January 22, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

  1. Miriam: Supreme Court can review Corona verdict

    Photo by Franz Lopez/Rappler

    The Supreme Court can revisit the decision to impeach former Chief Justice Renato Corona if there was fraud or bribery of the senator-judges. This is the opinion of Sen Miriam Defensor Santiago, a constitutional law expert, in reaction to allegations made by Sen Bong Revilla Jr. that the President tried to persuade him to vote for the impeachment of Corona. Santiago also told reporters on Tuesday, January 21, that though it is unusual for the High Court to reopen a case and reverse a final decision, it has the power to do so. Santiago was one of only 3 senators who voted to acquit Corona in May 2012. The other two were former Senator Joker Arroyo and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. The other 20 senators voted for conviction. In the same press briefing, Santiago also said that the 3 senators tagged in the Pork Barrel Scam are trying to reduce a possible plunder charge to malversation in order to get a lighter sentence. “What they’re hoping to do is have the charge of plunder reduced to malversation. The penalty will not be as severe as plunder. [If they are charged with plunder], automatically, they will be suspended from the post of senator and cannot report to the Senate,” Santiago said.

    Read the full story on Rappler here and here.

  2. Farmers group files plunder case against PNoy

    The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Monday, January 20, filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against President Benigno Aquino III and 12 others for funneling P125 million of the Malampaya fund to non-existent projects in 2011. Also included in the complaint are Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, Janet Lim Napoles and Benhur Luy. KMP claims that P100 million went to supposed non-existent organic farming projects of two agriculture NGOs. But the projects were never implemented, according to KMP. The group is blaming President Aquino for the fund disbursement despite knowing that it was being allocated to non-energy related projects, in violation of the law.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Thai PM declares state of emergency

    Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP

    The Thai government has imposed a 60-day state of emergency beginning Wednesday, January 22 following several bombings in the country’s capital Bangkok. The state of emergency covers Bangkok and the surrounding areas and is aimed at curbing mass protests that have gone on for months. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that army would not be giving a leading role under the decree. Yingluck is under intense pressure from demonstrators to step down after more than two months of street protests aimed at ousting her elected government and installing an unelected “people’s council”. It was not immediately clear how the government would implement the emergency decree, which enables authorities to impose a curfew, ban public gatherings of more than five people, detain suspects for 30 days without charge and censor media. The country is gearing up for special elections on February 2 but the main opposition party is boycotting the vote.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Two provinces in Mindanao under state of calamity

    Photo by Karlos Manlupig/Rappler

    At least two provinces and 24 towns in Mindanao have been placed under a state of calamity on Tuesday, January 21, as flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains continue to devastate many areas. Rains brought by Tropical Depression Agaton have killed at least 42 people and injured 65 others. Governors in Lanao del Norte, including Iligan City, and Agusan del Norte declared a state of calamity, which allows them to release emergency funds for disaster relief and rehabilitation. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) 24 towns in Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental are also under a state of calamity.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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  5. MILF, Gov’t hope to seal firearms deal

    FINAL LEG. Will a final peace agreement be signed by February 2014? File photo by OPAPP

    The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will resume negotiations on Wednesday, January 22, in Kuala Lumpur. On the negotiating table is the most sensitive issue of what to do with the MILF’s firearms and with the fighters that carry them. Under the annex on normalization, the MILF will undergo a systematic process of decommissioning of arms in a “gradual and phased” manner. Unlike in the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front, the decommissioning of arms would be mandatory and not involve any cash incentives. “The normalization process will occur in parallel tracks. As the MILF decommissions its arms, the government will also gradually decommission government troops, as well as private armed groups, in the area while the Bangsamoro government is being set up,” MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said. Aside from the annex on normalization, both sides will also work on finally arriving at a deal on Bangsamoro waters. It was left as an addendum when they signed the annex on power-sharing in December.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Edward Snowden ‘fears for his life’

    SNOWDEN'S FEARS. File photo of Edward Snowden from Agence France-Presse/ WikiLeaks

    The Russian lawyer of Edward Snowden said Tuesday that the fugitive US intelligence leaker has feared for his life since reading of explicit threats against him by unnamed Pentagon officials. “There are real threats to his life out there that actually do exist,” Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russia’s state-run Vesti 24 rolling news channel. The rogue former National Security Agency contractor is wanted by US authorities on treason charges for disclosing details of a vast Washington intelligence operation that monitored millions of phone calls and emails across the world. Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia in August – a move that infuriated the United States and was a key factor behind President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel a summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin last year. Kucherena said Snowden is constantly accompanied by security guards and is considering additional security measures.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Another Pinoy joins ‘The Voice’

    ROEL VILLONES. A Filipino is a potential winner in 'The Voice Ireland'. Screen grab from YouTube (RTETheVoice)

    Filipino Roel Villones may become the latest global Pinoy superstar after passing the first round of auditions for The Voice of Ireland. Villiones got a vote from Irish singer and coach Bressie, ensuring his slot in the next round. His small victory comes on the heels of another Pinoy singer, OFW Rose Fostanes in the Israeli version of the same reality singing contest. Villones has earned a sure spot in the battle round where he will go against other members of Team Bressie. Should he survive the battles, he moves on to the live shows, where the public vote is a crucial component. “I usually pick from classical music, country, rock, maybe it shows my vocal range,” said Villones, who showed off his operatic voice by singing Nella Fantasia by Sarah Brightman.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Australian Open: Wawrinka upsets champion Djokovic

    Photo by Joe Castro/EPA

    Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka dumped three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic out of the Australian Open with a thrilling five-set victory on Tuesday, January 22. The Swiss eighth seed beat Djokovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 in a four-hour quarter-final on Rod Laver Arena to set up a semi-final with Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych. It ended a 14-match losing run against Djokovic for Wawrinka, who had gone down in two previous five-setters in majors to the Serb, at last year’s Australian Open and US Open. The stunning defeat halted Djokovic’s 28-match unbeaten run since the US Open final and his 25-match winning streak at the Australian Open stretching back to 2011. Djokovic also became the first defending champion to lose before the semi-finals at the Australian Open since Rafael Nadal retired injured against Andy Murray in the quarter-finals in 2009.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Twin toilets causes Twitter storm in Russia

    A picture of a men’s cubicle with twin toilets and no dividers has caused a public kerfuffle in Russia, host of this year’s winter Olympic games in the city of Sochi. The picture, captured by a BBC journalist has made the rounds of Twitter and drawn the attention of Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny among others. Twitter users have linked the twin sharing toilets to Russia’s ongoing debate on gay rights, following a recent law against gay and pedophile propaganda. Others have pointed to the high cost of the toilets and of Russia’s hosting of the winter games in general. Although the toilet is unusual in European parts of Russia, communal toilets are not unknown in other parts of Russia.

    See the photo and read the full story on BBC.

  10. The Terminator goes undercover at the gym

    Arnold Schwarzenegger donned a fake mustache and a wig to go undercover at a local California gym as part of a campaign in support of After-School programs for children. Dressed up as “Howard the fitness instructor,” the former Mr. Olympia body building champion gives tips and coaches unsuspecting gym users on how to drink water in reps of 10 and how to put knees and elbows together. Many of the gym goers suspected they were talking to the Hollywood star, but others were totally clueless. Arnold, with his signature Austrian accent, gave himself up too easily.

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