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State, private hospitals on alert for New Year’s Eve revelry By Joel C. Atencio December 31, 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

State, private hospitals on alert for New Year’s Eve revelry

By Joel C. Atencio
December 31, 2010, 1:14am
MANILA, Philippines (PNA) – Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel of government-run and private hospitals nationwide were placed on Thursday on alert for firecracker-related injuries and other emergencies as the nation joins the world in welcoming the New Year on Friday.

The Department of Health (DOH) issued this announcement a few days after it launched an all-out drive against the sale and use of firecrackers through its “Kontra Paputok Campaign.".... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295713/state-private-hospitals-alert-new-year-s-eve-revelry

Expect 'extremely wet' weather in 2011 – Pagasa By ELLALYN B. DE VERA December 30, 2010

Expect 'extremely wet' weather in 2011 – Pagasa

By ELLALYN B. DE VERA
December 30, 2010
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Thursday warned of “extremely wet” weather conditions in 2011, mainly due to climate change.

Science and Technology Undersecretary Dr. Graciano Yumul, also PAGASA’s officer-in-charge, said the effects of climate change have been evident in the country causing sea level rise and excessive moisture and rain..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295640/expect-extremely-wet-weather-2011-pagasa

China shuts down 60,000 pornographic websites Friday, 31 December 2010 00:00

China shuts down 60,000 pornographic websites
Friday, 31 December 2010

China said Thursday that authorities had shut down more than 60,000 pornographic websites as part of a year-long crackdown on lewd online content, as Beijing moves to tighten control over the Internet. "By the end of November, we had inspected 1.8 million websites, and closed down more than 60,000 unsound websites that spread porn," Wang Chen, minister for the press office of the State Council, China's cabinet, told reporters.

He added that authorities had jailed 58 people for at least five years in the crackdown on lewd online and mobile phone content that was launched in December last year..... MORE

SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/tech-times/36730-china-shuts-down-60000-pornographic-websites

Denmark, Sweden foil ‘Mumbai-style’ massacre plot Friday, 31 December 2010

Denmark, Sweden foil ‘Mumbai-style’ massacre plot

Friday, 31 December 2010 00:00

COPENHAGEN: Denmark and Sweden said on Wednesday that they had foiled a “Mumbai-style” plot by Islamic extremists to massacre the staff of a Danish newspaper that published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Denmark’s PET intelligence service said that five suspects had been arrested and a submachine gun seized, preventing an imminent assault on the Copenhagen offices of the Jyllands-Posten daily.... MORE
SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/component/content/article/42-rokstories/36737-denmark-sweden-foil-mumbai-style-massacre-plot

2.2-M Filipinos consume NFA rice, NSO says December 31, 2010

2.2-M Filipinos consume NFA rice, NSO says

December 31, 2010, 1:17am
MANILA, Philippines (PNA) - Middle and upper class Filipino families are consuming more National Food Authority (NFA) rice than the poor households, according to the National Statistics Office.

The NSO said there were 1.07 million Filipino households under the upper 70 percent of the Philippine population consumed NFA rice in 2006.

These middle and upper class Filipino families consumed an average of 273 kilogram (kg) per year..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295714/22m-filipinos-consume-nfa-rice-nso-says

Group wary of 'downtrend' in OFW Mideast deployment By ROY C. MABASA December 31, 2010

Group wary of 'downtrend' in OFW Mideast deployment

By ROY C. MABASA
December 31, 2010, 2:45pm
MANILA, Philippines — Certain labor market reforms being implemented by host countries particularly those in the Middle East next year will result in continued “downtrend’ in the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 2011.

This, according to Migrante-Middle East as it echoed the same declaration earlier issued by both the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that from January to October this year a total of 1.079 million OFWs were deployed compared with 1.112 million during the same period of 2009..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295769/group-wary-downtrend-ofw-mideast-deployment

Salceda places Albay under state of calamity; urges PAGASA to device warning system for ITCZ By Mar S. Arguelles December 31, 2010

Salceda places Albay under state of calamity; urges PAGASA to device warning system for ITCZ

By Mar S. Arguelles
December 31, 2010, 1:10am
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (PNA) - Albay Gov. Joey Salceda urges the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) to device a warning system for inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ), giving it a name and levels of warning system similar to the warning system issued during tropical depressions and typhoons signals.

Salceda, Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) chairman, said the proposal would make disaster authorities completely evaluate the impacts of the ITCZ in terms of rainfall content and other parameters..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295709/salceda-places-albay-under-state-calamity-urges-pagasa-device-warning-system-itcz

Vizconde puts to test double-jeopardy rule PDFPrintE-mail Thursday, 30 December 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

SC asked to reconsider acquittal of Webb group

BY ROMMEL C. LONTAYAO REPORTER
NOTWITHSTANDING the rule on double jeopardy, Lauro Vizconde on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision acquitting Hubert Webb and other accused in the Vizconde massacre case.

In an 84-page motion for reconsideration, Vizconde, who was accompanied by Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, urged the High Court to reconsider its decision finding Webb, Peter Estrada, Hospicio Fernandez, Michael Gatchalian,  Antonio Lejano 2nd and Miguel Rodriguez not guilty in the murders of his wife Estrelita and daughters Carmela and Jennifer in 1991.

Filing a motion for reconsideration of a decision by the Supreme Court raises the issue of violation of the double-jeopardy rule, which provides that an accused cannot be tried again for the same offense if he had been acquitted of it..... MORE
SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/top-stories/36599-vizconde-puts-to-test-double-jeopardy-rule

Bangko Sentral hikes inflation forecast for next two years Thursday, 30 December 2010

Bangko Sentral hikes inflation forecast for next two years

Thursday, 30 December 2010
BY LAILANY P. GOMEZ REPORTER

THE Philippine central bank on Wednesday kept its key policy rates on hold for the 13th time amid manageable price trends and favorable economic conditions, but raised its inflation forecast for this year and the next two years.

At its last meeting for 2010, the policy-making Monetary Board decided to maintain the BSP’s key policy interest rates at 4 percent for the overnight borrowing or reverse repurchase (RRP) rate, and 6 percent for the overnight lending or repurchase (RP) rate..... MORE
SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/business-columns/36572-bangko-sentral-hikes-inflation-forecast-for-next-two-years

Paragua dominates New York chess championship Thursday, 30 December 2010

Paragua dominates New York chess championship

 BY EMIL C. NOGUERA REPORTER
FILIPINO Grandmaster (GM) Mark Paragua stamped his class anew in the US chess circuit following his title romp in the Rated Games Tonight Chess Championships in New York City.

