Daily News Highlights – May 14, 2015 Edition

CJ Maglunog

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

  1. US plans to send surveillance aircraft to Spratlys; China angry

    The United States defense department is exploring sending Navy surveillance aircraft and vessels to the South China Sea, where Beijing has been building up to 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of artificial islands in the Spratlys, an archipelago of more than a hundred islands, reefs, and atolls also claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam. This has angered China, whose foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, “Freedom of navigation does not mean that the military vessels or aircraft of a foreign country can wilfully enter the territorial waters or airspace of another country.”China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters covered by the United Nations-set exclusive economic zones of its Asian neighbors. Its reclamation on at least 7 reefs has alarmed other countries inside and outside the region.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.


  2. Philippine VP transferred huge amounts of dollars to Canadian banks

    Between 2008 and 2014, when an allegedly overpriced city government building was being constructed while Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay and his son successively served as mayor of Makati, the elder Binay and his trusted finance officer were monitored to have moved “considerable amounts” of American dollars to Canadian banks. The amounts, according to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, did not match his declared assets during those years. The findings of the AMLC were cited by the Court of Appeals in a resolution to immediately freeze for 6 months more than 200 bank accounts and investments under the names of Binay, his immediate family, and alleged dummies. The court order also noted that some of the accounts being investigated had been closed after the Senate began its probe into Makati transactions last August. Copies of the court resolution were leaked to the media by Binay’s former ally-turned-bitter-foe Ernesto Mercado, his long-time vice mayor.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Factory in PH burns down; at least 31 killed, dozens missing

    At least 31 people were killed when a fire razed a slipper factory in Valenzuela City in northern Metro Manila, but 63 others remained unaccounted for, raising fears they also perished. The mayor said the official death toll would be announced once authorities recover all the bodies inside the building, mostly at the second floor where the assembly area is located. The incident put the spotlight on hazardous working conditions in many Philippine factories, as well as lax fire safety standards enforced by local governments.

    Read the full story on Rappler.


  4. 3 provinces threaten to opt out of Bangsamoro region

    Representatives of the Moro National Liberation Front and the sultanate of Sulu raised the possibility of the provinces they control opting out of the Bangsamoro region that would be created under a proposed law borne out of the peace agreement that the government signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In a public consultation presided by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, chairman of the Senate committee on local governments, the MNLF and the sultans said they were never consulted during the crafting of the proposed law despite earlier assurances from peace negotiators that the law would be inclusive. They warned the provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan – three of the 5 provinces under the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – would vote against the Bangsamoro law during the plebiscite.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. APT Global to be fined P211M for Manila train glitches

    State auditors directed the Philippine transportation department to bill maintenance provider Autre Porte Technique Global Incorporated for penalties amounting to P211.81 million ($4.8 million) over numerous service interruptions and various systems issues affecting the Metro Rail Transit line 3, which traverses Metro Manila’s main highway. Between October 2013 and September 2014, APT Global was supposed to provide a minimum of 20 trains with 3 cars each during peak hours. The penalty was set at P80,000 ($1,789.91) per car per 20 minutes that was not made available for the riding public during peak hours. At off-peak hours, the penalty was P40,000 ($895.035) per car per hour.

    Read the full story on Rappler Business.

  6. Philadelphia train derailment kills at least 5

    At least 5 people were killed and dozens were injured after a train derailed and overturned near Philadelphia late Tuesday, May 12 (Wednesday, May 13 in Manila), Mayor Michael Nutter said. Firefighters said 6 of the injured were in critical condition. “It is an absolute disastrous mess. I have never seen anything like this in my life and most personnel will say that, as well,” Nutter told reporters after 10 train cars overturned. US investigators also said that the train was traveling at more than 100 miles per hour before it crashed. Search teams have recovered the black box from an Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia and sent it for analysis to help determine what caused the deadly crash.

    Read the full story on Rappler here and here.

  7. Vatican to recognize Palestinian state with accord

    The Vatican said Wednesday it was preparing to sign its first accord with Palestine, two years after officially recognising it as a state. “The bilateral commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine, which is working on a comprehensive agreement” on the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine, is putting the final touches to the treaty, the Vatican said. While it will be the first time the Roman Catholic Church signs a treaty with the State of Palestine, the Vatican has recognized the state since February 2013. The agreement, 15 years in the making, may be signed this weekend during a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican for the canonization of two new Palestinian saints. It expresses the Vatican’s “hope for a solution to the Palestinian question and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians according to the Two-State Solution,” said Antoine Camilleri, the Holy See’s deputy foreign minister.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  8. DOTC discusses new transport categories

    The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Wednesday, May 13, bared the guidelines for operators who wish to be accredited under the 4 new transport categories, aimed at decreasing traffic congestion through technology. Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya issued Department Order No. 2015-011, creating 4 new categories that will address increased demand for mobility and traffic congestion through “efficient use of road space.” Under DO 2015-011, the 4 new categories are: Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), Premium Taxi, Airport Bus, and Bus Rapid Transit. For application-based service providers that want to operate under the classification TNVS, the DOTC said they should offer “pre-arranged transportation services using an Internet-based technology application or a digital platform technology to connect passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles.”

    Read the full story on Rappler

  9. Facebook ups wages, benefits for some US contractors

    Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said Tuesday, May 12 (May 13, Manila time), the company was improving wages and benefits for contractors and vendors in the United States with whom it does a substantial amount of work. Sandberg said the benefits included a $15 minimum wage, a minimum of 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time and vacation, and a $4,000 new child benefit for new parents who don’t receive paid parental leave. The change went into effect on May 1, and has been implemented in some of the company’s largest support teams at its headquarters in Menlo Park.

    Read the full story on Rappler


  10. Cate Blanchett acknowledges past relationships with women

    Happily-married Oscar-winning Australian actress Cate Blanchett has revealed she had “many” past relationships with women in an interview with an American magazine. Blanchett made the comment while promoting her latest film, Carol, in which she plays a bisexual woman in 1950s New York. When asked if it was her first turn as a lesbian, Blanchett asked: “On film – or in real life?” Pressed by Variety magazine for details about whether she had past relationships with women, she said: “Yes. Many times,” without elaborating.

    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.