McDonald’s deletes tweet attacking Donald Trump


McDonald’s has said its Twitter account was “compromised” after it sent an insulting message to President Donald Trump.

“You are a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back,” the tweet said.

It also asserted that the president had “tiny hands”.

“We deleted the tweet, secured our account and are now investigating this,” tweeted McDonald’s, not long after the message was removed.

The firm said that it had been notified by Twitter that the account had been “compromised”.

It was not clear whether this meant that the account had been hacked or, for example, taken over by a rogue employee.

In January, the BBC said that one of its accounts had been hacked after it reported that Donald Trump had been shot.


Trump budget to cut foreign aid to pay for defence boost

aericle6Image from: Getty images

The Trump administration has laid out plans to boost US defence spending by $54bn (£44bn) while slashing funding for foreign aid.

The federal government budget plan will be submitted to Congress on Thursday.

The state department, which oversees foreign affairs, faces a budget cut of about 28%.

And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in line for cuts to programmes President Trump does not agree with, such as climate change and renewables.

These include initiatives intended to bring the US into line with its Paris Agreement climate deal obligations.

The EPA could be cut by 31%, the New York Times reported.

The increase in defence spending will be recouped through deep cuts elsewhere, the BBC understands.

The defence department budget will be boosted by 10%, and homeland security will get a 6% boost.

The budget will include a $1.5bn request for pilot schemes to determine construction methods and locations for Mr Trump’s promised wall between the US and Mexico.

The White House wants a 30% cut from an energy department office that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The energy department could see steep cuts for its 17 national laboratories, which conduct research into subjects including nuclear power and advanced materials for energy generation, storage and use.

There will also be a complete cut to funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the largest source of public broadcasting funding in the US.

The budget, known as a “skinny budget”, will be limited to the $1tn portion of the $4tn annual federal budget that pays for US agencies and departments.

The remainder of Mr Trump’s budget, which will include proposals on taxes, mandatory spending and deficits and projections on the economy, will not come out until May.


RP: Benham Rise Is Ours

Benham Rise is part of Philippine territory and the government will have to secure it for the nation’s interest and not China’s, a senior Malacañang official said yesterday.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the Duterte administration is not taking reported Chinese incursions in the area as if it did not happen, but will as much as possible prevent any heated conflict.

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“First and foremost, the Benham Rise belongs to the Filipino people. The Philippine government is duty-bound to defend and protect our sovereign and territorial rights over this region,” Abella told reporters at a weekly briefing at the Palace.

“The Philippines has the responsibility to oversee and regulate the sailing ships of other countries that pass the waters of Benham Rise,” he added, citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas which favors the Philippines’ claims. Among the measures that President Duterte wants to do in securing the waters surrounding Benham Rise is by intensifying the presence of Philippine state forces in the area as discussed in a closed National Security Council meeting at the Palace that lasted until Tuesday midnight.

“The President did agree that we should improve capabilities of enforcing our rights in the matter, enforcing our rights regarding airspace and territorial waters,” Abella said. The Palace official said that other countries can pass through Benham Rise that’s situated along the South China Sea but are restrained from building any structures there.
In the upper chamber, calls to protect and assert the country’s sovereignty over resource-rich Benham Rise are now snowballing, with Sen. Sonny Angara joining those urging the government to protect the 13-million hectare underwater plateau off the coast of Aurora from foreign incursion.
“Benham Rise is undisputed part of Philippine territory. We have the exclusive rights to explore and exploit its natural resources,” the senator, who authored Senate Bill 312 proposing the creation the Benham Rise Development Authority (BRDA), said.
“We must protect what’s clearly ours. It is high time also to accelerate the development of Benham Rise as potential rich source of alternative energy, marine resources and tourism destination,” he added.
Angara’s statements were in response to the pronouncements made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry that the Philippines cannot claim the undersea region as its own territory. Estimated to be a much larger landmass than Luzon, it is a natural breeding ground and habitat for several marine species—making it a prime fishing spot.
“A proper inventory of Benham Rise is crucial in crafting a roadmap on how the country can develop and ultimately benefit from the undersea plateau especially as a potential energy source,” the lawmaker said. The creation of BRDA will address the need for a coordinated and integrated approach in the formulation and implementation of development plans and programs that will optimize its full potential.
The former representative of Aurora Province further stressed that the promotion and facilitation of public and private investments in Benham Rise will spur economic development in his home province and in Isabela. “Such investments will lead to job generation especially for the locals,” he added.
“It’s been five years since the UN approved our territorial claim, and yet Benham Rise remains largely unexplored. There is a pressing need to scale up and sustain the scientific study and exploration of the undersea region in light of such unauthorized foreign incursion in our territory,” Angara said.


Two years after Mamasapano: What has happened to the case?

