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

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 8, 2009 Major News Stories



Petron, Total hike LPG prices


Chevron rolls back diesel, kerosene prices

Following the lead of its competitors, Chevron Corp. announced that it would also cut diesel and kerosene prices on Tuesday.  At 6 p.m., Chevron will reduce diesel and kerosene prices by 50 centavos per liter.  Earlier Tuesday, Chevron increased gasoline prices by 50 centavos per liter.

Oil drops below $63, continuing plunge

Oil shed more than $1 to fall below $63 a barrel Tuesday, adding to a sharp drop over the last week on investor doubts about a global economic recovery.

RP vulnerable to virus spread: WHO

INTER-ISLAND travel and a large population make the Philippines vulnerable to the further spread of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus, said the World Health Organization (WHO).


WHO to stop testing swine flu cases


Recruiters vs 'low-skilled' OFW category

Licensed recruiters have expressed strong opposition against the new classification of "low- and semi-skilled" overseas Filipino workers, arguing that the series of series of orders of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration would deter employment of OFWs.

RP cracks down on mobile phone spam

Telecommunication regulators in the Philippines said Tuesday they would crack down on spam sent to mobile phones, and that service providers risked losing their licenses for violations of a new ban.

The National Telecommunications Commission said that, on the orders of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, it would ban from Wednesday the sending of unsolicited messages via mobile phone networks' short messaging services (SMS).

Ruel Canobas, the head of the commission, told reporters that consumers were sometimes charged for receiving spam, or "push messages," and that complaints "are piling up".

Canobas said telecommunications firms were allowing their content providers to send one-time promotional messages to subscribers.

"But this was abused... so we issued new guidelines to totally ban the sending of push messages," he said.

Only phone users who sign up for these services will be allowed to receive them and be charged for them, he said.

Telecommunications companies who violated the new ban would be punished with a fine or even suspension of their licenses, Canobas said.

The law allows fines of up to P200 (about $4.14 ) for each SMS sent per day, though the government will ask Congress to pass a bill raising penalties to up P10 million, Canobas said.

Smart offers per-3-second rate on mobile 

IBM-GSIS row heats up over database

The dispute over the problematic database system of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) continues to worsen as the government agency's legal counsel accused IBM of providing a defective product.

Cansojong Rob group eyed in priest's slay


4 blasts in south leave 6 killed, 56 hurt

Four explosions rocked Mindanao within a 12-hour period starting Monday evening, leaving at least six people killed and 56 others wounded, prompting the police force in the south to go on the highest alert.

The deadliest of the four explosions occurred at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday near the Mount Carmel Church in Jolo town, Sulu province in the southwest, where six people were killed and 40 others were wounded, said Superintendent Jose Bayani Gucela, spokesman of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao.

Reports reaching Camp Crame in Manila identified two of the fatalities as Vicky Sia, 60, and Hamsirani Hamsi. Three policemen were among the wounded. They were identified only as identified only as Police Officers 2 Ajibon and Sabdani and SPO1 Appang.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo said "many" of the wounded were in critical condition.

"We are still investigating who carried out the bombing," he told reporters.

Initial investigation revealed that the explosive was placed inside a motorcycle, which was parked about 100 meters away from the church.

Two other similar explosives, hidden in cartons, were recovered some 100 meters from the church.

Then at around 10:30 a.m., a bomb planted inside a vehicle parked next to an Army jeep in Iligan City went off, said Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr.

Sixteen people were wounded including three soldiers, were wounded in the explosion, said Chief Superintendent Danilo Empedrad, director of Northern Mindanao region police.

Empedrad said the injured were brought to the hospital. He identified some of them as: Richard Silawan, Emilina Humamil, Captain Edito Anchita, Agustina Engito, Zenaida Manapo, Rolando Adorna, Emmy Batigas, Emmy Paclimas, Mario Titacang, Lorena Ortega, Jerry Baja, Nemia Delima, Sarah Radala, Jovelyn Manglicmot, Nida Sadernas, and Vienvenido Ramos.

Authorities are interviewing witnesses on the scene and will release an artist sketch of the suspect within Tuesday, Empedrad said.

Lieutenant Colonel Juvymax Uy, a local military commander, said it was reported that one of the wounded died, but this has yet to be verified.

In Lanao Del Norte, two explosives strapped to a tower of the National Transmission Corp. (Transco) in the upper Paiton area of Kauswagan town went off at around 11 p.m. Monday, toppling the structure and shutting down the Abaga-Aurora line, a local official said.

Arroyo meets Cabinet on Mindanao blasts

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo convened on Tuesday afternoon a command conference in Malacañang amid the rash of bombings in Mindanao, which the military and police believed were "test missions" of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) recruits.

