Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Facebook Exec Joins Coinbase Board

Coinbase, a popular site for buying cryptocurrencies, is soaring. In the last week, Coinbase’s app shot to No. 1 in the iTunes store, while a flood of interest from institutional investors briefly caused its trading platform to buckle from unprecedented volume.

All of this helps explains why Coinbase has been reaching for outside help as it navigates an enviable, though chaotic, period of growth.

The latest addition to its team is David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook and a former president of PayPal, who will be joining Coinbase’s board. His appointment was announced by Coinbase on Tuesday.

Marcus is known as something of a guru in the mobile payments space, according to Coinbase president Asiff Hirji, who himself only joined Coinbase last week as its second-in-command.

“David is a very well known financial tech leader in the Valley. He’s got a tremendous track record. He’ll have seen many of the issues we’re currently facing,” said Hirji, who formerly worked at HP and TDAmeritrade.

Hirji did not specify say what will be on the agenda at Coinbase for Marcus, who is keeping his current position at Facebook, but he did say that managing growth is the company’s top priority right now.

“Right now, we’re genuinely focused on the volume we’re facing. It’s yet another step in adding asset classes and scaling,” said Hirji, who added that Coinbase’s GDAX platform represents the highest volume of cryptocurrency trading in the world right now.

The unprecedented volume at Coinbase comes as media hype is leading everyone from ordinary investors to hedge funds to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon.

Meanwhile, Coinbase is also scrambling to build new products and features, including a new custodian service for large institutional investors like sovereign wealth funds.

The company is also seeing new volume as a result of the introduction this week of bitcoin futures contracts—a development some predicted would cause the price of bitcoin to decline, but for which the opposite has occurred.

Hirji said the company is paying close attention to the new futures market, which he believes is suffering from poor product design. He also said the current market lacks adequate arbitrage opportunities, which in turn has led to an usually wide price spread among different bitcoin exchanges.

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Apple’s iMac Pro will be available starting Thursday

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple announced back in June that its first ever iMac Pro would launch this month — and now, with just a few weeks to go, we’re finally getting some details. Apple updated its website today to say that the iMac Pro will go on sale this Thursday, December 14th. It didn’t offer any updates on pricing or configurations, but last we heard, the machine will start at $4,999.

While the iMac Pro isn’t exactly a gadget that needs to be rushed out before the holidays, it’s one of two products that Apple promised to release before the end of the year. The other is the HomePod, and Apple announced last month that it was delaying that into “early 2018.” Schiller’s comments indicate that the iMac Pro isn’t also getting delayed.

The iMac Pro is one of Apple’s responses to a backlash from its developer community late last year. After developers indicated their frustrating with the lack of powerful options Apple was selling (particularly as it related to the MacBook Pro), Apple said it would release a new Mac Pro and introduce an iMac Pro as well.

Of the two, the iMac Pro is the only one we’ve seen any details on so far. It’ll use Xeon processors, have a 5K display, and include a Radeon Vega GPU, among other extremely high-end specs.

As Apple did with the iPhone X, it’s given some YouTubers early access to the iMac Pro. Marques Brownlee has one of the first videos out. He says that Final Cut alone isn’t enough to spin up the fans, which is an okay first sign (although Final Cut isn’t as demanding as Premiere, which is much more widely used). The iMac Pro also comes with a black Lightning cable for charging the black keyboard — another small thing that’s exclusive to this computer.


Jonathan Morrison has a video up too and takes a look at Geekbench scores. We can probably expect to see a handful of other videos go up throughout the day.


Vincent Laforet posted more detailed impressions of the iMac Pro’s performance in various video editing apps, including Premiere and DaVinci Resolve. And Craig Hunter has a number of additional performance tests on his blog.

The general consensus is that this thing is fast — but of course, that was always going to be the case with its high-end specs. The real question is whether it’s capable enough to keep pros from not going over to Windows, where they’ve traditionally been able to get power per dollar. Given that the iMac Pro isn’t upgradable, it’ll likely remain a tough sell for all but Mac enthusiasts.

Update December 12th, 9:25AM ET: This story has been updated with the iMac Pro’s release date. It previously focused on a Phil Schiller quote saying a release was coming in “a matter of days.”

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Microsoft helps data center company ramp up sales and customer engagement

Park Place Technologies, a data center third-party maintenance and support company, is teaming up with Microsoft

Microsoft will help drive digital transformation across Park Place Technologies’ global sales and service operations.