Two years have passed since the Mamasapano encounter, but the victims’ families are still clamoring for truth about the bloody police operation

PHILIPPINES-POLICE-REBELLIONTHE FALLEN. Philippine police commandos load body bags containing the remains of their comrades killed in a clash with Muslim rebels, onto a truck in the town of Mamasapano on January 26, 2015. File photo by Mark Navales/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Two years ago, on January 25, 2015, 44 elite cops were killed in a bloody firefight with Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao – a clash that has since been remembered as one of the darkest days in the history of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The Special Action Force (SAF) commandos were tasked to capture two top bomb makers – Zulkifli bin Hir (alias “Marwan”) and Abdul Basit Usman – in a police operation dubbed Oplan Exodus. But the operation turned into an hours-long firefight, resulting in the deaths of 44 SAF troopers, 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and 3 civilians. (TIMELINE: Mamasapano clash)

Much has been said of the clash, prompting a series of investigations and promises to uncover the truth. But two years since Mamasapano, the victims’ families are still clamoring for truth on what really happened and who is to blame. (READ: No closure without justice for Mamasapano victims)


What has happened in the last two years? Rappler lists down the developments related to this bloody incident.

A series of investigations

On the eve of the second anniversary of the Mamasapano clash on January 24, President Rodrigo Duterte announced he would create a commission to reinvestigate the incident.

Duterte said he wants civilian members, former Supreme Court justices, and “men of integrity and honor” to compose the commission. He also pledged to give it the same powers granted to the Agrava Commission, which investigated the death of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr in 1983.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has also ordered prosecutors to file a motion for the transfer of the trial court to spare the judge from “pressure” in ruling the case. He said the move aims to ensure the safety and security of the witnesses and families of the victims.

In 2015, various government agencies also conducted their separate investigations on the Mamasapano clash. These include the Department of Justice, which formed a Special Investigation Team with members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and National Prosecution Service (NPS); the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) through the PNP Board of Inquiry; the Commission on Human Rights (CHR); and committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Senate investigation, concluded after 5 public hearings and 5 closed-door meetings, said there was an “undeniable breakdown of both leadership and command and control in the PNP,” with resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima heading the operation despite being on suspension for corruption charges.

Both the Senate and the PNP reports implicate Purisima and former President Benigno Aquino III, whom they said bypassed the chain of command by allowing Purisima to take part in the operation.

The Senate report also said the “first sin” in the bloody encounter belongs to the MILF. In its own report, however, the MILF accused SAF troopers of firing the first shot.

For its part, the CHR criticized the Senate report for being based on “emotions rather than an objective interpretation of facts.”

Cases filed

Almost 8 months after the firefight, the NBI filed criminal complaints against 90 individuals involved in the clash. Included in the complaint for the complex crime of direct assault with murder were 26 MILF members, 12 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and 52 others who were either from unaffiliated, or from private rebel groups.

The charges came 5 months after the release of the joint NBI-NPS report recommending sanctions on these individuals, who were identified by 5 witnesses.

However, then justice secretary Leila de Lima clarified that these complaints only covered the deaths of 35 members of the SAF-Special Action Command (SAC) or the “blocking force” of the operation. She said it did not include the 9 troopers from the SAF’s 84th Seaborne Company because they “failed to find a single credible witness.”

In July 2015, the Ombudsman also approved the recommendation to file charges against Purisima, then PNP-SAF Chief Police Director Getulio Napeñas, Police Chief Superintendent Fernando Mendez Jr, and 8 other police officers.

The Ombudsman said Napeñas, Mendez, and Purisima “persuaded or convinced one another to… commit a violation of the law or ordinance as what happened in the conduct of the operation in Mamasapano.”

Purisima also faces charges of usurpation of official functions.

On January 24, 2017, the Ombudsman filed with the Sandiganbayan criminal charges again Purisima and Napeñas.

The Ombudsman panel had earlier absolved Aquino of any criminal liability.

Promises to families

Speaking to the families of the fallen soldiers in Malacañang on the eve of the clash’s 2nd anniversary, Duterte questioned why only two soldiers were given the Medal of Valor when 42 others died in the operation. He promised the families that the soldiers will be remembered for their heroism.

“The highest that I can give them is the award of the Medal of Valor,” Duterte said.

Last year, the PNP reported that the families and beneficiaries of the fallen soldiers have received almost P70 million in benefits and pensions.


Highlights: Impeachment complaint vs Duterte

The complaint says that given the unlawful activities and predicate crimes provided in the Anti-Money Laundering Act, there is basis for the House to direct AMLC to submit Duterte’s bank accounts and properties

Magdalo impeachment complaint by AlejanoIMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT. Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano shows a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Rodrigo Duterte at the House of Representatives. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – An impeachment complaint was filed by Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano on Thursday, March 16, against President Rodrigo Duterte.

