July 12, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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  1. MILF returns to the negotiating table

    CRUNCH TIME. (From left) MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, Malaysian facilitator Tengku Datuk Abdul Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, government peace panel member Senen Bacani and MILF peace panel member Roberto Alonto. File photo by Rappler

    After ending Thursday’s talks without signing any documents, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) agreed to return to the negotiating table with the government on Friday, July 12. Once more, the two parties will attempt to seal the deal on wealth sharing between the envisioned Bangsamoro political entity and the national government. The government managed to persuade the MILF to extend the talks, saying they were too bogged down by details and therefore missing the big picture. Both sides are hoping for a breakthrough to facilitate the signing of a final peace pact.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  2. Obama warns China against ‘coercion’ at sea

    WARNING TO CHINA. President Barack Obama in a file photo. White House video frame grab

    US President Barack Obama warned China on July 11 against the using force or intimidation in its tense maritime disputes with its neighbors and urged a peaceful resolution. Obama, meeting Chinese officials who were in Washington for wide-ranging talks, “urged China to manage its maritime disputes with its neighbors peacefully, without the use of intimidation or coercion,” a White House statement said. Tensions have steadily risen between China and Japan, which accuses its growing neighbor of sending an increasing number of ships to exert its claim over sparsely populated islands managed by Tokyo in the East China Sea. The Philippines and Vietnam have also charged that China has used assertive means to exert claims in the conflict-riven South China Sea.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  3. Saudi princess charged in US

    MESHAEL ALAYBAN. A handout booking image of Saudi Arabian national Meshael Alayban, who was arrested July 10 for alleged human trafficking. EPA/IRVINE POLICE DEPARTMENT

    A Saudi princess has been charged in California with enslaving a Kenyan woman, forcing her to work in abusive conditions and holding her passport hostage, US authorities said. Meshael Alayban, 42, one of 6 wives of a grandson of the Saudi King Abdullah, is accused of forcing the Kenyan woman to work 16 hour days, 7 days a week, for a monthly salary of just US$220. When police arrested Alayban, they found 4 women from the Philippines who could also be victims of human trafficking. Those cases are still being investigated. The unnamed woman, 30, who sought overseas work to pay for her young daughter’s medical care, allegedly worked in Alayban’s palace in Saudi Arabia and then in her home in Irvine, California, southeast of Los Angeles. Bail for Alayban, who was arrested July 10, has been set at $5 million.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  4. 3 Filipino nurses rescued after Libya abduction

    SECURE BETTER SECURITY. Following the rescue of three Filipino nurses abducted in Libya, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called for better security for overseas Filipino workers in Libya.
    The Department of Foreign Affairs on July 12 confirmed the abduction of 3 Filipino nurses in Libya, whom authorities all rescued two hours after a Libyan male abducted them. A  Libyan male abducted one female and two male Filipino nurses last July 8 at about 9 pm in downtown Sebha. The abductor brought them to an isolated area at the outskirts of the city. The male nurse escaped at 10 pm, and asked for help from a Libyan family, who then called in the police. Manila says it will ask Libya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs “to secure better security” for overseas Filipino workers there.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  5. PH sees broader markets

    MORE FUN. Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. (right) says foreign tourist arrivals in the country as of end-May hit the 2 million mark

    Broader markets will open for the Philippines’ tourism industry after the European Union allowed Philippine Airlines to fly again to the group’s 28 member states. Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said the lifting of the ban changes the perception that flying on Philippine carriers is unsafe. He expects tourist arrivals from Europe to double to 600,000 within a year and a half from about 300,000 currently. Bulk of the arrivals would come from the United Kingdom and Germany as well as Eastern Europe, the agency said.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  6. Lawmakers allow abortion in certain cases

    ONLY IF. The highly controversial legislation in Ireland that will allow abortion has been passed but only in limited cases where a mother's life is at risk. In October 18, 2012 demonstrators protested against the opening of the first abortion clinic in Ireland. Photo by EPA/PAUL MCERLANE

    Irish lawmakers voted on July 12 in favor of controversial new legislation that will allow abortion in limited cases where the mother’s life is at risk. The bill passed easily as the coalition government enjoys a large majority and the support of some members of the opposition. The bill will now go to a vote in the upper house, where the government enjoys a majority. Abortion laws in Ireland’s, which is predominantly Catholic, became the focus of global attention and intense debate following the death of 31-year-old Indian woman Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital.  Halappanavar had sought abortion when told she was miscarrying, but the request was refused as her life was not at risk at the time.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Sea contamination ‘suspected’ off Fukushima

    A construction worker walks beside the underground water tank and water tanks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture on June 12, 2013. EPA/Toshifumi Kitamura

    A damaged Japanese nuclear plant is suspected to be leaking radiation-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, Tokyo authorities were quoted as saying by news reports July 11. The Nuclear Regulation Authority said it is “highly suspected” that radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station had seeped into the ground and contaminated the sea, the Kyodo News agency reported. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said this week that levels of radioactive material in groundwater had risen sharply at the complex.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Giant exoplanet reveals its true colors

    Artist's impression of blue planet HD 189733b. Photo courtesy of NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)

    Astronomers said on July 11 they had found another blue planet a long, long way from Earth — no water world, but a scorching, hostile place where it rains glass, sideways. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists from NASA and its European counterpart, ESA, have for the first time determined the true color of an exoplanet, celestial bodies which orbit stars other than our own Sun. They concluded that HD 189733b, a gas giant 63 light-years from our own planet, was a deep cobalt blue, “reminiscent of Earth’s color as seen from space.” This planet, however, orbits very close to its host star and its atmosphere is heated to over 1,000ºC. The planet is one of the nearest exoplanets to Earth that can be seen crossing the face of its star, and has been intensively studied by Hubble and other telescopes.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Nokia unveils 41MP Lumia 1020 smartphone

    Nokia Lumia 1020

    Nokia announced its new flagship smartphone the Lumia 1020 at its Zoom Reinvented event in New York on July 12 (Manila time). The Lumia 1020 is a Windows 8-powered smartphone with a 41 megapixel camera that is roughly the size of other 4.5” smartphones in the market today. Building on its #ZoomReinvented theme, Nokia is also trumpeting a new feature that allows users to go back and adjust zoom on a photograph. Nokia promises users will have the ability to, “shoot now, zoom later.” The Lumia 1020 will head to the US first, coming exclusively to AT&T on July 26th for US$299.99 on a two-year contract.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Emmys: ‘Give up tomorrow’ nominated

    SEARCH FOR JUSTICE AND ANSWERS. 'Give Up Tomorrow' was shot in a span of 7 years. Screen shot from a video by Katherine Visconti/Rappler

    “Give Up Tomorrow,” the Marty Syjuco-produced documentary on the rape-slay of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong and the men who went to jail for the crime, has been nominated in the News and Documentary Emmy Awards. The documentary premiered in the Philippines in July 2012 as part of the Cinemalaya independent film festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Directed by Michael Collins, the film centers on Paco Larrañaga, the primary suspect in the rape-slay. Its message: Larrañaga, in prison for 16 years this 2013, was wrongfully convicted.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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