Park Place plans to fully deploy Microsoft enterprise cloud services, including Dynamics 365 and Office 365, along with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, to enhance collaboration and productivity across its sales and service operations.

“Microsoft is uniquely positioned with integrated offerings across the whole cloud stack,” said Chris Adams, president and COO, Park Place Technologies.

“We’re confident this trusted, global platform will further enhance productivity for our employees and provide more value to our customers.”

As a first step, Park Place Technologies plans to equip its salesforce with the Microsoft Relationship Sales solution, a joint offering that combines the power of Dynamics 365 for Sales with LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Microsoft says by surfacing relationships between people, and then integrating that information within a single platform, Park Place salespeople will be able to access information in a way that saves time and improves productivity.

Following the deployment, Microsoft says Park Place will be better positioned to deliver optimal service and ultimately maximize uptime for its customers.

“Park Place Technologies is at the forefront of IT service and support with a commitment to innovating ways employees are empowered to deliver value to customers,” comments Alysa Taylor, general manager, Business Applications Group at Microsoft.

“Putting the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud behind Park Place’s customer care organization will connect people, processes and data insights to optimize productivity and transform its service delivery operations.”

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Bong Go dedicates ‘Superman’ song to Duterte at Malacañang Christmas party

CROONER. Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, with supportive Malacañang staff dancing in the background, sings during the Malacañang Press Corps Christmas party. Photo by Pia Ranada/Rappler 

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MANILA, Philippines – For one night, Malacañang officials, led by none other than President Rodrigo Duterte, and members of the media exchanged controversy for crooning as they celebrated the holiday season with a Christmas party.

At the Malacañang Press Corps party, held at the Heroes' Hall in Malacañang on Tuesday night, December 12, it wasn’t only Duterte who sang but Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, and Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.


Reporters and even Malacañang staff were surprised that the usually poker-faced Go turned out to be the official who would sing the most number of songs that night – 5.

Go, who made sure to sip some liquid courage (red wine) first, belted out tunes, like classic love song “All My Life” by America, “Let It Be” by The Beatles, and “Superman” by Five for Fighting which he dedicated to his “boss.”

“It’s not easy…to be Mayor Duterte,” sang Go, changing the last line of the Five for Fighting hit.

As he sang, Go even had back-up dancers in the form of Malacañang staff swaying their arms and hips behind him.

After his “segment” Go gamely shook hands with reporters who congratulated him on his performance. By the time he was back in his seat at the presidential table, the top Duterte aide was red in the face and neck, his body’s reaction to alcohol.

Duterte, who, earlier during the party had begged off from singing because of a “bad stomach” ended up singing a few songs of his own. Was he perhaps inspired by his aide?

The President treated his audience with his rendition of “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban, a refreshing change to his usual number, “Ikaw". As his aide dedicated a song to him, so Duterte dedicated his performance to his late mother Soledad Roa Duterte.

But, at one point, Duterte appeared to forget the lyrics and the band behind him played instrumentals without any voice accompaniment. Unfazed, the President began to recite some poetic verses with the music in the background.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, meanwhile, perhaps owing to his relatively young age, sang a more current hit: “O Pare Ko” by the Eraserheads.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, with his baritone, belted Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” particularly relishing the lyrics, “Start spreading the news.”

But there wasn’t only singing. Duterte ballroom-danced with Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Lorraine Badoy. Roque danced with a presidential security aide.

For many of those at the party, it was a night to remember, not least because this was the first MPC Christmas party with Duterte. The President said he hopes to have such parties every year. –

Watch the video: 

Duterte tells media, 'I am not your enemy'

PARTY WITH MEDIA. Upon arriving at the MPC Christmas party, President Rodrigo Duterte goes around greeting his guests. Photo by Pia Ranada/Rappler 

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MANILA, Philippines – Is it because Christmas is in the air?

President Rodrigo Duterte, on Tuesday, December 12, departed from his usual threatening tone against the media by assuring them, he is not their enemy.


"I am not your enemy. Your quest for truth, that's your business, not mine. At the end of the day, it's not my property," he said during his speech at the Malacañang Press Corps Christmas party.He was addressing reporters and cameramen who cover Malacañang. The party took place at Heroes Hall inside the Palace.

Duterte, who has previously blasted the media for reporting on his alleged ill-gotten wealth, inquiring about his health, or writing supposedly slanted news about him, said he understands the "adversarial relationship" the media must take in relation to government.

"Never mind about our relationship, it's always adversarial. Your truth is not my truth and everybody's truth, so we fight with eachother," said the President.

