that the missile flew over the northernmost main island of Hokkaido and broke into three pieces and fell into the waters 1,180km east of Cape Erimo. The test appeared to have been of a recently developed intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missile, experts said. It is the same sort of missile that North Korean threatened to fire on the US territory of Guam. The Japanese government's J-Alert warning system advised people in northern Japan to take precautions, but NHK said there was no sign of damage. Japan's military did not attempt to shoot down the missile, which passed over Japanese territory at about 6:06am local time (21:06 GMT). There was no immediate comment from North Korea. Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, said the missile launch over its territory was an &'8220;unprecedented, serious and grave threat&'8221;. &'8220;Their outrageous act of firing a missile over our country is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat and greatly damages the regional peace and security,&'8221; he said. In a 40-minute telephone call with US President Donald Trump, he said, the two allies had agreed to &'8220;further strengthen pressure against North Korea&'8221;. Abe said he would also call for an urgent meeting in the UN to discuss further action, strongly demanding stepped up pressures against the reclusive neighbour. Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay, reporting from Seoul, said that although there have been several recent missile launches by North Korea, and there are often launches this time of year due to military exercises between the US and its allies in the region, a missile passing over the Japanese mainland will be seen as a bigger provocation. &'8220;So this will certainly be viewed by Japan, the United States and South Korea as an uptick in the seriousness of the missile launches coming from North Korea,&'8221; he said. North Korea typically reacts with anger to US-South Korean military drills, which are happening now, often staging weapons tests and issuing threats to the two countries via its state-controlled media. But animosity is higher than usual following threats by Trump to unleash &'8220;fire and fury&'8221; on the North, and North Korea's stated plan to consider firing some of its missiles toward Guam. &'160; 183&'160;total views, 183&'160;views today.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsAug 29th, 2017

