Kremlin: We welcome Vatican offer to mediate but Ukraine’s stance prevents it

Russia accuses Ukraine of shutting down the prospect of talks by ruling out engagement with President Vladimir Putin, but Kyiv balks at the idea of ceding any territory seized in what it and the West see as an imperial-style land grab.....»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerNov 28th, 2022

Pope’s peace envoy visits Ukraine as fighting rages

Pope Francis' peace envoy to Ukraine, Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, began a two-day visit to Kyiv on Monday for talks with officials about the war with Russia, the Vatican said. The visit came as Russia claimed it had repelled "a large-scale offensive" by Ukrainian forces in the Moscow-occupied Donetsk region. Zuppi, from the Sant'Egidio Catholic community which specialises in diplomacy and peace efforts, would "listen in depth to the Ukrainian authorities about possible ways to achieve a just peace", the Vatican said. Francis regularly calls for an end to the war in Ukraine but Vatican's attempts to mediate in the conflict have yet to yield any results. Last month the pope named Zuppi, the head of the Italian bishops' conference, "in the hope, which the Holy Father has never given up, that this can initiate paths of peace", the Vatican said at the time. In an interview broadcast Sunday by Italian public broadcaster Rai, Francis said that "with peace, you always benefit, perhaps not much but you benefit. With war you lose everything". Ukraine's ambassador to the Vatican, Andrii Yurash, on Monday, tweeted that his country "welcomes (the) interest of the Vatican to the bloody war". He said he was sure "close acquaintance" with the consequences of war would "help for sure in finding appropriate answers in (the) name of (a) just peace". Vatican News, the Vatican's official media outlet, said Zuppi's trip to Kyiv could be followed by a visit to Moscow, saying the Kremlin had already agreed to receive the cardinal, although no date had been confirmed. In the first few months after Russia invaded its neighbour in February 2022, the pope faced criticism for not blaming Moscow explicitly. Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said recently that Zuppi's mission was not aimed at mediation, at least not yet, but seeking to "favour a climate that can lead to paths of peace". Pope Francis hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last month, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal a few weeks earlier. Shmyhal said afterwards he had invited the pope to visit Ukraine and also asked for help to return children forcibly taken to Russia. Vatican watchers suggest Francis is unlikely to go unless he can also travel to Russia to speak to President Vladimir Putin. The pope revealed in March that he had offered to go to Moscow to negotiate peace, but had been rebuffed. The post Pope’s peace envoy visits Ukraine as fighting rages appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 5th, 2023

Linking Fatima-Mediatrix to Russia-Ukraine

(Author’s Note: The Marian messages quoted here are not necessarily authenticated by the Catholic Church.) There was a report years ago from a Mediatrix devotee, who requested anonymity that Our Lady of Fatima healed the aunt of Vladimir Putin and Putin himself. No details were given. The devotee said he visited Putin several times. This report by a Mediatrix devotee links Lipa and Lisbon to Russia and Ukraine. Lipa and Lisbon were linked after Fatima’s Miracle of the Sun was repeated in a Mediatrix shrine in Mindanao on the 100th anniversary of Fatima, precisely to the hour. As a child, Putin was secretly baptized into the Orthodox Church because the Communist Party banned it. The Christian in Putin may be the potential key to ending the war in Ukraine. In 1960, Pope John XXIII unsealed the Third Secret of Fatima in the presence of Cardinal Augustin Bea and his secretary, Fr. Malachi Martin. In an interview at the Art Bell Show USA in 1997, Fr. Martin hinted that, based on the Third Secret, the solution to the world’s ills would come from Ukraine and Russia.   The conversion of Russia Our Lady of Fatima revealed that the triumph of her Immaculate Heart would come from the conversion of Russia. St. Pope John Paul II soon consecrated Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Vatican Mariologists attributed the consecration to the ensuing momentary era of world peace, a “Marian intervention.” In 1994, Mikhail Gorbachev visited St. Pope John Paul II, the first visit in history by the Kremlin to the Papacy.  Gorbachev instituted Perestroika (reconciliation) and Glasnost (openness), leading to the opening of Christian churches inside Russia. Immediately, Ukraine announced the legalization of the Ukrainian Church (about 70 percent Orthodox), which was brutally disbanded by Joseph Stalin in 1946. The Berlin Wall then crumbled, leading to the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War. Gorbachev’s reforms led to the fall of the USSR. Among its former satellites were Ukraine and Belarus, now arch-enemies in the war in Ukraine.   Marian’s intimacy with Ukraine On 22 January 2022, during a Ukrainian Orthodox celebration in an unspecified town, a white dove descended on top of the altar painting of the Baptism of Jesus, a warning perhaps of a Russian invasion, which happened a few days later. Ukraine was the first nation to be consecrated to the Blessed Virgin in 1037. In 1914, two weeks before World War I, the Virgin told 22 field workers near the Church of the Holy Trinity in the village of Hrushiv: “There will be a war.  Russia will become a godless country.  As a nation, Ukraine will suffer terribly for eighty years — and will have to live through the world wars, but it will be free afterwards.” The prophecy was fulfilled. In 1987, a year after the Chernobyl tragedy, in the same church in Hrushiv, the Virgin told 12-year-old visionary Marina Kizyn: “Do not forget those who have died. Chernobyl is a reminder and a sign that …. THROUGH THE BLOOD OF (UKRAINIAN) MARTYRS WILL COME THE CONVERSION OF RUSSIA.” A bright light filled the church where the Virgin appeared. There were daily apparitions until 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption, which attracted about 500,000 people in total. Many witnessed the apparitions. Hrushiv became an instant pilgrim center. The Virgin of Hrushiv became Our Lady of Ukraine. Our Lady appeared to KGB agents trying to manage the huge crowds. At that time, churches were closed, and Christianity was banned. Priests from the “underground Church” emerged from hiding and defied the KGB, saying ten Holy Masses daily outside the church. The KGB did not touch them. Hrushiv was saved from a deadly cholera epidemic in 1855, with not a single death in the village, after the people offered Mass at a spring that suddenly came out of the ground. The Virgin demonstrated her love for the Ukrainian people when she said: “I have come on purpose to thank the Ukrainian people because you have suffered the most for the Church of Christ in the last 70 years. I have come to comfort you and tell you that your suffering will soon end.  Ukraine will become an independent state.” (Source:, 6 July 2018) Does Putin have a role in the “conversion” of Russia and the end of the war in Ukraine? Will peace be attained through the blood of Ukrainians as martyrs? These remain to be seen. The post Linking Fatima-Mediatrix to Russia-Ukraine appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 29th, 2023

