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

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 8, 2010 Major News Stories



Health officials check for typhoid in Alegria

A TEAM from the Department of Health is investigating suspected typhoid fever cases in Alegria town, Cebu, where nearly 130 patients underwent medical examinations in recent days.

Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (Resu) nurse Chevy Deparine said the patients were admitted at the Malabuyoc District Hospital. There were no deaths reported.

In Alegria: "Typhoid fever" downs 150 people

An estimated 150 people from two barangays in the municipality of Alegria were reported to have been infected by typhoid fever.

Commercial rice price hike looms

Posibleng tumaas din ang presyo ng commercial rice. Ito ang pagtataya ng mga negosyante ng bigas kasunod ng pagtaas ngayon ng presyo ng NFA rice.

NFA rice up by P2/kg

The price of government rice will rise by up to P2 per kilogram in a bid to improve farmers' income by increasing the farm gate price of palay, the National Food Authority said Tuesday.

Farmers group hit rice price hike

A left-wing farmers group dismissed as "highly deplorable" government's reason for raising the price of state-subsidized rice.

MCWD revisits Carmen

THREE years after it turned down the proposal of an Ayala-led consortium, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) will revive negotiations with the proponent of the Carmen Bulk Water Supply project, which will supply at least 40,000 cubic meters of water a day to the water district.

DENR: Dwindling catch for fisherfolk

The officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources are expecting marginal fisherfolk to have lesser catch soon as corals are slowly dying due to the increasing warm temperature.

POEA warns against 'ghost' hospitals abroad

The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) warned on Tuesday graduates of medical courses against illegal recruiters offering jobs in fictitious hospitals abroad.

POEA Jennifer Jardin-Manalili said the agency had received various reports regarding the illegal recruitment of medical professionals and skilled workers for fictitious hospitals in Guam, Israel, and even Switzerland.

"Medical students, graduates and practitioners seem to be the favorite targets of employment scammers," Manalili said.

The Philippine Embassy in Berne has verified that a certain Semino Private Hospital, which has been touted to have a student program and has offered internship jobs in Switzerland by email, does not exist, according to Manalili.

Some applicants told the embassy that Semino has been recruiting medical students through e-mail and offering substantial allowances to lure victims.

However, Semino Private hospital is not in the list of hospitals in the Canton of Vaud and is not familiar to residents there. The hospital also has no listed telephone number in Switzerland, according to the Philippine Embassy.

And while the Semino Private Hospital created a "mock" website, seminohospital.com, the website has been traced to Nigeria, the embassy added.

In its website, Semino claims that it shares the same address with Clinique Cecil, a prestigious hospital at Avenue Ruchonnet 53, CH -1003 Lausanne, Switzerland.

In Israel, Labor Attaché Merriam C. Cuasay reported that unscrupulous recruiters were offering nursing jobs for the "Jordan Valley Medical Center."

However, no such hospital exists, Cuasay's office has learned. Israel also has job openings for home-based recruiters but not for nurses, according to the POEA.

The Consul General in Agana, Guam has also alerted the POEA of a fake hospital on the island, the "Guam General Hospital."

The supposed hospital has created a website---www.guamgeneralhospital.com---which has been soliciting applications for employment as nurses, the POEA said.

It added that another website---www.westernpacifichospital.com---was recently discovered and had the same content as that of www.guamgeneralhospital.com.

"This online scam is now being investigated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation," the POEA said.

It added that there was only one hospital in Guam, the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH).

No retrenchment at Cebu Country Club

There won't be any retrenchments at the Cebu Country Club Inc., after all.

The management withdrew yesterday their two "establishment termination reports" filed before the Department of Labor and Employment 7, which also served as notices of termination. Filed last November 26, 2010 and December 1, 2010, the two reports were withdrawn based on a letter that Jenny Panim, non-golf manager, sent to DOLE dated December 7, 2010.

The November 26-notice involved 40 employees to be retrenched while the December 1-notice involved seven employees.

