Philippines cancels 'Black Nazarene' parade again on COVID-19 concerns
Philippines cancels 'Black Nazarene' parade again on COVID-19 concernsThe government's coronavirus task force cancelled the "Black Nazerene" procession, which is one of the country's largest religious festivals, before celebrations related to the Jan. 9 procession, were due to start on Friday because of rising COVID-19 infections.
MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines has finalised a deal to acquire a shore-based anti-ship missile system from India for nearly $375 million to beef up its navy, the Southeast Asian nation's defence minister said.
The Philippines is in the late stages of a five-year, 300 billion pesos ($5.85 billion) project to modernise its military's outdated hardware that includes warships from World War Two and helicopters used by the United States in the Vietnam War.
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Under the deal negotiated with the government of India, Brahmos Aerospace Private Ltd will deliver three batteries, train operators and maintainers, and provide logistics support, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a Facebook post late on Friday.
It was conceptualised in 2017, but faced delays in budget allocation and due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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The new anti-ship system aims to deter foreign vessels from encroaching on the country's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
In 2018, the Philippines bought Israeli-made Spike ER missiles, its first-ever https://www.reuters.com/article/philippines-defence-idINKBN1I3193 ship-borne missile systems for maritime deterrence.
Despite friendlier ties between China and the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, Beijing has remained adamant in claiming large portions of the South China Sea, a conduit for goods in excess of $3.4 trillion every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have lodged competing claims.
A 2016 international arbitration ruling, however, said the Chinese claims had no legal basis.
($1 = 51.31 Philippine pesos)
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
Where Ukraine's sunflowers once sprouted, fears now grow .
WASHINGTON (AP) — On a warm spring day in Ukraine 26 years ago, three men smiled for cameras as they planted symbolic sunflower seedlings in freshly tilled earth where Soviet nuclear missiles had once stood ready. That placid scene was, briefly, a launchpad for hope that the demise of the Soviet Union would bury the threat of great power war and mark the start of lasting peace in an undivided Europe. Today Ukraine is ground zero for worry that Russia will ignite a conflict that could engulf the region.On that early-June day in 1996, the American secretary of defense, William J.