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Attack on Phl would elicit U.S. response — State Dep’t

The United States warned on Monday that any armed attack on Philippine armed forces and Philippine Coast Guard civilian vessels could trigger its 72-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines. “The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft — including those of its Coast Guard — anywhere in the South China Sea,” the US Department of State said in a statement. The statement came a day after a China Coast Guard ship collided with a Philippine resupply vessel that was conducting a routine resupply mission at Ayungin Shoal. During the same resupply mission, a Chinese maritime militia vessel also bumped the BRP Cabra, one of the PCG ships that were escorting the boat contracted by the AFP. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. said the collisions, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered investigated by the PCG, were “intentional.” For its part, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said further study is needed to invoke the MDT due to the incident. “The matter of filing another case is something that is still being studied by the government. But, of course, all incidents like these will actually bolster the case that it is not the Philippines that is the aggressor but the other party, which is China,” DFA spokesperson Teresita Daza said. “It’s a provocation on the side of China but at this point, whether it will constitute an armed attack that would allow the invoking of the MDT is something that needs to be studied,” she added. The Philippines and the US agreed under the MDT, signed in 1951, that an armed attack on either of the parties would be considered an attack on the other, necessitating common or joint actions.   Ambassador summoned The Philippines on Monday summoned China’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, to explain the “blocking maneuvers” conducted by its vessels. China has insisted on its territorial rights over the Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, which is in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Swarms of CCG ships and Chinese maritime militia vessels had been monitored in the WPS, which Philippine officials said was a blatant disrespect of the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea. In July 2016, the Philippines won the arbitral case it lodged against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The US said it stands with the Philippines in the face of China’s “dangerous and unlawful actions obstructing” a 22 October resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. “By conducting dangerous maneuvers that caused collisions with Philippine resupply and Coast Guard ships, the PRC Coast Guard and maritime militia violated international law by intentionally interfering with the Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation,” the US State Department said. “The PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) conduct jeopardized the Filipino crew members’ safety and impeded critically needed supplies from reaching service members stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre. Obstructing supply lines to this longstanding outpost and interfering with lawful Philippine maritime operations undermines regional stability,” it added. Citing the 2016 arbitral ruling on the South China Sea, the US noted that China’s territorial claims to Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation outside the territorial sea of another high tide feature, were unfounded.   Unsafe moves “The unsafe maneuvers on 22 October and the PRC water cannoning of a Philippine vessel on 5 August are the latest examples of provocative PRC measures in the South China Sea to enforce its expansive and unlawful maritime claims, reflecting disregard for other states lawfully operating in the region,” the State Department stressed. Aside from the US, Japan, France, Canada, Australia and Germany also condemned China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea. In a separate statement, Canada condemned what it described as “unlawful and dangerous conduct” of the People’s Republic of China in the WPS, which “provoked two collisions with Philippine vessels engaged in routine operations inside the Philippine exclusive economic zone, in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal.” “The PRC’s actions are unjustified. China has no lawful claim to the West Philippine Sea. Its actions are incompatible with the obligations of a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the Canadian Embassy in Manila said. “Continuing acts of intimidation and coercion undermine safety, stability, and security across the region, and increase the risk of miscalculation,” it added.   France, Japan, Germany, too France expressed its “deep concern” over the dangerous maneuvers of the CCG against Philippine vessels “engaged in the Philippine exclusive economic zone.” “France calls for respect of the freedom of navigation guaranteed by international law and recalls its attachment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the decision rendered by the Arbitral Court on 12 July 2016,” the Embassy of France to the Philippines said. Japan, likewise, stressed that it was “seriously concerned” and “alarmed” about the collision of Chinese vessels with Philippine vessels. “Seriously concerned about and alarmed by the collision between Chinese and Philippines vessels,” Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said in a tweet. Koshikawa said Japan “strongly opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.” “Germany is very concerned about recent confrontations in the SCS involving Chinese coast guard ships and maritime militia vessels in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines,” German Ambassador to the Philippines Andreas Pfaffernoschke said in a separate tweet. The post Attack on Phl would elicit U.S. response — State Dep’t appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource: tribune tribuneOct 23rd, 2023

MSU blast victims receive medical, burial assistance

In response to the bomb explosion at the Dimaporo Gymnasium of Mindanao State University–Main Campus in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, victims received medical and burial assistance. Officials from the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) and other Bangsamoro Government agencies, including Barmm Chief Minister Ahod “Al-Hadj Murad” Ebrahim, visited victims at hospitals. Six patients received financial aid through MSSD’s Bangsamoro Critical Assistance for Indigents in Response to Emergency Situations program. Additionally, injured patients at the MSU Infirmary received financial aid for transportation and medical needs. The MSSD workforce also visited the bereaved families of the deceased victims to provide cash assistance and support. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support will be provided for MSU-Main Campus Marawi students, and interventions for deceased victims' families will be determined by MSSD. Officials from various agencies, including the university and security sector, held a meeting and inspected the site of the incident. Related stories include the naming of MSU Marawi bombing suspects and statements from officials condemning the attack......»»

Category: newsSource:  sunstarRelated NewsDec 6th, 2023

Iraqi religious leader demands closure of American embassy

Influential religious leader Moqtada Sadr called on the Iraqi government Friday to close the United States embassy in Baghdad because of Washington’s “unconditional support” for Israel in its war with Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. “If the government and parliament do not respond, we will take a different position that we will announce later,” the Shiite cleric, who often criticizes the government, warned on X. On 22 October, Washington ordered all non-essential staff to leave its embassy in Baghdad’s high security Green Zone and its consulate in Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has criticized the “Zionist occupation” since Israel began its bombardment of Gaza, calling it a “genocide” of the Palestinian people. On 7 October, Hamas militants stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians, who were shot, mutilated, or burned to death on the first day of the raid, according to Israeli officials. Israel says around 1,500 Hamas fighters were killed in clashes before its army regained control of the areas under attack. More than 7,300 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed across Gaza in relentless Israeli bombardments in response to the attacks, according to the Hamas health ministry in the territory. Iraqis stage regular protests to condemn the Israeli bombing and in support of the Palestinians. Militia attacks All Iraqi political factions support the Palestinian cause, and like its neighbor Iran, Israel’s sworn enemy, Iraq does not recognize the Israeli state. US forces and their coalition allies in Iraq have been the target of attacks mostly claimed by the group “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” on Telegram channels tied to pro-Iran factions. On Thursday, the Pentagon said there had been 16 such attacks in Iraq and Syria this month, and blamed “Iranian-supported militias.” The Baghdad government is supported by parties that have close links with Tehran, but it is working to maintain relations with the US, which has 2,500 soldiers on Iraqi territory. On Monday, Baghdad called the attacks on American soldiers “unacceptable” and promised to investigate. WITH AFP The post Iraqi religious leader demands closure of American embassy appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 28th, 2023

