October 30, 2013 Edition

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  1. PDAF of certain executive offices doubles – COA

    The Commission on Audit, in a reported posted on October 2013, said that certain “executive offices” got as much as 133.25% in Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), from P324.48 million in 2011 to P756.39 million in 2012. COA, however, failed to identify the agencies under this item. The increase for the unidentified executive offices is far from the PDAF adjustments obtained by other agencies. The closest to it is the education department which got a 43.68% increase. At the same time, some agencies earlier identified as conduits of lawmakers’ funds that went to fake non-governmental organizations suffered huge decreases in PDAF allocations. From 2011 to 2012, the Department of Public Works and Highways topped the list with more than P10 billion in PDAF allocations.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Filipino mother dies in China car crash

    TRAGIC ACCIDENT. Police cars block off the roads leading into Tiananmen Square as smoke rises into the air after a vehicle crashed in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on October 28, 2013. Photo by AFP

    A car that crashed through a busy tourist spot in China’s Tiananmen Square on Monday, October 28 turned the trip of a Filipino family into a tragedy. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, a Filipino mother was killed in the crash. The mother was initially rushed to the Beijing Hospital where she eventually succumbed to her injuries. The father and his two daughters got injured, on the other hand. The 3 family members remain in stable condition in Tongren Hospital. The car, which killed several other tourists, later burst into flames causing a security shut down of the Square. Chinese police have named two suspects from the restive far-western province of Xinjiang.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Obama orders review of foreign surveillance program

    MORE RESTRAINTS. The White House says it will review intelligence-gathering amid backlash from Europe on reports the US spied on its leaders and citizens. File photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

    President Barack Obama is considering whether to ban US spy agencies from eavesdropping on allied leaders, a senior official said Tuesday, October 29, following outrage in Europe over National Security Agency snooping. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the step was under consideration, but that no policy decisions had yet been finalized, as Obama awaits results of several already announced reviews into US surveillance practices. According to a CNN report citing Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, President Obama was not aware of the collection of allied leaders’ communications. Senator Feinstein added that White House told her that such data will not continue. The senior official, however, said that the statement was not accurate. The officials said that while some changes had been made to US intelligence gathering in the wake of claims that US spies tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, there had yet been no across-the-board changes, including a decision to halt intelligence sweeps aimed at all foreign allies.

    Read the full story on Rappler and CNN.

  4. Gazmin leaving?

    REPLACEMENT RUMORS: Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. Rappler file photo

    Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin belied rumors that he was on his way out. He told reported on Tuesday, October 29 that someone interested in his post could be behind the rumors. “They would want to break the relationship most probably. I am identified with the military. At the same time, kaahit paanoI am identified with the Aquinos. If you want to break the relationship between the Aquinos and myself and myself and the Armed Forces, sisiraan mo ako di ba?,” Gazmin said. Gazmin is no ordinary presidential appointee; he’s known to be a father figure to the President and his siblings. Like the Aquinos, Gazmin hails from Tarlac and was close to the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. Malacañang was quick to dismiss rumors Gazmin was on his way out. On Monday, October 28, Secretary Herminio Coloma said the defense chief “continues to enjoy the President’s full trust and confidence.” As Gazmin is known to wield influence on the President, he has been criticized for playing favorites and pushing for his chosen officers to lead plum posts in the military.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. TS Vinta: 3 Luzon provinces under signal no. 1

    Three provinces are now under storm signal number 1 as Vinta becomes a tropical storm early Wednesday, October 30. Vinta, now given the international codename Krosa, was spotted 690 kilometers east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes as of 4 am, with maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h near the center and gusts of up to 80 km/h. Cagayan, Isabela, and Aurora are now under signal number 1, where winds 30-60 km/h can be expected within 36 hours, state weather bureau PAGASA said. The storm is currently moving at a speed of 19 km/h, going to the west, in the general direction of Cagayan Valley.

    Get the latest weather updates on Rappler.

