December 18, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. US-Cuba revive diplomatic ties

    In the wake of a prisoner exchange, the United States and Cuba moved to end 5 decades of Cold War hostility, agreeing to revive diplomatic ties in a breakthrough that would also ease a crippling US trade embargo. Admitting that the US trade ban had failed, US President Barack Obama said Washington was ready for a “new chapter” in relations with Cuba and would re-establish its embassy in Havana, which closed down in 1961. Pope Francis played a crucial role in brokering the talks between the two countries.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read about the role of Pope Francis in the US-Cuba talks on Rappler.

  2. US rejects Philippines over marine custody

    Invoking the Philippines-United States Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the United States turned down the Philippines’ request for custody over a US marine accused of killing transgender Filipino woman Jennifer Laude on Philippine soil. The US government said, however, that it would make sure that Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton will appear in court during his trial. The Philippines said it is “disappointed” that the US chose to “invoke [its] rights under the VFA to maintain custody” of Pemberton. Also citing the VFA, Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs said that it asked the US to waive custody over the marine. Pemberton is detained at Camp Aguinaldo, headquarters of the Philippine military.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Silent classes, bloody notebooks in Pakistan

    As the death toll from Pakistan’s deadliest ever terror attack rose to 148, the full horrifying aftermath of the eight-hour bloodbath in the northwestern city of Peshawar on December 16 was revealed. In the school’s plush auditorium which saw some of the worst of the carnage, blood pooled in patches on the floor. Books, ties, sweaters, notepads, spectacles lay scattered, drenched in the blood of children who will never use them again. The attack sparked condemnation worldwide and led the Pakistani government and military to reaffirm their determination to defeat a group that has killed thousands.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read the full story on Pakistan’s mourning on Rappler.

  4. Respond to China, tribunal tells PH

    The tribunal handling the Philippines’ historic arbitration case on the South China Sea ordered Manila to submit written comments to support its claims against China. The court was referring to China’s position paper detailing its objection to arbitration. Beijing published the paper a week before the December 15 deadline the tribunal set for it to respond to the 4,000-page pleading that the Philippines filed last March. The Hague-based tribunal gave the Philippines until March 15, 2015, to file a “supplemental written submission.” China in turn has until June 16, 2015, to respond to the written comments.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Up to a million face hunger

    Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program said the disease and the resulting restrictions had “caused a significant shock to the food and agriculture sectors in the affected countries.” Half a million people are currently in severe danger of going hungry, but this could “top one million by March 2015 unless access to food is drastically improved and measures are put in place to safeguard crop and livestock production.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. After threats, Sony cancels ‘The Interview’

    Hollywood studio Sony Pictures abruptly canceled the December 25 release date of “The Interview,” a parody film which has angered North Korea and triggered chilling threats from hackers. It announced the decision after the majority of US theater chains said they would not screen the film, about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Skittishness about attending the movie followed threats by the so-called GOP (Guardians of Peace) hacking group, which invoked the September 11, 2001 attacks in an ominous warning to any movie-goers planning to see the film. In a message written in broken English, the group said a “bitter fate” awaited any who attend the film.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. PH guidelines on digital TV out

    The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued guidelines for the country’s planned shift to digital terrestrial television broadcast (DTTB) using the Japanese standard. The major stakeholders – such as television broadcast firms like ABS-CBN and GMA – and the NTC will work together in formulating and refining any policy, regulatory, and technical issues. They will also tackle fiscal considerations, industry and consumer support interventions, and other measures necessary for the country’s migration to digital TV broadcasting. The Philippine government picked Japan’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial standard over Europe’s Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial 2 due to the broadcast of early warning signals during emergency situations.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. People’s coverage of the people’s Pope

    On the birthday of Pope Francis on December 17, Rappler launched an interactive platform for his historic trip to the Philippines – the go-to site for the People’s Coverage of the People’s Pope. The #PopeFrancisPH microsite is a user-friendly source of news, images, conversations, and perspective on the the 78-year-old pontiff’s Philippine trip. Through a wide range of voices from various fields, it also promises to provide perspective beyond the minute details. It also includes you, the Rappler follower and reader, in covering the Pope’s trip to the Philippines.

    Check the microsite on Rappler.

  9. FIFA investigator quits, hits football body

    He spent more than a year investigating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding race. But he said what the FIFA released was an “erroneous” summary of his report. Former US prosecutor Michael Garcia appealed to correct the report but was denied, prompting him to resign as chief corruption investigator for FIFA. He criticized the world football’s governing body for its “lack of leadership.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read a related story on The Guardian.

  10. BenCab: Finding his muse in the highlands

    For almost 30 years, National Artist Benedicto Cabrera put together more than 4 decades of his work in a museum at the outskirts of Baguio City – a burgeoning attraction for art connoisseurs and tourists alike. His museum, which showcases not only his own paintings and the curated work of other local artists, is home to several artifacts unearthed in the Cordillera highlands – from burial jars to hunting weapons to a wall full of bul-ol – or Ifugao rice god – carvings. “It’s always been my obsession to draw,” says Bencab. He has lived in and out of the Philippines in his younger years, but decided to settle in Baguio City for good in 1985.

    Watch our interview with Bencab on Rappler.

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