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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 24, 2011 Major News Stories

January 24, 2011 Major News Stories
January 24, 2011 Major News Stories

Taxi flagdown rate now P40

by By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/BRP

As of today the taxi flagdown rate will now be P40 from the old P30 while the succeeding kilometer rate will go up from P2.50 to P3.50.

However, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-7 warned that taxi units that have not yet calibrated their meters are not allowed to collect the new rates.

"I urge our taxi commuters not to pay the new fare if the taxi unit is not yet calibrated because that is tantamount to overcharging," LTFRB Regional Director Ahmed Cuizon said.

Cuizon said that taxi meter calibration will start today until the next three months at the Plaza Sugbo at the South Road Properties.

The payment, however, will be collected at the LTFRB regional office.

In June of 2009, LTFRB started to implement the rule on taxi receipts but very few complied despite warnings that drivers will be penalized.

A fine of P1,500 will be imposed for the first offense. For the second offense, the violator shall face a suspension of 30 days and for the third offense the violator’s franchise to operate shall be cancelled.

The receipt will include the name, address and telephone number of the taxi operator, the taxi's plate number, date of the trip, actual time when the passenger boarded the taxi, distance of the trip in kilometers and the total fare amount.

This receipt scheme, which is seen to address the problem of overcharging, must be approved by the Bureau of Internal Revenue before the LTFRB will allow the registration of a taxi unit.

The implementation of the receipt scheme is aimed at protecting commuters who have fallen victim to taxi drivers with fast or rigged meters and also to monitor and improve revenue collection.

The country has over 33,000 taxi units. More than 10,000 of these are in Central Visayas and over 6,000 are in Cebu.

Aside from the implementation of the receipt scheme, the LTFRB and the BIR will also require taxi operators to submit income tax returns being a public utility.

Earlier, the taxi operators filed a petition before the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the taxi receipt system but the Supreme Court said the taxi receipt system is legal and is intended to ensure passengers’ welfare and safety.

But not all taxi drivers are happy with the latest developments.

“Wa gyud mi nalipay ana,” said a taxi driver who requested anonymity, “mosaka tuod ang plete pero pasakaan pud na sa operator ang abangan.   Wa gihapo’y epekto namo.”

He also said he is thinking of quitting driving taxis once his meter is calibrated because he expects their passengers to lessen. He also said many of his fellow taxi drivers share his sentiments and plan to return to driving public utility jeepneys.

Higher taxi fares start today, says DoTC

TAXICABS WHOSE license plates end in "1" and "6" may start charging higher fares starting today once their meters have been calibrated to comply with a directive to issue receipts, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) said yesterday.

Power transmission rates to go down, says ERC

Consumers can expect lower electricity bills starting February after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approves the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines' application for the maximum annual revenue requirement.

Senior citizens can start applying for electricity discounts

by BusinessWorld

MANILA, Philippines - Senior citizens wishing to avail of a 5% power rate discount can start applying as rules implementing the perk are now in effect.

Regulators said other distribution utilities were expected to also begin gathering applications for the discount this month.

Republic Act 9994 grants qualified senior citizens a 5% discount on utility rates, provided that "the individual meters for the foregoing utilities are registered in the name of the senior citizen residing therein; Provided, further, that the monthly consumption does not exceed one hundred kilowatt hours of electricity or thirty cubic meters of water."

The privilege is "granted per household, regardless of the number of senior citizens residing therein," the law states.

Public urged to plant vegetables

Hinimok ng Department of Agriculture  ang mga mamamayan na magtanim ng gulay. Ito'y bilang tugon sa taunang problema sa supply ng bigas.

Private lab test finds E.Coli in local meat

by cebuweb

A DEALER of imported and local meat yesterday released the result of the laboratory test he requested from a meat exporting and processing firm, which showed that local supplies in the wet markets of the cities of Cebu and Mandaue contained Escherichia coli (E. Coli).

