Daily News Highlights – February 1, 2016 Edition

Gerard Lim

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

  1. WHO emergency committee to meet regarding Zika virus spread

    The World Health Organization’s emergency committee will on Monday, February 1, debate whether a Zika virus outbreak suspected of causing a surge in serious birth defects in South America should be considered a global health emergency. Although the mosquito-borne virus’s symptoms are relatively mild, it is believed to be linked to a surge in cases of microcephaly, a devastating condition in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and brain. The UN health agency warned last week that the mosquito-borne virus was “spreading explosively” in the Americas, with the region expected to see up to 4 million cases this year. The WHO is under pressure to act quickly in the fight against Zika, after admitting it was slow to respond to the recent Ebola outbreak that ravaged parts of west Africa.

    Zika virus: WHO mulls global health emergency

  2. Theranos under scrutiny for ‘deficient practices’

    Recent developments are prompting critics to wonder whether the Theranos story is too good to be true. Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration gave Theranos the green light to use its innovation to test for herpes by putting barely more than a centimeter of blood taken from “a prick of a patient’s finger” into a tiny tube the startup calls a “nanotainer.” This January, the 13-year-old health technology finds itself in the crosshairs of a branch of the US Health Department that this week notified Theranos it was in violation of a set of regulations and that “deficient practices” at one of its labs posed “immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.” The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that problems were found during an inspection by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the chief federal regulator of clinical labs, at the blood-testing company’s facility in Newark, Calif. Failing to fix the problems could put the Theranos lab at risk of suspension from the Medicare program. Also this week, the Walgreens pharmacy chain–the health technology startup’s biggest partner–backed off from using analysis services at the Theranos lab in Newark, California. Theranos centers hosted by Walgreens are still open in the neighboring state of Arizona, where testing is done at a lab in there.

    Health care startup Theranos hit with dose of doubt

    Deficiencies Found at Theranos Lab




  3. White House hopefuls in final push for Iowa nominations

    US presidential candidates made a frenzied, final push Sunday, January 31, to lock in Iowa voters on the eve of the first nominating contest of the 2016 election season. Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton both were leading in the polls, but not by enough to assure victory for either candidate in Monday’s (February 1) caucuses. Clinton, fearful of a repeat of 2008 when she was beaten to the punch in Iowa by an upstart Barack Obama, was leaving nothing to chance, stumping in the heartland this weekend as her main rival Senator Bernie Sanders did the same, seeking to deny her yet another shot at history. A Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll published late Saturday, January 30 – the final one of the campaign – put Clinton just ahead of Sanders, 45 to 42%, with a 4% margin of error. The same poll gave Trump a bigger lead over his Republican rivals: The billionaire businessman had the support of 28% of voters, followed by Senator Ted Cruz at 23%, and Senator Marco Rubio with 15%. Not large in population and relatively homogeneous, Iowa is immensely consequential for the top finishers who can claim momentum heading into the primary February 9 in New Hampshire. More on this in the story below. 

    White House hopefuls in frantic sprint to Iowa vote


  4. Manifesto: 2016 elections candidates should clean up after themselves

    With almost 46,000 individuals vying for the attention of voters, the 2016 national and local elections is expected to generate a significant amount of trash all over the country. During the campaign season, candidates and their support groups typically plaster campaign posters on trees, electric posts, and walls; install tarpaulins; throw confetti during sorties; hang streamers and flaglets; and even release firecrackers and balloons. Anticipating this, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched the “Basura-Free Election 2016” drive last Friday, January 29. As part of this drive, the DENR, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) signed a manifesto to  make sure candidates will clean up after themselves during both the campaign season, which begins on February 9, and election day on May 9.  The manifesto-signing was led by DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, DILG Policy Compliance Monitoring Chief Rhodora Flores, and Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez. The Comelec, through its spokesperson James Jimenez, expressed its “full support” for the drive, said National Solid Waste Commission Secretariat Executive Director Eligio Ildefonso. 

     Gov’t aims for ‘garbage-free’ 2016 elections



  5. Anti-dynasty provision, other reforms in new law to revitalize Sanguniang Kabataan

    Criticized for serving as nothing more than a training ground for traditional politics and worse, corruption,  the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) got a new lease on life when President Aquino signed into law the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015 (Republic Act 10742) on January 15, 2016. Among other things, the law includes an anti-dynasty provision which prohibits those within the second degree of affinity or consanguinity of any incumbent national, regional, or local elected official at the city, municipality, or barangay level from running for SK elective post. Sangguniang Kabataan elections are held at the same time as the barangay elections. The next Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections are scheduled for October 2016. More in the story below.

