MANILA, Philippines (AP) — American forces are guarding Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, yet a ring of Filipino troops surrounds them. The seemingly redundant security effort around the suspect in a Philippine murder case reflects Manila's uneasy ties with Washington, its former colonial master.
Pemberton, 19, is accused of killing Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender Filipino, in a motel room Oct. 11 in the city of Olongapo. He was initially held on a U.S. Navy warship at the Subic Bay Freeport, northwest of Manila, but on Wednesday he was transferred to the Philippine military's main camp, where Filipino troops and two of his fellow Marines continue to guard him.
Here are some questions and answers about the tensions that result when U.S. troops are accused of serious crimes in the Philippines, whose love-hate relationship with Washington has been shaped over the decades by war, terrorism and now, jitters over China's rise:
Q: WHAT ARE THE RULES WHEN A U.S. SERVICE MEMBER IS ACCUSED OF A CRIME IN THE PHILIPPINES?
A: Under the Visiting Forces Agreement, which the treaty allies signed in 1998, the Philippines can prosecute U.S. troops accused of crimes there. But the accord grants the U.S. custody over those troops "from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings."
Left-wing groups and nationalists have demanded that the Philippine government take immediate custody of Pemberton, saying Americans continue to impinge on their country's sovereignty nearly 70 years after it gained independence. In a compromise between the two countries, the U.S. transferred Pemberton to Philippine soil but continues to guard him and officially has not given up custody.
Q: HOW DID THE AGREEMENT COME ABOUT?
A: After World War II, the U.S. maintained huge military bases in the Philippines for nearly a half-century, but those were shuttered in the early 1990s amid rising nationalism, virtually freezing military ties.
China's 1995 seizure of a contested reef, however, prompted Manila to reach out to Washington again. Three years later, the allies signed the Visiting Forces Agreement, allowing large-scale military exercises to resume in the country. It also gave the Philippines a clear right to prosecute U.S. troops who commit crimes, something it lacked previously.
Territorial disputes continue to simmer between China and the Philippines over islands in the South China Sea, and occasionally spark direct confrontations. In April, Manila and Washington signed a 10-year defense accord that will give American forces greater access to Philippine military camps.
With its anemic military, the Philippines aims to bolster ties with the U.S. to try to deter China. Washington, meanwhile, is strengthening its military in Asia after years of heavy engagement in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Q: WHAT ROLE HAS THE VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT PLAYED IN PAST CASES?
A: The highest-profile, and to many Filipinos most infamous, case was against Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, who was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on charges of raping a Filipino woman in 2005. He was held at the U.S. Embassy in Manila until a Philippine appeals court overturned his conviction in 2009, allowing him to leave the country amid anti-U.S. protests.
In 2009, then-U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney advised Washington about the dilemma Smith's case created.
"It is imperative that we recognize that more than a legal case, the accusation against LCpl Smith struck at the very heart of Philippine historical animus toward its colonial past," Kenney wrote in a confidential diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks. "For the last three years, no story ... matched the headlines in column inches devoted to the sordid details" of his case, she wrote.
With Philippine officials dead set against a repeat of the circumstances of the Smith case, they reached a deal with the U.S. that allows both sides to say they have control over Pemberton.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Wednesday that Washington "is fully aware that for the Philippine government, it will be totally unacceptable for them to detain Pemberton within the premises of the U.S. Embassy, as was done in the Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith case."
Q: HOW ELSE DOES HISTORY AFFECT THE U.S. MILITARY'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PHILIPPINES?
A: America's foray into the Philippines started when it defeated the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898, ending more than three centuries of Spanish colonization. But the Philippines was ceded shortly after to the United States and only gained independence in 1946, a colonization that was disrupted by the Japanese imperial army's invasion.
Following U.S. forces' exit and return in the 1990s, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks brought the two militaries closer. Filipino officials allowed hundreds of American counterterrorism troops to train Filipino forces fighting al-Qaida-linked militants in the south. U.S. counterterrorism forces began to scale down their presence in the south this year after helping weaken Abu Sayyaf extremists.
Q: COULD THE PHILIPPINES DECIDE TO SCRAP THE VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT?
A: The murder case has reignited calls, even among some Philippine senators, for the repeal of the agreement. But that is unlikely because of the security implications: Abrogating the deal could effectively halt current U.S. troop presence and large-scale exercises in the Philippines. President Benigno Aquino III has strongly opposed calls from left-wing activists to scrap the pact, but the government is open to a review of the agreement, including provisions on criminal jurisdiction and custody.
Q: WHERE DOES PEMBERTON'S CASE GO FROM HERE?
