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

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 7, 2009 Major News Stories

Gasoline prices up; diesel, kerosene down

Oil firms Pilipinas Shell, Petron Corp. and Phoenix Petroleum will increase gasoline prices and roll back diesel and kerosene prices effective Tuesday.  At 12:01 a.m., Shell will increase gasoline prices by 50 centavos per liter and roll back diesel and kerosene prices by the same amount, said company vice president for communications Roberto Kanapi.

The adjustments were made "to reflect movements in international product prices," he said.

Petron and Phoenix will implement the same price adjustments at 6 a.m. Tuesday, said Petron spokesperson Virginia Ruivivar and Phoenix assistant vice president for corporate affairs Raymond Zorrilla.

While it will raise gasoline prices by 50 centavos per liter at 6 a.m., Chevron will keep its diesel and kerosene prices steady.

Oil plunges to near $65 on recovery fears 

Oil prices plunged to near $65 a barrel Monday in Asia as dismal unemployment figures from the US and Europe last week sparked investor concern about a nascent economic recovery.

DoH seeks P19B budget to fight H1N1

The Department of Health (DoH) will ask for a P19.839-billion supplemental budget to fight the Influenza A(H1N1) virus, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

5 more H1N1 cases in Region 7

FIVE more cases of Influenza A(H1N1) were reported in Central Visayas yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the region to 43.

Masked personnel greet Senate visitors

Medical personnel wearing face masks and with digital thermometers greeted employees and visitors of the Senate on Monday after one of its employees was confirmed to have been infected by influenza A(H1N1) virus.

44 jobs join maids in 'low-skilled' category

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has expanded the category of "low/semi skilled" to include 44 overseas jobs, effectively tightening its control over overseas Filipino workers leaving for these types of work abroad.  Low- and semi-skilled OFWs, which used to mean only household service workers, are required to have their individual contracts verified by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in the receiving country before POEA could process their departure.  The POEA order classifies as low- and semi-skilled the following jobs for female workers all over the world except for Canada:

Aerobic instructress, attendants (gasoline station, food), baker, beader/embroiderer/dressmaker/sewer/cutter/seamstress, hairdresser/hairstylist/nail technician, cashier, chambermaid, checker, clerk, cook, customer service assistant, dishwasher, flower arranger/florist, guest relations officer/receptionist, helper,

Janitress/cleaner, kitchen helper, laundrywoman, masseuse/reflexologist, merchandiser, poultry worker, printer/canvasser, public work worker, restaurant worker/amusement park worker, sales representative, saleslady/supermarket worker, sandwich maker/sweet maker/coffee or tea maker, secretary, service crew, skin care specialist, storekeeper, telephone operator, and waitress.

The same POEA order makes the same classification for the following jobs for male workers to Bahrain:

Bartender, butcher, carpenter, liaison officer, machine operator, mason, master cutter, painter, plumber, room boy, and tailor.

Another POEA order, Memorandum Circular 6, specifies the procedures for verifying and registering the employer, for approving job orders, and for documenting those in the category of low- and semi-skilled.

Memorandum Circular 6 also lists the requirements for the processing and issuance of POEA exit clearance for this type of OFWs: request for processing; accomplished information sheet; verified individual employment contract; valid employment visa/work permit; PDOS (pre-departure orientation seminar) certificate; National Certificate II from TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority); and language orientation certificate from the OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration).

Recruiters are opposed to the order, saying this would slow down the deployment of workers under this category.

Robber kills LBC worker for P2,000

Suspect in Cotabato blast identified

The man who was seen leaving a backpack at the roast pig store in front of the Cotabato Immaculate Conception Cathedral before the explosion that left five people dead and at least 40 wounded has been identified.  Rico Aburva, 34, was arrested inside the compound of the Cotabato Immaculate Conception Cathedral right before the bomb went off, said Chief Superintendent Josefino Cataluña, director of Central Mindanao region police.

NDCC: Suspect in blast released

Authorities have released for lack of evidence a teacher who was picked up for questioning in connection with Sunday's deadly bombing near a cathedral in Cotabato City that killed five people and wounded dozens others.

US envoy condemns Cotabato blast

Not even the top American diplomat in the Philippines could hide her emotions when she spoke about Sunday's bomb attack that killed five people and wounded dozens, including children, outside the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral in Cotabato City.

Cathedral may not be target of bombers

Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo indicated that the Cotabato Cathedral may not be the target of the bomb attack but added the bombing that killed several persons should still be condemned.

Troops brace for more bombings in south

The military warned of more bombings in Central Mindanao, which it said was part of the "grand plan" of Moro rebels to sow "terror" and distract the military from its pursuit of rebel commanders.

MILF force grew over 6 years-DND exec

While it succeeded in reducing the numbers of communist guerillas and Islamic extremists, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) failed to contain the growth of Moro rebel forces.

MILF OKs US presence in C. Mindanao

A high-ranking leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has declared that the rebel group does not take issue about the presence of US troops in Central Mindanao.

2 soldiers hurt in Davao Sur clash

Two soldiers, including a junior officer, were wounded during a clash with communist rebels in a village bordering Kiblawan town around 7:30 a.m. Monday.

Biazon urges Arroyo: Fire security adviser

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales should be fired for proposing a revolutionary government before the 2010 elections, Senator Rodolfo Biazon said on Monday.

