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Philippines

Greece and China hail strategic partnership, as US and EU look on

in Philippines

Athens, Greece – Greek leaders on Monday hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s first official visit to Greece as a “new era” in what is an already close trade and investment relationship being closely watched by the United States and the European Union.

“Greece recognises China not only as a great power but also as a country that has won for itself, not without difficulty, a leading geostrategic economic and political role,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Xi.

Greece is eager to play a greater role in China’s overseas development. During the visit, the two countries’ delegations signed 16 memoranda of co-operation, the most important of which outline new Chinese energy investments in Greece.

One establishes an Athens branch of the Industrial and Commerical Bank of China to finance renewable energy projects. Another facilitates a 50MW solar power station on the island of Crete being built with technical expertise from the China

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/greece-china-hail-strategic-partnership-eu-191111170150762.html

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Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha freed from house arrest

in Philippines

Phnom Penh, Cambodia –  A Cambodian court has lifted the house arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha after more than two years, but banned him, however, from joining politics and travelling outside the country.

The move on Sunday came a day after self-exiled acting opposition leader Sam Rainsy failed to return to Cambodia, as promised, and a few days before the European Union is scheduled to finalise its report on the potential withdrawal of a key trade agreement.

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Published by pro-government outlet Freshnews, the court order stipulates that Kem Sokha, who was arrested in 2017 and accused of treason, remains under court supervision and forbids him from going abroad and conducting any political activities.

Kem Sokha, 66, is the cofounder of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was dissolved in 2017, in a move decried by rights groups.

EBA trade agreement

Saory Pon, general secretary of the CNRP overseas section,

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/cambodian-opposition-leader-kem-sokha-freed-house-arrest-191110045513619.html

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Tropical Cyclone Matmo is reborn as Bulbul

in Philippines

Tropical Storm Matmo has just revived itself after travelling about 1,800km (1,118 miles) overland. This is an unusual, but not unique, event.

Matmo was formed in the Philippine Sea, the birthplace of so many tropical cyclones, on October 24. It formally became a tropical storm in the South China Sea on October 30, after having enhanced the rain over the central Philippines, causing floods.

As a tropical storm, it continued west onto the coast of Vietnam, south of Qui Nhon, making landfall on October 31. At that point, winds were recorded at 112 kilometres per hour (70mph) and 200 millimetres (7.87 inches) of rain fell on the city.

Then came the westward journey overland that normally destroys any tropical cyclone. The fuel for any revolving tropical storm comes from water at a temperature above 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The Philippines Sea is at 30C (86F) and the South

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/tropical-cyclone-matmo-reborn-bulbul-191107140950836.html

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Radio reporter shot dead in the Philippine island of Negros

in Philippines

According to a recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Philippines has the most unsolved journalist murder cases in the world [File: Rolex dela Pena/EPA]

A radio broadcaster from the central Philippines was shot dead by an unknown gunman on Thursday, according to news reports, becoming the latest journalist targeted in the country.

Dindo Generoso, was driving his car on his way to host a radio programme in the city of Dumaguete in Negros Island, when he was shot, killing him on the spot.

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Images posted on social media showed the driver’s side window of Generoso’s vehicle peppered with several bullet holes.

In a statement posted on social media, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines condemned the killing and demanded justice for Generoso.

Generoso, 67, was the second radio reporter killed in the city in 18 months.

In May 2018, Edmund Sestoso was also

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/radio-reporter-shot-dead-philippine-island-negros-191030084008684.html

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Philippine vice president and Duterte critic takes drug war post

in Philippines

In 2016, Robredo resigned as housing secretary, a Cabinet post, citing “major differences in principles and values” with Duterte [File: Bullit Marquez/AP]

The vice president of the Philippines has accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer for her to play a lead role in his deadly crackdown against drugs, even though she has been critical of the campaign and has been warned it could be a political ploy to destroy her.

Vice President and former human rights lawyer Leni Robredo said that by agreeing to the unusual offer, she may be able to save lives under the campaign, which has left thousands of mostly petty drug suspects dead in purported gunbattles with police, alarming Western governments and rights groups.

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“Many have expressed concerns that this is an insincere offer, that it’s a trap which only aims to undermine and put me to shame,” Robredo said at a news conference.

