October 29, 2013 Edition

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  1. Polls in 90 barangays reset

    The Commission on Elections announced Monday night, October 28, that polls did not take place in at least 90 barangays in 8 provinces. The elections will be rescheduled for other dates – some of them as soon as October 29-31. Most of these barangays are in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr clarified these are not considered failure of elections. On Monday, Comelec and a poll watchdog reported at least 30 incidents related to the polls. Brillantes said these were “isolated, minor cases” that were “resolved immediately.” The incidents include reports of ballot box snatching, delays in the opening of polling centers, disruptions in precinct operations, and physical harm on individuals. The Philippine National Police reported election day was “generally peaceful,” although there was a rise in the number of poll-related deaths during the campaign period.

    Read the full story here and here.

  2. New scheme: vote buyers ask for selfies

    Add this to the list of vote-buying schemes: taking selfies. On Monday, October 28, Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr launched a fight against taking selfies at polling precincts, apparently because the act was linked to a new vote-buying scheme. In an interview with GMA News TV, Brillantes said candidates buying votes required voters to take photos of themselves and their ballots to show that they delivered. In past elections, taking of pictures inside the polling centers was prohibited. This new scheme adds to other old tricks, like dagdag-bawas (vote padding and shaving) and the “cadena de amor” (love chain) where voters submit fake ballots and pocket real ballots to be filled out with candidates’ names.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Pinay among dead in Tiananmen car blaze

    ACCIDENT SCENE. Policemen walk past barriers and fire vehicles outside Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on October 28, 2013 after a vehicle crashed near the area. AFP / Ed Jones

    Five people died and 38 people are injured after a vehicle crashed through a barrier in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Monday, October 28. Citing a report by the Philippine Embassy in China, the Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez confirmed a Filipina tourist was among those killed in the car crash. Hernandez said 3 other Filipinos – a male and two females – were also injured and brought to the hospital. Pictures posted on Chinese social media sites showed black smoke rising from the burning shell of the SUV. In a statement, Beijing police said a jeep crashed into the guardrail on Jinshui Bridge before it caught fire.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Storm lashes Europe

    STORM CASUALTY. An uprooted tree has fallen on a car at the Ruysdaelkade canal in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 28 October 2013. According to reports, a woman was killed by the fallen tree. EPA/Robin Van Lonkhuijsen

    At least 11 people died on Monday, October 28 as a fierce storm lashed northern Europe. Heavy rain and high winds battered the region, claiming four victims in Britain, three in Germany, two in The Netherlands, one in France and one in Denmark. The storm cut electricity in Britain and France, leaving more than 500,000 homes without power. Thousands were later re-connected. The storm also forced mass cancellations of train services across southern England, Denmark, The Netherlands and parts of Germany. Some 500 people were trapped in their planes at Copenhagen airport, as strong winds made it impossible to connect stairways to the exits. The storm was named Christian in France and dubbed St Jude by British media, after the patron saint of lost causes whose feast day is on Monday.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. ‘Lost world’ in Australia

    NEW SPECIES. Leaf-tail gecko. Photo by Conrad Hoskin/James Cook University

    An expedition to a remote part of northern Australia uncovered 3 new vertebrate species isolated for millions of years. Scientists called the area in the rugged Cape Melville mountain range a “lost world.” While surveys had previously been done around the base of Cape Melville, the plateau of rainforest on top remained largely unexplored. Conrad Hoskin from James Cook University and a National Geographic film crew discovered new species never seen before — among them a bizarre looking leaf-tail gecko, a golden-colored skink and a boulder-dwelling frog. The highlight of the find: the lead-tailed gecko, which has huge eyes and a long slender body. Highly camouflaged, the geckos sit motionless, head-down waiting to ambush passing insects and spiders.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Two Syria chemical sites inaccessible: watchdog

    ON A MISSION. Inspectors from the Organization of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrive in Syria to carry out a plan to dismantle the country's chemical weapons production sites. Photo from EPA

