Philippines: IF TERROR ATTACKS REACH METRO MANILA Duterte may expand martial law




Duterte may expand martial law – Palace

JULY 19, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte might be forced to declare martial law if extremists carry out terror attacks in Metro Manila, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President was “very concerned” over potential security threats in the region arising from the suicide bombings in Mindanao.

President Rodrigo Duterte. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

“He can declare martial law, he can declare a revolutionary government, he can use other emergency powers under the Constitution to quell whatever violence or any attempt at destroying this Republic,” Panelo said when asked what the President could do to prevent a possible spillover of terror attacks in other parts of the country.

“Pwede niyang gawin lahat ‘yun (He can do all of these). The military or all the Armed Forces of the Philippines, under the Constitution, are obligated to protect the people. The President can use the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.

The police and military had confirmed that one of the suicide bombers in Jolo, Sulu was a Filipino identified as Norman Lasuca.

Lasuca and another suspected Abu Sayyaf member blew themselves up at the Philippine Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team camp in Indanan.

“‘Yun nga ang kinakatakot niya kasi may [Filipino] suicide bomber na (That’s what he’s afraid of because there’s already a Filipino suicide bomber). He’s very concerned about that. Kaya ‘di ba nag-warning siya sa enemies of the state, “Don’t force my hand. I will not allow the disintegration of this country,” he added.

“Kaya nga ‘di ba (That’s why [the President said]): ‘Don’t force me to the wall. ‘Pag hindi kayo tumigil (If you will not stop), I’ll be compelled to use powers granted to me by the Constitution, lalung-lalo pa ‘yung terorismo makarating dito sa Maynila (especially if terrorism reaches Metro Manila),” Panelo said during a news briefing.

The President placed Mindanao under martial rule after the Islamic State-linked Maute terror group laid siege to Marawi City in 2017.
Congress extended martial law until December 31, 2019.

The National Capital Region [Metro Manila] Police Office (NCRPO) hoisted full alert status days after the Sulu suicide attacks, but it was lifted two days later.

NCRPO chief Guillermo Eleazar, however, said the mobilization of police personnel would continue, as intelligence operations had been intensified to foil any possible terror plans and detect terrorist personalities.

Last week, Duterte said he was strengthening the military and police as he sees “dangerous times” ahead.

“I see very dangerous times ahead. Lumalabas nga ‘yung pawis sa kamay ko (My palms sweat) just thinking about it, if it would go awry outside of Sulu and [the] Basilan Islands,” he added.

Moscow: Ukraine Announces Fast-Track Passports After Putin’s Russian Citizenship Offer



Ukraine Announces Fast-Track Passports After Putin’s Russian Citizenship Offer

Sergii Kharchenko / ZUMA Wire / TASS

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has ordered an overhaul of the process for granting Ukrainian citizenship, in response to a Russian decree expanding the number of Ukrainians who can apply for fast-track Russian passports.

Zelenskiy’s office said early on Thursday, just a few hours after the Kremlin published Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order, that the foreign ministry would simplify the procedure for certain groups to attain Ukrainian citizenship.

Those who suffer from human rights violations and constraints on freedom in their home countries, and ethnic Ukrainians “from friendly powers” willing to help Ukraine’s development, would be eligible for fast-track passports, Zelenskiy’s office said.

It did not explain which countries are considered to be friendly.

“The President made this decision because of… an order by President Vladimir Putin introducing a simpler procedure for granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainians,” the statement said.

Putin’s order added to the list of those who can apply for fast-track Russian passports Ukrainian citizens who were registered as permanent residents of government-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as of April 2014.

That is the date at which a military conflict with Russia-backed separatists started.

“Such a step by the Russian Federation creates additional obstacles on a path to de-escalation of the conflict, and the reintegration of the Donbass region,” the statement said.

Moscow’s move comes ahead of a Ukrainian parliamentary election on Sunday, when opinion polls suggest the Russia-friendly Opposition Platform party may emerge as the strongest opponents of Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People group.

Five years of war between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region have killed 13,000 people despite a ceasefire signed in 2015. Zelenskiy has said he will do everything in his power to end the conflict.




Thirty Years On, The CCP is Still Unrepentant About the Tiananmen Massacre

Japan: Rohingya activist calls U.S. ban on Myanmar generals a first step




Rohingya activist calls U.S. ban on Myanmar generals a first step


A formerly imprisoned Rohingya activist said Wednesday that a U.S. ban on Myanmar’s top generals was a welcome first step but urged more action to support the long-targeted minority.

