August 18, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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  1. Aquino hits China over ships in Recto Bank

    Photo by Robert Viñas/Malacañang Photo Bureau

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino III criticized China after the Philippines spotted 2 Chinese hydrographic ships in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). In an exclusive interview with TV5, Aquino said the ships were spotted in the potentially oil-rich Recto (Reed) Bank, which lies 80 nautical miles from Palawan — which means it falls within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. The sighting of the 2 Chinese vessels came after the Philippines, in July, extended a British company’s permit to conduct oil drilling activities in Recto Bank. China rejected this as “illegal and invalid.” China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, while the Philippines has challenged this by filing a historic case over the contested waters.

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  2. Aquino sisters did not exactly express support for Binay

    File photo from OVP

    After news came out that the President’s sisters support the 2016 presidential bid of opposition candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay, the Chief Executive clarified that is not entirely accurate. President Benigno Aquino said his sisters were forced by media to say something. In an interview with News5, Aquino explains, “The gist of what they said was ‘If he [Binay] will continue what our brother is doing then okay, that’s good,” he said. “Which is not exactly the same as saying he will be the one to continue it.” Binay earlier cited raw information that Aquino’s party mates in the ruling Liberal Party (LP) are supposedly mulling the idea, a report denied by LP stalwarts. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is reportedly being groomed to be the LP’s standard-bearer in 2016.

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  3. DOE: No maintenance shutdown allowed in summer 2015

    The Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits power plants to schedule their maintenance shutdown during the summer of 2015 to prevent shortage and power outages. Based on projections, the Philippines will face an energy deficit of 200 megawatts (MW) next year. The DOE said an additional 400 to 500 MW is needed during the peak months of March to May 2015. But the department said the scheduled maintenance of the Malampaya natural gas facility, which supplies three power plants in Luzon, can no longer be moved. To augment Luzon’s power requirements, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla proposed two measures: contracting additional capacity from power generators and implementing the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

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  4. Bangsamoro draft bill due Monday

    President Benigno Aquino is set to receive on Monday a completed draft bill to create a Muslim autonomous area. Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the President wanted the law passed quickly so the election of the leaders of the Muslim self-rule area could be held alongside the 2016 national elections. The peace panels of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a peace agreement in March, where both sides would work to create an autonomous area. The process ran into difficulties after the president’s legal team ordered a series of changes to the first version of the draft bill submitted to Aquino — a move that frustrated the MILF, which last month accused the government of trying to renege on the terms of the peace agreement.

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  5. Afghan Sikhs found in UK shipping container

    Cyril Villemain/AFP

    Police found 34 Sikhs from Afghanistan, including 13 children, in a shipping container at a British port over the weekend following a “horrific ordeal.” One man in his 40s was discovered dead. On Saturday, staff at Tilbury Docks east of London found the survivors after hearing banging and screaming coming from the container. Police said the container had arrived by truck at Zeebrugge seaport in Belgium, having crossed the North Sea on a ferry. The Red Cross provided food and welfare for the group, and the Border Force will take care of them once officials have finished questioning them. Cases of immigrants trying to enter Britain illegally are not rare. The BBC reported there have been more than 11,000 attempts to cross the English Channel from continental Europe illegally. Tony Smith, a former head of the UK Border Force, said people being trafficked into Britain were the victims of criminal gangs.

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  6. Ebola patients flee attack on Liberia clinic

    Seventeen patients infected with Ebola were missing and 3 others forcibly taken by their own relatives following an armed raid on a quarantine center in Monrovia. The attackers, mostly young men armed with clubs, shouted that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf “is broke” and “there’s no Ebola” in Liberia as they broke into the unit. The raid illustrated aid workers’ warnings about denial of Ebola in some of the worst-affected areas in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Doctors and nurses are fighting not just the disease, but also the distrust and fear of poorly educated traditional communitie s. The Ebola outbreak, the worst since the virus first appeared in 1976, has claimed 1,145 lives in five months.

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  7. Violence in riot-hit US town

    Roberto Rodriguez/EPA

    The trooper put in charge of tamping swirling racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri vowed to stay “as long as it takes,” following an outbreak of fresh violence over the weekend as 200 protesters defied a curfew. The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer has reignited a national debate about law enforcement and African Americans. Brown’s family accused authorities of a “devious” attempt to smear their son’s character after police named him as a suspect in the robbery of a Ferguson convenience store. The Ferguson police force’s response also drew criticism after officers were seen facing down protesters in military-grade armored trucks. The US Justice Department announced a federal medical examiner would carry out a second autopsy on Brown’s body, citing the case’s “extraordinary circumstances.”

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  8. Thousands mourn Brazil’s presidential candidate

    Photo by Fernando Bizerra Jr/EPA

    More than 130,000 mourners paid their respects to Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos, after the popular socialist politician died in a plane crash last week. He was 49. Campos died when his campaign jet slammed into houses in Santos city in bad weather on Wednesday, killing all seven people on board and setting buildings alight. He had been running third in opinion polls for the October election. A popular former governor of the northeastern state of Pernambuco, Campos was married with five children. He will be laid to rest at a cemetery in Santo Amaro.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Scotland’s selfie generation and the bid for independence

    Andy Buchanan/AFP

    Young Scots aged 16 and 17 are getting the vote for the first time in Scotland’s independence referendum. Both the pro-independence and pro-union sides have run campaigns on social media to get as many young people involved as possible. While most teenagers might be expected to disagree with their parents, opinion polls suggest their views on independence from Britain are in line with older Scots, most of whom look set to vote No. Overall, most opinion polls currently give the pro-union camp 45-50% of the vote and put the pro-independence side in the range of 35-39%. Researchers also noted that some 67% of young voters have been following news of the referendum campaigns on social media compared to 63% for television and radio and 48% for online news websites. If the polls are borne out, it could ironically be the youth vote which helps to preserve a system of union between Scotland and England which dates back more than 300 years.

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  10. La Salle strikes back at Ateneo

    Photo by Josh Albelda

    The defending champions of the UAAP struck back against their rivals in Katipunan. Borne by Jeron Teng, the DLSU Green Archers swept past the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 88,86, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday. Teng had 32 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, outdueling his rival for the MVP award Kiefer Ravena, who finished with 22 markers, 6 boards, and 6 dimes. La Salle won their sixth straight game to tie Ateneo and FEU atop the league standings at 6-2.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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