Daily News Highlights – March 10, 2016 Edition

Gwen De La Cruz

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

  1. Manila to use Japan military planes for South China Sea patrol

    President Benigno Aquino III announced that the Philippine Air Force will lease 5 military planes from Japan to patrol Philippine-claimed waters and outcrops in the disputed South China Sea, also called the West Philippine Sea. He said leasing of the TC-90 aircraft was part of government efforts to protect Philippine territory, which also included previously stated plans to acquire fighter jets and transport aircraft. “All of these additional equipment are part of our (Philippine Air Force) Flight Plan 2028, aimed at improving the capability of our air force to defend our territory,” Aquino said. Tensions in the South China Sea – through which one-third of the world’s oil passes – have mounted in recent months since China transformed contested Spratly reefs into artificial islands capable of supporting military facilities.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Despite world warnings, North Korea, Iran fire missiles

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its eastern coast on March 10, fueling military tensions after its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch. South Korea’s defense ministry said the two missiles were fired around 5:20 am local time and flew some 500 kilometers, before landing in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) off the North Korean port city of Wonsan. Short-range missile launches are a regular and relatively low-level item on North Korea’s long list of provocative gestures. Iran, meanwhile, fired two more long-range ballistic missiles on March 9, as it continued military tests in defiance of United States sanctions and fresh warnings from Washington. The missile tests, described by Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards as a show of force in the face of US pressure, come just weeks after the implementation of Iran’s historic nuclear deal with world powers. After similar tests on March 8, Washington had warned it could raise the issue with the United Nations Security Council and take further action after US sanctions were imposed in connection with Iran’s missile program in January.

    Read Rappler’s full story on the North Korean missiles here.

    The full story on Iran’s defiant missile tests here.

  3. Philippine bank, casinos linked to $100-M Manhattan bank heist

    The Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, a Philippine bank, said that a bulk of the $100 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank’s account in Manhattan was deposited in its Jupiter branch in Makati City. “RCBC is investigating the deposit of $81 million in its Jupiter branch and the subsequent transactions thereon,” RCBC’s corporate vice chairman Cesar Virata said in a statement. “RCBC and its principal shareholders – the Yuchengco family, Cathay Life, the largest life insurance company in Taiwan, and IFC, the investment arm of the World Bank – are fully committed to comply with all banking laws and regulations, in particular those on money laundering.” Quoting an unnamed representative of an RCBC bank manager, a Manila newspaper report said top officials of RCBC knew about the transactions from beginning to end. The pilfered account belongs to the Bangladesh central bank.

    Read the full story on Rappler Business.

  4. PH presidential polls risk postponement

    The Philippine Commission on Elections said it considers postponing the May 9 polls after a Supreme Court ruling forced the poll body to overhaul months-long processes in only 60 days. Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the Comelec is holding an “emergency, all hands” meeting on March 9, to discuss its next steps after the SC ordered the Comelec to issue voting receipts, a feature that the Comelec disabled from the vote counting machines and which will require fresh public biddings and overhauling source codes within a tight deadline. The Supreme Court has reprimanded the poll body for failing to file a comment when a petition was lodged against its decision to do away with voting receipts.

    Read the full story on Rappler #PHvote.

  5. Thai junta orders fresh sweep of mafia bosses

    Thailand’s military junta ordered a fresh sweep of 6,000 corrupt “influential people” – a Thai phrase used to describe mafia bosses and other powerful figures dealing in illegal trades – the latest move by a regime that has touted a tough anti-graft stance, but with limited success. The kingdom is known for its nexus of graft-tainted officials, underground mafia and shady patronage networks, something the ruling junta has vowed to tackle, even though the military has long been tarred by such allegations. The blacklisted, which include government and security officials, are suspected of aiding a variety of crime syndicates, deputy prime minister General Prawit Wongsuwon said, without elaborating on the nature of the crimes. He said the crackdown would be wrapped up in the next two months.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  6. Two more nuclear reactors in Japan ordered shut down

    A Japanese court on March 9 ordered two regional nuclear reactors to shut down over safety concerns, just days before the 5th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The order would bring the number of operating reactors in Japan down to two. Dozens were shut down in the wake of the accident. The ruling is the first to require the shutdown of reactors that were restarted under stricter safety standards adopted after the 2011 accident, the worst atomic crisis in a generation. The Otsu District Court sided with area residents, who launched their legal action, claiming the reactors posed safety risks. The ruling is a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to bring back nuclear power.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  7. Biden slams Palestinian leaders’ ’failure to condemn’ attacks vs Israel

    United States Vice President Joe Biden on March 9 implicitly criticized Palestinian leaders for not condemning attacks against Israelis, as an upsurge in violence marred his visit. Six separate attacks took place shortly before or after Biden’s arrival on March 8, including a stabbing spree on Tel Aviv’s waterfront by a Palestinian who killed an American tourist and wounded 12 other people. “The United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts,” Biden said while meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The kind of violence we saw yesterday, the failure to condemn it, the rhetoric that incites that violence, the retribution that it generates, has to stop.”

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  8. Scientists grow lenses from stem cells

    People suffering vision loss may one day have new corneas and lenses grown from their own cells, and be spared the invasive transplants required today, according to research published on March 9. In papers published in the journal Nature, a research team said they had managed to engineer corneas from stem cells in the lab, while another regenerated lenses inside the human eye. “These two studies illustrate the remarkable regenerative and therapeutic potential of stem cells,” wrote Julie Daniels of the University College London Institute of Opthalmology, who analyzed the work in a paper also carried by Nature.

    Read the full story on Rappler Science.

  9. AlphaGo computer wins first match against Go grandmaster

    A Google-developed supercomputer stunned South Korean Go grandmaster Lee Se-Dol by taking the first game of a 5-match showdown between man and machine in Seoul on March 9. After about 3-1/2 hours of play, Lee, one of the greatest players of the ancient board game in the modern era, resigned when it became clear the AlphaGo computer had taken an unassailable lead. Its creators were bullish going into the match at the Four Seasons hotel in the South Korean capital, saying the computer, which employs algorithms that allow it to learn and improve from matchplay experience, was even stronger than when it took on European champion Fan Hui last October.

    Read the full story on Rappler Technology.

  10. 490 athletes may have used meldonium at European Games – report

    Some 490 athletes, including 13 medalists, may have taken meldonium at last year’s European Games in Baku, according to research published on Wednesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Meldonium – the drug responsible for tennis star Maria Sharapova’s failed dope test – was placed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances on January 1, with the research, carried out on behalf of the European Olympic Committees, contributing to the global watchdog’s decision. The findings were based on information volunteered by athletes and their medical teams, as well as anti-doping tests given at the European Games last June. Thirteen medalists were found to have been taking meldonium and the drug was detected in athletes competing in 15 of the 21 sports.

    Read the full story on Rappler Sports.

    Learn more about Meldonium on Rappler.

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