US economy continues to expand, optimism about 2017 growth – Fed

WASHINGTON: The US economy continues to expand and is now seeing tight labor markets and rising price pressures, as businesses nationwide have an upbeat outlook for 2017, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. “Firms across the country and industries were said to be optimistic about growth in 2017,” the Fed’s Beige Book survey of the economy said. Most of the 12 Fed districts reported tighter labor markets, including increasing wages or trouble filling open positions, while price pressures have “intensified” since the last survey in November. Wage pressures growing“Employment growth ranged from slight to moderate and most districts indicated that wages increased modestly,” the report said, in contrast to the November report when the improvement in jobs was not as widespread. Meanwhile, retail sales expanded, but several districts noted disappointing holiday sales.

January 19, 2017 17:33 UTC

Fed’s Yellen says ‘nonpartisan’ central bank close to goals

WASHINGTON: The US central bank is close to achieving its inflation and employment goals, but any policy moves will depend on how the economy evolves, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday. “At the Fed, we too are nonpartisan and focused squarely on the public interest,” Yellen told the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Fed policy workingThe policy decisions by the Fed appear to be working, since “the economy is near maximum employment and inflation is moving toward our goal” of 2 percent. That improvement and the Fed’s confidence in the recovery prompted central bankers to raise the key benchmark interest rate last month for only the second time in a decade. But she noted that the Fed wants to maintain stimulus in the economy even as it gradually raises rates.

January 19, 2017 17:14 UTC

Modernizing and industrializing PH agriculture

Also, while there have been laws passed to modernize the country’s agriculture sector, progress has been very slow. And given that the country’s population continues to grow and agriculture faces even greater challenges from the effects of climate change, we should not waste time in modernizing and industrializing the Philippine agriculture sector. Recent statistics show the country’s agriculture sector employs 11.8 million people or 35.1 percent of the country’s total work force. Before I proceed to the “nuts and bolts” of modernizing and industrializing the country’s agriculture sector, let me discuss the concept of inclusiveness in the context of the IMOD strategy. In the Philippines, smallholder farmers continue to dominate farming and their total landholding size can make them a potent force in modernizing and industrializing the country’s agriculture sector.

January 19, 2017 17:14 UTC

China’s richest man warns Trump against trade war

DAVOS, Switzerland: China’s richest man, Hollywood investor Wang Jianlin, warned Donald Trump Wednesday against dragging the entertainment industry into a trade war—saying his country’s millions of movie-lovers are key to the future of cinema. Damon, in Davos to promote his water charity, told AFP he would work on another Chinese project “in a heartbeat”. “I didn’t feel there was any propaganda to it at all,” he said of the concerns of some US politicians. “Chinese films tend to talk about emotions, relationships with people,” he said. “In Chinese movies, the hero always (ends up) dead,” he complained, to laughter from the Davos crowd.

January 19, 2017 17:14 UTC

How SSS fails its members

That’s the good news that should have awakened SSS officials, who probably need to review their rules in collecting members’ contributions. I do not even know if I should return to SSS Biñan or go to another satellite office to fulfill our obligation. I don’t know if the officials of SSS Biñan would believe me that I am married to my wife. Common rulesGoing back and forth to SSS Biñan would be a waste of both money and time. Ironically, while SSS Biñan requires attachments to the bank deposit receipts, its office at Waltermart along Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road does not.

January 19, 2017 17:14 UTC



Monsanto unveils R&D advances at annual show

Agribusiness giant Monsanto highlighted a broad set of solutions aimed at helping farmers produce better harvests in its annual R&D (research and development) show, the company said in a statement. “The company’s annual research and development showcase focuses on reducing inputs, improving grower productivity and identifying ways to mitigate environmental challenges,” Monsanto explained. Monsanto’s R&D platforms span five areas of agricultural technology: Data science, plant breeding, plant biotechnology, crop protection and ag biologicals. The Climate FieldView™ platform continues to be the most widely adopted digital ag platform in the industry, Monsanto said. Research underway at Monsanto, called BioDirect TM Technology: Bee Health Varroa Control, represents an innovative biological approach to target this devastating threat to bees,” Monsanto explained.

January 19, 2017 17:14 UTC

Ex-MRT 3 chief: Ombudsman harassing me

So talagang ‘yung i-finile ng Ombudsman talagang [So what the Ombudsman filed really]… is just a purely harassment case against me. Earlier, the Office of the Ombudsman conducted a fact-finding investigation, which was prompted by news reports on the alleged extortion try. Last November, the Ombudsman’s office filed two charge sheets accusing Vitangcol and de Vera of violation of Section 3(b) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The Inekon representatives turned down the alleged request or demand for $30 million so the sum was supposedly reduced to $2.5 million, which they also refused. The Inekon representatives turned down this alleged request or demand, it said.

