#AceWorldNews – MANILA – October 24 – American forces are guarding Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, yet a ring of Filipino troops surrounds them.
The seemingly redundant security effort around the suspect in a Philippine murder case reflects Manila’s uneasy ties with Washington, its former colonial master. Pemberton, 19, is accused of killing Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender Filipino, in a motel room Oct. 11 in the city of Olongapo.
He was initially held on a U.S. Navy warship at the Subic Bay Freeport, northwest of Manila, but on Wednesday he was transferred to the Philippine military’s main camp, where Filipino troops and two of his fellow Marines continue to guard him.
#AceWorldNews – PHILIPPINES (Manila) – October 22 – A US Marine accused of murdering a transgender woman was moved to the Philippines’ military headquarters Wednesday, AFP said, citing officials.
US helicopter delivered Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton to Camp Aguinaldo in Manila and will be jointly guarded by American and local troops, according to military chief General Gregorio Catapang.
“He will be detained in a 28-cubic-meter van that was installed inside the facility and he will be sleeping in a military-type cot bed with an air conditioning system,”Catapang said.
Police said Pemberton was the last person seen with the victim, Jennifer Laude, a transgender 26-year-old also known as Jeffrey.
#AceWorldNews – PHILIPPINES (Manila) – October 15 – Philippines police on Wednesday filed murder charges against a US Marine over the death of a transgender Filipino, Reuters said.
“Based on two witnesses’ testimonies, we believe we have a strong case against the US Marine,” said Pedrito delos Reyes, police chief of Olongapo City.
The body of Jeffrey Laude, 26, was found in a hotel room on Saturday.
Manila also wants to take custody of Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton while he stands trial, according to a senior Philippines official.
He also warned that the case could damage military ties between the allies.
#AceWorldNews – PHILIPPINES (Manila) – October 14 – Dozens of activists burned a mock U.S. flag as they protested at the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Tuesday, demanding that Washington hand over to the Philippines a Marine implicated in the killing of a transgender Filipino that the demonstrators labelled a hate crime.
Jeffrey Laude, 26, was found dead, apparently strangled and drowned, beside a toilet bowl in a motel room in Olongapo city, north-west of Manila, shortly after he checked in with a Caucasian man late Saturday.
The foreigner, who escaped, was described by witnesses as a U.S. Marine who had met the victim in a bar, police said.
U.S. Marine spokesman Col. Brad Bartelt said a Marine was being held on board the USS Peleliu in the Subic Bay free port, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Manila, in connection with a joint U.S. Navy and Philippine police investigation into Laude’s death.
About 3,000 U.S. Marines and Navy sailors concluded two weeks of military exercises with Filipino counterparts Friday and were to leave the Philippines this week.
But Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said he was assured by U.S. Pacific commander Adm. Samuel Locklear, who was in Manila for security talks with Philippine defence officials, that the Peleliu and other Navy ships would stay in the Philippines pending an investigation into the killing.
#AceWorldNews – PHILIPPINES – October 03 – Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in the Philippines have threatened to kill one of two German captives on October 17, Reuters reported.
Abu Sayyaf rebels captured the two Germans sailing on a yacht from the western island of Palawan island to the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah in April.
The militants are demanding a $5.6 million ransom and for Germany to stop supporting US-led air-strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria.
The Germans are reportedly being held in the jungles of Jolo, a remote southern island. Germany has ruled out taking part in the air-strikes, but agreed to arm Kurdish fighters battling IS militants in Iraq.
#AceWorldNews PHILIPPINES (Bicol) – September 17 – Latest – #AceBreakingNews – PHILIPPINES – The Philippines’ most active volcano, in the east of the country, has sent more huge lava fragments rolling down its slopes in an ongoing gentle eruption, AP reported.
More than 12,000 people have been evacuated from around the Philippines’ most active volcano, as fears of an eruption grow, local authorities said. Mount Mayon, located in the central Bicol region, recently recorded a series of quakes and rockfalls — all signs of a possible eruption.
“We are now raising the alert status of Mayon Volcano from alert level 2 to 3,” Reuters quoted Renato Solidum, head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), as saying on Tuesday. The governor of the central Albay province, Joey Salceda, confirmed the evacuation of more than 12,000 people.
