April 24, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Extremist in Malaysia resort kidnap arrested

    A member of the Abu Sayyaf Group who took part in the kidnapping of 21 people on Malaysia’s Sipadan Island in 2000, was arrested in the city of Zamboanga in Mindanao Wednesday, April 23. Nabil Talahi Idjiran was also among those who took turns guarding mostly Western hostages, Colonel Andrelino Colina, head of a special anti-terror task force, said. Idjiran was monitored by military intelligence operatives around Zamboanga City since last year, and according to Colina, was unlikely to have been involved in the latest abductions of a Chinese tourist and Filipina resort worker from a Malaysian resort earlier this April. The Abu Sayyaf are believed to be behind recent kidnappings of tourists from Malaysia.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. China wants bilateral resolution of dispute

    Days before US President Barack Obama arrives in Manila, a senior Chinese diplomat said disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) should be resolved between nations and be done in the spirit of “peace and cooperation.” Liu Zhenmin, China’s senior official for China-ASEAN affairs and vice minister of foreign affairs, said the bilateral resolution of disputes should be done without the involvement of “external” parties. Locked in disputes with Japan and the Philippines – two countries that are in Obama’s itinerary – China prefers settlement on a country-to-country basis, Liu said. This was in apparent reference to the Philippines which has brought its case to an international arbitral court.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. PH-HK resolve hostage row

    The Philippines and Hong Kong have resolved their differences over a 2010 bus hostage crisis that killed 8 Hong Kong tourists. A joint statement said the Philippines “expresses its most sorrowful regret and profound sympathy, and extends its most sincere condolences for the pain and suffering of the victims and their families.” It appeared to fall short of the apology that Hong Kong originally demanded but Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said both sides had reached a “consensus.” Hong Kong has lifted all sanctions against the Philippines, including visa requirements for Philippine government officials and diplomats.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A related story is on the BBC.

  4. Still no closure on Erap plunder case

    Former president Joseph Estrada still owes the government over P400 million (about US$9 million), according to a September 2013 compliance report of Sandiganbayan acting chief judicial officer Albert dela Cruz. Of the P735 million that was supposed to be forfeited in favor of government in connection with his plunder case, only P317 million has been recovered. These amounts were taken from the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation and the Jose Velarde account, which Estrada has denied was his. Estrada’s plunder case remains active and provides lessons for the current plunder cases filed with the Ombudsman in connection with the pork barrel scam.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Authorities search offices of ferry millionaire owner

    Photo from EPA

    Broadening their investigations, South Korean authorities searched the offices of the company that owns the South Korean ferry that sank, carrying more than 300 high school students. The family of Yoo Byung-eun, known in South Korea as the “millionaire with no face” appears to control Cheonghaejin Marine Company. CNN reported that the company has been struggling and reported losses in 2013. Days after the ferry Sewol sank on April 16, the company’s president apologized for the tragedy. Yoo and his two sons who control the shipping company via an investment vehicle and subsidiary, stayed away. As of early Thursday, April 24, 159 bodies had been retrieved, leaving 143 missing.

    Read the full story on CNN


  6. Perils of Pacquiao’s politics

    Boxing champ and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao is better off focusing on sports than politics, or even contemplating the presidency. Sociologist Nicole Curato writes, “We love our champ if he sticks to what he does best and we condemn him when he dabbles in fields outside his core competence. Focus on sports. Stay away from politics.” While there is a need to redistribute political power by opening up political space to the less privileged, it is still the power of celebrity that carves out spaces for alternative personalities in the country. Curato writes that unfortunately for Pacquiao, instead of acting as a “champion of pro-poor policies,” he was quick to “build his own dynasty, maintain links with questionable political figures and oppose progressive legislation like the Reproductive Health Law.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Facebook’s earnings nearly triple, thanks to mobile

    Peter DaSilva/EPA

    More mobile users and increased mobile advertising helped boost Facebook profits to nearly triple in the first quarter of 2014. The social network giant registered earnings of US$642 million, aided in part by advertising revenues that soared by 82% to $2.27 billion from 2013. Close to 60% of these advertising earnings came from mobile ads. Facebook users have increased and shifted over to mobile devices – daily active users have increased to 802 million, of which 609 million are mobile users. In a statement, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said, “Facebook’s business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. ‘Green’ buildings equate to P35.2B savings

    By 2030, businesses and consumers can save up to P35.2 billion (US$800 million) once the Green Building Code is approved by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson by early 2015. By June 2014, a draft of the code should already by ready. It will focus on building features that can be used to reduce electricity and water consumption, along with greenhouse gas emissions. Once approved, developers of all new buildings with a large total floor area would have to adhere to Code requirements before they are given a building permit. A challenge to the implementation of the Code is the severe lack of building inspectors.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Jodie Foster weds girlfriend

    Photos from wikipedia

    Actress Jodie Foster has married girlfriend Alexandra Hedison, a photographer and actress, over the weekend. Quoting broadcaster E! which first broke the story, the BBC said the couple started dating in 2013. Hedison had previously dated celebrity comedian and host Ellen Degeneres. Foster announced she was gay in a speech at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards. She has two sons with previous partner Cydney Bernard. They ended their 20-year relationship in 2008.

    Read the full story on the BBC.

  10. Kris Aquino, Herbert Bautista: Best friends

    Screengrab from Instagram

    They have been dating but remain just the best of friends. On her Instagram account, Aquino said, “We’re not a ‘couple’ but we are the best of friends. And in this uncertain world, we’re sure to be friends for life. That’s actually what we started as, it’s where we are most comfortable being, and for whatever tomorrow may still bring, true and lasting friendship is always the best foundation.” Bautista, Quezon City’s mayor, had personally sought permission from no less than President Benigno Aquino III and the other Aquino sisters, to date Kris. The celebrity actress said at the time they were a “work in progress.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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