  6. Thomson Reuters to axe 4,500 employees by end of 2014

    MASS LAYOFFS. Thomson Reuters announces it will lay off 4,500 people due to a drop in profits. File photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

    The global financial information group Thomson Reuters said Tuesday, October 29, it would cut some 4,500 jobs in its finance operations by the end of 2014 after reporting a drop in profits. The cuts, outlined in documents accompanying its quarterly results, are deeper than the expected 2,500 jobs the company said earlier this year would be eliminated by the end of 2013. The company, which also operates the Reuters news agency, is in the midst of a vast restructuring which is notably hitting its financial information division which provides terminals for traders and other market professionals.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Female captain leads PH peacekeeping contingent to Haiti

    ANOTHER FIRST: Captain Luzviminda Camacho is the first woman to head a Philippines peacekeeping contingent. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

    Captain Luzviminda Camacho made history as the first woman to command a ship of the Philippine Navy. On Tuesday, October 29, she made history again as the first female commander of peacekeepers sent by the Philippines to Haiti. She leads the country’s 17th contingent to the Caribbean country once torn by conflict. Camacho and 156 others from the Navy bid their families goodbye on Tuesday afternoon and boarded a plane bound for Haiti, an impoverished country that spiraled into chaos in 2004 because of a revolt launched by street gangs there. The country was also devastated by an earthquake in 2010. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been sending a contingent there since 2005. Navy chief Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano said Camacho was chosen not because she’s a woman but because she fulfills the “number one requirement” of “having command at sea.” She had her skills in leadership and management going for her as well, he added.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Doctor of Michael Jackson released from prison

    FREE MAN. Hecklers outside Conrad Murray's jail and a small group of Jackson fans booed his release. Photo from Facebook

    Michael Jackson’s former doctor Conrad Murray was released from jail Monday after serving two years of a 4-year sentence for the late pop icon’s death in 2009, officials said. Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for giving Jackson the drug that killed him, evaded Jackson fans and cameramen as he left the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles shortly after midnight. His release was brought forward due to good behavior and prison overcrowding. The 60-year-old physician eluded hecklers outside the jail, where a small group of Jackson fans booed his release. Murray was jailed for 4 years in November 2011 for giving Jackson propofol to help him sleep as he rehearsed for a comeback series of concerts in London, 4 years after the pop star’s acquittal on child molestation charges.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Samsung’s lead over Apple grows

    WIDENING LEAD. A survey shows Samsung widens its lead over Apple in the global smartphone market for the 3rd quarter of 2013. File image from Samsung Tomorrow website

    Samsung extended its lead over Apple in the global smartphone market in the third quarter as Chinese manufacturers also made inroads, a survey showed Tuesday, October 29. The worldwide smartphone market saw record sales in the quarter, with growth of 38.8% from a year ago and 258.4 million units sold, the IDC survey said. The South Korean electronics giant Samsung widened its lead, shipping 81.2 million smartphones, boosting its market share by nearly half a percentage point to 31.4%. Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones in the quarter, but its growth was slower than the overall market, so its share slipped to 13.1% from 14.4% a year ago. “Beyond Samsung and Apple at the top of the rankings is a tight race of vendors trying to break out from the pack,” said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Turkey opens tunnel that spans two continents

    ASIA-EUROPE CONNECTION. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) arrives to test-drive a train as he attends the opening ceremony of the Marmaray railway, a subway tunnel submerged into the Bosphorus waterway in Istanbul, Turkey, 29 October2013. EPA/Tolga Bozoglu

    Turkey on Tuesday, October 29, formally opened the world’s first sea tunnel connecting two continents, fulfilling a sultan’s dream 150 years ago in a three-billion-euro mega project driven by the Islamic-rooted government. The 13.6-kilometer (8.5 mile) long tunnel linking Istanbul’s European and Asian sides includes an immersed tube tunnel which officials say is the world’s deepest at 60 meters (nearly 200 feet) below the seabed. The inauguration of the ambitious scheme – dubbed “the project of the century” by the government – coincides with the 90th anniversary of the founding of modern Turkey. The tunnel in the country’s main gateway city is part of a larger “Marmaray” project that also includes an upgrade of existing suburban train lines to create a 76 km (47-mile) line that links the two continents.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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