July 30, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. 2 Filipinas held in HK for smuggling drugs

    File photo by AFP/Pool/Mike Clarke

    Two Filipino women were arrested in Hong Kong for alleged possession of 14.5 kg of methamphetamine worth P60 million (HK$10.9 million, or $1.4 million), the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Tuesday, July 30. Earlier reports said the women were arrested Sunday at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport on their way to Clark airport in Pampanga, Philippines. The women were aged 27 and 31. They claimed to be a logistics worker and an account clerk, Hong Kong authorities reported. Airport authorities discovered they were carrying 14.5 kilograms (32 pounds) of “ice.”

    Read the full story on Rappler

  2. Pope Francis reaches out to gays, eyes visit to PH

    'HIGH HOPES.' In an audience after his election, Pope Francis tells Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle that he's hopeful about the Philippines. Screen grab from youtube.com/vatican

    Pope Francis has high hopes for the Philippines, the world’s third-biggest Catholic nation. And he is considering a visit as part of an Asian trip that his predecessor failed to accomplish. “I think a trip to Asia can be done, especially because it’s a continent Benedict XVI did not get to, though he wanted to…maybe Sri Lanka, maybe the Philippines, I’m not sure,” Francis said, as quoted by Vatican watcher John Allen on the National Catholic Reporter. In a chat with journalists who flew back to Rome with him from a high-profile trip to Brazil, Francis also reached out to gays, saying it is not his place to judge them.”If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?” the pope asked.

    Read the full two stories here and here.

  3. Rebels force closure of highway

    Graphic by Rappler.com

    A breakaway Moro rebel group attacked army detachments in Maguindanao dawn of July 30, forcing the closure of a national highway linking Cotabato City to General Santos City. Trees cut by rebels, a water tanker and another truck are reportedly blocking the national highway, particularly in Barangay Bagan, Guindulungan, Maguindanao. This prompted government forces to temporarily close the road. A spokesman of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) said they launched the attack as a punitive action against soldiers. The BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is holding peace talks with the government. The attacks came weeks after the government and the MILF reached a breakthrough in negotiations on wealth sharing.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  4. First time in 3 years: Israel, Palestine resume talks

    TALKING PEACE. US Secretary of State Kerry (center-L) hosts dinner for the Middle East Peace Process Talks, at the Department of State with Israeli Mr. Isaac Molho (right rear) , Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (right 2nd from end) and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat (3rd), and Palestanian Dr. Shtayyeh (lower right corner) in the Thomas Jefferson Room of the US Department of State July 29, 2013, in Washington, DC. The parties meet again July 30th, 2013 here. Photo by AFP/Paul J. Richards

    Israelis and Palestinians resumed direct talks for the first time in three years on July 30 in Washington, DC, with the United States urging negotiators to make tough compromises to reach a peace deal. Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erakat sat side-by-side opposite top US diplomat John Kerry to share a traditional Muslim iftar meal. The new US secretary of state, who has staked much of his reputation on bringing both sides back to the talks, first met with the teams separately. As a first step, Israel said it would release 104 Palestinians imprisoned before the 1993 Oslo accords — some of whom are said to have been involved in attacks on Israelis.

    Read full story on Rappler.

  5. Longer visa-free stay in PH for citizens of 151 countries

    BOOSTING TOURISM. The Philippines lengthens the visa-free stay for nationals from 151 countries. File photo from AFP

    If you have relatives or friends from 151 countries including the United States, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, here’s good news for them. To boost tourism, the Philippine government on July 29 said it will lengthen the visa-free stay of foreigners from 151 countries that enjoy the visa-free privilege. Starting August 1, nationals from these 151 countries can stay in the Philippines for up to 30 days instead of only 21 days previously, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The DFA said this move targets foreigners “who plan to engage in tourism activities or explore the Philippines as an investment destination.”

    Read the full story on Rappler

  6. ‘Pork barrel, stewardship and the poor’

    Archbishop Socrates B Villegas

    Lingayen, Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas issued a pastoral statement on Monday, July 29, on the use of the controversial pork barrel issue. Incoming president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Villegas issued guidelines on the use of government funds that are supposed to help the poor and the marginalized. Among others, Villegas said, the faithful, including the Church, should follow a policy of “walang hihingi” (nobody asks) when relating to politicians. On the part of government, he said it is imperative for those who approve the budget to be distinct and separate from those who implement projects. Legislators, for their part, must strengthen their oversight, monitoring and evaluation functions with public participation of the Church, business and civil society groups. “Man does not live on bread alone, the good Lord taught us; but man does not need pork to go with bread,” he said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Amazon creating more jobs with 7,000 hires

    AMAZON EMPLOYMENT. Amazon opens up 5,000 full-time jobs to beef up its customer service network

    As part of efforts to beef up its customer-service network, Amazon has announced it’s adding 5,000 full-time jobs and hiring more than 7,000 workers in the US. The Internet retail giant is expanding its distribution network nationwide to speed up its deliveries, and looking to hire a mix of full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers. Among others, Amazon is looking to hire full-time employees in California, Pennysylvania, Delaware, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, and Indiana.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. New teeth grown from urine

    Teeth can grow from the most unlikely of sources: human urine. A study published in the Cell Regeneration Journal says that urine could be used as a source of stem cells that, in turn, could be grown into tiny tooth-like structures. It was a group at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health that used urine as a starting point. A stem cell scientist at the University College of London however said urine as a poor starting point, the BBC reported. “It is probably one of the worst sources, there are very few cells in the first place and the efficiency of turning them into stem cells is very low,” Chris Mason said. The teeth that developed were found to be not as hard as natural teeth.

    Read the full story on the BBC.

    Closeup image of a child with a tooth space from Shutterstock 

  9. Scientists explore reasons for monogamy

    Photo from Shutterstock

    Why do mates stay together for the long haul? One leading theory was that men stayed around to help raise children. Two new studies  released on Monday, July 29, said dads become involved parents later, after being monogamous. British and New Zealander researchers found that the practice helped fathers protect their young from being murdered by rival males. Another study by University of Cambridge researchers concluded that monogamy was a result of competition. “Where females are widely dispersed, the best strategy for a male is to stick with one female, defend her, and make sure that he sires all her offspring,” Tim Clutton-Brock, one of the researchers said. He however said their analysis excludes humans.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. There’s an app for breakups

    BEGIN THE END. Would you really end a relationship with a randomized text message from an app? Hopefully not, but an app does exist for that purpose. Screen shots from BreakupText

    Ever heard of BreakupText? It’s the latest 99-cent app that can make the most awkward and probably painful part of ending a relationship bearable. After only 5 seconds of going through the app’s options, it will offer to send the partner you want to break up with a full text message , dramatic backstory included. Created by Jack Levine and Lauren Leto, the iPhone app was conceived for fun but as Levine told Fast Company in an interview, “As much as we did it as a joke, it has sort of captured a moment in time when tech is becoming more pervasive in our lives and relationships.” Levine acknowledges that people may take the app seriously such that instead of being brave enough to break up in person, they resort to ending a relationship with a BreakUpText creation.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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