Despite his harsh words against media – including threats not to renew the franchise of television network ABS-CBN, threats against the previous owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and claims that Rappler is funded by the US Central Intelligence Agency – Duterte insisted he has no beef against them.

"Wala naman tayong galit (We don't have anger). We do not fight with each other. I do not hate anybody here or else I will not be inviting you to my place," he said. 

Does this mean the President believes what media reports? It doesn't seem so as he spoke of multiple "truths" and how truth is a "contentious" word.

"But truth is something which is relevant but at the same time a very contentious word. Like I said, there are always two sides of the coin, my truth, your truth, and the public perception," said Duterte.

He wrapped up his message by saying, despite the "ruckus" between him and media, the protection of the public interest is paramount.

"It's just public interest foremost and I think, it's the only one, the only standard is public interest," said Duterte.

Despite his high-minded words, the President has made criticism of him and his administration risky business, with his penchant for making curse-laden rants and allegations against naysayers.

Rather than address the criticisms head on, Duterte has typically labelled them as merely being fuelled by politics.

His attacks against Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, both appointees of the previous administration, have been perceived as damaging to the checks and balance system provided by democracy.

He has also fired a government official for "contradicting" his 4-million figure for drug addicts, and another for questioning the wisdom of accepting a major drug rehabilitation center as a donation. –


#WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Wednesday, December 13, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – Here is a list of areas and schools where classes have been suspended for Wednesday, December 13, due to Tropical Depression Urduja.Camarines Sur - all levels, public and private

  • Albay - preschool to elementary, public and private

Not on the list? Help us crowdsource class suspensions by posting in the comments section or tweeting @rapplerdotcom.

For more information:When are classes cancelled or suspended? –


Duterte narco list now 6,000 names long and counting – PDEA

DRUG LIST. President Rodrigo Duterte shows his infamous narcolist. Malacanang photo 

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MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration's narcolist is already 6,000 names long and more will be added in the coming months.

This was first announced by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino on Monday, December 11.


"Every month may bagong listahan kami. Nagsimula nang 3,000 ngayon 6,000 plus na (Every month we have a new list. We started with 3,000, now we have 6,000 plus already)," Aquino said at the sidelines of a press conference.Pressed to confirm the figure, he said the figures he mentioned refer to the list used by President Rodrigo Duterte himself. "6000+ na ngayon sa (names are already in the) PRRD list," he told Rappler in a text message on Tuesday, December 12.

According to Aquino, the list consists of both government officials and civilians. It is unclear whether it coincides with local government drug lists, which are often cited in police reports when drug suspects are apprehended.

The last time the public heard of the narcolist was 4 months ago, when President Rodrigo Duterte announced in August that he had updated his infamous list.

It was first revealed in August 2016 with Duterte dropping around 150 names of judges, mayors, police officials for public scrutiny. By September 2016, the President claimed that they already had 1,000 names on their watch.

He was criticized for his disclosures, as many had pointed out that the list was not properly validated. (READ: The Duterte list: Judges, mayors, police officials linked to drugs)

Revalidation board formed

To address irregularities, Aquino said on Monday that they have put together an "adjudication board" with the Philippine National Police (PNP), taking it upon themselves to try to "revalidate" its the names.

"It's just a validation ng lahat ng listahan kay Presidente... So 'yung adjudication process will determine kung ikaw ba ay made-delist o hindi," he said on Monday.

(It is just a validation of all lists with the President... So the adjudication process will determine weather you will be delisted or not.)

They will proceed with the revalidation, Aquino said, by asking the PNP to check once more all the names in Duterte's present list, before sending them back up to Malacañang. He mentioned that they also want that cops state the level of involvement of each name on the list. (READ: Duterte: 'Final validation' of new drug list done)

"Kung involved ka eh gaano ka ba ka-involved? At ano ba ang involvement mo? Ikaw ba ay user, pusher, drug lord, protector gano'n (If you are involved, how involved are you?Are you a user, pusher, a drug lord, or protector?)," he said.

From there, the President will decide with his own office's intel whether persons that the PNP and the PDEA will recommend should be taken out of the list.

"The only one who could delist that is the President," Aquino said.

