Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

After Philippine Police Kill 32 Drug Suspects in One Day; President Duterte Urges Them To Kill 32 More The Next Day

August 16, 2017
Duterte yesterday said authorities should kill more pushers to reduce the drug problem plaguing the country. PPD/File

MANILA, Philippines –  President Duterte welcomed the killing of 32 drug suspects in simultaneous raids in Bulacan last Tuesday and defended policemen from critics who questioned the way the operations were conducted.

Duterte yesterday said authorities should kill more pushers to reduce the drug problem plaguing the country.

“Yung namatay daw sa Bulacan, 32 (Thirty-two people reportedly died in Bulacan) in a massive raid. Maganda yun (That’s good),” the President said at the 19th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption at Malacañang.

“Pumatay tayo (Let’s kill) another 32 everyday, maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” he added.

Thirty-two suspected drug offenders died and 107 others were nabbed during simultaneous law enforcement operations, which began last Monday in the province. Police recovered illegal drugs, grenades and firearms during the raids.

The President said he is expecting human rights advocates to criticize the law enforcement operations.

“There will be outcry again over the 32 who were killed. They would grieve again for justice,” he said.

“Many are being killed because policemen are working. They are protected under my watch.”

Duterte said he has ordered security forces to destroy the apparatus of the drug trade, which he said is “taking a toll on the lives of the people.”

“My order is to destroy the apparatus. Kung napatay ka, pasensya ka (If you get killed, sorry). We will finish this for the next generation,” he said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/17/1729961/rody-bulacan-drug-deaths-kill-32-more-daily

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Duterte says drug problem can’t be solved in just one term

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed during the campaign period that he can fix the country from illegal drugs in three to six months. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that the country’s illegal drugs problem is so severe that a six-year term for a president is not enough to solve it.

“Look itong shabu, ang drugs, etc., cannot be solved by one man, for a president for one term,” Duterte said in his speech at the Philippine Development Forum: Sulong Pilipinas 2017 forum last Wednesday.

“It has bugged nations, hindi nga kaya ng Amerika, tayo pa,” he added.

READ: Duterte vows to keep drug war amid human rights concerns

 

During the campaign period, Duterte vowed to solve the problem in three to six months.

Three months after assuming presidency in July, the president asked for an extension of another six months.

READ: Rights groups want tougher stance on Duterte’s drug war from Trump

http://www.philstar.com/news-videos/2017/08/11/1727928/watch-duterte-says-drug-problem-cant-be-solved-just-one-term

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Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
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Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Image result for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

Image result for Boy Cruz, philippine policeman, photos

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Amnesty: Indonesia waging its own ‘war on drugs’

August 16, 2017

Police killings of suspected drug dealers have spiked, with 60 recorded deaths so far this year compared to 18 in 2016. The trend has led Amnesty International to warn that the country could be emulating the Philippines.

Indonesien Beschlagnahmte Drogen nach einer Razzia (Getty Images/AFP/Ricardo)

The dramatic spike in the number of unlawful killings carried out by Indonesian police against suspected drug dealers is the latest signal that the country could be sliding into a “war on drugs” similar to that seen in the Philippines, rights group Amnesty International warned on Wednesday.

Data obtained by the group showed a more than 200-percent rise in drug-related killings carried out by Indonesian police so far this year, with the number of deaths rising up to 60 from just 18 last year.

Read more: Why Jakarta presses forward with drug executions despite global outcry

Amnesty’s director in Indonesia, Usman Hamid, said in a statement: “This shocking escalation in unlawful killings by the police sounds serious alarm bells. While Indonesian authorities have a duty to respond to increasing rates of drug use in the country, shooting people on sight is never a solution. Not only is it unlawful, it will also do nothing to address the root causes that lead to drug use in the first place.”

Most of the violence has been concentrated around the capital city of Jakarta or the well-known drug trafficking hub of Sumatra.

Indonesia officials back tough stance

Indonesian police forces have justified the increase in killings, saying victims were shot for resisting arrest. However, Amnesty said it found no evidence that authorities had conducted even a single independent investigation into the shootings.

