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Senator links govt housing brass to NPA
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

THE forced occupation of more than 5,000 government housing units in Pandi in Bulacan province by members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) does not only set a bad precedent but could also have national security implications, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th said on Sunday.

Trillanes viewed Kadamay illegally occupying the housing units intended for police and military personnel as a national security concern as he cited intelligence reports showing that the organization is a front of communist groups.

“Aside from setting a bad and dangerous precedent, the decision to allow the members of Kadamay to occupy an entire community has national security implications since intelligence reports suggest that Kadamay is a front organization of the communist groups,” he said.

The senator claimed receiving information that some members of the Duterte Cabinet involved in administering government housing units allegedly have links to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

|Trillanes named the Secretary to the Cabinet and chairman of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Leoncio Evasco Jr., who was reportedly elected as CPP Central Committee member in the 8th Central Committee Plenum (1981) in Mount Susung Dalaga in the Bicol Region.

National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. was reportedly a full member of the CPP while Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chief James Mark Terry Ridon was elected as CPP Central Committee member in the 13th Central Committee Plenum (2012) in Quezon City.

“If said reports are true, the wholesale takeover of several communities by Kadamay may mean the creation of sanctuaries for communist groups in Bulacan, which is strategically located near the National Capital Region [NCR or Metro Manila],” Trillanes said.

In light of the information, he filed Senate Resolution 345, which seeks an inquiry into the forced occupation of housing units by Kadamay, including the national security implications of the takeover.

Trillanes raised the need to enact a remedial legislation to ensure that use of force and violence would not be duplicated in the future by groups seeking housing assistance from the government.

The Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement Committee has started investigating the issue and is scheduled to inspect the housing project in Pandi on Tuesday.

The inspection will include a brief presentation by the National Housing Authority’s Central Luzon representatives and a meeting between Pandi local government officials and leaders of Pandi Homeowners Association.

The committee had learned that of the total 66,184 housing units constructed by the government for military and police personnel in 2013, only 8,240 had been occupied, leaving 55,124 units idle.

This is because most of the beneficiaries found the housing units, built by the government without first consulting them, not liveable.

The housing sites also do not have access to basic utilities like electricity and potable water and to schools and health centers.

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Cigarette firm’s closure to hurt thousands of tobacco farmers
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos supposedly will be affected if the government makes good its threat to close down homegrown tobacco company Mighty Corp.

Retired Regional Trial Court judge Oscar Barrientos, executive vice president of the embattled firm, over the weekend said about 7,000 employees and 55,000 tobacco farmers, and their estimated 350,000 family members and dependents, rely on Mighty Corp. for their livelihood.

“We call on the Bureau of Internal Revenue [BIR] to act more responsibly in making statements regarding the case of [Mighty Corp.] and take into consideration repercussions of a cancelation of the license to operate of the company,” Barrientos, also the spokesman for the company, added.

“The BIR should consider that this case impacts Mighty’s employees, tobacco farmers and their families, as well as suppliers and distributors who depend on the company,” he said.

Barrientos called on the government to ensure due process for the tobacco firm as it faces charges of tax evasion.

“We reiterate our pledge to fully cooperate with the government. But while we welcome the filing of these charges as an opportunity to clear the name of the company and its officers, we hope that the BIR will also show prudence in the conduct of its probe of the firm,” he said.

Earlier, Mario Cabasal, president of the National Federation of Tobacco Farmers Associations and
Cooperatives, said tobacco farmers supposedly will bear the brunt if Mighty Corp.’s operation is shut down.

“Most of us depend on Mighty for the purchase of our tobacco. They are our biggest buyer of local tobacco. If the government makes good its threat to close down Mighty Corp., tobacco farmers will bear the brunt of the closure,” Cabasal noted.

He said Mighty Corp. is a regular buyer of Virginia and native tobacco.

Considering that the company produces predominantly low-priced brands, according to Cabasal, the cigarette firm is the biggest buyer of local tobacco.

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Iloilo bettor bags P137-M lotto pot
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

A lone bettor from Iloilo bagged the P137.2 million jackpot of the Grandlotto 6/55 of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Saturday night.

PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said the lucky winner bought the winning 6/55 ticket from a lotto outlet in Barotoc Viejo, Iloilo.

He added the bettor got the winning combination 34-42-08-15-23-20 using standard bet (maintained numbers).
Apart from the lucky jackpot winner, 24 other bettors won the second prize amounting to P63,100 after guessing five of the six-number winning combination.

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Groups set to hold Labor Day rallies
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

The country’s biggest workers group, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), on Sunday said thousands of organized and unorganized workers from left, center and right ideological persuasions will hold nationwide rallies on May 1 to remind President Rodrigo Duterte to fulfill his promise to ban contractualization and all forms of fixed-term jobs in the public and private sectors.

The planned rallies sat well with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd, who assured the workers that the Duterte administraton would not stifle dissent provided that everything will be done peacefully and that no laws will be violated.

“We welcome all forms of peaceful rallies, demonstrations and mass actions because to us rallies are a medium of communications. We will not know what our workers’ need if they don’t hold rallies,” Bello said.

He added, however, that “it is best if we will be able to provide their needs without resorting to rallies.”

Bello noted that President Duterte will be meeting with representatives of the labor sector and management on Labor Day.

He said the President has committed a quarterly meeting with the labor sector, with the second quarter dialogue falling on May 29.

Besides contractualization, the labor sector is also expected to bring up with Duterte the issue of meager salary and benefits.

ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said they had received information that the President is inclined to hold the dialogue with labor leaders and workers in Davao City on May 1.

“Regardless of the venue, we are looking forward to President Duterte’s Labor Day speech and his pronouncement on contractualization on his dialogue-meeting with organized and unorganized labor groups when we meet him in Davao City on May 1 and hear from him his take on his promise to ban contractual work in the country,” Tanjusay added.

He said the moderate and centrist ALU-TUCP and the larger Nagkaisa labor coalition, an alliance of more than 40 leftist, rightist and centrist labor groups and workers organizations are set to hold rallies at the gates of Malacanang in Manila other areas in Metro Manila, Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Central Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, including Davao City.

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Discrimination in hospitals, medical facilities vs persons with HIV
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I went to a dermatological clinic (derma) in a known hospital in Quezon City to have the warts in my hand removed. I know I had to disclose to the doctor my HIV status since I may bleed, and we may encounter difficulty because of that. The doctor instructed me to obtain clearance in order for us to set an appointment. I was cleared by my physician who told me that there will not be problems in bleeding.

I then called the derma for an appointment. I was startled when I learned that the derma consultant suddenly refused to render services to me because allegedly their clinic has no “sterilization facility,” which she did not disclose to me the first time I visited the clinic and disclosed my status. She did not even refer me to other professionals and/or clinics for my concerns. I felt really bad. Do I have an action against the doctor or the clinic as a person with HIV?
Sincerely yours,

Dear Azumi,
Section 40 of Republic Act (RA) 8504 (Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act) clearly states:
“Sec. 40. Discrimination in hospitals and health institutions. — No person shall be denied health care service or be charged with a higher fee on account of actual, perceived or suspected HIV status.”

In its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), it is further provided:

“Sec. 51. Discrimination in Hospitals and Health Institutions- No hospital or other health institution shall deny access to health care services to a PLWHA or those perceived or suspected to be HIV-infected, nor charge the said persons higher fees. Access to health services must be on an equal basis for all people, regardless of perceived, suspected or actual HIV status. Refusal to admit a person to a hospital or health care facility and refusal to provide health care or perform health services to a person in a hospital or health care facility on the basis of perceived, suspected or actual HIV status are prohibited acts” (Rule 8).

Hence, if manifestly, the sudden refusal of the clinic or the doctor is caused by your condition, you may seek redress by filing the appropriate action under the law enforcing the above-stated provisions.

The penalties that may be meted out shall include:

“Sec. 53. Penalties for Discriminatory Acts and Policies – All discriminatory acts and policies referred to in Secs. 46 to 52 of this IRR and in accordance with RA 8504 shall be punishable with a penalty of:

a. Imprisonment for six (6) months to four (4) years; and

b. A fine not exceeding Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00).
“In addition, licenses or permits of schools, hospitals and other institutions found guilty of committing said discriminatory acts and policies shall be revoked.” (Id.)

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to

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P100M allocated for new hospital in Maguindanao
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: A total of P100 million would be spent for the new Maguindanao Provincial Hospital Datu Piang Annex with funds coming from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Humanitarian and Development Assistance Program (ARMM-HDAP).

ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said residents of Datu Piang and its adjacent areas stand to benefit when the 25-bed hospital annex is completed this year.

The project, according to Hataman, is part of the P2.233-billion total budget of the ARMM-HDAP awarded by the national government for implementation of projects for 15 conflict-affected municipalities in Maguindanao.

Baintan Ampatuan, executive director of the Regional Planning and Development Office and program manager of the ARMM-HDAP Project Management Office, said the hospital building costs P50 million, while P30 million has been allocated for hospital equipment and P20 million for personnel services.