A: Laude's family has filed a murder complaint against Pemberton before prosecutors in Olongapo, the city northwest of Manila where she was killed. If prosecutors assess there is strong evidence, Pemberton will be indicted and face trial. Amid yells of "justice for Jennifer" by left-wing activists, Laude's remains were transported Friday by her family and dozens of mourners from a Roman Catholic church to a cemetery in Olongapo where she was laid to rest.
Meanwhile, the Marine will likely remain detained in an air-conditioned van, equipped with a sink and a cot, at a U.S.-Filipino compound in the Philippine military's Camp Aguinaldo in metropolitan Manila.
Jim Gomez, chief correspondent of The Associated Press in Manila, has focused on security and terrorism issues in the Philippines for the AP since 2001.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Authorities and ordinary Canadians sifted through confounding shards of a gunman's life seeking to understand what motivated the man to storm the nation's seat of power.
The emerging portrait of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is a fragmented one: A misfit who went more than five years without seeing his mother. A crack cocaine user who once told a psychological evaluator he wanted to go to jail to beat his addiction. A committed Muslim who said he wanted to become a better man, but in recent weeks seemed to come unglued. A homeless shelter resident who talked about wanting to go to Libya — or Syria — and became upset when he couldn't get a passport.
A day after the 32-year-old Canadian launched what the prime minister called a terrorist attack, a top police official said Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau — whose father was from Libya — may have lashed out in frustration over delays in getting his passport.
"I think it was central to what was driving him," said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson on Thursday.
Bibeau shot a soldier to death at Canada's national war memorial Wednesday, then stormed the Parliament building, where he was gunned down by the sergeant-at-arms. Police said he was armed with a lever-action Winchester rifle, an old-fashioned, relatively slow-firing weapon.
The deadly attack was the second on Canadian soldiers in three days, forcing the country to confront the danger of radicalized citizens in its midst and exposing weak spots in security:
— During the attack, Prime Minister Stephen Harper hid in a closet-like space within a Parliament caucus room. The Mounties who are assigned to protect him were on the other side of the room's doors. The Mounties will now guard the prime minister around the clock, wherever he goes, Paulson said.
— After the tragedy, all members of the Canadian military were ordered to avoid wearing their uniforms in public while doing such things as shopping or eating at restaurants.
— Earlier this week, the Mounties said about 90 people nationwide are suspected of planning to join up with extremist fighters abroad or have returned from such activity. But Paulson said Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau was not on that list and was not under surveillance, partly because it was not until after the shooting that authorities learned from his mother that he wanted to go Syria, where a host of militant groups such as Islamic State are fighting.
— Authorities are investigating how the gunman obtained the rifle, when he should been prohibited from possessing one because of his criminal record.
Zehaf-Bibeau's passport, meanwhile, hadn't been revoked or his application rejected, but authorities had been investigating whether to grant him one, Paulson said. That obstacle appeared to weigh heavily on Zehalf-Bibeau, a petty criminal with a long rap sheet, including drug and weapons offenses, assault and robbery.
Abubakir Abdelkareem, who often visited the Ottawa Mission, a homeless shelter downtown where Zehaf-Bibeau stayed in recent weeks, said Zehaf-Bibeau told him he had had a drug problem but had been clean for three months and was trying to steer clear of temptation by going to Libya.
But in the three days before the rampage, "his personality changed completely," Abdelkareem said. He stopped being talkative and sociable and slept during the day, said Abdelkareem, who concluded Zehaf-Bibeau was back on drugs.
Lloyd Maxwell, a shelter resident, said that Zehaf-Bibeau had come to Ottawa specifically to try to get a passport, believing that would be more easily accomplished in the nation's capital.
"He didn't get it, and that made him very agitated," Maxwell said.
In an email to the AP expressing horror and sadness at what happened, Zehaf-Bibeau's mother, Susan Bibeau, said that her son seemed lost and "did not fit in," and that she hadn't seen him for more than five years until having lunch with him last week.
In a brief and tear-filled telephone interview with the AP, Bibeau said that she is crying for the victims of the shooting rampage, not her son.
"Can you ever explain something like this?" said Bibeau, who has homes in Montreal and Ottawa. "We are sorry."
While living in Vancouver in 2011, Zehaf-Bibeau was arrested on a robbery charge. During a court-ordered psychological evaluation, he said he committed the crime for the sole purpose of getting incarcerated.
"He wants to be in jail as he believes this is the only way he can overcome his addiction to crack cocaine," the evaluation report said. "He has been a devoted (Muslim) for seven years and he believes he must spend time in jail as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes in the past and he hopes to be a better man when he is eventually released."
The evaluator said that while Zehaf-Bibeau was making "an unusual choice," he didn't appear to be mentally ill. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of making threats and was released after just over two months.
While in the Vancouver area in 2011, Zehaf-Bibeau went to a mosque and met a fellow attendee who hired him for a manual labor job at his family's landscaping business, said the fellow mosque-goer's father, John Bathurst. Zehaf-Bibeau quit after two days, and Bathurst said his son didn't see Zehaf-Bibeau again until six weeks ago and found "he was talking about the devil and talking about stuff that was pretty unhealthy. The real story here is mental illness."