The impeachment complaint alleges that Duterte:

  • Culpably violated the Constitution
  • Engaged in bribery
  • Betrayed the public trust
  • Committed graft and corruption
  • Committed other high crimes

The highlights of the complaint are as follows:

1. Betrayal of public trust, bribery, culpable violation of the Constitution, and other high crimes

The complaint alleges that Duterte “willfully and culpably committed the High Crimes of bribery, multiple murder and/or Other Crimes Against Humanity” by adopting a state policy of inducing policemen, other law enforcement officers and/or members of “vigilante groups” into extrajudicial killings of more than 8,000 persons merely suspected of being drug pushers or users.

Duterte also exported and expanded the “dubious and gruesome work of his infamous Davao Death Squad (DDS), which is reported to be responsible for the murder and deaths of at least 1,424 individuals in Davao City from 1998 to 2015, to the entire country.”

Contrary to his oath of office and to the Constitution and prevailing laws, Duterte publicly adopted a policy of “promoting, encouraging, as well as aiding and abetting in the extrajudicial killing of persons suspected of being drug pushers, drug users and/or committing other crimes…”

In encouraging, aiding, and/or abetting the violation of laws, Duterte “undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute upon the Presidency, has betrayed the trust reposed upon him as President of the Republic, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the Republic of the Philippines,” the complaint said.

2. Betrayal of public trust, bribery, graft and corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution, and other high crimes

With Duterte’s patronage, backing and/or support as mayor, vice mayor or congressman, and now as president, policemen and/or other law enforcement officers and their “force multipliers, including rebel returnees” were organized into an “anti-crime task force” which killed an estimated 1,400 persons. This group later evolved into the dreaded DDS, which is reportedly responsible for the murder and deaths of at least 1,424 in Davao City as of 2015.

3. Graft and corruption and other high crimes

The Commission on Audit had questioned the hiring of 11,000 contractual workers in 2014 when Duterte was still Davao City mayor. This cost the city’s coffers P708 million.

Passing the blame for the hiring of these contractuals to his alleged predecessor, former mayor Benjamin de Guzman, is “clearly preposterous” since it was his daughter Sara who actually served as mayor before him, and he (Duterte), before Sara.

Considering the P708 million, Duterte is being charged with malversation of public funds, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and plunder.

4. Unexplained wealth

Documents given to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV showed that P2.207 billion, more or less, flowed into the bank accounts of Duterte from 2006 to 2015.

Besides Duterte’s bank accounts, the accounts of Sara Duterte-Carpio, incumbent mayor of Davao City, Paolo Duterte, incumbent vice mayor, and Sebastian Duterte, were beneficiaries. All in all, money amounting to over P360 million flowed into the accounts of the Duterte children, broken down as follows:

  • Sara Duterte-Carpio – P121 million, more or less
  • Paolo Duterte – P104 million, more or less
  • Sebastian Duterte – P143 million, more or less

Common-law wife Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña recorded transactions amounting to nearly P187 million from July 2004 to March 2016.

Samuel Uy, Duterte’s campaign contributor and alleged business partner, “deposited and/or transferred to the bank accounts” of Duterte’s children and/or common-law wife amounts totaling about P118 million from October 25, 2011 to April 10, 2013.

These were never reported in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), where Duterte claimed to have a net worth of P24.08 million only in his latest 2016 SALN. The complaint mentioned a net worth of “around 23.5 million”.

Trillanes also uncovered at least 40 properties, including houses, condominiums, and lots in the names of his children, plus another 10 known to be publicly owned by him and/or his children.

These are separate from the 12 other properties reported in the SALN filed for the year ending December 2014. Four of these properties are in the name of daughter Veronica who was a minor aged 10 at the time.

5. Predicate crimes for plunder

Funds derived from the 11,000 contractual employees amounting to P708 million in 2014 alone have apparently been transacted and/or laundered through the bank accounts of the Dutertes.

Given the “unlawful activities” or “predicate crimes” provided in the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, “there is clearly a basis for the House of Representatives to direct/order the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to submit and/or open subject bank accounts and properties” of Duterte and/or his children.

The verified complaint was signed by Alejano and filed Thursday.

Disney Refuses To Cut Gay Part Of ‘Beauty And The Beast’

Resulta ng larawanImage from :

Disney has stated that its upcoming live-action “Beauty and the Beast” “has not been and will not be cut” to remove a gay scene that is controversial in Malaysia.


State censors had reportedly cut the scene and approved the film for release, but reports surfaced Monday that the film’s release had been delayed in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asia country, suggesting interference by the studio.


Earlier this month, director Bill Condon told a U.K. publication that Gaston’s sidekick LeFou, played in the film by Josh Gad, has “confused” feelings for his friend. Condon characterized one scene as a “nice” “gay moment” in the film.