Paragua was unbeaten in four games with 3.5 points and finished in a four-way tie with Russian International Master (IM) Yury Lapshun, American IM Jay Bonin and Mexican Juan Sena..... MORE
SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/sports/36584-paragua-dominates-new-york-chess-championship

Jennylyn Mercado speaks up on MMFF issue By WALDEN SADIRI December 30, 2010

Jennylyn Mercado speaks up on MMFF issue

By WALDEN SADIRI
December 30, 2010, 10:52am
MANILA, Philippines - Jennylyn Mercado, who plays the title role in Cinemabuhay/TV 5’s entry to the ongoing 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival, "Rosario," admits feeling "hurt" over not being nominated for Best Actress. 

Jennylyn was one of the two most popular choices for Best Actress, the other being Ai Ai delas Alas, who won for her performance in Star Cinema’s “Ang Tanging Ina (Last Na ‘To!).” Her not being nominated in the category irked her fans and supporters so much that some of them walked out during the Awards Night..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295573/jennylyn-mercado-speaks-mmff-issue

DOLE adopts Code of Conduct to fight corruption, promote better public service December 29, 2010, 11:43pm

DOLE adopts Code of Conduct to fight corruption, promote better public service

December 29, 2010, 11:43pm
MANILA, Philippines (PNA) - Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz on Wednesday signed an administrative order adopting a code of conduct for all Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) officials and employees, effectively ending the year 2010 and her first six months in office with what she described as an “inward-looking strategy to promote transparency and excellent public service and to arm and position everyone in the DOLE in the battle against all forms of graft and corruption”.

“Today, on the eve of the commemoration of the 114th anniversary of the martyrdom of the national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, the DOLE joins the Filipino nation in a pledge to ensure good and efficient governance, in pursuit of President Benigno S. Aquino III in his 22-point labor and employment agenda, by adopting a code of conduct that will govern our way of life as public servants in the next six years and beyond,” Baldoz said shortly after she issued Administrative Order No. 476 in Intramuros, Manila..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295507/dole-adopts-code-conduct-fight-corruption-promote-better-public-service

Observe pay rules on New Year's Day, Baldoz reminds employers December 29, 2010

Observe pay rules on New Year's Day, Baldoz reminds employers

December 29, 2010, 11:41pm
MANILA, Philippines (PNA) - Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz on Wednesday reminded all employers in the country’s private sector that Saturday, 1 January 2011, is a regular holiday nationwide in observance of New Year’s Day.

Baldoz reiterated to employers the goal of President Benigno S. Aquino III, in his 22-point labor and employment agenda, to strengthen the welfare and protection of the country’s workforce..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295505/observe-pay-rules-new-years-day-baldoz-reminds-employers

DoH fears 'cracker injuries may breach 900 by New Year By JENNY F. MANONGDO December 28, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

DoH fears 'cracker injuries may breach 900 by New Year

By JENNY F. MANONGDO
December 28, 2010, 6:21pm
 
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DoH) is projecting the number of fireworks-related injuries to rise to at least 900 between Wednesday and New Year’s Day based on statistics which showed 173 people injured from December 21 until Tuesday afternoon.

Citing DoH surveillance records, health officials said they are worried over the escalating number of victims – a huge number of them children below 10 years old or 43 percent of the total number of firecracker victims..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295255/doh-fears-cracker-injuries-may-breach-900-new-year

E-car inventor aching for gov't attention By ELLSON A. QUISMORIO December 28, 2010, 5:01pm

E-car inventor aching for gov't attention

By ELLSON A. QUISMORIO
December 28, 2010, 5:01pm
 
MANILA, Philippines — Ismael Aviso, aka “Ka Maeng” who is a Filipino electric car inventor, spent Christmas twiddling his thumbs inside his home in Navotas City.

For seven years now, Aviso been telling the government that he has the knowhow to create a car “engine” that uses electricity instead of petroleum. About a month ago, he announced that he has completed his technology and produced a crude but working test vehicle that has been sitting in his nearby shop.... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295240/ecar-inventor-aching-govt-attention

Mutineers must admit guilt for amnesty grant PDFPrintE-mail Wednesday, 29 December

Mutineers must admit guilt for amnesty grant

Wednesday, 29 December
BY WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL REPORTER
SEN. Antonio Trillanes 4th and other rebel soldiers and policemen involved in three attempts to topple the previous administration should first admit their guilt before they can qualify for an amnesty program approved by Congress, according to implementing rules and regulations (IRR) crafted by Malacañang and the Department of National Defense (DND).

The Defense department spokesman, Director Eduardo Batac, on Tuesday disclosed that the IRR would be coming out anytime this week in two major newspapers, after which the department would start entertaining applicants..... MORE

SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/top-stories/36516-mutineers-must-admit-guilt-for-amnesty-grant

NBI raids Ayala safehouse, condos, arrests 24 Chinese by Macon Ramos-Araneta

NBI raids Ayala safehouse, condos, arrests 24 Chinese
 

by Macon Ramos-Araneta
 
NBI agents on Tuesday arrested 24 members of a Chinese telecommunications, Internet and credit card syndicate that has collected P6 billion in just six months of operations in the Philippines following simultaneous raids on eight suspected safe houses in Metro Manila, officials said. 

NBI lawyer Cesar Bacani said they were still establishing the identities of the suspects as they had written their names in Chinese characters and most did not understand or speak English.... MORE

SourceManila Standard

URL: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2010/december/29/news1.isx&d=2010/december/29

Court orders return of ousted PGH director by Rey E. Requejo

Court orders return of ousted PGH director

by Rey E. Requejo
A QUEZON City court has ordered replaced Philippine General Hospital director Jose Gonzales back to his post, saying his claim to it was “clear and unmistakable.”

Judge Luisito Cortez, of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 84, granted Gonzales’ plea to unseat Rolando Enrique Domingo, the hospital’s sitting director, in a resolution dated Dec. 22..... MORE

SourceManila Standard

URL: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2010/december/29/news2.isx&d=2010/december/29

New ferry system eyed to ease traffic by Jeremiah F. de Guzman

New ferry system eyed to ease traffic

by Jeremiah F. de Guzman
 
THE Transport department is studying a public-private partnership project on the ferryboat system between Manila and Laguna to decongest road traffic going to southern Luzon.

