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Philippine President Duterte criticised for kissing overseas worker on stage

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SEOUL — The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has been criticised for kissing a married woman on the lips during a speech in South Korea on Sunday evening in front of thousands of cheering supporters.

Duterte, 73, dismissed the kiss as a ‘gimmick’ to entertain supporters at a meet-and-greet event with overseas Filipino workers in South Korea. But one senator called the act “a despicable display of sexism and grave abuse of authority”.

Duterte sought a kiss from the woman after he called her on stage to give her a copy of a book at the event in Seoul, the Philippine Star reported. When Duterte asked if she could explain to her husband that the antic was just a joke, and she said yes, the president leaned in and kissed her as thousands erupted in cheers.

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State-run Philippine News Agency identified the woman as Bea Kim and also posted a brief video interview with her on its Facebook page.

The scene was broadcast live by the state-run TV network to the Philippines.

The woman has defended the kiss and said she was thrilled by her encounter but others said the president went too far.

But, women’s rights group Gabriela argued the act represented “disgusting theatrics of a misogynist president who feels entitled to demean, humiliate or disrespect women according to his whim”.

“His repeated acts of machismo are meant as entertainment to hide the reality of his rapidly slipping popularity due to the issues of extrajudicial killings, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law and big-time corruption scandals now plaguing his rule,” the group said in a statement.

Agencies

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7 killed after Delhi-Bound train derails in Bihar

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NEW DELHI — At least seven people have died and 14 others injured after a Delhi-bound train derailed early Sunday morning in Bihar’s Vaishali district.

Eleven coaches of 12487 Seemanchal Express derailed near Sahadai Buzurg at around 3:52 am. Three of the coaches overturned and the high force of the impact destroyed them completely.

The injured are being transported to local hospitals.

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The superfast train from Jogbani in Bihar to Delhi’s Anand Vihar Terminal was running at full speed when the accident took place, officials said.

Bodies are believed to be trapped inside one of the affected coaches and the number of dead is likely to rise, local police official said.

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