Philippine economy

September 12, 2014 Edition

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

  1. Syrian rebels release Fijian UN peacekeepers

    Two weeks after they were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria, 45 Fijian peacekeepers for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force were released unharmed on Thursday afternoon, according to a UN spokesperson. The UNDOF is tasked with monitoring a 1974 ceasefire agreement between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights. The Fijians were forced to surrender their weapons and taken hostage on August 28. A second group of 81 Filipinos, who were surrounded by rebel forces, held their ground and refused to lay down their weapons, later managing to escape.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Court finds ‘Blade Runner’ not guilty’ of murdering his GF

    The High Court in Pretoria declared “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide on Friday, a day after he was cleared of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The earlier decision clearing him of intentionally killing his model-girlfriend shocked a country that had been gripped by the year-long trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa also found the paralympian guilty of negligently handling a gun in a restaurant, but acquitted him of two other firearm charges.

    Read here the full story on the decision to clear him of murder charges, and the full story on the guilty verdict on homicide charges here.

  3. Obama tells Americans to ‘carry on,’ as analysts doubt his anti-terror strategy

    President Obama, his wife Michelle, and Vice President Joe Biden led the United States in ceremonies remembering the 3,000 who perished in the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York on September 11, 2001. Obama told the families of the victims at the Pentagon, scene of the 9/11 strikes: “You’ve kept alive a love that no act of terror can ever extinguish. We carry on because, as Americans, we do not give in to fear. Ever.” Meanwhile, analysts raised questions on the strategy that Obama earlier announced to “destroy” Islamic State (ISIS) fighters in Iraq and Syria – a new front in the war on radical Islam begun in earnest 13 years ago. The strategy envisions local forces trained and armed by the West to eventually defeat the well-organized militants, with the help of a major US-led bombing campaign from the air. Analysts said Obama’s emphasis on forging local partners comes despite a litany of disappointments over the years when it comes to US attempts to “train and equip” armies.

    Read the full stories on the commemoration here and the analysis of Obama’s anti-terror strategy here.

  4. More suspect cops turn themselves in

    Five more cops from the La Loma police station turned themselves in to the Quezon City Police District 4 days after they were tagged in a suspected robbery and kidnap incident along EDSA, one of Metro Manila’s major highways. Their lawyers said, however, that they were there not to surrender but to profess innocence and clear their names. Of the 10 suspects only one active cop and one dismissed cop remain at large. Three had surrendered earlier. In Davao City, the tough-talking mayor warned rogue cops not to bring their shenanigans in his city because he would shoot them. In another part of Mindanao, in Zamboanga Sibugay, a Korean businessman was kidnapped by armed men.

    Read the full story of the 5 suspect cops’ surrender on Rappler.

  5. The PH Ombudsman dismisses a human rights commissioner

    Screenshot from YouTube

    A member of the Commission on Human Rights was ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman after she was found to have promoted a staff in exchange for receiving the employees’ salary increase. Outgoing Commissioner Cecilia “Coco” Quisumbing also received the salaries of ghost employees. It is a first in the history of the commission that a ranking official was dismissed for bribery and grave misconduct. Her eligibility for public office will be cancelled, and her retirement benefits will be forfeited. Quisumbing, whose parents are retired exemplary government officials, will also be perpetually banned from re-entering government service.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Senate hears more testimonies on VP’s alleged corruption

    A Senate subcommittee continued its weekly hearing on the alleged overpricing of a local government building in Makati, the Philippines’ richest city and home of the country’s premier business and financial district. The former vice mayor accused then Mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay of receiving 13% of contract amounts as kickback in Makati projects, while a businessman confirmed that a former official trapped him in an elevator to tell him to give way to a bidder favored by the city government. A senator said he would move for the contractor of the building to be temporarily blacklisted from any government projects until its name is cleared.

    Read the full story on the former vice mayor’s testimony on Rappler.

  7. South Korea steps up anti-smoking measures, to hike cigarette prices

    South Korea, a nation with one of the world’s highest male smoking rates, has moved for comprehensive anti-smoking measures to counter what has become the “biggest threat to national health.” For starters, the government has proposed an 80% increase in cigarette prices to cut consumption by 34% and raise annual tax revenues by 2.8 trillion won. The health ministry will also require tobacco packaging to include pictures of the harm caused by smoking, while tobacco ads would be banned in retail stores. The country prohibits smoking in public places.

    Read the full story on Rappler. Read about the Philippines’ own campaigns to increase cigarette prices and require graphic health warnings on cigarette packs.

  8. US threatened to fine Yahoo over surveillance issues

    US authorities threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day if it failed to comply with a secret surveillance program requiring it to hand over user data in the name of national security, court documents showed Thursday, September 11. The documents, made public in a rare unsealing by a secretive court panel, “underscore how we had to fight every step of the way to challenge the US government’s surveillance efforts,” Yahoo general counsel Ron Bell said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Ozone problem on course for fix by 2050

    The UN on Wednesday, September 10, said Earth’s damaged ozone layer was “well on track” for recovery by mid-century, although fixing it over Antarctica would take longer. In their first review in four years on Earth’s vital shield, UN agencies said a 1987 treaty to protect the ozone layer was so successful it was indirectly adding to problems in another area – global warming. Without the landmark Montreal Protocol, two million extra cases of skin cancer would have occurred each year by 2030 and levels of ozone-damaging compounds could have increased tenfold by 2050, the report said.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Richard Kiel dies aged 74

    Richard Kiel, who played the towering, steel-toothed baddie “Jaws” in two James Bond movies, has died aged 74, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday. The 7 ft 2 in (2.18 meters) tall actor, who made a career playing giants and villains, died in the Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, spokeswoman Kelley Sanchez told the Agence France-Presse.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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