'Don't tag MILF in blasts without evidence'

Senators cautioned the government on Tuesday against making swift accusations as to who was responsible for the recent series of bombings in the country, saying this would only create further destabilization.


Restart MILF talks, Enrile urges Palace

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile has called for the resumption of peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as he condemned the wave of bombings in Mindanao.

Speaker: Stop speculations on blasts

Speaker Prospero Nograles has called on the public and members of the opposition to put to rest speculations that the wave of deadly bomb attacks was linked to an alleged plan to extend President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's term, saying this could exacerbate the situation.

Comelec eyes purchase of poll machines

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will consider buying 82,200 counting machines from the Smartmatic-Total Information Management consortium, if the automation of the 2010 elections will be successful, an elections official said.

Poll exec: Plebiscite could ruin 2010 vote

Holding a plebiscite on Charter change simultaneous with the presidential election next year will only mess up the exercise, an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

Aquino deserves all accolades -- Ramos

For leading the country's return to democracy, former President President Corazon Aquino deserves the "everlasting accolade and eternal gratitude" of the Filipino people, former President Fidel V. Ramos said yesterday at a healing mass for the ailing former leader in Makati City.

City offers healing Mass for Cory Aquino

City officials and employees led by Acting Mayor Michael Rama gathered midday yesterday to offer a mass for former President Corazon Aquino.


Arroyo meets bishops ahead of CBCP vote

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo met recently with a bishop believed to be next in line to head the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), raising questions within the organization about what she was up to, sources said.

Iglesia ni Cristo Day a non-working holiday

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has designated a special day for the Iglesia ni Cristo, a church denomination often approached by politicians seeking its so-called bloc support in elections.  Arroyo declared July 27 as "Iglesia ni Cristo Day," a non-working holiday commemorating the founding anniversary of the sect.

Group pushes for CA justice to high court

An umbrella organization monitoring President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's appointments to the Supreme Court this year has asked the appointing authority to name Court of Appeals Justice Martin Villarama to the high tribunal.

140 pass forester board exam

One hundred forty out of 383 have passed the Forester Licensure Examination given by the Board for Foresters, the Professional Regulation Commission announced Tuesday.

Bones found on 'DDS dumping ground' 


Pope seeks 'global authority' for economy


Jackson body borne in golden coffin

The body of Michael Jackson, borne in a golden coffin, was placed into a black hearse Tuesday to carry the late pop icon from a Los Angeles cemetery to a public memorial service.

6,000 MJ comments per min. on FB


Nene: Palace mishandled breast job issue

Malacañang should also be blamed for making a mountain out of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's "mole hill," Senate Minority Leader Aqulino Pimentel Jr. said on Tuesday.

Gov't to auction off Imelda Marcos' jewels

The government will auction off two jewelry collections of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, which are worth millions of dollars, Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera said Tuesday.

Honest HK maid back in Philippines

The 38-year-old Filipino maid in Hong Kong who earned praise for returning the cash and checks amounting to P2.1 million which she found in a garbage bin arrived Tuesday afternoon at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

Mildred Perez arrived 1 p.m. on board a Cebu Pacific flight and was welcomed by the hugs and kisses of her two children.

Perez was jobless in Hong Kong and struggling to pursue a sexual assault charge against her former employer when she found the cash and checks in a garbage bin on April 29. (Migrant workers with pending cases against their employers in Hong Kong cannot hold jobs.)

Instead of pocketing the money, Perez called up the company whose name was in the documents to return the cash and checks. She was given a can of cookies for her deed.


Mendoza to sit in jury of Swiss filmfest

Filipino film director Brillante Mendoza, who won best director in the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival, has been chosen as a member of the jury in the 62nd Film Festival Locarno from August 5 to 15 in Switzerland, the Philippine embassy in Berne announced on Tuesday.

Cuenca, Pacquiao team up soon


2 brewing storms to bring rains

Two low-pressure areas are expected to dump more rains in most parts of the country, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Tuesday.

One low-pressure area was spotted 40 kilometers north of the Bicol Region. The other was estimated at 880 km east of Luzon, Pagasa said on its website.

An intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is also affecting Visayas and Mindanao.

As a result, Pagasa said Metro Manila, Central and Southern Luzon, the whole Visayas and Mindanao will experience mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms.

More gadgets installed to monitor Mayon

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is hurrying up the installation of new monitoring devices around Mayon in an effort to come up with complete data on the volcano's escalating activities so as to determine whether there is already a need to raise the alert level or not.


Eddie Izzard  - "Never put a sock in a toaster."

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