February 20, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Aquino backs online libel

    File photo by Rappler

    In supporting a recent Supreme Court decision, President Benigno Aquino III said he does not think the goal of criminalizing online libel is to suppress freedom of expression. On February 19, the SC upheld as constitutional most provisions of the Cybercrime Law, including the hotly-debated issue of online libel subject to one condition: it only applies to the original author and not netizens who share or react to a defamatory post. Aquino said it does not make sense to exempt the Internet from libel just because it is a different medium. He said: “Let me repeat: if what you said is true, then why would you be unnerved by the issue of libel?” Critics say the ruling is a huge step back for freedom of expression.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Did Napoles fund this concert?

    A big concert is happening this weekend. By far the country’s biggest music event, the 7107 International Music Festival will be featuring one of the world’s most popular bands, a world-class DJ, other stellar international and local acts. But with only one major sponsor, and organizers insisting they are funding the festival with their own money, 7107 raises questions about who is financing the grand event that will be held at Clark Freeport on the weekend of February 22. Because of the high cost of mounting the music festival and the business partnership between one of the organizers and James Napoles, son of alleged pork barrel scam Janet Lim Napoles, insiders in the events-organizing industry believe Napoles is behind the grand 7107 event.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Children die in Zamboanga evacuation camps

     File photo by DSWD

    Displaced Zamboanga City residents might have escaped the gunfire during the bloody standoff between government troops and Muslim rebels in September 2013 but they risk death every day as they continue to live in evacuation camps 5 months after the crisis. Of the 86 people who have died in evacuation camps in Zamboanga City since September 2013, more than 50% are children under 5 years old. Cramped shelters and poor living conditions have caused health problems for families. Local officials said it is high time for displaced residents to be relocated to better temporary shelters. They met with Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson February 19 in Manila to fast-track the construction of bunkhouses in the area.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Court order: Don’t use force

    Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP

    A Thai court ordered the government February 19 not to use force against peaceful protests, as demonstrators vowed to intensify efforts to unseat the premier a day after street clashes left 5 dead and dozens wounded. This week’s spike in violence has punctured hopes of an easing of a months-long political standoff in which 16 people have been killed on both sides and hundreds injured in gunfire and grenade blasts. The ruling by the Civil Court restricting the use of force could complicate Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s handling of the rallies, although her government had already pledged to avoid using violence against the demonstrators.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Obama sends warning as Kiev in flames

    Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP

    US President Barack Obama warned starkly of “consequences” after apocalyptic scenes in Kiev on February 18, in which 26 officers and civilians died as battles broke out across the central area. Obama said he held President Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian government responsible for ensuring that Ukrainians could protest “without fear of repression.” The scenes in the heart of Kiev suggested a war zone that was being reinforced from all sides before a new fight. But Yanukovych announced a “truce” and the start of direct talks with the opposition. The shocking scale of the violence three months into the crisis brought expressions of grave concern from Western leaders and condemnation of an “attempted coup” by the Kremlin.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Cadet, Facebook and the Honor Code

    GRADUATING OR NOT. PMA cadet Jeff Cudia

    A series of Facebook posts prompted a re-investigation of the case of cadet Jeff Cudia, who was dismissed by the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) following his alleged violation of its Honor Code. Supposed to graduate with honors in March, Cudia was found to have broken the code which discourages cadets from lying or stealing, the PMA said. But a series of Facebook posts by Cudia’s family indicated that his offense was “trivial:” coming in late for 2 minutes in class. The controversy led Armed Forces chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista to order a re-investigation of the cadet’s case. But the PMA insisted it followed due process and that the case is more than about Cudia being late for class.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Among Asian cities, Singapore, Dhaka are best and worst

    Singapore topped an international survey of the best cities in Asia for expatriates while the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka was named the worst. In Asia, Japan took the rest of the top 5 spots, with Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, and Osaka ranking second through fifth. The Worldwide Quality of Living Survey by Mercer notes political instability, crime and pollution levels as factors taken into account when ranking 460 cities worldwide.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Facebook buying WhatsApp for US$19B

    Screen shot from Whatsapp video

    Facebook said Wednesday, February 19, it was buying the fast-growing mobile messaging service WhatsApp in a deal worth an eye-popping $19 billion, expanding the global footprint of the social networking giant. The mega-deal bolsters the world’s biggest social network – which has more than 1.2 billion members – with the 450-million-strong WhatsApp, which will be operated independently with its own board.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Which motels and hotels paid the most taxes in 2012?

    Mariposa topped the list of motels that paid the highest taxes in 2012, according to the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) latest Tax Watch ad. Mariposa paid P73.513 million income tax in 2012, “higher than luxury hotel Ascott Makati – The Residence,” the BIR said in the ad. Ascott Makati paid P55.549 million income tax, and is fifth in the BIR’s rankings of tax-paying hotels. The biggest tax payer among hotels was Crimson Hotel Filinvest City in Alabang, with P345.189 million.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Olivia billboards a condominium marketing campaign

    SHE SAID YES. The Olivia billboards are part of a marketing campaign. Photo by Ira Agting/Rappler

    The “Olivia, will you marry me?” billboards are part of a marketing campaign for condominiums Pioneer Woodlands in Mandaluyong and San Lorenzo Place in Makati by real estate company Empire East A new billboard appeared on EDSA that says, “Olivia Said Yes! So we bought our first investment together at Pioneer Woodlands Mandaluyong City.” Another version features San Lorenzo Place in Makati City. The reveal followed a week of speculation as mysterious pink billboards with the words “Olivia, will you marry me?” popped out accross main thoroughfares in the metro. Also written on the billboards were the numbers “21414,” that many assumed to be Valentine’s or the proposal date.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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