'Blasts herald emergency declaration'

The wave of bombings in Metro Manila and Mindanao could be linked to efforts to create chaos to prompt the declaration of a state of emergency and extend the stay of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in office, said a lawmaker, who called for an investigation into the incidents.

Safeguards for poll automation project set

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the poll automation project have safeguards in place to ensure clean and fraud-free elections in 2010.

Smartmatic, TIM joint venture papers

The information technology companies that will supply the voting machines and the operational expertise to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the 2010 automated elections submitted their incorporation papers to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday morning.

Legal issues caused rift with Smartmatic

Heavier legal responsibility on the part of Total Information Management (TIM) caused the rift between the company and Smartmatic that posed a threat to the automation project for the 2010 national elections, TIM president Jose Mari Antunez said Monday.

Automation pals eye Singaporean arbiter

(UPDATE) The two partners in a technology consortium that will automate the 2010 elections not only patched up their differences, they also agreed to consult a neutral arbiter should disagreements arise in the future, company officials said.

Gov't wants least expensive Marcos jewels

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) asked the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court to award to the government the least expensive of the three jewelry collections seized from Imelda Marcos, admitting that the two other sets were not part of the forfeiture case against the former first lady.

School execs face graft, sex raps

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez ordered the filing of criminal case against the president of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and other officials for various offenses.

Residents around Mayon alerted

Even as an eruption was unlikely in the next few days, the Albay provincial government alerted residents living near the Mayon Volcano to take the necessary precautions.

GSIS did not address database crash

IBM continues to assert that it is not at fault for the major database crashes experienced by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

US, Russia agree arms cuts, Afghan transit

Zelaya fails to return to Honduras

Military vehicles blocked the runway to prevent ousted President Manuel Zelaya from landing in Honduras Sunday, shortly after troops clashed with his supporters, killing two, according to police.

Megawati cries foul in Indonesian vote

The country's main opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri has called for a new set of voter lists to be drawn up, only three days ahead of presidential elections, officials said Monday.

Vietnam floods leave 30 dead or missing

Floods and landslides in northern Vietnam have killed at least 30 people over the weekend, television reports said Sunday.

G8 days numbered?

The Group of Eight industrialized powers, ineffectual in the face of the worldwide finance crisis, is slowly losing its grip on the global economy and now faces calls for its abolition.

Federer: From bad boy to elder statesman

Roger Federer joined the legion of sporting legends, his name sitting comfortably alongside Ali, Woods, Senna, Pele, Bradman, where just one name is enough to confer instant respect.

Jackson to be buried Tuesday in LA

Michael Jackson will be buried at a Los Angeles cemetery on Tuesday shortly before a gala tribute to the pop icon at an arena here, the city's acting mayor said.

Michael Jackson memorial on live TV

The memorial for Michael Jackson may be a tough ticket live, but it shouldn't be hard to find it on television.

Lavish memorial for 'King of Pop'

Hundreds of millions of fans across the world will bid a final farewell to Michael Jackson on Tuesday in a lavish memorial to the tragic "King of Pop" that is expected to bring America to a standstill.

Jackson mother removed from estate

NBI files raps vs 2 brothers over sex videos

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed on Monday criminal cases against two brothers who supposedly uploaded into the Internet the sex videos of cosmetic surgeon Hayden Kho's intimate trysts with actress Katrina Halili and two other women.  Joebert and Marvin Lazarte were charged with violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code before the Cavite provincial prosecutor's office.

Mallari said their investigation showed that the brothers were the "maintainers" of the website where the sex videos featuring Kho and at least three women were first uploaded.

The Lazartes were arrested along with their father, Fidel, during a raid on their house in Bacoor, Cavite, on Friday.

Mallari said they released the suspects' father after they were able to confirm that he did not have any knowledge of his sons' activities.

Mallari said they learned in their investigation that an anonymous person sent the Lazartes copies of the videos by email. The NBI is now trying to trace the ownership of the sender's email address.

NBI: Sex hosts may turn state witnesses

Perhaps taken by the prospect of a "you can't beat them" scenario, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is looking to turn suspected Internet porn site operators into state witnesses.

Arroyo needed breast implants – Palace

The breast implant procedure done on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo back in the 1980s was a "medical necessity" and was not spurred by vanity, her deputy spokeswoman, Lorelei Fajardo, said.

NBI to probe hospital leak on Arroyo

Nahaharap sa pagtatanong ng National Bureau of Investigation ang ilang doktor at empleyado ng Asian Hospital. Aalamin daw kasi ng NBI kung sino ang nagbulgar sa medical procedure na isinagawa sa dibdib ni Ginang Arroyo. Dito kasi nalaman ng publiko na nagkaroon ng breast augmentation ang Pangulo noong 1980s.

Glo no-show fuels speculation about health

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did not show up as expected at a ceremony on Monday, adding to the controversy surrounding her medical condition and fueling criticism that Malacañang has not been forthright about her health.

Despite crisis, RP is 14th 'happiest' nation

Patuloy man ang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin at kahit pa nagigipit na nanatili pa ring masayahin ang mga Pilipino! Sa katunayan, base sa isang pag-aaral, ika-14 ang Pilipinas sa pinakamasayahing bansa sa buong mundo. 

Calvin Trillin  - "Health food makes me sick."

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