Afghans security personnel investigate at the site of a bomb explosion in front of Kanul University.

KABUL - A powerful bomb blast outside the gates of Kabul University in the Afghan capital on Friday (July 19) killed at least eight people and wounded 33, as students and lawyers waited to take an examination, officials said.

Taleban militants are carrying out almost daily attacks, despite reported progress in efforts by the United States to broker an end to Afghanistan's nearly 18-year war.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday's blast.

On Thursday, Taleban insurgents set off two car bombs outside police headquarters in the southern city of Kandahar, killing at least 12 and wounding more than 80.

Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he was not aware of any Taleban involvement in Friday's attack.

Health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said there were students among the 33 injured taken to hospital after the blast, which a student at the university campus said occurred while some were waiting to take a law exam.

An eyewitness and an interior ministry official said a vehicle caught fire after a bomb stuck to its underside exploded.

"The blast happened when hundreds of students were entering the campus. We were scheduled to appear for the law exam but the blast shook all of us," said Karima Wardak, a student at the Kabul University.

A police team defused a second bomb placed near the explosion site, Kabul police spokesman Faramarz Firdaws said.

Also on Friday, a roadside mine killed five people who were riding in a car in central Ghazni province.

Purchase this article for republication.
The German tourists were slapped with a 950 euro (S$1,450) fine under a new rules brought in by the centre-right council as part of a public order crackdown in the streets and canals of Venice.

ROME - A couple of German tourists were ordered to leave Venice on Friday (July 19) for brewing coffee at the foot of the famous Rialto bridge.

The Berliners, 32 and 35, had stopped for a rest, downing their backpacks to prepare a cup of coffee using a little gas stove.

They were slapped with a 950 euro (S$1,450) fine under a new rules brought in by the centre-right council as part of a public order crackdown in the streets and canals of the tourist-packed lagoon city.

The pair were marched to a police station after a local resident reported them to the authorities, the city council said.

It is the 40th time the rules have resulted in tourists being ordered to leave town since they were brought in in May, it said.

"Venice must be respected, and bad-mannered people who think they can come here and do what they want must understand that, thanks to local police, they will be caught, punished and expelled," Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said.

"From now on, we will also communicate the identities of those subject to a removal order to their embassies and consulates," he added in a statement.

The rules - including a ban on diving into canals, washing in fountains or going around bare-chested or in bikinis - were brought in after residents complained bad behaviour by tourists was degrading the UNESCO World Heritage site.

The so-called "Serenissima", which today has just 55,000 inhabitants, hosts some 30 million visitors each year.

More about

Tourist attractions
Purchase this article for republication.

TAIWAN -  Media OutReach  - 19 July 2019 -  Th e East Rift Valley National Scenic Area Administration (ERV Administration for short) will lead operators to attend the 2019 International Tourism Fair (MITM Travel Fair 2019) in Johor, Malaysia, from July 19 to 21 to promote Huatung tourism.

Johor Bahru Sutera Mall MITM Travel Fair 2019


K uo Ch enling, director of ERV Administration, said that according to the Tourism Bureau, the number of New South's inbound visitors in 2018 reached 2.28 million, accounting for about 23% of the overall market. In terms of consumption, New South's total consumption in the first nine months of last year reached US$ 2.78 billion (equivalent to NT$ 85.8 billion).

In line with the government's New South policy, it has once again led the industry including the Accociation of Tour Guide and Tour Manager,Hualien, Flowersay Homestay, Lishiuan international Hotel, Chushulan workshop and East Rift Valley creative travel team to participate in the "Small Town Roams in Taiwan" theme, marketing Huatung Sightseeing trips. Meanwhile, in order to increase interaction with local people, Huatung is a gathering place to attract audiences, including Cultural youth style totem paper rolls, Huatung impression canvas tote bags.

Moreover, Huliien's famous, Indigenous village dance troupe, was specially invited to perform in the local area. The head of the group, Lin C hunlan , personally sang and led the team's tribute dance in the indigenous village as the opening dance of the conference, hoping to make the passion of Huatung Indigenous Village. Impressed the local people, not only that, but also invited Taiwan's light world gold medal - Sugar Plastic Goddess teacher Pei Chih wei, on-site will Huatung famous products - hibiscus, peanuts, peeled peppers, turned into a gourmet afternoon tea to attract local people to East A booth tour of the Rift Valley.

