NZ launches ‘buy-back’ scheme for weapons banned after Christchurch mosque attacks

Robie de Guzman   •   June 20, 2019   •   3176

A screenshot of the footage from the Christchurch attack | Courtesy : Reuters

New Zealand’s government on Thursday (June 20) launched a multi-million-dollar, six-month “buy-back” scheme to compensate owners of powerful but newly banned semi-automatic weapons prohibited in the wake of deadly attacks on two mosques in the Southern city of Christchurch.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Minister of Police Stuart Nash said in a joint statement that NZ$208 million ($135.97 million) had been set aside to compensate owners of the banned semi-automatic firearms up to 95% of the original cost, adding in a news conference that they had no idea how many of the firearms were in the community.

“Compensation is necessary because of a new law agreed to by almost the entire parliament in response to the events of the 15th of March. The buy-back and amnesty has one objective – to remove the most dangerous weapons from circulation,” Nash said.

“This compensation scheme recognises licensed firearm owners are now in the possession of prohibited items through no fault of their own, but because of a law change. The approach to prices balances fair compensation for people’s firearms and a fair cost for the taxpayer,” he added.

“We have made a commitment that we want these weapons out of circulation and we believe that this buy-back process is a very important part of that. The costs are uncertain and, you can imagine, for a Minister of Finance that’s not a position I ever want to be in but it is just the reality of the situation we have,” Robertson said.

“We will keep monitoring it, as I say, we’ve put a new piece into the puzzle today but there are further pieces to be put in,” he added.

Owners would have until Dec. 20 to hand in their weapons.

Parliament passed the gun reform law – the first substantial changes to the country’s gun laws in decades – by a vote of 119 to 1 in April. (REUTERS)

Lost hikers found alive after 18 days in New Zealand forest

UNTV News   •   May 27, 2020

Scenery at Kahurangi National Park

Two New Zealand hikers survived for more than 18 days in a densely-forested national park before being found alive on Wednesday (May 27), rescue officials said.

Jessica O’Connor and Dion Reynolds, both 23, hiked into Kahurangi National Park in the northwest of New Zealand’s South Island on May 9, and were expected to return in five days. They were reported missing by a friend on May 18.

A search helicopter located the pair on Wednesday afternoon, and they were taken to be medically assessed at a hospital, police said.

Police said initial indications were that the pair became lost in fog during the first few days of their hike. They decided to stay put and had run out of food by the time they were found.

At 452,002 hectares (1116921.27 acres), Kahurangi National Park is New Zealand’s second largest national park. It was also one of the locations for the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Reuters)

(Production: James Redmayne)

NBI warns against proliferation of cybercrimes amid ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Scammers are increasingly active these days especially with everyone practically living in cyberspace due to lockdowns in different parts of the world.

In the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has warned the public of the rise in cybercrime as the national government’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) limits movement outside of residence.

With almost all services migrating online, scammers are taking advantage of online platforms to pursue their schemes.

Such is the problem of Jodel Merjudio who operates an online travel agency.

Merjudio reported to UNTV’s Serbisyong Bayanihan that some scammers created an impostor account of his enterprise’s Facebook page.

It only came to his knowledge when one of his clients told him about an alleged representative of his travel agency who transacted and asked money from that client on his behalf.

Part of the scammer’s modus operandi is to block the clueless victims from its fake page once payment is received.

The victims are then led to Merjudio’s official page to follow up on transactions that the latter had no knowledge of.

“Ang nangyayari, iyong kliyente pag nag-search sila sa Facebook, dalawa ang lalabas na agency. So kami ang nako-contact nila kasi naka-block na sila doon sa scammer page,” Merjudio said.

Jodel said he initially reported the incident to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 4A Cybercrime Division.

To assist Jodel, Kuya Daniel Razon contacted Atty.Victor Lorenzo of the NBI’s Cybercrime Division who agreed with Jodel’s initial move of reporting the incident to proper authorities.

