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- Duterte refuses to say sorry for rape remark
Leading presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte found himself in the middle of a maelstrom of criticism after a video of him joking about an Australian missionary who was raped in Davao City in 1989 went viral over the weekend. In the video, posted on Saturday, April 16, by YouTube user Beatboxer ng Pinas, Duterte is speaking at what appears to be his Tuesday, April 12 campaign rally at the Amoranto Sports Complex in Quezon City. In the video, the tough talking Davao City mayor was shown as saying: “I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.” His rivals lost no time in hitting Duterte for joking about rape. The story has caught the attention not just of local but also of the international press. Militant women’s group Gabriela has asked Duterte to apologize saying rape is “no laughing matter.” But Duterte refused to apologize saying, “that’s how I speak.” More details in the stories below.
- Earthquake aftermath: Ecuador digs for survivors
Rescuers in Ecuador burrowed through deep rubble Sunday, April 17, in an increasingly desperate attempt to find survivors of an earthquake that killed at least 246 people and allowed scores of inmates to escape prison. About 2,500 people were injured when the strong 7.8-magnitude quake hit Saturday evening, April 16, Vice President Jorge Glas said. The quake wrecked buildings, toppled power lines and sent terrified residents running from their homes when it struck a coastal zone popular with tourists. Officials declared a state of emergency in the worst-hit provinces, and a national state of “exception,” both of which suspend certain civil rights and liberties to allow security forces and officials to react faster. More details in the link below.
- Promises aside, next president tied to Aquino admin budget for 2 years
Former national treasurer Leonor Briones pointed out that whoever wins the presidency will have to work with the national budget created under the Aquino administration for at least two years. The new president is set to take oath in July – 7 months into 2016. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced in January that it has already released 90% of the P3-trillion budget to government agencies. Meanwhile, budget preparations for 2017 has already started, and Congress is set to start its hearings by June. If the new president’s campaign promises and new projects or programs are not in the 2016 and 2017 budgets, Briones raised concerns that this may mean committing unconstitutional acts. “They cannot touch the 2016 budget anymore because that’s already committed. So if they say they [want to give] free lunches to school children, how much is that? Is that budgeted for 2016?” Briones said. The same can be said for the 2017 budget, she said, because it has been prepared under the current administration’s budget department, and will already be laid out by July.
- Metro Manila continues to sizzle, new high temp for 2016 is 37.7°C
Metro Manila temperature hit a new high this year as state weather bureau PAGASA recorded the heat reached 37.7°C on Sunday afternoon, April 17. The previous hottest temperature in 2016 was recorded on Saturday, April 16, at 37.5°C. The highest temperature in Metro Manila was 38.5°C and was recorded on May 14, 1987. For the whole Philippines, meanwhile, the hottest temperature ever recorded was 42.2°C on May 11, 1969 in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. For Monday, Metro Manila is projected to experience temperatures ranging from 25°C to 37°C.
Metro Manila temperature hits new high this year with 37.7°C
- Brazil lower house votes to impeach President Rousseff
Brazil’s lower house on Sunday, April 17, voted in favor of authorizing the Senate to start an impeachment trial for President Dilma Rousseff, plunging the deeply divided country into crisis. The vote brought to a boil months of rancorous debate that has seen Rousseff’s ruling coalition collapse and prompted huge street demonstrations. Rousseff, 68, is accused of illegal accounting maneuvers to mask government shortfalls during her 2014 reelection. Many Brazilians also hold her responsible for the economic mess and a massive corruption scandal centered on state oil company Petrobras, a toxic record that has left her government with 10% approval ratings. If impeachment is authorized Sunday, the Senate would vote, probably in May, on whether to open a trial.
Read more: Brazil lower house votes to impeach President Dilma Rousseff
- Oil prices plunge after failure of Doha output talks
Oil prices plunged on Monday, April 18, after the world’s top producers failed to reach an agreement on capping output and easing a global supply glut at a meeting in Doha. Hopes the world’s largest producer cartel, OPEC, and other major producers like Russia would agree to freeze output has helped scrape oil prices off the 13-year lows they touched in February. But crude tanked after top producer Saudi Arabia walked away from the agreement, which many hoped would ease a huge surplus in world supplies, after rival Iran boycotted the meeting. The collapse of Sunday’s (April 17) talks sent oil tumbling in early Asia trade, with prices sliding as much as 7% in opening deals.
Read more: Oil prices plunge after Doha output talks fail
- Pope Francis meets with migrants
“There were so many children. Some of these children witnessed their parents and friends dying, drowned at sea… I saw such suffering.” Pope Francis spoke these words emotionally Sunday, April 17, after his meeting a day earlier with migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos. The visit culminated with the Pope taking 3 Syrian families back to the Vatican. Addressing worshippers at his weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square, the 79-year-old pontiff, who is himself the son of Italian immigrants in Argentina, related his visit to a migrant processing center, where around 3,000 people are being held.
‘There was such suffering’: Pope Francis on meeting with migrants
- Maxine Medina is Miss Universe Philippines 2016
Maria Mika Maxine Medina was proclaimed Miss Universe Philippines 2016 at the Bb Pilipinas Coronation night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, April 17. Maxine has big shoes to fill. Many Filipino fans are hoping for a back-to-back win after Pia Wurtzbach won the Miss Universe title in December. Maxine, 25, is a graduate of the Philippine School of Interior Design with experience in designing residential condominiums. She is also a model. Click the link for the full list of Bb Pilipinas pageant winners.
- Trump’s foreign policy worry US allies
US Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has rung alarm bells around the world with his proclamations on foreign policy, but his targets are increasingly shrugging off his barbs. By suggesting that NATO is “obsolete” and that Japan and South Korea should acquire nuclear weapons to rid the United States of the burden of protecting those countries, Trump has called into question some of the cornerstones of US foreign policy for decades. The property developer’s comments have earned sharp rebukes from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. An exasperated Obama said he was “getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made”. Obama said Trump “doesn’t know much about foreign policy, or nuclear policy, or the Korean peninsula, or the world generally”. Although Trump leads the Republican primary race, he is projected to lose an election against the likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The question is whether Trump’s campaign could cause lasting damage to America’s foreign relations, or at the very least worry its allies and exacerbate strains with unfriendly nations.
- Canada PM Justin Trudeau on quantum computing
While the social media space continues to buzz over the latest gaffes of contenders for the presidency in the US and the Philippines, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gives global netizens (or the geeks among them at least) yet another reason to love him: he has a more than passable knowledge of quantum computing. Check out the link below to watch the video.