Daily News Highlights – March 17, 2016 Edition

Gwen De La Cruz

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

  1. Amid tension in South China Sea, Japan submarine to visit PH, Vietnam

    A Japanese submarine will make a port call in the Philippines for the first time in 15 years while accompanying naval ships will visit Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay for the first time ever, Japan’s navy said. The announcement came days after China accused its Asian rival of interfering in the South China Sea. Japan, which occupied the Philippines and Vietnam during World War II, is now strengthening relations. All 3 countries share growing concerns about China’s increasing military muscle amid a series of maritime disputes. China claims almost all the South China Sea, and is also embroiled in a separate row with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  2. Why the search for stolen $81-M hits dead end in PH

    Philippine authorities were not able to trace the exact location of the $81-million stolen money from Bangladesh Bank’s account, citing the country’s “strict bank secrecy and weak anti-money laundering act” as hindrances to reach a meaningful probe. After 5 hours of questioning, the Senate blue ribbon committee on March 15 got frustrated with Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito and RCBC president and CEO Lorenzo Tan for invoking bank secrecy and their right against self-incrimination. Anti-Money Laundering Council Executive Director Julia Bacay-Abad also expressed her frustrations during the hearing, conceding that “the money trail ended at casinos.” She said: “It’s a dead end. Non-inclusion of casino in AMLA just increased the probability of money laundering in the Philippines.”

    Read the full story on Rappler Business.

    Read also about How Bangladesh Bank dirty money easily got into PH.

    Here is a timeline of tracing the $81-million stolen fund from Bangladesh Bank.

  3. Village elections to be postponed if Binay becomes president

    There will be no barangay (village) elections in October 2016 if Vice President Jejomar Binay is elected president. This was Binay’s promise to barangay officials who attended his sortie in Vigan City. He said he wants the village polls to be moved one to two years after the May national polls. “By then, we would have just finished with an election, only to be followed by another immediately after)!” Villages fund their own elections, the Vice President said, so postponing the exercise will allow them to spend the funds instead on services. He acknowledged that the law would have to be amended for his plan to push through.

    Read the full story on Rappler #PHvote.

  4. ISIS loses ground in 2015 – analysts

    The Islamic State group has lost 22% of the territory it held at the start of 2015, military analysts IHS Jane’s said, as US and Russian air strikes have helped the jihadists’ opponents advance. ISIS controls swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, but lost 14% of it last year and a further 8% this year, according to the IHS Conflict Monitor. Jihadists controlled 73,440 square kilometers (28,360 square miles) of ground as of March 14, an area equivalent to around half the size of England. The Syrian government has made gains in the west of the country and is now 5 kilometers outside the ancient city of Palmyra, which was overrun by ISIS fighters in mid-2015. An analyst said the group’s reversal of fortunes “plays into the hands” of its main rival, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate the Al-Nusra Front.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  5. Argentina sinks Chinese boat poaching in exclusive waters

    Argentinian forces opened fire on and sank a Chinese boat illegally fishing in the South Atlantic after it attempted to ram a coast guard vessel, officials said. A video posted on the coast guard’s website showed a large Chinese boat listing in the open sea while apparently under pursuit. Poaching of fish is a perennial problem in the Atlantic and Southern Ocean, and has sometimes seen law enforcement agencies pursue violators for weeks on end at sea, but it is highly unusual for such incidents to end with a vessel being sent to the sea floor. The coast guard said the Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 was fishing without permission off Puerto Madryn, 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) south of Buenos Aires on Tuesday, inside Argentina’s exclusive economic zone. Chinese fishing vessels have been encroaching in the Philippines EEC as well over at the West Philippine Sea.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  6. Obama names centrist judge Garland to Supreme Court

    United States President Barack Obama tapped the centrist judge Merrick Garland as his pick to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by late conservative justice Antonin Scalia, setting the stage for an election-year showdown with Republicans. White House officials say the former prosecutor “has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history.” The Republican majority in the Senate has vowed to ignore his selection. The Republican party’s leadership has insisted the nomination should be made by Obama’s successor in the White House, who takes office in less than a year. Little known to the US public, Garland is the chief judge of the US court of Appeals for the DC District, and held out by Obama as “uniquely prepared to serve” in the Supreme Court.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  7. Investors sue Volkswagen over emissions cheating scandal

    A group of 278 institutional investors from Germany and abroad is suing embattled auto giant Volkswagen for more than 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in damages over the emissions cheating scandal, their lawyers and the court said. The lawyers, TISAB Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, said in a statement that they had filed “the first multi-billion-euro lawsuit in Germany against Volkswagen” at a court in Brunswick, northern Germany. They accuse the carmaker of repeatedly violating capital market disclosure rules between June 6, 2008, and September 18, 2015. “The 278 plaintiffs are exclusively institutional investors from Germany and all over the world, including Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and Taiwan,” the statement said. Among them were 17 German investment funds and one of the biggest US pension funds, CalPERS.

    Read the full story on Rappler Business.

  8. NASA tests: What happens when there’s a huge fire in space?

    NASA said it will test the effects of a large fire in space by setting off a blaze inside an orbiting unmanned space craft. NASA has set off tiny controlled fires in space in the past, but never tested how large flames react inside a space capsule in space. This research “is crucial for the safety of current and future space missions,” Gary Ruff, one of the engineers heading the experiment at the US space agency’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The goal is to measure the size of the flames, how quickly they spread, the heat output, and how much gas is emitted. The experiment will be conducted in an Orbital ATK Cygnus capsule after the craft ferries supplies to the International Space Station. The Cygnus capsule is scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, atop an Atlas 5 rocket on its final mission on March 23.

    Read more on Rappler Science.

  9. What are the happiest, most miserable nations?

    The Philippines is the 82nd “happiest” nation in the world, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report. Denmark, closely followed by Switzerland, is the happiest country in the world while crisis-torn Syria and Burundi are the most miserable. The report seeks to quantify happiness as a means of making societies healthier and more efficient.

    The United Nations published the first such study in 2012. The Philippines had a score of 5.279 out of 10, just ahead of China (83rd, score of 5.245) and behind Azerbaijan (81st, score of 5.291). The authors said 6 factors – GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption – explain almost three-fourths of the variation across different countries.

    Read the full story on Rappler Science.

  10. Harrison Ford to star in 5th ‘Indiana Jones’ movie

    Harrison Ford will reprise his iconic role as the adventurous archaeologist in a 5th installment of the Indiana Jones series, the Walt Disney Company announced. It said Steven Spielberg, who directed all 4 previous films, will helm the as-yet-untitled project that will hit the big screen in 2019. Disney in 2013 took over rights to the Indiana Jones franchise from Paramount Films and since then reports have been swirling that a 5th installment was in the works. Indiana Jones burst onto the screen in 1981 with Raiders of the Lost Ark, followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984 and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989.

    Read the full story on Rappler Entertainment.

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