Transport Secretary Jose de Jesus told the Manila Standard that the transport agency has already created a group that will work on the feasibility study of the ferry service from Intramuros in Manila to Laguna via Laguna de Bay..... MORE

SourceManila Standard

URL: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2010/december/29/news7.isx&d=2010/december/29

NPA insurgency gone by 2016 – military Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

NPA insurgency gone by 2016 – military


THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is optimistic that the decades-old communist insurgency in the country will be defeated before the end of the six-year term of the Aquino administration in 2016.

The chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO), Lt. Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, on Monday claimed that many members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Frong (CPP-NDF), have expressed their desire to leave the underground movement and return to mainstream society.

According to Burgos, this wish was evident in two separate incidents in Mindoro Occidental and Cagayan de Oro City wherein NPA rebels said that they will surrender after the 18-day suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) against the CPP-NPA that took effect on December 16. .... MORE

SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/top-stories/36416-npa-insurgency-gone-by-2016--military

Govt drops terrorist tag on communist guerrillas by Joyce Pangco Pañares

Govt drops terrorist tag on communist guerrillas
 

by Joyce Pangco Pañares
THE Aquino administration has dropped all references to “communist terrorists” in its new National Security Policy, a sign it is hopeful about the peace talks with the rebels next year. 

A draft of the 44-page document, a copy of which was shown to the Manila Standard, contains no deadline for eradicating the communist New People’s Army or the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Instead of “CT” for the “communist-terrorists,” the document now uses “CNN” to refer to the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army, a convention introduced by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process..... MORE

SourceManila Standard

URL: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2010/december/27/news1.isx&d=2010/december/27

Light rail fare likely to be raised to P18 by Jeremiah F. de Guzman

Light rail fare likely to be raised to P18
 

by Jeremiah F. de Guzman
THE Transport Department says the minimum fare on the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 and on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 is likely to go up to P18 from P10 to reduce the government’s subsidy to commuters.

The increase is expected in the first quarter, and the later increases will be staggered to ease the burden on consumers but bring them near the P26 to P27 fares charged by the air-condition buses, the department says..... MORE

SourceManila Standard

URL: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2010/december/27/news2.isx&d=2010/december/27

Tribal groups oppose hydro project by Rey T. Salita

Tribal groups oppose hydro project
 

by Rey T. Salita
TRIBAL groups in central Mindanao opposing a government plan to build a 348- megawatt hydroelectric dam that will inundate at least 3,000 hectares forestland in southern Bukidnon and displace thousands of indigenous families have found an unlikely ally in the Energy department.

Secretary Jose Almendras said before a Senate committee hearing last week that hydro power generation will be adversely affected by climate change in the next 10 years..... MORE

SourceManila Standard

URL: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNation.htm?f=2010/december/27/nation3.isx&d=2010/december/27

PNP seizes more than 160,000 illegal firecrackers since start of Christmas season December 28, 2010, 11:38am

PNP seizes more than 160,000 illegal firecrackers since start of Christmas season

December 28, 2010, 11:38am
MANILA, Philippines (PNA) – More than 160,000 prohibited firecrackers have already been confiscated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) during continuing operations throughout the country since the start of Christmas Season on December 16.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said that more than 168,000 illegal and prohibited firecrackers have been seized during a series of police operations nationwide..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295176/pnp-seizes-more-160000-illegal-firecrackers-start-christmas-season

SAF, Marines probed for Sulu chapel blast December 28, 2010, 11:34am

SAF, Marines probed for Sulu chapel blast

December 28, 2010, 11:34am
MANILA, Philippines (PNA) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) high command has ordered an investigation of the policemen and Marines on duty at the Sacred Heart Chapel in Sulu which was blasted by an explosion on Christmas Day.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said that members of the PNP’s elite Special Action Force (SAF) and elements of the Philippine Marines who were deployed to check on the reported bomb threat at the Sacred Heart Chapel will be subjected to the probe..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295175/saf-marines-probed-sulu-chapel-blast

Cholera kills 2,707 in Haiti December 28, 2010, 1:25pm

Cholera kills 2,707 in Haiti

December 28, 2010, 1:25pm
SANTO DOMINGO (Xinhua) -- At least 2,707 people have died from the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the country's Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) said Monday.

According to the Dec. 18 statement from the authorities, since the cholera epidemic hit Haiti in mid-October, 128,251 people have been infected, 68,764 of whom were hospitalized.

The epidemic has spread to 10 departments. The northeastern Artibonite department is the most affected, where 813 people have died..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/295199/cholera-kills-2707-haiti

Security lapses eyed in Jolo blast BY RAYMOND AFRICA

Monday, December 27, 2010

Security lapses eyed in Jolo blast

BY RAYMOND AFRICA
 
POLICE investigators are looking into possible security lapses in Camp Asturias in Jolo, Sulu where an improvised explosive device went off Saturday during Christmas Mass in a chapel inside the police camp.

Eleven persons were injured, including Fr. Ricky Baculcol who was saying the Mass.

Chief Supt. Felicisimo Khu Jr., chief of the PNP directorate for integrated police operations-Western Mindanao, said the bomb carrier could have posed as a churchgoer or could have asked someone to bring the IED inside the Asturias Evangelical Chapel which is near one of the camp’s gates..... MORE

SourceMalaya

URL: http://www.malaya.com.ph/12272010/news2.html

Aquino signs P1.64 trillion budget today BY REGINA BENGCO

Aquino signs P1.64 trillion budget today

BY REGINA BENGCO
PRESIDENT Aquino will sign today the P1.645-trillion 2011 budget, his first full-year budget as president.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the President will veto the general provision in the 2011 budget that seeks to limit government borrowings to 55 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The 55 percent debt cap provision was introduced by Sen. Joker Arroyo on the ground that no debt beyond the ceiling should be incurred without approval from Congress..... MORE

SourceMalaya

URL: http://www.malaya.com.ph/12272010/news3.html

‘Terrorism’ enters debate on repro health BY WENDELL VIGILIA

‘Terrorism’ enters debate on repro health

BY WENDELL VIGILIA
NO Christmas truce on the reproductive health debate.

