Lady Chiefs down Pirates, earn Final Four slot

Jovielyn Grace Prado led her team with 12 hits including 11 on kills while team captain Rialen Sante, Ma. Erica Calixto and Mary Anne Esguerra combined for 23 points to help ensure the Lady Chiefs a spot in the next round. After the win, Arellano coach Obet Javier emphasized team play. 2 seed,” said Javier, whose team squares off with Perpetual Help in the final elimination round playdate on Jan. 25. 7 against the San Sebastian Staglets on Jan. 23 to complete the elimination round sweep.

January 18, 2017 15:22 UTC

Death toll in Mali suicide blast rises to more than 50

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, suspicion quickly fell on the Islamic extremist groups operating in the area which oppose the 2015 peace agreement that brought the parties together. A Malian military official, Col. Mohamed Ould, put the death toll at more than 50, with more than 100 others wounded. The peace agreement has proved difficult to implement and unpopular with the forces wreaking havoc in the region. The former fighters who signed the 2015 peace deal include ethnic Tuareg secular rebels who once fought the Malian military. Malian Security Minister Salif Traore declined to respond to the report’s specifics but said he is well aware of security challenges throughout the region.

January 18, 2017 14:18 UTC

3 quakes shake Italy, isolating towns blanketed under snow

Premier Paolo Gentiloni said it appeared no one was killed, but that it was a “difficult day” for Italy. The quakes only made matters worse, knocking out some cell phone service, hampering emergency responses and sending quake-weary residents into panic. We hope the army gets here soon with snow plows or we risk being completely isolated,” he told Sky TG24. The tower of one of Amatrice’s churches toppled in Wednesday’s quakes. Mayor Maurizio Pelosi of Capitagno, near the epicenter of Wednesday’s quakes, said even before the earth shook many roads into and out of the town were blocked due to the snow.

January 18, 2017 14:06 UTC

Duterte: I would declare martial law quietly, if needed

CABANATUAN CITY — While insisting that he had no plan to declare martial law, President Duterte said on Wednesday that if he did issue such a proclamation, he would do so quietly. Mr. Duterte also chided newspapers for reports on his statements about martial law. “I will not declare martial law. If I declare martial law, I will not make noise. But If I feel as a President that I have to preserve my country, I will declare martial law,” he added.

January 18, 2017 13:14 UTC

2 Senate panels get green light to look into possible BI overhaul

After spending two days debating and trading insults, senators finally agreed on Wednesday to allow two committees to look into a possible overhaul of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the light of the reported P50 million bribery scandal involving some of its officials. No senator objected when Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III moved to refer Senate Resolution No. 256, filed by Senate President Franklin Drilon, to the committees on civil service, government reorganization, and professional regulation, and on justice and human rights. The resolution was originally referred to the civil service committee chaired by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV but the Senate, voting 14-7 on Monday, decided to reconsider its referral. Gordon’s committee has set its first hearing on the issue on Monday, January 23.

January 18, 2017 10:00 UTC

Japan lowers permanent residency requirements, will favor foreign workers

New rules will be implemented with regards to getting permanent residency in Japan and these will be in favor of the country’s foreign workforce. The proposal to amend the residency rules is said to be planned for enactment as early as March, based on the decision by the Ministry of Justice last Tuesday, reports Nikkei. Within the proposal, the required number of years to live in Japan before a foreigner can apply for permanent residency will be reduced from 10 years to three years. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government is hoping to attract foreign talent that would be beneficial to invigorating Japan’s economic growth. Revising the rules for permanent residency will begin after a public comment period, beginning Wednesday.

January 18, 2017 09:42 UTC

McDonald's Phl to spend P3.5B for expansion, new meat plant

While 80 percent of McDonald’s stores is concentrated in Luzon and Metro Manila, the company wants to explore more in the Visayas and Mindanao area to cater to more consumers. Last year, McDonald’s opened 45 stores including its 500th store, located along the Tagaytay-Calamba road. Furthermore, McDonald’s is also building a P1.5-billion meat plant in Calamba, Laguna to supplement its operation in its existing plant in Cainta, Rizal. Meanwhile, McDonald's Philippines founder and chairman George Yang said the quick service restaurant has no plans to go public anytime soon. Next to China and Japan, McDonald’s Philippines is the biggest and leading market for the brand in Greater Asia in terms of store units.

January 18, 2017 09:21 UTC

After confronting mayors, Duterte to meet with governors

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to meet with governors on Thursday to discuss the country's drug problem a week after he confronted mayors believed to have ties with the narcotics trade. In a speech he delivered in Davao City last Saturday, Duterte said he would ask the governors to use their powers to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs in their respective provinces. I'd really tell them. Duterte has warned local executives involved in illegal drugs that they would be killed if they do not resign. Duterte reportedly badmouthed and threatened mayors with suspected links to the illegal drugs trade during their meeting at Malacañan last January 11.

