Today on Rappler.
- A Makati court postpones the arraignment of pork barrel queen Janet Napoles.
- China denies it put up concrete blocks in the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
- World leaders at the G20 summit dinner in Russia remain divided over the Syria crisis.
Story 1: COURT POSTPONES NAPOLES ARRAIGNMENT
A Makati court postpones the arraignment of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
The arraignment is supposed to be held on September 9.
Judge Elmo Alameda schedules the arraignment on September 23.
Alameda says this is because of time constraints in resolving the 3 motions filed by Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim.
Lim, who remains at large, filed a motion through his counsel to suspend proceedings, while Napoles filed a motion for Bill of Particulars and a motion to defer arraignment and suspend proceedings.
Alameda is hearing the serious illegal detention case against Napoles and Lim.
Napoles is currently detained in Fort Sto Domingo, Sta Rosa, Laguna.
Her lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, says the postponement will allow them time to review the case further.
LORNA KAPUNAN, LAWYER OF JANET LIM NAPOLES: The court correctly ruled that because of these three pending motions there was no sufficient time to decide, to deliberate, to study the legal arguments of the counsels for Mrs. Napoles and her brother therefore it gave itself one week. Kung itutuloy yung arraignment eh, wala nang due process. It is really the interest of justice that has been served here. (If they pushed through with the arraignment, there would be no due process.)
Story 2: CBCP DENOUNCES PORK: ‘EVERYONE’S FAULT’
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines or CBCP pushes for the abolition of the pork barrel, calling the controversial funds a “fertile ground for graft and corruption.”
In a statement signed by CBCP President Archbishop Jose Palma, the CBCP says the pork barrel controversy is both a sociopolitical issue and an “offense against God.”
It also called all Filipinos to task for contributing to what it called a “worsening social cancer.”
It’s one of the CBCP’s strongest statements against corruption in government.
The CBCP generally shied away from denouncing corruption under the Arroyo government, despite reports bishops close to the administration curried certain favors.
Top Church leaders earlier spoke out against the pork barrel scam, which involves the alleged misuse of funds meant for development projects.
Among them is Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who attended the protest against the pork barrel on August 26.
Story 3: NBI CHIEF LEAVES AGENCY
Despite the President’s appeal, National Bureau of Investigation chief Nonnatus Rojas leaves the agency Friday.
Rojas submitted his “irrevocable resignation” Monday, in connection with alleged leaks in the agency on the Janet Napoles case.
Malacañang releases a statement quoting President Benigno Aquino saying he was –quote– “constrained to accept, with deep regret [Rojas’] resignation.”
Rojas says he is resigning out of delicadeza but in the statement, Aquino says Rojas’ “period of service has taken a serious toll on his health.”
Rojas resigned after the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Aquino as saying the NBI has “less trustworthy” people.
This is supposedly the reason why he chose not to turn Napoles over to the NBI when she surrendered in Malacañang on August 28.
The NBI is the main agency investigating the Napoles case.
Story 4: CHINA DENIES ‘CONCRETE FACILITIES’ IN PANATAG
The Chinese Foreign Ministry denies it built concrete facilities in the disputed Panatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal after the Philippines released photos of concrete blocks China allegedly installed.
Spokesman Hong Lei also says the shoal, which China calls Huangyan Island, is part of “China’s inherent territory.”
Given the current situation, Hong says Chinese government ships will patrol waters off the shoal to –quote– “safeguard the sovereignty over the Huangyan Island.”
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says the Philippines may use the reported installation of blocks in its case against China in an international tribunal hearing the claim over the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told lawmakers China installed at least 75 concrete blocks in Panatag.
He describes it as an obvious “prelude to construction.”
Story 5: WORLD POWERS FAIL TO HEAL SYRIA RIFT AT G20 DINNER
World powers remain divided over what to do with Syria as they fail to reach an agreement during the G20 summit dinner in Russia.
Russia leads the opposition to US-led military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over a chemical attack last month outside Damascus.
The White House is pushing Congress to approve military strikes on Syria.
On Thursday, a Senate committee approved a plan allowing 90 days of limited military intervention.
US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power says there is no way to seek Security Council approval for military action in Syria because of Russia.
Power adds, “Even in the wake of the flagrant shattering of the international norm against chemical weapons use, Russia continues to hold the council hostage and shirk its international responsibilities.”
Story 6: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 1, As a US strike on Syria looms, a video of Syrian rebels executing soldiers raises fears military action could strengthen Islamic extremists.
The New York Times reports, a video of men posing over their prisoners and firing a bullet into the back of their heads highlights the –quote– “increasingly criminal environment populated by gangs of highwaymen, kidnappers and killers” in Syria.
On Wednesday, US State Secretary John Kerry told Republican Representative Michael McCaul there is a “real moderate opposition that exists.”
At number 3, Newly disclosed documents show the United States’ National Security Agency is winning its war on Internet encryption.
