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

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October 8, 2010 Major News Stories

October 25 a non-working holiday

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MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang has declared October 25, a Monday, a special non-working holiday. Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will be held nationwide on that day.

Comelec 70% ready for barangay, SK polls

by By Niña Corpuz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is 70% ready for the coming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, a poll official said Thursday.

The Comelec is now finalizing the set of winning election supply bidders that submitted their proposals last Friday, Commissioner Ferdinand Rafanan said.

Noah Paper Mills won the bid for ballot papers, he revealed.

"We gave notice for them to proceed last Saturday and they have fully delivered the ballot papers this morning at the National Printers Office," Rafanan added.

The Comelec allotted P158 million for ballot papers, while Noah's winning bid was P95 million.

Neutron Construction and Marketing Inc., meanwhile, is likely to get the contract for stamp pads used for fingerprinting, according to Rafanan.

Neutron was the second lowest bidder to One Time Carbon (OTC), which was involved in the controversy over allegedly overpriced ballot folders in the May 10 election.

OTC filed the lowest bid for the stamp pads but Rafanan said the company failed in the sample testing.

"The condition was for each stamp pad to produce 600 clear fingerprints," he added. 
Rafanan said the Comelec has yet to sign a contract with Neutron.

He did not say the specific bids offered by OTC and Neutron.

Comelec mulls exempting judges from gun ban

by By Anthony Taberna, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is seriously considering granting the request of judges for their exemption from the total gun ban rule during the election period.

NGCP maintenance may affect power supply on election day

The scheduled maintenance of the high voltage cable of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines in the last week of October and the present power shortage that causes rotation brownouts in Cebu have worried election officials because of its possible effect in the conduct of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

The Department of Energy in Central Visayas yesterday raised concern over possible power outage during the election day if the situation is not addressed.

Commission on Elections provincial supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano also admitted that they are facing a great challenge because the counting of votes will surely last until evening.

"Problema gyud kay magabhian man ang counting," Castillano said.

It was learned that the NGCP's High Voltage Direct Cable interconnecting Luzon to the Cenu-Negros-Panay grid is scheduled for maintenance starting October 23 to 31. The high voltage cable is supplying 150 megawatts to the grid. 

DOE regional director Antonio Labios said they will ask NGCP to defer the maintenance until after the elections to ensure enough power supply during the October 25 Barangay and SK elections.

"We will be asking NGCP to defer the repair after the election. The CNP grid is already on alert. Taking out the 150 mw from the grid, a high probability will happened that a brownout will occur during the election day," Labios said.

In the event that power outage occurs during the election day, Castillano said they are looking for other alternative measures such as using rechargeable lamps and the likes.

Cebu City North District election officer Marchel Sarno said, among the alternatives that the Comelec has considered is the use of flashlights and candles.

The DOE and Comelec are scheduled to have an emergency meeting today to discuss this concern.

Cebu has been experiencing two hours rotation brownouts for the past three days already because of the lack of power supply.

The power shortage yesterday reached up to 250mw, says Visayan Electric Company spokesperson Ethel Natera. The shortage was brought about by the problem experienced by the generation plants that supply the Visayas grid.

The two newly commissioned coal-fired power plants of the Cebu Energy Development Corporation in Toledo City which has a combined capacity of 160mw went out of the grid because of technical problems. CEDC president Jesus Alcordo told radio dyLA yesterday that the water level of the boiler of one of its units went down because of the tripping off of the NGCP line the other day.

The other unit also had a strainer problem yesterday morning prompting their contractor to shut down the plant for cleaning. The unit however was back on line at past noon yesterday. 

More brownouts until weekend

Cebuanos will have to brace for more brownouts until the power plants that were affected by the line-fault problem of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and those undergoing preventive maintenance are back on line next week.

The Department of Energy yesterday said Cebu will continue to experience dwindling power supply until all the generation plants are back into normal operations.

DOE regional director Antonio Labios yesterday called an emergency meeting with the officials of the different power industry players to check on the current power situation in the Visayas grid.

