December 24, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Lacson, Aquino agree on February resignation date

    After a one-on-one discussion, President Benigno Aquino III and rehabilitation secretary Panfilo “Ping” Lacson have agreed to wind down the activities of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) by February 10, 2015. Lacson earlier announced his ‘irrevocable resignation’ as head of OPARR, the agency tasked with coordinating the rehabilitation of areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). After the date, the mandate of the OPARR will be transferred to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), according to Malacañang. Lacson also reiterated the need for a single disaster management and response agency.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. France reels from series of bloody attacks

    Three seemingly unrelated but nevertheless jarring attacks cast a shadow over Christmas festivities in France, resulting in authorities calling on the public to remain vigilant and calm. On Saturday, December 20, a man was shot dead after stabbing three police officers with a knife in the central town of Joue-les-Tours. The following day, Sunday, a driver plowed into pedestrians in Dijon, injuring 13 people. Both men shouted “Allah Akbar” which means “God is greater” in Islam during the attack. And on Monday night, another man drove into a bustling Christmas market with his car injuring 10 people. French officials have called for public restraint despite criticisms they are downplaying the threat of the attacks. France was heavily singled out by Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq for being involved in a coalition against jihadist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS).

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Three day holiday in Metro Manila for Pope visit

    Workers and students in Metro Manila will get 3 days off in January due to the Pope Francis’ visit to the country. Malacañang on Tuesday, December 23, declared January 15, 16, and 19 as special non-working holidays. The dates coincide with the Pope’s visit to Manila, with a brief trip to Tacloban, Leyte. The pontiff will arrive at the Villamor Air Base on Thursday afternoon, January 15 and leave on January 19. Motorists and the general public are advised to anticipate heavy traffic along the routes the Pope is expected to traverse.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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  4. More weapons, drugs found in 3rd prison raid

    Authorities from the National Bureau of Investigation raided anew the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, seizing more weapons and illegal drugs from inmates. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that the December 22 raid yielded a fragmented hang grenade, a 9mm caliber springfield armory, a compact handgun, and a weighing scale used for measuring drugs. This is the third raid conducted on the notorious prison compound. The first two raids revealed a slew of luxury contraband such as LED TVs and a private jacuzzi and recording studio owned by a imprisoned drug lord. At least 20 high-profile inmates were removed from the facility and transferred to the NBI headquarters in Manila.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Gov’t offers single-step bidding for CALAX project

    Bidders of the Cavity-Laguna expressway (CALAX) project will only have to go through a single-step under the government’s new bidding rules, approved on Monday, December 22. Instead of a two-step process, bidders need only to submit all documents and bids for the P20 billion project. But, this time, the Team Orion consortium of Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Inc. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures will not participate. Team Orion won the first CALAX project bid after rival San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. was disqualified. SMC appealed to the Office of the President which ordered a rebid. Team Orion expressed its disappointment with the decision by Malacañang.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Crown prince tied to smuggling ring?

    A wide-ranging investigation into the family and allies of former Thai Princess Srirasmi Arkharapongpreecha might stretch all the way to her husband, the crown prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. The Asia Sentinel reports that those involved used the name of the prince to justify their demands, violating lese-majeste laws. But according to reports circulating widely in Bangkok, this royal connections were real and that the prince was said to be receiving a river of money from the illegal trade. But, the Asia Sentinel cautions, Thai politics might just be behind the controversial charges – with a royal council that manages the king’s affairs said to be working against the crown prince, because he is “uncontrollable”.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Facebook takes a look back at your 2014

    Facebook, that ubiquitous app that has become a part of people’s social lives, now wants users to stop and smell the roses. In it’s latest move to endear itself to its users, Facebook released a “Year in Review” page to let people compile their favorite memories in 2014. Think of it as a virtual scrapbook and video that’s lets you decide what you want to show. Once it’s completed, users can share their creation on their Facebook wall. Just be sure you don’t show any unflattering photos.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. MMDA traffic enforcer dies after hit-and-run

    A Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcer succumbed to head injuries and died on Tuesday, December 23 after a hit-and-run incident on December 18. Traffic Constable Sonny Acosta, 38, was reportedly dragged by a motorist he apprehended along EDSA in Cubao. The motorist, identified as Mark Ian Libunao, trapped Acosta’s hand with his window and sped away. Acosta sustained head injuries and was rushed to the Saint Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. Libunao, who has denied involvement with the incident, was taken into custody on December 18. The MMDA hailed Acosta for his dedication and great sacrifice. MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino vowed they will continue to assist Acosta’s family in seeking justice.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Nation pays tribute to Abdulmari Imao

    At the necrological service on Sunday, December 21 for National Artist Abdulmari Asia Imao, who died on December 16, mourners paid tribute to the talented painter and sculptor. Ima, who was 78, is well known for using the sarimanok bird motif in his paintings and sculptures. Fitting then that the CCP’s Main Theater was decorated with hundreds of smaller sarimanoks coming down from the ceiling. Imao is the first Filipino Muslim National Artist. His is recognized for bringing indigenous folk art into the national cultural consciousness.

    Learn more about Imao on Rappler.

  10. Sony to release ‘Interview’ despite hack

    Sony Pictures said Tuesday, December 23, it will screen madcap comedy “The Interview” in some US theaters on Christmas Day, a dramatic U-turn after its widely criticized decision to cancel the film following a cyber-assault blamed on North Korea. The release of the film is likely to be limited to smaller movie chains. The New York Times reported that only 200-300 cinemas were expected to show the film after Sony, a fraction of the estimated 2,500 theaters originally expected to screen the movie. Sony’s U-turn was the latest twist to a crisis which has engulfed the studio and ‘The Interview,’ a screwball romp about a fictional plot by two US journalists embarking on a mission to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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