“What the alert level 3 did was to fast-track the preparation to evacuate 12,000 families in the 6-8 km extended danger zone,” Salceda said.
The evacuees have been placed in temporary shelters for up to three months, he added. Mayon has erupted around 50 times over the last 600 years, with the most damaging incident recorded in February 1841, which killed 1,200 people.
#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON, June 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Over 100 marines of the USA and Philippines took part in joint manoeuvres Cooperation Afloat Readiness, CARAT on the north-western coast on the Philippines, Associated Press reported Monday.
As reported by the representative of the Philippine Naval Forces, the manoeuvres were held with the aim of field combat training upgrading.
The exercises are not connected to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, he added.
#AceNewsServices – BEIJING – May 31 – (AP) – China has indicted eight people on terrorism charges in connection with an attack on Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Gate last year that killed two tourists and three assailants, the government said Saturday.
The eight were arrested within days of the Oct 28 attack, in which a man drove an SUV through a crowd of tourists before stopping in front of the gate and setting the vehicle on fire.
A Chinese visitor and a tourist from the Philippines were killed, along with the vehicle’s driver, his wife and mother-in-law, according to Chinese authorities.
The attack was the first to strike Beijing in recent memory. It pointed to a new level of violence and lethal intent in the long simmering insurgency against Chinese rule in the far north-western region of Xinjiang waged by radicals among the native Turkic Uighur Muslim population.
A notice about the indictments posted on the regional prosecutor’s website said the eight would stand trial at the intermediate court in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi.
They were accused of organising, leading and participating in a terrorist organisation, as well as endangering public security.
The charges are punishable by a maximum penalty of death.
Ace Related News:
- Fox News – 31/05/2014 – http://tinyurl.com/mfwuya4
#AceSecurityNews – NSA – May 23 – The NSA records almost all domestic and international phone calls in Afghanistan, similar to what it does in the Bahamas, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange said.
Reports in the Washington Post and the Intercept had previously reported that domestic and international phone calls from two or more target states had been recorded and stored in mass as of 2013.
Both publications censored the name of one victim country at the request of the US government, which the Intercept referred to as ‘Country X’.
Assange says he cannot disclose how WikiLeaks confirmed the identity of the victim state for the sake of source protection, though the claim can be “independently verified” via means of “forensic scrutiny of imperfectly applied censorship on related documents released to date and correlations with other NSA programs.”
This is not the first time it has been revealed mass surveillance was being conducted on Afghanistan by the NSA. According to a book released by Der Spiegel entitled ‘Der NSA Komplex’, a program called ACIDWASH collects 30-40 million telephony metadata records per day from Afghanistan. ACIDWASH has been identified as being part of the MYSTIC program.
WikiLeaks cannot be complicit in the censorship of victim state X. The country in question is #Afghanistan. https://t.co/vWwU4DJw0I#afpak
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 23, 2014
The Intercept, which Glenn Greenwald, who first broke the Edward Snowden revelations helped to found, had earlier named the Bahamas as having their mobile calls recorded and stored by a powerful National Security Agency (NSA) program called SOMALGET.
SOMALGET is part of a broader NSA program called MYSTIC, which the the NSA is using to gather metadata – including the numbers dialled and the time and duration of the calls – from phone calls in the Bahamas, Mexico, Kenya and the Philippines. SOMALGET by its nature is far more controversial, however, as it stores actual phone conversations for up to 30 days.
WikiLeaks initially opted not to reveal the name of ‘Country X’ as they were led to believe it could “lead to deaths” by Greenwald. WikiLeaks later accused The Intercept and its parent company First Look Media of censorship, saying they would go ahead and publish the name of the NSA-targeted country.
“We do not believe it is the place of media to ‘aid and abet’ a state in escaping detection and prosecution for a serious crime against a population,” Assange said in the statement.
Read More at: RT – 23/05/2104 – http://tinyurl.com/paehpu9
#AceNewsServices – BEIJING – May 12 – South-east Asian leaders have expressed “serious concern” over worsening territorial disputes in the South China Sea, presenting a rare united front against an increasingly assertive Beijing.
Vietnam and the Philippines led a successful push for the Association of South-east Asian Nations to deliver a thinly veiled rebuke to China over the stand-off in waters home to key shipping lanes and thought to contain huge energy reserves.
