Philippines calls North Korea's planned rocket launch "unacceptable" and asks Asean to support its position. Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says he is happy after preliminary meetings with his counterparts. Asean chief Surin Pitsuwan said: "Asean has expressed very, very serious concern, but in what language it will come out, I don't know." Asean leaders begin a two-day summit in Phnom Penh Tuesday.
New satellite images of the rocket launch site show progress being made on a planned launch sometime between April 12 to 16. The US and North Korea seem headed for a clash on what Washington describes as a "cover for a long range missile test." Parts of the rocket may come down on Philippine soil.
Opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi swept to victory after 22 years under house arrest. The opposition declared her victory with 99% of the votes while her party wins 40 out of 45 open seats. Suu Kyi called the weekend elections the "beginning of a new era" and vowed to reform the Constitution. Another sign of the times: despite strict government control of the media, Myanmar journalists used social media to bypass censorship.
US stocks rose to its highest level since 2007, largely on better than expected growth in manufacturing. This comes after the Philippine Stock Exchange recorded its highest market capitalization level at the end of March, following 13 new record highs in the first quarter. From January to March this year, trading activity surged 54.5%.
Earth Hour co-founder Andy Ridley spent this year's Earth Hour, a symbolic lights out for one hour globally, in Manila, which has topped participation of cities and municipalities of all countries in the world for the fourth year in a row. On March 31, 3 cities led the shutdown - Makati, Cebu and Davao. This year, a large part of the campaign pushed to take it beyond symbols with the social hashtag #BeyondEarthHour on social media. The "I Will if You Will" campaigns aimed to spread pledges among virtual and physical social networks.
In 2008, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, more commonly known by its acronym, FARC, held more than 700 kidnapped hostages captive in the jungles of Colombia. On Monday, FARC released the last remaining security officials it held hostage. The International Committee for the Red Cross, which was handling the release, said 10 policemen and soldiers were released, some of whom were captured in combat and had been held hostage for as long as 14 years.
Read more on the Wall Street Journal.
Did former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo intend to seek asylum in the Dominican Republic? Yes, according to a detailed investigation that follows the trail of diplomats, advocacy writer John Silva and government officials.
Read more on Rappler.
Three events in the past two weeks show the social network behind Indonesia's largest terrorist attacks may be damaged but is far from dead. Last Friday, Indonesian police killed two alleged terrorists after raiding their safehouse on the outskirts of Jakarta. A day earlier, the country's highest counterterrorism official linked a Frenchman allegedly involved in a bombing outside its Paris embassy to the same terror network which carried out Indonesia's deadliest attacks since the 2002 Bali bombings. Less than two weeks earlier, authorities killed terrorists and foiled what may have been a 3rd Bali attack. All these show the evolution of the Darul Islam social movement, a network that has had three regenerations, including Jemaah Islamiyah or JI.
Read more on Rappler
Clinton for President?
While US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is adamant she will not run for president again, her husband says he would be ok if she decided to run. Former US President Bill Clinton told Good Morning America on Monday, “I believe she’s being absolutely honest with you when she says she doesn’t think she'll go back into politics. But if she comes home and we do this foundation stuff for the rest of our lives, I’ll be happy. If she changes her mind and decides to run, I’ll be happy.” Clinton also predicted - not unsurprisingly - that President Obama will win re-election by a significant margin in 2012.
Read more on CNN.
Holy Week Impeachment
The Philippines has been focused on the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. As prosecution and defense lawyers prepare for Holy Week, their rhetoric is full of metaphors linking the cases they're arguing with events celebrated by Christians in Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation.
Rappler compiles their statements here.
Holy Week shuts down cities in the Philippines, which has the 5th largest Christian population globally, the largest Christian nation in Asia. It's a time of personal reflection and a chance to retrace the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the age of the Internet and social media, Rappler brings the celebration online in 3 ways: daily readings and reflections, a virtual Stations of the Cross and 360 degree views of 14 Philippine churches.
Read more on Rappler.
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