Azerbaijan claims victory after Karabakh separatists surrender

Azerbaijan said Wednesday it had regained control over breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh for the first time in decades after separatist Armenian fighters agreed to lay down their arms in the face of a military operation. The stunning collapse of separatist resistance represents a major victory for Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in his quest to bring the Armenian-majority Nagorno-Karabakh back under Baku's control. Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars over the mountainous region since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The years of conflict have been marked by abuses on both sides, and there are concerns of a fresh refugee crisis as Karabakh's Armenian population fears being forced out. A day after Azerbaijan launched its military operation in the region, Baku and the ethnic Armenian authorities in Karabakh announced a ceasefire deal had been brokered by Russian peacekeepers to stop the fighting. "Azerbaijan restored its sovereignty as a result of successful anti-terrorist measures in Karabakh," Aliyev said in a televised address. Aliyev claimed that most of the Armenian forces in the region had been destroyed and said the withdrawal of separatist troops had already begun. The attack left "at least 200 killed and more than 400 wounded," Nagorno-Karabakh separatist official Gegham Stepanyan said. Late on Wednesday, Armenia's defence ministry said that Azerbaijan had fired on its positions along the border between the arch-foes. Such skirmishes are frequent along the border. Truce deal Under the truce deal, the separatists said they had agreed to fully dismantle their army and that Armenia would pull out any forces it had in the region. Azerbaijan's defence ministry said that "all weapons and heavy armaments are to be surrendered" under the supervision of Russia's 2,000-strong peacekeeping force on the ground. Both sides said talks on reintegrating the breakaway territory into the rest of Azerbaijan would be held on Thursday in the city of Yevlakh. President Vladimir Putin said Russian peacekeepers would mediate the talks. Moscow has said several of members of its force in Karabakh were killed when the car they were travelling in came under fire. Latest violence Baku's operation marked the latest violence over the rugged territory. After the Soviet Union fell apart, Armenian separatists seized the region -- internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan -- in the early 1990s. The war left 30,000 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. In a six-week war in 2020, Azerbaijan recaptured swathes of territory in and around the region. President Aliyev on Wednesday praised the "political competence" of his country's historic rival. "The developments that took place yesterday and today will have a positive impact on the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia," he said. Azerbaijani presidential foreign policy advisor Hikmet Hajiyev promised safe passage for the separatists who surrendered and said Baku sought the "peaceful reintegration" of Karabakh Armenians. A separatist official said over 10,000 people have been evacuated from Armenian communities in Nagorno-Karabakh and "forced to find a shelter" elsewhere in the territory. Russia's President Putin said he hoped for a "peaceful" resolution, adding that Moscow has been in contact with all sides in the conflict. Putin held talks with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan Wednesday evening, but the Kremlin insisted the crisis was "Azerbaijan's internal affair". 'War is over' Jubilant residents in Azerbaijan's capital expressed hope the deal heralded a definitive victory and the end of the decades-long conflict. "I was very happy with this news. Finally, the war is over," 67-year-old pensioner Rana Ahmedova told AFP. In Armenia, there was fury at a second defeat in Karabakh in three years. Clashes broke out in Armenia's capital Yerevan, where thousands of protesters waving the separatist region's flag blocked a main road and riot police guarded official buildings. Demonstrators threw bottles and stones at police as they slammed the government's handling of the crisis, while officers used stun grenades and made arrests. The loss in Karabakh ratchets up domestic pressure on Pashinyan, who has faced stinging criticism at home for making concessions to Azerbaijan since the 2020 defeat. "We are losing our homeland, we are losing our people," said Sargis Hayats, a 20-year-old musician. Pashinyan "must leave, time has shown that he cannot rule. No one gave him a mandate for Karabakh to capitulate," he said. The Armenian leader has insisted that his government had not been involved in drafting the latest ceasefire deal. Again denying his country's army was in the enclave, he said he expected Russia's peacekeepers to ensure Karabakh's ethnic-Armenian residents could stay "in their homes, on their land". International pressure Azerbaijan's assault came as Moscow, the traditional power broker in the region is bogged down and distracted by its war on Ukraine, which has left it isolated in the West. But its peacekeepers there appeared to have played a key role in helping to negotiate the ceasefire and will now oversee its implementation. Turkey, a historic ally of predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan that views mostly Christian Armenia as one of its main regional rivals, had called the operation "justified". The EU and United States have been mediating talks between Baku and Yerevan in recent months aimed at securing a lasting peace deal between the two foes. The White House said Wednesday it was concerned by the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. "We're obviously still watching very, very closely the worsening humanitarian situation inside Nagorno-Karabakh," US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. He added the situation "has been exacerbated by the hostilities perpetrated by Azerbaijan" in Karabakh, where there are now fears of a refugee crisis. The post Azerbaijan claims victory after Karabakh separatists surrender appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 20th, 2023

Pope arrives in Mongolia to back tiny Catholic presence on China’s doorstep

Pope Francis arrived in Mongolia on Friday, beginning the first papal visit to the vast Asian nation landlocked between China and Russia. The 86-year-old pontiff's trip through Monday to the Buddhist-majority nation is a gesture of support for the tiny community of Catholics numbering about 1,400. The Argentine pontiff left Rome at 1640 GMT Thursday bound for the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, arriving Friday morning local time following a nine-hour journey. He was greeted by a line of Mongolian honor guards in traditional blue, red, and yellow attire and foreign minister Batmunkh Battsetseg. Aboard the papal plane soon after take-off, Francis described the vast, sparsely populated country of Mongolia as one that "can be understood with the senses." Asked by a journalist whether he found diplomacy difficult, the pope answered: "Yes, you don't know how difficult it is. "Sometimes you need a sense of humor." The nine-hour flight passed over Chinese airspace and the pontiff, following custom, sent a telegram to President Xi Jinping, bearing "greetings of good wishes" to him and the Chinese people. "Assuring you of my prayers for the well-being of the nation, I invoke upon all of you the divine blessings of unity and peace," he wrote. The voyage -- Francis' second to the region in a year after a September trip to Kazakhstan -- is geopolitically strategic. It is seen as encouraging Mongolia's fragile democracy and potentially helping the Church make inroads with the country's more powerful neighbors. "This is a clear effort of the Holy See to take care of Central Asia and not abandon it to Russia or China," Michel Chambon, a scholar of Catholicism in Asia, told AFP. The visit -- Francis' 43rd voyage in his decade as head of the Catholic Church -- is also crucial in keeping the door open for improved Vatican ties with Beijing and Moscow, which have yet to offer the Pope an invitation. "It's a way to not give up, to remind them 'I'm here!'" Chambon said. "It's a way not to just stay in Rome and wait for things to happen but to jump in." Stamina test The trip will be a stamina test for the pope, who continues to travel widely despite undergoing a hernia operation in June and pain in his knee that has forced him to use a wheelchair. After a day of rest, the pontiff's itinerary on Saturday includes a welcome ceremony, meetings with President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh and Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene, and a first address to authorities, diplomats, and members of civil society. He will meet the Catholic community -- which includes just 25 priests and 33 nuns, only two of them Mongolian -- later Saturday in Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. Its circular nave resembles a "ger", the Mongolian nomads' traditional tent dwelling. The Jesuit pope addresses an interreligious meeting Sunday, where the rector of Ulaanbaatar's Russian Orthodox Church is expected to be present with a delegation, and later presides over a mass inside a newly built ice hockey arena. Pilgrims from nearby countries are expected at the mass, the Vatican said, including from Russia, China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan. Not taking sides Once part of the empire of Genghis Khan, Mongolia is dependent on Russia for energy imports and on China for the export of its raw materials, primarily coal. But while toeing a neutral line with its powerful neighbors, it has engaged in a "third neighbor" policy, strengthening relations with other nations, including the United States, Japan, and South Korea, for balance. That makes Mongolia potentially helpful for Vatican relations with both Beijing and Moscow. The Holy See last year renewed a deal on the thorny issue of bishop appointments with China, and Francis has sought to broker an end to the war in Ukraine with Russia. Francis may use his trip to the former Soviet satellite state, a democracy since just 1992, to hammer home democratic principles. A major coal industry corruption scandal provoked street protests in December, eroding public trust amid a weak economy, high inflation, and major gaps between rich and poor. Chambon, a fellow at Singapore's Asia Research Institute, said Francis may take a page from last year's Kazakhstan visit, during which he warned authorities they have a responsibility to govern well. "The pope is not taking sides but is really putting politicians in front of their responsibilities," Chambon said. "'Who are we serving, are we honest, are we caring for the poor and marginalized, are we taking care of the entire nation in its religious and ethnic diversity?' "He plays the games but he asks the hard questions." Francis, who plans in October to publish an update to his seminal 2015 "Laudato Si'" a global call to action for the environment, will also likely bring attention to the impact of climate change on Mongolia's ecosystems. Together with mining and overgrazing, rising temperatures and their effects are fuelling desertification across swathes of the country. Severe cold, flooding and drought have killed off herds on the vast grasslands, forcing nomads who make up one-third of the population to migrate to Ulaanbaatar, now surrounded by shantytowns inhabited by displaced herders. The post Pope arrives in Mongolia to back tiny Catholic presence on China’s doorstep appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 1st, 2023