Mario Montes, who maintains meat stalls in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Talisay and Consolacion town, said he requested a laboratory examination of the samples of meat sold in the markets of Cebu and Mandaue because he is worried about the statement of Cebu City Veterinarian Alice Utlang that imported meat is unsafe.

With the result of the laboratory test conducted by the firm, which has a slaughterhouse rated “Triple A” by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), he hopes that local government units (LGUs) will do the same to protect the health of the people.

Under the law, Triple A slaughterhouses can export meat, Double A can sell in the entire province, while Single A can only sell within the community where it is located.

Cebu and Mandaue slaughterhouses are not even accredited by NMIS, Montes said.

In the micro-analysis report presented by Montes in a press conference yesterday, warm (local) meat has Level 2 (2.0x10 cfu/g (Colony Forming Unit) E.Coli content. Frozen (imported) meat has only 1.0x10 cfu/g or Level 1. The acceptable level is Level 1.

The micro-analysis report said local meat at Carbon market contained 7.4x10 cfu/g) Aerobic Plate Count (APC) or aerobic bacteria, while frozen meat contained only 1.9x10 cfu/g. The acceptable level is 5.0x10 cfu/g.

Illness

The food technologist who conducted the laboratory examination, but who requested anonymity, said in the press conference that E.Coli can cause serious illness with symptoms such as stomach cramps and pain, vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes with blood in it.

“I can now say that my family can safely eat imported meat, which passed international standard inspection. I requested a laboratory examination just to know the truth,” Montes said.

Montes said that since Utlang started running after frozen meat last month, about 200 kilos were confiscated from him not because it is unsafe, but because of an allegedly expired Certificate of Meat Inspection (Comi) issued by NMIS. Hundreds of kilos were also confiscated from other frozen meat dealers.

No inventory

However, Montes said Utlang’s office did not even render an inventory on what they did to the confiscated frozen meat.

Dr. Romeo Capa and Dr. Alvin Leal of NMIS said Comi is issued as a permit to transport frozen meat from the cold storage to the wet market within a given period.

They said if the Comi is valid only until Jan. 10, it cannot be used anymore by Jan. 11, but the meat remains safe to eat. In some instances, LGUs do not allow the frozen meat to be sold in the wet market if the validity of the Comi expired, or hold it until the dealer can produce a new one.

Death toll from heavy rains climbs to 68

The death toll from the heavy rains, triggered by the tail-end of a cold front, in most parts of the Philippines has risen to 68 with 26 others still missing, officials said today.

Tomas to support results of talks if they have occupants’ approval

by cebuweb

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama is optimistic the 93-1 lot issue will be resolved before Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s term ends.

Rama promised to cooperate with the Provincial Government in solving the problem after the unsuccessful land swap try in 2006.

Rama believes Garcia is serious about dealing with the 93-1 residents and he is more determined as well to help the occupants of the Province-owned lots in the city gain a security of tenure.

Citom tweaks Ban-Tal traffic

by cebuweb

THE Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) will try to maintain three lanes of traffic going to the city proper from the Banilad-Talamban area today.

This is the first step in trying to improve traffic in the area.

Lawyer Rafael Yap of Citom said they have removed the railings and will start implementing the one-way, three-lane traffic between 6 and 9 a.m. today. The railings were located in the middle of the road in front of the Gaisano Country Mall to the area parallel to the entrance of Paradise Village.

The traffic solution is still on an experimental stage, and Yap said they will assess if there is a need to reverse this for afternoon peak hours, to favor traffic going to Talamban.

Yap said this is “purely a traffic management solution” that Cebu City Mayor Michael

Rama wanted imposed.

But Jakosalem earlier said the Banilad-Talamban traffic will have to be improved before talks on letting the Ciudad project proceed can be entertained.

“Once we are able to improve the Ban-Tal traffic, maybe we can talk about the moratorium on all developments in the area, not just the Ciudad,” he told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview yesterday.