The leading advocate of the reproductive health bill (RH) at the House of Representatives yesterday said the Catholic Church is perpetuating "religious hegemony" in modern age by continuing to attack, malign and threaten with excommunication supporters of the measure which he said only seeks to promote responsible parenthood.

Minority leader Edcel Lagman was reacting to Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines who, in his Christmas message, said with the passage of an RH bill, "a woman’s womb can be a ferocious threat to those who are yet to be born.".... MORE

SourceMalaya

URL: http://www.malaya.com.ph/12272010/news4.html

’Crackers? Just say No, people urged

’Crackers? Just say No, people urged

ABOUT 40 members of green and religious groups staged a noise rally yesterday at the Malate Catholic Church in Manila to ask the public, particularly the children, to stay away from firecrackers this holiday season.

The EcoWaste Coalition, the Care for the Earth Ministry and the Ministry of Children of the Our Lady of Remedies Parish in Malate dramatized their appeal by making noises from tin cans, whistles, and "torotot."

Participants from the youth sector held a banner with the message: "Say No to Firecrackers: Opt for a Safe and Climate-Friendly Celebration of the New Year!" They also gave out leaflets with a list of alternative noisemakers..... MORE

SourceMalaya

URL: http://www.malaya.com.ph/12272010/news5.html

SSS loses P1.2M in checks in van heist

SSS loses P1.2M in checks in van heist

THE Social Security System yesterday said it lost 125 checks, worth P1.4 million, mailed to its members after armed men hijacked a Philippine Postal Corp. delivery van at the Cainta Post Office in Cainta, Rizal on December 13.

It said that based on a police report, the armed men seized the van at the Cainta Post Office as the driver and courier prepared to board the vehicle.

The checks came from the Quezon City Post Office, which were deposited by the SSS on December 6 and 7..... MORE

SourceMalaya

URL: http://www.malaya.com.ph/12272010/news6.html

No prosecution, Pinoy witnesses in HK probe told

CHINESE Ambassador Liu Jianchao has reiterated his assurance that Filipino witnesses who will be participating in the Hong Kong government’s investigation of the August 23 Manila bus hostage crisis are not liable for prosecution in Hong Kong.

He said Hong Kong is also in search of the facts surrounding the hostage crisis that had resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists.

"There is no legal prosecution of witnesses of Filipino people… we like to have the cooperation from Filipino people in finding the real cause," said Liu.

The Hong Kong Coroner’s Court has decided to conduct an investigation into the incident despite the probe already conducted by the Philippines’ Incident Investigation and Review Committee..... MORE

SourceMalaya

URL: http://www.malaya.com.ph/12272010/news8.html

Bamboo bike, e-trikes mark green transport

The Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) identified the development of electric vehicles and green transport as priority projects of the commission for 2011.

Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, cChair of COMSTE, enumerated the flagship projects of the commission, which are Telehealth for remote areas and Digital Medical Records, Remote-Sensing for Agriculture, Electronic Vehicles and Green Transport and Disaster Science, Biotechnology for Health and food security, and Renewable Energy Systems.

Angara said that innovative Green transport systems such as electric tricycles, hybrid jeepneys, buses and electric bicycles have the potential to lessen pollution caused by conventional transportation and the dependency on fossil fuels..... MORE

SourceMalaya

URL: http://www.malaya.com.ph/12272010/news9.html

Camp chapel bombed Priest By AARON B. RECUENCO, NONOY E. LACSON, and ELENA L. ABEN

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Camp chapel bombed

Priest, 10 devotees hurt
 
By AARON B. RECUENCO, NONOY E. LACSON, and ELENA L. ABEN
December 25, 2010, 3:59pm

 MANILA, Philippines — Pandemonium broke loose inside a chapel in a tightly guarded police camp in Sulu’s capital town of Jolo when a loud explosion ripped through the religious establishment during a morning Christmas mass on Saturday, police officials said.

Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin said the officiating priest, later identified as Father Bacolcol, and at least 10 devotees were wounded in the bomb attack.

Some of the wounded devotees were identified as Emma Tan, 29; Antonette Quinones, 30; a certain Dr. Lao; Anna Marie Gerasul, 9; Tama Indata, 33; and Danny Chag, 50..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://mb.com.ph/articles/294779/christmas-church-bombing-sulu-wounds-six

Zambo writers rule in DepEd competition By TONY PE. RIMANDO

Zambo writers rule in DepEd competition

By TONY PE. RIMANDO
December 26, 2010, 2:58pm
ZAMBOANGA CITY – High school campus journalists from Zamboanga del Norte (ZaNorte) and Zamboanga Sibugay dominated the top places in the 2010 Western Mindanao Regional Schools Press Conference individual writing competition held recently in Pagadian City, Zamboanga.

Dr. Walter O. Albos, Region 9 office of the Department of Education (DepEd 9) director, said the week-long writefest, participated in by some 1,500 school scribes from the region’s eight schools divisions, focused on the theme “Campus Journalism: A Driving Force in Ensuring Quality Basic Education.”.... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://mb.com.ph/articles/294922/zambo-writers-rule-deped-competition

'Kampanya Kontra Paputok' mobilized through public information drive By Avegail A. De Vera

'Kampanya Kontra Paputok' mobilized through public information drive

By Avegail A. De Vera
December 26, 2010, 12:57pm
MANILA, Philippines (PNA) - The 'Kampanya Kontra Paputok' of the Department of Health (DOH) has laid out a number of acitvities for a low-rate firecracker-related injuries during the Holiday Season.

Part of the action plan is the Public Information Campaign that aims to promote information and awareness on the dangers of firecrackers and prevention of firecrackers.

The said campaign, directed by Center for Health Development Directors and Chiefs of DOH Hospitals, calls for close cooperation among local radios, TV networks and local government units .

The DOH has ordered all Centers for Health Development to take the lead in implementing the public information campaign in their respective regions or catchments area for 'Kampanya Kontra Paputok' activities, which include information dissemination on the dangers of using prohibited firecrackers and watusi..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://mb.com.ph/articles/294893/kampanya-kontra-paputok-mobilized-through-public-information-drive

Panama president denies alleged phone tap request

 



PANAMA CITY (AP) -- Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli on Saturday denied information from a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable suggesting he asked the United States to help install phone taps on his political opponents, but he acknowledged a request for help against criminals and organized crime figures.

