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

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 12, 2010 Major News Stories

Napocor alarmed over El Nino's effect on power supply

MANILA, Philippines - The National Power Corp. (Napocor) expressed alarm on Thursday over the effects of an ongoing dry spell on the country's power supply.

Fewer jobs for Taiwan OFWs sans RP trade pact

Thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan may lose their jobs if the Philippines fails to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taipei, an island"s top official warned on Thursday.

Finance asks Arroyo not to sign bill exempting elderly from VAT

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Finance has appealed to President Gloria Arroyo not to sign into law a measure exempting the country's estimated 4.6 million senior citizens from paying the 12% value-added tax (VAT).

RP children undernourished, adults overweight, survey shows

The number of undernourished Filipino children continues to increase, but so does the number of overweight Filipino adults.

Lawmaker seeks ouster of Marina head

Agusan del Sur Representative Rodolfo Plaza called for the immediate relief of Maritime Industry Authority Chairperson Elena Bautista in the wake of yet another sea accident off Southern Leyte.

Shipping owners set for nationwide strike

The Visayan Association of Ferryboat and Coastwise Service Operators is supporting the planned nationwide strike by all shipping owners in protest of the several memorandum circulars issued by the Maritime Industry Authority.

Chester Cokaliong, VAFSCO former president and current board member, said that in their meeting last night, they agreed to hold a press conference on February 18 in Manila to formally announce their nationwide strike.

Cokaliong, chief executive officer of Cokaliong Shipping Lines, said during the strike, which is set for March 1, 2010, all shipping owners will not allow all their vessels to sail.

Joy Roble, president and chief executive officer of Roble Shipping said the "maritime holiday" will serve as a strong signal against some unreasonable policies by MARINA administrator Elena Bautista.

Roble said that among the policies they oppose is the mandatory requirement for them to secure an exorbitant insurance policy and the requirement for US-made life vests in all vessels.

Taxi operators ask court to nullify LTFRB memo

A group of taxi operators are asking the court to stop the implementation of a memorandum circular that allegedly appropriated abandoned and expired franchises to favored applicants.

ARGAO TEACHER'S SLAY: Pupils skip classes; police eye land dispute

The trauma caused by having witnessed the murder of their teacher inside their classroom in broad daylight prevented pupils of Binlod Elementary School in Argao town to attend classes because of fear for their own lives.

Comelec removes illegal posters

ELECTION officials tore posters in prohibited areas during simultaneous operations yesterday.  Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials said the operations in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay were meant to discipline candidates into following laws on the posting of campaign materials.

SC junks petition to nullify poll automation deal

The Supreme Court dismissed with finality a petition to nullify the P7.2-billion poll automation deal between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corporation (TIM).

Arroyo can take care of herself—Villar

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can take care of herself, said Senator Manny Villar in response to persistent talk that he was the President's secret candidate.

Villar thinks he's target of move vs celebrity endorsers

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer, Senator Manny Villar, questioned Thursday the sudden move by the Commission on Elections to strictly enforce a law that would require actors, among others, to go on leave or resign when endorsing a candidate.

Aquino seeks SC clarification on celebrity endorsement

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is seeking clarification on the Commission on Elections' resolution requiring movie stars and media personalities to go on leave or resign if they are endorsing a candidate.

Teodoro questions gag order on celebrity endorsers

He doesn't have any celebrity endorsers yet, but believes that personalities making a pitch for political candidates should not be penalized by forcing them to go on leave from work.

Aquino denies backing Binay's VP bid

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III dispelled speculations he is supporting the vice presidential bid of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and not of his running-mate, Senator Mar Roxas.

El Shaddai leader invites Villar, Legarda to Hong Kong

Bro. Mike Velarde, the charismatic leader of the 8-million-strong El Shaddai, has invited the tandem of Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. and Sen. Loren Legarda to attend their Hong Kong chapter"s anniversary this weekend.

Palace: Arroyo to stay away from Gibo sorties

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will likely keep away from the sorties of administration standard bearer Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. during the entire campaign period, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Misuari backs Villanueva's presidential bid

Former Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari is endorsing the candidacy of Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas for president in the coming elections.

It's the season of love for Arroyo

Still on charm-offensive mode, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday treated some 100 Malacañang and Pampanga reporters to a "Valentine's lunch" here, giving them heart-shaped chocolate cakes as take-home gifts.

RP voters in HK, Singapore to vote electronically on May 10

Filipino voters in Hong Kong and Singapore will cast their votes electronically on May 10, the Commission on Elections said.

Makati court gives Danny Lim 3-day freedom

A Philippine local court has given former Army Scout Ranger commander Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, a senatorial candidate of the Liberal Party, a three-day freedom to attend an event in his home province of Nueva Ecija.

Panlilio told: Vacate gov's post for Pineda

(UPDATE) The Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruled Thursday that Lilia Pineda won over incumbent Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio after a recount of the votes in the 2007 local elections.

Mangudadatu survives slay attempt in Davao mall

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - A failed attempt on the life of Buluan, Maguindanao Vice Mayor Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu occurred at a Davao City mall Thursday evening.

Mangudadatu escort kills 'Ampatuan hitman' in Davao mall

A member of the the powerful Ampatuan clan allegedly attacked Maguindanao gubernatorial bet Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu in a Davao City mall on Thursday evening, but ended up being shot dead himself by a Mangudadatu bodyguard.

SC orders: Bring 'Morong 43' to court

The Supreme Court has ordered the military to bring to court the 43 health workers being detained at a military camp in Tanay, Rizal.

Criminal raps filed vs 43 health workers

The Department of Justice has filed a criminal case against 43 health workers who were allegedly arrested by the military as government troops insisted that they were members of the New People's Army.

