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World

    The Latest on the agreement between China and the Catholic Church on the appointment of bishops (all times local): 12:15 p.m. Pope Francis is urging Chinese Catholics to trust him and make concrete gestures of reconciliation following a landmark deal over bishop appointments aimed at ending decades of estrangement between the Vatican and Beijing that had split the church. In a letter to the Chinese faithful published Wednesday, Francis urged Chinese Catholics to help 'initiate an unprecedented process that we hope will help to heal the wounds of the past, restore full communion among all Chinese Catholics, and lead to a phase of greater fraternal cooperation.' He also called for greater dialogue with local government authorities to ensure that ordinary church activities can be carried out. The letter follows the deal signed Saturday governing the naming of bishops in China. ___ 10:45 a.m. Pope Francis is urging Chinese Catholics to overcome past divisions and open a new phase of faith following a landmark agreement over bishop nominations aimed at ending decades of estrangement between the Vatican and Beijing that had split the church. Francis announced Wednesday that he had written a letter to the Chinese faithful aimed at encouraging them to 'heal the wounds of the past and re-establish and maintain full communion.' The letter was to be released later Wednesday. The letter follows the deal signed Saturday governing the naming of bishops in China. The agreement regularizes the status of seven bishops who had been appointed by Beijing over the years without papal consent, and sets out a process of dialogue going forward. Francis says that ultimately it will be he who names bishops, not Beijing.
  • John Nlom has five children and wants to keep them alive. When machete-wielding men attacked a nearby school this month in a suspected strike against the teaching of French, wounded students were rushed to hospitals while frightened parents decided to flee. Nlom and his family piled onto one of the dozens of buses now leaving daily from the capital of Cameroon's Southwest Region, joining thousands of civilians escaping bloody fighting between the government and Anglophone separatists who vow to disrupt next month's presidential elections. The government of the largely French-speaking country insists the Oct. 7 vote will be peaceful, even in the troubled English-speaking southwest and northwest where nearly 400 people have died. Nlom, a teacher, could not take that chance. 'The governor himself who is saying that people should stay back, that they are protected, he is moving around with soldiers protecting him,' Nlom said. 'Will the soldiers protect all the people? That is the reason why I cannot stay.' He and his family, like many, have taken refuge in the French-speaking city of Douala. President Paul Biya, one of Africa's longest-serving leaders since taking power since 1982, vows to hold the country together. The separatists, with support from some in the diaspora in the United States and elsewhere, are fighting to create an independent state they call 'Ambazonia' in Cameroon's English-speaking northwest and southwest regions. Their movement grew out of dissatisfaction with what some English speakers, who make up about 20 percent of the country's population, have called marginalization in the officially bilingual country. The blocking of the internet in English-speaking regions for months last year fed the frustrations. The government describes the fighters as terrorists. Weary civilians caught in the fighting have pleaded for peace. Women, saying they can no longer remain silent, have gathered for protests, saying the violence keeps children from their studies. At least 70 schools have been burned. Last week, Muslim and Christian clerics announced they are afraid a wave of carnage could occur if peace is not found before the election. 'We call on the diaspora to stop the hate speech communication that promotes violence, suspicion and fear among the people of Cameroon,' their declaration said. The clerics asked both the military and armed groups to drop their guns and stop the killing, looting and burning that have sent nearly 200,000 civilians fleeing. The government, however, replied that only the separatists should drop their guns. Attacks were reported in at least 20 towns and villages over the weekend, according to the country's minister of territorial administration, Paul Atanga Nji. Casualty figures were not yet available, he said. 'We are happy that some of the terrorists have willfully handed their guns to the military and we have forgiven them,' he said. 'I call on all those who are still in the bushes to drop their arms and make use of the ballot if they want a change.' Human rights groups have accused both sides of abuses. Separatists have burned and crushed buses and used construction equipment to dig up roads in efforts to stop people from fleeing. Some people leaving English-speaking regions have said the military conducts searches on those trying to leave. With the elections approaching, the tensions have grown. Separatists on Friday blew up a key bridge to stop campaign teams from reaching communities, authorities said. 'The only bridge linking the northwest regional capital, Bamenda, with other localities like Bui and Donga was destroyed by the terrorists,' said Lele L'Afrique Deben Tchoffo, governor of the Northwest Region. Thousands of passengers were stranded, he said. In response, the military killed at least a dozen separatists near the northwestern town of Mbiame as they planted explosives to blow up another bridge, the governor said. People who have fled the English-speaking regions will not be able to vote if they don't return to the polling centers where they are registered, he warned. In Cameroon's French-speaking areas, campaign rallies kicked off over the weekend in defiance of the separatist threat. 'We should not fear them. We should brave the situation and go about campaigning. The government has deployed troops to protect everyone,' Prime Minister Philemon Yang told supporters in Bamenda while campaigning for the longtime president. Biya is favored to win another seven-year term, as opposition parties did not succeed in negotiations to back a single candidate. Cameroon's government has vowed that voting will take place nationwide. 'We have ... created polling centers where voters can assemble and vote under the protection of the military,' said the chairman of the country's electoral board, Enow Abrams Egbe. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
