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ICC prosecutor rejects PH gov’t call to stop resumption of probe
MANILA, Philippines --- Prosecutor Karim Khan of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected the request of the Philippine government to stop the resumption of the tribunal's investigation of deaths related to the Duterte administration's drug war and Davao Death Squad killings in the Philippines. In its request to the ICC, the Philippine government cited three reasons --- lack of jurisdiction, admissibility, and complementarity. But Khan, in a 21-page response dated Sept. 22 and sent to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC), rejected the arguments, saying: "The Prosecution respectfully submits that none of those arguments have merit." According to Khan, the Philippine gov...Keep on reading: ICC prosecutor rejects PH gov’t call to stop resumption of probe
Matt Smith: It’s always good fun to play a baddie
British actor Matt Smith may have made the role of "House of the Dragon" bida-kontrabida Prince Daemon Targaryen distinctly his own, but those who have been following his stellar career know only too well there's hardly any tough nut he's incapable of cracking as far as essaying difficult roles are concerned. After all, the 39-year-old Emmy- and Bafta-nominated actor is just as acclaimed for his portrayals of the blood-sucking vampire Milo (in "Morbius"), Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip ("The Crown"), the impressionable protagonist's boyfriend-turned-manager-turned-abuser ("Last Night in Soho"), risqu photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and, of course, the 11th incarnation...Keep on reading: Matt Smith: It’s always good fun to play a baddie
Why embarking on romance ‘very difficult’ for Gretchen Ho at this time
"I've come to accept that now isn't the time for it yet," said TV host Gretchen Ho when Inquirer Entertainment asked whether she is now ready to make time for an active love life. It has been over five years since Gretchen and TV host Robi Domingo, her boyfriend of three years, broke up. She has yet to publicly introduce anyone as a romantic partner since. "I feel that everything has its set time. I'm so busy these days that I don't even have enough time to sleep well. I chose to focus on work to be able to protect and preserve the blessings that are coming my way. It's hard for me to commit to that side of my life right now," said Gretchen during the virtual media gathering to la...Keep on reading: Why embarking on romance ‘very difficult’ for Gretchen Ho at this time
Lawyers slam Badoy, call on SC to take action
MANILA, Philippines --- A group of lawyers berated on Tuesday a former anti-insurgency task force spokesperson, Lorraine Badoy, for threatening and red-tagging a Manila regional trial court judge. In a statement, the group said Badoy's threats and red-tagging "constitute a direct attack against the judiciary," as well as its officers to "undermine public confidence in the justice system and to harass and intimidate those who choose to act independently to promote the rule of law." They then noted that Badoy continued her "brazen and outrageous" attacks through social media, including threats to life and to bomb offices, vicious red-tagging, and wild accusations. "We call on ...Keep on reading: Lawyers slam Badoy, call on SC to take action
Dawn Chang praises trustworthy Thai driver’s services
During a trip to Thailand recently, actress Dawn Chang was so impressed with the services of a woman Thai taxi driver that she helped promote the driver's services on her social media account. "What I love about traveling is I get to meet a lot of people from different walks of life, learn their culture and enjoy each others company," she said in her Instagram page last Thursday, Sept. 22. Chang met the driver Pooh who became Chang's personal tour guide and driver throughout her stay in Thailand. She described Pooh as an ultimate professional, "a nice person, always on time and was very patient when she had to wait."   View this post on Instagram ...Keep on reading: Dawn Chang praises trustworthy Thai driver’s services
Banning POGOs would just push workers underground — Salceda
MANILA, Philippines --- Banning Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) would only push companies and their workers underground, Albay Second District Rep. Joey Salceda said. A ban would also make displaced workers struggle for survival, Salceda, an economist, said in an interview with ABS-CBN's "Headstart" on Tuesday. It's also possible for some operators to keep running games even if made illegal because everything is digital, making it hard for the government to keep track of them, Salceda said. He noted that at the start there were some 200 POGOs, and now only 34 remain that are licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor). That meant that from 376...Keep on reading: Banning POGOs would just push workers underground — Salceda
PH needs 147,000 new teachers, hiring 10,000 not enough — ACT
MANILA, Philippines --- Hiring 10,000 teachers alone will not be enough to alleviate the teacher shortage, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said in a statement on Tuesday. "We need to hire 147,000 new teachers to be able to lower the class size to 35," Dana Beltran, ACT deputy secretary general, said. "Its cost of P54 billion is a worthy investment for our youth's and nation's future. It is perfectly doable only if the national government would straighten up its priorities and rid the 2023 proposed budget of hefty allocations to questionable agency-hosted pork barrel funds, dubious confidential and intelligence funds, and onerous debt payments." Beltran was reacting to ...Keep on reading: PH needs 147,000 new teachers, hiring 10,000 not enough — ACT
NBA puts premium on fan experience in new app
MANILA, Philippines---The NBA currently has 71.1 million followers on Instagram alone---way more than the NFL, MLB and NHL combined. Already a global empire, the NBA continues to further grow its audience. The league on Tuesday announced the launch of its redesigned app, which provides wall-to-wall content including behind-the-scenes access to players and teams. The launch also comes just in time for the 2022-23 season, which tips off on October 18. "There will also be content generated by the players themselves," said Bob Carney, NBA senior vice president, digital & social content, who also mentioned that so much of the league's social media consumption comes from th...Keep on reading: NBA puts premium on fan experience in new app
Truck loses brakes, rams seven vehicles in Quezon City
MANILA, Philippines --- A trailer truck lost its brake and rammed seven vehicles on a Quezon City highway on Tuesday morning, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reported. A taxi, two SUVs, a van, and three other vehicles were involved in the collision at the Aurora-Katipunan interchange. The unidentified driver escaped but later surrendered to the MMDA. "Driver resurfaced and admitted that the trailer truck experienced loss of brake," the MMDA said in its report. The Quezon City Police District said all of the seven motorists did not incur major injuries. ---KRISTELLE RAZON ( TRAINEE) RELATED STORIES 3 students at online class, computer ...Keep on reading: Truck loses brakes, rams seven vehicles in Quezon City
NCAA: Mapua starting to hit ‘panic mode’ after 1-4 start, admits Paolo Hernandez
MANILA, Philippines---Last year's finalist Mapua is slowly going into panic mode four games into the NCAA Season 98 men's basketball tournament. With high expectations following the Cardinals after last season, the team has dropped to the ninth seed holding a 1-4 win-loss record. "It (standings) worries us, we're in panic mode a bit but we'll keep going. Hopefully in the next game we can recover. The ball is round. Anything can happen, every team can win or lose. They're competitive," Paolo Hernandez said after their 67-62 defeat to Letran on Tuesday. "We're disappointed but we'll keep going. We'll continue to grind and we'll do our best in the next games," he added. Ever...Keep on reading: NCAA: Mapua starting to hit ‘panic mode’ after 1-4 start, admits Paolo Hernandez
PBA: Tim Cone expects grind-out battle when Ginebra meets Aldin Ayo’s Converge
MANILA, Philippines--Aldin Ayo knows he has his work cut out for him when he battles Tim Cone and his charges in the PBA Commissioner's Cup. Turns out, the feeling is mutual. "He has a clear vision of how he wants his player and knows how to implement his playing style," Cone, the PBA's winningest mentor told the Inquirer when asked about Ayo, the young tactician who is getting his feet wet in the pro league with Converge. The FiberXers and the crowd darlings were supposed to lock horns last Sunday, but the inclement weather prompted the PBA to reschedule the clash. Cone is well aware of the Ayo's exploits at the varsity level and told the Inquirer in an earlier interview...Keep on reading: PBA: Tim Cone expects grind-out battle when Ginebra meets Aldin Ayo’s Converge
Damage, losses in Agri sector due to Karding reach P1.29 billion — DA
MANILA, Philippines --- The agricultural damage and losses due to Typhoon Karding is now at P1.29 billion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Tuesday. The total said amount of damages have been reported in Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Bicol Region, affecting82,158 farmers and fisherfolk in the said regions. The total volume of production loss is also at 72,231 metric tons, which refers to commodities like rice, corn, high value crops, livestock and poultry, and fisheries. A total of 141,312 hectares of agricultural areas have been likewise damaged by the typhoon. "The increase in overall damage and ...Keep on reading: Damage, losses in Agri sector due to Karding reach P1.29 billion — DA
16 Vietnamese,  8 Chinese human trafficking victims rescued in Parañaque
MANILA, Philippines --- Sixteen Vietnamese and eight Chinese human trafficking victims were rescued from two Chinese suspects who allegedly held them captive in Paraaque City, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Tuesday. PNP Officer in-Charge Lieutenant General Jose Chiquito Malayo, in a statement, said the rescue operation stemmed from an intelligence report the police received about a group of women being confined in three separate units of a condominium complex in the village of Tambo. Joint forces of the Paraaque City Police, Barangay Women Desk Office, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development then acted on the information, which led to the arrest of th...Keep on reading: 16 Vietnamese, 8 Chinese human trafficking victims rescued in Parañaque
Quimbo confident proposed 2023 budget would be passed on Wednesday
MANILA, Philippines --- House of Representatives committee on appropriations vice chairperson and Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo is confident that the proposed 2023 national budget will be passed on Wednesday, noting that the majority has the numbers. Quimbo said during the Ugnayan sa Batasan briefing on Tuesday that the House has the numbers to pass the budget even if there would be motions from the minority to defer debates on an agency's proposed funding. The question was raised in anticipation of the budget debates for the remaining offices on Wednesday, which includes the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), wherein its budget was deferred in view of...Keep on reading: Quimbo confident proposed 2023 budget would be passed on Wednesday
Spikers’ Turf: Cignal ousts Navy, sets up finals duel vs NU-Sta. Elena
MANILA, Philippines--Cignal knocked out PGJC-Navy with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 victory and secured an entry to the Finals of the Spikers' Turf Open Conference on Tuesday at Paco Arena. The HD Spikers will face National University-Sta. Elena, which earlier completed a sweep of the semifinals, in the best of three finals starting on Thurdday. Marck Espejo unloaded 11 attacks and four blocks for a 16-point output in the victory while Ysay Marasigan added 14, including the last kill that put away the Sealions. Owen Suarez orchestrated Cignal's attacks with 21 excellent sets, including the game-clinching play completed by Marasigan "Very happy and we reached the finals. But I'm ...Keep on reading: Spikers’ Turf: Cignal ousts Navy, sets up finals duel vs NU-Sta. Elena
Ray Parks to play more on the ball for Nagoya in second B.League season
MANILA, Philippines---Ray Parks running the point for Nagoya could be a familiar sight in the upcoming B.League season. Parks being an effective playmaker would certainly cause problems for opposing teams with his length and size as the Diamond Dolphins look to build on their campaign the previous season. "This season we're trying to switch things up. We have a flexible offense. We want to put different people in different situations. I'll be more on the ball this year and I'm excited to take that role. Whatever the team needs me to do, I'll definitely do it," Parks said during the B.League 2022-23 Tip-off press conference on Tuesday. Last season, Parks played a significant ...Keep on reading: Ray Parks to play more on the ball for Nagoya in second B.League season
Bicam gives nod to SIM registration bill
MANILA, Philippines --- The bicameral conference committee gave its nod to the subscriber identity module (SIM) registration bill on Tuesday. The panel deliberated on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 1310 and House Bill No. 14, the chambers' respective versions of the SIM registration bill. "Bicam-approved na ang Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act! Salamat po sa ating mga kapwa mambabatas sa pagsisikap para ito ay maipasa," Senator Sherwin Gatchalian announced in a Twitter post. (The SIM Registration Act is already bi...Keep on reading: Bicam gives nod to SIM registration bill
Brent Paraiso on ejection in Letran win: I don’t know which planet that call came from
MANILA, Philippines---Letran was left confused following the ejection and possible suspension of key players Brent Paraiso and Louie Sangalang. Both players were thrown out of the game late in the Knights' 67-62 win over Mapua in the NCAA men's basketball on Tuesday. League house rules state that a player ejected from a game due to technical fouls will be suspended in the next game. Paraiso, meanwhile, was ejected due to an "act of violence" on Adrian Nocum, which was only called after a review because no whistle was called--something which did not sit right with him. "I didn't do anything. That's just how basketball is," said Paraiso in Filipino. "Not everything is an act o...Keep on reading: Brent Paraiso on ejection in Letran win: I don’t know which planet that call came from
Resolution honoring heroism of 5 Bulacan rescuers adopted in Senate
MANILA, Philippines --- A resolution honoring the heroism of five local rescuers who died saving victims of Typhoon Karding (international name: Noru) in Bulacan has been adopted at the Senate. Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. sponsored the resolution during Tuesday's Senate plenary session. "We all share this deep sorrow and pain with the families and loved ones of our rescuers while exalting their sacrifice with a highest sense of great pride and profound gratitude. Habang ito ay isang malaking trahedya, ito rin ay huwaran ng kabayanihan," Revilla said. (While this is a big tragedy, this is also a role model of heroism.) "Ipinamalas po nila sa buong mundo ang bukod-tanging kat...Keep on reading: Resolution honoring heroism of 5 Bulacan rescuers adopted in Senate
Former QC assistant prosecutor named as CHR en banc chair
MANILA, Philippines --- A former assistant Quezon City prosecutor who also used to be a member of the Office of the Ombudsman has been named as the new chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) en banc committee, the agency said on Tuesday night. In a statement, CHR revealed that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the appointment papers of lawyer Richard Paat Palpal-latoc last September 15. Palpal-latoc o will serve a seven-year term, which will end in 2029. "The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes the appointment of Atty. Richard Paat Palpal-latoc who will sit at the helm of the CHR Commissionen bancVI as its new Chairperson," CHR said in a statement. "Ch...Keep on reading: Former QC assistant prosecutor named as CHR en banc chair
- Francis Earl Cueto,Bella Cariaso,Arlie O. Calalo
'Karding' leaves 6 dead

THE strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year left at least six people dead, authorities said Monday.