Trump budget plan shows how he would reshape nation – CNN News

An early glimpse at President Donald Trump's first budget proposal offers the clearest blueprint yet of how he plans to remake the nation. The plan envisages a 10% hike in military spending to be paid for by sharp cuts in other government departments, with the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency each bracing for a particularly painful hit. If enacted, the plan would involve a radical domestic reshaping of the federal government paired with a shift in the posture of American diplomacy around the world. It is an approach that flows directly from the rhetoric and positions adopted by Trump on the campaign trail playing to his grass-roots supporters' deep distrust of Washington and his &'8220;America First&'8221; political creed. &'8220;This is a landmark event, a message to the world, in these dangerous times, of American strength, security and resolve,&'8221; Trump said Monday. The budget plan comes at a time when the administration is making strenuous efforts to flesh out the ideological and political foundations on which the new GOP White House is built. Top officials, including the President, previewed a strident change of political direction at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, and Trump will intensify the effort with his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night &'8212; a crucial moment for the new administration. But the controversial nature of Trump's emerging budget &'8212; always a magnet for partisan opposition &'8212; guarantees a fight that will test the White House's capacity to corral lawmakers and shape public opinion. It also demonstrates a desire to boost military might and de-emphasize diplomatic reductions that will reverberate in foreign capitals of friends and foes alike. Already, a cadre of retired generals and admirals has warned that cutting State Department funding on diplomacy and development would make America less safe. Democrats say they will use every tool at their disposal, which includes the power of the filibuster in the Senate, to block Trump's plans. The President could also face resistance from Republican budget hawks in Congress. Defense hawks, meanwhile, are arguing that the $54 billion dollar hike in defense spending is not enough after years of budget sequestration that capped military funding. It is not yet clear exactly where the cuts will come from. Monday's announcement involved top-line numbers from the 2018 budget sent to government agencies that must now work out how to adjust their spending. Any budget issued by the White House is merely an opening bid, and many soon become worthless documents once Congress, with its competing demands on the public purse, gets to work. Democrats, who could try to frustrate Trump by refusing to lift caps on defense spending by wielding the Senate filibuster, sensed a political opportunity to undercut Trump's appeal to working-class voters as they try to rebuild their party's support ahead of midterm elections next year. &'8220;The budget proposal is a reflection of where the President is at and who he is (and) what today's hard-right Republican party &'8212; which has done this budget through its Cabinet &'8212; believes in,&'8221; said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. &'8220;Which is relieve the burdens on the wealthy and special interests, whether they be coal companies or financiers, and put the burden on the middle class.&'8221; But Trump styles himself as a shrewd negotiator steeped in the give-and-take of real estate transactions and is known for making the kinds of bold opening gambits that the budget announcement on Monday represents. The proposals were also formulated directly from the fiery speeches of the President's campaign, which underpinned his belief that he has a mandate for radical change and might make any compromise harder. &'8220;When you see these reductions, you'll be able to tie it back to a speech the President gave, or something the President had said previously,&'8221; Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters on Monday. &'8220;We are taking his words and turning them into policies and dollars.&'8221; The goals are consistent with the theory of Trumpism laid out by the President's political adviser, Steve Bannon, at CPAC last week, which included a push to &'8220;deconstruct the administrative state.&'8221; Indeed, the budget would remold the federal government by paring back programs introduced by the Obama administration &'8212; for example, EPA regulations on the fossil fuels industry &'8212; and other agency reductions. In practice, according to Mulvaney, that involves a sweeping reset of political priorities. &'8220;It is a true 'America first' budget,&'8221; said Mulvaney. &'8220;It will show the President is keeping his promises and doing exactly what he said he was going to do when he ran for office. It prioritized rebuilding the military, including restoring our nuclear capabilities, protecting the nation and securing the border, enforcing the laws currently on the books, taking care of vets and increasing school choice.&'8221; Still, with Trump vowing not to touch popular non-discretionary spending targets like Medicare and Social Security, his budget team faces a tortuous task in wringing out savings at agencies while preserving room for Trump's promised big tax cuts. Every dollar that is cut from discretionary spending could affect other popular and vital programs, including transportation, conservation, agriculture and commerce &'8212; all of which have powerful lobbies ready to go into battle for their funding. And Trump does not want to tighten the national belt everywhere. For instance, he is proposing spending billions of dollars on his pet project of a southern border wall, though he has promised [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2017

8ID Intensifies the Bayanihan Team Activity

8ID intensifies its Internal Peace Security Plan “Bayanihan” that encourages all the Government Agencies and Non-Government Organizations in working together to end up the socio-economic problems of this region......»»

Category: newsSource:  samarnewsRelated NewsJan 29th, 2017

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

SEOUL, South Korea --- North and South Korea continued their push for peace Monday with high-level talks that resulted in a host of agreements, including a plan by the rivals for a groundbreaking ceremony this year on an ambitious project to connect their railways and roads. The agreements come amid unease in Washington over the speed of inter-Korean engagement. Many outsiders believe that US-led efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear-tipped missiles are lagging significantly behind the Koreas' efforts to move past decades of bitter rivalry. There was also controversy over a decision by South Korea's Unification Ministry to block a North Korean defector-turned-reporter from ...Keep on reading: Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 15th, 2018

