October 19, 2014 Edition

Michelle Fernandez

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

  1. Germans freed; Rescue mission for other captives begins

    Bandit group Abu Sayyaf on Friday, October 17, released its two German hostages, with the kidnappers claiming they received a P250 million ransom. The release ends a 6-month-long captivity of Stefan Viktor Okonek, 71, and Henrike Dielen, 55, after they were taken while sailing off Palawan. However, 13 other hostages remain in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf, including European birdwatchers Ewold Horn and Lorenzo Vinciguerra, abducted February 2012. Despite the report of a ransom payment, the Philippine government maintains a “no ransom” policy remains. On Saturday, October 18, a ‘full-scale combat rescue mission’ versus the group began.

    Read more on Rappler.

  2. A year after, Bohol gets only half of rehab funds

    A year after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit Central Visayas, only about half of the funds needed for the rehabilitation of Bohol, which suffered the most, has reached the province. Bohol needs an estimated $267.44 million to rebuild the towns devastated by the earthquake. Of this, approximately $133.72 million has been released by the national government and private and international donors, and cascaded to local government units. The governor said that while local tourism has bounced back it’s infrastructure that is left wanting. Delays in infrastructure projects are caused by several factors, such as the bureaucratic process. In some cases, buildings simply cannot be constructed even if the funds are ready. Some areas need to wait for the Mines and Geoscience Bureau to give a go-signal to build.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Jokowi, Prabowo kiss and make up

    First, Prabowo Subianto, the former general, saluted the man who defeated him at the presidential elections. Then, he finally congratulated President-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, and said he would ask his supporters to support Indonesia’s next president. These were unexpected outcomes from a meeting on Friday, October 17, that few thought was possible, given the intense animosity between the two camps in the wake of Indonesia’s most divisive election in history. But they’re outcomes that are cheering Indonesia’s slumping markets.

    Read more about the meeting on Rappler Indonesia.


  4. Tales from an Ebola hospital in Liberia

    It’s a fight, the World Bank says, the world is losing: the battle against the deadly Ebola virus, currently plaguing western Africa. Health experts have descended in the area, and around the world countries have begun building up their defenses against the illness. But the real fight is on the ground – in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, the hardest-hit countries. Governments there are struggling with the exponential rise in cases, health workers risk their lives everyday to help rescue victims from the clutches of the deadly virus in hospitals and makeshift clinics dotting the region.

    Read the story of one such makeshift hospital, as chronicled by The New York Times in a special series, “The Ebola Ward.”

  5. Gender sensitivity: Using the right language

    The murder case of Jennifer Laude has opened the discussion about gender – specifically, the complex reality that gender is not just simply “male” or “female,” man or woman. “For a society long trained and educated to think of gender as only a choice between two sexes, the changing reality that gender is not just man or woman can be disorienting, confusing, and too complex,” writes Rappler editor Chay Hofileña. “For the media to continue doing its job of reflecting and reporting on existing realities accurately, it should be able to quickly grasp and capture those realities,” she says, and argues that it starts with using the correct language.

    Read her Thought Leaders’ piece on Rappler. You can also read more about Rappler’s coverage of the controversial case here.

  6. ‘We want peace, so that we can go home’

    For nearly a year now, millions of South Sudanese have been displaced from their homes, due to the ongoing conflict between government troops, rebels, and militia forces – divided along tribal lines – in the world’s youngest country. Nearly 100,000 of them have taken shelter in United Nations camps – cramped, fetid places protected by UN peacekeepers. Outside these camps, citizens say they are afraid of revenge attacks. Outside these camps, aid agencies say there is a high risk of famine in the coming months if the fighting does not stop. The common refrain: “we want peace.”

    Read the story by Agence France-Presse of people in one such camp – where people literally live on swampy grounds – on Rappler.


  7. What you give away when you click “Connect”

    Image from Shutterstock

    Think twice before you latch your device to that public WiFi spot. Public WiFi networks are notoriously insecure, but people still willingly connect to these without any second thoughts, exposing all kinds of data – especially personal data – at risk. As use of mobile devices increase, so does the number of potential hackers who might leech not just bandwidth, but also important information such as passwords and bank account details. Dutch journalist Maurits Martijn accompanies a hacker to a cafe, and he writes, in 20 minutes, the hacker knew intimate details of the rest of the people there: birth places, schools attended, and their Google history.

    Read the story on Medium, or on De Correspondent, where it first appeared.

    Image via Shutterstock

  8. Can the Pope stay in Leyte longer?

    An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) raised an important question about Pope Francis’ itinerary when he visits the Philippines in January: Why only 6 hours in Leyte? Fr Edu Gariguez questioned why the proposed Papal itinerary focuses too much on Metro Manila, when the Holy Father explicitly laid out his intention of bringing “Christ’s compassion for our suffering people” in the disaster zones in the central Philippines – Bohol and Leyte. A report on the CBCP News site said  many “felt unhappy about the ‘small’ amount of time” given them. This could still change: No official itinerary has been set yet, as it is subject for approval by the Vatican.

    Read more on Rappler.

  9. H&M: Making fashion transcend trends

    The thousands of shoppers who trooped Friday, October 17, to the grand opening of the flagship H&M store in the Philippines have another incentive to go back: it’s a company with a conscience, with sustainability efforts part of its core. The Swedish fashion house doesn’t just make and sell clothes; it has made various commitments – from environment to fair trade – that aim to help the planet and society in the long run. “It’s the right thing to do [and] it’s good for the business in the long-term. We make our colleagues care more. It makes us an attractive employer to work for. We make our customers care more. We [are] proud of the work we do,” H&M managing director and CEO Karl-Johan Persson said.

    Learn about “H&M Conscious,” the company’s business concept that makes fashion go beyond short-lived trends, on Rappler Business.

    Also read Rappler’s interview with Persson, and a tour of the flagship store in SM Megamall.

  10. US spaceplane flies home after secret 2-year mission

    The first X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle waits in the encapsulation cell of the Evolved Expendable Launch vehicle April 5, 2010, at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Fla. Half of the Atlas V five-meter fairing is visible in the background. (Photo from US Air Force Website)

    What has it been doing up there? Space enthusiasts – and regular folk – have been wondering what a secret space plane had been doing orbiting Earth for 674 days. The spacecraft in question is the Orbital Test Vehicle, or X-37B, which landed back on Earth Friday, October 17. It was built by aircraft manufacturer Boeing, and is described as a “reusable testbed for new sensors and other space technologies” by officials from the US Air Force, and no other explanation has been given. Some say its conducting spying missions, some say its just a test craft for future space technologies. It is already its 3rd mission, with the latest one being its longest.

    Read more on the BBC and The Guardian.

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