Daily News Highlights – April 23, 2015 Edition


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

  1. Justice department report: Police commandos murdered

    The National Bureau of Investigation under the Philippine justice department finally released the results of its investigation into the January 25 anti-terrorist operation that saw 44 police commandos die in the hands of armed Muslim groups. While several reports from different government agencies and groups were released in the past, the NBI report is the first to pinpoint suspects and recommend charges based on the account of a key eyewitness. Its main findings: there was no encounter between government and rebels, only “murder all the way and around” committed by the rebels; the elite cops had reason not to coordinate the operation with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front under the ceasefire agreement; and the troops tried to surrender – their arms were raised – but their enemies, numbering close to a thousand, continued firing shots.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    The full text of the NBI report is here.

  2. PH gov’t to provide evidence for Filipina on Indonesian death row

    Lawyers for Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, the Filipina on Indonesian death row for drug smuggling, are expected to file a second “stronger” case review request, and this time it will be backed by evidence from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). The evidence will prove that Mary Jane “is a victim [of drug traffickers] rather than a perpetrator,” said the National Union of People’s Lawyers. Indonesia’s Supreme Court has already rejected the 30-year-old Filipina’s first case review request. New evidence is required for another case review to be granted. Malacañang Palace in Manila vowed to pursue the alleged recruiter who planted heroin in Veloso’s luggage.

    Indonesia also recently rejected the appeals of a Ghanaian and a Frenchman on death row for drug offenses.

    Read the full story on Rappler Indonesia.

    Read also about how international drug gangs prey on Filipino overseas workers.

  3. Customs chief resigns, refusing attempts to use agency for election fundraising

    Philippine Customs Commissioner John Sevilla announced he is resigning his post, a day after he gave hints that certain camps within the Aquino administration wants him out because he has refused to use the tax-collecting to raise election money.

    He had said he wanted the bureau to conduct its dealings “fairly” and not be used in extortion activities. “I don’t compromise on morality. The law is clear on what is allowed and not.” The Philippines will hold its presidential, national, and local elections in May 2016. A year before an election, political parties traditionally start raising funds, either by soliciting donations from businessmen or, in the case of those with connections in government, by using funds from various agencies.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Dutch investigators recover ‘many’ human remains at MH17 crash site

    Dutch investigators have resumed their search at the MH17 plane crash site in Ukraine, and recovered “many” more body parts, some 50 cubic meters (around 1,750 cubic feet) of plane wreckage, and personal effects such as jewellery, passports, and photographs. All 298 passengers and crew onboard the Malaysia Airlines jetliner – most of them Dutch – died when it was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine last year.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  5. Afghan Taliban ’spring offensive’ to target ‘foreign occupiers’

    The Afghan Taliban announced it will launch its annual “spring offensive” from April 24, vowing attacks across the country at a time when United States-led foreign forces are pulling back from the frontlines. It will be the first fighting season in which Afghan security forces will battle the insurgents without the full support of NATO combat forces. “The main targets of these operations…will be the foreign occupiers, especially their permanent military bases…officials of the stooge regime, their military constellations, especially their intelligence, interior ministry and defense ministry officials,” the Islamic Emirate, the Taliban’s official name, said in a statement.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  6. US drug enforcement head retires after sex scandal

    Head of US anti-drug agency head retires after agents’ sex scandal Michele Leonhart is retiring in mid-May as head of the anti-drug trafficking law enforcement agency of the United States, after her agents were exposed to have attended orgies abroad with prostitutes who were hired by drug cartels. Still, Attorney General Eric Holder Holder hailed Leonhart’s achievements as a law enforcer and her leadership of the agency since 2007: “As the first woman ever to reach the rank of Special Agent in Charge, she was a trailblazer for equality and an inspiration to countless others.”

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  7. P1.2B set aside for MRT 3 rehabilitation, capacity expansion

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P1.207 billion ($27.32 billion) to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for the rehabilitation and the capacity extension of the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3). The fund will also cover the replacement of the signaling system and the rehabilitation of escalators and elevators of the the train stations. The rehabilitation of the MRT3 has been a long time coming, especially in the wake of frequent glitches that stranded, even endangered, passengers. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a statement Wednesday, April 22, that “the release of funds to rehabilitate the MRT3 will go a long way in improving not only the capacity of the mass transit system but the overall user experience.” 

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. 1 in 5 children still unvaccinated

    One-fifth of the world’s children are still not receiving routine life-saving vaccinations and efforts to ensure global immunization coverage remain “far off track,” the World Health Organization said Wednesday, April 22. Nearly 22 million infants, many living in the world’s poorest countries, missed out in 2013 on the routine vaccine against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus (DTP3), WHO said, citing the latest available data. And nearly half of them are in 3 countries: India, Pakistan and Nigeria.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Facebook profits down as revenues, user base grow

    Facebook said Wednesday, April 22, that profit in the first quarter plunged 20% from a year ago but revenues got a lift from robust growth in mobile advertising. The world’s biggest social network also boosted the number of users to 1.44 billion, up 13% from a year earlier, including 1.25 billion people who access Facebook on mobile devices. Net profit in the quarter for shareholders dropped to $509 million, amid hefty increases in spending on research and share-based compensation.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  10. Sandra Bullock now People’s ‘Most Beautiful Woman’

    Sandra Bullock was named the World’s Most Beautiful Woman for 2015 by People magazine Wednesday, April 22 following in the footsteps of Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and last year’s Lupita Nyong’o. The 50-year-old Oscar winner, a Hollywood veteran known for her self-deprecating humor, said she initially thought the magazine’s honor was “ridiculous.” “Real beauty is quiet, especially in this town,” she told People. “The people I find most beautiful are the ones who aren’t trying,” she told the magazine, adding that when told about the award “I just said, ‘That’s ridiculous.'”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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