Items filtered by date: Thursday, 30 November 2017

Can Europe create the next Google?

The Google logo adorns the entrance of Google Germany headquarters in Hamburg, Germany July 11, 2016. Reuters/Morris Mac Matzen
LONDON, ENGLAND — Europe is making major strides to eliminate barriers that have held back the region from developing tech firms that can compete on the scale of global giants Alphabet Inc’s Google, Amazon.com Inc or Tencent Holdings Inc , a report published on Thursday shows.

The region has thriving tech hubs in major cities, with record new funding, experienced entrepreneurs, a growing base of technical talent and an improving regulatory climate, according to a study by European venture firm Atomico.

While even the largest European tech ventures remain a fraction of the size of the biggest U.S. and Asian rivals, global music streaming leader Spotify of Sweden marks the rising ambition of European entrepreneurs. Spotify is gearing up for a stock market flotation next year that could value it at upward of $20 billion.

“The probability that the next industry-defining company could come from Europe – and become one of the world’s most valuable companies – has never been higher,” said Tom Wehmeier, Atomico’s head of research, who authored the report.

Top venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in the region told Reuters they are increasingly confident that the next world-class companies could emerge from Europe in fields including artificial intelligence, video gaming, music and messaging.

“What we still need to develop is entrepreneurs who have the drive to take it all the way – I think we are starting to see that now,” said Bernard Liautaud, managing partner at venture fund Balderton Capital, who sold his software company Business Objects to SAP for $6.8 billion a decade ago.

The Atomico report is being published in conjunction with the annual Nordic technology start-up festival taking place in Helsinki this week and set to draw some 20,000 participants.

Stronger fundamentals

Capital invested in European tech companies is on track to reach a record this year, with $19.1 billion in funding projected through the end of 2017 – up 33 percent over 2016, according to investment tracking firm Dealroom.co.

The median size of European venture funds nearly tripled to around 58 million euros (£51.1 million) in 2017 compared with five years ago, according to Invest Europe’s European Data Cooperative on fundraising investment activity.

Beyond the availability of funding, Europe has a range of technical talent available to work more cheaply than in Silicon Valley, enabling start-ups to get going with far less funding.

With a pool of professional developers now numbering 5.5 million, European tech employment outpaces the comparable 4.4 million employed in the United States, according to data from Stack Overflow, a site popular with programmers.

London remains the top European city in terms of numbers of professional developers, but Germany, as a country, overtook Britain in the past year with 837,398 developers compared with 813,500, the report states, using Stack Overflow statistics.

While median salaries for software engineers are rising in top European cities Berlin, London, Paris and Barcelona, they are one-third to one-half the average cost of salaries in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is more than $129,000, based on Glassdoor recruiting data.

Pushing up against the limits

Big hurdles remain. A survey of 1,000 founders by authors of the report found European entrepreneurs were worried by Brexit, with concerns, especially in Britain, over hiring, investment and heightened uncertainty in the business climate.

Although Europe has deep engineering talent, many big startups focus on business model innovation in areas such as media, retail and gaming rather than on breakthrough technology developments that can usher in new industries, critics say.

Regulatory frameworks in Europe put the brakes on development on promising technologies such as cryptocurrencies, “flying taxis” and gene editing, while autonomous vehicles and drones face fewer obstacles, the report says.

A separate study by Index Ventures, also to be published on Thursday, found that employees at fast-growing tech start-ups in Europe tend to receive only half the stock option stakes that are a primary route to riches for their U.S. rivals. Yet their options are taxed twice as much.

The Index report said employees in successful, later-stage European tech start-ups receive around 10 percent of capital, compared with 20 percent ownership in Silicon Valley firms.

“There is quite a gap today between stock option practices in Europe and those in Silicon Valley,” Index Ventures partner Martin Mignot said in an interview. “There are other issues where Europe is behind, but we think stock options should be at the top of the agenda.”

Another factor holding back Europe is that regional stock markets encourage firms to go public prematurely, Liataud said.

“Europe has markets for average companies. In the U.S., going public is hard. You have to be really, really good. You have to be $100 million, minimum, in revenue,” the French entrepreneur-turned-investor said. “Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange have not lowered their standards.”