Typhoon "Karding" (international name: "Noru") toppled trees, knocked out power and flooded low-lying communities as it swept across Luzon on Sunday and Monday.

"We were ready for all of this," President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. told a briefing with disaster agencies Monday. "You might think that we overdid it. There is no such thing as overkill when it comes to disasters."

Five rescuers were killed after they were sent to help flooded residents in San Miguel town in Bulacan.

LtCol. Romualdo Andres, San Miguel chief of police, said the rescuers were wading through floodwaters when a wall beside them collapsed, sending them into the fast current.

An elderly man died after he was hit by a landslide in Burdeos municipality on the Polillo Islands, part of Quezon province, where the storm made landfall, said Garner Jimenez from the local civil defense office.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Monday said it was confirming reports that six fishermen in Camarines Norte were missing after they sailed into stormy seas.

The Civil Defense Bicol quoted the Camarines Norte Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office as saying that the fishermen were from the town of Mercedes.

Karding smashed into Luzon on Sunday after an unprecedented "explosive intensification" in wind speeds, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said earlier.

It made landfall near Polillo before weakening to a typhoon as it crossed a mountain range, coconut plantations and rice fields.

Nearly 75,000 people were evacuated from their homes before the storm hit, as Pagasa warned heavy rain could cause "serious flooding" in vulnerable areas, trigger landslides and destroy crops.

But on Monday there was no sign of the widespread devastation many had feared, as the storm moved over the South China Sea toward Vietnam.

Aerial footage taken during Marcos' inspection flight over Central Luzon showed rivers that were swollen or had burst their banks and patches of farmland under water.

Burdeos town on the Polillo Islands bore the brunt of the typhoon.

Ferocious winds ripped off some roofs and brought down large trees while heavy rain flooded riverside houses, said Ervin Calleja, a 49-year-old teacher.

Flimsy houses along the coast were damaged and some crops were wiped out.

"Here at the town center all banana trees were flattened, 100 percent," said Liezel Calusin, a member of Polillio's civil defense team. "We still have no electricity, but the phones are working."

The Department of Agriculture initially put the damage to agriculture at P141.38 million.

Close to 79,000 people were preemptively evacuated from 84 villages in Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, the National Capital Region and Cordillera.

Metro Manila had the most number of evacuees at 33,043.

Officials also said 32 seaports in Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Bicol suspended trips, stranding 2,338 passengers.

During the briefing at the NDRRMC headquarters in Quezon City, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla told Marcos that Nueva Ecija and Aurora still had no power as of 7 a.m. Monday.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said the restoration of downed power lines is in full swing.

The Department of Energy said the majority of the power plants in Luzon were back to normal operations.

The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said 1,226,867 of its customers experienced power outages Sunday.

As of Monday morning, the number of affected customers was down to 51,773, Meralco said in a statement. Majority of them are in Bulacan, Rizal and Marikina.

Telecommunications companies have also begun to restore their services in the affected areas.

PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications on Monday said they had started providing free calls and text as well as free charging in Bataan, Aurora, Quezon, Tarlac, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Zambales.

Globe said service in most of Polillo has been restored. Call, text and data services are back up in Burdeos, Patnanungan, Polillo and Jomalig, it said.

National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Benny Antiporda confirmed that the Bulo Dam in Bulacan exceeded its spilling level of 76 meters, causing flooding in the towns of Doña Remedios Trinidad and San Miguel.

Antiporda also said that the NIA's decision to release water from the Magat Dam in Isabela ahead of the typhoon prevented flooding in nearby provinces.  Resident surveys the damage wrought by the typhoon on his farm. PHOTOS BY MIKE DE JUAN

Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista said at least 1.469 million hectares of palay and 281,322 hectares of corn were about to be harvested when Karding struck.

The Philippine Air Force said its disaster response task unit personnel, equipment, and air assets in Luzon are standing by for humanitarian missions.

Abalos said 8,642 police officers and 11,619 firefighters have been deployed in the affected areas, vital installations and evacuation centers.


- Kristina Maralit
Marcos assures 'full assistance' to typhoon victims

PRESIDENT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday assured a "whole range of assistance" from the government for people in areas hardest hit by Super Typhoon "Karding."

"Presently what we are organizing is the airlift for food materials, food packs, water into Polillo because they said it's one of the most affected," the President said in a briefing at the Office of Civil Defense.

"Then, after we intend to get the basics there — again food, water, shelter and even clothes, all of these things... The DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) is also prepared to provide AICS (assistance to individuals in crisis situations) for those that will need assistance," he said.

The government will also provide financial assistance to the displaced residents in stricken areas in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac, but only after rescue and rebuilding efforts have ended and evacuees are provided with their immediate needs.

"The whole range of assistance is prepared, is ready to go. But right now, having cash is really not very useful for them. So, we will prioritize their immediate needs and then when the time comes they can already make use of the AICS, we will give it to them," Marcos said.

He said he was satisfied with the readiness of frontline government agencies even before the typhoon made landfall, and relieved that it left only "minimal" damage.

"I think we may have gotten lucky at least this time, a little bit. But I think it's clear from this — from what we did these last two days is that very, very important is preparation," the President said.

"Get people out of the areas of danger. Put all of your assets that you are going to use for rescue, relief efforts, put them in place as much as possible. ... It's really in the preparation," he said.

Accompanied by Defense Secretary Jose Faustino, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, and Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo, the President conducted an aerial inspection of several provinces in northern Luzon to assess the destruction from Karding.

"After our aerial inspection today, we found some areas that are still inundated with water. Nueva Ecija and Aurora are without power. We are sending gensets (generator sets) now," Marcos said.

He said that generally, "the damage to public and private infrastructure is manageable. Government services are almost at full function. Main thoroughfares are passable, communication is up and running."

- Kaithreen Cruz
New Covid cases in NCR exceed August peak

THE National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila logged 1,600 new Covid-19 cases on September 25, surpassing the peak of 1,502 cases recorded on August 7, OCTA Research reported on Monday.

The Covid positivity rate in the region has also gone up, from 15.7 percent on September 15, to 18.5 percent on September 24, exceeding August 5 rate of 17.5 percent, OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said.

"The one-week growth rate in NCR increased to 25 percent as of September 25, almost double the one-week growth rate of 13 percent on September 18," David said.

The Covid-19 reproduction number, or the number of persons infected by a single individual, also rose to 1.30 on September 22 — from 1.21 on September 15.|

David did not find the rising indicators as alarming, since healthcare utilization remained low at a low 36 percent.

"Cases are expected to increase further, but we expect hospital bed occupancy to remain at low levels," he said.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante urged the public to get their Covid-19 booster dose to increase their protection against severe infection.

Solante said that most of the time, those who die and develop severe Covid are unvaccinated individuals.

"Those who have not yet received their primary doses are the most vulnerable, especially with the mild Covid that could develop into severe Covid, particularly among the vulnerable population," he said during a briefing on Monday.

Solante also said that six new Omicron subvariants are being monitored by different countries for signs of high mutation and the capability to evade antibodies from Covid-19 vaccines.

He said the chances of Covid-19 transmission could increase with the new subvariants.

He said he expects cases to further increase within the next two weeks because the Omicron subvariant BA.5 is still active in the country.

- Tiziana Celine Piatos
Pinoys prioritize hygiene over food during emergencies

FILIPINOS are more likely to buy personal care and hygiene products than food during disasters or emergencies, a study showed.

A research on Filipino shopping habits conducted by Packworks Sari IQ and which it shared with The Manila Times on Monday showed that 18 percent of the sales of sari-sari or small convenience stores is made up of hair care products.

Laundry supplies were the second most popular items, with 16 percent of sales.

Other purchases, which include oral care, body care, beverages and canned goods, came in third with 15 percent.

Breakfast items like tea, coffee and creamer came in fourth with 14 percent.

Cooking necessities followed at 13 percent, oats and cereals at 13 percent, and pasta and noodles at 11 percent.

Packworks Sari IQ said the research covered purchases in sari-sari stores in areas affected by the earthquake in Abra last June, the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas in March, and Typhoon "Odette" in Leyte in December 2021.

When the Abra earthquake struck, the volume of products in the hair care category spiked by more than 50 percent of sales during normal days.

During the Taal upheavals, sales of hair care products went up by more than 50 percent.

The purchasing priorities were different after Odette devastated Leyte. During that calamity, the sale of noodles and other cooking necessities soared by over 60 percent.

In normal times, hair care products come in last in terms of average consumer spending, second behind pasta and noodles at 15 percent.

"The Philippines is a regular target of natural disasters because of its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Residents at the epicenter opt to buy their immediate necessities from a nearby sari-sari store rather than go to big supermarkets," said Andres Montiel, Packworks' head of Data.

Montiel said it is highly helpful in tracking what items are considered as essential by consumers during natural disasters.

"This can be helpful in demand planning and product seasonality on the brand principal's end," he added.

- Moises Cruz
Review nuclear power strategies, govt urged

PANGASINAN Second District Rep. Mark Cojuangco and Alpas Pilipinas urged the executive branch to act on President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s desire to reexamine strategies for building nuclear power plants in the Philippines.

The President said this in the light of the impending power crisis caused by the high and still-rising prices of coal and gas.

The Philippines has felt the severe impact of continuous oil price hikes over the past few months. This added to the already-strained finances of many Filipinos, who are just now beginning to recover from the pandemic's various consequences.

This demonstrates how essential, secure and affordable electricity is for homes, companies and industries where a little change in pricing, generation or supply has a far-reaching impact on everyone and everything.

"Nuclear power is the safest technology ever devised by humans. We should perceive it as a savior rather than a danger," Cojuangco said during his short talk on Saturday at the NuclearPinas event.

"It has been a 15-year advocacy for my children and grandchildren, as I wish for Filipinos to be free of the burden of high electricity prices," he added.

Cojuangco's nuclear advocacy group, Alpas Pinas, thinks that the Filipino people deserve more. He added that it is the right time for nuclear energy to empower Filipinos with affordable, clean and dependable electricity.

The lawmaker mentioned a price range of P16 to P20 per kilowatt hour in Zambales and contrasted it to nuclear power, which may drop to P5 per kilowatt hour or half-priced electricity by 2030. This will vastly improve the lives of millions of Filipinos across the country. The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), the first in Southeast Asia.TMT file photo

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, the country's first and only nuclear power plant, was shut down in 1986 due to safety concerns following the Chernobyl tragedy in Russia in the same year.

"If we exclude Chernobyl because it had no containment and which has an all-time casualty rate of less than 50 since 1986, this data would read zero casualties for nuclear power," Cojuangco said.

- Kaithreen Cruz
Rise in PH working-age population boon

THE Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) highlighted the important role of a robust working-age population in achieving socioeconomic development through a state of demographic dividend, with the 64 percent ratio of working-age Filipinos in 2020.

The PopCom referenced the latest Philippine Statistics Authority's Labor Force Survey, which indicates a continued rise in the employment rate at 94.8 percent in July 2022, estimated at 47.39 million employed people, compared to the 41.67 million in the same period in 2021.

During the seventh edition of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific-Committee on Social Development earlier this month, PopCom Officer in Charge Executive Director (OIC-ED) Lolito Tacardon said that the steadily increasing proportion of the Philippines' working age aligned with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s goal to reinvigorate job creation and poverty reduction.

"Over the medium term, the agenda will focus on creating more [secured jobs] and social protection and retaining an adequate and productive workforce.... Retooling and reskilling, as well as the institution of effective job-facilitation processes to increase the employability of job seekers, will be strategically pursued," Tacardon added.

He said that the economy could be steered back to a high-growth path and economic transformation for a prosperous, inclusive and resilient society.

He emphasized how the quality of Filipino human resources would improve with intensified measures such as the Universal Health Care Law and the upgrading of the educational curriculum adapted to the digital revolution.

Social protection for workers is also among the core functions to support poverty reduction and strengthen human-capital investments, including the adoption of the National ID System that will make the delivery of services more efficient through digitalization.

As a major source of global health care workers, Tacardon assured that the national government is exerting efforts to improve Filipino professionals' status, welfare, protection and benefits through mutual agreements with other countries.

Similarly, the PopCom OIC-ED also said that efforts are being exerted by the national government to address constraints on food, energy, transportation and logistics to provide an affordable and accessible supply of goods and services to all Filipinos.

- Ma. Reina Leanne Tolentino
Lawmaker pushes bill on Sierra Madre

RIZAL Fourth District Rep. Juan Fidel Felipe Nograles renewed his call for the immediate passage of a bill creating the Sierra Madre Development Authority.

"Amid the threat of 'Karding,' Sierra Madre has once again shown just how crucial it is in protecting us against extreme weather events. The Sierra Madre Development Authority (SMDA) will help us preserve this shield in the face of a worsening climate crisis," Nograles said.

"We have to be more aggressive, strategic, and comprehensive in our efforts to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. The SMDA will be a massive help in unifying our efforts," he said.

"Karding" hit the Philippines on Sunday, September 25.

Proclamation 413 of 2012 declared September 26 of every year as "Save Sierra Madre Day."

The Sierra Madre is the country's longest mountain range. It runs hundreds of kilometers from Cagayan to Quezon province.