"Cebu Country Club Inc. is withdrawing those two establishment termination report by reason of the fact that it has decided not to push through with retrenchment," the letter reads.

The letter added that in view of such withdrawal, the management is informing DOLE that the two notices filed earlier is now without force and effect.

Earlier, the Cebu Country Club Inc. Employees Union-Associated Labor Union-Trade Congress of the Philippines voted an overwhelming "yes" to strike amidst allegation that the management committed unfair labor practices against the union.

During the strike voting last week, 117 of the 140 union members yes to strike while not one voted against the strike.

The union filed a notice of strike last November 26, 2010 after 47 employees were retrenched by the management.

Mayors' allies elevated to councils in 4 cities

CEBU CITY – Village chairmen allied with the local administration won the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) elections in four Metro Cebu cities on Tuesday.

In Talisay, Dumlog barangay captain Charles Basillote, who is on his last term, got elected as the new ABC president with 15 votes.

He will now join his father Dennis Basillote, a political ally of Representative Eduardo Gullas (Cebu, first district), in the City Council.

In Cebu City, T. Padilla barangay captain Michael Ralota won by a landslide, which he attributed, in large part, to the endorsement of Representative Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south).

In Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, the opposition didn't even bother fielding aspirants, and two men allied with the incumbent city mayors won the ABC presidency in both cities.

Subangdaku barangay captain Ernie Manatad, the mayor's secretary for 11 years, pledged a speedier implementation of barangay projects now that he is ABC president.

In Lapu-Lapu City, Pajo barangay captain Leo Mercado was reelected to the post.

Another election will be held on December 17, this time for the provincial federation of the ABC, whose president will serve in the Provincial Board.

Cebu City

In Cebu City, Ralota garnered 58 votes in the ABC election attended by 77 out of 80 barangay captains.

Busay Barangay Captain Eliodoro Sanchez, who conceded even before the end of the canvassing, got 18 votes.

Sanchez said, though, it was not Ralota who defeated him but Congressman Osmeña.

"After he announced his endorsement for Ralota, more than half of all the barangay captains I organized last November 23 nahagba gyud (were demoralized)," said Sanchez.

The Busay barangay captain clarified, though, he accepted the outcome and will support the administration of Ralota in the ABC.

However, Sanchez said he will act as a fiscalizer in the ABC and will protect the money of the association, which has recently been hit by questions over substandard and overpriced infrastructure projects.

While Sanchez is calling for unity in the ABC, barangay captain George Rama of Basak San Nicolas doubts that can be achieved.

Rama, a cousin of Mayor Michael Rama, has criticized Ralota for seeking the congressman's endorsement.

"Congratulations to Tommy, he was the one who campaigned. Dili gyud na mahiusa ang ABC kay sa pagsugod pa lang daan nang ilang gibinuangan. Unsaon nako nila pagsaludo? (I don't think the ABC can be one again, because they have interfered with the proceedings. How can I commend them?)," barangay captain Rama said.

Osmeña, for his part, said he will not close his doors to Sanchez, but said he was dismayed the captain further tarnished the ABC's reputation.

Ralota vowed to help barangay officials in strengthening their hospital benefits, acquiring heavy equipment, particularly in the mountain barangays, aside from implementing various projects initiated by the ABC.

Another former contender for the presidency, Capitol Site barangay captain Manuel Guanzon, was elected vice president.

All the winners were proclaimed by Director Patricio Gabuya, the election supervisor, of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Talisay

As expected, the administration-allied barangay leaders dominated the ABC elections in Talisay City. Not a single seat in the Board of Directors went to the opposition.

Seniority and loyalty were reportedly the traits that won Dumlog barangay captain Charles Basillote the ABC presidency and a seat in the City Council.

Interior and Local Government Officer Bertillo Pasilang supervised the polls.

Biasong barangay captain Marlowe Dagohoy, the opposition's candidate for ABC president, got six votes.

Only six opposition-allied village chiefs showed up in the polls as their seventh ally, Teodoro Belleza of Barangay Poblacion, failed to make it because he was ill.