Jets McCown still leads, competes even as Darnold emerges

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Josh McCown is still No. 1 on the New York Jets' quarterback depth chart. At this point, though, he might as well be No. 100. With each practice, it appears increasingly likely that rookie Sam Darnold will be the starter when the regular season kicks off in three weeks. Not that McCown has done anything on the field to hurt his chances of retaining the job. It's simply a matter of circumstances. McCown is 39 and been there, done that. Darnold is 21, was the third overall pick in the draft, has immense talent and is considered the future of the franchise — and that future could be now. He has shined in his last several practices and will likely start Friday night against the Giants in the team's third preseason game. "Like I said the whole time, obviously, we traded up to (No.) 3 to draft a quarterback to get Sam because there's a plan in place," McCown said. "So we understand that." That "plan" has been to give Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater the bulk of the work in the preseason and see how they perform. So far, so good — and that means McCown could slide down the depth chart very soon. Coach Todd Bowles hasn't announced a regular-season starter yet, and says he might not do so until after the fourth preseason game. From all indications, it's trending in Darnold's direction. But McCown isn't necessarily reading into the fact Darnold is getting the bulk of the first-team snaps and that is causing the perception that the rookie will be the starter. "No, I mean, obviously, he's younger," McCown said. "I was taking these kind of reps when he was 4 years old." Actually, Darnold was 5 when McCown was in his first NFL training camp with Arizona in 2002. But, point made. "He needs the work and it's good for him," the veteran said. "Every rep is a great rep for all of us, there's no doubt about it." Sure, he wants to start, but McCown is a realist. He knows his days as an NFL player, let alone starting quarterback, are dwindling. "My goal for this is for the quarterback room to play well," said McCown, who signed a $10 million deal in the offseason to return to New York. "And if that's me playing out there, I want to play the best football that I can play. If that's Sam or that's Teddy, whoever that is, that's the ultimate goal." Last summer, McCown also saw limited action in the preseason as the Jets tried to give Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty the opportunity to seize the starting gig. Neither could and McCown was the clear starter. Darnold and Bridgewater have provided a different type of competition, a three-man race that is quickly becoming a two-man show — with McCown in the background. "It's fun to be out there playing and there's no substitute for that," McCown said. "That's why we do it. At the same time, when you look at things from that prospective, if you can help be a part of finding that guy that can be that guy for this franchise for a long time, that means something to me, that's competitive to me. That's what we get up for work to do, that's what makes it fun. "I don't feel like the forgotten guy because we're busy every day working, and working on those things. That's all that matters." McCown has been in just about every situation imaginable throughout his professional career, which is entering its 17th year. He has been a third-round pick, an up-and-coming passer, a backup, a starter and a place-holder in his stops with 10 teams. He spent one year out of the NFL and played in the United Football League. McCown has also spent time as a volunteer coach for a high school team in North Carolina. He has graciously handled the many ups and downs during his career. Those experiences help McCown balance his competitive nature and the willingness to help those trying to take his job. "I think for me, it's just a personal thing," McCown said. "At the end of the day, you go to work and you work as hard as you can and you help as many people as you can. And when you lay down and you can have peace in your heart at night, and you know that I did all I could that day, and then you sleep good. That's what I learned growing up and that's all I know." McCown takes nothing for granted and that's something he has stressed to the young players in camp, and not just the quarterbacks. He's the closest example of a player-coach you could find in the NFL, a mentor who seems destined to be in charge of a team someday. McCown's days of leading from the huddle might be about over, though. And, he's OK with whatever happens next. "At this point in my career, I don't know how many more years of this will happen, so you treasure every moment," he said. "I think when you keep those things in perspective, there are days — nobody is perfect — there are days when you want to take every rep and you look back and you go, 'Man, I wish I was just starting out again,' but (you put it) all in perspective. It's been fun and I enjoy being a part of this group. Todd sets a great tone and tempo every day for us and it is just an honor to be a part of it. "So that is really what keeps me going and what allows me to come and enjoy it and not get caught up in anything else.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2018

