September 2, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Kiev warns of ‘great war’ with Russia

    “A great war arrived at our doorstep, the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II,” Ukraine’s Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey wrote on Facebook, warning of “tens of thousands of deaths.” Ukrainian forces ceded a strategic eastern airport to pro-Russian insurgents on September 1, even as European-mediated talks over the fast-escalating crisis opened behind closed doors in the Belarussian capital Minsk. The rebels have launched a major counteroffensive in recent days that the Ukrainian government and its Western allies claim is backed by Russian forces – a charge Moscow denies. Geletey vowed to “immediately mount defenses against Russia, which is trying not only to secure positions held by terrorists before but to advance on other territories of Ukraine.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. UN sends team to probe ISIS atrocities

    The 47 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously agreed to send an emergency mission to Iraq to investigate Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) atrocities, as Baghdad warned the country was “facing a terrorist monster.” They reached their decision after spending the day listening to details of horrendous abuses and crimes attributed to the jihadist group calling itself the Islamic State, including massacres, forced conversions, abductions, slavery, sexual violence and the use of children as soldiers and suicide bombers. The special session was called at Baghdad’s request, with support from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – among other countries. The ISIS has grabbed large swaths of Iraq’s Sunni heartland since June 9.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Firefight erupts in Golan; peacekeepers still not found

    Syrian troops and Islamist rebels battled close to the armistice line with Israel in the Golan Heights September 1, as the UN pressed efforts to free 44 Fijian peacekeepers held by the insurgents. Several mortar rounds struck on the edges of the ceasefire line as the combatants exchanged rocket, mortar and tank fire near the Quneitra crossing, which Al-Qaeda-linked rebels seized last week. The rebels abducted Fijian peacekeepers when they overran Quneitra. The Fijians were “safe” but their whereabouts uncertain, a military official said, indicating there was contact with the group that was holding them.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. PH military wants UN commander probed

    Armed Forces chief of staff General Gregorio Catapang Jr said he wants the UN commander of Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights investigated for making bad calls during the tense standoff between Philippine troops and Syrian rebels last week. Catapang told reporters it was Lt General Iqbal Singh Singha, commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, who had ordered the Filipino troops to agree to the rebels’ demand to surrender their weapons. But the soldiers defied his orders and instead plotted their own escape from the area, Catapang told reporters. “It’s a no go. If you give up your firearms, what will happen? What are you going to do to defend yourself? In the rules of engagement, you can use deadly force to defend yourself and the UN facilities,” explained another Filipino commander.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Commission on Audit decries budget ‘wipeout’

    The Commission on Audit, an independent institution that conducts financial oversight over government agencies, had asked for a capital outlay of P838 million to construct satellite offices, build a database and make its work more efficient. But to the commission’s dismay, the Department of Budget and Management’s proposed 2015 budget for COA cut down the request to P405,000. It’s practically a “wipeout,” COA head Grace Pulido Tan told a budget hearing in Congress. While the auditors are expected to be independent, the lack of COA offices in provinces has forced them to hold office in government agencies they are auditing themselves. This situation “erodes independence somehow,” Tan said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Cabinet executive questions Bangsamoro powers

    The Aquino administration may have vowed to support the proposed Bangsamoro region that is envisioned after the peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, but one of its key leaders in Mindanao is wary about it. Secretary Lualhati Antonino, chief of the Mindanao Development Authority, openly expressed her displeasure over what she described as an attempt to grant the proposed Bangsamoro region the “exclusive authority” over natural resources in the area. She cited the fact that Lake Lanao is a major energy source in Mindanao and should be under the control of the central government. A commission has already submitted to President Benigno Aquino III a draft law that will spell out the powers of the planned Bangsamoro region, including powers over resources in the area.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. China engages in ‘E-public diplomacy’

    Perceived as a regional bully by smaller countries with whom it has maritime or territorial disputes, China is building relations with media from member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), inviting online journalists for the very first time to its “China-ASEAN Workshop on News Website Development and Cooperation.” China calls it “E-public diplomacy.” Pan Jian, deputy chief editor of, the first Chinese news website to go public on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, said that while they still need to do a lot to “bridge the gap with the people,” they also have to think about returns to their investors by “developing new forms of media” and “setting up media groups that enjoy considerable influence.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Indonesia’s first female provincial leader jailed

    The head of one of the country’s most powerful political dynasties was jailed for 4 years for bribing a top judge over an election dispute. The case of Ratu Atut Chosiyah has transfixed even graft-weary Indonesia since her arrest last year for giving kickbacks to the Constitutional Court’s then chief justice, Akil Mochtar. Her family dominates wealthy Banten province on the main island of Java, controlling 5 of its 8 districts. It is one of several local political dynasties that have flourished since the 1998 downfall of dictator Suharto. Judges at the special Anti-Corruption Court in Jakarta found the 52-year-old suspended Banten governor guilty of bribing Akil with IDR1 billion ($85,000) to annul a local election result in Banten that went against one of her close associates.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Mark Gil succumbs to liver cancer

    He was diagnosed with liver cancer two years ago, and by June he was told it was terminal. But Filipino actor Mark Gil had asked his family not to make this information public. His death on September 1 shocked fans and friends; he would have turned 53 on September 25. The family expressed his own wish that they be allowed to “grieve his passing in private.” Gil rose to fame in the movie Batch 81 directed by Mike de Leon, where he played a neophyte initiated in a fraternity. He was recently seen in the ABS-CBN drama “The Legal Wife” starring Angel Locsin.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Heartbreak in Spain: 0-3 for Gilas

    “This one really hurt,” said coach Chot Reyes after Gilas Pilipinas put up another valiant effort but fell short against the third-ranked team in the world Argentina, 85-81, to suffer their third straight loss September 2. Gilas  even led by as much as 10 points twice in the first half of the contest before failing to execute down the stretch. Team captain Jimmy Alapag was a huge part of Gilas’ strong stand against Argentina. Like what he did in the team’s game against Korea over a year ago, the man they call the “Mighty Mouse” made triple after triple to keep Argentina within striking distance. Reyes took responsibility for the defeat, saying “I couldn’t get players to get shots.” The Philippines still has a chance to make the Round of 16 by quotient granted Senegal (which they fight on Thursday) loses to them and to Argentina. Gilas must also beat Puerto Rico in their game on Wednesday, September 3.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read the full story on Reyes’ media statements on Rappler.

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