February 26, 2015 Edition

Valerie Castro

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  1. On EDSA anniversary, Aquino slams ‘desperate’ critics

    On the 29th anniversary of the Philippines’ peaceful uprising that toppled a dictator, President Benigno Aquino III accused “desperate” critics of taking advantage of his worst political crisis. The President is facing public outrage over his role in the bloodbath on January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. But he said his government has tried to maintain peace in Mindanao through a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. “But we also know that while we get closer and closer to the fulfillment of our dreams, those against us would become more desperate,” he said. He challenged critics to offer solutions.

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  2. Monstrous traffic, Mamasapano and EDSA

    On the 29th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25, crowds of people spilled onto the streets – stranded commuters who tried to find alternate routes to work after portions of EDSA were closed to traffic. By noon, the stretch of EDSA, from the shrine to Camp Crame, was eerily deserted. The roads leading to where the 1986 People Power was held were  all blocked. Even the perimeter surrounding the EDSA shrine has been secured. Former President Fidel V. Ramos, one of the key EDSA players, skipped the anniversary celebration for the first time in 29 years and attended another event where he criticized President Aquino for his role in the Mamasapano bloodbath.

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  3. First: A French president’s visit to PH

    French President Francois Hollande is scheduled to arrive on February 26 in the Philippines with actresses Marion Cotillard and Melanie Laurent to promote the fight against climate change. The two-day trip to the Philippines, the first by a French head of state, is Hollande’s latest attempt to drum up support ahead of a United Nations climate change conference being hosted by France in December. Hollande says he is determined to “leave a mark” on history by fostering a historic agreement to limit global warming that can make up for the failure to reach an accord in Copenhagen in 2009.The Philippines is seen as a frontline state in the battle against climate change, having been battered by relentless storms in recent years that have emerged from the Pacific Ocean and claimed many thousands of lives.

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  4. Malaysia to get first copy of MILF probe report

    The Moro Islamic Liberation Front will submit first to Malaysia the results of its own investigation of the Mamasapano bloodbath. MILF leaders say this is following protocols in the current peace process with the Aquino government, with Malaysia being the third party facilitator in the talks. The statement came on the first month anniversary of the January 25 clash that has endangered the peace process and given the Aquino administration its worst political crisis. Police investigators set foot at Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao in an attempt to interview MILF commanders. But they failed.

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  5. Foreign investors ask: What about 2016?

    Foreign investors are increasingly worried about whether the next administration would continue the economic policies instituted by the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. “One question that investors increasingly ask us about the Philippines is ‘what about next year?’” referring to the 2016 presidential elections, said Frederic Neumann, co-head of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Asian Economic Research. Neumann said that while the Philippines is well-positioned to continue its economic gains for the short-term, the transition to the new administration is a source of concern and how such would impact economic reforms that are already in place.

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  6. Anwar family seeks royal pardon

    The family of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said they had sought a royal pardon for his conviction on sodomy charges to reverse a “gross miscarriage of justice.” Anwar’s family submitted the request to the country’s king, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, on Tuesday, February 24, just ahead of a deadline. Anwar was convicted on February 10 and sentenced to 5 years in jail in what he called a “political conspiracy” by Malaysia’s long-ruling government. The application is widely considered to have little chance of success due to the conservative nature of Malaysia’s figurehead Islamic royalty and its perceived closeness to the regime of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

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  7. In the world, only 40% has Internet connection

    World Internet adoption rates have slowed for the 4th year in a row, with emerging economies still suffering from a lack of Internet connectivity, according to a new report from Internet.org released. Internet adoption has slowed down from 14.7% in 2010 to just 6.6% in 2014. The report added, “At present rates of decelerating growth, it won’t reach 4 billion people until 2019.” While Internet.org noted that 3 billion people are or will be online by early 2015, it still means that only 40% of the world’s population has ever connected to the Internet.  Of these, 78% of the population in the developed world is online, compared to just 32% in emerging economies.

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  8. Vatican seeks to end spat with Mexico

    The Vatican sought  to end a diplomatic spat that erupted after Pope Francis warned that his native Argentina was in danger of “Mexicanization” by drug traffickers. The comment prompted a protest from Mexico, which accused the pontiff of stigmatizing the country and being dismissive of its efforts to dismantle cartels thought to control most of the cocaine entering the United States. A Vatican spokesman said that Secretary of State Pietro Parolin had sent a letter to the Mexican ambassador to the Holy See to smooth over the row.

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  9. Madonna tumbles, shrugs off mishap

    As pop veteran Madonna took to the stage at the Brit Awards, flanked by muscled male dancers wearing horns, her long black cape caught and dragged her down a set of stage steps in a dramatic fall. But the 56-year-old gamely shrugged off the mishap, removing the cape and giving a stomping performance of “Living for Love” – a retort to a menopause joke about her from comic Jimmy Carr that drew booing earlier in the night. British singers Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith took two prizes each. Sheeran won British male solo artist and album of the year for “x,” while 22-year-old Londoner Smith won British breakthrough act and global success award after his debut album “In the Lonely Hour” won worldwide acclaim.

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  10. Pacquiao tackles tactic vs Mayweather

    Manny Pacquiao said he has a simple tactic to beat American favorite Floyd Mayweather in history’s richest fight by two longtime rivals for the planet’s top “pound-for-pound” boxer crown. “Use my left and right (fists),” the Filipino boxing hero told reporters when asked how he planned to deal with his undefeated foe’s height and reach advantage, as well as famed defensive skills. “If I hurt him I expect him to run. Otherwise he might fight me toe-to-toe.” The Philippines is in the throes of “Pacmania” as the 36-year-old, dubbed “The National Fist” by local media, is set to fly to the United States to train for the May 2 Las Vegas bout. The 38-year-old Mayweather, tipped as the favorite by bookmakers after announcing the megabucks fight last weekend, has not lost any of his 47 fights, in which he has scored 26 knockouts.

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