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General Topic / A Brief History of Press Freedom
« on: May 09, 2018, 04:09:42 PM »

A Brief History of Press Freedom

John M. Cunningham

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© Photosani/Fotolia

On December 2, 1766, the Swedish parliament passed legislation that is now recognized as the world’s first law supporting the freedom of the press and freedom of information. Narrowly, the Freedom of the Press Act abolished the Swedish government’s role as a censor of printed matter, and it allowed for the official activities of the government to be made public. More broadly, the law codified the principle—which has since become a cornerstone of democracies throughout the world—that individual citizens of a state should be able to express and disseminate information without fear of reprisal.


What’s the Difference Between Great Britain and the United Kingdom?

John M. Cunningham

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Union Jack flag of Great Britain, united kingdom
© Dawn Hudson/

The names Great Britain and United Kingdom are often used interchangeably. However, they are not actually synonymous. The reason for the two names, and the difference between them, has to do with the expansive history of the British Isles.

The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwestern coast of Europe. The largest of these islands are Britain and Ireland. (Smaller ones include the Isle of Wight.) In the Middle Ages, the name Britain was also applied to a small part of France now known as Brittany. As a result, Great Britain came into use to refer specifically to the island. However, that name had no official significance until 1707, when the island’s rival kingdoms of England and Scotland were united as the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Technology / Brain tumors rise raising cell phone concerns
« on: May 08, 2018, 08:40:21 PM »

Brain tumors on the rise in England, raising cell phone concerns

By Jacqueline Howard, CNN
May 2, 2018


Story highlights

The incidence rate for glioblastoma more than doubled in England between 1995 and 2015, a study finds

The study questions whether cell phone use was a factor; experts warn that there is no evidence

CT scans also believed to be possible contributing factor, study says


(CNN)The incidence rate of aggressive malignant brain tumors in England has more than doubled in recent decades, and a new study questions what could be driving that rise.

The rate of glioblastoma climbed from 2.4 to 5.0 per 100,000 people in England between 1995 and 2015, according to the study, published Wednesday in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.

The data analyzed in the study only reflect trends in brain cancer cases and do not shed light on why these trends could have occurred, but the researchers pointed to examples of lifestyle factors that they think could have played a role.

Among those factors, they briefly referenced previous studies on cell phone use possibly being associated with brain tumors and changes in the brain.

Travel and Tours / How to visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
« on: May 08, 2018, 06:23:25 PM »

How to visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone

Kate Springer, CNN
Published 4th May 2018

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(CNN) — All eyes are on the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) right now, where South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in April and vowed to bring peace to the peninsula.

Even the US President could be on his way there. A source told CNN in May that Kim Jong Un has agreed to meet President Trump at the DMZ, a no-man's land about 30 miles north of Seoul that was established in the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement.

Dividing the peninsula like a scar, the 160-mile-long treaty zone isn't just a strategic political meeting place -- it's also a tourist magnet.

It may be one of the world's most heavily militarized borders, but the DMZ welcomes more than 1.2 million travelers each year, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.

CNN Travel explains how to visit the DMZ, what you should know before going and the likely fate of the zone should South Korea and North Korea finally broker a formal peace.

Philippine Government / DU30 can learn a lot from the Kuwait fiasco
« on: May 04, 2018, 11:29:58 AM »

DU30 can learn a lot from the Kuwait fiasco 

MAY 2, 2018

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I HOPE and firmly believe the Philippine diplomatic crisis with the State of Kuwait could be solved very soon, and that our Filipino domestic workers in that country and their dependents at home would be spared so much unnecessary anxiety and pain. The solution to the crisis need not be hard to find, and many are eager to see both governments work together and raise Philippine-Kuwaiti relations to a new level. But we cannot fudge the facts.

The Philippines committed an unfortunate breach when on April 7, it undertook “rapid rescue missions” of allegedly distressed Filipino domestic workers in Kuwaiti private homes, without the participation or consent of the appropriate Kuwaiti authorities. Seven teams were said to have participated.


10 Words That Mean the Opposite of What They Used to Mean


Thanks to cultural changes, incorrect translations, and a host of other reasons, word meanings often shift over time. Here, ten words that have done a 180.


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Current meaning: Very unpleasant

Original meaning: Inspiring wonder, as in "full of awe."


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Current meaning: Someone who mocks or harms those who are weaker

Original meaning: A good fellow or a darling. Linguists believe it evolved from the Dutch word "boel," meaning "lover."


US court rules monkey does not own selfie copyright

Agence France-Presse
April 25, 2018

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The viral selfie taken by a macaque monkey using the smartphone of nature photographer David J. Slater and which became the subject of a complicated copyright lawsuit is displayed at the Museum of Selfies, in Glendale, California, on March 29, 2018. Image: Robyn Beck – AFP/File

A US court has ruled that a monkey who snapped a selfie on a wildlife photographer’s camera does not own the copyright to the image, which became an internet sensation.

