Rappler Newscast | April 8, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- North Korea says it will pull workers out of the Kaesong joint industrial zone with South Korea.
- South Korea backtracks on its earlier report that North Korea is preparing a fourth nuclear test.
- The approval ratings of top government officials rise in March in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
Story 1: N. KOREA PULLS WORKERS OUT OF JOINT ZONE
North Korea says it will pull 53,000 workers out of the Kaesong joint industrial zone with South Korea and suspend commercial operations.
Senior ruling party official Kim Yang-Gon blames the move on "military warmongers" seeking to make Kaesong a point of confrontation.
He adds, "How the situation will develop in the days ahead will entirely depend on the attitude of the South Korean authorities."
Since Wednesday, the North banned South Korean personnel from crossing the border to enter the complex -- about 10 kilometers inside North Korea.
Story 2: S. KOREA SAYS NO NEW SIGNS NORTH PREPARING NUCLEAR TEST
South Korea backtracks, saying it sees no fresh signs of North Korea preparing a fourth nuclear test.
Its earlier report said the North appeared to be getting ready for a launch, following intelligence reports of personnel and vehicle activity at the North’s Punggye-ri atomic site.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok backtracks, saying these “appear to be usual routine activities.”
The South’s Unification Ministry says another test did not appear to be quote -- “imminent.”
The news follows a blunt call from China for restraint.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi tells UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Beijing would "not allow troublemaking on China's doorstep".
Ban Ki-moon also urges North Korea to stop further threats.
He adds, "North Korea cannot go on like this, confronting and challenging the authority of the (UN) Security Council and the international community.”
Story 3: EX-BRITISH PM MARGARET THATCHER DIES
Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher dies after a stroke. She was 87.
Known as the Iron Lady for her toughness and leadership style, she served 3 consecutive terms from 1979 to 1990.
The former premier suffered from dementia and appeared rarely in public in recent years.
She was the only female premier in British history.
Story 4: ENRILE, TOP OFFICIALS' TRUST RATINGS RISE IN MARCH
The approval ratings of top government officials in the Philippines rise in March, with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile gaining back a majority approval rating.
In its Ulat ng Bayan Survey, Pulse Asia says 4 of the country's top 5 officials got significant bumps in their approval ratings in March: Vice President Jejomar Binay's approval ratings increased to 76% from 70%; Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s ratings rise to 53% from 46%; House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr’s ratings rise to 33% from 26%; and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s ratings rise to 32% from 26%.
President Benigno Aquino also gained 4 percentage points, getting 72% approval rating in March from 68% in February.
In their disapproval ratings, only Enrile had a significant change: his disapproval rating went down to 11% from 16% in February.
Story 5: SC: ONLY 9 PARTY-LIST PETITIONS SHOULD BE RETURNED TO COMELEC
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno says only 9 petitions filed by party-list groups disqualified by the Commission on Elections should be remanded to the poll body.
Sereno says the petitions of the 9 groups should be reconsidered because they were disqualified for failing to prove they were from marginalized sectors.
In its April 5 decision, the Supreme Court said political parties do not have to represent marginalized sectors to participate in the party-list elections.
Sereno disagreed with the majority decision of the high court.
She said the party-list system should be confined to the marginalized sector because social justice was the foundation of the 1987 Constitution.
Story 6: DETAINED 'ROYAL ARMY' CAN'T AFFORD REDUCED BAIL
The 38 suspected members of the Royal Security Force of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III will stay in detention at the naval facility in Tawi-Tawi.
Tawi-Tawi’s acting judge issues a ruling that cuts their bail by 50% from P164,000 to P82,000 each.
But Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta says it's a sum they still cannot afford.
Acosta represents the suspected RSF members.
PAO earlier asked for P9,000 bail to cover all 3 charges filed against them: violation of election gun ban, illegal possession of firearms, and inciting to war.
The Department of Justice opposed the P3,000 bail saying it is "too low."
In an earlier ruling, the court granted PAO's motion to reinvestigate the case. But the suspected RSF members will stay in detention unless they are able to post bail.
Sulu Sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani earlier confirmed that 22 of the 38 arrested in Tawi-Tawi belong to their Royal Security Force.
The 38 are currently detained at a naval facility in Panglima Sugala in Tawi-Tawi.
Story 7: FILIPINOS IN SINGAPORE HIT FOR GETTING THE JOBS
One of the top destinations for Filipino workers is Singapore, with its expanding work force and companies preferring to hire Filipinos.
But there's a growing anti-foreigner sentiment and the government is clamping down on non-Singaporean workers ... because of popular demand.
