Duterte not attending the ASEAN – Australia Special Summit
admin • March 5, 2018 • 3584
FILE PHOTO: Pres. Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will not be attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Australia Special Summit in Sydney on March 17 to 18.
The chief executive will be represented by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in the said event.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president will attend the graduation rites of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and will have a meeting with young military officers on the issue of terrorism.
It can be recalled that in the president’s previous public statements he had said he did not want to visit Australia. — UNTV News & Rescue
Vehicles struggled through flooded roads on Friday (February 7) as the biggest rainfall in almost 20 years drenched Australia’s wildfire-ravaged east coast, dousing the blazes and providing welcome relief to farmers battling an extended drought.
The downpour came with its own risks – officials warned of flash floods and landslides across New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state – but was generally greeted jubilantly after months of devastating bushfires.
The deluge had the effect of calming the number of active fires in NSW by 20 in a single day, a success rate that NSW RFS said it was “over the moon” about.
Around 11.7 million hectares of Australian wilderness have been razed by a series of huge wildfires since September that have also killed 33 people and more than a billion animals. The horrific extended bushfire season has followed a three-year drought across the country. (Reuters)
Sydney, Australia – Three people were killed when a water-bombing plane fighting bushfires crashed into a large fireball in Australia on Thursday amid rising temperatures that have further fueled the blazes in the country.
The New South Wales authorities said the C-130 Hercules tanker aircraft went down in the Snowy Monaro area, south of the Australian capital, Canberra, in the afternoon.
“Three people have lost their lives after a large tanker crashed. Our thoughts and prayers and heartfelt condolences go to their families,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.
She said the disaster was a “stark and horrible” indication that the fire season in Australia was far from over and the “dangerous work” being undertaken to control the blazes.
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the contact with the aircraft was lost shortly before 1.30 pm.
“Tragically, there appear to be no survivors as a result of the crash down in the Snowy Monaro area. It has impacted heavily with the ground.
“Initial reports are that there was a large fireball associated with the impact of the plane as it hit the ground,” he said.
Fitzsimmons said there was “no indication at this stage on what caused the accident”.
The victims in the plane crash were not immediately identified but the commissioner said all three aboard were residents of the United States.
Canberra Airport was closed on Thursday after the Australian authorities once again activated its fire alert over rising temperatures, which in some places exceeded 40 degrees Celsius.
The flights arriving in and departing from the country’s ninth busiest airport in terms of the number of passengers were suspended around midday due to a fire raging nearby, the airport said in a statement on social media.
The authorities once again activated its fire alert on Thursday over rising temperatures, which in some places exceeded 40 degrees Celsius.
In the Sydney region, where the mercury reached 41 degrees, it is feared that severe heat conditions, strong winds, and potential storms could aggravate the situation.
Strong winds in the mountains posed an increased risk of fires, said the meteorology bureau of New South Wales, the capital of which is Sydney, and. Some 84 fires, 40 of them uncontrolled, are burning in the region.
“There’s every potential for flare-ups and new ignitions to come out of some of these fire grounds,” Fitzsimmons said.
The authorities in the Australian Capital Territory, which includes Canberra, were also on alert against the danger of fires before temperatures begin to fall again on Friday.
Bushfires, which have been raging since September and which worsened on New Year’s Eve, have claimed 32 lives and affected more than 1 billion animals.
The fires have razed more than 2,500 homes and 180,000 square kilometers (some 69,500 square miles) of land, an area equivalent to the size of Syria.
These fires, which experts say have been more intense this year due to global warming, have emitted so far 400 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, an amount equivalent to the country’s average annual emissions, according to the global environment monitoring program Copernicus.
A survey by the Australia Institute published on Thursday found that 57 percent of the people surveyed across the country of 24.6 million inhabitants felt the impact of fires and smoke, while 26 percent experienced health problems as a result.
The report also underlined that about 1.8 million people were unable to work because of the fires, and the loss in productivity was estimated at AU$1.3 billion ($894 million).
“Australia is in the grip of a national climate disaster. The social, economic and medical impacts are vast and only just starting to become clear,” said Tom Swann, a senior researcher at the Australia Institute. EFE-EPA
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