To advertise this exhibition in Malaysia, ERV Administration specially invited Malaysian artist Li m Pe y y en g to go to Huatung's leasure travel and Heng Lipin of photography magazine "Photographer Magazine" in Southeast Asia to the East Rift Valley.  

Taiwan Tourism Bureau KL Office Director, Mr Chou Shih Pi, said that Huatung's beauty and special tourism is recommendable. It is expected to attract more new visitors and return tourists to experience and roam Huatung.

After the exhibition in Malaysia, ERV Administration will depart for Singapore on 7/31-8/6 to participate in the "2019 Singapore Autumn Travel Exhibition Marketing Promotion"

Purchase this article for republication.

Speakers discussed the latest challenges and opportunities for the publishing industry in the Internet era at the International Publishing Forum themed "Growth and Innovation in the Publishing Industry", held on 18 July at the HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair 2019.
Innovation and technology to drive sustainable reading and learning

HONG KONG, Jul 19, 2019 - (ACN Newswire) - The Internet era of new reading habits and norms is dramatically reducing printed paper readership and presenting unprecedented challenges to the publishing industry. Meanwhile, these developments are also bringing new opportunities, which were explored at the first International Publishing Forum at the HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair 2019. The forum was co-organised by the Hong Kong Development Council (HKTDC) and Hong Kong Publishing Federation.

Introducing the forum, themed "Growth and Innovation in the Publishing Industry", Elvin Lee, Chairman of the Hong Kong Publishing Federation, said: "Publishing has to change its mode of business and it's an unprecedented challenge.

"This issue has to be faced not only by Hong Kong but all of our counterparts worldwide. Carrying on publishing requires new momentum and innovation to drive our industry to meet these new challenges for sustainable reading habits of tomorrow."

Reach for the sky

As book sales decline in Taiwan, as elsewhere, Taiwan industry leader Lin Tien-Lai, Chief Operating Officer of the Global Views-Commonwealth Publishing Group and President of the Commonwealth Publishing Company, said that despite challenges facing traditional printing, publishers can "reach for the sky" to stay ahead.

Reflecting his own life story, changing almost accidentally from school janitor to librarian, teacher and ultimately general manager of a leading publishing house, he said: "We don't just publish and sell paper any more. We are a learning and knowledge platform, not just a printing house."

The ethos is flexibility and adapting to modern times, what he termed 'blue ocean' strategy - meaning limitless depths of avenues to reach readers.

"Our focus is what print and publishers don't do," he said. Beyond books and magazines, his company's strategy extends from book stores to subscriptions, e-publishing and online learning courses - backed up by social media, digital marketing and all the tools reaching young readers who are predominantly on their phones.

In uncharted, constantly-changing territory, a key approach intensive marketing strategies that harness the large followings of 'key opinion leaders', or KOLs, to promote book reading. Exceptionally noteworthy is that the chief editor of the company's website, with millions of online followers, is in effect one of the most influential executives in Taiwan publishing.

"We re-invent ourselves every year," he said. "If you don't re-invent yourself, someone else will re-invent you."

A new era of podcasting

Venturing into a "brave new world" of publishing, Zhong Wenming, President of Dragonfly, FM, told how the leading Mainland China Internet publishing house he helms has bypassed traditional publishing altogether - directly targeting the Internet-connected, mobile phone era through podcasts.

Podcasts offer a new avenue of communication, he said - except it is listeners not readers.

"People used to write on stone and many primitive materials but now there is podcasting," he said. "In the end it's all the same - about getting a message of content across to readers. Now that everyone has a mobile phone, podcasts can engage audiences while they are walking, or driving, or doing housework. The market is limitless."

As an example, he said some popular podcasts' 'listening' averaged 130 minutes daily - an appealing statistic of engagement to advertisers - and the fledgling market is increasingly popularised by the familiar voices of well-known actors, TV anchors and authors. "With educational material in particular, narration and storytelling has proved to be a great success," he said.

The ultimate aim is the same, whether listening or reading, he added. "It's about reaching young people and cultivating a culture of understanding and harmony. It may be untraditional, but we want to make audiences laugh, smile and enlightened."