The ruling late Monday is expected to draw a line under a protracted legal battle between British photographer David Slater and the animal rights group PETA, which filed a suit on behalf of Naruto the monkey.

The case began in 2011 when the crested macaque monkey approached a camera Slater had set up on the forested Indonesian island of Sulawesi and managed to press the button, taking a picture of himself with what appeared to be a broad grin on his face.

World Daily News / Microplastic pollution is all around us
« on: April 22, 2018, 03:32:48 PM »

It's not just the oceans: Microplastic pollution is all around us

By Mark Tutton, CNN
April 22, 2018

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Plastic waste at a landfill in Dakar, Senegal.

(CNN)- Chances are you've seen the photos of dead seabirds, their stomachs filled with scraps of plastic foraged from beaches and oceans around the world.

You've probably also heard of the microplastics polluting our seas: pieces of plastic that have been worn down by the elements into tiny fragments, smaller than 5 millimeters, that can harm fish and other wildlife.

But while marine plastic pollution has been studied for decades, the extent and effects of plastic pollution elsewhere is only just beginning to be explored.

In the past few years, scientists have found microplastics in our soil, tap water, bottled water, beer and even in the air we breathe. And there's growing concern about the potential health risks they pose to humans.

Quotable Quotes / Quotable Warnings
« on: April 22, 2018, 09:04:03 AM »

I was Europe’s last chance. - Adolf Hitler

I am your last card. - Rodrigo Duterte

Philippine Government / The Duterte method
« on: April 22, 2018, 08:46:40 AM »


The Duterte method

By: Randy David
Philippine Daily Inquirer
April 22, 2018

Nearly two years after Rodrigo Duterte was elected to the presidency, his signature approach to power has become all-too-familiar. It is one based on the methodical use of the coercive power of the state in order to intimidate dissenters, critics, skeptics, deviants, and noncooperative individuals who, in his perception, are not taking him seriously.

It is this approach that has basically defined his antidrug campaign, in which a few thousand drug suspects have been brazenly killed in police operations. This brutal show of force has been enough to frighten and compel hundreds of thousands of others to “surrender,” have themselves detained, or simply listed down for monitoring and rehabilitation. In their minds, to be included in the list of drug surrenderers serves as an insurance that they won’t be targeted for killing. This deadly assumption has been proven wrong countless times.

But the use of the fear factor has not been confined to the drug campaign alone. Mr. Duterte has silenced most of the political opposition by jailing the outspoken Sen. Leila de Lima on the incredible charges of conspiring with detained drug lords to trade in illegal drugs when she was justice secretary. By going after the Chief Justice herself, he has likewise warned the judiciary not to question or strike down any of his decisions. He has tamed mainstream media by attacking the “biased” reporting of the newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer, the ABS-CBN media broadcast network, and the digital news portal Rappler. But, he doesn’t stop there. He pursues his case against the owners by pointing to their various liabilities as business entities, rather than as professional news organizations.

Philippine Government / Will Manila protest military planes?
« on: April 20, 2018, 11:24:20 PM »


Will Manila protest military planes?

Jarius Bondoc
(The Philippine Star)
April 20, 2018

In landing air force transport planes on Panganiban Reef, Beijing lied to the world about not militarizing its artificial islands in the South China Sea. It reneged on promises to Manila of non-provocative acts. The region is watching what the Duterte administration will do.

Two Chinese military aircraft were photographed on the landing strip on Panganiban, internationally known as Mischief Reef. Parked meters apart, the planes apparently arrived together early this year. Panganiban is within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone, and 600 miles from China.

Diplomatic protest is in order, experts say. Asked by reporters, Foreign Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano avoided talking of such action. He said he has yet to verify the photos, published by the Inquirer Wednesday. He supposedly does not know if the photos, dated Jan. 6, 2018, came from the Philippine military.


It's not just about the lynching of Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno.

The independence of the Philippine judiciary is under attack. With it comes the chilling prospect of the "destruction of our beloved Philippines."

Strong language, yes.

It was the first time retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. took the stage with the embattled Sereno in a packed hall of college-high school students and basic sector groups in UP Cebu last April 5.

Davide’s full speech here describes the struggle of "Two Calvaries". One is the attack on judicial independence. The second is Charter Change seeking to install Federalism.

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(Retired) Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr.




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AFP 2017

This year has been hard for everyone. If you’re reading this, you’ve almost survived the ordeal that was 2017.


As a reward, here are some photos of cats and dogs. They don’t care where you were born or who you voted for or what you've tweeted recently, and they have absolutely no idea what's been happening for the past 12 months.