  • Congo's health ministry says efforts to contain the latest Ebola outbreak can resume Wednesday in a key community where a deadly rebel attack over the weekend caused work to be suspended. Civil society in Beni had demanded that commercial and other activity stop for five days to protest the attack by suspected Allied Democratic Forces rebels that killed at least 18 people. Now the health ministry says work to counter Ebola can continue after the 'gravity of the epidemic' and dangers of pausing containment efforts were explained. The World Health Organization says the insecurity, public defiance about vaccinations and political jockeying could create a 'perfect storm' leading this outbreak to spread. Congo reports 120 confirmed Ebola cases, including 70 deaths, as of Tuesday. Cases have been reported close to Uganda.
  • Two Pakistani men went to their embassy in Beijing on Wednesday to lobby for help in reuniting with their wives, who they say are ethnic Uighurs blocked from leaving China, in an example of how a sweeping crackdown has spilled across China's borders. 'I am very, very unhappy,' said Mirza Imran Baig, a Pakistani cosmetics trader. His Chinese Uighur wife, Malika Mamiti, was sent to a political indoctrination camp after returning to China's far west Xinjiang region in May 2017, Baig said. The internment camps , which have alarmed a United Nations panel and the U.S. government, are estimated to hold around 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. China denies their existence and maintains that current security measures are necessary to combat religious extremism in a region that has previously experienced ethnic unrest. Xinjiang's security drive has swept up and separated families and also created friction with neighboring Kazakhstan over the internment of ethnic Kazakh Chinese nationals and even Kazakh citizens. There are at least 38 Pakistani men whose mostly Uighur Chinese wives are detained or unable to leave Xinjiang, according to Mian Shahid Ilyas, a Lahore-based businessman. Ilyas has been tracking such cases since his own wife was detained in April last year. China's foreign ministry said Tuesday that it was not aware of the situation involving the Pakistani husbands, and reiterated its stance that China's policies are aimed at creating 'stability and lasting peace' in Xinjiang. Baig said his wife has since been released from the internment camp but is confined to her hometown in a southwestern part of the region. He said her passport and that of their 4-year-old daughter, also a Chinese citizen, were confiscated. He has visited the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing and met with the ambassador, Masood Khalid, several times. Still, he said he believes Pakistan is 'not interested' in helping him. Baig and Muhammed Asif, another Pakistani man whose wife and child are stuck in Xinjiang, met with Khalid on Wednesday afternoon to ask for help in getting China to allow their wives to leave the country. Khalid told them to return to the embassy on Thursday for an update, Baig said.
  • More world leaders step up to the podium at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday but the lion's share of attention will be down the hall where U.S. President Donald Trump will be chairing the Security Council. It'll be Trump's first experience in leading a session of the U.N.'s most powerful body, where the U.S. currently holds the rotating presidency — a perch it is using to double down on its criticism of Iran. While Wednesday's meeting of the council will be addressing the issue of nonproliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Trump himself has left little doubt that it'll be another chance to target Tehran. On Tuesday, during an unabashedly 'America First' speech, Trump said Iranian leaders 'sow chaos, death and destruction' and 'spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.' His national security adviser, John Bolton, warned that there would be 'hell to pay' if Tehran crossed the U.S., its allies or their partners. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded by accusing the Trump administration of violating the rules of international law and 'state obligations' by withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with the U.S. and five other major powers. Rouhani is almost certain not to attend the Security Council meeting that will test Trump's ability to maintain diplomatic decorum and interact with representatives of rival nations. The council is populated by five permanent members — the U.S., China, Russia, Britain and France — and 10 other member states, who occupy a council seat for two-year terms. Iran is not among them. Business will continue Wednesday at the General Assembly, where for a second day, 193 U.N. members take turns to speak out on pressing world issues and their national priorities in world affairs. Among those tentatively scheduled to speak are the leaders of Panama, Iraq, Colombia, Afghanistan and Cuba. This year, 133 world leaders have signed up to attend this year's assembly session, which ends Oct. 1, a significant increase from the 114 leaders last year. However, America's go-it-alone attitude and growing divisions among key world powers risk eroding the U.N.'s ability to bring positive change in global affairs and end conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.