For the ABC vice presidency, Perla Cabanes of Tanke garnered 15 votes, defeating Dario Villaver of Mohon, who got six votes.

The newly-elected ABC officials then proceeded to the University of the Visayas in Cebu City, where they took their oath before Gullas, founder of the Alayon party.

Mandaue, Lapu

In Mandaue City, Subangdaku barangay captain Ernie Manatad's victory was welcomed by Mayor Jonas Cortes.

"I have high expectations of this group; it's a mixture of old and new," said the mayor.

Manatad ran unopposed and won 25 votes out of 27. He said he will organize a composite team, separate from the City Engineer's office, to focus on City Hall's annual investment plan intended for the barangays.

Labogon barangay captain Damaso Tumulak skipped Tuesday morning's election. He had a fever, said Manatad, who visited him last Monday.

Manatad, his vice president Carmelino del Mar Jr., auditor Felix Suico and seven of the eight board members all earned 25 votes each. Board member Malaquias Soco won with 23 votes.

Manatad, Suico and four board members are newly elected barangay captains: Soco, Mylene Sanchez, Nelson Rubio and Dianne Bercede-Abanes.

"Definitely, new ideas will come in," said Cortes.

Manatad, in his acceptance speech, said the ABC will hire technical people, including an architect and civil engineers, to help them make their program of works and estimates (Powe). Delays in the Powe have often hampered projects.

DILG officer Jhoaden Lucero and non-government office representative Maria Teresa Vargas witnessed the elections from 10:15 to 10:55 a.m.

In Lapu-Lapu city, it's Pajo barangay captain Leo Mercado who will still head the ABC.

Mercado, who also ran unopposed, got 27 votes out of 30. He promised to divide his P1-million district fund among all 27 barangay captains.

He also promised to focus more on garbage collection and tree-planting projects.

ABC boss to make barangay project guidelines a priority

BARANGAY captains will be taught how to protect constituents against substandard infrastructure projects, as one of the priorities of newly elected Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) Cebu City president Michael Ralota.

Opposition to protest outcome of "Liga" poll

The opposition party in Consolacion town will file a protest in the national office of the Liga nga mga Barangays 'sa Pilipinas' claiming the town chapter failed to observe the guidelines governing the conduct of elections.

Barangay Tayud captain Bingol Villo who was seeking the presidency of the league withdrew her candidacy after her camp noticed that the guidelines were not followed.

Villo questioned the election of barangay Poblacion Occidental captain Marilou Casul as president of the league.

Casul assumed as the new president of the league after acting president Rogelio Maquilan lost in his re-election bid in Tayud against Villo.

Maquillan assumed the post vacated by barangay Casili captain Analie Gungob, who was elected as a regular member of the municipal council of Consolacion.

In yesterday's press conference, Villo said barangay Saksak captain Francisco Pagaran questioned the composition of the board of election supervisors when they chose Consolacion National High School Principal Adelina Semblante.

Semblante was not appointed by the members of the board, being one of the requirements.

Consultant submits Balili resolution to court

THE 14th branch of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) is set to hear the civil suit the Provincial Government filed to recover part of the P98.9 million it paid for the Balili estate.

Businessman Crisologo Saavedra wants to be heard before the proceeding gets underway on Dec. 14.

He is rushing the submission of a letter that formally informs Judge Raphael Yrastorza of the 31-page Office of the Ombudsman fact-finding report, which recommended that Gov. Gwen Garcia be investigated for entering into a contract "manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government."

Gwen: Greg might just be "jealous" of commendation

For Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, "jealousy" might have triggered Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr. objection to the move of the Provincial Board commending her for taking part in the Governors Summit Against Climate Change in the United States.

Turnover rites for new cardinal of Cebu moved a day earlier

PREPARATIONS for the turnover rites of the Archdiocese of Cebu leadership are underway, but the date may have to be changed.

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said the date, which was originally set on Jan. 13, has been moved a day earlier.

Vidal told reporters yesterday that Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes will be overseeing preparations for the turnover rites between himself and Archbishop Jose Palma next month.