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WATCH | Marvel assembles biggest superhero cast for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

A scene from 'The Avengers: Infinity War.'
LOS ANGELES | The evil villain Thanos is preparing to take over the universe and Marvel has recruited all of its cinematic superheroes, from Iron Man and Thor to Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, to save the galaxy in Wednesday’s new trailer for “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The film, due in theaters in May 2018, will see the biggest gathering of Walt Disney Co.-owned Marvel’s fast-expanding cadre of cinematic superheroes, including Doctor Strange, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

“This is the culmination of 10 years of filmmaking and I think it’s unprecedented,” Joe Russo, who co-wrote and co-directed the film with his brother Anthony Russo, told Reuters in July, after early footage of the film was shown at Disney’s D23 fan exposition in Anaheim, California.

The trailer shows the Avengers coming together as they prepare to battle Thanos.

Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are seen with Dr. Stephen Strange and Wong, Peter Parker feels his Spider-Man senses tingling while on the school bus, Loki gets his hands on a powerful Infinity Stone and Black Panther teams up with Captain America, Black Widow and the Winter Soldier.

“When you combine them, you get something that you haven’t seen before,” Joe Russo said.

The Russo brothers said that “Infinity War” will close out a 10-year storyline that began with 2008’s “Iron Man,” and set the stage for a new iteration of Marvel’s on-screen superheroes.

Watch the trailer tease of “Avengers: Infinity War” here: https://youtu.be/3VbHg5fqBYw

 

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Republicans rewriting tax bill — and won’t vote tonight

A Joint Committee on taxation analysis predicts the tax bill would increase the deficit by $1 trillion, which could be problematic for lawmakers like Sen. Bob Corker, who has said he would vote against a tax bill that increased the deficit. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Senate Republicans are still scrambling to win over enough votes to pass their massive tax code overhaul, with major changes to the bill still up in the air and a final vote pushed beyond Thursday night.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the next vote in the tax debate will come at 11 a.m. Friday, as work continues behind the scenes to win over skeptical deficit hawks and other hold-outs.

Multiple GOP senators leaving the chamber after a dramatic late afternoon vote said a key proposal for deficit hawks — a trigger to raise tax rates if sufficient economic growth did not materialize — would not pass procedural muster and would need to find something else to satisfy the bloc of deficit hawk holdouts, led by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

“It doesn’t look like the trigger is going to work, according to the parliamentarian,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. “So we have an alternative, frankly: a tax increase we don’t want to do to try to address Sen. Corker’s concerns.”

Corker told reporters: “My understanding is, that the parliamentarian has ruled against it so they’re just going to automatically put [tax increases] in, period.” Corker and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said the revenue raised with tax increases — which senators say would kick in six years after the enactment of the tax legislation — would total about $350 billion, although Cornyn suggested that figure may need to go higher.

Their comments came after extended drama on the Senate floor Thursday during an otherwise mundane procedural vote, when Corker, Flake and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) initially withheld their support on a vote to move forward with the bill. Ultimately they aligned with their party, but it suggested real concerns remained.

Johnson withheld his vote during the standoff in exchange for votes on his amendments, including one that would further increase a tax deduction for pass-through businesses to around 25 percent.

Republicans got a boost earlier in the day after Sen. John McCain said he would back the Senate GOP tax legislation.

Morning Tax

 

The Arizona Republican, who helped tank the party’s Obamacare repeal efforts earlier this year, has been a major question mark for weeks on the tax measure. He raised some general concerns about ballooning the deficit — one reason he voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 — but stressed in his statement that he believed the tax measure would ultimately boost the economy and ease deficit issues.

“I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long overdue tax relief for middle class families,” McCain said in a statement.

The legislation would slash the corporate tax rate and lower rates for many, though not all, individuals. Senate Republicans have said their plan would boost the economy but not by nearly as much as some lawmakers hope, a new official analysis shows.

The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation said Thursday that the GOP plan would fall well short of covering its $1.5 trillion cost through additional economic growth; it predicted $407 billion in additional revenue would come in by boosting the economy by 0.8 percent over the next decade.

That would mean a $1 trillion deficit increase, which could be problematic for lawmakers like Corker, who has said he would vote against a tax bill that increased the deficit. A Senate Finance Committee aide noted that the analysis was "incomplete" since the bill text has yet to be finalized.