A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from Aug. 22, 2009 quotes then-U.S. ambassador Barbara Stephenson as saying the newly elected conservative president asked for help with wiretaps soon after he took office on July 1.

"He clearly made no distinction between legitimate security targets and political enemies," the cable states, adding Stephenson said "we will not be party to any effort to expand wiretaps to domestic political targets."

In a statement, Martinelli's office said "help in tapping the telephones of politicians was never requested," adding that "any such interpretation of that request is completely mistaken."

The government called it "a mistaken interpretation by U.S. authorities of the request made for assistance in combatting drug trafficking, crime and organized crime.".... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LT_WIKILEAKS_PANAMA_PHONE_TAPS?SITE=MANILA&SECTION=TOP_STORIES&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-12-25-22-55-49

CBCP: Christmas challenges people to act By LESLIE ANN G. AQUINO

CBCP: Christmas challenges people to act

By LESLIE ANN G. AQUINO
December 25, 2010, 7:53pm
MANILA, Philippines – Christmas challenges people to act in order to transform the society they live in, according to the president of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).


CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar said the Christmas season “compels us to accept our individual role in this crucial and intricate work of transforming the face of the Earth.”


He said people should begin transforming the world by receiving Jesus in their hearts.


“If we allow our hearts to be mangers on which He lays, He can make rich and beautiful hearts out of our own – hearts who can love as He loves; who can forgive as He forgives; and generous hearts who take joy in none other than self-giving,” said Odchimar in his Christmas message.


The prelate noted that situations of “unpeace,” such as threats of war, political unrest, and armed conflicts, can sometimes blur the people’s faith and hope in God..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/294856/cbcp-christmas-challenges-people-act

Soaring LPG price affects 'Noche Buena' By ELLSON A. QUISMORIO

Soaring LPG price affects 'Noche Buena'

By ELLSON A. QUISMORIO
December 25, 2010, 5:38pm
MANILA, Philippines — Celia Esguerra, 53, had her budget for her planned Noche Buena “feast” nailed down back in November.

Spaghetti, fruit salad, bulalo (bone marrow soup), fried chicken, ham, and takeout pizza would do the trick, she told herself.

And then her cooking gas tank ran out on her. As it turned out, December was a particularly bad time to buy liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

“I heard in the news that the LPG price was going up on the first day of December,” said Esguerra, in Filipino. “Our tank went empty last December 5. When I called the dealer the next day, I was surprised to find out that the price went up again.”.... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/294807/soaring-lpg-price-affects-noche-buena

Longest-held political prisoner longs for freedom 24 December 2010 By JONAL JAVIER AND ANA RITA SUPAN

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Longest-held political prisoner longs for freedom

24 December 2010
 By JONAL JAVIER AND ANA RITA SUPAN
TASK FORCE DETAINEES OF THE PHILIPPINES AND VERA FILES
 


CHRISTMAS is a time for coming home. And so it came as no surprise when most of the health workers belonging to the “Morong 43” were released on Dec. 10, Human Rights Day. Less than two weeks later, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a military officer charged with leading a coup against the Arroyo government, was likewise freed after years of imprisonment.

A lesser-known political prisoner also awaits freedom. His name is Juanito Itaas. He is one of more than 200 Filipinos still languishing in jail for offenses related to political crimes.

Most Filipinos would not know who Itaas is. But the most important American officials in the Philippines would.

That is because Itaas was accused of killing 21 years ago Col. James Rowe, then the chief of the Army Division of the Joint RP-US Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG) and the highest-ranking US military officer in the Philippines.... MORE

SourceVera Files

URL: http://verafiles.org/frontpage-sticky/longest-held-political-prisoner-longs-for-freedom/

Clear and present danger by Prof. Luis V. Teodoro

Clear and present danger

WE CAN all sleep soundly each night in the certainty that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is on guard and watching over us. Regardless of such technicalities as due process and human rights, it is at this very moment protecting us not only from explosives experts pretending to be health workers, pregnant mothers and nine-year old girls able to carry and even fire M-16 assault rifles taller than themselves, but also from trade union leaders, community activists, lawyers, church people and even a botanist or two.

Like that other model of selfless, honest and efficient public service, the Philippine National Police, the AFP’s job is also to serve and protect. Neither always says who they’re protecting and serving, but they do occasionally mention something called “the people,” by whom we can reasonably surmise from their near-common histories and current actions they mean the hacenderos, the warlords, the foreign mining companies and the other worthies who have made this country such a heaven for themselves by making it hell for the 90 million others who have to live in this archipelago of fear. After all, there’s a rumor that even your friendly local warlord and hacendero are human, too. Think Ampatuan. Think local officials who mastermind the assassination of journalists. Think certain Philippine presidents.


Since the AFP was founded by the United States at the turn of the century, allegedly as an offspring of the Katipunan but in truth to hunt down its remnants, it’s been doing a great job of serving and protecting not only local worthies but also its primary foreign patron — the one that keeps it in arms and provides its chosen officers the training they need in, among others, the fine arts of torture and mayhem.

Recall the campaign against the Huks, and how certain units of the the AFP under the benign guidance of the Central Intelligence Agency did their bit for God, democracy, country and the United States by impaling on poles the severed heads of peasant leaders it had captured and parading them through the country’s villages to impart to the peasantry the signal lesson that it doesn’t pay to rebel, neither hunger nor oppression being reason enough to challenge the democratic order.

Recall the martial law period and how the officer corps defended democracy by serving and protecting Ferdinand Marcos, and how, later — much, much later — some of its members’ reinvented themselves as secret Marcos opponents, took credit for his downfall, and, by using the logic taught them in that magnificent wellspring of intellectual excellence, the Philippine Military Academy, they then condemned the release of Marcos political prisoners. Think Rex Robles. Think Gregorio Honasan.

Think of others such as Trillanes, who believe that launching a putsch overnight is on the same level of patriotism as years of fighting injustice. Think PMA Class of 1978. Think “the fist of martial law” (Alfred McCoy’s phrase in his book, Closer Than Brothers), and remember the brightest and the best sons and daughters of the Filipino people — poets, social workers, cancer surgeons among others — the AFP killed between 1972 and 1986 in furtherance of the democratic ideal. Think of the coup attempts from 1986 to 1989, and the bodies they left behind. Think Lean Alejandro; think Rolando Olalia. Think of the over 1,000 victims of extrajudicial killings between 2000 and 2010.

