August 23, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Aquino: time to abolish PDAF

    FLIP-FLOP. President Benigno Aquino III, just days ago, standing firm on his stance to keep the pork barrel. In this photo, President Aquino speaks during a press conference in Malacañang Palace, Aug 23, 2013. Behind him are (L) Senate Pres Franklin Drilon and (R) House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. Photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

    Backtracking from his previous stance, President Benigno Aquino says it’s time to abolish the much maligned Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). In a speech aired live nationwide on Friday, Aquino says an overhauled pork barrel system will replace the PDAF. This comes after media reports on the alleged systematic siphoning of lawmakers’ funds and a state audit report showing at least 192 lawmakers misused P6.1 billion of pork barrel. Days ago, the President stood firm on keeping the pork, saying not all lawmakers misuse their funds. The announcement comes 3 days before the anti-pork barrel rallies planned by various sectors in Metro Manila and key cities across the country. The President also orders the creation of an Inter-Agency, Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC), which will investigate alleged misuse of pork barrel.

    Read more on Rappler.

  2. Youth groups: scrap pork barrel

    Youth groups urge lawmakers to scrap the pork barrel system to “ultimately destroy the root of many sources of corruption in the country.” In a statement Thursday, the Freedom of Information Youth Initiative says recent reports on the alleged misuse of the pork barrel shows a “clearer picture of how public trust is betrayed” by government officials. The youth group says the pork barrel is meant to be used as “development assistance” to constituents of Congress, but it has not been used for this purpose. The group adds the pork barrel scam shows the need for the passage of the Freedom of Information bill, which will enhance accountability and transparency in government. The national network of 129 youth organizations also calls on the justice department, the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Audit to initiate charges against those who misused the pork barrel.

    Read more on Rappler.

  3. HK hostage crisis relatives sue PH gov’t

    Graphic by

    Family members and victims of the 2010 Manila hostage crisis sue the Philippine government Thursday, a day before the tragedy’s third anniversary. The group wants an apology and compensation after accusing Manila of failing to respond to their demands. 8 tourists were killed following a bungled rescue operation when a sacked policeman held a bus full of tourists hostage. Hong Kong residents were outraged at the apparent incompetence of the police who mounted the rescue attempt. The Philippine government and then-Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim are among the 9 parties being sued. Current Manila mayor Joseph Estrada apologized this week for the tragedy, but relatives of the victims reject the apology. Philippine president Benigno Aquino III admitted the crisis could have been handled better, but refused to apologize when the victims’ families travelled to the scene of the incident in 2011.

    Read more on Rappler.

  4. Gov’t, MILF say violence won’t derail peace talks

    'EVERY BONE OF CONTENTION.' Rebel peace panel chief Mohagher Iqbal


    Read more on Rappler.

  5. Aquino wants weather advisories in Filipino

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    President Benigno Aquino reminds government officials to use Filipino in issuing weather and disaster advisories. While visiting evacuees in Cavite on Thursday, Aquino says officials should be able to simplify advisories so the public can understand them immediately. He says he will remind spokespersons who use technical and English terms when giving updates about weather, floods, and other disasters. Despite promises as early as 2011 to use simpler terms in its weather updates, the state weather bureau and other government offices are still using technical terms in their advisories. The president is advocating for government officials to use Filipino in giving public advisories.

    Read more on Rappler.

  6. India gang-rape trials near conclusion

    'STOP THE RAPES' Members from The All India Democratic Students' Organization hold posters as they take part in a protest in Ahmedabad on December 24, 2012, following the gang rape of a student last week in the Indian capital. AFP PHOTO / Sam PANTHAKY

    The trials of 5 suspects for gang-rape of an Indian student on a bus in December 2012 moves towards their conclusions on Thursday, with the first verdict set for August 31. The Supreme Court clears a juvenile court to hand down its verdict on a teenager charged over the brutal assault. Previously, the juvenile court delayed ruling on the under-age suspect four times because of a legal challenge. The prosecution also begins its final arguments at a court in southern New Delhi, where the trial of 4 adult defendants is underway. Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan says the suspects “pre-planned the conspiracy to loot, rape and murder their prey.” He adds, “What is so significant about this case is the extreme brutality of the injury.” Police say the men repeatedly raped the 23-year-old woman and beat her with an iron rod. She died two weeks after the attack. Her death sparked massive protests and public outrage, pushing parliament to pass a law toughening sentences for rapists.

    Read more on Rappler.

  7. ‘I am Chelsea Manning’

    CHELSEA. Bradley Manning, the US soldier sentenced to 35 years for leaking secret documents, said he now considers himself to be a woman. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP


    The US soldier convicted for leaking secret government documents wants to be known by a different name — as a female.

    On Thursday, Bradley Manning announces a plan to begin hormone therapy. In a statement, Manning writes, “As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.” On Wednesday, Manning is sentenced for 35 years in prison for leaking thousands of classified documents. During the trial, lawyers showed a photo of Manning wearing lipstick and a blonde wig. They say this indicated the stress the 25-year-old soldier was under

    Read more on Rappler and The Guardian.

  8. Ex-Egypt president leaves prison

    HOSNI MUBARAK. An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows the ousted Egyptian president gesturing behind bars during a hearing in his retrial at the police academy in Cairo. Photo by AFP/Egyptian TV


    Egypt’s state prosecutor clears ousted leader Hosni Mubarak for conditional release from prison while he stands trial. The prosecutor’s office says Mubarak could be released after judges ruled he could no longer be imprisoned during his retrial on corruption and murder charges. He will be placed under house arrest on leaving prison. The 85-year-old former leader was convicted last year of corruption and complicity in the murder of protesters during the uprising that forced him to resign in early 2011.

    Read more on Rappler.

  9. Social media fuels circulation of positive news

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    A study hints that the more people share information online, the more upbeat stories get. Researchers say people want to create positive images of themselves by sharing positive stories on social media. This is turn fuels the prevalence of inspiring news stories to attract an audience. A TIME report says the success of sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy shows visitors want positivity. On both websites, some of the most viral items include inspiring stories, like Buzzfeed’s photo compilation “21 pictures that will restore your faith in humanity.” A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows visitors who “up vote” a story by liking it gets more up votes, but down votes did not do the same. Researchers say people don’t want to support the trolls and negative commenters. Another study shows articles that draw emotions get more shares on social media.

    Read more on TIME Ideas.

  10. Yahoo beats Google in web traffic


    For the first time since 2011, Yahoo beats Google as the most visited website in the United States in July. Internet analytics company comScore reports the search engine underdog beats the long-reigning king of search — getting 196.6 million visitors to Google’s 192.3 million. It’s the first time since May 2011 that Yahoo bests its long-time competitor. Yahoo’s win is notable for CEO Marissa Mayer, who took over the reins of the company in July last year. Since landing the top job in Yahoo, the company has acquired several start-ups, including popular blogging platform Tumblr. CNN reports the revamped Yahoo mail app brought a 120% increase in daily users. Mayer says she wants Yahoo to boost its presence in consumers “daily habits.”

    Read more on CNN

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