Hataman, along with other regional, provincial, and municipal officials, led the project’s ground-breaking ceremonies last Friday, at Barangay Magaslong in Datu Piang.

Datu Piang Mayor Datu Genuine Kamaong thanked the ARMM government for building a public hospital in his town.

“The residents of Datu Piang will no longer go to Midsayap in North Cotabato province, Shariff Aguak, and Cotabato City for their hospitalization needs, since we will have our own hospital already,” Kamaong said.

Abdullah Tonga, Maguindanao provincial administrator, urged the people of Datu Piang to continue supporting government projects in their town.

Meanwhile, Ampatuan congratulated local officials and the Department of the Interior and Local Government-ARMM on the completion of Datu Piang town hall.

ARMM’s HDAP aims to address the immediate needs of conflict-affected families as well as provide follow-through interventions in affected communities.

It also aims to establish a systematic and a coordinated approach in addressing and mitigating effects of future disasters and calamities, toward a more peaceful and resilient autonomous Muslim region.

“There is a need to put up a hospital in Datu Piang so that residents nearby can avail of hospital services especially in times of trouble,” Hataman said.

The ARMM-HDAP is a project of the regional government under the Hataman administration that will implement various government initiatives, specifically relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of both “horizontal”– school buildings, houses and health centers–and “vertical” infrastructure–roads and bridges–and provision of livelihood programs.

Based on the 2010 World Bank-World Food Program study on violent conflicts in Central Mindanao, Maguindanao was the most affected especially in terms of human displacement.

It suffered from both man-made and natural disasters.

In 2015, approximately 125,000 local residents were displaced because of intensified military operations to pursue terrorist elements in the area.

Thus, Maguindanao has been a priority province under ARMM-HDAP.

In January, a new town hall for Datu Anggal Midtimbang in Maguindanao was also inaugurated.

Ampatuan said that this is the first to be completed among the projects being implemented under ARMM-HDAP.

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Rescuers hailed as heroes in Nueva Ecija bus crash
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya: Rescuers and people who extended their help when a LeoMaric Trans bus fell into a 100-meter deep ravine in Capintalan, Caranglan in Nueva Ecija last week were hailed as heroes by families and relatives of the victims.

Bayombong Bishop Emeritus Ramon Villena said the rescuers were Good Samaritans.

The overloaded bus was carrying about 79 people, 36 of whom died and 43 were injured.

Rescuers came from the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) led by Gov. Carlos Padilla, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (MDRRMO), Philippine National Police, Philippine National Red Cross, Bureau of Fire Protection and private individuals from the neighboring provinces of Nueva Ecija and Isabela.

Randy Framil, 40, of Barangay Baliling, Santa Fe town, Nueva Vizcaya, thanked the rescuers who saved six members of his family.

Conrado Valdez, 56, of Moncada town in Tarlac, said his two daughters Janet Valdez, 25, Ruby Ann Valdez-Seunes, 29, and his grandson Ross Vann, 7, were among the passengers of the bus who were injured.

Around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18, Mayor Liwayway Caramat of Santa Fe, the nearest town to the crash site, was the first to respond with the municipal government’s rescue team, health office, social welfare office, motor pool, fire bureau and the police.

They were followed by rescuers from the provincial governments of Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija and Isabela.
Victims’ kin and witnesses said the municipal government of Santa Fe prepared meals, water to drink and provided fuel for rescue vehicles and ambulances, fire trucks and other private vehicles transporting retrieved victims to hospitals in Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija.

From Aritao (Nueva Vizcaya), the second nearest town to the crash site, Vice Mayor Ruben Sayo served as an ambulance driver joining other rescue teams from the towns of Solano, Bayombong, Bambang, Dupax del Sur, Dupax del Norte and Bagabag towns.

Nueva Ecija PDRRMC chief Mike Calma dispatched two teams in addition to municipal disaster team personnel from the towns of Lupao, Rizal, Bongabon, Muñoz, Caranglan and San Jose City.

The cities of Ilagan and Cauayan in Isabela also dispatched their City DRRMC to help in the rescue operations.

Injured victims at Veterans Regional Hospital in Bayombong and the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Hospital here also thanked all the medical doctors, hospital personnel and other volunteers for their services.

On Saturday, Chairman Martin Delgra 3rd of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board also commended the rescuers and other agencies for their heroic response.

Delgra came to Nueva Vizcaya to extend cash assistance from President Rodrigo Duterte of P20,000 for each of the dead victim’s kin and P10,000 to each injured passenger.

He also supervised the distribution of insurance proceeds from Passenger Accident Management and Insurance Agency amounting to P220,000 for each dead victim and P20,000 for each injured person.

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No injuries in 5.1 Surigao Sur quake
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

DAVAO CITY: No one was hurt in a 5.1 earthquake that struck Tandag City in Surigao del Sur around 9:19 a.m. on Sunday, Gov. Vicente Pimentel said.

After the tremor jolted the area, according to the governor, the Provincial and City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils in the area were immediately mobilized to validate effects of the earthquake, especially on government and private infrastructure.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported the epicenter of the earthquake was at 22 kilometers northeast of Tandag City, with a depth of 28 kilometers and tectonic in origin.

Phivolcs said Intensity 4 was registered in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur; Intensity 3 in Surigao City and Socorro, Surigao del Norte; Intensity 2 in Butuan City and Bislig City; and Intensity 1 in Borongan, Eastern Samar.

An aftershock (3.3) was also recorded at 9:37 a.m. on the same day 29 kilometers northeast of Tandag City, it added.

Tandag City is among the areas in Surigao del Sur that face the Pacific Ocean.


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De Venecia: Tap 4M drug users for reforestation
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan: Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. suggested that the four million drug users netted in the government’s anti-drug war, mostly idle youth, could be “mobilized for massive tree farming and reforestation throughout the archipelago.”

This was enthusiastically received by several groups, with only a few expressing their reservations because of technicalities.

About 90 percent of them supported the former Speaker’s proposal.

Majority favored harnessing the drug users for productive work instead of eliminating them from society, which is “unchristian and obviously evil.”

Leading the group is the Foundation for National Development headed by Brian Lu, former Rotary Club of Metro Cubao president, who considers the idea as “perfectly jiving with the government’s anti-poverty program and strategy to combat climate change and environmental degradation.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Retired Veterans Association headed by Col. Simplicio Duque also endorsed the proposal.

De Venecia, international chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, said his proposal “would have the multiple and concurrent effect in fighting poverty, combating climate change and environmental degradation while creating a large number of jobs.”

“It is our hope that the government might mobilize the reported four million drug users for massive tree farming and reforestation in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and thus keep them away from the narcotics menace, provide them some employment and make them productive citizens,” he added.

De Venecia said he hopes that “we can help convert them [four million drug users]from social liabilities to social assets.”

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Reds attack Davao Oriental tourist spot
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

DAVAO CITY: Communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels attacked Aliwagwag Falls, a top tourist destination in the province of Davao Oriental, around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, an official said.

“No tourist was injured in the attack,” Captain Rhyan Batchar, chief information officer of the 10th Infantry (Agila) Division, said in a phone interview.

Aliwagwag Falls is located in Cateel town.

Batchar said a team from the 67th Infantry Battalion (IB) was assigned to the tourist spot to secure visitors, as
the place is frequented by tourists during summer.

He added that around 40 members the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Command were behind the attack.

A member of the 67th IB was wounded during the attack, but his name was withheld pending notification of his family members.

Batchar said the 67th IB team was able to defend their position while the NPAs withdrew northwest of Aliwagwag Falls.

The clash lasted almost an hour, he added.

“The place is secured right now. Pursuit operation is ongoing against the fleeing rebels,” Batchar said.

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Thai education minister leads agrimuseum groundbreaking
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna: Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, the Education Minister of Thailand and president of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (Seameo) Council, led ground-breaking for the Southeast Asian AgriMuseum and Learning Center on Agricultural and Rural Development during his visit on April 19 to the Philippine-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca).

The museum will rise adjacent to the Searca headquarters at the University of the Philippines here.

Its state-of-the-art exhibition space will promote awareness of agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia as well as appreciation of science-based knowledge and innovations in agriculture in an interactive setting.
Searca was Teerakiat’s first stop on his first visit to the Philippines.

He was received by Searca Director Gil Saguiguit Jr., who presented an overview of the center’s programs and activities under its 10th Five-Year Plan and its latest accomplishments.

Teerakiat expressed his support to the AgriMuseum and commended Searca’s significant work in promoting agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia.

Searca is one of the oldest centers of Seameo, an inter-governmental treaty organization founded in 1965 to foster cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in education, science and culture.

Seameo member countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Timor-Leste.

Teerakiat also visited the Seameo Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (Innotech); and Seameo Regional Center for Public Health, Hospital Administration, Environmental and Occupational Health (Tropmed-Philippines). |

He also paid a courtesy call on Education Secretary Leonor Briones on returning to Manila after his visit to Searca and the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños.

