‘ Abu Sayyaf Group Threatens to Kill Hostages ‘

#AceNewsServices (SEA) MANILA – September 27 – A threat by Philippine militants to kill a German hostage in a show of solidarity with Islamic State is the latest sign that the Middle East group’s brand of radicalism is winning recruits in Asia and posing a growing security risk in the region.

' Abu Sayyaf Group Threatens to Kill German Hostages '

‘ Abu Sayyaf Group Threatens to Kill German Hostages ‘

Over 100 people from South-East Asia’s Muslim majority countries of Indonesia and Malaysia and the southern Philippine region are believed by security officials and analysts to have gone to join Islamic State’s fight in Iraq and Syria.

Malaysian and Indonesian militants have discussed forming a 100-strong Malay-speaking unit within Islamic State in Syria, according to a report from a well-known security group released this week.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, who heads the US Armed Forces’ Pacific Command, said on Thursday around 1,000 recruits from India to the Pacific may have joined Islamic State to fight in Syria or Iraq. He did not specify the countries or give a time-frame.

That number could get larger as we go forward,” Locklear told reporters at the Pentagon. In addition to India, the Hawaii-based Pacific Command’s area of responsibility covers 36 countries, including Australia, China and other Pacific Ocean states.

The command does not cover Pakistan.

In the region, thousands have sworn oaths of loyalty to Islamic State as local militant groups capitalize on a brand that has been fuelled by violent online videos and calls to jihad through social media, security analysts say. Security officials say this has disturbing implications for the region, especially when battle-hardened fighters return home from the Middle East.

The Philippines’ Abu Sayyaf group, which has earlier claimed links with al Qaeda and is led by a one-armed septuagenarian, has threatened to kill one of the two Germans it holds hostage by Oct. 10, according to messages distributed on Twitter.

As well as US$5.6 million in ransom, the group demanded that Germany halt its support for the US-led bombing campaign launched against Islamic State this week.

Source:

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` Why Does China Want Land in Disputed Paracel Islands ? ‘

#AceNewsServices – MANILA – May 14 – (Reuters) – The Philippines accused China on Wednesday of reclaiming land on a reef in disputed islands in the South China Sea, apparently to build an airstrip, only a day after Washington described Beijing’s actions in the region as “provocative”.

ParacelIslands

If confirmed, the airstrip would be the first built by China on any of the eight reefs and islands it occupies in the Spratly Islands and would mark a significant escalation in tensions involving several nations in the area.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, an area rich in energy deposits and an important passageway traversed each year by $5 trillion worth of ship-borne goods.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the area.

Philippine Foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose told Reuters that China had moved earth and materials to Johnson South Reef, known by the Chinese as Chigua, in recent weeks. He said China was reclaiming land in violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, an informal code of conduct for the region.

“They’re about to build an airstrip,” Jose said.

Tensions in the South China Sea were already high after China moved a large oil rig into an area also claimed by Vietnam. Beijing and Hanoi each accused the other of ramming its ships near the disputed Paracel Islands. 

The Paracel Islands, known as Xisha Islands in Chinese and as Hoàng Sa Archipelago inVietnamese, is a group of islands in the South China Sea whose sovereignty is claimed by the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

The islands are currently controlled by China, which captured them from South Vietnam in January 1974.

South Vietnam’s claim was inherited by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which has ruled all of Vietnam since 1976.

China established the city of Sansha, under Hainan Province in July 2012, to administer the islands.

The islands include over 30 islets, sandbanks and reefs over a maritime area of around 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 sq mi) with less than 8 square kilometres (3.1 sq mi) of land.

The archipelago is approximately equidistant from the coastlines of Vietnam and China: 180 nautical miles (330 km; 210 mi) south-east of Hainan Island, and about one-third of the way between Central Vietnam to the northern Philippines.

Turtles live on the islands, and sea-birds have left nests and guano deposits, but there are no permanent human residents except military personnel and fishermen.

Divided into two main groups, the Paracel Islands comprise the Amphitrite group in the north-east and the Crescent group in the south-west located about 70 km (43 mi) from one another.

Here is the answer to the reason for the dispute in the paragraph below:

Subject to a hot and humid climate with abundant rainfall and frequent typhoons, the archipelago is surrounded by productive fishing grounds along with potential oil and gas reserves.

