Typhoon Pablo claimed at least 325 lives as it slammed into eastern Mindanao and the Visayas on Tuesday, December 4. More than 56,000 were also forced to flee their homes in fear of the worst storm to hit the Philippines this year. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council kept its own count at 4 fatalities as of 6 pm of Tuesday. At least 20 villages in Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao were submerged under water. PAGASA said the typhoon has weakened slightly as it advanced over the Sulu Sea towards northern Palawan. It is expected to be outside the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday morning.
RH Bill in Senate
The Senate voted against amendments of RH critics on Tuesday, December 4. Enrile and Recto first proposed the amendments to RH bill principal sponsor Pia Cayetano. When she rejected 4 of the amendments, the Senate decided in all 4 times to uphold Cayetano’s decision. The most contentious amendment concerned the removal of the phrase “safe and satisfying sex life” from the definition of RH. Cayetano stressed that “many women are denied a pleasurable sexual experience” and that to delete the phrase would be to deny them of a pleasurable experience” in lieu of sex just to get pregnant. Cayetano is pushing for a vote on the bill soon similar to her counterparts in the House of Representatives.
Read more on Rappler.
RH Bill in House
The period of amendments for the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill failed to move beyond the second page after a second day of deliberations on December 4. But despite the impasse, votes indicated that pro-RH solons maintain the numbers to pass the controversial measure. During Day 2 this week of discussions, anti-RH bill legislators continued to introduce “killer amendments” aimed at diluting the essence of the bill, but RH proponents had the numbers to block the amendments.
Read more on Rappler.
Egyptian riot police back against thousands of protesters gathered outside the Presidential palace in Cairo, angered over what they called dictatorial rule by President Muhammed Morsi. The President was forced to flee the palace via a side gate while the palace has now been cordoned off with a barbed wire. Last month, Morsi put in place a new law that would protect Presidential decrees from being overrun and that protected a council tasked to draft a new constitution from being dissolved. Morsi called for a referendum on the draft constitution on December 15 but opponents are saying he is rushing the matter. Egypt’s rocky political transition follows the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak from power in the last Egyptian revolution in 2011. Morsi, who was elected in free elections last June, took over from Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces which was left in control over the country after Mubarak stepped down.
Read more on the Guardian.
Iran claimed it has captured a US drone, an unmanned military aircraft, that entered Iranian airspace over the Persian gulf. But a US defense official denied this report, saying all US Navy drones operating in the Middle East are accounted for. The US official also stressed that drone operations only take place in internationally recognized air space. Iranian officials identified the drone as a Scan Eagle, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan of about 10 feet capable of flying for 24 hours without refueling. It is used in the military for surveillance operations. Exactly one day ago, in Dec 4, 2011 Iran shot down another US drone, a MQ-1 Predator, conducting a surveillance mission over international waters 16 miles off the coast of Iran.
Read more on CNN.
US President Obama said he is willing to consider new options to avoid a so-called “fiscal cliff” but insisted that any deal should include higher taxes for the rich. Speaking at his first interview since his re-election, Obama criticized a proposal by House Republicans that includes US$800-B in additional tax revenues but didn’t raise tax rates on upper income Americans. Republicans had criticized a previous plan by the Obama administration, calling it a step backwards in terms of negotiations. The President admitted he understood the need to be flexible, adding, “I’m not going to get 100%” but insisted a deal would have to include increased taxes for Americans that make over $250,000.
Read more on the Wall Street Journal.
In 2012 the Philippines is second worst among 11 Asian countries in terms of corporate governance, according to a report by the Asian Corporate Governance Association. But the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) said it was working hard to bring the country up to the 3rd best by 2013. Corporate governance broadly refers to the framework by which a company meets ethical and legal standards, and makes sure various stakeholder interests are balanced. In recent years, corporate governance received increased attention because of high-profile scandals involving abuse of corporate power and, in some cases, alleged criminal activity by corporate officers.
Read more on Rappler.
Two days after Prince William and Duchess Katherine confirmed they were having a baby, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced Tuesday, that all 16 Commonwealth Countries have agreed to push through with legislation that will end a rule that discriminates against women in the line of succession to take the British throne. Clegg said the British government “will be presenting the Succession to the Crown Bill to Parliament very soon,” adding that it was “a change and an updating of rules that many people will welcome.” According to this legislation, whether the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a boy or a girl, that child will succeed William on the throne.
Read more on BBC News.
Texting celebrated its 20th birthday on Monday. On Dec 3, 1991 British engineer Neil Papworth sent the first text, “Merry Christmas” to the mobile phone of Vodafone executive Richard Jarvis. At that time it was only intended as a easy way for staff within a company to send messages to each other. Papworth said, “it didn’t seem like a big deal.” One year later, Nokia introduced GSM handsets that supported the Short Message Service (SMS). The rest as we know is history. While more and more smartphone users also use competing services like BlackBerry Messenger, Apple’s iMessage, and cross platform mobile platforms like WhatsApp, SMS usage continues to increase worldwide.
Read more on the Verge and on Huffington Post.
Miss Universe 2012
After some delays the Miss Universe pageant takes place this month in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Philippines’ representative Janina Tongonon arrived in Vegas Monday as she is already taking part in pre-pageant activities. Over the course of the pageant, Rappler will report on her progress, but before that, we take a look at what makes this year’s Miss Philippines different and what facets could possibly win her the crown.
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