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Duterte, Widodo mum on Veloso case, tackle migrant protection

Duterte, Widodo Mum On Veloso Case, Tackle Migrant Protection

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and President Duterte are all smiles during the welcome ceremonies in Malaca ang on Friday. President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo did not mention the case of convicted drug trafficker, Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipino who is on Indonesia s death row, in their statements following their meeting in Malaca ang on Friday. Veloso s case was not tackled during the expanded bilateral meeting between the two leaders and their officials, according to presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

But Abella could not say as yet if the matter was taken up in the private meeting of Mr. Duterte and Widodo.


It would be preemptive to say as well if it was discussed during their private meeting, Abella said. Mr. Duterte earlier said that the opportune time to bring up Veloso s case was during his restricted meeting with Widodo, which was held prior to their bilateral meeting in Malaca ang. But prior to Widodo s arrival at the palace, Mr. Duterte said he would honor Indonesia s laws.

We will not impose. We will not demand. Nothing, he told reporters.

Asked if he will seek the commutation of Veloso s sentence with Widodo, he said: Those are one of the things that are there. Maybe I ll As a Filipino, I have a stake there also. He said he also wanted to thank Indonesia for the reprieve for her. Veloso s execution had been deferred after the Philippines said her testimony was needed in the human trafficking case filed against her recruiters who convinced her to work abroad.

In Nueva Ecija, Veloso s father, Cesar Veloso, appealed to President Duterte to save his daughter, stressing that she was innocent and was only duped by her Filipino recruiters, who are also facing trial for estafa and human trafficking.


I now appeal to our President to discuss this matter with the president of Indonesia so my daughter can be set free, the elder Veloso said. Have pity on her. She did not commit any crime. She was a victim. Veloso was caught with a bag containing 2.6 kilograms of heroin at an Indonesian airport in 2010. She was sentenced to death in October 2010, but Widodo stayed her execution in 2015. In their joint statements, Mr. Duterte and Widodo affirmed their countries close ties and agreed to elevate cooperation on politics, security, economy, maritime issues and people-to-people contact.

Widodo said they agreed to strengthen cooperation on the protection of their citizens as well as of Asean migrant workers. He said they vowed to begin soon the trilateral maritime patrols in the waters between their countries, which have been beset with incidents of piracy. They would also work together on counterterrorism matters. On maritime limitations, the Indonesian president said he and Mr. Duterte agreed to conclude the exclusive economic zone ratification this year, and encourage the immediate conclusion of the continental shelf delineation.

Widodo also said he would continue to encourage Indonesian companies to participate in the retail sectors and infrastructure development in the Philippines. Mr. Duterte said he and Widodo were ready to cooperate against the trade of illicit drugs and other transnational crimes, as well as terrorism, violent extremism and piracy at sea. He also thanked Widodo for Indonesia s support for the peace process in Mindanao. Mr. Duterte and Widodo witnessed the signing of two agreements the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Agricultural Cooperation and the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of Sea Connectivity between Davao, General Santos and Bitung.

The sea connectivity declaration encourages the establishment of routes between the cities mentioned and the designation of ports for this purpose, as well as regular consultation and the implementation of measures to ensure that safety standards are met. The two leaders will launch the maiden voyage of the Ro-Ro (roll on, roll off) vessel using the route on Sunday. Mr. Duterte said this deserved full support because it would facilitate trade and movement of goods. The MOU on Agricultural Cooperation intends to strengthen the development of the Philippines and Indonesia s agricultural sectors through cooperation on agricultural research, mutual consultation and assistance. WITH A REPORT FROM ARMAND GALANG

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Facebook gearing up to fight political propaganda

Published: Thursday, June 30, 2016 @ 2:51 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 @ 5:18 PM
By: Omar L. Gallaga – American-Statesman Staff

Danny Pyka, an Austinite who worked for Mercedes-Benz for about 10 years, had been suffering from depression for so long and so severely that he was certain his suicidal thoughts would eventually lead to the end of his life.

“It was just miserable,” said Pyka, who found work as a handyman, but found it difficult to have a normal life or relationships with his wife and 18-year-old daughter not affected by his condition. “I was secluding myself… I’d close the house off and just sleep pretty much the whole day.”

Many attempts at medicating the problem over 10 to 15 years failed. He heard through a friend that studies were being done on a new technology, Deep TMS, or Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, from a New Jersey and Tel Aviv-based company called Brainsway[1]. Pyka was able to get the treatment in Austin and says he noticed an improvement after the first week of about nine weeks of treatments.

“The suicidal thoughts were ruminating thoughts that affected me throughout my daily life. After the first week and so on, they just dissipated. I’m very fortunate and very happy that it worked for me,” Pyka said.

Facebook Gearing Up To Fight Political Propaganda

This Deep TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) machine is being used to treat depression. Different versions of it are also currently being tested for other kinds of treatment.(Contributed by Brainsway Ltd.)

