Emergency Hotlines: LANDLINE (+63) 2 911 – 8688

US says chemical arms inspectors still have not entered site of Syrian attack

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

A boy walks along a damaged street at the city of Douma in Damascus, Syria, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

The United States believes inspectors from a global chemical weapons watchdog have not yet been able to enter the site of the April 7 alleged chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday she was aware of reports from Syria that inspectors from the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons had been able to see the site but the team has not entered Douma.

She said the United States had information that both chlorine and sarin nerve gas were used in the attack and was concerned that evidence was deteriorating the longer inspectors were kept from reaching the site.

“The longer that it takes to get OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) inspectors in to take a look at soil samples and other information that they can get on the ground, that delay further degrades any evidence that’s on the ground. So that is our chief concern,” Nauert said. — Reuters

Tags: , ,

Philippines eyes withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. hinted on the possible withdrawal of the Philippines from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNCHR).

Locsin posted the idea on Saturday (July 13) when a netizen inquired about how the Philippine representation in Iceland reacted to the Council’s approval of Iceland’s resolution seeking to probe into the human rights situation in the Philippines in relation to the Duterte administration’s drug war.

The resolution garnered 18 affirmative votes, 14 negative and 15 abstentions.

 “No embassy in Iceland. Nor does Iceland have an embassy here. Iceland took the place of the US after it withdrew from the Human Rights Council. I think we need to follow America more,” Locsin said.

The United States withdrew from the UNHRC on June 19, 2018 in protest to what it claimed as ‘chronic bias’ against Israel and for allowing human rights violators and abusers as members.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley then described the human rights body as ‘hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

“For too long, the human rights council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias,” Haley said during the official announcement of U.S. withdrawal from UNHRC.

In October 2018, the Philippines lobbied for a seat at the UNHRC and won after receiving 165 votes of 192 cast by UN member states.

Tags: , , , ,

Oil tanker bound for Syria seized in Gibraltar for sanctions-busting

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019

British Royal Marines seized an oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday (July 4) accused of bringing oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, a dramatic step that could escalate confrontation between the West and Iran.

The Grace 1 tanker was impounded in the British territory at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, after sailing around Africa from the Gulf.

Shipping data reviewed by Reuters suggests it had been loaded with Iranian oil off the coast of Iran, although its documents say the oil is from neighboring Iraq.

The Gibraltar authorities who seized it did so under the authority of European sanctions against Syria that have been in place for years, with no reference to the source of the oil.

But the likelihood that the cargo was Iranian draws a link between this incident and a new U.S. effort to halt all global sales of Iranian crude, in what Tehran has described as an illegal “economic war” against it.

European countries have tried to stay neutral in that confrontation, which saw the United States calling off airstrikes against Iran just minutes before impact last month, and Tehran amassing stocks of enriched uranium banned under a nuclear deal.

In a statement, the Gibraltar government said it had reasonable grounds to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas refinery in Syria. (REUTERS)

(Production: Lisa Giles-Keddie)

Tags: , , , , ,

Huawei underestimated impact of U.S. ban, expects a $100 billion dip in revenue

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Huawei Technologies’ founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said they underestimated the impact of the United States (US) ban.

On Monday (June 17), Zhengfei warned that their revenue would dip to around $100 billion this year.

READ: Internet abuzz over Google suspending business with Huawei

The US has put Huawei on their trade blacklist and banned American companies from doing business with the Chinese firm due to security risk.

Google previously announced that Huawei’s newer smartphones will lose Android updates as well as apps including YouTube, Gmail, and Google Play.

Zhengfei alredy expressed concerns on the impact of the trade ban.

“We did not, in our initial assessment, expect it to be this serious. We had made our preparations, just like an old airplane, we had only protected our heart and our fuel tank, we did not protect the other necessary components. So in the next two years, the company will suffer a setback. Our output will drop by $30 billion and so our revenue would dip to around $100 billion this year and the next,” he said.

“Whether (Huawei’s) international smartphone shipments will drop 40%? Yes it will, drop by 40%. But the growth rate for Chinese smartphone sales is very fast, its very fast,” he added.—AAC

Tags: , , ,