Daily News Highlights – June 4, 2015 Edition


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  1. PH to assert itself in South China Sea once military deal with US gets go signal

    The Philippines will assert itself in the disputed South China Sea (locally referred to as the West Philippine Sea) once its Supreme Court upholds the legality of a military agreement with the United States. This was announced by President Benigno Aquino III to reporters while on a state visit in Japan, another military ally. “Once everything has been ironed out…with regard to this agreement…then perhaps we can also pull our weight and do our share toward enhancing security and stability within the region,” he said. He said the Americans’ policy of moving more of its naval forces to the Asia-Pacific “sends a definite signal that we are all supposed to be living other norms that we agreed upon.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. US turns over proceeds from Filipino general’s forfeited assets

    The United States, through its ambassador Philip Goldberg, turned over to the Philippine Ombudsman the amount of US$1.38 million (P61 million) representing proceeds from the sale of assets forfeited from a retired military comptroller.

    “The funds are criminal proceeds that were seized and forfeited in the United States from family members of Major General Carlos Garcia, who was convicted of indirect bribery and the facilitating of money laundering by the Ombudsman’s Office in 2010,” Goldberg said. The assets constitute two accounts of Citibank in New York and Garcia’s unit at the posh Trump Tower in Manhattan, also in New York.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Marcos to file substitute bill for creation of Bangsamoro region


    Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, chairman of the committee on local governments, formally rejected the draft Bangsamoro basic law (BBL) submitted to Congress by the President’s office, and said he would file his own, substantially different proposal. “Unfortunately, the BBL in its present form and substance will not bring us any closer to peace. Instead, it will lead us to perdition. Armed conflict will ensue…. Nobody wins. Everybody loses,” the senator said in privilege speech. Marcos blamed the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), which “totally ignored the major stakeholders” in the peace process – including the Sultanate of Sulu, rebel group Moro National Liberation Front, Lumads or indigenous people, Christians, local government officials and businesses – in drafting the proposed law. 

    Read the full story on Rappler’s #ProjectMindanao page.

  4. Grace Poe: Attacks by Binay camp smacks of desperation

    Senator Grace Poe said raising eligibility issues against her smacked of desperation on the part of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp, thus making her consider seeking the post in Malacañang more seriously. She made the comment after answering allegations that she is disqualified from running for president or vice president in 2016 because she will not meet the 10-year minimum residency requirement set by the Philippine Constitution. Contrary to what she indicated in the certificate of candidacy in the 2013 senatorial polls, Poe said she had returned to the Philippines and had been residing here since January 2005. Poe has been catching up with Binay in voter preference surveys, the latest of which shows that the Vice President only has a slim lead over the neophyte senator.

    Read the full story on #PHvote, Rappler’s election microsite.

  5. South Korea closes hundreds of schools due to MERS outbreak

    South Korea has closed more than 700 schools – from kindergartens to colleges – in response to public fears over what has become the largest outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outside Saudi Arabia. The health ministry confirmed new cases Thursday, bringing the total number of known infections to 35. Two deaths have been reported, while more than 1,360 people who were exposed directly or indirectly to the virus have been placed under varying levels of quarantine. The first case was of a 68-year-old man diagnosed on May 20 after a trip to Saudi Arabia.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  6. Rohingya women gang raped by policemen in Thailand, Malaysia

    A state-run news agency in Malaysia has reported that Muslim Rohingya women who were held at human-trafficking camps in Thailand and Malaysia gang raped by their captors, leaving at least two of them pregnant after assaults that lasted several nights. “Every night, two or 3 young and pretty Rohingya women were taken out from the detention pens by the guards to a clandestine place,” the report quoted a Rohingya survivor of the camps in Thailand as saying. “They would be gang raped by the guards. Two young women at the camp became pregnant after the gang rape.”

    The report also quoted the woman’s husband, saying he witnessed similar crimes taking place at nearby camps on the Malaysian side of the border.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

  7. Pro-tobacco bill up, as 200,000 Indonesians die from smoking every year

    The Indonesian parliament is deliberating a bill that will obstruct tobacco control efforts in Indonesia, 5 years after a video showing a toddler from Indonesia smoking went viral, and while 200,000 residents die from smoking-related diseases every year. The House’s health committee tried to set up regulations for the sale of tobacco in 2010, but neither the parliament nor the government has discussed the bill to this day. However, the bill submitted by the House’s industrial committe just last February is up for deliberation. Its provisions are dominated by legal arrangements regarding tobacco production and the tobacco industry; health issues are not the core of the bill. Indonesia imports more tobacco than it exports to meet local demands for cigarettes. It is the only country in the Asia Pacific that has yet to ratify the international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

    Read the full story on Rappler Indonesia.


  8. Australia exposes corruption in 2022 World Cup bidding

    Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy said he had shared with authorities what he knows about corruption in the bidding for the 2022 World Cup. He said he knew his country “ran a clean bid,” but that “others did not.” Australia – along with the United States, Japan, and South Korea – vied for the hosting of the tournament, which was controversially awarded to Qatar. Australia secured only one vote despite ploughing more than Aus$40 million (US$31 million) into the bid. American and Swiss authorities are investigating alleged rampant and long-running corruption within FIFA. Several top FIFA officials were arrested in dawn raids in Zurich last week and accused by US investigators of taking tens of millions of dollars in bribes. One of the probes is looking into the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

    Read the full story on Rappler Sports.

  9. Facebook is young Americans’ preferred source of political news – survey

    A new Pew Research Center study shows that, indeed, there is a difference between generations when it comes to preferred sources of political news. Not surprisingly, the Millennials are more likely to turn to Facebook, while their Baby Boomer elders turn to their television sets. Of the nearly 3,000 online adults surveyed by the Washington-based social research institute, 61% aged 18 to 33 said they got their news about politics and government from Facebook; another 37% in the age group said they tuned in to local television newscasts. It was the reverse among Baby Boomers, aged 50 to 68, with 60% watching local TV news and 39% favoring the popular social networking website. Generation Xers, aged 34 to 49, were more balanced between the two media, with 51% logging onto Facebook for political and government news and 46% favoring local television.

    Read the full story on Rappler Technology.

  10. Japan names former European Council chief as haiku ambassador

    When former Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy was not dealing with high-octane issues like the eurozone debt crisis of 2011 as then president of the European Council, he was known to devote his time to haiku, a form of Japanese verse dating back centuries, which traditionally contains 17 syllables – or, more accurately, morae – which must come in a 5-7-5 pattern. Now, Japan has named him its haiku ambassador. He met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and promised that, as an artist, he would do his part to boost EU-Japan relations, according to a Japanese government statement. Van Rompuy has published several books of his own composition, and would occasionally recite haiku at diplomatic functions and before the international press.

    Read the full story on Rappler World.

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