The State Department on Tuesday said that army chief Min Aung Hlaing, three other top officers and their families would not be allowed to visit the United States due to their roles in “ethnic cleansing” of the mostly Muslim Rohingya.

Participating in a high-level State Department meeting on religious freedom, peace activist Wai Wai Nu said it was critical to address the “decades-old impunity” enjoyed by the military in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

“Many of us in Burma welcome this decision of the State Department. However, we think this is a first step and we are hoping to see more concrete and efficient steps in the future,” she told reporters.

This, she said, should include an end to impunity in the country.

“The only way to move forward, I believe, is holding the perpetrators accountable and abolishing institutionalized religious and ethnic discrimination against ethnic minorities,” she added.

Wai Wai Nu founded two groups promoting inter-ethnic harmony and women’s rights. Along with other survivors and witnesses to abuses who are taking part in the ministerial, she met Wednesday at the White House with President Donald Trump.

Wai Wai Nu, whose father was also an activist, was arrested with her family in 2005 when she was a law student.

The family was freed in 2012 amid a political opening in Myanmar as the military junta reconciled with the West and eventually allowed civilian, elected leaders.

In 2017, Myanmar’s military launched a campaign against the Rohingya that led about 740,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh amid accounts of brutal attacks on whole villages.

The army denies wrongdoing and says it was responding to militant attacks.

The Rohingya are widely despised in the country and do not enjoy citizenship, with the government calling them “Bengalis,” suggesting they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Japan: Beijing drafting urgent plan to end Hong Kong’s political chaos



Officials in Beijing drafting urgent plan to end Hong Kong’s political chaos


Chinese officials in charge of Hong Kong affairs are working on an urgent strategy to solve the city’s political chaos and have ruled out the use of military force, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the discussions.

They will soon present top leaders in Beijing with both an immediate plan to handle the mass protests and a longer-term strategy that could result in China overhauling its management of the former British colony, the newspaper said, without elaborating on a date.

Beijing maintains that the crisis is best left for Hong Kong authorities to resolve and does not want to get directly involved, according to the report. Beijing has expressed public support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam throughout weeks of unrest and political gridlock, saying this week that it “firmly supports” her leadership.

On Thursday, China condemned a joint motion for a resolution in the European Parliament that called on EU member states and other nations to investigate export controls “to deny China, and in particular Hong Kong, access to technologies” that could be used to violate human rights.

“China strongly opposes this,” spokesman Lu Kang said. “China does value its relations with Europe, but maintaining a healthy relationship requires joint efforts.”

Lam on Monday vowed she will remain in office, after a Financial Times report said that she had offered to resign but that Beijing had insisted she stay and clean up “the mess she created.”

The Chinese officials also see Hong Kong’s police force as key to maintaining stability, the newspaper said. Officers’ tactics have come under fire after they used rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and pepper spray to disperse the protests. Demonstrators have demanded an independent investigation into what they deem a use of excessive force, and opposition lawmakers have called for the resignation of security chief John Lee.

Mainland officials want to avoid bloodshed and ensure the financial hub remains largely stable, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the situation. China’s approach will be to “lure the snake from its hole,” according to one adviser cited by the SCMP, taking a defensive position until the opposition reveals its strategy.

They are also considering whether the current environment makes it too risky for President Xi Jinping to visit another former European colony, Macau, later this year for celebrations of the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, the paper reported.

Crowds of Hong Kong protesters have turned out in unprecedented numbers every week since mid-June.

In recent gatherings, their anger has focused on China. More protests are being planned in neighborhoods across the city by demonstrators vowing to spread the word until Lam responds to their demands, including the official withdrawal of legislation that would allow extraditions to the mainland and first sparked the rallies.

On Wednesday, thousands of Hong Kong senior citizens, including a popular actress, marched in a show of support for youths at the forefront of the monthlong protests. The seniors also slammed the police for their handling of a protest Sunday in Hong Kong’s Sha Tin district. That protest was mostly peaceful but ended with violent scuffles in a shopping mall that left dozens injured, including a policeman who had a finger bitten off, and over 40 people detained.

There are indications that Xi and his top officials are preparing for their annual summer conclave in the seaside city of Beidaihe, which this year will bear even closer watching than usual as China faces growing risks at home and abroad, including Hong Kong’s unrest and an ongoing trade war with the United States.

U.S. military brings back remains from World War II battle of Tarawa




U.S. military brings back remains from World War II battle of Tarawa


The U.S. military has brought back the remains of more than 20 servicemen killed in one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

An Air Force cargo plane flew the remains from Tarawa atoll in the remote Pacific island nation of Kiribati (KEE-ree-bas) to Hawaii on Wednesday. Marines carried flag-draped caskets off the plane for a ceremony.