These adorable animals alone should not be enough to distract you from catching up on a year of White House chaos, tax cuts for the rich, the attempted destruction of Obamacare, #MeToo, the downfall of famous accused sexual harassers, the latest rises in America's gun violence epidemic, white supremacists' violent protests in Charlottesville, lawsuits over police brutality and ICE deportations, federal government attacks on LGBT and women's rights, the imminent end of net neutrality, executive office firings, apocalyptic threats and missile tests from North Korea, Robert Mueller's Russia probe and guilty pleas, the fear that A.I. robot Sophia is going to kill you in your sleep, the constant discrediting of the “fake news” media, everything that is Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, speculation about whether that golden showers dossier is true, major hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico and the South, an over-hyped solar eclipse, the rise and fall of Omarosa, Kellyanne Conway disrespecting the Oval Office couch, an alleged child molester almost (but not) winning an Alabama Senate seat, the Trump travel ban, the decimation of environmental protections, aliens maybe existing after all, even more evidence of Russian cyber attacks, the Paradise Papers, the Women's March, anxieties about Brexit, the further spread of terrorism across Europe, California wildfires, Steve Bannon's "war" on the GOP, and our president repeatedly hinting at nuclear war on his Twitter account.

Inspiration & Hope / How Christ's Apostles Died
« on: March 28, 2018, 07:30:41 PM »

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Philippine Government / Reactions to Malacanang Press ID Booboo
« on: March 25, 2018, 07:26:31 PM »

there was this:

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What’s The Difference Between “A While” and “Awhile”

What's the difference between a while and awhile?

Few word pairs capture the idiosyncrasies (“peculiar characteristics”) of the English language like a while and awhile do. Both of these terms are expressions of time, but one is written with a space while the other is one word.

These two terms represent different parts of speech. The two-word expression a while is a noun phrase, consisting of the article a and the noun while (which means “a period or interval of time”).

The one-word awhile is an adverb that means “for a short time or period.”

Although these definitions are similar (and although the terms can sometimes be used interchangeably), there are a few simple rules that are helpful in keeping them straight.

Technology / The Dark Side of the Internet
« on: March 21, 2018, 12:03:04 PM »

Social media’s junkies and dealers

By: Roger McNamee
March 21, 2018

NEW YORK — We were warned. The venture capitalist and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen wrote a widely read essay in 2011 titled, “Why software is eating the world.” But we didn’t take Andreessen seriously; we thought it was only a metaphor. Now we face the challenge of extracting the world from the jaws of internet platform monopolies.

I used to be a technology optimist. During a 35-year career investing in the best and brightest of Silicon Valley, I was lucky enough to be part of the personal computer, mobile communications, internet, and social networking industries. Among the highlights of my career were early investments in Google and Amazon, and being a mentor to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg from 2006 to 2010.

Each new wave of technology increased productivity and access to knowledge. Each new platform was easier to use and more convenient. Technology powered globalization and economic growth. For decades, it made the world a better place. We assumed it always would.


9 Foods You Won’t Have to Ever Worry About Expiring


These foods have found the fountain of eternal youth.

Raw honey

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Honey is often referred to as "God's medicine," and has tons of health benefits–and it's great for your hair. "Honey has actually be used in wound care in some cultures and studies for its ability to naturally resist bacteria," says Dr. Elizabeth Trattner A.P. DOM, doctor of Chinese and Integrative Medicine. The best part? It never expires! In fact, it's not unusual for archaeologists to find thousand-year-old honeypots in ancient Egyptian tombs—these archaeologists found 3,000-year-old honey and it's perfectly edible. So what's the deal? According to Smithsonian, its sugar, low moisture levels, excessive acidity, natural gluconic acid, and natural hydrogen peroxide are the keys to its longevity—but only if you store it correctly.


Holy $#!%: Where Did The Symbolic Swear Come From?

Why is @#$%&! naughty?

When the force of a swear word is too extreme (but some form of cuss must be used) symbolic stand-ins have long been used for lewdness. Suffice it to say, any emotional keyboard-striker can blurt out something that people perceive as a sub for swears. Whether it’s to diminish the force of swear, to get around censorship rules, or maybe just because symbols are @#$%ing cool to look at, people still use symbolic swearing today.

How did symbols come to signify taboo language? Much of the answer lies in comic strips. But, before we get there, we’ve got to go over some of the history of typographical bleeping.


Can the Philippines overcome the principle of complementarity?

March 8, 2018
Jenny Domino

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) recently announced her plans to conduct a preliminary examination on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has allegedly resulted in thousands of extrajudicial executions of civilians. This process requires the Prosecutor to assess whether national proceedings exist with respect to potential cases that the Prosecutor may investigate after conducting the preliminary examination. Notably, a preliminary examination analyzes the situation as a whole and does not look into specific incidents and individuals that may be charged yet.

Duterte’s supporters argue that the Philippines has existing legislation and a functioning judicial system sufficient to satisfy complementarity. They rely on Republic Act 9851 (also titled the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity) (RA 9851), to argue that the Philippines has an accountability mechanism which should suffice to bar ICC intervention. On the other hand, critics point to the presidential immunity provision in RA 9851 to argue that the ICC is not barred.

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