That data also reflects the Indonesian government’s increasingly tough rhetoric on drug-related crime, with President “Jokowi” Widodo openly endorsing the use of unrestrained force against suspected foreign traffickers, especially those resisting arrest. “Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest,” he said at a speech in Jakarta in late July. “Enough, just shoot them. Be merciless.”

Indonesia Joko Widodo (Reuters/Beawiharta)Indonesia’s Joko Widodo has endorsed the use of force in policing drug-related crimes

Police chief hails Duterte’s “war on drugs”

The president’s remarks came after the country’s national police chief, General Tito Karnavian, ordered officers “not to hesitate shooting drug dealers who resist arrest” and praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal “war on drugs” as an effective means of making drug dealers “go away.”

Since coming to power in May last year, Duterte has waged a brutal war on drugs in a bid to wipe out the use of narcotics in the Philippines. According to police data, some 3,500 so-called “drug personalities” have been killed by Duterte’s anti-drug squadsover the past year, as well as a further 2,000 people linked to drug-related crimes.

Read more: Alleged hitman links Duterte to ‘death squad’ killings

Earlier this year, Amnesty documented that anti-drug forces had grown to resemble a criminal enterprise more than a police force.

“President Duterte should not under any circumstances be considered a role model for Indonesia,” said Amnesty’s Hamid. “Far from making the Philippines safer, his bloody ‘war on drugs’ has led to the deaths of thousands without any form of accountability.”

http://www.dw.com/en/amnesty-indonesia-waging-its-own-war-on-drugs/a-40110231

dm/kms (AFP, Amnesty)

Related:

Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
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Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Image may contain: outdoor
Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Image may contain: 1 person

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippine police kill 32 in drugs war’s bloodiest day

August 16, 2017

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a special cabinet meeting at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City, southern Philippines. REUTERS

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine police killed 32 people in dozens of anti-drug operations in a province north of the capital, Manila, in the single deadliest day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s unrelenting war on drugs.

About 109 petty criminals, including street-level drug peddlers were arrested and dozens of guns seized in police operations across Bulacan province from Monday night until Tuesday afternoon, said provincial police chief, Romeo Caramat.

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Male residents are rounded up for verification after police officers conducted a large scale anti-drug raid at a slum community in Manila on July 20, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

“We have conducted ‘one-time, big-time’ operations in the past, so far, the number of casualties and deaths, this is the highest,” Caramat told a news conference.

He defended police action and said the deaths were during shootouts, and were not executions, as activists have often alleged.

“There are some sectors that will not believe us, but, we are open for any investigation. All we can say is that we don’t have any control of the situation. As much as possible, we don’t want this bloody encounter.”

Thousands of people have been killed in the anti-drugs campaign, Duterte’s signature policy, since it was launched on June 30 last year, most users and small-time dealers from poor neighborhoods.

The intensity of the crackdown has alarmed the international community, and activists and human rights groups say police have been executing suspects and planting drugs and guns at crime scenes. Police and the government officials reject that.

Police also deny involvement in thousands of murders by mysterious gunmen, blaming them on gang turf wars, drug dealers silencing informants, or vigilantes targeting drug users.

“There were 32 killed in Bulacan in a massive raid, that’s good,” Duterte said in a speech.

“Let’s kill another 32 every day. Maybe we can reduce what ails this country.”

Police conducted 49 sting drug operations in Bulacan that resulted in about 20 armed encounters, Caramat said. Ten other gunfights ensued when police tried to serve arrest warrants to suspects who fought back.

He said 93 of those held were wanted for other crimes, as well as drugs offences.

Bulacan has been a major target in the drugs war, with some 425 people killed and 4,000 offenders arrested, according to Caramat, making it the second-biggest hot spot in the crackdown outside of the Manila area.

Political opponents of Duterte have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing the president and top aides of crimes against humanity, arguing they failed to address allegations of widespread police abuses that have been brought to their attention.

Duterte has welcomed the ICC complaint, and said he was willing to rot in jail to protect Filipinos.

