September 11, 2014 Edition

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  1. US to lead ‘broad coalition’ vs ISIS

    The United States will lead a “broad coalition” against the terror group ISIS, US President Barack Obama said in a speech in Washington DC on September 10 ( September 11 in Manila). The address comes at a poignant time for America – on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, when Islamic radicalism on a mass scale scorched the US homeland for the first time, and drew America into exhausting overseas wars and a still unending anti-terror campaign. Despite devoting much of his presidency to exiting Middle Eastern entanglements and avoiding new ones, Obama was to talk about a plan that will include US military action against Islamic State forces and new support for the opposition in Syria and the new “inclusive” government in Iraq.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. American teenager pleads guilty to terror charge

    Screengrab from The Denver Channel

    Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, appeared at Denver’s US District Court on September 10 and pleaded guilty to charges she provided material support to Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. She faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Conley was arrested last April 2014 at the Denver International Airport as she was about to depart for Syria, officials said. Before this, she was found stalking a Christian church and, without much discretion, plotted a trip to the Middle East as part of the jihadist network, according to the Denver Post.

    Read the full story on the Denver Post.

  3. Davao police seize preacher with terror links

    Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, a Canadian Islamic preacher linked to international terrorists, is detained in Davao City awaiting deportation. Local and foreign security officials consider Philips a security threat due to his alleged links to international terrorists. He was scheduled to give a lecture at a program in Zamboanga City on September 5 and 6, but the city refused to grant a permit for the event. Police eventually seized him on September 7 in Davao City while he was in a meeting. Philips was secretly indicted by the US government for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Fate of Bangsamoro region now up to Congress

    After much delay, President Benigno Aquino III finally submitted to the Philippine Congress the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law that seeks to create a new autonomous government in Mindanao and help end 4 decades of conflict with Muslim rebels. It’s the second phase of the peace process between the Aquino government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed a peace agreement in March 2014. The bill envisions a powerful autonomous region that gives local officials fiscal and political autonomy, among others. Some lawmakers are skeptical about it, however, because they suspect some provisions may violate the Constitution. But President Aquino wants the law signed before he steps down from office in 2016.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Israel probes troops over crimes in Gaza

    Israel’s army has launched 5 criminal investigations into incidents involving its forces during the Gaza war. Earlier, the United Nations and international rights groups condemned Israel for numerous attacks which resulted in heavy civilian casualties, in a conflict that killed more than 2,140 Palestinians. Among the cases that the army is investigating are the shelling on July 24 of a UN school in the northern town of Beit Hanun that medics said killed at least 15 people, and the July 16 bombing of a Gaza City beach where 4  children died. Other incidents being probed include the killing of a woman, the alleged beating in detention of a prisoner, and the alleged theft of money by a soldier from a home.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. MVP for 2016? Not interested, he says

    Photo by AFP

    No, thanks. Tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan brushed off speculations that he might seek public office in 2016, particularly as running mate of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has declared his intention to seek the highest post. “Thank you. I’ve made it clear [I’m not interested]. The Vice President might get hurt already [if I have to repeat it],” Pangilinan told reporters in a chance interview. Binay last week told a newspaper that he has talked to Pangilinan and broached to him the idea of becoming his running mate in 2016.  Binay said the last time he held talks with Pangilinan about this was last month. But Pangilinan said he’s only interested in two things now: business and sports.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Careful: 5M Gmail usernames, passwords leaked

    If you use the same password for multiple accounts, now might be a good time to make each of those passwords complex and unique and use Gmail’s two-factor authentication – connecting your accounts to a phone number or backup codes for verification – to maintain the tightest security on your email. Approximately 4.93 million usernames and passwords were reportedly published on a Russian Bitcoin forum on September 10. Google, however, does not believe this to be a security breach, saying that “no evidence that our systems have been compromised, but whenever we become aware that accounts may have been, we take steps to help those users secure their accounts.” An update from Lifehacker notes some users on Reddit who also claim that the leak appears to be passwords leaked from other websites and were associated (rather than connected) to Gmail addresses.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. A tale of Manila traffic and a monument

    Photo posted by user The Avenger

    The government has come under fire from historical conservationists for agreeing to the removal of the historic Anda Monument from its present site in a roundabout in Bonifacio Drive, Manila. But the National Historical Commission of the Philippines said the plan is for the monument’s own protection since it can now be placed in an area where it will be more protected, like a park. Vehicles passing through the Manila Port Area, Roxas Boulevard, Navotas, Malabon, and Intramuros use the roundabout where the monument is located. Increased activity in the port and the city’s growing population has led to traffic congestion in the area. The plan is to remove the monument in the next two weeks and turn the area into an intersection with traffic lights.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. China to launch 2nd ambitious spacelab

    In two years, China will launch its second orbiting space laboratory, the latest step in an ambitious space program Beijing says will one day land a Chinese man on the moon. Astronaut Yang Liwei, who in 2003 became China’s first man in space and is now deputy director of the country’s manned space program, made the announcement at the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) congress in Beijing. It is the first time China has hosted the annual meeting, which has drawn nearly 100 astronauts from 18 countries to Beijing, in a marker of the country’s scientific progress. Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space program as a symbol of its rise and the Communist Party’s success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. David Blaine here to do some magic

    A contemporary magician whose illusions have shocked fans around the world with their inventive twists is in Manila for a September 12 show. Some of these include holding his breath for 17 minutes, being encased in ice for 63 hours, and being sealed, according to the press release, in a “ coffin-like box at the bottom of a three-ton tank of water for a week.” Given his enigmatic manner, with a touch of his signature deadpan humor, and blurring the visible lines of illusion and reality, it will be most interesting to see David interact with local audiences – one important element in his craft. Catch him live this Friday at 8 pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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