January 27, 2014 Edition

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  1. Talks with MILF enter new phase

    Photo by Rappler

    After signing a firearms deal on January 25 that marked the successful end of the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, both sides will now enter the more crucial phase of making sure that the agreements will be crafted into a new law. The formal signing of the peace deal in Manila has not been scheduled, but the burden now lies with the Transition Commission, which will craft a proposed law on the creation of the Bangsamoro region. The Aquino administration, on the other hand, will have to rally its allies in both houses of Congress to eventually support whatever the Commission end up proposing. At stake, too, is the support given by several countries that belong to the International Contact Group (ICG) that has served as an active observer of the process. The ICG has vowed to see this process all the way to its ground implementation.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Military runs after ‘spoilers’

    Only hours after the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ended talks aimed at ending decades of Muslim rebellion, fighting erupted in Maguindanao between soldiers and members of a breakaway group of the MILF. The breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) said one of their units was attacked by Army troops in Sultan Sa Barongis town at around 10 am on January 26. Led by former 105th Base Commander Ameril Umra Kato, the BIFF splintered from the MILF after serious disagreements on the conduct of the peace negotiations with the government. The military earlier vowed to run after the so-called spoilers in the peace process with the MILF.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Prelude to polls: Protest leader shot dead

    CHECKING NAMES. Thai voters check their name on electoral lists after anti-government protesters shutdown a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, 26 January 2014. Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

    A Thai anti-government protest leader was shot dead on January 26, as demonstrators besieged polling stations in Bangkok, disrupting advance voting for next weekend’s controversial general election. Nine other people were injured in the shooting, with the violence deepening doubts over whether next weekend’s ballot can go ahead. The February 2 election was called by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to try to calm rising political tensions after weeks of mass anti-government protests. Suthin Tharathin, a leader of the Dharma Army, was the 10th person to be killed during nearly 3 months of rallies.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. House of horrors in Cebu

    Ted Aljibe/AFP

    In Ibabao, a secluded community on Cebu island, Internet child pornography had for some its 5,000 residents become more lucrative than fishing or factory work. Ibabao was put in the spotlight recently following an international probe into a child pornography ring. Police and authorities said that behind the closed doors of the tiny wooden and brick homes, many parents directed their children for sex videos in front of webcams connected via the Internet to paying pedophiles overseas. Other children were lured into the homes of neighbors and forced to perform sex acts in front of webcams. Authorities have raided these “cybersex dens” but residents say some remained in operation.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  5. Convictions remain low and slow

    File photo by AFP/Jason Gutierrez

    Despite an increase in human trafficking convictions over the years, numbers remain few and concentrated in certain areas in the Philippines. Data from the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking from 2005 to 2013 show that the number of convictions has gradually increased over the years, but still remains low. Within those years, a total of 118 convictions have been recorded and 137 convicted persons have been reported. Over the 8-year period, 2012 so far shows the highest number of convictions, while 2013 shows the highest number of persons convicted. The Philippines continues to rank Tier 2 in the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) 2013 of the US Department of State. Tier 2 countries do not fully comply with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), but are making significant efforts to do so.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Relatives of N. Korea’s executed uncle also dead

    Photo From EPA

    The official news agency of North Korea said all the relatives of Jang Song-thaek, the once-powerful slain uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, have also been executed. Quoting multiple sources, Yonhap news said those executed included Jang’s sister, children, brothers-in-law and nephews. North Korea’s ambassadors to Cuba, a brother-in-law of Jang, was killed. Also executed was Jang’s nephew, who was the country’s ambassador to Malaysia. They were all recalled to  Pyongyang in early December and executed, Yonhap added.

    Read the full story on Yonhap.

  7. Big-name journalists moving to digital start-ups

    Photo by Ezra Klein/Wikimedia Commons

    In the last few months, the US news media has been witness to the migration of big names in newspaper journalism to digital start-ups. The latest movement involves Ezra Klein, creator of The Washington Post’s Wonkblog, who is moving to Vox Media. At the Dow Jones, Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher left to form Re/code with NBC. An analysis published by The New York Times on January 26 dismissed speculation that a bubble is forming in the news content business. What the news media is witnessing now, wrote David Carr in the NYT, “is the emergence of a lasting commercial market, a game that has winners and losers, yet is hardly zero sum.” He said “it’s becoming apparent that digital publishing is its own thing, not an additional platform for established news companies. They can buy their way into it, but their historical advantages are often offset by legacy costs and bureaucracy.”

    Read the full story on New York Times.

  8. 2nd grand slam for China’s Li Na; 1st for Swiss

    China’s Li Na, 31, stormed to her second Grand Slam title on January 25, battling past brave underdog Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7/3), 6-0 to become the oldest woman ever to win the Australian Open. Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka also upset injury-troubled world number one Rafael Nadal to claim his first Grand Slam title. It was a gutsy effort by the Chinese star, who overcame the pressure of having lost twice before while bearing the weight of expectation from her homeland of 1.3 billion people. The win pushes her one place higher in the world rankings to three, just 11 points adrift of Victoria Azarenka in second behind Serena Williams. It was likewise a stunning win for Wawrinka, who had not beaten Nadal in their previous 12 matches but rallied to win the fourth set and take the championship.

    Read the full story on Li Na on Rappler

    Read the full story on Wawrinka on Rappler.

  9. Vhong Navarro: He said, she said?

    Screen grab from his official Facebook account

    Days after ABS-CBN’s top entertainment talent Vhong Navarro disclosed he had been beaten up in an apparent extortion attempt, a police blotter aired and published by other media organizations over the weekend showed another version of the incident. The police report said a 22-year-old girl had complained to cops about Navarro’s alleged attempt to rape her in her own condominium unit. The girl’s friends brought her and a bruised Navarro to a Taguig police station, where they reported the attempted rape with Navarro signing off on the blotter. The published report prompted Navarro to come out on TV to deny the allegations, name the girl who supposedly set her up, and say he was threatened with a gun and asked to pay P1 million, which he said eventually didn’t happen.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Grammys: Daft Punk, Bruno Mars win

    Screen grab from the official Facebook account of the Grammys

    With over 80 categories, it’s music’s biggest night as music icons, newcomers and fans showed up to celebrate their favorite tunes at the 2014 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, on January 27 (Manila time). Among the early winners were Daft Punk (Record of the year) for “Get Lucky”; Bruno Mars (Best Pop Vocal Album) for his “Unorthodox Jukebox”; and Lorde (Best Pop Solo Performance) for “Royals.”

    Read the full story on Rappler

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