US, South Africa in spat over arms-to-Russia charge

The US envoy to South Africa on Thursday accused the country of having covertly provided arms to Russia, a charge that drew an angry rebuke from Pretoria. Ambassador Reuben Brigety told a media briefing the US believed weapons and ammunition had been laden onto a Russian freighter that docked at a Cape Town naval base in December. "We are confident that weapons were loaded onto that vessel and I would bet my life on the accuracy of that assertion," Brigety said, according to a video of the remarks. "The arming of Russia by South Africa... is fundamentally unacceptable." President Cyril Ramaphosa's office hit back, saying it was "disappointing" that Brigety had "adopted a counter-productive public posture." The remarks "undermine the spirit of cooperation and partnership" between the two nations, Ramaphosa's spokesman Vincent Magwenya said in a statement. "While no evidence has been provided to date to support these allegations, the government has undertaken to institute an independent enquiry to be led by a retired judge." In Washington, the State Department took a noticeably milder tone than the outspoken ambassador and welcomed the promise of a probe. "We continue to be committed to our affirmative agenda with our South African partners," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters, pointing to cooperation on public health, climate and trade. He declined to spell out any repercussions for South Africa, after repeated US threats to punish China if it sends arms to Russia. Neutral approach South Africa, which wields moral clout for its victory over apartheid, says it wants to stay neutral over Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has championed dialogue to end the war. But critics cite a number of recent incidents as evidence of a tilt towards the Kremlin. Earlier this year, it held a joint military exercise with Russia and China, and last month a sanctioned Russian military cargo plane landed at an air force base in the middle of the night to deliver what defence authorities described as "diplomatic mail." Ambassador Brigety appeared to refer to a previously known episode, when the Lady R, a cargo vessel under Western sanctions flying a Russian flag, docked at South Africa's largest naval base. "Among the things we noted was the docking of the cargo ship in the Simon's Town naval base between 6th to 8th December 2022, which we are confident uploaded weapons and ammunition onto that vessel in Simon's Town as it made its way back to Russia," the envoy said, according to news outlet News24. The US would like South Africa to start "practising its non-alignment policy", he added. The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), accused the government of trampling on South Africa's values and interests "in favor of a global war-mongerer and despot" and warned of "major consequences". "It means that our main investment and trading partners cannot trust us. This is... treasonous in terms of how they have compromised South Africa and our interests," DA lawmaker Kobus Marais, the shadow minister of defense, told AFP. The rand, which had been softening against the dollar in recent days, dropped sharply, reaching its lowest point in three years, after news of the ambassador's remarks spread. Tightrope South Africa, which has strong economic and trade relations with the United States and Europe, has been walking a diplomatic tightrope over the Ukraine conflict. Trade with Russia is much smaller, but Pretoria has ties with Moscow dating back decades, to when the Kremlin supported the ANC in its struggle against apartheid. It is a member of BRICS -- a grouping bringing together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- and has advocated for multilateralism as a counterbalance to a US-led international order. In March, it was faced with a diplomatic dilemma after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is due to attend a BRICS summit in South Africa in August. The warrant meant that Pretoria would have to detain Putin on arrival. In response, last month Ramaphosa said the ANC had resolved that South Africa should quit the ICC -- before backtracking hours later citing what his office called a communications "error." Eurasia Group, a think-tank, said in a note that Brigety's comments were likely an attempt "to influence South Africa to change its neutral stance on the Russia/Ukraine conflict." The post US, South Africa in spat over arms-to-Russia charge appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 12th, 2023

Russian business offers cash bounties to destroy Western tanks in Ukraine

A Russian company said it will offer five million roubles ($72,000) in cash to the first soldiers who destroy or capture western-made tanks in Ukraine, after the Kremlin vowed Russian forces would wipe out any Western tanks shipped to Ukraine. The United States, Germany and several other European countries are lining up to send Kyiv […] The post Russian business offers cash bounties to destroy Western tanks in Ukraine appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 30th, 2023

Lenovo treats Phl as top Southeast Asian market

Even if neighboring countries in the Southeast Asian region are advantageous in terms of being technology savvy, the Philippines remains an integral market according to an official of Lenovo, a Chinese multinational technology company specializing in designing, manufacturing, and marketing consumer electronics, personal computers, software, business solutions, and related services. “We see strong demand for the Philippines, the only question is how the consumers get the technology. The pandemic has even made the demand for the Philippines surge because of the digital transformation, unlike pre-pandemic where everyone is scrambling. Right now, because of the transformation, growth is very evident. In other words, investments, including Lenovo technologies are still in demand in the market,” according to Giancarlo Nogales from the Infrastructure Solutions Services Sales of Lenovo Philippines at the sidelines of the VST ECS CXO Tech Summit at the Dusit Thani in Mactan Cebu. “In terms of devices, the Philippines is actually doing well,” he added. Last August, the company said that over the next three years, Lenovo is committing a further $1 billion in investment for artificial intelligence that will focus on providing AI devices, AI-ready, and AI-optimized computing infrastructure, and embedded AI-generated content into the intelligent solutions of vertical industries to help customers improve their productivity. Lenovo in September 2023 has unveiled new cutting-edge tech tools and essentials tailored to empower the dynamic, evolving needs of today’s business end-users. It said that the new monitor, software, and accessories are not only designed to boost the capabilities of today’s remote and hybrid workforces but also to address significant challenges faced by businesses as they digitize operations across departments. “Lenovo research shows that managing a remote workforce and global teams remain central tasks for CIOs.1. That is why the new offerings integrate impressive processing power, immersive 3D, and advanced security to create a unified, human-centered experience,” the company said. Further, Nogales added that sales for Lenovo in the Philippines will continue to soar as the country has a bigger population which connotes demand compared to other nations in SE Asia. What Lenovo can count on with the Philippines is the demand for laptops and tablets that are now being used by students, educators, workers, and even the government. “Actually, we have an ongoing engagement with the government sector. I was at an event with the DICT (Department of Information and Communications) and we had discussions with the Department of Education as well, but we still understand what they are looking for. Of course, with DepEd, it’s a big agency, and what I can say is we are working with them across whatever we can offer—cloud technologies, among others,” he told the DAILY TRIBUNE. Nogales said he sees an ongoing digital transformation within organizations and will continue over the coming years. Digital transformation is an ongoing journey Meanwhile, VST ECS president and CEO Jimmy Go stressed that in the ever-evolving world of technology, organizations are charting a course - through a landscape that has seen profound advancement in recent years. “It's important to understand that digital transformation is not a one-time event but an ongoing journey. Every day, we bear witness to the unveiling of new digital technologies. In this dynamic environment, the lines between the physical and digital worlds are blurring, creating a phenomenon known as phygital convergence," he said. He said organizations nowadays stand at the threshold of a remarkable technological revolution. “Generative AI is the talk of the town with Chat GPT and other AI, offering organizations the power to intelligently automate customer experiences and streamline internal operations. The implications of this technology are far-reaching. Microsoft is launching CoPilot and most software applications are incorporating AI in their applications. Gartner predicts that by 2030, a staggering 80 percent of people will interact with smart robots daily, and in just two years, these smart robots will become workforce partners for 90 percent of global companies,” he said. Further, Go stressed that AI and machine learning, once a novel concept, have become integral to the products and services offered by major companies. “A mere decade ago, we were learning to communicate with machines. Today, machines understand and adapt to our language, erasing the boundaries between humans and technology. While AI is currently the headline in the tech world, we must not lose sight of the critical need to modernize our IT infrastructure,” he stated. For organizations to embrace technology, he said it’s a pivotal step in allowing organizations to embrace the latest technology trends, including Multi Clouds, Quantum computing, Data explosion, RPA, Generative AI, and more. “Investments in Connectivity solutions, Digital Infrastructure, Cloud technologies, Cybersecurity, Big data, Storage, Automation, and Collaboration tools remain vital to prepare for the ever-evolving Tech landscape. In the Israel-Hamas and Ukraine-Russia wars, Technology plays a very important and critical role in their war strategies. Computers, AI, Starlink, and drones are heavily used in their strategies,” he said. The post Lenovo treats Phl as top Southeast Asian market appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

