Rappler Newscast | March 28, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- The United States says it dropped a dummy ordnance on South Korea proving it can deter any attack at will.
- The largest cyber attack to date slows down the internet all over the world.
- Fitch Ratings gives the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company above investment grade status.
Story 1: U.S. FLIES STEALTH BOMBERS OVER S. KOREA
The United States says two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers flew "deterrence" missions over South Korea Thursday.
The deployment of the bombers comes after North Korea cut its military hotline with the South and put its rocket units on combat status, with a threat to target US bases in the Pacific region.
In a statement, the US military says the two bombers fly from Whiteman Air Force base in Missouri and drop dummy ordnance on a target range in the South.
The statement says, "This demonstrates the United States' ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will."
The bombers participate in South Korean-US military exercises that anger North Korea, which threatened to launch nuclear strikes on the two countries.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Seoul could rely on the United States’ military protection.
Story 2: 'WORLD'S LARGEST CYBER ATTACK'
Global Internet speeds slow down Wednesday because of a cyber attack which security experts say is the biggest of its kind.
The hacking affects popular Internet services including video streaming service Netflix.
The distributed denial of service attack began on March 18, targeted at Europe-based spam-fighting group Spamhaus.
The attack follows the group's decision to include Dutch web host Cyberbunker on its list of suspected spam-hosting websites.
Experts say that if it is not stopped, the hacking could affect critical service sectors such as banking and email.
BBC reports cyber-police forces from 5 countries are looking into the attacks.
Speaking to the BBC, Spamhaus CEO Steve Linford says, “This sort of attack would take down pretty much anything else."
He adds their engineers are working round the clock for over a week to keep their servers up.
Lock on digital screen image by Shutterstock
Story 3: POPE TO WASH FEET OF YOUNG PRISONERS
Pope Francis stamps his personal touch on Easter celebrations by washing the feet of young prisoners in Rome.
In his first general audience on Wednesday, the pope calls on the world's 1.2 billion Catholics to reach out to the quote -- "lost sheep," adding, "Holy Week challenges us to step outside ourselves so as to attend to the needs of others."
Breaking away from tradition, Francis will hold Christ's Last Supper mass in the Casa del Marmo prison in Rome with 46 prisoners.
The 12 prisoners who will have their feet washed will be chosen from different nationalities and religious confessions.
The Holy Thursday mass will kick off four days of symbolic ceremonies to commemorate Jesus Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.
Story 4: TAGLE PERFORMS WASHING OF FEET RITUAL ON POLL WORKERS
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle performs a symbolic washing of feet ritual on poll workers 46 days before the May elections.
Carmela Fonbuena files this video blog.
It's Holy Thursday and I'm here at Paco Church in Manila, where world famous Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle puts a twist in the Catholic tradition of the washing of the feet.
Recognizing the importance of the coming May elections, Tagle washes the feet of Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.
Joining Brillantes are other personalities tasked to make the elections clean and free.
They represent the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.
In the Bible, Jesus Christ performed the ritual on his apostles during the Last Supper - their final meal together.
It is interpreted as an act of humility.
In the Old Testament, the ritual was performed only by slaves on guests in well-off households. People then wore sandals and walked on dusty roads.
Tagle says this is how the people who seek various government positions in May should serve the people -- with humility.
Holy Thursday kicks off 4 days of symbolic ceremonies commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In the Vatican, Pope Francis also adds his personal touch TO the ritual -- choosing to wash the feet of young prisoners.
The new pope highlights the importance of reaching out to those in need.
Carmela Fonbuena, Rappler. Manila.
Story 5: VITUG VLOGS: CHALLENGE FOR POPE FRANCIS
The difficult work of reforming the Church begins for Pope Francis, and Rappler’s editor at large Marites Vitug says the Philippine church poses a challenge to the new pontiff.
Here’s her video blog.
The Philippines is one of only 2 Catholic countries in Asia.
In the eyes of the Vatican, it's a tiny spot in the entire world of Catholics.
But the Church here poses a major challenge to Pope Francis.
In the US, Europe and Australia, sex abuse against women and young boys led to lawsuits, changes in the Catholic hierarchy, and a zero-tolerance policy toward such behavior.