Democrats have blasted Republicans for rushing the bill to the floor while considering significant eleventh-hour changes to the sprawling tax code rewrite.

“This is tax, one of the most complicated issues before us,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor Thursday. “These changes and the way the majority leader is handling this make it impossible for any independent analyst to get a good look at the bill and how it would impact our country.”

McCain, however, signaled he was satisfied with the process, noting the bill went through “a thorough mark-up in the Senate Finance Committee.”

 

But even with McCain in the “yes” column, Senate Republicans still have myriad issues to resolve before they can lock down at least 50 votes to ensure final passage of the tax bill on the floor. Republicans are using powerful budget procedures to evade a Democratic filibuster and could pass the bill as early as Thursday night.

Other key GOP votes such as Corker, Flake and Susan Collins of Maine have yet to commit to the bill, for varying reasons. And Johnson and Steve Daines of Montana are trying to secure even more generous treatment of small businesses after extracting a boost in an earlier round of negotiations.

Collins will offer a half-dozen amendments, including one that would hike the proposed corporate tax rate of 20 percent to restore a deduction for up to $10,000 for property taxes. She is among a handful of Republican senators who say they are open to raising the proposed corporate rate in order to fund other tax provisions in the bill.

"I have talked with many CEOs who have called to lobby me and they start as saying that they'd really love to have the rate go to 20, and then I say, what about 22 percent? Would that change your decision-making?" Collins said late Wednesday night. "And they say we'd be happy with 22 percent."

The moderate senator is also seeking to extract some health care assurances because the current tax bill repeals Obamacare's requirement that everyone carry insurance or pay a penalty.

At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Thursday morning, Collins discussed an arrangement that would add two separate health care bills — one to stabilize the markets and another to protect pre-existing conditions and use high-risk pools — to a short-term spending bill that would need to pass before government funding expires Dec. 8.

"I’m going to know whether or not those provisions made it" before final passage of a tax bill, Collins said. "That matters hugely to me."

Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 Republicans that frequently buck their party's leadership, rejected the notion of supporting those health care bills or other provisions thought to be key to garnering enough tax votes in the Senate.

"I don't see supporting a [continuing resolution] with Alexander-Murray attached to it," said House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).

 

Other members of the group said they opposed amendments that would raise the proposed corporate income tax rate above 20 percent, and bristled at the idea of a delayed cut, which the Senate's bill does largely due to budgetary rules.

"It's a great strategy if you’re looking to put the Democrats in the majority and give them credit for what we did," Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said of the Senate's proposed one-year delay to a corporate tax cut.

Brian Faler, Bernie Becker and Elana Schor contributed to this report.

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Kate Steinle death: Garcia Zarate acquitted of homicide

San Francisco (CNN)A jury on Thursday found an undocumented immigrant not guilty in the July 2015 death of Kate Steinle, a decision that reignited the debate over immigration policy.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, was acquitted of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, as well as assault with a deadly weapon. Jurors convicted the Mexican citizen of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Garcia Zarate is subject to immediate deportation. He had been deported from the United States five times prior to Steinle's death. 
Prosecutors had argued Garcia Zarate intentionally shot Steinle, 32, with a Sig Sauer .40-caliber handgun as she and her father walked on San Francisco's Pier 14. But Garcia Zarate's defense attorney contended the shooting was accidental. 
Reaction to the jury's decision, after more than 24 hours of deliberation over six days, was swift, with conservatives saying San Franciso's status as a sanctuary city was largely to blame for what happened that summer day Before the shooting, officials in San Francisco released Garcia Zarate from custody instead of turning him over to immigration authorities.
Kate Steinle, 32, was killed in July 2015.
 
"I urge the leaders of the nation's communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. 
Sessions said: "When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public's safety at risk." 
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter said Steinle "would still be alive if we had a wall," referring to President Donald Trump's call for the construction of a border wall between the US and Mexico.
But one of the defendant's lawyers said the debate over immigration didn't belong in the case.
"Nothing about Mr. Garcia Zarate's ethnicity, nothing about his immigration status, nothing about the fact that he was born in Mexico has any relevance to what happened on July 1, 2015," said public defender Francisco Ugarte.

