October 17, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Quake toll now 158; 3.4M people affected

    FOUR-LETTER WORD. A 'Help' sign is seen while Filipino children play outside their makeshift tents in rice fields drive following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Calape, Bohol, Philippines, 16 October 2013. EPA/Dennis Sabangan

    The death toll from Tuesday’s (October 15) magnitude 7.2 earthquake is now at 158, with the number expected to rise as rescuers and relief workers reach some of the isolated towns hardest hit by the disaster. Of the total number of casualties, 146 people killed were reported in Bohol, where the epicenter of the earthquake was located. Cebu reported 11 people dead, while Siquijor’s tally remains unchanged at one. A total of 374 people have been injured in the quake: 188 in Bohol, 182 in Cebu, 3 in Siquijor and one in Negros Oriental. Twenty-one people are still missing. A total of 3,406,227 people in 3 Central Visayas provinces have been affected by the earthquake, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in its noon press conference. This translates to 671,957 families.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. SC makes body to investigate ‘Ma’am Arlene” corruption web

    PROBING CORRUPTION. The youngest justice at the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, leads a probe into corruption in the judiciary. File photo by the Malacanang Photo Bureau

    The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday, October 17, created a committee to investigate allegations that “Ma’am Arlene” and other big-time fixers run an intricate corruption web in the judiciary. Meeting en banc, the Court ordered Associate Justice Marvic Leonen to form a committee that will consolidate all investigations into alleged “influence peddlers in the judiciary,” the Supreme Court said in a statement. The committee’s members will be two retired SC justices to be named by Leonen. The Leonen committee will consolidate current investigations into these allegations, including the parallel investigation of the Court Administrator, the Department of Justice-National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) probe initated by the Chief Justice and the Court of Appeals parallel investigation initiated by the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Senate okays debt deal, ends shutdown

    DEADLINE LOOMING. A view of Capitol Hill October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. US senators scrambled together an eleventh hour compromise Wednesday that they hoped might protect Washington's battered financial standing by heading off fears of a default. AFP/Brendan Smialowski

    The US Senate approved a bill that would raise the debt limit and end a partial government shutdown now on its 16th day (US time). Voting 81-18, the Senate sent the bill to the House which is expected to vote on it Wednesday night in the US. The emerging legislation will fund the government through next year, effectively delaying the next threat of a shutdown until after the holidays. The agreement also means hundreds of thousands of furloughed employees will be able to go back to work. House Speaker John Boehner said of Democratic Party lawmakers, “We fought the good fight, we did everything we could. They just kept saying no, no, no.” He added that Republicans will continue to fight the “train wreck that is the president’s health care law.”

    Read the full story on the Washington Post.

    A related story is on Rappler.

  4. Shutdown reportedly cost US economy $24B

    SHUTDOWN. A view of a hall on Capitol Hill September 29, 2013 in Washington, DC. AFP/Brendan Smialowski

    The partial US government shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy and will cut growth in the 4th quarter significantly, ratings firm Standard & Poor’s said Wednesday, October 16. Moreover, S&P warned of more possible damage if the political battle over the budget and debt ceiling resumes in January, further scaring consumers, especially government workers laid off without pay during the shutdown. The fall in growth is mostly due to the furlough of hundreds of thousands of civil servants, as well as impacted government contractors, because the Congress could not agree a budget for the 2014 fiscal year that began October 1. The civil servants have not been paid for their weeks off, but Congress is expected to reinstate their wages.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Ending hunger possible, UN says on World Food Day

    HUNGER DOWN. The United Nations says world hunger rates has dropped to one in 8 people. In this photo, Filipino street children take a meal at a street in Parañaque, Philippines, 15 August 2013. EPA/Francis R Malasig

    The United Nations marked World Food Day on Wednesday, October 16, saying it was possible to eradicate hunger and stressing the importance of cutting food waste and ensuring balanced diets. “We can win the fight against hunger,” Jose Graziano da Silva, the director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said at a ceremony at FAO headquarters in Rome. He said 62 out of the 128 countries monitored by the FAO had reached the Millennium Development Goal of cutting by half the number of hungry people from 1990 levels, showing the target was achievable by 2015. The number of the world’s hungry has gone down in recent years – mainly thanks to economic growth in developing countries and higher farm productivity – but still stands at 842 million people. Graziano da Silva said the fallout from hunger cost about 5% of global income due to lost productivity and healthcare costs.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. 2013 Global Slavery Index says 30M affected

    An estimated 30 million people worldwide are living in modern-day slavery, according to the inaugural Global Slavery Index published Thursday, October 17. The index, compiled by the Walk Free Foundation, said that while India by far had the largest number of enslaved people, the problem was most prevalent in the west African nation of Mauritania, where 4% of the population was deemed to be held in slavery. The WFF hopes the annual index will help governments to monitor and tackle what it calls a “hidden crime.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. DepEd sets aside P300M for quake-hit schools

    QUICK RESPONSE. The Department of Education allots an initial P300 million for quake-hit schools in Central Visayas. Photo by Jee Geronimo/Rappler

    The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday, October 17, said it has available funds of about P300 million for schools affected by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Central Visayas last Tuesday. Finance and Administration Undersecretary Francisco Varela said P270 million of this fund comes from the remaining Quick Response Fund of the department, while the rest are savings from the classroom project funded by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). They will also seek the approval of the Department of Budget and Management for another P400 million. Luistro said President Benigno Aquino III promised to allocate money for the rehabilitation of schools should the department need more funds. Of more than 4,000 schools in Cebu and Bohol, only 134 schools have so far reported damage, 56 of in them Bohol, Luistro said. This does not provide the department a good overview of the situation on the ground.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read a related story on Rappler.

  8. ‘Deep-sea Internet’ being explored

    A research team from the University of Buffalo in New York have tested an “underwater wi-fi” network that could create more reliable disaster warning systems. The submerged network they tested uses sound waves, while normal wi-fi uses radio waves. The research team is trying to create a shared standard that will allow separate systems used by different organizations to share data and communicate with each other in real time. “Making this information available to anyone with a smartphone or computer, especially when a tsunami or other type of disaster occurs, could help save lives, said lead researcher Tommaso Melodia.

    Read the full story on the BBC.

    Underwater image from Shutterstock

  9. Omidyar to finance new news startup

    Images from Wikipedia and EPA

    Pierre Omidyar, the man who founded e-Bay, is tying up with Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian journalist who reported on the surveillance practices of the National Security Administration. Omidyar said he was approached and offered the opportunity to buy the Washington Post but declined. Instead, he said, he was prepared to spend the US$250 million it would have cost to buy the Post on Greenwald’s news startup. Forbes said this would make Greenwald’s venture one of the best-funded startups ever. Omidyar is directly funding the startup which won’t be a nonprofit.

    Read the full story on Forbes.

  10. Biggest star about to explode

    Image from Wikipedia

    Astronomers said on Wednesday, October 16, W26, the biggest known star in the universe with a diameter 3,000 that of the Sun, is dying and will eventually explode. Using a telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, astronomers said they had spotted signs of the star’s impending death. A paper published in the British journal “Monthly Notices of Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society” said that the red supergiant “will eventually explode as a supernova.” W26 is becoming unstable and shedding its outer layers, the paper said. Stars like W26 usually have lifetimes of less than a few million years before they exhaust their nuclear fuel.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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