The official promised to help Jodel in identifying the perpetrators behind the impostor account and to eventually resolve the case.

“Kunin nila ang mga contact details [ng kliyente] at kung makipag-ugnayan sila sa amin ay iyon kasi ang hihingiin namin (Get the contact details [of the client] so when you come to us, those are the details that we would be asking],” Lorenzo said.

Kokontakin namin sila para malaman kung ano ba ang mode of payment? Paano ang money ay transmitted? Bank to bank? Kasi ang best lead natin kung sino ang nag-create ng fake account ng travel agency (We will ask them what the mode of payment was; how the money was transmitted; and was it bank to bank? Our best lead would be the creator of the travel agency’s fake account),” he added.

Atty. Lorenzo said incidents of online travel agency scams have already dwindled for some time but since the country is under lockdown, scammers have again started to become active online. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DA, hinikayat ang mga magsasakang hindi makabenta ng produkto na dumulog sa UNTV

Marje Pelayo   •   April 9, 2020

While farmers from other municipality of Benguet are unfortunate in selling their crops, Mrs. Nida Carantes of Taloy Sur will try her luck on this 15th day of enhanced quarantine (3/30/2020) to sell her sweet peas inside Baguio if the authorities will favor her niece to enter. (Clinton Aniversario/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – Tiniyak ng Department of Agriculture (DA) na tutulungan nito ang mga magsasaka sa pagbebenta ng kanilang mga produkto ngayong umiiral ang enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) bunsod ng nararanasang krisis pangkalusugan.

Ito ang tugon ng DA sa panayam ng programang Get It Straight with Daniel Razon nang dumulog sa himpilan ng UNTV ang hog raiser na si Gaudencio Camaclang dahil nahihirapan siyang ialok ang kanyang mga alagang baboy.

Ayon kay DA Spokesperson Noel Reyes, maaring makipag-ugnayan ang mga magsasaka at maging mangingisda sa UNTV upang maiparating sa Kagawaran kung anong uri ng produkto ang kanilang iniaalok at kung saang lugar upang makuha o mailapit sa mga mamimili.

“Iyong mga may kailangang ma-harvest na at walang merkado, tamang tama po iyan dahil maibebenta po natin iyan sa ‘Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita’ (stores) dito sa Metro Manila at sa mga urban centers, sa mga villagers,” pagtiyak ng opisyal.

“Ipagbigay-alam lang sa inyong programa kung ano iyong (produkto) saang address, at gaano karami. We’ll link them directly sa mga buyers,” dagdag nito.

Ang mga magsasaka sa Region 4A o sa mga bayan ng Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, at Quezon (CALABARZON) ay maaring makipag-ugnayan kay DA Regional Director Arnel De Mesa sa numerong 09175082455 at 09087574547 upang mapuntahan ang kanilang produkto.

Samantala, sinabi ni Reyes na kinikilala ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-IED) ang kahalagahan ng food security lalo na sa kasalukuyang hinaharap na health emergency dahil sa banta ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“They approved na dapat kasama sa national security ang food security dahil alam ninyo naman na sa pagdi-distribute pa lang ng pera ay medyo may kaguluhan na. Lalo na kung gutom na ang tao,” saad nito.

Tiniyak ng DA na walang dapat ikabahala ang publiko dahil sapat ang pagkain sa bansa sa kabila ng umiiral na ECQ.

Subalit nakiusap ito sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na huwag harangin ang paghahatid ng mga produktong pagkain upang ang mga ito ay agad na makarating sa mga mamamayan.

“We reiterate na marami po tayong pagkain. Ang naantala lang po ay iyong distribution,” pahayag ng opisyal.

“Kaya nakikiusap kami sa mga LGU sa barangay na kung pagkain ang laman ng dyip o truck ay huwag nang harangin. Let (there be) free flow of goods,” pagtatapos nito.

Sa mga may nais iparating sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno, maaring makipagugnayan sa UNTV Serbisyong Bayanihan sa mga sumusunod na numero:

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