Schoolbook revolution

Not surprisingly, given that the young generation has been brought up reading text on their mobile phones, educational publishing faces huge challenges, said Joseph Chong, Managing Director of McGraw Hill Education Asia.

"It's not only a big challenge in Asia, but worldwide," he said. "Revenues are slowing, operational costs are rising and libraries are undergoing budget cuts."

One leading educational publisher, Pearson, has gone so far as to announce it is phasing-out printed textbooks altogether, aligning with the 'Netflix and Spotify generation' that prefers to 'rent not buy'. Some kindergartens are even pioneering artificial intelligence (AI) teaching without human teachers.

For publishers, however, there is a conundrum: defend existing business models, and if necessary scale-down to manageable levels; reform through adopting emerging models, namely digital e-learning, which by definition requires an entrepreneurial spirit to "try new things and go for it"; or transform completely, gravitating online to a new era where "content" is no longer the most important but "channels are king".

In the background, there also exists a vast market in education compromised by soaring college fees and unmanageable student debt. The desire to learn doubtless remains undiminished, but the question is how to make it affordable, remarked Mr Chong.

"It's an interesting horizon," he said, reminding the seminar audience of a popularised bottom-line mantra resounding around the industry today: "Publishing is no longer a battleground between print and digital. It's an ecosystem embracing all formats - increasingly influenced by consumers."

Photo download:


The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong's trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly SMEs, in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn.

Clayton Lauw, Tel: +852 2584 4287, Email: Sunny Ng, Tel: +852 2584 4357, Email:

Copyright 2019 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved.
Purchase this article for republication.
  • Agreement to jointly develop battery electric vehicles (BEVs); discussions include:
    - Joint development of sedans and low-floor SUV BEVs
    - Aim to launch the BEVs in China in the first half of the 2020s
  • BYD and Toyota will also develop onboard batteries for the jointly developed BEVs and other vehicles

Toyota City, Japan, July 19, 2019 - (JCN Newswire) - BYD Company Ltd. (BYD) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced today that they have signed an agreement for the joint development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The two parties will jointly develop sedans and low-floor SUVs as well as the onboard batteries for these vehicles and others with the aim to launch them in the Chinese market under the Toyota brand in the first half of the 2020s.

BYD was founded in 1995 as a battery business and has grown into a total energy solution company, manufacturing not only electrified vehicles but other products such as large-size energy storage cells. The company name BYD stands for "Build Your Dreams" and core parts for electrified vehicles such as batteries, motors and power electronics are among the products that BYD develops in-house. In 2008, BYD became the first company in the world to sell mass production of plug-in hybrid electrified vehicles (PHEVs). Since 2015 onwards, BYD's sales of BEVs and PHEVs have been ranked first in the world for four consecutive years.

In 1997, Toyota became the first company in the world to launch mass production hybrid electrified vehicles (HEVs). Since then, it has become a pioneer of electrified vehicle development, and accumulated a rich array of technologies and experience in the development, production, and sales of electrified vehicles.

To curb global warming, both BYD and Toyota seek to reduce CO2 emissions by promoting the widespread use of BEVs. To accomplish these goals, both companies believe there is a need to put aside their rivalry and collaborate; therefore, the two companies have agreed to jointly develop BEVs.

Going forward, BYD and Toyota will make use of the electrified vehicles, and battery development technologies they have acquired through their market introductions and will work together to further develop BEVs that are attractive to customers and in further promoting their widespread adoption.

Copyright 2019 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved.
Purchase this article for republication.
PHOTO: The Japan News/Asia News Network

TOKYO - The fire that tore through a building in Japan killing 33 people may have spread so fast not only because it was fuelled by petrol but because it was funnelled up a spiral staircase and there were no sprinklers to douse it, experts said on Friday (July 19).

A man - identified as Shinji Aoba by public broadcaster NHK - shouting "die" and screaming accusations of plagiarism sloshed what appeared to be petrol in the three-storey Kyoto Animation building on Thursday (July 18) before setting it ablaze.

That alone could have been enough to make it impossible for victims to escape, architects said.

