March 21, 2014 Edition

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

  1. US, EU slap more sanctions vs Russian figures

    Jakub Kaminski/EPA

    The United States and the European Union imposed more sanctions on Russian figures after Russia claimed Crimea as part of its territory. US President Barack Obama issued new measures against 20 more Russian lawmakers and senior government officials. “Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community,” Obama said. The European Union, for its part, slapped an asset freeze and travel ban on 12 more Russians and Ukrainians. French President Francois Hollande said, “Russia must understand that it cannot continue, that it must take the path of dialogue.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read a related story on the Washington Post.

  2. Supreme Court summons ‘Napoles of courts’

    Rappler file photo

    “Ma’am Arlene,” the reported counterpart in the judiciary of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, must face the Supreme Court (SC). The SC announced it has summoned “Ma’am Arlene,” or Arlene Angeles Lerma, to its next meeting. Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc said Ma’am Arlene specializes in fixing big corporate cases in Manila and other major cities. Bondoc said Ma’am Arlene “throws birthday bashes for magistrates,” for instance, “in exchange for decisions favoring her ligitant-clients.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Haiyan aid tracker ‘does not reflect’ all pledges

    File photo from the Canadian embassy in Manila

    Envoys raised a concern about the Philippines’ official tracker of aid for Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors. This tracker, a website called the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAITH), “does not seem to reflect” their actual pledges, a diplomat said. FAITH, for one, lists “zero” donations from at least 9 donor-countries. To address these concerns, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government will soon allow embassies to “input the data” on pledges. “We want to make sure… that their donations are fairly reported,” Lacierda said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Search on for possible Malaysia plane debris

    Leading Seaman Justin Brown/ Australian Department of Defence/ EPA

    The vast international search for a missing Malaysian passenger jet entered its 13th day. Australia prepared to resume its search for possible plane wreckage floating in a remote and stormy section of the Indian Ocean. The search continued after satellite imagery captured a pair of floating objects. Australia and Malaysia guardedly called this a “credible” lead. “There remains much work to be done to deploy the assets,” Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

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    Read a related story on the New York Times.

  5. Fire rages in ‘sacred’ Mount Banahaw

    Photo courtesy of Philippine Air Force

    Fire in Mount Banahaw, Quezon province, decimated 50 hectares of the mountain, officials said. The affected portion of Banahaw is just a little bigger than the land area of SM Mall of Asia, which is 42 hectares. “Most likely it was a man-made fire,” said Ivan Herzano, project officer of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment. Since 2004, backpackers have been banned from scaling the 2,158-meter (7,080-foot) peak to protect the flora and fauna that thrive in the mountain. Several small sects that worship at caves and springs on its lower slopes continue to have access there, however.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. UN warns about ‘water-energy’ crisis

    The United Nations (UN) warned about a double crunch in demand for water and energy due to surging populations and economies in developing countries. In a report published on the eve of World Water Day, the UN said it sees this crisis in the coming decades. Its report gave snapshots of the future. Global water demand, for one, is likely to rise by 55% by 2050. By then, the report said, more than 40% of the world’s population will be living in areas of “severe” water stress. Many of these areas will be found in North Africa, the Middle East, and western South Asia.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. ‘We will wipe out Twitter’

    Turkey blocked Twitter after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, threatened to eradicate the social network. “We will wipe out Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says,” Erdogan said. He said this as Twitter, as well as other social networks, highlighted corruption allegations against his inner circle. The EU commissioner for digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, tweeted that the block in Turkey “is groundless, pointless, cowardly.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read a related story on the New York Times.

  8. Subway, bus rapid transit eyed in Metro Manila

    The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) unveiled possible alternative modes of transportation for commuters. Topping the list is a subway or underground rail system. This will extend the existing Metro Rail Transit or MRT Line 3, which runs from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City. Another plan is to put up a 28-kilometer bus rapid transit (BRT) worth P4.65 billion. This will run from the Manila City Hall to Fairview in Quezon City, the DOTC said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Use Rappler’s income tax calculator

    Do you know how your employer computes your income tax? Rappler presents a step-by-step guide to compute your contribution to public funds. To make it easier, we also provide a simple tax calculator. This is part of a two-part series on how to compute income tax. Part one explains 4 things one has to consider in computing income tax. One of these is that “it doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, or head of the family.”

    Learn more about this on Rappler.

    Use the tax calculator here.

  10. Bianca Gonzalez, JC Intal get engaged

    Photo from Cheska Kramer's Instagram

    TV host and model Bianca Gonzalez got the surprise of her life. At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, her boyfriend, basketball player JC Intal, went down on one knee and proposed to her. In January, Gonzalez said in an interview that she was in no rush to marry Intal. However, she also said they plan to attend Discovery Weekend – a seminar for couples who think of getting engaged. They have been dating for 3 years.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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