But a defiant Beijing said Hanoi‘s efforts to enlist the support of its neighbours in the row were “doomed to fail”.
The 10-nation ASEAN, in a statement released on Monday after a summit on Sunday, called for a peaceful resolution to the maritime rows, which flared up this month after China moved an oil drilling rig into waters also claimed by Hanoi (AFP) reported.
“We expressed serious concerns over the ongoing developments in the South China Sea, said the joint statement from the summit in Myanmar, without explicitly pointing the finger at Beijing.
ASEAN called on all parties involved to “exercise self-restraint, not to resort to threat(s) or use of force, and to resolve disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law”.
Observers said the statement marked a change of tone by the regional bloc, many of whose members — including Myanmar — have close economic and political ties with China and have traditionally avoided confrontation with the Asian heavyweight.
In 2012 China’s ally Cambodia caused consternation when it was ASEAN head by refusing to take Beijing to task over its assertive maritime stance.
“This is a far cry from when Cambodia was ASEAN chair,” said Southeast Asia expert Carl Thayer, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
The statement “represents a slight tightening of ASEAN’s position”, he said, adding it suggests a rare level of “consensus” on the vexed sea rights issue.
Under Brunei’s chairmanship last year, China avoided a public rebuke from ASEAN at a major summit after offering an olive branch by calling for peace in the flash point region.
Beijing struck a less conciliatory tone on Monday, insisting that the contested Paracel Islands, located near the controversial oil rig, were its “inherent territory”.
- China Asked To Speed Up Maritime Security Talks(marinelink.com)
- Asean leaders call for united stand on sea disputes with China(globalnation.inquirer.net)
- Rare rallies in Vietnam say ‘hands off’ to China over sea row – Reuters(reuters.com)
- China tensions top ASEAN summit talks in Myanmar(thestate.com)
#AceWorldNews – MANILA/BEIJING – May 07 (Reuters) – Philippines police seized a Chinese fishing boat in the disputed South China Sea on Wednesday, an official told Reuters, the latest flare-up of tensions in the oil and gas-rich waters that are claimed wholly or in part by six Asian nations.
Chief Superintendent Niel Vargas of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group said a maritime police patrol apprehended a Chinese fishing boat around 7 a.m. on Tuesday off Half Moon Shoal.
The boat has 11 crew and police found about 500 turtles in the vessel, some of which were already dead, he said, adding that a Philippine boat with crew was also seized, and found to have 40 turtles on board.
Several species of sea turtles are protected under Philippine law.
Maritime police are now towing the boats to Puerto Princesa town on the island of Palawan where appropriate charges will be filed against them, Vargas said.
The incident is bound to raise the ire of Beijing, which claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
Ace Related News:
1. Reuters – May 07 – http://tinyurl.com/lg23c84
#AceNewsServices – MANILA – Philippines witnesses heavy clashes that have broken out between Philippine troops and Muslim militants trying to regain control of a captured camp in southern Sulu province, leaving 14 Abu Sayyaf rebels and one marine dead, officials said Wednesday.
Military spokesman Lt. Col Ramon Zagala said fighting that began late Tuesday continued until early morning Wednesday, with the militants attempting to regain control of an Abu Sayyaf training and storage camp and in Patikul township that was captured by government troops.
Marine spokesman Capt. Ryan Lacuesta, citing intelligence reports, said the clashes left 14 rebels dead, while one marine was killed and 19 were wounded.
Zagala says troops are securing the rebel camp they captured Monday.
Militants from the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron are expected to launch more attacks and the military will continue to use mortars, howitzers and attack helicopters to protect it troops there, he said.
The Abu Sayyaf had links to international militant networks, including Al-Qaeda, but a U.S.-backed Philippine military crackdown has weakened it considerably in recent years.
The group, which is on the U.S. list of terror groups, has about 300 fighters and is now much more focused on ransom kidnappings than global jihad.
AP – Fox News
#AceNewsServices – MANILA – Philippines (AP) – President Barack Obama said a 10-year agreement signed Monday to give the U.S military greater access to Philippine bases will help promote regional security, improve armed forces training and shorten response times to humanitarian crises, including natural disasters.
The deal was signed as Obama arrived in the Philippines, ending a week-long, four-nation Asia tour on something of a high note.
The Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement will give American forces temporary access to selected military camps and allow them to preposition fighter jets and ships and is being seen as an effort by Washington to counter Chinese aggression in the region.
Concerns about the U.S role military role here led to recent clashes outside the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Manila between police and more than 100 left-wing activists who protested Obama’s visit and the new security arrangement.
Activists say the agreement reverses democratic gains achieved when huge U.S. military bases were shut down in the early 1990’s, ending nearly a century of American military presence in the Philippines, a sensitive issue in this former U.S. colony.
These are the key points in the 10-year defence pact between the Philippines and the US.
-Clear provision that the US would “not establish military presence or base in the Philippines
-US access to and use of designated areas in AFP owned and controlled facilities (“Agreed Locations”) will be at the invitation of the Philippine government
-Prior consent of the Philippines, through the MDT and Security Engagement Board, with regard to US access and use of Agreed Locations which may be listed in an annex and further described in implementing arrangements
-Philippine retention of primary responsibility for security of the Agreed Locations
-Access of the AFP base commander to the entire area of the Agreed Locations;
-Philippine ownership of buildings and infrastructure once constructed by US military;
-Sharing and joint use of facilities in the Agreed Locations, including those of used by US military;
-Value of prepositioned material in the enhancement of AFP defence capabilities and possible transfer of purchase of materiel determined to be excess
-Prohibition of entry to the Philippines of nuclear weapons and reference to respective obligations of both Parties under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention
-Strong commitment by both parties in protecting the environment, human health and safety
-Preference for Philippine suppliers of goods, products and service in US military procurement
-Regular consultation of the implementation of the agreement
The following is the full copy of the FAQ released by the DFA.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed April 28, 2014
Ace Related News:
- April 28 – Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – http://tinyurl.com/n6on7js
2, April 28 – http://tinyurl.com/knk22q5
#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.”
#AceNewsServices – TOKYO – April 20 – In the shadow of a giant Buddha statue in Ibaraki prefecture between Tokyo and Fukushima, hundreds of foreign detainees have endured harsh conditions incongruous with the cozy lifestyle enjoyed by many foreigners in Japan.
Without appearing in court, they often spend six to 18 months like caged animals in windowless cells in Ushiku, the largest of a secretive network of detention centres created to incarcerate foreigners pending deportation for overstaying visas and working illegally in Japan.
Chamballa Ally, a Tanzanian who shared a cramped room with detainees from Sri Lanka, India and the Philippines, told DW he was only allowed into a yard a few hours per day to play soccer.
“In Ushiku, you can only see the high walls around you and the sky above,” said Ally, who was deported to Tanzania before joining his US-born wife Alisha James in Indiana in 2012. “People watch TV, read or sit in despair. They are so tired from stress. They are not criminals, but they have no freedom.
It’s not a place to stay for a long time. People don’t know when they will be free.”
Japan detained 23,133 foreigners at 16 smaller immigration offices and three large detention centres in Ibaraki, Osaka and Nagasaki in 2011, according to the Global Detention Project’s latest figures.
Shining light on Japan’s dark side
Suicides, hunger strikes and the deaths of three detainees in recent months are shining light on dark corners unseen by most in tourist-friendly Japan.
An unnamed spokesman at Ushiku told AFP that a coroner would look into the deaths at the end of March of an Iranian who allegedly choked on food and a Cameroonian found unconscious in his cell. A Rohingya detainee from Myanmar died in October last year after staff allegedly failed to call a medic on lunch break.
The Tokyo District Court last month ruled that immigration officers illegally bound and gagged a visa overstayer from Ghana who suffocated to death during a forced deportation at Narita Airport in 2010.
Amnesty International and local rights groups have long accused Japanese of beating or torturing prisoners. Jorge Bustamente, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, urged Japan in 2010 to meet international human rights standards.
About 30 Japanese officials, facing harsh criticism at a UN Human Rights Council meeting in 2012, pledged to reform a system based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act of 1951, when Japan had very few foreign residents.
Courtesy of Deutsche Welle.
