September 3, 2014 Edition

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  1. Philippines jumps 7 notches in global competitiveness index

    The Philippines increased its level of competitiveness according to the 2014 Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, September 3. The country jumped 7 notches higher to place 52nd out of 144 economies, versus 59th in 2013. Since 2010, when the Aquino administration took office, the country has gained 33 places in the prestigious rankings which measures economies’ macroeconomic environment, financial market development, and innovation among other factors for competitiveness.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Government probes group behind foiled airport bomb plot

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is conducting an investigation into the members of the group behind a foiled car bomb attempt at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Tuesday, September 2 the DOJ is mulling the filing of terrorism charges against the 3 suspects who were arrested on Monday, September 1. Aside from the NAIA plot, the group had reportedly planned to strafe the Chinese Embassy and the building of real estate developer DMCI, both in Makati; and to plant Improvised Incendiary Devices (IIDs) at the SM Mall of Asia.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. ‘Islamic State’ fighters murder second US reporter

    Screengrab from YouTube

    Militants of the ‘Islamic State’ group have murdered a second American reporter and released a video of the murder on Tuesday, September 2. The video, which shows a masked militant with a British accent cutting the throat of a captive, was discovered only by the SITE terrorism monitoring group. The victim, 31-year-old reporter, Steven Sotloff was the same person seen in a previous beheading video of journalist James Foley last month. The militant who carried out the execution addressed US President Barack Obama and criticized US foreign policy towards the Islamic State (IS). Obama has vowed the US to act relentlessly against the IS but admitted it did not yet have a strategy to deal with the group.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. World ‘losing battle’ to contain the Ebola virus – MSF

    International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) said Tuesday, September 2 the world was “losing the battle” to contain Ebola as the United Nations warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries. MSF told a UN briefing in New York that world leaders were failing to address the epidemic and called for an urgent global biological disaster response to get aid and personnel to west Africa. The agency is calling on the international community to fund more beds for a regional network of field hospitals, dispatch trained personnel and deploy mobile laboratories across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. SC junks Comelec limits on political ad airtime

    The Supreme Court (SC) removed limits set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the total amount of airtime a candidate for public office may purchase from television stations to run political ads. Candidates for national office can now again place 120 minutes of airtime per television station and 180 minutes per radio station during the campaign, instead of just 120 minutes for all TV stations and 180 for all radio stations, as preferred by Comelec. The SC also struck down a requirement for candidates to seek permission from the Commission before guesting on TV and radio shows. The high court said the Comelec rules were arbitrary and violated the freedom of speech.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Hong Kong pro-democracy group admits goal is ‘unrealistic’

    Organizers of a pro-democracy group who vowed to take over Hong Kong’s streets admitted Tuesday, September 2, they were powerless to change China’s plan to vet candidates for the city’s next leader, but said their protest would go ahead. The admission came after organizers promised a new “era of civil disobedience” in front of thousands of supporters at a Sunday rally after Beijing crushed hopes for full democracy. The organizers sought to manage public expectation that any change in the city’s political system would be swift. “We have to admit the fact that up to this point it is quite unrealistic to think that our action will change the decision made by Beijing,” Occupy Central co-founder Chan Kin-Man told the Agence France-Presse (AFP). On Tuesday, Hong Kong police arrested at least 22 people during a series of protests against a senior visiting Chinese official.

    Read the full story on Rappler here and here.

  7. Pacquiao asks Mayweather: ‘Why be nervous?’

    Photo by Kevork Djansezian & Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

    Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao renewed his challenge to undefeated boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather to fight him in the ring. “You talk pound-for-pound best, or undefeated champion. If you don’t defend against the best, none of that means anything,” said Pacquiao referring to Mayweather in a recent interview with A Pacquiao-Mayweather fight has been eagerly anticipated for years but has never pushed through. According to Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 knockouts), Mayweather (46-0-0, 26 KOs) is scared of putting his undefeated slate at risk.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Apple, FBI investigate massive celebrity photo ‘hack’

    The FBI and Apple were urgently investigating Monday, September 1, after an apparent massive hack of a cloud data service unleashed a torrent of intimate pictures of dozens of celebrities across the Internet. Reports suggested hackers had “ripped” private images from Apple’s iCloud online data storage, a potentially embarrassing – and damaging – breach for the California tech giant. Some of the pictures had previously been circulated on message forums, and others appeared fake, but some major stars expressed outrage and threatened legal action. The potential scale of the hack quickly revived the debate on social media about privacy concerns and the safety of cloud services like iCloud, DropBox or GoogleDrive.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. UN negotiating demands with Syrian hostage takers

    Fiji revealed for the first time Tuesday, September 2, the demands being made by Al-Qaeda-linked Syria rebels who took more than 40 UN peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights last week. The Pacific nation’s army chief Mosese Tikoitoga said the rebels wanted their organization, the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, to be removed from the United Nation’s list of terrorist organizations. He said they also wanted humanitarian aid sent to a small town which is an Al-Nusra stronghold just outside Damascus and were demanding compensation for three of their fighters who had been hurt in recent days. The military commander said a UN team had arrived in the Golan Heights from New York to take over negotiations with the rebels and every effort was being used to secure their freedom. Meanwhile, President Aquino called on the Philippine military to provide a full report on the escape of Philippine troops from a besieged position in the Golan Heights.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Anti-male stripper startup offers new ‘Manservants’ instead

    A San Francisco startup is offering a service it hopes will replace all the sleazy and awkward male strippers hired for bachelorette parties across the US. offers exactly what its name implies – a polished and handsome man to do the customer’s every bidding – everything, that is, except taking off his clothes. “It’s completely PG,” said co-founder Dalal Khajah to “We have a very strict code of conduct and a very rigorous training process.” ManServants was conceptualized when the founders realized that today’s modern women prefer male stripper-free parties. The app launches in the fall and don’t worry men, you can hire a man servant too.

    Read the full story on Mashable.

    Butler image from Shutterstock

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