January 18, 2017 09:06 UTC

Ched chief ‘anti-student, anti-people’—youth group

A militant youth group on Wednesday hit Commission on Higher Education (Ched) chairperson Patricia Licuanan for saying that free tuition will not benefit the poor. They have been knocked out long ago and enrollment of the poorest quintile in higher education is only 8 percent. Licuanan said Ched prefers to start with the “poorest segments” instead of offering free tuition to all students. LFS chairperson JP Rosos called Licuanan and CHED “anti-student and anti-people.”“Providing free public education must cover every Filipino youth regardless of their background,” he said. He said college students might not be considered poorest of the poor but many of them come from families of minimum-wage earners.

January 18, 2017 08:22 UTC

CA clears Mayor Gatchalian of admin liability on Kentex Fire

The Court of Appeals (CA) has cleared Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian of any administrative liability over the Kentex fire tragedy that left 74 people dead and reversed the Ombudsman’s order dismissing him from service. The CA, in dismissing the administrative complaint against Gatchalian said that the duty to enforce the Fire Code belongs to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and not with the local government unit (LGU). “Mayor Gatchalian did not neglect his duty. Any finding of negligence on his part would be in effect imposing upon him a duty that it is not provided by law,” the appeals court said. Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Ramon Garcia and Jhosep Lopez.

January 18, 2017 08:11 UTC

South Korean kidnapped, murdered by PH police: Seoul

A South Korean businessman who went missing in the Philippines three months ago was kidnapped by policemen and murdered on the day he disappeared, a Seoul official said Wednesday. Eight suspects, including three current Philippine policemen, were being investigated, the official said. "The Philippine police told us that several police officers had been named as suspects in the kidnapping and murder," said an official at Seoul's foreign ministry. Crimes targeting South Koreans in the Philippines have often made headlines. Nearly 50 South Koreans have been killed in the country since 2012.

January 18, 2017 05:33 UTC

Cargo vessel sinks off Leyte; 28 rescued, 1 missing

BATO, Leyte—One crew member remained missing while 28 others were rescued when a cargo vessel sank in the waters near Dawahon Island between the provinces of Bohol and Leyte on Tuesday night. The survivors were rescued from the life rafts after they abandoned their ship, steel-hulled MV Meridian Tres, as it was listing on its portside before it finally sank about 9 p.m. They were brought to the Coast Guard station in Cebu City on Wednesday morning. MV Meridian Tres, of Manila-based Meridian Cargoes Forwarder, was heading to Tacloban City in Leyte from Cebu City on Tuesday to deliver their cargoes. Fortunately, crew members of three other vessels that were near the area responded to the distress call and helped rescue the Meridian crew members.

January 18, 2017 04:40 UTC

Ejercito apologizes to Drilon for twitting LP senators

READ: Ejercito dares LP senators in ‘supermajority’ to show true colorsEjercito said he texted Drilon to apologize because he felt that the latter got “hurt” and “offended” by his remark. But Ejercito did not give a categorical answer when asked if, after his apology, there is still a need for LP senators to choose between the majority or the minority group. We don’t have a strong two-party system, which explains the kind of dynamics we have in the Senate.”The LP senators who are in the Senate majority group are Drilon, Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Bam Aquino and Leila de Lima. READ: LP senators to stay with Senate majority despite De Lima ousterAnother LP member, Senator Ralph Recto, is leading the minority group, along with Senators Francis Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV. Drilon, in an interview, confirmed that Ejercito had apologized to him.

January 18, 2017 04:08 UTC

British PM vows to leave EU single market

LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her Brexit blueprint on Tuesday, announcing for the first time that Britain will leave Europe’s single market in order to control EU immigration. EU leaders have insisted single market membership means accepting free movement — a key issue in Britain’s shock June referendum vote to become the first country to leave the 28-member group. “She told both that the UK wanted the EU to thrive, understood the importance of the ‘four freedoms’ of the single market and that the UK would not be seeking membership of the single market,” May’s spokeswoman said. The single market without Britain covers 460 million people. Excluded from the single market, May said London would be free to change its economic model and “set competitive tax rates”.

January 18, 2017 03:25 UTC

Obama commutes WikiLeaker Manning’s sentence

Manning was convicted in August 2013 of espionage and other offenses, after admitting to the leak of 700,000 sensitive military and diplomatic documents. Activists had argued her sentence is excessive and point to the psychological frailty of the transgender soldier. Obama has imposed sanctions on Russian intelligence services over the hack of Democratic party emails, some of which were released via WikiLeaks. “If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case,” the group tweeted last week. Other names omitted Tuesday were General David Petraeus — who pleaded guilty to improperly sharing classified information — and Obama’s ally Hillary Clinton.

January 18, 2017 03:25 UTC

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