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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 15, 2009 Major News Stories

'A lot' of cases positive of H1N1

THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 yesterday said "a lot" of cases under observation (CUOs) have tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1) in Central Visayas.

As to how many have tested positive, Madarieta said that they will release details of the positive cases today. They were still waiting for the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine's (RITM) approval for them to release results.

But even if there were "a lot" of positive cases in the region, Maradieta said that there was nothing to worry about.

"Most of these cases have likely recovered," she said.

The 78 swabs tested were accumulated test swabs collected from schools, walk-in patients and hospitals.

"We will call all positive cases one by one, so that we will know of their current status, if they are still sick or have recovered. Those still sick will get free medication," she said.

She added that positive cases from schools were also informed of their results.

Digos high school suspends classes

Classes in the government-run Digos City National High School (DCNHS) were suspended after a student tested positive for Influenza A(H1N1) virus, Dr. Ronald Jumilla, city health officer, said.

Bicol classes suspended due to H1N1

Classes were suspended Tuesday until Friday in the Bicol campus of the Philippine Science High School in Goa town, Camarines Sur, after about 70 of its 300 students showed signs and symptoms of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus.

Lucena suspends classes over H1N1

A school in Lucena has been advised to suspend classes for 10 days after six of its students tested positive for the Influenza A (H1N1) virus and 72 others showed symptoms of the swine flu, Dr. Wilfredo Frondoza, city health officer, revealed Tuesday.

Tacloban mayor's daughter has A(H1N1)

New flu resembles feared 1918 virus

Arroyo signs Rent Control Act

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law on Tuesday the Rent Control Act of 2009 that would impose a year-long moratorium on rent increases, a move seen to provide relief for 1.6 million renting families.

1M poor families to get aid in 2010 -- DSWD

Finding one of its big ticket programs, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) successful, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) wants more funds to be able to increase its beneficiaries next year from 700,000 to one million poor households, an official of the department said Tuesday.

New med check for Legacy boss pushed

Fearing that Legacy owner Celso de los Angeles might be getting special treatment, victims of his alleged scams will ask a Cagayan de Oro court to appoint a medical examiner to check his condition, Senator Manuel Roxas said Tuesday.

Police guard Legacy boss at hospital

The police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has assigned around two to four policemen to watch over the owner of the Legacy Group at the hospital.

Remittances seen to slightly grow

Despite the ongoing crisis suffered by the global economy, remittances sent by overseas workers to the Philippines still managed to grow, even if minimally, in May, with Filipinos remaining a top labor-resource choice by a few industries abroad that continue to hire more workers.

Longer phone load validity starts July 19

Comelec posts automation contract online

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has posted its contract with a technology consortium to automate the 2010 elections on its website to show transparency.

Comelec, Smartmatic-TIM told: Answer

The Supreme Court ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and a technology consortium to comment on a petition against their contract to automate the 2010 elections, as it deferred the issuance of a temporary restraining order.

Tom: Erap backing is useless in Cebu

Palace eyes amnesty for elderly Sayyaf

While it may sound outrageous to some, the proposed amnesty for elderly commanders of the Abu Sayyaf to make way for development projects in Mindanao will be studied by the government, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Solons balk at amnesty for Sayyaf

Two lawmakers have balked at proposals to grant amnesty to members of the Abu Sayyaf or engage the group in peace talks, saying this would only embolden the al Qaeda-linked bandits to continue with their activities.

Family, lanzones got Vagni through ordeal

Freedom was as sweet as lanzones for an Italian Red Cross worker, who endured six months under the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf by meditating and thinking about "good times."

Vagni missed football

Six months of jungle captivity by al-Qaida-linked extremists in the southern Philippines deprived Italian aid worker Eugenio Vagni of daily life, love and news from home—including one item that stunned him Tuesday: his football team didn't make it to the European Champions' League.

I love the Filipino people, says Vagni

Despite many months spent in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf group, Italian Red Cross worker Eugenio Vagni said he was willing to return to the country to do humanitarian work.

Freed Italian hostage thanks Arroyo

Newly freed Italian hostage Eugenio Vagni paid a courtesy call on President Macapagal-Arroyo in Malacañang to thank her for the government's relentless efforts at securing his release.

Teodoro wants Sulu vice-gov probed

Arroyo names 'mistah' as Marines chief

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has appointed a new commandant of the Marine Corps, the military's main fighting force against Islamic extremists in the southwest.

The new Marine Commandant, Major General Juancho Sabban, will replace Major General Ben Dolorfino. Arroyo signed Sabban's appointment papers on Monday night, said Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman.

Sabban is a member of the Philippine Military Academy's 1978 Class which has adopted the President as an honorary classmate or 'mistah.'

His appointment strengthens the hold of PMA '78 graduates on the military leadership. Army Chief Lieutenant General Delfin Bangit and Air Force Chief Lieutenant General Oscar Rabena are members of the PMA batch.

Last month, reports swirled that Arroyo was positioning her PMA classmates in key positions as part of efforts to rewrite the Constitution and extend her stay in power.

This allegedly included forcing AFP Chief of Staff General Victor Ibrado to retire early to give way to Bangit, but Ibrado had said that he would finish his full term.

No terrorist hand in Camanava blasts

The blasts at the two branches of the Allied Bank in Caloocan and Valenzuela last weekend were not the handiwork of terrorists, said a police official.

EC gives P200M for Mindanaoans

The European Commission has allocated 3 million euros (about P200 million) in humanitarian aid to assist the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict between the Philippines' armed forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the island of Mindanao, the EC delegation here said in a statement Tuesday.

Arroyo leaves for NAM summit in Egypt

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo left for Egypt on Tuesday afternoon to address the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.

