Friday, August 29, 2014

Social security coverage for night workers thru e-AlkanSSSya

Pinay's body found hanging in UAE apartment - report

A 24-year-old Filipina maid's body was found hanging from a ceiling fan of her apartment in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

Police are investigating the Filipina's death following the discovery at the flat at the Al Nekhailat area, UAE news site Khaleej Times reported.
The report quoted police as saying they got a call at 6 a.m. about the body (
Forensic experts collected evidence, including those from the Filipina's mobile phone, before transferring the body to the forensic laboratory.
Investigators are not discounting a possible "criminal act" behind the death, taking into custody some people who may shed light on the incident.   Joel Locsin/ELR, GMA News

US: Al-Nusra Front detained UN peacekeepers in Golan Heights

WASHINGTON - The United States on Thursday accused the Al-Qaeda-affiliate Al-Nusra Front of detaining 43 members of a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights, near Syria's border with Israel.
"The United States strongly condemns the detention of UN peacekeepers and ongoing violence targeting the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights by non-state armed groups, including UN Security Council-designated terrorist group Al-Nusra Front," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Washington demanded the "unconditional and immediate release" of the "blue helmets" after the armed groups forced the peacekeepers, from Fiji, to disarm and then took them hostage near Quneitra crossing.
Syrian rebels, including Al-Nusra Front fighters, stormed the crossing on Wednesday, sparking an exchange of gunfire with Israeli troops.

81 Filipino peacekeepers
Eighty-one Filipino peacekeepers refused the rebels' order to disarm, and they were locked in a standoff, UN and Filipino defense department officials said.
The UN Security Council also strongly condemned the abduction and called for the unconditional release of the Fijian peacekeepers.
A UN spokesman earlier said it was unclear which group had staged the attack.
UN officials noted that the peacekeepers monitoring the armistice line between Israel and Syria were detained twice last year and released safely.
Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the plateau has been tense, with a growing number of rockets and mortar rounds hitting the Israeli side, mostly stray, prompting occasional armed responses. — Agence France-Presse

Islamic State executes scores of Syrian troops in new atrocity

DAMASCUS - Islamic State jihadists boasted Thursday they had executed scores of Syrian troops after capturing a key air base, the latest in a string of abuses that have shocked the world.

News of the killings came as US President Barack Obama weighed air strikes on IS positions in Syria and edged closer to greenlighting a mission to aid Shiite Turkmen trapped in an Iraqi town besieged by the jihadists.
It also came as rival Islamist rebels led by Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front seized 43 UN peacekeepers on the Golan Heights, part of a mission that has monitored an armistice between Syrian and Israeli troops on the strategic plateau for decades.
IS posted grisly video footage on the Internet of scores of bodies heaped in the desert they boasted were those of Syrian soldiers they captured and executed following its seizure of Tabqa air base.
The jihadists have repeatedly posted gruesome videos, which have appalled international opinion but served as a propaganda tool to recruit volunteers.
Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that IS had executed at least 160 soldiers, among some 500 who had made a desperate bid to escape to government-held territory after their defeat last Sunday.
The footage posted by IS showed a close-up of some 20 bodies, but then panned out to show scores more.
Other shots showed men barefoot and dressed only in their underwear walking in line with their hands on their head in surrender, escorted by jihadist gunmen.
One held up the black flag of the jihadists. Others chanted: "Islamic State forever."
Tabqa was the last position in Raqa province to fall to the jihadists, who now control a vast swathe of northeastern Syria and Iraq.
A UN-mandated probe has charged that public executions, amputations, lashings and mock crucifixions have become a regular fixture in jihadist-controlled areas of Syria.
Obama was to meet with top national security aides at 2000 GMT to decide whether to expand US air strikes launched against IS in Iraq earlier this month to its strongholds in Syria.
The Syrian government launched air strikes of its own on Thursday, killing six IS leaders, the Observatory said, but Washington has so far baulked at cooperating with Damascus against the group.
UN peacekeepers held
Rival jihadists of Al-Nusra Front, backed by other rebels, detained 43 Fijian peacekeepers on the Golan on Thursday, a day after their capture of the sole crossing over the UN-patrolled armistice line to the Israeli-occupied sector of the plateau.
"Forty-three peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force were detained early this morning by an armed group in the vicinity of Quneitra," a UN statement said.
The 43 peacekeepers from Fiji were forced to surrender their weapons and taken hostage, but 81 Filipino blue helmets "held their ground" and refused to disarm, the Filipino defence department said.
It said the Filipino peacekeepers were being surrounded by the gunmen.
The UN Security Council condemned the action and demanded the "unconditional and immediate release" of the peacekeepers, a statement said.
Peacekeepers were detained twice last year and released safely.
But the Philippines has said it will repatriate its 331-strong contingent, for security reasons, mirroring previous moves by Australia, Croatia and Japan.
Washington has also been weighing both aid drops and air strikes in Iraq to help residents of a Shiite Turkmen town besieged by the jihadists since early June, US officials said on Wednesday.
Inhabitants of the Salaheddin province town of Amerli, north of Baghdad, face danger both because of their faith, which jihadists consider heresy, and their resistance against the militants,
"It could be a humanitarian operation. It could be a military operation. It could be both," said a US defence official on condition of anonymity.
Iraq is preparing its own effort, massing forces north and south of the town and carrying out air strikes against the jihadist militants besieging it.
There is "no possibility of evacuating them so far", Eliana Nabaa, spokeswoman for the UN mission in Iraq, said of Amerli residents.
UN Iraq envoy Nickolay Mladenov has called for an urgent effort to help Amerli, saying residents face a "possible massacre" if the town is overrun.  — Agence France-Presse

81 PHL troops trapped, 43 UN peacekeepers seized in Golan Heights

Philippine peacekeepers in the Golan Heights refused to lay down arms in the face of demands by Syrian militants and are in a standoff that the United Nations is trying to resolve, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said early Friday morning.