  • The Federal Reserve is set Wednesday to raise interest rates for a third time this year and possibly modify the likely direction of rates in the months ahead. The big question is whether the strong U.S. economy, which has been fueled this year by tax cuts and increased government spending, could weaken next year, especially if President Donald Trump's trade fights begin to inflict damage and the benefits of tax cuts start to fade. If the Fed finds that prospect likely, it might signal Wednesday that it expects to slow its rate increases next year. The Fed's key short-term rate — a benchmark for many consumer and business loans — now stands in a range of 1.75 percent to 2 percent after two quarter-point increases in March and June. A similar rate hike Wednesday would raise that range to a still-low 2 percent to 2.25 percent. Many analysts expect the economy to eventually weaken, in part from the effects of the conflicts Trump has pursued with China, Canada, Europe and other trading partners. If the economy should slow sharply in 2019, the Fed might decide to pull back on its rate increases to avoid hampering growth too much. In that scenario, it might raise rates only twice in 2019 and then retreat to the sidelines to see how the economy fares. Some analysts, though, say they think the momentum built up from the government's economic stimulus will keep strengthening the job market and lowering unemployment — at 3.9 percent, already near a 50-year low. A tight job market could accelerate wages and inflation and prod the Fed to keep tightening credit to ensure that the economy doesn't overheat. Any light the Fed might shed on those questions could come in the statement it will make after its latest policy meeting ends, in updated economic and rate forecasts it will issue or in a news conference that Chairman Jerome Powell will hold afterward. The modest rate increase that's widely expected reflects the continued resilience of the U.S. economy, now in its 10th year of expansion, the second-longest such stretch on record. Most analysts expect the Fed to signal that it plans to raise rates a fourth and final time this year, presumably in December. The Fed's rate increases typically lead to higher rates on some consumer and business loans. Should neither Powell nor the Fed itself clarify expectations for the months ahead, it could be because the policymakers are sharply divided and are coalescing into two familiar opposing groups — 'hawks' and 'doves.' Doves focus on the Fed's mandate to maximize employment and worry less about inflation. Hawks tend to concern themselves more with the need to prevent high inflation. One Fed board member, Lael Brainard, a leading dove, earlier this month surprised some with a speech that emphasized her belief in the need for continued gradual rate hikes. By its latest reckoning, the Fed estimates its 'neutral rate' — the point where it's thought to neither stimulate nor restrain growth — at around 2.9 percent. Two more hikes this year and two in 2019 would lift the Fed's benchmark rate to that level. Many economists worry that Trump's combative trade policies could significantly slow the economy next year. Trump insists that the tariffs he is imposing on Chinese imports, to which Beijing has retaliated, are needed to force China to halt unfair trading practices. But concern is growing that China won't change its practices, the higher tariffs on U.S. and Chinese goods will become permanent and both economies — the world's two largest — will suffer. Powell has so far been circumspect in reflecting on Trump's trade war. The Fed chairman has suggested that while higher tariffs are generally harmful, they could serve a healthy purpose if they eventually force Beijing to liberalize its trade practices. In the meantime, economists are divided over how many Fed rate increases are likely in 2019. The projections range from as few as two to a total of four.
