Duterte challenges West to probe Philippines drugs war

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a gathering of businessmen in Manila, on Thursday. (Reuters)
Updated 14 October 2016

Duterte challenges West to probe Philippines drugs war

MANILA: Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte called US President Barack Obama, the European Union and United Nations “fools” on Thursday, and warned they would end up humiliated and outsmarted if they accepted an invitation to investigate his war on drugs.
Duterte said he was open to an outside probe by Obama, his Secretary of State John Kerry, the EU and the UN Commission on Human Rights into alleged extrajudicial killings, but on the condition that after he was questioned, he had the right to be heard.
“I’ll play with you. I’m very sure they cannot be brighter than me. I will ask five questions that will humiliate you,” Duterte said. “Watch out for that, it will be a spectacle.”
Duterte’s remarks came during a televised speech to hundreds of the country’s business elite, during which he said it was necessary to cleanse the streets of drug pushers and rescue the next generation of Filipinos from the scourge of narcotics.
Duterte, 71, won the hearts of millions of Filipinos with his outrageous, at times comical speeches and man-of-the-people style in the run-up to a May election. He won by a huge margin after campaigning almost entirely on promises to wipe out drugs and crime.
Nearly 2,300 people have died in the war on drugs since the campaign started on June 30, according to police, of which 1,566 were drug suspects killed in police operations.
Police had previously said there had been more then 3,600 deaths, but have since concluded that many of that number were homicides and murders unrelated to illegal narcotics.
Opinion polls for Duterte’s first 90 days in office suggest he remains popular, with a Pulse Asia survey on Wednesday showing he had the trust of 86 percent of 1,200 Filipinos surveyed.
Duterte said on Wednesday he had officially invited a United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions to investigate the drug killings.
Thursday speech was the latest among Duterte’s frequent and furious rebukes of international critics of his drugs war, after they expressed concern about the unusually high death toll and circumstances of the drugs killings.
“These fools think (they can do anything) because the Philippines is a small nation,” he said. “Maybe God gave you the money but we have the brains.”


US consular staff in Turkey quizzed over video that ‘mocked Islam’

Updated 40 min 44 sec ago

US consular staff in Turkey quizzed over video that ‘mocked Islam’

  • The video, which spread online, showed a women mocking “Zamzam” water
  • The prosecutor said those detained were two employees from the consulate aged 30 and 38

ISTANBUL: Turkish police questioned two local staffers from a US consulate in Turkey Wednesday over a Halloween party video accused of “denigrating religious values,” news agency DHA reported.
The pair, who work at the consulate in the southern city of Adana, were taken in for questioning and later released, the local prosecutor told DHA.
It followed a video, which spread online, showing a women mocking “Zamzam” water, which is considered holy because it is drawn from a well in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
A man, dressed as a pious Muslim, advises her to drink a cocktail.
The prosecutor said those detained were two employees from the consulate aged 30 and 38.
A number of issues have strained relations between Ankara and Washington, including Turkey’s offensive last month against Kurdish militants in Syria, who were a close ally of the US against the Daesh group.
There was also a row over the arrest of several Turks working for US diplomatic outposts following the attempted coup of 2016.
One employee, Metin Topuz from the Istanbul consulate, is still in jail pending his trial on espionage charges.
In January, a staffer at the Adana consulate, Hamza Ulucay, was freed after nearly two years in pre-trial detention over alleged links to the Gulenist movement that Turkey blames for the attempted coup.