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Thousands march in Brussels against U.N. migration pact

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, December 17th, 2018

Far-right supporters attend a protest against Marrakesh Migration Pact in Brussels, Belgium December 16, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Thousands of people marched in Brussels on Sunday against a U.N. pact aimed at fostering cooperation on migration, eclipsing a smaller demonstration in support of the deal, the signing of which brought down Belgium’s government last week.

Police said some 5,500 people marched in the bigger protest, organized by Flemish right wing parties in the part of the capital where main European Union institutions are located.

A separate counter-demonstration of around 1,000 people, organized by left-wing groups and non-governmental organizations, took place in the city center.

Belgian right-wing N-VA, which is the biggest party in parliament, pulled its ministers from the ruling coalition last week after Prime Minister Charles Michel refused its demand that he not sign the U.N. migration compact in Marrakesh.

Michel had secured a large parliamentary majority in favor of maintaining Belgium’s support of the U.N. text, with support from the opposition socialists and greens. Critics said the N-VA’s move was the opening shot in a campaign before federal elections in May.

The U.N. pact was agreed in July by all 193 U.N. members except the United States, but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting last Monday.

It has run into criticism from European politicians who say it could increase immigration to Europe as the bloc has turned increasingly restrictive on accepting refugees and migrants alike since a 2015 spike in arrivals.

Ten countries, mostly in formerly Communist Eastern Europe, have pulled out of the non-binding pact.

With a record 21.3 million refugees globally, the United Nations began work on the pact after more than one million people arrived in Europe in 2015, many fleeing civil war in Syria and poverty in Africa.

Additional reportin by Francois Lenoir; Reporting by Jan Strupczewski and Mark Potter

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Brussels gets ready to host the NATO leaders’ summit

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2018


NATO flag via REUTERS/Yves Herman

Residents in Brussels may notice getting around the city will be more difficult than usual in the coming days as a result of a NATO leaders summit to be held in the Belgian capital on July 11 and 12.

Increased security and blocked off roads were expected to slow the flow of traffic as the heads of state arrive in the city from Tuesday evening (July 10).

If some Brussels residents, like Frenchman Pierre Boucrot who lives in Brussels, said the summits can cause irritation for people living in the city, others said they were already used to these changes because they are common in the capital of the European Union.

Some protests were also expected by anti-U.S. President Donald Trump demonstrators, and security was expected to be high in the city, even if Brussels resident Jean Caluvar said he would not demonstrate against Trump as he believes the president he is a man who can follow through on his promises.

In the first biennial summit in NATO’s new billion-dollar headquarters, the meeting will bring together more than 40 heads of government including the 29 allies and non-member partners from Finland to Afghanistan, underlining the organisation’s reach. —Reuters

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Explosions hit Brussels airport, several killed: Belgian media

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Black smoke is seen rising from the Brussels airport following explosions, in this still image made available March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Peter van Rossum via Reuters TV

Black smoke is seen rising from the Brussels airport following explosions, in this still image made available March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Peter van Rossum via Reuters TV

Explosions tore through the departure hall of Brussels airport on Tuesday morning killing up to 10 people and injuring 30 others and a second blast struck a metro station in the capital shortly afterwards, the Belgian public broadcaster RTBF said.

The Belga agency said shots were fired and there were shouts in Arabic shortly before the blasts at the airport. Pictures on social media showed smoke rising from the terminal building through shattered windows and passengers running away down a slipway, some still hauling their bags.

The blasts at the airport and metro station occurred four days after the arrest in Brussels of a suspected participant in November militant attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. Belgian police had been on alert for any reprisal action.

British Sky News television’s Alex Rossi, at the airport, said he heard two “very, very loud explosions”.

“I could feel the building move. There was also dust and smoke as well… I went towards where the explosion came from and there were people coming out looking very dazed and shocked.”

“The thinking here is that it is some kind of terrorist attack – that hasn’t been verified by any of the authorities here at the airport.”

Video showed devastation inside the departure hall with ceiling tiles and glass scattered across the floor.

RTBF said the metro station hit by the explosion was close to European Union institutions. Authorities closed all metro stations in Brussels, but there were no details immediately available of any casualties in this second incident of the day.

A local journalist tweeted a photograph of a person lying covered in blood among smoke outside Maelbeek metro station, on the main Rue de la Loi avenue which connects central Brussels with the EU institutions.


The agency cited hospital sources as saying up to ten people were killed at the airport.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said on his twitter feed: “We are following the situation minute by minute. Our priority concern is for the victims and those present in the airport.”

Brussels airport said it had canceled all flights and the complex had been evacuated and trains to the airport had been stopped. Passengers were taken to coaches from the terminal that would remove them to a secure area.

Police did not give any confirmation of the cause of the blast. But there has been a high state of alert across western Europe for fear of militant attacks backed by Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the Paris attack.

European stocks fell after the explosions, particularly travel sector stocks including airlines and hotels, pulling the broader indices down from multi-week highs. Safe-haven assets, gold and government bonds rose in price.

French citizen Salah Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect for November’s Paris attacks on a stadium, cafes and a concert hall, was captured by Belgian police after a shootout on Friday.

Belgium’s Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, said on Monday the country was on high alert for a revenge attack.

“We know that stopping one cell can … push others into action. We are aware of it in this case,” he told public radio.

French investigator Francois Molins told a news conference in Paris on Saturday that Abdeslam, a French citizen born and raised in Brussels, admitted to investigators he had wanted to blow himself up along with others at the Stade de France on the night of the attack claimed by Islamic State; but he later backed out.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Ralph Boulton)


Revamp ng ilang opisyal sa Bureau of Customs, tuloy — Biazon

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

“The reshuffle is inevitable, it will happen.” — Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon (UNTV News)

“The reshuffle is inevitable, it will happen.” — Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — Tuloy ang isasagawang reshuffle sa ilang opisyal ng Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Ito ang kinumpirma ngayon ni BOC Commissioner Ruffy Biazon na kababalik lamang ng bansa mula sa World Customs Organization Annual Meeting sa Brussels, Belgium.

Ayon kay Biazon, hindi maiiwasan ang pagpapatupad ng revamp dahil sumasailalim ang bawat departamento ng ahensya sa quarterly assessment.

“The reshuffle is inevitable, it will happen.”

Sa unang bahagi pa lamang ng taon ay nagpatupad na ng revamp si Biazon. Ilan sa mga naapektuhan nito  ang mga dating kolektor na nakatalaga sa Cebu, Subic, Clark, Cagayan De Oro at ang hepe ng National X Ray Inspection project.

Ngayong 2nd quarter, muling magkakaroon ng reshuffling sa mga kolektor sa Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port (MICP) at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Ang mga kolektor na ito, ayon kay Biazon ay hindi naabot ang target collections na inaasahan sa kanilang ng kagawaran.

“Sometimes the revenue targets are posted to drive the organization to do better, of course maganda pag naabot natin but as I said may iba-ibang factors na nakakaapekto kung bakit di mo nakamit yung target.”

Tumanggi naman si Biazon na pangalanan ang mga maaapektuhan ng balasahan.

“We’re doing it in consultation with our higher ups ano, meaning the DOF level and even at the Office of the President level.”

Kasunod nito, muling tiniyak ni Biazon na patuloy silang magtatrabaho upang mapataas ang koleksiyon ng Bureau of Customs. (Francis Rivera / Ruth Navales, UNTV News)

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