The New York Times reports it’s all done in stealth, after the agency lost a bid in the 1990s to insert a “back door” in all encryption.
The NSA says its activities ensure protection against terrorists, but some experts say the NSA’s work to weaken communications security could work against US communications too.
And at number 7, Egypt’s Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim survives a car bomb attack near his home Thursday.
The bombing comes as security forces clamp down on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Ibrahim says he warned about such violence after the crackdown on Islamists who set up camps in Cairo to protest the army’s removal of Morsi.
Story 7: TWO WHITE LIONS BORN IN THE PHILIPPINES
Two white lion cubs are born in captivity in the Philippines, adding to the small number of the breed around the world.
Pia Ranada reports.
White lions are among the rarest animals in the world.
There are only around 300 alive today and only 10 can be found in the wild.
But last May, two more white lions were born right here in a Subic zoo.
PIA RANADA, REPORTER: Snow White and Beauty are only 3 months old. In two months, they will officially be part of Zoobic’s program. Because they were born inside the zoo, they have a strong bond with humans. This is why they aren’t aggressive and are quite friendly to humans. But that doesn’t mean they don’t bite, sometimes.
These 2 female cubs are the offspring of a pair of white lions given to the zoo by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.
They spend their day at the zoo’s clinic or playpen, indulging their wild side by play-fighting and waging war on an innocent coconut.
But should such rare creatures be kept in captivity?
Wild animals imported from abroad often have difficulty adjusting to new environments.
Some of the animals in Zoobic’s taxidermy died from the stress of travel.
JOSE ROMASASA, TAXIDERMIST: Nagkakasakit nga sila, minsan sa kakabiyahe. Tapos nagkakaroon sila ng, di kakain. Pero may mga vet naman kami. Ginagawa naman lahat nila. Pero minsan talagang namamatay pa rin. (They get sick, sometimes from the travel. Then they don’t eat. But we have vets. They do everything they can but sometimes, they still die.)
GREGG YAN, WORLDWIDE FUND FOR NATURE: Our stand is so long as the zoo and the aquaria has a program which is designed to further scientific knowledge on conserving a certain species, then it’s okay. The second condition would be if the educational value of having the animal in captivity arouses the passion of the people viewing the animals.
Zoobic veterinarian Norri Molleno says the zoo follows standards set by the South East Asian Zoos Association.
NORRI MOLLENO, ZOOBIC VETERINARIAN: There are set sizes already for enclosures. But then of course we have to do with the Philippine setting so sometimes you can’t really follow the measurements but you can at least be close. For the animal sizes, it should be around most likely 2 or 3 times its size. It should have the appropriate furnitures, as we call them that should emulate the ones they have in the wild.
And though Zoobic is primarily a theme park, it has a conservation aspect as well.
The zoo breeds rare Philippine species for eventual release in the wild.
Though it is unlikely that Snow White and Beauty will roam free in the wild, the zoo’s management hopes their beauty and rarity will convince people that the wild is worth protecting.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Manila.
Story 8: SAMSUNG UNVEILS GALAXY GEAR, NEW NOTE DEVICES
Samsung unveils three new devices in episode 2 of its unpacked 2013 event in Berlin, Germany.
Josh Villanueva reports.
A gadget that looks like it jumped straight out of a sci-fi flick — that’s one way to describe Samsung’s Galaxy Gear — the Korean company’s first attempt into making a wearable computing gadget.
In its Unpacked event in Berlin, Samsung announces the new device along with the Galaxy Note 3 and the 2014 edition of the Galaxy Note 10.1.
Samsung’s Director of Research Pranav Mistry introduces the Galaxy Gear.
Mistry is known for his work on SixthSense – a –quote– “wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world with digital information.”
Mistry demoed SixthSense in TedTalks back in 2009.
Samsung says the Galaxy Gear works perfectly with Samsung’s new devices.
PRANAV MISTRY, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, SAMSUNG: Gear is seamlessly connected to the Galaxy phone in your pocket. With gear, you cannot only see those call alerts, but you can answer phone calls and messages in a completely new way. When I receive a phone call, all I have to do is raise my hand to my ear and I’m ready to talk.
The other 2 devices announced in the event are next generation versions of Samsung’s Galaxy Note line.
Both the Galaxy Note 3 and the 2014 Galaxy Note 10.1 will be powered by an improved suite for the S-Pen.
The S-pen is Samsung’s stylus unique to its Note line which they say is popular among Galaxy Note users.
Samsung says the S-pen is key to the best feature of both new Note devices — which is better multitasking.
JOSH VILLANUEVA, REPORTING: Of the 3 devices that Samsung has unveiled At the IFA Consumer Electronics Expo. Everyone’s attention is on the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and rightfully so. Even if it’s just a companion device, meaning you’ll need to pair it with a Galaxy smartphone, it gives us a glimpse into the future of wearable computing. Josh Villanueva. Rappler, Berlin.
Newscast production staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|