Ontog orders Lacson arrest

Regional Police Director Ager Ontog has ordered a follow-up on reports that fugitive Senator Panfilo Lacson was sighted in Cebu a few days ago.

NBI to Lacson coddlers: You will be charged, too

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday warned personalities who may be coddling fugitive Senator Panfilo Lacson -- eluding arrest since January in connection with the Dacer-Corbito case -- that they would also be charged in court.

Child was not mine: 'killer'

"JAMES Amper will never be alive again," Maribel Pitogo told her live-in partner Alfredo Taglucop Jr. in Cebuano.

Maribel, 26, and her nine-year-old daughter Maymay faced Alfredo in the office of Senior Supt. Erson Digal, Cebu Provincial Police Office director.

Alfredo, who was also charged with parricide yesterday, admitted hacking James to death last Sunday afternoon because he believed the boy was not his own.

"Gossip" drives pa to hack one-year-old son to death

The father who hacked his one-year-old son to death said he was prompted to commit the crime because of rumors that the victim was not his child.

SC declares Truth Commission unconstitutional

MANILA, Philippines - Voting 10 to 5 the Supreme Court declared the order creating the Truth Commission unconstitutional.

SC.jpg

SC ruling is a blow to fight vs corruption - Palace

MANILA, Philippines - Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda admits the Supreme Court's ruling is a blow to government's efforts to fight corruption.

Truth Commission members 'very disappointed' by SC ruling

Very disappointed.  This was how a member of the Philippine Truth Commission described on Tuesday the prevailing sentiment among members of the body after the Supreme Court declared it as unconstitutional.

Commissioner Carlos Medina did not buy the argument that Executive Order No. 1, which created the commission, violated the equal protection clause in the 1987 Constitution.

"We are very disappointed with the decision of the Supreme Court," he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview.

Told about the argument used by the high tribunal, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., the head of the commission, replied: "I don't think that would be enough."

"I still have to read the actual ruling. What would be very interesting to read will be the dissenting opinion," he told the Inquirer.

Davide himself had provided "inputs" in the creation of the commission before Malacañang incorporated them into EO No. 1. He said they covered matters like the "powers to be exercised" by the body.

Medina said all would not be lost even if the high court scrapped the truth commission with finality.

"You cannot stop the truth from coming out. If it doesn't come out in the truth commission, it will still come out one way or another," he said.

Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said President Benigno Aquino had only himself and his advisers to blame for the debacle at the Supreme Court.

"He better reshuffle his Cabinet and get able ones. I pity them. They're very incompetent," the prelate said. "All these mistakes are because he has very poor advisers among his Cabinet members."

Cruz added: "The creator did not know what it was supposed to do with the truth commission and neither did it know how far it could go."

Contrary to the Supreme Court ruling, the truth commission would not single out former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in looking into cases of massive graft and corruption, Medina said.

But EO No. 1 makes it clear that the inquiry would cover only cases from 2001 to 2010, the period when Arroyo was the president.

Medina cited a portion in the order allowing the President to expand the work of the commission to cover cases that took place even before the Arroyo administration.

"If that's the concern, there could have been an amendatory EO that would address the matter," he said.

Medina also cried foul over claims that the functions of the commission would overlap with those of the Office of the Ombudsman.

"We want to find out what they mean exactly by 'overlapping,'" he said. "The truth commission has a different focus. There are many objections, which can be addressed once the commission actually operates."

As of Tuesday, Medina said the commission had received more than 50 complaints about massive graft and corruption allegedly committed during the previous administration.


'SC decision only protects GMA'

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Ten Supreme Court (SC) justices who voted to declare unconstitutional the Aquino III administration's Truth Commission should resign, former Akbayan partylist Rep. Ana Theresia "Risa" Hontiveros said Tuesday.

SC: Ruling junking Truth Commission based on legal merits, not politics

The Supreme Court's decision declaring the creation of the Philippine Truth Commission as unconstitutional was based on merits, the tribunal's acting spokesperson stressed Tuesday.