  • The monumental imperial throne for the coronation of Japan's new emperor has arrived in Tokyo from an ancient imperial palace in Kyoto more than a year ahead of time, officials said Wednesday. Crown Prince Naruhito will become Japan's next emperor on May 1 of next year, the day after his 84-year-old father, Emperor Akihito, abdicates. The Takamikura throne will be used at a ceremony in October 2019, when Naruhito formally announces his succession. Naruhito will ascend to the elevated, octagonal structure to proclaim his enthronement before selected guests from around the world. The 6.5-meter-high (21-foot-high) canopied structure, decorated with lacquerware, gold and other ornaments, has been used for coronations and other key imperial rituals since around the eighth century, according to the Imperial Household Agency. It was last used by Akihito in 1990 and has since been stashed away at the Kyoto palace. The structure was taken apart for its delivery to Tokyo, where it will be repaired, fine-tuned and reassembled by March, the palace said. It comes with a similar structure for Naruhito's wife, Masako, the next empress. Together, the structures are made up of 3,000 parts. The 58-year-old Naruhito will be the 126th emperor of one of the world's oldest monarchies. He will be Japan's first emperor born after World War II. The current structure was built for his great-grandfather Taisho's coronation in 1915 and was also used for his grandfather Hirohito, who was revered as the god of Shinto until the end of World War II, which Japan fought in his name. At the time of Akihito's coronation, the throne had to be airlifted by a Japanese Self-Defense Force helicopter in a highly secretive operation amid protests by extremists who said the throne's use in a state ceremony violated the constitutional separation of state and religion. ___ Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi Find her work at https://www.apnews.com/search/mari%20yamaguchi
  • Three Muslim-majority Asian countries have elected leaders who campaigned on a promise to temper China's growing influence, but analysts say reducing the foothold of the world's second-largest economy won't be easy because of the billions of dollars in development projects that are already under way. The surprising elections in recent months of nonagenarian Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia, cricketer Imran Khan in Pakistan and longtime opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the Maldives buck a regional trend toward authoritarianism, and could present an obstacle for Chinese President Xi Jinping's hallmark 'Belt and Road Initiative' to build ports, highways and other trade-related infrastructure. Countries including India, the U.S. and Japan are concerned that China's massive initiative is part of an effort to build a China-centric world order in which all roads lead to Beijing and their own influence is eroded. Xi said in a late August closed-door event with officials in Beijing to mark the project's fifth anniversary that it was about business, not geopolitics. 'The projects are not free aid from China, but an economic cooperation, a kind of business deal,' said Zhao Gancheng, a Shanghai Institute of Foreign Studies researcher. New governments in Malaysia, Pakistan and the Maldives are free to decide they no longer want Chinese investment in these projects, Zhao said, but they should be prepared to compensate China accordingly. How newly elected governments could buy their way out of China's grasp remains to be seen. ___ MALAYSIA Malaysia's former authoritarian leader Mahathir Mohamad led an opposition alliance to a stunning victory in May 9 elections, ushering in the country's first change of power since independence from Britain in 1957. It led to a political earthquake for Malaysia, sweeping aside the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose reputation was tarnished by a monumental corruption scandal and the imposition of an unpopular sales tax that hurt many of his coalition's poor rural supporters. Mahathir, 93, was credited with modernizing Malaysia during his 22-year rule that ended in 2003 but was also known as a heavy-handed leader who imprisoned opponents and subjugated the courts. Angered by the graft scandal involving the 1MDB state investment fund, Mahathir emerged from political retirement and joined the opposition to oust Najib, his former protege. Mahathir, the world's oldest elected leader, has reopened investigations into 1MDB and banned Najib and his wife from traveling abroad. Najib is facing 32 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption, abuse of power and money laundering. He has denied any wrongdoing and his trial is to start next year. Mahathir's government has also axed China-backed energy pipelines and a rail project along peninsular Malaysia's eastern coast as part of efforts to reduce national debt that it said worsened under Najib's rule. The projects were part of 'Belt and Road' but Mahathir said the deals struck by Najib were too costly and unfair to Malaysia. ___ PAKISTAN While in opposition, Pakistan's new prime minister, former cricket star Imran Khan, questioned whether a 'Belt and Road' partnership with China benefited Pakistan. He promised the contracts would be made public, something the new government has yet to do. He also promised greater transparency moving forward on the multibillion-dollar project known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Project, which includes an ambitious cross-country road system linking Pakistan's Arabian Sea port of Gwadar to China. The multi-level project was undertaken by Pakistan's previous government, although little is known about the details of the contracts with China and the debt Pakistan would incur as a result of these deals. Khan promised to reveal all to Pakistanis, who have watched with a mix of enthusiasm and caution the development that has taken place in recent years as four-lane superhighways open up linking northern areas to other parts of the country. As well as road construction, Pakistan's previous government also negotiated agreements with Chinese power companies to supply much needed electricity to energy-starved Pakistan. However, criticism has been loud about the terms of the agreements and the revolving debt costs to Pakistan. Khan's earlier stridency has softened since July elections propelled him to power. In one of his first speeches to the nation as prime minister, Khan said Pakistan had much to learn from China, praising its economic development and an anti-corruption drive, which was the central plank of his Pakistan Insaf (Justice) Party platform. Zhao, the Chinese researcher, was incredulous that Khan would oppose Chinese investment, given the massive amounts of money poured into Pakistan. 