Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Facing intense heat and uproar over his decisionto exclude multi-awarded actress Nora Aunor from this year’s list of National Artists, President NoyNoy Aquino has found a way to shift the focus away from this latest controversy.
Aquino has declared Friday and Monday (Thursday and Sunday, respectively in Brazil) as special paid holidays for all government and private workers in the Philippines. Friday is when the U.S. plays against Germany and Monday is when the Netherlands faces Mexico in the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. This is to allow Filipinos to watch both games.
Although the Philippines is not in the World Cup, two players — Jonathan de Guzman and Nick Rimando are of Filipino descent. De Guzman who is half Filipino and half Jamaican is with the Netherlands team and Rimando who is Filipino-Mexican is with the U.S. team.
“I know many people are upset about my decision not to name Ms. Aunor as a National Artist, but I wish they would just let it go and focus instead on these two important dates where once again, Filipinos can prove to the world that they can excel in the field of sports,” Aquino said.
In signing the executive order declaring the paid holidays, Aquino urged his countrymen to cheer on the Pinoy football PIPA (sic) players while enjoying a four-day long weekend. (He, of course, meant FIFA).
Sacramento, California – California Governor Jerry Brown has found a solution to the state’s prison overcrowding. The solution is in The Netherlands.
The Netherlands recently announced that it will close eight prisons because of a lack of criminals. The Dutch justice ministry said that declining crime rates in the Netherlands mean that although the country has the capacity for 14,000 prisoners, there are only 12,000 detainees. The decrease is expected to continue, the ministry said.
Earlier, Brown faced a serious dilemma on how to reduce California’s prison overcrowding to below 137 percent of capacity by the end of 2013, as ordered by the Federal Courts. A three-judge special panel ruled in 2009 that widespread overcrowding in California prisons is unconstitutional because it constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment.” The US Supreme Court upheld that ruling in 2011 and 2012 when the Department of Corrections had failed to act. A federal judge ordered the state to release thousands of low-level offenders before their sentences expired.
Prison facilities operated at 200 percent capacity for more than a decade.
“Building new prisons is not an option,” Brown said. “We can’t afford to spend taxpayer money to erect more jails which is only a temporary solution.”
So, rather than sending prisoners to various county jails which is opposed by most local governments, or releasing prisoners before their time is served, Brown said that California will lease the eight prisons in The Netherlands and transfer some 2,000 of its heavy offenders and those with longer jail sentences.
The Dutch government appears to be receptive to Brown’s idea and is contemplating on renting out the Dutch prisons to California at below market rates. Final negotiations are underway.