Now on its 50th year, Searca focuses on promoting inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development.

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The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

ORMOC CITY, Leyte: A 79-year-old woman was killed and four others were hurt when a pick-up truck driven by a retired US Army personnel collided with a tricycle in this city on Sunday morning. The American was identified as Matthew del Robert, 46. The accident happened around 9:30 a.m. across Leyte Alcohol factory in Ipil village, some five kilometers from the city center. Tricycle passenger Sitay Villaluz, 79, died while being treated at the hospital. The injured included the tricycle driver identified as a certain Tani and three of his passengers who just attended a Mass at the village chapel. They were about to get down from the tricycle when the accident happened. The city rescue unit immediately responded to the area and bropught the victims to the nearest hospital. Police investigation showed that Del Robert and a woman companion identified only as Ritchel were on their way home from Baybay City to Bantigue, a village next to where the accident happened. Del Robert is temporarily detained at the police station. He expressed willingness to assist the victims.

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Manhunt on for two behind indian’s shooting
The Manila Times Online

1 hour ago

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan: Police on Sunday launched a massive manhunt for two suspects in shooting dead Gurmeet Singh, 32, of San Fabian town. Singh, an Indian, was said to be engaged in the lending business. The suspects are believed to be members of a gun-for-hire syndicate operating in the central part of the province. Supt. Franklin Ortiz, newly installed city police chief, told The Manila Times that they have received vital information about the location of the suspects but temporarily withheld their identities pending their arrest. The victim, on board his motorcycle, was travelling along the road in Bonuan Boquig on the afternoon of April 22, when waylaid by the suspects, on board a motorcycle, and was shot several times at close range. Singh sustained four gunshot wounds in different parts of the body and was brought to the Region I Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The Bonuan Boquig barangay (village) council turned over to police investigators a CCTV footage of the incident. Scene of the Crime Operatives found three empty shells of caliber pistol from the crime scene. Ortiz said there is no indication that the motive for the killing was robbery considering that all belongings of the victim, such as several blankets and mosquito nets to be delivered to his customers, and his wallet containing cash were not taken by the suspects.

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Warriors put Blazers on brink, Gasol’s floater sinks Spurs
The Manila Times Online

2 hours ago

LOS ANGELES: Stephen Curry scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and the Golden State Warriors stormed back from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 119-113.

Klay Thompson tallied 24 points on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) for the Warriors, who seized a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round Western Conference playoff series.

CJ McCollum scored 32 points and Damian Lillard added 31 for the Blazers, who will try to stay alive with a win in game four on Monday.

“They had a lot of adrenaline but we were able to withstand their runs and get back in the game,” said Curry. “I love these kind of moments. I have confidence in myself to make those shots.”

Elsewhere Saturday, Marc Gasol lifted Memphis to a 110-108 overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs with a clutch jump shot at the buzzer that allowed the Grizzlies to level their playoff series at 2-2.

Golden State was without forward Kevin Durant (calf injury), guard Shaun Livingston (finger) and forward Matt Barnes (ankle).

Warriors coach Steve Kerr also did not attend the game because of illness. His was replaced by assistant coach Mike Brown.

After the final buzzer, Curry collected the game ball and said he planned to deliver it to Kerr.
“Our coach is going through a lot right now,” Curry said. “He told us to go out and ‘win one for the Gipper.'”

Lillard scored 22 points and McCollum 17 as the Blazers went into halftime leading 67-54.
Curry and Thompson were a combined eight for 25 from the field at halftime.

In Memphis, Gasol’s floater over Spurs defender LaMarcus Aldridge with 0.7 seconds left capped a thrilling back and forth first round playoff contest Saturday in front of a crowd of 18,100.

Kawhi Leonard scored a playoff career high 43 points for the Spurs, including San Antonio’s final 16 points in the fourth quarter.

“Both teams played their hearts out,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Just a fantastic basketball game. The fans got their money’s worth. Marc made a great shot. L.A. (Aldridge) contested it very well, it (went) down.”

Leonard added eight rebounds, six steals and three assists. Leonard’s fade-away jumper with 12 seconds left in regulation gave San Antonio a 96-94 lead.

But Leonard’s brilliant performance was in vain as Mike Conley led Memphis with 35 points and had nine rebounds and eight assists.

Conley, who had 11 points in the final quarter, answered with a floater in the lane with four seconds left to tie the game at 96.

Leonard then missed a 21-footer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

Memphis won despite making a franchise postseason record 23 turnovers that led to 31 San Antonio points.
Elsewhere, DeMar DeRozan, held scoreless from the floor a game earlier, struck for 33 points and nine
rebounds to lead Toronto over Milwaukee 87-76.

The visiting Raptors pulled level with Milwaukee at 2-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series, which continues Monday in Toronto.

In Atlanta, the Atlanta Hawks led wire-to-wire en route to a dominating 116-98 victory over Washington, cutting the Wizards lead in the playoff series to 2-1.

He’s a crybaby

Forward Paul Millsap registered his second consecutive double-double by finishing with 29 points and 14 rebounds as the Hawks clawed their way back into the Eastern Conference series.

Millsap was 12 of 20 from the floor and had five assists. The only blemish on his night was missing four-of-nine free throws.

Game four of the series is Monday in Atlanta.

After the game, Millsap and Washington’s Markieff Morris continued to fire verbal jabs at each other.
Morris called Millsap a “crybaby”.

“He’s a crybaby. You get all the calls when you’re a crybaby. That’s how I look at it,” Morris said.
Millsap added: “It definitely got personal now, yes.”

Atlanta also got 27 points and nine assists from Dennis Schroder. Rookie Taurean Prince scored 16 points.

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Ateneo stops FEU to claim last Finals berth
The Manila Times Online

2 hours ago

Ateneo de Manila University survived the brave stand of Far Eastern University (FEU) via a thrilling 25-22, 25-10, 16-25, 26-24 win to claim the last finals slot in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Middle hitter Bea De Leon scored 12 points on nine attacks and three blocks to help the Leady Eagles claim their fifth straight finals appearance.

“We really had a hard time beating them. We just trust each other and stayed focused inside the court to get this win,” said De Leon.

Ateneo will be facing reigning champion De La Salle University in the best-of-three championship showdown.
La Salle bagged the first finals berth by ousting University of Santo Tomas in the other Final Four game last Saturday.

The Game 1 of the Ateneo-La Salle finals is set on Saturday at the same venue.

In the men’s division, FEU tamed National University, 22-25, 26-24, 28-26, 25-17, to force rubber match in the stepladder semifinals.

Jude Garcia, Richard Solis and Greg Dolor worked hand in hand to erase the twice-to-beat of the Bulldogs.
Garcia had 16 points built on 11 attacks, three blocks and a couple of aces while Solis contributed 15 points and Dolor posted 14 markers and eight digs.

The Bulldogs got 13 points from Bryan Bagunas, at 10 each from James Natividad and Madzlan Gampong.
The do-or-die game of FEU and NU is on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan City.

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Roy-Limjap tops Southwoods Invitational
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2 hours ago

Jose Roy and Justin Limjap pooled 114 points to capture the overall gross crown while Nicolas Magpantay and Johnny Violeta bagged the net title in the Southwoods Invitational at the Legends and Masters courses in Carmona, Cavite over the weekend.

Roy and Limjap, who shared the lead with the Rene Floro-Felix Tienzo tandem after the first half of the 36-hole championship spread over four days, sustained their form at resumption of Southwoods’ premier member-guest tournament and assembled with 114 aggregate.

The Violeta-Magpantay tandem, on the other hand, emerged the overall net champions with a 129 in the annual event backed by Platinum sponsors Mitsubishi Motors Phils. Corp./Diamond Motors Corp., Royal Caribbean/Baron Travel, Mit Air and The Turf Co.

Michael Chan and Anthony Tan combined for a 124 to cop the Division I crown, edging the Florene de los Santos-Inez del Rosario pair, which turned in a 123 and nipped the Arnold Jumalon-Rene Samontan tandem in the countback for runner-up honors.

Martin Gonzalez and Edwin Gumila scored a 126 and repulsed Nani Almeda and Lelet Zarcal, who shot a 125, for Division II diadem, while Manolo Agojo and Edsel Opulencia came through with a 126 to run away with the Division III plum, three points clear of Jun Ymbong and Tomas Maceda, who shot a 123.

Sharing the spotlight were Korean Jae Hong Hwang, who drove home the brand new Mitsubishi Mirage car courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors and Diamond Motors, and Cecilio San Pedro, who won a seven-night Greece and Croatia cruise for two courtesy of Royal Caribbean and Baron Travel during the grand raffle draw.