Russia ‘interfering’ in global election

Russia is using its spy network, state-run media and social media to undermine public trust in elections around the world, according to a United States intelligence report released Friday that was shared with around 100 countries. “Russia is focused on carrying out operations to degrade public confidence in election integrity,” the report said, citing findings from the US intelligence community. “This is a global phenomenon. Our information indicates that senior Russian government officials, including in the Kremlin, see value in this type of influence operation and perceive it to be effective.” The assessment, which was sent in a cable to the embassies of around 100 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow over Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia engaged in a “concerted effort” between 2020 and 2022 to undermine public confidence in at least 11 elections across nine democracies, including the US, the report said. An additional 17 democracies were targeted through “less pronounced” methods involving Russian messaging and social media activity that sought to amplify domestic narratives related to election integrity, it added. Without naming the targeted countries, the report said the US government had shared with them information about the Russian operations. It alleged Russia utilizes both “covert and overt mechanisms” to influence elections. That includes influence networks managed by its security agency, the Federal Security Service or FSB, which covertly attempted to intimidate campaign workers in an unspecified European country’s 2020 election, it said. Russian state media amplified “false claims of voting fraud” in multiple elections in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America in 2020 and 2021, it added. Russia also exploited social media platforms and “proxy websites” to cast doubt about the integrity of elections in one South American country last year, the report said. “For Russia, the benefits of these operations are twofold: To sow instability within democratic societies, and to portray democratic elections as dysfunctional and the resulting governments as illegitimate,” the report said. The US recognizes its “own vulnerability to this threat,” the report said, reiterating that Russian actors sought to undermine public confidence in the 2020 election which President Joe Biden won against Donald Trump. In a media briefing, a US State Department official said Russia was encouraged to press ahead with election influence operations after its perceived success in spreading disinformation about the 2020 US election and the Covid-19 pandemic. “Russia is capitalizing on what it perceives as a relatively inexpensive success in 2020 in the United States to take this more broadly, globally,” the official said on condition of anonymity. WITH AFP The post Russia ‘interfering’ in global election appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2023

EU, U.S. unite to support Israel

European Union and United States leaders met in Washington Friday to show their united stance in supporting Israel’s war on the Palestinian militant group Hamas. “We stood together to support the brave people of Ukraine in the face of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s aggression. We’re standing together now to support Israel in the wake of Hamas’s appalling terrorist attack,” US President Joe Biden said at the White House. “These conflicts show democracies must stand together,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told reporters as she and European Council chief Charles Michel met Biden. “Today, the world faces enormous challenges. And today, more than ever, the world needs a strong EU-US alliance to tackle these challenges,” Michel said. EU leaders were looking for reassurance of continued US support for Ukraine, which is fighting to repel the Russian invasion launched in February 2022. That reassurance was evident Thursday when Biden urged Americans to back a $106 billion aid package including military assistance for Ukraine and Israel. The US is by far the biggest supplier of military aid to Ukraine. Aid to Israel and Ukraine, however, faces hurdle as the US Congress has been paralyzed for more than two weeks divided Republicans, who hold the majority in the House of Representatives, failed for a third time to elect a new House speaker. Congress also faces a 17 November deadline to act on the budget, so as to avoid a possible government shutdown.   House crisis In the 17 days since US House speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted in a rebellion by right-wing hard-liners from within his own party, no other Republican has been able to muster enough votes to replace him, sparking one of the worst institutional crises Washington has seen in decades. The US legislature is unable to perform even basic functions like funding the government and addressing growing national security concerns. The party dropped Ohio conservative Jim Jordan, chairman of the influential Judiciary Committee, in a secret ballot Friday after he again failed to secure victory on the House floor on his third attempt. Despite backing from former president and leading 2024 Republican hopeful Donald Trump, Jordan was defeated by 25 colleagues from his own side who joined every Democrat to deny him the gavel for the third time in four days. Lawmakers told reporters as they left Capitol Hill for the weekend they would hold a “candidate forum” to choose a new standard-bearer on Monday, with several hopefuls expected to be announced on Sunday. WITH AFP The post EU, U.S. unite to support Israel appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2023

