July 28, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Aquino no longer being compared to past presidents

    File photo by Gil Nartea/Malacanang Photo Bureau

    President Benigno Aquino III delivers his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, July 28, at a time public trust in these two institutions are at an all-time low. Political Science professor Benjamin Tolosa Jr said, “Norms are changing, especially because the President himself has set the bar very high with matuwid na daan (straight path).” Tolosa added the President is “no longer being compared to these administrations. He’s being judged based on the standard he set.” The professor added, it is the president’s refusal to admit lapses combined with his self-righteousness that turn people off. Tolosa also brought up another administration slogan: “Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap” (without corruption, there will be no poverty). He noted development goals to address poverty and inequality will also address the problems of patronage.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    React to Aquino’s #SONA2014 on Rappler’s Mood Meter.

  2. PH businessmen’s wishlist

    Business groups have a “wish list” for the 5th SONA. The list is long: Improve competitiveness, increase foreign direct investment and fast-track reforms particularly in infrastructure. Stabilize power supply at competitive cost. Create jobs to address poverty. Curb smuggling and start customs modernization. Craft manufacturing and other industry roadmaps. And protect agriculture in light of the Association of Southeast Asian integration by 2015. Even political issues made their way to the wishlist: Find a peaceful resolution to the territorial dispute with China. Establish lasting peace in Mindanao and solve the left insurgency problem. And issue a unifying statement that will restore respect to the 3 co-equal branches of government.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. ‘Stricter religions grow stronger’

    Obedience lies at the core of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Rappler’s Paterno Esmaquel explains why this culture of “opo” – a total, unquestioning “yes” to God through INC ministers – pervades and strengthens the INC. Sociologist Jayeel Cornelio told Rappler the success of the INC partly “lies in its strictness” adding that “In the sociology of religion, stricter religions are stronger.” INC spokesman Bro Edwil Zabala stressed that obedience is “very important” in the INC, “even if it goes against your personal wishes.” But obedience has its perks. While the INC’s top-down organization allows it to cascade its instructions, this same cohesive organization allows the church to assist its members in basic necessities like housing and employment. The church has its own job placement office to help members find jobs. It finds housing for its members, using its political clout with local and national politicians. It even built exclusive housing enclaves for INC members.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read more on INC’s recruitment process.

    Watch this video essay on Rappler.

  4. Netherlands junks ‘armed mission’ to secure MH17

    Photo by Alyona Zykina/EPA

    Dutch authorities probing the downing of Flight MH17 over Ukraine said Sunday it was “unrealistic” to send armed troops to the crash site. The Netherlands and Australia planned to send armed officers to ensure the safety of investigators, but Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said this is no longer viable. This comes after 13 people were killed in fierce fighting in insurgent-held east Ukraine. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said rebels were responsible for any violence close to the crash site. Meanwhile, the United States released satellite images to support its claim that Russian artillery had fired across the border into Ukraine in support of separatist rebels. The photos show what Washington alleges is Russian-supplied weaponry being fired by rebels from within Ukraine. Moscow denied the allegations, and accused Washington of mounting a smear campaign against it.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read the story on problems of the MH17 crash site probe.

    Read the story on the US claims Russians fired at Ukraine.

  5. Plane disasters and the fear of flying

    After 3 major air disasters in one week, many passengers feel uneasy about boarding their flights. On Internet forums, fear of flying is rampant among passengers. One passenger wrote, “My hands are shaking so much right now it’s hard to type. This is four incidents on commercial aircraft in six months.” Even International Air Transport Association director Tony Tyler admitted people are questioning air safety. But passengers are being reassured it’s still safe to fly on planes. The latest scare comes after planes went down with no survivors in Ukraine and Mali, and another aircraft crashed in Taiwan. Over the weekend, Dutch authorities identified the first of the 298 people killed when Flight MH17 was shot down. The incident has also claimed another victim: a 93-year-old man from Netherlands who succumbed to the “indescribable grief” of losing his daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in the crash.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read the story of the “heart-broken” father.

    Read the story of the first victim identified.

  6. Indonesia’s Jokowi faces huge reform challenge

    After his resounding victory in Indonesia’s presidential race, Jakarta governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo now faces the daunting task of implementing reforms and delivering on his campaign promises. The challenges are enormous: Indonesia’s public service is dogged by corruption and bureaucracy, the economy is flagging, and around half the population of 250 million people are poor. Jokowi has pledged to eventually scrap energy subsidies that eat 20% of the state budget — a politically sensitive move that has met fierce resistance. The former Jakarta governor may also encounter challenges pushing legislation through parliament, where the coalition of his rival Prabowo Subianto holds more seats. Jokowi also faces the task of ensuring a sturdier social safety net for millions of poor Indonesians. He has promised to upscale his popular Jakarta health and education card program to the national level.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Man pointing gun at taxi driver sparks anger on social media

    In a video that made rounds on Facebook this week, two drivers were caught in a heated argument in the middle of a flyover along EDSA and near Camp Crame. A man wearing a blue shirt kicked the door of a white taxi and tried to stop its driver from getting out. He pulled out a gun as the taxi driver emerged holding a sharp-pointed object. The two argued for a while, before the man in the blue shirt put his gun away and drove off in his Mercedes Benz. But the taxi driver took off after the car, cutting it off at another side of EDSA for another round of confrontation. The video was shot from inside one of the public buses plying EDSA. A Facebook user echoes the general view: “People like these should be stripped off their gun licenses”. The video had 35,603 shares before it was taken down Saturday, but was reposted by another user.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. The housing crisis and the 100 millionth Filipino

    The Philippine population hits a new milestone Sunday, July 27, with the birth of baby Chonalyn, the 100 millionth Filipino. A research  A 2012 research by the University of Asia and the Pacific projects the Philippines will grow to 109.74 million in 2020 and further increase to 126.32 million in 2030. 500 million people in Asia now live in slums. As the region with the highest growth rate, the United Nations predicts that Asia’s population will be over 5 billion by 2050. Habitat for Humanity’s Charlie Ayco said, “Housing deficits across the continent need to be tackled decisively now as they will become much harder to solve in the future.”

    Read the story on the 100 millionth Filipino baby.

    Read more on the housing crisis in Asia on Rappler.

  9. Cheering robots replace real fans in Korean baseball

    Fans of a struggling baseball team in Korea won’t need to worry if they can’t get to the stadium to support their team — they can have robot fans stand in for them. The Hanwha Eagles are bringing in a crowd of robots that fans can control over the Internet. The robots can cheer, chant, and display the face of the fan controlling the machine. A football expert said the novel idea can be monetized and can provide fans a different viewpoint. But one football fan joked, “What happens if a robotic fan misbehaves? I can see it being fraught with danger. What if it sits in the wrong section? A robotic hooligan!”

    Read the full story on BBC.

  10. ‘Lucy’ tops ‘Hercules’ with $44M at box office

    “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson as a drug mule turned superhuman took in $44 million in North America over the weekend. At a far second place is “Hercules,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson bringing in an estimated $29 million. Universal’s president of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco said audiences were attracted to the original story about the main character accessing more and more of her brain to reach superpower levels. People also wanted to see Johansson in an action role, something she’s been doing a lot lately with the Marvel movies.

    Read the full story on AP.

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