Hunt for ‘armed and dangerous’ US gunman who killed 18

Hundreds of police in the US state of Maine hunted Thursday for a fugitive gunman who killed 18 people at a bowling alley and a bar, as President Joe Biden mourned "yet another senseless and tragic mass shooting." The rampage in the small northeastern city of Lewiston also left 13 people wounded, three critically, in the deadliest shooting this year in America. A wide area around Lewiston was locked down during the tense search as authorities erected roadblocks, ordered schools and businesses closed, and told residents to stay indoors. Governor Janet Mills said the suspect was "considered armed and dangerous, and police advised that Maine people should not approach him under any circumstances." "This attack strikes at the very heart of who we are and the values we hold dear," Mills told a press conference. "This is a dark day for Maine." Police named the suspect as 40-year-old Robert Card -- seen in surveillance footage pointing a semi-automatic rifle as he walked into the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley. Police converged on the home of Card's father in nearby Bowdoin early Thursday evening, closing off roads. One longtime neighbor, Dave Letarte, said news of the shooting "floored me." "I would have never expected that from him," he told AFP of the younger Card. Joseph Walker, a manager at the Schemengees Bar & Grille, was among those killed the night before, his father Leroy Walker told NBC News. Walker said his family was "suffering and dying in a nightmare we don't understand. "We were up all night. We didn't know where to go, who to turn to," he said. Terror at bowling alley News outlets broadcast footage of people fleeing in terror from the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley after the shooting started Wednesday evening. One survivor told television reporters that he was 15 feet (5 meters) from the gunman when he opened fire. He thought at first it was a balloon popping. "And as soon as I turned and saw it was not a balloon and he was holding a weapon, I just booked it down the lane and I slid basically into where the pins are and climbed up into the machine and was on top of the machines for about 10 minutes until the cops got there," he said. Card is a member of the US Army Reserve. US media reported that he had recently been sent for psychiatric treatment after he said he was hearing voices. Hundreds of police in military-style camouflage gear and FBI agents flooded the search zone in what Lewiston police chief David St. Pierre called "an all-hands-on-deck approach." "We continue to work tirelessly in bringing the situation to an end," he told reporters, vowing "to locate and hold the person accountable." Biden called Maine's governor to offer federal support and ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff at the White House and all government buildings. "Once again, our nation is in mourning after yet another senseless and tragic mass shooting," he said. Biden added that the gun violence that plagues the United States "is not normal, and we cannot accept it," urging lawmakers to pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Daily mass shootings Police and rescuers reportedly arrived at the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley at about 7:15 p.m. in response to an active shooter, and then received reports of another shooting at the Schemengees Bar & Grille. In surveillance images of Card at the bowling alley, he appeared calm and composed as he moved through the doorway with his rifle raised. Officers located a "vehicle of interest" -- a white sport utility vehicle -- in Lisbon, a town around eight miles (12 kilometers) from Lewiston. The shooting is one of the deadliest in the US since 2017, when a gunman opened fire on a crowded music festival in Las Vegas, killing 60 people. Mass shootings are alarmingly common in the United States, a country with more guns than people, and attempts to clamp down on their spread are always met with stiff resistance. The country has recorded at least 565 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nongovernmental organization that defines a mass shooting as four or more people wounded or killed. Efforts to tighten gun controls routinely run up against opposition from Republicans, staunch defenders of the constitutional right to bear arms.  The political paralysis endures despite widespread outrage over recurring shootings. The post Hunt for ‘armed and dangerous’ US gunman who killed 18 appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 27th, 2023

Goal: End terror

The United Nations, thus far, has fared dismally in fulfilling its role in the Israel-Hamas conflict that has been playing out for over two weeks. Instead of giving clarity to the situation by making an unequivocal stand against the reign of terror, the UN has turned into an accomplice of the Hamas terrorists in the unprecedented brutality that was wreaked on 7 October when more than 1,400 mostly civilians were massacred. The UN has repeatedly called for a humanitarian pause, which is coopting to the wishes of the terror group. More than 200 people were taken hostage by the extremists who rampaged through the peaceful communities. Relatives of the Hamas hostages and their supporters called on the UN the other day to do its part in bringing back their family members and rendering justice. One by one, members of the hostages’ families stood on a podium in front of the United Nations, pleading to world leaders for help rescuing their children, parents, brothers, and sisters who had nothing to do with the raging war. “We have not heard anything from anybody. Do your work. Give us signs of life. Give a sign of hope. We’re waiting for that. We’re not getting anything, I’m sorry,” said Orna Neutra, the mother of a hostage. In the plaza across the street, a solidarity rally displayed the horrors of war, putting up the names and photos of the missing hostages and setting shoes next to each poster. “These are the little shoes of 4-year-old girls that danced and walked in the kibbutz and now are held hostage in Gaza,” American resident Shany Granot-Lubaton said. “We just want people to understand how real it is for us. These are our family. These are our friends. This is what it looks like. These are real people.”  The UN response led by Russia and China — which received support from the UN leadership — was appalling, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to deliver “desperately needed food, water, medicine and fuel,” which Israeli officials said would benefit the besieged terrorists. Russia and China on Wednesday vetoed the US-authored draft resolution condemning the terror attacks by Hamas on Israel. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said that had these nations endured a similar massacre, they would have acted with much greater force. “In Israel, we are fighting for our very survival. If any of your countries endured a similar massacre, I am certain that you would act with much greater force than Israel,” he said. “There would be no question in your mind that such a barbaric slaughter requires a broad military operation against the terrorists who committed such inhumane atrocities to eradicate their terrorist capabilities, to make sure that such atrocities can never happen again,” he said. The draft resolution condemned the attack by Hamas on Israel and called for the release of the hostages and compliance with international humanitarian law. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for universal condemnation of Hamas’s terrorism and the immediate release of hostages. “I implore every member here, use your voice, use your influence, use your leverage to secure their unconditional and immediate release,” Blinken said. Ten countries on the UN Security Council backed the resolution, while Russia, China, and the United Arab Emirates voted against it, and two other nations abstained. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, said his country won’t support the US resolution, adding that they see no point in it as the document has no demand for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire between the parties to the conflict. As a victim of similar atrocities inflicted by terrorists in Marawi City, Filipinos know a quick resolution is essential to end the crisis, which for Israel is the complete elimination of Hamas. The post Goal: End terror appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 26th, 2023

