Rappler Newscast | June 18, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- A partylist lawmaker says 3 embassy officials are prostituting overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East.
- Survey firms blast the Commission on Elections for threatening to sue over non-disclosure of funders.
- Whistleblower Edward Snowden promises more exposes about the US government’s secret surveillance program.
Story 1: 'EMBASSY STAFF PROSTITUTING OFWS'
Akbayan Rep Walden Bello says 3 embassy officials allegedly sexually abused overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East.
Bello, chair of the House committee on overseas workers' affairs, identifies the officials as Mario Antonio, an assistant labor attaché in Jordan; Blas Marquez of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait; and a "Kim," from the Foreign Affairs department in Syria.
Bello accuses Antonio and Marquez of running "prostitution rings" in Jordan and Kuwait.
"Kim" was supposedly caught in --quote-- “an intimate act with a female OFW at an embassy shelter.
Bello says his information came from --quote-- "unimpeachable sources" at the Foreign Affairs department and the labor department.
Bello says he discovered the incidents during a probe on "sex-for-flight" schemes in the Middle East.
He says the activities are an “open secret.”
WALDEN BELLO, AKBAYAN REP: I am asking Secretary Del Rosario and Secretary Baldoz…to move immediately to recall the officials I have identified, dismiss them from government service, and criminally prosecute them.
In response to the "sex-for-flight" scheme in the Middle East, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez says they have not received any report or complaint from alleged victims.
In a text message, Hernandez says DFA secretary Del Rosario will meet with Bello tomorrow to -- quote -- “complete the information” and move the investigation forward.
Story 2: SWS, PULSE ASIA BLAST COMELEC OVER 'THREAT'
Survey firms Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia blast the Commission on Elections about a threat to sue them for not divulging who funds their polls.
In a joint statement, the two firms criticize Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes for “threatening to file criminal charges” against them for not complying with Comelec Resolution 9674, which requires survey firms to divulge their funders 3 days from receipt of the resolution.
Brillantes issues the supposed threat in a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday.
But SWS and Pulse Asia say they have not yet received the resolution.
They add, "The period to comply with Resolution No. 9674 has not begun...So what defiance is Chair Brillantes talking about?"
The survey firms also oppose the resolution, saying it is "oppressive" and unconstitutional.
Justifying the resolution, Brillantes refers to the Fair Elections Act, which says firms that publish surveys during the election period should divulge their funders.
Story 3: TALKS WITH MNLF A REVIEW, NOT NEGOTIATIONS
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process says talks with former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front are not new negotiations.
Peace Adviser Secretary Teresita Deles says the planned meeting with the MNLF is a"tripartite review" of the status of the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.
Deles makes the clarification after a representative of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front asks why the government calls the meeting with the MNLF a "negotiation" when it was previously considered a "conversation."
The statement comes as talks between the MILF and the government stall because of disagreements over wealth and power sharing.
Story 4: PAGASA: RAINY WEEK DUE TO EMONG, 'HABAGAT'
It will be a rainy week ahead for many parts of the country because of the combined effects of the southwest monsoon and tropical storm Emong.
State weather bureau Pagasa says the storm moves east of Luzon.
The storm’s center is 470 kilometers East of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
It has maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.
Metro Manila, Central Luzon, MIMAROPA, CALABARZON, Bicol Region and Visayas will experience cloudy skies with moderate to heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms, which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.
The rest of the country will be cloudy with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms.
Emong is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility Thursday morning.
Story 5: DEFIANT SNOWDEN PROMISES MORE LEAKS
US whistleblower Edward Snowden warns more leaks are on the way after exposing a secret widespread government data surveillance program which he insists threatens the privacy of millions.
Snowden, who is now in Hong Kong with secret documents, vows to expose more details about how US agents spy on private email messages and web traffic.
Snowden says, "Truth is coming and it cannot be stopped."
US President Barack Obama's administration partially confirms Snowden’s allegations by defending the programs.
He says these are vital to protecting US citizens from terrorism.
Snowden claims almost any intelligence analyst with access to the US National Security Agency signals database could target almost anyone's emails or phone metadata.
Snowden says these agents have access to IP addresses, raw data, content, and attachments.
He says, “They can enter and get results for anything they want.”
Snowden says the communications of Americans were collected and consulted on a "daily basis," excusing it as “‘incidental’ collection.”
He adds, warrants are rarely audited.
The government opens a criminal probe into Snowden's acts.
The former NSA contractor dismisses allegations he is a traitor.
Snowden says, "All I can say right now is the US government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me.”
In his latest disclosure, he reveals the British government bugged leaders at a previous G20 summit.
Story 6: NEW TELESCOPE TO SHED LIGHT ON DARK SIDE OF UNIVERSE
The European Space Agency approves the construction of a new space telescope to help scientists search for dark energy and dark matter.
The high-tech Euclid telescope is scheduled to launch on a Russian Soyuz rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana in 2020.
Over a period of six years, Euclid will map the 3D distribution of up to two billion galaxies.
The telescope will help scientists search for dark energy and dark matter.
It will survey about half of the sky, and look back in time up to 10 billion light years.
Scientists say dark energy has an effect on the universe’s expansion.
Dark matter is invisible material and can only be detected through its gravitational effect on visible matter.
The mission is expected to cost $798 million.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 4, Singapore urges Indonesia to take "urgent measures" to tackle its forest fires as severe air pollution from Sumatra chokes the densely populated city-state.
Singapore’s Pollutant Standards Index soars to 152 Monday evening,
well past the officially designated "unhealthy" threshold of 100.
It’s Singapore's worst haze reading since 2006 when the index reached 150.
Parts of neighboring Malaysia also suffer from the smoky haze, a recurring problem
Southeast Asian governments fail to solve this despite repeated calls for action.
At number 5, Egypt and Ethiopia are in a tug-of-war over the Nile river, after Ethiopia began to change the river’s course by displacing it several hundred meters at the end of May.
The move angers Egypt, raising fears about future water supplies.
The Egyptians see the river as a gift from God, cradle of the Ancient Egyptian civilization.
But Ethiopia, where most of the river's water originates, also wants to use the river and it’s been planning a huge dam for years.
Egypt depends on the Nile for 98% of its water - and water is in increasingly short supply.
And at number 8, on Monday the late Steve Jobs took center stage in the latest twist in the Apple antitrust trial on ebooks.
A federal court attempts to read unsent emails Jobs addressed to Eddy Cue, an Apple senior vice president assigned with negotiating ebook contracts with major publishers in late 2009 and early 2010 before the launch of the iPad.
Though the email messages were not sent, government prosecutors argue these help establish a pattern of Apple serving as a "ringleader" in a conspiracy...
with publishers forcing the retail book industry to adopt higher prices of ebooks.
Story 8: FILIPINOS ARE WORLD'S BIGGEST GIN DRINKERS
Market research firm International Wine & Spirit Research or IWSR says Filipinos are the world’s biggest gin drinkers.
The report says an average Filipino consumes 1.4 liters of gin every year.
The global gin market sells about 440 million liters a year.
The US and Spain are the next biggest gin markets.
The report says the fondness of Filipinos for drinking gin is mainly because of effective marketing and distribution efforts of the largest brand, Ginebra San Miguel.
The company reports 13.9 billion pesos of alcoholic product sales in 2012 and 2.95 billion pesos in the first quarter of 2013.
The Philippines has long been considered the world's largest gin market, accounting for about half of global sales.
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|