October 2, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Disbursement Acceleration Program ‘illegal’ says ex-solons

    A CRIME. Former Sen Joker Arroyo holds a press conference in the Senate, slamming the executive branch's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as a crime for lacking legal basis. Photo by Ayee Macaraig/Rappler

    The P1.107 billion fund under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the executive branch should never have been released, according to some lawmakers, because it is not covered by law. Former Senator Joker Arroyo and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago say the DAP is illegal and undermines Congress’ power to legislate government spending. The fund is an invention of the Palace, said Leyte Rep Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who heads the independent bloc in the House. The DAP had been identified by the budget department as the source of funds released to select senators following the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad later admitted that an average of P50 million was released to each of 20 senators in 2012 but stressed that the money was not a bribe. Abad said that starting 2011, the DAP aimed to address government underspending then blamed for the country’s sluggish economic growth. He said DAP releases “helped buoy the economy from 2011 to 2012.” The money for the DAP was mainly sourced from savings, said the Palace.

    Read the full story here and here.

  2. Political standoff deepens and US shuts down

    CLOSED. A closure sign is seen at the World War II memorial (with the Lincoln memorial in the distance) in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2013. AFP/Jewel Samad

    The first US government shutdown in nearly two decades put a choke hold on Washington Tuesday, October 1, as the White House and Republicans dug in for an extended struggle with no way out in sight. National monuments were barricaded, US war cemeteries in Europe closed, and hundreds of thousands of federal workers sent home without pay. President Barack Obama accused conservatives in the House of Representatives of waging an “ideological crusade” by making government funding conditional on gutting his health reform law. His top foe, House Speaker John Boehner meanwhile claimed Obama was pursuing a “scorched earth” policy by refusing to negotiate with Republicans, as the rhetoric hit new heights and hopes for a swift end to the standoff faded. Late night brinkmanship Monday, September 30 sent America into its first government shutdown in 17 years when the money ran out at midnight. Other government-funded bodies seen as doing urgent work, like the military and border patrol, were kept at full strength, but the Pentagon was due to stand down almost half of its 800,000 civilian employees.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Global population to reach up to 9.7 billion in 2050

    CROWDED. Japanese commuters crowd a station in downtown Tokyo, Japan, 15 March 2011. EPA/Everett Kennedy Brown

    A French study released Wednesday, October 2, predicts that the world’s population will rise to 9.7 billion in 2050 from the current level of 7.1 billion and India will overtake China as the world’s most populous nation. A bi-annual report by the French Institute of Demographic Studies (Ined) projected there would be 10 to 11 billion people on the planet by the end of the century. The projections ran parallel to forecasts by the United Nations, the World Bank and other prominent national institutes. Ined said Africa would be home to a quarter of the world’s population in 2050 with 2.5 billion people, more than double the current level of 1.1 billion. Asia’s population will increase from 4.3 billion to 5.2 billion in 2050. The world’s most populous nations are currently China with 1.3 billion people; followed by India (1.2 billion); the United States (316.2 million); Indonesia (248.5 million) and Brazil (195.5 million).

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Pope Francis calls for a change of attitude toward migrants

    ZAMBOANGA'S REFUGEES. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos flee their homes because of the Zamboanga siege. Photo by AFP

    In a recent message that resounds in conflict-stricken Zamboanga City, Pope Francis appealed for a “change of attitude” toward migrants and refugees. He said humanity “cannot remain silent about the scandal of poverty in its various forms.” “A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – toward attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just, and fraternal world,” Francis said. The Pope said this in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees that the Vatican released last Tuesday, September 24. In his message for migrants and refugees, Francis also addressed migration across borders. He said solving this requires cooperation among nations. The Pope also urged the religious to open their empty convents to refugees, and not merely to turn these into money-making hotels.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Ang consolidating shares of San Miguel

    San Miguel Corporation’s CEO, Ramon Ang, is consolidating his shareholdings in the conglomerate under his private company Privado Holdings Corporation. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday, October 1, San Miguel said Privado purchased 368.14 million San Miguel common shares for P75 apiece or a total of P27.6 billion. Privado bought the shares from Master Year Ltd., which Ang also owns. Ang bought the shares held by Master Year from San Miguel chairman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco in July 2012. In August this year, Ang bought San Miguel shares from the market, this time, through Privado, as San Miguel’s share price plunged over rumors the company was at risk of default.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Environmentalists fear Palawan may lose UNESCO citation over planned coal plant