The Dan Reyes-Gerard Villacarlos and Wilfredo Fernandez-Jeffrey Ocampo pairs put in identical 127s but the former prevailed via countback and snared the Division IV title in the tournament backed by Silver sponsor San Miguel Purefoods Corp. and Bronze sponsors Camp John Hay Golf Club, Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose Law Offices, Club Leisure Management, Inc., CP Optics, Inc., Forest Hills Golf and Country Club, G & W Clubshares, GG & A Clubshares, Greens & Turf, John Hay Coffee Services, Inc., Le Chef, Manila Southwoods Manor, Mega Manila Pest Management Specialist, MRT Dev. Co., Netforce International, Resorts World Manila, Romago, Inc., The Manor at Camp John Hay and The Forest Lodge and Warbird Security Agency.

Raffy Mapua and Vic Guzman shot a 127 to topped the Sponsors/Guests division with Yoshikazu Hino and Takuya Kawamura finishing second with a 124 and Jose Morales and Mario Benitez nipping Wally Cervantes and Conrado Cosico in the countback with a 120 for third.

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Batang Pier rout Floodbuster for second win
The Manila Times Online

2 hours ago

Even without scoring machine Terrence Romeo, GlobalPort posted a one-sided 105-86 win over Mahindra on Sunday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Batang Pier bucked the absence of shooting guard Romeo, who suffered LBM on Saturday, to earn their second victory in seven games. Romeo averaged 18.8 points and 5.6 assists in five games for this conference.
“That’s what we’re hoping, that the bench players could contribute,” said GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren during the post game interview. “We should also give credit to Terrence (Romeo) in spite of him being sick, he still suited up.”

GlobalPort took a commanding 92-61 in the final eight-minute mark after the three-pointer of rookie Von Pessumal and the Batang Pier were never threatened the rest of the way. Pessumal tallied 14 points, including nine in the fourth period.

Stanley Pringle finished with 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field on top of five assists, while import Malcolm White delivered 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field plus 17 rebounds and two assists to lead the Batang Pier.

Veteran Mike Cortez added 12 points, while JR Quinahan had 11 points and Aaron Aban contributed 10 points also for GlobalPort.

Pringle single-handedly carried the Batang Pier in the first and second period, scoring 17 points in the first half on 8-of-10 shooting from the field and providing them a 49-36 lead at halftime. GlobalPort’s defense also choked Mahindra’s offense by limiting them to 14-of-39 shooting overall from the field.

The Batang Pier shot 20-of-39 from the field overall, on the other hand.

Import Keith Wright led Mahindra with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Reden Celda had 18 points but their efforts were not enough to help the Flood buster from falling into 1-7 win-loss record.

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Gymnasts deliver early for NCR in Palarong Pambansa
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

San Jose, Antique: National Capital Region’s (NCR) overall championship title-retention bid started on the right track as gymnasts from the Big City came away with six gold medals even before the 2017 Palarong Pambansa officially kicked off here on Sunday.

Divina Sembrano anchored the NCR secondary girls individual all-round team of rhythmic gymnastics to a gold-medal finish and copped the individual gold as the Big City flexed its muscles early at the Evelio B. Javier gymnasium.

Sembrano and teammate Krystal Mae Maguidato finished 1-2 in the individual category and eventually took the gold in the team event for NCR, which has won the overall championship of this annual sportsftest in the last 12 editions.

NCR tallied 113.26 points followed by Central Visayas (100.38) and Bicol Region (82.9) in the individual all-around event of rhythmic gymnastics secondary girls.

Karl Eldrew Yulo matched Sembrano’s two-gold haul at the start of the gymnastic competition after leading the NCR elementary boys artistic gymnastic event.
Yulo, younger brother of national gymnast Carlos, topped the individual event with 9.35 points to beat Rommel Liwa of Soccsksargen Region with 8.95 points.

He teamed up with Joseph Reynaldo and Renz Castillo for the team event and garnered 92.55 points to beat Central Luzon (87.90) and Calabarzon (87.30)

NCR took its fifth gold after ruling the elementary girls artistic gymnastic event with 107.5 points but Kiana Alagaban of Negros Island Region denied the Big City of the six-gold sweep after topping the individual event.

The Big City gymnasts also ruled the secondary boys artistic gymnastics as NCR, composed of Jhon Romeo Santillan, Juancho Miguel Besana and John Ivan Cruz, tallied 96.15 points to beat Soccsksargen (88.15) and host region Western Visayas (83.3).

Actions shift to full hear on Monday as eight gold medals are at stake in the athletics competition at the Binirayan Sports Complex.

Up for grabs are the gold medals in the 3,000 meter run secondary girls, javelin throw in secondary boys and girls, shot put elementary boys and girls, triple jump elementary boys, long jump secondary boys and long jump elementary girls.

A total of 64 gold medals are at stake in the medal-rich athletics, followed by swimming with 60, tae kwon do (48), arnis (36), gymnastics (31), archery (16), badminton (16), chess (16), table tennis (16) and new events wushu (10) and wrestling (10).

Four new events are added as demo sports in this annual competition namely 2,000-meter walk in the secondary boys and girls, pencak silat, dance sports and aerobic gymnastics. Medals in these demo sports are not included in the medal tally.

President Rodrigo Duterte opened the opening rites on Sunday attended by more than 12,000 athletes and officials from the 18 participating region.

Elma Muros-Posadas and tennis ace Marian Jade Capadocia lit the cauldron also witnessed by Governor Rhodora Cadiao, Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones and the the Antiquenos, who are hosting the Palarong Pambansa for the first time in the 60-year history of the competition.

San Jose de Buenavista Mayor Elmer Untaran delivered the welcoming remarks to the guests and participants of the weeklong event.

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Libranza faces Mthalane for IBO title
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

Filipino rising star Genisis “Cobra” Libranza will challenge reigning South African International Boxing Organization (IBO) world flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane on April 28 at Cape Town in Western Cape in South Africa.

Libranza, 23, undefeated in 11 fights with eight knockouts, and trainer-manager Nonoy Neri leave for South Africa on Monday.

Neri said the Agusan del Norte native is 100 percent ready for the biggest battle in his young boxing career.
“Genisis is ready physically and mentally for this world title defense. He knows how important this fight is,” Neri, also one of the assistant trainers of Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao, told The Manila Times on Sunday.

“This fight really means a lot for his career. If he wins, there will be more opportunities for him in the flyweight division,” added Neri. “There are only few Filipinos left in the flyweight rank because some of them are already in the higher divisions.”

Neri has knocked out his last three Filipino opponents since 2015.

Donnie Nietes, who will fight Thai fighter Komgrich Nantapech on April 29 in Cebu for the International Boxing Federation flyweight belt, and former world champion Brian Viloria are the only well-know flyweight fighters of the country.

Neri added that Libranza has a strong advantage against his South African foe when it comes to the fight.

“Mthalane has a long layoff and we can take that as our advantage,” added Neri, referring to the South African’s last fight was on December 12, 2015. Mthalane (32-2 record with 21 knockouts) scored a ninth round technical knockout win against Renz Rosia in that bout.

Neri, however, expressed concern about the opponent’s hometown advantage in South Africa.
“I believe he (Libranza) will do his best to win the fight,” said Neri.

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Hidilyn to grace PRISAA opening ceremony
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

ZAMBALES: Brazil Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz will grace the opening ceremony and her presence indeed serves as an inspiration to athletes taking part in the PRISAA 2017 National Games which go full blast today in 18 venues with Zambales Sports Complex in Iba serving the main hub of the weeklong sports conclave.

A product of Universidad de Zamboaga, Diaz, daughter of a tricycle driver and 2016 PSA Athlete of Year, delivers an inspiring message to encourage athletes from various colleges and universities from 17 regions to show their worth in their pet sports and have the opportunity to play for the country in future international competitions.

More than 5,000 athletes from 567 private colleges at universities are jockeying for honors in 18 sports, which carries the theme: “Building a Strong Filipino Nation through Sports” hosted for the first time by the province of Zambales.

The annual competition has two divisions – youth 17 years old below and senior 18-24 years old.

Dante de Castro, the only Filipino officiated in the Olympics in London, will handle boxing with fellow international veterans Tito Dacuma, Steve San Esteban and Darcito Teodoro.

For the first time PRISAA will use modern electronics scoring machine in weightlifting to make the scoring accurate.

Sports at stake are baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, football, sepak takraw, softball, volleyball and individual sports athletics, boxing, badminton, chess, dancesports, karatedo, swimming, table tennis, and tae kwon do.

PRISAA was originally scheduled in Cagayan but the province was severely devastated by typhoon Karen, forcing organizers to transfer to Zambales.

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Sharapova draws Vinci with critic Radwanska waiting
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3 hours ago

BERLIN: Maria Sharapova was drawn to face veteran Italian Roberta Vinci in her opening match at next week’s Stuttgart tournament as the five-time Grand Slam champion returns from a 15-month doping ban.

The former world number one was controversially handed a wildcard into the claycourt event after her suspension wiped out her ranking.