Labios said, Cebu Energy Development Corporation Unit 2, which has a capacity of 82 megawatts, was already back online as of 3:00 p.m. yesterday but was only able to supply 33 megawatts to the grid. It is however expected to be in its full-swing capacity within 24 hours.

The CEDC Unit I, which also has an 82-megawatt capacity, is likewise expected to be back online either late tomorrow evening or early in the morning of Saturday.

It can be recalled that CEDC's two units went offline after NGCP's Naga-Sigpit transmission, which connects CEDC to the grid, line tripped off Tuesday.

Edna Legaspina, NGCP corporate communication officer, said they are still investigating the cause of the incident.

The Cebu Thermal Power Plant 1 and 2 in Naga are also expected to be back by Saturday. The two plants have a combined capacity of 100 megawatts.

CTPP 1 was shut down Monday due to an overheating problem in their condenser while CTPP 2 underwent preventive maintenance.

The Mahanagdong Power Plant in Leyte, which currently undergoing preventive maintenance for the past several months, is also scheduled to be back online on October 11, 2010. It has a capacity of 60 megawatts.

Another power plant in Leyte, the Palimpinon Geothermal Power Plant 2, which has a capacity of 37 megawatts, is expected to be back online by November 9.

The public yesterday experienced another two-hour rotation brownouts because of the very low supply. According to Labios, yesterday's demand reached to 1,329 megawatts but the available supply was 1,053 megawatts or a deficit of 276 megawatts.

Labios said that they are expecting a stable power supply by next week with the synchronization of the above mentioned power plants to the grid.

Ethel Natera, spokesperson of the Visayan Electic Company, said that as a result of the on-going power supply deficiency they resorted to two-hour rotating brownouts in their franchise area.

Because of the rotation brownouts the Cebu City Police Office has intensified its police visibility patrol especially during night time to prevent any form of criminal activity.

More personnel of the Mobile Patrol Group were deployed on the streets especially in the downtown area, said Deputy City Director Pablo Labra II.

Labra said criminals might take advantage of the situation to carry out nefarious activities.

"Natagaan g'yud ug dagkong trabaho tungod sa epekto aning sige ug brownout ang Mobile Patrol Group personnel tungod kay sila man atong gitahasan pag-intensify sa pagpatrolya. Dili lang sila mag-standby sila sa ilang area kundi naa gyu'y mag tuyok-tuyok sa mga lugar nga dunay brownout," Labra said.

The police however said they have not recorded any increase in the crime statistics for the past three days where Cebu experienced power outages.

DOH fears deadlier dengue strain

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) advised the public on Thursday to prepare for the possibility that a deadlier dengue strain could develop once the La Niña phenomenon hits the country.

Based on a forecast by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration, the country will experience strong rains due to La Niña starting this month until December.

"Posible na magkaroon ng mabagsik na strain ng dengue kapag di naghanda. Baka mas maging malala ang kaso nito," said Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the DOH's National Epidemiology Center.

PAGASA said the effects of La Niña will be most strongly felt in the eastern part of the country.

The DOH continues to monitor Western Visayas, CALABARZON, and Metro Manila, which are the top 3 regions with the highest number of dengue cases.

Dengue cases in the country have reached 98,934 from January to September 25 this year.

The figure is more than double the 42,075 cases recorded in the same period in 2009 and surpassed the DOH's earlier estimate of 80,000 cases.

While dengue "express lanes" in some hospitals are no longer congested, the DOH said the public should stay careful.

"Huwag nating lubayan ang paglaban sa dengue," Tayag said, adding that dengue is not a seasonal illness and can strike any time of the year.

Solon: Use P400M to hire doctors, not to buy condoms and pills

Instead of spending P400 million to purchase condoms and birth control pills, the government should use it to hire 3,000 doctors, a lawmaker said on Thursday.

More Filipinos use contraceptives

Sa bawat 10 Pilipino, 5 ang gumagamit na ng contraceptive. Base sa pag-aaral ng isang women's health group, hindi raw malaking balakid ang relihiyon sa paggamit ng contraceptives kung hindi mas nangingibabaw ang pangamba sa posibleng side effects nito.