US police launch huge manhunt for shooter who killed at least 22

A massive manhunt was under way Thursday for a gunman who a local official said killed at least 22 people and wounded "many" more in mass shootings in the US state of Maine, the deadliest such incident this year. Police said Robert Card -- seen in surveillance footage pointing a semi-automatic weapon with an extended clip as he walked into a bowling alley in the town of Lewiston -- "should be considered armed and dangerous."  Card is a certified firearms instructor and a member of the US Army Reserve, CNN reported, citing law enforcement sources.  Lewiston city councilor Robert McCarthy told CNN that law enforcement had "confirmed 22 dead, many, many more injured", with local media reporting shootings had occurred at multiple locations.  Swathes of Lewiston were locked down, with businesses urged to shutter and people ordered to shelter in place, as the scourge of horrifying gun violence once again ripped through an American community. Maine public safety official Mike Sauschuck said he was not prepared to give a death toll, calling it "a very fluid situation." He told reporters police were flooding the streets as they sought the gunman. "We have literally hundreds of police officers working around the state of Maine to investigate this case, to locate Mr. Card," he told reporters. Rescue vehicles rushed in from around central Maine to tend to the wounded, city councilor McCarthy said, and the two Lewiston hospitals "have called in every off-duty staff member that they could to deal with this." President Joe Biden made calls -- stepping away from a state dinner honoring Australia's prime minister -- to Maine's governor, its two senators and a local congressman to offer federal support, the White House said. Early on Thursday, armed police were seen guarding the Central Maine Medical Center, where some of the wounded were being treated. Several Maine school boards and educational institutions, including Bates College, said they would not be holding classes on Thursday, according to statements. Multiple locations Police and rescuers reportedly arrived at the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley at about 7:15 pm local time (00:15 Thursday GMT) in response to an active shooter, and then received reports of another shooting at the Schemengees Bar & Grille, according to the Sun Journal local newspaper. Police issued a number of photographs of 40-year-old Card at the bowling alley, where he appears calm and composed as he moves through the doorway with his rifle raised. "Please contact law enforcement if you are aware of his whereabouts," they said. Sauschuck said officers had located a "vehicle of interest" they had been looking for -- a white sport utility vehicle (SUV) -- in Lisbon, a town around eight miles (12 kilometers) from Lewiston, where residents had also been warned to stay off the streets. Card was not in the vehicle, reports said. Law enforcement "are investigating two active shooter events," the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department said on social media. "We are encouraging all businesses to lock down and or close while we investigate. The suspect is still at large." Maine Governor Janet Mills said she was "aware of and have been briefed on the active shooter situation in Lewiston." CNN reported that at least 50 people were wounded in the incidents, citing multiple law enforcement sources, but said it was unclear how many of the injuries were the result of gunfire. It was unclear if initial reports of shots being fired at a third site, a Walmart distribution center, were accurate. My hometown Maine Congressman Jared Golden wrote on social media that "like all Mainers, I'm horrified by the events in Lewison tonight. This is my hometown." "Right now, all of us are looking to local law enforcement as they gain control of the situation and gather information. Our hearts break for those who are affected," he said. Distraught citizens flocked to local hospitals. "I'm just overwhelmed. I've been here trying to spread, you know, some kind of comfort, some kind of support," Cynthia Hunter, a local resident, told CBS affiliate WGME. The shooting is one of the deadliest since 2017, when a gunman opened fire on a crowded music festival in Las Vegas, killing about 60 people. Gun violence is alarmingly common in the United States, a country where there are more guns than people and where attempts to clamp down on their spread are always met with stiff resistance. The United States has recorded over 500 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a non-governmental organization that defines a mass shooting as four or more people wounded or killed. Wednesday's attack was the deadliest mass shooting in 2023 so far, according to the GVA's data. Efforts to tighten gun controls have for years run up against opposition from Republicans, staunch defenders of the constitutional right to bear arms.  The political paralysis endures despite widespread outrage over recurring shootings. Lewiston is the second most populous city in Maine located some 30 miles north of the largest city, Portland. The post US police launch huge manhunt for shooter who killed at least 22 appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 26th, 2023

Crypto crackdown intensifies on Hamas finance

Cryptocurrency has become the latest front in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, analysts say. Israeli and US authorities have intensified their financial hunt into Hamas in recent days as they track illicit funds via digital currencies. Ari Redbord, global policy head at crypto tracking specialist TRM Labs, said there is now less crypto transfer activity on pro-Hamas support networks as a result. "We are seeing a lot less activity in some respects since the war began," Redbord told AFP. This is "primarily because Israel has been very aggressive and successful in taking down these fundraising efforts", he added. Israel has bombed Gaza in response to an unprecedented cross-border attack by Hamas militants who, while firing a massive rocket barrage, killed more than 1,400 people and took 222 hostages on 7 October, according to Israeli authorities. Israeli strikes have now killed more than 6,500 people in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Shadowy world Cryptocurrency is regarded as a speedy way to move cash that is unregulated by any central bank and is less traceable than a traditional bank transfer. The shadowy world of digital units, based on decentralized blockchain technology, has gained notoriety for illicit transactions due to its under-the-radar appeal. Two weeks ago, Israeli police revealed they had located and frozen accounts linked to Hamas that sought "to solicit donations on social networks" via Binance, the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange. A Binance spokeswoman said it "follows internationally recognized sanctions rules, blocking the small number of accounts linked to illicit funds". Redbord, formerly a senior US government adviser, said Hamas had adopted crypto from 2019 at the latest, to seek funding via the Telegram messaging network and even on its own website. Hamas decided in April that it would no longer accept cash via Bitcoin due to increased global surveillance of the world's biggest digital unit. Crypto fundraising is now operated via a network of Hamas-linked support groups. TRM Labs has closely monitored virtual crypto wallets linked to such support groups since the start of the war. And it has concluded that much smaller amounts of cash than usual are being moved. Two weeks after the attacks, support group Gaza Now received less than $6,000 in one of its crypto wallets, Redbord noted. That compared with $800,000 in total since the wallet's creation in August 2021. Meanwhile, authorities are well aware that digital assets are a minor part of a complex funding picture. The US State Department estimates that Iran funnels $100 million per year to Palestinian groups including Hamas. 'Small piece of puzzle' "Cryptocurrency is a very small piece of a larger financing puzzle for Hamas," said Redbord. "They are looking to Iran; they're... imposing taxes on the Palestinians; they have a network of charities and a diaspora of supporters who are sending donations not in cryptocurrencies." "But crypto does play a role," he said. Digital currencies still represent a significant revenue stream for Hamas and other allied groups. Crypto addresses identified by Israel as being linked to Hamas received about $41 million between August 2020 and July 2023, according to Israeli analytics and software firm BitOK. Other crypto addresses linked to Islamic Jihad received in excess of $154 million between October 2022 and September 2023, with some still active, it adds. Some players in the sector simply turn a blind eye. "Some cryptoasset businesses are intentionally or unwittingly allowing misuse of the crypto ecosystem," said Joby Carpenter, an expert on the industry. "This trend is magnified where exchanges are based in lightly or unregulated jurisdictions," he told AFP. The post Crypto crackdown intensifies on Hamas finance appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 26th, 2023