Contributed by Brainsway Ltd. Pyka had the treatment done at Senior Adults Speciality Healthcare[2] in Northwest Austin, which has been working with TMS technology for about two and a half years. TMS works through a mounted helmet that generates an electrical pulse, not unlike the technology in an MRI. Patients cycle through two-second pulses followed by 20 seconds of rest for each sequence, called a “Train,” and it’s repeated for about 20 minutes. Treatments are done daily for about six weeks, followed by a three week tapering off period. Different patients may require a different power intensity depending on each patient’s motor threshold, the number of sequences is the same for all patience. The pulses for this particular treatment (there are others being tested for other afflictions) target the primary motor cortex. The low-level electrical charge affects mood regulation, retraining the nervous system to work correctly.

Dr. Jaron Winston says that unlike electroconvulsive treatment, or shock treatment, which can have severe side effects, TMS has proven for many of his patients to be the a less invasive treatment for chronic depression that works more effectively than medication.

“About 60 percent of patients (within our clinic) go into total remission of their depression; 60 to 70 percent had significant reduction of depressive symptoms,” Winston said.

Clinical studies of the technology since its FDA approval for treating depression in 2008 have bolstered the view that it can be effective for some who have not gotten results from medication or for those who’ve relapsed into depression,.[3][4][5]

The National Institute of Mental Health has funded studies into the technology, which lists it on its website alongside electroconsulsive therapy[6]. The American Psychiatric Association includes TMS in its 2010 guidelines for treating major depressive disorders[7] and the organization says it will be updating those guidelines soon with more recent research. Winston said that patients can experience some minor pain from the pulse as nerves on the scalp are stimulated, but that it typically goes away, which Pyka said was his experience.

“It feels like somebody thumping on the right side of your head for the amount of seconds” the machine runs, Pyka said. But by the third or fourth treatment, he said, “it gets more simple to do. I ve honestly nodded off a couple of times in the chair. You get used to it.”

In the U.S., Deep TMS is only FDA-approved for use in treating depression, and Winston says that insurance typically won’t cover followup maintenance appointments or the treatment itself unless medications have used and failed to treat the depression.

Off-label treatments being tested using other versions of the technology could help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar depression and even smoking addiction by stimulating other parts of the brain. Winston said that many potential patients and even some doctors and psychiatrists are unaware that the technology exists and is available, particularly for people who aren’t responding to medication.

“It’s another treatment to help make (patients) functional again, to make them come out of their depression and withdrawal states,” Winston said. “As treatment goes by, they will say they’ve never felt this well, their thinking is clearer, their cognition is better, than can focus, their mood is better, sleep is better. But there’s still people who don’t know anything about it.”

Pyka, who has completed treatment with Deep TMS, says he’s been more productive and is now able to enjoy watching his daughter grow up without taking five or six medications a day (he only takes medication for sleep issues now).

The crying and worrying, he says, has subsided.

“It’s been a life-changing experience.”


  1. ^ Brainsway (
  2. ^ Senior Adults Speciality Healthcare (
  3. ^ Clinical studies (
  4. ^ have bolstered the view (
  5. ^ relapsed into depression,. (
  6. ^ which lists it on its website alongside electroconsulsive therapy (
  7. ^ includes TMS in its 2010 guidelines for treating major depressive disorders (

Russian land-air-sea exercises in Crimea highlight vulnerabilities in Ukraine’s navy, coastal defense

As the month of March came to a close, Russia conducted a series of unprecedented land, air and sea drills at the Opuk combat training area, located near the city of Theodosia, in annexed Crimea. These coordinated exercises, involving thousands of troops, notably marked the first time that the Russian military simultaneously alerted its three large airborne units the 7th Mountain Airborne-Assault Division (Novorossiysk), the 11th Airborne-Assault Brigade (Ulan-Ude) and the 56th Airborne-Assault Brigade (Kamyishin). During the exercises, these airborne units worked out joint actions in close interaction with the 801st Marine Infantry Brigade, the 126th Coastal Defense Brigade, aviation, ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet (RBSF), as well as units of the Russian Aerospace Forces (RASF). In total, more than 2,500 troops and up to 600 combat and auxiliary vehicles, artillery, combat ships (including large landing vessels), and more than 45 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters took part in these land-air-sea exercises (, March 24). The commander in charge of the Russian exercises, Col. Gen. Andrei Serdyukov, said the drills were prompted by an increased terrorist threat in the region. He declared that the aim of the exercises was to practice anti-amphibious defense in conjunction with units from the RBSF and RASF (RIA Novosti, March 20).