Ace Related News:
1. Ushiku, the largest of a secretive network of detention centres created to incarcerate foreigners pending deportation for overstaying visas and working illegally in Japan. http://www.dw.de/illegal-and-dead-in-a-japanese-cell/a-17536330
#AceNewsServices – MANILLA – April 07 – Police in the Philippines have filed a complaint for child trafficking and child abuse against a holidaying Italian diplomat arrested at a resort south of the capital Manila in the company of three boys.
Senior Supterintendent Romulo Sapitula of the Philippine National Police told the Associated Press on Monday that Daniele Bosio was arrested on Saturday at a resort in Laguna province.
The arrest came after members of the child rights group Bahay Tuluyan alerted the police.
The 46-year-old Bosio is the Italian ambassador to Turkmenistan.
Bosio is accused of violating child trafficking and child abuse laws in the Philippines, Lily Flordelis, executive director of Bahay Tuluyan Foundation, told Al Jazeera.
Flordelis and her deputy, Catherine Scerri, saw Bosio at the resort with the three children, and reported him to the police on Saturday evening.
“We were concerned, because it was obvious that he was not related to the children,” Flordelis said. “We only found out later that he is a diplomat.”
The arrest was confirmed by the Italian foreign ministry, according to the Agence France Presse news agency.
According to a 1992 child protection law in the Philippines, any adult who is seen in public with an unrelated child with an age gap of at least 10 years can be reported to police, Flordelis said.
Section 2. Declaration of State Policy and Principles. – It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to provide special protection to children from all firms of abuse, neglect, cruelty exploitation and discrimination and other conditions, prejudicial their development; provide sanctions for their commission and carry out a program for prevention and deterrence of and crisis intervention in situations of child abuse, exploitation and discrimination. The State shall intervene on behalf of the child when the parent, guardian, teacher or person having care or custody of the child fails or is unable to protect the child against abuse, exploitation and discrimination or when such acts against the child are committed by the said parent, guardian, teacher or person having care and custody of the same. http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1992/ra_7610_1992.html
Bosio is also accused of violating a separate law on child trafficking. The 2003 law prohibits the “recruitment, transportation, transfer or harbouring, or receipt of persons with, or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders” by means of coercion, fraud and deception.
Section 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees the respect of individual rights. In pursuit of this policy, the State shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures and development of programs that will promote human dignity, protect the people from any threat of violence and exploitation, eliminate trafficking in persons, and mitigate pressures for involuntary migration and servitude of persons, not only to support trafficked persons but more importantly, to ensure their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration into the mainstream of society. http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2003/ra_9208_2003.html
AP – Al Jazeera – Contributions from Child Safety Group’s – ANS2014
#AceWorldNews – PHILIPPINES – March 27 – Philippines government signed a peace accord with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, on Thursday, AP reported.
The move is the culmination of years of negotiations and a significant political achievement for President Benigno Aquino III.
The deal grants largely Muslim areas of the southern Mindanao region greater political autonomy in exchange for an end to armed rebellion.
However, it will not end all violence in a part of the country long-plagued by lawlessness and Islamist insurgency.
#AceWorldNews U.N. climate negotiations resumed on a shaky footing on Monday as some delegates questioned how the meeting was being run amid calls for more urgency at the talks, which after two years have made scant progress towards a global climate change deal.
Diplomats from almost 200 nations gathered in Bonn, Germany, vowed to speed up work towards agreeing a 2015 pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions that U.N.-backed scientists say is causing extreme weather events and rising sea levels.
The preliminary talks are the first of a series this year aimed at working out the main elements of an agreement to bind all nations to curb greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 and raise funds to tackle climate change across the developing world.
But in a sign of trouble in negotiations that have made tortuous progress over two decades, Monday’s talks were peppered with procedural concerns.
“The challenge is … to shift from an informal mode of work to a formal, transparent and participatory negotiating process… The time for that is now,” said Naderev Sano of the Philippines, speaking on behalf of a negotiating group of developing countries that includes India, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Reuters more at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/11/us-un-climate-idUKBREA2A0CO20140311
#AceWorldNews says the Philippines government summoned China’s top envoy in Manila on Tuesday to protest what it said was the firing of a water cannon by a Chinese government vessel to drive away Filipino fishermen.
The incident took place on January 27 at Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground claimed by China and the Philippines, AP reported.
The shoal came under Chinese control after Philippine vessels backed off from a tense stand-off with Chinese ships in the area in 2012.