January 19, 2017 16:52 UTC

Policemen charged for killing Korean exec

Indicted for the crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide were Senior Police Office (SPO) 3 Ricky Santa Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas and Ramon Yalung. Villegas said Santa Isabel strangled Jee and eventually killed the Korean national. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd told reporters there was no plan to get Santa Isabel as state witness. Santiago allegedly did not report to authorities that the body of a killed South Korean national was brought to his funeral parlor. The same barangay official said Santiago owns Gream Funeral Services, but not St. Nathaniel.

January 19, 2017 16:48 UTC

Pope Francis blesses PH, Duterte

THE Pope gave his blessing to the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte after receiving a letter from the Philippine leader, according to a Cabinet official. In a Facebook post, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza shared Pope Francis’ message to visiting Philippine officials at the Vatican on Wednesday. “I said: ‘Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness.’ Pope Francis: ‘I will also bless your President,’” Dureza said after attending a papal audience. Dureza is in Rome to attend the third round of peace talks with communist rebels. Duterte has repeatedly criticized the Catholic Church, calling it the “most hypocritical institution.”

January 19, 2017 16:48 UTC

‘Trump, Duterte will walk the talk’

THE rise of populist leaders Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte, who were roundly slammed for their brash personalities, will bring about significant changes as they promised during their presidential campaigns, according to a global economic and policy analyst. Steinbock warned that Trump could begin a rollback on trade deals and go tough on American companies shipping jobs overseas, a move that could affect the Philippines’ outsourcing industry. So he might walk the talk at least initially,” Steinbock said of Trump. But now, especially with the incoming Trump administration…there’s going to be economic uncertainty, market volatility and strategic doubt,” he said. Duterte ‘strategic’Given the developments in Washington, Duterte is doing the right move in terms of a foreign policy shift away from the US and toward China and even Russia, Steinbock said.

January 19, 2017 16:48 UTC

Duterte asks govs for help in drug war, blasts Church anew

Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday sought assistance from provincial governors in his campaign against illegal drugs, as he again lashed out at the Church for criticizing him. In remarks during an oath-taking ceremony for new police officials in Malacañang, Duterte said he met with the provincial governors to inform them about the drug problem. The President said many officials, especially those in local government, were involved in the illegal drug trade, becoming millionaires overnight. Duterte outed another elected official in his so-called “narcolist” and said nearly 40 percent of barangay (village) officials in the country were linked to drugs. Duterte again blasted Catholic Church officials critical of the alleged extrajudicial killings being linked to his drug war.

January 19, 2017 16:44 UTC

Smart franchise faces rough sailing in Senate

THE bill granting Manuel Pangilinan-led Smart Communications Inc. a fresh franchise is expected to face rough sailing in the Senate, with some senators complaining of the telecommunications firm’s services. The House Representatives approved on third reading last Monday House Bill 4637, which extends the franchise of Smart for another 25 years. Sotto said he couldn’t say if the Smart franchise bill would be passed on time as other senators also had some concerns over its services. Vietnam, which has fewer mobile subscribers, has a total of 55,000 cell sites, Sotto pointed out. The head of the Senate Committee on Public Services, Sen. Grace Poe, likewise said there was no guarantee the Senate would be able to renew the Smart franchise bill before March.

January 19, 2017 16:44 UTC

‘Robredo camp running out of explanations’

Lawyer Vic Rodriguez blasted Robredo and her legal team, led by Romulo Macalintal, for pretending to be “blind” amid “evidence” emerging that Marcos was cheated in the vice-presidential race. Robredo beat Marcos by 263,473 votes in the May 2016 polls. Macalintal said he was willing to withdraw his license to practice law if Robredo lost the case. He proposed the suspension of the verification and examination of 13 SD cards found to have data until the filing of a joint manifestation before the Commission on Elections. Rodriguez, however countered: “It’s very simple, if the SD cards were not used, they should be empty.

January 19, 2017 16:44 UTC

House to review train deal

The House of Representatives will look again into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the common station that will link three railway lines, a House leader said on Thursday. The Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 and the future MRT Line 7 will share the P2.8-billion, 13,700-square-meter common station that will be built starting in December. Now the question is, the proposal on the common station, is that what is good for the convenience of passengers?” House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte told dzMM in a radio interview. The common station will be constructed between the malls SM North EDSA and Trinoma. According to Alvarez, the review of the MOA aims to ensure that the project would also benefit the riding public.

January 19, 2017 16:44 UTC

Stop exporting people — growth guru

ONCE more, an international expert on economic growth and policy-making has suggested that our government must reduce our dependence on exporting Filipino labor and focus on creating more jobs. He said the Philippines could take advantage of its good demographics—in other words its huge population, by harnessing its potential in manufacturing, electronics, information and communications technology and tourism, among other sectors. We must also praise the President for his administration’s initial good work in the economic growth and business fields, as Mr. Dan Steinbock did. He said something that other analysts seldom talk about: that having a huge population is an asset. He warned that a huge population turns into a destabilizing force in the future—if not allowed to exercise their capabilities to be productive.

January 19, 2017 16:42 UTC



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