Koreas extend conciliatory steps to Asian Games

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — With the Koreas, there's no separating their sports from their politics. The war-separated rivals will take their reconciliation steps to the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, where they will jointly march in the opening ceremony and field combined teams in basketball, rowing and canoeing. "Sports have played the role of peacemaker between the Koreas," said Kim Seong-jo, vice chairman of South Korea's Olympic committee and the country's chef de mission at the Asian Games. "If the combined teams put out good performances and win medals, that would be putting the cherry on the top." North and South Korea have used sports diplomacy this year in a bid to decrease animosity and initiate a new round of global diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang. South Korea leaders consider goodwill gestures as crucial to keep the positive atmosphere alive for what could become a long and difficult attempt to persuade the North to give up its nuclear and missile programs. There's not much Seoul can do beyond such gestures, though, as joint economic projects are out of the question when lifting sanctions against North Korea is far beyond the South's control. The more substantial discussions on the North's denuclearization — including what, when and how it would occur— are always going to be between Washington and Pyongyang. Here's a look at what the Koreas are planning for the Asian Games and their ebbs and flows in sports diplomacy: ___ BLUE FLAGS AND COMBINED TEAMS In the opening ceremony in Jakarta, athletes from North and South Korea will parade together under the flag featuring a blue map that symbolized a unified Korean Peninsula. It will be virtual repeat of the joint march during February's Winter Olympics in the South Korean ski resort of Pyeongchang, minus the gloves, parkas and fur hats. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent hundreds of athletes, artists and government officials to the Pyeongchang Olympics. The Koreas also fielded their first combined Olympic team in women's ice hockey, which drew passionate support from crowds despite losing all five of its games with a combined score of 28-2. At the Asian Games, the Koreas will be expected to deliver more than just feel-good stories. There's pressure for the investment to yield gold. A group of 34 North Korean athletes, coaches and officials have been in South Korea since last month for combined teams in women's basketball and the men's and women's events in rowing and canoeing. Coach Lee Moon-kyu, who has retained a core of South Korean players who won gold at the 2014 Asian Games at home in Incheon, got a first-hand look at North Korean players during exhibitions in Pyongyang in early July. Lee later picked three North Korean players for the Asian Games squad, including center Ro Suk Yong. Lee will also have a North Korean assistant coach on his bench. The Koreans will face Taiwan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and India in their preliminary group. South Korean forward Lim Yung-hui said the chemistry between the players has been improving. "The Northern players share the same goal of the gold medal and we talk a lot about how we should be putting out a good performance there," Lim said. "We weren't given much time, but we are practicing hard in a positive atmosphere." The Koreas will field combined teams in dragon boat events in canoeing and the lightweight men's four, lightweight men's eight and lightweight women's double sculls in rowing. If a combined team wins gold, athletes on the podium will hear the traditional folk song of "Arirang,"used in both Koreas as an unofficial anthem for peace, instead of their respective national anthems. The Korean athletes are likely to become an attraction at the Asian Games, where the international media will follow closely. At the Pyeongchang Olympics, South Korean figure skater Kam Alex Kang-chan created a media frenzy by taking a selfie with North Korea's Kim Ju Sik and posting it on Instagram. The photo recalled a famous 2016 selfie taken by two North and South Korean gymnasts at the Rio Olympics which International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach described as a "great gesture." ___ THEY DON'T ALWAYS PLAY NICE The Koreas have a history of using sports to foster diplomacy since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The 1991 world table tennis championships in Japan were the first time the Koreas fielded a combined team at a major international event. The atmosphere wasn't always friendly, though. During the height of their Cold War rivalry and recurring periods of animosity since, sports often became an alternate political battlefield. North Korean athletes and coaches would reject handshakes with their South Korean competitors and berate South Korean reporters during news conferences. The sports detente of 1991 evaporated when a North Korean athlete who competed at the world judo championships in Barcelona defected and arrived in South Korea amid heavy media coverage. North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the '88 Summer Olympics in Seoul, and relations dramatically worsened on the eve of the Seoul Olympics with the bombing of a South Korean passenger jet that killed all 115 aboard in December 1987. The inter-Korean warmth heading into this year's Asian Games contrasts with the awkwardness between the rivals surrounding the 2014 Asiad held in South Korea. Seoul's then-conservative government invited North Korean athletes to compete, but made it clear it had no interest in joint marches or combined teams. North Korean subsequently withdrew an offer to send its all-female cheering squad to Incheon after squabbling with the hosts over costs. North Korean leader Kim did send a senior government delegation to the closing ceremony, but they returned home without meeting then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The North was still seething over the Asian Game treatment years later as it gleefully observed Park's presidency crashing over a corruption scandal. "The Park Geun-hye group's mad confrontational racket is to blame for why (the North Korean) visit to Incheon did not result in improved relations," the North said in a statement in April last year. ___ WILL THE GOOD TIMES LAST? Kim has found a willing counterpart in Moon, a liberal who won the presidential by-elections to replace Park last year. Since the Pyeongchang Olympics, Kim has met Moon twice and leveraged the summits to get to U.S. President Donald Trump. After their June summit in Singapore, Kim and Trump issued a vague aspirational goal for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing specific plans. Sports exchanges and other goodwill gestures are important policy tools for Moon, who wants Seoul to be in the "driver's seat" in international efforts to deal with Pyongyang. The Koreas have also agreed to resume temporary reunions between relatives separated by the war and are holding military talks to reduce tensions across their heavily armed border. "Hopefully, (the Asian Games) will provide an opportunity to use sports to facilitate diplomacy and cooperation," Moon said while meeting Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Seoul last month. Seoul's presidential office hasn't announced yet whether Moon would attend the opening ceremony in Jakarta on Aug. 18. Whatever happens in Indonesia or with nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, the Koreas will always have those heartening selfies posted by athletes. "Sports can be used to build momentum and trust, but they don't solve fundamental problems," said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a policy adviser to Moon. "There's not much South Korea can currently do, but at least it's trying to actively do the things it can to keep the positive atmosphere alive. ".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

