October 15, 2013 Edition

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  1. 7.2 quake devastates Bohol, Cebu, other Visayas areas

    SEVERE DAMAGE. The centuries-old Loboc Church in Loboc, Bohol shows its collapsed roof after a magnitude 7.2 quake in the region, 15 October 2013. Photo courtesy of Robert Michael Poole (@tokyodrastic)

    A shallow magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook large parts of the Visayas and Mindanao on Tuesday morning, October 15, bringing widespread damage in the region. The quake struck at 8:12 am, and was centered 2 kilometers southeast of Carmen, Bohol. The island province of Bohol lies across the Cebu Strait from Cebu City, the country’s 5th most populous city, about 60 kilometers away. About 28 people were killed and properties were damaged, including the famous Loboc church in the town of Loboc, Bohol while portions of Sto Nino Basilica in Cebu is also said to have cracks. 

    Read more on Rappler.

    Check photos crowdsourced by Rappler here.

    Read more about damaged historical churches here.

  2. Drug store ‘queen’ dislodges ‘Queen of all media’

    TOP TAXPAYER. Mercury Drug chain president Vivian Que Azcona dislodged actress and TV host Kris Aquino from the BIR list's top spot. Photo courtesy of Forbes.com

    The queen of all media – just one of her many titles – is no longer the Philippines’ top individual taxpayer. Mercury Drug president Vivian Que Azcona dislodged TV host and presidential sister Kris Aquino from the No. 1 spot on the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) 2012 “Top 500 Individual Taxpayers” list released on October 14. Que Azcona paid P131.43 million in regular income tax in 2012. Following her was comedian and TV host Willie Revillame with P63.9 million tax paid. Revillame was the top celebrity taxpayer in 2012 as Aquino fell 5 notches to 6th place, with P44.93 million tax paid. Que Azcona paid higher tax than Henry Sy, the richest Filipino according to Forbes Magazine’s 2013 “Philippines’ 50 Richest” list.

    Read more on Rappler.

  3. Pork barrel issue dampens Aquino satisfaction rating

    DISSATISFACTION UP. More Filipinos are dissatisfied with President Benigno Aquino III according the Social Weathers Station Survey for the third quarter of 2013. Malacañang Photo Bureau

    President Benigno Aquino III took a hit from the pork barrel issue, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey. From 12% of Filipinos who reported they were dissatisfied with Aquino’s performance in June, the number has risen to 19% in September. Aquino’s net satisfaction rating for the third quarter of 2013 was at 49%, down from 64% in June. This is the first time Aquino’s rating dipped below 50%. Foreign investors have generally been shrugging off the pork barrel issue’s effect on the attractiveness of the Philippines as an investment destination, citing the country’s strong economic fundamentals. They have been banking on Aquino’s popularity and high satisfaction rating.

    Read more on Rappler.

  4. Teng family deals with UAAP win, loss

    TIGER DOWN. Teng failed in his final title bid. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda.

    After the two Teng brothers — Jeric and Jeron, sons of a former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player — faced off in the finals series of UAAP Season 76, the Teng family deals with the win and loss. The hot topic in the world of Philippine basketball who star for their respective teams. The younger Jeron emerged victorious leading the De La Salle Green Archers to a 71-69 victory over Jeric and the rest of the UST Growling Tigers. Instead of getting disappointed, Jeric said he learned a lot of lessons in his farewell season, and he’s likewise happy for his younger brother Jeron who took the UAAP Season 76 crown.

    Watch their Rappler interview here.

    Read more on Rappler here.

  5. Chinese brands struggle in global contest

    STRUGGLING. Chinese brands such as Huawei face a hard time rivaling Western, Japanese names. AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR

    Chinese brands struggle to rival big Western and Japanese names in the global contest for business. The world’s second-largest economy does not have a single one of the world’s top 100 brands, as compiled by marketing consultancy Interbrand. “Brand China has many problems – transparency, ethical practices, treatment of employees, the quality of the products,” Richard Edelman, head of public relations giant Edelman told a World Economic Forum meeting in Dalian. Some Chinese brands are now looking to reinvent their identities to overcome image and political hurdles.

    Read more on Rappler.

