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

Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 23, 2009 Major News Stories

Law changes sought

A CONSUMER group yesterday reiterated its call for Congress to amend the Oil Deregulation Law upon reconvening on Nov. 9 in response to recent oil price increases.

Consumer Oil Price Watch Chairman Raul T. Concepcion noted that the Department of Energy and Department of Justice "have been remiss" over the past 11 years in observing the law's guidelines. "The Oil Deregulation Law mandates [both agencies] to monitor the volume and value of oil inventories and to inform the public whether the oil companies' price increase or decrease is justified," Mr. Concepcion said. Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes has said it would be difficult to identify a formula to determine single reasonable pricing since prices are determined by market forces in a deregulated industry.

Ramil still close to NLuzon landfall but might also veer away

(Updated 11:34 p.m.) After doing a slow snake dance for several days across the Pacific on its way to Northern Luzon, now feinting north, now near-stationary, now driving west, Typhoon Ramil is still expected to hit land along the northern Luzon coast on Friday night or Saturday morning, the state weather bureau said in its latest weather bulletin. But other national agencies tracking the storm think it has started to veer away to the north or northeast.

Long wait for 'Ramil' agonizing for Cagayan folk

Officials and residents of Cagayan Valley have expressed exasperation over the prolonged wait that they have to endure in anticipation of the arrival of Typhoon "Ramil."

Rising sea levels, brownouts mark coming of "Ramil"

Rising sea levels that forced the evacuation of 65 families and power interruptions heralded the coming of typhoon "Ramil" (international name Lupit) in Cagayan Valley, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said Thursday night.

148 die due to leptospirosis – DoH

Less than a month after most of Luzon was submerged in floods, the Department of Health (DoH) reported 148 deaths out of 1,963 Filipinos afflicted with leptospirosis as of October 21.

WHO helps RP deal with deadly leptospirosis

The World Health Organization will send an emergency team to help the Philippines deal with a bacterial disease outbreak that has killed at least 148 people and sickened nearly 2,000 in and around the flood-hit capital, officials said Thursday.

Boots please! DOH adds item on donations wish list

After recording more than 100 leptospirosis deaths, the Health Department has added boots to its wish list of donations for victims of cyclones "Ondoy" (Ketsana) and "Pepeng" (Parma).

Tornado destroys 44 houses in Iloilo

by By Joyce Clavecillas, ABS-CBN Iloilo
ILOILO – A tornado ripped through houses and streetlights in Pototan, Iloilo Wednesday, raising concern that local officials may declare a state of calamity in the area.

OFWs warned vs unauthorized calamity fund-raising

The Philippine embassy in Riyadh has warned against "unauthorized fund-raising activities" by some Filipinos in the Middle East kingdom supposedly for victims of Tropical Storm "Ondoy" and Typhoon "Pepeng" here.

City, WB kick off BRT study

Cebu City planners and representatives of the World Bank will hold a kick-off meeting today on the $335,000 feasibility and financing study of the Bus Rapid Transit System.

DepEd fails to comply with law on bidding

The Commission on Audit has discovered that the Department of Education offices in Central Visayas and other regions failed have to comply with the law on the conduct of bidding for school furniture.

Gaquing to meet Gungob on pullout of policemen

Provincial Police Director Jesus Gaquing will meet with Consolacion Mayor Avelino Gungob when the latter arrives from South Korea to personally request the mayor to call off his plan to drive the town's policemen out of the police station.

Comelec: We can fix technical problems that may hit election machines

The Commission on Elections has apprised the public of possible technical problems that could happen to the vote scanning and counting machines but the poll body has devised a "replacement protocol" to immediately solve the problem.

No jobs for poll officials linked to disgraced Comelec exec

Election officials linked to disgraced former election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano will not be given key posts in the next elections, Commission on Election Chairman Jose Melo said Thursday.

No room for "operators" in 2010 polls - Comelec chief

With the computerization of next year"s elections, there will be no room for "operators" to manipulate poll results, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman assured on Thursday.

492,159 voters

CEBU City's poll offices exceeded the targeted five-percent increase in the number of registered voters for the 2010 elections, with at least 492,159 registered voters as of last count.

Tomas picks Young for Junjun slot

BASED on a unanimous decision, the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kaus-wagan (BOPK) chose Cebu City education consultant Joy Augustus Young to replace Councilor Hilario Davide III in the City Council.

2 Osmeñas vs. Rama?

FORMER senator John Henry "Sonny" Osmeña announced yesterday he may run for Cebu City mayor, saying that some barangay captains in the city asked him to do so.

Former Senator Visits COMELEC: Sonny moving to Cebu City?