'No Pakistan leader would risk damaging the country's relations with China,' Zhao said. ___ MALDIVES In the Maldives, an island nation southwest of India with around 400,000 people, Solih declared victory in Sunday's presidential election, an unexpected result against an incumbent government accused of suppression and the jailing of political opponents. Outgoing Maldives President Abdul Yameen Gayoom traveled to Beijing last year to sign a free-trade deal that eliminates most tariffs on Maldivian exports, primarily fish, and opens the island nation to Chinese goods and services, including in finance, health care and tourism. China is already the Maldives' primary source of tourists, whose spending largely drives the economy, and Beijing is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in an airport expansion, housing development and other projects. China considers Maldives a key cog in 'Belt and Road' projects following along ancient trade routes through the Indian Ocean and Central Asia. The Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank, estimates China's loans to Maldives total at least $1.3 billion, a quarter of the island nation's gross domestic product. The country is considered by the World Bank and the IMF to be at high risk of debt distress because of its vulnerability to outside shocks. 'The kind of debts the Chinese have subjected the Maldivians to, the effects of it will continue to linger on and Maldivians will have to continue to deal with it. We have seen it in Sri Lanka. Even if you have a change in government the dependency on China continues,' said Ashok Behuria, a South Asia policy expert at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. Solih's friend and the leader of his party, former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, has described China's growing influence as a land grab in the guise of investments in island development. China congratulated Solih on his victory and said it would like the new Maldivian government to uphold the previous administration's policies toward China, including the free trade agreement. While campaigning, Solih criticized the agreement, complaining that Parliament was only given five minutes to review a several-hundred-page document. 'He has been quite furious about the money that's been said to have been lost to corruption,' said Hamid Abdul Gafoor, an opposition spokesman and former Maldives lawmaker now living in Colombo, Sri Lanka, adding 'Our country's under financial straits because the debt is very high, and so that is a concern.' ___ Associated Press writers Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan and Gillian Wong in Beijing contributed to this report.
  • The U.N. Security Council tends to proceed in a scripted, measured way. U.S. President Donald Trump does not. But Trump is set to preside Wednesday over the U.N.'s most powerful body, one that incarnates the very concept of global governing that he swatted aside in a speech Tuesday. The meeting in the sanctum of shared decision-making will put the 'America First' president around a table with representatives from countries with fraught relationships with the United States, including Russia and China. The topic alone has been a matter of dispute. In the words of Washington's U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley: 'That is going to be the most watched Security Council meeting ever.' Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, chaired Security Council meetings in 2009 and 2014. But Wednesday will be Trump's first time in the Security Council, where the U.S. holds the rotating presidency this month. 'It tends to be a lot of diplomatic formalities and protocol ... and, obviously, the president is not known for sticking to the script,' says Stewart Patrick, a Council of Foreign Relations fellow with expertise in U.S. policy toward the U.N. 'You could get a lot of undiplomatic language in a place that is usually associated with tact.' Trump has spoken at the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting of presidents and other world leaders, including a speech Tuesday that trumpeted the United States' might, declared its independence from 'global bureaucracy' and espoused a 'doctrine of patriotism.' Chairing the Security Council is a somewhat more interactive role. The 15 members convene around a horseshoe-shaped table to address threats to international peace and safety, with the president generally formally calling on U.N. officials and some other council members before making his or her own statement. The group's work tends toward calibrated language, careful maneuvering and meticulously curated consensus, though meetings have become more acrimonious in recent years. It's a setting where a reference to 'appropriate measures' is often code for sanctions, and it can be an important signal if a post-meeting rundown comes in the form of a 'press statement' as opposed to a 'presidential statement.' (Essentially, a 'presidential statement' reflects a more formal agreement among council members on what to say and archive than a 'press statement' does, though neither has the force of a resolution.) Certainly, the council isn't always harmonious. There can be stinging remarks and symbolic walkouts, not to mention vetoes (the U.S. and Russia have both exercised theirs this year). But disagreement is generally done with a certain decorum. There's good reason why Security Council diplomats are, well, diplomatic, says Ian Johnstone, a former U.N. official who is now the interim dean of Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. 'If it ends up being just an opportunity for scoring political points against your adversaries, it means that scores are going to be settled' and thwart agreement and action down the road, he says. 