He has often complained about human rights groups criticizing and undermining his campaign and on Wednesday said he would instead investigate them, or worse.

“If they are obstructing justice, shoot them,” he said.

Reporting by Manuel Mogato and Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty, Robert Birsel

Related:

Philippine drug war sees ‘bloodiest night’ of deaths

August 16, 2017

BBC News

In this picture taken on 8 July 2016, police officers investigate the dead body of an alleged drug dealer, his face covered with packing tape and a placard reading "I'm a pusher", on a street in Manila.
The campaign has attracted intense international criticism. Getty Images

Philippine police have killed 32 people in drug raids, thought to be the highest death toll in a single day in the country’s war on drugs.

The raids took place over 24 hours on Tuesday in Bulacan province, north of the capital Manila.

Police said that those killed were suspected drug offenders who were armed and resisted officers.

Thousands have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte launched his controversial war on drugs in 2016.

The campaign, aimed at wiping out the drug trade, has attracted intense international criticism over the number of deaths. Mr Duterte has in the past sanctioned extrajudicial killings.

Tuesday’s operation, which lasted from midnight to midnight, comprised dozens of raids carried out across Bulacan according to local reports. More than 100 people were arrested and officers seized illegal drugs and arms in the raids.

Handcuffed male residents are rounded up for verification after police officers conducted a large scale anti-drug raid at a slum community in Manila on 20 July 2017
Many have been arrested as well in the drug raids, which resumed in March. Getty Images

‘Drug war far from over’ – Howard Johnson, BBC News, Manila

Despite falling away from the international headlines, the record number of killings is a reminder that President Duterte’s war on drugs is far from over.

In a strongly worded public address last month he warned drug users that he would hound them to the “gates of hell.”

I recently met a woman who told me her son was shot and killed by masked vigilantes during a late evening “buy-and-bust” raid. She insisted her son wasn’t a dealer, and had his marijuana use declared to the authorities three months before the killing.

Despite stories of extra-judicial killings like this, many in the Philippines support the war on drugs.

Taxi drivers have told me that roadside bag snatching has subsided. Manila residents I’ve spoken to say the streets feel safer.


Rights groups have accused Philippine police of planning extrajudicial killingsand in some cases profiting from them.

Police have maintained that the suspects are killed when they offer armed resistance to police, a claim that has been highly disputed.

Mr Duterte suspended the campaign in January promising to “clean up” the police, and re-organise the anti-drug units. The campaign resumed in March.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40944888

Former Pakistan PM Challenges Disqualification by Court

August 15, 2017

ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani official says former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has filed petitions with the Supreme Court to challenge his disqualification and removal from office.

Environment Minister Mushahidullah Khan, who is in Sharif’s party, said Tuesday that the former prime minister’s lawyers filed three petitions to review the verdict.

The court disqualified Sharif after documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm showed that his family held previously undisclosed overseas assets. A five-judge panel last month disqualified Sharif, accusing him of concealing assets.

Last week Sharif held a series of rallies across the country, criticizing the court ruling and seeking to whip up popular support.

The Corrupt Can’t Hide: India’s Modi defends war on graft

August 15, 2017

AFP

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© AFP | Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says his shock decision to devalue India’s largest banknotes has paid dividends

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked 70 years of Indian independence Tuesday with an impassioned defence of his war on corruption, declaring a controversial move to flush out tax cheats a huge success that netted billions.

In a major address from the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort, Modi said his shock decision to devalue India’s largest banknotes had paid dividends, bringing $46 billion in undeclared wealth back into state coffers.

The sudden removal all 500 (around $7.50) and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation compelled millions to join the formal banking sector for the first time, but triggered a painful cash shortage in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

Previously, around 90 percent of everyday transactions in India were in cash.

But Modi, who has stood by the controversial policy even as economists have blamed it for curtailing growth, said trillions of rupees had returned to India under his administration’s crackdown on tax dodgers.

“India is celebrating honesty today. The corrupt have no place to hide anymore,” he said.

