Family, friends, peers and hundreds of individuals touched by the life and work of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo mourn the death of the exemplary public servant. President Aquino personally relayed the news to the bereaved family that the body of Robredo was located and retrieved past 7am on August 21. Robredo's body and those of the Piper Seneca plane's pilots, Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese co-pilot, were found by technical divers 800m offshore, at a depth of 180ft, ending nearly 3 days of intense search off the Masbate City coast after the chartered plane he took from Cebu en route to Naga City crashed on Saturday, August 18. Robredo is a multi-awarded and well-regarded public servant who turned around Naga City as mayor, and recently as high-level Cabinet member of the Aquino government.
For more, check Rappler's timeline.
Jesse Manalastas Robredo was a visionary, a poster boy for good governance, and with a non-traditional approach in government. The "good and decent" public servant was credited with transforming Naga City and reenergizing the government there. He received the highest honors – the Ramon Magsaysay Awards for Government Service – Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize. When he was mayor, Robredo run Naga City like a CEO turning around a bankrupt company. His appointment to the DILG – a very political agency – gave him the opportunity to make a difference on a national scale. He is very hands-on, they say. He doesn't just deal with the top brass. He visits the ground to check that his programs are working. He had a charisma that endeared him to the common man. He has no airs, often wore slippers, shorts, white shirt, and helped sweep the streets or cleaning up the drainage days after a typhoon, and rode his bike to get around. Robredo was also incredibly close to his family, always making time for his family, despite a tough schedule. He was on his way to Naga City from Cebu City on board a chartered plane when they crashed off Masbate on August 18.
Airplanes and Deaths
August 21, 2012 is the day President Benigno Aquino III marks the 29th death anniversary of his father and brings home to Manila the body of his friend and colleague, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash on Saturday, August 18. President Aquino was with other Cabinet and government officials onboard a C-130 plane of the Armed Forces at the Masbate airport where Robredo was given military honors. President Aquino supervised the search and rescue operations for Robredo and his two pilots since Sunday, August 19. He decided to leave for Manila Monday night, August 20, to commemorate in Manila the 29th death anniversary of his father, the late Sen Benigno Aquino Jr. who was shot at the Manila international airport on Aug 21, 1983. The president, now 52, was then 23.
Read more on Rappler.
he newest typhoon is intensifying as it moves north and is forecast to avoid making landfall in the Philippines. Typhoon Igme (international codename Tembin) is still expected to bring moderate to heavy rainfall (between 10-25 millimeters per hour) within its 600-km diameter, which includes the areas of Cagayan and Batanes, both under Signal No. 1. Due to Typhoon Igme, the southwest monsoon will be enhanced, bringing light to moderate rain over Luzon, particularly over Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Batangas, and the Mindoro provinces. Igme was spotted 380 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan as of 4 am August 21, packing winds of 160 km/h near the center and gusts of up to 195 km/h. It is expected to turn towards northern Taiwan in the next 24 hours.
Read more on Rappler.
Apple in a day
Technology giant Apple set another record on August 20: It became the most valuable public company in history. Apple's market value -- the price of its stock multiplied by the number of outstanding shares -- hit $623 billion in intraday trading, eclipsing the previous record of $618.9 billion set by Microsoft on December 30, 1999. If adjusted for inflation, however, "Microsoft’s peak market cap in 1999 was actually about $856 billion in constant dollars, $235 billion more than Apple’s current market cap," wrote Ryan Chittum, a media critic at the Columbia School of Journalism. Nonetheless, the anticipated September launch of the new iPhone, coupled with rumors of a smaller iPad and a more feature-rich Apple TV have lifted the Apple stock in recent weeks. Apple is on pace to be the world's largest technology company in terms of sales by the end of the year, and it's among the most profitable companies in the world. In the last 3 months of 2011, Apple made $13 billion -- second only to ExxonMobil's record-setting $14.8 billion quarter from the fall of 2008.
Thailand, Southeast Asia's second biggest economy, logged a 3.3% growth in the April-June period, the second straight quarter of solid growth, buoyed by investment to repair factories damaged by last year's devastating floods and strong domestic demand. The Thai economy, the region's second biggest, has rebounded sharply after suffering a double-digit contraction in the wake of the kingdom's worst floods in decades. Household consumption rose strongly as the government's economic stimulus measures lifted spending on durable goods such as cars. The months-long floods last year killed hundreds of people and caused widespread damage to Thailand's industrial heartland north of Bangkok. The floods ravaged huge industrial zones last October, affecting car and electronics groups. The government forecasts economic growth of 5.5% to 6% for the whole of 2012. The Philippines, on the other hand, expect to grow at the same pace for the year. It's 2nd quarter gross domestic product (GDP) performance will be announced on August 30.
Read more on Rappler here.
Justice and Politics
A Chinese court suspended the death sentence of Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced political leader Bo Xilai, on August 20. She was found guilty of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood in a case that has rocked the Communist party ahead of a 10-yearly power handover. The case brought down her husband Bo, a charismatic but divisive politician, and exposed deep divisions in the ruling Communist party before a generational handover of power due to start later this year. Bo had been tipped for promotion to the elite group of party leaders that effectively rules China until the allegations against his wife burst into the open, but is now under investigation for corruption. Gu confessed to killing 41-year-old Heywood by pouring poison down his throat, saying that he had threatened her son after a business deal went sour. Gu's reported psychological problems led to the suspension.
Fastest data cable link
A new high-speed undersea data cable connects Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. The 7,800km Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE) transfers data via an optical fibre system at 40 gigabits per second -- equivalent to downloading a high-resolution DVD in about two seconds -- and three milliseconds faster than any other cable between Singapore and Tokyo. These are two of region's busiest sites for financial trades and profit or loss can come down to a matter of beating the competition by a fraction of a second. The route for the new cable was chosen to be as straight as possible, reducing the time to get information from one end to the other to 65 milliseconds. Problems from the powerful earthquake that hit Japan in March 2011, and the December 2006 earthquake off the south-west coast of Taiwan that broke several cables and disrupting telecommunications in Asian countries, influenced where the new cable was laid. The area around Taiwan, where earthquakes are common, were avoided and the route near the Philippines makes the cable very safe and reliable. Involved are Japan's NTT, Philippines' PLDT, Singapore's StarHub, and Telekom Malaysia.
Read more on BBC.
US President Barack Obama bluntly warned Syrian president Bashar al-Assad not to cross a "red line" by using chemical or biological weapons in his country's bloody conflict and suggested that such action would prompt the United States to consider a military response. This August 20 statement was Obama's strongest language to date on the issue, and he warned Syria not only against using its unconventional weapons, but against moving them in a threatening fashion. Obama said the issue was of concern not only to Washington but also to its close allies in the region, including Israel. Obama has been reluctant to get the US involved in another war in the Middle East, even refusing to arm rebels fighting a 17-month-old uprising against Assad. Syria last month acknowledged for the first time that it had chemical and biological weapons and said it could use them if foreign countries intervene - a threat that drew strong warnings from Washington and its allies.
Education and Fun
The "absolutely stunning" new student lounge at Bangkok University features a “youngsters’ ecology” where college students can study and have space to take a break from the everyday grind. The fancy sanctuary was designed by Supermachine, which explained that "today's education [happen] whether in classrooms, libraries, homes, cafes etc. [and because] knowledge has been way easier to access in the era of internet and social networks." It features a super-long pool table, a giant dartboard, a "dancing pole," disco ball, a karaoke house, a music rehearsal room, and the "big sofa" area, where each of the sofa units can be manipulated to form different designs.
Read more on Business Insider.
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