Now segue to the present, and think Morong 43. Listen to the AFP as it unashamedly announces to the world its conviction that due process, and by implication the very law itself, is a mere technicality. Thus did an AFP spokesman wave aside the Department of Justice’s findings — on which President Aquino III based his order to drop the charges against them — that the arrest of the 43 was flawed. Declaring that they would respect Mr. Aquino’s decision — suggesting thereby that the AFP had a choice in the matter — he also said in the same breath that the AFP “stands by” the “legitimacy” of the so-called operation that, armed with a warrant of arrest for a fictitious person, went on to blindfold the 43 men and women they found in an address the warrant did not specify, took them to one of their camps, and proceeded to psychologically and physically torture, humiliate and subject them to various indignities.

Many people have condemned not only the AFP’s violations of the human rights of the Morong 43, but also the statements the AFP made following the Aquino government decision to withdraw the charges against the health workers. But think national security. Think of clear and present danger; think dangerous tendencies — and think AFP.

Why should this great institution conceal its historic dedication to the defense of democracy, which it believes consists of short circuiting its own processes (or “technicalities”)? Why should it conceal its core principle that might is right — that being in possession of guns endows it with a power far above and beyond that of the courts and the Constitution? Shouldn’t we instead be thankful for the AFP’s most recent statements for being as candid as its communication skills allow, and for coming so close to declaring its true sentiments as it pursues its mission of defending democracy from itself?

Why should it pretend to a logic it doesn’t possess and to which it is immune, its officers having been indoctrinated, from their very first day at the PMA, that only the logic of violence is real, as upperclassmen demonstrate when initiating lowerclassmen into the values of the officer corps? And why should the AFP be made to fret over the fact that the health workers, during the months of their captivity, could have otherwise been serving the health needs of the neglected communities, since these very same communities are the infinite sources of the political and community activists, human rights workers and other malcontents whose very existence so offends their democratic sensibilities they’ve had to rid the country of hundreds of them?

Those who fear for the future of human rights, who’re alarmed by the violations of due process committed supposedly in the service of national security, need a reality check. They should stop expecting too much of an institution that, by serving and protecting, has been the force most responsible for keeping things the way they are in the country of our despair.(BusinessWorld)

(Reprinted with permission from Prof. Luis V. Teodoro)

SourceLuisTeodoro.com

URL: http://www.luisteodoro.com/clear-and-present-danger/

Pinoys spending this season: P1.2-P1.5 billion daily transaction in ATM alone

Pinoys spending this season: P1.2-P1.5 billion daily transaction in ATM alone

A very Merry Christmas to all my readers.  May this beloved season of grace fill you and yours with the choicest of God’s blessings---joy, love, peace and lots of harmonious family and clan get-togethers that we Pinoys deeply relish.    

Buoyancy of Philippine economy

Commentators have spoken about how well the Philippine economy is doing, compared to those of many European countries and the US.  Among the indicators often cited are the rise in our international reserves, boosted mainly by the heavy flow of remittances from overseas Filipinos, and the strong stock market.

 Another handy index was the heavy shopping in the malls, and one reason for this was that folks were beguiled by the wide variety of goods flooding the markets, much of them imported from our Asian neighbors, including our fellow Asean countries and Asean's four partners, namely, Japan, Korea, China and Australia..... MORE

SourcePolitical Tidbits

URL: http://www.polbits.com/2010/12/pinoys-spending-this-season-p12-to-p15.html

What Was the Star of Bethlehem?

What Was the Star of Bethlehem?

[Nb: This is reposted from Philippine Commentary 2005--DJB=]
SINCE NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW THE ANSWER, I have made it a habit, indulged in around Christmas time, to write an essay based on the best conjectures, past and present, as to what exactly the author of the Gospel According to Matthew might have been referring to in this famous passage --
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and are come to worship him." When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him." -- Matthew 2:1-10.... MORE

SourcePhilippine Commentary

URL: http://philippinecommentary.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-was-star-of-bethlehem.html

3 KONTRA-KUNDIMAN — E. San Juan, Jr.

3 KONTRA-KUNDIMAN — E. San Juan, Jr.

Quantcast
ni E. San Juan. Jr.
KONTRA-KUNDIMAN   # 1
ni E. San Juan. Jr.
“Kailangang managinip!”    –V. I. Lenin

Sa gitna ng paglalakbay, sandaling bumaling at naitanong:
Isang matagal na sakit ba ang buhay, walang lunas at lubay?
Bakit hahakbang upang mabulabog ang alikabok sa lansangan?
Tumindig sa harap ng pader, suriin ang bituka ng hayup.

Kakalawangin lamang ang puso mo sa agos ng luha’t pawis.

Nanuot sa buto ang hinala, tumagos sa laman ang hinagap—
Nagluksang langit ang gabay bagamat may bituing kumikislap.
Paano pupuslit kung nakatanikala sa rehas ng iyong dibdib?
Hindi mawatas kung saan lulubog-lulutang ang panaginip..... MORE

SourcePhilippine Matrix Project

URL: http://philcsc.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/3-kontra-kundiman-e-san-juan-jr/

The spirits, flora, fauna thrive in Mount Kitanglad

The spirits, flora, fauna thrive in Mount Kitanglad

MOUNT KITANGLAD, BUKIDNON – A peso coin drenched in chicken blood is the welcome offered to visitors to this mountain, which soars 2,899 meters over the city of Malaybalay, and the towns of Lantapan, Libona, Impasug-ong, and Sumilao.

“This will serve as your identification,” says Bae Inatlawan as she hands over the bloody coin, “so that the spirits will allow you to enter.”

An elder of the Daraghuyan tribal community, Bae Inatlawan – also known as Adelina Tarino – had earlier banged a gong and recited a chant to call the spirits. With the help of a couple of other tribal elders, she then slit the throats of three chickens and poured their blood onto a shrub beside the sacrificial table. The visitors’ hands also got a dab of chicken blood each, as did their cell phones and cameras..... MORE

SourcePhilippine Center for Investigative Journalism

URL: http://pcij.org/stories/the-spirits-flora-fauna-thrive-in-mount-kitanglad/

God often surprises but delivers – Pope Saturday, 25 December 2010

God often surprises but delivers – Pope

Benedict’s Christmas Eve message to air on BBC radio

Pope Benedict XVI will say that God is faithful to His promises but often surprises us by how He fulfills them, in a message for BBC radio’s Thought for the Day to be broadcast later on Friday.

