Inmates in rebel-held Ukraine return to school behind bars

UNTV News   •   September 3, 2019   •   606

The new school year started for 40 inmates from the Kirovskaya prison colony as they gathered on Monday (September 2) for the first school day assembly and returned to the classroom in the rebel-held city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

The prisoners who have not completed a school year attended a history lesson in the new prison school. They used workbooks printed by the Ministry of Education of Self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

Dmitry Pentugov, one of the inmates at the Kirovskaya prison colony, said his favourite subject was chemistry and that he hoped to pursue a future in this field.

School director Mikhail Petrischev said inmates would be attending classes at three levels – the ninth, tenth and eleventh grades – and would study the same subjects as schoolers in the Donetsk region except industrial arts, physical education and preliminary military training.

Rebellions broke out against Ukrainian government rule and set up two states in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in 2014 shortly after a pro-Russian president was toppled in Kiev in a popular revolt.

Moscow provided military help for the separatists in the east, according to evidence gathered by Reuters, though Russian officials have denied providing material support. (REUTERS)

(Production: Anastasia Adasheva, Alexander Ermochenko)

5 rebels yield to AFP-PNP forces in Quezon Province, Laguna, Rizal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Five rebels have surrendered to the forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Polillo, Quezon Province.

Based on reports,  alias Gio and alias Patrick who were members of the New People’s Army (NPA), surrendered to the government forces on March 25 in Barangay Salipsip, Polilio, Quezon. They also turned in their firearms and ammunitions.

Another member of the NPA, identified as alias JM, also yielded in Sta Maria, Laguna on the same day. Meanwhile, alias Dexter and alias Joan, also remnants of NPA group in the boundaries of Rizal and Laguna, voluntarily surrendered to the AFP-PNP.

Alias JM, in an interview, said that the hardships they endured as rebels and the complete disregard for their welfare pushed them to abandon the armed struggle.

Acting Commander of 2nd Infantry Division B.Gen. Rommel Tello welcomed the rebels’ move and assured the group that the government will provide assistance to them and their families.

“Your wise decision to abandon armed struggle marks a new beginning for you and your loved ones. With your help, we shall build a better and safer country for our families and fellowmen while we ensure that you are secured from any terrorist acts of retaliation,” he said addressing the former rebels.

The 2ID already made necessary steps for the surrenderers including debriefing and medical check up with health professionals prior their subsequent enrollment to government’s program wherein they can receive up to Php700,000 in grants and benefits to help them and their families start their lives anew.

Discrimination towards QC residents amid UK variant reports, result of fake news

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2021

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Quezon City Government has called out the ‘discrimination’ towards its residents after UK COVID-19 variant reports in the city, reiterating that such is a mere result of fake news.

Mayor Joy Belmonte said the first new variant case in the country did not have the chance to go to Quezon City upon his arrival from the UAE.

She reiterated that the mention of Barangay Kamuning as the individual’s residential address had somehow gone out of proportion.

“Ang residential address lang niya ang Barangay Kamuning but he never set foot in Kamuning or talk to anyone in Kamuning or went home. He was in a quarantine facility,” she said.

Belmonte also mentioned the travel restriction imposed by Arayat Mayor Emmanuel Alejandrino on Quezon City residents, saying that it has no basis.

“The news, while it is true that the residence of this man is Kamuning in a sense, it’s false news. When news is incomplete I believe it’s also false news because it is subject to misunderstanding and misinterpretation,” Belmonte added.

Alejandrino has yet to respond Mayor Belmonte’s appeal.

Meanwhile, the QC local government entered into a third-party agreement with Zuellig Pharmaceutical Company for COVID-19 vaccine storage.

Belmonte said the local government has insufficient budget to build its own facility and procure low-temperature freezers.

In the said agreement, Zuellig will provide enough storage to accommodate the COVID-19 vaccines amounting to billions of pesos. -AAC (with reports from Val Villaflor)

Fire raging near Ukraine’s Chernobyl poses radiation risk, say activists

UNTV News   •   April 14, 2020

A huge forest fire in Ukraine that has been raging for more than a week is now just one kilometer from the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant and poses a radiation risk, Greenpeace Russia warned on Monday (April 13), citing satellite images.

Ukraine’s Emergency Situations Service said it was still fighting the fires, but that the situation was under control.

Aerial images of the 30 km (19 mile) exclusion zone around the plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, showed scorched, blackened earth and the charred stumps of still smouldering trees.

The Emergency Situations Service said radiation levels in the exclusion zone had not changed and those in nearby Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, “did not exceed natural background levels.”

Greenpeace Russia said the situation is much worse than Ukrainian authorities believe, and that the fires cover an area one thousand times bigger than they claim.

On April 4 Ukrainian authorities said the blaze covered an area of 20 hectares, but Greenpeace cited satellite images showing it was around 12,000 hectares in size at that time.

“According to satellite images taken on Monday, the area of the largest fire has reached 34,400 hectares,” it said, adding that a second fire, stretching across 12,600 hectares, was just one kilometre away from the defunct plant.

Ukrainian officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on those claims.

Rashid Alimov, head of energy projects at Greenpeace Russia, said the fires, fanned by the wind, could disperse radionuclides, atoms that emit radiation.

“A fire approaching a nuclear or hazardous radiation facility is always a risk,” Alimov said. “In this case we’re hoping for rain tomorrow.”

Chernobyl tour operator Yaroslav Yemelianenko, writing on Facebook, described the situation as critical.

He said the fire was rapidly expanding and had reached the abandoned city of Pripyat, two kilometres from where “the most highly active radiation waste of the whole Chernobyl zone is located.” He called on officials to warn people of the danger.

Satellite images taken by NASA Worldview and seen by Reuters showed the two fires had extended far into the exclusion zone.

The fires, which follow unusually dry weather, began on April 3 in the western part of the exclusion zone and spread to nearby forests.

Police say they have identified a 27-year old local resident who they accuse of deliberately starting the blaze.

It remains unclear if the person, who has reportedly confessed to starting a number of fires “for fun,” is partly or fully responsible. (Reuters)

(Production: Sergiy Karazy, Dmitriy Turlyun, Margaryta Chornokondratenko)

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