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American woman charged with trafficking ‘baby in bag’ at Manila airport

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American woman charged with trafficking ‘baby in bag’ at Manila airport | The Thaiger

“The baby, who is now in the custody child welfare services, was born to a Filipino mother in the nation’s south and then flown to Manila.”

Philippine authorities have charged an American woman with trying to smuggle a six day old baby out of the country in a bag she wore around her waist as she tried to board a flight out of the country.

The woman, 42 year old Jennifer Talbot (previously reported as being 43), had no valid custody documents for the child but managed to make it through security and immigration before personnel at the departure gate confronted her at Manila’s international airport on Wednesday.

National Bureau of Investigation officials said she was “carrying an infant baby boy inside a sling bag” as she attempted to depart for a connecting flight on her journey back to the US.

Prosecutors charged Talbot with human trafficking, which if convicted, could send her to prison for decades, officials told reporters at a press conference as Talbot stood by in orange jail clothes. Investigators believe the baby, who is now in the custody child welfare services, was born to a Filipino mother in the nation’s south and then flown to Manila.

The exact circumstances of how Talbot came to have the baby are still under investigation, but authorities believe they have located the birth mother. Prosecutors have not filed any kidnapping charges.

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Philippines

Philippines calls for halt in aid talks with backers of UN probe into Duterte’s drug war

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Philippines calls for halt in aid talks with backers of UN probe into Duterte’s drug war | The Thaiger

“The 18 members that backed the resolution are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, and Uruguay.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has ordered the suspension of all loan and grant talks with foreign governments that backed a UN resolution to review human rights abuses during his signature anti-drug war.

The Iceland-sponsored UN Human Rights Council resolution passed by a minority vote in July, drew a sharp riposte from Duterte, who bristles at Western condemnation of his campaign which has killed thousands and drawn international condemnation but is widely supported by Filipinos.

Last month, Duterte’s chief aide issued a memorandum which he signed “by order of the president” to cut off all official development aid talks with the countries that voted for the resolution, according to the document.

The memorandum was issued to the heads of all government agencies by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on August 27 and was posted on the official website of the Bureau of Customs but was then taken down.

“All concerned officials are DIRECTED to suspend negotiations for and signing of all loan and grant agreements with the governments of the countries that co-sponsored and/or voted in favour of the aforesaid resolution.”

The directive said the August 27 memorandum was issued “in light of the administrations’ strong rejection of the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council”.

However, asked late Friday whether Duterte’s office had issued the document, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said it was “not true”, adding he had spoken to the president about it.

“The President has not issued any memorandum suspending loans and negotiations involving 18 countries that voted in favour of the Iceland resolution.”

The 18 members that backed the resolution are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, and Uruguay.

The amount of aid that would be held up by the order was not known.

Some signatories are members of the European Union, one of the Philippines’ largest sources of official development assistance. The EU ambassador to Manila declined to comment.

Australia is also a key source of security assistance.

Panelo had told reporters shortly after the July vote that Duterte was seriously considering breaking diplomatic ties with Iceland, which had introduced the resolution.

Duterte launched the anti-drug crackdown in 2016, and since then police say they have killed over 5,500 drug suspects. However, human rights groups say the true toll is four times that number.

The UN review comes in addition to a preliminary examination already launched by war crimes prosecutors from the International Criminal Court, which the Philippines left earlier this year.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Another 300 Chinese rounded up in Philippines fraud crackdown

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Another 300 Chinese rounded up in Philippines fraud crackdown | The Thaiger

PHOTO: rya.org

Aliens were reportedly rounded up in eight hotels and establishments where they were caught in the act of doing their illegal activities.”

Philippines immigration officials, backed by army troops, have arrested more than 300 Chinese over alleged cyber crimes, a week after a similar number were detained during a raid linked to investment fraud.

The Bureau of Immigration late Tuesday said 324 Chinese nationals were arrested in Puerto Princesa City on Palawan island during yesterday’s operation.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente says the detainees, most of whom appeared to be undocumented, will be deported.

Morente added that his bureau will continue to root out illegal aliens, especially those engaged in “unauthorised online gaming activities, cyber fraud and investment scams that prey on unsuspecting victims who are mostly abroad.”

Last Friday, Filipino authorities arrested 277 Chinese nationals in a raid on a gang wanted over a vast investment fraud that cost victims in China millions of dollars.

Agents swooped on an office building in the capital Manila to take four suspects into custody in connection with the 100 million yuan (US$14 million) scam, but said they stumbled on many more “conducting illegal online operations.”

Monday’s raids in Palawan stemmed from reports made by local officials about the presence of illegal Chinese workers in Puerto Princesa, the immigration bureau’s acting intelligence chief Fortunato Manahan said in the statement.

The Philippines has seen a spike in the arrival of Chinese tourists and workers since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in mid-2016 and immediately set about warming relations with Beijing.

The influx has had a mixed impact, and authorities suspect many of the arrivals are working illegally in the online gambling industry.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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15 killed after truck plummets into ravine in T’boli, Philippines

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15 killed after truck plummets into ravine in T’boli, Philippines | The Thaiger

“Based on eyewitness accounts, the truck lost its brakes.”

Fifteen people, including children, have been killed in the southern Philippines after their flatbed truck  plummeted into a ravine. The vehicle was carrying around 30 people home from a trip to the beach when the driver lost control near the town of T’boli in the latest deadly crash on the nation’s dangerous roads.

T’boli town police investigator George Tabayan says the dead included children aged between one to six years old, with at least 11 other people rushed to hospital due to their injuries.

“Based on eyewitness accounts, the truck lost its brakes. We will conduct further investigations on the actual cause.”

The group had come from a swimming party at a beach in neighbouring town and were on their way home when the accident occurred.  Poor roads are common in the Philippines, where inadequately maintained buses and poorly trained drivers form the backbone of land transport options.

In June, 13 people including a bride-to-be were killed when the truck they were riding on after attending a traditional pre-wedding ceremony rolled over on a mountain road.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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