July 23, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. It’s a boy!

    Graphic by Rappler.com

    Cheers and congratulations greeted the July 22 (July 23 in Manila) announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge had produced a male heir weighing 8lbs 6oz (3.8 kilos). The former Kate Middleton, 31, wife of Britain’s Prince William, gave birth after over 8 hours of labor to a baby boy, providing the world’s most famous royal family with a future king. The yet-to-be-named baby is third in line to the throne and in the direct line of succession after Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son and heir Prince Charles, then his eldest son William, who was beside his wife for the birth. Buckingham Palace said the boy’s name would be revealed later, but he will be known as Prince of Cambridge. Bookmakers say the favorites are George and James.

    Read more on Rappler.

  2. Japan’s Abe to visit Manila

    Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister AFP

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit the Philippines on July 26 to 27, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Abe’s visit is part of a 3-nation tour, which includes Malaysia and Singapore meant to enhance bilateral relationships, and to enhance ASEAN-Japan relationships. Abe, who just won Japan’s upper house elections on July 21, is is scheduled to meet with President Benigno Aquino III “to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues, and further advance the Strategic Partnership between the Philippines and Japan.” He is also scheduled to meet US Vice President Joe Biden in Singapore. Japan is the Philippines’ top trade partner and aid provider.

    Read more on Rappler.

  3. MRT-3 head goes on leave as gov’t probes bribery issue

    BRIBERY ISSUE. The general manager of MRT-3 goes on leave as investigation on the alleged bribery issue regarding a train supply contract takes place. File photo by AFP

    Al S. Vitangcol III, general manager of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) system, went on leave to make way for the investigation of the $30 million bribery allegations, according to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. Vitangcol was named by Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar who had complained that Inekon Group was blacklisted after the Czech train manufacturer refused to pay transportation officials the grease money. The department is bidding out the P3.8-billion train cars supply contract meant to add 48 light rail vehicles (LRVs) to the existing 73 Czech-made LRVs. The supply contract is part of efforts to decongest the MRT-3.

    Read more on Rappler.

  4. Pope visits Brazil

    OFF TO BRAZIL. Pope Francis waits to board a plane at Rome's Fiumicino airport, on July 22, 2013. Photo by AFP/Alberto Pizzoli

    For his first overseas trip since becoming the first pontiff from Latin America, Pope Francis visits Brazil, the world’s biggest Catholic nation but has seen its flock shrink and Evangelical churches grow. The 76-year-old Argentine pope, who preaches a “poor Church for the poor,” arrived in the Brazil in the wake of massive protests against the cost of public transport, government waste and the billions spent on hosting the 2014 World Cup. The pope’s message of a simpler church, closer to the people, may hit a nerve in Brazil, which has become richer but still faces economic challenges that brought some one million protesters to the streets last month. Pilgrims from around the world are in Rio for World Youth Day.

    Read more on Rappler.

  5. Aquino asks for patience amid infra project delays

    PPP problems. President Aquino highlights the issues that faced the rolling out of PPP projects.

    President Benigno Aquino III acknowledged that many have become impatient with him after exciting his countrymen in his first year in office in 2010 about the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, his flagship infrastructure program. In his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22, he outlined the woes encountered by these big-ticket projects meant to boost economic growth. Aside from budget issues, he noted the outdated project studies and the “bureaucracy [that] lacked the sufficient knowledge to implement them,” as well as the loss of confidence in the contracts government undertook. He asked for more patience, stressing that his government has no plans of entering into questionable contracts, and that each project has to go through the correct process to ensure that taxpayers’ hard-earned money would be spent the right way.

    Read more on Rappler here and here.

  6. Senate has younger, more female members facing old issues

    Drilon takes oath as new senate president

    The Senate opens the 16th Congress with new faces, including its 6 newest members like Sonny Angara and Grace Poe, who nominated their campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon as the new Senate President. Senators Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance took the floor to nominate Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile for the Senate presidency, but Drilon, a staunch ally of President Benigno Aquino III, won with an overwhelming 17-6 vote. Drilon hailed the historic moment, with a Senate now composed of the most number of young and female members. He urged his colleagues to pass bills for inclusive growth. The new Senate leader plans to redeem the honor of the institution after scandals, like fund misuse and pork barrel scam.

    View report on Rappler.

  7. ‘The King’ is in Manila

    LOW-KEY. LeBron arrives at the Makati Shangri-La where we will stay for the duration of his trip. Photo by Rappler / Josiah Albelda

    Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, also referred to as “King James,” arrived in Manila late Monday afternoon, July 22 for his Nike Witness History tour. The Miami Heat ace came on board a private jet and was brought to the Makati Shangri La Hotel, where his press conference, which will be streamed live on www.rappler.com, will be Tuesday, July 23. James will also conduct a basketball clinic at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday in an event to be participated in by Nike-sponsored athletes. Faithful Filipino fans stood for hours in long lines to buy #WitnessHistory tickets worth anywhere between P1,000.00 to P10,000.00 for an event at Mall of Asia.

    Read more on Rappler here, here, here and here.

    Watch the livestream of the Manila presscon here.

  8. What to do with Syria? General suggests options

    In this file photo, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin E. Dempsey talks to US servicemen at United States Air Force's Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, Japan, 25 April 2013. EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

    The top US general has informed the US Congress of 5 options for military intervention in Syria. In a non-classified letter made public July 22, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey set out options, ranging from from nonlethal intelligence and weapons training to a boots-on-the-ground plan to “assault and secure” the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons. It also detailed risks, such as the empowering of extremists and retaliatory strikes by the regime. Saying he was mindful of ongoing deliberations over whether to intervene militarily against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Dempsey stressed that the decision of whether to go to war was one for civilian leaders.

    Read more on Rappler.

  9. SONA presents ‘Oscars of PH politics’

    Graphic by Rappler.com

    The “Oscars of Philippine politics” went on full blast Monday, July 22. For two hours at the red carpet before the President’s annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City, lawmakers who will join the 16th Congress, as well as entertainment personalities who have entered politics showed off their outfits. On display are Philippine indigenous fabric pinya and designs that highlight the ethnic Filipino heritage. Dazzling ternos and dashing barongs worn by government officials and their spouses make the State of the Nation Address a giant fashion event.

    Follow Rappler’s live blog here.

    View report on Sona as fashion event here.

  10. Rare wildcat extinct soon, unless…

    ENDANGERED. A lynx is released during the first experimental reintroduction of two Iberian lynxes in Villafranca de Cordoba, southern Spain, on December 14, 2009. Photo by AFP / Cristina Quicler

    Within 50 years, climate change will likely wipe out the world’s most endangered feline, the Iberian lynx, even if the world meets its target for curbing carbon emissions. According to biologists who published their gloomy forecast in the journal Nature Climate Change, without a dramatic shift in conservative strategy, the charismatic little wildcat seems doomed. They said current climate change trends and changes will occur too fast for the lynx to adapt. The lynx — Latin name Lynx pardinus — grows to about a meter (3.25 feet) in length, weighs up to 15 kilos (33 pounds), and is characterized by its spotted beige fur, pale yellow eyes and tufted ears and cheeks. Only around 250 of the animals live in the wild, holed up in two regions in southern Spain, the Sierra Morena and the Donana National Park

    Read more on Rappler.

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