US funding RP reproductive health program: bishop

MANILA, Philippines – The US government is funding the Aquino administration's reproductive health program, a Catholic bishop claimed Thursday. 

PhilHealth defends capacity to pay obligations to hospitals

by By Caroline J. Howard, ANC
MANILA, Philippines - State-run Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) assures the public it has the capacity to pay its obligations to private hospitals in 2 months' time.

Solon seeks longer maternity leave for women

To allow them to fully recover after child birth and give them sufficient bonding time with their babies, women should be given longer maternity leave, according to a bill filed in the House of Representatives.
House Bill 2583 by Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo said women who had normal deliveries will have 84 days of leave, while those who underwent caesarian operation should be given 100 days. At present, a woman employee has only 60 days in maternity leave.

Employed women who have just given birth and are covered either by the Social Security System or the Government Service Insurance System will be paid a daily maternity benefit equivalent to 150 percent of her present basic daily wage, allowances and other benefits or its cash equivalent for 84 or 100 calendar days, the measure said.

Castelo said the maternity benefits will cover only the first four deliveries of the mother.

Asked about the guarantees given to women that they will not lose their employment after the long leave, Castelo said the maternity leave will be secured by the law.

"It will be prohibited to dismiss employees during the enactment of the law. The law will also allow GSIS or SSS to pay the employer in such instance," he said.

Castelo said his bill aims to comply with the International Labor Organization's Convention No. 103 that urges member countries to adopt maternity benefits sufficient for the full and healthy maintenance of the women and her child in accordance with a suitable standard of living.

P4.4 billion infra fund from P.Noy: Promise to Cebu not a top priority

Cebu might have to wait a little longer to get the P4.4 billion worth of infrastructure projects promised by the national government.

President Benigno Aquino III, during his "First 100 Days" report yesterday, said that while the government is capable to source the requested amount, there has to be prioritization of projects. He said that the requested infrastructure by Cebu businessmen are not part of the menu, or at least not yet in his list of immediate priorities.

The P4.4 billion budget for infrastructure projects is among six concerns that the Cebu business community asked the President during his first official visit here last month.

The infrastructure projects cover drainage improvement, widening, concreting and rehabilitation of roads, construction of flyover, and rehabilitation of the first Mandaue-Mactan Bridge, among others.

Samuel Chioson, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, represented the local businessmen yesterday when he interacted with the President and asked for the fulfillment of the promise.

Chioson said that Cebu badly needs to widen its roads the soonest possible as the number of vehicles causing the traffic continue to increase parallel to the growth of the population.

"Ang state sa Cebu, so far wala'y budget ang local government to widen roads. More than 20 years na ang atong mga roads pero mao lang gihapon ang gidakon. Yet our population is getting bigger," Chioson said.

But the President answered him that his administration, at the moment, is focusing more on solving the water shortage problem of the province.

"Water ang binibigyan ko ng taos pusong pansin. Alam naman po natin na ang aquifers sa Cebu medyo kinakapos na. Yo'ng tourism at industry po ninyo ay hindi masusuportahan kung walang tubig. Maliwanag na kumikilos ang private sector at gobyerno para masiguro ang water supply n'yo," Aquino promised.

He also assured that the modernization of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to make it a premier international aviation hub will push through up to the end. Construction for the modernization of the airport is in progress.

Aquino said he is trying to reconcile the proposals on mass transportation for Cebu such as the proposal for a Light Rail Transit and Bus Rapid Transit, which both drew opposition.

"Sinisiyasat pa kung ano bang infrastructure ang mas makabubuti para sa lahat dahil sabi ko nga kayo po ang boss ko," he said.

"Magkasundo po tayo doon sa inyong pangangailangan at titingnan po sa pag-aaral ng NEDA kung ano ang talagang kailangan, ano ang pakinabang ng komunidad, etc.," Aquino added.

Though he was not able to get a concrete answer from the President, Chioson said the business community is happy to know that Aquino is somehow considering their appeal.