The mosque released a statement saying members were concerned at hearing reports that the gunman might have attended.
After initially reporting that two or three assailants may have taken part in the shooting rampage, Canadian police conceded Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau was the lone gunman.
The bloodshed raised fears that Canada is suffering reprisals — perhaps so-called lone-wolf attacks — for joining the U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria.
On Monday, a man described as an "ISIL-inspired terrorist" ran over two soldiers in a parking lot in Quebec, killing one and injuring the other before being shot to death by police. Before the attack, Canadian authorities feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey.
The prime minister noted Thursday that both attacks were carried out by citizens born in Canada.
Paulson said Zahef-Bibeau's history of crime, violence, drugs and "mental instability" contributed to his radicalization. Zehaf-Bibeau's email was found on the hard drive of someone charged with a terrorist-related offense, Paulson said. He didn't say who and described the connection as tenuous.
Associated Press writer Rob Gillies reported from Toronto. La Corte contributed from Vancouver and Associated Press writer Raphael Satter contributed from London.
NEW YORK (AP) — Officials tamped down New Yorkers' fears Friday after a doctor was diagnosed with Ebola in a city where millions of people squeeze into crowded subways, buses and elevators every day.
The warnings came as Dr. Craig Spencer remained in stable condition while isolated in a hospital, talking by cellphone to his family and assisting disease detectives who are accounting for his every movement since arriving in New York from Guinea via Europe on Oct. 17.
"I want to repeat what I said last night: There is no cause for alarm," by the doctor's diagnosis Thursday, said Mayor Bill de Blasio, even as officials described Spencer riding the subway, taking a cab, bowling, visiting a coffee shop and eating at a restaurant in the past week. "New Yorkers who have not been exposed to an infected person's bodily fluids are simply not at risk."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the city's Ebola diagnosis for Spencer, said Dr. Mary Bassett, the city's health commissioner. And a company contracted to handle medical waste arrived at his Harlem apartment.
Heath officials have repeatedly given assurances that the disease is spread only by direct contact with bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, vomit and feces, and that the dried virus survives on surfaces for only a matter of hours.
But some in the nation's most populous city, with more than 8 million people, were not taking any chances.
Friday morning, a group of teenage girls in Catholic school uniforms riding the L subway train passed around a bottle of hand sanitizer. They said they were taking extra precautions because of the Ebola case. It was one of the subway lines the doctor rode after returning home.
The governor and health officials said Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, sought treatment with diarrhea and a 100.3-degree fever — not 103 as officials initially reported Thursday night. The health department blamed a transcription error for the incorrect information. He was being treated in an isolation ward at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the doctor "obviously felt he wasn't symptomatic" when he went out "in a limited way."
The governor, in an appearance on CNN's New Day, said there was no reason to fear riding the subway, and he would do so Friday.
But one commuter called riding the subway "a scary thing."
There are "a lot of germs in New York," said Chris Thompson who was riding the L train.
Another subway rider, 41-year-old construction worker T.J. DeMaso expressed concern.
"If the outbreaks get any more common, I'll be moving out of the city," he said. "You could catch it and not even know it. You could bring it home to your kids. That's not a chance I want to take."
Subway rider Alicia Clavell said she hoped it's "an isolated incident."
Health officials say the chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are slim. Someone can't be infected just by being near someone who is sick with Ebola. Someone isn't contagious unless he is sick.
Bassett said the probability was "close to nil" that Spencer's subway rides would pose a risk. The bowling alley has been cleared to open, she said. Spencer's Harlem apartment is cordoned off but no other tenants are at risk, officials said.
Evageline Love also was unconcerned. "I saw the mayor and the governor. What they're saying, I believe, is true. There's no need for hysteria," she said as he rode the L train to work.
The CDC dispatched an Ebola response team to New York. President Barack Obama spoke to Cuomo and de Blasio on Thursday night and offered the federal government's support. He asked them to stay in close touch with Ron Klain, his "Ebola czar," and public health officials in Washington.
Spencer's fiancee and two friends had been quarantined, but showed no symptoms, officials said.
The epidemic in West Africa has killed about 4,800 people. In the United States, the first person diagnosed with the disease was a Liberian man, who fell ill days after arriving in Dallas and later died, becoming the only fatality. None of his relatives who had contact with him got sick. Two nurses who treated him were infected, but one was released from a hospital Friday. The other is still hospitalized.
