#ThewRap: Things you need to know, February 27, 2017

Hello! Here are the top stories you shouldn't miss this Monday.

ABDUCTED. German nationals Juergen Kantner and his wife Sabine Merz (R) pose for a photograph on May 5, 2009 in Berbera. File photo by Mustafa Abdi/AFP

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Hello!

Dear Rappler reader:

The Philippine military is still validating a report received by Joint Task Force Sulu commander Colonel Cirilito Sobejana that the Abu Sayyaf Group has beheaded German hostage Juergen Kantner. Chief presidential peace adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza said the military will continue search and rescue operations to free the remaining hostages.

Kantner appeared in a video two weeks ago to announce that the bandits set a February 26 deadline for his beheading if ransom was not paid.

Meanwhile, Hollywood rolls out the red carpet for the annual Academy Awards.

Classes suspended due to transport strike

As jeepney operators prepared to hold a strike in Metro Manila and select provinces to protest plans to phase out their old fleet, Malacañang announced the suspension of preschool to high school classes in both public and private schools for Metro Manila and "all affected areas nationwide." A number of colleges and universities also declared class suspensions. Jeepney operators led by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) want the government to drop its plans for stricter regulation of jeepneys. PISTON said the new regulations will lead to the "corporate takeover" of public transport.

Did the Abu Sayyaf behead German hostage?

Military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said Sunday night they will continue to assume that German hostage Juergen Kantner is "alive and well" until validated information shows otherwise. Various news sites earlier aired a video showing Kantner pleading for his life. Kantner said he will be executed in less than 2 weeks – unless P30 million ($600,000) is paid. On Sunday, the military received unverified information that Kantner has been beheaded. Chief presidential peace adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza said the information has yet to be verified.

De Lima asks SC to stop 'illegal' arrest

Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Monday, February 27, sought the Supreme Court's help to immediately stop her "illegal" arrest, citing the judge's lack of jurisdication and grave abuse of discretion. The senator maintained that the drug trafficking charges against her are baseless and that the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan – not the Department of Justice or the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court – have jurisdiction over a public official like her.

BSP liberalizes bank licensing regulations

After years of restrictions, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) approved new regulations for granting licenses to banks and other financial institutions. The enhanced regulations align the screening of banks with international standards and comes on the heels of the lifting of the ban on new domestic banks.

Deadly Chile floods leave 4 million with no water to drink

Rainstorms and landslides in Chile killed 4 and contaminated a major river, forcing authorities to cut off drinking water to 4 million people in the capital, authorities said. The torrential rain that started Saturday, February 25, prompted mudslides and rubble to surge into the Maipo river which supplies most homes in the capital.

Energy giant invests China's untapped geothermal reserves

This photo taken on February 23, 2017 shows a worker from Sinopec Company, showing how the heat pump is operated to journalists in Zangangzhen, Heibei province. Fred Dufour/AFP

This photo taken on February 23, 2017 shows a worker from Sinopec Company, showing how the heat pump is operated to journalists in Zangangzhen, Heibei province. Fred Dufour/AFP

Though experts say there is immense potential in China's subterranean heat reserves, they remain largely unexploited, accounting for less than 0.5% of the Asian giant's energy consumption. This is changing as Chinese state-run energy giant Sinopec appears to be investing further in renewable energy, including solar and wind, as well as geothermal. Sinopec aims to develop 20 "smokeless cities" nationwide by 2020.

Nokia 3310 relaunch confirmed

IT'S BACK! The new version of the Nokia 3310. Screenshot from Nokia website

IT'S BACK! The new version of the Nokia 3310. Screenshot from Nokia website


If you are one of the fans of the iconic Nokia 3310, here's good news. HMD Global Oy, the company which has the exclusive rights to build and market phones under the Nokia brand confirmed rumors of the much loved phone's relaunch at the start of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The new version should be out in the 2nd quarter of the year. And yes, it will have your favorite Snake game.

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