Interior chief back to work on Thursday

Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno will return to his post on Thursday, after more than two weeks on leave to attend to his daughter's wedding in the United States.

Filipina suspect in another Filipina's slay

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested and kept in jail a Filipina suspected of killing another Filipina, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.

Cotabato mayor sued for sex harassment

The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday charged a town mayor with sexual harassment based on a complaint filed by his administrative aide over sexual gestures committed two years ago.

Suu Kyi's party skeptical on amnesty

The country's opposition party was skeptical the military junta would release political prisoners including its leader Aung San Suu Kyi, despite new assurances given to the United Nations.

War crimes charges are 'lies': Taylor

PSC predicts meager SEAG gold harvest

Twenty gold medals or less. With barely five months to go before the games, the Philippine Sports Commission has punched the panic button, alarmed that inevitable disaster awaits the national team in the coming Southeast Asian Games in Laos.

Hatton: Pacquiao defeat 'still very fresh'

Run for a cause to use timing 'chips'

Tycoon Fernando Zobel De Ayala will be among more than 3,000 sports enthusiasts joining the Philippines' first running event anchored both on a good cause and cutting-edge technology.

Shaq wants to bring kung fu to NBA

NBA All-Star centre Shaquille O'Neal has said he hopes to bring his martial arts skills to the basketball court, during a visit to China's Shaolin Temple -- the birthplace of kung fu.

McGrady switches jersey numbers to aid Darfur

Houston Rockets guard Tracy McGrady will switch jersey numbers next season to help raise awareness for his Darfur humanitarian project, the National Basketball Association team said.  McGrady, who along with injured Chinese star center Yao Ming formed the backbone of Houston's attack, will surrender his No. 1 jersey to new teammate Trevor Ariza, a swingman.

McGrady, who could miss up to the first half of next season while recovering from left knee surgery, also wore No. 3 while at high school.

McGrady hopes to raise attention for the "3 Points" documentary film that will debut in America later this year, a movie chronicling his 2007 journey to Darfur refugee camps in Chad.

The "3 Points" refer to the goals of peace, protection and punishment in Darfur, with McGrady seeking peace and protection for those forced into camps and punishment for those involved in the Darfur violence.

China, whose leaders have agreed to allow Yao to play in the NBA alongside McGrady, has been criticized for supporting the government in the conflict that has overtaken the region.

McGrady also has donated $75,000 toward constructing a school in a refugee camp in eastern Chad.

Safina remains on top of world rankings

Katrina Halili: No more juicy news

No more juicy news. Actress Katrina Halili said she will no longer talk about the case she filed against beauty experts Hayden Kho and Vicki Belo so she won't be accused of taking her case to the media.

Perjury raps vs Ara, Maui, Aubrey dropped

The Quezon City prosecutors office has junked perjury raps against three actresses earlier accused by their manager of lying in their complaint before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

FilAm crowned Miss US International 2009

Filipino American Aileen Jan Yap was crowned Miss United States International 2009 over the weekend and will represent the US in the 49th Miss International pageant to be held at the Venetian Macao Resort in Macau, China on November 7, according to

MJ 'wasn't ready' for London comeback

The father of Michael Jackson slammed the gruelling 50-date schedule drawn up for his son's comeback, saying the star was not capable of completing the series of sold-out concerts.

Jackson ex-wife to settle custody case

Jackie Chan starts 'Karate Kid' remake

Jackie Chan will play the wise kung-fu master in a Hollywood-Chinese remake of the 1984 hit "The Karate Kid" that kicked off filming in the Chinese capital at the weekend, a movie company publicist said Monday.

Singer gets 5-years for 'ridiculing' Koran

An Iranian singer, Mohsen Namjoo, has been sentenced in absentia to a five-year jail term for ridiculing the Koran holy book in a song, reformist daily Etemad Melli reported on Tuesday.

Dagohoy inspires Bohol adventure tour

The island province of Bohol is looking to attract tourists seeking greater adventure other than climbing the Chocolate Hills or taking a peek at its rapidly depleting population of tarsiers.  The municipality of Danao wants to become known as a destination for extreme sports enthusiasts through its "Eco/Extreme Adventure Tour" (or shortened to EAT Danao), with activities like wall climbing, river kayaking, and zip line that locals fondly call the "suislide".

Danao has its place in Philippine history, its mountains and caves providing refuge for national hero and Bohol native Francisco Dagohoy, who is credited for leading the longest revolt against Spanish rule.

Interestingly, Dagohoy's travails in Danao have inspired local officials to transform the place into a haven for adventurers and nature lovers.

Swearing can make you feel better

Colleagues Richard Stephens, John Atkins and Andrew Kingston, set out to establish if there was any link between swearing and physical pain.

"Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon," says Stephens.

"It taps into emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain. Our research shows one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists."

Their study involved 64 volunteers who were each asked to put their hand in a tub of ice water for as long as possible while repeating a swear word of their choice.

They then repeated the experiment using a more commonplace word that they would use to describe a table.

The researchers found the volunteers were able to keep their hands in the ice water for a longer when swearing, establishing a link between swearing and an increase in pain tolerance.

Stephens said it was not clear how or why this link existed but it could be because swearing may increase aggression.

"What is clear is that swearing triggers not only an emotional response, but a physical one too, which may explain why the centuries-old practice of cursing developed and still persists today."

Tropical depression 'Isang' in M'danao

A low-pressure area east of Northern Mindanao intensified into a tropical depression Tuesday afternoon, with state weather forecasters naming it "Isang."

'Huaning' leaves but rains to continue

The next few days will be wet and cloudy, even as Typhoon "Huaning" continued to move away from the country Monday afternoon, the weather bureau said.

Lenny Bruce  - "Communism is like one big phone company."

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