September 27, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Captive: Zamboanga hostages tell their tale

    “They heard the gunfire in the morning. They thought the fighting would die down. When it didn’t, they ran, out of the house on Lustre St. in Sta. Catalina, relatives and neighbors running with them. When the men with red patches on their arms stopped George Ando and asked if he was Christian or Muslim, he knew he should have said Muslim. He didn’t.” Documentarists Patricia Evangelista, Paolo Villaluna and Raymond Amonoy tells the heart wrenching story of parents seized by rebels and struggling to protect a two-year old baby.

  2. Dead bodies, yes, Habier Malik, no

    WHERE IS HE? His troops are on the retreat, but where is Habier Malik? Photo by Therence Koh/AFP

    At least 24 bodies are recovered in the combat zone in Sta Catalina Thursday as government troops continue to clash with Moro National Liberation Front members in Zamboanga City. The police is checking if MNLF commander Habier Malik is one of them, after text messages circulate about a supposed last stand by Malik on Friday. Government troops were finally able to enter the remaining houses in Sta Catalina that served as the final stronghold of MNLF fighters.

    Early Thursday, 45 MNLF fighters were turned over to the police. The previous day, another batch of 38 fighters was captured. The siege is now on its third week. The recent arrests of big batches of MNLF fighters indicate government’s confusion over the number of fighters still holed out in the battle zone. As of Thursday, military numbers show a total of 128 MNLF members were captured, 146 surrendered, and 126 were killed — for a total of 400 MNLF fighters. The police numbers are different: 185 captured, 24 surrendered, and 107 killed — for a total of 316. The military says the urban setting is making operations more complex than it appears.

    Read the full story here and here.

  3. Jinggoy admits building multi-million peso house in posh village

    JINGGOY'S NEW HOUSE. This is a part of the Wack-Wack house Sen Jinggoy Estrada is building in one of the country's high-end subdivisions. Photo by Rappler

    A day after Rappler reported a multi-million peso house being constructed in a posh village, Sen Jinggoy Estrada admits the house belongs to him. In a phone patch with reporters Thursday, Estrada says he sold his Greenhills property to pay for the house in Wack-Wack Village. But the Wack Wack house does not appear in Estrada’s 2012 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, the year he said he started construction. The listed current fair market value of Estrada’s Greenhills property was P10.9 million. According to his 2010 SALN, the lot cost P6.1 million while the house was valued at P4.8 million. The 3,084-square-meter Wack-Wack house is reported to be worth about P120 million.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Former aide: Napoles properties too many to read out

    'MANY PROPERTIES.' Whistleblower Marina Sula says she handled documents of Napoles' properties, which were so numerous she initially could not read them all.

    A former aide of pork scam mastermind Janet Napoles reveals a long list of her former boss’ properties — spread out in Makati to Bulacan, Laguna, Antipolo, and North Cotabato. Whistleblower Marina Sula also confirms Rappler reports that Napoles owns a condominium unit at the posh Ritz-Carlton Residences in Los Angeles, and the Anaheim Express Inn in California. The list of properties was so long that at one point, Sula asked if she could just show the list instead of reading them out.

    The former aide also confirms another Rappler report that Napoles used La Roca Enterprises Inc to acquire properties. Sula says she was in charge of the documents of these properties and transferring their ownership.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Senator vows to haul Napoles to hearing despite Ombudsman rule

    Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chair TG Guingona said his committee won’t end its probe on the pork barrel scam until alleged mastermind Janet Napoles is brought to the hearing. Guingona earlier hit what he called attempts to ‘gag and bar’ witnesses after Senate President Drilon refused to sign the subpoena for Napoles’ appearance at the hearing, citing the Ombudsman’s confidentiality rule. On Thursday, Guingona said, “We already saw the Commission on Audit, line agencies, whistleblowers…What’s left to complete the story, is the centerpiece, Janet Lim-Napoles.” He also pointed out the Ombudsman only “gave advice” to Drilon — not issue a ruling against the Senate summoning Napoles.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Landmark resolution on Syria?

    epa03867021 US Secretary of State John Kerry, (L), and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, (R), speak after making statements following meetings regarding Syria, at a news conference at the Geneva, Switzerland, 14 September 2013. The United States and Russia have agreed on a proposal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI

    A senior US official said the UN Security Council could vote late Friday on a draft resolution to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. This comes after the United States and Russia agreed on the outline of the resolution on Thursday. It does not propose immediate measures over the chemical attack in Damascus last month, but it allows for eventual sanctions if there are breaches in the disarmament plan.  Russia, a staunch Syria ally, has steadfastly refused to allow any UN sanctions over the war. But a US threat of a military strike later led to an agreement for the disarmament plan. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will have to meet first to approve the plan. Diplomats said the Security Council vote will then make it binding under international law.

    Read the full story here and here.

  7. Offensive Halloween costumes taken off shelves

    British retailers took Halloween costumes “psycho ward” and “mental patient” off their shelves after criticism it was offensive to people with mental health conditions. Images of a man in a blood-stained white coat brandishing a meat cleaver,  a man brandishing a hypodermic needle and wearing a mask similar to that of Hannibal Lecter were among the ads that popped up for Halloween. Groups dedicated to removing the stigma of mental sickness like Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and Time to Change say the items for sale were “extremely misguided.”

    Tony Blair’s former media chief, who had publicly spoken about his battle with deppression said in a tweet that the items were “brutally stigmatizing outfits.” Soccer player and broadcaster Stan Collymore also tweeted: “Do you actually realise how many people are hanging themselves because of being frightened of the stigma? Wording is CLEAR. MENTAL PATIENT.”

    Read the full story on CNN.

    Straight jacket image from Shutterstock

    Hannibal Halloween mask image from Shutterstock

  8. Cache of jewels found on mountain

    It sounds like a scene straight from a movie — except it happens to be true. CNN reports a mountaineer discovered a cache of jewels while climbing a glacier by the southeastern French village of Chamonix, Albertville. The pile of rubies, sapphires and emeralds — estimated to be worth from $175,000 to $331,600 — may have been the remnants of one of two plane crashes near the spot.  The jewels, which were found wrapped in bags bearing “Made in India” stamps, could be from two-ill fated Air India flights — one in 1950 and the other in 1966. French authorities are trying to trace the owners, but if proof of ownership can’t be established, the mountaineer may be able to receive a portion of the jewels’ value.

    Read the full story on CNN.

  9. Bill Gates: Control+Alt+Delete button was a mistake

    Microsoft founder Bill Gates says the Control-Alt-Delete key on Windows was a mistake. During a question and answer at Harvard University, Gates says an IBM designer insisted on the triple-key login as a security feature. CNN reports Gates tried to elaborate on the idea, before eventually admitting, “It was a mistake,” throwing up his hands as the crowd laughed and applauded. The Control-Alt-Delete login, which required the use of both hands, was intended to avoid accidentally rebooting a computer. The IBM designer though says he intended Control-Alt-Delete as an “Easter egg,” a shortcut during development that wouldn’t be used elsewhere.

    Read the full story on CNN.

    Ctrl alt del image from Shutterstock

    Bill Gates image from Shutterstock

  10. Why PH bet Megan Young is a strong contender

    Former beauty queen Joyce Burton-Titular dishes out her fearless forecast for the upcoming Miss World pageant held in Bali. Titular says that while she is definitely not an unbiased voice on the subject, she points out 4 to 5 key points that stacks the cards in favor of Philippine bet, dusky beauty Megan Young.

    Read the full story of here and here.

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