Daily News Highlights – May 28, 2015 Edition


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  1. Creation of Bangsamoro region runs counter to Constitution – senators

    Eleven more senators have signed a committee report prepared by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago which concludes that the proposed law creating a Bangsamoro basic law autonomous region in the southern Philippines is unconstitutional. With 12 signatures – representing half of the Senate – the report is one signature short of a majority vote. Santiago, a constitutional expert, says the parliamentary form of government proposed in the law, which grants exclusive powers for the Bangsamoro region, constitutes an illegal substate. In contrast, the House of Representatives has passed the bill with its key provisions intact. The disagreement on the versions of the bill may make it impossible to enact the law by June 11, as the President wishes.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Justice chief proposes wiretapping drug syndicates

    Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima suggested amendments to the country’s anti-wiretapping law to allow authorities to wiretap suspected drug traffickers. She told this to congressmen, who asked him during a committee hearing how legislation could help curb the illegal drug trade. “In limited instances and maybe on very strict condition,” communication surveillance can help address “the proliferation of drug syndicates,” she said. Exempting drug-related cases from the Anti-Wiretapping Law or Republic Act 4200 would allow concerned government agencies through a court order to listen, intercept, and record calls without the consent of the suspected parties in communication.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Philippines reports economic slowdown in 1st quarter

    The Philippine economy registered a growth of 5.2% in the first quarter of the year, “lower than what the government and the market expected for the period,” Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said. The figure was lower than the 5.6% growth of the gross domestic product in the same period in 2014, and down from 6.6% in the fourth quarter of 2014. “Despite this lower-than-expected growth, it is reasonable to believe that the economy will grow at a faster rate in the remaining quarters,” the secretary said, citing “vibrant” private sector economic activity. The Philippine Stock Exchange Index was down following the announcement of the lower-than-expected GDP growth.

    Read the full story on Rappler Business.

  4. UN refugee agency: ASEAN has to help Rohingya more

    The decision of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand to give temporary shelter to some 7,000 boat people fleeing Myanmar – after weeks of getting international condemnation – was “late but better late than never,” said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “One thing we know with satisfaction is that from original disjoined, individual responses, we’re now getting closer to a consensus. The ASEAN members have taken their own individual responses in order to face their responsibility,” said Bernard Kerblat in Manila. He hailed the move as a “positive, icebreaking step” but stressed that this is not enough. He also lauded the Philippines offer to help, and the fact that the country accommodated a few Rohingya in 2014 for 5 months. 

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  5. Malaysia probes link of police to mass graves

    Malaysian authorities are investigating 12 police officials who may have been involved in human trafficking that led to the mass graves of migrants recently discovered in the jungles. Malaysia has arrested at least 4 of the suspect police officers, while another 8 were detained by Malaysia’s anti-corruption authority for alleged involvement in human-trafficking. A total of 139 gravesites and 28 recently abandoned camps had been found along the northern border with Thailand, capable of housing hundreds of people. Police believe they were used by human-traffickers and smugglers. It is still unclear how many bodies the graves hold.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  6. Queen announces EU referendum, more powers for Scotland

    Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a crown and full ceremonial dress, was scheduled Wednesday to deliver a speech that outlines the program of government by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives. It will be published May 28. The Queen’s speech will include a planned law for a referendum by end-2017 on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, more powers for Scotland, and controversial measures to pull out of European human rights legislation. Scotland voted against independence from the UK in a referendum last year. Some of Cameron’s goals include controlling migration by making it harder for EU migrants to claim state benefits in Britain and opting out of the commitment to “ever closer union.”

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  7. FIFA officials accused of corruption arrested in Switzerland

    Swiss police raided a hotel in Zurich to arrest 6 top officials of FIFA as part of a United States investigation into tens of millions of dollars of bribes. All 6 – suspected of accepting “bribes and kick-backs between the early 1990s and the present day” – could be extradited to the US. Swiss police in plain clothes took the room keys from the reception at the Baur au Lac hotel and went to the rooms of the 6. Among those reported to have been arrested were Jeffrey Webb, a vice president of FIFA, and Eduardo Li, an official from Costa Rica.

    Read the full story on Rappler Sports.

  8. Jollibee, mascot of PH food chain, now on Uniqlo T-shirts

    After 10 months of negotiations, Japanese casual clothing retailer Uniqlo forged a partnership with the Philippines’ homegrown fastfood giant Jollibee, where they finalized designs for the limited edition T-shirts that will feature the food chain’s mascot. For its seasonal, limited edition UT (Uniqlo T-shirts), the Japanese casual clothing retailer is known for collaborating with famous fashion labels from different countries, or with global brands like Disney or Coca-Cola. The Jollibee T-shirts, available in 6 designs, will be available in Uniqlo stores in the Philippines starting June 1 at P390 ($8.72) each. They will be sold as well in Uniqlo stores in other Southeast Asian countries, like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

    Read the full story on Rappler Business.

  9. Twitter bans troll Charles ‘Chuck’ Johnson 

    Stepping up anti-harassment measures, microblogging site Twitter finally banned the accounts of an infamous troll named Charles “Chuck” Johnson, who is known online for posting stories that do not hold up to scrutiny, in addition to revealing the contact information of two New York Times reporters. Johnson was permanently suspended from Twitter on Sunday after asking for funds to “take out” civil rights activist DeRay McKesson. Johnson owns the GotNews.com blog.

    Read the full story on Rappler Technology.

  10. Here are the 313 private colleges in PH whose fees will increase

    The Philippines’ Commission on Higher Education has approved the requests of 313 private colleges and universities to increase their tuition and other school fees for academic year 2015-2016. Calabarzon – the region next to Metro Manila which hosts a number of economic zones – has the most number of schools approved for tuition increase. CHED did not approve any requests for fee increases from schools in Eastern Visayas since many families are recovering from the damage from Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Here are the lists of private colleges increasing their fees in Metro Manila, Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

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