Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Container ship crashes, tips near Mumbai

Two days after a container ship smashed into another vessel and ran aground off India's coast near Mumbai, the container ship was still listing heavily Monday, the Associated Press reported. Officials were concerned about the environmental impact of oil leaks, according to AFP, which said 33 crew members were rescued.

One police officer fell off a patrolling speedboat and drowned, however, because neither the officer nor colleagues knew how to swim, a police spokesman told AFP.

*story and photo lifted from Yahoo!News. Lhanse holds no copyright over this/these material/s.

Gov?t loses P51 billion claim against Marcos cronies

ABS-CBN - Tuesday, August 10SendIM StoryPrint.MANILA, Philippines - The family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos won another case before the Sandiganbayan in connection to alleged behest loans granted to supposed cronies.

In a 27-page decision penned by Associate Justice Alex L. Quiroz, the graft court junked the almost 2-decade-old case for insufficiency of evidence.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) filed the case on July 24, 1987, claiming that the Marcoses and their alleged cronies engaged in “schemes, devices or stratagems” in order to supposedly acquire ill-gotten assets.

Also named in the suit are businessman Rodolfo and Roberto Cuenca, former Philippine National Bank president Panfilo O. Domingo, former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin, former Development Bank of the Philippines officer Don Ferry, and 11 others.

The government had asked for P50 billion in moral damages and P1 billion in exemplary damages.

Of the 100 documentary exhibits that lawyers submitted during the trial, the graft court threw out 68 for being mere photocopies.

“The Court held that since the due execution and authenticity of said photocopied documents had not been proved, the same were inadmissible in evidence. Further, the documents in question were rendered inadmissible as they were only photocopies,” the court said.

None of the 5 witnesses the prosecution presented even had personal knowledge of the alleged behest loans and transactions, it added.

The graft court also subsequently quashed the government’s move to forfeit the assets owned by the defendants in 46 companies, including the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP).

The latter is the predecessor of the Philippine National Construction Corp.

Cuenca is former president of the CDCP.

PCGG claimed Marcos had granted Cuenca several favors, including the absorption of obligations that CDCP had incurred. Cuenca is supposedly Marcos’s favorite golf partner.

The Sandiganbayan, however, said the financial support extended to CDCP does not prove that Cuenca unjustly enriched himself.

story and photo lifted from Yahoo!News.

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Willie ends contract with ABS-CBN

Philstar.com - Tuesday, August 10SendIM StoryPrint.As Funfare headlined yesterday, Willie Revillame did deliver a little “shocker” when he faced the movie press at Annabel’s Restaurant (Quezon City) at lunch also yesterday, his first time to come out in the open since he left (or “suspended” from) Wowowee last May.

“I’m rescinding my contract with ABS-CBN,” said Willie who was accompanied by his lawyers Leonardo de Vera and Ferdinand Domingo. Willie’s contract is good until Sept. 2011.

In a letter to Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez, ABS-CBN Chairman of the Board, signed by Willie and his lawyers, Willie said that his decision is justified by ABS-CBN’s breach of its obligations to him under his contract with the company “and its consequences which, according to their nature, should be in keeping with good faith, usage and law; and the unjust imposition of unauthorized penalties,” as follows:

1. Suspension without pay.

2. Unilateral cancellation of the Wowowee Program due to reason not attributable to me. The Wowowee Program became successful because of me, as the host/creative force. The ratings, in fact, fell because I was taken out as Host.

3. Unilateral downgrading of m y program from three (3) hours daily (Monday to Saturday) or eighteen (18) hours weekly to one (1) hour weekly or seventeen (17) hours less.

4. Being placed on probation to a weekly programs without assurance to reinstatement to daily programming.

5. Unilateral downgrading of my appearance from a “live” to a “pre-recorded” program, which constitutes prior restraint and censorship.

6. Due to 2 and 3 above, I was, and will be, deprived of my earning from “in-show” product endorsements which have become part of my compensation as a talent of the Company.

7. Deliberate sabotage of my image by the Company by airing, or allowing to be aired, destructive pieces against me, instead of promoting me as a talent of the company.

8. Abuse of right by the Company under a one-sided contract of adhesion, purposely intended to destroy my career and humiliate me, which is not in keeping with good faith, usage and law.

9. Refusing to salvage the Wowowee Program by reinstating me as Host when the rating started to decline with different trial hosts who did not generate the same viewership of 22-23 percent under my watch.

