Philippines objects to China’s naming of undersea features

Above, a Philippine Coast Guard ship sails along Benham Rise, off the east coast of the main island of Luzon. (Department of Agriculture-Agriculture and Fisheries Information Division via AFP)
Updated 14 February 2018
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Philippines objects to China’s naming of undersea features

MANILA: The Philippine government rejects Chinese names given to some undersea features in a vast offshore region where the Philippines has undisputed sovereign rights, the presidential spokesman said Wednesday in a new tiff despite the Asian neighbors’ mended ties.
The Philippines has already raised its concern to China over its naming of the undersea features in Benham Rise and may officially notify the international hydrographic body that lists such records, spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said.
China proposed the names for the features in 2015 and 2017, he said.
Benham Rise lies on the other side of the Philippine archipelago from the South China Sea, where Manila, Beijing and four other governments have been locked in territorial disputes.
Critics have questioned why President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration allowed a group from China to undertake scientific research in the waters given Manila’s long-simmering territorial conflict with Beijing in the South China Sea.
China has defied and refuses to comply with an international arbitration ruling that invalidated its claim to virtually all of the South China Sea on historical grounds.
“We object and do not recognize the Chinese names given to some undersea features in the Philippine Rise,” Roque said in a statement, using the name given by the Duterte administration to Benham Rise.
Duterte ordered an end last week to all foreign scientific research missions in Benham Rise after officials said the Philippines’ undisputed sovereign rights in the potentially oil- and gas-endowed body of water off its northeastern coast came under question.
The president followed up with a warning that he will order the navy to fire if other countries extract resources from within his country’s exclusive economic zone, a 200-nautical mile stretch of sea where a coastal state has internationally recognized exclusive rights to exploit resources under a 1982 UN treaty.
Foreign ships can pass but cannot fish or extract oil and gas from the under the seabed.
There were no immediate comments from Chinese Embassy officials.
Chinese and Philippine officials met Tuesday in Manila and discussed proposed joint projects in the South China Sea. They said China and Southeast Asian nations would begin negotiations early next month on a “code of conduct” aimed at reducing the risks of armed confrontations in the contested territories.


Number of pedestrians injured in car crash outside UK Parliament

Updated 11 min 51 sec ago
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Number of pedestrians injured in car crash outside UK Parliament

  • Police did not say if they suspected terrorism, calling it only a ‘collision’
  • Armed police immediately surrounded the silver car after it crashed at 7.37am

LONDON: A “number of pedestrians” were injured when a car crashed into barriers outside Britain’s Houses of Parliament on Tuesday, with armed police swooping in to arrest the driver, Scotland Yard said.

“The male driver of the car was detained by officers at the scene,” the police statement said. “A number of pedestrians have been injured.”

None of the injuries are believed to be “life-threatening,” said police, who were yet to say if they suspected terrorism.

London Ambulance said they had treated two people at the scene for non-serious injuries and taken them to hospital.

Armed police immediately surrounded the silver car after it crashed at 7.37am (06:37 GMT), pointing guns at the driver as he was removed from the vehicle, according to footage posted on Twitter.

Later images showed police holding the man, dressed in jeans and a black puffer jacket, in handcuffs as roads and Underground stations around parliament were sealed off.

Witness Ewalina Ochab told the Press Association that the incident “looked intentional.”

“I was walking on the other side. I heard some noise and someone screamed,” she said.

“I turned around and I saw a silver car driving very fast close to the railings, maybe even on the pavement.

“I think it looked intentional — the car drove at speed and toward the barriers.”

Westminster was the scene of a terror attack last year, when Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British convert to Islam, drove a car at pedestrians on a bridge over the River Thames, before fatally stabbing a policeman on guard outside parliament.

The attack left five people dead and around 50 injured, and only ended when police shot Masood dead.

Britain endured a tumultuous period following the March 22 rampage, with four further terror attacks, including three in the capital at London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green tube station.