December 9, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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  1. PM calls for snap elections

    DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announces she will dissolve parliament. AFP / Pornchai Kittiwongsakul

    Thailand’s premier called a snap election Monday, December 9, to try to defuse the kingdom’s political crisis, but protesters vowed to keep up their fight to topple her government with a major rally described as “judgment day.” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced in a televised national address early Monday that she would dissolve parliament and hold a general election “as soon as possible.” She has faced more than a month of street protests by demonstrators, sometimes numbering in their tens of thousands, who want to suspend the country’s democracy in favor of an unelected “People’s Council.” Thai opposition lawmakers resigned en masse from parliament Sunday, December 8, deepening the crisis.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  2. Gov’t, MILF a step closer to final deal

    SIGNED. The government and the MILF ink a deal on power-sharing between the central government and the proposed Bangsamoro political entity. Photo by OPAPP

    They are not going to meet their self-imposed deadline for a final peace deal this year, but the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front moved a step closer to it in talks in Kuala Lumpur December 8. The two panels signed a crucial deal on power sharing – one of the most contentious issues in the peace negotiations. The agreement specifies what powers are reserved for the central government and those that will be exercised independently by the envisioned Bangsamoro political entity. The plan is to set up a ministerial form of government with at least 50 legislative members. Both sides hope to sign a deal next year to pave the way for the crafting of a new law and the transition to a new political region in Mindanao before President Benigno Aquino III ends his term in June 2016.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  3. Week-long state funeral for Nelson Mandela


    South Africans on December 8 started a nationwide day of prayer to mark the formal start of a week-long state funeral for Nelson Mandela. US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will be among 80,000 people attending a vast memorial service on Tuesday, December 10, in the Soweto sports stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup final. The commemorations will culminate in Mandela’s burial on December 15 in Qunu – the rural village where he spent his early childhood. Among the many world leaders scheduled to attend the funeral are French President Francois Hollande, the British and Canadian prime ministers David Cameron and Stephen Harper, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. 18 hurt in workers’ riot

    WORST OUTBREAK. Two police cars flipped to their sides remain in the street after a riot broke out in Singapore, in the early hours of December 9, 2013. A riot broke out among South Asian workers in Singapore late in the night of December 8, damaging police cars and other vehicles in the city state's Little India district. Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP

    Hundreds of South Asian workers rioted late Sunday, December 8, after being enraged by a fatal road accident, leaving 18 people injured and police vehicles burnt in the city-state’s worst outbreak of violence in more than 40 years. The disturbance started in the congested Little India district when a 33-year-old Indian man was killed after being hit by a private bus. Police said about 400 people on the scene began rioting, attacking the bus as well as police vehicles after officers responded to reports of a commotion. A total of 27 South Asian workers were arrested on charges of rioting, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison plus caning.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. North Korea sacks leader’s uncle

    DISMISSED UNCLE. A South Korean man watches TV news about the alleged dismissal of Jang Song-Thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's uncle, at a railway station in Seoul on December 3, 2013. Photo by Jung Yeon-Je/AFP

    North Korea confirmed on December 9, that leader Kim Jong-Un’s uncle Jang Song-Thaek was removed from office for committing “criminal” acts and for leading a “counter-revolutionary faction.” The story shocked many since Jang was once considered the second-most powerful leader in North Korea. Reports say it was he who handled sensitive negotiations with China. The North Korean state news agency said what Jang did baffled the imagination and caused “tremendous harm to our party and the revolution.”


    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Protesters brace for ‘judgment day’

    Anti-government protesters braced for a final push on Monday, December 9, to bring down the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Organizers call it “judgment day.” On December 8, Thai opposition lawmakers resigned en masse. Tensions remained high in Bangkok following several days of street clashes that hav left 5 people dead and more than 200 injured. The protesters want to suspend the country’s democracy in favor of an unelected “people’s council.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Aquino party mate resigns

    Photo courtesy of the Local Water Utilities Administration

    A party mate of President Benigno Aquino III with alleged links to the pork barrel scam has resigned, Malacañang announced. Rene Villa quit as acting chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) on November 30. Villa was thrust into the limelight after he was named by pork barrel scam whistleblowers, Marina Sula specifically, as among those present in events organized by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. A close associate of Senate President Franklin Drilon, Villa was Napoles’ counsel for 4 years. Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson will oversee LWUA in the meantime.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Gov’t looks at staggered increases

    HIGHER BILLS. Meralco customers will have to shell out more for electricity this December and January. Photo by Agence France-Presse/Jay Directo

    Malacañang has assured Filipino consumers it will “use its power” to soften the blow of an impending P3.4397 per kilowatt-hour increase in Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) power rates. Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma said power firms “have the responsibility to make decisions that will be just and beneficial to the citizens.” Energy officials said they wanted to implement the price increase in at least 3 phases to soften its blow on consumers. The price hike is due to the month-long maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas facility, a major source of fuel to produce electricity for Meralco power suppliers. The shutdown of major powerplants in Luzon aggravated the situation.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Lacson gets Cabinet rank

    REHABILITATION. Both former Sen Ping Lacson and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas will be tasked with rehabilitation after Super Typhoon Yolanda. Will they be able to work together? Rappler file photos

    A month after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated the Visayas, Malacañang announced that the man in charge of government’s rehabilitation plan will carry a Cabinet rank. Former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson is waiting for an executive order that will formalize this as well as define his powers and functions. Malacañang however gave assurances this would not run in conflict with the current tasks of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, who deals with local governments affected by the monster typhoon. But political observers who look ahead to the 2016 presidential elections see otherwise. Roxas, after all, has been touted as President Benigno Aquino III’s candidate in the 2016 race.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. It’s Miss Venezuela!

    Miss Venezuela Alyz Henrich was crowned Miss Earth 2013 at the pageant held Saturday, December 7, at the Versailles Alabang in Las Piñas, Metro Manila. Miss Philippines Angelee delos Reyes came in the Top 8.  In the question and answer portion, Henrich was asked how eco-tourism contributes to the protection of the environment. She highlighted how destruction is caused by people and that “we need to be aware and care for Mother Earth.” The 22-year-old is an advocate of clean water. In her Miss Earth profile, she shared how she helped in the recollection of trash in the Los Roques Island Chain, supporting the cause directed by a brilliant 12-year-old kid, who began to work to keep the waters in Venezuela clean.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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