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- PH government wins case vs Marcos, allies
Anti-graft court Sandiganbayan orders the Marcos and Lim families to return all assets claimed by the Philippine government. The decision took 28 years, with the case filed in 1987 – a year after the People Power revolt which ousted former President Ferdinand Marcos. The defendants include Marcos, who died in 1989, and his wife Imelda, Alfonso Lim Sr, Alfonso Lim Jr, former Environment Minister Teodoro Peña and several corporations. A Newsbreak report from 2005 says Lim Sr, who died in 2002, was a close friend of Marcos. The Sandiganbayan ordered the respondents to turn over vast tracts of land in Cagayan, Manila, Tagaytay, Batangas, and Rizal.
Read more on the case vs. Marcos, allies.
- Duterte, Cayetano promise: peace in 6 months, cops’ salary increase
Should he become president, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte vows to build peace among different forces in the country within 3 to 6 months. The tough-talking mayor said his peace and order agenda involves discussions with different groups, such as the Communist Party of the Philippines’ National Democratic Front, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, indigenous peoples, and groups who represent victims of injustice. Duterte, along with running mate Alan Peter Cayetano, also promises to improve the justice system to eliminate crime and corruption. Cayetano said that central to their plan is the increase of salaries of policemen to P75,000 to P100,000 each within 3 years. The proposed salary will allow the lowest ranking police officer to earn more than what the chief of the Philippine National Police is earning today – a proposed P75,000 versus P67,500 a month.
- SolGen won’t defend Comelec in Poe case
The Philippine government’s top lawyer, Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, refused to defend the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the case filed by presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe before the Supreme Court (SC). This comes after the Office of the Solicitor General defended the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) ruling in favor of Poe. The SET earlier junked a petition to disqualify Poe as senator, based on claims that she is not a natural-born Filipino. Despite the SET ruling, the Comelec later barred Poe from running for president because of citizenship and residency issues. The SC on December 28 stopped the Comelec from implementing this ruling and scheduled oral arguments on Poe’s case on January 19. Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said the SC also gave the Comelec a “non-extendible deadline” of January 7 to file its answer to Poe’s request.
Read more on SolGen’s refusal to defend Comelec vs Poe.
Read the full text of the SolGen statement.
- Charlie Hebdo’s anniversary edition: Gun-wielding God
French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo will mark a year since an attack on its offices with a cover featuring a bearded man representing God with a gun slung over his shoulder. The cover has the caption, “One year on: The assassin is still out there.” One million copies of the special edition will be available on newsstands, with tens of thousands more to be dispatched overseas. Wednesday will mark a year since brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi burst into Charlie Hebdo’s offices in eastern Paris and killed 12 people, including 8 of the magazine’s staff. The January 7, 2015 attack, claimed by Al-Qaeda’s branch in the Arabian Peninsula, came after a 2011 firebombing of its offices that forced it to move premises. Its staff had also been under police protection since it published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006. A coordinated assault on multiple locations in Paris, claimed by ISIS, left 130 dead in November after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
Read more on Charlie Hebdo’s anniversary edition.
- Obama to bypass US Congress on gun control
US President Barack Obama will take action to tackle US gun violence, bypassing Congress and its staunch opposition to gun control. In a New Year’s address, Obama voiced his determination to tackle what he called the “unfinished business” of curbing gun violence. But Obama’s decision to bypass Congress sets up a political and legal fight for the coming election year. The Republican-controlled body has already rejected measures to curb the sale of military-style semi-automatic rifles. The speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, on Monday accused Obama of “dismissiveness” toward Americans who value the constitutional right to bear arms. During Obama’s 7 years as president, mass shootings have killed Connecticut schoolchildren, South Carolina churchgoers and Colorado movie watchers. Deaths from gun violence, many of them suicides, average 30,000 per year in the United States.
Read more on Obama’s gun control act.
- Mark Zuckerberg’s 2016 plans: Build AI
In 2016 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he will build an artificial intelligence (AI) system to help him with home and work. On his Facebook page Zuckerberg compares the AI to Jarvis in Iron Man. He also plans to teach the AI facial recognition to manage access to his home – much like a butler – and to help monitor his daughter Max, just like a nanny. At work, Zuckerberg says the AI will help him visualize data in virtual reality to build better services.
Read more on Zuckerberg’s 2016 projects.
- 4 new elements added to the periodic table
Four new elements have been officially added to the periodic table of elements, completing the seventh row and making chemistry textbooks around the world obsolete. The discovered elements are all synthetic elements – they do not occur naturally on Earth and are produced artificially through experiments. One of the 4 – Element 113 – was the first of the new batch to be discovered and named by Asian scientists. Elements 115, 117, and 118 were discovered by different teams of scientists conducting joint research from Russia and the United States. The final names of the new elements will be decided within the year.
Read more on the 4 new elements.
- WATCH: Terrence Romeo scores career-high 41 points
Former UAAP MVP Terrence Romeo leads Globalport to win over Alaska with a career-high 41 points on Monday, January 4. A Far Eastern University standout, Romeo debuted with the Philippine national team Gilas Pilipinas in the William Jones Cup and FIBA Asia Championship in 2015. Globalport won over Alaska 107-93, attempting to go up 2-0 over the favored Aces when they meet for a second time on Wednesday.
- WATCH: Pia Wurtzbach’s first interview as Miss Universe
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach officially started her reign on Monday, appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America two weeks after she was crowned in Las Vegas. Pia said she still finds her historic triumph surreal, but added that she’s happy and excited to start her reign. She also said she got in touch with Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez, who was mistakenly crowned on December 20 because of host Steve Harvey’s mix up. Pia said Ariadna seemed to be doing well when she greeted the Colombian beauty queen on her birthday on December 25. Pia’s triumph ended a 42-year drought for the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant. She is the 3rd from the Philippines, following Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margie Moran in 1973.
- Adele’s ‘Hello’ spurs highest records sales in US in 10 years
British singer Adele’s record-breaking album 25 scored another feat – the highest US sales in a single year in a decade. Her album was the top-selling album of 2015, selling 7.44 million copies in the United States by the end of December 31 – the most in a year since R&B star Usher’s album Confessions sold 7.98 million copies in 2004. Adele’s previous album, 21, was the top-selling album in the United States in both 2011 and 2012. But 21 did not reach the sales of 25 in either year.
Read more on Adele’s record-breaking album sales.