But Metro Cebu Traffic Council (MCTC) Chairman Bunny Pages said there is no reason not to entertain the Ciudad project.

Pages, also of the Cebu Leads Foundation, an organization of business owners, said that in the short and long term, the Ciudad will benefit Cebu.

“Instead of looking for all the reasons why we can’t do it, shouldn’t we be looking for reasons why we should do it? Where would Cebu be today had we blocked the entry of SM, Ayala, Robinsons Group, among others, to our island several years ago?” asked Pages.

The Ciudad project will bring in investors and employment.

Pages admitted traffic in Banilad-Talamban is a valid reason, but instead of blocking commercial developments, the City should instead look for ways to improve traffic.

The Cebu Leads Foundation, said Pages, was able to secure four motorcycles that Citom

can use in sorting out traffic problems in the Banilad-Talamban area.

Jakosalem, though, said Banilad-Talamban residents are really worried about developments in the corridor and politics has nothing to do with it.

“That is why we really need to study it carefully and extensively,” said Jakosalem.

The moratorium was given political color because Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district), when he was still the city mayor, implemented it at the height of a conflict between the City and Provincial Governments.

That conflict began with an aborted plan to exchange a commercial block of the City with Province-owned lands occupied by city settlers in several barangays.

Jakosalem also said it is up to Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and the council to revisit the Ciudad project.

As for the Banilad-Talamban traffic, Jakosalem said Citom is studying a plan to flare intersections in the area.

This is why he plans to talk to Capitol for an inventory of its properties in the corridor.

Jakosalem said he would negotiate with Capitol on the use of properties for a possible road widening, as another option to solve the Banilad-Talamban traffic.

Pages also said experts should be called for inputs on how to solve the worsening traffic situation.

Jakosalem added that the removal of the railings was also for safety purposes, because a number of motorists have crashed into the railings, causing injuries.

South to get P50M in ‘urgent’ roadwork

by cebuweb

ABOUT P50 million will be spent on road concreting projects in Cebu City’s south district barangays, under a resolution approved by the City Council.

The Cebu City Government will ask the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) to strictly monitor and supervise the projects’ implementation.

Sinulog ticket sales hit P2M; income to go up

by cebuweb

THIS year’s Sinulog earned at least P2.2 million from ticket sales alone.

Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director Ricky Ballesteros said their income will still increase as they have yet to compute their earnings from the registration fees for the photo contests and other competitions.

Ballesteros said the ticket sales this year are much bigger than in 2010, although he could not recall offhand how much was earned last year.

Officer caught ‘using shabu’ told to transfer

by cebuweb

THE policeman allegedly caught sniffing shabu in a drug den in Danao City Friday night was relieved from his post in Minglanilla Police Station, said a top police official.

Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Ager Ontog, in a phone interview, said SPO2 Roberto Canencia, 51, will face administrative complaints, as well as charges for illegal possession of firearms and violation of the special gun ban imposed in Cebu during the Sinulog.

Mayor to seek ombudsman’s help against cop

by cebuweb

MEDELLIN Mayor Ricardo Ramirez will file a complaint against a policeman of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas today.

Ramirez will accuse PO3 Arnold Bocayong of violating Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Republic Act 6713, or the Code Of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Bocayong, in a phone interview, said Ramirez’s move is “harassment” and he is ready to face an inquiry.

“Iyaha sad nang gusto (That’s what he wants),” Bocayong said.

From illegal fishing, gambling operators Ramirez: CIDG-7 cop asks protection money

by By Gregg M. Rubio/FPL

Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez has accused a member of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-7 of protecting the illegal gambling and illegal fishing activities in his town.

Mayor wants Digal out as CPPO director

by By Gregg M. Rubio/FPL

Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez is asking Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to relieve Sr. Supt. Erson Digal as director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office for allegedly refusing to heed his request to conduct paraffin test on the cadaver of his former aide.