10. To continue to work under the proposed probation, censorship and prior restraint constitutes involuntary servitude.

Willie revealed that during a meeting last July 13 with ABS-CBN head Charo Santos, Florida “Linggit” Tan (head of the network’s Entertainment Production), Wowowee director Edgar “Bobot” Mortiz and Willie’s manager Arlene de Castro, he agreed to go back to Wowowee and even made suggestions for new segments, only to be told by Tan on July 20 that “the Company changed its mind.” On July 31, instead of Willie coming back as originally agreed upon, the new show Pilipinas Win Na Win was launched, hosted by Kris Aquino, Mariel Rodriguez, Pokwang, Valerie Concepcion and Robin Padilla (who is “on leave” for the duration of Ramadan).

“I honestly believe that the Company has not dealt with me fairly,” Willie added in his letter to Gabby. “The Company acted in bad faith and in clear violation of our contract,” while at the same time, in a separate official statement, saying, “To Sir Gabby and Ma’am Charo, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for nurturing me, for believing in me and for giving me opportunities in life.”

In a post-presscon interview with Funfare, Willie denied reports (in this section) that he has been negotiating with GMA and TV5.

“I couldn’t do that while my contract with ABS-CBN was good,” he explained. “But now, my lawyers told me that I can start such negotiations.”

There’s also a report that an ABS-CBN lady executive threatened to resign with her team if the network took Willie back.

“I didn’t know that,” said Willie. “I decided to rescind my contract to make it easier for the Company if it really wants to terminate my services and rescind our contract.”

Once the coast is clear, Willie said he plans to put up his own company, tie up with another big company (Viva or Regal?) for co-production ventures and attend to the completion of his Wil Tower located just across the street from the ABS-CBN studio. Willie bought the lot from retired ABS-CBN head Freddie M. Garcia. Willie’s P80-M-plus house and lot in Ayala Heights, Quezon City, was bought from Gabby Lopez.

In the separate official statement, Willie said that he is aware of the implications of his decision to rescind his ABS-CBN contract.

“But I have to do it. I cannot just sit idly by and watch the death of a show that has brought hope and joy in so many ways to our less fortunate countrymen.”

A Funfare VDPA (Very Deep Penetration Agent) said that Willie will announce what his “next move” will be in two weeks time.

My guess?

Willie will surface in another channel which starts with the letter “K.”

Suggested title for Willie’s new show on an other channel, if and when: Willing-Willie.

Nice, isn’t it?

Incidentally, at presstime yesterday, Funfare got the following official statement from ABS-CBN:

We take note of Willie Revillame’s pronouncements in his press conference today.

Willie is bound to ABS-CBN by a contract until September 2011. He violated the behavioral provisions of his contract when he threatened the ABS-CBN management during the May 4, 2010 episode of Wowowee, with a resignation if management does not fire another artist of the network. His behavior was generally seen as a display of disrespect and arrogance, completely unacceptable to the Filipino public.

As the one who violated his contract, Willie has no right to have it unilaterally invalidated. Contracts are binding agreements that must be respected by the contracting parties involved. The one who violates the contract cannot be allowed to dictate whether it should continue or end. Otherwise, contracts will have no value and may be terminated based on whim.

ABS-CBN is the aggrieved party, and as such, is the only one that can decide to end the agreement.

Despite all that had happened, ABS-CBN was willing to continue with the contract. Willie, however, refused to take responsibility for his actions.

ABS-CBN wishes to reiterate that it will hold Willie to his obligations under the contract which expires September 2011.

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph or at entphilstar@yahoo.com) - FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo (Philstar News Service, http://www.philstar.com/)

Story and photos lifted fro yahoo news...

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Friday, August 6, 2010

HBO to stop screening heavyweight boxing due to lack of US interest

Home Box Office, the American cable television network, delivered a body blow to boxing on Wednesday when it announced it would be withdrawing any plans to screen heavyweight title fights.

It was once called 'The Richest Prize in Sport', when the heavyweight champion was the heavyweight champion.

It was one giant step in the wrong direction for boxing's slumbering blue riband division, in decline and without an identifiable anchor in the United States since the retirement of Lennox Lewis in 2003.

“'We're out of the heavyweight division. There isn't any interest in the US and no one besides Haye to challenge the Klitschkos.”

British boxers Joe Calzaghe, Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton and Lennox Lewis all benefitted from HBO coverage.

The ripples will be felt financially by David Haye (WBA) and the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir (WBO and IBF) and Vitali (WBC), holders of the four most widely respected baubles, with the triumvirate focused on fighting in Europe.

The public in the United States appear to have lost interest in a division which once spilt over with larger than life athletic giants who became world stars.

Muhammad Ali was a one-off, showman, athlete, and activist and has cemented as one of the iconic sporting figures from the last century. Yet Ali could not have been defined thus without a group of brilliant dancing rivals, or the changing times in society.

The brutal artistry of Ali was with a pallette of colours which included Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton, and Larry Holmes. And how he painted as they all danced, fists like brush strokes. In the ring, and in the civil rights movement. It defined an era.

