August 19, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Cavite, Laguna under state of calamity

    Photo by Rappler/Charles Salazar

    The provinces of Cavite and Laguna, as well as the towns of Sta Maria and Narvacan in Ilocos Sur, have been placed under a state of calamity due to torrential rains brought by a southwest monsoon enhanced by a tropical storm Monday, August 19. Neck-deep water swept through parts of Metro Manila, causing schools, government offices and the stock exchange in the megacity of 12 million people to be closed. At least one was reported killed and two were declared missing as of Monday noon.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  2. Search for trapped victims begins

    Search and retrieval operations for the victims trapped inside the sunken M/V Thomas Aquinas will start August 19, as the death toll from the August 16 collision with M/V Sulpicio Express 7 in Cebu rose to 38. The number of people officially listed as missing was sharply reduced on Sunday to 82 from 170, but this was due to tallying issues rather than any fresh rescues. Naval Forces Central operations officer Lt Cmdr Noel Escalona said some of the divers have seen bodies trapped inside the sunken ferry. The divers had difficulty retrieving the victims. A leaking oil from the vessel added a new front to the disaster response, spreading for more than 5 km and into coastal villages, fishing grounds and mangroves.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Possible error in audit report?

    JOINT PROBE? Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says NBI is open to conducting a joint probe with COA and the Ombudsman. Photo by Leanne Jazul

    A special audit of the Commission on Audit that delved on the misuse of the pork barrel is now under question. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr said state auditors must have committed a clerical error when it said that former Compostela Valley Rep and now Vice Gov Manuel “Way” Kurat received P3 billion in pork barrel. The bulk of P3.034 billion was allocated in a single year, 2007, according to COA. Zamora, who gained fame for his simplicity when he was a congressman – like biking to work at the House of Representatives – denied the report. Belmonte said he was shown copies of the Special Allotment Release Order that indicates COA must have committed an error.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  4. Hungry refugees flood Iraq

    EXODUS. A handout photo obtained from the UNHCR on August 18, 2013 shows thousands of Syrians streaming across a bridge over the Tigris River and entering the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on August 15. Photo by AFP / UNHCR / Galiya Gubaeva

    The United Nations says more than 15,000 Syrian Kurds — mostly women, children and the elderly — have poured into Iraq over the past few days, to escape deadly clashes between Kurdish fighters and jihadists and seeking a respite from privation. The sudden influx of Syrians across the border stands in marked contrast to the relatively small numbers of refugees taken in by Iraq in recent months compared to other neighboring countries and has forced the UN refugee agency to scramble aid to the region. Several thousand are being housed at the Quru Gusik camp just west of the Kurdish regional capital Arbil, although it is still under construction and lacks many basic services.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  5. US dilemma: Should it cut aid?

    EGYPT, Cairo : US Republican Senator John McCain speaks during a joint press conference with fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (unseen) on August 6, 2013 in Cairo. The two leading US Senators urged Egypt's leaders to engage in an

    While condemning the use of force by the military-backed interim government in Egypt on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, many US lawmakers expressed concern that halting aid would further erode US influence over a key regional ally. US Sen John McCain, who called for suspending the US$1.3 billion in annual aid to the military after it overthrew Morsi in early July, said Washington risked losing credibility if it continued to turn a blind eye to the bloody crackdown. Others like Democratic Sen Richard Blumenthal said cutting off aid could endanger the peace treaty with Israel or compromise US privileges with regard to the Suez Canal.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  6. Zest Air losing P70-M a day

    GROUNDED. CAAP suspends Zest Air's permit to fly due to safety breaches. Photo by AFP

    Since being handed an indefinite suspension on August 16 over safety issues, Zest Air claimed it has been losing P70 million a day in revenues. Aside from stalled operations, Zest Air Director Josephine Joy Caneba told DZBB refunds and flight transfers for passengers are contributing to the losses. Zest Air has been offering full refunds or flight transfers for over 7,000 passengers daily since the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) suspended the airline over safety concerns. CAPP said Zest Air violated, among others, the rule requiring airlines to have an “accountable manager” who will ensure that operations are financed and heed safety standards.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  7. Republicans hit network ‘bias’ for Hillary

    ELECTION JITTERS. GOP's pre-planning anticipates Clinton run in 2016. In this file photo, US Secretary Hillary Clinton speaks about North Africa, at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, on October 12, 2012 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

    Pre-election jitters about a Clinton campaign? The Republican Party voted unanimously on August 16 to deny two US television networks the rights to carry presidential primary debates unless they abandon their planned documentaries on Democrat Hillary Clinton. NBC Entertainment is planning a miniseries and CNN is working on a documentary about the former secretary of state. “That’s why we said to the media, with a united voice, that a network that spends millions to spotlight Hillary Clinton is a network with an obvious bias,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus said at a party meeting in Boston. Clinton, a former first lady and US senator whose turn as America’s top diplomat has further secured her distinction, is seen as the clear Democratic frontrunner for president.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  8. Drones for food and ancient ruins

    SKY'S THE LIMIT. Drones like this offer many possibilities for civilian use

    Drones are most often associated with assassinations in remote regions of Pakistan and Yemen but in Peru, unmanned aircraft are being used to monitor crops and study ancient ruins. Forget Reapers and Predators – the drones used in Peru are hand-held contraptions that look like they were assembled in a garage with gear from a hardware store. They are equipped with a microcomputer, a GPS tracker, a compass, cameras and an altimeter, and can be easily programmed by using Google Maps to fly autonomously and return to base with vital data. Andres Flores, an electrical engineer in charge of the UAV program at Peru’s Catholic University, says they have managed to use drones for agricultural purposes, where they gather information on the health of the plants, and in archeology.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  9. Samsung ready with ‘smartwatch’

    SMARTPHONES. Reports have surfaced about plans for smartwatches from tech giants, with launches possible later this year. Photo from AFP

    South Korea’s Samsung Electronics will unveil its new Galaxy Gear “smartwatch” early next month, ahead of Apple’s iWatch, Bloomberg news and a fan site said. The Galaxy Gear, which will allow users to make calls, access email and even surf the Internet, will launch on September 4. Bloomberg said the first version of the smart watch would not have a flexible screen. Wearable computing, including Google’s Glass eyewear, is considered as the next frontier in consumer electronics following smartphones.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  10. Actress Megan Young is Miss World Philippines

    CONGRATULATIONS! With the national competition done, the new Miss World Philippines prepares for the international pageant on September 28 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo by Arcel Cometa

    With the national competition done August 18, the new Miss World Philippines, Fil-Am bombshell Megan Young, prepares for the international pageant on September 28 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Young was supposed to be an official candidate in Bb Pilipinas 2013 but was rejected due to a sexy photo spread. Not to be deterred, she tried out months later for Miss World Philippines and was welcomed with open arms. Young will have to contend with 133 other nations for the international crown.

    Check out the Miss World Philippines pageant here

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