If Sharapova gets through her opener on Wednesday — the first day she is eligible to play — against the 34-year-old Vinci, she could face Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, one of her fiercest critics, in the second round.|

Radwanska, who starts against Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, blasted Sharapova in an interview on Friday when she insisted that the sport’s poster girl should not be awarded wild cards after her doping ban.

“This kind of entry (wild cards) into the tournament should apply to players who dropped in the ranking because of injury, illness or some other random event. Not for those suspended for doping. Maria should recover some other way, starting with smaller events,” Radwanska said.

“So far she hasn’t been invited to slams in Paris (French Open) and London (Wimbledon) and in my opinion that’s how it should remain. She should win her spot by playing well.”

Sharapova was banned for two years after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open but had her suspension cut to 15 months on appeal.

The Russian turned 30 on April 19, but on the Stuttgart tournament’s website she describes her return as her “nicest present. I’m getting my sport back.”

As an ambassador for Porsche, who also sponsor the event, Sharapova’s return is the highlight of the tournament’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

“I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments, I can’t wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love,” she said having won three Stuttgart finals.

Tournament director Markus Guenthardt knows Sharapova’s presence will boost ticket sales for the indoor tournament.

Sharapova can only play her first match on Wednesday, as that is when her ban comes to an end. As a result, she has to practice away from the venue.

Top seed Angelique Kerber has a bye in the first round and will face either Mirjana Lucic-Baroni or Kristina Mladenovic in her opener.

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Villanueva loses to Tete
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

Arthur Villanueva lost to South African Zolani Tete on Saturday night via unanimous decision in their World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight world title eliminator bout at the Leicester Arena in London.

Tete, who improved his record to 25-3 win-loss record with 20 knockouts, earned similar 119-108 scores from the two judges and 120-107 from the third judge to capture the WBO interim bantamweight title.

The bout between the two fighters eventually became a mandatory interim title fight from title eliminator after former WBO bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales was stripped of his title Saturday afternoon in Osaka, Japan after failing to reach the required 118 lbs weight limit.

“Tete is absolutely stronger and the better fighter in this fight,” Villanueva’s trainer Edito Villamor told The Manila Times.

The boxer from Bago, Negros Occidental was knocked down in the 11th round as Tete used his strong counter-punching to take the win.

Villanueva dropped to 30-2 win-loss record with 16 knockouts.

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Dula, Tabamo bag three golds in Dubai meet
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

Wisenheimer  Academy standout Marc Bryan Dula and Tarlac Mako’s Triza Tabamo bannered the Philippine Swimming League’s (PSL) 12-gold medal haul in the opening day of the Prime Star Sport Academy Swimming Championship held at the Al Nasr Sports Complex in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Dula, a Tony Siddayao awardee in the PSA Annual Awards Night, topped the 100m Individual Medley in one minute and 21 seconds then dominated the 50m butterfly in 34.32 seconds and 50m backstroke in 37.1 seconds.

Sharing the top spot was Tabamo who reigned supreme in the 100m IM (1:22.53), 50m butterfly (36.47) and 50m backstroke (38.50) of the tournament organized by the Prime Star Sport Academy headed by BM Ravi, Ravi Chandran and Francis Segui.

“It is incredible for how these young swimmers evolved. I see great transformation in their life. It is a sudden change outlook of life from nothing of learn to swim from something that they can cherish in he swimmers entire life. Most of the swimmers experienced to see what their parents have not experienced. I am just truly happy that PSL is changing lives,” said Papa.

Joanna Cervas (100m IM and 50m butterfly), Jacob Gapultos (100m IM and 50m butterfly) and Danielle Pelayo (100m IM and 50m butterfly) earned two gold medals each while Jude Gapultos (50m butterfly), Marille Monte­negro (50m butterfly) and Alexi Gapultos (50m butterfly) contributed one mint apiece.

“Prime Star officials BM Ravi, Ravi Chandran and Francis Segui are working closely with us in the PSL in making this event possible. The swimming event will consist mostly of swimmers from Prime Star Sport
Academy. The awards will be given to the top three finishers and most outstanding swimmer award to the swimmer that won most number of medals,” stressed Papa.

The PSL is recognized by the Philippine Sports Commission as the official swimming association in the country following its impressive grassroots development program that aims to train talented swimmers for future international competitions.

It is also accredited by the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines – an affiliate of the International University Sports Federation (FISU).

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Weiss, Wasle buck heat, terrain to rule XTERRA Danao
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

DANAO, Cebu: South African Bradley Weiss showed his top form in Danao’s sun-scorched, punishing terrain to run away with back-to-back titles in the XTERRA Philippines Off Road Triathlon series on Sunday.

Pacing himself well in the highly-challenging and lengthy course torched by 40 degree heat and humidity, Weiss pulled away in the mountain roads en route to annexing the XTERRA Danao Cebu diadem as a followup to his triumph in last year’s XTERRA Albay.

Weiss covered the challenging 1.5K swim, 40K mountain bike and 10K trail run course in 3 hours and 16 minutes, checking in nearly seven minutes ahead of runner-up Sam Osborne of New Zealand (3:23:33).

Kiwi Kieran McPherson took the bronze in the event organized and produced by Sunrise Events, Inc. with 3:24:27 while fancied Australian Ben Allen, who suffered a flat tire thrice in the bike, settled for fourth in the 11-man field with 3:44:26 followed by American Will Kelsay (3:50:48) and Pinoy Joseph Miller (3:52:04).

Austrian Carina Wasle, meanwhile, hit paydirt after two previous heartbreakers on Philippines soil, scoring a wire-to-wire victory in the women’s pro division. Wasle posted 4:07:49 to beat Aussie Penny Slater (4:36:21) and American Jessica Koltz (5:22:53) with plenty to spare.

“Very tough race. I’ve been racing professionally for six years now and this one’s probably the hardest and hottest race I’ve ever done,” said Weiss.

“It’s so challenging that if you finish, you’ve already done a fantastic job. So to come up with a win is absolutely an amazing result; I couldn’t ask for more,” he added.

Recognizing a long race ahead, Weiss swam conservatively at first then made his move in the steep mountains of barangay Sabang, catching up with the pacesetters towards the end of the first loop.

“Starting the second loop, I put the hammer down and went for it,” said Weiss, who established a six-minute gap heading into the run phase at Cebu Technological University Danao.

Meanwhile, Wasle finally erased the bitter memories of two losing campaigns in the country with a one-sided triumph.

“I had a very good race. I managed my speed and made sure I won’t overheat so I wasn’t very tired in the end,” she said.

The event is backed by Alcoplus, Sanicare, The Philippine Star, 2GO Express, Cetaphil, Prudential Guarantee, Columbia, Garmin, Tri Life, Cignal Hyper TV, Rocktape, Gatorade, MNTC, Coca Cola Femsa, Powerade, Wilkins, and Storck.

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Cariaso shares expertise through Alaska Basketball Powercamp
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

Philippine Basketball Association legend Jeffrey Cariaso will be sharing his knowledge to aspiring young basketball players through the 2017 Alaska Basketball Powercamp scheduled in different parts of the country.

The basketball program under the Alaska Powercamp is a 10-day camp supervised by Cariaso who was designated as the Alaska Basketball Camp director. He is tasked to oversee the manner, operation, program design, staffing and equipment requirements for the entire duration of the camp.

“We’re hoping to develop them into future PBA players. What’s nice is the sky is the limit for these kids. What I like with our program, we’re really putting emphasis not just on offense but on defense as well. That’s the kid of player I was when I was playing. So I really wanna share what I know and really want kids to play both ends of the court and be really good at it,” said Cariaso, who is also the representative of Alaska Basketball Powercamp in the Jr. NBA partnership.

The camp has already started at the Aquinas School and Ateneo de Manila University, Sacred Heart School Covered Courts in Cebu, Columbian College Barretto in Subic, Inigos Sports Complex in Lucena, Faith
Tanauan in Batangas, and Tay Tung High School in Bacolod.

Similar camp will begin on June 4 at the Faith Tanauan in Baguio City.

“Throughout the Power Camp, we’re teaching a lot of aspects. There’s dribbling, there’s passing, there’s defense and there’s shooting and layup together. The defense is something that we’re really putting premium on, being able to stay in front of guys. We’re intruducing it now,” added Cariaso.

The camp is open to boys and girls ranging from ages six to 18. There will be seven basketball camps which will run simultaneously from April 1 to June 11 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“We want participants to have a full out experience of the game and use the values they learn in the process no
matter what careers they end up doing. Specific lessons will be respecting the game and everybody involved.

Team work, sacrifice, responsibility, dedication, good sportsmanship and hard work. Nothing is worth it without hard work,” stressed Cariaso.

The basketball powercamp promotes Alaska’s belief that sports play an important role in instilling positive values among the youth including discipline, hard work, teamwork and determination.

It helps the youth develop skills in team sports like basketball as well as the fundamental values that develop character and necessary attributes for success not just in sports but in everyday life.

After each camp, a two-day tournament dubbed as Alaska Basketball Cup Challenging Tomorrow’s Champions will be staged to test and imprelemnt the participants’ skills learned under the program.

