March 4, 2014 Edition

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  1. Forbes lists world’s richest for 2014

    Ten Filipino businessmen with a combined net worth of US$40.1 billion made it to Forbes Magazine’s prestigious list of world billionaires for 2014, ranking alongside Bill Gates, who has reclaimed his place as the richest man in the world. The annual list counted 1,645 men and women as billionaires, with an average wealth of $4.5 billion and a collective wealth of $6.4 trillion, up $1 trillion from a year ago. The richest Filipino – 89-year-old Henry Sy Sr – landed on 97th place with a net worth of $13.2 billion.
    Read the full story on Rappler.
    Read about Bill Gates’ ranking on Forbes’ list on Rappler.

  2. Giant virus alive again

     Image courtesy Julia Bartoli and Chantal Abergel/IGS and CNRS-AMU

    A giant, harmless virus locked in the Siberian permafrost for more than 30,000 years was revived by French scientists.  They thawed the virus and watched it replicate in a culture in a petri dish, where it infected an amoeba, a single-cell organism. Called the Pithovirus sibericum, the virus has 500 genes compared to the influenza virus that has only 8. The scientific work has implications on public health risks “in connection with exploiting mineral or energy resources in Arctic Circle regions that are becoming more and more accessible through global warming, the French National Center for Scientific Research said in a statement.
    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Russian troops enter Crimea

    Photo by AFP

    Ukraine accused Russia on Monday, March 3, of pouring more troops into Crimea as world leaders grappled with Europe’s worst standoff since the Cold War. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the troops were needed in the flashpoint Black Sea peninsula until “the stabilization of the situation” in Ukraine, and criticized the West for its threats of “sanctions and boycotts.” The new leaders in Kiev branded the move a declaration of “war” and jittery global markets sank on Monday over fears of a conflict while the price of oil surged.
    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Binay hits Koko and Cayetano

    Vice President Jejomar Binay dismissed Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel’s request for him to submit a letter of resignation from the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) to formalize his departure. Binay, who was a member of the PDP-Laban for 30 years was party chairman, while Pimentel remains president. At the same time, Binay also took a swipe at Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano for attacking him over his statements on the pork barrel scam – just to earn mileage. Binay and Pimentel had a rift in 2013 when Pimentel’s political rival Juan Miguel Zubiri was accepted into the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.
    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A related story on Binay’s criticism of Cayetano is also on Rappler.

  5. Doctors decry BIR ad

    Photo by Mutya Bernardo

    The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) tagged as “unfair” to Filipino doctors an advertisement by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The ad, which appeared in a newspaper on Sunday, March 2, showed a doctor piggybacking on a school teacher with a tally of their income showing that the doctor did not pay taxes while the teacher did. The image was accompanied by the following text: ‘When you don’t pay your taxes, you’re a burden to those who do.” PMA President Dr Leo Olarte said in a statement that while the PMA supports the government’s campaign to collect proper taxes, the perception that medical doctors are tax cheats “is absolutely unfair.”
    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. MVP eyed as VP?

     Photo by AFP

    Even big businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) is in the running as possible vice presidential candidate of Vice President Jejomar Binay. He said Pangilinan’s track record as a “successful businessman” is a major consideration. “There is no agreement yet but personally, from my experience as mayor, if there is no revenue, there is no project. If you have a successful businessman with a track record in raising revenue in the business side of it, then that’s good. That’s his talent,” Binay said. In October 2013, Pangilinan however said “no political blood…runs through my veins. I believe I can serve our people better some other way.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Tagle: donate and give to relief efforts

    File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

    Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged Catholics to donate to children hit by recent calamities, such as Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), through various forms of fasting and abstinence beginning Ash Wednesday, March 5. Under the Fast2Feed program, money that one “would otherwise spend for food” can feed children who survived Yolanda, the Zamboanga siege, and the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Bohol and Cebu. Fast2Feed forms part of the Hapag-Asa program, which aims to feed each beneficiary for 6 months and to train each of their parents for employment or business.
    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Collaboration key to end hunger

    All photos from Rappler

    Fighting hunger is everyone’s responsibility, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said during the launch of the #HungerProject on Monday, March 4. Hunger and malnutrition remain a major development obstacle which should be addressed through joint local and national programs. “This is the future of our country…It’s really the children who are first and foremost affected…These are the people who will be ruling the country in the next generation so we should all be involved,” Soliman said. The #HungerProject is a partnership among the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the World Food Programme, and Rappler.
    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Pistorius neighbor heard ‘bloodcurdling screams’

    “Terrible screams” awakened Michelle Burger, a neighbor of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, in the early hours of February 14 last year. Pistorius had pleaded not guilty in the murder of his girlfriend, 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp whom, Pistorius said, he mistook for an intruder. “She screamed terribly and she yelled for help. Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times he yelled for help,” Burger told the court. Burger also said it was very traumatic for her. “You could hear blood curdling screams,” she said.
    Read the full story on BBC.
    A related story is on CNN.

  10. Big data and privacy questions

    Photo by AFP

    The president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, L. Rafael Reif, warned about protecting privacy even as the potentials of digital learning are harnessed. “How do we set the boundaries, and balance the competing interests?…If you believe in the potential of digital learning you have to care about the larger question: How can we harness this flood of data to generate positive change – without destroying the very idea of privacy,” he said during a workshop on Big Data Privacy, sponsored in part by the White House. John Podesta, counselor to the president, said the goal of the big data privacy review is to determine how both the public and private sectors could maximize the flow of information needed for innovation, while minimizing privacy risks.
    Read the full story on the New York Times.

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