#ANS2104 

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` China’s Foreign Ministry Blames the United States for Tensions in South China Sea ‘

Map of the South China Sea

Map of the South China Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

#AceWorldNewsBEIJING – May 09 – China’s foreign ministry blamed the US Friday for stoking tensions in the disputed South China Sea by encouraging countries to engage in dangerous behaviour. China has constructed an oil rig in the disputed waters, which the US called provocative and unhelpful.

 

China this week accused Vietnamese vessels of colliding with its own ships in the South China Sea and Vietnam said that Chinese vessels used water cannon and rammed eight of it ships. In another part of the South China Sea Philippine police have seized a Chinese boat, which they say was illegally fishing for Sea Turtles, a protected species, Beijing is demanding that the Philippines release the fishing boat.

 

 

(PressTV) – February 11 – The war of words continues between the US and its allies, and China.

 

At the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, spokeswoman Hua Chunying condemned the recent remarks by Japanese leaders aimed at casting a sympathetic light on their country’s wartime history. She also defended China’s new Air Defense Zone over the East China Sea, together with its recent moves to regulate fishing in the South China Sea.

 

With Western analysts saying China is planning a second Air Defense Zone for the South China Sea, America’s Assistant Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific Danny Russell has suggested that China is aiming at regional hegemony. China’s Foreign Ministry has responded by accusing the US itself of undermining peace.

 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Last month Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Germany and the UK went to war in 1914 in spite of strong economic ties, and warned that China and Japan must avoid the same fate.

 

Historians say Germany attacked a century ago because it feared encirclement. So perhaps the World War One comparison is a fair one.

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry will be visiting China from Thursday. Allaying mutual suspicion should be the greatest of his concerns.

 

Share or Tweet @AceNewsServices with #ANS2014

 

 

 

 

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` Philippine Police Clash with Activists over Visit by Barack Obama and Pact of Increased US Military Presence ‘

#AceWorldNews – MANILA – April 23 – Philippine police clashed Wednesday with more than 100 left-wing activists who rallied at the US Embassy in Manila.

They oppose a visit by President Barack Obama and a looming pact that will increase the American military presence in the Philippines, AP reported.

Riot police blocked the activists near the heavily fortified embassy compound but the protesters slipped past them, sparking a brief scuffle.

Officers sprayed the protesters with water from a fire truck to push them away but no arrests were made.

Some of the activists carried paper US flags with the message: “Obama, not welcome.”

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UN HUMANITARIAN CHIEF URGES STRONGEST POSSIBLE AID RESPONSE FOR PEOPLE OF TYPHOON-RAVAGED PHILIPPINES

English: Emblem of the United Nations. Color i...

English: Emblem of the United Nations. Color is #d69d36 from the image at http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/maplib/flag.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceDisasterNews says it’s been a sometime since  Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines and I remain concerned about the health and well-being of the millions of men, women and children who are still in desperate need and are struggling to cope with the impact of one of the worst storms since records began.

A massive aid effort is under-way, led by the Government and supported by the Red Cross, local and international NGOs, and UN agencies, with the generous help of other countries. More ships, planes and trucks of aid have arrived and much more is on its way. As our teams reach new areas we can see the widespread devastation that has been caused. This is an aid effort which will need to be sustained as people seek to rebuild their lives.

The United Nations and humanitarian partners have distributed food rations in Tacloban and Guian, and delivered emergency medical and hospital supplies, tarpaulins and shelter materials as well as clean water and hygiene kits to badly affected areas.

While the situation in the three Visaya’s regions remains very challenging, I welcome the progress that is being made on clearing roads of debris and restoring water and power systems, so that aid workers and local authorities can establish a pipeline of relief supplies to the people most in need.
More fuel and transport is needed to do this at the huge scale and pace required.

There has been an outpouring of assistance from individuals, Governments and companies around the world showing solidarity with the people of the Philippines. We are in a race against time to save lives, get services up and running and lessen the suffering of the Philippines people.

Courtesy of: http://www.unocha.org/

 

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The Economic Cost of a U.S. Military Strike on Syria

Launch of a Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile f...