    NO TO COAL.' Residents and students in Aborlan, Palawan protest the proposed coal plant to be built by DMCI Power Corporation. Photo courtesy of WWF-Philippines

    Environmental groups say Palawan may lose its status as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve if plans to put up a coal power plant in the province pushes through. The site of a planned coal plant owned by DMCI Power Corporation is reportedly near a fish sanctuary, according to Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines. On Monday, September 30, around 1,500 students and locals of Aborlan, a municipality in Palawan, marched in protest against the proposed coal plant. Palawan is touted by environmentalists as the “last frontier of the environment in the Philippines.” Its special ecological status is affirmed by the government’s creation of an environmental agency dedicated to protecting its natural resources, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development(PCSD). UNESCO declared Palawan as a Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1990, classifying the province as a “site of excellence where new and optimal practices to manage nature and human activities are tested and demonstrated.” But the international body is currently reassessing Palawan’s special status.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Filipina child star bags top acting award in Mexico

    SNOW WHITE. The young actress shines in a mature role. Photo from the trailer/Facebook

    Filipino child actress Sandy Talag was awarded an Outstanding Achievement in Acting award at the Oaxaca International Film Festival on September 29, for her performance in the Dutch-Filipino film, “Lilet Never Happened.” Talag plays an 11-year-old street girl, forced into her line of work by her mother, in the film. Her character Lilet, also nicknamed Snow White, hopes to be an actress to escape her poverty. Talag entered the local entertainment scene by joining the reality contest StarStruck Kids in 2004. She has since played the younger counterpart of several leading actresses in teleseryes and films such as “Lovestruck,” “Quija,” and “Bahay Kubo: A Pinoy Mano Po.” In an interview with Filmz TV, the 15-year-old admits not understanding most of the mature content in the film, but the cast and crew, along with the resident psychologist, were present to guide her. The film by Dutch director Jacco Groen also won Best Youth Film at the 2013 Copenhagen International Film Festival in September and has already been shown in more than 22 countries.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Exercise as effective as drugs for stroke, heart disease treatment

    HEALTHY OPTION. Exercise 'should be considered as a viable alternative to, or alongside, drug therapy

    Exercise may be at least as effective as some drugs in reducing the risk of death in stroke patients or people with heart disease, a study published on Wednesday said. Researchers from the London School of Economics, Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine compared the findings of several studies into the effectiveness of exercise versus drugs in people with coronary heart disease, stroke patients, people with prediabetes and those with heart failure. The data trawl “found no statistically detectable differences” between exercise and drug treatment in reducing mortality for people with coronary heart disease or prediabetes symptoms, according to a statement released by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), which published the study online. In stroke patients, the team found that exercise was more effective than drugs, while medicine worked better at treating heart failure.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. NBA 2K14 on Philippine shelves

    IMPROVED GAMEPLAY. NBA 2K14 features more realistic simulation. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda.

    The newest edition of the NBA 2K franchise hit Philippine shelves October 1, Tuesday, with its distributor here believing NBA 2K14 is “the best basketball game in the planet today.” Featuring 4-time MVP and recent Manila visitor LeBron James on the cover, NBA 2K14 has been released on PS3, XBox 360 and PC and will eventually be available for the still-unreleased PS4 and XBox One. “It’s going to be bigger and better for 2K14,” said X-Play general manager Ron Aquino. “Fans wil lliterally and figuratively be on their toes when they navigate through this exciting and definitely exhilarating game.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Gigi Reyes and her ‘Boss’

    FONDNESS. Sen Juan Ponce Enrile shares a moment with Gigi Reyes. Facebook photo obtained by Rappler

    In a Newsbreak special, Rappler’s investigative desk senior editor Chay Hofileña explores the ins and outs of Sen Juan Ponce Enrile’s relationship with his former chief-of-staff Gigi Reyes. Enrile, fondly referred to by reyes as “The Boss”, is an intelligent and loving father figure to Reyes, herself an intelligent and charming lawyer. But the pair have had their share of controversy in the past, with rumors of a relationship extending beyond the professional boundaries of the Senate office. Gigi Reyes was regarded as “the door, if not the bridge, to JPE.” Things are different between the two now as Reyes has been implicated in the pork barrel scam as having received money meant for farmers and NGOs. On August 31, Reyes left the country.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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