By Fred M. Lobo
World leaders have moved to intensify efforts at checking terrorism worldwide in the wake of the recent Las Vegas attack and similar incidents.
No to terrorism, violence, and senseless killings, they agreed.
World poets launched a campaign for “peace” at the World Friendship Poetry Festival in India this week.
“Peace, love, brotherhood, unity, and healing,” they stressed at the festivities.
The Philippines and the United States government have agreed to intensify joint counter-terrorism efforts, disclosed Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Ed Año.
“The President (Duterte) said: I want to be friendlier to the US so we have a closer relationship and more exercises,” Año said.
The President said that his earlier spat with the US is now “water under the bridge” as the US helped PH in the fight against militants and rebels in the recent siege of the Marawi City.
The coming PH-US joint exercise will focus on counter-terrorism, aside from disaster response and territorial defense, Año said.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the creation of a national photo database using existing identification records held by state authorities to identify terror suspects.
The database would accelerate the process of identifying potential terror suspects, replacing a time-consuming system that could take up to a week, Turnbull told Reuters.
“It shouldn’t take seven days to be able to verify someone’s identity or seek to match the photo of someone who is a person of interest… It should be done seamlessly and in real time,” Turnbull said.
Biometric database stops short of enabling real-time detection of suspects by scanning large crowds and alerting authorities when people on a security watch list are identified, he added.
Australian police said the database system being used by China leads to facial detection, even allowing education authorities to use the system to catch students cheating in exams.
But Australia will limit the new database to police and intelligence work only, it said.
Australia, the police said, is on heightened alert after a series of “lone wolf” attacks in recent years, and also because of dozens of home-grown radicals returning after fighting for Islamic State and other extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.
“I think most Australians would agree that using facial recognition to track down terrorists is a good idea,” Turnbull said.
Meanwhile, world poets gather in Hyderabad, India this week to promote world “peace” messages at the PENTASIB World Poetry Festival.
We will promote messages of peace, love, unity, and healing “without color, without races” said Dr. “Penpen” Epitacio Tongohan and Dr. L Sr Prasad, joint hosts, of the annual world poetry event.
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his nod to the holding of the World Poetry Festival after a meeting earlier with Dr. Penpen, father of visual poetry, and Dr. Prasad, respected poet and literary genius of India.
Peace and love messages from India to the world!
Among those invited to the world poetry festival from the Philippines are Filipino poets Ed Cordevilla, Ethel David, Melody Ramos Cortez, Jobb Gosamo, and Fred M. Lobo, “World featured poet for 2017” and author of the winning piece “Let There Be Peace in the World.”
Blessed be the poets! Yes to messages of peace and love!