Launch of a Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile from the USS Stethem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWorldNews says as federal lawmakers and the American people grapple with the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Syria, NPP brings you  a new interactive tool tracking the Cost of National Security. The site features counters displaying the real-time running cost of U.S. military programs, including theTomahawk Cruise Missile – the weapon to be used in a strike on Syria.

Courtesy of NPP’s Weekly Roundup

null
A snapshot of NPP’s rolling counter showing how much U.S. taxpayers have spent so far in 2013 on Tomahawk Missiles.

 

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#Philippines Latest News on #Haiyian

10,000 feared killed in Philippines by super typhoon Haiyan (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

RT: Published time: November 10, 2013 01:02
Edited time: November 10, 2013 14:18
A view of destroyed houses after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 9, 2013 (Reuters / Erik De Castro)
Download video (4.52 MB)
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An estimated 10,000 people might have been killed in the central Philippine province of Leyte alone, which was almost completely destroyed by the powerful typhoon Haiyan, local authorities said.

The typhoon has devastated up to 80 percent of the Leyte province area as it ripped through the Philippines, Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria told Reuters.

“We had a meeting last night with the governor and other officials. The governor said based on their estimate, 10,000 died,” Soria said.

Residents fetch free water at a plant of a softdrink company in Tacloban City, Leyte province, central Philippines on November 10, 2013 after Super Typhoon Haiyan swept over the Philippines.(AFP Photo / Ted Aljibe)Residents fetch free water at a plant of a softdrink company in Tacloban City, Leyte province, central Philippines on November 10, 2013 after Super Typhoon Haiyan swept over the Philippines.(AFP Photo / Ted Aljibe)

Most of the dead drowned or were killed by collapsed buildings, authorities say.

The UN’s humanitarian agency puts the figure of people displaced at just under 331,000, while those whose lives have also been “affected” by the typhoon number a huge 4.3 million across 36 provinces.

People walking the streets like ‘zombies’

The situation in the street reminds one witness of a “movie”. Jenny Chu, a medical student in Leyte told Reuters that “people are walking like zombies, looking for food.” 

Meanwhile, reports came in that a big part of Visayas, the group of islands where Leyte and other major islands are located, has sustained great damage.

Mila Ward, a Philippine-born Australian on vacation in Leyte spoke of the human misery that was abundant in the streets everywhere one looked. “They were covered with blankets, plastic,” she spoke of the hundreds of bodies strewn around the streets. “There were children and women,” Ward added.

“It’s like the end of the world”, said another witness – Nancy Chang – who was on business in Tacloblan City and said that she had to walk for three hours through a mess of mud and floating debris to reach a military-led evacuation at the airport.

That airport itself was all but destroyed; with seawater so strong it shattered the glass of the control tower. A Reuters reporter was stranded there, recounting how the water had risen to four meters.

“It was like a tsunami. We escaped through the windows and I held on to a pole for about an hour as rain, seawater and wind-swept through the airport…some of my staff survived by clinging to trees. I prayed hard all throughout until the water subsided,” said the reporter, 47-year-old Efren Nagrama, who discovered five bodies while in the chapel there.

Police have been deployed to patrol the ruins of Tacloblan to prevent looting as desperate residents look for food and water, said Philippine Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, describing the situation as “horrific.”

Thousands of homes lie destroyed near the fishport after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines November 10, 2013. (Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)Thousands of homes lie destroyed near the fishport after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines November 10, 2013. (Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)

“The dead are on the streets, they are in their houses, they are under the debris, they are everywhere,”said Lim, adding that only about 400 bodies have been recovered so far.

The Red Cross said earlier that 1,200 people we confirmed dead in the Philippines.

Roxas said earlier on Saturday that it was too soon to announce any final figures.

A fishing boat which slammed into damaged houses lie atop debris after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines November 10, 2013. (Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)A fishing boat which slammed into damaged houses lie atop debris after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines November 10, 2013. (Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)

“The rescue operation is ongoing. We expect a very high number of fatalities as well as injured,” Roxas told AP. “All systems, all vestiges of modern living — communications, power, water — all are down. Media is down, so there is no way to communicate with the people in a mass sort of way.”