3 Cebu solons file MCIAA policy bills

by cebuweb

THREE Cebuano congressmen filed separate bills amending the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) charter to include representation from Lapu-Lapu City.

Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu Province, 3rd district), also included in House Bill 2003 a provision not to restrict the appointment of an airport general manager under the Civil Service Commission rules and regulations.

Palma lauds Charismatic groups in Cebu for their ‘programs, unity’

by cebuweb

CEBU’S new archbishop congratulated the local Catholic charismatic groups for their unity and said he hopes to strengthen further the programs they have been implementing over the years.

During yesterday’s celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Communities of Cebu (CCCC), Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said he is proud of the local charismatic communities, calling them “little God’s blessing to Cebu.”

To stop Lingam,Yoni Chamber supports CCAIB inspection sans court order

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja/JMO

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) is supporting the proposed amendments to City Ordinance 1408, which aims to ban the controversial lingam and yoni massage techniques in massage parlors and spas in the city.

Vote counting machines deployed to courts hearing electoral protests

More than eight months since the country's first automated polls in May in 2010, the Commission on Elections finally ordered the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines deployed to the different regional trial courts where local election protests remain pending.

The Commission en banc has adopted Minute Resolution No. 11-0011, providing details on how the PCOS machines may be delivered to the courts for the authentication of the official ballots.

The poll body said that in RTCs where up to five election protest cases have been filed, three PCOS machines, including one back-up machine, would be sent.

Six PCOS machines, including one backup, would be sent to courts handling six to 10 protest cases.

The Comelec said it would be charging P5,000 for the use of each machines.

“The fee will be exclusive of the honorarium of PCOS technicians and costs of accessories and consumables of the PCOS Machines,” it said.

The Comelec, as it awaits a final report pinpointing the exact number of pending local cases in which RTCs, said the date start of delivery of the PCOS machines would be the subject of a separate resolution.

Under election laws, RTCs have the exclusive original jurisdiction over municipal election contests; the Commission's two divisions hear cases coming from the city, provincial and regional levels. Such cases usually entail a vote recount, called a revision.

For municipal cases, an RTC normally has up to 30 days to render judgment on a case that has been submitted for decision, or within six months after the case was filed.

Comelec purchased 920 PCOS machines, in 2010, from its poll automation service contractor, Smartmatic Philipines, for use in resolving election protests.

Aquino govt too busy to observe EDSA Dos anniversary

President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday admitted that "over-concentration" on the 25th anniversary of EDSA People Power I next month may have made them overlook the 10th anniversary of EDSA Dos last Jan. 20.

Arroyo did not pursue power in EDSA 2 revolt, says spokesperson

Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo claimed that she became president not because she pursued it in 2001 but because it was hers by succession due to the ouster of then president Joseph Estrada through the EDSA 2 revolt.

Criminal charges readied against 2 suspects in Evangelista case

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The 2 suspects who recently confessed to their involvement in the brutal slay of car dealer Venson Evangelista face murder and carjacking charges after a marathon inquest proceeding Saturday night.

Prosecutors are pushing for the filing of the charges against Alfred Mendiola (a.k.a. Allan Torres) and Ferdinand "Batibot" Parulan following statements from witnesses and a testimony from one of the suspect himself.

Lozanos welcome probe results on carjack-slay case

Ikinatuwa ng pamilya Lozano ang resulta ng imbestigasyon ng PNP na nagpapatunay na biktima ang kanyang anak at hindi sangkot sa sindikato ng carjacking.

Next PNP chief should be crime buster, says lawmaker

A former police general turned lawmaker, Pangasinan Representative Leopoldo Bataoil, urged police officers pining for the post of Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Raul Bacalzo to first focus on addressing the worsening peace and order situation before seeking a promotion.

