World Bank lends Philippines $500 million to counter coronavirus impact

The World Bank last month approved two sets of loans totaling $600 million to support the Philippines’ emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak. Above, president Rodrigo Duterte in one of the meetings on the coronvirus task force. (Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)
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Updated 29 May 2020

World Bank lends Philippines $500 million to counter coronavirus impact

  • Philippine government will begin easing from June 1 one of the world’s longest lockdowns
  • Loan will support efforts to provide immediate relief to poor Filipinos and small business workers

MANILA: The World Bank Group approved a $500 million loan for the Philippines to help it cope with the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Bank said on Friday.
The Philippine government will begin easing from June 1 one of the world’s toughest and longest lockdowns for residents in the capital and other key cities, restoring much-needed activity to an economy facing its deepest contraction in nearly three decades.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has badly hurt millions of poor and vulnerable Filipino families, particularly daily wage earners,” said Achim Fock, World Bank acting country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.
The loan will support efforts to provide immediate relief to poor Filipinos and small business workers who have lost their jobs during the lockdown since mid-March, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a statement.
The World Bank last month approved two sets of loans totaling $600 million to support the Philippines’ emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 15,000 and killed more than 900 in the Philippines.


French militant gets 30 years for Syria crimes

Updated 33 min 21 sec ago

French militant gets 30 years for Syria crimes

  • Investigators believed Tyler Vilus was part of the ‘Al-MuHajjireen’ (the immigrants) brigade

PARIS: A French court on Friday handed a 30-year prison sentence to a militant for crimes committed in Syria between 2013-15 including overseeing the execution of two prisoners while a senior figure in the Daesh extremist group.
Tyler Vilus, 30, who was found guilty on all charges, was also accused of belonging to a terrorist group, heading a group of Daesh fighters and “aggravated murder.”
Public prosecutor Guillaume Michelin earlier asked the court for a life sentence, with no possibility of parole for 22 years.
Michelin said Vilus “hasn’t changed one bit” since his time with the Daesh.
“All the steps in the accused’s journey are interlocked with the construction of the caliphate,” said the prosecutor, referring to the Islamist-ruled area that Daesh had at the time carved out in Syria and Iraq.
“It is your responsibility to put a definite end to the bloodshed,” he told the court.
But the presiding judge said he wanted to give him “a glimmer of hope” so that he could “evolve,” even though he could have been sentenced to life on being convicted of all charges.
Investigators believed Vilus was part of the “Al-MuHajjireen” (the immigrants) brigade, a squad that tortured and carried out summary executions, which he had denied.
However, the court found that Vilus supervised the executions as a member of the religious police in the north-eastern Syrian town Ash Shaddadi, close to the Iraqi border.
In a 2015 video published by the Daesh’s media department, a man alleged to be Vilus is two meters away as two kneeling and blindfolded prisoners — one belonging to the Free Syrian Army rebel fighters and the other a member of Bashar Assad’s army — are executed with a bullet to the head.
His arrest and trial were seen as a major coup for the French security services, as Vilus is believed to have known many French militants in Syria.
Vilus had admitted to being in contact with the man French secret services believe is the mastermind of the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.