Katherine Visconti reports.
The lines are always out the door at the first Jollibee in Singapore.
You'd never know a group of Singaporeans online called for a boycott of the Philippines most popular fast food restaurant.
The petition condemns the chain for prioritizing Filipinos for jobs over Singaporeans.
Jollibee denies this.
KATHERINE VISCONTI, REPORTING: It’s normal to see a line like this one waiting to get into line. The real question is, how long will this last?
The Singapore government is making it more difficult to hire foreign workers.
It's slapping higher fees on employers who hire foreigners in some sector.
Come July, it's lowering the percentage of new foreign service workers from 45% to 40% of a company's work force.
Employers must start paying a higher minimum salary for mid-level workers.
And renewing work applications is now more difficult.
MINDA CALAGUIAN-CRUZ, PHILIPPINE AMBASSADOR TO SINGAPORE: It’s very difficult now. There are many companies who want to hire Filipinos but the problem is getting the work passes for them.
Overseas Filipino workers in Singapore like Liz Peruda are feeling the pinch.
Her husband’s work pass wasn’t approved. He visits her when he can and is looking for work in the Philippines.
LIZ PERUDA, APPLE CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE: For Filipinos, even if we hold a good job, even if we hold a high-ranking job, even us, we’re scared. When it’s time to renew our passes, we’ll have that 10% chance that it might not get approved. We’re just really taking advantage of whatever time we have here in Singapore.
The restrictions come as many Singaporeans worry that foreigners are taking their jobs and lowering their wages.
ARUN MAHIZHNAN, SPECIAL RESEARCH ADVISOR, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE: It’s important to understand this entire problem in the context in which it is worrying Singaporeans. That is that Singaporeans must come first and if they’re unable or unwilling then it is ok to bring in foreigners.
Some residents blame foreigners for raising property prices and putting too much strain on existing infrastructure.
Yet this mega city also needs foreigners to keep it running and take jobs Singaporeans don’t want.
The Singaporean population is aging, getting wealthier and has a low birth rate, making foreign workers crucial to help bare the load.
To address this, Singapore's government proposed a boost in immigration from 6.5 to 6.9 million by 2030 to boost the population.
This was met by loud protests from Singaporeans-- who are not known to be passionate as a people.
ARUN MAHIZHNAN, SPECIAL RESEARCH ADVISOR, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE: When the number 6.9 million was put into the public discourse, they were shocked.
Singapore's strength has always been its foresight and planning.
Now it needs to find a solution that responds to both public clamor and economic reality.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler, Singapore.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, China confirms three more cases of bird flu as authorities try to curb a deadly outbreak by banning live poultry sales and disinfecting schools.
The new cases of the H7N9 strain of avian influenza bring the number recorded in China to 21.
Six people have died from the disease.
Chinese authorities downplay fears of human-to-human transmission of the virus.
The World Health Organization says it’s crucial to find out how the virus infects humans.
At number 4, A back-room deal between the CIA and Pakistan set the stage for a covert drone war that started under the Bush administration, grew and became a cornerstone of Barack Obama’s war against terrorists, and is now the subject of a fierce debate.
The New York Times says the United States used a Predator drone to attack and kill Nek Muhammad, a Pakistani enemy of the state in 2004.
Pakistan’s military claimed credit for killing him.
In exchange, Pakistan gave the US permission to use its airspace to carry out drone attacks.
And at number 5, US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Palestinian leaders to talk about the Syria crisis.
His visit gives him a chance to restart Middle East peace negotiations that have been stalled for over two years.
Kerry is on a 10-day overseas trip, stopping first in Istanbul to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
A State Department official says Kerry would encourage Turkey and Israel to normalize their relations to allow for deeper cooperation.
Talks between Turkish officials and Kerry will also include the issue of Syrian refugees as Turkey keeps its borders open to people fleeing the conflict.
Story 9: CASH PRIZES, SCHOLARSHIPS FOR PALARO WINNERS
For the first time in the history of the Palarong Pambansa, the private sector will be giving financial rewards to exceptional athletes.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro says -quote, "This is another facet of public- private partnership. We don’t just build classrooms for them, we also help build their character through sports development."
DepEd receives pledges in cash and in kind from the private sector amounting to over 2 million pesos to be given as incentive to top performing athletes.
The financial reward will be given on top of the usual medal and trophy.
There are also scholarship offers for athletes who will stand out in selected games.
The 2013 Palarong Pambansa will be held in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental from April 21 to 27.
Over 10,000 elementary and secondary school students from public and private schools nationwide will participate in the games.
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|