“When I was a kid, unfortunately I don’t have a camp like this to join. These kids are lucky that they have this camp right now. We really try to make it challenging to them but at the same time not discouraging. That’s the goal,” ended Cariaso.

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Chappell finishes strong to grab Texas Open lead
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

LOS ANGELES: American Kevin Chappell, seeking his first PGA title, birdied three of the last five holes for a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) third round of the Texas Open.

Chappell fired a one-under par 71 in windy conditions to stand on eight-under 208 after 54 holes at San Antonio, one stroke ahead of compatriot John Huh and South African Branden Grace.

“I was able to get back into position, find a rhythm and hopefully that will carry over into tomorrow and we’ll have some fun,” Chappell said.

American Ryan Palmer fired a 68, the day’s low round, to jump from a share of 36th to level fourth in a pack of seven on 210 that included Scotsman Martin Laird, Australian Cameron Smith and Sweden’s Carl Pettersson.

Chappell, a six-time PGA runner-up who was seventh at the Masters two weeks ago, put approaches at the par-5 14th and par-4 17th inches from the cup to set up birdies and sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th to seize the lead.

That followed a roller coaster front nine for Chappell, who started bogey-birdie and did the same on the fourth and fifth holes ahead of a double bogey at the par-4 sixth and then closed the front side birdie-bogey.

“I just needed to find a rhythm,” Chappell said. “Obviously the golf course hit me in the chin real hard early.

“To only make the turn 2-over after some of the places I hit it, I was confident if I could get to 14 tee at 2-over or better, that I think I could post a score.”

Chappell did thanks to the late birdie binge and par putts of 10 feet at the 15th and six feet at 18 that left him screaming with joy.

“To birdie 14, 16 and 17 — and felt great about a couple of sweet par saves there on 15 and 18 — I showed a little emotion and showed that it meant something to me.”

It was only the fifth round this season in which no player managed a bogey-free day. Only 14 of 76 players to make the cut broke par.

Huh fired a 71 to join the sub-par club but only after going eagle-birdie to finish his round. At the par-4 17th, Huh holed a 73-foot bunker shot for eagle.

Grace fired a 70, making two birdies and a bogey on both the front and back nines.

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Saso seeks 2nd crown in PH Am Match Play
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

In-form Yuka Saso goes for a second straight crown in as many weeks as she banners the field in the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play Golf Championship beginning today at the Orchard Golf and Country Club’s Player’s course in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

The 16-year-old Filipino-Japanese is heavily fancied to romp off with another crown after scoring a record 13-stroke victory over Harmie Constantino in last week’s Philippine Junior Amateur Open (Strokeplay) at Sherwood.
But experts believe Saso, also last year’s World Juniors Girls gold medalist, will be in for a different kind of challenge this week, the match play being an unpredictable format with anybody given an equal chance for the crown.

Constantino is also in the fold, hoping to get back at her fellow national team mainstay, along with Sophia Blanco, Kristine Torralba, Jona Magcalayo, Kayla Nocum, Junia Gabasa, Annika Guangko and Lizbeth Alcantara.

Five Koreans are also vying in the weeklong event, held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines, including Baek Yeun Jea, Kim Hui Won, Yang Ju Young and Kang Da Yeon.

The field clashes for the first two days in stroke play format with the top 32 in the boys division and top 16 in the girls’ side advancing to the knockout stage.

Bannering the boys’ field are former champion Rupert Zaragosa, Luis Castro, Dan Cruz, Carlo Gatmaytan, Airon Sorino, Don Petil, Jolo Magcalayo, Marc Lu and Kristoffer Anderson.

Back Seung Hyeon, Choi Da Bin and Won Yong Hwi will also be out to follow-up their compatriot Kim Joo Hyung’s title romp in the Philippine Junior Amateur as they join the hunt in this week’s event backed by backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific Investment.

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Thailand’s Worawi vows to challenge FIFA ban
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

BANGKOK: Former Thai football chief Worawi Makudi has vowed to push FIFA to lift its ban on him after an appeals court in Bangkok overturned his conviction for forgery.
Worawi, who had a long and tumultuous tenure in charge of Thai football, was banned for five years by FIFA last year following his July 2015 conviction.

He was found guilty by a Thai court of forging documents during a re-election campaign as head of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT).

FIFA’s five-year ban was for both that conviction and for failing to cooperate with their own investigation.

But on Friday, Thailand’s Appeals Court overturned the forgery conviction and the football club that made the initial complaint, Pattaya FC, said it would not take the case to the Supreme Court.

Speaking to AFP on Sunday, Worawi said FIFA had rushed their decision to ban him before he had exhausted all his legal appeals.

“They (FIFA) have to accept the decision from the (appeals) court,” he said.

“I don’t know why they were so rushed to make a decision at that time because I told them to wait for our legal proceedings (to finish),” he added.

At a press conference on Friday, Worawi’s lawyer Narinpong Jinapak said he would file a case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport if FIFA refused to lift the ban.

“It has been proven that Worawi Makudi, the former president of the Football Association of Thailand, is not guilty as charged. He is clean,” he told reporters.

Worawi was a FIFA executive committee member for 18 years until May 2015 — including for its 2010 vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

A long-time ally of disgraced ex-FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, he had in the past faced down fraud and bribery allegations, as well as a petition by tens of thousands of football fans urging Thailand’s junta to kick him out.
After his conviction, a millionaire former Thai police chief won the election to head up Thai football.

One of his first moves was to appoint the current police chief to head up Thailand’s top league sparking questions over how the country’s top serving officer would have enough time to do both jobs at once.

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Hazard fires Chelsea into Cup final
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

LONDON: Eden Hazard fired Chelsea into the FA Cup final as the Belgian’s blistering strike ensured Antonio Conte’s selection gamble paid off in his side’s dramatic 4-2 win over Tottenham on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

Blues boss Conte sprang a major surprise by starting with Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench in the Wembley semifinal as he looked ahead to the Premier League leaders’ vital fixture against Southampton on Tuesday.

But Conte’s bold moves proved inspired as Hazard’s replacement Willian put Chelsea ahead early on and then restored their lead in the second half after Harry Kane’s equalizer.

Dele Alli levelled again for Tottenham, but Conte had all the answers and, when he sent on Hazard, the Belgian blasted Chelsea back into the lead.

Nemanja Matic’s thunderous long-range effort sealed a final date against Arsenal or Manchester City, who meet in the second semi-final on Sunday.

Having seen their lead at the top of the league cut to four points by second placed Tottenham last weekend and looking vulnerable following a limp defeat at Manchester United, this should be a huge psychological boost for Conte’s men.

They rode their luck at times but showed a decisive killer instinct while their London rivals came up short in crunch time.

Tottenham, losers yet again at Wembley and still without an FA Cup final appearance since 1991, need an immediate response in their midweek trip to Crystal Palace if they are to get revenge by piping Chelsea to the title.

Conte’s decision to pick Willian and Michy Batshuayi instead of Hazard and Costa triggered a round of second guessing, but it took just five minutes for the former Juventus coach to be vindicated.

Breaking at pace, Chelsea worked the ball towards Batshuayi and his deft backheel sent Pedro surging clear.
When the Spaniard was sent sprawling by Toby Alderweireld’s lunge, Chelsea was hoping for a more severe punishment than the yellow card shown by referee Martin Atkinson.

But their frustration was short-lived as Willian stepped up to exact retribution from the free kick, the Brazilian’s superb 20-yard strike eluding Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris before nestling into the far corner.

Kane has been the spearhead of Tottenham’s impressive run this season and the England striker’s typically predatory finish drew them level in the 18th minute.


As Christian Eriksen prepared to whip over a cross, Kane was already on the move and his awareness gave him a valuable extra yard of space on Chelsea defender Nathan Ake as he stooped to guide a delicate header past Thibaut Courtois.

But, despite controlling possession for long periods, Pochettino’s side still ended the half behind as his decision to play Son Heung-Min out of position at left wingback was exposed in the 43rd minute.

Kante slipped a pass to Victor Moses and when the Nigerian’s surge into the penalty area was halted by Son’s rash tackle Atkinson gave the penalty on the advice of his linesman.

Batshuayi wanted to take it, but Conte demanded Willian step up and he stroked home the spot-kick in confident style.
Barely looking up as he received the ball, Eriksen unfurled a majestic pass towards Alli, who timed his run perfectly to slide in front of Luiz and direct a close-range finish past Courtois.

Conte responded by sending for the cavalry as Costa and Hazard came on for Willian and Batshuayi in the 61st minute, while Cesc Fabregas was introduced soon after.

Once again, Conte’s instincts were spot on and the Italian’s changes brought the winner in the 75th minute.
Fabregas’s corner was only partially cleared and Hazard seized the ball just inside the area before drilling a blistering finish beyond Lloris.

If that was a memorable strike, there was even better to come five minutes later when Hazard teed up Matic and Serb’s thunderous 30-yard rocket sent Chelsea into raptures.