AFP officers, men free to testify in Garcia probes - spokesman

Military officers and men who have knowledge in the alleged corrupt practices of former Armed Forces comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia are not barred from testifying in courts hearing his plunder case.

Victims' kin want access to Ampatuan cells

Relatives of the victims of the grisly Maguindanao massacre will ask the court hearing the multiple murder case to grant them access to the detention cells of the suspects, particularly members of the powerful Ampatuan clan.

Journalists press for live coverage of Ampatuan trial

A group of journalists is pressing the Supreme Court to grant its demand for live coverage of the ongoing trial of the accused in the Maguindanao massacre, saying this was not a special privilege for media but a recognition of the people’s right to know.

Soldiers take over abandoned Abu Sayyaf camp in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Military operations against the Abu Sayyaf have led to the capture of a main bandit camp in the island province of Basilan.

Philippines rejects demand to free rebel

by Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government on Sunday rejected a demand by communist rebels to free a senior guerilla leader as a goodwill gesture ahead of formal peace negotiations in Norway next month.

Philippine Navy eyeing purchase from US

by Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Navy on Sunday said it was in talks with the United States government to buy a second-hand Coast Guard cutter to upgrade its ageing fleet.

PHL Navy to acquire largest ship in inventory

The Philippine Navy is in the process of acquiring its largest ship: a Hamilton class US Coast Guard cutter.

Coast Guard finds boat with 5 missing Americans

by Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Coast Guard on Sunday said it had located a sailboat with 5 Americans aboard, about a week after it was reported missing en route from Guam to the island of Cebu.

The Coast Guard said it spotted the 28-foot catamaran 'The Pineapple,' off the southern Philippine island of Dinagat with all its passengers in good condition.

The vessel had been expected to arrive in Cebu on January 16, but apparently encountered poor weather and had engine trouble, the Coast Guard said.

The Philippines has been experiencing unseasonable strong rains since late December, causing floods and landslides that have left more than 60 people dead so far.

Forecasters had warned of continuing bad weather and fishermen were told not to set sail due to potentially rough seas.

The Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) search-and-rescue vessel “BRP San Juan” was escorting the 38-foot twin-hulled catamaran, “S/V Pineapple” Sunday afternoon to Cebu City, said Captain Anelito Gabisan, deputy commander and spokesperson of the Coast Guard District Central-Eastern Visayas.

 

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo, quoting the PCG chief, Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, said “The Pineapple” was first spotted on Saturday by a PCG Islander search plane north-northwest of Dinagat Island and near Kanhandon Point, Hibuson Island.

Hibuson Island, located along Surigao Strait, is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Loreto in Surigao del Norte.

The sailboat was set to arrive in Cebu City Sunday night or Monday morning.

Tamayo identified the passengers as Joe Gamec, Corey Goldhorn, Steven Blanton, Chris Bell and one female, Brandi Pratt. All are in good health, according to the Coast Guard

According to Tamayo, the passengers said the sailboat “developed engine trouble during rough sea conditions” and was unable to make radio contact.

On Saturday, the PCG Islander doing aerial surveillance of the sailboat's possible routes and adjoining areas spotted the sailboat but could not make a confirmation because of poor visibility. It was able to make a confirmation only Sunday morning.

The location of the boat was relayed to the PCG search-and-rescue vessel (SARV) “BRP San Juan,” which was able to establish contact with the sailboat and confirm it to be the “The Pineapple.”

Tamayo relayed the good news to the media at around 1:30 p.m., and the SARV would meet with the sailboat within one hour.

Tamayo said Lt. (junior grade) Justine Valentino, the search-and-rescue coordinator for the US Coast Guard in Guam, has also established contact with the sailboat and has confirmed the vessel's location.

"The Pineapple" left Guam on Januar 6 and was supposed to arrive in Cebu before January 16. The passengers' families called the USCG for assistance on January 18 after the sailboat failed to arrive at its destination.

The sailboat was described as a 38-foot twin-hulled catamaran with a white hull and white sails.

