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- Delays in building power plants lead to tight energy supply
The chairman of the Senate committee on energy on Thursday pointed to petitions by environmentalists as a major cause of delay in building power plants.This was after Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla admitted in a hearing on the power rate hike that electricity supply will be tight until 2016. He gave guarantees, however, that there will be no power failure similar to the 10-hour daily blackouts during the time of President Corazon Aquino. Petilla said the DOE is looking at coal, geothermal, and liquefied natural gas as additional energy sources.
Read here what transpired during the Senate hearing.
- Filipinos in Bangkok told to prepare for evacuation
The Philippines has advised its nationals in Bangkok and surrounding areas to “prepare for evacuation” as political tension worsens in the Thai capital. The Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday Alter Level 2 is issued “when there are real threats to the life, security, and property of Filipinos arising from internal disturbance or external threat.” The 60-day state emergency imposed by the government commenced on Tuesday, but anti-government forces have vowed to continue with demonstrations.
The full advisory is here.
- Rehab czar says it’s easier to talk to private sector
Panfilo Lacson, the President’s assistant for rehabilitation work in areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), on Thursday announced 9 big local companies that have adopted towns for reconstruction. He told a gathering of experts and businessmen that his position as a mere coordinator of agencies prevents him from getting things done faster. This is why he prefers working with the private sector, because he can recommend where funds or investments are needed. The government, where he doesn’t have a voice on how much is needed and where, should just be a “fallback.”
Find out which big businesses are helping in the rehabilitation here.
- Gov’t, MILF ‘finding good compromises’ in KL talks
The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said on Thursday they are close to hammering out a final deal aimed at ending 4 decades of rebellion in Mindanao. Chief negotiators Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of the government and Mohagher Iqbal of the MILF are encouraged by the fact that both sides are so far “finding good and comprehensive compromises” in this 43rd round of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur.
Read the full story on Rappler.
- DepEd misses 2012 classroom building target by 72%: COA
The Commission on Audit said in a report published Wednesday, January 22, that the Department of Education (DepEd) missed its target number of constructed new classrooms for 2012 by 72%. Only 2,313 of the 8,353 targeted classrooms for construction in 2012 were completed. Auditors found out that 5,797 proposed classrooms were still listed under “ongoing construction,” while 243 proposed classrooms have not been started. A total of P7.71 billion was allotted for the school building project that year under the School Building Projects of the Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF).
Read the full story on Rappler.
- Drunk, drag racing Justin Bieber arrested in Miami Beach
Singer Justin Bieber is facing charges in Miami for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, having no valid driver’s license out of the state of Georgia, and resisting arrest without violence. The Miami Police arrested him at dawn Thursday for drag racing and alleged DUI. Bieber was racing a yellow Lamborghini against singer friend Khalil Amir Sharieff, who was also arrested. Bieber first reportedly told the police “Why the f*** are you doing this?” before finally admitting he had taken alcohol and prescription drugs and have smoked marijuana.
Read the full story here.
- Snowden not coming home until US reforms law on whistleblowers
The National Security Agency contractor who leaked US surveillance data acknowledged that “returning” to his country is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself,” but he is not about to do so. He does not expect to get a fair trial in the US because its Whistleblower Protection Act does “not cover national security contractors like myself,” he said in his first public forum since June. “The hundred-year old law under which I’ve been charged… forbids a public interest defense,” he said.
Read more on Rappler.
- More than 30 feared dead in Quebec retirement home
About 30 elderly people are feared to have died in a midnight fire that hit a retirement home in a small town in Quebec, Canada. Authorities expect the death toll to rise. The home housed around 50 to 60 people, half of them over 85 years of age, but only the remains of 3 victims had been recovered so far. An adjacent pharmacy and a community center were also destroyed, while the Red Cross set up a makeshift shelter at a local school for rescued people.
Read more here.
- Kevin Durant, LeBron James complete US basketball pool
Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant and Miami playmaker LeBron James were named Thursday to the United States’ team for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, completing what coach Mike Krzyzewski calls a strong pool. Durant leads the NBA with 31 points a game, while James ranks second at 26.2. They, like about half of the entire team, also played for the US in the 2012 London Olympics. The roster features the NBA’s 11 current top scorers, seven of the NBA’s top 11 rebounders, 2 assists leaders, and a blocked shot leader.
See the complete list of players here.
- Hollywood director runs after agent who leaked his screenplay
A “very, very depressed” Quentin Tarantino – famous for directing Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, and Reservoir Dogs – is on the warpath after someone leaked his latest screenplay. He has decided to scrap The Hateful Eight as a film project and will turn it into a book. Still, he wants to expose who leaked it to “everyone in Hollywood.” He said he shared it only with 3 actors, who showed it to their respective agents. But since he was certain Tim Roth didn’t do it, only the agents of actors Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern could have leaked it.
Full story here.