The remains are among those discovered in March by History Flight, a nonprofit organization that searches for the remains of U.S. servicemen lost in past conflicts.

They’re believed to belong to Marines and sailors from the 6th Marine Regiment who were killed during the last night of the three-day Battle of Tarawa. More than 6,000 Americans, Japanese and Koreans died.

Forensic anthropologists with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will work to identify the remains using dental records, DNA and other clues.

Jefferson Was Correct

The Road Less Traveled

Jefferson’s Final Warnings (He was right)

In his last years – after a lifetime of learning and experience, Jefferson had one thing preeminently on his mind: the principle of decentralized government.

Rather than saying “centralization,” Jefferson used the word “consolidation,” but they mean the same thing. Here’s his core statement on the subject, from his autobiography, written in 1821:

It is not by the consolidation, or concentration, of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected.

This statement put Jefferson at odds with the political leaders of his time and raised difficulties for him, as he writes in a letter to Judge William Johnson in 1823:

I have been blamed for saying, that a prevalence of the doctrines of consolidation would one day call for reformation or revolution.

For the following passage – a letter to William Johnson, written in 1822 – Jefferson’s words are set in italics…

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(Philosophy Poem) Finding God

Finding God


Who truly is ever able to find the Lord

Or is it the Lord who finds the faithful

Those who trust in the Lord will find Him

Evil thoughts separate evil from the good

For the Spirit of God will not enter the deceitful


They who truly love God will flee from deceit

Foolish thoughts will lead to an unrighteous end

The Spirit of God knows the fool and the fraud

The Lord is witness to the inner thoughts of the heart

For a lying mouth truly destroys ones very own Soul


Do not bring your death by the evil of your own hands

For the Lord created all things to live in happiness

God’s righteousness is immortal and Hades but dust

The body is ashes and no one returns from beneath

For In time our name and our monuments will be forgotten


Life is but a shadow and the ticking of the universal clock

Come and enjoy the gifts laid before us without murmuring

Death entered our world through the envy of the Devil against us

Yet the Souls of the righteous are in the Hands of the living God

At death their Soul is a peace and no torment will touch them

5 Discoveries in the 5 Smallest States



5 Discoveries in the 5 Smallest States

America’s smallest states might not have a lot of territory to work with, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t jam-packed with exciting sights and experiences to discover. As an added bonus, you’ll have more time to visit even more curious destinations than you would criss-crossing some of the nation’s more massive states.

It is also convenient that America’s smallest states are all located in relatively close proximity to each other, filling in the nooks and crannies of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Did someone say road trip?

Hit the road and check out these five unique discoveries in each of the smallest states.

Rhode Island: The Providence Athenaeum

At just over 1,200 square miles, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, but don’t let its size fool you. Little Rhody, as the locals affectionately call it, is big on things to do. From devouring some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted to exploring its multitude of prestigious museums, including the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the Ocean State offers something for everybody.

One place you don’t want to miss is the Providence Athenaeum. Founded in 1836, this historic library was frequented by early horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and poet Edgar Allan Poe (you can even see his original library record). Peruse its unrivaled rare book collection and you can find an 1855 copy of Leaves of Grass with handwritten notes by Walt Whitman.

Delaware: Rothschild Patent Model Collection

Famously ridiculed in “Wayne’s World” for having nothing to do, Delaware is actually an overlooked gem with sandy beaches, NASCAR races, and a ton of colonial historic sites.

Of course, you can find all of those things elsewhere. But Delaware offers one thing you can’t find anywhere else: the world’s largest collection of patent models. Up until 1880, inventors had to include physical models along with their patent applications, resulting in some 200,000 models being created.

At the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, you can see an array of pieces from Alan and Ann Rothschild’s collection of 5,000 patent models. Explore this one-of-kind collection of contraptions to discover creations such as George Stillman’s original Roller-Skate, and early versions of washing machines, animal traps, dust pans, and reclining chairs. Can’t make it to The First State? Luckily you can browse a huge chunk of the fascinating collection online.

Connecticut: Traveler Restaurant

Before you leave Connecticut, make sure you stop at the Traveler Restaurant in Union to get a delicious meal and a free book or two. That’s right, diners at the Traveler Restaurant are invited to select a book of their choice from the restaurant’s ever growing library of donated tomes.

