US warns travelers over security at Manila airport

The US warned its citizens that security at the Philippines' main airport does not meet international standards. (File/AFP)
Updated 27 December 2018
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US warns travelers over security at Manila airport

  • The US said Manila’s airport security was not “consistent” with International Civil Aviation Organization standards
  • The airport topped the list of worst airports on the travel website “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” from 2011-2013

MANILA: The United States has warned its citizens that security at the Philippines’s main airport does not meet international standards, urging travelers to exercise “increased caution.”
The US Department of Homeland Security issued a travel advisory on Wednesday saying security at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport was not “consistent” with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.
“Exercise increased caution when traveling to or from Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” the US embassy in Manila said on its website citing the advisory.
The advisory was based on an assessment by security experts from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the US homeland security department said without specifying the findings.
Once derided as the world’s worst airport due to leaking toilets and creaking facilities, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is the primary gateway to the Southeast Asian nation.
A statement on the US homeland security department website said that the agency had directed airlines issuing tickets for travel between the two nations to notify passengers of the assessment.
It added that TSA representatives have been working with the Philippine government “assist airport and transportation authorities in bringing (the Manila airport) up to international security standards.”
Manila International Airport general manager Ed Monreal said on Thursday the Philippines would adhere to international aviation security standards.
“All points raised by the transportation security administration TSA auditors have either been addressed or are in the process of being addressed,” Monreal told reporters, adding that Manila airport was “very, very safe.”
Monreal said TSA auditors were in the Philippines in September and had observed that the Manila airport had some gates with faulty locks while security checkpoints were inconsistent.
He added the Philippines had hired additional guards and would procure x-ray machines to comply with the TSA recommendations.
The Manila airport topped the list of worst airports on the travel website “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” from 2011-2013, causing the government to make major renovations.
The airport is notorious for flight delays and its security personnel had faced allegations of extorting money from passengers.
In 2013, a gunman opened fire outside the airport, killing four people including a town mayor. Lawmakers then criticized the lack of functioning CCTV cameras in the area.


France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

Updated 19 June 2019
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France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

  • Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion
  • Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers

PARIS: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial for influence peddling after the country's highest court rejected his final bid to have the case thrown out, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion in return for leaked information about a separate inquiry. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The case came about after investigators used phone-taps to examine allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy’s successful campaign for the presidency in 2007.
As they eavesdropped on his calls, the investigators began to suspect the former president had offered the judge promotion in return for information on another investigation involving allegations Sarkozy accepted illicit payments from L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for the same campaign.
Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers and went on a “fishing expedition” by tapping his conversations between September 2013 and March 2014, breaching lawyer-client privilege.
He was cleared over the Bettencourt allegations.
On Wednesday, his defence team said the use in this case of wiretapped remarks gleaned in relation to a different investigation contravened a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
"These legal issues are still relevant," Sarkozy lawyer Jacqueline Laffont said. "It will be for the court to decide whether a French court can override a decision of the European Court of Human Rights."
Wednesday's ruling that the trial proceed came from the 'Cour de Cassation', which decides whether an earlier decision by an appeals court conforms with French law.