A ranking Philippine army official under investigation for massive graft was placed in custody at military headquarters yesterday and will be made to face a congressional inquiry. \nMajor General Carlos Garcia was transferred from a private hospital where he has been undergoing treatment for hypertension to the military's Camp Aguinaldo in suburban Quezon city north of Manila, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Lucero said. \nA Philippine court has already ordered a freeze on about 40 bank accounts and other assets of Garcia and his family during the investigation, while the military said court martial proceedings would be initiated against the general. \nGarcia would be the highest ranking military official in recent history to be placed under investigation for graft. \nAccording to anti-money laundering authorities, Garcia and his family have amassed at least 185.339 million pesos (US$3.3 million) in cash and assets while his declared net worth in 2003 was only 2.76 million pesos (US$49,000. \nHis monthly salary as the military's finance officer was only just above US$600 dollars. \nHe failed to show up at a Congressional inquiry into alleged corruption in the armed forces after he was hospitalized due to hypertension. \nBut Lucero said he was moved to military barracks early yesterday upon the orders of armed forces chief General Narciso Abaya, who will also appear before the inquiry on Monday. \n"This only shows decisiveness on the part of the military to show the public we are not hiding him," Lucero said over local radio. "We are not protecting him and he has to answer all the allegations against him." \nPresident Gloria Arroyo last week also ordered court martial proceedings for Garcia, the highest ranking military official in recent history to be placed under investigation for graft. \nThe case has boosted public concerns about corruption within the military, just a year after Arroyo crushed a rebellion by 300 junior officers and enlisted men who accused their generals of enriching themselves. \nAnalysts have said that unless Arroyo weeds out corruption within the force, it could lead to more coup attempts by disgruntled soldiers. \nAccusations of massive graft also triggered uprisings that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and president Joseph Estrada in 2001. \nInformation about Garcia's alleged wrongdoings was intially provided by US authorities after one of the general's sons was held at the San Francisco airport in December 2003 for failing to declare US$100,000 that he was carrying.
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,