ONE: Kevin Belingon s world title win is the product of team effort from Team Lakay

Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena, Team Lakay’s Kevin Belingon became the latest member of Team Lakay to capture a world championship by defeating two-division titleholder Martin Nguyen in the main event of ONE: Reign of Kings to win the ONE Championship Interim Bantamweight World Champion. And while it was Belingon who did the work inside the cage, the win wasn’t just his, rather it was all of the Philippines’ and of course, Team Lakay's. As former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang explained, Belingon’s win was the result of team effort. “Masayang-masaya ako kasi na-predict ko na yan noon pa eh, talagang mananalo si Kevin,” Folayang said during the post-fight press conference. “Of course, because you can see that we worked very hard and of course, smart on our preparation, talagang we helped each other.” Nguyen is, of course, a familiar opponent for Team Lakay, with Folayang having faced the Viet-Aussie star back in 2017. “Kung ano yung pwede naming ibigay na advice or time na maibibigay sa kasama namin, preparing for a fight, we give it.” Folayang continued. With Belingon’s interim title win, he becomes the fourth member of Team Lakay to hold ONE World Championship gold, joining Folayang, former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio Banario, and reigning ONE Championship Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio. Add reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera to that list, and you have all five world champions representing the Philippines, making it the country with the most world title wins in ONE Championship's seven-year history.  The way Folayang sees it, there’s more on the way. “I think this is one of the memorable moments of our team, because, hindi ko alam, malapit na yata namin kunin lahat [ng championships].” the former lightweight king said playfully. And while what Folayang said was in jest, it isn’t wrong by any means. Friday night’s ONE card had two other winnner from the famed Benguet-based MMA stable, as Folayang decisioned Russian newcomer Aziz Pahrudinov, while former strawweight title contender Joshua Pacio steamrolled through Thailand’s Pongsiri Mitsatit in just one round. Both Folayang and Pacio are riding winning streaks, and both are inching their way closer to title contention. “If ONE Championship or sir Chatri [Sityodtong] will give me the opportunity to face Yoshitaka Naito, why not.” Pacio said at the presser. Should it push through, it would be Pacio’s second go-around with Naito after losing to the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion back in 2016. If everything goes according to plan for Team Lakay, they could have two, even three more world championships coming back home to La Trinidad pretty soon......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2018