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/philippine-vice-president-duterte-critic-takes-drug-war-post-191106234821606.html

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'No alternative': Rainsy determined to return to Cambodia

in Philippines

Cambodia opposition leader Sam Rainsy plans to return to the country from exile on Saturday; a promise that has unleashed a crackdown by the government of longtime rival Hun Sen. [File: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters]

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Opposition leader Sam Rainsy says he is committed to return to the Southeast Asian nation from self-imposed exile on Saturday, despite government attempts to stop him.

Party officials and human rights organisations estimate more than 40 opposition supporters have been arrested since Rainsy announced in August his plan to return, while Prime Minister Hun Sen has said he will deploy thousands of troops at the border to prevent Rainsy crossing into Cambodia from Thailand.

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Rainsy’s deputy Mu Sochua was turned away when she attempted to enter Thailand last month and the country’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan O-cha said this week Rainsy would not be allowed in.

But Rainsy, president of

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/alternative-rainsy-determined-return-cambodia-191106103859093.html

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Two Egyptian 'suicide bombers' killed in Philippines' Sulu island

in Philippines

President Duterte has vowed to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf and has intensified military operations in its strongholds [File: Stringer/Reuters]

Soldiers in the southern Philippines foiled what the army said on Wednesday was an attempted suicide bombing in an urban area, the latest in a series of attacks blamed on the Abu Sayyaf armed group aligned with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also known as ISIS).

Troops manning a checkpoint on the island of Jolo, Sulu province engaged in a short gunfight with three men, include two Egyptian nationals on a motorcycle late on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

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The attackers were killed and bomb vests, a handgun, a grenade and detonators were seized, the military said.

Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana, military commander of Western Mindanao, identified the two Egypstians as Abduramil and his son, Abdurahman, according to the Manila-based TV station, GMA News.

The

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/egyptian-suicide-bombers-killed-philippines-sulu-island-191106065754574.html

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US envoy decries Chinese 'intimidation' in South China Sea

in Philippines

Robert O’Brien met with leaders of the ASEAN countries in Bangkok on Thursday during the group’s annual summit [Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP]

A US envoy on Monday denounced Chinese “intimidation” in the South China Sea at a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders, as he conveyed an invitation from President Donald Trump for the leaders to attend a special summit in the United States.

China has made sweeping maritime claims in the resource-rich waters of the South China Sea, and angered neighbours by sending ships into the busy waterway, where several members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also have claims.

“Beijing has used intimidation to try to stop ASEAN nations from exploiting the off-shore resources, blocking access to 2.5 trillion dollars of oil and gas reserve alone,” US envoy Robert O’Brien told the ASEAN-US summit in a speech in Bangkok, Thailand.

O’Brien, the White House national security adviser,

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/envoy-decries-chinese-intimidation-south-china-sea-191104050635259.html

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More than a dozen dead as truck dives into ravine in Philippines

in Philippines

Despite safety concerns, many Filipinos with limited financial means ride on cargo trucks because they are typically offered for free [File: Mark R Cristino/EPA]

Nineteen farmers were killed and several others injured in the mountainous northern Philippines when the truck they were in plunged backwards down a deep ravine, police said on Friday.

The victims were on their way home from collecting government-subsidised seeds late on Thursday in the town of Conner, Apayao province when the driver lost control of the vehicle in the latest tragedy on the country’s perilous roads.

Either the engine or brakes failed as the truck made its way up an incline. The vehicle, with some 40 people on board, as well as the supplies of rice seeds, then plunged back down the hill into a 20-metre (65-foot) ravine.

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“The truck fell on its rear first and the passengers were crushed,” local police

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/killed-truck-plummets-ravine-philippines-191101020827249.html

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Third strong quake in a month jolts Philippines' Mindanao island

in Philippines

The same region in Mindanao was also hit by earthquake on October 16 and October 29 [Williamor Magbanua/AP]

One person was confirmed killed and several others injured after a third in a series of strong earthquakes this month shook the southern Philippines on Thursday morning, sending many residents into a panic.

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the 6.5 magnitude quake was near Makilala town, Cotabato province in the island of Mindanao and was about 10km deep (six miles).

It was close to the site of a deadly 6.6 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday that triggered landslides and caused other damage.