‘Shame on int’l media’

As the conflict between the state of Israel and the Hamas terror organization intensifies, international media coverage has thus far been described as dismal and heavily slanted against the Jewish nation. Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss cited as an example the Hamas missile attack on the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, which was hit directly a few days after the 7 October attack by a rocket fired from Gaza, resulting in Israeli deaths and injuries. In contrast, an explosion on 17 October at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City that resulted in a massive number of fatalities and injuries was splashed all over broadcast and print media and was immediately blamed on an Israeli air strike, a narrative peddled by Hamas. Investigations by Israel and the United States proved that a missile launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,  a Gaza-based terror group more radical than Hamas, had misfired and landed on the hospital grounds. “Nobody in the media reported that an Israeli hospital was bombed in Ashkelon, which had so many patients injured and killed. The rockets were shot at the hospital. No media picked it up and condemned nobody,” Fluss lamented during an interview with Daily Tribune editors. “So, for me, this incident is a shame on the international media. These news (outfits) and (media) people sort of still live with this image that it is the ratings that must (dictate the news coverage),” Fluss said. New York Times sorry US publication The New York Times issued on Monday an unprecedented admission that it had “relied too heavily on claims by Hamas” in its reporting of an explosion at a Gaza hospital. The newspaper issued the statement five days after running a headline on its front page, above the fold, reading: “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say.” “The Times’ initial accounts attributed the claim of Israeli responsibility to Palestinian officials and noted that the Israeli military said it was investigating the blast,” according to NYT’s editor’s note. “However, the early versions of the coverage — and the prominence it received in a headline, news alert, and social media channels — relied too heavily on claims by Hamas and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified,” the  NYT continued. NYT editors also acknowledged that “the report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was.” The note said Times reporters quickly edited the story on the website, as Israeli officials denied striking the hospital. Nonetheless, it added, “Given the sensitive nature of the news during a widening conflict and the prominent promotion it received, Times editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation and been more explicit about what information could be verified.” Islamic Jihad missile Israeli officials have vehemently denied responsibility for the explosion at the Al-Ahli Hospital and have released audio files of Hamas officials admitting that the blast was caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad projectile that fell onto Gaza. Also provided were images showing that the parking lot where the blast occurred did not have a crater in the ground, and there was no structural damage to nearby buildings, both of which typically would have been left by an Israeli Defense Forces strike. Recurring phenomena Media bias, as Fluss indicated, is a persistent issue. Terror groups like Hamas know this and take full advantage to sway public opinion. “As a result, coverage is often selective, stories get framed misleadingly, or certain perspectives go missing,” according to the American Jewish Committee, or AJC, which is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. “Instead of focusing on Hamas’ massacre of Israeli civilians, Israel’s efforts to thwart terrorists, destroy terrorist headquarters and weapons sites, and prevent more civilian deaths, some major media outlets characterize Israel’s targeted response as attacks on innocent and beleaguered Palestinians — feeding an unequivocally false narrative,” the AJC said. It added that Western media outlets often use the term “militant” to describe Hamas and other terrorist groups. For example, in the New York Times coverage of Hamas’ unprovoked attack on Israel on 7 October, the word “terrorists” was nowhere to be found on the front page of its website. The AJC said, “Hamas is not a militant group. It is a terrorist organization internationally designated as such by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, and others that has fired thousands of rockets and slaughtered Israeli civilians in cold blood.” Hamas has set two long-term goals articulated in its charter: The end of the Jewish state and the creation of an Islamic state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. In the current conflict, Hamas has murdered over 300 Israelis and wounded nearly 2,000. “Using the term ‘militant’ to describe Hamas diminishes the true threat that the terror group poses. Media outlets need to call a terrorist a terrorist,” the AJC added. No occupation Some media accounts on the Gaza Strip often blame Israel’s “occupation” as the root cause of the conflict. Fluss pointed out, however, that Israel does not occupy the Gaza Strip and has had no presence in the coastal enclave for nearly two decades. From 1948 to 1967, the Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt, which took control of the territory during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, also known as Israel’s War of Independence. After the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel took control of the Gaza Strip from Egypt. In 2005, Israel, facing huge political pushback, withdrew from the Gaza Strip, and dismantled its settlements and military forces in the name of peace and in hopes of creating a better future. However, those hopes were shattered after Hamas came to power through elections and, with it, violence and rocket attacks on Israeli civilian population centers. Since 2007, when Hamas violently ousted Fatah from the Gaza Strip, it began launching tens of thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Hamas terrorists also infiltrated Israel through land, sea, and air incursions from Gaza to murder and abduct Israeli civilians. Over 600 Israelis were murdered on the 7 October large-scale infiltration into Israeli territory from Gaza. The post ‘Shame on int’l media’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 24th, 2023

2 American hostages freed

Gaza’s Hamas rulers freed two Americans among the 200 hostages they kidnapped in the deadly 7 October attacks in Israel. More hostages may be released, the group hinted. According to the Israeli government, Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter, Natalie Shoshana Raanan, were returned to Israel late Friday. There was no word on their condition, but US President Joe Biden was “overjoyed” by the news. Biden called the two women after they were released. Hamas also announced it was working with Qatar and Egypt to free its “civilian” hostages, implying that more could be released. An Israeli emissary met the couple at the Gaza border and took them to a military base in central Israel “where their families are waiting to meet them.” The Ranaan family, like many of the captives, had begun a worldwide campaign to pressure Hamas to release them. Hamas said the “al-Qassam Brigades released two American citizens for humanitarian reasons” after being approached by Qatar and Egypt. The Islamist rulers of Gaza said they were “working with all mediators to implement the movement’s decision to close the civilian (hostage) file if appropriate security conditions permit.” It provided no specifics about its demands. Israel claims that Hamas militants took 203 people during the bloodiest attacks in Israel’s 75-year history, including Israelis, dual nationals and foreigners. According to the authorities, at least 1,400 individuals were killed, mostly civilians.   Relentless bombing Israel has retaliated with a continuous bombing campaign against Gaza, killing at least 4,137 people, mostly civilians. The hostages have become a massive problem in Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stating that the government will use “any means available to locate all those missing and bring all those kidnapped home.” The International Committee of the Red Cross said it helped transport the freed Americans to Israel. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for more releases “immediately and unconditionally.” “Every single one of them should be released,” said Blinken, adding that a team from the US Embassy would visit the two freed women. Qatar is a major aid donor to Gaza, and two Hamas leaders are based in the Gulf state. A Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson said the country had mediated between Hamas and the United States and that the release followed “many days of continuous communication between all the parties involved.” The Israeli military said earlier Friday that most of those abducted to Gaza were still alive even though some dead bodies have been found on incursions into Gaza. The military said more than 20 hostages were minors, while between 10 and 20 were over the age of 60.   Saudi factor Biden said Friday he believed Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel two weeks ago aimed to disrupt the warming ties between the country and Saudi Arabia. “One of the reasons they acted like they did... why Hamas moved on Israel... (was) because they knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis,” Biden told guests at a campaign fundraiser. “The Saudis want to recognize Israel... unite the Middle East,” he said. The momentum toward a landmark US-brokered deal to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia — the guardian of Islam’s two holiest sites — was shattered by the 7 October attack by Hamas militants on Israel. A bombing campaign launched in response by Israel has leveled entire city blocks in Gaza, so far killing 4,137 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Saudi officials announced on 14 October during a visit to Riyadh by US Secretary Blinken that the country had suspended talks with Israel on the normalization of relations. Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had spoken of progress with Israel but also insisted on movement on the Palestinian cause. The Gulf kingdom has never recognized Israel and did not join the 2020 Abraham Accords, brokered by the United States, which led neighboring Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Morocco, to establish diplomatic ties with Israel. With AFP The post 2 American hostages freed appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 21st, 2023

