Philippines’ Duterte Announces ‘Separation’ From US?

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte declared his “separation” from longstanding ally the United States in Beijing on Thursday, as he rebalances his country’s diplomacy towards China. 
“I announce my separation from the United States,” he said to applause at a meeting in the Chinese capital.
His comments came after he met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square, with the two men pledging to enhance trust and friendship, while playing down a maritime dispute. 
The two leaders — Duterte donning a suit and tie for the occasion — strode side-by-side down the red carpet inspecting an honour guard, with children cheering. 
  • Xi called the two countries “neighbours across the sea” with “no reason for hostility or confrontation”, the official Xinhua news agency said. 
  • Duterte is in China for a four-day trip seen as confirming his tilt away from Washington and towards Beijing’s sphere of influence — and its deep pockets. Under Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino the two countries were at loggerheads over the South China Sea — where Beijing has built a series of artificial islands — but since taking office in June the new head of state has changed course. 
  • The two leaders held “extensive” and “amicable” official talks and oversaw the signing of 13 bilateral cooperation documents on business, infrastructure, and agriculture, among other fields, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, without giving details.
In a statement, the foreign ministry cited Xi as telling Duterte their emotional foundation of friendly good neighbourliness was unchanged, and difficult topics of discussion “could be shelved temporarily”. 
Duterte called the meeting “historic”, it added. 
Duterte’s visit to Beijing capped a series of recent declarations blasting the US and President Barack Obama.

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China Praises Duterte Ahead Of His Visit?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says no "foreign force" can stand in the way of progress in the long-neglected relationship between China and the Philippines. 
Speaking in Beijing on Tuesday, Wang praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for working to improve ties and for returning to "the track of dialogue and cooperation." Wang said:
"This reflects the wish of the Philippine people, and is in line with the Philippines' national interest. No foreign force can stand in the way of such process".
While Wang gave no details, he was likely referencing the United States as a foreign force that could upset the rapprochement between Manila and Beijing, given the 65-year-old mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and the Philippines. 
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told China's official news agency that China is his country's only hope for development. 
  • Duterte said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency that his visit to China beginning Tuesday points toward a restoration of trust between the sides following recent tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. 
  • He said China is a potent source of capital for much-needed infrastructure development and that the Philippines should leverage its 2 million-strong ethnic Chinese minority as a bridge to encourage Chinese investment.
Duterte said in the interview that his own grandfather was Chinese, and that "It's only China (that) can help us." 
He said that unlike the U.S. and other Western nations, China has offered its support for his 3-month-old government without criticism.

Source: Yahoo News...More...
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Pope Saddened By News Of Lesbian Nuns Marrying

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Vatican City – Pope Francis was upset to hear that two former nuns had married in a civil ceremony in Italy, Vatican Deputy Secretary of State Archbishop Angelo Becciu said Friday. 
“How much sadness on the pope’s face when I read him the news of the two married ‘nuns’!” Becciu tweeted.
Federica and Isabel were joined in a civil union in northern Italy last month, taking advantage of a law passed this year that offers homosexual couples legal recognition — one of the last countries in the West to do so.
The pair, who did not give their surnames, told La Repubblica on Friday that they had fallen in love while serving as missionaries in the West African country Guinea-Bissau. 
Federica, 44, comes from Italy and Isabel, 40, comes from South America. They said they could have done what other nuns did and live together in a convent while hiding their relationship, but said this would have been “false”. 
  • “There are many such cases where priests or nuns hide their relationships with men or women,” the pair were quoted as saying, adding that they had received no help when they left their religious order. 
  • “We felt alone, more than that, we felt abandoned.” The Italian Bishops Conference came out firmly against the government’s Civil Union bill, arguing that it undermined the status of traditional families.
The Church teaches that homosexuality is not sinful but homosexual acts are, and that homosexuals should try to be chaste. However, Pope Francis said in June that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from gay people for the way they had treated them.
“(Gay people) should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally,” he told reporters.

Source: – FMT
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Duterte Likens Himself To Hitler, Wants To Kill Millions Of Drug Users

Friday, September 30, 2016
MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte appeared to liken himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler on Friday and said he would “be happy” to exterminate three million drug users and peddlers in the country.
In a rambling speech on his arrival in Davao City after a visit to Vietnam, Duterte told reporters that he had been “portrayed to be some cousin of Hitler” by critics. 
Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Duterte said: “There are three million drug addicts in the Philippines. 
I’d be happy to slaughter them. “If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…,” he said, pausing and pointing to himself.
“You know my victims. I would like (them) to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”
Duterte was voted to power in a May election on the back of a vow to end drugs and corruption in the country of 100 million people.  
He took office on June 30 and over 3,100 people have been killed since then, mostly drug users and peddlers, in police operations and in vigilante killings.