Former Senator John Henry "Sonny" Osmeña visited the office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of the North District of Cebu City further fueling speculations about his political plans.

Sonny fears Estrada may be disqualified

Former Senator John "Sonny" Osmeña said he is worried many voters in the country may be disenfranchised if they vote for ousted president Joseph "Erap" Estrada and he is disqualified from running again for president.

Palace warns Estrada of protests over his candidacy

Former President Joseph Estrada should brace himself for a "deluge of petitions" questioning his eligibility to join next year's presidential election, Malacañang said Thursday.

Estrada told: Quit 2010 race on pro-jueteng stance

Catholic Church leaders said ousted president Joseph Estrada should not run for president again if he would just legalize the illegal numbers game jueteng.

Estrada return a score to settle: MILF

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Bring it on. This was how the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) reacted on a possible comeback of Joseph E. Estrada to the presidency and repeating his all-out war policy against Moros in Mindanao.

Estrada gets Marcos backing in presidential bid

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA - Former president Joseph Estrada has won the political backing of the family of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in his fresh bid for the presidency, the candidate's camp said Thursday.

Ebdane: No backing out from my presidential bid

Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., who is considering to run for president in 2010, said he has been on leave in the department since Wednesday.

New acting DPWH secretary named

MANILA - President Arroyo on Thursday named Victor Asis Domingo as the acting secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways following the resignation of former DPWH chief Hermogenes Ebdane.

Teodoro won't follow Ebdane move yet

After the resignation of Public Works and Highways Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Wednesday night to concentrate on his decision to enter politics, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, in his visit here Thursday, said he would not yet resign from his post.

Administration slot for vice president still an `open book'

The administration's slot for vice president remains an "open book" as some of its members were persistent in getting Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos to fill up the post, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said on Thursday.

Field only 6 senatorial bets, Lakas advised

Instead of fielding 12 senatorial candidates, the administration party has been urged by one of its officials in the Senate to field six winnable candidates as he recognized the difficulty of winning with a full slate in 2010.

Cebu's the place for Lakas-Kampi convention

MANILA - The ruling party Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) will hold a national convention on November 12 in Cebu where Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro will be officially named as the party's standard-bearer.

'Osmeñas endorse Noynoy, Mar'

MANILA - The influential Osmeña family of Cebu will reportedly support the Liberal Party tandem of Senators Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III and Mar Roxas II in next year's elections.

Eastern Visayas politicians defect to Nacionalista Party

Some 400 politicians in Eastern Visayas, including Biliran Gov. Rogelio Espina, have defected to the Nacionalista Party.

Military verifying reports on alleged death of abducted Irish priest

The military said Thursday it has received reports that Irish priest Michael Sinnott had died in the hands of his abductors, but has dismissed them as ``rumors''.

Sinnott kidnappers known; MILF helping in priest's release

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said yesterday it has been informed about the kidnappers of Irish priest Michael Sinnott, but stopped short of disclosing their identities.

2 abducted DENR employees released

Two of the seven abducted personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources were released late Thursday, police confirmed.

Military: Troops foil plot to bomb bridge in Sulu

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) -- Government forces foiled a plot by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants and rogue Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members to blow up another bridge in Sulu province, a military spokesman said today.

Two new substances classified as dangerous drugs

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Thursday announced the inclusion of two substances to the country's list of dangerous drugs and warned the public against purchasing these drugs without proper approval from the anti-narcotics agency.

PDEA Director General Dionisio Santiago identified the two substances as Oripavine and Amineptine.

Oripavine is an opiate or an opium-based drug that has potential for abuse and is not clinically used due to its severe toxicity effects. Oripavine can also be converted into morphine, a dangerous drug used to relieve pain.

Amineptine is an anti-depressant that has limited therapeutic use and has a high tendency for abuse.

Oil down in Asian trade, NY crude stays above $81

(UPDATE) Oil eased in Asian trade Thursday after surging to $82, its highest level in a year as investor sentiment received a boost from a decline in US energy reserves, analysts said.

One size fits all phone chargers on the way: ITU

by Reuters
FRANKFURT - Ever forget your phone charger and no one around has the same kind of handset? Have a drawer full of useless old phone chargers at home? Breathe a sigh of relief. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations' telecom arm, said on Thursday it had given its stamp of approval "to an energy-efficient one-charger-fits-all new mobile phone solution.

Google CEO: Vast Web changes coming within 5 years

ORLANDO (AP) — A Web where Chinese is the dominant language, and connections are so fast that distinctions between audio, video and text are blurred is perhaps just five years away, the head of Google said Wednesday.

Eric Schmidt, chairman and chief executive officer of Google, Inc., spoke to about 5,000 chief information officers and information technology executives in Orlando for a technology conference.

