May 16, 2014 Edition

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  1. Is China building military base in Spratlys?

    Photo courtesy of DFA

    The United States warned against “militarization” in the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), saying this could further raise tensions in the region. The statement from the US state department came a day after Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin expressed near certainty that China has reclaimed land to build a military base on Mabini (Johnson) Reef, which is part of the Spratly Islands in the disputed West Philippine Sea. The construction activities were first monitored by the Philippines in February 2014. On May 15, 2014, the government released photos of China’s “destabilizing” moves in the disputed seas.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. PH offers 3 military bases for Americans’ use

     Rappler file photo

    The Philippine military is offering at least 3 military bases for the use of American troops based on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). These are the Philippine Navy detachment in Oyster Bay in Palawan, the Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales, and an army camp in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. The Palawan detachment faces the West Philippine Sea and it’s near the disputed Kalayaan Group of Islands (Spratlys). The announcement came on the day Filipino and American troops held the last phase of their 10-day war games in the Philippines involving 5,500 troops. The military exercises were also held amid maritime rows involving China, the Philippines and Vietnam.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. De Lima releases Napoles list; affidavit to follow

    Photo by Alex Nuevaespaña/Senate PRIB

    The Napoles camp said it’s the only list that matters. Heeding a subpoena, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima submitted to the Senate on May 15 her copy of the signed list of lawmakers alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles implicated in the Philippines’ biggest corruption scandal in recent history. The one-page list names Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, and 12 former and incumbent senators. De Lima has yet to submit the accompanying affidavit of Napoles, and asked for a one-week extension or until May 22. The Senate granted this request.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Aquino stands by men named in Napoles list

    File photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

    Fire them? They’re innocent until proven guilty, says President Benigno Aquino III. The President on May 15 came to the defense of Cabinet Secretaries who are in the so-called Napoles list that alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles submitted to the justice department. The most crucial question to ask is if there is adequate evidence against the concerned officials, he said. The President stressed it would be wrong for him to fire his Cabinet in response to every criticism against them. Included in the Napoles list is a key adviser of the President, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, as well as Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) head Joel Villanueva.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Thai army warns it may use force

    Photo from EPA

    The army chief in Thailand warned groups it may have to use “full military force” if street violence continues. “I want to warn every group, especially those using violence and war weapons against innocent civilians, to stop now. If this goes on, the military may be needed to come out to restore peace and order,” Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha was quoted by The Nation as saying in a statement. His warning came a day after 3 people were killed and 22 were wounded in grenade and gun attacks in Bangkok. Following the removal of the prime minister, an interim government is expected to be in office for 18 months or longer before a new general election is held.

    Read the full story on The Nation.

  6. Christian woman sentenced to death for leaving Islam

    A Sudanese judge sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, despite appeals by Western embassies for compassion and respect for religious freedom. Born to a Muslim father, the woman was convicted under the Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death. “We gave you 3 days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged,” Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told the woman, addressing her by her father’s Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah. Sudan has an Islamist government but, other than floggings, extreme sharia law punishments have been rare.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. 4 weeks before World Cup: Strikes, protests in Brazil

    Brazil faced a test of its security preparations for the World Cup on May 15, as demonstrators aghast at the cost of the event joined protests and strikes in several major cities. Brazil has spent more than $11 billion to organize the World Cup, money protesters say could have been better spent on areas such as transport, education, housing and health care. Ongoing work stoppages by police and teachers and the threat of a nationwide strike by federal police also raised fears of chaos with just four weeks to go before the Cup kicks off. Although most demonstrations were peaceful, police used teargas against group of masked demonstrators in Sao Paulo as tensions rose there around Friday morning, May 16 (Manila time).

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Vaccine wipes out woman’s cancer

    File photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

    US scientists believe it can become a single shot cure for cancer. A potent dose of engineered measles virus has been shown for the first time to have completely wiped out a woman’s cancer. The 49-year-old patient was diagnosed with a kind of bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma. She was given an intravenous dose of measles virus, known as MV-NIS, that is selectively toxic to myeloma plasma cells. Despite some side effects early on, including a severe headache, the tumor on her forehead soon disappeared and her bone marrow cleared.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Google asked: Forget me

    After a European court ruled that a citizen could ask Google to remove “irrelevant and outdated” search results, Google has received takedown requests from various people, the BBC reported on May 15. Those requests include a former politician who is running for re-election and who has asked Google to remove links to stories about his past behavior, as well as a doctor who wants Google to delete negative reviews from patients, according to the BBC. The European Court of Justice’s so-called right-to-be-forgotten ruling has been described by Google as “disappointing,” and the technology giant has so far not released any information on the number of requests it has received since then.

    Read the full story on BBC.

  10. San Mig Coffee on way to Grand Slam

    Photo by Kevin Dela Cruz/Rappler

    San Mig Coffee on May 15 bagged their 3rd straight championship – at the expense of the Talk ‘N’ Text Tropang Texters – to get the Commissioner’s Cup title. The Mixers beat the Texters, 100-91, in just 4 games in the best-of-5 Finals series. Before this title, the Mixers also copped the 2014 Philippine Cup and the 2013 Governors’ Cup titles. Coach Tim Cone and his team are now in prime position to achieve the coveted Grand Slam if they win next conference’s championship. But Cone said: “We’re not gonna talk about that because it’s so much pressure to win a grand slam.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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