Gazans await ‘life and death’ aid, Israel readies invasion

Thousands of tonnes of "life and death" aid for Gaza should be delivered soon, the United Nations said Friday, to relieve a "beyond catastrophic" situation after unrelenting Israeli bombing in response to an unprecedented Hamas attack. Some 175 lorries stuffed with vital medicines, food, and water stretched into the distance at the Rafah crossing with Egypt, which has removed concrete roadblocks and is scrambling to repair the route into besieged Gaza -- the only one not controlled by Israel. Overseeing operations personally, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters: "These trucks are not just trucks, they are a lifeline, they are the difference between life and death for so many people in Gaza." Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas after the Islamist militant group launched a shock raid from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians shot, mutilated or burned to death, according to Israeli officials. Hamas gunmen also kidnapped some 200 hostages including foreigners from around two dozen countries. The Islamist group said Friday that its armed wing had released two Americans among the captives, a mother and her daughter, the first fruit of mediation efforts by the Gulf state of Qatar. The Islamist group did not detail how or when the hostages were released. The Israeli military said earlier Friday that most of those abducted to Gaza were still alive. It said more than 20 were minors. In response to the Hamas attack, Israeli bombers have levelled entire city blocks in Gaza in preparation for a ground invasion they say is coming soon. The Hamas-run health ministry said 4,137 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died in the onslaught. Israeli jets pounded more than 100 Hamas targets in Gaza overnight, the army said, with AFP reporters hearing loud explosions and witnessing plumes of smoke billowing from the northern Gaza Strip. Embracing front-line soldiers and clad in body armour, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged them to "fight like lions" and "win with full force". Fists clenched and voice raised, Netanyahu told cheering troops: "We will deal harsh blows to our enemies in order to achieve victory." Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told some of the tens of thousands of personnel preparing the ground invasion that "the order will come soon". 'Beyond catastrophic'  US President Joe Biden said Friday he expected the first aid for Gaza to pass through the Rafah crossing from Egypt within the next two days, under a deal he clinched to allow in 20 trucks of supplies for civilians. Medicine, water purifiers and blankets were being unloaded at El Arish airport near Gaza, an AFP reporter saw, with Ahmed Ali, head of the Egyptian Red Crescent, saying he was getting "two to three planes of aid a day". But World Health Organization emergencies director Michael Ryan said Biden's 20-truck deal was "a drop in the ocean of need" and that 2,000 trucks were required. The UN says more than one million of Gaza's 2.4 million people are displaced, with the humanitarian situation "beyond catastrophic" and deteriorating daily. Refugees from northern Gaza told harrowing tales of bombs, profiteering and extreme temperatures as whole families trekked on foot to flee the violence. Mother of seven Fadwa Al-Najjar walked for 10 hours with her family from northern Gaza to reach a UN camp in the southern city of Khan Yunis, saying she saw cars hit by a strike just in front of them. "We saw bodies and limbs torn off and we just started praying, thinking we were going to die," she said. 'It's unimaginable'  On the other side of the conflict, the full horror of what Israel suffered on October 7 and following days was still emerging, as traumatised residents recounted their stories. Shachar Butler, a security chief at the Nir Oz kibbutz, where Hamas militants killed or kidnapped a quarter of the 400 residents, recalls more than a dozen gunmen spraying bullets indiscriminately and lobbing grenades at homes. "It's unimaginable," the 40-year-old told AFP as part of a trip organised by the Israeli military. "Anytime someone tried to touch my window, I shot him," he said. "The people who came out got kidnapped, killed, executed, slaughtered." Butler estimated as many as 200 militants attacked the kibbutz, entering from three sides before going house-to-house. Homes there were still charred with burnt personal belongings strewn everywhere. Israel says around 1,500 Hamas fighters were killed in clashes before its army regained control. 'No safe place'  Biden requested a massive $105 billion security package Friday, including $14 billion for Israel, but paralysis in the still speakerless Congress means it will hit an immediate wall. Fresh from a whirlwind trip to Israel this week, Biden is hoping to staunch the possibility of a wider Middle East war. The United States has moved two aircraft carriers into the eastern Mediterranean to deter Iran or Lebanon's Hezbollah, both Hamas allies, from getting involved. After days of clashes with Hezbollah fighters along the Lebanese border, Israeli authorities announced the evacuation of Kiryat Shmona, a nearby town which is home to some 25,000 residents, many of whom have already left. The conflict has inflamed passions across the region, with protests held in several countries. Thousands flooded into Egypt's iconic Tahrir Square in support of Gaza, an AFP correspondent said. Protests were also held outside the French and US embassies in Tunis. Following a strike at a church compound late Thursday, the Hamas-controlled interior ministry said several people sheltering at the church were killed and wounded, blaming an Israeli strike. The Israeli army acknowledged a church wall had been damaged in one of its air strikes targeting a "command and control centre belonging to a Hamas terrorist". "This place is dedicated for praying, a place of love and peace," said witness Abu Khalil Jahshan. "There is no safe place here in Gaza." The post Gazans await ‘life and death’ aid, Israel readies invasion appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 20th, 2023