The food isn’t bad either. With four stars on Yelp, the Traveler Restaurant menu features classic diner starters like sweet potato fries and onion rings as well as heaps of fresh battered seafood. You can also choose from a wide selection of burgers, sandwiches, pastas, and steaks.

After you get your fill of books and grub, discover some of the Nutmeg State’s other unique destinations like Zaffis Museum of the Paranormal in Stratford or the ruins of abandoned religious theme park Holy Land USA in Waterbury. And if you visit the state capital, Hartford, don’t miss John Steward’s Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities located in the Old State House building.

New Jersey: Batsto Village

Think ghost towns are only found out west? Take a short drive from the glitz and grime of Atlantic City to discover a village lost in time. Batsto was founded in 1687 and developed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries as an iron-working community. Batsto was an important part of securing America’s independence, supplying the Continental Army with iron ore.

Over time, the industry waned, and the last resident moved out in 1989. Now the village is open to the public, and visitors can wander about and observe more than 40 intact historical structures.

If you don’t get your ghost town fix in Batsto, head up the New Jersey Turnpike to Berkeley Heights to see the deserted village of Feltville. Just don’t take a wrong turn and end up in Valkenvania.

New Hampshire: Madison Boulder

New Hampshire rocks. Yes, we mean that literally. Take one look at the Madison Boulder in Madison and you are sure to agree.

The Madison Boulder is exactly what it sounds like, but you have to see it to believe it. The boulder measures 23 feet tall, 83 feet long and 37 feet wide. The giant boulder weighs 5,000 tons. It is the largest known “glacial erratic” in North America, meaning the boulder landed in its current position after being carried a far distance by melting glacial ice.

7 surprising facts about email



7 surprising facts about email

Email, that magical way of sending instant messages between electronic devices, is used and consumed round-the-clock by people the length and breadth of the planet. But have you ever stopped to think about how it came about, or how often we use it? Next time you find yourself with a group of friends too busy on their telephones to talk, reignite the conversation with these fun email facts.

Email predates the Internet

Credit: oatawa /

Although it didn’t become popular until the early 1990s, the first emails were sent in 1965 via a system called MAIL at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This was four years prior to the creation of ARPANET, which itself laid the foundations for the Internet. Pioneering programmer Ray Tomlinson sent the first email as we know them today in 1971, almost two decades before the World Wide Web appeared.

The content of the first email is unknown

Credit: Devonyu / iStock

Legend once had us believe that Tomlinson’s first email, which incidentally was sent to himself between two computers in the same office, included the words “Hello world“. In fact, according to the man himself, the actual content was in all probability something along the lines of “QWERTYUIOP.” As there’s no official record we’ll just have to take his word for it.

Hotmail was launched as recently as 1996

Credit: CatLane / iStock

Over three decades after the first emails were traded, Microsoft’s Hotmail took the world by storm with its messaging service. Rebranded as Outlook in 2012, it now has 400 million users and is available in 106 languages. RocketMail was Hotmail’s biggest contender in the early days, and later became what we know today as Yahoo!

Today, 2.8 million emails are sent every second

Credit: tolgart / iStock

Thanks to our technology-savvy friends Internet Live Stats, we can see that in just one second, 2,780,870 emails are sent on their journey. Let’s put this into some more impressive numbers: that’s a whopping 240 billion per day. If every person on Earth was sending then that would equate to 31 emails per person per day. We are also watching 77,925 YouTube videos and sending 8,415 Tweets per second.

The curious origins of the word spam

Credit: scanrail / iStock

Spam is that wonderful folder in your webmail service that gets bombarded with offers to inherit a fortune from a generous widow, purchase products from phantom companies and earn hundreds of dollars for taking part in surveys. Spam was originally, and still is, the brand name of a canned meat introduced during World War II. In the 1970s, British comedy team Monty Python referred to Spam as something unavoidable and repetitive. Techies later coined the name spammers for the people that repeatedly send you dishonest and unsolicited emails.

We spend over five hours per day checking email

Credit: NicoElNino /

For many, email and the Internet have taken over our lives, so much so that in 2017 a vast majority of us were spending 5.4 hours every day checking messages. Naturally, this has a knock-on effect on productivity. Statistics show that time spent distracted by emails and social media costs the U.S. economy $997 billion annually.

Studies have proved that decreased email usage leads to increased health

Credit: seb_ra / iStock

Fancy reducing your stress levels, relaxing your heart rate and increasing both focus and productivity? Simple: reduce your email time. A study by the University of California Irvine and U.S. Army on a group of office workers proved this. So it must be true, right?