Ukraine declares day of mourning for victims of Iran jet crash

UNTV News   •   January 9, 2020   •   699

Relatives, colleagues, and friends of crew members of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 which crashed near Tehran lay flowers and light candles at Boryspil International Airport in Kiev, Ukraine, 08 January 2020. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

Kiev – Ukraine on Thursday declared a day of national mourning to honor the victims of a plane crash near Tehran, the biggest catastrophe of its kind in the country’s recent history.

“To commemorate the victims, the President orders that the state flags of Ukraine be flown at half-mast on the headquarters and offices of state authorities, local governments, state-owned enterprises, institutions and organizations,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement.

On Wednesday 8 January a Ukrainian jetliner carrying 176 people, mainly Ukrainian and Canadian passengers, crashed near the Iranian capital after takeoff.

“Of course, the priority for Ukraine is to establish the causes of the crash,” he added.

“We will certainly find out the truth. To this end, a detailed and independent investigation will be carried out in accordance with international law.”

The president hopes that the Ukrainian specialists who arrived in Iran early on Thursday will join the team looking into the accident by analyzing the black boxes of the plane.

Experts will also carry out the work of identification and repatriation of the mortal remains of Ukrainian passengers.

The president called on Ukrainian citizens to avoid trips to the region and not to speculate on the reasons for the accident until the official results of the investigation were announced.

“This is not a topic for hype, likes in social networks, sensationalism and conspiracy theories. We need patience, endurance, and wisdom.”

“And also this terrible story should teach us all, every citizen of Ukraine, and every world leader, to value human lives. It should be done before they are taken so quickly and painfully,” Zelensky said.

The Boeing 737 to Kiev of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), in which 167 passengers and nine crew members were traveling, left at dawn on Wednesday from the Iranian international airport Imam Khomeini.

Minutes after takeoff it crashed when attempting to return to the airport.

The reasons for the sudden crash remain unknown.

All the passengers, including 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons died.

The UIA denied that the accident could have been caused by a human error and announced the suspension of flights to Iran until the details of the accident were clarified.

Shortly after, the authorities issued the same ban for all Ukrainian airlines.

The plane was manufactured in 2016 and passed its last technical review two days before the fateful flight, the company added.

According to UIA, many passengers on flight PS752 intended to continue traveling from Kiev to European countries and North America. EFE

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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)

U.N. expert deems U.S. drone strike on Iran’s Soleimani an ‘unlawful’ killing

UNTV News   •   July 10, 2020

The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Thursday (July 9).

The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani’s convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The attack violated the U.N. Charter, Callamard wrote in a report calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.

Callamard presented her findings to the Human Rights Council, giving member states a chance to debate what action to pursue. The United States is not a member of the forum, having quit two years ago.

Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East. Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

The Jan. 3 drone strike was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, Callamard added.

Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where U.S. forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over Soleimani’s killing and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on June 29, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. (Reuters)

(Production: Cecile Mantovani)

Iran’s arrest warrant for Trump is a ‘propaganda stunt’ —U.S. official

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020

U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook said on Monday (June 29) that an Iranian arrest warrant for President Donald Trump and 35 others over the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani was a “propaganda stunt”.

Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr announced the warrants, asking Interpol for help, according to the Fars news agency.

Hook speaking in Saudi Arabia alongside Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir, said: “This is a political nature. This has nothing to do with national security, international peace, or promoting stability. It is a propaganda stunt that no-one takes seriously.”

The United States and Interpol both dismissed the idea of acting on such a warrant.

The United States killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, with a drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3. Washington accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

Alqasimehr said the warrants had been issued on charges of murder and terrorist action. He said Iran had asked Interpol to issue a “red notice” seeking the arrest of Trump and the other individuals the Islamic Republic accuses of taking part in the killing of Soleimani. (Reuters)

(Production: Mohammed Benmansour, Matthew Stock, Aiden Nulty)

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