Philippines gives thumbs-up to Duterte as loyalists dominate election May 15, 2019 0 1340 12345 ReutersMANILAPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte looked set on Tuesday to strengthen his grip on power after unofficial results of a mid-term election showed big wins for his candidates, and resounding public endorsement of his controversial rule.Nine of 12 available seats in the all-important Senate looked set to go to pro-Duterte candidates and the rest to independents, unofficial tallies showed, as the opposition that campaigned against his strongman approach failed to make the cut.Monday’s ballot for more than 18,000 posts, among them hundreds of mayors, governors, and congressmen, was billed as a referendum on the firebrand president, with special focus on his bid to consolidate power in an upper house that has not always worked in his favour.A Senate majority would cut the chance of censures and house investigations against his government, making it easier to co-opt independents and remove the few remaining hurdles to an ambitious agenda for massive infrastructure spending, re-drafting the constitution and the return of the death penalty. “This president’s popularity and transferability of his popularity is unprecedented to say the least, despite all the controversies,” said political analyst Edmund Tayao.“You expect normally two or three candidates from the opposition to win, but this is a wipe-out.” Candidates leading the Senate contest include Duterte’s closest aide, the daughter of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the wife of the country’s richest man, a movie star, a jailed politician recently cleared of plunder charges, and a police general who spearheaded Duterte’s brutal war on drugs. They would join 12 Senate incumbents, only four of whom are from the opposition, including Leila de Lima, the biggest critic of Duterte’s deadly anti-drugs crackdown, held since 2017 on narcotics charges.The mid-term results leave the opposition in tatters and will change the dynamic of a Senate that has traditionally been a check on state power, and a bulwark against the kind of political dominance Duterte is demonstrating. RELATED ARTICLES Don’t meddle in next US presidential vote: Pompeo tells Russia May 15, 2019 0 1902 Senior Conservatives tell May to ditch Brexit talks with Labour May 15, 2019 0 1819 Iran foreign minister in India for talks after US sanctions May 15, 2019 0 533 Violence during BJP president’s roadshow in Kolkata; arson outside college hostel Agencies kolkatta Students, learnt to be members of Trinamool Chhatra Parishad, were protesting near the front gate of Calcutta University and shouting “Amit Shah go back” slogans. Angered by the protest, BJP workers, .. China praises Pakistan for ‘swift action’ after terror attack at Hotel BEIJING: China has praised the Pakistan’s security forces for their “swift action” in neutralising the terrorists who attacked a luxury hotel in Gwadar and ensured the safety of the Chinese personnel and institutions .. 4 cops killed in Pakistan’s Quetta terror attack ARYNEWS ISLAMABAD Prime Minister Imran Khan while condemning the Quetta terrorists’ attack has sought a detailed report from the concerned authorities, ARY News reported on Tuesday. The terrorist attack in Quetta’s .. Bangladesh sets up new court to try opposition leader Dhaka: Bangladeshi authorities have set up a new makeshift court adjacent to a jail outside the capital Dhaka to try imprisoned opposition leader Khaleda Zia, a prosecutor said Tuesday. Zia, a two-time former prime .. Escalating anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lankan claim first life AFP Minuwangoda, Sri Lanka Sri Lanka announced Tuesday a curfew for a second straight night after a man was killed by sword-wielding rioters in an escalating anti-Muslim backlash following the Easter terror attacks. .. US warns EU over ‘poison pill’ defence plans Brussels: The United States has sent a stern warning to the European Union that its plans to boost defence cooperation within the bloc could unravel decades of transatlantic cooperation and damage NATO. A May 1 letter .. Putin meets Pompeo as US seeks ‘a way forward’ Sochi: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the highest-level talks between the rival powers in nearly a year, dealt with a raft of disagreements from Venezuela to Iran to .. Democrats and Trump fight in court over his financial records WASHINGTON: A federal judge on Tuesday said financial records from US President Donald Trump’s long-time accounting firm would be part of a “proper subject of investigation” by Congress, appearing to side with ..