"It is considered and known as the 'backbone of Luzon' as the mountain range whose forest cover is a natural shield and barrier protecting the island of Luzon by attenuating the entry of typhoons from the Pacific Ocean even before reaching the mainland and protecting the island from storm surges as well," the bill's explanatory note read.

The bill mandates the SMDA to "make a comprehensive survey of the physical and natural resources and potentialities of the Sierra Madre region" and "draft a comprehensive and detailed plan designed to conserve and utilize optimally the resources within the Sierra Madre region to promote the region's rapid social and economic development."

Under the bill, the SMDA will be empowered to collect annual fees for the use of resources. The fees to be collected shall be subject to the approval of the country's president and "shall be used for the management and development of" the Sierra Madre region, "its forest covers and its watershed areas," the bill says.

A similar bill that is also pending at the House of Representatives was filed by Isabela Sixth District Rep. Faustino "Inno" Dy 5th. It is House Bill 1214, a measure that was filed also in July and which seeks to create the Sierra Madre Conservation and Development Authority.

- Associated Press
US, SKorea hold drills after North's test

SEOUL: A United States aircraft carrier and its battle group launched drills with South Korean warships off the Korean Peninsula's east coast on Monday in their first such training in five years, a day after North Korea test-fired a short-range ballistic missile in a possible response to the exercise.

Pyongyang could conduct more tests in the coming days, as it views the US-South Korean military exercises as practice for an invasion and often reacts with displays of weapons designed to attack its rivals.

The four days of drills are aimed at demonstrating the allies' "powerful resolve to respond to North Korean provocations" and improving their ability to perform joint naval operations, the South Korean Navy said in a statement.

More than 20 American and South Korean navy ships, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, a US cruiser, and South Korean and US destroyers, were mobilized for the drills, according to the statement. Fighter jets and helicopters from both countries will also take part in the training, it said.

It would be the first such joint drills involving a US aircraft carrier near the peninsula since 2017, when Washington sent three aircraft carriers, including the Reagan, for naval drills with Seoul in response to North Korean nuclear and missile tests. The allies had since canceled or downsized some of their regular drills to support now-dormant talks on North Korea's nuclear program or guard against Covid-19.

The North Korean missile fired on Sunday flew about 600 kilometers (370 miles) at the maximum altitude of 60 km (37 mi) before falling into the waters off the North's east coast, according to South Korean estimates. Some experts say Pyongyang might have launched a nuclear-capable, highly maneuverable ballistic missile and that its 600-km flight had enough range to strike a southeastern South Korean port where the Reagan was previously docked.

North Korea has conducted a record number of missile tests this year as it steadfastly rebuffs US and South Korean calls to resume nuclear diplomacy. Pyongyang has said it won't return to talks unless Washington drops its hostile policies in an apparent reference to US-South Korean military drills and US-led economic sanctions on it.

Earlier this month, North Korea adopted a new law that authorized the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in some situations, a development that showed its increasingly aggressive nuclear doctrine.

Some analysts say North Korea would eventually aim for arms control negotiations with the US to get sanctions relief and other concessions in return for a partial surrender of its nuclear capability.

- Frederick Silverio
5,239 displaced by 'Karding' in Bulacan

THE provincial government of Bulacan has recorded 5,239 Bulakenyos who left their homes and took shelter in various evacuation centers in the province to escape the onslaught of Super Typhoon 'Karding' since Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022.

Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office head Rowena Tiongson said a total of 117 evacuation centers sheltered 1,571 families, including 1,447 children and 231 senior citizens, all over the province.

Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando immediately responded and distributed family food packs and nonfood items to the families temporarily sheltered at the Obando Municipal Hall on Monday morning.

Vice Gov. Alex Castro and Obando Mayor Leonardo Valeda also sent aid to the evacuees.

In an ambush interview by The Manila Times, Fernando said that he will also visit and deliver aid to the affected Bulakenyos in the municipalities of San Miguel, Dona Remedios Trinidad, Angat, San Ildefonso and San Rafael, which were all badly hit by Karding.

"Hangga't hindi humuhupa ang tubig sa kanilang mga lugar ay hindi muna po natin pababalikin ang mga evacuees sa kanilang mga tahanan dahil delikado pa. Pupuntahan po natin sila. Uunahin lamang po natin ang mga lubhang naapektuhan ng pagbaha at sisikapin po natin tulungan ang lahat ng nasalanta (Not until the flood has subsided, we will not allow the evacuees to return to their homes because it is still dangerous. We will come to them. We will first help the ones who were hit the hardest by the flood but we will try our best to help all those who are affected)," the governor said.

According to a report, 109 villages were submerged by 3 to 10 feet of floodwaters in the province.

The most number of evacuees came from District 6 of Bulacan where eight villages in Sta. Maria town, six in Norzagaray and four in Angat were severely affected.

As of 7 a.m. on Monday, Angat Dam's water elevation was 184.07 meters, which is considered high while Ipo Dam is at 101.07 meters, which is within its minimum operating level.

The water level in Bustos Dam is at 16.22 meters.

1 missing in Pangasinan

In Pangasinan, one person was reported missing while more than 1,000 others living in high-risk areas were taken to different evacuation centers as Karding crossed Central Luzon on Sunday night.

Police said Bienvenido Sarmiento, 53, of Barangay Manambong Parte in Bayambang was reported missing by his daughter to the police on Sunday night.

Sarmiento left their house on Sunday morning to go fishing at the Mangabul Reservation, which is traversed by the Agno River, and had not returned home since then.

A report of the Department of Social Welfare and Development regional office showed that as of 7 a.m. on Monday, September 26, some 252 families consisting of 1,044 individuals were taken to 19 evacuation centers in 10 Pangasinan towns and cities.

On the morning of the same day, most of those who evacuated had returned home.

Karding began to be felt in the province on Sunday afternoon when it dumped rains in the province. The wind whipped by the typhoon was felt at about 2 a.m. also on Monday.

As of 7 a.m. Monday, the water level in Pangasinan's main river systems — the Agno River, Bued-Cayanga-Patalan River and Pantal-Sinocalan River — remained below alert status, according to Agno River Basin Flood Forecasting and Warning Center in Rosales town.

Because of this, the water levels at Binga, Ambuklao and San Roque dams did not reach spilling level.

Ambuklao and Binga are located upstream of the Agno River in Benguet province. Water spilled by Ambuklao is collected at the Binga dam below it, while the water spilled by Binga is caught by the San Roque Dam, which is downstream of the Agno River in San Manuel town in Pangasinan.

The local government of San Nicolas in the eastern part of Pangasinan announced on Monday that the Villa Verde Road is not passable due to landslides caused by Karding. The road connects Pangasinan to Nueva Vizcaya.


- Agence France-Presse
Death toll in Bangladesh boat tragedy climbs to 32

DHAKA: Rescue workers recovered seven more bodies on Monday after a boat carrying religious pilgrims capsized in Bangladesh, raising the death toll to 32 with scores still missing, police said.

The small boat packed with mostly women and children on their way to the popular Bodeshwari Temple flipped over on Sunday in a river as onlookers screamed in horror from the shore.

The incident in a remote area in northern Bangladesh was the latest in a string of similar tragedies blamed on poor maintenance and overcrowding in the low-lying delta country.

District police chief Sirajul Huda said the seven bodies were found in the Karotoa river downstream from where the boat capsized, near the town of Boda. It carried about 90 people, more than the 50 pilgrims that police on Sunday initially said were aboard.

"Sixty people are still missing," Huda told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"It was carrying three times its capacity. There were heavy rains in the morning and that is why when the ferrying began, pilgrims packed the boat to make it quickly to the temple," he said. "The boatman asked some people to disembark in an effort to ease the weight-load. But no one listened."

Local media said at least 10 people had been rescued and sent to the hospital.

Mobile phone footage aired by television station Channel 24 showed the overcrowded boat suddenly flipping over, spilling the passengers into the muddy brown river.

Dozens of people watching from the shore started shouting and screaming. The weather was calm at the time.

Thousands of Hindus in Muslim-majority Bangladesh visit the centuries-old temple every year.

Sunday marked the start of Durga Puja, the biggest Hindu festival in Bangladesh — and also eastern India — drawing large crowds to the temple.

Last December, about 40 people perished when a packed three-story ferry caught fire in southern Bangladesh.

A ferry sank in Dhaka in June 2020 after a collision with another vessel, killing at least 32 people.

And at least 78 people perished in 2015 when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo vessel in a river west of the capital.

- Al Jacinto
Village councilor shot dead in Isabela City

ZAMBOANGA CITY: A lone gunman shot dead a village councilor in the seaside city of Isabela in the province of Basilan in southern Philippines.

Police said the weekend attack killed the 45-year old Kennedy Indal Buhali along Strong Boulevard in the village called Port Area.

Buhali, a council member in the village of Tampalan in Malamawi Island, was standing outside a roadside eatery owned by his cousin when the gunman shot him several times from behind, according to Maj. Shellamie Chang, regional police spokeswoman.

"Initial investigation disclosed that prior to the incident, the victim was outside a small eatery of his cousin located at Strong Boulevard when an unidentified suspect shot the victim several times, hitting his back that resulted in his untimely death," Chang said without elaborating further.

She said police investigators recovered four pieces of cartridges from a.45-caliber pistol from the scene.

"Police are investigating the killing to determine the motive and for the identity and arrest of the suspect," she said.

Buhali's family did not release any statement.

Gun attacks are not uncommon in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, due to the presence of hired killers and rebel groups.

- Agence France-Presse
HK cardinal, 5 others start protest fund trial

HONG KONG: A 90-year-old Hong Kong cardinal went on trial alongside five fellow democracy supporters on Monday over their role in running a fund to help defend people arrested in anti-government protests.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, one of Asia's highest-ranking Catholic clerics, was originally detained earlier this year under a national security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong to quell dissent.

His arrest for "colluding with foreign forces" shocked the city's Catholic community and renewed criticism of the Vatican's warming ties with Beijing, including from fellow senior clerics.

Police are yet to charge Zen with a national security offense, which can carry up to life in jail.

Instead, he and his fellow defendants, including activist and singer Denise Ho and veteran human rights barrister Margaret Ng, are being prosecuted for the less serious offense of failing to properly register their fund as a society.

If convicted, they face a fine of up to HK$10,000 ($1,274), but no jail time. All have pleaded not guilty.

None of the defendants spoke to reporters on their way into West Kowloon court on Monday morning.

Zen, who is retired, had a walking stick and used his phone to scan a digital health code application that Hong Kong has used to grant access to public venues during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Vatican has been silent on Zen's arrest, saying it was concerned and "following the development of the situation very closely."

Pope Francis declined to comment on Zen's arrest when asked about it earlier this month, but said he was determined to continue pursuing a dialogue with Beijing.

Zen's prosecution comes at a sensitive time for the Vatican, which is working to renew its controversial agreement with Beijing later this year over the appointment of bishops in China.

Shanghai-born Zen was critical, calling the deal a "sellout" of China's underground Catholics who have faced persecution for remaining loyal to Rome and refusing to recognize the Communist Party-sanctioned Catholic Patriotic Association.

'We abandoned him'

One of the most senior Catholic clerics to criticize the Vatican's response to Zen's arrest is German Cardinal Gerhard Mueller.

"We abandoned him," Mueller told the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero earlier this month, saying he was disappointed that a recent consistory — a gathering of cardinals in Rome — did not speak in support of Zen.

"This cardinal will be sacrificed on the altar of reason, to defend and implement the diplomatic agreement with Beijing," he said.

Zen's group acted as trustees of a now-defunct fund that helped pay legal and medical costs for those arrested during huge and sometimes violent democracy protests three years ago.

China responded to those protests with a sweeping crackdown on dissent.

A majority of the city's most prominent democracy activists are now in jail or have fled overseas, while dozens of civil society groups have shuttered.

Some groups have been prosecuted for funding and registration irregularities, even though several had functioned without incident for years.

Hong Kong's government says prosecutors are simply following the law.

Critics contend a form of "lawfare" has been launched to silence critical groups and bog them down in expensive legal fights.

Zen's "612 Humanitarian Relief Fund" is charged with not properly registering under the Societies Ordinance, a colonial-era law from 1911.

The fund was disbanded after national security police demanded it hand over operational details, including information about its donors and beneficiaries.

As proceedings got underway on Monday, lawyers for both sides argued over whether the fund needed to register as a society.

The court is not sitting on consecutive days, and the trial is expected to conclude in early November.

The initial national security investigation was triggered when one of the defendants, cultural studies scholar Hui Po-keung, was intercepted at Hong Kong's airport on May 10 as he tried to leave to take up an academic post in Europe.

- Franz R. Sumangil

THE Bangsamoro Parliament has filed its first bill under the new Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

The bill, which seeks to declare Cotabato City as the "permanent seat" of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), was filed by Member of Parliament (MP) Baintan Adil-Ampatuan and co-authored by MPs Amir Mawallil, Rasol Mitmug Jr., Laisa Alamia, Suharto Ambolodto, Don Mustapha Loong and Rasul Ismael.

The bill's authors cited Republic Act 11054 or the "Organic Law for the BARMM," which provides that the Parliament shall fix by law the permanent seat of the BARMM "taking into consideration accessibility and efficiency in which its mandate may be carried out."

The Bangsamoro Administrative Code provides that the seat of the Bangsamoro Government shall be in Cotabato City, unless otherwise provided by the Bangsamoro Parliament in a subsequent law.

Cotabato City has been the regional seat of the three autonomous regions — Regional Autonomous Government 12 from 1979, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao from 1990 and the BARMM from 2019.