But an open, three-storey spiral staircase inside the building created an especially deadly environment for fire.

"The structure of the building was that it had one spiral staircase penetrating through three floors acting as a chimney, the most effective way of starting a fire," said Ms Momoko Higuchi, a Tokyo-based architect.

"Because the fire was with petrol, the effect was like a bomb. Most died of smoke."

The building did not have sprinklers, nor indoor fire hydrants, but it did not have to have them under Japan's fire code, a Kyoto Fire Department official said.

An inspection of the building in October had found no fire safety problems, he said.

Buildings usually fall into different categories depending on size, said Prof Shinichi Sugawara, a professor emeritus at Tokyo University of Science.

While fire shutters are often required around structures like spiral staircases, to enclose then to prevent the spread of fire, Prof Sugawara said he had heard that they were not needed in this case.

Some Japanese media has said that was because of the building's relatively small floor space.

"I personally think that all places like that should have shutters, and all buildings should have sprinklers, regardless of size," he said.

But the most lethal factor may simply have been the petrol.

"Petrol vaporises quickly and really burns fast, and given the kind of business it was, there may have been a lot of papers and things lying around," Prof Sugawara added.

"Then the smoke would rise up the stairs."

Purchase this article for republication.
PHOTO: Instagram/vincentwqh

Vincent Ng indulges in prata, chips and ice cream and he actually loves them a little too much.

But could you tell?

Honestly, we were shocked because judging from his ripped physique at 43, one might think that he doesn't even have a cheat day.

In a phone interview with AsiaOne on Tuesday (July 16), he said: "I need motivation (to diet) because I eat a lot of junk food. My control has been much better compared to when I was younger.

"In my 20s, I didn't care about my diet and I ate everything."

The wushu champion and former competitive athlete also revealed his soft spot for durians. 

He confessed: "I'm a lover of durians.

"Recently, I ate a bit of durians but that means that I just work harder the next day (to burn the calories)."

While he has been synonymous with having washboard abs that would put most people in their 40s to shame, Vincent doesn't think of himself as perfect and confessed to losing his tight bod when life took over last year after he had a baby with his wife, Mei Ling.

"(I accumulated fats) when I didn't work out and kept eating. I had a lot of commitments and I had a one-month old baby. I started focusing more on my family.

PHOTO: Instagram/vincentwqh

"I didn't have proper sleep for that first few months too. I still had abs but it wasn't sculpted.

"Over time, I lost muscle mass so people said I lost weight," he recounted.

He may not be perfect, but we're willing to bet a pretty penny that Vincent's body on a bad day is better than most of ours on our best days.


The former actor also revealed that he will be starring in a production soon. Yes, we will see his return to acting and it's something that fans have asked him about before.

He declined to provide more details about the project, except that it's an action piece and he will start filming soon for one month.

To prepare for the role, Vincent is going back to basics and focusing more on wushu practice to increase his stamina and flexibility.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, he can also be found doing weights training in the gym that he opened with ex-national athlete and singer, 37-year-old Alfred Sim.


Called MAST (Martial Arts Strength Training) Fitness, the 6,000 sq ft fitness compound at Joo Chiat was set up around three months ago and houses Wufang Singapore - Vincent's wushu school - as well.

Vincent Ng and Alfred Sim. PHOTO: Instagram/vincentwqh

He told AsiaOne: "People keep asking me about fitness training and how I keep my body fit. I thought it was time to start the gym to share my healthy lifestyle with others."

Alfred, an athletics coach, added: "Both Vincent and I have similar backgrounds as ex-national athletes. It (MAST Gym) started with a casual conversation that speed and strength training is essential for most sports in Singapore.

"And we saw this opportunity to work together for his wushu athletes.

"We both see the need for speed, strength and conditioning especially in the elite competitive level. This is a passion that both of us have, to help local athletes to achieve higher sporting abilities."

Aside from athletes, Vincent also mentioned that the gym will appeal to students who are interested in combative sports and working adults who are interested in getting physical.

PHOTO: Instagram/vincentwqh

What about beginners then?

They've got it covered because Vincent hopes to build a community with MAST Gym that will be "supporting and encouraging" to those who are pursuing their fitness goals.

