September 30, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. The ‘end’ of Zamboanga crisis

    REMNANTS. What is left of Brgy Sta Catalina. Photo by Rappler/Karlos Manlupig

    Philippine troops hunted the remnants of a Muslim rebel group in the key southern city of Zamboanga with residents hearing gunfire minutes after the military declared an end to its 3-week campaign. On Saturday, soldiers killed 3 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters in a clash that also left 6 troops wounded. Another firefight occurred between the police and 10 MNLF fighters on Sunday, killing another 6 rebels. Fighters swarmed into the city’s neighborhoods 20 days ago, taking hostages and triggering weeks of violence as they sought to derail peace talks between the government and MNLF’s rival group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). More than 10,000 homes were razed to the ground forcing over 100,000 people – around a tenth of the city’s population – to flee.

    Read more on Rappler.

  2. White House down?

    BUDGET BATTLEGROUND. The US House of Representatives voted September 29, 2013 to fund the government, but delays the implementation of the Affordable Care Act by a year. The US Capitol building is seen reflected in the Capitol Reflection Pool after sunset in Washington DC, USA, 28 September 2013. EPA/Michael Reynolds

    The US House vote on President Barack Obama’s health care law brings the federal government dramatically closer to its first shutdown in 17 years. The US House approved early Sunday, September 29, a Republican plan that keeps the government open, but its attempt to delay the so-called Obamacare means the measure is likely dead on arrival. The measure still needs approval in the Senate, where Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said it will be rejected. Barely two days before a shutdown deadline, Republican leaders set off a political firestorm when they announced Saturday that their stopgap federal spending bill aims to delay implementation of Obamacare by one year. The White House sharply rebuked the move, and warned it was a step toward shuttering federal agencies once the fiscal year ends Monday night.

    Read more on Rappler.

  3. Why rich countries’ scientists dominating climate change report?

    LOCAL ACTION. The Philippines, already suffering from some of the worst impacts of climate change, has to act now, according to green groups after the release of IPCC's Fifth Assessment report on the status of climate change

    Tony La Viña, environmentalist and dean of Ateneo de Manila University’s School of Government observed with worry the “overwhelming dominance of scientists from the North or developed countries” in the list of drafting and draft contributing authors of the just-released Fifth Assessment Report. The full detailed report on climate change compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be released on September 30, but La Viña noted that that while 31 of the drafting authors come from developed countries, only 3 are from developing countries. In the draft contributing authors list, 35.5 are from developed countries while 1.5 are from developing countries. “In view, even in scientific matters, it matters where you come from and the perspective you bring as that is still a filter you use in making conclusions.”

    Read more on here and here.

  4. PPPs delayed because they are ‘complicated’

    Addressing concerns over the years-long delays in the bidding and implementation of the big-ticket infrastructure projects of the Aquino government, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya explained that these delays are due to the “complicated and sophisticated” process of partnering with the private sector. “It’s not as straightforward as buying bond paper. It’s a sophisticated negotiation process with the private sector. Of course from their end they want reasonable return. From our end, we gotta make sure that fares, fees that people will pay will be reasonable, affordable,” he emphasized. The Aquino administration made a big splash in November 2010 with its announcement of big-ticket infrastructure projects to be built under the PPP scheme. Only one has been bidded out, while crucial airport and road projects are still in the backburner.

    Read more on Rappler.

  5. Don’t return Marcos properties — court

    REVERSED. The Court of Appeals dismissed the order of Ilocos Norte RTC for the government to return properties spanning 57 hectares in Ilocos Norte to the estate of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. Photo from AFP

    The appellate court reversed an order of a lower court for the government to return properties spanning 57 hectares in  Paoay, Ilocos Norte to the estate of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. The case covers parcels of land where the “Malacañang Ti Amianan,” Maharlika Hall, Suba Sports Complex as well as an 18-hole golf course had been erected. In a 24-page ruling, the court of appeals said local courts have no jurisdiction to rule on the issue since it has already been brought before the Sandiganbayan, the anti-graft court. The CA was responding to a petition filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).

    Read more on Rappler.

  6. UN tackles cross-border Syrian aid

    A statement on the humanitarian crisis in Syria which could include a controversial call to allow cross-border aid missions is the main agenda of the United Nations (UN) Security Council talks on September 30. Council members Australia and Luxembourg are pressing for the statement to follow up on a landmark Security Council resolution passed Friday, allowing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. The US says Syria is now the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis with more than two million refugees outside the country and almost 6 million displaced inside. The future of the statement will depend on the stance of Russia, the key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Read more on Rappler.

  7. India, Pakistan leaders agree on Kashmir peace

    The prime ministers of India and Pakistan agreed on September 29 to reduce violence over their disputed border in Kashmir. “Both agreed that the precondition for forward movement in the relationship, which they both desire, is really an improvement of the situation on the LoC,” Indian national security adviser Shivshankar Menon said that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, in talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, decided to task senior military officers to “find effective means to restore the ceasefire.” The talks come after militants raided an army base on the Indian side of Kashmir on Thursday, killing 10 people in an attack seen as aimed at holding back reconciliation efforts between the historic rivals.

    Read more on Rappler.

  8. PH version of 911 hotline a failure

    FAILURE? 96% of the calls received through Patrol 117 are prank calls. Wikimedia Commons/Adrian Biblanias

    The Philippine version of 911 — emergency hotline, Patrol 117 — received over two million prank calls in 2012 alone. This represents 96% of the total volume of calls received. A report by the Commission on Audit (COA) confirmed previous pronouncements that the Patrol 117 project is a failure. Patrol 117 is supervised by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and was set up in 2002. The agency said very little can be done in the absence of any punitive mechanism on prank callers. According to the report, the “lack of preventive maintenance” and “obsolete hardware” has also caused frequent system breakdowns. DILG Secretary Mar Roxas admitted that the project is “not an effective tool” for crime prevention.

    Read more on Rappler.

  9. Chinese netizens blast Tiananmen vase

    GIANT VASE. An enormous red pot topped with fake fruits and flowers was installed in Beijing's Tiananmen Square ahead of a national holiday. Photo from AFP

    A giant vase installed in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square ahead of China’s National Day on October 1 was met with scathing criticism from internet users after the state-run Beijing Youth Daily revealed its $93,000 cost. An enormous psychedelic-looking red pot — 13 meters high and 11 meters in diameter — topped with huge fake flowers and imitation peaches was installed this week on the square, the symbolic center of the Chinese state. On Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, some Chinese blasted the taxpayers money used for the flowers, even though the report said that the overall number of flowers used was halved. China’s new President Xi Jinping has touted a campaign to reduce government waste, introducing a ban on new government buildings and guidelines for banquets, after reports of corrupt officials indulging in wasteful lunches and unnecessary building projects.

    Read more on Rappler.

  10. Philippines wins the ‘World’

    CONGRATULATIONS, MEGAN YOUNG! Thank you for representing the Philippines! Photo by Jory Rivera

    Megan Young, 23, wins the Philippines’ first Miss World crown and bests 126 candidates from all over the globe on Saturday. In a glittering finale September 28 on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, amid tight security following weeks of hardline Muslim protests, Young promised to be “the best Miss World ever” in front of a cheering crowd in a venue guarded by heavily armed police and water cannons. The final was moved to Bali, where there is little hardline influence, after thousands of protesters took to the streets across the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. Young shared in the question and answer portion her belief in a “core value of humanity” which guides people’s actions. She hopes to use this to show others how they may contribute to society.

    Read more about Megan Young’s win on Rappler — here, here, and here.

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