    A global watchdog reported two chemical weapons sites in Syria are inaccessible because of the security situation in the war-torn country. In a statement, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said inspectors had visited 21 of 23 chemical sites, but the two remaining sites remain unvisited because of “security reasons.” The joint OPCW-United Nations mission is charged with destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal by mid-2014, following a US-Russian agreement that headed off military strikes on Syria. Syria has submitted a formal declaration of its chemical weapons program, together with a general plan of destruction.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Apple sells 33.8M iPhones

    IPHONE SALES. Apple sells over 33 million units of iPhone. Photo from Apple Press Info.

    Apple reported a quarterly profit of $7.5 billion on the back of soaring iPhone sales. The US tech giant closed out its fiscal year with a net annual profit of $37 billion. The quarterly profit was down 8.6% from a year earlier, but tops the forecasts of most analysts. The tech company also reported selling 33.8 million iPhones in the quarter that ended September 28, setting a new record. The news comes a week after Apple unveiled a new line of iPads: the slim iPad Air model and an improved iPad Mini. Apple also showed off upgrades to its notebooks and desktop computers along with a new operating system.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. US spying has ‘nothing to do with terrorism’

    UNITED STATES, Fort Meade : FILES - The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, as seen from the air, January 29, 2010. Transatlantic tensions reached a boil on October 28, 2013 as Washington sharply denied reports US Barack Obama knew US spies were tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel but fresh allegations emerged of mass snooping in Spain. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB

    Following successive allegations of US spying on its allies in Europe, activist journalist Glenn Greenwald says the US surveillance operations are about power, not anti-terrorist operations. Greenwald , a former reporter of the Guardian, broke stories of secret American intelligence operations based on leaked documents from former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Early on, the US government had defended its surveillance operations, saying it has thwarted many terrorist plots. But recent news reports said the US allegedly tapped the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and recorded phone calls in France and Spain. In an interview with CNN, Greenwald said the US spying system is “largely devoted not to terrorists but is directed at innocent people around the world.” He added, “This is clearly about political power and economic espionage, and the claim that this is all about terrorism is seen around the world as what it is, which is pure deceit.”

    Read more on CNN.

  9. Want to try Google Glass?

    UNITED STATES, San Francisco : SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 17: An attendee is fitted with Google Glass during the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Eight members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus sent a letter to Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page seeking answers to privacy questions and concerns surrounding Google's photo and video-equipped glasses called

    Google’s high tech glasses are once again available for testing. The tech company announced it is expanding its Glass Explorer Program, removing the limitation that new users had to be located in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. All users can invite three friends to join the program, who can now order Glass at a hefty $1,500 price tag. While still a work in progress, Google’s high tech glasses are evolving: new features are being added, third-party apps like Facebook and Twitter are available, and a new version of the hardware that’s compatible with prescription frames is on offer. Financial Times reports more than 10,000 people are part of Google’s Glass Explorer program.

    Read more on TIME.

  10. 7 places for ghost-hunting in the PH

    INFERNO. Firefighters and investigators inspect the debris-strewn dance floor following a deadly fire which turned the packed Ozone Disco into an inferno, killing about 150 teenagers in 1996. AFP Photo

    With Halloween coming up, ghost hunters are on the lookout for haunted places. The Philippines is rife with old stories passed down for generations and urban legends, and you don’t need to look far to stumble across spooky places. In the metro, there’s the infamous Ozone Disco, the site of a massive fire in 1996 that killed around 150 people. Campus ghost stories also abound, with the University of Sto Tomas listing down a handful: a girl who committed suicide, a headless nun, and a priest who appears in mirrors. World War II spirits also haunt the Diplomat Hotel in Baguio City and the last island-bastion of the war, Corregidor. Then there are the seats of power: the Manila City Hall, which looks like a coffin from above, and Malacanang Palace, where ghosts of former Presidents and Palace staff roam the halls.

    Read more and add in your list here.

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