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News Briefs: February 9, 2019

/ 05:02 AM February 09, 2019

Palace declares special non-working days

Malacañang has declared special non-working days for February as the Palace released on Friday Proclamations Nos. 661 to 670 covering holiday declarations in specific cities and municipalities. Declared special non-working days are:  Feb. 11 in Talisay City for its celebration of its 21st charter anniversary, in Laoag City for its “Pamulinawen Festival” and in Iriga City for its “Tinagba Festival”; Feb. 12 in Kidapawan City in Cotabato for its 21st founding anniversary; Feb. 13 in Parañaque City for its cityhood anniversary; Feb. 18 in Taytay, Rizal for its “Araw ng Pasasalamat: Hamaka Festival” and in Bayawan City in Negros Oriental for its “Tawo-Tawo Festival”; Feb. 19 in Bago City in Negros Occidental for its 53rd charter anniversary;  Feb. 26 in Zamboanga City for its celebration of its 82nd charter anniversary; and Feb. 27 in General Santos City for its 80th founding anniversary and the 30th “Kailangan Festival.”— JULIE M. AURELIO

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DFA confirms death of Pinoy couple in Paris fire

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has confirmed that a Filipino couple were among those who died in an apartment fire in Paris, France, on Monday. In a statement, the DFA also expressed its condolences and sympathies to the family of the couple, whose names were not disclosed. The DFA said the Philippine embassy in Paris received confirmation on Thursday night from the crisis center of the Paris Prefecture under the French Ministry of Interior that a couple of Philippine nationality were among the 10 people killed in the fire on Rue Erlanger at the 16th Arrondissement in western Paris. The embassy had been assisting the daughter of the victims after she reported that her parents were missing in the fire. The DFA said that according to Ambassador to France Ma. Theresa Lazaro, four other Filipinos staying in the building survived the fire.— JEROME ANING

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2 models, event organizer nabbed in QC drug bust

Two part-time models and an event organizer were arrested in a sting operation around noon in a condominium along Tomas Morato Avenue in Barangay Kristong Hari, Quezon City, on Friday. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency presented to the media P820,200 worth of “party” or recreational drugs confiscated from part-time models Billy Joe Kakilala and Ronnie M. Toribio, and event organizer Abby Forteza Oban. Seized were  100 pieces of suspected ecstasy tablets in packets, made to look like candies;  750 milliliters of suspected liquid ecstasy,  20 grams of suspected “shabu” (crystal meth); 1 gram of suspected cocaine in a sachet, and assorted drug paraphernalia like glass tooters.—JAYMEE T. GAMIL

Amnesty Int’l condemns latest attack vs Rappler

Amnesty International has condemned the latest attack against Maria Ressa and a former Rappler reporter, calling the new charges “absurd.” The international watchdog called the latest case of cyberlibel against Ressa and former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. “a weaponization” of the anti-cybercrime law against legitimate dissent and free speech. In May 2012, Santos, then a reporter with Rappler, wrote a story which alleged that a car used by former Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial belonged to businessman Wilfredo Keng, who allegedly had ties to human trafficking and drug smuggling rings. Keng filed a “cyberlibel” complaint against Santos, Maria Ressa and six members of Rappler’s board  under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which the National Bureau of Investigation dismissed since the article was published before the law was enacted.  But in January 2019, the Department of Justice revived the charges against Ressa and Santos, as well as Rappler Inc., since it said the news article was updated in February 2014, and is therefore actionable. —PATRICIA DENISE M. CHIU

Bodies of 2 Indian nationals in plane crash found in Bataan

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippine (Caap)  said rescuers retrieved in Hermosa, Bataan, on Friday the bodies of two Indian nationals whose training plane crashed on Monday. The victims were found burned beyond recognition, the Caap said in a statement. The victims, instructor Capt. Navern Nagayara and student pilot Kuldeep Singh, left Plaridel Airport in Bulacan at round 7:20 a.m. on Monday on board a two-seater Cessna C152 training aircraft with registry number RPC 2724. They landed at Subic Airport at around 7:51 a.m. The plane, operated by the Flitelilne Aviation School, was scheduled to return to Plaridel by 8:14 a.m. before it went missing. The cadavers have been airlifted to Orani town for turnover to authorities. The Caap said it has launched a probe to determine the possible causes of the crash.—JEROME ANING

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TAGS: AI, Bataan plane crash, DFA, Ecstasy, Holidays, Paris fire, Rappler
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