Coast guards and rescue authorities from the Philippines, US, Palau, and the Northern Marianas had joined the search for the missing sailboat.

Bishop frowns on 'pro-poor' annulment

"I do not see the rhyme or reason for cheaper annulment process and [to make it] quicker because of the poor. To me it does not hold water." So declared retired archbishop and Canon Law expert Oscar Cruz, who chairs the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the CBC, in an article posted on its website.

2,448 distressed OFWs left western Saudi in 2010

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 2,448 Filipinos in distress were repatriated from Saudi Arabia's western region last year, the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah said Sunday.

Circus to pay amusement tax

by cebuweb

THE producer of “The Great American Circus” said he will pay its amusement tax to Cebu City Hall.

Ericson Uy said he is willing to pay but wants first to sit down with City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva to clarify the amount due.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Uy believes their tax due is not P1.7 million as Oliva claimed.

“Naa man mi mga ex-deals with other companies, even with City Hall, and ex-deals are not considered ticket sales,” he said.

Brazil mudslide death toll rises above 800

RIO DE JANEIRO—The official death toll from Brazil's mudslide disaster rose on Sunday to 803 as more bodies were recovered.

'Red shirt' rally shows Thailand polarized as ever

by By Panarat Thepgumpanat, Reuters

BANGKOK, Thailand - About 30,000 anti-government "red shirts" rallied in Thailand's capital on Sunday in another show of strength that heralds a rocky run-up to an election due this year.

Spate of attacks kill 8 in Iraq

(UPDATE)Car bombs and explosions killed eight people, including a policeman and two teenage boys, in and around Baghdad on Sunday, the latest in a spate of attacks indicating an apparent spike in unrest.

China's new stealth fighter may use US technology

BRUSSELS - Chinese officials recently unveiled a new, high-tech stealth fighter that could pose a significant threat to American air superiority - and some of its technology, it turns out, may well have come from the US itself.

Pacman to be president at 42 - Arum

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – "I tell you, Pacquiao will become the president of the Philippines when he reaches 42." Top Rank promotions chief Bob Arum made the assertion on Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao's future in politics.

Holyfield bout ends in no-contest

Four-time heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield's fight with Sherman "Tank" Williams ended in a three-round no-contest on Saturday.

Gilas five vents ire on UAE cagers, 92-67

A day after suffering a stinging setback at the hands of an Egyptian squad, the Smart Gilas-Pilipinas men's basketball team buckled down to work and got back to its winning ways, whipping Sharjah Club-United Arab Emirates, 92-67, in the 22nd Dubai International Basketball tournament Saturday at the Al Ahli Club Gym.

NBA: James, Miller lead Heat to victory

MIAMI – With Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh sidelined, Mike Miller was the unexpected co-star to two-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James Saturday in Miami's 120-103 victory over Toronto.

Wizards leave Celtics spellbound with late fightback

by Reuters

WASHINGTON – The Washington Wizards capped a stunning comeback in the final minute to upset the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics 85-83 on Saturday.

Australian Open: Playing in pain, Patrombon survives local boy

Top Filipino junior netter Jeson Patrombon overcame pain caused by blisters in his hands and feet, outlasting local bet Jordan Thompson, 6-4, 7-6 (5) Saturday at the start of the Australian Open Juniors Championship in Melbourne, Australia.

Federer toils to beat Robredo in Melbourne

by By Alastair Himmer, Reuters

MELBOURNE, Australia - Roger Federer toiled in the sun for a 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory over Spain's Tommy Robredo on Sunday, earning the Swiss master a spot in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Cebu jail's 'Michael Jackson' brings dance moves to Muntinlupa

by By Ira Pedrasa, abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The New Bilibid Prison, known for housing hard-core prisoners, may give the Cebu dance inmates some stiff competition soon.