The next generation of Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis filled the breach, mega-millionaires, giant characters in the age of the global village.

Yet since their retirement, or demise in the case of Holyfield, who is still fighting like a ghost haunting the heavyweight division, boxing for the big boys has hit a cyclical trough. At least in the United States.

Where is Mike Tyson when you need him ? Well, even ‘Iron Mike’ himself, now 260lbs and 44 years old, was completing personal duties in Mecca where he performed the Umrah this week. The worm turns.

In Germany, it is a different story. The Klitschko Show tours German football stadiums, the two super-heavyweights hammering no hopers in front of 60,000 spectators, out on a night of gluwein and canap├ęs, before retiring for a little light opera.

Even the applause for the Klitschos resembles the rippling crescendo of an applauding haute-couture audience.

The Klitchko Bros tried the United States. I covered two of Wladimir Klitschko’s contests in New York, against Calvin Brock and Sergei Liakovich.

They were turgid affairs, and the US public failed to warm to the brothers, whose charisma burns much more brightly with the German public.

“I had to tell the guy in front of me at one of those fights to stop snoring, because he was keeping me awake,” Bert Sugar, the boxing historian, barked at me recently. But it sums up how the Americans feel.

In Germany, nonetheless, the giant jabbing, efficient style of the 6ft 7in tall brothers have turned them into genuine crossover stars. They are educated, and cultured. Box office on a different planet to Tyson and Co.

They draw an average audience of 11 million on terrestrial television, with whom they have multi-million euro multi-fight deals. Last year, Vitali

Klitschko’s defence of the World Boxing Council title was the second most watched sports event in Germany. The only event to overhaul it in viewing figures was the FIFA World Cup Finals qualifying match between Germany and Russia.

In 2009, in America, the top-ten television pay-per-view buys in the US included three boxing matches, involving either Floyd Mayweather Jr or Manny

Paquiao, with six the top-ten positions taken by mixed martial arts. In the last 20 years, basketball and American football have become the more popular routes for large athletes with salaries increasing tenfold.

Promoter Bob Arum says it is about the characters. “If the heavyweight champion of the world was LeBron James or Michael Jordan, heavyweight boxing would be flying high,” he told Telegraph Sport.

Historian Bert Sugar concurs. “The problem is they can earn ten times the money and these days the big guys are scared of being hit,” added Sugar.

Greenburg, at HBO, has left a caveat for Haye to develop a reputation in the US, but there has been precious little indication that he will fight there any time soon. He would need a win over either Klitschko brother to swagger across the Atlantic.

Haye claimed three belts in the cruiserweight division – one of the less decorated weights in the sport – and climbed up a rung against the big boys.

It has been a good move, and Haye is box office, when available. He has been something of a Houdini between fights, fading from public spotlight. His time is now, and he should be out there selling himself.

The veteran sages in the US – the likes of legendary HBO anchor Larry Merchant, promoter Arum, publicist Bill Caplan, and historian Bert Sugar, around in the Foreman-Ali-Frazier era – have told Telegraph Sport in recent weeks that Haye could capture hearts and minds in the United States.

“He could save the division, but he needs to beat one of those superheavyweight Klitschkos and then fight over here,” Sugar told Telegraph Sport.

Yet with Haye content to fight twice a year, which is arguably at least one or even two fights too few, there seems little chance of Haye hyping it up in the good old US of A.

They used to say ‘Only in America’. Now it is no longer…what the heavyweight division needs is another Mike Tyson.

Picture and story lifted from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
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Aquino replaces PAGASA chief

.President Benigno Aquino III announced on Friday that he has replaced Dr. Prisco D. Nilo as director of the country’s weather bureau, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). Aquino told reporters on Friday afternoon that Nilo was replaced due to “differences" with his “immediate superior" in the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the government agency directly supervising PAGASA.

Although the President did not name the "immediate superior," a check with PAGASA showed that it is directly under the DOST underesecretary for research and development, with the post currently held by Graciano Yumul.

A special order from Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo dated August 5 designated Undersecretary Yumul as PAGASA’s officer-in-charge, replacing Nilo. Aquino reprimanded Pagasa last month for failing to predict that typhoon Basyang would ravage Metro Manila. Aquino said Nilo "never really bothered to explain" why Typhoon Basyang moved in a different direction. (See: Aquino reprimands PAGASA at Typhoon Basyang briefing)—with Andreo C. Calonzo/JV, GMANews.TV

Story lifted from Yahoo News...