More than 300,000 shell companies associated with so-called “black money” had been red-flagged and over 100,000 trading licences revoked under a sweeping clean-out of India’s graft-riddled economy, Modi added.

He used independence day to urge his countrymen to embrace a “New India” where the “poor shall have concrete houses, where farmer income shall double, where youth and women will get ample opportunities”.

“An India which is free of casteism, terrorism, corruption, nepotism. A clean India,” he said.

He also hailed the introduction of a nationwide goods and services tax in July as a success that had doubled the number of new taxpayers this year to 5.6 million — a tiny fraction of India’s 1.3 billion.

70 years of pain across the India-Pakistan border

August 14, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Narinder Nanu in Wagah, India and Sajjad Qayyum in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan | Indian and Pakistani border guards take part in the ceremony at the India-Pakistan border in Wagah

WAGAH (INDIA) (AFP) – From barbed grins in a carefully synchronised daily flag ceremony to murderous exchanges across barbed wire in Kashmir, the India-Pakistan border is a 70-year-old scar that will not heal.Thousands will cheer at the Wagah border crossing this week as the two countries celebrate the anniversaries of their independence, when British India was carved into two nations.

The upheaval that followed left at least one million dead in a brutal migration that took millions of Muslims to Pakistan and millions of Hindus to India.

But all these years after the trauma of Partition, they have not agreed a border, nor their history — Pakistan marks independence on August 14 each year, India one day later. And the killing goes on.

Wagah, near Amritsar, is the only functioning border post between the rivals. The flag ceremony there draws crowds of up to 20,000 each day.

There is wild applause as pumped-up troops, their eyes bulging, perform a stamping march toward the border gates at sundown.

The flags are lowered, a soldier from each side shakes hands with a forced smile and the gates close.

Fists occasionally fly between Indian and Pakistani soldiers during the ceremony, but there is worse along the border.

Kashmir, divided between the rivals and claimed by both, is on a permanent conflict alert with near daily clashes and shelling across the Line of Control (LoC), the official name of the disputed frontier.

A woman relative of 28-year-old Muhammad Haseeb was killed as she worked in a field in the Nakyal sector on the Pakistani side just days before the partition anniversary.

“We don’t know when we will become the victim of a bullet,” he said.

Tens of thousands, mainly civilians, have died in Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir in the past 30 years. India says about 40 militants have been killed this year trying to sneak across the border. Nine Indian soldiers have been killed on the LoC.

Prospects for improvement look slim.

– Entente needed –

Cricket is the national game for both countries, but they have not played a five-day Test match against each other in either country since 2007.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Pakistan in 2015. But ties are in deep freeze again since Pakistan detained and sentenced to death Kulbushan Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer it accuses of espionage.

For most politicians, observers and activists, India and Pakistan just cannot get over its split.

Pakistan has been in new political chaos with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ousted over corruption allegations. But some on both sides blame Modi’s hardline stance.

“So long as there is a Hindu India that acts like a mirror to a Muslim Pakistan I don’t see any chance of a reconciliation,” said Mani Shankar Aiyar, an outspoken former Indian minister who as a diplomat was his country’s first consul general in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Aiyar says that India and Pakistan need an Anglo-French style “Entente Cordiale” and then to get down to serious talks.

Prominent Pakistani political analyst Hasan Askari said both countries have grievances and that relations can barely get any worse.

“The present tension between India and Pakistan is unnatural. Therefore I don’t expect this to stay as it is for all the time to come,” he told AFP.

“As no dialogue is taking place, this relationship is really bad,” he added.

“India has truly reduced this relationship to a single issue — terrorism — whereas the Pakistani argument is that we can talk about all contentious issues. They can be put on the table and discussed.”

Askari said there could be no talks while India obsesses about militant activity.

“This means there?s hardly any possibility of a dialogue in the near future because the government of Pakistan can’t even commit to its own people that there’ll be no terrorist activity, not to speak of any commitment to India.”

Away from the politics and military posturing, Guneeta Singh Ballah, founder of the 1947 Partition Archive that has interviewed thousands of survivors of the partition, sees hope in the new generation on either side of the frontier.