Filipino reported injured in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration or OWWA confirmed that a Filipino was reported injured in the ongoing war in Israel. This was confirmed by OWWA Deputy Administrator Arnell Ignacio in an interview adding that the injured Filipino is now recovering at a hospital. “These are purely reports, but I think you are referring to Joey Pasulingan. If I’m not mistaken, Joey is currently in the hospital. If you are referring to him, he was hit by a bullet and he is now recovering,” Ignacio said. Hamas launched its most severe attack on Israel on Saturday firing rockets and sending armed men to several Israeli cites.  At least 22 people died in the said war. Israeli’s Home Front Command declared a “state of war alert” after the incident. As the army reported combat with the militants in several Israeli cities and military bases near Gaza, Israel claimed the Iran-backed group had declared war. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to take action in response. According to a report from Agence France-Presse, the number of those killed in the attacks increased to around 1,000 as claimed by the officials on both sides on Sunday. The post Filipino reported injured in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian Conflict appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 9th, 2023

Group behind cyber-attack on PhilHealth still unknown – exec

Computer hackers who attacked the website and the online system of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth are yet to be identified, the state-run health insurer’s spokesperson revealed Sunday. In an interview with Daily Tribune, Dr. Israel Francis Paragas, PhilHealth spokesperson and Senior Vice President for Health Finance Policy Sector, confirmed that there was an information security incident that affected its system, however, he noted that the group behind it is still unknown. “Basically, we are still diagnosing what really caused the information security incident. So, we cannot confirm yet if it is Medusa or ransomware but for the time being, there is an information security incident,” Paragas said. “What we know right now is that there was really a recent incident that happened. There was an attack on our system and on our database,” he added. The Department of Information and Communications Technology previously confirmed that the agency’s system was attacked by Medusa ransomware. As defined by Trend Micro, a multinational cyber security software company, ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system's screen or by locking the users' files until a ransom is paid. In the state-run health insurer’s case, the Medusa ransomware group is demanding a total of $300,000 in exchange for access to its system. The group threatened to leak the personal information of PhilHealth members if it did not pay the ransom. No leaked data Based on the agency’s initial assessment, the ransomware has affected at least 72 workstations, mainly from its head office and other offices in the National Capital Region. “None of those were affected in the regional offices,” Paragas said. PhilHealth, along with the DICT, the National Privacy Commission, and the cybercrime units of the National Bureau of Investigation are working together to investigate the matter. Paragas also allayed the fears of PhilHealth members about their personal information, stressing that “no data was compromised.” “Although we are still looking into it, as of now, we can say that no personal information was leaked,” he said. “Of course, because of what happened, the system is very vulnerable and so we are putting a lot of controls right now with the help of DICT and through the forensics of the NBI,” he added. Affected services As part of the containment measures in response to a cyber-attack, the state insurance company shut down its website, and online services on Saturday. “We saw that it affected our website, membership [portals], and e-claims so we deem it necessary to shut down all the systems operations because we want to diagnose the extent of the effects of this attack,” Paragas said. To minimize the effect of the cyber-attack, PhilHealth temporarily shifted to manual operations. According to Paragas, PhilHealth along with concerned government agencies is working to restore its online system by Monday, 25 September. The post Group behind cyber-attack on PhilHealth still unknown – exec appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 24th, 2023

Hero or villain? Mexicans remember revolutionary Pancho Villa

Thousands of Mexicans on horseback parade through the town where Francisco "Pancho" Villa, the outlaw turned revolutionary who inspired countless myths and legends, was killed 100 years ago. Wearing leather boots and cowboy hats to shield from the blazing sun, riders filled the streets of Parral in the northern state of Chihuahua on Wednesday for commemorations marking the centenary of his death. Shouting "Viva Villa! Viva Mexico!" (Long live Villa! Long live Mexico!), the procession paused next to a statue of the mustachioed icon before filing through the town where bands played and crowds lined the streets. It was the culmination of a journey in the saddle that for some participants began more than two weeks earlier -- and around 600 kilometers (370 miles) to the north -- near the Mexican-US border. Others joined along the way as the procession crossed the vast plains of Chihuahua -- once a hotbed of the revolution -- to honor the man known as the "Centaur of the North." "He was a hero. Others consider him a villain and others a murderer. But he wasn't like that," said Javier Baca, a 55-year-old resident of Parral who came dressed as Villa, with his trademark brimmed hat and bullet belts strung across his chest. "I feel very proud to be present on this day," he told AFP. Great military leader Villa was one of the leading forces of the 1910 revolution, which began as an uprising against dictator Porfirio Diaz and led to the drafting of a new constitution. "His contribution to the revolution is without doubt. Villa was the great military leader of the revolution in the second stage," Spanish-Mexican writer and historian Paco Ignacio Taibo II told AFP. Villa generated among historians "a combination of admiration, repulsion, fascination, fear, love and hate" he wrote in his biography of the man who "married, or maintained close quasi-marital relationships, 27 times and had at least 26 children." To his admirers, Villa was a Mexican version of Robin Hood who robbed the rich to give to the poor, before becoming a social-minded revolutionary and talented military general. Other accounts portray Villa, the son of sharecroppers whose real name was Doroteo Arango, as a bandit, cattle rustler and cold-blooded murderer who fell in with revolutionaries despite having no real ideology. "There are legends of Villa the Robin Hood, Villa the Napoleon of Mexico, Villa the ruthless killer, Villa the womanizer, and Villa as the only foreigner who has attacked the mainland of the United States since the war of 1812 and gotten away with it," the Austrian-born historian Friedrich Katz wrote in his book "The Life and Times of Pancho Villa." "There is widespread agreement among friend and foe that Villa was capable both of great acts of generosity and of equally great acts of cruelty," he added. Helped the poor Villa's life and death inspired a host of popular ballads as well as Mexican and Hollywood movies. In the United States, Villa is known for his brazen attack on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916. In response, the US government sent troops under the command of General John J. Pershing on a fruitless mission to capture Villa. "He's a hero here in Mexico, because no one else has managed to stop the gringos in war," said Ruben Palma, a 25-year-old engineer. Villa's luck eventually ran out on July 20, 1923 when at the age of 45 he was ambushed while driving to a baptism -- an event reenacted on Thursday in front of hundreds of spectators. As the revolutionary drove along Gabino Barreda street -- today home to a museum in his honor -- an accomplice of the assassins pretending to be drunk shouted "Viva Villa!" as a signal to the gunmen lying in wait. The car came under a hail of bullets, leaving a blood-covered Villa slumped in the driver's seat and his men sprawled out dead or wounded in the street. According to Katz, there appears little doubt that the government of then president Alvaro Obregon "was not only implicated in but probably organized the assassination of Villa" because it feared he might take part in another uprising. Villa was buried in a graveyard in Parral. In 1976, his remains were exhumed and deposited in the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City, leaving a mixed legacy in Parral. "For some people he was a very good person and for others he was bad," said Gaby Armendariz, a 45-year-old housewife who came to watch the parade. The post Hero or villain? Mexicans remember revolutionary Pancho Villa appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 20th, 2023