The city also hosted the compound housing of government buildings now referred to as Bangsamoro Government Center (BGC).

The authors described the buildings in the BGC as "significant, historic and symbolic of the Bangsamoro struggle."

Some of the notable buildings in the compound are the Office of the Chief Minister, the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex with the Bangsamoro Museum and Regional Library, Bangsamoro Parliament building, among others.

The BCG hosts the governance structure of the Bangsamoro Government with a bureaucracy of 32 ministries, agencies, and offices and its 80-member BTA Parliament.

Adil-Ampatuan said that various Bangsamoro leaders held their offices in the Cotabato City seat of the government. The place has also welcomed several Philippine presidents since Corazon Aquino until current President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

They also cited the visits by dignitaries of the multilateral organizations and diplomatic corps, who witnessed peace and development undertakings in the autonomous government.

Adil-Ampatuan said they cannot undo or ignore the historical narrative of the city as a seat of the autonomous governments.

He added that this must be reinforced, promoted, and developed in order to preserve and advance the rich historical dimensions of the Bangsamoro in the Southern Philippines.

The bill also proposes that the buildings within the BGC shall be preserved and improved to sustain their historical value.

Furthermore, it also proposes to authorize the Office of the Chief Minister to establish an Annex Bangsamoro Government Center within Cotabato City.

The bill proposes that no additional major infrastructure shall be constructed within the present BGC that would require additional lot space for the new building.

Existing buildings, however, may be renovated and improved, but in no case, is an expansion of building allowed.

The bill also mandates a perimeter fencing of the BGC and for the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy to conduct a survey of the metes and bounds of the property for perimeter fencing.

On September 19, a resolution was filed by the Cabinet proposing that the administrative capital of the Bangsamoro Government be established in Parang town in what is now Maguindanao del Norte and appropriating funds for the purpose.

Cabinet Resolution 5 notes that BARMM is a huge government organization with legislative and executive powers and requires adequate space for its smooth operations and functioning and that Parang is being eyed as one of the locations for the new seat of the BARMM.

However, Ampatuan and her co-authors in Bill 1 also introduced a proposed resolution urging the Office of the Chief Minister to engage the services of an independent consultant who will conduct a comparative study on the proposed transfer of government center in Parang, Maguindanao from Cotabato City.

Ampatuan noted that Cotabato City is "very accessible to the general public considering the availability of transportation, stable electricity and water, presence of telecommunication facilities, banks, financing intermediaries, commercial centers, schools, hospitals, among others, which are crucial in government operations."

- Jomar Canlas
Church can't turn a blind eye on corruption – CBCP

AN official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that the Church will continue to be vigilant against corruption and other ills in government.

During the inaugural gathering in Manila of more than 40 diocesan public affairs ministers, Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista stressed the importance of collaboration for the nation's growth. But he also clarified that the Church must adhere to its Christian values of "truth, peace and love."

"We will also remain vigilant and critical to all forms of corruption, mishandling of public funds and violations of human rights," he said.

Evangelista noted that tensions only arise "when we do not fulfill what we ought to do according to God's will, such as when we do not respect human life; violate human rights; and greedily think of personal convenience instead.

- Arlie O. Calalo

SOME 766 residents severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic have received another package of livelihood and cash assistance, Mayor John Rey Tiangco said on Monday.

The beneficiaries were also given cash aid worth P1,000 to P3,000 under the "NavoAhon Ayuda" program, the mayor said.

Among the beneficiaries were some 400 displaced workers; 105 delivery riders, jeepney, tricycle and pedicab drivers; 21 jobseekers who graduated in 2020-2021; 60 small-scale entrepreneurs whose businesses were not allowed to operate during the heightened quarantine restrictions; and 180 new small business owners.

The mayor told The Manila Times that they decided to provide livelihood as well as financial assistance to residents who were severely affected by the pandemic.

"The number of Covid-19 cases is now declining and more Navoteños are now able to return to work and businesses have resumed operations, but many are still struggling," Tiangco said.

"It may take us awhile to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic, and we want to extend all possible assistance to our constituents until then," he added.

Another batch of beneficiaries is expected to be validated and provided with livelihood assistance next month, the local government said.

The "NavoAhon Ayuda" is part of a series of pandemic recovery programs that the city government has lined up for Navoteños, according to the city chief executive.

In February and March this year, 2,500 qualified individuals and small business owners also received cash assistance under the program. At that time, the local administration was under then mayor and now Rep. Tobias "Toby" Tiangco, the mayor's brother.

The Tiangco brothers have been credited by residents for their effective Covid-19 response programs, especially at the height of the deadly disease where lockdowns were imposed and residents stayed at home without jobs or income.

- Agence France-Presse
Little cheer as Japan, China mark 50 years of ties

TOKYO: Japan and China will mark 50 years of diplomatic relations this month with little public celebration, as increasing friction over territorial rivalries and military spending frays ties.

The world's second- and third-largest economies are key trading partners and just a few years ago seemed poised for a diplomatic blossoming, with plans for a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

But since then, ties have soured significantly as Beijing bolsters its military, projects power regionally and beyond, and takes a harder line on disputed territory.

In recent months, Chinese missiles are believed to have fallen within Japan's exclusive economic zone, and Tokyo has protested what it calls growing aerial and maritime violations.

Japan also regularly complains about Chinese activity around the disputed, Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyus.

"Chinese ships are loitering for dozens of days in the East China Sea, while an artificial island and a base have already been built in the South China Sea," said Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

"That makes us wonder: how much further will China's ambition go in terms of naval power?" added Sasae, a former ambassador to Washington and vice minister of foreign affairs.

The war in Ukraine has only deepened the divide, with Japan backing Western allies opposed to Russia's invasion while Beijing avoids criticizing Moscow.

And the conflict has refocused attention on whether China might try to forcibly reunite Taiwan with the mainland, prompting Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to warn that the war in Ukraine "could be East Asia tomorrow."

'Anxious about China'

Beijing and Tokyo normalized relations in a joint communique on Sept. 29, 1972, that officially ended their state of war and saw Japan drop its recognition of Taiwan.

Economic ties grew quickly and steadily, but political relations have been more unstable, weathering a series of crises, including over the disputed Senkaku-Diaoyu islands.

Beijing's growing power has left Japan "anxious about China," said Rumi Aoyama, director of the Waseda Institute of Contemporary Chinese Studies.

"Japan sees China's activities in the Senkaku islands as problematic and involving a 'core interest,'" Aoyama told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"But the problem is, China doesn't understand this Japanese perspective. Instead, it tends to see Japan as just following whatever the US says," she said.

Tokyo is a longstanding and key United States ally, but it has been expanding its partnerships as a bulwark against Beijing.

It backed a revived "Quad" alliance with Australia, India and the US, and Kishida in June became Japan's first leader to attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit.

"China is gaining power and confidence. That's a trend that can't be ignored," said Ken Endo, a security expert and international politics professor at the University of Tokyo.

Japan must "consistently state internationally" that changing the status quo by force, whether in Ukraine or Taiwan, is unacceptable, he said.

Tokyo needs a more robust defense capacity — something Kishida and his ruling party have already publicly backed — to show that "it'll cost a lot if you invade us," Endo added.

Trading partners

Japan is reportedly weighing boosting defense spending up to 2 percent of gross domestic product within five years, from the current 1 percent.

That would represent a sea change in Japan, whose pacifist constitution still limits its military capacity, but a modest increase compared to decades of additional spending by Beijing.

It could also carry its own dangers, stoking regional tensions, if communication with China is not handled carefully, Sasae said.

"Every country has contingency plans, including China, but Japan should make clear that it does not want military confrontation," he said.

Japan's brutal occupation of parts of China before and during World War 2 remains a sore point, with Beijing accusing Tokyo of failing to atone for its past.

Visits by Japanese officials to the Yasukuni shrine that honors war dead — including convicted war criminals — regularly prompt anger from Beijing.

For all the tensions, the two countries remain economically intertwined: China is Japan's largest trading partner, and Japan is China's second-largest after the US.

And reports suggest Tokyo could be seeking Xi-Kishida talks in the coming months, online or in person.

Business ties are "a decisive factor in stopping a free fall of the relation," said Aurelio Insisa, a history professor at the University of Hong Kong and author of a book on Chinese-Japanese ties.

But they may not be sufficient to thaw ties.

"Beijing's behavior in its neighborhood, and Tokyo's perceptions of it, are the two main factors capable of changing the current dynamic," Insisa said. "I would not bet on any improvement on these two fronts."

- Moises Cruz

A GROUP of residents at Vista Real Classica in Old Balara, Quezon City called on 8990 Housing Development Corp. to remove its men from the subdivision and stop harassing homeowners.

In a media statement, Vista Real Classica homeowners said they asked the company to postpone implementing a lower court's warrant of execution, which might lead to the forced eviction of their families who have lived in the subdivision for more than a decade.

"We ask 8990 Holdings Inc., a publicly-listed company led by Atty. Anthony Vincent Sotto, to stop using the writ of execution and its security personnel from trying to evict the legitimate homeowners of Vista Real Classica who are victims caught in the middle of the land dispute between two big developers, Sta. Lucia Land Inc. and 8990 Holdings," the homeowners said.

They said that the status quo should be maintained while the case between Sta. Lucia Realty and 8990 Housing Development is pending before the Supreme Court. The residents said that they purchased their property in good faith.

The conflict began when the lawyers of 8990 Housing Development Corp. alerted residents that security personnel will be deployed to enforce the writ of execution issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 104 on June 7, 2022.

According to the residents, some 30 non-uniformed men arrived in the area. They constructed temporary shelters and urged maintenance employees to leave the property in August.

The homeowners had previously requested that the Office of the President and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) revoke Sta. Lucia Land Inc. for the deception.

"We have been victims of fraud, misrepresentation and unsound business practices employed by two publicly listed realty developers, Sta. Lucia Land Inc. and 8990 Holdings Inc., that are trying to take away our homes," they said.

In a statement, 8990 Housing Development Corp., through its legal counsel, said it will maintain the status quo to ensure that the homeowners can continue to enjoy free access to their residence.

In a brief phone interview with The Manila Times, one of the homeowners said that if the situation worsens and is not resolved, it can drive away investors and scare Filipinos from buying property.

- Al Jacinto
6 BIFF members yield in Maguindanao

ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Philippine military said six members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) surrendered over the weekend in Ampatuan town in the restive Muslim province of Maguindanao.

The militants' surrender also coincided with the attack of a group of soldiers in Picong t0wn in the neighboring province of Lanao del Sur. The ambush on a patrolling Marine unit wounded at least three soldiers.

The Western Mindanao Command said among those who surrendered was a commander identified only as alias King Fahad.

Lt. Col. Samuel Nadala Jr., commander of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion (2MIB), handed over the group to Col. Oriel Pangcog, commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade.

Pangcog did not elaborate on the details of the surrender, but he said the former rebels were given an unspecified amount of cash as part of the military's assistance to the returnees. He said the former Muslim extremists, who handed over six assorted rifles, will also be provided with more government aid.

From January to September, 178 BIFF members had yielded to the task force.

Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, commended the 2MIB and the task force for their efforts in convincing rebels to surrender peacefully.

"The troops are now reaping the fruits of their efforts and sacrifices," he said.

The BIFF is a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is still fighting for the establishment of a caliphate in Mindanao. Its leaders have pledged allegiance to ISIS and launched a violent campaign in the southern region.

- Associated Press
Kishida opens diplomacy rush as Japan readies Abe funeral

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a series of meetings with foreign dignitaries on Monday in what he called "funeral diplomacy," a day before he hosts a controversial state-sponsored ceremony for former premier Shinzo Abe.

Kishida has been criticized for pushing for Tuesday's formal state funeral for Abe, who was assassinated in July, amid questions over their ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) close ties with the Unification Church — which is accused of brainwashing its adherents — and doubts over the legitimacy of a state event with links to pre-World War 2 imperial Japan.

The premier said the honor was fitting for the longest-serving leader in Japan's modern political history. He also said it would allow him to meet personally with visiting foreign leaders and forge stronger ties at a time when the East Asian country faces a host of urgent issues, from Chinese and North Korean military threats to worries over regional economic and security matters.

In a rush of planned meetings, Kishida was to hold talks with about 40 foreign dignitaries over the next few days at the Akasaka Palace state guest house in the capital Tokyo.

He met on Monday with United States Vice President Kamala Harris, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippine Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio and about 10 other foreign dignitaries.

Kishida told Harris that Abe "poured his heart and soul" into strengthening ties between their two countries, adding: "I feel it is my duty to carry on his aspirations."

Harris said "the alliance between Japan and the United States is a cornerstone of what we believe is integral to peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region."

On Tuesday, Kishida is to hold talks with his Indian and Australian counterparts, Narendra Modi and Anthony Albanese.

China, a sometimes harsh critic of what it saw as the conservative Abe's moves to expand Japan's military and whitewash history, will send former science minister Wan Gang, whose title is sufficiently politically neutral as to raise few eyebrows. He is also the head of the China Zhiong Party, one of eight figurehead bodies tasked with advising the ruling Communist Party and giving China the veneer of a multiparty system.

Wan is also a ranking member of the legislature's toothless advisory body, with a specialty in the auto industry. He is not known to have had any connection to Japan, its parliament or the Abe family.

Other leaders from Group of Seven countries and many others who attended Queen Elizabeth 2nd's funeral in London last week won't be at Abe's funeral. South Korea is sending Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, who is to meet with Kishida on Wednesday.

