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A Christmas column AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 12/20/2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas column

Ken Fuller
Regular readers who assume that my silence on the subject of Christmas stems from belief — or, more precisely, the lack of it — are not entirely wrong. But there is another reason: since I first visited the Philippines in late 1989, I have rarely been able to suppress a smile (or, should the mood take me, a grimace) at the wildly inappropriate practice of Christmas songs and carols, many of which have a snowy theme, being played in shopping malls in a tropical climate. This is, of course, an example of US commercial imperialism, just as the practice of Christianity itself arises from Spanish colonialism.

Has Christmas ever been celebrated without Christianity? Yes — although it didn’t go by that name. In pagan times, Northern European peoples celebrated a mid-winter festival. In some places, this was associated with the god Odin (in Anglo-Saxon this is “Woden,” from which “Wednesday” is derived). But gods were not — and are not — a necessary component of such a festival, because one often needs cheering up during a bleak northern winter, and a festival is as good a way as any of accomplishing this..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111220com4.html

OWS marks 3-month anniversary in New York

OWS marks 3-month anniversary in New York

From the Arab Spring - to America's Autumn, now turned Winter. The Occupy Wall Street movement has marked its 3-month anniversary this weekend.

­Images of arrests, brutality, and mass protesting in America over the last 3 months have been gripping the world.

“The cops must be smacking themselves in the forehead, because they’ve given such life to this movement,” said Truthout contributor JA Myerson..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/new-york-movement-occupy-201/

Kim Young-il body placed in glass coffin (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Kim Young-il body placed in glass coffin (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

The body of North Korea’s leader is lying in state in an open glass coffin so that mourners can pay their last respects. His personal armored railway wagon and official Mercedes are on display nearby.

­The commemorative events are taking place in Kumsusan Memorial Palace (also called Kim Il-sung Mausoleum) in downtown Pyongyang.

According to official sources, Kim Jong-il died on the morning of December 17 of fatigue and overwork. Reportedly he had been battling heart disease since allegedly suffering a stroke in 2008..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/jong-il-commemorative-events-pyongyang-231/

CSTO talks tough on NATO

 CSTO talks tough on NATO

The member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization released a strong message warning that European missile defense and unilateral military action may work to destabilize international security and strategic stability around the world.

The harsh statement was released by President Dmitry Medvedev and his counterparts from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Moscow on Tuesday.

The leaders made specific mention of the missile defense system that the United States is currently constructing in Eastern Europe, just miles from the Russian border..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/politics/csto-nato-russia-medvedev-kazakhstan-257/

Christmas VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 12/20/2011


Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
The times are bad and the future is dark. The country is stagnant and millions of Filipinos are suffering from hunger and uncertainty. The local and national problems are not only multiplying but also worsening. The quest for justice and peace remains elusive and the imperative of socio-economic development is far from being seriously attended, much less realistically pursued. The Philippines nevertheless continuous to have one singular blessing: The Filipinos who keep the faith, live with hope, believe in love — especially so during Christmas.

This is the primary reason, notwithstanding all arguments to the contrary, the Philippines is rather known for having the longest Christmas Season in the world. This is also why the Filipinos — creative and ingenious as they are — successfully combine their own native Christian heritage with many elements of imported Christmas symbols and practices..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111220com5.html

Environment defenders’ alliance born

Environment defenders’ alliance born


BAGUIO CITY — More than 500 anti-mining activists and advocates from different towns of Northern Luzon expressed unity on programs to save the environment and resources together in the first Northern Luzon Mining and Human Rights Summit held from December 13-15 of 2011 at the Quirino Hall, Teachers’ Camp.

On the theme “Defend and preserve our national patrimony against foreign big business plunder! Assert our rights to life, land, culture, food security and development!”, the three-day summit aimed to study the relation of mining projects to the human rights situation in Northern Luzon, vis a vis national and international developments..... MORE


URL: http://www.nordis.net/?p=11383

Ilocos group calls for troop pull out

Ilocos group calls for troop pull out


CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur — “Karapatan ng mamamayan, ipaglaban!”
More than 300 human rights advocates in Ilocos repeatedly chanted the above call as they marched to commemorate International Human Rights Day last December 11.

The activity was launched despite efforts from Philippine National Police (PNP) and the city government to frustrate them because of their “no permit, no rally policy”.

Mila Marcelo, public information officer of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA), said that the state-sponsored terror in the countryside and the escalating human rights violations in the Ilocos region has instead served as a challenge to the people to assert their rights..... MORE


URL: http://www.nordis.net/?p=11375

Decomposing bodies pile up; casualties hit 823 12/20/2011


Decomposing bodies pile up; casualties hit 823

As the body count rose to 823 late yesterday, authorities expect that the casualties from flash floods that devastated two port cities in Mindanao spawned by Typhoon Sendong will continue to pile up in the coming days as officials said more are missing than reported since entire families were believed swept to sea as they slept in coastal slums.

