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

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 22, 2009 Major News Stories

48 more H1N1 cases confirmed

As the number of swine flu victims climbed to 392 Saturday with the confirmation of 48 new cases, the Department of Health started to act against traders unscrupulously taking advantage of people's fear of the novel and potentially deadly influenza virus.

UCLM contact tracing intensified

HEALTH officials will trace persons, including vendors and personnel at eateries outside the University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue (UCLM) campus, who may have come into contact with three students who tested positive for the H1N1 flu virus.  Dr. Susana Madarieta, Department of Health (DOH) 7 regional director, told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that the three marine engineering students no longer have fever, just occasional coughing.

But they will remain in their dormitory until June 29, to heed the DOH and school officials' order to quarantine the entire dorm, which houses 600 marine engineering scholars.

The DOH instructed the school physician of the University of Cebu-Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue (UCLM) campus to report if any of the students suffer from fever, cough, and sore throat within the 10-day quarantine period.

Dr. Madarieta said there was no need for contact tracing within the school since most the virus was quarantined within one area only.

Cebu university suspends classes 

Three students from the University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue campus (UC-LM) were confirmed to have the Influenza A(H1N1) virus, forcing the suspension of classes there until June 28, according to regional advisories from the Department of Health (DoH).  The UC-LM also quarantined for 10 days 600 marine and nautical students who lived in the same dormitory with the three others who had the disease.

Another new case, a 20-year-old American from San Diego, California, tested positive for A(H1N1) after arrival in Bacolod City on June 9.

Bacolod City health officials are tracing the American patient's contacts.

Flu cases in Visayas reach 23

Confirmed A(H1N1) infections in the Visayas have reached 23 as officials in Tacloban City urged people to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus during the city's annual fiesta next week.  The Department of Health (DoH) regional offices said there were 12 confirmed cases in Central Visayas (Region 7), mostly in Cebu; six in Western Visayas (Region 6); and five in Eastern Visayas (Region 8).

Of the confirmed cases, 10 are still confined in hospitals -- four in Cebu, one in Bacolod and five in Tacloban.

Four patients in Western Visayas are undergoing home treatment.

The latest confirmed cases were three students of University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue (UC-LM) and a 20-year-old American from California.

UC-LM has suspended classes until June 28. It also quarantined for 10 days 600 marine and nautical students at a campus dormitory where the three infected students had been staying.

In Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry Treñas placed himself under a quarantine after arriving from the United States on Thursday.

In Tacloban, Church and city health authorities were taking measures to curb the spread of the virus when the city celebrates its 120th annual fiesta on June 30. Thousands are coming to the city to witness the festivities.

Droctor Gloria Fabrigas of the City Mayor's Office appealed to people with flu symptoms to stay home and avoid contaminating others.

Monsignor Benjamin Bacierra, parish priest of Tacloban, said that as part of Church precaution during Communions, the host would be placed in the hands and not put directly on the tongues of the faithful.

2 Cainta students have H1N1 flu

Classes at the Karangalan Elementary School in Cainta town have been suspended for 10 days beginning Monday after two pupils tested positive for the Influenza A(H1N1) virus, officials said Sunday.

RP footballers quarantined in Singapore

Singapore has quarantined 19 members of a Philippine youth football team after one player tested positive for swine flu ahead of a regional sports competition.

Groups protest 'Princess' tragedy

Several groups are set launch a protest action on Monday to commemorate the first anniversary of the tragedy involving the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars.

No closure for late 'Princess' crew's kin

It was a long wait for nothing. Families of about 40 missing crewmen of the ill-fated Princess of the Stars, who hoped of retrieving the remains of their loved ones were told on the first anniversary of the ship sinking off Romblon, that the likelihood of ever getting their bodies was next to nothing.

DOTC audits SLI's vessels, tests crew 

BEFORE any of the passenger vessels of Sulpicio Lines Inc. (SLI) are allowed to operate again, their crew will be interviewed to test if they understand the company's safety manual or not.

Mayor to skip State of City speech: aide

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña will be on leave again starting next week, this time for a medical checkup in Texas and a visit to Bogota, Colombia.

Enrile: No constituent assembly at SONA

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has vowed to make sure senators are out of the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City should the House try to convene a constituent assembly after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's State of the Nation (SONA) address on July 27.

Glo abandons presidency with 2010 run

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said on Sunday that if sought for advice, he would tell President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to "think very carefully" before running for a seat in Congress in 2010 because it might require her to give up her presidency.

'Still president even if she runs in 2010'

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's election lawyer on Sunday said that she isn't deemed resigned even if she files her candidacy for another elective post in the 2010 polls.

Estrada plays coy on 2010 plans

Former president Joseph Estrada admitted on Sunday that he and two friends bought a helicopter worth US $1.6 million as a business investment and for the political campaign in 2010 in the event of his candidacy for president.

Villar warns gov't vs asset fire sale

With only a few months left before the start of the presidential election campaign period, the Nacionalista Party (NP) led by Senator Manuel Villar on Sunday urged the Department of Finance (DoF) to suspend any plan to privatize residual government assets at the eleventh hour.

2010 absentee voting for journalists mulled

Journalists covering the 2010 national elections need not miss voting for their candidates if a plan of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to expand the coverage of local absentee voting pushes through.

Arroyo asked to account for foreign trips

People had every right to demand from Malacañang an explanation of the numerous foreign trips being taken by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Palace officials should explain, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said on Sunday.

