April 21, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Gigi Reyes back in Manila to face ‘pork’ charges

    Four months after she left the country in the wake of the biggest corruption scandal to hit the Philippines in recent years, the former aide and rumored girlfriend of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile arrived in Manila April 19. Jessica “Gigi” Reyes told reporters upon arrival from San Francisco that she returned to Manila “to seek some peace and quiet amid the barrage of adverse and downright insulting publicity and commentary against me in the mainstream and social media.” Reyes, Enrile as well as Senators Ramon Revilla Jr and Jinggoy Estrada are among the 38 charged in relation to the scam. She’s being accused of signing documents that facilitated the release of Enrile’s pork barrel funds to fake non-governmental organizations created by alleged pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read Senator Santiago’s call for her to turn state witness on Rappler.

  2. South Korean families split over ending rescue

    Photo by Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

    Four days after South Korea’s shattering ferry disaster, grieving relatives were split over whether to approve an end to the search for survivors and let cranes raise the vessel to the surface. Nearly 60 people have been confirmed dead, but more than 240 are still unaccounted for – most of them children on an organized high school holiday. Divers began retrieving bodies from inside the ferry on April 20. Many relatives had hoped passengers may have survived in trapped air pockets, and feared that raising the ship would have fatal consequences. Meanwhile, a transcript showed evacuation panic among the crew in the final moments before the ferry sank.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read the story on the ferry transcript on Rappler.

  3. Malaysian Airlines plane malfunctions on take-off

    The bad news keeps on coming. On April 21, Malaysia Airlines said a plane with 166 people on board was to attempt an emergency landing after its landing gear malfunctioned on take-off. MH192 had been heading from Kuala Lumpur to Bangalore. The airline said the problem was with the right-hand landing gear of its Boeing aircraft, according to Reuters. Malaysian Airlines faced its worst crisis following last month’s disappearance of one of its planes. The search for its wreckage continues in the Indian Ocean.

    Read the full story on Reuters.

  4. Security tops agenda of Obama PH visit

    Michael Reynolds/EPA

    Defense and security will be on top of the agenda when United States President Barack Obama meets President Benigno Aquino III on April 28 to April 29, Malacañang said. Aquino is now reviewing a draft military deal submitted to him by Philippine and US panels allowing American troops access to bases here. The deal and Obama’s visit come in the midst of the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China. Aside from the Philippines, Obama is also visiting Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Don’t harass Filipinos, Singapore PM tells Singaporeans

    File photo of Lee Hsien Loong

    Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took to Facebook on April 19 to say he was dismayed by online reaction to the planned Philippine Independence Day celebrations in the city-state. “I was appalled to read about those who harassed the organizers of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations, and spammed their Facebook page. They are a disgrace to Singapore,” said Lee. A report by Singapore’s Straits Times said that anonymous callers have been bugging Filipino organizers. “The callers say we have no right to hold the event in Orchard Road,” the Times quoted an organizer. The event is on June 8.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Panel completes draft Bangsamoro law

    Photo by Bangsamoro Transition Commission

    The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) signed their final draft of the proposed law for a new political region in Mindanao on Easter Sunday, April 20, according to Commission chairman Mohagher Iqbal. This comes a week after the body submitted a partial draft to President Benigno Aquino III for evaluation and review. The crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law marks the second phase of the peace process in Mindanao – the crucial implementation phase. The first phase culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27. The BTC is expected to transmit in the coming days their version of the basic law to the President for review before it is sent to Congress.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Boracay airport expansion begins

    By the time it’s finished in 2016, the airport in Boracay would have a bigger international terminal able to accommodate bigger aircraft, a longer runway, better roads and spanking facilities. Conglomerate San Miguel Corporation said it will start construction works to expand the Boracay airport within the first half of the year. San Miguel owns 99.72% of Trans Aire Development Holdings Corporation, which holds a 25-year concession right to operate the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport, the 7th busiest in the country. The project also has a commercial component that includes the development of a 16-hectare property beside the airport. Developing airports is part of San Miguel’s strategy as it diversifies into the infrastructure and power sectors for higher returns.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Defying Pope Francis? Cardinal eyes luxury apartment

    File photos from AFP and EPA

    His luxury lodgings are stirring unease since Pope Francis has pushed priests to be more humble. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is moving into a 600-square-meter (6,500 square foot) Vatican apartment in apparent contradiction with Pope Francis’s call for a “poor Church,” Italian daily La Repubblica reported on April 20. The flat also has a 100-square-meter roof terrace and is next to St Martha’s Residence – a Vatican hotel where Francis has taken up home, spurning the grander Apostolic Palace where popes usually live. Bertone is the Vatican’s former Secretary of State, a role equivalent to prime minister. His stint as Secretary of State under Benedict XVI was highly divisive in the Vatican administration and top clerics had asked the then pope to dismiss him.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Russian lawmaker tells aide to rape journalist

    The deputy speaker of the Russia’s lower parliament is known for his incendiary statements, but this one probably went too far. Agitated by a question during a televised press conference about recent Ukrainian moves to crack down on Russian men, far-right Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky said to his aide, “OK, I’ll say it and then you run up and start raping her hard,” referring to a lady journalist who had asked the question. Then he pushed his aide toward the journalist, who happens to be pregnant, saying: “Go kiss her! Go kiss her!” The parliament’s ethics committee said it will investigate Zhirinovsky.

    Read the full story and watch the video on Buzzfeed.

  10. Open in July: Harry Potter theme park in Japan

    AFP Photo / Jiji Press Japan Out

    Harry Potter fans, there’s more reason to rejoice. Japan will open its Harry Potter theme park on July 15 this year, featuring many attractions like the Hogwarts castle and Hogsmeade – similar to the one in Universal Studios, Florida. The Los Angeles Times also reported that Universal Studios Hollywood is set to open the Wizarding World attraction in 2016. Besides that, JK Rowling is working with Warner Bros on the movie version of the Potter spinoff called Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them, a book by Rowling released in 2001.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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