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- One Cebu Party drops Binay, Una
The One Cebu Party cuts its ties with Vice President Jejomar Binay and the United Nationalist Alliance. Cebu gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia said the decision to break the alliance was unanimous adding recent events showed that UNA did not appreciate or reciprocate loyalty. He said One Cebu members were not invited to participate in UNA’s rallies in Cebu. Binay for his part said there are gains and losses in losing One Cebu’s support but he will not discuss issues that are “water under the bridge.” Cebu is the largest province in terms of votes with more than 2.7 million registered voters.
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- Binay’s 9 documents
Vice President Jejomar Binay presented Monday the 9 documents he wanted to show during the Cebu presidential debate: 1. Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) 2. Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) 3. Blue ribbon committee affidavit 4. Income tax returns (ITR) 5. Bank secrecy waiver 6. Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) motion to drop respondents 7. Medical certificate 8. United States oath of allegiance 9. Good governance awards.
Read more on 9 documents Binay brought to the Cebu debate
- William Go files more cases vs Deguito, Torres
Filipino-Chinese businessman William So Go is set to file on Tuesday, March 22, two more criminal complaints against Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Jupiter-Makati branch manager Maia-Santos Deguito and senior customer relations officer Andrea Ruth Torres for “issuing fake identification cards and forging signature in two separate bank opening documents.” According to Go’s legal counsel Ramon Esguerra, this will be different from the first complaint So Go filed on Friday, March 19. “The first one is for withdrawal slips of P20 million; while the second one is for the bank opening documents for the peso account opened in July 2014 and the third for the dollar account opened in February 2016.” So Go said that Deguito tried to bribe him with P10 million to keep his silence over the use of his name in fictitious accounts. But according to Senator TG Guingona who heads the hearing on the Bangladesh Bank heist, Deguito claimed that So Go was asking for a 10% kickback from the $81 million stolen money.
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- How much does PH owe the world?
The country’s external debt increased by $1.9 billion or 2.5% in the 4th quarter of 2015, attributed to net borrowing of $1.8 billion mainly by private banks and firms to finance projects. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr said the outstanding Philippine external debt stood at $77.5 billion as of end-2015, up from the end-September 2015 level of $75.6 billion. External debt refers to all types of borrowings by Philippine residents from non-residents, following the residency criterion for international statistics. Despite the increase, the BSP pointed out that on a year-on-year basis, the debt stock declined by $200 million from the $77.7 billion figure for 2014.
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- US warns of ‘underground detonation’ by North Korea
South Korean officials say North Korea fired 5 short-range rockets into the sea Monday. This comes after the North’s launch of medium range missiles last Friday an act of defiance against the United Nations sanctions over its nuclear test in January. South Korean officials now warn about a fifth nuclear test by North Korea adding they’re now “preparing for all possibilities.” United States officials also say an underground detonation could take place any time. The North threatened South Korea and the US over its ongoing military drills while existing UN sanctions ban North Korea from any missile test.
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- Obama, Castro meet to end US-Cuba standoff
US president Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro met Monday in Havana for groundbreaking talks on ending the standoff between the two neighbors. Castro acknowledged there were still “profound” differences over Cuba’s human rights situation and the US economic embargo. Obama, the first US president to visit Cuba in 88 years, hailed a “new day” in relations between the former Cold War foes. Obama’s visit raised hopes among struggling Cubans that decades of economic and political stasis may be coming to an end, but the brief detention of dozens of pro-democracy protesters hours before his arrival served as a stark reminder of the regime’s iron grip on power.
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- Clinton on Israel: Next US president cannot be ‘neutral’
Hillary Clinton launched a withering attack on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump Monday at an appearance before thousands of Jewish voters, saying America’s next president cannot be “neutral” when it comes to Israel. Trump raised eyebrows in the Jewish community for stressing he wanted to be a neutral broker between Israel and the Palestinians when it came to peace talks. In a December debate, the billionaire real estate magnate described the Israel-Palestinian relationship as “the toughest negotiation there probably is of any kind.” Clinton stressed the importance of “electing a president with a deep personal commitment to Israel’s future.”
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- Mentally ill Indonesian women shackled, sexually abused
On Monday, Human Rights Watch released a report on abuses against people with psychosocial disabilities in Indonesia – a study conducted between November 2014 and January 2016. The organization visited 18 mental hospitals and institutions across Java and Sumatra and documented 175 cases across 5 provinces of people who are now shackled, locked up, or were released lately. Despite a ban on shackling since 1977, the practice remains rife; government data shows over 18,000 are still shackled in homes or institutions. Ankles of some people with a psychosocial disability are bound with chains or wooden stocks from a couple of hours to days to months or even years, often outside, with the person frequently naked and unable to wash.
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- Indian entrepreneur sets up first gay marriage bureau
An Indian entrepreneur has set up what is claimed to be the country’s first gay marriage bureau, seeking to arrange matches for homosexual couples. Benhur Samson, who previously helped foreign gay couples use surrogacy services, said he founded the agency in response to interest from clients. Samson, who lives in the United States, has enlisted the help of Manvendrasingh Gohil, an openly gay Indian prince, to help sort out immigration issues. Enrolment costs $5,000, an unthinkably high sum for most Indians, although the fee is refundable if no match is found. The agency conducts background checks, visits prospective partners at home and at work and provides counselling. Gay marriage and gay sex are both illegal in the conservative country and homosexuality has long been a taboo subject.
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- iPhone SE, smaller iPad pro debut, Watch price drops in Apple event
Apple on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) confirmed earlier reports of a new iPhone and iPad and dropped the starting price of the Apple Watch from $399 to $299. The new iPhone – tagged SE or Special Edition – takes after the 5s line. It comes with a 4-inch display – promises “longer battery life, faster wireless, [and] a 12-megapixel iSight camera.” The new iPad Pro is a shrunken version of the 12.9-inch version, packing a 9.7-inch Retina display. Pre-orders for both devices will begin on March 24. Both the iPhone SE and the new iPad Pro will come out March 31, and will be released in over 100 countries by the end of May.
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