September 4, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. PH ranks 59th in competitiveness index

    The Philippines jumped 6 notches higher in the 2013 Global Competitiveness Index, echoing a generally positive economic outlook for the country. Released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday, September 4, the Philippines ranked 59th among 148 countries with a score of 4.29. Since 2010, when the Philippines ranked 85th, the country has leapfrogged 26 notches already. “The Philippines—where a national competitiveness council was set up in 2006—has made significant strides against corruption,” WEF said, noting how this has boosted the country’s ranking amid a world economy that is still emerging slowly “from the most serious economic crisis of the post–World War II period—one that has deeply transformed the global economy.” Compared to neighbors in Southeast Asia, the Philippines placed behind Singapore (2nd), Malaysia (25th) Indonesia (52nd), China (31st), Korea (23rd). It ranked higher than Brunei (65th), Cambodia (91st), Laos (107th).

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. China begins construction in Panatag Shoal

    CONCRETE BLOCKS: Philippine Navy spots concrete blocks that are prelude to construction

    China has started construction activities in the waters off Zambales, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told congressmen on Tuesday, September 3, that China has “concrete blocks” in Panatag (Scarborough), an obvious “prelude to construction.” Panatag Shoal is located 124 nautical miles from Zambales, within the country’s 200-NM exclusive economic zone. China claims most of the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). The Philippine Navy maritime patrol aircraft monitors the area every 3 days. Gazmin showed congressmen pictures taken by the Philippine Navy as of August 31. He said it’s the first time the navy monitored concrete blocks. Gazmin said the Philippines can only file a protest at the moment.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Kapunan: Janet Napoles entitled to due process

    Why did Lorna Kapunan accept Janet Lim-Napoles as a client? Kapinan, known for fighting various advocacies including the abolition of the pork barrel system, defended her decision to take on Napoles because she wanted to “know the truth about the PDAF.” Kapunan told Karen Davila on ANC that she is not coddling Napoles nor apologizing for Napoles’ actions. Napoles has been named in media reports as the alleged mastermind of a scam that siphons off the Priority Development Assistance Fund of senators and congressmen through dubious non-governmental organizations. State auditors have confirmed the modus operandi, while the justice department is conducting its own probe. “I believe she is entitled to due process, wherever that leads,” the lawyer said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. US Senate resolution gives Obama 90 days to act on Syria

    SENATE HEARING. US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) asks questions during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill September 3, 2013 in Washington, DC, on congressional authorization for the use of military force in Syria. AFP/Brendan Smialowski

    The US Senate drafted a bipartisan measure Tuesday, September 3, that imposed a 90-day deadline for American military intervention in Syria and barred the use of US troops on the ground there. The US Congress this week is debating US President Barack Obama’s push for a military response to what he says was Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people last month on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. Committee chairman Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat who said he backs Obama’s plan for the use of force against Assad’s regime, and whose office crafted the measure with staff from ranking committee Republican Senator Bob Corker, said he expected a vote on the measure Wednesday. Analysts say that President Obama made a political gamble by asking the US Congress to authorize military action against Syria. An approval would bolster Obama’s plan for military intervention while a no-vote would be a political blow for his administration.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Manila to join world day of prayer for Syria

    CALL FROM MANILA. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle leads Mania in the global day of prayer for Syria. File photo by Arcel Cometa

    The head of the Catholic Church in the Philippines called on Catholics to join the global day of prayer on September 7, Saturday. Local parishes will hold Masses and prayer services on Saturday in line with the Pope’s call for a day of prayer and fasting for Syria, Catholic Church officials said. “Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G Cardinal Tagle, in a circular to all parish priests and shrine rectors in the archdiocese, asks parishes to celebrate the morning Mass on Saturday, September 7, asking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, for the people of Syria. He also encourages the faithful to have a Holy Hour for peace after the Mass,” the Manila archdiocese said in a statement. Pope Francis called for a day of prayer and fasting for Syria on Saturday, saying: “I condemn with particular force the use of chemical weapons. I still have in my mind and heart the terrible images of the past days.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Indonesia Muslim hardliners want Miss World contest banned