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Be responsible, Duterte urges Palaro athletes
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

San Jose, Antique: President Rodrigo Duterte challenged athletes in this year’s 2017 Palarong Pambansa to have a sense of responsibility and not allow illegal drugs to ruin their lives.
“We really depend on you that’s why DepEd (Department of Education) gets the lion share of the budget next to Agriculture. We invest in you a lot because you’re the future mothers and fathers of this country,” the President told some 12,000 athletes, government officials and personnel.
Duterte was accompanied by his partner Honeylet Avanceña and daughter Veronica.
“You must have a sense of responsibility now. The sunsets and sunrises are just around the corner. We are trying to build this nation through your competitiveness, values and sense of goodwill,” he said.
“Don’t let this nation deteriorate and go to the dogs. When I became a candidate for president, I always said no to corruption, suppress drugs at all cost,” said Duterte. “Corruption most stop or we will not rise as a nation.”
The President was welcomed by Antique Gov. Rhodora Cadiao, Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Sen. Loren Legarda.
Cadiao thanked Duterte for spending time with the Antiquenos in the games’ opening ceremonies.
“The Antiquenos truly appreciate your efforts for the good of the country. You are our inspiration, the reason why we bid to host the Palarong Pambansa. We believe that change is really coming,” said Cadiao.
The Province of Antique spent P50 million for the staging of the event, which has produced several national athletes like Lydia de Vega, Elma Muros-Posada, Eric Buhain among others.
The DepEd has spent P350 million for the Palarong Pambansa.
“Hopefully, this serves as an inspiration to small provinces like us. If we can do it, they also can,” Cadiao said.
Elma-Muros Posadas, tennis rising star Mary Jane Capadocia, a native of Antique, and local athlete Gulliver Clemente led the lighting of the cauldron. JOEL ORELLANA

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Thiago equalizer spares Bayern blushes
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

BERLIN: Thiago Alcantara’s second-half equalizer rescued Bayern Munich in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Mainz as the runaway Bundesliga leaders twice came from behind.

Having bowed out of the Champions League quarterfinals at Real Madrid in midweek, the draw caps a week to forget for Bayern, who are winless in their last four games.

Relegation-threatened Mainz came close to another shock win in Munich, but Bayern extended their unbeaten home run in the league to 20 matches dating back to March 2016 — when they lost 2-1 to Mainz.

Spain star Thiago hit the equalizer 17 minutes from time against a team just one point above the relegation places with four games left.

Second-placed RB Leipzig can cut Bayern’s lead to six points by winning at Schalke on Sunday.

Leipzig host Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern on the penultimate weekend of the season on May 13.

It was a poor performance from double-chasing Bayern ahead of Wednesday’s German Cup semi-final at home to Borussia Dortmund.

“It wasn’t easy to play after the shock against Real Madrid, but we could have done better,” admitted Ancelotti.
“We expected more. We weren’t good in the first half and not compact enough.

“I am sure it will be better against Dortmund on Wednesday. We have time to prepare ourselves and we will play better.”

Mainz took the lead just three minutes after kick-off at the Allianz Arena when ex-Barcelona midfielder Bojan Krkic fired home his first goal for Mainz and stun the home crowd.

Normal service was resumed when Arjen Robben sprinted onto Franck Ribery’s superb pass and rifled home Bayern’s first equaliser on 16 minutes.

Munich then lost Austria defender David Alaba, clutching his thigh and he is doubtful for Wednesday’s semi-final.

Bayern’s problems were compounded when his replacement Joshua Kimmich fouled Mainz’s Japan striker Yoshinori Muto in the area.

Bayern’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is sidelined with a foot fracture for the rest of the season and his replacement Sven Ulreich could not stop Daniel Brosinski’s penalty on 41 minutes that put Mainz 2-1 up at the break.

But Bayern finally made their 75 percent possession count through Thiago’s equalizer from 17 yards out.


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US Embassy chargé d’affaires launches ‘Lights for All’ project
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, CDA Michael Klecheski launched the Lights for All Project at Taguig National High School. During the launch, CDA Klecheski joined more than 100 volunteers, including students and alumni of the US Embassy’s English Access Microscholarship Program, in assembling 100 solar-powered lamps.

The Lights for All Project, funded by the United States government and in partnership with MyShelter Foundation, Inc., will assemble and subsequently donate a total of 1,100 solar-powered lamps to communities in conflict-affected and disaster-prone areas throughout the Philippines. The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines will also donate 15 large solar-powered lights to a community baseball field in Upi, Maguindanao. Over the next several months, volunteers, including US government program alumni from 10 provinces, will assemble and distribute the remaining lamps.

The US Department of State English Access Microscholarship Program provides a foundation of English language skills to economically disadvantaged 13- to 20-year-olds through two-year programs of afterschool classes and intensive summer learning activities. Participants are also able to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States. The English Access Microscholarship Program celebrates its tenth anniversary in the Philippines this year; over 1,500 Filipino students have participated in the Access Program since 2007.

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Acclaimed German director’s films to be shown in Manila
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

The Goethe-Institut Philippinen—Germany’s worldwide cultural institute—presents a cinematic retrospective exhibition of the work of acclaimed German director, Werner Herzog, Saturdays and Sundays, from May 6 to June 4, at the FDCP Cinematheque Manila. Over the course of 55 years, Herzog’s film career expanded the possibilities of cinema as an art form and transformed a wide range of genres.

Considered as one of the greatest figures of the New German Cinema, Werner Herzog’s body of work consists of films and documentaries that capture men and women at psychological extremes. Herzog and his films have received critical success through the numerous awards he has won and has been nominated for. Herzog’s first feature film, Signs Of Life won him his first Silver Bear Extraordinary Prize of the Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1968. Other notable awards include Best Director for Fitzcarraldo at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, and the Grand Prix at the same festival for The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser in 1975.

The list of films part of the Werner Herzog Retrospective are: Nosferatu The Vampire, 1979; Aguirre, The Wrath of God, 1972; Fitzcarraldo. 1981/82; Cobra Verde, 1987; The Wild Blue Yonder, 2005; Queen of the Desert, 2015; The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, 1974; Bells from the Deep, 1993; Even Dwarfs Started Small, 1971; and Woyzeck, 1979.

Prodigious and productive, Herzog has made a career our of making seemingly impossible stories happen, and even behind-the scenes, the events that take place in the making of his films are as much talked about as the film itself. Herzog at one time hypnotized his cast for the film Heart of Glass, forced the actors filming Aguirre, Wrath of God to withstand the grueling environment of the South American rainforests, and required his actors to haul a 300-ton ship over a mountain to create the controversial and exhilarating scene in the film Fitzcarraldo. Hardly slowing down, Herzog’s career is as diverse as the films he has delivered—he has had a cameo appearance in the blockbuster film, he lent his voice to an episode in an animated TV series, and he has directed a 35-minute PSA about the dangers of texting while driving.

Admission is free. View the screening schedules and details at

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Switzerland holds first Swiss Film Festival
The Manila Times Online

3 hours ago

The Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines, in partnership with Shangri-La Plaza and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), presents the first ever Swiss Film Festival in celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and the Philippines.

The festival will feature three family-friendly movies namely Heidi, Vitus and Rascals on the Road/Mein Name ist Eugen, and will take place over two weekends—April 28 to 30 and May 5 to 7). The films will be shown with English subtitles with the aim of promoting and fostering cultural exchange and people to people relations.

Based on the biggest best selling Swiss novel written in the 1880’s by Johanna Spyri, Heidi is the classic story about a young orphan girl living with her grandfather Alm in the Alps. Heidi’s Aunt Dete then whisks her away to Frankfurt to live in an upper-class household and serve as the companion of the wheelchair-bound child Klara. A fish out of water in a strange new city, Heidi becomes lonesome and falls ill with homesickness leading her to go back home to the mountains. Klara then visits Heidi one Summer which causes Heidi’s friend Peter to become terribly jealous.

Mein Name ist Eugen also known as Rascals on the Road is another film based on a popular 1955 children’s book by Swiss author Klaus Schädelin. It’s the story of four little rascals told through the eyes of 12-year-old Eugen. Eugen and his three friends go on a quest to follow the footsteps of “the biggest rascal of all time” Fritzli Bühler and to search for long lost treasure. Their sudden disappearance leads their parents to follow them and as the boys continue their rambunctious journey to Zurich, they begin to doubt if Fritzli Bühler even exists at all.

Vitus is a 12-year old piano prodigy whose parents, though they mean well, suffocate him with their big and ambitious dreams for him. All Vitus wants is to live a life like an ordinary kid, so he decides to rebel and chase his own dreams instead with the help of his eccentric grandfather who loves flying.

The Swiss films being featured wonderfully illustrate Switzerland’s sceneries and lifestyle. They take any grown-up back to his childhood and illuminate the eyes of all children.

