Philippines’ Duterte curses New York Times over drug criticism

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (AP)
Updated 27 April 2017

Philippines’ Duterte curses New York Times over drug criticism

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday called the New York Times an “asshole” and rejected fresh criticism of his deadly drug war, on the eve of him hosting a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Duterte let loose with the crude insult two days after the major US newspaper wrote an editorial headlined: “Let the World Condemn Duterte,” and which slammed the killings of thousands of Filipino drug suspects.
“New York Times, asshole,” Duterte told reporters at Malacanang presidential palace minutes after receiving Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the first of nine Southeast Asian leaders to arrive for the two-day summit starting Friday.
Duterte, responding to a query about the editorial, also accused the newspaper of ignoring US military abuses around the world and said the paper should stop publishing.
The editorial came out after a Filipino lawyer this week formally asked the International Criminal Court to charge Duterte and 11 other Filipino officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the drug killings.
The New York Times called for the court to launch a preliminary investigation.
“(This) would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods,” it said.
Duterte, 72, easily won elections last year after vowing to kill tens of thousands of criminals and stop what he said was the Philippines’ descent into a narco-state.
The killings have been widely condemned in the West but many Filipinos back the drug war, believing it will help to solve crime and corruption.
Duterte, who denies the allegations of summary killings and insists police only kill in self defense, on Thursday dared the International Criminal Court to pursue the case.
“Go ahead with the trial and let us see,” he said, as he repeated his disdain for human rights.
“You know human rights (campaigners), I am not a worker for human rights,” said Duterte, who frequently uses foul language against his critics.
Duterte also renewed his verbal assault on two major Filipino media outlets that have been critical of his drug war.
He threatened to get Congress, which is dominated by his allies, to withhold a new franchise for ABS-CBN television network, which he accused of failing to air his paid advertisement during last year’s election campaign.
He also accused the owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer of corruption, alleging they had illegally acquired government property in Manila’s financial district too cheaply.

Karzai urges Ghani to drop truce as pre-condition for talks with Taliban

Updated 21 January 2020

Karzai urges Ghani to drop truce as pre-condition for talks with Taliban

  • Ex-president says Taliban offer to reduce violence a ‘major development’

KABUL: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged President Ashraf Ghani to drop the pre-condition of cease-fire to begin talks with the Taliban amid high hope that the US and Taliban delegates will sign a deal following more than a year of secret discussions.

Speaking in an interview with BBC local service, Karzai said the government “should not block intra-Afghan dialogue under the pretext of cease-fire.” He said the Taliban offer for reduction in violence as the group says is nearing to ink the deal with American diplomats in Qatar, was a “major development.”

He said Ghani needed to accept the Taliban offer.

Ghani says truce is a must ahead of starting any negotiations with the Taliban calling reduction in violence a general term and arguing that such a call by the Taliban political leaders in Qatar only goes to show that they have control over field commanders back in Afghanistan.

The Taliban say the group will announce truce when the intra-Afghan dialogue begins which will happen after Washington sets timetable for withdrawal of the troops.

Washington at least on one occasion called off the talks with the Taliban in Qatar due to Taliban attacks back in Afghanistan as discussions continued in Qatar despite none of the warring sides having committed to halt offensives during the talks.

Ghani’s government has been sidelined from all rounds of talks between the Taliban delegates and US diplomats led by Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar. There has also been rift between Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with the president in the National Unity Government, on the pre-condition of cease-fire.

Unlike Ghani, Abdullah is happy with reduction of violence. Talking in a meeting of council of ministers, Abdullah on Monday indirectly said Ghani had taken the peace process in his monopoly.

 “Peace is not one person’s monopoly, one person’s wish — but it is a collective desire, and the people of Afghanistan have the right to take a position regarding the peace process,” said Abdullah.