When asked if he had any tips or advice to dish for those who have difficulties achieving their fitness goals, he said: "There are many reasons why people don't work out, whether it's time or they feel intimidated.

"Find a motivation to exercise, for example you can pick up a sport that you like. If you've never worked out before or are feeling insecure about yourself, find a workout buddy."

"Otherwise, they can come find me!" he added with a laugh.


It's an open secret that it gets harder to lose weight or maintain one's physique as you age. 

But what exactly is the secret?

AsiaOne spoke to three celebrities (who have crossed the big 4-0) to find out how they're keeping it tight.


What's your fitness goal and how has it changed with time?

My fitness goals have changed quite a bit over time. When I was younger, I would attack my workouts with reckless abandon and think I could never be injured or hurt. However, age and experience have taught me that we are only bestowed with a finite amount of cartilage, tendon, ligaments, and other soft connective tissue which will eventually (and ultimately) deteriorate or erode over time. Therefore, I have learned to not only still work out hard but work out smart.

What's a typical workout like for you?

I like to basically rotate around three different forms of exercise now, which are running, swimming, and lifting weights. I do the running and swimming to focus on my cardiovascular conditioning and then I go to the gym to maintain muscle mass.

Aside from exercising, what other physical activities do you engage in to keep fit?

If possible, I like to walk as much as I can plus I like to take my kids out to play basketball when they are free. On occasion, I will play tennis or beach volleyball with my friends. I really enjoy snowboarding when I can, but that is very seasonal.

What's your diet like?

I don't really have a strict diet although I do tend to eat less carbs now unless I am indulging in pizza or pasta. However, I do make an effort to drink lots of fluids and consume less in the evening when we generally are not as active.

Any cheat foods that you indulge in?

I love Ben & Jerry's ice cream so I enjoy treating myself to a pint from time to time.


What's your fitness goal and how has it changed with time?

When you're younger, you want to be as big as possible and really muscular. Then, you realise that over time, it's hard to maintain that all the time. And when you don't maintain it, you can start looking flabby.

For me it's just all about staying lean, healthy and trying to keep my stomach as flat as possible. And if I can get that six-pack out once in a while for a photoshoot, fantastic. But really it's just about maintaining a good physique that I can still look good in clothes and if I go to the beach, I won't have that 'dad bod'.

What's a typical workout like for you?

A lot of weight training. I don't go too heavy all the time; once in a while I'll push myself to sort of push my muscle growth a little bit more and to add a spark to the workout. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, your muscles get used to the workout style so I try to lift heavy once in a while.

I like to do a lot of cross-training. Mixing and matching different muscle groups together to sort of keep the body guessing.

Aside from exercising, what other physical activities do you engage in to keep fit?

I cycle and do a little bit of mountain biking. I love that, it's just a nice way for me to get away from everything. On a bike, it's just you and that bike. Whatever hill you attack, whatever downhill you're at, it's just you, the machine and it's about your physical condition.

Any cheat foods that you indulge in?

I try to stay to a keto diet as much as I can. There are times where I do deviate from that because it's not easy to maintain all the time. But I do stick to a very low carbohydrate, high protein, higher fat diet. I try to eat avocados, hard cheeses, good quality oils and nuts like almonds and cashews.

Ahh, I love my chocolate chip cookies. I do love bread. I love bread so much, especially good Italian bread or french bread. Desserts-wise, I'm not a big candy person... but man, a good chocolate chip cookie - you can't beat those.


Do you find that it's harder to maintain your fitness regime as you get older?

Actually I only started exercising from 2015 when I was 38. I think it has gotten easier for me to maintain a fitness regime because I realise that keeping fit is not an option - it is a necessity as we get older, to live life to the fullest!

How often do you work out to maintain your physique?

I generally try to get three days of intensive cardio in (usually squash!) and three days of other workouts that range from 12-minute to 30-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) or strengthening workouts at home. I have one rest day!

What's a typical workout like for you?

I like to mix things up cause I like trying new things plus the body gets used to one exercise if it's all you do! But the strengthening exercises I do are the stuff we used to do at PE (physical education) in school because they work!

What's your diet like?

Well... I believe in not going hungry but also in not being too full. I think we've been given upsized portions of food all our lives and should learn to eat the correct portions. That allows me to eat whatever I want but in moderation.

