December 16, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Beijing ignores deadline to respond to PH case

    Rejecting the legal process resorted to by the Philippines, Beijing let pass the deadline to respond to Manila’s historic arbitration case on the South China Sea it filed last March. The Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing “will neither accept nor participate” in the proceedings before The Hague-based arbitral tribunal. Qin Gang, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said arbitration is not the way to solve the dispute since the tribunal does not have jurisdiction over the case. The countries laying claim to parts of the South China Sea, Qin said, should resolve the disputes “through consultation and negotiation on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. 2 hostages, gunman dead in Sydney siege

    Two hostages and the lone Iran-born gunman were killed early Tuesday, December 16, as heavily armed Australian police stormed a Lindt chocolate café to end the siege by a man described as a “self-styled sheikh.” Police stormed the café after reports of a “hostage down.” 50-year-old Man Haron Monis had earlier unfurmed an Islamic flag and was said to be a “fringe Islamist”. His former lawyer said Monis’ act was “not a concerted terrorism event or act”.

    Read the full story in Rappler.

    A related story on the gunman is also on Rappler.

  3. US marine faces murder charge for Laude slay

    Prosecutors filed a murder case against US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton in connection with the slay of transgender woman Jennifer Laude. Olongapo Chief Prosecutor Emilie Fe de los Santos said on Monday, December 15, the prosecution panel recommended the filing of murder instead of homicide charges because they found “aggravating qualifying circumstances.” De los Santos added that aggravated treachery, abuse of superior strength, and cruelty count as qualifying circumstances that point to murder. Because murder is a capital offense, Pemberton will not be eligible for bail.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Court division wants to inhibit in Jinggoy case

    The 5th division of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan wants to back out of the plunder and graft case involving Senator Jinggoy Estrada. Chairperson Roland Jurado and fellow Assosiate Justices Alexander Gesmundo and Ma Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta cited “personal reasons” for their wanting to inhibit from the case. Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang told reporters the Sandiganbayan will defer decision on their inhibition until 2015. An inhibition would result in the transfer of the case to another division, possibly leading to delays.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Pulse Asia: 9 in 10 Filipinos hopeful about 2015

    A big majority of Filipinos are still hopeful about 2015, with 9 out of 10 saying so despite the political and economic challenges that have plagued the country. In 2014, polling firm Social Weather Stations reported that  94% of Filipinos were welcoming 2014 with hope. While 52% said they do not expect to celebrate the holidays differently, 34% said they expect a more prosperous Christmas and New Year celebration with their families compared to 2014.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Greenland ice loss worse than predicted?

    Scientists may have underestimated the speed of ice loss in Greenland and subsequent rise in sea levels, two separate international studies suggested. One study published in the December 15 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change projected that lakes on Greenland’s ice sheet will become twice as common in the next 50 years as they are today. Greenland’s ice sheet is an important factor in sea level rise resulting from climate change, and has been expected to contribute 9 inches by 2100.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Solgen: Sending EDCA to Senate will embarrass Aquino

    The Office of the Solicitor General on Monday, December 15, filed a 42-page memorandum before the Supreme Court to challenge claims the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US is unconstitutional and should be submitted to the Senate for its concurrence. The government argued only incumbent senators have the legal standing to protest the EDCA before the High Court and that the President has the power to enter into an “executive agreement” which, unlike a treaty, requires Senate ratification. Referring the EDCA to the Senate, according to Acting Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, will diminish the President’s powers and reault in “international embarrassment” for him, adversely affecting the country’s standing in the international community.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Congress okays P2.6T budget for 2015

    On the last week of sessions before the holiday break, the Senate and the House of Representatives ratified on Monday, December 15, the P2.606-trillion budget for 2015. This came after adjustments in the definition of savings and other last-minute changes in unprogrammed funds. The 2015 budget was approved within the framework of a Supreme Court ruling on the Palace special spending program called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) meant to fast-track economic growth. The High Court had ruled certain schemes under the DAP unconstitutional.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. After election win, Abe vows to rewrite Japan’s constitution

    The day after winning in the polls, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed he would try to persuade the Japanese people about the need to revise the country’s pacifist constitution. Re-elected by a landslide in Sunday’s elections, Abe said he would work hard “to deepen people’s understanding and receive wider support from the public.” Changing the Japanese constitution is a divisive issue at home and has further strained relations with China. Abe dropped an earlier attempt this year when a two-thirds majority in parliament and victory in a referendum were not met.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Most Filipinos use multiple screens for media content

    Eight out of 10 Filipinos consume media content using 3 screens, according to the Nielsen Cross-Platform Report. The proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices is what’s driving the rise in Internet usage and the use of multiple screens, according to Stuart Jamieson, managing director of Nielsen Philippines. Despite the accessibility of the Internet via mobile devices, the study found that newspaper readership remained stable over the past year and steady quarter-on-quarter. 7 out of 10 digital consumers in the country also watch TV content and movies via online sources, according to the Nielsen study.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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