August 6, 2014 Edition

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  1. House continues inquiry into judiciary fund

    Despite a snub by members of the judiciary, the House justice committee continued its probe into the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) on Tuesday, August 5. The committee invited Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and several members of the Court to the Lower House to answer questions on the use of the special fund intended to augment the judicial branch’s budget. But Chief Justice Sereno called the hearings “inappropriate” and declined to send any representative to the congressional probe. There are at least two bills filed in the Lower House seeking to abolish the JDF and to give Congress more oversight into how the judiciary spends its funds. The bills were filed in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision declaring as unconstitutional both the pork barrel and parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. China earthquake death toll over 400

    More than 400 people have died in an earthquake that devastated a Chinese village, officials said Tuesday, August 5, as relatives faced the stark probability that rescuers would only find the remains of their loved ones. The death toll had risen to 410, authorities in the southwestern province of Yunnan said in a statement, as concerns mounted over a barrier lake formed by a landslide blocking a river in the disaster zone. The makeshift dam could burst within days, potentially flooding the already devastated area. The magnitude 6.1 tremor destroyed 80,000 houses and seriously damaged 124,000 more, wrecking the once-idyllic mountainside village of Longtoushan.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. US military general killed in Afghanistan

    A two-star general of the United States Army was gunned down in Afghanistan on Tuesday, August 5. He is the first general to be killed in a US war overseas since Vietnam. Maj Gen Harold Greene was killed by a lone gunman in Afghan military clothing who opened fire at a dozen Western soldiers at the Afghanistan National Military Academy in Kabul. Several soldiers were wounded including 15 German troops. The shooter was killed at the scene. Greene was in charge of the training and development of the Afghan National Security Forces as the US continues to withdraw from the country.

    Read the full story on NBC News.

  4. Disgraced Japan stem cell scientist commits suicide

    A renowned Japanese stem cell scientist who co-wrote research that was later retracted in an embarrassing scandal has been found dead in an apparent suicide, police and officials said Tuesday, August 5. Yoshiki Sasai, 52, was discovered hanging inside the stairwell of the Riken Center for Developmental Biology, one of the country’s most prestigious scientific research institutions. Sasai apparently committed suicide after writing farewell notes. One of the notes was for his ward, 30-year-old Obokata, who unveiled a study on transplant tissue that was hailed as a “game-changer” but who later retracted the same study on claims of false data. Obokata later admitted mistakes in the study were made but insisted the results were still valid.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Aquino sisters open to endorsing Binay

    Vice President Jejomar Binay told the press on Tuesday, August 5 that the Liberal Party is talking about adopting him as the administration’s standard bearer in 2016 to which the Liberal Party denied immediately. But presidential sister and celebrity Kris Aquino had the final word of the day on Tuesday when she said her sisters were considering endorsing Binay. “My sisters and I have been talking about it. We think it’s really possible to have a unity [ticket] because we are not enemies. And if he is going to continue what Noy has started, why not?” said Kris to Boy Abunda during their talk show on ABS-CBN. The youngest Aquino sister stressed, however, that she is only speaking for her and her sisters and not on behalf of the entire family.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Thai surrogate case sparks word war

    A surrogacy case involving an Australian couple and a Thai woman has drawn international attention over accusations hurled against both parties. The Thai woman and mother of twins claimed the Australian couple only took the healthy baby girl and decided to leave the twin brother – who had Down’s syndrome – in Thailand. The mother has vowed to raise the 7-month old boy and even offered to take back the twin sister. But the Australian couple said the woman is “misleading the world,” because they did not know he had Down’s syndrome and were made to believe the boy would not survive due to a congenital heart problem. The case was made even more complex with revelations that the Australian father of the twins has previous convictions for child sex offenses, according to the Australian Associated Press.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Russian hackers steal passwords of billion users

    Image from Shutterstock

    A Russian crime ring has gathered the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user names and passwords and more than 500 million email address, the New York Times reports. The discovery was made by the US-based Hold Security firm which has a history of uncovering significant hacks. The confidential material includes information from 420,000 websites. The firm declined to disclose more information but said smaller websites remain vulnerable to attack. They identified the hacking ring as operating in a small city in south central Russia. The disclosure comes as hackers and security companies gathered in Las Vegas for the annual Black Hat security conference this week.

    Read the full story on the New York Times.

    Hacker using laptop image via Shutterstock

  8. A Filipino love story goes viral

    For Warren Villanueva, serendipity doesn’t just happen in the movies. Villanueva met his girlfriend, Janina Pangilinan, for the first time in 2014 in New York where he works. It was one of the ‘happiest days’ of his life, he told Rappler. The two had been carrying out a long-distance friendship which later blossomed into a long-distance relationship. Thanks to the internet, they were able to maintain this relationship despite the distance. But little did Villanueva know that serendipity would strike twice. He was approached by Brandon Stanton, the creator of the popular Facebook page “Humans of New York” one day and asked to pose for a picture. Villanueva obliged and asked Stanton to write about his long distance relationship so that he could tag Pangilinan online. The post quickly went viral with many trying to locate the mysterious girl Villanueva talked about. Rappler takes a peek into the lives of the star-crossed lovers to find out how they keep the fire burning despite the distance.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Landslides, floods possible in parts of Luzon

    Persistent monsoon rains in parts of northern and central Luzon may trigger landslides and flash foods on Wednesday, August 6, warned state weather bureau PAGASA. Residents in the Ilocos region, Zambales and Bataan are cautioned to identify and avoid landslide prone areas or areas where flash floods can occur. Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will experience occasional rains so keep that umbrella close by. Visayas and Mindanao will have fairer weather with some cloud cover and rain. Typhoon Jose (Halong) has slightly weakened but continues to pull in the monsoon rains from the South China Sea.

    Catch the latest weather update on Rappler.

  10. Cinemalaya 2014 Movie Reviews: Directors Showcase

    Plan on catching a movie at the Cinemalaya film festival this week? Check out Rappler’s Cinemalaya pages for the latest news and reviews. Here is a quick guide to Cinemalaya. Read the latest reviews of the Director’s Showcase movies written by Zig Marasigan.

    Tell us what you think about the movies in the comments section!

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