The latest news stories from the major news organizations in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, the US and other countries.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 20, 2009 Major News Stories

Independent oil firm Seaoil on Monday led a number of oil companies in implementing a price reduction in their pump fuels, with the "Big Three" and other small oil companies expected to follow suit.  Seaoil spokesman Rey Jimenez in a text message to reporters said their P1 per liter price rollback – which started at 6 p.m. Monday – covered their diesel and kerosene products.

Major oil firms Pilipinas Shell, Chevron (formerly Caltex), and Petron Corp, as well as PTT, and Total all said they are reducing their diesel and kerosene prices by P0.50 per liter. 

Shell, Chevron, Petron and PTT's price cuts will take effect at 12:01 a.m. of Tuesday while Total would lower its prices at 6 a.m. of the same day.

Meanwhile, Eastern Petroleum's price cut – which begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday – will also be P0.50 per liter, but only covers diesel prices.

The price cut on diesel and kerosene, however, came hand in hand with a price hike on gasoline. Shell, Chevron, PTT, and Total all said they would be implementing a P0.50 price hike on gasoline. 

But unlike its fellow giants, Petron opted not to adjust their gasoline prices. "We choose not to effect the same (price hike) in our gasoline products," said Petron spokesman Rafael Ledesma.

Oil falls to $36 ahead of busy week

Oil prices fell to near $36 a barrel Monday in Asia as investors eyed a slew of US corporate earnings this week for signs of weakening consumer demand amid the worst recession in decades.

DTI probe on LPG shortage urged

Consumer advocate Raul T. Concepcion on Monday said the Department of Trade and Industry must investigate the alleged shortage of supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the country.

Peanut butter in US not in RP -- BFAD

The Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) said today that the peanut butter-based products recalled in the United States on suspicion of salmonella contamination are not registered in the Philippines.

BFAD: Avoid products over Salmonella 

The Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) urged the public to avoid eating 25 food products manufactured in the United States that are suspected of containing the Salmonella bacteria.

1 week to test peanut butter products

PDIC pays claims starting February

Starting February, the government will pay claims to depositors of 12 rural lenders placed under receivership, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) said.

Relief goods flown to Samar residents

Abductors want military to stop pursuit 

Three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross held captive in the Philippines called their office on Monday, saying their abductors want the military to suspend rescue operations.

RP to Swiss, Italian govts: No ransom

Malacañang on Monday appealed to the Swiss and Italian governments to refrain from paying ransom to seek the release of their nationals abducted last week in southern Philippines.

Gun ban eyed in parts of Mindanao

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Monday said he is considering a total gun ban as a "logical solution" to the frequent kidnappings in some parts of Mindanao.

Flood-hit Mindanao areas get food aid

The United Nations' humanitarian relief arm, the World Food Programme (WFP), will start distributing food aid to flood-hit people in northern Mindanao and Lanao del Sur on Tuesday.

Sotto: Students can refuse tests

Students can refuse to submit themselves to the random drug testing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered conducted in all schools, the chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) said on Monday.

Body to help PDEA in drug cases

The Office of the Solicitor General has formed a task force that will help the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in building up drug cases and prevent their dismissal on a technicality.

'Puno 4 Pres. could lead to CJ Corona'

It titillates and excites some sectors, but the prospect of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Reynato Puno contesting the presidency next year could backfire on the judiciary's independence.

No political plans, says Puno

Amid calls for him to run for president in 2010, Chief Justice Reynato Puno reiterated he has no plans of entering politics.

House may vote on Chacha next week

The House committee on constitutional amendments may vote next week whether it wants the economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution amended, committee chair Victor Ortega said.

'Gray area' in Charter for amendments

Seantor Manuel Villar admitted for the first time that there was a "gray area" in the 1987 Constitution that would allow the House of Representatives to propose amendments to the Charter even without the Senate.

Nograles shrugs off poor ratings 

House Speaker Prospero Nograles on Monday brushed off the latest survey results that gave him the lowest net satisfaction rating among the four top government officials.  Nograles said he has no national political agenda so he is not bothered by the -17 net satisfaction rating that he got from the December 2008 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.  Nograles got the lowest rating among four government officials rated in the survey, including Vice President Noli de Castro, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno. For their net satisfaction ratings, De Castro received +39, Enrile +5, and Puno -4.