In a press statement, the AFP said Syrian anti-government armed elements occupied positions held by Fijian peacekeepers and demanded they surrender their firearms. The 43 Fijian peacekeepers have been taken hostage.

"The Philippine peacekeepers held their ground and demonstrated their resolve to defend their positions. They did not surrender their firearms as they may, in turn, be held hostage themselves," the AFP said.

"The Philippine government and the United Nations are in close coordination and are working together to ensure the safety and security of our troops," the military also said.

The Philippines, which has 331 troops serving in UNDOF, announced on Saturday that it will pull out of the peace force, citing security concerns.

Philippine defense officials said no fresh troops would be sent to serve in UNDOF once the current soldiers return from duty in October.

Six countries contribute troops to 1,200-strong UNDOF: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines.

Last year the Philippines also considered pulling its Golan peacekeepers out after 25 of them were kidnapped but later freed by Syrian rebels in two separate incidents. A Filipino soldier was also wounded by a wayward shell last year.

Quneitra plateau

Syrian rebels, including fighters from the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra front, stormed the crossing at Quneitra on Wednesday, sparking an exchange of gunfire with Israeli troops.

"Forty-three peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) were detained early this morning by an armed group in the vicinity of Quneitra," a UN statement said.

An additional 81 peacekeepers were "currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah," it added.

UN officials noted that the peacekeepers monitoring the armistice line between Israel and Syria were detained twice last year and released safely.

"The United Nations is making every effort to secure the release of the detained peacekeepers and to restore the full freedom of movement of the force throughout its area of operation," it added.

In June 2013, there was a similar takeover of the crossing by rebel forces, but the Syrian army managed to regain control.

On the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan, an AFP correspondent saw six white UN vehicles crossing the ceasefire line into Syrian territory through a gate in the fence some 25 kilometers south of the Quneitra crossing.

Quneitra is the only crossing between the Syrian and the Israeli-controlled side of the strategic plateau.

Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the plateau has been tense, with a growing number of rockets and mortar rounds hitting the Israeli side, mostly stray, prompting occasional armed responses.

During fighting on Wednesday, several mortars landed in or near UN positions, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Israel, which has yet to sign a peace deal with Syria, seized 1,200 square kilometers of the Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.  Jonathan de Santos with a report from Agence France-Presse, GMA News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Young Fil-Am’s 3-minute film makes it to HBO docu series

A young US-based Filipino filmmaker has earned a spot in the Top 200 of an HBO reality television series, with an "inspirational" short film currently making waves online.

Joshua Ortiz, who runs a small production outfit with his siblings, wrote and directed "Listen," a nearly three-minute film on the importance of perseverance and hard work despite talent and failure.

As of posting time, "Listen" has been viewed more than 37,600 times on YouTube.

The short film was the 25-year-old's entry to "Project Greenlight," a documentary series on HBO that will follow the winner of a digital film competition to the making of his prize — a feature film.

The show, with Hollywood actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as executive producers, "takes a revealing, uncensored look at the challenges facing a first-time director." It will follow the winner through the various stages of film production.

Bella Rose Maltzman, one of the actors in Ortiz's short film, broke Ortiz's inclusion in the Top 200 of the competition in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Manila time):

In an interview with Sun Star, Ortiz, who was born and raised in the US to Filipino parents, said he initially wrote the short film for him and his two siblings, Monica and Joel, who are also part of the cast as the golfer and the figure skater, respectively. — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/KBK, GMA News

House reso seeks single visa to ASEAN-member countries

A resolution has been filed at the House of Representatives seeking to establish a single-visa scheme that would allow Filipinos to enter any of the 10 ASEAN-member countries.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, co-author of House Resolution 1313, said their proposed scheme is similar to Europe's unified visa system allowing non-ASEAN nationals to enter the Asian countries using a single visa, saving them time and resources in securing travel documents for each country of destination.

Rodriguez said the creation of a single-visa system under HR 1313 would significantly boost the country's tourism industry.

"The Philippines, Indonesia and other neighboring countries will benefit from the single-visa scheme," Rodriguez said in a press statement Wednesday.

Aside from the Philippines and Indonesia, other ASEAN-member countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Rodriguez urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to engage the other ASEAN countries into discussion on how to make this a reality and how to ensure that despite having a single-visa scheme, the security of all countries are protected and their sovereignty respected.

Abante Mindanao party-list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez, co-author of the resolution, meanwhile, admitted that it might take a while before the single-visa scheme could be implemented because of many considerations.

"The establishment of a single-visa scheme may not occur in the next five years due to barriers of technology, political issues, concerns on sovereignty and security and the different visa system in other countries," he said.

He, however, said that the DFA should start studying the proposal and initiate discussions with the ASEAN-member countries.  Elizabeth Marcelo/KBK, GMA News


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