“The generation who did not go through the death and destruction had more hatred for the other side than their parents,” she said.

“I think that the new generation is more engaged in wanting to get over the past,” she said.

If millions of expatriate Pakistanis and Indians can get along in the United States, Australia, Britain and the Middle East “why can’t they make it work at home?” she asked.

sq-ds-bb-tw/cc/tm/iw

by Narinder Nanu in Wagah, India and Sajjad Qayyum in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan

Malaysia Ruling Party Leaders Denounce Violence at Mahathir Forum — 92 Year Old Former PM “Chased From The Stage” — PM Najib Accused of “Gangsterism”

August 14, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR — Leaders of Malaysia’s ruling party have condemned violence that erupted at a forum where former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad was speaking, as political tension rises ahead of a general election that could be called in coming months.

One opposition leader accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of “gangsterism” to keep Mahathir quiet after some people at the Sunday meeting threw shoes, chairs and flares at Mahathir, who has made it his mission to unseat Najib over his handling of the a multi-billion dollar scandal involving a state fund.

Mahathir, 92, was not hurt, his aide said.

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Malaysia — Troublemakers ignited two flare, threw chairs and flung shoes and slippers on to the stage when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was speaking. The fracas forced organisers to escor Dr Mahathir our of the venue. Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, August 13, 2017.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said differences of opinion did not give anyone license to act violently.

“As a country that practices democracy, such an incident should not have happened,” Ahmad Zahid was quoted as saying in the Star daily newspaper on Monday.

Mahathir, who served as prime minister for 22 years until he stepped down in 2003, chairs a fractured opposition alliance hoping to unseat the long-ruling government coalition in election due by next year.

Mahathir has offered to head a government again if the opposition wins.

Some opposition leaders allied with Mahathir accused Najib of orchestrating the violence. A deputy president of the People’s Justice Party, Azmin Ali, said in a statement the prime minister had resorted to “gangsterism”.

A senior member of Najib’s United Malay National Organisation, who is also a government minister, Salleh Said Keruak, said such accusations were “unhealthy” for politics.

“Remember that gangster politics is not part of our political culture,” Salleh said in a statement.

Another government minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, condemned the violence in a Twitter message saying it “cannot be tolerated”.

Media reported that police had detained two people.

Mahathir has been a prominent critics of his former protege Najib over the scandal-ridden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Najib denies wrongdoing.

1MDB is the subject of money-laundering investigations in at least six countries. The U.S. Justice Department alleged in civil lawsuits that about $4.5 billion of funds were misappropriated from the fund.

The U.S. Justice Department said in its latest court filing on Thursday it was conducting a criminal investigation of 1MDB and asked for a stay on civil lawsuits it had filed to seize assets allegedly bought with money stolen from the fund.

Najib denied taking money from 1MDB after it was reported that investigators traced nearly $700 million to his bank accounts. Authorities cleared him of any wrongdoing, saying the money was a donation from Saudi Arabia.

(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Related:

Town Hall by Ex-Malaysian Leader Mahathir Marred by Violence — Opposition Blames PM Najib for “Gangsterism”

August 13, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A town hall meeting with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who now heads an opposition coalition, was marred by violence Sunday, with several people hurling flares, chairs and shoes at the stage.

The 92-year-old Mahathir, who has set up a new political party to try to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak in elections due by mid-2018, was answering questions at the forum, hosted by his party, when chaos erupted. Shoes, water bottles and chairs were flung at the stage before two flares were ignited, filling the hall with smoke and turning it bright pink.

Mahathir was safely escorted out of the hall. Forum organizer Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said several people were injured but couldn’t give details on the exact number or their condition.

Police said three people, ranging in age from 17 to 19, were detained.

Syed Saddiq slammed the disruption as “sabotage,” saying officials from Mahathir’s Bersatu party had earlier noticed a group of youths wearing T-shirts with fake logos of Bersatu’s youth wing.

Opposition lawmaker Azmin Ali said: “Najib is using gangsterism to shut Mahathir’s mouth. It’s a cowardly act.”

