Changing the narrative of Philippines-China ties

Peace and Freedom

Manila Business Mirroe

The relationship between the Philippines and the Asian Dragon, China, has taken a much different turn under the administration of President Duterte, in contrast to the diplomatic path his Palace predecessor had followed.

Jose Santiago Santa Romana, Philippine ambassador to China, emphasized that the Duterte administration has changed the narrative as far as the relations between Beijing and Manila are concerned.

Before June 2016, under former President Benigno S. Aquino III, Santa Romana said the prevailing narrative was both adversarial and confrontational. But not today.

“Right now, we are pursuing a nonconfrontational and nonadversarial approach based largely on an independent foreign policy. I think this is one of the reasons in the breakthrough in Philippine-China relations,” Santa Romana said in his keynote speech during the 30th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Association of Chinese Studies (PACS) at the Ortigas Center in Pasig City.

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Ukrainian police clash with Saakashvili supporters in Kiev — calling for Poroshenko’s impeachment.

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Reuters

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Supporters of former Georgian President and Ukrainian opposition figure Mikheil Saakashvili clash with police as they try to break into the building of the International Art Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, December 17, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko Reuters

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian police clashed with backers of opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili on Sunday and prevented them from forcing their way into Kiev’s October Palace after a rally against President Petro Poroshenko.

The confrontation, which included the firing of tear gas canisters, was the latest chapter in the former Georgian president’s stand-off with Ukrainian authorities that led to his detention and release from custody last week.

The October Palace, a cultural center, became a symbol of revolt when it was a key location in the 2013-14 pro-European uprising that ousted a Moscow-backed president and installed Poroshenko, who promised to eliminate widespread corruption.

Saakashvili, president of his native Georgia in 2004-2013, moved to…

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Chinese military transport plane flies near Taiwan

Peace and Freedom

Taiwan dispatched aircraft and ships to “monitor and deal with” the Yun-8, similar to one above, which returned to its base after flying through the Bashi Channel and Miyako waterway.

TAIPEI: At least one Chinese Air Force Yun-8 transport plane conducted a long-haul flight near Taiwan on Sunday, the island’s Defense Ministry said, amid simmering tensions between the two rivals.

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Taiwan dispatched its aircraft and ships to “monitor and deal with” the Yun8, which returned to its base after flying through the Bashi Channel and Miyako waterway, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan said. It was unclear whether one plane or more made the flight.
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There was no untoward incident and the public should…

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S. Korean, US forces hold drill for removing North Korea’s WMDs

Peace and Freedom

By Yonhap
Published : Dec 17, 2017 – 13:23 Updated : Dec 17, 2017 – 13:23

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South Korean and US forces conducted a joint training last week for infiltrating North Korea and removing weapons of mass destruction in case of conflict, military sources said.

The “Warrior Strike” exercise was held at Camp Stanley, located north of Seoul, and other places from Tuesday to Friday, involving hundreds of soldiers from the two sides, they said.

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Gen. Jung Kyung-doo (Yonhap)

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Minneapolis reducing police psych standards as too many minority candidates rejected

Give Me Liberty

H/T Dennis Michael Lynch.

How many people in Minneapolis will die because of allowing minorities that are psychologically unfit to be officers on the police force? 

Too many minority candidates are being rejected by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) for not passing the psychiatric evaluation, despite the low standards set for the assessment. Now, the city may fire its police psychology evaluator due to the low number of minority candidates.

Psych evaluations are already set “far below the national standard,” according to The Daily Caller. After a recent high-profile police shooting -involving officer Mohamed Noor and shooting victim Justine Damond- the city launched an evaluation of its psychological standards for police.

The DC reports:

Psychiatrist Thomas Gratzer has run psych testing for the Minneapolis police for the past five years, and in that time, he has eliminated four of the five tests used to determine whether a candidate is fit to be…

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Vietnam: Taiwan steel firm behind toxic dump in Vietnam fined again — toxic chemicals — including cyanide — into the ocean

Peace and Freedom

AFP

© AFP/File | A toxic dump last year from a Formosa steel plant sparked one of Vietnam’s worst environmental catastrophes

HANOI (AFP) – A Taiwanese steel firm behind a toxic spill that killed tonnes of fish in central Vietnam last year was fined for a second time for illegally burying “harmful” waste, official sources said Sunday.The deadly dump from Formosa’s $11 billion steel plant in Ha Tinh province sparked one of the country’s worst environmental catastrophes, decimating livelihoods along swathes of coastline and prompting months of rare protests in the authoritarian country.

The firm was initially fined $500 million for pouring toxic chemicals — including cyanide — into the ocean in April 2016, and has now been ordered to pay an additional $25,000 on separate charges of burying harmful solid waste in the ground, according to the official Cong Ly newspaper.

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A local contractor will also be fined $20,000…

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Hoping to extend maritime reach, China lavishes aid on Pakistan town

Peace and Freedom

Reuters

GWADAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – China is lavishing vast amounts of aid on a small Pakistani fishing town to win over locals and build a commercial deep-water port that the United States and India suspect may also one day serve the Chinese navy.

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A general view of Gwadar port in Gwadar, Pakistan October 4, 2017. Picture taken October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Drazen Jorgic

Beijing has built a school, sent doctors and pledged about $500 million in grants for an airport, hospital, college and badly-needed water infrastructure for Gwadar, a dusty town whose harbor juts out into the Arabian Sea, overlooking some of the world’s busiest oil and gas shipping lanes.

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The grants include $230 million for a new international airport, one of the largest such disbursements China has made abroad, according to researchers and Pakistani officials.

The handouts for the Gwadar project is a departure from Beijing’s usual approach in…

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