September 28, 2014 Edition

Michelle Fernandez

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

  1. ISIS, Ebola, and more: Whirlwind week at the UN

    It’s a very busy week at the United Nations headquarters as the world’s leaders and top diplomats converge for the 69th UN General Assembly. World leaders have turned their attention to some of the most pressing global issues, with the spread of ISIS and the Ebola outbreak at the top of the list. US President Barack Obama led the UN Security Council and was able to get a unanimous vote on a resolution that would stop the flow of terrorist fighters. On the Ebola crisis, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed a sort of standby medical corps, as diplomats and medical experts lament the slow response to the issue. There were also a lot of side meetings between various countries and blocs, discussing issues from UN peacekeepers to the Iran nuclear talks.

    Read more on Rappler’s Global Affairs section.

  2. Supreme Court removes anti-graft justice linked to Napoles

    The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, September 23, dismissed Sandiganbayan Justice Gregory Ong after finding him guilty of gross misconduct, dishonesty, and impropriety. The High Court voted 8-5 with two abstentions. The ruling also forfeits all his retirement benefits. Rappler first linked Ong to Napoles in August 2013 at the height of the pork barrel scandal. Ong initially denied knowing Napoles, who was a respondent in a Kevlar helmet case filed before Ong’s fourth division at the Sandiganbayan. Ong’s name was subsequently mentioned in various affidavits submitted to the Senate by pork barrel scam whistleblowers Benhur Luy and Marina Sula. Ong was reported to have bargained with the Justices the Supreme Court for a “graceful exit.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. More allegations surface vs Binays

    Former officials of the Philippines’ richest city, Makati, faced senators for the 6th time, making new allegations of how the former mayor, now Vice President Jejomar Binay, acquired his wealth. One alleged that no honest bidding were ever conducted for government contracts and supplies because Binay supposedly always made handwritten notes indicating which bidder should be favored. Another witness said Binay acquired prime real estate by put them in the name of dummies. Binay, whom the Senate President has refused to subpoena out of respect for his office, has said the testimonies of his erstwhile allies would not stand in court.

    Meanwhile, an exclusive Rappler report showed bathroom fixtures at the controversial building have exceeded current retail prices.

    Read the full stories on the bidding and the property acquisition on Rappler.

  4. Indonesians lose right to vote for local officials

    In the wee hours of September 26, Indonesia’s vibrant democracy lost one crucial pillar: the people’s right to directly vote their local officials. The Indonesian House of Representatives voted 226-135 to pass the controversial Regional Elections Bill (RUU Pilkada), marking a surprise reversal for one of the world’s promising democracies. This means local legislatures will chose regional officials. This has sparked outrage across the sprawling archipelago, with Indonesians now moving to undo the law. Though there is little recourse other than to seek a judicial review of the new law – a move many are now working on – Indonesians are beginning to mobilize beyond Twitter hashtags. 

    More on Rappler Indonesia.

  5. On tiny budget, India wins Asia’s race to Mars

    India won Asia’s race to Mars on September 24, when its unmanned Mangalyaan spacecraft successfully entered the Red Planet’s orbit after a 10-month journey on a tiny budget. The success of the mission, which is designed to search for evidence of life on the Red Planet, is a huge source of national pride for India as it competes with its Asian rivals for success in space. Indians from ministers to students and office workers took to Twitter to express pride, with the Hindi slogan “JaiHind” or “Hail India” trending on the microblogging site. At just $74 million, the mission cost represents just a fraction of the cost of NASA’s $671 million MAVEN spacecraft, which successfully began orbiting the fourth planet from the sun on Sunday.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Speeches, nostalgia, and some personal shopping

    Malacaãnng Photo Bureau

    President Benigno Aquino III’s trip to Europe and the US ended this week, with a three-city American tour that brought him to the UN, their old Boston home, and a gun store in a San Francisco suburb. His speaking engagements included several stops at US universities (including some good old-fashioned protests), and a 4-minute appeal to his fellow world leaders to work together on climate change during the UN Climate Summit in New York. He also met with business executives and boasted of “pasalubong” worth $2.35 billion from Europe. But the more memorable bits of the trip included an emotional stopover in Boston, where the Aquinos lived in exile during the Marcos dictatorship, and personal trips to a fast food joint, a record store, and a gun shop in San Francisco.

    Rappler’s Natashya Gutierrez sums up the highlights.

  7. Week-long student-led protests denounce Beijing’s moves

    Throughout the week, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters staged rallies to decry Beijing’s refusal to grant the semiautonomous territory full democracy. Students – mostly university students and secondary school pupils as young as 16 – led the charge in the daily rallies. Activists say the student protest marks the start of a campaign of civil disobedience against China’s plan to vet nominees for the leadership of the former British colony, dashing hopes for full universal suffrage at 2017 polls. The week-long protests ended with police clearing protesters who had been holding out at the government headquarters

    Read more on Rappler’s China section.

  8. Telco giants offer free Internet services

    It started with a cryptic tweet from Manny V Pangilinan – and ended with free Internet services offered to millions of subscribers from telco giants Smart and Globe. Smart announced September 26 that it would be offering a limited-time promo for all its prepaid subscribers: 30MB of data everyday for free, until the end of November. And seemingly as a response, rival Globe said they are reviving their free Facebook offer for its subscribers, starting the week of September 28.

    Read more on Rappler.


  9. ‘Bash” computer bug has widespread repercussions

    The US government and technology experts warned Thursday, September 25, of a vulnerability in some computer operating systems, including Apple’s Mac OS, which could allow widespread and serious attacks by hackers. The flaw – called Bash or Shellshock by computer experts – affects “Unix-based operating systems” powered by Linux and Apple’s Mac OS, said the warning from the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), part of the Department of Homeland Security. CERT said that if hackers exploit this they could take control of a PC: “Exploitation of this vulnerability may allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on an affected system.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Mixed bag for Team Pilipinas at Asian Games

    It was a mixed bag for Team Pilipinas this week at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. The fabled Gilas Pilipinas fell from medal contention in a series of heartbreaks courtesy of Iran, Qatar, and South Korea – an all-too-familiar situation, particularly with their last opponent for the week. Coach Chot Reyes, after the disappointing run, apologized to Filipino fans, saying the “entire responsibility” fell on his shoulders.  

    But with heartbreak comes some bright spots for the Filipino athletes. Five of the first 6 Pinoy boxers have advanced to the next round with a string of wins. Meanwhile, the country’s wushu bets shone through, with Daniel Parantac earning its first medal in this edition of the Asiad – a silver medal in the men’s wushu taijiquan event. The country also added a bronze in the men’s sanda -56kg class courtesy of Francisco Solis, and another silver via Jean Claude Saclag in the men’s wushu sanda -60kg final. 

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