March 24, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Communist party chief arrested – military

    File photo by Agence France-Presse

    The alleged chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Benito Tiamzon and his wife and alleged CPP-NPA secretary-general Wilma Austria were arrested in Cebu on Saturday, March 22. Their group, which included 5 others, was on board a Starex van and a Toyota Innova. They had been under intense surveillance since Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit and had been monitored in Leyte. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines condemned the arrest of the Tiamzons for their alleged crimes against humanity. Luis Jalandoni, chief negotiator of the NDFP in the peace talks with government, said the Tiamzons are NDFP consultants and should be entitled to safe conduct and free passage for the duration of the peace talks. Chief government negotiator Alex Padilla refuted this, saying they were not granted immunity because the verification process scheduled in July 2012 failed. The couple is not covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, Padilla said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A related story on the NDF’s condemnation of the arrest is also on Rappler.

    More information on the supposed immunity of the Tiamzons is also on Rappler.

  2. Military anticipates CPP-NPA retaliation

    Photo from the PNP

    Military intelligence chief Major General Eduardo Año, among those who oversaw the arrest operations against the Tiamzons, said on Sunday, March 24, they expect retaliatory attacks from communist guerrillas. The arrest of the CPP top leaders has left a leadership vacuum that will take at least 6 months to fill, Año said. “The chairman himself has been arrested. So no one is safe…This means lack of direction, lack of supervision of the central leadership. The regional commands might resort to decentralized operations,” Año said. The arrest came a week before the 45th anniversary of the New People’s Army, 3 days after Benito Tiamzon’s 63rd birthday, and on the 117th anniversary of the Philippine Army.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. CPP leader was writer, organizer

    Photo by Ben Nabong

    A former student at the University of the Philippines, alleged Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chair Benito Tiamzon started with organizing labor unions in Metro Manila under the CPP’s Metro Manila-Rizal Regional Party Committee. He is credited with rebuilding and consolidating the Party after it went through its most serious split in the early 1990s over ideology. Military and other government officials have described Tiamzon as being the hardliner in peace talks with the Aquino government. He is said to have imposed difficult preconditions for the talks to prosper.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. New hope springs as French satellites spot debris

    File photo by Francis Silvan/AFP

    New satellite images of floating debris have been sent by the French to Malaysia, even as the search for a missing Malaysian jet continues in the southern Indian Ocean. The Malaysian Transport Ministry said in a statement the satellite images include “potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor.” Malaysia Airline flight MH370 has been missing since March 8 with 239 people on board. The latest images were passed on to Australian authorities who are coordinating the search for the missing plane. The Australians are scouring an area 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A related story is on the BBC.

  5. Missing pilgrims found

    The 6 pilgrims who went missing on the slopes of Mt Banahaw were found alive by a search and rescue team as they were leaving the mountain through an exit in Sariaya town in Quezon. They were detained Saturday, March 22, at the Sariaya police station as charges of trespassing a restricted area of the mountain were filed against them. They face a fine of P5,000 to P500,000 or imprisonment of up to 6 years. Among the 6 pilgrims was a 73-year-old man whom authorities feared the most for. They went up the mountain to avoid the crowd of pilgrims and climbers drawn to Mt Banahaw every Holy Week. The blaze on the mountain, believed to have been man-made, destroyed 50 hectares of Mt Banahaw. Authorities are considering closing the mountain from visitors for good to allow rehabilitation.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    The related story on the Mt Banahaw fire is on Rappler.

  6. Turkey shoots down Syria military jet

    Turkey shot down a Syrian military jet Sunday, March 23, after it strayed into the Turkish airspace, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. He added that Syria’s action – despite warnings – deserved a “heavy response.” Syria countered, accusing Turkey of “blatant aggression.” Both countries, which were once allies, share a border that stretches 800 kilometers. Syria claimed the plane was over northern Syria when it was shot down. The pilot ejected and was rescued.

    Read the full story on the BBC.

    A related story is on CNN.

  7. UN climate scientists urge action

    Photo by Giff Johnson/AFP

    A grim report by United Nations scientists points to a future endangered by floods, drought, rising seas, hunger, and species loss. Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Yokohama, Japan on Tuesday, March 25, to finalize a 29-page summary in preparation for the full report that will be made public on March 31. Among others, the scientists predicted global temperatures to rise from 0.5-8.6 degrees Fahrenheit this century, up 0.7 C since the Industrial Revolution. Seas will creep up from 26-82 centimeters by 2100. The draft summary of the report says, “Climate change over the 21st century will lead to new challenges to states and will increasingly shape national security policies.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Why we fall for fake news on Facebook

     Peter DaSilva/EPA

    Researchers at Northeastern University’s Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-Technical Systems released a study recently trying to explain why some people readily believe fake news. The study said that those who are most vulnerable are people who mistrust mainstream media and put more weight on conspiracy theories. Researchers pointed out that “users with strong preferences for alternative information sources, perhaps motivated by the will to avoid the manipulation played by mainstream media controlled by the government, are more susceptible to false information.” They studied Facebook users among Italians leading up to the 2013 elections.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Bruno Mars donates $100k for Haiyan victims

    All photos by Ritchie Tongo/EPA

    Celebrity singer Bruno Mars donated US$100,000 for the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan on Saturday, March 22, during an event at Solaire Resort and Casino. Half-Filipino and half-Puerto Rican, the Grammy award winner said he was excited to be back in Manila, adding, “One of the most special moments for me in my career, was coming here a few years ago and performing with my whole Filipino family watching.” The donation was handed to ABS-CBN’s Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc, with funds coursed through its children’s rights and welfare arm, Bantay Bata 163. A huge portion of the money will go to scholarship programs for children.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. ‘OK’ celebrates 175 years

    The word “OK” turned 175 years old on Sunday, March 23. Perhaps the most popular word in the English language, Oxford Dictionary shares a theory with Illinois English professor Allan Metcalf that OK comes from an abbreviation of “orl korrekt,” a derivative of “all correct” from the 1830s. It first appeared in print on page 2 of The Boston Morning Post, then one of the most popular papers in the US. Metcalf calls OK “the most frequently spoken (or typed) word on the planet.” It was Columbia University professor Allen Walker Read who first found the first use of OK in print. Read died in 2002 after a lifetime interest in OK and a widely used 4-letter word that begins with F.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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