What happened

Steinle, her father and a friend were at the pier when a bullet struck Steinle's lower back and tore through her abdominal aorta, authorities said. 
Surveillance video showed Garcia Zarate running away. After his arrest, investigators found gunshot residue on his right hand, prosecutor Diana Garcia told jurors.
Garcia Zarate faced a charge of second-degree murder, but jurors also were allowed to consider first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter convictions.
Prosecutors said Garcia Zarate was playing his own "secret version of Russian roulette" and deliberately fired into an unsuspecting crowd on the pier, killing Steinle.
Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez said Garcia Zarate found the gun at the pier. He said it was wrapped in cloth, and when Garcia Zarate unwrapped it, the gun accidentally discharged.
But in a police interrogation, Garcia Zarate admitted to firing the gun, saying he was aiming at a seal.
Juors began deliberating Tuesday in the murder trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate.
 
He told police that he stepped on the gun, causing it to fire.
Prosecutors said Garcia Zarate immediately tried to cover his tracks by throwing the gun into the San Francisco Bay, then fleeing the scene.
Garcia Zarate was formerly known as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, one of several aliases he is known to have used. CNN and other media outlets previously identified him as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez.

Sanctuary cities and 'Kate's Law'

Garcia Zarate's undocumented status and San Francisco's status as a sanctuary city prompted widespread debate over immigration policies.
 
Officials sued after Kate Steinle's death
 
 
 
 
Officials sued after Kate Steinle's death 02:00
Freya Horne, chief legal counsel to the San Francisco County Sheriff, said in a 2015 interview that Garcia Zarate was let go because there was no legal cause to detain the suspect.
Steinle's family filed a lawsuit in 2016 alleging that San Francisco and its former sheriff were partly to blame for Steinle's death, because officials never notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement when Garcia Zarate was released from a local jail in April 2015. City officials have said they're not liable for a former inmate's actions. A federal judge dismissed the family's claims against San Francisco and former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi earlier this year.
Steinle's death became a rallying cry for Trump and others, who have invoked the case in decrying sanctuary cities and promoting the construction of the border wall.
"This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately," Trump said in July 2015. "This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it. That won't happen if I become President."
Trump also mentioned Steinle in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention after winning the Republican presidential nomination.
This summer, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3004, dubbed "Kate's Law" -- a measure named for Steinle. The legislation would increase maximum prison penalties for immigrants caught repeatedly entering the US illegally. 
The measure was introduced in the Senate but failed to get the 60 votes needed to pass.
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IN PHOTOS: Thousands of anti-Duterte protesters blocked from Mendiola

MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of activists failed to reach Mendiola to protest against the planned declaration of a revolutionary government under President Rodrigo Duterte, calling it a "return of the Martial Law period."

On the 154th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio on Thursday, November 30, leftist groups staged a protest at Liwasang Bonifacio in the City of Manila against the "creeping one-man rule" of Duterte. They were set to march to Mendiola and burn an effigy of the President there. (READ: 'Bonifacio turning in his grave' over Duterte's revolutionary gov't)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Around 2,500 protesters joined the march to Mendiola, according to police estimates.

However, they were blocked by riot police along Recto Avenue to prevent them approaching the area where the President's supporters calling for a revolutionary government (RevGov) had set up their own rally at the historic peace arch. (READ: Supporters 'grant' Duterte sole powers to write new Constitution)

 
 
REDS. Anti-Duterte protesters posed with communist signs along Quezon Boulevard on Bonifacio Day, November 30, 2017. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler
     
 

REDS. Anti-Duterte protesters posed with communist signs along Quezon Boulevard on Bonifacio Day, November 30, 2017. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler 

TARGET. A protester wears a dart board with the face of President Rodrigo Duterte as the target. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler
     

TARGET. A protester wears a dart board with the face of President Rodrigo Duterte as the target. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler 

YOUTH. A member from the Kabataan Party list stands in front of the police barricade with a message to the President that read "Moderate Your Greed!" Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler
     

YOUTH. A member from the Kabataan Party list stands in front of the police barricade with a message to the President that read "Moderate Your Greed!" Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler 

As protesters tried to push their way to Mendiola, riot police used water cannons in an attempt to stop them – which led to a quick standoff between the groups.