Source: Reuters

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Billionaire Soros To Invest $500 Million To Help Migrants, Refugees

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Billionaire investor George Soros said on Tuesday, he would invest $500 million to meet the needs of migrants and refugees. 
The investment comes in response to the Obama administration's "Call to Action" initiative, asking U.S. companies to help ease the migrant crisis.
"We will invest in startups, established companies, social impact initiatives, and businesses started by migrants and refugees themselves," Soros said in a statement.
"These investments are intended to be successful. But our primary focus is to create products and services that truly benefit migrants and host communities.
"Soros, founder of the Open Society Foundations, also said he plans to work closely with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Rescue Committee to guide his investments. 
This comes a day after the ceasefire between the U.S. and Russia in Syria collapsed, after a deadly attack on a convoy carrying humanitarian supplies near Aleppo. 
Soros first made the announcement in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

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Cebu City Of Philippines Voted World's Worst Place To Be A Driver?

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Think New York's City traffic is the worst? Wait till you get to drive around Philippines Cebu City, rated in a recent study as the "worst place in the world to be a driver."
The study took into consideration traffic density and severity, quality of roads and infrastructure, road safety, driver services, social economics, and "wazeyness" or the "happiness and helpfulness of the Waze community."
The study, which focused on countries and cities with more than 20,000 active Waze users monthly "to ensure data accuracy and fair market comparison," used a single numeric score from 1 (miserable) to 10 (satisfying).
With a driver satisfaction index of 1.15, Cebu was "ranked as the least satisfying, or the worst place in the world to be a driver," Waze said in its study.
Cebu, which wasn't ranked in last year's study, was followed in the list by Bogor, Indonesia; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Denpasar and Bandung in Indonesia.
The Philippines, however, was ranked as the second worst place to be a driver. 
"El Salvador, the Philippines, Guatemala, Panama and Indonesia are the least satisfying places to drive globally, largely due to intense traffic and low Wazeyness and socioeconomic factors," Waze said in the study.
Users ranked Cebu's traffic an abysmal 0.58, while the safety and quality of its roads were rated 2.07 and 2.50, respectively. 
The city got a "wazeyness" score of 1.35, while its social economics index, which takes into account the impact of gas prices and the ratio of cars to population was rated 0. 
  • No data was provided for the city's driver services, which include the number of gas stations, car services and parking lots. 
  • The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has yet to issue a statement on the study. 
  • The agency recently submitted to the Senate its list of priority projects and programs should Congress grant President Duterte emergency powers to address the traffic crisis in the country.
For the second time, the Netherlands was considered the most satisfying place in the world to drive in for its "smooth traffic conditions and solid road quality and infrastructure.
" It was followed by France, the United States, the Czech Republic and Sweden. 
France dominated the list of cities best to drive in, as nine of its metro cities were included in the Top 10.

Source: Agency
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Super Typhoon Meranti Leaves Thousands Without Power In Taiwan

Thursday, September 15, 2016
One of the most violent typhoon's on record is heading towards China after hitting southern Taiwan. 
Super Typhoon Meranti struck the island with wind speeds of more than 350 km an hour.  
Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reports from Taiwan.
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Drug Rings Using 'Pretty Women' To Lure Students In Malaysia?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Drug rings are using pretty women to entice young and unwary secondary school students, reports China Press.
Lured under the pretence of a date, these pretty drug pushers would offer the teenagers "sweets" which actually contain methamphetamine. 
To hide the drugs, the women conceal them inside sachets of several popular drinks. 
The newspaper's investigations revealed several accounts on WeChat that were offering to sell "iced water" and "tea" for as high as RM499 per packet.
Apart from selling the drugs in packets, these accounts, which had the profile picture of pretty women, are also selling "pills" by the gram. 
Batu Pahat OCPD Asst Comm Abdul Wahib Musa admitted that the police did not often receive reports on online drug cases.
 To curb such a trend, he said, the police would have to work closely with the Malaysian Communica­tions And Multimedia Commission. 
ACP Abdul Wahib advised parents to spend more time with their children as lonely teenagers might be easy targets 
for drug pushers. 

Aource: Asia One
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World’s First Self-Driving Car Runs On Trial In Singapore?

Friday, September 09, 2016
Singapore – The world’s self-driving taxi, which was developed by researchers from nuTonomy, a Singapore-based transportation software firm, was allow to trial run in a 6-km route in the One-North Industrial Zone in Singapore on Thursday.
Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reports that a group of ten Singaporean residents were invited to use nuTonomy’s smartphone app to hail the robo-taxi for a ride at no charge.
To ensure safety, several computer engineers of nuTonomy will backup human driver during the trial phase in case anything goes wrong. 
Now, there are four other self-driving cars of nuTonomy waiting for a trial run. 
NuTonomy previously said it expects to launch its service without the supervision of a safety driver in 2018. 
The firm plans to put 75 cars of this kind for commerce purpose into operation in Singapore in 2018, in order to meet increasing travel demand in the country.
Source:VNA, Agency
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