  6. Muslim pilgrims prepare for Eid al-Adha feast

    SEA OF PILGRIMS. Muslim pilgrims pray at the top of the Mount of Mercy (also called Mount Arafat), on the second day of the Muslim's Hajj 2013 pilgrimage, in Mina near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 14 October 2013. EPA/Ali Hassan

    Attendance by Muslim pilgrims for the Eid al-Adha feast is sharply down from last year, due to fears of the MERS virus which has killed 60 people worldwide, including 51 in Saudi Arabia, and to expansion work at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Throngs of Muslim pilgrims converged on Muzdalifah for the Eid al-Adha feast following a day of prayer on Mount Arafat for an end to disputes and bloodshed. The faithful will spend the night in Muzdalifah to collect stones which they will use a symbolic ritual of stoning the devil in nearby Mina on Tuesday, October 15, the first day of the feast of sacrifice. The hajj, which officially ends on Friday, October 18, is one of the 5 pillars of Islam that every capable Muslim must perform at least once. The pilgrims started the hajj journey on Sunday, October 13, moving out of the holy city of Mecca to nearby Mina, where most of them spent the night following the traditions of the Prophet Mohammed, who performed the rituals 14 centuries ago.

    Read more on Rappler.

  7. Blast in Shangri-La hotel in Yangon hurts American guest

    A suspected bomb blast shook a luxury hotel in Myanmar’s main city Yangon on October 15, leaving one American guest slightly wounded. Her husband and two children were not injured. Military officials and soldiers with bomb sniffing dogs were seen at the hotel while shattered glass lay on the road outside. Bomb blasts were relatively common under the former junta, which usually blamed the explosions on armed exile groups or ethnic rebels. But such explosions are less common under a new quasi-civilian government which took power in 2011, promising political reforms and efforts to end long-running ethnic insurgencies. The hotel, part of the Shangri-La group, is located in the heart of Myanmar’s commercial hub. It is popular with foreign tourists and visiting business people.

    Read more on Rappler.

    (Editor’s note: We earlier wrote that the tourist was killed. We regret the error.)

  8. Gigi Reyes’s assets include P50M properties

    FORTRESS. The gate of one of Gigi Reyes' properties in Matuod, Lian, Batangas. Photo by Rappler

    How will the former chief of staff of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile explain the discrepancy in her declared income and unearthed assets? A Rappler report shows that Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes was able to acquire new properties worth over P16 million between 2008 and 2010 with a salary of only a million pesos a year. According to her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), Reyes’ real estate property acquisitions by 2012 totalled about P50.86 million. These covered 10 residential properties, including two houses in Matuod, Lian, Batangas and the house and lot in La Vista.
    Reyes, along with Enrile who hails from Cagayan, has been charged with plunder in connection with misused pork barrel funds. A Commission of Audit report found that money from the pork barrel fund of lawmakers was funnelled by them and individuals to fake non-governmental organizations controlled by Janet Lim Napoles — in exchange for hefty commissions.

    Read more on Rappler.

  9. Strong typhoon nears Fukushima nuclear plant

    TYPHOON WIPHA. Typhoon Wipha as seen in this satellite image by the US Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), 15 Oct 2013. Image courtesy JTWC

    A powerful typhoon was closing in on Japan Tuesday, October 15, on a path that will take it towards the precarious Fukushima nuclear power plant. Typhoon Wipha, packing winds of up to 144 kilometers per hour near its center, was in the Pacific south of Japan early Tuesday and moving north at 20 kilometers per hour. It was forecast to reach an area off the Tokyo metropolitan area by early Wednesday, October 16, and later in the day would be off the coast of Fukushima where the crippled nuclear power plant sits.

    Read more on Rappler.

  10. BuzzFeed to use French, Spanish, Portuguese ‘translator’

    CROWDSOURCED. BuzzFeed and Duolingo join forces to provide translated content. Owl image from Duolingo.com

    BuzzFeed announced plans Monday for French, Spanish and Portuguese editions in a push to expand the footprint of the US-based social news website. The international sites will use native speakers of French, Spanish and Portuguese who are learning English, employing Duolingo’s algorithmic translator. BuzzFeed claims to have some 80 million monthly unique viewers for its news site, which has been moving to become a more mainstream operation after its original launch, which focused on offbeat stories and videos.

    Read more on Rappler.

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