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Images posted on social media on Thursday showed several damaged buildings in the cities of Kidapawan and Davao, the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte.

According to palace officials, the president was in Davao during the quake. He was reported safe, although his residence reportedly suffered some

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/strong-quake-month-jolts-philippines-mindanao-island-191031021035036.html

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African swine fever keeps spreading across Asia

in Philippines

African swine fever, which has hit the world’s top pork producer, China, especially hard, originated in Africa before spreading to Asia and Europe [File: Kacper Pempel/Reuters]

African swine fever will spread further across Asia, where it has devastated herds, and no country is immune from being hit by the deadly animal virus, the head of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday.

The disease, which has hit the world’s top pork producer, China, especially hard, originated in Africa before spreading to Europe and Asia. It has struck 50 countries, killing hundreds of millions of pigs while reshaping global meat and feed markets.

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Philippines confirms African swine fever, culls 7,000 pigs

Swine fever in China poses big risk to food markets, report says

Is swine fever creating a market for Colombian meat in China?

“We are really facing a threat that is global,” OIE Director

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/african-swine-fever-spreading-asia-191030184528387.html

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Tropical Storm Matmo nears Vietnam

in Philippines

A visible satellite image of Tropical Storm Matmo as it heads towards Vietnam [RAMMB]

Tropical Storm Matmo formed late on Tuesday in the South China Sea after bringing rain to parts of the Philippines earlier in the week.

Matmo is likely to continue strengthening as it nears the southern coast of Vietnam, with winds gusting up to 90 kilometres per hour (56 miles/h).

The storm is expected to make landfall north of Nha Trang overnight Wednesday into Thursday and begin weakening as it moves inland.

The storm is not expected to make a significant impact in terms of wind damage, but the amount of rain will form the main risk.

Showers have already been making their way along the coast and Quy Nhon has already picked up 40mm of rain in the last 18 hours.

While the higher terrain near the coast of Vietnam will work to break

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/tropical-storm-matmo-nears-vietnam-191030080109860.html

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Trump snubs meeting with ASEAN leaders in Bangkok

in Philippines

Donald Trump has attended only one ASEAN Summit since he became president, raising questions about the US commitment to the region grappling with a more assertive China.[File: Hau Dinh/AP]

US President Donald Trump is skipping a summit with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the second year in a row, even as the regional grouping grapples with new economic and security challenges including China’s assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.

The White House announced on Tuesday that National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross would represent Trump at the annual meeting and its related summits in Bangkok on November 3 and 4.

Ross will also represent the United States at the second annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum in the Thai capital, and will lead a trade mission to Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The White House statement did not say why Trump was skipping the meetings.

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/trump-snubs-meeting-asean-leaders-bangkok-191030023921546.html

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Strong earthquake hits southern Philippine island of Mindanao

in Philippines

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Philippines on Tuesday, just over a week since a strong tremor jolted the same area and left seven people dead.

The quake’s epicentre was located inland north-east of Tulunan town in Cotabato province, 972km (604 miles) south of Manila, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities, and seismology experts said there were no threats of a tsunami.

A Manila-based radio station said several children in Tulunan were injured when their school collapsed. 

The quake was initally reported as magnitude 6.8 but was later downgraded to 6.6.

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The quake struck at 9:04 am (0104 GMT), rattling buildings and forcing people to rush out of offices, schools and hospitals in the affected areas, according to initial information from the institute and videos shared on social media.

In an interview with Manila-based radio station DZMM, Renato Solidum,

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/strong-earthquake-hits-southern-philippine-island-mindanao-191029023153907.html

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World reacts to death of ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

in Philippines

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US military raid in northwest Syria, President Donald Trump confirmed.

During a press conference on Sunday, Trump said al-Baghdadi had been “under surveillance for a couple of weeks”.

According to the US president, the ISIL chief died after running into a tunnel in the village of Barisha where he detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and three of his children.

In the announcement, Trump thanked Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Russia and the Syrian Kurds for their cooperation.

World reaction to the news has been divided with some leaders hailing it as a turning point in the fight against “terrorism” while some governments played down its down significance.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia said on Monday that Baghdadi had distorted the image of Islam, and hailed his killing by US special forces in northwest Syria.

“The kingdom appreciates the US administration’s

Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/world-reacts-death-isil-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-191027145053140.html

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