November 6, 2013 Edition

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  1. DOJ: At least 10 more solons in next PDAF complaint

    10 MORE? Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says at least 10 lawmakers may face charges in the second batch of pork barrel scam cases. File photo by Leanne Jazul/Rappler

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing a second batch of cases where at least 10 lawmakers could be charged for conniving with alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles in the pocketing of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). According to Levi Baligod, counsel of Napoles’ former employees-turned-whistleblowers, a minimum of 10 legislators will be facing charges. He gave assurances the probe “doesn’t give consideration to whether they are administration [allies] or opposition, as long as the evidence is complete.” Baligod said the cases will include the alleged misuse of a P407-million government fund. The DOJ will not stop with the second batch of PDAF-related cases as originally planned. Because of the sheer scope of Napoles’ alleged pocketing of government funds, the DOJ also said it would file yet another batch of cases – this time related to all the other funds reportedly plundered by Napoles that were not from lawmakers’ pork barrel. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima however said that the documents for the second batch of cases are not yet complete but will be ready by next week “at the latest.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. DFA wants whistleblower on Saudi ‘abuse’ to step forward

    BACK HOME. Some of the 30 repatriated Filipino workers arrive at the Manila International Airport on Nov 4, 2013. Photo by AFP/Jay Directo

    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday, November 5, said it wants to consult the woman who exposed the alleged abuse of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the agency is investigating the claim that the Filipino workers were crowded in a detention cell and chained to the floor. “We did not see that, and that’s why we are looking to talk to this lady. We are seeking her out, so she can provide us information, and we can validate it,” Del Rosario said. The overseas workers’ group Migrante urged the government “to study the filing of a diplomatic protest” over the alleged abuse. On Monday, November 4, Filipino workers expelled from Saudi Arabia alleged they were abused amid a crackdown on illegal migrants there. “They treated us like animals,” said Amor Roxas, a 46-year-old domestic worker, who burst in tears while narrating her ordeal. She claimed Saudi police rounded them up and placed them in a crowded cell for 4 days before they were paraded from the immigration center to the airport. Saudi began a crackdown on illegal workers after an extended grace period lapsed last Sunday, November 3.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. PH to use Japan digital TV standard

    DIGITAL TV TRANSITION. A technical team is set to create the implementing rules and regulations for the country's shift to digital TV

    The Philippines will adopt Japan’s digital TV standard over rival Europe’s version as the country shifts from analog to digital television. In a memorandum circular (MC) issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday, November  5, the country will soon use Japan’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial or ISDB-T standard. Some 15 other countries use the standard, which the government says is cheaper than the European Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial 2 (DVB-T2). The Japanese system has the technology to alert viewers during times of disaster or emergency. It is also capable of sending alerts to mobile phones. The country’s major TV networks are in favor of the Japanese standard, according to Malacanang. Major TV networks have spent billions of pesos in preparation for the shift to digital TV. ABS-CBN shelled out P2 billion; GMA, almost P1 billion; and TV5, P500 million.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Police hold masked protestors over #MillionMaskMarch

    UNDER INVESTIGATION. 5 protesters from the November 5 #MillionMaskMarch organized by hacking collective Anonymous Philippines were investigated briefly by the police. Photo by Buena Bernal/Rappler

    Three alleged members of the infamous hacking collective Anonymous Philippines, along with two adult-supporters, were questioned by the police on Tuesday, November 5, over the #MillionMaskMarch protest that took place in front of Batasan Pambansa, in Quezon City. The three, all wearing Guy Fawkes masks, were held for less than an hour at the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Batasan Hills station. They were earlier invited by the police to supposedly broker a negotiation between the protestors and the police authorities due to the lack of a rallying permit. They earlier took part in the #MillionMaskMarch to protest against corruption in the legislature and the abuse of discretionary funds. The protest action is part of a series of global protests organized by Anonymous. Col. Eleazar Matta, QCPD station 6 chief, said the police did not detain the 5 protesters but wanted to talk to them and know their identities. Matta eventually allowed the protesters to march to the gate of the House of Representatives without a rally permit.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. DOTC mulls building new airport near Metro Manila by 2027

    ROADMAP. The Transportation department is preparing an airport roadmap that will involve the construction of a new international airport that will serve Manila. File photo by EPA

    The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) is considering the construction of a new international airport by 2027 that will be half an hour away from Metro Manila, as part of a long term airport roadmap. “We will present two options for modernizing our gateway airport system, which will show the world that we are preparing to be one of the top global tourist destinations for the next few decades,” said Transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. One will entail the closure of the Manila airport by 2030, which will mean that the new airport should serve 78% of passenger volume. The Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga, which has also been eyed as an alternative to NAIA, will handle the remaining 22%. According to a JICA study, passengers from the National Capital Region as well as Central Luzon and Calabarzon will rise to 49.8 million in 2020, 75 million in 2030 and 106.7 million in 2040 from 31.88 million in 2012.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Interpol to get evidence in Dutch webcam pedophilia sting

