June 27, 2014 Edition

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

  1. US anti-terror team in the Philippines to be dissolved

    Photo by Laurenz Castilio/EPA

    The United States it will disband its anti-terror task force in the Philippines’ conflict-torn Mindanao island after 12 years of operation. The US government says since the task force was formed in 2002, it has helped Filipino troops in drastically reducing extremist threats, especially those coming from the Filipino Muslim group Abu Sayyaf that were linked to the worst terror attacks in the country’s history. Only 200 American servicemen are left of the 600 who used to rotate in the south. After a transition period, many of the functions of the task force will be placed under a special team called the Pacific Command Augmentation Team.

    Read the full story here.

  2. China denounces PH for pushing for militarily active Japan

    Photo by Yuya Shino/Pool/EPA

    The idea of Japan’s army actively helping neighbor countries doesn’t sit well with another country that twice went into war with it. And so China criticized the Philippines when President Benigno Aquino III spoke in support of removing Japan’s constitutional restrictions to be able to help its allies that are under attack. The Philippines and Japan are both locked in territorial disputes with China. But while it was Beijing’s increasing aggressiveness in the region that that prompted neighbors to bolster ties, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying criticized Manila for seeking “to promote the international influence” of the Japanese army.

    Read the full story here.

  3. Anti-graft court won’t allow changes in case’s info sheet

    AFP photo

    The Philippine anti-graft court Sandiganbayan denied the motion of government prosecutors to change some details in the plunder information they had filed against Senator Ramon Revilla Jr in connection with the pork barrel scam. Prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman had said that alleged mastermind Janet Napoles siphoned off millions in lawmakers’ development funds for fake non-governmental organizations – and in the process gave the lawmakers kickbacks – for her personal gain. Napoles, who is a co-accused of all 3 senators facing charges, argued that since her acts were meant to enrich herself and not the senators, then there was no plunder committed. Prosecutors sought to change that loophole, a day before Senator Revilla’s arraignment, where the Sandiganbayan entered a not guilty plea for him. The prosecutors filed the same motion to amend information in the cases of two other senators who have yet to be arraigned.

    Read the full story here.

  4. Bishops to Catholic schools: Don’t lay off teachers under new program

    As college professors expressed fear over massive retrenchment starting 2016 as a consequence of a new curriculum to be adopted by government, bishops urged Catholic schools to be charitable to teachers and instead be creative so as to provide them jobs. Since the new curriculum will add 2 years to the current 4-year high school program, there will be no or very minimal college freshman enrollment until academic year 2021-2022. Because of this, teachers groups say around 30,000 professors and 15,000 non-teaching staff in colleges will be retrenched. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, however, said religion-based schools make the law of “charity” take precedence over the country’s labor laws.

    Read the full story here.

  5. Two companies ordered to stop sending spam texts to Globe subscribers

    There are many of them that annoy Globe mobile phone subscribers with unsolicited text messages, but two getting official orders from the government to stop those spam is a start. Caritas Health Shield Incorporated and Center for Global Best Practices (CGBP) have been ordered by the National Telecommunications Commission to immediately stop with these activities. Subscribers have taken to social media to voice their complaints against spam messages, prompting Globe Telecom Incorporated to file separate complaints against the two firms and warning it would do the same to other companies “unless they unilaterally stop sending annoying spam messages to our customers.”

    Read the full story here.

  6. Financial execs earn highest among government officials

    Screen grab from Vergara's #TalkThursday interview

    Officials of government financial institutions received the highest take-home pay among public servants in 2013, according to state auditors, who annually release a Report on Salaries and Allowances of ranking officials. Topping the list for the second straight year was Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Robert G. Vergara, with a take-home pay of P12.09 million ($275,618). Auditors draw up the list based on the basic salaries, bonuses, incentives, and other allowances received by the officials.

    See the complete list here.

  7. Asians told: Reduce risks, don’t wait for another catastrophe

    File photo courtesy of the United Nations

    A United Nations official for disaster risk reduction warned Asians against slipping back to complacency after they experience a degree of rehabilitation after a natural catastrophe, saying this would slow progress. “It is morally unacceptable that we need regular big catastrophes to continue to action,” said Margareta Wahlström told journalists on the sidelines of a Bangkok event attended by 3,000 international volunteers, including 22 government ministers. She said it takes 18 months after a catastrophe for people to forget, and this “short-term memory” poses the problem of “inability to link issues together.”

    Read the report here.

    Also at the conference, Rappler’s documentary “After Yolanda: The Barber of Guiuan” was named the best film in the professional media category.

  8. Civilians fleeing Pakistan fightings threaten to spread polio virus

    Pakistani health officials are rushing to vaccinate more than 200,000 children against polio in Bannu and 3 other districts adjacent to North Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold where the military has launched an operation. The tribal area is also a hotspot for the crippling disease, and there are fears that civilian exodus from it could spread the disease around the country. Children in the district have not been vaccinated since Taliban and local warlords banned health teams from giving out drops in June 2012. Health workers are now vaccinating both resident families in the threatened areas as well as the and newcomers fleeing the offensive.

    Read the report here.

  9. ‘Dark Knight’ star’s apology over Jews-in-Hollywood comment rejected

    Photo by Paul Buck/EPA

    British actor Gary Oldman has apologized to the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center for his remarks that Hollywood is “run by Jews” and his defense of actor Mel Gibson who made a notorious anti-Semitic rant after being arrested for drunk driving in California. The ADL, however, dismissed his apology as “insufficient,” saying Oldman’s remark “has a very familiar sinister ring to it that is the anthem of bigots and anti-Semites everywhere.” The actor acknowledged that his “insensitive” remark in a Playboy magazine interview “may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype.”

    Read the report here.

  10. London designer asks WikiLeaks founder to do the catwalk

    Photo by Gian Paul Lozza/AFP/Sunshine Press Productions

    British designer Ben Westwood has asked Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder currently holed up at Ecuador’s London Embassy, to star in a fashion show along with Hollywood celebrities. Assange, an Australian, is trying to avoid extradition to Sweden for publishing highly classified American military and diplomatic documents in 2010. Westwood’s mother, legendary British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, is a keen supporter of Assange, and wore a T-shirt with the slogan “I am Julian Assange” when she paid him a visit at the embassy in 2012. “He is a good-looking man and I hope he is going to model,” Ben Westwood said.

    Read here who are the other celebrities being invited to grace the London Fashion Week

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