This explanation was later contradicted by the deputy commander of the Russian airborne forces, Lt. Gen. Alexander Vyiaznikov, who characterized the paratroopers actions as counterstrikes against the enemy from the sea and the depth of the peninsula, with support from aviation (Interfax, March 22). The commander of the 7th Mountain Airborne-Assault Division, Maj. Gen. Roman Breus, similarly described the exercise as involving an amphibious operation to seize and retain coastal areas (Interfax, March 21). As a continuation of Russia s late-March military drills in Crimea, RBSF units practiced combat-related tasks at sea, in the air and on land, including firing missiles and artillery. During fire training, the participating units used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide target acquisition (RIA Novosti, April 2). Assault drills to seize coastal areas, simultaneous amphibious landings and airdrops, firing drills, the massive involvement of airborne units traditionally trained to carry out offensive airborne missions, naval and air forces training to gain sea and air superiority all these factors characterized a high-readiness, joint-forces preparation for offensive amphibious operations (, March 24).

Such land-air-sea exercises in Crimea should be taken seriously, particularly considering that the Kremlin s so-called Novorossiya project originally envisioned occupying the southeastern littoral Ukrainian territories to create a land bridge between the Crimean peninsula and mainland Russia (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, May 27, 2014). In 2014, Ukraine lost 70 percent of its naval assets in Crimea after its annexation by Russia (UNIAN, July 3, 2016). The Ukrainian navy currently has only three combat ships, several artillery gunboats and one minesweeper to protect the country s 1,350 kilometers of coastline, 30,000 square kilometers of territorial waters and 70,000-square-kilometer exclusive maritime economic zone (UNIAN, July 25, 2015). Most of these naval platforms were designed and built in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are outdated and cannot adequately face the challenges of modern naval warfare (see EDM, March 9, 2017). Only one ship (the Krivak III class frigate, commissioned in 1993) has anti-submarine and missile- and air-defense capabilities. Ukraine s outdated maritime aviation also has limited competences.

As a result, in naval terms, Ukraine can neither protect its offshore oil and natural gas rigs located in the country s exclusive maritime economic zone captured by Russia in 2014 (, July 26, 2016), nor can it provide effective defense against a possible invasion from the sea. Numerous historical examples such as Nazi Germany s Atlantic Wall during World War II indicate that a costal defense strategy based solely on land capabilities without an established superiority at sea is not sufficiently effective to repel an amphibious attack. And yet, during 2014-2016, the Ukrainian Naval Forces worked mainly on developing their land component. During this time, the Ukrainian marines formed new infantry and artillery units, and equipped them with tanks, armored vehicles as well as various artillery systems, including multiple rocket-launched systems (MRLS). Meanwhile, the navy s sea component was only expanded with the commissioning of two Giurza-class small gunboats, which are limited to operating only in territorial waters and rivers. Moreover, this imbalanced, land-centric approach resulted in a reduction of sailors as a proportion of the navy s overall personnel to just 6 percent (, March 31). Moreover, the Ukrainian navy s development was further complicated by ongoing confusion over the country s optimal naval concept (see EDM, March 9), as well as a lack of balance in the triangle of tasks, capabilities needed and available resources.

Thus, the current state of the Ukrainian naval forces seriously hampers their ability to deter and defend against the types of sea threats that the Russian military is apparently currently practicing. The years of pause in Ukrainian naval shipbuilding has left a large capability gap. Moreover, a lack of modern equipment precludes Ukraine from conducting effective anti-surface, anti-submarine and air-defense warfare; mine-countermeasure missions; or Ukrainian harbor protection operations. The Russian military build-up in the Black Sea and Azov Sea (Obozrevatel, April 4), its ambitions to permanently secure regional maritime supremacy, as well as Moscow s willingness to deploy forces to settle international disputes further highlight Ukraine s vulnerabilities. In this situation, Kyiv urgently needs a clear conceptual vision for its naval capabilities. In particular, it will need to quickly build up the capacity to defend its littoral waters. A potentially promising naval concept currently being proposed is the creation of a so-called Mosquito Fleet, which would allow Ukraine to promptly acquire a large number of small naval assets that could provide adequate and affordable maritime deterrence, littoral waters protection and effective costal defense (, March 31).

A successful naval concept would also stress developing the Ukrainian Naval Forces interoperability with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), boosting the navy s influence within the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as increasing transparency measures in the defense acquisition process especially for buying ships and naval equipment/weapons. All of these measures will require the Ukrainian political-military authorities to adequately support the state s industrial capacities; it will also depend on assistance from Ukraine s foreign partners, first of all the United States (see EDM, March 9).

The growing threat of Russian capabilities in the Black Sea affect not only Ukraine, but all littoral countries in the region. From this perspective, the U.S. and other NATO members naval efforts could play an important role in providing adequate deterrence in the Black Sea.

The article above is reprinted from Eurasia Daily Monitor with permission from its publisher, the Jamestown Foundation,