GMA mum on Truth Commission ruling

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has maintained her silence over the Supreme Court ruling junking the Truth Commission that was created to investigate her.

'DOJ not source of amnesty list'

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III denied Tuesday that they were the source of the list of potential amnesty beneficiaries that Malacañang submitted to the Senate on Monday.

Arroyo on amnesty: 'Executive generosity' should be done with caution

While lauding the move of President Benigno Aquino III granting amnesty to soldiers involved in botched uprisings during her administration, former Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the grant of this "executive generosity" should be done with caution.

Arroyo warns vs inclusion of recidivists in amnesty grant

Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose nine-year stint in Malacanang was rocked by several coup attempts, on Tuesday warned against recidivists and unrepentant offenders who may benefit from the Aquino government's amnesty grant to suspected mutineers.

Senate adopts amnesty proclamation

The Senate on Tuesday adopted the resolution concurring with the amended presidential proclamation granting amnesty to soldiers and policemen involved in at least three attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration.

Malacañang trusts NBI chief will find Lacson

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Magtanggol Gatdula will not be replaced despite his office's recent failures in tracking down fugitive Senator Panfilo Lacson, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

CPP declares Christmas truce Dec 16 to Jan 3

Nearly a week after the government declared a Christmas ceasefire from December 16 to January 3, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) matched the gesture with a similar truce. During the ceasefire, the CPP's armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) will cease offensive operations on the police, military and paramilitary units.

Philippines drops $73-M helicopter deal

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government said Tuesday it had cancelled a 73 million dollar deal to buy military helicopters following allegations of collusion with a Polish defense contractor.

Soldier hurt in clash with suspected Ampatuan men in Maguindanao

A soldier was wounded in Maguindanao on Tuesday when his battalion clashed with a private armed group allegedly led by one of the suspects in last year's grisly massacre in the province.

Fil-Am registered sex offender appears in court

Sex offender Eugene Ramos did not enter a plea during a court appearance on charges he allegedly sexually molested a 2-year-old girl inside a Dollar Store in Union City in California. Ramos is a registered sex offender and had been convicted of molesting a 7-year old girl in 2003.

$1: 43.555

$1: 43.555 (P43.75)

Euro 1: 58.3270

Philippine forex reserves at record $61.3-B at end-Nov

by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines - Gross international reserves reached a record $61.3 billion at end-November, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Tuesday.

GSIS now back with LandBank

MANILA, Philippines - During the time of President Gloria Arroyo, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Winston Garcia had refused to bank with state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines over a quarrel with maintaining balance.

Palace mediating in PAL labor row to avoid strike - PNoy

ALAMINOS CITY, PANGASINAN (Updated 8:55 p.m.) - While members and leaders of the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) are holding a strike vote, Malacañang is trying to mediate between union and management in the hopes of averting a work stoppage involving around 3,700 workers of the flag carrier.

PLDT union seeks P583-M in signing bonus

by By Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror
MANILA, Philippines - The supervisors union of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) is asking for an across-the-board basic salary increase of at least P24,000 for each of its 3,886 members spread over a three-year period for a total of P582.90 million.

Telcos' bid to tweak broadband speed tests studied

MANILA, Philippines - Regulators will take into account the proposals of the telephone firms to have their broadband Internet connection speed measured every 15 days instead of on a daily basis.

Deputy Commissioner Douglas Michael Malilin of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said, "Their proposal is that the point of measurement for the minimum and maximum broadband speed should be on a 15-day period. Now, we will try to rationalize it. We will discuss the mechanics regarding measurement."

Under the draft order, the NTC requires broadband service providers to price their Internet service offerings based on service reliability and speed. It also wants them to publicly reveal the minimum speed and service reliability, all these after numerous complaints of poor quality and very low speeds as opposed to the providers' advertised speeds.

The NTC wants to impose a minimum of 80% service reliability measured over a period of one month. The service offers must also specify the service rates for a minimum broadband speed and the service reliability.  

"They asked for more time. Probably, we can already issue the final order by next week. But the minimum and maximum speed should be disclosed whatever period is agreed upon," said Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba.

