Politics

Tremors in Surigao, lavish lives in Bilibid + more earthshaking weekend news

North Korea's getting better at launching nuclear missiles.
ILLUSTRATOR Jasrelle Soriano
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Earthquake in Surigao City causes state of calamity.

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake, with an apparent epicenter in Surigao City, struck the city last Friday causing several deaths and more than 200 injuries. The tremor, which was felt throughout the city, also led to infrastructural damage leading to the closure of the airport, two major bridges and affected roads as well as power and water supply issues. While the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council's spokesman confirmed that relief efforts were well underway, President Duterte visited the city with a promise to release funds. An initial estimate by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office put the infrastructure damage at P601.8 million.

Justice Secretary allowed inmates’ ‘lavish’ lifestyle.

A confidential memo addressed to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre raises further questions regarding the methods used in the New Bilibid Prison investigation. According to the memo, Aguirre allowed inmates to continue using “cell phones, smart television sets, air conditioning units and internet” which is alleged to be in exchange for their testimony on the prison’s drug activities. The high-profile witnesses in last year’s investigation included alleged drug kingpins Jaybee Sebastian and Herbert Colangco. Sebastian is also known for his participation in a 2013 Discovery Channel documentary detailing life at Bilibid.   

North Korea successfully launches test missile.

While U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe concluded a game of golf at the new president’s Palm Beach resort, North Korea conducted a successful nuclear missile launch. According to a U.S. official, the nuclear-capable missile traveled 500 kilometers before dropping in the Sea of Japan. It was North Korea’s first launch of a new medium-range ballistic missile. In a strong statement, Abe reminded the communist nation to respect the UN Security Council resolutions banning it from conducting nuclear missile tests.

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Trump to continue anti-immigration efforts.

Last week’s 9th Circuit court ruling finally struck down the U.S. President’s executive order banning travelers and green card holder from seven Muslim-majority nations. However, while the ruling stated that there was “no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States,” an irate Trump promised to continue efforts to restrict travel and noted that a new executive order may follow. Meanwhile, reports indicate that a decrease in travel to the U.S. may hurt the country's tourism industry, with travel bookings down by 6.5 percent compared to 2016.

 

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