Stories about Philippines

If Xi Jinping wants China to be accepted as a global leader, he needs to revise his aggressive diplomacy

The anointment of President Xi Jinping as the ‘core leader’ in the recently concluded 19th Chinese Communist Party congress, and by enshrining his thoughts on “Socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era” in the party’s constitution, Jinping has elevated himself to the exalted status of Chairman Mao Zedong. Like the Little Red Book, Jinping’s thoughts have now been made compulsory reading for Chinese students, government officials and party functionaries. Jinping, before the convention of the congress, where his elevation was a foregone conclusion, had systematically purged all his potential rivals. His Machiavellian statecraft had ensured that he had a vice-like grip over the party. Added ...

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Dictators like Rodrigo Duterte need to be careful when they “joke” about using rape as a weapon

The world works in strange ways and the more things change, the more they stay the same. After decades, nay centuries of conflict, it seems the world had finally turned the corner in the 90s. Yes, there was a lot still to be done, but we seemed to be moving in the right direction. The cold war had ended, the European Union (EU) took concrete shape, and globalisation was taking root all over. Free trade and the communication revolution were turning the world into a global village. Perhaps for the first time in human history, democracy and human rights were regarded as supreme and inviolable in ...

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Philippine’s Rodrigo Duterte: An effective leader or a despotic one?

Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  First, he has been accused of large scale human rights violation, where tens and thousands of people have lost their lives due to extra judicial killings, drug trafficking, rape, murder, arson and other related criminal activities. The second incident relates to an interview he had given, where, when asked how he would react if Barack Obama were to criticise him for extra judicial killings of over 1,000 persons involved in drug trafficking and other acts of crime, he responded with cuss words against the president. Although Duterte realised his faux pas and expressed regret over his ...

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Is China justified in rejecting the UN tribunal award on its claims over the South China Sea?

The United Nation’s appointed ‘Permanent Court of Arbitration’ has rejected China’s claims over the South China Sea, as well as the Islands within it. In a landmark judgment, delivered on Tuesday, the arbitration court found that China had no historical rights over the waters of the South China Sea and had violated the Philippines sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by, 1. Interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, 2. Constructing artificial islands and, 3. Failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone. The tribunal had also claimed that fishermen from the Philippines (like those from China) had traditional fishing rights at ...

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Is India making the same mistake Pakistan made by allying with the US?

The post-colonial history tells us that Uncle Sam has been more of a destabiliser than a divine presence in the region. Pakistan has been a close ally of the US since the 50s. But has the Islamic country been a real beneficiary by playing the western world’s game in South Asia? In its blind desire to get military parity with India and neutralise the existential threat from its eastern neighbour, Islamabad became a front for Washington in the NATO’s war against communist Soviet Russia. As a result, Pakistan, a newly born country, lost its strategic autonomy quite early in its life and became a pawn in the larger game ...

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The loving humanitarian efforts of an American in Pakistan

Due to frequent media images of violent anti-American protests as well as repeated travel-safety warnings from the State Department, most Americans avoid visiting Pakistan. However, Todd Shea, the founder of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), has adopted Pakistan as his home and is running several welfare projects there. I learnt about Todd Shea on Facebook several months ago when I was browsing through a list of ‘People you may know’. Pleasantly surprised to learn about the humanitarian work he was doing in Pakistan, I began to closely follow CDRS activities on social media. The 2005 earthquake and the great need to help its victims brought Shea to ...

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Russia: The one country the US cannot bully

This week US Foreign Secretary John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russian Black Sea resort, Sochi – the same place where the Winter Olympics took place, which the West boycotted – for the first talks since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis back in the autumn of 2013. Kerry held discussions for more than four hours with Lavrov before he sat down with President Putin. Among the topics discussed were the themes which the US cannot handle without support from Russia, i.e. the Iran nuclear talks and the situation in Yemen and Libya. But apart from these topics, ...

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If you think you know your child better than the nanny, think again

The fairly new perspective on a nanny’s involvement in a child’s life and her bond with the child is the result of a growing global concern for mothers. Previously, the main focus in the nanny discussion was the psychological effects of non-maternal care on the child. However, given the increasingly extended amount of time children are spending with nannies now, mothers are apprehensive about the fact that this paid surrogate knows their child better than they do. Sadly enough, this extended amount of time being spent with the child is often because nannies are not allowed their legal time and days ...

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“We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

Was Obama mincing words when he refused to pin the ‘Islamist’ tag on to terrorism? His unequivocal statement that the war on terror was against people perverting Islam drew him a lot of flak from a predictable group who see the world as black and white, and discern no shades (not 50) of grey.  In any case, why would the West be at war with Islam when many Muslims are doing a pretty darned good job of it themselves? Look around, groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda are painting towns, villages, cities, and actual battlefields red with blood; mostly of their own countrymen and ...

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In Saudi Arabia, oil will always be thicker than blood

It was the year 2000 and I was a young man studying in Canada. Having spent a majority of my life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for a change, I was enjoying the atmosphere of a country where people weren’t treated with disdain simply because of their nationality. Alas, even in Canada, it was difficult to escape Saudi mentality. I was socialising with a group of Middle Eastern students at a food court where we were all getting to know each other. When asked, I told them I was a Pakistani who had grown up in Saudi Arabia. While ...

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