Of the 622 complaints lodged against the Internet service providers in the first nine months of the year, more than half are related to poor Internet connections and speeds. Other consumer complaints ranged from erroneous billing to poor service, vanishing prepaid load credits, e-load issues, and misleading promos.

The NTC had observed that the service providers are offering broadband connections specifying only the maximum speed but that customers have the right to be informed of the minimum connection speed as well, which to consumers may be more relevant. Broadband users stood at 3.6 million in 2009, up from 1.77 million in 2008.

Two dead, six missing in Hong Kong after boat collision

by by Peter Brieger, Agence France-Presse
HONG KONG - Two men have died and six are missing after two commercial vessels collided Tuesday off the east coast of Hong Kong, the city's marine department said, as it expanded an air and sea rescue operation.

23 dead, 100 missing in Colombia mudslide

by by Raul Arboleda, Agence France-Presse
MEDELLIN, Colombia - Emergency crews clawed through huge piles of mud Monday in a desperate bid to rescue more than 100 people missing in a landslide that has claimed at least 23 lives in Colombia.

WikiLeaks founder Assange arrested in Britain

by Reuters
LONDON, United Kingdom - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by British police on a European warrant issued by Sweden, London's Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday.

WikiLeaks chief Assange refused bail in Britain

LONDONWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was remanded in custody until December 14 by a London court on Tuesday after saying he would fight his extradition to Sweden on suspicion of rape and molestation.

The 39-year-old Australian, whose whistleblowing website has enraged Washington by releasing thousands of secret US diplomatic cables, appeared in court just hours after handing himself in to British police.

Filmmaker Ken Loach, socialite Jemima Khan, and campaigning journalist John Pilger each offered 20,000 (23,600, $31,400) for Assange's bail, but it was refused on the grounds that he might try to flee Britain.

"These are extremely serious allegations," district judge Howard Riddle said at City of Westminster magistrates court, adding that Assange faced alleged sexual offenses against two women.

"I am satisfied that there are substantial grounds to believe that if granted bail he would fail to surrender," the judge added.

The judge said Assange had "comparatively weak community ties in this country" and had the "means and ability to abscond if he wants to."

Assange appeared calm in court, an AFP reporter said. Wearing a navy blue suit and a white shirt without a tie, he spoke to confirm his name and address, giving an Australian PO box address.

When pressed by the judge he gave another address in Victoria, Australia.

The former hacker denies the Swedish claims. He says they stem from a dispute over consensual, unprotected sex with two women and that the accusations may be politically motivated.

WikiLeaks vowed that the detention of its founder would not stop it from releasing more of the confidential US cables.

"Today's actions against our editor-in-chief Julian Assange won't affect our operations: we will release more cables tonight as normal," it said in a statement on Twitter.

James Ball, a WikiLeaks journalist in London, told AFP that the staff were working "on schedule, all that stuff will keep rolling out as ever".

In a sign of Washington's satisfaction at the arrest, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who was visiting Afghanistan on Tuesday, said it "sounds like good news."

Britain's Metropolitan Police said earlier in a statement that officers from its extradition unit had arrested Assange on a European arrest warrant "by appointment at a London police station" at 0930 GMT.

"He is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010," the police statement said.

The arrest of Assange comes as a fresh blow to WikiLeaks, which has been chased around the globe since it started to release a cache of 250,000 US diplomatic memos on November 28.

The website has hopped from server to server as various countries tried to close it down, even as its supporters have responded by setting up hundreds of "mirror" sites to keep it online.

WikiLeaks is also coming under increased financial pressure, with Visa following in the footsteps of MasterCard and PayPal Tuesday by announcing that it was suspending all payments to WikiLeaks.

Swiss authorities shut down one of Assange's bank accounts on Monday, while a major WikiLeaks donor is in trouble in Germany for not filing its accounts on time.

WikiLeaks has already been expelled from the United States where the US Attorney General Eric Holder has said authorities were pursuing an "active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature," into the leaks.

