95 China ships all over WPS—think tank

China has deployed a large fleet of ships near the Spratly Islands in response to the Philippines’ construction of a new beaching ramp on Pag-asa (Thitu) Island, an American think tank said Wednesday. The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the US Center for Strategic and International Studies said these included navy and coast guard ships and dozens of fishing vessels from 30 to 70 meters in length. Satellite images from mid-December 2018 and late January 2019 showed the number of ships rising to 95 on Dec. 5 before dropping to…

Howard Schultz has a big China problem

Paramilitary police officers stand guard near a Starbucks cafe in Beijing Railway Station in Beijing on Feb. 2. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images) Contributor, DemocracyPost, Global Opinions February 7 at 2:42 PM Possible presidential candidate Howard Schultz knows that Starbucks will succeed in China. The Chinese market for Starbucks “will be larger than the U.S. over time,” Schultz, then the company’s CEO, said in 2016. He then added, “There’s no doubt at some point China will exceed the U.S.” And so, as of 2017, Starbucks was opening a store in China roughly…

Human rights an issue in new US funding support to the Philippines

The Philippines will receive US funding assistance under the newly-signed Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) that aims to promote Washington’s security and other interests in the Indo-Pacific region, but no funds will be given in support of the government’s anti-narcotics campaign unless certain human rights standards are satisfied. The ARIA, signed by US President Donald Trump last Dec. 31, commits funds for the region amounting to $1.5 billion over the next five years. But it has one limitation specific to the Philippines, and this has to do with the Duterte…

South China Sea: Trump military adviser calls for firmer rules to stop near misses

One of the US’ most senior military figures and an adviser to President Donald Trump has called for firmer rules governing naval encounters in disputed waters such as the South China Sea, where near misses between warships continue to test territorial claims and rights to “free navigation”. “Let’s not be obstructing one another, driving our ships in front of one another, throwing obstacles in front of the ship,” Admiral John Richardson, chief of US Naval Operations, said at a meeting of the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington on Wednesday.…

Norwegian flight returns to Stockholm after bomb threat

A Norwegian Air Shuttle plane en route to the French city of Nice returned to Stockholm safely after receiving a bomb threat shortly after take-off on Thursday, the airline said. “Norwegian can confirm that a bomb threat was issued against flight DY4321 from Arlanda to Nice,” it said in a statement, providing no other details. Stockholm police spokeswoman Towe Hagg told AFP that local and border police as well as tactical units were “working actively at Arlanda to gather information, follow up and take necessary measures”. A traveller at Arlanda…

Trump’s speech lacks global vision

Instead the State of the Union catalogued Mr Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ agenda but shed little light on how he views many issues of direct interest to Australia. There was, of course, not one word on climate change, a crucial global issue where the US has abandoned the field. The rising influence of China is another issue high on Australia’s diplomatic agenda but Mr Trump almost ignored it except for a few sentences about the tariffs he has imposed on $250 billion of Chinese goods in protest at Chinese…

Marine returns Vietnam veteran’s washed up headstone to family

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – A Baton Rouge man was out fishing along the Mississippi River Saturday when he came across his biggest catch yet. While passing under the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, 26-year-old Deion Allen discovered a headstone. “It looked like a piece of rubble, but then I read it and saw it was something more,” said Allen. A friend fishing with Allen informed him that the headstone belonged to a Vietnam veteran. “It really meant something to me… I had to get it back to the rightful person,” Allen…

U.S Navy chief: West to pressure Moscow over Azov aggression

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The uniformed head of the American Navy, Admiral John M. Richardson, has said that the U.S., working with its allies, must keep up pressure to react to Russia’s actions against Ukrainian vessels in the Azov Sea and Moscow’s attempts to achieve dominance in the Black Sea area. Richardson, chief of U.S. naval Operations, was speaking on Feb. 6 at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security in Washington D.C. He described how the U.S. Navy was rethinking its role to adapt to rapidly-changing political conditions…

De Lima wants to mark July 12 as ‘West Philippine Sea Victory Day’

A lawmaker has filed a bill to declare July 12 as a special working holiday, seeking to mark the day an international tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in its arbitration case against China over the disputed West Philippine Sea.  In a statement, detained Sen. Leila de Lima said she filed Senate Bill No. 2201 in a bid to recognize July 12 of every year as a “West Philippine Sea (WPS) Victory Day.” On July 12, 2016, the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands…