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

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 10, 2009 Major News Stories

Koronadal suspends classes over H1N1

A private school in Koronadal City has suspended classes for 10 days starting August 6 after two of its students tested positive for the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

51 US soldiers in Iraq with swine flu

Fifty-one American troops in Iraq have been diagnosed with and treated for swine flu, while another 71 soldiers remain in isolation suspected of contracting the potentially deadly virus.

Palace warns of sabotage by drug firms

Malacañang warned the public, on Sunday, against the possibility of giant multinational drug companies "sabotaging" the government's efforts to bring down the prices of medicine in the country.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde raised the scenario following reports that the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP) had threatened to stage a so-called "hospital holiday," loosely meaning that they would accept only emergency cases during the period of protest.

Submarine rice gets approved for planting

A new rice variety that can survive days under floodwater has been approved for planting by farmers in the country.

Filipinos in Italy pay most to remit money

Filipinos around the world pay between $6.93 and $19.05 to remit $200 to their families back home, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) quoted a World Bank study of global money transfer charges as of the first quarter of 2009.

TUCP secretary general Ernesto Herrera said workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia spend the least in remittance fees, paying an average of $6.93, whether they transmit $500 or $200.

Those in Spain follow next, shelling out an average of $12.42 to dispatch $500, or $10.64 to transfer $200. Filipinos in Germany pay out an average of $13.06 to forward $500, or $11.07 to convey $200.

Migrant Filipino workers in the United States spend an average of $12.79 to send $500 home to their families in the Philippines, or an average of $11.45 to remit $200. Filipino workers in the United Kingdom shell out an average of $17.75 to wire $500, or $14.40 to transfer $200.

But those in Italy spend an average of $22.28 to send $500, or $19.05 to remit $200.

Man attempts to kill official

A MUNICIPAL councilor was spared from an attempt on his life after the gun aimed at him failed to fire.  Victor Tago Jr., 37, municipal councilor of Cordova, was watching a fiesta activity dubbed "Acoustics at the Kiosk" at the Cordova Public Plaza at past 11 p.m. Saturday when a man suddenly appeared and aimed a .45 pistol at the back of his head.

When he heard the click as the gunman pulled the trigger, Tago turned around and managed to grab the gun.

He was assisted by his friend Jesser Pogoy and they both managed to subdue the assassin, who was identified as Dominggo Balacos, 50, who hails from Sitio Sto.

Niño, Barangay Kulambogan, Lanao del Norte.

The attack disrupted the concert as people near Tago scampered for safety after seeing them grappling for the handgun.

Cordova Police Station Chief Felix Pacaldo said Balacos was a hired killer.

Balacos also admitted in the investigation that he was sent by a man who promised him work if he could kill Tago. He could not identify the man, though.

Jail officers face dismissal for escape

Two jail officers of the Cebu City Jail are facing possible dismissal from service over the escape of an inmate who was hospitalized at Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

Another One Cebu?

CEBU Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr. yesterday warned he will create the "real One Cebu" political group if Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia accepts Tuburan Mayor Constancio Suezo III into the party.  Suezo, Sanchez said, was one of those who pushed for the passage of the "Sugbuak" bills that sought to create three new provinces in Cebu. These proposals had been filed before 2007 by then representatives Clavel Martinez, Antonio Yapha and Simeon Kintanar.

Politicians in Cordova's Dinagat festival

YESTERDAY'S 10th Dinagat Festival of Cordova, Cebu became a venue for opposition figures to criticize the Arroyo administration and to signify their intention to seek an elective post.

Erap downplays Glo 'encounter'

CROWDS mobbed former president Joseph Estrada when he dropped by Barangays Tisa, Cogon Pardo, Duljo Fatima and Pasil in Cebu City's south district yesterday, on the invitation of opposition leader Jonathan Guardo.

Truce over: Erap calls Glo a cheat

Palace: No taxpayers' money spent

Malacañang is furious over the report that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her delegation spent close to P1 million for a dinner at a classy French restaurant in New York during her recent working visit to the United States.  To quell speculations of Arroyo's supposedly wasteful spending in her US trip, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said he would ask the deputy executive secretary for finance and administration to release this week a financial statement on all expenses for the visit.

The brief article by Richard Johnson in New York Post's "Eat and Drink" section and posted online read:

"The economic downturn hasn't persuaded everyone to pinch pennies. Philippines President Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was at Le Cirque the other night with a large entourage enjoying the good life, even though the former comptroller of her country's armed services, Carlos Garcia, was found guilty earlier this year of perjury and two of his sons were arrested in the US on bulk cash-smuggling charges. Macapagal-Arroyo ordered several bottles of very expensive wine, pushing the dinner tab up to $20,000."

"What we had in New York was a simple, late night dinner because it was already late at night when we arrived there from Washington DC and of course, we were all hungry," he recalled.

He said the Malacañang group settled only in two tables and ordered a "set" meal consisting of soup, salad, main course, drinks, and coffee or tea.

"There was no truth to the report that many different types of champagne and fancy food items were ordered," he said.

P1M NY dinner for Arroyo imprudent

A Catholic bishop said on Sunday that it was "very imprudent" for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her party to spend almost a million pesos on a single dinner in an expensive restaurant in New York during her recent trip to the US.

P1M NY dinner simply disgusting

Evangelist Brother Eddie Villanueva on Sunday branded as insensitive, even "disgusting," the alleged P960,000 dinner that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her party shared in New York before returning to the country last week.

Solon says P1M is just right for NY dinner

A P1-million dinner tab in Manila can be too much but not in New York.  Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez said that he could have volunteered to foot the bill for the Le Cirque dinner celebrating the wedding anniversary of the First Couple had Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez not beat him to it.

Lapid did not enjoy French dinner - Miriam

No photo with Obama plus the meal sucked. And for that, Senator Lito Lapid could have just stayed home.  Lapid had pointed out to protocol officers that it took time to serve the meal because waiters would change plates and silverware every course, according to Santiago.

The foggy financial history of Gloria Arroyo

Lim to build Cory monument in Manila

Manila mayor Alfredo Lim has vowed to undertake the construction of a monument of the late President Corazon Aquino to commemorate her contributions to the restoration of democracy in the country.

Mrs. Marcos, son control of estate

The Supreme Court has denied the Philippine government's attempt to disqualify former First Lady Imelda Marcos and her son Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos II from taking control of the estate of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Immigration bureau bans 9 Belgians

Immigration authorities have banned nine Belgian nationals from the Philippines for taking part in anti-government protests during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's State of the Nation Address (Sona), the Bureau of Immigration has said.

'Kiko' leaves 21 dead in RP

Hundreds evacuated in landslide-hit Iloilo

Nearly 1,000 residents were evacuated from two hinterland villages in a Tubungan, Iloilo province, on Sunday, after days of landslides destroyed crops and farms and threatened to destroy houses.

Botolan evacuees now 7,833

The number of evacuees in Botolan, Zambales, swelled to 7,833 people on Sunday, three days after floodwaters heavy with mud from the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo, breached the Bucao Dike there.

Govt: Peace talks with NDF in October

EU gives P420M for food aid in RP

The European Union's executive arm has approved a grant of 6.4 million euros (or about P420M or $9.2 million) to support food security in Mindanao, it was learned Sunday.

Bolante to give up house for scam proof

Controversial former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Jocjoc" Bolante said he would be willing to give up his house in Alabang, Muntinlupa to anyone with the evidence or documents to prove he pocketed the P728 million fertilizer funds.

BoC nabs P190M oil smuggled by Jimenez

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) has forfeited in favor of the government about P190 million worth of sea vessels and petroleum products believed smuggled into the country by a company owned by one of the principal suspects in the murder of Ruby Rose Barrameda.

2M broadband subscribers by yearend

The number of broadband users in the country is expected to reach the two-million mark by the end of the year, Catanduanes Representative Joseph Santiago said in a statement Sunday.

9 feared dead after NY mid-air collision

Nine people were believed dead after a helicopter carrying Italian tourists crashed mid-air with a light airplane over New York's Hudson River on Saturday.

Evidence Taliban chief dead conclusive

US deports Yemeni cleric

A US federal judge here ordered the deportation of a Yemeni Muslim cleric originally sentenced in 2005 to 75 years in prison for supporting terrorism.

First Hispanic US SC justice takes oath

Sonia Sotomayor made history Saturday as she took the oath of office to become the first Hispanic US Supreme Court justice, and just the third woman on the court in its 220-year history.

Ateneo makes La Salle green with envy

Ateneo, without slotman Rabeh Al-Hussaini who was forced to sit down due to a left ankle injury, withstood the gallant stand put up by its arch-rival De La Salle to win, 76-72, in overtime on Sunday at the Big Dome in another classic match between the country's top basketball rivals.

Federer, Nadal return to action in Canada

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal return to tennis after long absences Monday at the Montreal Masters with top seed Federer playing just three weeks after the birth of his twin daughters.

Palace looks to SC to settle National Artist

Facing a storm of protests over its selection of this year's National Artists, Malacañang said on Sunday it would let the Supreme Court settle the dispute over two of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's choices for the prestigious awards.

Hairstylist ordered to pay customer

The Court of Appeals has ordered celebrity stylist Ricky Reyes and one of his employees to pay a customer more than P120,000 in damages for allegedly causing the complainant's hair loss and breakage following a hair relaxing session in one of Reyes's salons in 2000.

SC junks murder raps vs Kuh's ex-hubby

The Supreme Court has affirmed the appellate court"s dismissal of criminal charges against Luisito Gonzalez, grandson of the late President Elpidio Quirino, and his co-accused Antonio Buenaflor.

Ex-child star: I'm pa of Jackson's daughter

Former child acting star Mark Lester said in a British newspaper Sunday that he donated sperm to Michael Jackson and believes he could be the biological father of the late singer's daughter Paris.

Sadat slams film over dog's name

The daughter of Egypt's slain president Anwar Sadat has filed legal complaints against the producers of an American film which portrays a dog named after her father, her lawyer said on Saturday.

Beatles fans flood Abbey Road

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