Philippines bans waste imports from Canada

Canada says it is working with Manila to resolve the waste dispute. (AP)
Updated 08 May 2019
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Philippines bans waste imports from Canada

  • More than 100 shipping containers holding household trash and electronic waste wrongly declared as plastic for recycling were shipped and dumped in the Philippines in 2013 and 2014

MANILA: The Philippines will ban the shipment of garbage into the country following a bitter dispute between President Rodrigo Duterte and Canada over tons of waste sent to the island nation.
Duterte has given Canada until May 15 to take back 100 shipping containers of garbage that he says were illegally shipped and dumped in the country between 2013 and 2014.
Canada has said the shipment was a commercial transaction and was not backed by its government.
The Philippines government announced the ban on garbage shipments on Tuesday.
Earlier, Duterte’s spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, told a press briefing that if Canada was reluctant to take back the waste, “then we will be shipping it out and throwing it on the shores or beaches of Canada.”
However, he said that the North American country appeared willing to take back the trash and pay for the costs of shipping.
In a Philippines Cabinet meeting on Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Environment and Natural Resources “noted that the Canadian government is committed to shouldering all the expenses to ship out the waste containers,” an official said.
Duterte maintained his stance that the Philippines is not a dumping site and ordered the Bureau of Customs to refuse entry to garbage shipments.
“The president is firm that we are not garbage collectors. The Philippines will no longer accept waste from any country,” Panelo announced.
Duterte earlier berated Canada over the long-standing waste dispute. “I cannot understand why they are making us a dump site,” he said in a speech last month.
He then threatened to declare war on Canada because of the issue. But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana dismissed the threat as “just a figure of speech to dramatize his extreme displeasure.”


Sharer of New Zealand mosque shooting video gets 21 months

Philip Neville Arps, left, appears for sentencing in the Christchurch District Court, in Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (AP)
Updated 18 June 2019
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Sharer of New Zealand mosque shooting video gets 21 months

  • Under New Zealand laws aimed at preventing the distribution of objectionable material, Arps faced up to 14 years imprisonment on each count

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: A Christchurch businessman who shared a video of worshippers being slaughtered at a New Zealand mosque was sentenced on Tuesday to 21 months in prison.
Philip Arps had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing the video, which was livestreamed on Facebook by a gunman on March 15 as he began killing 51 people at two mosques.
Christchurch District Court Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said that when questioned about the video, Arps had described it as “awesome” and had shown no empathy toward the victims.
The judge said Arps had strong and unrepentant views about the Muslim community and had, in effect, committed a hate crime. The judge said Arps had compared himself to Rudolf Hess, a Nazi leader under Adolf Hitler.
“Your offending glorifies and encourages the mass murder carried out under the pretext of religious and racial hatred,” the judge said.
O’Driscoll said Arps had sent the video to 30 associates. The judge said Arps also asked somebody to insert crosshairs and include a kill count in order to create an Internet meme, although there was no evidence he’d shared the meme.
Under New Zealand laws aimed at preventing the distribution of objectionable material, Arps faced up to 14 years imprisonment on each count.
In other cases, at least five other people were also charged with illegally sharing the shooting video. An 18-year-old was jailed in March while the others weren’t kept in custody. The teen is accused of sharing the video and an image of the Al Noor mosque with the words “target acquired.” He is next due to appear in court on July 31.
The judge said Arps had argued he had a right to distribute the video under the banner of freedom to pursue his political beliefs.
Arps’ lawyer Anselm Williams told the judge that Arps should not be sent to prison.
“It’s my submission that this court needs to be very careful to sentence Mr. Arps based on what it is that he has actually done, and what he accepts he has done, not on the basis of the views that he holds,” Williams said.
After the hearing, Williams said Arps had filed an appeal against his sentence at the High Court, but declined to comment further.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, last week pleaded not guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism in the mosque shooting case. His trial has been scheduled for next May.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has helped lead a global pledge named the “Christchurch Call,” aimed at boosting efforts to keep Internet platforms from being used to spread hate, organize extremist groups and broadcast attacks. New Zealand has also tightened its gun laws and banned certain types of semi-automatic weapons since the attack.