Chinese hackers breached US govt email accounts: Microsoft

Chinese-based hackers seeking intelligence information breached the email accounts of a number of US government agencies, computer giant Microsoft said. "The threat actor Microsoft links to this incident is an adversary based in China that Microsoft calls Storm-0558," the company said in a blog post late Tuesday. Microsoft said Storm-0558 gained access to email accounts at approximately 25 organizations including government agencies. Microsoft did not identify any of the targets but a US State Department spokesperson said the department had "detected anomalous activity" and had taken "immediate steps to secure our systems." "As a matter of cybersecurity policy, we do not discuss details of our response and the incident remains under investigation," the spokesperson said. According to The Washington Post, the breached email accounts were unclassified, and "Pentagon, intelligence community and military email accounts did not appear to be affected." In the blog post, Charlie Bell, a Microsoft executive vice president, said "We assess this adversary is focused on espionage, such as gaining access to email systems for intelligence collection. "This type of espionage-motivated adversary seeks to abuse credentials and gain access to data residing in sensitive systems," Bell said. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan addressed the hack in an appearance on Wednesday on ABC's Good Morning America, and said it had been detected "fairly rapidly." "We were able to prevent further breaches," Sullivan said. "The matter is still being investigated, so I have to leave it there because we're gathering further information in consultation with Microsoft and we will continue to apprise the public as we learn more," Sullivan said. Microsoft said Storm-0558 "primarily targets government agencies in Western Europe and focuses on espionage, data theft, and credential access." The Redmond, Washington-based company said it had launched an investigation into "anomalous mail activity" on June 16. "Over the next few weeks, our investigation revealed that beginning on May 15, 2023, Storm-0558 gained access to email accounts affecting approximately 25 organizations including government agencies as well as related consumer accounts," it said. "They did this by using forged authentication tokens to access user email using an acquired Microsoft account consumer signing key," the company said. "Microsoft has completed mitigation of this attack for all customers." US Senator Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the panel is "closely monitoring what appears to be a significant cybersecurity breach by Chinese intelligence." "It's clear that the PRC is steadily improving its cyber collection capabilities directed against the US and our allies," Warner said in a statement. The post Chinese hackers breached US govt email accounts: Microsoft appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2023

Pat Robertson, who made Christian right a political force, dead at 93

Pat Robertson, the soft-spoken televangelist who helped make America's Christians a powerful political force while demonizing liberals, feminists, and gays as sinners, died Thursday at the age of 93, his organization announced. The longtime host of "The 700 Club" on his huge Christian Broadcasting Network and one-time presidential candidate died at his home in Virginia Beach, according to a network statement. Robertson promoted "a worldview that believes in the inerrancy of the Bible," CBN said. "Today, his influence and legacy crisscross interests and industries that have broken barriers for countless Christian leaders and laypeople." Broadcasting "The 700 Club" daily since 1966, the avuncular Robertson promoted a literal belief in "end of times" prophecies of the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel that forecast the destruction of the world to become a Christian paradise. In practice, he advocated for an extremely conservative Christianity focused on "traditional" families and a country founded on the Bible, rejecting the longstanding US principle of separation of church and state. He defined the world as riven by an epochal fight between Islam and Christianity, and meanwhile spearheaded US Christian support for Israel as the land of the "chosen" Jewish people. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called Robertson "a tremendous friend of Israel and a tremendous friend of mine." But he also drew loathing from progressives with his condemnations of feminism and LQBTQ culture as destroying America. His powerful support in 2016 for Donald Trump -- arguably helping seal Trump's presidential victory -- further widened the cultural chasm dividing the country. Marine, lawyer, minister Robertson was born on 22 March 1930 in Lexington, Virginia, the son of a conservative Democratic member of the US House of Representatives and then the Senate for 34 years. After graduating from Virginia's Washington and Lee University, in 1948 he joined the US Marines, serving in Korea. He then graduated from Yale Law School, was ordained a Baptist minister, and in short order launched in 1961 what became the massive CBN empire from a small television station in Tidewater Virginia. After CBN's early financial struggles, he named "The 700 Club" for an early core of 70 supporters who pledged $10 each month. The program mixed news, spiritual and lifestyle stories along with interviews of public figures, and became a hit, especially in rural communities across the country. That made it a mainstream stop for political candidates courting Christian voters: guests included Republican Ronald Reagan and Democrat Jimmy Carter. Robertson expanded into other media businesses, launching what became the popular, conservative "Family Channel" on cable television, and the influential Christian-based Regent University in Virginia Beach. Push into politics In 1987, he launched the Christian Coalition, seeking to bring together different Christian denominations as a force for the conservative values he espoused. Ever since, the organization has been at the forefront of the US culture wars, pressuring Congress and the White House on moral and religious issues such as abortion and the separation of church and state. In 1990, he launched the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal lobby to advance Christian religious rights against secularism in the courts. Robertson himself sought political office, running unsuccessfully in the Republican presidential primary in 1988. But what he built had a lasting impact: a conservative Christian voter bloc instrumental in bringing Trump to power and still exercising enormous influence over the Republican Party. "He shattered the stained glass window," TD Jakes, a Dallas pastor said in CBN's statement. "People of faith were taken seriously beyond the church house and into the White House." Controversies But there were controversies along the way. He courted Democratic Republic of the Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, hoping to convert their countries to Christian states where gay people were banned -- while investing in diamond mining in a deal with Mobutu. In 2001, as America reeled from the September 11 attacks, Robertson endorsed the view that tolerance for lesbians, gays, and doctors carrying out abortions had drawn God's wrath on the country. In 2005, he called for the United States to assassinate then-Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war," he quipped on "The 700 Club." And last year, he said Russian President Vladimir Putin was "compelled by God" to attack Ukraine because it was predicted in the Book of Ezekiel as a step toward the end of times. Washington's political establishment was remarkably quiet Thursday in response to Robertson's death. Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, said Robertson "touched so many lives and changed so many hearts." "He stood for America -- and more importantly, for truth and faith," she said. But on the left, there was little sympathy. "Robertson's death doesn't mean we must overlook his long record of extremist rhetoric," wrote Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "Robertson spent most of his time spreading hate, conspiracy theories, and lies," he said. The post Pat Robertson, who made Christian right a political force, dead at 93 appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 8th, 2023