Dissident author warns Russians in Europe to be on guard

Russian author Sergei Lebedev's novel "Untraceable", about an undetectable toxin used to target Kremlin critics, was released a few years ago but has taken on added resonance as alleged poisonings have multiplied. Now the dissident writer is warning that the Russian exile community in Europe faces an ever greater threat amid heightened tensions over the Ukraine war. "This emigre community in Europe is now one of the most important targets for the Russian security (services)," the 42-year-old, now based in Germany, told AFP in an interview at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week. "There will be attempts to infiltrate, to get informants... Of course, there will be some assassination attempts." In Germany -- which Lebedev describes as a "hub" for overseas Russians -- there have been a growing number of suspected cases of Kremlin critics being targeted. In May, German police said they were investigating the possible poisoning of exiled Russians after an activist, Natalia Arno, reported health problems following a Berlin meeting of dissidents. Meanwhile, Berlin-based Russian journalist Elena Kostyuchenko wrote in a Guardian article last month about how she fell ill last year after visiting Munich, and poisoning was suspected. Inside Russia, the most high-profile case in recent years of a Kremlin critic allegedly being poisoned was that of opposition politician Alexei Navalny. Moscow has repeatedly dismissed allegations that it has targeted critics in this way. But Western governments say evidence points to the contrary and for Lebedev, Russians in Europe are not taking the threat seriously enough. 'Very eerie' "They are not very much concerned with security," he said. "They do not understand the principles of how the security services work." "Untraceable", which tells the story of an ageing scientist who creates a highly toxic, undetectable poison, was inspired by the 2018 poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England. And it was around the time that the book was published in Russia that opposition politician Navalny was allegedly poisoned -- a development that Lebedev said he found "very eerie". While he has been vocal about his opposition to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he does not believe he faces a threat himself. He has not found himself in the crosshairs of the authorities and feels he does not run the same level of risk as others, such as critical journalists, particularly those still trying to report from inside Russia. Still, Lebedev -- who moved to Germany five years ago with his wife -- said he has been taking extra precautions, particularly when it comes to exchanging sensitive information. Before becoming a full-time writer, Lebedev worked as a geologist and later as a journalist. He was motivated to write a novel after discovering his grandmother's second husband had been the commander of a Soviet labor camp. He was shaken by the revelation and faced the question of how to "deal with this personally -- with the fact that in your family (there) was a murderer". "I realized that the way out was to write a novel." 'Shocked' at Ukraine war The result was the book "Oblivion", about the legacy of the Soviet prison camp system, which was released about a decade ago and launched his literary career. He has since written several books and his latest is a collection of short stories, "A Present Past: Titan and Other Chronicles". It reflects what he believes is Russia's tortured relationship with the Soviet era -- and society's failure to come to terms with the past -- as well as aspects of its problematic present. Lebedev, who lives in Potsdam outside Berlin, did not flee his homeland. He first moved to Germany for professional reasons. But he has not returned since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, fearing it is not safe to do so. He said he was "shocked" when Moscow sent its forces into Ukraine. "I was the same idiot as many of us were, thinking that Putin is a... modern autocratic, modern dictator and not the blood-thirsty maniac that he is." He sees no swift end to the conflict. "The most difficult and problematic thing is that Russians are getting used to the fact that they are at war but still life is sustainable," he said. The post Dissident author warns Russians in Europe to be on guard appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 20th, 2023

Bong Go to DTI: More livelihood opportunities for poor

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go expressed his support for the proposed budget for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its attached agencies during the Senate Finance sub-committee hearing on Tuesday, 3 October. He however appealed to the concerned agencies of government, particularly DTI, to address rising prices of commodities, mitigate the impact of inflation, and provide more livelihood opportunities for the poor to help them recover from the pandemic and other recent crises. “Bigyan po ninyo ng mas maraming oportunidad na makabangon ang mga mahihirap. Ang maayos na kabuhayan ang isa sa mga magiging susi sa pagginhawa ng pamumuhay ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino,” he explained. “Trabaho po ng DTI na bantayan rin ang mga presyo ng bilihin lalo na ngayon na lumalala ang inflation. Bagamat hindi natin kontrolado ang global factors na nagdudulot nito, sikapin dapat ng gobyerno na pagaanin ang hirap na dinadala ng ating mga kababayang pinakanangangailangan,” he appealed. Go’s stance comes in the wake of the recent Pulse Asia survey, conducted from 10 to 14 September, which showed that poverty and inflation were identified as two of the most pressing concerns. It is for this reason that the senator has urged the government to prioritize the creation of better job opportunities as a crucial step towards alleviating the suffering of the people and stabilizing the country's economy. “Nais kong iparating ang aking suporta para sa proposed budget at mga programa ng DTI. Ang DTI ay may malaking papel sa pagpapalago ng ating ekonomiya at pagpapabuti ng kalagayan ng ating mga negosyante at manggagawa,” said Go. Through Senator Mark Villar who presided over the budget hearing, Go manifested his support for DTI as it plays a pivotal role in shaping the economic landscape of the country, considering that it is responsible for crafting and implementing policies, programs, and projects that promote a competitive and innovative business environment. “Sa pagtugon sa mga hamon ng kasalukuyang panahon, napakahalaga na maglaan tayo ng sapat na pondo para sa DTI upang maipagpatuloy nila ang kanilang mahalagang mga proyekto at programa. Sa tulong ng mga programa ng DTI, mas mapapaunlad natin ang sektor ng negosyo sa bansa at mas magkakaroon tayo ng mas maraming pagkakataon para sa trabaho at kabuhayan,” he added. Moreover, Go said that the department is entrusted with the vital task of supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that constitute the backbone of the Philippine economy. These businesses are crucial in generating employment and driving economic growth. Go highlighted Republic Act No. 11960, or the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act. Authored and co-sponsored by Go, the OTOP Philippines Program is a government-led initiative that allows each town or city in the country to capitalize on a unique product or service that embodies its identity, culture, and traditions. “Sa tulong ng batas na ito, ating pinapalakas ang mga lokal na negosyo sa bawat bayan at siyudad sa bansa. Ipinapaabot natin sa kanila ang suporta na kinakailangan nila upang mapanatili ang kanilang operasyon at maabot ang mas malawak na merkado,” Go said, adding that by leveraging local resources, the program not only invigorates economic activities but also fosters cultural preservation. Meanwhile, Go also co-sponsored Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2021, which aims to institutionalize the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) project under DTI. The proposed measure seeks to amend RA 6977 or the Magna Carta for Small Enterprises as amended by RA 9501, also known as the Magna Carta for MSMEs. If enacted, the SSF program would offer more cost-effective solutions to MSMEs by providing access to shared facilities and services that will help them improve the quality and productivity of their products, including equipment, tools, and machinery that they can use to upgrade their production processes that are typically expensive for individual MSMEs. During the previous administration, Go advocated for the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) program which seeks to aid micro, small, and medium enterprises in crises and provide livelihood opportunities to more Filipinos. “Sa programang ito, tuturuan ang mga benepisyaryo na magnegosyo at bibigyan ng suporta para palaguin ito. Masarap sa pakiramdam kapag pinaghirapan at pinagpawisan ang iyong negosyo, napalago ito, at naiuwi sa pamilya ang kinita mula dito,” he said. He continues to support the implementation of the program to help more Filipinos in need of government support amid trying times. Last year, Go successfully appealed for the budget allocation for the PPG program during the deliberations on the 2023 budget of the DTI. “Marami pong nawalan ng trabaho, maraming nagsara na negosyo dahil po sa pandemya kaya naman napakahalagang maipagpatuloy ang programang ito,” he said. “Isa itong paraan upang maipakita natin ang ating malasakit sa mga Pilipinong apektado ng iba't ibang krisis, mula sa nakaraang pandemya hanggang sa mga kasalukuyang kalamidad, at mabigyan sila ng bagong pag-asa na magkaroon ng maayos na kabuhayan,” he added. Furthermore, Senator Go filed SBN 420, which aims to establish the Rural Employment Assistance Program (REAP) that will be operated under the purview of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The primary objective of this proposed program is to offer temporary employment opportunities to individuals experiencing economic hardships, poverty, displacement, or seasonal unemployment. By creating such opportunities, REAP can assist those affected in achieving financial stability during challenging periods. The post Bong Go to DTI: More livelihood opportunities for poor appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 6th, 2023