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler
     

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler 

Failing to reach Mendiola, the group burned the effigy along Recto Avenue instead. The effigy depicts Duterte as a dog of the United States with the face of a snake. 

Anakbayan chaiperson Vencer Crisostomo said it was Duterte's fault that the youth were taking to the streets to voice their concerns. The President's dictatorial tendencies and subservience to the United States had pushed young people to even join rebel groups, he said. (READ: 15 communist rebels killed in Batangas clashes)

EFFIGY. Anti-Duterte protesters burned an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte depicted as United States President Donald Trump's pet dog with a face of a snake. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler
     

EFFIGY. Anti-Duterte protesters burned an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte depicted as United States President Donald Trump's pet dog with a face of a snake. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler 

Duterte's former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo attended the anti-dictatorship rally and said a RevGov is "not the answer" to speed up reforms in the country.

The groups denounced the administrration's "crackdown" on the Leftist movement, after Duterte ended peace talks with communists and tagged them as terrorists. Taguiwalo said they are not the enemies of the state.

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler
     

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler 

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler
     

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

In an act, comedian Mae "Juana Change" Paner, clad in a police officer uniform, delivered a satirical speech. Her name plate read "Verdugo" (Executioner).

"Lalaban kayo? Pupunta kayong Mendiola? Basta ako, mabuhay ang berdugong Presidente!"Paner said, alluding to the alleged human rights violations under the Duterte government. (Will you fight? Will you go to Mendiola? As for me, long live the executioner President!)

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler
     

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler 

Duterte has been flip-flopping on whether he would declare a revolutionary government. During the presidential election campaigns in 2016, he said he would close down Congress and declare a revolutionary government if legislators would block the pork-less budget.

Last October, Duterte again threatened he would declare a revolutionary government if he sensed a destabilization plot against him. On November 21, he pulled back on his threats, saying the country would "not get anything out of it." (READ: Duterte says he won't declare revolutionary gov't)

Supporters of a revolutionary government said the setup would immediately address the country's problems.

However, experts said that granting Duterte emergency powers under the current Constitution would suffice, as many have expressed fears of the return of authoritarian rule. –Rappler.com

 
 
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RevGov rallies in the provinces: Where's Duterte? Where are the crowds?

Photo by Mick Basa/Rappler 

 

While the pro-Duterte crowd peaked at 5,000 in Mendiola in Manila, the second biggest gathering was in the President's home city of Davao, where hundreds gathered at the Crocodile Park Concert Grounds, owned by his friend, businessman Philip Dizon. 

Duterte, however, didn't grace the event, even though organizers said they had invited the President. 

The event, which organizers initially said would gather “millions” of participants, mustered hundreds instead, most of them members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who are supporting the administration's initiative to shift to a federal system of government.

Some participants came from as far as Lanao Norte, bringing with them posters that bore the names of different states and substates, among them "Iranun Substate," "Kutawatu State," and "Mt Apo Substate."

“At least this is the people’s initiative,” Rolando Olamit, a Davao City-based leader of the MNLF and one of two people who wrote to Duterte on November 6, asking him to be at the November 30 rally at 3 pm.

Olamit said despite Duterte’s absence, they would continue to urge him to declare a revolutionary government. 

Small gatherings in Bohol 

There was no organized rally in Bohol in Central Visayas, from where Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr hails. Donald Borja Sevilla, a leader of Evasco's Kilusang Pagbabago grassroots movement, told Rappler that the idea of a grand rally discussed by certain individuals a week ago fizzled out.

Bohol police director Senior Superintendent Felipe Rivera Natividad said they had been monitoring the province's 47 towns since Thursday morning, November 30, but received no reports of rallies.

Superintendent Patricio Degay Jr, Tagbilaran City police chief, said no group or individual applied for rally permits at city hall.

There were, instead, a couple of small gatherings reported.

In the afternoon, some students from the Bohol Institute of Technology were seen marching around Tagbilaran's Plaza Rizal, but authorities couldn't ascertain if it was a political activity. BIT is owned by Bohol Vice Governor Dionisio Balite, a Duterte supporter.

