Daily News Highlights – April 20, 2015 Edition

CJ Maglunog

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

  1. 700 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean disaster


    An overcrowded boat which is believed to be smuggling migrants into Europe capsized in the Mediterranean on Sunday, April 19. The distress signal from the stricken vessel was picked up by coastal authorities in Italy and Malta around midnight (2200 GMT) on Saturday, April 18. The Italian coast guard which is coordinating the rescue operations reported that at least 49 people and 20 bodies had been pulled from the water. But authorities say survivors’ testimonies suggested there had been about 700 people on board the 20-meter (70-foot) fishing boat. A massive rescue operation, involving at least 20 ships and 3 helicopters, was launched following the incident. The incident is now considered the deadliest of a long list of migrant disasters in the area with the UNHCR describing it as the “worst massacre ever seen in the Mediterranean.”

    Read the story on Rappler.

    Read more on Washington Post.

    Read more on BBC.

  2. Philippine – US expanded war games starts today


    The Philippines begins its expanded Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) war games with the United States today, Monday, April 20. For 10 days, thousands of Filipino and American troops will engage in military exercises to boost their capacity to maintain peace and security. Compared to past war games, the number of participants has doubled this year, with nearly 7,000 US soldiers and over 5,000 Filipinos joining the exercises. The games are being held after China stepped up its claim over the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). But Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr stressed in an interview that the war games don’t specifically target China. He pointed out that these have been done annually since 1951 under the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the US. This year’s games will also feature additional exercises for disaster preparedness and response efforts, Coloma said.

    Read more on Rappler.

  3. ISIS video shows purported executions of Ethiopia Christians in Libya


    The Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group released on Sunday, April 19, a video purportedly showing the executions of some 30 Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya. The 29-minute video, which bears the official logo of Isis’s al-Furqan media arm, purportedly shows a masked fighter in black who was brandishing a pistol while making a statement saying Christians must convert to Islam or pay special taxes as prescribed by the Quran. It also purports to show 12 men being beheaded by masked militants on a beach and another group of at least 16 being shot in the head in a desert area. Those executed were described in a text on the screen as “followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church”. Apart from the killings, the video also showed militants destroying churches and Christian iconography.

    Read more on Rappler.

    Read more on The Independent.

  4. Duterte ‘testing the waters’ before joining presidential derby


    Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s political adviser and strategist says the man who transformed Davao City from a no-man’s land to one of the safest cities in the country is testing the waters before he throws his hat in the presidential derby. He has been doing this by going around the country. It’s the presidency or nothing for Duterte, according to political adviser and strategist Angelito Banayo. The Davao mayor figured prominently for the first time the list of preferred presidential candidates for 2016 when he landed 3rd with 12 percentage points in Pulse Asia’s March 1-7, 2015 survey. Banayo said an internal survey that he commissioned shows that Duterte’s numbers have jumped to 14 percentage points in a later March survey. If the numbers continue to improve, Duterte might just take the plunge, Banayo says.

    Read and listen to the 2-part interview on Rappler:

    Part 1

    Part 2

  5. Philippine Coast Guard to receive 10 new vessels


    The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will receive 10 new 40-meter multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) on a staggered basis from third quarter of next year, 2016, up to the third quarter of 2018. The vessels will have a standard cruising speed of 16 knots (30 km/h), and a range of 1,500 nautical miles (2,778 km). They are expected to serve, among other things, as “primary rescue vessels” when the extent of the disaster is beyond the capability of other vessels. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has awarded the contract for the construction and delivery of the vessels to the Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU) last week as part of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project. The project is financed via a tied loan of P7.3 billion from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Apart from this amount, the Philippine government will also put up additional counterpart funding of P 1.434 billion ($32.4 million) to finance the project.

    Read more on Rappler.

  6. Filipino prodigy finishes law degree at 18


    He graduated from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia at the age most students leave high school. On April 17, Filipino prodigy Jozef Erece became one of the youngest recipients of a law degree in the world at just 18 years old. The Filipino wonder is a Taekwondo black-belter, a semi-professional basketball player, and an orchestra violinist. Prior to this, he graduated Dux (valedictorian) at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Cambridge — becoming the first ever student of Asian descent to achieve it in the school’s 75-year history.

    Read the full story on Rappler.


  7. Lakan, extra premium lambanog, goes global


    From humble beginnings to a global stage. The classic Philippine lambanog is making waves internationally through the extra premium brand Lakan. Tony Manguiat, CEO of Philippine Craft Distillers Inc, said the country’s lambanog is comparable to the world’s best vodka – it’s sleek, smooth and powerful. Lakan is distilled in Lipa, Batangas.

    Watch the video on Rappler.

  8. Ben Affleck asked to censor info on slave-owning ancestors


    He’s known for supporting liberal causes. But Hollywood megastar Ben Affleck asked documentary makers to censor their discovery that one of his ancestors owned slaves, according to a leaked email from WikiLeaks. In one email exchange, Sony chief executive Michael Lynton and his friend Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates discuss a request made by Affleck that his slave-owning ancestor not be included in an upcoming show called Finding Your Roots, produced by the publicly funded PBS broadcaster. An email discussion followed on the pros and cons, but ultimately the show did not mention Affleck’s slave-owning forebear and instead focused on other ancestors including a distant grandfather who was an occult enthusiast.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Mayweather: I’m a winner, period


    Floyd Mayweather Jr says he isn’t focused on surpassing the 49-0 mark of former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano as he approaches his May 2 fight with Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But that doesn’t mean he’s willing to let his guard down. “All I was taught was to win, be first at whatever you do,” said Mayweather, 38, in an interview televised during Showtime’s telecast of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Andrzej Fonfara fight on Saturday night. When asked about the prospect of losing to Pacquiao, he said the idea of facing defeat never enters his mind, while taking a jab at the Filipino boxer’s losses.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Drones to deliver packages


    Switzerland’s postal service is to start testing deliveries by drone. “We will make tests this summer,” Bernhard Buerki said, confirming Swiss media reports. The pilot project will be carried out in collaboration with SwissWorldCargo and US drone manufacturer Matternet. Switzerland is thought to be interested in drone technology to help link remote communities across the mountainous country.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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CJ Maglunog

CJ Maglunog has been a content strategist for Rappler since 2015. Her work includes optimizing stories for various platforms. She’s a journalism graduate from Centro Escolar University.