Hacienda Luisita farmers, owners end 21-year land row

The farmers and the owners of Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) in Tarlac on Friday ended a 21-year dispute after signing a compromise deal giving farmworkers two options— to receive land parcels or retain their HLI stocks. Representatives of HLI and two farmers groups, the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA) and the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU), signed the agreement around 10 a.m. at the estate's clubhouse in Tarlac. Based on a copy of the agreement obtained by GMANews.TV, the parties have forged the deal to resolve the 21-year-old land row. “The primordial concern of the parties herein is to uplift the lives of the people living in Hacienda Luisita, and an early resolution of the case, as well as all collateral issues, will definitely augur well to serve this purpose," the document read. The compromise agreement also states that HLI’s 12,000 farmer-beneficiaries can now opt to continue owning stocks in the corporation based on the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) deal signed 21 years ago, or own for free a share in the 1,400 hectares of the 6,453-hectare plantation. “The parties shall respect the individual decisions of the farmworkers as to whether they would stay with the Stock Distribution contained in the MOA of 1989, or in lieu thereof, proceed with land distribution," the agreement read. Both parties also agreed that farmers who will opt for land distribution will get their parcel of the plantation “for free and clean of any encumbrances" and will surrender their shares to the corporation to the stocks’ original owner, the Tarlac Development Corporation. The agreement also allows the farmer-beneficiaries who will opt for land distribution to keep monetary and non-monetary benefits, such as home lots and production shares, given to them when they agreed with the SDO. Aside from these, the 12,000 farmer-beneficiaries are also entitled to P150 million in “financial assistance" from the HLI in settlement of all claims — P20 million of which will be given upon signing of the agreement as a sign of “good will."

The remaining P130 million will be given to the farmers once the agreement has been forwarded and approved by the Supreme Court. The farm workers also agreed to support all further developments of HLI land in the future even for non-agricultural purposes. They, however, are to be top priority for employment should HLI choose to push through with these developments, based on the agreement. ‘Granted wish’ Former Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Bernie Cruz, who has been privy to the negotiations since the farmers and the management began talks in 2007, said the farmer-beneficiaries “got what they wished for" through the compromise agreement. “’Yung mga kahilingan naman nila sa simula, naibigay naman. Friendly naman ang atmosphere between the two parties," he told GMANews.TV in a phone interview on Friday before the signing. He added that the farmer-beneficiaries and the management have been negotiating “quietly" for three years to avoid the talks to be “politicized," especially with President Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III’s rise to power. “This issue is one of the most highly controversial cases sa agrarian reform. Tahimik lang ginawa kaya hindi nalalaman," he said. Aquino’s family owns the 6,453-hectare sugar plantation, and the President himself has shares in the corporation. Cruz said the Supreme Court will look into the legalities of the agreement. Once approved by the SC, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will enforce the deal. The SC has set oral arguments on the HLI land case on August 18 to determine whether the SDO scheme will be retained, or if the land will be distributed to the farmers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). SC spokesperson Midas Marquez earlier said the fate of the oral arguments will now depend on the manifestations to be submitted by both parties after the signing of the agreement. Finally, a land to till Farmer Ildefonso Pungol, ULWU vice-president, said he is thankful that an agreement has finally been reached because most of his fellow farmer-beneficiaries have been unemployed for the past years. “Natapos na rin ang problema. Gusto na lang namin matapos dahil marami na rin sa mga kasama rito ang walang trabaho," he told GMANews.TV in a separate phone interview. “Kung maghihintay pa kasi kami ng desisyon ng korte, matagal pa po ang tapos niyan. Nawawalan na rin po kasi ng pag-asa ang mga narito," he added. He said he plans to till his share of the land in the coming years to get a steady source of income, but still unsure what to do with it in the long run. “Pansamantala, ‘yun po ay sasakahin para magkaroon kami ng pagkakakitaan. Hindi pa po namin alam kung ibebenta pagkatapos para magkaroon ng pera o hihintaying tumaas ang value nito," he said. — LBG/VVP/RSJ, GMANews.TV

Story and picture lifted from GMANews.tv

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

China Plans Huge Buses That Can DRIVE OVER Cars

China Plans Huge Buses That Can DRIVE OVER Cars

China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases and biggest energy consumer.

But the country is also thinking in big and bold ways when it comes to how it will reduce pollution and a new plan to build a "straddling bus" is among the most space-age schemes yet.

In an effort to go green and relieve congestion without widening roads, the Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment company is developing a "3D Express Coach" (also known as a "three-dimensional fast bus").

The innovation will allow cars less than 2 meters high to travel underneath the upper level of the vehicle, which will be carrying passengers.

According to China Hush, the 6-meter-wide 3D Express Coach will be powered by a combination of electricity and solar energy, and will be able to travel up to 60 kilometers per hour carrying some 1200 to 1400 passengers.

Story and photo lifted from Yahoo News