Philippine Muslim self-rule bill due on Monday

Philippine President Benigno Aquino will on Monday receive a completed draft bill to create a Muslim autonomous area, aimed at ending decades of fighting that has claimed thousands of lives, his spokesman said.

AFP| Updated: Aug 17, 2014, 16:09 PM IST

Manila: Philippine President Benigno Aquino will on Monday receive a completed draft bill to create a Muslim autonomous area, aimed at ending decades of fighting that has claimed thousands of lives, his spokesman said.

Receiving the draft bill would allow Aquino to quickly submit it to Congress so it could be quickly passed into law and implemented before the president`s term ends in mid-2016, Aquino`s spokesman Herminio Coloma said.

Aquino on Monday will be handed the draft forged by government negotiators and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country`s main Muslim rebel group as part of the peace process, he told reporters.

"The president will prioritise and give his attention to this bill so it can be passed by Congress... as soon as possible in accordance to the roadmap and timetable," he said.

Coloma said they wanted the law passed quickly so the election of the leaders of the Muslim self-rule area could be held alongside the 2016 national elections.

The 12,000-strong MILF has been fighting since the 1970s for an independent or autonomous homeland for the nation`s Muslim minority in a conflict which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The group signed the peace agreement with the government in March where both sides would work to create an autonomous area in the southern Philippines which they consider their ancestral home.

However the process ran into difficulties after the draft bill was submitted to Aquino for review in April by a joint commission of MILF and government representatives.

The president`s legal team later ordered a series of changes that frustrated the MILF, which last month accused the government of trying to renege on the terms of the peace agreement.

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Cambridge University scouting for first `doctor of chocolate`
London: Cambridge University is offering a chance to scientists and chocolate fans to indulge their sweet tooth by becoming a `doctor of chocolate` at the prestigious institution.

The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology of Cambridge University is seeking a researcher for a PhD on chocolate.

"An industrial, fully-funded 3.5-year PhD studentship is available to study the fundamentals of heat-stable chocolate," the advertisement says.

The challenge of the successful candidate is to stop chocolate melting in warm climates by studying the "fundamentals of heat-stable chocolate".

Candidates wishing to study chocolate need to apply by August 29. The salary has not been specified.
Due to funding regulations, the studentship is only available to EU nationals, the advertisement says.

The would-be doctor of chocolate will be expected "investigate the factors which allow chocolate, which has a melting point close to that of the human body, to remain solid and retain qualities sought by consumers when it is stored and sold in warm climates", it says.

The research project is "mainly experimental", but will require good mathematical skills, the advertisement says.

The applicants must have experience in experimental investigations and at least four years of study at University level and a high 2:1 or equivalent degree in a relevant discipline such as physics, chemistry, materials science or engineering.