Few good options on anthem protests for NFL owners

By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press The controversy over NFL players protesting during the national anthem isn't going away, despite — or perhaps because of — team owners' efforts to stop players from using the forum to speak out on political causes. The league's attempt to turn responsibility for disciplining protesters over to individual teams backfired on Thursday when the Miami Dolphins tried to categorize raising a fist or kneeling during the anthem as "conduct detrimental to the club." That gave them the right to punish a player with a fine or up to a four-game suspension — one game more than Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston got when he was accused of groping an Uber driver. Hours after The Associated Press reported on Miami's rules, the NFL and the players union issued a joint statement saying they were putting any anthem conduct policy on hold to see if they could come up with a compromise. But the owners aren't left with many good options to diffuse the controversy, especially with President Donald Trump eager to fan the flames. Here's a look at some of them: LEAVE IT TO THE TEAMS The Plan: The league's solution, which the NFL Players Association challenged, was to allow each team to determine whether to punish its own players for protesting during the anthem. The policy adopted in May by team owners subjected clubs to fines and required players to stand if they are on the field during "The Star-Spangled Banner," though it allowed players to stay in the locker room if they wished. This would have given hard-line owners in conservative regions a chance to clamp down while allowing teams in more liberal areas to let their players have their say. As it turned out, all it did was punt the ball down the road. The Winners: None. With players punished in some cities and protesting freely in others, there would always be plenty to complain about for those inclined to do so. And everyone seems inclined to do so these days. The Losers: NFL owners. Any punishment is destined to divide the locker room and the fandom; should a team actually suspend a significant contributor, it would only be hurting itself. And the guarantee of unequal treatment between and within teams would surely keep the issue in the news for yet another season. GO BACK TO THE OLD WAY The Plan: Ask players to stand at attention during the national anthem, and hope that they do. The Winners: Players, who would retain the ability to call attention to causes they believe in, namely racial inequality and police brutality . And President Trump, who gets applause any time he attacks the protesting players as he stumps for Republicans in the November midterm elections. The Losers: NFL owners, or at least those like Houston's Bob McNair who have chafed at the notion of the "inmates running the prison." They lose control and remain a subject of Trump's ridicule. KEEP PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM DURING THE ANTHEM The Plan: Players can't protest during the anthem if they aren't on the field during the anthem. Or so the theory goes. But the demonstrations were never about the anthem itself; it started as a way for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest racial inequality and expanded into a league-wide us-vs.-them after Trump's hollered at one rally: "Get that son of a bitch off the field." The Winners: Fans who were triggered by the sight of players kneeling during the song. And players, who could surely find another forum for their protests. The Losers: NFL owners. The president has already said this isn't patriotic enough for him, so there's little hope of him easing up on his criticism. And it would cost them the connection to the flag and country they have worked hard to cultivate. COMPROMISE The Plan: Other sports worked with their players so that they didn't have to protest to be heard. Maybe the owners make a donation to the players' pet projects, play a video on the scoreboard, or otherwise give them a forum for their concerns. The Winners: Players. It's not about the protest, it's about the cause. The Losers: NFL owners. Even if they could stomach the loss of control, the political intrusion on the sport is bound to alienate some fans. STOP PLAYING THE ANTHEM BEFORE GAMES The Plan: Join almost every other country in the world and skip the forced display of patriotism that demands players stand at attention while fans check their phones, finish their hot dogs or take the opportunity to visit the bathroom. If teams want to honor the military or local first-responders, let them do so free from marketing deals. The Winners: Fans who don't consider the anthem an integral part of the sports experience, giving them another 90 seconds in to spend in game day traffic without missing anything. The Losers. NFL owners. Concessionaires. And a whole generation of American Idol also-rans......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2018