Xi calls for ‘higher stage’ of China-North Korea ties: state media

Chinese President Xi Jinping will push for a "higher stage" of relations with Pyongyang, North Korean state media said Tuesday, as G7 foreign ministers condemned the North's unprecedented string of weapons tests. China is North Korea's longtime treaty ally and main economic benefactor, their relationship forged in the bloodshed of the Korean War when Mao Zedong sent in millions of "volunteers" to fight US-led United Nations forces to a standstill. Mao once described the two countries as being close as "lips and teeth", and while relations have fluctuated over the years, a breakdown in negotiations between North Korea and the United States has spurred both sides to strengthen their alliance. "The traditional China-DPRK friendship has weathered the trials of the changed international situation for a long time," Xi said in a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, using the initials for the North's official name. In the message carried by the Korean Central News Agency, Xi noted the current international and regional situations are "changing seriously and in a complicated way", adding: "I will continuously push the friendship and cooperation between the two sides to a higher stage." The message came just hours before G7 foreign ministers demanded North Korea "refrain" from further nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, warning of a "robust" response. "Such actions must be met with a swift, united, and robust international response, including further significant measures to be taken by the UN Security Council (UNSC)," the diplomats said in a statement after talks in Japan. Pyongyang has carried out a blitz of banned weapons tests this year, including firing several of its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Last week, the North hailed its first successful test of a new solid-fuel ICBM, saying it will "radically promote" the country's nuclear counter attack capabilities. The post Xi calls for ‘higher stage’ of China-North Korea ties: state media appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 18th, 2023

Iran court jails missile crew behind jet downing

Ten members of an Iranian missile battery crew involved in the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in 2020 have been sentenced to prison, Iran’s judiciary has said on its website. The commander of the crew received the heaviest penalty of 10 years imprisonment while nine others were sentenced to between one and three years, Mizan Online reported on Sunday. The 10 members of the Iranian armed forces were not named. The commander of a Tor M-1 surface-to-air missile system “fired two missiles,” “contrary to orders” and without obtaining authorization, at the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 shortly after its takeoff from Tehran on 8 January 2020, killing all 176 people on board, according to Mizan. Ukraine lost 11 citizens in the airline disaster. At the time, Iranian air defenses were on high alert for a United States counterattack after Tehran fired missiles at a military base in Iraq that was used by American forces. Those missiles came in response to the killing in a US drone attack in Baghdad of Major General Qassem Soleimani who headed the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Three days after the Kyiv-bound plane was shot down, the Iranian armed forces admitted there had been a “mistake.” “Given the extent of the effects and consequences of this action, the main defendant was sentenced to the maximum penalty,” Mizan Online added without giving further details. Compensation Iran’s judiciary said in November 2021 that a trial had opened in Tehran for 10 military members “of various ranks” in connection with the jet’s downing. In January last year, Iran said it had begun paying compensation to families of those killed. Arash Khodaei, a vice president of the country’s Civil Aviation Organization, said that “the sum of $150,000 has been transferred” to some families, while “the process has begun” for others. The payment “does not infringe upon (their) right to take legal action,” state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying. In 2020, Iran offered to pay “$150,000 or the equivalent in euros” to each of the victims’ families. Ukrainian and Canadian officials strongly criticized the announcement, saying compensation should not be settled through unilateral declarations. A Canadian court awarded more than $80 million in compensation to the families of six of the victims in a decision made public in January 2022. That same month, an Iranian couple filed a rare lawsuit against three senior Iranian officials over the deaths of their children in the incident, an Iranian newspaper reported at the time. A group of countries led by Canada called in December for an arbitrator to settle claims against Iran, a first step in possibly bringing a case at the International Court of Justice, which victims’ families have long demanded. Iran offered to pay ‘$150,000 or the equivalent in euros’ to each of the victims’ families.   The association of families of the victims reiterated Sunday after the verdict that “an impartial, international court” should try the crime. The post Iran court jails missile crew behind jet downing appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 17th, 2023

Army downplays NPA attack warning

TACLOBAN CITY — The Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division on Thursday clarified reports of alleged warnings circulating on social media that the New People’s Army is planning to launch attacks in Samar. Army 8ID spokesperson Capt. Jefferson Mariano stressed that the circulating post is not true, adding that the post may have been made to create chaos and confusion to destabilize the prevailing peace. The social media post alleged that both the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are placed on “full alert status” due to the possible attack which came a day after the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in the region confirmed that guerilla fronts in the region had been reduced to two and vowed to end the insurgency in Eastern Visayas before the year ends. “As per our units, they do not have information on it, though our units remain vigilant and prepared to respond to any form of atrocity,” Mariano said in response to Daily Tribune’s query. However, Mariano said that the military does not discount the possibility of the NPA launching pockets of atrocious attacks on the civilians such as burning of equipment that a small unit of three people can undertake. He added that the communist rebels would resort to his kind of tactics to project an image that it remains a capable force to fight the government and stressed that it is just a false projection. In a statement released on Wednesday evening, the 8ID called the viral post as a “black propaganda orchestrated by the enemies of the state to attract support from sympathizers and instill fear to the populace.” “The 8th Infantry Division strongly enjoins the general public to refrain from sharing and posting such disinformation that would tend to exacerbate the situation as it causes panic and fear among the people of Samar and other nearby areas,” it stated. The military urged the public to be vigilant and report to the authorities any suspicious elements or activities in their respective locality. On Tuesday, NTF-ELCAC executive director Undersecretary Ernesto C. Torres Jr. lauded the 8ID, RFT-ELCAC and the Regional Peace and Order Council in Eastern Visayas, during a meeting, for successfully weakening he communist movement in the region and reducing the number of guerilla fronts from 17 to two in a span of five years. The meeting that Torres attended updated the strategic direction plan of the JRTF-8 in support of the mission to end the local communist armed conflict in Eastern Visayas. The post Army downplays NPA attack warning appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsApr 14th, 2023

Philippines Says Catholic Mass Bombing Mastermind Is Dead

Manila, Philippines - The alleged mastermind of a bombing at a Catholic Mass in the southern Philippines has died after a clash between members of a pro-Islamic State group and government troops, officials said Monday.Four people were killed and dozens wounded in the Dec. 3 attack on worshippers inside a university gym in Marawi, the country's largest Muslim city, that was later claimed by the Islamic State grou.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsFeb 13th, 2024

Philippines Says Catholic Mass Bombing Mastermind Is Dead

Manila, Philippines - The alleged mastermind of a bombing at a Catholic Mass in the southern Philippines has died after a clash between members of a pro-Islamic State group and government troops, officials said Monday.Four people were killed and dozens wounded in the Dec. 3 attack on worshippers inside a university gym in Marawi, the country's largest Muslim city, that was later claimed by the Islamic State grou.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2024

DICT, Asia-Pacific team probe cyberattacks on government websites

The Department of Information and Communications Technology is coordinating with the Asia-Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team in an effort to investigate the cyber attack attempts on government websites and domains originating from China, according to a ranking DICT official......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 6th, 2024