    Interpol said Tuesday, November 5, it was waiting for information from Dutch authorities after a rights group said it had identified 1,000 pedophiles by offering online sex with a computer-generated 10-year-old girl. The Lyon-based international police agency said it was aware of the sting operation by Dutch rights group Terre des Hommes Netherlands but had not yet received any evidence. Terre des Hommes said Monday, November 4, it had deployed the computer-generated Filipina girl – dubbed Sweetie – to Internet chat rooms to ensnare web predators. Within a 10-week period, over 20,000 predators from 71 countries approached Sweetie, asking for webcam sex performances. The group said it wanted to raise the alarm about a largely unknown but quickly spreading new form of child exploitation that has tens of thousands of victims in the Philippines alone, known as webcam child sex tourism.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Art stolen by the Nazis during WWII recovered in Munich flat

    ART. A reproduction of a painting by French painter Gustav Courbet titled 'Village girl with a goat' is seen during a press conference in Augsburg, southern Germany. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE

    Previously unknown masterpieces by modernist painters Marc Chagall and Otto Dix are among a vast trove of works believed stolen by the Nazis and uncovered in a Munich flat, an art historian said Tuesday, November 5. Breaking two days of silence following the revelation of the spectacular discovery, Meike Hoffmann, the chief expert aiding the investigation, said the Chagall painting, an allegorical scene dating from the mid-1920s, had a “particularly high art-historical value.” The paintings and other art works were recovered in the apartment of an eccentric elderly loner. The man, identified as Cornelius Gurlitt, is the son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a prominent Nazi-era art dealer who acquired the paintings in the 1930s and 1940s. Hildebrand Gurlitt had been one of a handful of art experts tasked by the Nazis with selling valuable artworks stolen from Jewish collectors or seized among avantgarde works deemed to be “degenerate.” About 1,285 unframed and 121 framed paintings, sketches and prints were found in the rubbish-strewn flat, some dating back to the 16th century. The estimated value of the treasure trove: $1.3 billion. The Nazis plundered artworks in Germany and across Europe before and during World War II.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Hollywood gives Janice Joplin a star, 43 years after her death

    IMMORTALIZED. Jopin's siblings reveal the singer's Hollywood star. Photo from Janis Jopin Facebook

    Singing legend Janis Joplin was honored Monday, November 4, with a star on Hollywood’s storied Walk of Fame more than four decades after her death from a drug overdose. The raspy-voiced singing star was immortalized on the famous Hollywood walk at a ceremony attended by her brother Michael and sister Laura, while country music luminary Kris Kristofferson played her signature hit “Me and Bobby McGee.” Joplin was given the 2,510th star on the Walk of Fame, where entertainment legends have long been enshrined on a stretch of pavement which attracts millions of tourists every year. “Janis Joplin is an iconic figure, and her songs will always be remembered by her fans around the world,” said Ana Martinez of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the famous Tinseltown sidewalk. The 1960s hard-partying rock singer would have been 70 years old this year. She died in October 1970, at the age of 27.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. PH may launch Golden Rice by 2016

    The first genetically-modified rice to be commercially available could be approved for production in the Philippines in two to 3 years, researchers said Tuesday, November 5, despite strong opposition from environmental groups. Officers of both the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine government’s agriculture department said the newly-developed “golden rice” had completed field trials, despite vandalism at one test field. “Golden rice is coming. That is in the pipeline and a lot of the principal development and research has been completed,” said Achim Dobermann, deputy director-general of IRRI. Dobermann said that depending on the length of the approval process, it could take a minimum of “two to 3 years” before seeds are ready to be distributed to farmers. However many environmental groups oppose GMOs, saying they will have harmful side effects which will irreversibly spread even to non-GMO crops.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Britain rolls out red carpet for South Korean president

    TO UK-SK RELATIONS. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) and South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye (L) raise a toast at a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London on November 5, 2013. AFP/Pool/Neil Hall

    South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye was treated to a full display of British pomp and ceremony as she began a three-day state visit to London on Tuesday, November 5. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip accompanied Park in a horse-drawn carriage as they rode to Buckingham Palace, while troops welcomed her with a 41-gun salute at Green Park and the Tower of London. Wrapped up in a dark purple coat against the damp chill, Park smiled from the window of the ornate black and gold carriage as she sat beside the 87-year-old queen, who wore a pink coat and hat. Foreign Secretary Hague described South Korea as “a long-standing political friend and ally of the UK”. The visit comes amid a rise in tensions between South Korea and Japan, a key ally in efforts to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program. In an interview with the BBC ahead of the trip, Park suggested it would be pointless to hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe given Tokyo’s refusal to apologize for abuses during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule, a source of deep resentment in South Korea.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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