March 13, 2014 Edition

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  1. 5 scenarios: What happened to MH370?

    File photo by Francis Silvan/AFP

    It’s been nearly a week since it disappeared while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, but the fate of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 remains unknown. The uncertainty is exacerbated by conflicting statements from authorities, false alarms over debris and confusion over where to focus the search. Industry experts are weighing up 5 possible scenarios on what could have happened to the plane that was carrying mostly Chinese nationals. These include explosion on board, hijacking, structural disintegration, technical difficulties, and pilot suicide.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. World powers to Russia: Don’t annex Crimea

    Photo by Yury Kirnichny/ AFP

    The Group of 7 industrialized nations warned against Russia’s “annexation” of Crimea as the Ukrainian premier prepared to seek US President Barack Obama’s help against the Kremlin’s expansionist threat. Washington has already imposed travel bans and asset freezes on Russians held responsible for violating the territorial integrity of the culturally splintered nation of 46 million people. Russian President Vladimir Putin had so far resisted intense international pressure and refused all contacts with Kiev aimed at resolving the worst breakdown in East-West relations since the Cold War. Western powers are also considering tabling a resolution at the UN Security Council over the upcoming referendum in Crimea.

    Read two related stories on Rappler here and here.

  3. 2 New York buildings collapse

    Photo by Andrew Burton/AFP

    “A tragedy of the worst kind,” says New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. A major explosion caused by a gas leak flattened two Manhattan apartment buildings in a fireball March 12 (Manila time) killing 3 people and injuring 63 others. Firefighters battled throughout the afternoon to extinguish the heavy fire in East Harlem, where witnesses compared the scene of twisted metal, thick white smoke and dusty rubble to a war zone. The explosion sparked inevitable reminders for some New Yorkers of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 that brought down the Twin Towers.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. US says China’s move vs PH ships ‘provocative’

    The United States on March 12 accused China of raising tensions by blocking two Philippines vessels in Ayungin Shoal as it urged freedom of navigation in the tense South China Sea. It’s a “provocative move,” says State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “Pending resolution of competing claims in the South China Sea, there should be no interference with the efforts of claimants to maintain the status quo,” she added. The Philippines summoned China’s charge d’affaires, accusing Beijing of a “clear and urgent threat” to Manila’s interests. Beijing argued the the ships “infringed China’s territorial sovereignty” and violated a 2002 declaration of conduct in the South China Sea.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Witnesses polluted and filthy rich, says Jinggoy Estrada

    Senator Jinggoy Estrada, facing a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman, turned the tables on 2 witnesses against him as he exposed them for alleged ill-gotten wealth and lying. In an hour-long privilege speech March 12, Estrada questioned why the justice department is considering government official Dennis Cunanan and socialite Ruby Tuason as key witnesses in the pork barrel scam when they have “polluted and self-serving testimonies.” Cunanan himself has been living a lavish lifestyle, traveling abroad 80 times in one decade, the senator said. Tuason also has several properties funded by the commissions she pocketed from the scam, he added.

    Read the full story on Rappler.
    Read Estrada’s speech on Rappler.

  6. Ongpin company being delisted

    The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) initiated delisting procedures against property firm Alphaland Corporation, led by businessman and former Marcos crony Roberto Ongpin, for repeated violations of disclosure rules. In a notice March 12, PSE said Alphaland repeatedly failed to submit full, fair, accurate and timely disclosures of material information – which is grounds for delisting. On the same day, San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang quit the board of Alphaland. Ongpin, whose fortunes rose under the Arroyo government, has been embroiled in a corporate battle with Ashmore, its Alphaland partner.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Pope Francis shuns pomp, goes on retreat

    Photo from EPA

    Pope Francis will spend the first anniversary of his election in a spiritual retreat, far from the adoring crowds in Rome and the tensions within the Church hierarchy that have defined the last year. The 77-year-old will not even be in the Vatican, having left on Sunday for a retreat in woods located in the Castelli Romani. The retreat is a regular fixture in the Vatican calendar and is intended to mark Lent, the solemn pre-Easter period that is associated with self-denial, penance and repentance. It thus represents the perfect alternative to what would have inevitably been a media circus had Francis opted to mark the anniversary in public.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Earth’s center has water reserve – study

    Scientists said they had found an elusive mineral pointing to the existence of a vast reservoir deep in Earth’s mantle, 400-600 kilometers (250-375 miles) beneath our feet. It may hold as much water as all the planet’s oceans combined, they believe. The evidence comes from a water-loving mineral called ringwoodite that came from the so-called transition zone sandwiched between the upper and lower layers of Earth’s mantle, they said. The find backs once-contested theories that the transition zone, or at least significant parts of it, is water-rich.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Saturday, Game 4: Do or die for Ateneo, La Salle

    Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

    With their backs pressed against the wall, the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles managed to live another day as they edged De La Salle University in a thrilling five-setter, 25-21, 25-23, 18-25, 16-25, 17-15, in Game 3 of the 76th UAAP Women’s Volleyball Finals March 12 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Newly-minted MVP Alyssa Valdez led the way for Ateneo as she tallied in 22 markers but unlike in their last outing, Amy Ahomiro and Michelle Morente came up with dazzling performances for the Lady Eagles, finishing with 18 apiece to tow their squad to a nail-biting five-set win. Both squads will meet for a do-or-die Game 4 on Saturday, March 15 at the same venue.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Here are Cinemalaya 2014’s finalists

    The themes of this year’s Cinemalaya finalists are diverse and cover several genres. Comedy and action as well as coming of age stories and romance tales are only some viewers can expect from this year’s festival happening on August 1 to 10 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma and Alabang Town Center. The all-digital film festival aims to “discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.” Last year’s big winners were Hannah Espia’s Transit for the New Breed Category and Jerrold Tarog’s Sana Dati for the Director’s Showcase.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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