February 3, 2014 Edition

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  1. Basyang leaves at least 6 dead

    At least 6 people were left dead by Tropical Storm Basyang (Kajiki), while 5 others were reported missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Monday, February 3. Basyang, the second weather disturbance to hit the country in 2014, killed 5 in Cebu and one in Southern Leyte. The NDRRMC said 3 of those who died drowned in a flood, two were electrocuted, and one was buried in a landslide. The 5 reported missing in Cebu included 4 Filipinos and one Korean. The motor banca they were riding sank at sea between Danao City and Camotes Island.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Protesters mar voting in Thai polls

    Christophe Archambault/AFP

    Results of the Thai elections may not be known for at least weeks as opposition protesters prevented voters from casting their votes in thousands of polling stations in Thailand. The disruption also means there may be an inadequate number of members of parliament to convene parliament and appoint a government until new elections are held in areas where voting was not held. This has pushed Thailand into political limbo, which, experts say, could invite a military or judicial coup. Protesters want to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down, believing she is a mere puppet for elder brother Thaksin, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Search for survivors of volcano eruption begins


    Government officials on Sunday, February 2, started searching for the dead in the aftermath of Mt Sinabung’s eruption that killed at least 15 people. The volcano erupted on Saturday, unleashing hot rocks and ash up to 2,000 meters into the air. Rescuers had to search for bodies buried in ash up to 12 inches thick. Residents of Sukameriah village, in the “red zone” around the volcano, had been evacuated. Mt Sinabung is one of Indonesia’s 129 active volcanoes that straddle the Pacific Ring of Fire.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Military offensive against BIFF ends

    Photo from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

    Done. The military has officially ended operations against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), intended to protect the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from possible spoilers. Known as “Operation Darkhorse,” the week-long offensive resulted in the death of 52 BIFF members and the wounding of 49 others. Four BIFF camps were also captured, along with an improvised explosive device (IED) factory. On the government side, one soldier was killed and 20 were wounded; 8 civilians caught in the crossfire were also wounded, including journalists. Smaller-scale operations will be conducted by the military to pursue the remaining splinter groups.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A related story on the BIFF’s use of child soldiers is also on Rappler.

  5. Napoles also partook of Loi Estrada’s pork

    TIES. The Estrada couple is seen in socials with suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles.

    Suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles benefitted from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of both Senator Jinggoy Estrada and his mother, former senator Loi Ejercito Estrada. Similarly, both mother and son allegedly got commissions in exchange for allocating their pork barrel to fake non-governmental organizations linked to Napoles. Funds were coursed through the Department of Agriculture, as indicated by letters addressed by Loi Estrada to then Agriculture secretaries Arthur Yap and Domingo Panganiban from 2005 to 2007. Napoles got through mother and son via Ruby Tuason, then the social secretary of former President Joseph Estrada.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Fixers still abound at LTO

    EPA file photo

    In the first half of 2013, Metro Manila Development statistics show that in the metro alone, 867 drivers were caught driving with fake licenses. As it turns out, fixers continue to operate at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) main branch in Quezon City. In connivance with LTO insiders, they charge clients who want to get their licenses the fastest way possible – skirting requirements and tests – as much as P15,000 for “legal” licenses. Other fixers charge as low as P3,500 for licenses that are not recorded in the LTO’s files. But once caught with a non-LTO registered license, hefty fines await a violator. Like other government offices where corruption thrives, collections are shared by employees who collude with fixers.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Cannabis oil is last hope for ‘Moms for marijuana’

    If your 21-year-old son suffers from seizures and if medical marijuana is reported to calm the brain and reduce seizures, wouldn’t you try to look for it as an alternative? Cynthia Algas-Vargas did just that even if told she could be jailed for just looking for marijuana. Other mothers who are part of “Moms for marijuana” are asking lawmakers to at least allow a review of marijuana’s medicinal value. They also want government to begin formal research on it so that cannabi oil can be used with food for their children. Vargas said she hopes mothers would not have to find ways to go to Colorado in the US for treatment. There, medical marijuana is legal.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead

    Robyn Beck/AFP

    46-year-old Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won an Oscar in 2006 for best actor in the movie “Capote” was found dead on Sunday, February 2, in his New York apartment. A police official was quoted as saying, “It appears to be an alleged overdose.” He was found on the bathroom floor with a syringe in his arm, clad in shorts and a T-shirt. Hoffman left behind his partner, costume designer Mimi O’Donnell, and 3 children. In a statement, his family asked for respect for their privacy during their grief. After “Capote,” Hoffman had 3 more Oscar nominations.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Woody Allen accused of sex abuse anew

    Dylan Farrow, daughter of actress Mia Farrow, renewed claims that her adoptive father, film director and writer Woody Allen sexually abused her at the age of 7 – an accusation he strongly rejected. Investigated over the earlier claims of abuse, Allen was not charged after a panel of psychologists found that Dylan had not been molested. Allen also accused Dylan’s mother Mia of lying and fabricating the accusations after their bitter parting in 1992. In an open letter published on the New York Times website, Dylan said she was molested in a “dim, closet-like attic” by the filmmaker. Allen was a recent recipient of the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    The original letter of Dylan Farrow is on the New York Times.

  10. Seattle Seahawks win over Denver Broncos

    Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA

    Defense wins championships. The Seattle Seahawks held down the Denver Broncos to just 8 points while scoring 43 for the most lopsided win in Super Bowl since Dallas defeated Buffalo, 52-17, in 1993. This is the Seahawks’ first-ever Vince Lombardi trophy. Seattle also made history making the fastest score in Super Bowl after securing two points on a safety 12 seconds into the game. Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch scored the first touchdown for the Seahawks in the first quarter. Fil-Am Douglas Baldwin Jr also scored a touchdown for the Seahawks. Bruno Mars performed at half-time singing his hit songs, “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Treasure,” and “Just The Way You Are.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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