DoE eyes OSW, taps USAID

Due to the lack of financial allocation, the Department of Energy or DoE is turning to the United States Agency for International Development or USAID to bankroll the inclusion of offshore wind or OSW and floating solar energy, among other new technologies, into the country’s competitive renewable energy zones or CREZ. In a recent interview with reporters, Assistant Secretary Mylene C. Capongcol said these new power technologies should be included in the CREZ so that its integration into the grid will be efficient. “The first stage of CREZ, that finished does not include offshore wind and floating solar and other bodies of water. So the second stage, hopefully, will be supported by a USAID grant because we don’t have the budget here,” Capongcol said. “We will talk officially with USAID but we have sent our official request so we will just have a meeting about what is the scope of work and the timeline,” she added. OSW potential high Based on the Philippines OSW Roadmap launched in 2022, the country has about 178 gigawatts or GW of OSW potential. To date, the DoE has awarded a total of 79 OSW Contracts with a total potential capacity of 61.931 GW, spread mainly North of Luzon, West of Metro Manila, North and South of Mindoro, Panay and Guimaras Strait. Meanwhile, in terms of floating solar energy ventures, one of the latest developments was the Laguna Lake Development Authority’s move to offer 2,000 hectares of the Laguna de Bay for floating solar projects. Of these, 800 hectares were taken by ACEN Corp. Half, or 1,000 hectares were leased by renewable energy firm SunAsia Energy, which aims to develop a 1300-MW facility for $1.2 billion. The remaining 200 hectares, on the other hand, were allocated to Singapore-based firm Vena Energy. Capongcol reiterated that the CREZ project will significantly complement the government’s drive to augment the country’s supply of clean energy. By proactively focusing transmission expansion to these resource areas, clean energy generation development obstacles such as transmission access, energy curtailment, land permitting, and regulatory barriers will be resolved. Thus, reducing the risk for private players who will invest in the sector. Relatedly, the DoE official bared that the 2023-2050 Philippine Energy Plan or PEP will also highlight the adoption of modern technologies, smart grid systems, and demand-side management to bring down overall energy consumption and cut down greenhouse gas emissions. The government set the target of a 35 percent share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix by 2035 and increased it further to 50 percent by 2040. However, it is still notable that despite an aggressive stance on clean energy utilization, the Philippines continues to heavily rely on coal. Coal, which is cheaper than other forms of power but more detrimental to the environment, is still the highest contributor to the power generation mix at nearly 60 percent. Renewable energy only takes a little over 20 percent of the mix. The post DoE eyes OSW, taps USAID appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 5th, 2023

Russia hand seen in poll victory of pro-Kremlin Slovak party

The foreign ministry of Slovakia on Monday accused Moscow of interfering in the just concluded parliamentary election won by a pro-Kremlin political party. “We consider such deliberately disseminated misinformation to be inadmissible interference by the Russian Federation in the electoral process in the Slovak Republic,” the ministry’s statement said. The ministry was referning to pre-election remarks by Moscow’s foreign intelligence service director claiming Slovakia’s pro-Ukraine centrist party were United States proxies. That party, Progressive Slovakia, finished second with 18 percent of the vote. Former prime minister Robert Fico’s Smer-SD topped the polls with 23 percent of votes to take 42 seats in the 150-member parliament. During the election campaign, the 59-year-old Fico vowed that North Atlantic Treaty Organization member Slovakia would not send “a single round of ammunition” to Ukraine and called for better ties with Russia. The foreign ministry on Monday summoned a Russian embassy official and called on Moscow to “stop disinformation activities aimed at Slovakia.” Moscow rejected the accusations of meddling, saying “we do not interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries and we do not engage in regime change.” The election meddling accusation comes as Slovakia’s liberal president Zuzana Caputova tasked Fico with forming a new government. WITH AFP The post Russia hand seen in poll victory of pro-Kremlin Slovak party appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2023

Germany and Israel sign ‘historic’ missile shield deal

Germany on Thursday signed a deal to acquire the Israeli-made Arrow 3 hypersonic missile system that will become a key part of Europe's defence against air attack. The signing of the deal was a "historic day" for both countries, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said at a press conference alongside his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant. Worth around $3.5 billion (3.3 billion euros), the sale is the biggest ever deal for Israel's military industry. The Arrow 3 system would make "German air defense ready for the future", Pistorius said. Germany has led a push to bolster NATO's air defenses in Europe after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, urging allies to buy deterrence systems together. "We can see with the daily Russian attacks on Ukraine how important anti-air defense is," Pistorius said. The signing of the deal was a "moving event for every Jew", looking back at the events of the Holocaust, Gallant said. "Only 80 years since the end of the Second World War yet Israel and Germany join hands today in building a safer future," he said. Sky shield The long-range Arrow 3 system, designed to shoot down missiles above the Earth's atmosphere, is powerful enough to offer protective cover for neighboring European Union states. The system was developed and produced by Israel and the United States and the sale had to be approved by Washington before it could be finalized. The system was first deployed at an Israeli air force base in 2017 and has been used to protect Israel against attacks from Iran and Syria. Arrow 3 is a "mobile system" that can be deployed depending on the threats faced, according to manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries. The money for the deal comes from a landmark 100-billion-euro fund unveiled by Chancellor Olaf Scholz to bolster the country's defenses in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. More than a dozen European countries have so far signed up to Germany's common air defense project, the European Sky Shield Initiative. The Sky Shield project would involve joint procurement for short-, medium- and long-range systems, including the German-made Iris-T, the American Patriot system and Arrow 3. Some of Germany's neighbors have however so far declined to sign up to the pact, including France and Poland. Officials in Paris have argued instead for an air defense system using European equipment. Berlin has said it expects the Arrow 3 system to be delivered in the final quarter of 2025. The post Germany and Israel sign ‘historic’ missile shield deal appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 28th, 2023

EU businesses ‘questioning their position’ in China — trade commissioner

European businesses in China are increasingly questioning their positions in the face of tough new security laws and a politicization of trade, an EU commissioner warned in Beijing on Monday. "European companies are concerned with China's direction of travel," Valdis Dombrovskis said in a speech at the capital's Tsinghua University. "Many are questioning their position in this country." He pointed to a new foreign relations law and a recent update to China's anti-espionage laws as being of "great concern to our business community". "Their ambiguity allows too much room for interpretation," he warned. "This means European companies struggle to understand their compliance obligations: a factor that significantly decreases business confidence and deters new investments in China," Dombrovskis said. The EU trade commissioner is on a multi-day visit to the world's second-biggest economy, where he is set to meet senior economic officials and press the bloc's case that it is not seeking an economic decoupling from China. His trip follows a report by the Chamber of Commerce of the European Union last week that showed business confidence was at one of its lowest levels in decades. "For decades, European companies thrived in China," the Chamber's president Jens Eskelund said. But, after three "turbulent" years, he said, "many have re-evaluated their basic assumptions about the Chinese market". And it comes in the face of mounting trade tensions between the EU and China, following Brussels' decision to launch a probe into Beijing's electric car subsidies. The investigation could see the EU try to protect European carmakers by imposing punitive tariffs on vehicles it believes are unfairly sold at a lower price. The day after that announcement, the Chinese commerce ministry hit back at the EU's "naked protectionism", and said the measures "will have a negative impact on China-EU economic and trade relations". Speaking in Beijing on Monday, Dombrovskis insisted China remained an attractive investment opportunity for European businesses. "The EU and China both benefited immensely from being open to the world," he said. "Trading and cooperating across borders helped to shape our economic and geopolitical strength." But, he said, growing challenges for business risked turning "what many saw as a 'win-win' relationship in past decades could become a 'lose-lose' dynamic in the coming years". Ukraine war China's refusal to condemn Russia's war in Ukraine also poses a "reputational risk", he said. Beijing's position "is affecting the country's image, not only with European consumers but also businesses", he said. China has sought to position itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict while offering Moscow a vital diplomatic and financial lifeline as its international isolation deepens. Russian leader Vladimir Putin is due to visit China next month. "China always advocates for each country being free to choose its own development path," Dombrovskis said. "So it's very difficult for us to understand China's stance on Russia's war against Ukraine, as it breaches China's own fundamental principles." The post EU businesses ‘questioning their position’ in China — trade commissioner appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 25th, 2023

