February 9, 2015 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Indonesia’s Jokowi in PH

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived in the Manila Sunday for his first state visit to the Philippines. Dressed in traditional batik shirt, Jokowi, accompanied by his first lady Iriana, was welcomed by Vice President Jejomar Binay. Jokowi will meet with President Benigno Aquino III, Monday and the two are expected to have an expanded bilateral meeting in the afternoon. Aquino will also host a state dinner in honor of the Indonesian leader. Jokowi is set to depart for Jakarta later in the evening.

    The two heads of state share a common problem – both are grappling with issues surrounding their police forces. Aquino is dealing with the aftermath of a carnage that left 44 elite policemen dead. A feud between Indonesia’s law enforcement and its corruption watchdog over the nomination of a police chief has escalated into a full-blown crisis for Jokowi.

    Read the full story on Rappler here and here.

  2. Senate probes Mamasapano: What we know so far

    The Senate on Monday, February 9, begins its probe into one of the bloodiest incidents in Philippine police history. Two weeks ago on January 25, close to 400 troops of the Special Action Force  entered Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters  territory in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao to arrest bomb-makers Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan” and Abdul Basit Usman. The elite cops managed to kill Marwan but it came at a high price: 68 reportedly died, including 44 troopers from the PNP’s Special Action Force.

    The clash created ripples beyond Mamasapano – from questions on the PNP and government’s chain of command to the MILF’s sincerity in talking peace. Rappler put together 4 main questions on the deadly encounter: Who called the shots? Where were the reinforcements? Where they prepared? What happens to the peace talks now?

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Philippine soldiers rescue MILF in ASG encounter in Basilan

    Three platoons of Philippine soldiers rescued members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from rival extremists Abu Sayyaf despite frayed ties over the killing of 44 policemen last month. A statement from the military said the MILF members were besieged by ASG in the island of Basilan on Saturday, requiring military intervention. The MILF is engaged in a peace process with the government, but the clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, endangers that peace. It was unclear why the MILF were fighting the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group with ties to the Al-Qaeda network who have been blamed for the worst terror attacks in the country’s history. As this developed, the MILF ordered all its base commands to arrest terrorists or criminals who enter their territory, including top local terrorist Absul Basit Usman.

    Read the full story on Rappler here and here.

  4. APEC to bankrupt terror networks

    The world’s largest economic cooperation organization is building a master plan to demolish the influence of terrorism groups across the Pacific Rim. It aims to do so by diluting their cash flow. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Philippines 2015 spokesperson Charles Jose said, “Blocking the flow of finance to terrorist groups” is part of the APEC’s steps to strengthen the region’s capacity to fight terrorism. APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group chair Oscar Valenzuela said “The introduction of new payment technology is exposing alarming gaps in regulation that open up opportunities for terrorists and other criminals.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Jordan: 56 ISIS targets destroyed in 3 days

    Jordan said Sunday it destroyed 56 targets in three days of strikes on ISIS or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Air Force chief Major General Mansour al-Jobour did not specify where the strikes took place, but said air raids destroyed 20% of ISIS capabilities. Jordan vowed to crush ISIS after the jihadists burned alive pilot Muath al-Kassasbeh, who was captured in December when his F-16 warplane crashed in Syria. Interior Minister Hussein Majali said the pilot’s gruesome murder was a “turning point” in the kingdom’s fight against extremism.” Jordan is part of the US-led coalition of Arab and Western countries carrying out air strikes against ISIS since September.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Amal Clooney asks to meet Egyptian president

    Prominent international lawyer Amal Clooney has requested a meeting with Egypt’s president to push for the release of Al-Jazeera reporter Mohamed Fahmy. Clooney, who married Hollywood star George Clooney last year, has thrown her legal clout and celebrity behind Fahmy to secure his release. She wrote in a letter that Fahmy’s detention was “illegal” and wrote she would visit Cairo to push for his release. Fahmy and colleague Peter Greste, along with Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed, were arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood in their coverage. Greste was deported to his native Australia on February 1. An Egyptian court will retry Al-Jazeera journalists on February 12.

    Read the full story on Rappler here and here.

  7. Police probe boyfriend of Whitney Houston’s daughter

    CNN and TMZ reported on Saturday, police opened a criminal probe into the boyfriend of Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, one week after she was pulled unconscious from a bathtub. An investigation has been launched against Nick Gordon, who reportedly said that he found Brown non-responsive in the bathtub of their home near Atlanta, Georgia. But reports say that Brown, who is in hospital in a medically induced coma, sustained unexplained injuries prior to the incident. Brown’s incident have eerie echoes of Houston’s fatal accidental drowning in a tub nearly 3 years ago in a Los Angeles hotel. Authorities are reportedly suspicious because Brown was found facedown in her bathtub.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Mayweather shares video of Pacquiao

    After sharing a photo of their private meeting at a hotel suite in Miami a few days ago, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. posted on Instagram a short clip of his closed-door dialogue with Manny Pacquiao. In an apparently secretly-recorded ten-second video, Mayweather stressed the importance of staging the super-fight in the final stretch of their respective prizefighting careers. “I congratulate him (Pacquiao) in his career. He had a wonderful career, and I had a wonderful career. But before we leave the sport, of course, we have to make this fight happen,” the unbeaten American boxer said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. ‘Boyhood’ wins big at 2015 BAFTA

    Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP

    “Boyhood” bags several awards at the EE British Academy Film Awards – Best Film, Best Director for Richard Linklater, and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette. Linklater filmed the critically acclaimed film with the same cast over 12 years. While Boyhood won Best Film, The Grand Budapest Hotel nabbed the highest amount of awards, with 5 out of its 11 nominations. Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor Award for his role in the movie “The Theory of Everything,” while Julianne Moore won the Best Actress Award for her role in “Still Alice.”

    Read the full story on Rappler and CNN.

  10. Sam Smith, Pharrell Grammy’s big winners

    This year’s Grammy Awards was all about the performances, featuring the likes of rock icon AC/DC and Ariana Grande. Taylor Swift presented the first award of the night, Best New Artist, to Sam Smith who scored his first big win. He went on to win 3 more awards. His song “Stay With Me,” won Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album. Pharrell Williams picked up his 3rd Grammy this year – earlier in the evening, he won Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video for “Happy.” Beyonce also picked up 3 Grammys. Click below for the full list of winners.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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