Political watchers say holding a state funeral for Abe is an attempt by Kishida to stabilize his grip on power by placating LDP lawmakers belonging to Abe's conservative political faction.

Security around the Budokan martial arts arena, where the memorial will be held, has been raised to high levels, with uniformed police officers patrolling the neighborhood with police dogs and stopping cars for inspections. They also poked inside manholes, and a group of police officers dived into a nearby moat for safety checks.

Travel on roads around the Budokan and the Akasaka will be restricted through Wednesday, including about 10 hours on Tuesday, according to Tokyo police.

Police security has come under scrutiny after the police force was accused of not providing adequate protection for Abe when he was killed. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters on Monday that police had stepped up information gathering, analysis and protection measures ahead of the funeral.

"We will do our utmost for security and take all necessary steps so we can respond to any situation," he said.

- Agence France-Presse
NASA to smash spacecraft into asteroid in key test of planetary defense

Washington: NASA will on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) attempt a feat humanity has never before accomplished: deliberately smacking a spacecraft into an asteroid to slightly deflect its orbit, in a key test of our ability to stop cosmic objects from devastating life on Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spaceship launched from California last November and is fast approaching its target, which it will strike at roughly 14,000 miles (22,500 kilometers) per hour.

To be sure, neither the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, nor the big brother it orbits, called Didymos, pose any threat as the pair loop the Sun, passing about seven million miles from Earth at nearest approach.

But NASA has deemed the experiment important to carry out before an actual need is discovered.

If all goes to plan, impact between the car-sized spacecraft, and the 530-foot (160 meters, or two Statues of Liberty) asteroid should take place at 7:14 p.m. Eastern Time (2314 GMT), and can be followed on a NASA livestream.

By striking Dimorphos head on, NASA hopes to push it into a smaller orbit, shaving ten minutes off the time it takes to encircle Didymos, which is currently 11 hours and 55 minutes — a change that will be detected by ground telescopes in the days that follow.

The proof-of-concept experiment will make a reality of what has before only been attempted in science fiction — notably films such as "Armageddon" and "Don't Look Up."

Technically challenging

As the craft propels itself through space, flying autonomously for the mission's final phase, its camera system will start to beam down the very first pictures of Dimorphos.

Minutes later, a toaster-sized satellite called LICIACube, which separated from DART a couple of weeks earlier, will make a close pass of the site to capture images of the collision and the ejecta — the pulverized rock thrown off by impact.

LICIACube's pictures will be sent back in the weeks and months that follow.

Also watching the event: an array of telescopes, both on Earth and in space — including the recently operational James Webb — which might be able to see a brightening cloud of dust.

Finally, a full picture of what the system looks like will be revealed when a European Space Agency mission four years down the line called Hera arrives to survey Dimorphos's surface and measure its mass, which scientists can only guess at currently.

Being prepared

Very few of the billions of asteroids and comets in our solar system are considered potentially hazardous to our planet, and none are expected in the next hundred or so years.

But "I guarantee to you that if you wait long enough, there will be an object," said NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen.

We know that from the geological record — for example, the six-mile wide Chicxulub asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago, plunging the world into a long winter that led to the mass extinction of the dinosaurs along with 75 percent of all species.

An asteroid the size of Dimorphos, by contrast, would only cause a regional impact, such as devastating a city, albeit with greater force than any nuclear bomb in history.

How much momentum DART imparts on Dimorphos will depend on whether the asteroid is solid rock, or more like a "rubbish pile" of boulders bound by mutual gravity, a property that's not yet known.

The shape of the asteroid is also not known, but NASA engineers are confident DART's SmartNav guidance system will hit its target.

If it misses, NASA will have another shot in two years' time, with the spaceship containing just enough fuel for another pass.

But if it succeeds, Chabot said, the mission will mark the first step towards a world capable of defending itself from a future existential threat.

- Associated Press
Yoon scolds South Korean media over hot mic moment

SEOUL: South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday accused his country's media of damaging its alliance with the United States after a television broadcaster released a video suggesting he insulted American legislators following a meeting with US President Joe Biden in New York City last week.

The Munhwa Broadcasting Corp. (MBC) caught Yoon on tape talking to his aides and top diplomats following a brief chat with Biden on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly meetings. While the audio was unclear, Yoon could be heard using what seemed as indecent language during comments the broadcaster captioned as: "Wouldn't it be too darn embarrassing for Biden if those idiots at legislature don't approve?"

Yoon's meeting with his US counterpart came after they both delivered speeches in support of the Global Fund, an international campaign to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Biden administration has pledged $6 billion in US contributions to the initiative through 2025, but it's pending congressional approval. Yoon's government has promised $100 million.

After the MBC video roused the internet and triggered criticism from rival politicians decrying a "diplomatic disaster," Yoon's office belatedly denied the report hours later last Thursday, insisting that he wasn't talking about the US Congress or Biden.

Kim Eun-hye, Yoon's spokesman, said he was expressing concern that South Korea's opposition-controlled National Assembly could reject his plans for the $100-million contribution. She said the word MBC heard as Biden was actually "nal-li-myeon," an expression that can be used to describe something being thrown away. She didn't specifically address Yoon's apparent use of a word that could be translated as "idiots."

Talking to reporters in Seoul on Monday after wrapping up his trip to Canada, Yoon stuck with his office's version of the story. He said the media could put South Korea's security in danger by "damaging the alliance with reports that differ from facts."

He called for a need to find the "truth" behind the reports that described him as insulting US lawmakers while leaders of his conservative People Power Party (PPP) threatened to take action against MBC.

'Provocative captions'

"MBC's actions have become difficult to just stand back and watch," said Joo Ho-young, the party's floor leader. "If (Yoon) used a word about the United States as described in the initial MBC report, that would have required thorough fact checking considering the consequences to South Korea-US relations. But MBC skipped this verification process and aired the report with arbitrary and very provocative captions."

Other party lawmakers said they would demand MBC to air an apology and for its current management to resign. They added they would also file complaints with the country's Press Arbitration Commission and broadcasting regulator and possibly damage suits against MBC.

MBC is one of the country's largest terrestrial channels. While the company operates on advertising revenue, its largest shareholder is a public organization whose chairman is appointed by the government.

Lee Jong-bae, a PPP member in the Seoul Metropolitan Council, filed a complaint against MBC to Seoul police, accusing the broadcaster of defamation and disrupting presidential duties.

Party spokesman Park Jung-ha raised suspicion that MBC was aligned with members of the liberal opposition Democratic Party, which holds the majority in South Korea's parliament, in a supposed attempt to rattle Yoon's government.

He questioned how the Democratic Party's floor leader, Park Hong-keun, was able to issue criticism about Yoon's "crude comments" half an hour before MBC first released the video on its YouTube channel.

Assault on media freedoms

In a statement, MBC described the accusations as an attack on media freedoms. It said the video was taken as part of pool coverage and was shared with other South Korean media covering Yoon's trip, triggering a debate between reporters and even presidential staff on what Yoon was saying. The footage had already appeared on social media before MBC released the captioned video on its YouTube channel, the broadcaster said.

MBC also said Yoon's office had requested journalists to refrain from reporting Yoon's comments, citing "diplomatic burdens," and that the journalists refused.

"First, their logic was that it wouldn't serve national interests to report (Yoon's comments) that were made in private space, then they came out attacking, saying that the MBC report was untrue," MBC said. "They are trying to sacrifice one media outlet to escape criticism about the so-called indecent remarks, and their vicious attacks amount to an attempt to control...and suppress the media."

Democratic Party spokesman Lee Soo-jin called for the conservatives to stop threatening the media and for Yoon to apologize over his "vulgar remarks."

Yoon and his party's harsh response to the MBC report comes as he faces criticism that he returned with underwhelming results from his foreign trip, which included the funeral of Queen Elizabeth 2nd of the United Kingdom, the UN meetings and a visit to Canada for a summit with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Much of the attention before the trip was about whether Yoon would meet Biden to discuss contentious bilateral issues, including South Korean frustrations over the recently passed US Inflation Reduction Act that excludes South Korean electric vehicles and other models assembled outside of North America from consumer tax credits.

The liberal opposition labeled Yoon's diplomacy as a failure after his chat with Biden following their Global Fund speeches lasted less than a minute. Seoul's Foreign Ministry said Yoon still "sufficiently conveyed" South Korean concerns over the new law to Biden.

Yoon hasn't specifically addressed whether he described South Korean lawmakers as "idiots."

After his spokesman told reporters that his comments were aimed at South Korean lawmakers, Yoon posted a message saying he hoped for "active cooperation" from the National Assembly over his contribution plans to the Global Fund.

- Ma. Reina Leanne Tolentino
Marcos certifies 2023 budget bill urgent

PRESIDENT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has certified the 2023 national budget bill as urgent.

The President made the certification in a letter sent to House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

"Pursuant to the provisions of Article VI, Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of House Bill No. order to address the need to maintain continuous government operations following the end of current fiscal year, strengthen efforts to respond more effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic, and support initiatives towards national economic recovery," Marcos said in the letter.

The proposed P5.268-trillion 2023 national budget is embodied in House Bill 4488.

Plenary deliberations on HB 4488 is ongoing at the House of Representatives.

With the certification, the House, which is scheduled to go on a break on Oct. 1, 2022 to Nov. 6, 2022, can approve the budget bill on third and final reading on the same day as the approval on second reading.

Under the 1987 Constitution, no bill may become a law "unless it has passed three readings on separate days...except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment..."

- Leander C. Domingo

THE Municipality of Kasibu in the province of Nueva Vizcaya has been officially recognized by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 2 (DA-RFO2) as the "Citrus Capital of Luzon" during the recently concluded first Philippine Good Agricultural Practices Summit held in this town.

DA-RFO2 Executive Director Narciso Edillo led national and local officials during the recognition on Thursday, September 22, as per Administrative Order 18 dated June 24, 2022 and signed by then Agriculture secretary William Dar.

"I not only congratulate the officials of the local government of Kasibu but the citrus farmers, young and old, for bringing another pride for our region, Cagayan Valley," Edillo said.

Mayor Romeo Tayaba thanked the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the declaration that they have long been aspiring for.

"Citrus production is the major livelihood here. With this title, we are more inspired to work harder with the DA and other concerned agencies so that the lives of our constituents will improve," Tayaba said.

Vice Mayor Alberto Bumolo Jr. said he believes that the citrus industry in Kasibu will become stronger with the support of different national government line agencies.

"With the Department of Agriculture's support, we accept the challenge of expanding our production areas from 600 hectares to more than a thousand," Bumolo said.

Aside from the production of citrus, the upland town of Kasibu is also known as an emerging coffee producer in Cagayan Valley.

Edillo said the DA under the High Value Crops Development Program also officially turned over to Kasibu Coffee Growers Association (KCGA) the P5 million coffee processing facility and coffee shop located in Barangay Poblacion.

DA Bureau of Plant and Industry Director Gerard Glenn Panganiban also attended the turnover as keynote speaker during the 1st Philippine Good Agricultural Practices Summit that ended on the same day in this town.

Edillo said the project was funded under Bayanihan 2 to boost the coffee industry in the municipality.

Juliet Bumolo Morales, KCGA president, thanked the DA for the assistance given to their association.

"Rest assured that we will not fail your dreams for us to become a successful agripreneur. We had a very difficult start, but with the help of DA, the operation went well and we are now able to process our coffee and do the marketing ourselves," Morales said.

The DA-RFO2 also awarded various projects to Malabing Valley Multipurpose Cooperative and other farmers' cooperatives and associations.

- Associated Press
US vows 'consequences' for Russia over nukes

KYIV: An overnight drone strike near Odesa sparked a massive fire and explosion, Ukraine's military said on Monday, hours after the United States vowed to take decisive action and promised "catastrophic consequences" if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

The airstrike was the latest in a series of drone attacks on the key southern Ukrainian city in recent days. This one hit a military installation and detonated ammunition when it struck. Firefighters were struggling to contain the blaze, the Ukrainian military's southern command said.

Concerns are growing that Russia may seek to escalate the war once it completes what Ukraine and the West see as illegal referendums in parts of Ukraine under its control.

The voting, which ends on Tuesday, happened after thousands of residents had fled and have included images of armed Russian troops going door-to-door to pressure Ukrainians into voting.

Russia is widely expected to declare the results in its favor, a step that could see Moscow annex the territory and give it the pretext to seek to defend it as its own territory under the Russian nuclear umbrella.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan made clear that Russia would pay a high price if it made good on veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in the conflict.

"If Russia crosses this line there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. The United States will respond decisively," he told NBC News' "Meet the Press" program on Sunday.

Washington's message has been more detailed in private conversations with their Russian counterparts, he said without elaborating.

"So, the Russians understand where we are. We understand where we are. We are planning for every contingency," he said in separate comments to ABC News' This Week program. "And we will do what is necessary to deter Russia from taking this step."

Elsewhere, a Russian rocket attack targeted a village in southeastern Ukraine. The attack struck an unnamed village and the regional center of Zaporizhzhia, regional military official Oleksandr Starukh said online.

He posted pictures of damaged buildings and said unspecified infrastructure had also been damaged and fires were sparked by the attack.

Meanwhile, the first batches of Russian troops mobilized by Moscow have begun to arrive at military bases, the United Kingdom's military said on Monday.

In an online intelligence briefing, the British Defense Ministry said "many tens of thousands" had been called up. But the Russians face challenges ahead.

"Unlike most Western armies, the Russian military provides low-level, initial training to soldiers within their designated operational units, rather than in dedicated training establishments," the ministry said.

