Philippine politician killed as election season starts

Updated 23 January 2013
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Philippine politician killed as election season starts

MANILA: A mayor of a remote Philippine town was shot dead in a Manila hotel car park, authorities said yesterday.
Political rivalry is strongly suspected as the motive of the attack on Tuesday night that killed Erlinda Domingo and wounded her bodyguard, Commission on Election spokesman James Jimenez told AFP.
“Police are looking at it as election-related. Remember we are already in the campaign period. At the turn of the year everyone was already on edge,” Jimenez said.
Tuesday’s attack came amid mounting calls to impose stricter gun control laws in a high-crime country where politicians employ private armies and hundreds of thousands of unlicensed firearms are on the streets. Violence often erupts ahead of elections, when politicians seek to eliminate or intimidate their opponents. The most infamous case occurred in 2009, when 58 people in the southern Philippines were massacred as a powerful political clan allegedly sought to stamp out a rival’s challenge for a provincial governor’s post. With politicians gearing up to contest thousands of local and national positions during mid-term elections in May, authorities imposed a nationwide gun ban on Jan. 13, meant to stop firearms from being carried in public.
Domingo, the slain mayor, was standing to retain her post as mayor of Maconacon, a northern town about 340 kilometers (210 miles) from the nation’s capital, according to election commission spokesman Jimenez. The town has a history of political violence.
Domingo, a member of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, had been elected vice mayor in 2007 but she assumed the mayoral post in 2009 after the incumbent was killed in another ambush in 2009.
Spokesmen for the opposition party could not be reached for comment by Domingo was a 52-year-old mother of two children.
Senior Superintendent Richard Albano, police chief of the Manila district where the shooting occurred, said a suspect was arrested shortly after the attack on the mayor, who had just checked into the hotel.
Police investigators detained two other people overnight, according to local media.


More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

Updated 35 min 3 sec ago
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More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

  • Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing
  • The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron

PARIS: More than 70 countries committed Thursday to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions “even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.”
The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long-term.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani were all present.
Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the United States, is expected to close the conference later with a call for the necessity for multilateral action.
Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words will be put into action.
“When we have information — for example the UN list of individuals and entities financing terrorism — we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly,” Lewis told The Associated Press.
Participants called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations.
Participants included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Arabian Gulf.
France has pushed for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it has recognized how sensitive the issue is, and saw the conference as a first step for coordinated action.
The French organizers noted that Daesh military defeats on the ground have not prevented the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with Al-Qaeda — especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.
Terror groups don’t only rely on the cash economy — they’re using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations.
Daesh has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. Daesh revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president’s office.
Though most of the attacks in Western countries do not cost a lot of money, a French official said terror groups “behave like big organizations” in that it “costs a lot to recruit, train, equip people and spread propaganda.” The official was speaking anonymously under the presidency’s customary practice.
The French counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins told FranceInfo radio that Daesh uses micro-financing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money.
Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to Daesh over the last two years, he said.
Money, he said, went to “320 collectors mostly based in Turkey and Lebanon from whom jihadis in Iraq and Syria could receive funds.”
In recent years, the US and other Western nations have encouraged Middle Eastern nations to close off such sources.
However, allegations over extremist funding in part sparked a near-yearlong boycott of Qatar by four Arab states.
Qatar denies funding extremists, though it has faced Western criticism about being lax in enforcing rules.
Participants agreed to hold a similar conference next year in Australia.