There was no immediate comment from the government.

While it was unclear who was behind the fracas, it highlights that Mahathir — Malaysia’s prime minister for 22 years before stepping down in 2003 — is seen as a political threat.

Mahathir has been spearheading calls for Najib to resign over a multibillion-dollar financial scandal in indebted state fund 1MDB, which is being investigated in several countries for money laundering. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Mahathir came out of retirement to set up Bersatu last year and was recently appointed chairman of a fractured opposition coalition.

Earlier at Sunday’s forum, which was dubbed “Nothing to Hide” and was attended by more than 1,000 people, Mahathir said Najib is unfit to be prime minister, calling him a “liar and a thief” over the 1MDB scandal.

Mahathir said the four-party coalition he heads has set aside differences to focus on ousting Najib. “We are united and our focus is clear: to oust Najib and set up a new government,” he said.

Malaysia’s government has said it found no criminal wrongdoing at 1MDB. But the fund has been at the center of investigations in the U.S. and other countries amid allegations of a global embezzlement and money-laundering scheme. Najib started the fund shortly after taking office in 2009 to promote economic development projects, but it accumulated billions of dollars in debt.

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Malaysia — Troublemakers ignited two flare, threw chairs and flung shoes and slippers on to the stage when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was speaking. The fracas forced organisers to escor Dr Mahathir our of the venue. Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, August 13, 2017.

SEVERAL youths lit flares, threw shoes and chairs at Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad as he spoke at the Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum, creating pandemonium and panic in a Shah Alam hall this evening.

Bersatu security personnel detained two of the troublemakers at the event in the Selangor Youth and Culture Complex in Shah Alam.

The forum was organised by Bersatu Youth (Armada) as a platform for the former prime minister and Prime Minister Najib Razak to debate issues surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

At least five suspects were seen throwing chairs into the crowd after the flares were lit.

Dr Mahathir and moderator Azhar Harun, who were on stage, did not react when the commotion broke out but were quickly escorted out of the hall.

An aide told The Malaysian Insight that Dr Mahathir, his wife Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, Bersatu president Muhiyddin Yassin, former Kedah MB Mukhriz Mahathir, Perkasa vice-president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, Bersatu youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman and veteran DAP lawmaker Lim Kit Siang were not injured in the incident.

“All the VIPs were rushed out of the hall when the commotion broke out.”

The forum saw mostly members of Bersatu in attendance.

Dr Mahathir, who was formerly the Barisan Nasional chairman, alleged that Najib had led a band of “thieves” who robbed the country of RM42 billion.

“I challenged the prime minister to come. What is there to be scared of? You said you are innocent and if I can’t prove your guilt, then I am wrong. So why are you hiding?” he said.

Najib was invited to attend today’s forum but was at Masjid Tanah Umno division delegates conference at Sekolah Menengah Imtiaz Ulul Albab, Durian Daun, Masjid Tanah in Malacca today.

Dr Mahathir said Najib must be made accountable to investigations conducted worldwide.

“The stolen money was brought to the US, it went through banks and was also used to fund the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.

“What is being done by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has to do with crimes committed in the US. Nothing can be hidden. The Department of Justice can obtain proof from bank letters.

“Everytime money moves, there’s a paper trail. We are not just speaking of amounts of RM10,000, which must be reported (to the central bank). RM1 billion is a lot of money. It can fit 1,000 lorries. We are talking about 42,000 lorries. This amount of money cannot be kept hidden,” he said.

In its civil cases, the DoJ alleged that between 2009 and 2015, more than US$4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

Last year, DoJ filed a civil asset forfeiture suit to seize more than US$1 billion in assets that were bought using funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

A year later in June, DoJ filed another suit to seize US$540 in assets, including a US$165 million yacht the Equanimity, owned by Jho Low, and rights to comedy movie ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ produced by Red Granite, a production house co-owned by Riza Aziz, the stepson of Najib.