Under normal circumstances, two battalions deploy while a third remains behind to train. But in the Ukraine war, even the third battalion is deploying, weakening that training, it added.

- Dexter A. See

LUBUAGAN, Kalinga: Two visitors were arrested by police operatives and anti-narcotics agents after having been caught with P17.2 million worth of marijuana, which they attempted to transport across a police checkpoint in Sitio Dinakan, Dangoy, here, recently.

BGen. Mafelino Bazar, regional director of the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera, identified the suspected marijuana couriers as Richard Ilagan de la Cruz, 24, a college student; and Dario Orpanel Gadingan, 44, driver, both residents of Caloocan City.

Probers disclosed that personnel of the 2nd Kalinga Provincial Mobile Force Company and Provincial Intelligence Unit received information that a private vehicle will attempt to transport marijuana products from Tinglayan, Kalinga going to Metro Manila via Tabuk City.

Acting on the said information, the police operatives set up a joint checkpoint at Sitio Dinakan, Dangoy, Lubuagan, Kalinga.

The operation resulted in the arrest of the suspects and the confiscation of 138 bricks of dried marijuana leaves and stalks weighing more or less 138,000 grams with a standard drug price (SDP) of P16,560,000 and six tubular dried marijuana leaves and stalks weighing more or less 6,000 grams with an SDP of P720,000.

Inventory of the pieces of evidence recovered was conducted on-site in the presence of the arrested suspects and witnessed by Bernadette Malayo, Department of Justice representative; Janette Alagao, media representative, and Kagawad Edna Taotao of Barangay Dangoy.

The arrested suspects and the seized items were brought to the Lubuagan Police Station for proper documentation and disposition.

Evelyne Musambi named East Africa reporter
In a memo to staff on Wednesday, Deputy News Director for Africa Andrew Drake announced that Evelyne Musambi is AP's new East Africa reporter:
Megan Janetsky named Cuba, Caribbean correspondent
In a memo to staff, News Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Eduardo Castillo announced Megan Janetsky is AP's new English-language correspondent for Cuba and the Caribbean:
Ron Nixon named VP for investigative, enterprise, grants and partnerships
Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Julie Pace today announced that Global Investigations Editor Ron Nixon is now vice president, overseeing investigative, enterprise, and grants and partnerships.
Sabra Ayres named AP's chief correspondent for Ukraine
Sabra Ayres, a longtime foreign correspondent with extensive experience covering Ukraine, Russia and Eastern Europe, has been named The Associated Press’ Chief Correspondent for Ukraine.
Mallika Sen named entertainment news editor
In a memo to staff on Thursday, Global Entertainment and Lifestyles Editor Anthony McCartney announced a key appointment:
Additions to AP’s Education Reporting Network
In a memo to staff on Wednesday, AP Education Reporting Network Director Chrissie Thompson announced three additions to the network aimed at deepening education coverage by the AP and across the news industry:
AP announces appointments for key Middle East posts
In a memo to staff on Tuesday, Vice President and Head of Global Newsgathering Paul Haven and Middle East News Director Karin Laub announced key appointments for news leaders in two important sub-regions:
AP announces politics, democracy and elections team
In a memo to staff on Monday, Washington Bureau Chief Anna Johnson and Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Steven Sloan announced key members of AP's team covering politics, democracy and elections:
Zeke Miller named White House correspondent
Washington Bureau Chief Anna Johnson announced today that White House reporter Zeke Miller has been named White House correspondent. Here is her memo to Washington staff:
Additions to the Business News team
In a memo to staff on Tuesday, Global Business Editor Noreen Gillespie announced three new roles on the Business News team:
Additions to AP’s Education Reporting Network
AP Education Reporting Network Director Chrissie Thompson has announced two additions to the network aimed at deepening education coverage by the AP and across the news industry.
Eduardo Castillo named Latin America news director
Vice President and Head of Global News Gathering Paul Haven announced on Monday that Eduardo Castillo is now the news director for Latin America and the Caribbean. Here is his memo to staff (español abajo):
AP’s top editor: 'Facts can be powerful'
During a panel at the Collision Conference in Toronto, Canada, on Wednesday, Executive Editor Julie Pace explained AP’s role in delivering the truth in a polarized media environment.
Katie Oyan to lead Local News Success initiative
In a memo to staff on Monday, U.S. News Director Josh Hoffner announced a new position aimed at supporting AP’s member news organizations and customers:
Tom Verdin named democracy news editor
In a memo to staff on Monday, Washington Bureau Chief Anna Johnson and Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Steven Sloan announced a key appointment:
In a memo to staff on Thursday, Washington Bureau Chief Anna Johnson announced that Seung Min Kim will join AP’s White House team:
Additions to the Business News team
In a memo to staff, Global Business Editor Noreen Gillespie announced two journalists will join AP’s Business News team to cover personal finance:
Applying automation in the newsroom
At the WAN-IFRA 2022 Asian Media Leaders Summit on Wednesday, Vice President and Head of Global News Production Derl McCrudden outlined how AP is using artificial intelligence in the newsroom.
Zeina Karam named deputy Europe news director
In a memo to staff on Tuesday, Vice President and Head of Global News Gathering Paul Haven and News Director for Europe and Africa James Jordan announced a key appointment:
New heads of video, US news are named
In a memo to staff on Wednesday, it was announced that Sara Gillesby will lead global video for AP and Josh Hoffner will direct U.S. news coverage.
Honoring the legacy of fallen AP photographer
The 2022 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award, named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer who was killed reporting in Afghanistan in 2014, has been awarded to Paula Bronstein, a freelance photojournalist currently working in Kyiv.
Fighting for press freedom
This World Press Freedom Day, which serves a reminder to governments of their duty to uphold the right to freedom of expression, AP continues to advocate for the ability of journalists to operate freely and safely across the globe.
Steven Sloan named deputy Washington bureau chief
In a memo to staff on Wednesday, Washington Bureau Chief Anna Johnson announced that U.S. Political Editor Steven Sloan is now deputy Washington bureau chief for U.S. politics and elections:
Ricardo Zuniga named global sports editor
In a memo to staff, Executive Editor Julie Pace, Vice President and Head of Global News Gathering Paul Haven, and Deputy Head of News Gathering Michael Giarrusso announced a key appointment:
Aritz Parra named Southern Europe news director
In a memo to staff, AP News Director for Europe and Africa James Jordan announced that Aritz Parra is the new news director for Southern Europe:
- Manila Bulletin
REFLECTIONS TODAY At the start of his public ministry, Jesus called some people to follow him— fishermen like Simon and Andrew, James and John, and the tax collector Levi (Matthew). There was also Philip in the Gospel of John (1:43). Jesus would later say, “It was not you who chose ...
- Manila Bulletin
As the nation observes Civil Service Month in September, it is well to take stock of the country’s human resources in the public sector. The importance placed on the people who serve in both the national and local government offices is indicated by the fact that the Civil Service Commission ...
- Dr. Jun Ynares
THE VIEW FROM RIZAL As we write this column, Super Typhoon Karding had just made landfall in the town of Burdeos in Quezon Province, battering Polillo Island and Baler, Aurora with winds of up to 195 kilometers per hour and gustiness of more than 200 kilometers per hour. We are ...
- Former Senate President Manny Villar
OF TREES AND FOREST President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. just returned from a very fruitful trip to the United States which was highlighted by his first ever one-on-one meeting with US President Joseph Biden and his address before the United Nations General Assembly. In his remarks, the President said that he ...
- Rikki Mathay
THE RIGHT MOVE Gone are the days when there was a stigma on solo parents, at least in the Philippines, compared to our Asian neighbors. According to a 2021 report from the Department of Health, there are about 14 to 15 million solo parents in the country. While the older ...
- Manila Bulletin
WORLD NEWS DAY We live in bewildering times. War is raging in the heart of Europe, with the senseless fighting expected to make for a long, hard winter. Food and fuel prices have spiralled as a result, portending hunger and hardship, not least for vulnerable communities far flung from the ...
- Anna Mae Lamentillo
NIGHT OWL The past few years have shown humankind once again that we are interconnected, the geographical and political boundaries set by every nation does not mean we only live within those boundaries. It was evident during the Covid-19 pandemic which spared no nation; and it was also through the ...
- Carlo Anolin
American boxing legend Floyd Mayweather has arrived in Manila Tuesday night, Sept. 27, for a business trip slated within the week. Mayweather will be attending a project for Frontrow as he was welcomed by its founders Cong. Sam Verzosa and RS Francisco. The 45-year-old Mayweather, fresh from a win in ...
- Manila Bulletin
By DIANN IVY CALUCIN The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) announced Tuesday, Sept. 27, the filing of homicide charges against the police officer and his friend who allegedly shot and killed another cop in Quezon City on Sunday, Sept. 25. The QCPD identified the suspects as Master Sgt. Amando Gonzales, ...
- Manila Bulletin Entertainment
GMA New Media, Inc. (NMI) showcases its portfolio of bespoke software solutions and platforms at the “GMA New Media Goes to Davao” event at the Sinamay 2 function room in Seda, Abreeza in Davao this Sept. 28. In partnership with Microsoft Philippines and Westcon Comstor, GMA NMI, as GMA Network’s ...
- Manila Bulletin Entertainment
They say the lives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have that natural cinematic touch. So to have a movie producer serving as Deputy Administrator for Operations of OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Association) actually makes sense, considering such person may likely be embracing stories very much related to real-life human experience, ...
- Robert Requintina
Following a short break from showbiz, actress Bea Binene is back and now under the management of Viva Artists Agency, Inc. (VAA). During a virtual mediacon with the entertainment press last Friday, Bea said she’s not ready to accept roles that would require her to show some skin. “Naku yun po ang ...
- Jonathan Hicap
A Korean pop music composer, producer and musician was arrested by the police in Seoul for using and possessing methamphetamine. Don Spike as a guest on the Korean TV show “Oh Eun Young’s Golden Clinic” Don Spike, 45, who is also a TV personality, was busted by the police in ...
- Seth Cabanban
Features in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) still belong to the Philippines, ACT-Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro told Palawan 2nd district Rep. Jose Alvarez after he insinuated that some of the islands in the area were no longer under Philippine control. ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro (screencap from HReps ...
- Joseph Pedrajas
The Philippines has expressed concern over “a new arms race,” including the use of nuclear weapon, that is looming amid the continuous conflict between Russia and Ukraine. So, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and International Economic Relations Carlos Sorreta encouraged other members of the United Nations ...
- Luisa K. Cabato
The University of the Philippines Baguio University Student Council (UPB-USC) released a statement on Tuesday, Sept. 27, condemning malicious text messages from an unidentified sender that red-tags and threatens the safety of its students. The messages, UPB-USC said, contain allegations that its students are “fighting the government.” “Hands off our ...
- Ellson Quismorio
The Sierra Madre mountain range is currently the toast of the country after it once again tempered a strong typhoon, thereby saving Filipinos–particularly those living in Luzon–from disaster. Sierra Madre mountains (Wikipedia) But what has been done to protect the mountain range from harmful human activity? This is the issue ...
- Hannah Torregoza 
Voting 17-2, the Senate approved the measiure seeking to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from December of this year to December 2023. Seventeen senators voted in the affirmative while two senators voted against the postponement. Senate Bill No. 1306, or An Act Postponing the December 2022 Barangay ...
- Vince Lopez
Former CJ Bersamin buckles down as new ES

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has sworn in former Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin as his new Executive Secretary vice Victor Rodriguez, who resigned from the post to become the Presidential Chief of Staff. Press Secretary Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles confirmed the appointment of Bersamin, who also attended Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting in Malacanang after taking his oath […]

The post Former CJ Bersamin buckles down as new ES appeared first on Manila Standard.

- Othel V. Campos

The reported death toll due to Typhoon Karding rose to eight, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Tuesday. Five of the fatalities were rescuers who drowned in San Miguel, Bulacan. Two fatalities were reported in Zambales and one was from Quezon, the NDRRMC said. Three missing persons are also reported […]

The post Karding toll: Death now 8, agri losses P160m appeared first on Manila Standard.

- Macon Ramos-Araneta

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. commended the heroism of the five rescuers who died while responding to flood-hit villages in San Miguel, Bulacan at the height of Typhoon Karding. “I am deeply saddened to hear that we lost five good men to Typhoon Karding yesterday. Our prayers go to the families of George Agustin, Troy Justin […]

The post Marcos, Senate extol heroism of 5 rescuers appeared first on Manila Standard.

- Willie Casas

Optional masking outdoors is one of the factors driving the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, the Department of Health admitted Tuesday. This is as the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) called on the public to keep wearing face masks amid the reported increase in coronavirus cases, which may overwhelm […]

The post DOH sees optional face mask use as factor in spike of COVID cases appeared first on Manila Standard.

- Manila Standard

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opposed the request of the Philippine government to dismiss the probe into the bloody war on drugs during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte. The Marcos administration earlier argued the ICC tribunal lacks jurisdiction, the alleged crimes are insufficiently grave to warrant further action, and […]

The post ICC prosecutor seeks drug war probe resumption appeared first on Manila Standard.

- Manila Standard
Lea Salonga gets Time100 Impact Award as role model

Filipino singer and actress Lea Salonga is among the recipients of the TIME100 Impact Awards, given by TIME Magazine to personalities who have “gone above and beyond” to move their respective industries forward. In a feature posted on Sunday, TIME dubbed Salonga, 51, as the “Voice of Disney Princesses” and a “role model for children […]

The post Lea Salonga gets Time100 Impact Award as role model appeared first on Manila Standard.