Any cheat food that you indulge in?

I have a weakness for fried foods and dessert and durians so if I overeat, I will skip the next meal. Knowing the calorie count of foods you eat is helpful but eating healthily (I'm still working on that) is best!

Purchase this article for republication.
Police officers listen to their instructor during a weight-loss program at the State Police Academy in Mojokerto, East Java, on Thursday.
PHOTO: East Java Police Communications Division via The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

"Size does matter for the East Java Police as they are requiring that overweight officers go through a weight-loss programme at the State Police Academy (SPN) in Mojokerto, East Java.

The officers will go through a variety of activities designed to reduce body fat for 10 days.

Fifty personnel from each East Java Police unit will take part in the programme from July 15 to 26, according to East Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Frans Barung Mangera.

"It's a programme to lower your body mass index (BMI) for overweight and obese personnel," Frans was quoted by

During the programme, the personnel must undergo activities aimed at reducing body fat such as running, wearing a parachute jacket, long marches, aerobic gymnastics, swimming and other sports.

Aside from physical activities, personnel also receive psychological guidance.

"Through guidance from nutritionists and medical experts provided by East Java Police, dietary habits and menus are adjusted to help reach the goal of this programme," said Frans.

The aim of the programme is for East Java police officers to provide better service.

"[So the police] are quicker and nimble in serving the public," Frans added.

Purchase this article for republication.
PHOTO: Unsplash

Instagram has introduced a new notification process to better explain to users why their account could be at risk of being disabled.

In a post on its blog, Instagram states that the notification will also offer users a chance to appeal when their content is deleted for violations of its "nudity and pornography, bullying and harassment, hate speech, drug sales, and counter-terrorism policies".

If the content is found to be removed in error, Instagram will restore the post and remove the violation from the account's record.

"We've always given people the option to appeal disabled accounts through our Help Center, and in the next few months, we'll bring this experience directly within Instagram," it reveals.

The notification and appeal process is part of a series of changes to Instagram's account disable policy.

Currently, the photo and video-sharing social network only disables accounts that have a certain percentage of violating content. However, under its new policy, it will also remove accounts with a certain number of violations within a window of time.

"Similarly to how policies are enforced on Facebook (Instagram's parent company), this change will allow us to enforce our policies more consistently and hold people accountable for what they post on Instagram," it says.

It adds that the updates are an important step in improving its policies and keeping the platform a safe and supportive place.

Purchase this article for republication.

MANILA - Opponents of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed shock and outrage on Friday at police moves to charge dozens of them with sedition, calling it persecution aimed at stamping out scrutiny of his increasingly powerful rule.

Thirty-six opposition figures are accused of cyber libel and sedition for orchestrating a series of online videos ahead of May's mid-term elections. The videos feature a hooded man alleging that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade, which they deny.

The man, who had said he was a witness, later surrendered and appeared with police on television to say his claims were false and that he was cajoled into making the videos by opposition members. They included the vice president, lawyers, Catholic priests, a former attorney general, and incumbent and former lawmakers, the man said.

The justice department is looking into the complaint, which is the latest move against Duterte's detractors who say the aim is to create a power monopoly for a president who already enjoys a legislative super-majority and a public approval rating of about 80 per cent.

Duterte insists he is open to challenges but has shown no qualms about threatening high-profile critics, several of whom he said last month he would jail if they tried to impeach him.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte had no involvement in the police sedition complaint.

"We have nothing to do with this case, not at all, absolutely nothing," he told news channel ANC. "Let the judicial process do its work."

Antonio Trillanes, a former senator and Duterte's strongest critic, described the complaint as "political persecution and harassment" intended to stifle democratic dissent.

A spokesman for Vice President Leni Robredo, who was not Duterte's running mate and was elected separately, called the complaint "completely baseless". Her party ally Senator Francis Pangilinan said it was part of a series of moves toward removing her from office.

Leila de Lima, an anti-Duterte senator detained on drugs charges, said it was "hogwash, pure hogwash", and Samira Gutoc, a candidate in recent Senate elections, urged the police not to become partisan.

"I really am baffled," Gutoc said of being accused of involvement.

Purchase this article for republication.