In Dauis town, about 100 members of the Philippine Guardians Brotherhood (PGB) converged late afternoon on Thursday at the public plaza. It was a show of support for President Duterte, said University of Bohol professor Nelson Vargas, regional founder of the PGB. 

He said their group backs the idea of giving Duterte "provisional extraordinary powers to help him accomplish his promises."

"I believe he is our last man standing for the masang Pilipino (Filipino masses)," Vargas said.

Dozens in Baguio

Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler
     

Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler 

In Baguio City, the pro-Duterte activity started with a motorcade of 10 private cars with their windows closed and bearingn small RevGov posters on the sides. 

Their rally was transferred from People’s Park (which became unavailable as the city was setting up for its Christmas lights and sounds show) to the Igorot Park beside Burnham Park. 

The rally started at 3 pm with a country and western band playing until 4:30 pm to await the arrival of their guest speaker, lawyer Larry Gadon, the complainant in the impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler
     

Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler 

The rally was organized by former Councilor Bong Tabora, Harry Dominguez, and Larry Madarang. 

There were 50 people wearing red shirts, the color of choice for the RevGov rally in Manila. The rest of the people were the usual park habitués, like the manicurists, chess players, and those lining up for their jeepney ride back home. 

Federalism forum in Tuguegarao

Photo by Raymon Dullana/Rappler
     

Photo by Raymon Dullana/Rappler 

What appeared to be the biggest pro-government gathering outside of Manila on Thursday was not a rally. In Tuguegarao City in Cagayan, thousands attended the federalism seminar at the People's Gym in Tuguegarao City.

A source from the Tuguegarao city government said around 2,500 people attended.

Mayor Jefferson Soriano said the seminar was organized by his local political party in support of the administration of President Duterte. It would be the first of a series of seminars to “discuss the salient points” of federalism, to be conducted in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The event was titled “Tapang at Malasakit pasa sa Mabilis na Pagbabago,” borrowing the first phrase from the name of a movement launched by presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio. 

Meanwhile, members of the Hukbong Federal Movement of the Philippines-Cagayan Valley chapter held a caravan in Camalaniugan town to express their support to the revolutionary government. – with reports from Mick Basa, Michael O. Ligalig, Frank Cimatu, and Raymon Dullana/Rappler. com 

 
 
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Want revolutionary gov’t? That means you don’t trust this admin – Robredo

ANTI-REVGOV. Vice President Leni Robredo does not support any plans to establish a revolutionary government in the Philippines. Photo by OVP 

 
 
 
 
 
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MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said pushing for a revolutionary government does not only undermine the Constitution, but also indicates a lack of faith in the current administration. 

On Thursday, November 30, Robredo was asked to react to the rallies that supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte are staging to call for a revolutionary government. Duterte had once endorsed it, but later dismissed any plans to do so.

 

Ito kasi, baka hindi naiintindihan ng karamihan iyong implikasyon ng pagdeklara ng revolutionary government. Iyong pagdeklara ng revolutionary government, sinasabi na wala na tayong paniniwala sa gobyernong ito, wala na tayong paniniwala sa Konstitusyon na iyon, iyong platform kung saan nakatayo iyong present na pamahalaan,” said Robredo.

(Most people may not understand the implications of declaring a revolutionary government. Declaring a revolutionary government means you no longer have faith in this government, that you don’t believe in the Constitution, the platform on which this present government is standing.) 

The Vice President said both she and Duterte were elected under the 1987 Constitution. 

Kaya nakakaalarma kung mga kinatawan ng pamahalaan mismo iyong nagsusulong nito. Kasi gustong sabihin, iyong plataporma kung saan nag-ascend ka sa responsibilidad mo ngayon, parang in effect sinasabi mong hindi ka na dito naniniwala at gusto mong umalsa laban dito,” she added.

(It’s alarming that even government officials are pushing for it. They seem to say that they no longer believe in the platform that helped them ascend to their current responsibilities, that in effect, it's like saying they no longer believe in it and are revolting against it.) 

Robredo welcomed Duterte’s statement last week denying any plans for a revolutionary government. 

Ako, gusto kong panghawakan iyong statement ni Pangulo na hindi siya magde-declare ng martial law all over the country, hindi siya magde-declare ng revolutionary government. Tingin ko napakahalaga ng statement niyang iyon, kasi dapat it will put to rest iyong lahat na mga haka-haka na baka ito, baka mag-declare,” said the Vice President. 