SUPER 8: Digregorio continues to believe in Blackwater

MACAU --- Late last season in the PBA, Blackwater was seen as a team on the rise. Blackwater was knocking on the door of the semifinals, as the then no. 8-seed Elite pushed no. 1 Meralco to the brink in the quarterfinals. The future looked bright for Blackwater. This current season, the Elite, with a top-5 All-Filipino player in JP Erram, missed the Philippine Cup playoffss due to bad quotient. Still respectable. But things fell apart in the Commissioner's Cup as a plethora of things, including a coaching change, doomed Blackwater. The Elite finished the tournament with a woeful 1-10 mark. They won their only game thanks to a last-second dunk by import Henry Walker. After that terrible stint, the Elite are busy preparing for the Governors' Cup, part of that buildup is the Summer Super 8 tournament here. In two games, Blackwater split its games with teams from South Korea and China. The Elite have the chance to advance against a team from Japan Thursday. The team is confident. "I'm confident. As long as the rims are 10 feet high and the ball still bounces, we're confident," guard Mike Digregorio said. "We have all the confidence in the world to win," he added. The rebuild has been a long process for Blackwater. But the team has more than enough talent to make it work. Digregorio has nothing but overwhelming belief on his team and previous close calls suggest that the Elite are on the verge of a breakthrough. The process just needs a little more push. "Every day is a work in progress. We had a coaching change and the Commissioner' Cup wasn't the conference that we wanted but I believe in this team, I really do," Digregorio said. "Last Governors' Cup we were knocking on the semis, last Philippine Cup we played really well. We're building towards coach Bong's system and adjusting to him. Every day is a learning process but we're getting better and we're working towards success," he added. There's success to be found in Macau and the Elite are one win away from advancing to the next round. They plan on doing so, obviously. "We plan on winning. We didn't come here to not advance. We're gonna come and win. We're building towards the Governors' Cup so I think we have the team to make noise in the Governors' Cup and also advance [here]," Digregorio added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2018

Trump adviser Kushner criticizes Abbas, says US peace plan near

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, said Washington would announce its Middle East peace plan soon, and press on with or without Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Source link link: Trump adviser Kushner criticizes Abbas, says US peace plan near.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJun 24th, 2018

US Republicans risking conservative backlash over immigration

NEW YORK --- The push toward immigration votes in the House is intensifying the divide among Republicans on one of the party's most animating issues and fueling concerns that a voter backlash could cost the GOP control of the House in November. To many conservatives, the compromise immigration proposal released this past week by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is little more than "amnesty." One tea party group described the Republican plan as "the final betrayal." Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, who is close to President Donald Trump, tweeted Friday that Ryan is "trying to open our borders even more and give illegal immigrants the biggest amnesty in American history." Passage ...Keep on reading: US Republicans risking conservative backlash over immigration.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 17th, 2018

Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs

President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs

President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs

  WASHINGTON --- President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.   Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for billions in tariffs could complicate his efforts to maintain China's support in his negotiations with North Korea.   Trump met with several Cabinet members and trade advisers on Thursday, and was expected to impose tariffs of at least $35 b...Keep on reading: Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

FIBA WC Qualifiers: Slimmed down Andray Blatche out for revenge in 3rd window

Preparing for the third window of the FIBA World Cup, a visibly slimmer Gilas star center Andray Blatche is getting himself ready for a better performance against Chinese Taipei and beefed up Australia. The 6'11 center was interviewed by reporters after watching the Magnolia-TNT game at the Mall of Asia Arena, sitting near PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial at front row. Shortly before the game ended, the former Brooklyn Nets big man talked about facing the Australian national team in front of what should be a boisterous Gilas crowd at the Philippine Arena on July 2. However, things will be much different as the Boomers will be parading Milwaukee Bucks duo Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavedova, two months removed from their seven-game series loss against Eastern Conference finalists Boston Celtics. For Blatche, the game plan will be simple, and he hopes it will be enough against one of the top teams of the FIBA-Asia region. "I mean, Australia's already a tough team. They added two great talents, Thon Maker and Dellavedova. I mean, at the end of the day, we still have to come out and compete. Hit our shots and play tough defense. So, it's going to be up to us to control the games here at home and to hype up the crowd." Clutching his back and complaining about the pain, Blatche said that he had prepared for weeks and is starting to find his shooting stroke. " I mean, I decided to play again. Last month, I played again. I hadn't played in months. To play a lot, to practice a lot, to get thay rhythm again. I found my shots." After a sorry six-point performance at the hands of Chinese Taipei in a 90-83 win at the Big Dome last November, he has a message against naturalized center Quincy Davis III, who dominated the shaded lane with a 20-point and nine-rebound performance before fouling out. "Yeah, I got something at (Quincy) Davis."   __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018