Enrile twits PCGG chief's European tour

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile expressed concern on Sunday over reports that chairman Camilo Sabio of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) took a vacation to Europe, with family and friends, in a trip paid for by a corporation sequestered by his office.

Enrile: Lozada risks losing Senate security

Is whistleblower Rodolfo Lozada Jr., who exposed the corruption in the now scuttled National Broadband Network deal, abusing the security privilege provided him by the Senate?

1 dead, 32 wounded in Mindanao blast

Two grenades were hurled almost simultaneously late Saturday at the town plaza and the town hall in a Maasim town, Sarangani as residents were celebrating the town's 37th anniversary, leaving one person dead and 32 wounded, officials said.

Pacquiao appeals for dialogues after blasts

Following Saturday night's deadly twin blasts in Maasim town in Sarangani province, the country's Ambassador for Peace and Understanding Manny Pacquiao is calling for dialogues to achieve peace and stop bombings and kidnappings especially in Mindanao.

Defense chief: No spy plane shot down

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. denied Moro rebels' claims that its fighters shot down a military spy plane hovering over Maguindanao province while a clash was ongoing early this month.

10 MILF rebels killed in Maguindanao clash - Army

by Ten members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were killed while eight soldiers from Army's 64th Infantry Battalion were wounded in an encounter Saturday afternoon in the barangays of Pekig and Bialong in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao, according to military sources.

Canadian electronics firm closes in Mactan

Canadian electronics firm Celestica Inc. is shutting down its factory in Cebu with the loss of about 1,000 jobs, the government said Friday.  The company, which manufactures telecommunications equipment at the plant on Mactan island, has informed the Mactan Economic Zone of its plans to shut down, officials of the zone said.

"They are shutting down their operation due to market forces," the zone authority said, referring to the sharp cutback in the electronics industry in the face of the global financial turmoil.

The agency said Celestica Philippines had already tried cutting its working week down to four days in an attempt to save money and avoid layoffs but this was not enough.

15 OFWs in Sabah need help

A global alliance of Filipino migrant organizations called on the Department of Foreign Affairs on Saturday to send a rescue mission for 15 overseas Filipino workers who are being held on a palm oil plantation in Sabah.

Glo OKs release of $25,000 to save OFW

President Arroyo has approved the release of $25,000 (about P1.2 million) to appeal the death sentence of Filipino worker Jakatia Pawa, who is on death row in Kuwait.

RP must do more for poor, says WBank

The Philippines must "work for the poor" as it works to grow the economy, World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman said.

Arroyo backs Asian IMF, says Jap daily

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo supports wider cooperation in stabilizing Asia's financial market, including creating a regional version of the International Monetary Fund.

BBC confirms correspondent to leave Iran

The BBC confirmed on Sunday that its correspondent in Iran has been asked to leave the country by the Iranian authorities amid accusations he was helping to support post-election violence.

10 killed, 100 hurt in Iran unrest – state TV

At least 10 people were killed in the latest unrest to shake Iranian capital, state television said on Sunday, as the opposition kept up its defiance of Iran's Islamic rulers over the disputed election.

Tehran death toll jumps to 17

An eerie calm settled over the streets of Tehran Sunday as state media reported at least 10 more deaths in post-election unrest and said authorities arrested the daughter and four other relatives of ex-President Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of Iran's most powerful men.

Mousavi demands:  Annul election result

Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi renewed on Saturday his call to cancel the result of last week's disputed election, his campaign website said.

4 hurt in Taiwan storm

Four people were injured Sunday as tropical storm "Linfa" moved along the Taiwan Strait towards the Chinese mainland, bringing strong winds and torrential rain, officials said.

At least 16 die in China factory blast

At least 16 people died and 43 were injured Sunday in a factory explosion in eastern China's Anhui province, a police source and state media said.

First NBA game in Taiwan this October

Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups will lead the Denver Nuggets against the Indiana Pacers in an October exhibition that will be the first National Basketball Association game ever played in Taiwan.

Beermen, Rain or Shine take 2-1 leads 

Gabe Freeman exploded for 35 points that to lift San Miguel Beer to a 100-88 win over Burger King in Game 3 of their best-of-seven semifinal series n the 2008-09 Motolite-Philippine Basketball Association Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum.  In the second game, Rain or Shine bounced back from a heart-breaking loss in the previous game and book a 94-88 win in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead in their own semifinal series.

Trillanes still respects 'mentor' Honasan

His brother's wedding last Saturday paved the way for rebel leader-turned-senator Antonio Trillanes IV to see his erstwhile "mentor," Senator Gregorio Honasan, for the first time since the failed Oakwood mutiny in 2003.

KC's anti-hunger advocacy lauded

Lawmakers from Mindanao have credited young celebrity Kristina Cassandra "KC" Concepcion for her exemplary humanitarian work as the country's ambassador against hunger.

'Video recording of sex acts not a crime'

Dr. Hayden Kho did not violate any law when he videotaped his sexual encounter with actress Katrina Halili even without her consent, a co-defense counsel of the embattled cosmetic surgeon said.  Lawyer Irene Besido-Garcia, in an e-mail to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said the country has not enacted a law against videotaping sexual acts.

She added that all forms of violence alleged by Halili, "psychological and economic," were caused by the dissemination of the videos, not the act of videotaping per se.

Kho claims he is also a victim of the dissemination of the videos.

Tamano dropping out of Belo legal team

Korina vows to become a good stepmom

Broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez has promised to become a good stepmother to her fiancé's 15-year-old son from a previous relationship.

George Clooney hires swine psychic

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