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- Tough luck for PH envoy to China
MANILA, Philippines – His critics say that his only credential is his longtime friendship with the Aquino family. Thus for the third time, the confirmation of Domingo Lee as the Philippines’ ambassador to China was deferred by the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA). A senator seems convinced that Lee, a businessman, doesn’t know what he’s doing. In a hearing, Sen Sergio Osmeña asked Lee the basics: what’s the basis of the territorial dispute between Manila and Bejing? Where was the last Asean meeting held to discuss the West Philippine sea issue? Suffice it to say Lee’s answers didn’t satisfy Osmeña, an ally of the administration. So it was downhill from there – for Lee.
Read more on Rappler
- 31 types of torture in Syria
MANILA, Philippines – The Syrian government is using at least 31 types of torture, including electric shocks, “crucifixion-type” beatings, male rape, and use of pincers on flesh, according to an Amnesty International (AI) report titled “I Wanted to Die”. The human rights group interviewed dozens of torture survivors from the mass movement fighting the Assad regime. One witness told AI interrogators used pincers to remove flesh from his legs. Another said he was forced to watch a male prisoner being raped during his interrogation in an intelligence unit’s office.
Read the full details of the report here and here
- London shops give way to Olympics
MANILA, Philippines – London is playing generous host in July to the world’s biggest sporting event, but this is at the expense of a lot of businesses. The London government has started demolishing about 100 establishments in the 246-hectare grounds where the games will be held, according to reports. This despite government spending of about US$1.2-B to buy land and compensate these businesses. Most of these are auto-repair shops and fast-food manufacturers who cater to local customers. The games will be held in Newham, a borough with about 270,000 residents that had the lowest average income in London in 2010, reports said.
Read more on Bloomberg
- Aung San Suu Kyi makes landmark broadcast
MANILA, Philippines – Myanmar’s opposition leader made a landmark campaign speech Wednesday, March 14, which was broadcast for the first time by state television. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, and her party the National League for Democracy, will be joining the elections on April 13. She’s running for a parliamentary seat to represent the rural township of Kawhmu, southwest of the capital Rangoon. Suu Kyi called for political and judicial reforms, saying restrictions to freedom continue in her country. The speech lasted 14 minutes and was leaked online a day before she spoke.
Read details of her speech here and here
- A YouTube revolt
MANILA, Philippines – The amount of underground video coming out of the uprising in Syria has prompted various groups to describe the opposition to the Syrian government as a YouTube revolt. Activists and anti-government groups have uploaded thousands of video to YouTube, featuring their clashes with security forces and the regular demonstrations that they have been holding in Syria. The regime has countered by branding the videos fake. The situation has grown so pathetic however that even government troops have started filming protests and massacres – only to sell the videos to activists.
Read more on CNN
- The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
MANILA, Philippines – It’s been a year since the deadly tsunami that hit Japan, and filmmakers commemorated it through films. In last month’s Berlin Festival, at least 4 documentaries and movies about the disaster were shown. The titles include Pray for Japan, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, Women on the Edge, and Himizu. Critics however have weighed in on the ethical issues surrounding the methods and motivations of documenting tragedy and trauma.
Read more about it in the New York Times
- Corona’s contradictions
MANILA, Philippines – Three trial days have passed since the defense team of Chief Justice Renato Corona began its own presentation of evidence to prove his innocence. But its list of witnesses have left some senator-judges and observers confused. It seems Corona’s counsels are trying to explain the source of his wealth, which is not the key issue at stake in Article 2 of the impeachment complaint about his failure to disclose his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN). To Sen Antonio Trillanes IV, the question is simple: why did Corona fail to declare his salaries, allowances, and properties in his SALN? Rappler’s Natashya Gutierrez cited 5 contradictions in Corona’s defense.
Read more on Rappler
- Goldman Sachs exec quits via New York Times column
MANILA, Philippines – It was public, it was viral. Greg Smith, executive director and head of Goldman Sachs’ US equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, resigned on Wednesday, March 14, in the most public way possible – through the opinion pages of The New York Times. Goldman Sachs “is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it,” Smith wrote in his resignation letter published by the prestigious newspaper. Titled “Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs,” the letter shook the entire business community and electrified the Twitterverse.
Read his resignation letter in The New York Times
- East Timor goes to the polls
MANILA, Philippines – A decade after winning its independence from Indonesia, East Timor on Saturday will be holding is second presidential election. The country remains unstable and impoverished. In May, East Timor will celebrate 10 years of independence. In June, voters will choose a new government in a general election.
Read more on Rappler
- Football Federation files complaint vs Arnold Clavio
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has lodged an official complaint against GMA 7 anchor Arnold Clavio following alleged “racial slurs” made during GMA’s morning show Unang Hirit Tuesday, March 13. In a letter addressed to GMA 7 President & COO Gilberto R. Duavit Jr. the PFF asked GMA to launch an internal investigation into the matter and asked that sanctions be filed against Clavio. It called Clavio’s comments “racist, discriminatory, libelous and malicious,” and called on Clavio to issue a written apology.
Read more on Rappler