Government officials are still waiting to make contact with Guiuan, with its population of 40,000, located in the Mindoro province. The UN says that 80 percent of it is now underwater.

Survivors assess the damage after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines November 9, 2013 (Reuters)Survivors assess the damage after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines November 9, 2013 (Reuters)

The storm weakened on Saturday after moving away from the Philippines toward Vietnam.

Vietnamese authorities evacuated over 500,000 people to safer areas in preparation for the tumult which is forecast to make a landfall on Sunday afternoon, but that did not stop the disaster from claiming six lives and injuring dozens there too.

International relief effort mission

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said the priority for the government was to restore communications and power in remote areas and to deliver relief and medical assistance to families.

The Philippine Red Cross is preparing for a relief mission “because of the magnitude of the disaster,”says Richard Gordon, the agencies head.

Residents take a bath and wash their belongings next to debris along a road in Tacloban, on the eastern island of Leyte on November 10, 2013 after Super Typhoon Haiyan swept over the Philippines.(AFP Photo / Ted Aljibe)Residents take a bath and wash their belongings next to debris along a road in Tacloban, on the eastern island of Leyte on November 10, 2013 after Super Typhoon Haiyan swept over the Philippines.(AFP Photo / Ted Aljibe)

But logistically speaking getting aid to the devastated regions of Leyte, 560 km from the capital could be difficult as the airport was destroyed.

Russia’s emergencies ministry has offered to help by providing search and rescue personal and a mobile hospital.

“If necessary, we will fly two planes to the Philippines with an operational group of 50 people,” Russian Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman Irina Rossius told Itar-Tass. But that figure later changed to 200 rescuers, if the request is made, said the Ministry, adding that “among them are six dog teams intended for rescue work in collapsed buildings,” said Irina Rossius, a representative of the Ministry.

A boy carrying a plastic bottle of water walks past a car which slammed into damaged houses after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines November 10, 2013.(Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)A boy carrying a plastic bottle of water walks past a car which slammed into damaged houses after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines November 10, 2013.(Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Washington “stands ready to help.” In the meantime the US navy is assessing the extent of the damage on the ground.

The UN will also be involved in the relief effort, the UN Disaster Coordination Team (UNDAC) has arrived in the city of Tacloblan.

“The United Nations agencies in the Philippines, with their humanitarian partners, are supporting the Government and other responders in their efforts to assess the situation and respond rapidly with vital supplies, through the coordination system led by the local authorities,” said Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.

A damaged car is seen in front of the airport after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines, November 9, 2013 (Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)A damaged car is seen in front of the airport after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines, November 9, 2013 (Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)

UNICEF estimates that up to 1.7 million children could be affected by the typhoon.

“UNICEF’s first priorities are focused on life-saving interventions – getting essential medicines, nutrition supplies, safe water and hygiene supplies to children and families,” said UNICEF’s representative in the Philippines, Tomoo Hozumi.

In addition, the World Food Programme (WFP) has so far allocated $2 million for the response as it sent 40 metric tonnes of high-energy biscuits to the victims.

A number of NGOs are also mobilizing their resources to help the families in the Philippines. These include names like Save the Children, World Vision and Habitat for Humanity, as well as an LA-based US relief agency called Operation USA.

Meanwhile, Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based international relief agency is calling for donations to aid recovery efforts and funding for grant distribution to local agencies in the affected areas.

Vehicles that were washed away by floodwaters are seen at a rice field near the airport after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines, November 9, 2013 (Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)Vehicles that were washed away by floodwaters are seen at a rice field near the airport after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines, November 9, 2013 (Reuters / Romeo Ranoco)
Philippine military C130 cargo planes (L) ferrying supplies park at the tarmac outside an airport after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 9, 2013 (Reuters / Erik De Castro)Philippine military C130 cargo planes (L) ferrying supplies park at the tarmac outside an airport after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 9, 2013 (Reuters / Erik De Castro)

 

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#Philippines: UN boosts Relief Efforts to Respond to Super Typhoon #Haiyan

An average of 20 typhoons a year strike the Philippines. Photo: IRIN/Jason Gutierrez

9 November 2013 – The United Nations is ramping up its relief efforts to respond to the devastation caused by the super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, following Government reports of some 1,200 casualties and an estimated 4.6 million people affected.

