December 15, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Sydney cafe hostaged by men who raised the black flag

    Hostages are being held inside a cafe in central Sydney Monday with an Islamic flag displayed against a window. Police said they were also responding to an “incident” at the nearby Opera House. Martin Place, Sydney’s central business district was shut down as scores of armed police surrounded the Lindt chocolate cafe. Reports say as many as 20 people were inside and that there were at least two gunmen. Witnesses report hearing loud bangs that sounded like gun shots. Channel Seven television station whose newsroom is opposite the cafe, watched the situation unfold. A TV executive says “We raced to the window and saw the shocking and chilling sight of people putting their hands up against the panes of glass at the cafe.” Australia is on high alert after the government realized citizens who fought alongside jihadists in Iraq and Syria could return home. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott convened a national security meeting to deal with the unfolding drama.

    Follow the developing story on Rappler.

  2. No evidence of ISIS in the Philippines – UN

    Despite numerous pledges of extremist and terrorist groups in the Philippines to ISIS, the UN says it has no evidence ISIS is in the Philippines.  At least 3 oathtaking video have been uploaded in the past few months by a leader of the Abu Sayyaf as well as cellphone video from prison of extremists and affiliated groups.  Oil deposits make ISIS one of the world’s richest terrorist organizations, and although it’s remained primarily focused on gaining and holding ground, the danger that it may implement an al-Qaeda like strategy pulling disparate groups around the world together through a financial network keep authorities watching closely.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Format for carbon pledges adopted in Lima

    UN members pressed ahead Sunday with a vision for a historic pact to defeat climate change by adopting a format for national pledges to cut Earth-warming greenhouse gases. At a marathon conference in Lima, they also approved a blueprint to guide negotiations for the deal due to be sealed in Paris in December 2015. But agreement came after a bitter dispute flared anew, requiring major compromise that campaigners said pointed to a mountain of work ahead. The hard-fought agreement – dubbed the Lima Call for Climate Action – due to take effect in 2020, aims to limit global warming to 2ºC (3.6ºF) over pre-industrial levels, averting potentially catastrophy to Earth by the turn of the century. At its core is a roster where all nations will enter voluntary commitments to reduce their carbon emissions. But the Lima deal came at the price of a compromise. In the face of opposition from China, it stripped out demands for extensive information about the pledges and tougher scrutiny.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. FPJ 10th anniversary

    The mass for the 10th death anniversary of Fernando Poe Jr. on Sunday, December 14, brought together the two top contenders for the 2016 presidential polls: his daughter, Senator Grace Poe, and his former campaign manager, Vice President Jejomar Binay. Carmela Fonbuena filed a video blog on how Poe’s supporters are counting on his daughter Grace to continue her father’s legacy.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Why the Pope ducked meeting with Dalai Lama

    A Vatican spokesman said Pope Francis would not meet the Dalai Lama despite his presence at a meeting in Rome of Nobel peace laureates. While Francis is known for championing interfaith ties, analysts said sensitivities over the fate of the Catholic minority in China were on the pope’s mind when he decided against greeting the Tibetan spiritual leader. The establishment of diplomatic ties between the Vatican and China – home to several million Catholics and Protestants – would allow Catholicism in China to flourish. A meeting with the Dalai Lama could jeopardize that. A spokesman for the Dalai Lama said he was “disappointed” but acknowledged that a meeting with the pope could have caused “inconvenience.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Abe reelected despite low turnout

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was re-elected in snap elections on Sunday, December 14. Exit polls showed his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner Komeito had swept the ballot, with two-thirds majority that will give them the power to override the upper house. TV Asahi said the pairing had won 333 of the 475 seats, while TBS put the figure at 328. But the low turnout from unenthusiastic voters could cast doubt on the endorsement he will claim for ‘Abenomics’ – his signature plan to fix the country’s flagging economy.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Korean Air president’s daughter apologizes to steward

    The daughter of Korean Air’s CEO apologized to the company’s cabin crew chief for kicking him off a plane over the way she was served nuts. The 40-year-old Cho Hyun-Ah, a top executive at Korean Air, took exception to the arrival of some macadamia nuts she had not asked for, and to the fact they were served in a packet rather than a bowl. The 40-year-old forced a New York-Seoul flight to return to the terminal and eject the head of cabin crew. Cho, sitting in first class, allegedly forced cabin manager Park Chang-Jin and a female attendant to kneel in front of her, calling Park names, pushing him into the cockpit door and jabbing him with a service manual. She resigned from all her posts at the family-run flag carrier after an intense public backlash and a state probe. Cho’s father apologized and said he shares the blame, ”I failed to raise the child properly. It’s my fault.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Pacman: Mayweather has nowhere to run

    Eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao vowed to chase Floyd Mayweather into ring submission after his American rival offered to fight him next year in a world title face-off. Responding to Mayweather’s challenge, Pacquiao said,” He (Mayweather) has reached a dead end. He has nowhere to run but to fight me.” Speaking to American cable network Showtime on Friday, Mayweather said he wants his next fight to be against the Filipino star, claiming Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum have been “ducking” the fight. But Mayweather said the highly-anticipated bout will only happen if he receives a much bigger share of the purse than his opponent.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. New James Bond script stolen

    An “early version” of the screenplay for the new James Bond film was stolen and made public during the massive hacking attack on Sony Pictures. The news came less than two weeks after details of the new Bond movie Spectre, starring Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz, were unveiled. Hollywood giant Sony Pictures Entertainment has been hit by a string of embarrassing leaks following a huge hack, which some have blamed on North Korea after its anger at the forthcoming movie The Interview, which lampoons its leader, Kim Jong-Un. The leaks revealed a producer, Scott Rudin, describing Angelina Jolie as a “minimally talented spoiled brat” plus racially insensitive exchanges about US President Barack Obama between Rudin and co-chairwoman Amy Pascal. Spectre is due to hit screens worldwide on November 6 next year.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Latest photos of Prince George

    Three Christmas photos of a rosy-cheeked Prince George were released by Britain’s royal family Saturday, December 13, offering a festive glimpse of the future king in a courtyard at Kensington Palace. While George is often photographed during official engagements, royal lawyers sent a legal warning in October to a photographer who was reportedly trying to take pictures of him with his nanny in a London park. His parents Prince William and Kate guard his privacy closely and have requested that the press let him grow up without intrusion. George is due to be joined by a brother or sister in 2015 – his mother Kate is pregnant with the couple’s second child and expected to give birth in April.

    View the photos of Prince George on Rappler.

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