In the U.S., news of Disney’s first openly (to audiences, anyway) character sparked some discussion. Emma Watson, who plays Belle, praised Gad’s “subtle” performance in a recent interview, using a word uttered by many involved in the film to caution viewers against expecting too much from the inclusionary characterization.


But however subtle, the scene caused particular controversy in Malaysia, where homosexuality is condemned under the country’s federal and religious justice systems, which dole out punishments that may include whipping or up to 20 years’ imprisonment.


Films screened in Malaysia, a country of 30 million, are permitted to show gay characters so long as they repent or die.


The country is known for its regressive policies on LGBTQ rights, as The Huffington Post previously reported. In the past, Prime Minister Najib Razak has compared the LGBTQ community to the self-titled Islamic State terror group, suggesting both are enemies of Islam.

Read More »

Toyota to invest £240m in UK plant at Burnaston

Toyota is to invest £240m in upgrading its UK factory that makes the Auris and Avensis models.

The Japanese carmaker’s investment in the Burnaston plant near Derby will allow production of vehicles using its new global manufacturing system.

The factory employs about 2,500 people, while another 590 work at Toyota’s engine plant at Deeside, North Wales.

Burnaston made about 180,000 vehicles last year, most of which are exported to Europe and other markets.

Johan van Zyl, chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe, said the investment showed that the company was doing all it could to make Burnaston more competitive.

However, he warned: “Continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success.”


Industry trade body the SMMT said in January that uncertainty around Brexit and the UK’s future trading arrangements had hit investment in the car sector.

Investment commitments in the UK automotive sector last year totalled £1.66bn, down from £2.5bn in 2015.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said Toyota’s investment “underlines the company’s faith in its employees and will help ensure the plant is well positioned for future Toyota models to be made in the UK”.

The government is providing £21.3m in funding for training, research and development, and improving the Burnaston plant’s environmental performance.

Last year, rival carmaker Nissan said it would build both the new Qashqai and the X-Trail SUV at its Sunderland plant following government “support and assurances”.



John Moylan, industry correspondent

The decision to upgrade the plant to take Toyota’s New Global Architecture, its new system for producing vehicles worldwide, suggests the company sees the UK as part of its long-term future.

But the UK’s automotive industry knows that Brexit is coming and with it the possibility of tariffs and complex customs arrangements.

That threatens the competitiveness of carmakers that rely upon the kind of just-in-time manufacturing which Toyota pioneered.

Read more from John here.

Profit fall

The general secretary of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, said Toyota workers “need to know that the government has their back and will do whatever is necessary to ensure new models and new investment keeps coming to Britain”.

“With discussions set to start on the replacement of models such as Vauxhall’s Astra and decisions due on BMW’s electric Mini, it is vital that ministers calm nerves by stating they will secure tariff-free access to the European single market and customs union in Brexit negotiations.”

In January, Toyota announced it was planning to spend $10bn (£8.2bn) in the USover the next five years.

The firm lost its crown as the world’s biggest carmaker to Volkswagen last year.

Last month, Toyota said it expected to report net profits of 1.7 trillion yen ($15.1bn; £12.1bn) for the 2016-17 financial year. However, that was lower than the 2.1 trillion yen profit it recorded a year earlier.

Anglo American soars as billionaire buys 12% stake


Shares in Anglo American have soared after an Indian billionaire said he would spend up to £2bn taking a stake in the miner.

Anil Agarwal, who controls Vedanta, said on Wednesday he would make the investment through his family trust Volcan Holdings.

The statement from Volcan said neither the trust nor Vedanta intended to seek control of Anglo.

Buying a stake of about 12% in Anglo would diversify Mr Agarwal’s holdings.

Vedanta focuses on commodities including zinc, lead, silver, copper, iron ore and aluminium, while Anglo’s portfolio includes diamonds and platinum.

“This is an attractive investment for our family trust … I am delighted to become a shareholder in Anglo American,” Mr Agarwal said.

Anglo reported a huge pre-tax loss of $5.5bn (£3.8bn) for 2015 following the plunge in commodity prices.

However, its shares jumped nearly 300% last year and in February the company said it would resume paying dividends and slow down the pace of asset sales.

Anglo American shares jumped 8.5% to £12.96 in morning trading in London, while Vedanta also rose 5.2% to 878p.

Other mining companies including Antofagasta, Fresnillo, BHP Billiton and Randgold Resources also posted strong gains to help lead the London market to a new record high on Thursday.

Miners have been boosted by a fall in the dollar after the US Federal Reserve indicated a slower pace of interest rate rises than the market had been expecting.

A weaker greenback helps dollar-denominated commodities, as it makes them cheaper for customers paying in other currencies.

Mr Agarwal is using a “mandatory exchangeable bond” to finance the share purchase.

Industry sources said the financial instrument was the first of its kind and was an efficient way of acquiring such a big stake.