Meanwhile, officials in Cebu City gave Aquino a grade of fair in his first 100 days in office.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama commended the Aquino administration for he has not heard reports of anomalies.

Rama said that Aquino was also able to carry on and surpass the chaos brought by the August 23 hostage crisis.

P.Noy Cites Gains

President Aquino reported Thursday that his government's close scrutiny of state spending has saved hundreds of millions of dollars for the country, but critics said he hasn't addressed long-running problems, including human rights violations.

In a speech marking his first 100 days in office, Aquino said the savings will be used to combat poverty by increasing allocations for social welfare, education and health services.

Aquino won the presidency by a landslide in May on a strong anti-corruptionplatform that targeted his predecessor, now Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who served nine years as president.

"We are spending wisely. No peso will be wasted," Aquino said.

Renato Reyes, secretary general of the left-wing alliance Bayan, accused Aquino of failing to address human rights violations, land reform, and the welfare of millions of overseas workers who help keep the economy afloat with their billions of dollars in remittances.

He said Aquino also has failed to make Arroyo account for alleged corruption and rights violations during her presidency.

Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the group is "still waiting" for Aquino to fulfill election promises to address human rights violations. She said 16 activists and three journalists have been victims of extrajudicial killings since June.

Aquino said his government saved $990 million after winning a dispute over a contract to build a new airport terminal. He also said he suspended bonuses and allowances of directors of 122 government corporations and agencies. He said in one water agency alone, nine directors each used to receive 2.5 million pesos yearly.

A rebidding of public works projects has saved about 30 percent of 934.1 million pesos, he said.

"We have fixed in just 100 days what the former administration was unable to do in 3,448 days," he said.

Aquino said his anti-poverty program will leave no one behind.

He said more than 43,000 jobs will be created by over $2 billion in foreigninvestments that were committed during his trip to the United States last month. The country's booming call center industry also will create more than 200,000 new jobs, he said. 

Erap to PNoy: Ok, you pass, but...

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Joseph Estrada gave the present occupant of Malacañang a passing grade, saying it is no mean feat to achieve so much in just 100 days.

Estrada noted, however, that Aquino should not only focus on anti-corruption measures and correcting the errors of the past administration.

Aquino should also learn to implement long-term pro-poor policies, he said.

Aquino keeps cool despite heckling

by By Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – It was all too clean, polished to the last detail… a seemingly scripted ceremony by President Simeon 'Noynoy' Aquino for his report on his first 100 days in office. Everything was perfect, except for that part where a student stood from her seat and chanted slogans just before the President can say a word in response to a soldier's query.

Farmers condemn 'Haciendero Republic'

Farmers slammed the Aquino administration, calling it a "Haciendero Republic," for its continued lack of action on agricultural issues during a rally Thursday afternoon at the Mendiola Peace Arch in Manila.

Plunder case vs. Arroyo not for BIR -- commissioner

MANILA, Philippines – The plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was not yet a matter for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to get into, Commissioner Kim Henares said.

PNCC execs' huge salaries unearthed

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate committee on finance unearthed on Thursday more excessive salaries and bonuses at a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).

This time, it is the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) that has come under fire.

Records presented to the Senate committee during the Department of Trade and Industry's budget deliberation showed that PNCC president and chief executive officer (CEO) Maria Theresa Defensor earned P7.5 million a month from the company.

The amount includes her basic salary, bonuses, allowances, and honoraria as board member of PNCC's subsidiary units.

Senate finance committee chairman Franklin Drilon also found out that the top 15 officials of PNCC earned P58.8 million in basic salaries.

Drilon said in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the company was no longer authorized to collect toll fees since PNCC's franchise had expired.

The PNCC continued to have a share in the toll collections but failed to remit at least P2.3 billion to the national government, he added.

"You can be criminally charged. That is a ruling of the court, done by [the] Supreme Court, not by your state-owned GOCC. Mag-ingat kayo dyan," the lawmaker warned.

P50 billion debt to gov't

The PNCC's unremitted toll fees are in addition to the almost P50 billion that the company owed the national government when it took over the North and South Luzon expressways in 1986.