BSP maintains policy rate at 6.25%

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas maintained its policy rate at 6.25 percent on Thursday to control the rise in inflation due to the looming higher food and transportation costs. Consequently, BSP retained interest rates on the overnight deposit and lending facilities at 5.75 percent and 6.75 percent, respectively. BSP said overall inflation might accelerate to 5.8 percent this year, up from its previous estimate of 5.6 percent and official level of 5.3 percent in August. The central bank also adjusted its inflation forecast upward to 3.5 percent from 3.3 percent for next year, while it kept initial projection of 3.4 percent for 2025. “The upward adjustments in the 2023 and 2024 projections reflect the spillovers from weather disturbances, rising global crude oil prices, and the recent depreciation of the peso” BSP Governor Eli Remolona Jr. said. He said drought from El Niño might reduce agricultural supply which would force businesses to increase food prices to sustain their operations and fulfill customer orders. The weather bureau said El Niño might persist until the first quarter next year. Food as a major inflation growth driver comprises over 30 percent of all the items in the consumer price index. Rice prices recently rose to P60 per kilo, forcing the government to impose price caps for regular and well-milled rice. “No fireworks were seen from the BSP with the central bank simply maintaining its current policy stance. The BSP opted for another “hawkish hold” by keeping policy rates at 6.25 percent while maintaining readiness to hike should data conditions warrant further tightening,” according to Nicholas Mapa, ING senior economist for the Philippines. High global oil prices Remolona added transportation fares and electricity charges will also likely increase as the commodities’ providers aim to recoup losses from higher global oil prices. These have increased by 15 percent over 11 weeks and amid the persisting war between oil exporting countries Russia and Ukraine. With its previous rate hikes of up to 425 basis points post-pandemic, BSP said consumption of certain goods and services has tempered, resulting in lower inflation rates in recent months from a peak of 8.7 percent in January. “At the same time, the BSP Monetary Board noted that recent indicators of domestic economic activity pointed to waning pent-up demand, even as the impact of prior monetary policy tightening continues to weigh on credit,” Remolona said. BSP said inflation would decelerate to government target of 2 percent to 4 percent in the last quarter of this year as long as supply issues do not surface. However, Remolona said the central bank’s Monetary Board is ready to increase its policy rate when supply shocks occur, especially of rice. To prevent rice supply issues, Remolona said the board supports the reduction of 35 percent tariff on rice imported from the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The Department of Finance suggests lowering the tariff to 0 percent to 10 percent depending on local rice production data. “The Monetary Board also reiterated the need for non-monetary interventions, including the temporary reduction of import tariffs with calibrated volumes and timely arrival of import commodities,” he said. The post BSP maintains policy rate at 6.25% appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 21st, 2023

Pope ‘talks Ukraine peace’ with new Russian envoy

Pope Francis met on Monday with the new Russian ambassador to the Vatican, who said they discussed the pontiff's efforts to bring peace to Ukraine. Ivan Soltanovsky, a long-time diplomat, presented his formal accreditation to the 86-year-old head of the Catholic Church, according to a Vatican statement. They "discussed, in particular, the mission of the papal special envoy to Ukraine, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, aimed at solving a number of humanitarian issues", Soltanovsky told Russia's official TASS news agency. "They agreed to continue an honest and open dialogue with the Holy See, traditionally built on the basis of mutual respect," the diplomat added. Earlier this year the pope appointed Zuppi, the head of Italy's Bishops' Conference, to lead a peace mission to try to stop the war in Ukraine. Zuppi has since visited Kyiv, Moscow, Beijing and Washington, where he met with US President Joe Biden. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested last week the cardinal would return to Moscow. During a roundtable event, he said, according to TASS: "The efforts with the Vatican, whose envoy is going to come again, are continuing. "We are ready to meet with everyone, we are ready to talk to everyone." Pope Francis regularly calls for peace in Ukraine, although in the early months after Russia invaded its neighbour in February 2022 he drew criticism for not naming Moscow as the aggressor. He paid a rare personal visit to the Russian embassy to the Holy See the day after the invasion to "express his concern for the war", the Vatican said at the time. The post Pope ‘talks Ukraine peace’ with new Russian envoy appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 18th, 2023

Mediatrix controversy

Author’s note: In the last column, I wrote that the 1951 Pius XII decree that said the Mediatrix apparitions had “no supernatural character or origin” is not binding because it was never promulgated officially. Pope Francis recently appointed a new Prefect of the Dicastery, Cardinal-to-be Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, SJ. Like his predecessor, Fernandez is a Jesuit and an Argentinian. He is the “theological alter ego” of Pope Francis. How will controversial Archbishop Fernandez handle the 70-year-old Mediatrix issue? Will the current Dicastery, which is vehemently anti-Mediatrix, under the helm of Archbishop Fernandez tone down its stance? As a background, there was a decree of the Dicastery but not of Pope Pius XII. The Dicastery of 1951, whose members have died, claimed Pope Pius XII directly approved its decision (not to recognize the Mediatrix apparitions), but it was never formally entered into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official Vatican publication, a requirement of Canon Law for it to take effect. What are the implications if the 1951 Pius XII decree is in truth non-existent? Under the domino principle, this implies that technically all subsequent declarations and orders of the Dicastery for 70 long years are also not binding, including the latest, wherein Lipa Archbishop Gilbert Garcera was ordered by the Dicastery to ban all celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Mediatrix apparitions. However, the Dicastery never authenticated the Mediatrix apparitions, so the apparition celebrations are rightfully banned. But there is a contradiction that must be resolved — since the original 1951 Pius XII decree is in question. The members of the Dicastery in 1951 were caught in a lie because then apostolic administrator Bishop Rufino Santos stated in his decree of 12 April 1951 that he was still awaiting the Vatican decision regarding Lipa — when the Dicastery reported in its Protocol 226/1949 that a decision had been made, contradicting Bishop Santos. Archbishop Fernandez has to resolve this issue because the evangelization of Asia, which is the focus of Pope Francis, is at stake. Pope Francis looks to the Philippines, the only Christian nation in Asia, as the launch pad for the evangelization of Asia and the “conversion” of China. Conversion means stopping the persecution and massacre of Christians in China, permitting churches there to open, reuniting the Underground Church (who are the target of assassinations) and the Vatican-led Church, and finally, changing China’s belligerence to benevolence in the South China Sea to prevent a full-blown US-China confrontation. The Virgin can bring peace to Asia better than any military solutions. A well-publicized message of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace was a warning about China: “Pray hard for China’s dream is to invade the whole world. The Philippines is one of its favorites.” (17 October 1949). There is a Mediatrix shrine in a chapel in a small village near Nanjing that was built by Metropolitan Bank when it was commissioned by the Chinese government to develop two villages. This “foothold” in China is evidence the Virgin Mediatrix is fulfilling her mission of evangelization and conversion. Archbishop Fernandez and Pope Francis must be informed of the history of the Mediatrix to sharpen their perspectives on its geopolitical ramifications. The continued suppression of Mediatrix devotion and of the entire Philippine Church may hamper the Church’s efforts to evangelize Asia. In truth, Satan is scared of the Mediatrix, that is why, in his panic, he tortured Mediatrix visionary Sr. Teresing Castillo, as she wrote in her second diary that the Vatican failed to destroy but which is now available on the Internet. Is Satan behind the suppression of the Mediatrix by using Cardinals in the Vatican without them knowing it? For centuries, Satan has been penetrating the sacred halls of the Vatican and using the Cardinals without their being aware of it. That Satan works in the Vatican is nothing new. Historically, the Spanish Inquisition in the Middle Ages beheaded on mere suspicion about a thousand “heretics.” The ongoing “apostasy” (civil war) within the Vatican, which Fatima prophesied, is another sign of Satan’s works. It is thus in the interest of the Vatican to consider the Marian evangelization that it is suppressing — to have a change of heart. In the end, the Virgin will triumph over the Vatican, if need be, as revealed in the Bible. The Lord said, “I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the Woman (Mary), and between your offspring (demons) and hers (Jesus). Her offspring will crush your head and you will bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15. “A huge red dragon stood before the Woman about to give birth, to devour her Child. She gave birth to a Son destined to rule all nations. In utter rage, the serpent waged war against the rest of her offspring, those bearing witness to the Son born of Her womb.” Revelation 11:1-17 (excerpts).  *** The post Mediatrix controversy appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 18th, 2023

