September 12, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Lawmakers authorized the faking of signatures – Benhur Luy

    SPECIAL SKILLS. Benhur Luy is said to have a talent for forging signatures, which he says lawmakers allowed him to use to facilitate PDAF release to Napoles' NGOs. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

    Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy told the Senate that some lawmakers authorized Janet Lim-Napoles to fake their signatures in documents that would facilitate the release of their pork barrel to her fake NGOs. While he said in the earlier part of the Senate hearing on Thursday, September 12, that Napoles’ staff drafted the endorsement letters and other documents and submitted them to lawmakers’ staff to be printed on official letterheads, Luy said forging documents and signatures were sometimes necessary. This was to facilitate the release of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and, consequently, the lawmakers’ commissions.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Senators’ aides fetched cash from JLN – Benhur Luy

    SURPRISE APPEARANCE. State witness Benhur Luy appears unexpectedly at the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the pork barrel scam September 12. Screengrab from Rappler livestream

    According to pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy, the chiefs of staff of some senators picked up millions of pesos in cash from the office of Janet Lim-Napoles representing their principals’ kickbacks from the pork barrel scam, At a Senate hearing on Thursday, September 12, Luy detailed to the Senate blue ribbon committee as of this posting how Napoles has accessed lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for ghost projects for about a decade now.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Firefight erupts in Lamitan, Basilan

    SPILL OVER?: Firefight spread to nearby island of Basilan. Screenshot of Google Maps

    Government troops and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels are caught in a gun battle Thursday morning September 12, in Lamitan, Basilan, as the standoff in nearby Zamboanga City entered its fourth day. The Lamitan City Hall sounded the alarm at 9:40 am, warning residents that the rebels have entered the city. The alarm was also a signal for residents to evacuate to designated areas. “Lawless armed groups, some of which are MNLF coming from Albarka and Moh Adjul attacked government position and Christian villages at the said, area,” reads a situation report from security forces.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. UN Security Council hold Syria resolution talks

    UNSC MEETING. In this file photo, the UN Security Council meets 14 August 2013, at the UN headquarters. UN/JC McIlwaine

    UN Security Council envoys from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States held talks Wednesday, September 11, on the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, but no agreement was reached. Russia has so far blocked Security Council moves to put pressure on its ally President Bashar al-Assad. But a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva starting Thursday, September 12, will determine whether the divided council can reach an accord. Kerry and Lavrov are to discuss a Russian plan to put Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons under international supervision and head off a threatened US military strike.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Northrail contractor overpaid by $129M

    The Philippine government has overpaid by US$129 million – P5.68 billion based on current exchange rates – the Chinese contractor in the controversial train project that started under the Arroyo administration. A special report released by the Commission on Audit (COA) last September 6 revealed that as of end of 2011, the North Luzon Railways Corporation (Northrail) has already paid contractor China National Machinery and Engineering Group (CNMEG), now Sinomach, $210.489 million or P9.26 billion for work it reported to have accomplishmed. The worth of the accomplished work, however, was only $81.474 million, or P3.58 billion. This pertains only the first section of the first phase of the project.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. World migrants rise above 230-M mark – UN

    The number of migrants around the world rose above 230 million in 2013 with the United States, Western Europe and the Gulf oil states the biggest draws, the UN said Wednesday, September 11. The number who have left their own country has risen from 154 million in 1990 to 232 million and the proportion of migrants in rich countries is growing, said a new UN report. More than half of migrants are living in 10 countries, with the United States the leading host nation with an estimated 46 million in 2013. The UN said there are 13 million people from Mexico in the United States and about 2.2 million who were born in China, 2.1 million from India and two million from the Philippines.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Black flag movement and 9/11

    12 years after 9/11, the ties that bind social networks believed to be involved in terrorist activities are also behind the bombings in Mindanao. This global social movement is using the black flag as a rallying symbol for their cause. The flag is a symbol of unity that taps into a secret motivation of al-Qaeda. According to Ali Soufan, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the black flag heralds the apocalypse that will bring about the triumph of Islam. Soufan wrote the book, “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda.” Authorities are committing a mistake when they view the threat as being led by a top-down command and control leadership, when the ideology is moving through social networks and recruiting members bottom up. Khilafah Islamiyah — a group that has sprung from the same social network — is said to be headed by Reneer Lou “Ren-ren” Dongon, who has familial ties with the founder of the Abu Sayyaf, Khaddafy Janjalani, and the Jemaah Islamiya.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Women victims of violence in Asia

    Close to one-fourth of men surveyed in a United Nations report on violence against women in parts of Asia have admitted to raping a woman at least once. While common in relationships, one in 10 said he has raped a woman not his partner. Nearly three-fourths of those who committed rape said they did so because of a sense of “sexual entitlement.” A second most common reason was entertainment or for fun, followed by the desire to punish. Those who were surveyed came from 6 countries — Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China and Indonesia. Surprisingly, the least common motivation for rape was alcohol, according to Dr Emma Fulu, author of the report.

    Read the full story on the BBC.

    A related story is on the Washington Post.

    Man and woman silhouette from Shutterstock

  9. Jeane Napoles photographed with the PNoy

    Seen together. Jeane Napoles, the daughter of military supplier Janet Lim Napoles now detained for allegedly siphoning funds of lawmakers, was photographed with President Benigno Aquino III in November 2012. The Palace dismissed insinuations there were links between the Napoleses and the President. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, “I understand the photo was taken at an event last November in Cebu. She (Jeane Napoles) had her photo taken with the President, as did other people who lined up to have their photo taken with him.” Aquino attended the national thanksgiving mass for San Pedro Calungsod in Cebu on Nov 30, 2012. Jeane Napoles had become controversial for flaunting her lavish lifestyle on social media.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Wedding thief convicted in Ghana

    A specialist in wedding thefts, Emelia Appiah stole cash and gifts from a newly wed couple in Ghana by impersonating a member of the team in charge of the gift table. She even pretended to be part of the team tasked to dress the bride and was reported to have gone to her house in the morning of her wedding day. She was turned away because the bride was already dressed. Appiah then followed the bride to the church and pulled her impersonation act. Church clerks believed she was in charge of the wedding gifts and gave her access to them, including envelopes that contained 5,000 pounds in cash (about US$7,900 or over P345,000). Appiah was convicted of theft. Cash gifts and large, fluid guest lists are common in Ghana, making them attractive targets for thieves, The Guardian reported.

    Read the full story in The Guardian.

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