Aquino said they could not promise a deadline for the revalidation, as it is a "difficult task". –


Group decries arrest of environmental advocate for 'rebellion'

De Vera is regional coordinator of environmental group Defend Ilocos and is a columnist for a community weekly. Kalikasan PNE
MANILA, Philippines — Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment has demanded the release of an environmental advocate being held in Ilocos Sur for alleged rebellion.
Kalikasan said in a press statement that Sherwin de Vera, regional coordinator of local environmental group Defend Ilocos, was arrested on a bus to Candon City on what it said are trumped up charges.
De Vera also writes a column for the Northern Dispatch, a weekly community newspaper.
Kalikasan, of which Defend Ilocos is a member, said the group has been opposing mining operations in the region that they say threaten the biodiversity in the Abra River. 
"They are also involved in mobilizing and organizing against the proposed setting up of a coal-fired power plant in Luna, La Union. Defend Ilocos also participated in various activities in connection with the recent Lakbayan of the National Minorities here in Metro Manila," Kalikasan said.
"Prior to his arrest, he was already receiving threats and intimidation from state armed forces due to his work," Kalikasan also said.
In July, De Vera reported that military intelligence personnel had been tailing him and had asked about him at the University of Northern Philippines in Vigan City.
Kalikasan, which is affiliated with national democratic umbrella organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, said De Vera's arrest "shows how the Duterte regime’s intensifying crackdown on perceived political dissidents affects environmental advocates as well."
It said the arrest would have a chilling effect on environmental advocates "who dare stand up against natural resources plunder and government negligence and indifference to people affected by environmental problems and issues."
The national democratic movement believes that imperialism, a feudal agricultural system, and "bureaucrat capitalism" —  the use of government resources and structures by the ruling class to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of the people — has kept most of the Philippines poor despite the country being rich in natural resources.
Membership in or support of a national democratic activist organization does not mean membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines or the New People's Army.
Late last month, the Army's 81st Infantry Battalion said "we cannot deny the fact that Candon City has been infiltrated by left-leaning organizations," a claim that city officials were quick to dispute.

Manila to revive truck ban

In a phone interview with The STAR, Estrada said the truck ban would help ease traffic congestion not only in the city but in the entire Metro Manila. File
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila city government will revive the implementation of the truck ban to rid the city of traffic gridlocks, especially this Christmas season, Mayor Joseph Estrada announced yesterday.


In a phone interview with The STAR, Estrada said the truck ban would help ease traffic congestion not only in the city but in the entire Metro Manila.

“I will talk to President Duterte about the reimposition of the truck ban. We will implement the traffic scheme in the coming weeks,” the mayor said.

“The traffic situation in Metro Manila has become unbearable. I believe the truck ban will be effective in decongesting traffic along major roads in the metropolis,” he added.

Estrada said they were also looking at the proposal of limiting the travel of ride-hailing apps Grab and Uber to only three days a week to reduce the number of vehicles in the city.

In February 2014, Estrada signed Ordinance 7570 amending the city’s Traffic Management Code, which bans trucks from traveling the streets from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.

Included in the ban are cargo trucks, dump trucks, cement mixers, eight-wheelers and vehicles with a gross weight of 4,500 kilos.

Trucks carrying perishable goods and aviation fuel are exempt from the ban.

Violators face a fine of P5,000 and their trucks will be impounded.

Estrada said they would hold a dialogue with truck operators before implementing the truck ban.

At least 5,000 trucks travel in and out of Manila daily, he said.


Espenido targets Parojinog supporters

“Tumira agad si Espenido, larga na (
Espenido strikes again),” PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa told The STAR yesterday when asked when the PNP would formally resume its anti-drug operations. File

MANILA, Philippines — With the Philippine National Police (PNP) back in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, Ozamiz City police chief Superintendent Jovie Espenido has started going after suspects with links to the Parojinog clan.

“Tumira agad si Espenido, larga na (Espenido strikes again),” PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa told The STAR yesterday when asked when the PNP would formally resume its anti-drug operations.

Dela Rosa was referring to recent raids in Ozamiz that resulted in the confiscation of at least 10 kilos of shabu from the supporters of the Parojinogs.

Butch Merino, the alleged bodyguard and driver of detained Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog, was collared at a checkpoint.

Merino reportedly identified his supplier as Melden Rabanes, who was arrested in a follow-up operation.

Authorities also raided the houses of Maychell Gumapac; Manuelito, Rizalina and June, all surnamed Francisco, and Ricardo and Christopher, both surnamed Parojinog. The suspects eluded arrest, but various types of guns and ammunition and sachets of shabu were recovered from their houses.

Espenido led simultaneous raids on the houses of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog last July 30 that killed the mayor’s wife, brother and several of their supporters.

Dela Rosa gave assurance that members of drug rings could not interfere in police operations.

He said he would also seek recommendations from police chiefs to improve their operations.

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