Good morning Rapplers!
How do you know the the foreign affairs chiefs of the Philippines and China are telling the truth when they claim that Beijing has stopped reclaiming lands in the disputed South China Sea? You check the latest photos. And the ones released by a think tank show the two officials are lying.
And what can only be a bigger threat to the world than two countries not being forthright about activities in international waters claimed by several other countries? Well, the world superpower United States and the hermit state North Korea provoking each other on firing nukes.
Here are the big stories you shouldn't miss this Friday.
Trump warns North Korea: 'You're going to be in trouble'
President Donald Trump on Thursday, August 10, warned North Korea it should be "very, very nervous" of the consequences if it even thinks of attacking US soil, after nuclear-armed Pyongyang said it was readying missile launch plans on the Pacific territory of Guam. The Republican billionaire dismissed any criticism of his "fire and fury" warning, saying it possibly "wasn't tough enough," given threats made by the regime of Kim Jong-Un to both Washington and its allies.
Photos don't lie: Think tank refutes Manila, Beijing on supposed halt in South China Sea reclamation
Refuting claims by both Manila and Beijing, a Washington-based think tank released photos that show China continued its reclamation activities in the disputed South China Sea after mid-2015. Photos released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday, August 9, show that "Beijing continues to reclaim land farther north" of the South China Sea, "in the Paracel Islands," features claimed not by the Philippines but by Vietnam. The AMTI issued this report days after Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China stopped its reclamation activities in 2015.
PH customs intelligence head quits amid as probe into drug smuggled from China
The intelligence director of the Philippine Bureau of Customs quit his post after a broker, without providing evidence, named him and several other colleagues for allegedly accepting bribe to facilitate the release of certain shipments. The accusation was made during a congressional hearing in aid of an investigation into the smuggling of P6.4-billion worth of shabu from China, which agency operatives later recovered in a raid on a warehouse. Neil Anthony Estrella, a former Marine colonel, said in his letter to President Rodrigo Duterte: “I have realized over the past days that I will no longer be able to fulfill my duties in the manner we both desire. The sensitivity of my office and the methodology it entails have now been compromised by unnecessary publicity.”
Tax package on coal to be presented soon by Duterte gov't
The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte plans to tax coal, with the details of the proposal to be presented soon by finance officials. Asked by a senator why coal taxes are not being prioritized when the product is considered the “dirtiest” source of fuel and the most harmful to the environment, Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said in a Senate hearing it is difficult to rush the tax package because it would be the first time the government would do it. On the other hand, he said taxes on oil products have already been done and have been left untouched for the past 20 years.
Facebook gives TV serious challenge in rollout of video shows
Facebook is rolling out a new video service offering professionally produced shows in a challenge to rivals such as YouTube, and potentially to streaming providers like Netflix. The Facebook service – called Watch – will include a range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports, the social network said in its announcement late Wednesday, August 9. It will be "a place where you can discover shows your friends are watching and follow your favorite shows and creators so you don't miss any episodes," Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said.