    What’s in the new Sangguniang Kabataan?


  6. Cases filed against DTI officials for acting belatedly over Montero Sport issue

    Victims of the alleged sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) of Mitsubishi Montero Sport vehicles have filed cases before the Office of the Ombudsman against several officials of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Friday, January 29. The officials, including Former DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo, Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba, and Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau Director Anselmo Adriano, are facing criminal and administrative cases for dereliction of duty, violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, grave misconduct, and gross neglect of duty filed by 10 victims and owners of car units which experienced SUA. Alleged SUA cases rose in the past few months, in which some Montero Sport owners reported that their vehicles suddenly moved or became uncontrollable during use, leading to accidents. The victims claimed that the government agency “acted belatedly” on the complaints filed – only as a reaction to a resolution filed in the House of Representatives on the alleged SUA incidents. DTI only created a panel to investigate the issue in December 2015. More on this in the stories below:

    DTI officials face cases over Montero Sport issue

    DTI orders third party to settle Montero Sport issue

    Mitsubishi PH: Third party must settle Montero Sport issue

    LTFRB: Avoid riding Montero units offered by riding services

    DTI: Third-party probe on Montero mess to start February 

  7. Southeast Asia, PH get attention from global venture capitalists

    Known in the industry as venture capital (VC) firms, companies that supply talented people with cash to help them make innovative products used to be focused on Silicon Valley; that stretch of land between the cities of San Jose and San Francisco in California that is home to some of the world’s biggest and most famous tech firms, from Facebook to Apple. As tech makes the world smaller, however, the people controlling the purse strings are beginning to scour the globe in search of more brilliant ideas, more problems to solve, and of course, more customers. Silicon Valley veteran Allen Taylor thinks the Southeast Asia region is ripe for tech-related investments. Home to 600 million people and growing the region also features some of the fastest growing economies in the world. He sees bright things ahead for the Philippines. Philippine entrepreneurs, he pointed out, are fluent in English, which can help open up the doors to global business – a major plus in today’s globalized business world, as the growth of the BPO sector has proven. More on this in the story below.

    Global tech money sets its sights on Southeast Asia, PH


  8. Over 10,000 migrant children missing – EU police

    Over 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children have disappeared from the system after registering with state authorities following their arrival in Europe. Europol chief of staff Brian Donald expressed fear on Sunday, January 31, that the children may have been whisked away into sex trafficking rings or the slave trade. “We just don’t know where they are, what they’re doing or whom they are with.” While he concedes that some of the children might have been passed on to family members. Donald also said there is evidence of a “criminal infrastructure” established over the last 18 months to exploit the migrant flow. Given that over a million migrants from conflict-stricken areas have crossed into Europe last year, 10,000 is conservative, according to Donald. An estimated 27% of the migrants and refugees are children, a large proportion of whom might be unaccompanied. Raffaela Milano, Save the Children’s Italy-Europe programme director, said that “unaccompanied minors who travel without adults are the most vulnerable group of the migratory flow” because they purposely make themselves “invisible” to the authorities for fear of being sent back. Britain is one country that has said it will take in migrant or refugee children who have been separated from their parents. Despite the constant risk of death and deportation, migrants continue to stream into Europe, risking their lives to escape poverty, repression and conflict. More on the story through the link below. 

    Europol: Over 10,000 migrant children missing

  9. Facebook to block private gun sales

    Facebook on Friday, January 29 set out to block people from using the leading social network and its Instagram photo-sharing service for private gun sales. Although Facebook doesn’t participate in outright gun sales, it has been a forum for negotiations, and it intends to put an end to that. The California-based social network on Friday updated its policy for managing regulated goods to prohibit people who aren’t gun dealers from using Facebook to offer guns for sale or negotiate private sales of firearms. Facebook has similar restrictions on regulated goods such as prescription and illegal drugs.

    Facebook aims to block private gun sales




  10. Afghan boy in improvised plastic jersey shirt becomes Internet star

    A five-year-old Afghan boy has become an Internet star after pictures went viral of him wearing an Argentina football shirt made out of a plastic bag, complete with his hero Lionel Messi’s name. Murtaza Ahmadi has never met his idol and lives in a Taliban-controlled area of Afghanistan, but footage and photos of him wearing the improvised shirt, with Messi’s named scrawled in marker pen, went round the world. Murtaza’s elder brother Homayoun, 15, made him the shirt and first posted the photos of Murtaza wearing it on Facebook two weeks ago.

    Afghan boy becomes Internet star after plastic shirt goes viral




Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI