April 28, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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  1. Obama in Manila

    File photo by EPA

    US President Barack Obama visits Manila on Monday, April 28, the final leg of an Asian tour that gave him the opportunity to stress the importance of the region to America. Hours before his meeting with President Benigno Aquino III, the Philippines and the US will sign a military deal that will give American troops wider access to military bases here. Details of the deal, called the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), have yet to be released, but the pact would allow both sides to discuss rotations of US troops, naval visits and training exercise. In an essay for Rappler, experts tackled the EDCA’s political, economic, and security implications to the Philippines and the rest of the region, as well as identified the challenges that it will face.

    Read the full story on the military deal on Rappler.

    Read the full story on Obama’s visit on Rappler.

    Watch Obama’s visit on Rappler.

    Read an analysis of the EDCA on Rappler.

  2. Public must scrutinize PH-US defense agreement

    File photo by DND

    The negotiations that led to a new military deal between the Philippines and the United States have not been transparent and lacked public consultations, 3 former senators who voted to remove the US bases in 1991 said in a statement. Former vice president Teofisto Guingona Jr, and former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada said the new agreement threatens to reverse the historic Senate vote that ended American military presence in the Philippines in 1991. The former senators, along with lawyers and civil society leaders, expressed “grave concern” over the lack of public consultations on the issue. The new deal needs to undergo Senate deliberation and public scrutiny, they said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Two popes canonized

    Pope Francis on April 27 proclaimed as saints his influential predecessors John Paul II and John XXIII at a historic ceremony attended by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square. “We declare and define as saints the blessed John XXIII and John Paul II,” the Catholic leader said in a Latin prayer, as pilgrims and foreign dignitaries applauded and chanted: “Amen!” Filipinos joined the celebration by paying tribute to the two revered leaders of modern-day Catholicism, and watched the ceremony via a live feed shown at the Smart Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City. Thousands followed the ceremony on giant screens set up in picturesque spots of Rome, witnessing an event seen as a way of uniting conservative and reformist wings of Catholicism. It was the first time that two Catholic Church leaders were being declared saints on the same day.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. South Korean PM quits, takes responsibility for ferry disaster

    Photo by EPA

    South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Hong-Won tendered his resignation on April 27 over the sinking of a passenger ferry that left more than 300 people dead or missing. The government, along with almost all other branches of officialdom, has been criticized over the disaster, and the handling of the rescue operation. Chung told a nationally-televised press conference that “the screams of families of the missing still keep me up at night.” He said: “I offer my apology for having been unable to prevent this accident from happening and unable to properly respond to it afterwards.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Who needs Janet Napoles? Not the Ombudsman

    File Photo by Rappler

    Is Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales open to having alleged pork barrel scam operator Janet Lim-Napoles as a state witness? Morales said the pork barrel cases they will be filing before the Sandiganbayan are supported by robust evidence, suggesting they do not need Napoles’ testimony. The Ombudsman’s statement effectively undermined Napoles’ recently executed affidavit facilitated by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Napoles executed her affidavit a day after Senator Jinggoy Estrada, one of the top respondents in the pork barrel scam, returned on April 21 from a trip to the US. On April 19, Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, the controversial former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, returned to the country after spending 8 months abroad following her implication in the pork barrel scam.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. MERS death toll in Saudi reaches 100

     AFP PHOTO / British Health Protection Agency

    The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) death toll in Saudi Arabia topped 100 on April 27 as authorities scrambled to reassure an increasingly edgy population in the country worst-hit by the infectious coronavirus. Public fears have been fueled by a rapid rise in the number of fatalities from the respiratory infection, with 39 people dying this month – well over a third of the 102 deaths registered since the virus emerged in April 2012. As of April 24, the World Health Organization reported 254 laboratory-confirmed cases of infections, 93 of which resulted in death, worldwide. Not familiar with MERS? Rappler listed 7 things you need to know about it.

    Read the full story on MERS in the Middle East on Rappler.

    Read 7 facts about MERS on Rappler.

  7. Cedric Lee, co-accused arrested in Eastern Samar

    Rappler file photo

    Businessman Cedric Lee and one other accused in the mauling of comedian-host Vhong Navarro were arrested in Eastern Samar on April 26. The mauling of Navarro occurred on January 22 at a unit in Forbeswood Heights Condominium in Taguig City, and turned into a scandal that dragged for months. Lee’s camp claimed that the beating was an act of citizen’s arrest, as Navarro allegedly raped their friend Deniece Cornejo. But the justice department dismissed Cornejo’s rape complaint. On April 12, a day after their arrest warrants were issued, Lee booked a Cebu Pacific flight bound for Dubai but later cancelled it.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Palestinian leader: Holocaust ‘most heinous crime’ in modern era

    Photo by Alaa Badarneh/EPA

    The mass killing of Jews in the Holocaust was “the most heinous crime” against humanity in the modern era, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said April 27, in his strongest remarks yet on the Nazi genocide. The statement comes at a sensitive time for US-led peace efforts, with Israel having suspended faltering talks last week after Abbas reached an agreement with the Islamist Hamas movement to form a unity government. Although the Palestinian leader has condemned the Holocaust in the past, his attitude has come in for heavy scrutiny since the early 1980s, when in his doctoral thesis he questioned the total number of Jews killed.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. French police accused of raping Canadian tourist

    Two elite French police officers were charged April 27 with raping a Canadian tourist in their Paris headquarters, in a case that has sent shock waves across France. Four policemen were taken into custody after the 34-year-old woman filed a complaint saying she had been raped in the police headquarters overnight. Two of them were released. The woman reportedly met the officers during a night of heavy drinking at an Irish pub frequented by many police from the headquarters. Initial medical exams were carried out and DNA samples were taken but the results are not yet known.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Ladies, George Clooney is engaged to a lawyer

    Photo by Tal Cohen/EPA

    He’s off the market. Actor and humanitarian George Clooney, 52, is engaged to lawyer Amal Alamuddin, 36, say E! News and People magazine. Amal had people talking when she was spotted with a ring on her left ring finger while vacationing in Malibu. Amal is a trilingual lawyer who specializes in “international law, human rights, extradition and criminal law,” according to reports. Born in Beirut, she studied at Oxford and New York University, and is Clooney’s first non-Hollywood partner in recent memory, USA Today says. They have been dating since 2013. The Clooney camp refused to comment on the reports.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read a related story on USA Today.

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