Solon urges 'Morong 43' to test anti-torture law

The chairman of the committee on human rights in the House of Representatives on Thursday urged the 43 health workers detained by the military in Rizal province to test the newly-enacted law on torture by filing cases against their abductors.

Self-confessed NPA says he, 42 health workers are rebels

A self-confessed communist rebel said on Thursday he and the 42 others arrested in Morong, Rizal were members of the guerilla movement while a police inspector pinpointed two of them as among the rebels who took him hostage for almost three months in 2009.

Dinagat Islands province back to being a town

The Province of Dinagat Islands is now back to being a municipality after the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the law separating it from Surigao del Norte.

ARMM to send 36,000 maids to Malaysia

Thirty-six thousand domestic help jobs are expected to be secured in the next six years with the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and a Malaysian-based recruiting agency.

PDEA destroys P1.3 billion worth of illegal drugs

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Thursday destroyed P1.3 billion worth of illegal drugs, which were recovered in the province of Samar last year, as well as in other operations.

Lacson placed in Interpol wanted list

MANILA, Philippines - The International Criminal Police Organization, more popularly known as Interpol, has placed Sen. Panfilo Lacson on its "red notice" list of international fugitives.

Villar: Shame campaign vs Lacson unnecessary

The posting of "wanted posters" bearing the picture of Senator Panfilo Lacson is unnecessary, Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Senator Manuel Villar Jr. said on Thursday.

Peso closes a bit stronger at 46.22 against the US dollar

The peso began and ended Thursday's trading stronger than the previous day, moving together with the appreciation of most currencies in the region.

Somali pirates free Taiwan ship, 3 crew dead—watchdog

Somali pirates on Thursday freed a Taiwanese trawler they had used as a "mother ship" to attack other vessels during a 10-month ordeal that three crew did not survive, a maritime watchdog said.

Zuma hails Mandela legacy in state address

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - President Jacob Zuma hailed Nelson Mandela's legacy of a non-racial, unified South Africa on Thursday in a state address that celebrated the 20th anniversary of his release from prison.

Gorres to watch Pinoy Power III at ringside

MANILA, Philippines – Although he can never go back to the sport he loves, injured fighter Z Gorres will be at ringside to support for his fellow Filipinos who will fight in Pinoy Power III/Latin Fury XIII on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Van Damme visits Pacquiao in training

MANILA, Philippines -- Seven-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao got a surprise visit from international action star Jean-Claude Van Damme during his training at the Wild Card Gym in California.

Maricar Reyes renews contract with ABS-CBN

by by Fionna Acaba,
MANILA, Philippines - Controversial actress Maricar Reyes on Tuesday signed an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN. "I am so overwhelmed na nagustuhan nila 'yong trabaho ko, each time I work, I work well and I don't want to let anyone down. So I am glad naman po na natuwa 'yong mga viewers natin. It's been a good journey already, lots of learning," she said.

Lone bettor from Luzon wins P201M lotto jackpot

A lone winner from Luzon will be P200 million richer in time for Valentine's Day after correctly guessing the six-number combination to the 6/49 Super Lotto draw on Thursday night.

Red wine and dark chocolate cancer killers—researcher

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LONG BEACH, California, United States—Cabernet and chocolate are potent medicine for killing cancer, according to research presented here Wednesday.

Math professor bares 'formula for love'

SYDNEY - Romantics looking for everlasting love will swoon over a new love equation released just in time for Valentine's Day and which can calculate the right age to fall in love.

The equation nicknamed the "Fiancee Formula" was created by an Australian mathematics professor and works by factoring in the age at which you start looking for a long-term partner and the absolute oldest age you would consider getting married.

"Although probability isn't the most romantic basis for a marriage, the formula does seem to fit a lot of couples -- whether through accident or design," said the equation's creator, Professor Tony Dooley at the University of New South Wales.

"There's no reason why the science can't be extended to calculate the best moment to marry," Dooley said in a statement.

However, love birds take note, the mathematical equation for love only has a 37% success rate.

The formula is helpful as a guide for the right moment to start getting serious, but could also be used by nervous men to calculate when to avoid the ultimate commitment, said Dooley.

The formula

According to a handout by the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics, the process for determining whether to ask someone to marry you goes as follows:

1. First of all, set out the last possible age by which you want to get married, for example, 39. Call this number n.

2. Then, decide the earliest age at which you.ll start to consider women as potential wife material, for example, from when you turn 20 onwards. This age becomes p.

3. Subtract p from n (i.e 39- 20), then multiply the result by 0.368. This gives you 6.992, which then needs to be added back to your minimum age (20), which more or less equals 27.

4. This result is your optimal proposal age. Ideally you should not propose to anyone before you hit this age, but afterwards you should prepare to pop the question to the very next girl you date – as long as she.s the best of the bunch so far.

The table below presents a number of solutions to the above:






The fiancee formula, meanwhile, is seen below:



Low IQ a health risk-- study

LONDON - Intelligence is second only to smoking as a predictor of heart disease, scientists said on Wednesday, suggesting public health campaigns may need to be designed for people with lower IQs if they are to work.

List of most indebted countries in rich world

Here is a list of the most indebted countries in the developed world, based on estimates for 2010 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The figures are expressed as gross government financial obligations as a percentage of economic output.

1) Japan, 197.2 percent.

2) Iceland, 142.5 percent 

3) Italy, 127.0 percent

4) Greece 123.3 percent 

5) Belgium 105.2 percent 

6) France, 92.5 percent 

7) United States 92.4 percent 

8) Portugal, 90.9 percent 

9) Hungary 89.9 percent 

10) Canada, 85.7 percent 

11) United Kingdom 83.1 percent 

12) Germany, 82.0 percent. 

Hungary and Iceland have received an International Monetary Fund bailout.

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