63% favor Reproductive Health Bill 

Sixty-three percent of Filipinos favor the Reproductive Health Bill that is being deliberated on in the House of Representatives that proposes more funding for a government campaign to promote natural and artificial family planning and which the Catholic Church opposes, results of an independent survey showed.

New party-list solon takes oath

A new representative from party-list Coop-National Confederation of Cooperatives (Natcco) was sworn in Monday afternoon, replacing Guillermo Cua who passed away last December.

3 ex-police officials, trader get 10 years 

The Sandiganbayan on Monday convicted three retired police officials and a supply contractor for the allegedly anomalous purchases of P10 million worth of clothing and equipment in 1992.  Sentenced to six years and one month to ten years imprisonment were retired Superintendents Van D. Luspo and Arturo Montano, retired Chief Inspector Salvador Duran Sr., and private defendant Margarita Tugaoen.

The anti-graft court however acquitted Retired Director Guillermo Domondon, former director for comptrollership of the Philippine National Police (PNP), for lack of evidence. The case against the late PNP Director General Cesar Nazareno, meanwhile, was dismissed because of his death prior to the completion of trial.

Filipino lauded for fight vs child labor

Maria Cecilia Flores-Oebanda has been awarded the first Iqbal Masih award for her work towards the elimination of exploitative child labor, according to the United States Department of Labor.

Another set of Filipinos to be evacuated 

Thirty-seven people consisting of Filipinas with their Palestinian husbands and children will be evacuated from Gaza to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.

Israel out of Gaza by Obama inaug'tion 

Saudi king donates $1 billion for Gaza

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Monday announced the donation of one billion dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza battered by a deadly Israeli offensive.

4 Pinoy nurses die in Saudi car crash

Four Filipino nurses died in a car crash in Taif, Saudi Arabia last Friday (January 16).

Pinoys boat to Sabah capsizes; 4 dead 

A boat carrying 12 Filipinos trying to sneak into Sabah capsized on January 13, leaving at least four dead and three missing.

Probe P250M OFW 'global crisis fund'

What drove Pinoy to shoot his doctor?

Las Vegas investigators are still figuring out why an 80-year-old Filipino patient killed his Filipina doctor of eight years before committing suicide himself.  When Dr. Edna Almaden Makabenta, dreamed of taking an early retirement, the 49-year-old native of Palo, Leyte in the Philippines wanted to take things slow and spend a more enjoyable time with her family.

But her 80-year-old male patient snuffed out her plans by shooting her pointblank twice in the face last January 12 before turning his .45 pistol to his mouth and killing himself.

Las Vegas police turned to a copy of a January 2 complaint the suspect, Eliseo Santos, filed against the victim before the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners for clues.

Philippine peso gains seven centavos

More Korean tourists flocking to Cebu

The Bureau of Immigration on Monday said Koreans topped the list of arrivals in Cebu City in 2008 with over 160,000 Korean tourists visiting the city last year.

Obama honors Martin Luther King 

Iraqi shoe thrower seeks Swiss asylum 

A Swiss lawyer working on behalf of the Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at US President George W. Bush says his client will seek political asylum in Switzerland.

New basketball league for SE Asia

Southeast Asia on Monday launched an ambitious professional basketball league -- to begin in September -- aimed at boosting the popularity and standards of the game in the region.  The "ASEAN Basketball League" is backed by regional tycoons including AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes and Indonesian media mogul Erick Thoir, who have contributed $5 million in total between them.

SM hosts E-heads concert on March 7

The stage is set for the second installment of the Eraserheads reunion concert. At the MTV-Philippines press conference, the band announced that the big event will be held at the SM Mall of Asia concert grounds in Pasay City on March 7.

Astrologer predicts Obama re-election

A top astrologer in Myanmar Monday predicted ahead of Barack Obama's inauguration that the US president-elect would win another term in office and that he would escape attempts to harm him.

Cruise 'always wanted to kill Hitler'

Tom Cruise says playing an anti-Hitler plotter in his latest movie "Valkyrie" fulfilled a childhood fantasy.

E. B. White  - "Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one."

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