The DoJ last week applied to stay its civil forfeiture suits on assets allegedly purchased using misappropriated 1MDB funds to facilitate ongoing criminal investigations by the US government.

“I don’t like it when the laws are blatantly broken. Laws are important and meant to maintain peace and order. The country will fall apart without the rule of law.

“The DoJ says the trail ends with Malaysian Official 1. Who is Malaysian Official 1. It’s easy. (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Abdul Rahman Dahlan says it’s Najib.

“I will never return to Umno. The Umno that was formed by Onn Jaafar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Hussein Onn has been hijacked by Najib and now the whole party is ruined and does not continue Umno’s struggle which is for race, religion and the country.”

“Now they steal money to live in luxurious houses. I hope the people no longer give them another chance. We must destroy them. Don’t be afraid.” – August 13, 2017.

https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/10719/

Brazil President Weakened by Graft Charge, Losing Fiscal Battle

August 12, 2017

Aug. 11, 2017, at 3:29 p.m.

Reuters

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Brazil’s President Michel Temer reacts during a ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 8, 2017. REUTERS/Leonardo Benassatto REUTERS

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Michel Temer has burned through political capital fighting corruption charges and is struggling to push forward his economic agenda meant to rein in a gaping budget deficit.

Even allies in Congress now doubt he can achieve anything but watered-down measures, likely delaying any fix to Brazil’s fiscal crisis until the economy recovers from deep recession.

With continued deficits, Brazil risks further downgrades in its credit rating. It lost its investment grade two years ago, adding to the cost of financing mounting public debt.

In a sign of Temer’s failure to restore fiscal health, the government is expected to revise upward its 2017 and 2018 deficit targets on Monday due to falling tax revenues in an economy that is barely growing.

More pessimistic analysts worry the insolvency already faced by some Brazilian states that cannot pay employees or provide basic services will reach the federal government.

Temer had a window to pass a pension overhaul earlier this year, but it closed in May when allegations emerged that he condoned bribes in a taped conversation with the then CEO of the world’s largest meatpacker JBS S.A..”We are dancing samba at the edge of the precipice,” said Sao Paulo-based wealth manager Fabio Knijnik. “I don’t see the political class at all concerned with resolving this.”

The deeply unpopular president won enough backing in Congress on Aug. 2 to block a corruption charge that could have led to his suspension pending trial by the Supreme Court. To survive, he approved about $1.5 billion in pork barrel spending to keep lawmakers happy.

His closest ally in Congress, the center-right Democrats Party of Speaker Rodrigo Maia, does not believe Temer has the 308 votes, or three-fifths of the lower chamber, needed to pass pension reform, the key measure in his fiscal rescue plan.

Speaking in Rio on Friday, Maia said Temer’s political troubles and lower-than-expected tax revenues had created the crisis. He said Brazil had no alternative but to seek whatever pension fix it could, given Congress would not raise taxes.

Congressman Efraim Filho, the Democrats whip, told Reuters Temer must dilute the pension bill to get it past Congress. He said the measure had to be stripped down to its most important provision, a minimum age for retirement of 65 years for men and 63 for women in a country where people only work on average until age 54.

CRUMBLING COALITION

Temer’s government coalition is in disarray. Parties who stood by the president are now demanding they be rewarded with cabinet positions, such as the big-budget Cities Ministry. It is now controlled by the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), which split over whether to abandon the scandal-plagued president.

Until they get their way, the allies at the core of his coalition have said they will not put his proposed pension bill to the vote. Maia said the “climate” was not right to move to a floor vote and the bill could languish and miss a legislative window likely to close in December as an election year approaches in 2018.

The government has already made concessions on the pension bill provisions that will reduce planned fiscal savings by up to 25 percent in 10 years and nearly 30 percent in 30 years, according to Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles.

The pension overhaul is vital for Brazil to comply with a 20-year spending cap that was Temer’s first move to restore fiscal discipline, albeit without a full impact on accounts until 2019.

“That ceiling was like saying you are going on a diet two years from now,” said Daniel Freifeld of Callaway Capital, a Washington D.C.-based investment firm.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Andrew Hay)