(I believe in the President’s statement that he will not declare martial law all over the country, that he will not declare a revolutionary government. I think that statement of his is very important because it will put to rest all the speculations about him declaring one.)

Both Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Rey Leonardo Guerrero previously assured the Vice President that they will not be supporting any moves to establish a revolutionary government too. – Rappler.com

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WATCH: Declare revolutionary government, supporters urge Duterte

RAMBO TALABONG, REPORTING: Thousands of protesters gather at historic Mendiola in Manila on November 30, Bonifacio day.

They say they're part of Network Revolution, a unity coalition of various groups and individuals urging strongman President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a revolutionary government or “RevGov.”

Their rationale for this move: the country needs to start anew, given a so-called "failed system" that can only be cured by "extraordinary measures."

Should Duterte declare a revolutionary government, the 1987 Constitution will be set aside and everything in government goes back to the drawing board. They want 7 things to come out of this:

1. A new constitution that will replace the 1987 Constitution

2. A federal system compatible with the current state of the country

3. End corruption in government and the private sector

4. Strengthen the country's security through the Internal Security Act
5. Expedite the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police
6. End drug and criminal syndicates
7. Open the national economy to all who want to help improve the country
On top of these, they want the President to fulfill his campaign promises, such as fixing the traffic problem in Metro Manila.

Protesters have been camping here in Mendiola as early as 9 am in order to ask President Duterte: declare a revolutionary government.

They stay despite the blazing Manila heat, and an afternoon downpour.

The RevGov advocates are undeterred despite the President saying he has no plans in the near future of overhauling the system.

He says he'll only resort to RevGov under extreme circumstances.

The last revolutionary government was declared by Cory Aquino in 1986, abolishing the 1973 Marcos Constitution.

This early, critics say the move is nothing short of a coup d' etat to install a dictatorship and give more power to Duterte.

Rambo Talabong, Rappler, Manila. – Rappler.com

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Antidrug war fund cut problematic, says Roque

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Removing the budget of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for antidrug operations could have an adverse effect to the President’s plan to bring the police back into the campaign, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Senate had slashed P1.4 billion from the PNP’s budget intended for its Oplan Double Barrel and Masa Masid antidrug programs and realigned the amounts to housing for the police.

Noting that the Senate’s budget bill was not yet final and would go through the bicameral conference committee, Roque said he was sure the PNP would be asked for its input on this move.

 

But he said that if the budget cut stayed, this would set back the PNP when it returned to the lead in the war on drugs.

President Duterte had said he would bring back the PNP into the campaign if the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) failed to curb the drug trade.

“Well, obviously, the President needs to fund his pet undertakings and the drug war is one of such undertakings and it will have, of course, adverse effects if he does not have the funding to implement this war on drugs,” Roque told reporters in a phone interview.

The Senate slashed the PNP’s budget for antidrug operations after Mr. Duterte turned over the responsibility for the campaign to the PDEA amid public outcry over the killings of drug suspects in gangland-style executions either by police or vigilantes.

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WATCH | There are now Pasig City cops on the beat sporting body cams

Some police officers in Pasig City have started to take to their beats with so-called body cams, or portable video cameras strapped to the chests.

This development is intended to enhance transparency in police operation and personal safety of both the law enforcers and their clients, especially so that it looks like the Philippine National Police (PNP) will soon take up the frontline job of executing the anti-drugs campaign of the Duterte Administration.

On Thursday morning, a team of police officers fanned out at Orambo Drive, to take up position checking out the paperwork of motorcycles cruising along.

Their body cameras, capable of recording audio and with a 4-hour video capture endurance offering clear face recognition up to 15 meters away, were issued by the Pasig City government.

The data can be uploaded at Pasig City police headquarters. Plus, the firmwired data includes tamper-proof time stamping in order to forestall any attempt to edit of manipulate the recorded data.

Body cams have lately emerged as the preferred solution to instances of alleged police tampering of closed-circuit surveillance videos in recent controversial drug busts that have resulted in the death of suspects in anti-drug operations.

Watch the video: https://youtu.be/Gu6lyzPjBzw

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