The PNCC, in sum, owed the national government P52.3 billion, Drilon said.

Aside from their huge salaries and bonuses, PNCC's top officials are also receiving profit shares of up to 10% before taxes.

"You owe government P50 billion and yet you have a profit share, what kind of morality do you have in PNCC?" Drilon asked. "My goodness gracious! Hindi na ba kayo nahiya sa sarili nyo?"

PNCC chief financial officer Miriam Pasetes claimed that all of the company's salary rates, bonuses, and allowances are legal since they were approved by the state firm's board.

She admitted during the hearing that the PNCC is now just a holding company.

Pasetes, however, refused to comment when asked to explain the board's reason for approving of the bonuses and salaries and on why PNCC officials continued to have a profit share in the collection of fees.

Drilon urged President Benigno Aquino III to immediately replace the PNCC president and CEO and if necessary, the company's board members.

He is studying the possibility of calling a separate hearing to investigate the issue.

Sen. Serge Osmena, meanwhile, asked the PNCC through the Department of Trade and Industry to submit all records of company's officials, including their salary, bonuses, and allowances.

Drilon to Aquino: Fire PNCC execs for not remitting P2.3-B

President Benigno Aquino III should replace the officers and board of the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) for their failure to remit at least P2.3 billion to the national coffers, Senator Franklin Drilon said Thursday.

Speaker warns colleagues against 'fantastic insertions' in budget

While saying that congressional insertions in the budget is not prohibited, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. reminded colleagues to do away with "fantastic insertions" involving millions of pesos.

Hostage report out on Monday; more people to be charged

More persons will be recommended for prosecution in connection with the Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis when the full report and the review of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee's findings are released, Malacañang's top lawyer told reporters on Thursday.

Chief presidential legal counsel Eduardo De Mesa said the report will be released on Monday.

"More or less, it's almost complete. We will just come out with it on Monday," De Mesa said after President Benigno Aquino's report on his first 100 days in office.

De Lima: Confession muddles nurse gang-rape case

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Thursday the confession of an ex-militiaman regarding his involvement in the rape of volunteer nurse "Florence" has confused the joint investigation of the police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

PNP issues media safety handbook

by By Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has published 3,000 copies of a handbook on personal security measures for journalists.

PNoy: Govt-MILF talks to resume by November

Peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are expected to formally resume not later than November, said President Benigno Aquino III in his "100 days" report.

Poll officer, 2 others hurt in Lanao poll-related ambush

An election officer and two others were hurt after they were ambushed by still unidentified men in Lanao del Norte on Thursday morning, a military official said.

PRC: 12 pass professional electronics engineer exam

MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Thursday that 12 passed the Professional Electronics Engineer Examination given by the Board of Electronics Engineering in Manila last September 2010. 

Aquino: Govt may seek more funds for legal aid for OFWs

President Benigno Aquino III said the administration may seek a supplemental budget from Congress for legal assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFW), which has been reduced to just P27 million for next years instead of P100 million as required by law.

Saudi amnesty not for all overstaying OFWs - report

The six-month amnesty offered by Saudi Arabia for overstaying foreign nationals is limited to three categories and may not apply to all Filipinos now staying there, according to a news report.

$1: P43.300

$1: P43.300 (P43.50)

Euro 1: P60.6497

BIR goes full blast in 'jueteng' probe

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is going full blast in its investigation into the Income Tax Returns (ITR) records of personalities named as jueteng lords and operators in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings on the numbers racket.

Indonesia flood toll rises to 97 – official

JAKARTA – The death toll from flash floods in a remote region of eastern Indonesia has climbed to at least 97 with dozens of people still missing, an official said Thursday.

Floods continue to punish Asia, killing nearly 140

HANOI, Vietnam - Asia's death toll from vicious rains spiked Thursday to nearly 140 as disaster officials reached previously isolated areas in Vietnam, while the worst flooding in parts of southern China in nearly a half-century forced 130,000 villagers to evacuate.

