Papua New Guinea police, soldiers storm parliament over unpaid APEC bonuses

Security personnel wait to be paid their APEC bonuses just days after the international summit wrapped up on Tuesday, November 20. (AP)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Papua New Guinea police, soldiers storm parliament over unpaid APEC bonuses

  • The impoverished Pacific nation had rolled out the red carpet for visiting world leaders during the two-day APEC conference
  • ‘The scene outside parliament is very tense. There are dozens of police cars and army vehicles’

PORT MORESBY: Papua New Guinea police and soldiers stormed the country’s parliament Tuesday, assaulting staff, smashing windows and demanding unpaid APEC bonuses just days after the international summit wrapped up, police and witnesses said.
The impoverished Pacific nation had rolled out the red carpet for visiting world leaders during the two-day conference and bought 40 Maseratis to ferry the dignitaries around.
The officers headed to parliament in the capital Port Moresby to express their dissatisfaction following a meeting with the police commissioner and the police minister over the allowances, PNG MP Bryan Kramer said in a video posted on Facebook.
Kramer said “numerous staff of parliament were assaulted during this confrontation” before the group left the building and gathered outside demanding an answer from the government.
A Facebook video he posted of the scene showed smashed pot plants, photo frames knocked to the floor and broken glass and furniture.
PNG police spokesman Dominic Kakas confirmed the incident and said they were “dealing with it.” He did not yet know how many police and soldiers were involved.
A witness outside parliament said “hundreds of police and troops” had been standing on the building’s front steps complaining that they had not been paid the special APEC duty allowance of 350 kina ($104).
“The scene outside parliament is very tense. There are dozens of police cars and army vehicles,” the witness said, adding that a nearby hotel was in lockdown and the protesters were blocking traffic. The group later marched down the street toward a nearby stadium.
The chief executive of PNG’s APEC Secretariat Chris Hawkins said the payment would “normally take a week to process at the end of a major event.”
“The meeting ended two days ago and the security operation is now winding down,” he added in a statement to Australian national broadcaster ABC.
“The payment of individual allowances has already commenced and individual security force members should check with their banks as payments are made.”
Some locals in PNG, the poorest member of APEC, had expressed anger with the government’s lavish expense for the summit, which came at a time when the developing nation of eight million people is battling a polio outbreak and the resurgence of malaria, while struggling to pay its teachers.


Father of US-born woman who joined Daesh sues over citizenship

Updated 4 min 48 sec ago
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Father of US-born woman who joined Daesh sues over citizenship

  • Hoda Muthana says that she regrets joining the extremists and is willing to face prosecution in the United States
  • “This is a woman who inflicted enormous risk on American soldiers, on American citizens. She is a terrorist. She’s not coming back,” Pompeo said

WASHINGTON: The father of an Alabama woman who joined the Daesh group in Syria sued Thursday to bring her home after the Trump administration took the extraordinary step of declaring that she was not a US citizen.
Hoda Muthana, 24, says that she regrets joining the extremists and is willing to face prosecution in the United States over her incendiary propaganda on behalf of the ruthless but dwindling group.
A day after President Donald Trump declared on Twitter that he had issued orders to bar her, Muthana’s father filed an emergency lawsuit asking a federal court to affirm that his daughter is a US citizen and let her return along with her toddler son, whose father was a Tunisian militant killed in battle.
The brewing legal battle hinges on the murky timeline of bureaucratic paperwork in 1994 when Muthana was born and her father, Ahmed Ali Muthana, left a position at Yemen’s mission to the United Nations.
The US Constitution grants citizenship to everyone born in the country — with the exception of children of diplomats, as they are not under US jurisdiction.
“Upon her return to the United States, Mr. Muthana’s daughter is prepared and willing to surrender to any charges the United States Justice Department finds appropriate and necessary,” said the lawsuit filed with the US District Court in Washington.
“She simply requires the assistance of her government in facilitating that return for herself and her young son,” it said.

In the lawsuit, Ahmed Ali Ahmed said he was asked by Yemen to surrender his diplomatic identity card on June 2, 1994 as the Arab country descended into one of its civil wars. Hoda Muthana was born in New Jersey on October 28 of that year and the family later settled in Hoover, Alabama, a prosperous suburb of Birmingham.
The State Department initially questioned Hoda Muthana’s right to citizenship when her father sought a passport for her as a child because US records showed he had been a diplomat until February 1995, the lawsuit said.
But it said that the State Department accepted a letter from the US mission to the United Nations that affirmed that he had ended his position before his daughter’s birth and granted her a passport.
The lawsuit said that Hoda Muthana was also entitled to citizenship due to her mother as she became a US permanent resident, anticipating the loss of diplomatic status, in July 1994.
Ahmed Ali Muthana additionally asked for the right to send money to support his daughter and grandson, who are being held by US-allied Kurdish fighters at the forefront of fighting the Daesh militants.
She furtively went to Syria in 2014 when the Daesh group was carrying out a grisly campaign of beheadings and mass rape and turned to social media to praise the killings of Westerners.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was named in the lawsuit along with Trump, in a terse statement Wednesday said that Hoda Muthana was not a citizen.
Pompeo did not outline the legal rationale but in an interview Thursday, asked if the key issue was that her father had been a diplomat, Pompeo said, “That’s right.”
“She may have been born here. She is not a US citizen, nor is she entitled to US citizenship,” Pompeo told NBC television’s “Today” show.
In a separate interview with the Fox Business Network, Pompeo dismissed the “heart-strings” pitch in Muthana’s pleas to return home.
“This is a woman who inflicted enormous risk on American soldiers, on American citizens. She is a terrorist. She’s not coming back,” he said.
It is extremely difficult for the United States to strip a person of citizenship, a step taken by Britain in the case of homegrown militants.
Trump’s order on Muthana came even though he is pushing other Western countries to bring back hundreds of militants to prosecute at home as the United States prepares to withdraw troops from Syria.