Towns in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities which were worst hit by the devastation prepared mass burials for decomposing bodies with authorities saying unclaimed cadavers piling up in mortuaries were posing health risks and had to be buried.

Several television footage showed decomposing bodies lined up in different centers where the dead were delivered for identification, underlining the serious tragedy that some of the survivors compared to the recent tsunami that hit parts of northern Japan last March. One footage from an Iligan mortuary showed a
corridor lined with bodies wrapped in white plastic bags bound with tan-colored packaging tape..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111220hed1.html

Luisita seeks SC recall ruling, SDO validity, high just compensation By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/20/2011

Luisita seeks SC recall ruling, SDO validity, high just compensation

By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/20/2011

First the Cojuangco-Aquinos of Hacienda Luisita said they would no longer seek a motion for reconsideration from the Supreme Court ruling that generally favored the hacienda farmers, but with the focus on the impeachment trial of SC Chief Justice Renato Corona and the vow of President Aquino to lobby with the senators to convict the CJ in an impeachment trial, the Cojuangco clan is pushing not only a recall of the SC ruling but for the court to declare the stock distribution option (SDO) valid, and also called for a higher just compensation for the clan.

Lawyers representing the Cojuangco-Aquino family-owned Hacienda Lusita Inc. (HLI) has asked the SC to reconsider its decision last Nov. 22 placing the centuries-old sugar estate under the government’s agrarian reform program.

In a 45-page motion to clarify and reconsider, HLI sought among other things, to have the reckoning point in determining the valuation of the hacienda moved to a later

date, 2006, from the original SC decision which said that the just compensation shall be based on the value of the property in November 1989 when the stock distribution option (SDO) was approved. The high court in its decision this year had struck down the SDO..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111220hed6.html

CPP-NPA approves four-day truce with government By Mario J. Mallari 12/20/2011

CPP-NPA approves four-day truce with government

By Mario J. Mallari 12/20/2011

After the New People’s Army (NPA) committed at least two major atrocities following the government’s unilateral suspension of offensive military operations (Somo), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday reciprocated the government’s 18-day Christmas truce with its own four-day ceasefire.

In a statement, the CPP-Central Committee issued a ceasefire order to all commands and units of the NPA nationwide starting Dec. 24 to Dec. 26 for the Christmas and Dec. 31 to Jan. 2 for the New Year.

“During the indicated periods, all commands and units of the NPA and the people’s militia shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police and paramilitary forces of the Government Republic of the Philippines (GRP),” the CPP said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111220nat2.html

Gov’t ready to recognize North Korean successor By Michaela P. del Callar 12/20/2011

Gov’t ready to recognize North Korean successor

By Michaela P. del Callar 12/20/2011

The Philippine government yesterday said it is prepared to recognize the new North Korean leader following the demise of its Kim Jong-Il, as it called for a “smooth transition to a new leadership.”

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “The Philippine government values its relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and will continue to cooperate with them to intensify the promotion and maintenance of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, including in the Korean Peninsula , to ensure the region’s continued prosperity.”

Manila, which has decade-old diplomatic ties with Pyongyang , likewise offered its condolences to its government and people on the death of Kim Jong-Il..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111220nat1.html

Customs seizes P10.6-M worth of pyrotechnics from China 12/20/2011

Customs seizes P10.6-M worth of pyrotechnics from China

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) seized P10.6-milliion worth of firecrackers and fireworks misdeclared as school supplies that were illegally imported from China, BoC report said yesterday.

Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said the two 40-footer container vans of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices were consigned to FEC Trading which is owned by a certain Francisco Edward Lopez Claudio of Makati City.

It was learned that the pyrotechnic shipment was lodged at the BoC by FEC Trading’s customs broker Advenzur Ubas..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111220met4.html

Toxins detected on food containers in Metro Manila outlets 12/20/2011

Toxins detected on food containers in Metro Manila outlets

The EcoWaste Coalition yesterday reported that it has detected sky-high levels of toxic elements on several beverage and food containers purchased from popular retail outlets in Metro Manila.

The samples were obtained from Landmark Department Store in Quezon City; Puregold Supermarket in Cubao, Quezon City; Robinsons Supermarket in Mandaluyong City; Shopwise in Vito Cruz, Makati City; and Savemore in Santa Ana, Manila City. All purchases had receipts.

The EcoWaste Coalition has notified the retail outlets about the test results and requested the management to remove the tainted products off the store shelves..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111220met1.html

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