March 19, 2014 Edition

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  1. Putin gives historic speech accepting Crimea into Russia

    AFP Photo

    President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, March 18, pushed every emotional button of the collective Russian psyche as he justified the incorporation of Crimea, citing everything from ancient history to Russia’s demand for respect to Western double standards. The 61-year-old Russian strongman said that justice has finally been served now that the peninsula, which has been historically linked to Moscow, was becoming Russian not only in spirit but also in deed. Reeling off a litany of historic facts, Putin said Crimea was home to a host of places that were “sacred” for Russians. “There are graves of Russian soldiers whose courage saw Crimea join the Russian empire in 1783,” he said. On Tuesday, Putin signed a treaty claiming Crimea as Russian territory.  The president, who came back to the Kremlin for a third term in 2012, boasted of the country’s capability to protect its national interests and said Russia would no longer bow before the West.

    Read the full story on Rappler here and here.

  2. PH gov’t revises poverty reduction target

    File photo by EPA

    The government warned on Tuesday, March 19, that it would downgrade its target to reduce poverty by 2016. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the new target would be a reduction to 18%-20% of the 100 million population. This is lower than the original 16.6% poverty rate by 2016. Despite remarkable economic growth under Aquino, the poverty rate has stayed around 25% since 2003. “This new target takes into consideration the slow response of poverty to economic growth beginning 2006 and the setback in 2013 due to the wide-scale destruction resulting from natural and man-made disasters,” Balisacan said. Economists and business leaders have warned that growth has been largely limited to only a few sectors like exports and business outsourcing, leaving sizable segments of the population such as farmers untouched.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. US scientists find major evidence of Big Bang

    File photo by AFP

    In a major discovery for understanding the origins of the universe,US scientists said Monday, March 17 they have detected echoes of the Big Bang 14 billion years ago. The “first direct evidence of cosmic inflation,” or the rapid growth spurt that came in the first moments of the life of the universe, was found with the help of a telescope at the South Pole, and was announced by experts at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The detection of these gravitational waves represents the last untested element of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, filling in a major gap in our understanding of how the universe was born. The waves are ripples that move through space and time, and have been described as the “first tremors of the Big Bang.” Their detection confirms an integral connection between quantum mechanics and general relativity.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Less than 25% of bar takers pass law exams

    Out of 5,343 aspiring lawyers, only 22.18% or 1,1,74 passed the stringent bar exams of 2013. Topping the list is Nielson G. Pangan of the University of the Philippines with a grade of 85.8%. The 27-year-old topnotcher is part of of the Migallos & Luna law firm and was planning to take up Masters in Business Administration if he didn’t pass the examinations. He said he was “shocked” with the results. Tied at the number 2 spot are Dianna Louise Wilwayco of the Ateneo de Manila Law School and Mark Xavier Oyales of the UP College of Law. Wilwayco, the highest-ranked female lawyer in the 2013 Bar Examinations, was in a coffee shop with her best friend and almost in tears when news on the bar exam results came out. The Supreme Court lowered the passing grade to 73%, exercising its discretion to make adjustments in the rules. SC Associate Justice Arturo Brion, Chairperson of the 2013 Bar Examinations, said that if the passing rate remained at 75%, only 694 could have passed.

    Read the full story on Rappler here and here.

  5. 20 Filipinos arrested in Spain drug bust

    Spanish police arrested 42 people, almost half of them Filipinos, suspected of running a drug ring in operations that began in December 2013. Police on Tuesday, March 18 said they had broken up two drug trafficking rings specializing in crystal meth. They were able to seize 8 kilos of the highly addictive drug and 15,000 euros in cash in raids across Madrid, Barcelona and Murcia. Police arrested 20 Filipinos, 19 Spaniards and 3 Africans. The gangs used a car import-export business as a front company.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Homicide charges set over Taiwan fisherman’s death

    File photo by Susan Corpuz/EPA

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday, March 18, announced it will file homicide charges against 8 Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel over a Taiwanese fisherman’s death after finding probable cause for homicide. A panel of prosecutors found that “the respondents all acted in unison with the common purpose of firing at the Guang Da Xing No. 28 to force it to submit to MCS-3001’s inspection or else.” Guang Da Xing No. 28 is the Taiwanese fishing boat involved, while MCS-3001 is the PCG vessel. In its statement, the agency added the panel “also found probable cause” to charge Captain Dela Cruz and seaman Bendo for obstruction of justice. This charge is for allegedly preparing and submitting a “falsified” monthly gunner report dated May 11, 2013.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. 7 awesome Bruno Mars facts

    International singer Bruno Mars is set to return to the Philippines for hisMoonshine Jungle Tour on March 22 at the Mall of Asia Arena. That’s well known. But did you know that Bruno Mars did a killer impersonation of Elvis – when he was just a little boy? He also loves adobo, but that’s no surprise because he’s got Filipino blood! Mother Bernadette Hernandez was a strong influence on his life, just like his uncles – all of whom either sang or played an instrument. That’s probably where Bruno Mars, aka Peter Hernandez, got his awesome talent. But you all know that, right?

    Check out the other amazing facts about this talented singer/composer on Rappler.

  8. Stones cancel Perth gig due to suicide of frontman’s girlfriend


    The Rolling Stones on Tuesday, March 18, cancelled the first gig of their Australian tour after the death of frontman Mick Jagger’s girlfriend L’Wren Scott. The veteran band were due to play in Perth on Wednesday but the concert was called off after Scott, an American fashion designer to the stars, was discovered dead at her New York apartment. The concert may be rescheduled according to its promoter. Unconfirmed reports said Jagger, 70, had flown back to New York. He and Scott, 49, had been dating since 2001 following his split from his second wife, Texan model Jerry Hall. The legendary British rock group – which in 2012 marked its 50th anniversary together – were set to play Australia for the first time since 2006.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Google Android you can wear

    Google announced on Tuesday, March 19, that it is working on a new Android platform for wearable devices. Android is the popular Google operating system originally designed for mobile devices. It follows a growing trend of digital wearable technology development, with the first series of smart watches going on the market. Tech rival Samsung, has released it’s own version of smart watches called Samsung Gear. According to its designers, the idea behind the new system is to provide the most relevant contextual information, including messaging and voice recognition capability. Google is working with developers, chip makers, and the fashion industry to make a device it hopes will be both useful and cool.

    Read the full story on Rappler.
    Read more of the story on Mashable.


  10. Filipino youth to compete at Street Child World Cup

    Photo by Mark Cristino/Rappler

    Nineteen countries from all over the world will showcase their talents in the Street Child World Cup, which started in 2010 in South Africa. In cooperation with Save The Children and various charities worldwide, the event is done ahead of every FIFA World Cup, aiming to change the negative perceptions of people on millions of street children worldwide. The Philippines’ boys and girls squads, which are composed of 9 members aged 14-16 each, trained as early as February this year along with UFL squad Socceroo and members of the 2010 team. Just last week, the teams also played tuneup matches against the University of the Philippines’ varsity football teams. PH teams will fly for Brazil on March 27, carrying the hope that no matter where they came from or what their backgrounds are, they could all be somebody.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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