Philippine leader Duterte says God told him to stop cursing

MANILA, Philippines — The foul-mouthed Philippine president, who once called the pope a "son of a bitch" and told Barack Obama to "go to hell," says he has promised to God he won't spew expletives again.

President Rodrigo Duterte's profanities have become his trademark, especially when threatening to kill drug dealers as part of his war on illegal drugs that has left thousands dead since he took office at the end of June.

Duterte made the stunning pledge on arrival in his southern hometown of Davao city late Thursday from a trip to Japan.

While flying home, he said he was looking at the sky while everyone was sound asleep, some snoring, and he heard a voice that said, "If you don't stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now."

"And I said, 'Who is this?' So, of course, 'It's God,'" he said.

"So, I promise God to ... not express slang, cuss words and everything. So you guys hear me right always because (a) promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people."

Duterte's vow was met with applause, but he cautioned: "Don't clap too much or else this may get derailed."

He shocked the dominant Roman Catholics last year when he fired off an expletive while expressing his disgust over a monstrous traffic jam that trapped him while Pope Francis was visiting Manila. "I wanted to call. 'Pope, you son of a bitch, go home. Don't visit here anymore,'" he told a mob of supporters, some of whom laughed.

He later apologized after Filipino bishops expressed shock and outrage.


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It's not certain if the 71-year-old president, who has been compared to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump because of his brash language, can keep his promise. Duterte made a similar pledge in June when it became evident that he had won the May 9 presidential elections overwhelmingly on a pledge to end crimes, especially illegal drugs and corruption.

He said then that he was enjoying his last moments as a "rude person" because "when I become president, when I take my oath of office ... that will be a different story. There will be a metamorphosis."

It didn't take long for Duterte to break the promise.

He has repeatedly leveled SOB-laced tirades against Obama, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a few outspoken opposition politicians and human rights advocates, while heaping praises on Chinese and Russian leaders.

Ukrainian man renames himself iPhone 7 to win the phone

KIEV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian man has officially changed his name to iPhone 7 after an electronics store offered the latest Apple product to the first five people who do that.

The 20-year-old iPhone Sim (Seven) got the coveted prize Friday. He said he might change it back to his original name, Olexander Turin, when he has children.

The price of phone starts at $850 in Ukraine, while the name changes costs $2.

Sim's friends and family were shocked at first but eventually supported the idea.

His sister Tetyana Panina said, "It was difficult to accept that and hard to believe it's true." She added: "Each person in this world is looking for a way to express himself. Why not to do that in this way?"

Associated Press