December 12, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Comelec orders over 400 officials to leave office

    Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. File photo by John Javellana

    The Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruled this week that at least 400 newly elected legislative and local officials have been ordered to vacate their posts until they submit an appropriate Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE). The Comelec says 155 did not file SOCEs, with 269 submitting deficient SOCEs. The list includes Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, Pasay City Mayor Tony Calixto, and Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino. The Comelec Campaign Finance Unit also noted that this was only based on a review of the forms, and does not include veracity of information placed in a SOCE. After complying with the proper filing of SOCEs, these officials will be reinstated to their respective offices.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Carandang out; Sevilla is Customs chief

    LEAVING CABINET. Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang leaves the Cabinet effective December 31. File photo by Rappler

    Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang has resigned from his position, Malacañang announced on Thursday, December 12. President Benigno Aquino III accepted his resignation which takes effect on December 31. At the same time, officer in charge John “Sunny” Sevilla was formally appointed head of the Bureau of Customs. A former finance undersecretary, Sevilla replaced Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy Biazon, who resigned after he was implicated in the multi-billlion pork barrel scam during his term as congressman of Muntinlupa.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  3. Pope Francis is Time’s Person of the Year

    PRO-CHILDREN. Pope Francis blesses a baby as he arrives for his weekly General Audience in St. Peter's square, Vatican City, December 4, 2013. Photo by Ettore Ferrari/EPA

    Time Magazine on Wednesday, December 11, named Pope Francis as its person of the year for 2013. “Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly—young and old, faithful and cynical—as has Pope Francis,” wrote Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs. Time noted how the pope has managed to help create a focus on pressing issues like wealth accumulation and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, globalization, and the role of women in his 9 months as the leader of the world’s Catholics, urging the 1.2-billion-strong flock to be more engaged especially in helping the world’s needy.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Snowden hopes leaks lead to greater transparency

    SURVEILLANCE LIMITS. Edward Snowden says indiscriminate spying is a

    Former US national security contractor Edward Snowden hopes his leaks of classified documents will lead to greater transparency by governments, he said in rare comments published Wednesday, December 11. The fugitive Snowden, Time’s runner-up behind the pope for its person of the year, told the magazine he chose to defy his obligations when he learned the scope of surveillance programs conducted without being disclosed. He said he took the risk of publicizing the data because of the dangers he saw of a surveillance state. He also told Time that he hopes his disclosures will help bring about changes by forcing a rethinking by the public, the technology community, the US courts, Congress and the executive branch.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Roxas calls video of meeting with Romualdez inaccurate, malicious

    'MALICIOUS.' Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas says the

    Interior and Local Secretary Mar Roxas on Wednesday, December 11, hit back at Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez for releasing an “edited” video of a meeting held in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The video was released on social media one day after a tearful Romualdez said national government refused to help Tacloban unless he signed an ordinance to allow it. In the meeting, Roxas supposedly told Romualdez: “You have to remember, we have to be careful. You are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino.” Romualdez comes from the clan of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, whose husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, put the President’s father in jail. Aquino’s father, Benigno Jr, was assassinated under the Marcos regime.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Giraffes, zebras hurt by Yolanda

    CALAMITY. Typhoon Yolanda's wrath in Coron, Palawan. File photo by EPA/Office of the Mayor of Coron

    African wildlife that included giraffes and zebras in Calauit Island in Palawan were badly injured and left with almost no food when Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit land last November 8. The Vienna-based Four Paws International reported that at least 8 giraffes out of 21 need medical treatment, while 2-3 zebras have not been eating well. The 3,760-hectare Calauit Island was turned into a wildlife reserve by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1976 and populated with African wildlife. It originally was stocked with 104 heads of giraffe, zebra, impala, gazelle, eland, topi and bushbuck from Kenya, among others.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Yellowstone supervolcano ‘colossal’

     UNITED STATES, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK : The Abyss geothermal pool is seen October 8, 2012 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Yellowstone protects 10,000 or so geysers, mudpots, steamvents, and hot springs.Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. It was established in 1872. Yellowstone extends through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park's name is derived from the Yellowstone River, which runs through the park. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER

    If the Yellowstone supervolcano were to erupt today, the consequences would be catastrophic. Scientists have found that the magma chamber of the supervolcano that lies beneath the Yellowstone National Park in the US is 2.5 times larger than earlier thought, and contains up to 600 cubic km of molten rock. The supervolcano’s chamber stretches up to 15 km deep and spans 30 km; its chamber is about 90 km long. The last major eruption 640,000 years ago belched out ash across the whole North America, affecting climate. According to estimates by scientists a massive eruption is overdue, considering that the volcano goes off roughly every 700,000 years.

    Read the full story on the BBC.

  8. Google expands to Asia, opens first data centers

    WELCOME. Scott Beaumont, the manger director of Google Greater China, speaks during a launch ceremony at the Google data center in Changhua, central Taiwan. Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP

    The growing market and soaring demand in Asia has prompted Google to look east. On Wednesday, December 11, US search engine giant Google inaugurated one of its new data centers in central Taiwan, and announced that a similar center had been set up in Singapore. It scrapped its plans for Hong Kong because of land acquisition problems. Google vice president Joe Kava said the growth in Asia’s Internet has been “amazing.” He pointed out that in India alone, users doubled from 100 million to 200 million. Between July and September 2013, over 600 million people in Asia landed on mobile Internet for the first time, Kava said. “That’s almost two Canadas,” he pointed out. Google said it will double its planned investment in the Changhua Center to US$600 million.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. No big deal about Obama selfie picture – photographer

    SOUTH AFRICA, Johannesburg : ALTERNATIVE CROP US President Barack Obama (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a selfie picture with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt (C) next to US First Lady Michelle Obama (R) during the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013. Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, died in Johannesburg on December 5 at age 95. AFP PHOTO / ROBERTO SCHMIDT

    An Agence France-Presse (AFP) photojournalist who caught US President Barack Obama taking a selfie with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Nelson Mandela Memorial said the world was getting it all wrong. The photo taken by AFP’s Roberto Schmidt landed on pages around the world, and earned criticism for the world leaders for their behavior during a serious and solemn event. Critics noticed how First Lady Michelle Obama seemed displeased. But Schmidt said, “But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.”

    Read the full story on the Huffington Post.

  10. Avoid cyber-scams this Christmas

    NDIA, NEW DELHI : Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt gestures as he addresses a gathering at the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) startup event in New Delhi on March 20, 2013. Schmidt is in the Indian capital to take part in the Big Tent Activate summit on March 21. AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA

    With the Christmas rush just round the corner, the temptation to go shopping online might be as strong as ever. A University of Surrey professor compiled a list of 12 common cyber-scams to watch out for. Among others, they include: phishing, fake virus checkers, fake upgrades, “current news scams,” illegal “cracked” downloads, fake free wi-fi, insecure websites, and phone calls that seek to obtain user names and passwords. Professor Alan Woodward warned that there are more scams to watch out for this holiday season. Scams are likely to victimize those who fall for traps that appear useful, personal, and relevant.

    Read the full story on the BBC.

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