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Philippines President Duterte slams European Union as ‘stupid’, refuses summit invite after criticism of bloody drug war

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President Rodrigo Duterte has angrily turned down an invitation to an Asia-Europe summit in Brussels as he again lashed out at the EU and accused the bloc of insulting him over his deadly war on drugs.

The maverick leader labelled the 28-country European Union – the Philippines’ second most important trading partner – “stupid” and warned he would not stay silent in the face of Western condemnation of his anti-crime crackdown.

Europe has been vocal in its criticism of Duterte’s hallmark policy, which has left nearly 4,000 drug suspects dead and seen human rights groups claim he was responsible for a crime against humanity.

Duterte hit out after saying European Council President Donald Tusk had invited him to the biennial Asia-Europe meeting in October.

“I’ve been invited by the EU, that stupid organisation,” Duterte told government workers late on Tuesday.

“I said, ‘For what? You thought of me as that kind of person then, so why change your assessment?’”

Three Philippine police officers to be arrested in first murder case linked to war on drugs

He continued: “So you get to insult me? I will use whore-speak on you too. Don’t ever do that to me.”

Despite widespread criticism over alleged “extrajudicial killings” in the drugs war, Duterte has vowed to pursue the campaign until the end of his six-year term.

The issue had risked threatening the duty-free privileges of billions of dollars in annual Philippine exports to the EU, but Brussels announced last month Manila will retain the trade perks.

The EU mission in Manila confirmed Wednesday that Duterte had been “invited like other leaders from Asia and Europe” to the summit, but declined to comment on the president’s latest outburst.

How Philippines war on drugs has become a war on the poor

Duterte said he was “not like other presidents” and would not take perceived slights in his stride, adding he also disliked travelling.

He recalled an invitation from President Donald Trump to visit the United States, which he said provoked a threat from American senators to protest if he stepped foot on US soil.

“I said, you know guys, you are too presumptuous. Whoever told you that I would visit your place? What is there to see?” he added.

Philippines’ Duterte: from war on drugs to war on media?

Duterte has branded Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama a “son of a whore” for criticising his drugs campaign, but enjoys a better rapport with the current American leader who also has a reputation for being outspoken.

Trump declared at a Manila summit in November he had a “great relationship” with his Philippine counterpart.

However, Duterte also said Tuesday he preferred not to visit places where he would be criticised as “sexist” for speaking out.                 

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Student organizations mix traditional and modern dance

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On one side of the room, hip-hop plays over speakers. On the other, drums beat to the rhythm of a traditional lion dance. 

Events + Entertainment Asian American Culture hosted approximately 50 students at Dance SensAsian, an event meant to combine traditional Asian dance styles with more modern styles. The event is the first official showcase of Asian interest dance groups at UT. 

“The whole idea is to bridge cultural dance and modern dance between the Asian communities here at UT and within the community,” event co-coordinator Cathleen Joy Fuertes said. “By modern we mean like hip-hop, pop, contemporary — less traditional.”

Once the event began, the ballroom was split into two. On one side members of Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team and Team Wushu taught traditional performances, such as the choreography aspect of martial arts taught by the latter. On the other side of the room, Dancing for a Cause and Korean Dance Crew taught more contemporary routines. 

“I think Asian Americans need a little bit more representation in the public eye (such as in) politics, art, etc.,” said David Cha, vice president of Dancing for a Cause, and arts and entertainment technologies sophomore.

Zilei Chen, medical laboratory science freshman, attended the event to fulfill the social dancing requirement for her Undergraduate Studies class, Dancing America. Chen said her professor told her class that they could choose to dance anywhere to fulfill this requirement, but Chen decided to come to Dance SensAsian in order to learn. 

“My friend told me about this event,” Chen said. “Plus, it’s an opportunity for me to get the social dancing requirement done early … I’m going to all of (the workshops) … Dancing is very interesting. I cannot dance, (and) that’s why I’m here, learning.” 

Though students sat outside the ballrooms in the Student Activity Center waiting for the event to begin, more continued showing up throughout the night, joining the dance workshops as they came in. Following the workshops were performances by each of the groups who taught a workshop, as well as a presentation by soloist Zein Tao. Architectural engineering freshman Tao performed a traditional Mongolian dance which included modern twists.

“It’s kind of the whole idea that we’re trying to connect the two,” psychology senior Fuertes said. “Or at least trying to make people more open to it.”

The performances were followed by a dance-off that included prizes.

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