In a special event to mark Christmas Eve, Benedict recorded the message in Rome on Wednesday and his comments will go out in the slot during the corporation’s flagship Today program at 3:45 p.m. (Manila time).

“I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season,” the Pope says in the broadcast, excerpts of which were carried on the BBC’s website.

The pontiff is quoted as saying that Christmas recalls the time in history when the Israelites were waiting for the Messiah, whom they pictured as a great leader who would restore their freedom..... MORE

SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/top-stories/36225-god-often-surprises-but-delivers--pope

DENR set to penalize non-segregation of collected garbage Saturday, 25 December 2010

DENR set to penalize non-segregation of collected garbage

 By James Konstantin Galvez, Reporter

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it would penalize garbage collectors who fail to sort wastes as mandated by law.
“Filipinos are now aware of waste segregation and many are already practicing it in their households, but a lot of them are discouraged to sustain this practice because they see the truck collectors mixing up their garbage anyway,” DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said in a statement.

Section 48 of Republic Act (RA) 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, explicitly prohibits the collection and transport of non-segregated waste.

This also includes mixing source-separated waste in any container used for solid waste collection or disposal.
Paje said that violation of the law is punishable with imprisonment of one day to three years, or a fine of P300 to P500,000.

He said imposing the penalty would encourage garbage collectors to implement ecological waste management and dispose of their collected garbage properly..... MORE

SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/business-columns/36208-denr-set-to-penalize-non-segregation-of-collected-garbage

3,000 families to stay longer in shelters Saturday, 25 December 2010 00:00

3,000 families to stay longer in shelters


Some 3,000 displaced families temporarily housed in various shelters in conflict areas in the country’s southern Mindanao island are expected to return to their homes by the end of 2011, a senior government official said on Thursday.

These people remain homeless as a result of armed conflict between government troops and separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels since 2008.

Most of them live in dire conditions in government-run evacuation centers, at relocation sites or with host families..... MORE

SourceManila Times

URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/top-stories/36228-3000-families-to-stay-longer-in-shelters

Mosley thrilled to face Pacquiao By NICK GIONGCO

Mosley thrilled to face Pacquiao

By NICK GIONGCO
December 24, 2010, 5:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — Shane Mosley believes Manny Pacquiao is tailor-made for him.

Shortly after Top Rank big boss Bob Arum confirmed that the two are going to slug it out on May 7 next year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the 39-year-old American puncher reached out to boxing writers across the US, telling them how thrilled he is to face Pacquiao and how he will dismantle the Filipino dynamo.

“I'm a bigger guy than him and he gets hit,” Mosley told Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. “And you saw how I hurt Floyd (Mayweather). Manny is going to come forward and I will hit him on the chin at some point. His defense is not like Floyd's. Manny will come at me, and I will knock him out.".... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/294725/mosley-thrilled-face-pacquiao

PCCI urges faster rehab of power plants By EDU LOPEZ December 24, 2010, 5:24pm

PCCI urges faster rehab of power plants

By EDU LOPEZ
December 24, 2010, 5:24pm
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has urged new owners of the privatized power plants in Luzon to expedite the rehabilitation and maintenance of their power plants to address the projected energy shortfall in the next two years.

"We can produce another 300 to 600 megawatts until the new power plants come in 2013," said PCCI energy chairman Jose Alejandro.

PCCI is closely working with the government to also help address the Mindanao energy situation which is "facing a very serious challenge in the next two to three years"..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/294730/pcci-urges-faster-rehab-power-plants

Christmas in Children’s Eyes By MA. GLAIZA LEE

Christmas in Children’s Eyes

By MA. GLAIZA LEE
December 24, 2010, 3:24am
Photo by MANNY LLANES
Photo by MANNY LLANES
MANILA, Philippines – Ryan, a nine-year-old boy, looked at the cotton candy in his hand with such amazement and wonder that one would think he was actually in Willy Wonka's sugary world rather than in the hospital dining hall of Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

Ryan is just one of the many children with neurological problems who are being treated there. There are many. Every year, PGH admits more than a hundred children with hydrocephalus. They are either born with hydrocephalus as part of their multiple congenital malformations, or have acquired the condition as a complication of brain infection or tumors. Ryan, for one, suffers from complicated TB meningitis. Treatment isn't cheap. One procedure alone would cost P200,000..... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/294604/christmas-children-s-eyes

A job for a president EDITORIAL 12/24/2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

A job for a president

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
12/24/2010
The case of Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia gives little hope that Noynoy’s boast of walang corrupt, walang mahirap (no corruption, no poverty) will ever be achieved under his administration. Garcia’s plunder case was one of the many that was a residue of the past administration which is characterized by wholesale corruption and, like most cases that involved the raiding of money from the past administration already had built-in safety nets before these were inherited by Noynoy.

There may have been good reasons to suspect that those positions with guaranteed tenure under the Constitution, primarily in the judiciary, may have been stacked with people with whom the previous occupants of the Palace would not have a hard time negotiating, in terms of securing their rank. But Noynoy in classic yellow arrogance, chose to pick a fight with the well-placed appointees rather than win them over, which was all these supposed custodians of justice are waiting for..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com1.html

Going to the dogs FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 12/24/2010

Going to the dogs

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
12/24/2010
Good grief! Why is the military joining the fray and getting into the controversial plea bargain deal between the prosecutors and the former Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller, Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia — and to the point of even saying that the military has already made representations to oppose the plea bargain, as well as stating that a review of the plunder case of Garcia has been ordered by the AFP chief.

That is certainly not within the province of the military and it rightly belongs to the Sandiganbayan justices. Yet it was the AFP chief of staff, Gen. Ricardo David, who issued such a statement.

David claimed he is against the plea bargain deal that allowed the former comptroller to plead guilty to lesser charges of direct bribery and money laundering in exchange for returning a portion of the P300 million he is accused of stealing.