Women’s tennis returns to China after Peng Shuai boycott

Professional women's tennis tournaments return to China on Monday, less than two years after the WTA vowed to boycott the country out of concern for player Peng Shuai and risks to its players and staff. The WTA tournament opening Monday in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou will be the first in mainland China since 2019 -- and while no top-20 stars are expected to attend, it is set to attract plenty of attention. The WTA suspended activities in China in December 2021, when former world doubles number one Peng briefly disappeared after making -- and then withdrawing -- accusations of sexual assault against a senior Chinese leader. Saying the issue was "bigger than business", the tennis body insisted it would not hold events in China until Beijing guaranteed the safety of Peng. "Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China," WTA chief Steve Simon said at the time. Peng published a long social media post in November 2021 saying she had been "forced" into sex during a years-long, on-and-off relationship with Zhang Gaoli, a married ex-vice premier of China 39 years her senior. She has since denied she accused anyone of sexual assault and described the situation as a "huge misunderstanding". Peng has not been seen outside China since the allegations were made. In April this year though, the WTA announced the resumption of tournaments, admitting its "principled stand... a powerful message to the world" had not been able "to bring about change". "It was, in my opinion, a complete capitulation, because it was pretty obvious to anyone who knows anything about China that China wasn't going to offer a free or fair investigation into the sexual assault claims," China-based sports expert Mark Dreyer told AFP. "I really do feel they've undone all that good will that they had gained by taking a principled stance." Dreyer added that the suspension had been largely symbolic as most international sporting events were put on hold during the pandemic under China's strict zero-Covid policy. - An economic choice - China is a crucial market for the WTA, given the quality of local infrastructure and investment as well as TV rights and sponsorship deals with mainland partners. "The choice to return is an economic one," Lionel Maltese, a former member of the executive committee of the French Tennis Federation, told AFP. "The income generated in China has a strong impact on the financing and income of all players." Before the pandemic, the WTA organized 10 tournaments in China each year -- with a total of $30 million in prize money -- out of more than 60 tournaments globally. These included the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, which in 2019 offered the largest tennis prize in history: $4.4 million. China is also home to five players on the world's top 100 list. They include 20-year-old Zheng Qinwen, world number 22 and recent quarter-finalist at the US Open, and 21-year-old Wang Xinyu, this year's French Open women's doubles winner. These stars have boosted the popularity of tennis in China, along with the market's economic potential. "If you have enough big names, the money will come, the tournaments will come," Dreyer told AFP. - 'Convictions' - The headliners in Guangzhou are likely to be world number 24 Magda Linette from Poland and Romania's Sorana Cirstea, currently world number 26. It is unclear if any players will be vocal about Peng, with Maltese saying there was "no leadership among players on ethical issues". "Very few athletes are taking a stand," he said. But France's Alize Cornet, ranked 99th globally, announced this week she would skip the tournament. "Staying true to my convictions and careful about my health, I decided that I will not be playing in China this year," she wrote on social media. Peng herself could make an appearance. After her initial disappearance from public view, she has made what appeared to be orchestrated appearances at multiple sporting events, including the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022. ehl-tjx/reb/qan © Agence France-Presse The post Women’s tennis returns to China after Peng Shuai boycott appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2023

Kim meets Russian defence minister, inspects missile and warship

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Vladivostok on Saturday where he met Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and inspected a hypersonic aircraft missile system before boarding a warship. Kim's first official visit abroad since the Covid-19 pandemic has fanned Western fears that Moscow and Pyongyang will defy sanctions and strike an arms deal. Moscow is believed to be interested in buying North Korean ammunition to continue fighting in Ukraine, while Pyongyang wants Russia's help to develop its missile program. The Kremlin has said no agreement has or will be inked. Kim's extended tour of Russia's far eastern region, which began Tuesday, has leaned heavily martial, including his military-dominated entourage, symbolic exchange of rifles with President Vladimir Putin and tour of a fighter jet factory in engineering hub Komsomolsk-on-Amur. After meeting Kim on Wednesday at the Vostochny cosmodrome roughly 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) from Moscow, Putin talked up the prospect of greater cooperation with North Korea and said there were "possibilities" for military ties. Upon arriving in Vladivostok, a large coastal city near the Chinese and North Korean borders, Kim was greeted by Shoigu and an honor guard, state news agency TASS reported. At the Knevichi airfield, Shoigu showed Kim "the Kinzhal missile system on the MiG-31I missile carrier", TASS said, adding that its "flight and technical capabilities" were outlined to Kim by a top military official. Kim and Shoigu then boarded frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov where the "Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolay Evmenov, spoke about the characteristics of the ship and anti-submarine weapons - four-tube torpedo tubes and RBU-6000 rocket launchers," TASS said. Kim is expected to visit the Far Eastern Federal University and marine biology laboratories at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok. Colleges in Russia's Far East have historically accepted North Korean students. 'Troubling' cooperation Kim is visiting Russia as Putin seeks to bolster alliances with other world leaders ostracized by Western countries. The longtime allies are both under a raft of international sanctions, Moscow for the Ukraine conflict and Pyongyang for its nuclear tests. Kim and Putin's gifting each other rifles at the spaceport summit on Wednesday further fueled speculation that an arms export deal could be on the table, despite Western warnings. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday however, that no agreements had been signed during Kim's ongoing trip, and "there was no plan to sign any". While meeting Kim, Putin accepted an invitation to visit North Korea, according to the Kremlin, and he reportedly offered to send a North Korean to space, which would be a first. Moscow also mentioned the possibility of helping North Korea to manufacture satellites, a prospect that has alarmed Washington. The cooperation announced during Kim's Russia is "quite troubling and would potentially be in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions", State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reports following the leaders' summit. North Korean satellites, he noted, have been used to develop Pyongyang's ballistic missiles. Pyongyang recently failed twice in its bid to put a military spy satellite into orbit. The post Kim meets Russian defence minister, inspects missile and warship appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2023