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- Deadline looms for 190 countries on climate action plan
France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius opened the final week of the UN climate conference in Paris by reminding ministers of the deadline. “The time for decisions has come,” he told ministers and negotiators, emphasizing the political nature of the final week of the summit.
The status of the draft agreement has lifted spirits. As of posting, it is 21 pages long, an achievement given that it was at 55 pages when the conference began. Fewer pages in the document mean negotiators have been able to agree on certain options for climate action, allowing bracketed parts to be deleted. Bracketed items are words suggested to be part of the agreement but still up for discussion and can be removed any time. Meantime, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris Monday. Senior US officials said they want an “ambitious agreement” but some areas of hard bargaining remain, particularly in climate finance.
- Carbon emissions could fall in 2015 as Beijing declares pollution red alert
A study says carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could stall or even fall slightly by 0.6% in 2015, thanks mainly to changes in China. The Asian giant is still the biggest CO2 emitter in 2014 at 27% of the global total emissions, followed by the United States at 15% and the European Union at 10%. Nearly 60% of the increase in primary energy used by China in the last two years was met by renewable and nuclear power. Meantime, China’s capital issued its first-ever red alert for pollution Monday, as a blanket of smog is expected to descend on the city Tuesday. Half of Beijing’s private cars was ordered off the road and 30 percent of government vehicles also garaged. Outdoor construction sites ceased operations while schools were urged to close. Chinese social media users said the government’s protection measures was lackluster. A red alert, issued when severe smog is expected to last more than 72 hours, is the highest of Beijing’s four-tiered, colour-coded warning system.
- COMELEC: Elections may be postponed due to SC ruling
For the second time this year, an order from the Supreme Court (SC) threatens the schedule for the May 2016 presidential elections. Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body might have to postpone the elections because of a recent temporary restraining order (TRO) from the SC against the Comelec’s “No Bio, No Boto” (No Biometrics, No Vote) policy. This TRO stopped the Comelec from deactivating the registration of 2.5 million voters who failed to have their biometrics taken for the 2016 elections. Bautista on Sunday said the TRO will derail the Comelec in its preparations. He pointed out that the Comelec is also handling disqualification cases against presidential bets.
Read more on Bautista’s reaction to SC ruling.
- One hurdle remains as Comelec clears key obstacle to Duterte candidacy
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has cleared one of two major obstacles to the presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte when the poll body junked a petition to declare anti-crime advocate Martin Diño a nuisance candidate. In a resolution, the Comelec Second Division said this petition is “moot and academic” after Diño withdrew his certificate of candidacy. Duterte, who recently topped a presidential survey, filed his COC to substitute for Diño on November 27. The ruling has a catch. It approved Diño’s withdrawal of COC “without prejudice to any future ruling on the validity of the COC,” a reference to Diño’s supposedly invalid COC. Diño, in his COC, erroneously declared that he is running “for the position of mayor” of Pasay City.
Read more on updates to Duterte’s candidacy.
- Escudero leads the VP race in latest SWS poll
Senator Francis Escudero maintained his lead over other vice presidential aspirants in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, topping the list with 6 percentage points ahead of second-placer Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. In the poll conducted from November 26 to 28, at least 30% of respondents said they will vote for Escudero, while 24% said they will vote for Marcos. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano came in at third place with 21% (from 5% in September), followed by Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo with 12% (from 3% in September). Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s numbers barely moved – from 4% in the September poll to 5% in the latest survey. Senator Gringo Honasan, the running mate of Vice President Jejomar Binay, is at 6% in the November survey but was not part of the September survey.
Read more on the latest SWS survey results.
- White House slams Trump’s call for ban on Muslims entering US
The White House says Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States is a “play on people’s fears in order to build on support for his campaign.” Trump’s statement unleashed some of the most provocative and divisive remarks of his controversial presidential campaign. This follows last week’s mass shooting in California by a Muslim couple believed to have been radicalized by extremists. Trump’s campaign team said the ban should stay until leaders “can figure out what is going on.” It was not clear if the proposal includes both tourists and immigrants, and also did not say if it would target American Muslims currently abroad. The statement drew sweeping condemnation by presidential rivals which denounced Trump’s call to bar Muslims as “totally contrary” to US values.
Read more on Trump’s call for ban on Muslims’ entry.
- State media employees suspended for Xi Jinping typo
Chinese state news agency China News Service suspended four employees after a typographical slip that suggested President Xi Jinping was resigning. The error came in a story last Friday about a speech Xi gave during a China-Africa summit in Johannesburg last week. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported on Sunday that staff switched two Chinese characters with similar sounds, accidentally changing the word in question to write that Xi’s remarks were a “resignation” not a “speech.” This cause some news sites to republish the report in its original form before retracting it. Xi has increasingly become the focus of fawning adulation by state media since his ascension to the head of the Communist Party in 2012, leading some experts to say that a cult of personality may be developing around him.
Read more on the state media typo on Xi Jinping.
- Rappler’s Evangelista, Nolledo are 2015 TOYM awardees
Rappler multimedia manager Patricia Evangelista is among this year’s 10 recipients of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award, the Junior Chamber International (JCI) announced Monday night. The TOYM Awards recognizes young men and women who have demonstrated excellence in their fields and whose dedication to their profession “resulted in significant contributions to the welfare of their countrymen.” Evangelista was recognized for her contributions to the journalism profession. Rappler board member Nix Nolledo is also among the awardees, recognized for his contributions to the business industry as the CEO of Xurpas Incorporated, the first Southeast Asian consumer tech firm to be listed in December 2014.
Read more on 2015 TOYM awardees.
- Adele ‘stole’ Kurdish song, Turks say
Turkish music lovers accuse British pop star Adele of plagiarism, saying one of the tracks on her latest album is a rip-off of a song by an iconic Kurdish musician. “Million Years Ago,” a song on her album “25,” bears an unmistakable resemblance to a tune by Ahmet Kaya called “Acılara Tutunmak” (Clinging to Pain), which was recorded in 1985. The release of “Million Years Ago” created a storm on social media in Turkey, with some users accusing the 27-year performer of “stealing” the tune from Kaya. “Adele has stolen a song from us,” one user named Esra Nur Aydogan wrote on Twitter, sharing a picture of a man hanging a Turkish flag on his balcony in protest.
Read more on ‘stolen’ Adele song.
- Rafa Nadal talks about Manila and bouncing back
Tennis star Rafael Nadal felt the love of Filipino tennis fans who came to see him play in the 2015 International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Nadal is feeling the warm welcome so much that he looks forward to making a return trip. A 14-time Grand Slam champion and 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Nadal spent his first full day in Manila Sunday conducting a tennis clinic for 60 Filipino youths at Colegio San Agustin in Makati. The former world’s number 1 tennis player also vows to be back in fighting form, with his ranking slipping to number 5 overall following his defeat from current number 1 Novak Djokovic.