This is not the case in the Philippines.
When the bishop of Bacolod started his campaign of "Team Patay" -- referring to legislators who voted for the reproductive health bill -- some responded with "Team Tatay."
The phenomenon of priests who fathered children is common here.
But the Church has been forgiving.
It allowed them to continue with their priestly duties.
This pattern applies to cases of child abuse.
A Filipino monsignor had to leave a US parish after he was accused of molesting altar boys.
Despite this, he was taken in as a priest in Cebu.
The Church here has yet to be transparent about the sex-abuse sins of its priests -- and be accountable.
This is Marites Vitug for Vitug Vlogs.
Story 6: ONE-STOP CENTER IN TAWI-TAWI FOR SABAH EVACUEES
Government officials meet in Zamboanga Wednesday and agree to set up a one-stop center for Filipinos affected by the Sabah standoff.
Department of social welfare and development chief of staff Javier Jimenez says the processing center in Taganak town in Tawi-Tawi will launch on April 3.
He says the processing center will be set up in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Labor and Employment.
More than 4000 Filipinos fled Sabah since February.
Story 7: FITCH UPS PLDT CREDIT RATING ABOVE INVESTMENT GRADE
After giving the Philippines its first investment grade status, Fitch Ratings upgrades the credit rating of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.
Fitch says it raised PLDT's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating and senior unsecured rating from 'BBB-' to 'BBB'.
In a statement Thursday, Fitch assigns a stable outlook, meaning the new ratings will hold in the near term.
Fitch cites PLDT’s dominant market shares in the wireless, fixed-line, and broadband segments by the end of 2012 as among the main reasons for the upgrade.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, US President Barack Obama says he expects the Senate to start debating comprehensive immigration reform next month.
Obama praises a bipartisan group of Democratic and Republican senators working to come up with a joint bill on the issue.
The senators say their plan would offer a pathway to eventual citizenship.
They also say it will include steps to secure US borders and the introduction of an employee verification program.
The bill must make its way through the House of Representatives, where Republicans oppose any solution that could be branded, quote -- "amnesty" for illegal immigration.
At number 4, James Holmes, the suspected gunman in the horrific Aurora theatre massacre, could plead guilty to escape the death penalty.
Holmes is due in court Monday for a hearing where prosecutors are expected to say whether they will seek the death penalty for the mass shooting, which left 12 people dead in July.
In a court filing, the lawyers wrote, "Mr Holmes is currently willing to resolve the case to bring the proceedings to a speedy and definite conclusion for all involved.
It appears the only impediment to a resolution of this case would be if the prosecution chooses to seek the death penalty."
The defense attorneys want a sentence of life in prison without parole.
They say the case could be concluded next week if the plea deal is accepted.
And at number 8, Facebook is turning red in support of same-sex marriage.
Many Facebook users change their profile pictures to a red logo of the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.
The group has over a million Facebook followers.
The US Supreme Court is set to decide the fate of Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriages in California.
Story 9: WORLD'S BIGGEST CREATURE TRACKED BY ITS SONG
For the first time, scientists successfully track down and tag Antarctic blue whales through the use of acoustic technology to follow its songs.
On Wednesday, the Australian government says researchers locate some of the mammals in the Southern ocean after picking up on their vocals.
The scientists collect 23 biopsy samples and attach satellite tags to two blue whales, the largest animals on the planet.
Tagger Virginia Andrews-Goff says, "This method of studying Antarctic blue whales has been so successful, it will now become the blueprint for other whale researchers across the world."
Environment Minister Tony Burke says the study proves it was not necessary to kill whales to conduct scientific research.
Story 10: VIRTUAL VISITA IGLESIA IN A CLICK
Today, Maundy Thursday, some of the Catholic faithful visit churches to pray and reflect on the passion and death of Christ.
If you're unable to do the traditional Visita Iglesia, Rappler offers a multimedia tour of 14 Philippine churches, bringing together visuals, music, and one-minute Bible readings as part of a week-long package called Holy Week Online on Rappler.com.
Newscast production staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|