“The United Nations agencies in the Philippines, with their humanitarian partners, are supporting the Government and other responders in their efforts to assess the situation and respond rapidly with vital supplies, through the coordination system led by the local authorities,” said Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.

This morning, the UN Disaster Coordination Team (UNDAC) arrived in the city of Tacloban, one of the most affected areas, and reported scenes of total devastation, with all roads from the airport to the town blocked. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have also mobilized their in-country teams to reach those affected.

The Philippines Red Cross said it has received reports of 1,200 deaths in two areas hit by the typhoon, a drastic increase from the three reported yesterday.

“Sadly, it is likely that this figure will rise,” Ms. Amos said. “The Government estimates that some 4.3 million people are affected, across 36 provinces, and initial assessments show that thousands of homes have been destroyed, roads are impassable and people need food, water, shelter and power.”

According to UNICEF, up to 1.7 million children could be affected by Haiyan. The agency has already mobilized its staff to deliver pre-positioned emergency supplies, and is flying in some 60 metric tonnes of additional supplies from Copenhagen, including medical and shelter equipment. They are expected to arrive within the next three days.

“UNICEF’s first priorities are focused on life-saving interventions – getting essential medicines, nutrition supplies, safe water and hygiene supplies to children and families,” said UNICEF’s representative in the Philippines, Tomoo Hozumi.

In addition, the World Food Programme (WFP) has mobilized $2 million for the response, and will be appealing for more funds as the needs become clearer. As a preliminary measure, 40 metric tonnes of high-energy biscuits will be flown in from Dubai in the coming days. These are often provided in the early days of a crisis as they are light to transport and do not need cooking. WFP is also looking at other food commodities to stabilize the nutrition situation.

“The devastation we saw in Tacloban today was shocking,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Praveen Agrawal. “People have lost their homes and livelihoods, and the damage to infrastructure is substantial.”

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was deeply saddened by the extensive loss of life and the serious damage to the infrastructure of the country.

“The Secretary-General offers his sincere condolences to the people and Government of the Philippines, particularly to those who have lost family members, their homes or have been otherwise affected by this disaster,” the statement said.

Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, is one of the strongest storms ever recorded, hitting landfall with sustained winds of 295 kilometres per hour (kph), placing it above the 252 (kph) threshold for a Category 5 hurricane, the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. The typhoon is expected to hit Viet Nam later today.

Haiyan is the third major crisis to hit the Philippines in just two months. In October, the Bohol earthquake affected more than 3 million people, triggering landslides engulfing entire homes, ripping apart bridges and tearing down centuries-old churches. Seven cities in three different provinces were initially affected. In September, tens of thousands were forcibly displaced by armed clashes in Zamboanga City in the southern part of the country.

The UN Disaster Coordination Team (UNDAC) reported scenes of total devastation where Haiyan first struck, with all roads from the airport to the town blocked and the only means of travelling being by helicopter.

“The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami,” said the head of UNDAC, Sebastian Rhodes Stampa.

“This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumble weed and the streets are strewn with debris.”

The UNDAC team said it is preparing the groundwork for an inter-agency humanitarian assessment, but expressed concern that relief operations will be “extremely difficult” due to the impassable roads.

Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, is one of the strongest storms ever recorded, hitting landfall with sustained winds of 295 kilometres per hour (kph), placing it above the 252 (kph) threshold for a Category 5 hurricane, the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.

The Philippines Red Cross today said it has received reports of 1,200 deaths in two areas hit by the typhoon, a drastic increase from the three reported yesterday. The typhoon has passed over the Philippines and is expected to hit Viet Nam later today.

Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, Julie Hall, said the UN is working “very closely” with the Government and is ready to respond in any way to the tragedy.

“We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the Government and the people of the Philippines who have been affected by this devastating typhoon which appears to have caused significant damage across a large tract of the Visayas.”

Haiyan is the third major crisis to hit the Philippines in just two months. In October, the Bohol earthquake affected more than 3 million people, triggering landslides engulfing entire homes, ripping apart bridges and tearing down centuries-old churches. Seven cities in three different provinces were initially affected. In September, tens of thousands were forcibly displaced by armed clashes in Zamboanga City in the southern part of the country.

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