After ‘nap-gate’, Duterte skips APEC summit dinner

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte attends the retreat session of the APEC Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea November 18, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 November 2018
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After ‘nap-gate’, Duterte skips APEC summit dinner

  • In Port Moresby, Duterte met with Filipinos on Friday night where he sought to explain his absence from summit meetings

PORT MORESBY: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte passed on a gala dinner at a regional summit in Papua New Guinea, days after skipping key meetings in another gathering of world leaders for a “power nap.”
Duterte, who has a well-known disdain for stiff diplomatic gatherings, was a no-show Saturday night, sending his trade minister instead to pose with heads of state donning bright yellow and red Papua New Guinean shirts.
His office had initially announced that the mercurial leader was cutting short his trip to Port Moresby even before the main meetings began but on Sunday he did show up at the convention center.
“This after I loudly and naggingly insisted he stay just one day. ONE DAY, I stressed,” Philippine foreign minister Teodoro Locsin tweeted on Sunday.
The absence of the 73-year-old Duterte at diplomatic gatherings has sparked criticism and speculation of ill health, which his spokesman denied, saying the president merely lacked sleep.
Duterte has said previously that he suffers from daily migraines and ailments including Buerger’s disease, an illness that affects the veins and the arteries of the limbs, and is usually due to smoking.
On Wednesday, the Philippine leader missed four of the 11 meetings he was slated to attend and a gala dinner in Singapore, which hosted a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders.
Observers have compared him unfavorably with Malaysia’s 93-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has consistently attended summit meetings saying it was his “duty” to do so.
Commenting on his absence, Duterte said on Thursday: “What’s wrong with my nap?“
Asked about the Papua New Guinea dinner, a Philippine official told AFP Duterte “feels constrained by formalities and finds them unproductive and a slight waste of time.”
After hosting a regional meeting in the Philippines last year, an exhausted Duterte joked about canceling another Manila summit saying, “It’s true. It’s all the same. Nothing changes.”
In Port Moresby, Duterte met with Filipinos on Friday night where he sought to explain his absence from summit meetings.
He cited an invitation from Australia to have an “informal breakfast” in Singapore.
“I told my soldiers why would I attend when first of all, I do not eat breakfast. Second, it was informal,” Duterte said.
“What will they feed us there, kangaroo?“


Indian forces kills 5 insurgents, 12-year-old boy in Kashmir

Updated 31 min 46 sec ago
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Indian forces kills 5 insurgents, 12-year-old boy in Kashmir

  • The bodies were found after an exchange of gunfire that started in northern Bandipora district Thursda
  • Insurgents have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with neighboring Pakistan since 1989

SRINAGAR, India: Indian security forces say they have killed five militants and one civilian in gunbattles in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir.
Army spokesman Rajesh Kalia says security forces have found the bodies of two insurgents and a 12-year-old boy after an exchange of gunfire that started in northern Bandipora district Thursday.
Two insurgents were killed in western Baramulla district and another in southern Shopian area separately during cordon and search operations by security forces, Kalia and police said Friday.
A grenade attack by insurgents wounded three police officers in Sopore area Thursday, police said.
Insurgents have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with neighboring Pakistan since 1989. India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the region in its entirety.