Dear Rappler reader:
The Philippine military is still validating a report received by Joint Task Force Sulu commander Colonel Cirilito Sobejana that the Abu Sayyaf Group has beheaded German hostage Juergen Kantner. Chief presidential peace adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza said the military will continue search and rescue operations to free the remaining hostages.
Kantner appeared in a video two weeks ago to announce that the bandits set a February 26 deadline for his beheading if ransom was not paid.
Classes suspended due to transport strike
Military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said Sunday night they will continue to assume that German hostage Juergen Kantner is "alive and well" until validated information shows otherwise. Various news sites earlier aired a video showing Kantner pleading for his life. Kantner said he will be executed in less than 2 weeks – unless P30 million ($600,000) is paid. On Sunday, the military received unverified information that Kantner has been beheaded. Chief presidential peace adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza said the information has yet to be verified.
De Lima asks SC to stop 'illegal' arrest
Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Monday, February 27, sought the Supreme Court's help to immediately stop her "illegal" arrest, citing the judge's lack of jurisdication and grave abuse of discretion. The senator maintained that the drug trafficking charges against her are baseless and that the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan – not the Department of Justice or the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court – have jurisdiction over a public official like her.
BSP liberalizes bank licensing regulations
After years of restrictions, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) approved new regulations for granting licenses to banks and other financial institutions. The enhanced regulations align the screening of banks with international standards and comes on the heels of the lifting of the ban on new domestic banks.
Deadly Chile floods leave 4 million with no water to drink
Rainstorms and landslides in Chile killed 4 and contaminated a major river, forcing authorities to cut off drinking water to 4 million people in the capital, authorities said. The torrential rain that started Saturday, February 25, prompted mudslides and rubble to surge into the Maipo river which supplies most homes in the capital.
Energy giant invests China's untapped geothermal reserves
Though experts say there is immense potential in China's subterranean heat reserves, they remain largely unexploited, accounting for less than 0.5% of the Asian giant's energy consumption. This is changing as Chinese state-run energy giant Sinopec appears to be investing further in renewable energy, including solar and wind, as well as geothermal. Sinopec aims to develop 20 "smokeless cities" nationwide by 2020.
Nokia 3310 relaunch confirmed
Screenshot from Nokia website