December 23, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Aquino signs 2015 budget on time

    President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday, December 23, signed the 2015 budget into law. It marks the 5th time in his presidency that the budget was signed on time. Next year’s P2.606 trillion budget is higher than 2014’s. The President said a huge amount was allocated for the construction of permanent homes for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda. The day before, in his Christmas message, the President urged Filipinos to spend time with each other and to give thanks for the many lives saved during the onslaught of Typhoon Ruby.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read the story on the President’s Christmas message also on Rappler.

  2. Pope hits ‘diseases’ of Vatican

    Pope Francis criticized the Vatican bureaucracy, saying it was riven with “existential schizophrenia,” “social exhibitionism,” “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and a lust for power. All these have led to an “orchestra that plays out of tune.” He also warned against greed, egoism and people who suffer from the “disease of feeling immortal or indispensable.” There was silence at the end of the Pope’s speech.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Related stories are on the BBC and CNN.

  3. After Sony hack, North Korea Internet hit

    After the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, North Korea’s Internet went down on Monday, December 22, following hours of instability. Cyber experts suggested the country’s Internet network was under attack. Before the incident, US President Barack Obama vowed to relatiate for what the FBI claimed as North Korea’s cyber assault on Sony, which was set to release “The Interview,” which lampoons North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Washington refused to confirm it had already taken action against Pyongyang, but officials said Sony should be compensated for the hack that exposed company emails and posted online copies of still-to-be-released films.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A related story is on the Washington Post

  4. China fails to stop UN meeting on North Korea

    China failed to block the first-ever United Nations Security Council meeting on the dismal human rights record of North Korea. A majority of the Security Council members, 11 out of 15, agreed to put North Korea on the agenda. China, which opposed the decision, said the Council was not the forum to discuss human rights issues. Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said, “Getting involved in the human rights situation…can only bring harm instead of benefits” as de-nuclearization, dialogue and maintaining stability on the Korean peninsula were shared priorities.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A related story on North Korea being a ‘living nightmare’ is also on Rappler.

  5. Longest night in PH on Dec 22

    State weather bureau PAGASA announced the Philippines had its longest night on December 22 after the Sun reached winter solstice past 7 am on the same day. The Sun now lies at its farthest point south of the equator. Winter solstice marks the shortest daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest daylight hours in the Southern Hemisphere, which are temporary. By the onset of the Spring equinox, the length of night and day become about equal.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Google unveils its first complete driverless car


    Internet giant Google unveiled the first finished prototype of its driverless car. While not looking very different from the first model it unveiled in May, the prototype is fully functional. It has a more polished casing for the equipment atop the car which allows it to see the road as software directs it. CNet reported that Google will use manual controls like gas and brake pedals while testing the cars. It is likewise partnering with auto makers to introduce self-driving cars to the market within the next 5 years.

    Read the full story on CNet.

    A related story is on CNN.

  7. Pope Francis to meet Muslim, Buddhist leaders in PH

    Pope Francis is holding 10-15-minute dialogues with Muslim and Buddhist leaders on January 18 when he visits the Philippines. He will meet with the dean of the country’s largest Islamic Studies Center, a Taiwan-based Buddhist leader, the Hong Kong-based regional head of the Greek Orthodox Church, a Hindu leader, Protestant bishops, and a Manila-based rabbi. This is meant to push a message of tolerance to combat global religious conflicts. Fr Carlos Reyes, a member of the committee organizing the Pope’s visit said, “The church is Catholic, it is universal, we are in dialogue with the world.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Jackie Chan’s son hit with drug charge

    Jaycee Chan, son of kung fu star Jackie Chan, was charged with providing a venue for others to use drugs, state news agency Xinhua reported. He was detained in August after police found 100 grams of marijuana in his Beijing home. Shortly after his detention, his father said in a post on China’s Twitter equivalent that he is “extremely angry and extremely shocked.” He also said that as a public figure, he is ashamed and that “as a father I feel terrible.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Gilas new coach? Tab Baldwin

    American-New Zealander Tab Baldwin will be the new head coach of the Philippine men’s national basketball team for the next 4 years starting January 2015. He will take over from Chot Reyes, who was relieved of coaching duties following a dismal Asian Games stint. Consultant since 2013, Baldwin helped Gilas Pilipinas bag its silver medal in the FIBA Asia Championship and to qualify for the World Cup.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Joe Cocker, 70, dies


    After a battle with lung cancer, British blues-rock singer Joe Cocker died Monday, December 22, at the age of 70. Known for hits like “You Are So Beautiful” and “Up Where We Belong,” he also sang the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.” The Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr tweeted, “Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love.”

    Read the full story on CNN.

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