More than 1,000 villages flooded on China's Hainan island

BEIJING—More than 1,000 villages on China's Hainan island have been hit by flooding following the heaviest rains for decades, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Pacquiao returns to training camp

MANILA, Philippines – "Fighter of the Decade" Manny Pacquiao returned to training camp on Thursday after recovering from sinusitis, which momentarily halted his preparations for his November 13 fight against Mexican Antonio Margarito.

Khan: Pacquiao to stop Margarito in Round 8 or 9

MANILA, Philippines – British boxing star Amir Khan is certain that 7-division world champion Manny Pacquiao will claim his record 8th world title by overcoming Mexican Antonio Margarito on November 13.

ALA boxing, ABS-CBN to present 'Pinoy Pride'

MANILA, Philippines – ALA (Antonio L. Aldeguer) Boxing promotions has tied up with ABS-CBN to produce a local boxing show named "Pinoy Pride."

Agustin can't coach Beermen just yet -- Salud

San Miguel Beer mentor Ato Agustin cannot coach the Beermen until after San Sebastian's campaign in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Agustin is also the head coach of the Stags, who are still pursuing their title-retention bid in the country's oldest collegiate tournament.

Revillame refuses to present TV5 contract in court

TV host Willie Revillame refuses to produce his TV5 contract in a Quezon City court, saying ABS-CBN cannot compel him to produce a document which was "privileged" and cannot be disclosed.

Juday gives birth to baby boy

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2) - Actress Judy Ann Santos has given birth to a baby boy, ABS-CBN News has learned.

Kris, sons have hand-foot-and-mouth disease

MANILA, Philippines - Controversial actress Kris Aquino and her children have been diagnosed with hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

On Thursday through her official Twitter page, Aquino said it was her eldest son Joshua who got infected first.

The actress-host even shared her fever shot up to 40 degree Celsius.

"We r all sick. Josh caught foot & mouth disease. Nahawa Bimby & me. I don't have the sores around the mouth or the rashes sa hands & feet but my fever went up to 40 last night. We r all taking Zoverax & Immunosin. Ang tibay the 3 yayas, Yaya A, Gerbel & Ruby. Di sila nahawa. Rare daw for an adult to get hawa but u know me -- lapitin ng sakit. Naka isolate kami for at least 1 week," Aquino said.

According to, hand foot and mouth disease is a "mild, contagious viral infection common in young children."

The disease is characterized by sores in the mouth and rashes on hands and feet. It is most commonly caused by a coxsackie virus.

The medical website said there is no specific treatment for the disease but the risk of infection can be reduced by practicing good hygiene.

Common symptoms of hand-foot-and-mouth disease are: fever; sore throat; malaise; blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks; blistery rash on palms and soles and; loss of appetite.

In her second tweet, the President's youngest sister shared that she and youngest child James "Bimby" Yap Jr. are now staying in one room since they both have fever. The actress said that she will be staying in their condominium unit until next week while recuperating.

"Bimby & I r in 1 room since we still both have fever -- kuya's in his room because he's pagaling na. If we have contact w/ him baka mabinat sya. Last night grabe -- they iced na my feet & head because fever was 40. We're not allowed to leave our condo til next weekend," Aquino said.

Yap has not refused child support -- lawyer

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of James Yap maintained that the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player has never denied any financially support to his and estranged wife Kris Aquino's 3-year-old son.

Vice Ganda, MTRCB chief patch things up

MANILA, Philippines – "Showtime" host Vice Ganda and Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairman Consoliza Laguardia have patched things up, the comedian announced.

Peru's Vargas Llosa wins Nobel for literature

by by Simon Johnson, Reuters
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Peruvian-born writer and one-time presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa, who has chronicled struggles for power, won the 2010 Nobel prize for literature, the awarding committee said on Thursday.

Michelle Obama ranked world's most powerful woman

by By Michelle Nichols, Reuters
NEW YORK - First lady Michelle Obama beat out heads of state, chief executives and celebrities to rank as the world's most powerful woman in Forbes magazine's annual listing on Wednesday.

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