    OFF TO INDONESIA. Miss World Philippines 2013 Megan Young before she left for the Miss World pageant on September 3. Photo by Jory Rivera/OPMB

    About 150 Islamic hardliners protested in the Indonesian capital Jakarta Tuesday against the Miss World beauty pageant, the latest outburst of anger about the contest in the Muslim-majority nation. Just days before the pageant is due to start on the resort island of Bali, the demonstrators called on authorities to cancel it and brandished banners reading “Miss World Go to Hell.” “The contest will invite danger and vice. Muslims must never let this happen,” one protester shouted to the crowd, who responded with chants of “God is great.” Anger has been growing at the decision to stage the Miss World beauty pageant in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. A decision by organizers to drop the famed bikini round this year has failed to appease hardliners, who have pledged to stage huge demonstrations when the final takes place outside Jakarta on September 28.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Online petition to name typhoons after corrupt politicians gains traction

    REMINDER OF CORRUPTION. An online petition wants typhoons named after corrupt politicians to remind us of their offense. LeAnne Jazul/Rappler file photo

    An online petition is asking the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) to name storms after corrupt public officials. The petition comes after news of a “pork barrel scam” – the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and congressmen – made headlines. Online user Ismael Tomelden of Marikina City started a petition at entitled “Pagasa: Start Naming Typhoons After Corrupt Politicians and Grafters.” There are more than 1,100 people who have signed the online petition. Tomelden aims to collect a total of 1,500 signatures. If Pagasa would heed the request, Tomelden hopes that it would be “a constant reminder of how our hard-earned money has been stolen or misspent by corrupt politicians.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Biopic movie on Pope Francis in the works

    HUMBLE PERSONAL STYLE. Pope Francis holds a presscon on the flight back to Italy from Brazil. EPA/Luca Zennaro/Pool

    A film about the life of Pope Francis, the first pontiff from the Americas, is in the pipeline in his native Argentina, “Variety” reported Monday, September 2. The film, to be entitled “Historia de un cura” (“A Priest’s Tale”), will be directed by Alejandro Agresti and star Rodrigo de la Serna as the Pope, who was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires. The Argentine pope with a humble personal style has shown a strong reformist drive in his first few months in office and has set up a series of committees aimed at reforming the Vatican hierarchy, its economic affairs, and its bank.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Taguig and Makati engage in ‘banner war’ over Fort Bonifacio

    The legal battle over who has jurisdiction of the Fort Bonifacio business district has spilled over into the streets. City officials and authorities from Makati and Taguig have posted security details and banners at the entrances to the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) to claim ownership over the rapidly developing township. “We are now here to guard our premises,” Nor Ordillo of Taguig’s public order and safety office (POSO) told Rappler. They were stationed near the fly-over that links Edsa, a main thoroughfare in the metro, to BGC via Kalayaan Ave, which is part of Makati. Days before, Taguig’s civilian enforcers and the Makati police had a face-off when the former tried to take down a pro-Makati poster, according to an Inquirer report. In the same area, “Welcome to BGC, Makati” banners used to dot the interchange after the Court of Appeals favored Makati in its decision over who should control BGC. One pro-Makati banner was ripped along the same road. Makati City spokesperson Joey Salgado clarified that the pro-Makati posters were “not printed or approved by the city government.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. ‘Blurred Lines’ parody goes viral

    A feminist parody of Robin Thicke’s controversial hit “Blurred Lines” has gone viral on YouTube after being briefly banned from the video-sharing website for being too raunchy. The spoof by three Auckland University law students titled “Defined Lines” satirizes Thicke’s song with a music video that uses bare-chested males in submissive poses, instead of the topless female models featured in the original version. Thicke’s song contains the refrain “I hate these blurred lines/ I know you want it” and has been condemned by critics who say the lyrics refer to the issue of sexual consent. The New Zealand parody takes aim at pop videos that objectify women, with students Zoe Ellwood, Olivia Lubbock and Adelaide Dunn singing: “What you see on TV/ Doesn’t speak equality/ It’s straight up misogyny.”

    Read the full story and watch the video on Rappler.

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