January 8, 2015 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. I am Charlie: World condemns Paris killings

    More than 100,000 people gathered across France to pay tribute to the victims of massacre by Islamist gunmen in Paris, as thousands also held rallies in other European cities and the “I Am Charlie” hashtag swept the Internet. World leaders and media rights groups condemned the shooting at French magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7, which left 12 dead, dubbing it an act of terror and an attack on free speech. US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II offered their condolences to those affected. Pope Francis said there could be no justification for “the horrible attack that plunged the city of Paris into mourning.” The satirical newspaper gained notoriety in February 2006 when it reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, causing fury across the Muslim world.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Read the full story on rallies in Europe on Rappler.

  2. Spain on alert after newspaper evacuates

    Shortly after the Paris shooting by suspected Islamist gunmen, Spanish media group Prisa, which publishes the country’s most widely-read newspaper El Pais, evacuated its Madrid headquarters after receiving a suspect package. It was later found not to be dangerous. Spain upgraded its anti-terrorist security level a notch. Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the government was exchanging information with France. But the measures were merely precautionary as there was no evidence to suggest “an additional threat of an attack in Spain as a consequence of what happened” in Paris.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. PH alarmed at ’50-percent complete’ Chinese airstrip

    “It is alarming in the sense that it could be used for other purposes other than for peaceful use.” Armed Forces chief of staff General Gregorio Catapang Jr expressed this concern over reports that  China’s reclamation activities in Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef off the coast of Palawan in the West Philippine Sea, aimed at turning the rocky sandbar into an artificial island, are “maybe about 50% complete.” A Chinese airstrip will dramatically change the security situation in the West Philippine Sea, where 6 countries including Philippines and China have overlapping claims. Experts believe China will use that as a command base.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. NBI: 119 officials, importers part of garlic cartel

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed criminal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against 119 government officials and importers allegedly involved in a cartel that caused garlic prices to surge by up to 100% last year. Among those who face charges for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act are officials of the Bureau of Plant Industry, the Department of Agriculture and garlic importers. The NBI found one big importer who was able to corner at least 75% of all garlic imports in the country by taking advantage of loopholes in the system.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. Our choice 2015 consumer stocks

    As of the last trading day of 2014, the Philippine Stock Exchange Index closed up 23%. This means that if you invested in end-2013 in First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange Traded Fund and held it until end-2014, your investment would have grown by 23%. That beats any savings accounts and time deposits out in the market. Personal finance consultant Marvin Germo said that for 2015 the Philippines’ fundamentals remain intact and we are still poised to grow. His advice: Align investments in stocks that are connected to consumption.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Asian economies should seize oil price plunge

    The plunge in crude prices will give a much-needed boost to Asia’s oil-guzzling economies and provide governments a “golden opportunity” to implement crucial structural reforms such as cutting expensive energy subsidies. Experts say lower oil prices would ease inflationary pressures throughout much of Asia, allowing many central banks to either keep monetary policy on hold or reduce interest rates. Last month, the Asian Development Bank said developing countries could see an additional 0.5 percentage point of growth on average this year if oil prices remain low. But reforms are needed, analysts say, and among the most crucial and controversial is the removal of fuel subsidies.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Why Comelec skipped bidding in favor of Smartmatic

    Before the Christmas break, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruled that Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp would conduct the first stage of refurbishment of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the 2016 elections. The poll body chose to deal directly with Smartmatic instead of holding a public bidding for the PCOS repairs. The company has been criticized for its performance in past elections. The poll body however cited 4 factors behind its controversial decision, saying a public bidding for PCOS maintenance would entail “unnecessary delay” in the preparations for the 2016 presidential elections.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  8. Apple buzz: Next Macbook is 12 inches

    Insider information said that Apple’s next Macbook is a 12-inch Air, one thin enough that Apple employees refer to it as “Macbook Stealth.” A report from 9to5Mac shows artist’s renditions of the prototype for the next Macbook Air, based on sources within the company who are already using prototypes of the unit. It’s said to have a 12-inch Retina display screen, an inch short of the current flagship of the line. There was no word on its internals, but the aesthetics feature a lot of changes, beginning with the display screen.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  9. Have you been to the world’s most visited museum?

    The famous Louvre in France received 9.3 million visitors last year, retaining its title as the most-visited museum in the world. Foreign visitors represented 70% of ticket sales, with Americans, Chinese, Italians, British and Brazilians visiting in strong numbers over 2014, the Louvre said in a statement. The total number of tourists who came in to admire works of art and antiquities including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, was up 100,000 in 2013.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  10. Pope in Manila: ‘Tell the world of his love’

    In a culture where worship takes the form of song and dance, the visit of a religious leader merits an anthem. When Pope John Paul II came to the Philippines for the World Youth Day in 1995, he was welcomed by the Catholic faithful with a song called “Tell The World of His Love.” Then 24-year-old Trina Belamide was a fledgling songwriter, barely 3 years out of college. She had begun writing songs for ballad group The Company, with “Now That I Have You” having gained considerable airplay. As the Philippines prepares for the visit of Pope Francis next week, Belamide tells Rappler the story behind the song she wrote two decades ago.

    Read the full story on Rappler

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