David was quoted as saying: “The position of the Armed Forces is not to have a plea bargain on the charges…If you are asking if the Armed Forces is for the plea bargain, no. We in the Armed Forces, we do not like it. We should proceed with the case.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com2.html

Korean showdown exposes China-US gap — analysts ANALYSIS 12/24/2010

Korean showdown exposes China-US gap — analysts

ANALYSIS

12/24/2010
WASHINGTON — The tense weekend showdown on the Korean peninsula exposes the deep US-China gap over how to resolve a long-simmering crisis that risks erupting anew, analysts said.

Nevertheless, several experts suspected China helped to defuse the immediate crisis by privately warning its neighbor and nuclear-armed ally North Korea to avoid acting on its threat to retaliate for South Korean military drills.

“The Chinese were very concerned about escalation, even to the point of a widescale war on the peninsula,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“The fact that they were so worried about a military conflict may have in fact energized them to do more than they have under other circumstances, and urge the North Koreans not to retaliate,” Glaser told AFP.
And the North Koreans may have decided to hold fire for now only to consider staging a show of military force in the future, she said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com3.html

2011: Decade of change begins DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 12/24/2010

2011: Decade of change begins

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
12/24/2010
Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.

� John F. Kennedy

Ten years ago the country and the world were full of hope. It was a transition not only from an old decade to another, not only from an old century to a new one but also from one old millennium to another. Hope abounded. The Cold War had ended and the nuclear MAD-ness (mutual assured destruction) was believed to be a thing of the past. The Dot.com boom reached dizzying heights and its �wealth effect� would touch every member of the global economy for the better.

Political change was in the air; Bush Jr. became president in the US under the most questionable circumstances while in the Philippines Georgetown economics student Gloria Arroyo became president through a �power grab,� but the euphoria of change carried the day. Even the dreaded doomsday Y2K bug proved a dud, thereafter nothing seemed to be in the way of the new century and new millennium to spoil the good times ahead.

Little did the people of the World and of the Philippines realize that the forces that made a disaster of the last century were already at work to turn the new decade the start of another century of wars, exploitation and oppression. In the US, even before the old century ended, plans for global resurgence of US global pre-eminence was drawn up in the PNAC (Project for a New American Century) in 1997. It included a wish for �a new Pearl Harbor� is which many believe envisioned the 9/11 WTC �inside job� terror strike leading to the Iraq and Afghan wars. In the Philippines, a conspiracy to depose the elected president and install the vice-president already worked out in 1998 when the coup should happen (that is, less than half the official presidential term) to allow the installed vice-president to legally run for a new term and gain a full decade to solidify their gains.

The omens were clear: Bush Jr.�s electoral coup d�etat aided by the Florida voting machine fraud and the Republican dominated US Supreme Court thwarting the popular will of the American people, and in the Philippines, the Edsa Dos coup d�etat aided by the Davide Supreme Court thwarting the Filipinos� popular will.

What followed in both countries was a record of misuse and massive abuse of political power triggering endless wars by the US president and endless larceny by the Philippine president � all of which benefitted the global and local corporatocratic aristocracy, institutionalizing their systematic looting and monopoly of political power and economic plunder. As that decade ended they prepared for the next with new elections that installed their own again � no change in American, no change in the world, no change in the Philippines.

Elections generally achieve only an illusion or change, little real change happens when structural foundations stay the same. The real power behind America today is still the financial class, despite its mess that collapsed the US economy and caused massive American jobs losses; Obama and the US Congress bails out the financial class and not the people. The same in the Philippines: New names on old, old programs, like old roads given new street names: the Build-Operate-Transfer law is still the basis for the �new� Public-Private Partnership projects, the Conditional Cash Transfer replaces the old Millennium Fund dole-outs � �same same.� Some cosmetic changes have more psychological impact than others, such as the release of political prisoners that does not change the political equation but releases revolutionary fervor of formerly imprisoned reform leaders.

However, real change still can come under these difficult situations, such as from an unexpected turn of mind of those installed by elections, compelling drastic moves from the powers behind the throne, such as assassination � and frequently in US history. In the Philippines, a coup d�etat is normally sufficient, or its threat is usually enough to keep the installed leader on �good� behavior. The forces for real change, leaders that identify themselves with the welfare of the people, can also rise within the system and work stealthily both within and outside in springing surprises on the forces of the neo-aristocracy or corporatocracy. There will always be a sufficient number of leaders and forces for real change because oppression and exploitation are real. Suffering of all oppressed classes is real, and heightening of consciousness continues unabated especially in the alternative media like the Internet.

A holiday get together highlighted four generations of genuine and progressive change-leaders with ideologies ranging from communist/socialist, Marcos military, Yellow officers, young officers, church laity and Edsa Tres stalwarts, I was told by one reformist politician that the �army� for change is now three times larger than it was when it shook the Marcos and Aquino regimes; I added that the people�s bitter experiences (as in the electric power plunder issue) and failed economic promises (increasing unemployment, for example) of the new US and Philippine establishment leadership also prepare the population to an insurrection against the oppressive order (as we see in Europe and smashing of Prince Charles� car window). One caveat was expressed, �When we strike against the oligarchy, it must be finished completely in one blow.� I can see it all happening, beginning 2011.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics Today with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., replay 11 p.m., Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 8; visit our blogs, http://new-katipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiu-laurel.blogspot.com; P.S. � �10 Minutes Lights Out vs Power Plunderers,� 7 to 7:10 p.m., Monday nights)


(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com4.html

Lebanon’s disabled war veterans spread Christmas cheer focus 12/24/2010

Lebanon’s disabled war veterans spread Christmas cheer

focus

12/24/2010
BEIT SHABAB — Bechara was only 19 when, fighting for one of Lebanon’s many militias during the 1975-1990 civil war, he was wounded in battle as a bullet lodged itself in his spine.

Thirty-four years later, from his wheelchair, he is crafting Christmas gifts for children across his native Lebanon, a still-divided country that risks sliding back into chaos at any moment.

“My biggest hope is that Lebanon will no longer know war,” said the 53-year-old from his work station at the Lebanese Institute for the Disabled, where he paints mistletoes and pictures of Saint Nicholas onto tablecloths.

The institute, located in the charming mountain village of Beit Shabab some 24 kilometers (15 miles) east of Beirut, has given Bechara and dozens others the chance to rebuild their lives after the bloody 15-year civil war, which left more than 150,000 dead and thousands missing and maimed.

The war, which initially pitted leftist and Palestinian factions against rightwing Christians, quickly escalated into a free-for-all sectarian bloodbath..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com5.html

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