Daily News Highlights – March 19, 2015 Edition


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  1. 17 tourists killed in museum attack 

    Dressed in military uniforms, gunmen opened fire on tourists as they got off a bus then chased them inside Tunisia’s national museum on March 18. The attack killed 17 tourists of various nationalities and two Tunisians, raising fears for the birthplace of the Arab Spring. Among the dead were 5 Japanese, 4 Italians, two Colombians and one each from Australia, France, Poland and Spain, Essid announced on television in what he said was a definitive toll. The nationality of a 16th victim was not given, while the identity of the final fatality had not yet been established. Police killed two gunmen and the authorities were still hunting for possible accomplices.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Singapore probes hoax on Lee Kuan Yew’s death

    The Singapore government quashed rumors that ailing former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew had died and asked police to investigate a “doctored” statement on his passing. A screenshot purportedly of a statement on the government’s website announcing Lee’s death was widely circulated via social media and mobile messaging services late March 19. At least 2 international news organizations issued news alerts based on the fake statement, which they later retracted. The 91-year-old Asian statesman is in critical condition at a government hospital 6 weeks after being confined for severe pneumonia, according to an official health update. “The prime minister’s office is lodging a police report over the fake statement about Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing,” which will trigger an investigation, a spokesperson said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Just say sorry, Ramos tells Aquino 

    Former president Fidel V. Ramos celebrated his 87th birthday on March 18 with a lecture on command responsibility and a message to the President: it’s time to own up to a bungled police operation that claimed 67 lives and endangered a peace deal in Muslim Mindanao. Ramos was reacting to statements by the Department of Justice and Malacañang that President Benigno Aquino III was not responsible for the bungled operation since he was not the commander in chief of the national police, a civilian organization. “A commander is responsible for what his unit does or does not do,” said Ramos, who as president signed an executive order which institutionalized the doctrine of command responsibility in all government agencies.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Many Filipinos don’t want Aquino to resign

    Even with 8 in 10 Filipinos saying that the government’s explanation over the Mamasapano tragedy is insufficient, more Filipinos don’t want President Benigno Aquino III to resign at this time, a Pulse Asia Research Inc survey said on March 19. Pulse Asia’s survey results showed that overall, 42% of Filipinos say Aquino should not resign, compared to 29% who say he should step down, while ambivalence over the matter stood at 28%, said Dr Ana Maria Tabunda, Pulse Asia Research Director. Disagreement over the President’s resignation is strongest in the Balance of Luzon (47%), followed by Metro Manila (45%), Mindanao (39%), and the Visayas (34%).

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Senator blocks Mamasapano general’s promotion

    Senator Alan Cayetano blocked the confirmation of the promotion of Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division commander Major General Edmundo Pangilinan. During the hearing of the Commission on Appointments, Cayetano moved to defer approval of the general’s promotion until the next hearing in May, when Congress returns from its Lenten break. Pangilinan is the Army commander who refused to give the go-signal to fire artillery support in the absence of complete information on the ground. The general holds a two-star rank, the 3rd highest in the military. 

    “I hope you understand that as you didn’t want to make a mistake, we also don’t want to make a mistake,” Cayetano reportedly said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Free public wifi soon?

    The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) unanimously voted for the passage of House Bill 1550 or the Free Public Wi-Fi bill on March 17. The bill aims to provide Internet connections for free in all national government offices across the Philippines such as municipal and city halls, state universities and colleges, parks, hospitals, and even public transportation terminals, including airports and bus stations. The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) had earlier expressed support for the proposed bill. According to AmCham, a legislation that will pave way for “crowded urban areas” to have wireless connectivity to the Internet is a “valuable public sector contribution.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. WHO: Help drive tobacco firms out of business

    World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan urged global action to drive tobacco companies “out of business” and hailed progress in tackling smoking in many countries. Speaking at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi, Chan welcomed steps taken by several countries, led by Australia, to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes. She called or similar action by other nations. “It’s going to be a tough fight… (but) we should not give up until we make sure that the tobacco industry goes out of business,” she said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Russian spies now younger and ‘socially competent’

    Modern-day spies are “highly educated, often a little younger than they used to be in the Soviet era, driven, determined, and socially competent.” This is according to Sweden’s intelligence agency Saepo, which declared that one third of Russian diplomats stationed at the embassy in Stockholm are spies. “This is a very constant number, this is the way things look year after year,” an intelligence officer said. Saepo said the Russian presence in Sweden was aimed at acquiring cutting-edge technology and “preparations for military operations against Sweden.” The comments come amid concerns in Sweden over Russia’s military resurgence.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Largest Presbyterian domination OKs same-sex marriage

    The Presbyterian Church USA, which accounts for just under two million members, voted to expand its definition of marriage to include gay and lesbian couples. The church, which represents the largest Presbyterian denomination, made the announcement after the majority of its 171 regional governing bodies approved the change. Its revised constitution will now read that marriage is “a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman,” as opposed to just a man and woman previously.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Internet bromance grips China

    Matt Stopera Li Honguin Internet Bromance | Photo from @mattstopera

    He’s a BuzzFeed editor from New York. He’s “Brother Orange,” a man from southern China. With the help of social media, the two met each other over a stolen iPhone. Matt Stopera lost his phone sometime ago, and Li Honguin came across it. Li, a restaurant owner from Guangdong province, snapped pictures with Stopera’s old iPhone without realizing the photos were being uploaded to the BuzzFeed editor’s cloud account. Stopera then took to the Internet to check if anyone knew the man snapping pictures that were appearing in his iCloud image gallery. Netizens brought the two together, and they finally met in Meizhou. Thousands demanded a “happy ending” for both.

    Read the full story on CNN.

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