Putin grants US whistleblower Snowden Russian citizenship

President Vladimir Putin on Monday granted Russian citizenship to US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who exposed massive surveillance by the US National Security Agency on Americans and then sought refuge in Russia. A presidential decree published Monday included Snowden on a list of newly-minted Russian citizens, at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow are […]

The post Putin grants US whistleblower Snowden Russian citizenship appeared first on Manila Standard.

- Manila Standard

Super Typhoon Karding cut a swath of destruction after it roared in sundown on Sunday from the Pacific and ruthlessly sliced through heavily populated Luzon, particularly the rice-rich Central Luzon plains and farther north which is still reeling from a major tremor nearly two months earlier. Metro Manila, where nearly 13 million of the 114 […]

The post ‘A whole range of assistance’ appeared first on Manila Standard.

- Ernesto M. Hilario

“Many Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines have been recognized for having a long-term impact on their host communities through the development projects they have initiated” If there’s one thing the recent working visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the United States managed to achieve, it was to revitalize Philippine-American economic relations and to […]

The post Attracting American investments appeared first on Manila Standard.

- Tony Lopez

“To discourage you from changing your pesos into dollar, you have to be penalized. That penalty is the higher dollar rate against the peso” The Philippine peso has sunk to its lowest since the currency was adopted at the then fixed exchange rate of P2 to $1 in 1946. Not to worry though. The Philippines […]

The post Free fall appeared first on Manila Standard.

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The Commission on Appointments confirmed yesterday President Marcos’ Cabinet appointees to the Departments of Tourism, Agrarian Reform and Environment and Natural Resources, as well as 63 generals and senior military officers.
With large swaths of farmlands in Luzon flattened by Super Typhoon Karding, the country may have to resort to more rice importation and possibly at significantly higher cost due to the continued weakening of the peso.
The request of Vice President Sara Duterte for the inclusion of P650 million in confidential funds of her office and the Department of Education in the 2023 national budget is not expected to face opposition in the Senate, according to Sen. Sonny Angara.
The Senate yesterday approved on third and final reading the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections set for Dec. 5 to December next year.
With Sierra Madre shielding Northern Luzon from the devastation of Super Typhoon Karding, a lawmaker from Rizal province once again called for the protection of the longest mountain range in the country.
Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion yesterday underscored the private sector’s assistance in helping pitch investments to the Philippines during President Marcos’ recent working visit to the United States.
The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading last Monday night two bills that will provide free college entrance examination to underprivileged students and will simplify the payment of taxes.
The Senate approved on third and final reading yesterday a bill requiring the registration of subscriber identity modules to curb mobile-phone aided crimes in the country.
Former Sugar Regulatory Administration chief Hermenegildo Serafica was found guilty of indirect contempt by Himamaylan Regional Trial Court Branch 55 Judge Walter Zorilla for the issuance of SRA Memorandum Circular 11, Series of 2021-2022, in violation of the writ of preliminary injunction the latter had issued.
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan continues to push for an on-ground investigation on the “war on drugs” of previous President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
- Cai Ordinario

ROBUST consumption spending is expected to boost the country’s economic growth and meet its GDP target this year, according to the World Bank.

The post WB forecasts growth of 6.5% for PHL in 2022 first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Cai Ordinario

THE number of Filipinos who will be lifted from poverty is expected to increase on the back of expectations that the Philippine economy will post faster growth, according to the World Bank.

The post Inflation to hold back march out of poverty first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- VG Cabuag

SHARE prices plunged to the lowest for the last two years as recession fears overseas have dragged the local market that is already nearing bear territory.

The post Recession fears: PSEi drops to lowest in 2 years first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Jasper Y. Arcalas

DAMAGE caused by Supertyphoon Karding (international name: Noru) to the farm sector has soared to P1.29 billion with over 141,000 hectares of agricultural areas affected across six regions, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Tuesday.

The post Agri damage from Karding hits ₧1.29B in 6 regions first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Cai Ordinario

The latest version of the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) Law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) is expected to entice more private sector players to participate in public infrastructure projects, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

The post Revised BOT law’s IRR to attract more private sector players, Neda chief says first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Jasper Y. Arcalas

The Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA) on Tuesday said that the industry would continue to invest to improve its operations amid concerns about the country’s competitiveness and “aging” mills.

The post Millers assure continuous investments to upgrade domestic sugar production first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Andrea E. San Juan

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has issued the new technical regulation for monobloc chairs and stools, underscoring the importance of quality for the safety of users as it is commonly used in offices and public multipurpose halls.

The post DTI tightens product standard regulation on widely-used monobloc chairs, stools first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Cai Ordinario

Local government units (LGUs) should invest more in efforts that make communities better equipped to face disasters and climate change, according to an urban planner.

The post Experts urge LGUs to invest in disaster response, climate change adaptations first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Jovee Marie de la Cruz

THE senior vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations assured the public last Tuesday there would be no reenacted budget for next year as the Lower Chamber is expected to approve on final reading the proposed P5.268-trillion 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA) today, September 28.

The post No reenacted budget for 2023–solon first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- George S. Chua

GIVEN the global meltdown in the equities and bond markets, coupled with the weakening of all currencies against the US dollar—which was caused by the US Fed increasing interest rates to bring down inflation, you might be wondering if this course of action is the right solution. Inflation is the rate of increase in prices of goods and services over a given period of time; and there are three major causes of this.

The post Inflation 101 first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Jovee Marie de la Cruz

THE House of Representatives has endorsed for Senate approval the proposed Ease of Paying Taxes (EOPT) Act.

The post Congress OKs ‘Ease of Paying Taxes’ bill first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Roderick Abad

CITY Savings Bank Inc. (CitySavings), the thrift bank subsidiary of Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) and Elaia Green Vehicles Corp. (Elaia) recently expanded the scope of their joint-motorcycle loan facility to include the City of San Pedro, Laguna.

The post Bank, e-trike seller offer program in Laguna first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- BusinessMirror

STATE pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) President and General Manager Jose Arnulfo A. Veloso said the GSIS is prepared to open its emergency loan program for members and pensioners in Luzon affected by Supertyphoon Karding (international name: Noru).

The post GSIS to help members, pensioners hit by Noru first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Bianca Cuaresma

BANK of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Lead Economist Emilio S. Neri Jr. said there is a possibility that monetary authorities will pull off another off-cycle rate hike before the year ends.

The post BSP should hike again amid peso’s plunge, local economist says first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- VG Cabuag

Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV) on Tuesday said it has struck a deal to exit the Sri Lankan market as part of its general direction to grow its animal feeds business in Southeast Asia and in China.

The post Aboitiz to leave Sri Lankan feed market by yearend first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- VG Cabuag

Conglomerate Ayala Corp. has elected Mercedita S. Nolledo as its new director who will serve the unexpired term of Fernando Zobel de Ayala, who resigned from the board a few weeks ago.

The post Nolledo elected as new Ayala director first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Lorenz S. Marasigan

Nlex Corp. has installed rainwater recovery systems and motion-sensor lights in its facilities to strengthen its sustainability thrust, its president said on Tuesday.

The post Nlex installs rainwater recovery systems first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Lenie Lectura

ACEN Corp.’s retail electricity supply (ACEN RES) group has been recognized by the Department of Energy (DOE) for complying with the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) program.

The post ACEN’s retail electricity group gets DOE nod first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Lenie Lectura

PetroGreen Energy Corp. (PGEC), the renewable energy (RE) arm of Yuchengco-led PetroEnergy Resources Corp. (PERC), expects the completion and commercial operation of its planned 27MW solar power project in the last quarter of 2024.

The post PGEC to build solar farm in Bohol first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Lorenz S. Marasigan

SINGAPORE—Cebu Pacific has tapped Shell Aviation for the supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which is as much as eight times more expensive than conventional fuel.

The post Cebu Pacific to use sustainable aviation fuel from Shell first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- BusinessMirror

Diversified engineering conglomerate DMCI Holdings (PSE: DMC) and its integrated energy subsidiary Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (PSE: SCC) were among the listed companies recognized in the Asiamoney 2022 Asia’s Outstanding Companies Poll.

The post DMCI, SMPC among outstanding firms in Asia first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- VG Cabuag

Globe Telecom Inc. on Tuesday said it has closed the deal for the sale of an initial tranche of 800 towers to Frontier Tower Associates Philippines Inc. for P10 billion.

The post Globe Telecom closes deal to sell 800 towers for ₧10B first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- BusinessMirror

Catholics celebrate today the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint and martyr.

The post The unshakable faith of San Lorenzo Ruiz  first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Rene Acosta

There is no certainty that the government could still recover the P1.9 billion that it paid as down payment for the 16 Mi-17 helicopters that it ordered from a Russian supplier, but whose contract it was already moving to terminate.

The post DND admits PHL still in the process of ending Russian chopper deal first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Joel R. San Juan

THE Supreme Court (SC) is looking into possible actions against former spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict Lorraine Badoy for alleged red tagging and “harassing” Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Marlo Magdoza Malagar.

The post Punishment awaits those who incite violence and threaten judges–SC first appeared on BusinessMirror.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters exclusively revealed that Credit Suisse is sounding out investors for fresh cash, approaching them for the fourth time in […]

The post Reuters reveals Credit Suisse talks with investors; shares drop to new low appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters was first to report Turkey’s central bank cut its policy rate by 100 basis points today, even as inflation […]

The post Reuters reveals Turkish interest rate cut; lira falls to an all-time low appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters exclusively reported Turkish defence firm Baykar has delivered 20 armed drones to the United Arab Emirates this month and […]

The post Reuters reveals Turkey sells battle-tested drones to UAE as regional rivals mend ties appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters exclusively reported PepsiCo has stopped making Pepsi, 7UP and Mountain Dew in Russia nearly six months after the U.S. […]

The post Reuters reveals PepsiCo ends Pepsi, 7UP production in Russia months after promising halt over Ukraine appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters exclusively reported an offshore bondholders’ group of cash-strapped Kaisa is offering up to $2 billion to acquire stalled housing […]

The post Reuters reveals offshore creditors of Chinese developer Kaisa offer $2 bln to take over stalled projects appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters was first to report German utilities RWE and Uniper are close to striking long-term deals to buy liquefied natural […]

The post Reuters reveals German utilities close to long-term LNG deals with Qatar appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters was first to report the hotly anticipated pricing range of the planned initial public offering (IPO) of Porsche, the luxury sportscar […]

The post Reuters exclusively reveals Volkswagen targets 70-75 bln eur valuation in planned Porsche IPO appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters was first to report some contractors helping French power giant EDF to inspect and repair its corrosion-hit nuclear reactors […]

The post Reuters reveals EDF contractors relax radiation exposure limits to speed up reactor repairs appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters exclusively revealed that Citigroup has submitted a comprehensive multiyear plan to the Federal Reserve and the Office of the […]

The post Reuters reveals Citigroup submits multiyear plan to address Fed concerns appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Ramisa Tasnim

Reuters exclusively revealed that Delta Air Lines plans to start receiving shipments of renewable fuel feedstocks at its Trainer, Pennsylvania, […]

The post Reuters reveals Delta Air Lines readies refinery to process biofuels appeared first on Reuters News Agency.

- Tanya Aldred at Old Trafford
County cricket: Lancashire v Surrey, Warwickshire v Hampshire – live
Latest scores and news from final round of matchesAnd feel free to email or tweet Tanya, or post BTL

This lad can play:

It turns out my earlier stat was wrong – Jennings is the third Lancashire batter to be out for 199 after Wharton and Atherton. Damn you Jamie Overton and your lbw bullets.

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- Emine Sinmaz (now); Martin Belam and Tess McClure (earlier)
Russia-Ukraine war: Sweden launches sabotage investigation after explosions reported near Nord Stream pipelines – live

Swedish seismologists says blasts detected near gas pipelines, which are leaking into Baltic sea

What we know on day 216 of the invasion

Details are still emerging about Russia detaining a Japanese consul and demanding he leave the country for alleged espionage. You can read about that in full from our Tokyo correspondent, Justin McCurry, here:

President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to address both houses of Russian parliament on Friday 30 September, and may use the address to formally announce the accession of Russian occupied territories of Ukraine into Russia, the British Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence update:

There is a realistic possibility that Putin will use his address to formally announce the accession of the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. The referendums currently underway within these territories are scheduled to conclude on 27 September”

Russia’s leaders almost certainly hope that any accession announcement will be seen as a vindication of the ‘special military operation’ and will consolidate patriotic support for the conflict.

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- Jim Waterson Media editor
Sky signals end of satellite dishes on homes amid move to streaming

Firm switching to set-top boxes amid changes in technology and consumer behaviour

The end of the satellite television dish is in sight after Sky said it would start offering most of its services via a set-top streaming box.

Although Sky has denied claims it will stop installing new satellite dishes next year, one source at the company suggested it is ultimately a matter of “when, not if” the company ultimately decides to move to internet streaming as standard.

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- Chris Stein
Oath Keepers leader to stand trial on seditious conspiracy charges for US Capitol attack – live

Five members of group, including Stewart Rhodes, face charges for allegedly plotting to disrupt certification of election results

Sign up to receive First Thing – our daily briefing by email

As the January 6 committee enters what is likely to be the home stretch of its investigation, a new poll has found it hasn’t meaningfully shifted beliefs about what happened that day.

Monmouth University finds that around four in 10 Americans hold Donald Trump responsible for the insurrection at the Capitol, slightly less than in late June, while three in 10 believe the election was stolen from him, a figure that’s moved little since November 2020.