'You don't want to spoil the sort of diplomatic atmosphere by interrupting or condemning and walking out every time you open your mouth — because it means you're really not going to get anything done,' Johnstone says. Trump left a lasting impression on the international community when he used his General Assembly speech last year to deride North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as 'Rocket Man' and threatened to 'totally destroy' his country. This time, Trump praised Kim's 'courage' in their countries' ongoing nuclear negotiations. Instead, Trump singled out Iran as a 'corrupt dictatorship' that instigates 'chaos, death and destruction.' Hours later, Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, warned in a speech in New York that there would be 'hell to pay' if Iran crossed the U.S. or its allies. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had strong words of his own at the General Assembly, accusing Washington of trying to overthrow his government and conducting an 'economic war' against it. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the multinational 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, and Washington has since reinstated sanctions that were eased under the pact. And Wednesday's Security Council meeting happens to be about ... Iran. At least partially. Haley initially said the topic was 'violations of international law and general instability Iran sows' in the Middle East. That brought complaints from Iran, and council member Russia said the spotlight should be on the nuclear deal and the U.S. withdrawal. The U.S. then broadened the subject to include the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in general. Under the council's complicated rules, the change also leaves less room for members to raise the Israeli-Palestinian issue and potentially criticize Washington's policies, including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. But then Trump tweeted last week that he would 'chair the United Nations Security Council meeting on Iran next week!' The exclamation point was his. Rouhani on Tuesday called the planned meeting 'preposterous and abnormal.' It wasn't clear whether any country beyond the 15 council nations would be given the floor. Iran isn't a council member and is very unlikely to speak. But even if it did, Trump wouldn't necessarily have to listen. In fact, he could step away at any time. Another U.S. official can take his seat at any point. And at that point, something like regular programming would resume.
  • President Rodrigo Duterte's fiercest critic in Congress was arrested Tuesday after the president revoked his 2011 amnesty for a failed coup attempt and revived rebellion charges against him in an unprecedented legal move the senator called a blow to democracy. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV walked out of the Senate, where he had taken refuge for weeks, and was moved by police to their headquarters in Makati city, where his fingerprints and mugshot were taken. After being booked by police, Trillanes was escorted to a nearby court and posted bail, trailed by many journalists. 'Democracy lost today,' Trillanes told reporters shortly before his arrest. 'Darkness and evil prevailed in our country. Whatever happens in the future will be in the hands of the Filipino people.' Known for outbursts against his critics, Duterte has long expressed anger against Trillanes, who has accused him of large-scale corruption, involvement in illegal drugs and extrajudicial killings in an anti-drug crackdown that has left thousands of suspects dead since he took office in 2016. Duterte has denied the allegations. Trillanes, a former navy officer, was jailed for more than seven years for involvement in at least three army uprisings, including a 2003 mutiny against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when he and other young officers rigged part of a road in the Makati financial district with bombs and took over an upscale residential building. After being amnestied under Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, Trillanes successfully petitioned two Philippine courts to dismiss rebellion and coup cases, allowing him to later run for public office. Duterte said he voided Trillanes' amnesty last month because the senator had failed to file a formal amnesty request and acknowledge guilt. Trillanes has strongly denied the president's claims and has provided news reports and defense department documents to counter Duterte's claims. The Department of Justice has asked two courts to issue warrants for Trillanes's arrest and resume criminal proceedings against him. One of the courts issued the arrest warrant on Tuesday. Aside from the rebellion and coup-related charges in the two courts, Duterte has also ordered the military to resume an inquiry into the senator's role in the mutinies. Legal experts and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the country's largest lawyers' group, have expressed alarm over the legal moves against Trillanes for offenses that were canceled by the 2011 amnesty. The lawyers' group said the move 'runs roughshod over the constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy,' or holding a person to answer twice for the same offense. Duterte has also accused Trillanes, without offering evidence, of plotting with other opposition politicians, including the Liberal Party and leftist groups, to oust him. Trillanes and opposition groups have dismissed the claim as a lie and asked Duterte to focus instead on addressing poverty, inflation, rice shortages, traffic jams and a decline in the value of the peso currency. Human Rights Watch said Trillanes's arrest 'is part of the persecution of critics of the Duterte administration, the latest in the relentless campaign to silence those who dared to challenge the president's murderous 'drug war.'' Under Duterte, another opposition senator has been jailed on illegal drug charges, a critical Supreme Court chief justice has been ousted by fellow judges, and foreign critics, including an Australian nun, have been barred from entering the Philippines or threatened with deportation.