In the days before Spencer fell ill, he went on a 3-mile jog, went to the High Line park, rode the subway, visited a meatball restaurant and coffee shop. On Wednesday night he took a taxi from a Brooklyn bowling alley. He felt tired starting Tuesday, and felt worse on Thursday morning when he and his fiancee made a joint call to authorities to detail his symptoms and his travels. EMTs in full Ebola gear arrived and took him to Bellevue in an ambulance surrounded by police squad cars.
Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization, said per the guidelines it provides its staff members on their return from Ebola assignments, "the individual engaged in regular health monitoring and reported this development immediately." Travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone must report in with health officials daily and take their temperature twice a day, as Spencer did. He also limited his direct contact with people, health officials said.
Spencer, 33, works at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He had not seen any patients or been to the hospital since his return, the hospital said in a statement, calling him a "dedicated humanitarian" who "went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population."
Four American aid workers, including three doctors, were infected with Ebola while working in Africa and were transferred to the U.S. for treatment in recent months. All recovered. Health care workers are vulnerable because of close contact with patients when they are their sickest and most contagious.
In West Africa this year, more than 440 health workers have contracted Ebola and about half have died. But the Ebola virus is not very hardy. The CDC says bleach and other hospital disinfectants kill it.
Spencer is from Michigan and attended Wayne State University School of Medicine and Columbia's University Mailman School of Public Health.
According to his Facebook page, he left for West Africa via Brussels last month. A photo shows him in full protective gear. He returned to Brussels Oct. 16.
"Off to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders," he wrote. "Please support organizations that are sending support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history."
Associated Press writers Cara Anna, Cameron Young, Jake Pearson, Deepti Hajela, Ula Ilnytzky, Kiley Armstrong and Tom Hays and researcher Susan James contributed to this report.
LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II has sent her first tweet — and she's signed it "Elizabeth R."
The 88-year-old monarch tried her hand at Twitter as she opened a new gallery in central London's Science Museum Friday.
The queen removed a glove to type on a touchscreen tablet, writing "I hope people will enjoy visiting" the exhibition. She sent it through the official British monarchy account on the social media website, as some 600 guests looked on.
"Elizabeth R" is how the queen signs official documents. The "R'' stands for "regina", the Latin for queen.
Most members of the royal family do not tweet personally — they are represented by official accounts managed by spokespeople.
The gallery, called "Information Age," explores the technological breakthroughs that have changed communication.
The queen was the first monarch to send an email, in 1976 when the technology was in its infancy.
Lawn signs touting local and statewide candidates are in full bloom along highways, street corners and other public spaces. It's the sign of the season. And despite legal restrictions, the markers can sprout invasively.
Campaigns hope voters see them as a signal of the community's support for the candidate or issue. But repeat exposure can rub some the wrong way.
"They just mushroom," said Elizabeth Lessner, a central Ohio restaurateur. "It used to be they put one sign on the corner, and now there's 50."
Lessner is one of the Columbus Sign Ninjas, a group that sprang up in the perennial battleground state to take down campaign clutter from public spaces.
State and local sign laws can vary. Ohio, like other states, prohibits such advertising from being placed in the public right of way — which would include interstates and state routes. Officials don't want signs to obstruct drivers' views or present safety hazards.
The ninja members use social media to report signs and occasionally call out campaigns seen as big offenders. Some candidates have apologized on the group's Facebook page, which boasts nearly 300 members, for their sign placement.
Karen Thomas, a Columbus resident and ninja member, has been uprooting stray signs since 2008. Her first take came after she passed multiple markers near the interstate exit for a mall. Thomas recalled, "If I want them to go away, I'm going to have to pull over and pick them up."
So she did. And she continues to snatch signs when she runs errands, carefully avoiding vehicles that whiz by her.
"I don't lollygag," said Thomas, a corporate financial consultant.
It's not just residents who get irked by the signage.
In Providence, Rhode Island, large signs for his opponent led to a complaint from Republican mayoral candidate Dan Harrop. Harrop told the city solicitor's office this week that signs for independent candidate Buddy Cianci far exceed the size allowed by city ordinances. The city agreed and cited at least one homeowner.
Signs are a fast, cheap and easy way to grow name recognition and increase a candidate's visibility in a neighborhood. They've been around since the infancy of the country's democracy, said Benjamin Bates, a professor of communication studies at Ohio University.
Candidates and their supporters will place signs near the roadways because they hope more voters will see them.
"It's sort of the principle that any publicity is good publicity," Bates said.
Ben Donahower, a Pennsylvania-based political consultant who sells lawn signs, said he advises campaigns to place signs on private property. That means supporters have names and faces.
"Any candidate can go out and spend a day putting out a bunch of signs along a highway," Donahower said. "It's a different scenario to talk to somebody and say, 'Do I have your vote?' They say yes. 'Can I put a yard sign out in your yard?' They say yes."
Still, even if irritatingly placed in a public space, Bates said, "you'll definitely remember the name on the sign. Or at least that's what the campaign hopes."