Probe radio stations violating EO on OPM - lawmakers

For failing to give original Pilipino music more airtime, radio stations must be probed, the Rodriguez brothers of Congress said in asking a House committee to do the investigation as noncompliance puts the local music industry at a disadvantage in favor of its foreign counterpart.

Text messaging 'improves children's spelling skills'

Mobile phone text messaging can boost children’s spelling skills, according to new research.

Using a mobile phone can boost children's spelling skills. Photo: IAN JONES

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor 8:00PM GMT 20 Jan 2011

46 Comments

The use of “textisms” can improve literacy among pupils by giving them extra exposure to word composition outside the school day, it was claimed.

The conclusions come despite fears that the use of abbreviations such as “CU L8R”, “Gr8” and “innit” can undermine children’s reading and writing.

Critics have suggested that text messaging can blur the boundaries between colloquialisms and standard English, with some teachers claiming that slang is now creeping into children’s school work.

But academics from Coventry University said there was “no evidence” that access to mobile phones harmed children’s literacy skills and could even have a positive impact on spelling.

In the latest study, researchers recruited 114 children aged nine and 10 from primary schools in the Midlands.

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The pupils, who did not already use a mobile phone, were split into two groups.

Half were given a handset to use for texting over weekends and during the school holidays over a 10-week period. The remaining pupils formed a control group.

Academics then gave pupils a series of reading, spelling and phonological awareness tests before and after the study. Pupils’ reading and spelling was also monitored week-on-week.

The research, to be published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning next month, found evidence of a “significant contribution of textism use to the children’s spelling development during the study”.

This study, which took account of individual differences in IQ, found higher results in test scores recorded by children using mobile phones after 10 weeks compared with the start of the study.

According to the report, the association between spelling and text messaging may be explained by the “highly phonetic nature” of the abbreviations used by children and the alphabetic awareness required for successfully decoding the words.

“It is also possible that textism use adds value because of the indirect way in which mobile phone use may be increasing children’s exposure to print outside of school,” said the report, funded by Becta, the Government’s education technology agency.

Prof Clare Wood, senior lecturer in the university’s psychology department, said: “We are now starting to see consistent evidence that children’s use of text message abbreviations has a positive impact on their spelling skills.

“There is no evidence that children’s language play when using mobile phones is damaging literacy development.”

Will Planet Earth Have ‘Two Suns’ By 2012?

from CrunchGear by Nicholas Deleon

Well look that: we may have another “sun” soon. That would be swell, and certainly the greatest thing to happen to sunglasses manufacturers. A scientist in Australia says that Betelgeuse, which is something like 640 light years away, appears to be losing mass at a fairly rapid rate. If that happens the star could go supernova, which would produce such a blindingly bright, uh, image, that it would be as visible in our sky as a second sun. Wild.

The prediction is that all of this would go down in 2012.

That, of course, means that this actually happened 640 years ago, more than 100 years before Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue.

I don’t know, I thought it was neat. It also reminded me of Sephiroth, which is always appreciated.

Crocodile loses appetite after swallowing cell phone

from mb.com.ph

DNIPROPETROVSK, Ukraine (AFP) – A crocodile in Ukraine who swallowed a cell phone has refused to touch his food for a month and attempts to prompt nature to take its course have so far failed, vets said Saturday.

The Nile crocodile named Gena, who will turn 15 next month, swallowed the phone when a visitor tried to take a picture of him in late December. The ring tone could be heard from inside the reptile for several days afterwards.

Eduard Manukyan, a representative of the aquarium in Ukraine's eastern city of Dnipropetrovsk, said that Gena's condition was worsening by the day but staff fear an operation to extract the phone may be too dangerous.

"He moves around, goes into water but has not eaten for a month," Manukyan told AFP.

In an effort to induce bowel movements, vets gave Gena laxatives and vitamins injected in quail but he refused to touch it.

"Now we will be trying to warm up the water and air to speed up digestion," Manukyan added.


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