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- Nadeem Badshah (now); Andrew Sparrow and Ben Quinn (earlier)
Keir Starmer promises to launch publicly-owned UK energy company as he hails ‘Labour moment’ – UK politics live

Latest updates: the Labour party leader used his conference speech to spell out his plan for the UK

Share your views on Keir Starmer’s Labour conference speech

The decision to pay Liz Truss’s new chief of staff, Mark Fullbrook, through a private company has been dropped after criticism from within the Conservatives as well as from opposition parties.

The government admitted over the weekend that Fullbrook would be paid through his lobbying firm, a move that could have helped him avoid paying tax. He had previously claimed the firm had stopped all commercial activities.

The world we are heading for is a bumpy few weeks. The chancellor is now going to have quite a tough time because he has now set out plans to balance the books in November. That is going to be very hard.

Actually balancing the books in November is going to be harder than it would have been to show you are balancing the books last week because higher interest rates will make it harder to do. You might need £15bn worth of tough choices now that you didn’t need last Friday.

In the end, lower taxes will mean worse public services, or other people’s taxes having to go up, and it is those choices and ducking those choices that markets are looking at and saying that is not what serious policymaking looks like.

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- Rafael Behr
Keir Starmer has found his winning position – as the antidote to Liz Truss | Rafael Behr

The party’s conference could have been mired in recrimination. Instead, the Labour leader looks like he’s on a path to victory

It takes a truly abysmal prime minister to make the opposition leader’s job look easy. It is the toughest gig in Westminster. You struggle to get noticed until you make a mistake, when the pillory is merciless. If you attack the government without a better offer, you are carping from the sidelines. When you come up with a better plan, the government nicks it. If you have ambitions but few policies, critics say there is no substance. If you go into detail, pundits lament an absence of vision.

Any strategy to beat an incumbent party involves appealing to its voters, which is denounced as treason by your own activists. You must generate excitement about the prospect of change, while emitting reassurance that the change is not alarming.

Rafael Behr is a Guardian columnist

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- Staff and agencies
Elon Musk deposition in Twitter fight rescheduled for first week of October

Musk to be questioned under oath by Twitter lawyers on 6 and 7 October in preparation for trial over abandoned $44bn takeover

Elon Musk is scheduled to be questioned under oath by Twitter lawyers next month as the social media company prepares for a trial over the billionaire’s bid to walk away from a $44bn takeover, according to a Tuesday court filing.

Musk’s deposition was originally scheduled for this week but sources close to the litigation said on Monday that the timing of the interview was always subject to change given the fast-tracked nature of the litigation. He is scheduled to be questioned on 6 and 7 October.

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- Gwyn Topham
Post-Brexit checks have reduced Eurostar’s terminal capacity by a third

Rail company boss says central London has only avoided travel chaos seen at Channel ports because of trains being cut

Post-Brexit border checks have slowed the speed at which Eurostar passengers pass through London St Pancras on their way to Paris, reducing the terminal’s capacity by one-third, according to the cross-Channel rail company’s boss.

The rail operator’s chief executive, Jacques Damas, said central London had only avoided the kind of chaos and queues seen at Channel ports this summer because Eurostar was running fewer trains.

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- Rowena Mason Whitehall editor
Big business back at Labour conference with biggest showing since 2010

Party reports significant increase in business interest as Labour continues to perform well in polls

Latest politics news – live

Labour has attracted a surge of interest from big business at its conference in Liverpool with the biggest attendance of companies since 2010, including a firm owned by a major Tory donor.

Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves were among the senior politicians to speak at a packed reception of more than 600 business leaders, executives and international guests on Monday night.

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- Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent
Dispersing homeless people fails to stop antisocial behaviour, finds study

Research by criminologists in 10 towns in England and Wales finds public space orders ‘merely recycle homelessness problem’

Dispersing rough sleepers from town centres fails to stop so-called antisocial behaviour and wrongly criminalises homeless people, a study of 10 towns by criminologists has found.

Councils in England and Wales using public space protection orders (PSPOs) to levy £100 fines to control or ban behaviours such as drinking, pitching tents and sleeping in public simply see homeless people come back later, according to research by Sheffield Hallam University with recommendations for fairer treatment endorsed by Crisis, the homelessness charity.

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- Jess Cartner-Morley in Paris
Crinolines and baroque heels: Dior designer taps into 16th-century muse for Paris show

Maria Grazia Chiuri calls on Catherine de Medici for inspiration

“Many young people hate fashion,” said the Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, backstage before her grand show in the Tuileries garden that has opened Paris fashion week.

“They hate fashion because to them, brands are part of an establishment system which represents power,” she added, in an eye-catchingly frank insider assessment of fashion’s problematic status. Such candour is rare, from titans of an industry where keeping up appearances is everything. But Chiuri’s strategy for increasing Dior’s relevance has been to engage with issues – from cultural appropriation, to the responsibility owed by fashion’s profit-makers to a global workforce of garment workers – to which fashion week mostly prefers to turn a blind eye.

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- Associated Press in Dallas
Texas attorney general ran from home to avoid abortion subpoena, files say

Republican Ken Paxton allegedly ran out of his house and jumped into truck driven by his wife to avoid person serving subpoena

The Texas attorney general Ken Paxton ran out of his house and jumped into a truck driven by his wife, a state senator, to avoid being served a subpoena to testify Tuesday in an abortion access case, according to court documents.

A process server wrote in an affidavit that he was attempting to deliver the federal court subpoena Monday at Paxton’s home and ultimately had to leave the document on the ground. He said the Republican avoided him for more than an hour from inside his house, then dashed toward the truck and the couple drove off.

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- Robert Kitson
‘I was a machine’: England’s Abby Dow on her World Cup recovery

The wing is targeting an appearance in England’s opening Rugby World Cup game less than six months after breaking a leg

Abby Dow can still recall every painful detail. It was 9 April and she had broken her right leg in the early stages of England’s game against Wales at Kingsholm. Lying on a stretcher in the tunnel, with her family and friends around her, she thought her World Cup dream was over. “You always hear the horror stories of that person who was on form and then all of a sudden gets injured and misses out. We’ve been building for this event for five years and ‘It’s me’ was going through my head.”

Even after being transferred to London and placed in the care of a specialist surgeon she still feared the worst, with the World Cup due to kick off on 8 October. “I remember crying in my hospital bed as people broke the news to me that it was extremely unlikely. The surgery involved quite a big operation and the surgeon can’t say: ‘You’re going to make it.’”

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- Dan Milmo Global technology editor
Psychiatrist ‘unable to sleep’ after seeing material viewed by Molly Russell

Expert tells London inquest material 14-year-old viewed online would ‘certainly’ have affected her

A child psychiatrist has told the inquest into Molly Russell’s death he was unable to sleep well for “a few weeks” after seeing social media content viewed by the teenager before she killed herself.

Dr Navin Venugopal told North London coroner’s court the self-harm content viewed by Molly before her death was “very disturbing” and “distressing”.

In the UK, the youth suicide charity Papyrus can be contacted on 0800 068 4141 or email, and in the UK and Ireland Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email or In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 or chat for support. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counsellor. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at

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- Gloria Oladipo
University of Idaho staff told not to offer condoms to students for birth control

Memo issued in response to state abortion ban advises proceeding cautiously in any discussion touching on reproductive health

Condoms should only be provided to students to prevent sexually transmitted infections, not as birth control, according to a memo sent by the University of Idaho to staff last week.

The memo, first obtained by the Idaho Press and issued to all employees on Friday, laid out the university’s reproductive policies following the enactment of Idaho’s abortion law, which bans the procedure in nearly all cases.

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- Richard Williams
Pharoah Sanders obituary
US saxophonist who started his career with Sun Ra and John Coltrane and went on to find a more spiritual voice

The distinctive sound of Pharoah Sanders’ tenor saxophone, which could veer from a hoarse croon to harsh multiphonic screams, startled audiences in the 1960s before acting in recent years as a kind of call to prayer for young jazz musicians seeking to steer their music in a direction defined by a search for ecstasy and transcendence.

Sanders, who has died age 81, made an impact at both ends of a long career. In 1965 he was recruited by John Coltrane, an established star of the jazz world, to help push the music forward into uncharted areas of sonic and spiritual exploration.

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- Lauren Aratani
Hurricane Ian: Florida braces for powerful storm amid evacuation orders

Warnings that catastrophic storm surges could cause flooding in Tampa region as hurricane makes landfall in Cuba

Florida residents are bracing for Hurricane Ian, which has turned into a powerful storm that is heading directly for the state’s vulnerable south-western coast and has already caused evacuation orders to be issued in the state.

As forecas, the hurricane moved over western Cuba on Tuesday morning, making landfall around 4.30am local time. The National Weather Service on Tuesday morning said that the storm will probably head north-north-east into the Gulf of Mexico, where it is likely to gain in strength and lose speed.

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- Alex Hern
Meta takes down ‘influence operations’ run by China and Russia

Fake Guardian article among ‘sprawling network’ of bogus sites used to target users in UK, US and EU

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has said it has removed a pair of “influence operations” run by China and Russia, which aimed to sway views on the US elections and the war in Ukraine.

The Russian network, the largest the company has disrupted since the war began, targeted audiences across Europe and the UK, and incorporated a “sprawling network” of websites impersonating news websites including the Guardian, according to Meta.

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- Oliver Basciano
‘We want to contaminate the street!’: the artist fighting Bolsonaro – with animal costumes

Weary of repetitive demos, the Brazilian conceived an altogether more unexpected collective action featuring parrots, pink dolphins and six-legged beetles

One Saturday last October, between the skyscrapers of São Paulo’s main avenue, surrounded by thousands turned out for yet another protest against Brazil’s far right president, a hog danced with a leopard.

They were joined by a six-legged beetle, a parrot, a pink dolphin and over a dozen other people in similarly elaborate animal costumes, each brandishing banners proclaiming, in Portuguese, gnomic phrases such as “Cosmic Dancer”, “Defend Happiness” and “Gaia’s Return”. Some danced, others blew bubbles or burned incense.

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- Aubrey Allegretti Political correspondent
Rupa Huq apologises to Kwasi Kwarteng for ‘ill-judged’ comments

Party whip suspended after Labour MP accused of making ‘racist’ comment about chancellor

Politics live – latest updates

A Labour MP has offered Kwasi Kwarteng “sincere and heartfelt apologies” after being suspended from the party for describing him as “superficially” black during a fringe meeting at conference.

Rupa Huq had the party whip suspended for making what was accused of being “racist” comments about the chancellor.

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- Mark Sweney
ITV chief defends Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield over alleged ‘queue-jumping’

Carolyn McCall said pair’s jobs were safe and that they were filming a piece around the royal death

The chief executive of ITV has said that Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield’s jobs are safe and that their alleged queue-jumping to see the Queen lying in state was misinformation spread by a “shrill minority”.

Carolyn McCall, who has texted both hosts of This Morning who are finding the media fallout “difficult”, said that she hoped the incident would blow over and not become the latest victims of “cancel culture”.

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- Alex Hern
Terra founder wanted by Interpol tweets he is making ‘zero effort’ to hide

Search for crypto entrepreneur Do Kwon after Luna and UST collapse drags down rival currencies

The crypto entrepreneur Do Kwon has denied being in hiding, even as Interpol issued a “red notice” for his arrest after the collapse of the Terra project he founded.

After South Korean prosecutors said he was “obviously on the run”, Kwon tweeted that he was making no attempt to evade law officers. “I’m writing code in my living room … I’m making zero effort to hide,” he said. “I go on walks and malls, no way none of [crypto Twitter] hasn’t run into me the past couple weeks.”

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- Jacob Steinberg
On the plane or sofa? How England’s World Cup squad is likely to look

Gareth Southgate remains loyal to his senior players but still has a number of important decisions to make for Qatar

It is inconceivable that Jordan Pickford will not be England’s No 1 despite missing the latest camp with a thigh injury. Gareth Southgate is loyal to his senior players and often prefers to go with the tried and trusted. The manager has repeatedly backed Harry Maguire, even after the centre‑back blundered during the 3-3 draw with Germany on Tuesday, and is past the point of experimentation. He values experience and wants leaders like Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier around. Both are familiar with Southgate’s back three, as is a resurgent Eric Dier, while Reece James’s occasional defensive wobbles are cancelled out by the thrust he offers from right wing‑back.

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- Rowena Mason Whitehall editor
Truss and Kwarteng had row over sterling crisis response, say Whitehall sources

First signs of friction between PM and chancellor emerge as pound falls to historic low following mini-budget

Politics live – latest updates

The first signs of friction between Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng over how to deal with the tanking pound have emerged, after the pair met in No 10 to thrash out how to respond on Monday.

Downing Street rebuffed talk of a split between No 10 and No 11 over how to deal with the market reaction to the mini-budget, and denied that there was a row.

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- Letters
Faith, hope and comedy on long spiritual journeys | Letters

Rev Trevor Smith on being ‘born again’ and Rt Rev John Saxbee on how faith can be fanned into a flame. Plus letters from Rev Dr Clive Barrett, Fr Alec Mitchell and Harold Mozley

Reading the fascinating article outlining the pilgrimages that Jack Chisnall and Josh Dolphin have undertaken (Divine comedy: the standup double act who turned to the priesthood, 22 September), I was reminded of a lecturer in Durham who underlined that the phrase “born again”, in its original Greek language, implies a process, and not a single event.

So, I might describe myself as “born again” on Sunday 6 January 1980. But I was also “born again” when a gay couple, who I had been alongside in their challenge, came for communion. To my credit, the question that I asked of myself, when they approached the altar rail, was not “Can I give a gay couple communion?” but “Have they been confirmed?”

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