US politicians have called for Assange to be treated as a terrorist.

In one of the latest leaks, US cables released Tuesday showed that NATO had extended an existing defence plan covering Poland to include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania after they lobbied for extra protection.

Wade leads Heat to fifth straight win (AP)

Miami Heat 's Dwyane Wade (3) goes up for a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, in Milwaukee.

There it was in the visitor's locker room, written seven times on Miami's white board. Road warriors. The Heat thrived in the rowdy atmosphere in Cleveland on Thursday, and just kept rolling in their next road game in Milwaukee. Dwyane Wade had 25 points and a career-high 14 rebounds back in the city where his career took off and the Heat beat the Bucks 88-78 on Monday night for their fifth win.

1,500 guests expected at Pacquiao's b-day bash

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Whether Manny Pacquiao fights in the ring or celebrates a party, there are always a lot of people in attendance. For Pacquiao's 32nd birthday celebration on Friday (Dec. 10), there will be up to 1,500 guests.

Team Pacquiao promises to make it up to Vallejo fans

by By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
ANAHEIM, California – Manny Pacquiao's manager Michael Koncz promised that Team Pacquiao will try to find a way to make it up to the fans who were disappointed during the boxer's concert in Vallejo, California.

Kris startles Ted Failon on 'dinner date' invite

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Actress and television host Kris Aquino on Tuesday invited broadcast journalist Ted Failon for a dinner date. 

Willie's camp seeks TRO on copyright case

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The camp of Willie Revillame is requesting for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the copyright infringement case filed against them by ABS-CBN.

In a petition for certiorari filed by Revillame's lawyers at the Court of Appeals on Monday, they requested the court to issue a TRO on the hearing of the case at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC).

His lawyers argued that the Makati court has no jurisdiction over the case.

They said the case should be heard in Quezon City, where the contracts were signed. It is also the city where the headquarters of the two companies involved in the dispute are located.

They also want Judge Joselito Villarosa to resolve as soon as possible their appeal to junk the case. They also want him to inhibit from the case, claiming he will not be fair.

The hearing of the case continued on Tuesday, where the judge allowed the examination of ABS-CBN witness Alou Almaden.

Video evidence by ABS-CBN were also presented in court, to show the similarities between the defunct "Wowowee" and the TV5 show "Willing Willie."

Piolo gets Gerald's OK for new movie with Kim

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Actor Piolo Pascual has divulged that he had sought the approval of Gerald Anderson for his movie with actress Kim Chiu, Anderson's long-time on-screen partner.

Kim says excited, nervous on project with Piolo

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Excited but nervous! This is how young actress Kim Chiu described her feelings on an upcoming project with no less than hunk actor Piolo Pascual.

Charice's 'Pyramid' no. 4 in Yahoo's Most Irresistible

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Singing sensation Charice's hit song "Pyramid" has been included in "Yahoo's 2010 Year in Review: Most Irresistible Lyrics."

Dolphy admits to oxygen therapy

Dinaan sa biro ni Dolphy ang kanyang pag-amin na gumagamit na siya ng oxygen para makatulong sa kanyang paghinga. Ito daw ang dahilan kaya alangan na silang magpakasal pa ni Zsa Zsa padilla. 

Married men are nicer, better behaved: study

by Reuters
NEW YORK - Men tend to behave better when they're married -- both because marriage likely helps improve their behavior, and nicer men are more likely to be married in the first place, according to a U.S. study.

Working at night increases breast cancer risk - study

Pagtratrabaho ng buntis sa gabi, may epekto sa kalusugan — Inst. for Occupational Health.

May medical study na nagsasabing mas malaki ang posibilidad na magkasakit sa night shift, kabilang na ang breast cancer sa mga babae. May epekto rin daw ito lalo na sa mga buntis, na siyang pinatotohanan ng isang nakausap natin.

Aspirin sharply reduces cancer risk—study

PARIS, France—A small, daily dose of aspirin significantly diminishes the risk of death from a wide range of cancers, according to a landmark study released Tuesday.

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