January 16, 2015 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Pope tells the Philippines: Corruption robs from the poor

    In his first speech since arriving in the Philippines, Pope Francis told some 450 Philippine officials at the presidential palace to strive for “honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good.” Citing the sentiments of different “voices in your country,” the pontiff said it was “necessary” for leaders to “marshall the moral resources” to ensure “coming generations [of] a society of authentic justice, solidarity and peace.” He issued the call against corruption not only to government officials. He said, “All levels of society must reject every form of corruption,” since it “diverts from the poor.”

    Read the full story on Rappler. For updates, features, and conversations about the Pope’s 5-day visit, check out our #PopeFrancisPH special microsite.

  2. Pope: Killing is ‘absurd,’ but ‘you cannot insult other people’s faith’

    Pope Francis told reporters on Thursday that “to kill in the name of God is an absurdity,” but made a reminder that “each religion has its dignity” and therefore “there are limits” to how they are criticized. “You cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people’s faith, you cannot mock it,” the Pope said, responding to questions about Islamists’ attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had run satirical cartoon on the prophet Mohammed, killing a number of its staff. “Freedom of speech is a right and a duty that must be displayed without offending,” Francis said. The Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack, in what analysts was an attempt by the group to regain ground lost to the Islamic State group. Analysts warned that the rivalry of the two militant groups could spark a dangerous competition to win jihadist hearts, boosting the threat of extremist attacks in the West.

    Read the full story on the Pope’s remarks on Rappler

  3. Pope to issue encyclical on the environment ahead of Paris summit

    Pope Francis, known for his commitment to environmental concerns, said he will issue an encyclical, or letter to all bishops around the world, on the environment in June or July, in an effort to help the Paris climate change talks succeed. He said “man has gone too far” in abusing nature, requiring leaders to show more courage in negotiations to seal a global pact on reducing carbon emissions that cause climate change. “Let’s hope that governments will be more courageous in Paris than they were in Lima,” the Pope told reporters, referring to the pact reached by countries in the Peru conference that seeks to limit global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, averting what could be potentially catastrophic damage to Earth’s climate system by the turn of the century.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. State auditors tie forest agency’s misused funds to pork barrel scam

    The Philippines’ Commission on Audit found the state-run Philippine Forest Corporation (Philforest) to have made unaccounted fund transfers worth P443.29 million to different non-governmental corporations, which were earlier found to be part of an elaborate scam that diverted billions of pesos in lawmakers’ discretionary funds. Of the amount, P15 million was funneled to 3 NGOs even if they had unliquidated fund transfers worth P34.273 million in 2011 and 2012. The funds reportedly came from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of 8 congressmen. Philforest was dissolved in 2013 due to its involvement in the pork barrel scam.

    Read the full story on Philforest on Rappler. Check out our special multimedia report to understand the pork barrel scam.

  5. Epidemic on downward slope, says UN coordinator

    The incidence of confirmed Ebola cases has been reduced by the week, prompting the United Nations’ Ebola coordinator David Nabarro to say, “We have passed the tipping point and we are beginning to be on the downward slope of the outbreak.” UN welcomed fresh data from the World Health Organization showing that all 3 hardest-hit countries in West Africa – Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone – had registered the lowest weekly tally of new cases in months. More than 8,400 people have died since the Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013. Meanwhile, a nurse working for the Red Cross in Sierra Leone has died of Ebola in the eastern district of Kenema, where no new cases had been reported for 37 days.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Indonesia to execute drug offenders

    Image courtesy of Shutterstock

    In the first executions Indonesia will carry out since 2013 and under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, 4 men and 2 women will die by the firing squad for drug dealing. All 6 had their clemency appeals rejected and were notified of their impending execution on Wednesday. Their respective embassies have also been notified. “Indonesia is consistent on being tough and firm. There is no mercy for drug dealers and drug traffickers,” Indonesia’s attorney general said. Jokowi is under fire from human rights activists for his firm stand the death penalty. The new President is also facing his first major political crisis after critics and disappointed supporters started spreading the hashtag #ShameOnYouJokowi on Twitter after his nomination of graft-tainted Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan as the next chief of the Indonesian National Police – widely seen as a concession to his political patrons.

    Read the full story on here. Always check out news and features by Rappler’s Jakarta bureau.

  7. In deadliest attack, Boko Haram kills woman in labor

    In what is feared to be the deadliest attack by Boko Haram in its 6-year insurgency, the militants killed a woman as she was in labor in Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad in northeast Nigeria, Amnesty International claimed. The rights group said hundreds of people, if not more, may have been killed in the attack, which began on January 3 and is thought to have targeted civilian vigilantes helping the military. Nigeria’s military has dismissed as “sensational” earlier claims that 2,000 may have lost their lives. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan paid a surprise visit to Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, the heartland of the Boko Haram movement. He assured survivors of the Baga attacks that “all the areas under the control of Boko Haram will soon be recaptured.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Freight forwarders blacklisted for failing to deliver ‘balikbayan’ boxes

    The Philippines’ trade and industry department has blacklisted 43 freight forwarders over complaints from shippers and consignees that they failed to deliver balikbayan boxes expected during the holidays. Aside from them, another 54 foreign freight forwarders and consolidators from Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East, and the United States are the subject of the same complaints and are being investigated. A trade undersecretary said cases such as these arise when foreign consolidators or principal sea freight forwarders fail to remit all or a portion of their collected charges to their accredited Philippine agents or local sea freight forwarders.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Google puts break on sale of Internet-linked Glass eyewear

    Google said it is halting sales of its Internet-linked eyewear Glass – which, anyway, was still in testing phase – but insisted the technology would live on in a future consumer product. “Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk…. Well, we still have some work to do,” the Google team said. Glass connects to the Internet using Wi-Fi hot spots or, more typically, by being wirelessly tethered to mobile phones. Pictures or video may be shared through the Google+ social network. Developers were also creating apps for Google Glass, ranging from getting weather reports to sharing videos to playing games.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Stress shared by others on social media can be ‘contagious’

    When social media tells you the problems that your friends and family face, that stress can be “contagious” and may also cause you stress, researchers found out. A report by the Pew Research Center and Rutgers University researchers said data did not support the notion that people become stressed from keeping up with social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, but “learning about and being reminded of undesirable events in other people’s lives makes people feel more stress themselves.” Researchers called it “the cost of caring.”

    Read the report on Rappler.

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