"All of these distinctions will completely go away," he said. "We're not trying to design the future. We're trying to invent it along the way ... This is about inventing the future, and we score ourselves based on whether our customers like it."

Teens today consume information much differently on the Web and are able to juggle various forms of information seamlessly, he said. Streams of information will increase as connections grow faster, and if Web surfers feel as though they are drowning in information, it is because a fundamental shift is occurring to user-generated content. The success of sites such as Facebook and Twitter are examples of this shift, he said.

RP pushes for nuclear disarmament

The international community "must act in concert with all the political will it can muster to rid the world of nuclear weapons once and for all and save the planet and humanity," according to Manila's envoy to the United Nations.  Ambassador Hilario Davide, in a statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, said early this week "the elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee against or the only way to save humanity from the use of such weapons" of mass destruction.

Two Koreas held secret talks for summit: report

SEOUL - The two Koreas met last week in secret in Singapore to discuss a summit, a broadcaster in the South said on Thursday, an encounter that follows Pyongyang's bid to reach out to its rivals after being hit by U.N. sanctions.

Record numbers get behind UN drive vs poverty

More than 173 million people in 120 countries attended weekend meetings to press governments to do more to end poverty, in what the United Nations on Wednesday called the biggest mobilization in history.

ASEAN leaders urge rich nation action on climate change

by Agence France-Presse
HUA HIN - Southeast Asian leaders are to urge developed nations to make deeper cuts in carbon emissions, underscoring the rift between rich and poor countries on climate measures, it emerged Thursday.

Washington to enforce executive pay cuts

by Agence France-Presse
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama's administration will order cash salary cuts of 90 percent on average for top executives at firms that received significant government aid, newspapers reported Thursday.

Karadzic to boycott start of genocide trial

THE HAGUE - Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic announced Thursday he will boycott the start of his genocide trial next week complaining he has not been given enough time to prepare.

Ariza predicts Pacman KO win if...

by by Ma. Rosanna Mina,
MANILA – "The People's Champ" Manny Pacquiao will be working on his footwork and speed training in the coming weeks, according to his conditioning coach Alex Ariza.

2 PBA players face injury raps from fan

Two professional basketball players are facing a complaint from a fan whom they allegedly beat up during a game last week.

Alain Katigbac filed the case against Wynne Arboleda and Mark Yee of the Burger King Whoppers on Thursday morning.

In his complaint, Katigbac, a businessman, alleged that the two players of the Philippine Basketball Association beat him up during a basketball game on October 16 at the Araneta Coliseum after he commented against the cagers' style of playing.

US Open 9-Ball: Gallego, Parica on a roll

MANILA – Ramil Gallego continued his winning streak at the Winner's Side 1 of the US Open 9-Ball Championship at the Chesapeake Convention Center in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Pinoy Rubik's cube whiz kid back in RP

MANILA – A 12-year-old Filipino who won in an international tournament on speed cubing in Germany is back in the Philippines.

Doctor in sex video controversy charged

(UPDATE) The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday ordered the filing of a criminal case against controversial doctor Hayden Kho for violation of Republic Act 9262, or the Anti-violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004."

Karylle hands off on Echo-Heart reconciliation

MANILA - Singer-actress Karylle has shrugged off reports that Jericho "Echo" Rosales and Heart Evangelista are now back in each other's arms.

Sarah gears for 'Record Breaker' concert

by by Rachelle Siazon,
MANILA - Sarah Geronimo gets romantic in the music video of her latest single "Your Christmas Girl" from the album of the same title. In the storyline, Geronimo meets her true love at the stroke of midnight. In real life though, the young singer-actress claimed that love can wait.

Preview of MJ movie shows him in fine voice

NEW YORK - A 12-minute clip of the new Michael Jackson movie "This Is It" shows a strong-voiced King of Pop enthusiastically practicing some of his biggest hits.

Paul McCartney plans European tour in December

LONDON (AP) – Paul McCartney will return to Hamburg, where The Beatles honed their craft, to launch his first European tour in five years.

School probed for making pupils swallow fire—report

TAIPEI – Taiwanese authorities are probing child abuse claims against a school that allegedly made pupils as young as six swallow fire to boost their courage, a report said Thursday.

More tax please, we're rich Germans

BERLIN - A group of rich Germans have launched a petition to call for a wealth tax to help the country bounce back from an economic crisis, because, as one said, he had "a lot of money I do not need."

Failed marriage of 30 years not enough for annulment

MANILA -The Court of Appeals (CA) has denied the petition of a man seeking to annul his marriage from an estranged wife who left him 30 years ago.

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