November 20, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Solons working on supplemental budget for disaster aid

    'NO PATRONAGE.' Senate President Franklin Drilon says the Supreme Court decision will

    Following a Supreme Court ruling that declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as unconstitutional, lawmakers are hoping to pass a supplemental budget to aid those hit hard by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Senate President Franklin Drilon said he would discuss the proposal with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr, hoping that a passed supplemental budget can be certified as urgent by the President. Before the Supreme Court decision, lawmakers intended to realign the PDAF to help calamity victims.

    Read the full story on Rappler.
    Read about the Supreme Court ruling on the PDAF on Rappler.

  2. Obama asks supporters for help amid healthcare law crisis

    FACE OF DISAPPOINTMENT. US President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks on the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House while reporters do stand-ups on November 14, 2013 in Washington, DC. AFP/Mandel Ngan

    US President Barack Obama delved into his grass-roots organizing past Monday, November 18, appealing to his most faithful supporters to help him out of the political maelstrom over the botched rollout of his health care law. The president’s comments came as he faces a political crisis over the signature domestic achievement of his presidency and with the White House under siege from Republicans who sense a chance to doom the law they have always opposed.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. DBM moved funds without Presidential approval

    For 3 years now, the budget department under Secretary Florencio Abad has been realigning items in the budget without written consent from the President. This was pointed out by Senior Justice Antonio Carpio on the first day of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the government’s pump-priming scheme, known as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), on Tuesday, November 19. Created by the executive branch in 2011, the DAP is used to boost spending and help uplift the economy. Legal questions over DAP arose after Senator Jinggoy Estrada revealed in a Senate privilege speech that senators were given additional funds after they delivered what Malacañang wanted in May 2012: the conviction of former chief justice Renator Corona in the impeachment trial.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. UN slams rights abuses in Syria

    COUNTRY IN CRISIS. Syrian residents leave the town of Hejeira after the Syrian army seized the town, in the countryside of Damascus, Syria, 13 November 2013. EPA/Stringer

    A UN committee on Tuesday, November 19, slammed rights abuses by the Syrian government after a debate marked by a bitter clash between the UN envoys of Saudi Arabia and Syria. The UN General Assembly rights committee voted overwhelmingly for a Saudi-drafted resolution which expressed “outrage” at the escalation of the 32-month-old Syrian civil war. The resolution strongly condemned “the continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms and all violations of international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities and the government-affiliated shabbiha militias.” In a strong condemnation of an August 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus in which hundreds died, the resolution came close to blaming President Bashar al-Assad’s government. A UN inquiry has confirmed that chemical weapons were used but has not blamed any side. The Assad government has accused opposition rebels of staging the attack.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. PM Cameron calls Rouhani as Iran heads to nuclear talks

    CALL TO IRAN. In this file photo, British Prime Minister David Cameron delivers his keynote speech at the CBI business conference in London, Britain, 04 November 2013. EPA/Andy Rain

    Prime Minister David Cameron called President Hassan Rouhani Tuesday, November 19, on the eve of nuclear talks in Geneva. According to a statement, the two discussed the recent improvements in bilateral ties between London and Tehran, the conflict in Syria and the latest round of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. The last British prime minister to speak to an Iranian leader was Tony Blair, who called president Mohammad Khatami in 2002.

    Read the full story on Rappler.
    Read more about and Cameron’s call on The Guardian.

  6. Suicide blasts hit Beirut’s Iranian embassy

    BLAST ZONE. A member of the Lebanese army talks on the phone at the site of a blast in Bir Hassan neighborhood in southern Beirut on November 19, 2013. AFP/Anwar Amro

    A double suicide bombing outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut killed at least 23 people on Tuesday, November 19, in an attack claimed by an Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group.  The attack, which also wounded almost 150 people in a southern Beirut stronghold of the Hezbollah movement, is the first time the Iranian embassy in Lebanon has been targeted.  The blasts follow two other bomb attacks this year in Hezbollah bastions in southern Beirut, amid rising tensions over the conflict in neighboring Syria.

    Read the full story on Rappler.
    Learn more in this CNN report.

  7. Yolanda/Haiyan wrecks a third of PH rice crop: UN

    BUFFER STOCK. The Philippines imports additional rice to boost stock in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. Photo from the International Rice Research Institute

    Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) wiped out one-third of the Philippines’ rice-growing areas, the UN food agency said, calling for “urgent assistance” to farmers who need to sow new seeds. “Regions most severely affected by the typhoon account for one-third of the total rice production in the country,” the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) said in a statement. Dominique Burgeon, head of the FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, said, “If we want to avoid entire regions of the country having to rely on food aid, we need to act now to help vulnerable families to plant or replant by late December.” The agency plans to supply seeds for rice and maize as well as tools, fertilizer and irrigation equipment.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Maduro gets power to rule Venezuela by decree for year

    SPECIAL POWERS. Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, speaks during a military exercise in the western state of Cojedes in the Pao area, Venezuela, 13 November 2013. EPA/Alejandro Ahumada

    Venezuela’s National Assembly on Tuesday, November 19, gave President Nicolas Maduro wide-ranging special powers to rule by decree for one year. The socialist president of the OPEC member state says he needs the greater personal power as his government struggles with soaring inflation and shortages of basic goods. Maduro requested the special powers last month, citing the need to fight corruption and take on opponents who are waging “economic warfare” against his government. Maduro, 50, has said he will use the expanded powers to impose caps on private sector profits and crack down on speculators.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Nokia shareholders OK mobile phone division sale to Microsoft

    DECLINING GIANT. An exterior of Nokia's headquarters in Espoo, Finland 3 September 2013. File photo by EPA/Markku Ojala

    Nokia shareholders voted Tuesday, November 19, overwhelmingly in favor of selling the company’s mobile business to US software giant Microsoft in an attempt to reinvent the once-proud Finnish telecoms titan. According to Nokia – which will now become a telecom equipment and services company – the deal was almost unanimously approved (99.7 percent) by a majority of shareholders voting ahead of an extraordinary meeting in Helsinki. Nokia’s share price has doubled since the plan was announced in early September with Microsoft agreeing to pay 5.44 billion euro ($7.35 billion) for the loss-making company’s mobile phone division. The sale of the assets, which include the Lumia smartphone trademark and technology, must take place in early 2014.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Pacquiao, Rios camps get into tussle at gym

    Following the arrival of Brandon Rios and Manny Pacquiao in Macau for their November 24 fight, a verbal and physical altercation ensued between the two camps on Wednesday, November 20. A scuffle broke out at the boxing gym at the Venetian hotel after Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach and Rios’ trainer Robert Garcia exchanged heated words, leading to some pushing and shoving. Other members of the camps got involved as well.

    Read the full story on Rappler.
    Read about Pacquiao and Rios’ arrival in Macau on Rappler.

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