“Swiss Film Festival was made for Filipinos to discover Switzerland’s inspiring stories. Travel is what we have in common. In the Philippines, it’s from island to island and in Switzerland, it’s mountain to mountain. This is what Swiss films are about. There are very different stories of course but they all reflect somehow the thirst for adventure. Travel also means to connect, whereas the stories talk about cultures, friendships, and aspirations,” Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines, Andrea Reichlin said to members of the media during the launch.

All screenings are open to the public and is free admission. First come, first served seating, no reservations required.

The opening reception (by invitation) for the film fest will be on April 27, 6:30 p.m. at the 4th level, East Wing, Shangri-la Plaza. Cocktails will be immediately followed by the Philippine premiere of the film Heidi.

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Filipino fiesta welcomes 3rd Madrid Fusion Manila
The Manila Times Online

4 hours ago

A sumptuous spread of local specialties in a true Filipino fiesta fashion welcomed guests to this year’s Madrid Fusion Manila at the scenic SM by the Bay at the SM Mall of Asia.

The event, which feted the Madrid Fusion’s world-renowned chefs and delegates as well as DOT and Madrid Fusion officials, highlighted the continuing collaboration between SM and Madrid Fusion Manila which began two years ago.

Guests were treated to popular local dishes prepared by Café Adriatico, Vikings, XO 46 Heritage Bistro, Abe, Kai as well as special showcase of different types of lechon from Ellars and Mila’s, plus beers from Joe’s Brew.
Director of Arum Estrategias Internacionalization Iñigo Cañego, Floro de Debate’s Lourdes Plana along with Michelin Star chefs from Spain Rodrigo De La Calle, Paco Perez, Kiko Moya, Pedro Subijana were delighted to sample a taste of the Philippines.

Filipino culinary icons—Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016 Margarita Fores and Chef Claude Tayag—as well as Test Kitchen Chef Joseph Boutwood were likewise seen enjoying great company.

DOT officials led by Department of Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo, Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr., Director Verna Buensuceso also graced the occasion with SM executives SVP for Marketing Jon Jon San Agustin and AVP for Operations Perkin So warmly welcoming everyone to the occasion.

Traditional folk dances by the group Karantong added to the fiesta atmosphere.

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France votes in presidential nailbiter
The Manila Times Online

4 hours ago

PARIS: France began voting Sunday under heavy security in the first round of the most unpredictable presidential election in decades, with the outcome seen as vital for the future of the beleaguered European Union.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron are the favorites to progress to a run-off on May 7 but the result is too close to call in a deeply divided country.

Le Pen, the 48-year-old leader of the National Front (FN), hopes to capitalize on security fears that were catapulted to the fore of the campaign after the fatal shooting of a policeman on Paris’ Champs Elysees avenue claimed by the Islamic State group.

Aiming to ride a wave of populism that led Donald Trump to the White House and Britain to vote for Brexit, Le Pen also wants to pull France out of the eurozone and has threatened to take the country out of the EU as well.

Her ambitions have led observers to predict that a Le Pen victory could be a fatal blow for the EU, already weakened by Britain’s vote to leave the bloc.

Macron, 39, is seeking to become France’s youngest ever president and has campaigned on a strongly pro-EU and pro-business platform.

Seeking to benefit from a worldwide move away from established political parties, the former banker and economy minister formed his own movement, “En Marche” (“On the Move”), that he says is “neither to the left nor to the right.”

But polls show scandal-tainted conservative candidate Francois Fillon, a former prime minister, and hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon are also in with a fighting chance of finishing among the top two candidates and reaching the all-important second round.

Polling stations opened at 0600 GMT and the last will close at 1800 GMT with estimated results expected shortly afterwards.

Attack effect

In the wake of the policeman’s killing on Thursday, 50,000 police and 7,000 soldiers have been deployed around France to protect voters.

The terror attack was the latest in a bloody series have cost more than 230 lives since 2015.

Anne Piechaud, a 59-year-old architect who was taking a train from Paris early Sunday to vote in the western city of Bordeaux, brushed aside the security fears.|

“It has had no effect on my vote. The candidates have not talked about it in their manifestos and anyway, you’re not completely safe anywhere in the world these days,” she told AFP.

Analysts believe the attack so late in the campaign could hand an advantage to candidates seen as taking a hard line on security issues.

“If it were to benefit someone, that would clearly be Marine Le Pen who has dominated this issue throughout the campaign, or Francois Fillon,” said Adelaide Zulfikarpasic of the BVA polling institute.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Le Pen called for France to “immediately” take back control of its borders from the EU and deport all foreigners on a terror watchlist.

US President Donald Trump tweeted that the shooting “will have a big effect” on the election.

Closely watched around the world, the French campaign has been a rollercoaster ride of unpredictable twists and turns.

A race that began with the surprise nomination of Fillon as right-wing candidate in November shifted into a higher gear in December when unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande decided not to seek re-election.
Hollande’s five years in office have been dogged by a sluggish economy and the constant terror threat.

Fillon was the early frontrunner until his support waned after he was charged following accusations he gave his British-born wife a fictional job as his parliamentary assistant for which she was paid nearly 700,000 euros ($750,000) of public money.

Though there are four main contenders in the election, a total of 11 candidates are taking part, most polling in single digits.

The candidate for the governing Socialists, Benoit Hamon, was a distant fifth going into the final weekend.
In such a close-fought race, the quarter of French voters still undecided on the eve of voting could play a crucial role in the outcome.

“I don’t like any of them, they’re all disappointing,” 73-year-old Ghislaine Pincont said in the northern city of Lille on Saturday.

“At worst, I’ll cast a blank vote.”

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Morocco says Algeria expelled 55 Syrians across border
The Manila Times Online

4 hours ago

RABAT: Morocco has accused Algeria of expelling 55 Syrians across the countries’ shared border, criticizing it for “inhumane behavior” in the latest row between the North African rivals.

The Syrians were sent across the frontier near the desert town of Figuig, Morocco’s interior ministry said in a statement late Friday.

In searing heat and rugged terrain, they had reached the area in several groups before being “surrounded” by Algerian police, according to the Moroccan authorities.

Rabat condemned its neighbor’s behavior towards the migrants who included “women and children in a very vulnerable situation.”

The expulsion was “contrary to the rules of good neighborliness advocated by Morocco,” it added.

An non-government organization (NGO) official in Figuig, who requested anonymity, said the Syrians were still stuck at the border Saturday without access to water or food.

Moroccan media reported that the Syrians had been left to their fate in the border region as Morocco prevented them from entering its territory. The frontier has been closed since 1994.

The ministry’s statement did not say whether they had been allowed to seek asylum in Morocco.

“This is not the first time that the Algerian authorities have expelled immigrants to Moroccan territory,” it said.

A statement from the Moroccan foreign ministry late Saturday expressed “deep concern” over the situation, saying Algeria’s ambassador to Rabat had been shown photographs showing that the Syrians had crossed from Algerian territory and then tried to enter Morocco.

“Algeria must meet its political and moral responsibility with regard to this situation,” the ministry said, adding that “the humanitarian tragedy” faced by Syrian civilians should not be used “to sow trouble on the Moroccan-Algerian border.”

In mid-March, a Moroccan migrant rights group, GADEM, reported that around 30 sub-Saharan migrants had been arrested in Morocco then left stranded in no man’s land between Morocco and Algeria, having been deported from both countries.

Morocco adopted a new migration policy in 2013. In December it launched a new campaign to regularize the status of clandestine migrants in its territory, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa.

Rabat insists its migration policy is “humane and generous”—in contrast, it says, with the policy of its Algerian rival.

In January 2014, Morocco summoned Algeria’s ambassador to protest against its alleged expulsion of Syrians across their common border.

Algeria responded in kind, saying its border guards had merely refused to allow Syrians deported by Morocco to enter its territory.

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Australia, New Zealand hit back at North Korea threat
The Manila Times Online

4 hours ago

SYDNEY: Australia and New Zealand stiffened their rhetoric against North Korea Sunday after the isolated state threatened Canberra with a nuclear strike, urging it to think twice before “blindly and zealously toeing the US line.”

The move comes as US Vice President Mike Pence wraps up an Asia tour, which has included visits to South Korea, Japan and Australia partly to reassure allies amid fears that Pyongyang may be readying for a sixth nuclear test.

“If Australia persists in following the US’ moves to isolate and stifle North Korea… this will be a suicidal act,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said after Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called the hermit state a “serious threat.”

The spokesman, speaking to the North’s official KCNA news agency, warned Bishop to “think twice about the consequences.”

Australia’s close ally New Zealand has since accused North Korea of having “evil intent.”

Defense Minister Gerry Brownlee told television New Zealand Sunday people knew little about Kim Jong-Un’s regime but “you would assume that underneath him there is a very big machinery of people who have equally evil intent.”

“It’s North Korea that is sending the missiles into the sea of Japan and making the various outrageous threats including the threats overnight to Australia,” he added.

Australia’s bishop added Sunday that the North Korean government “should invest in the welfare of its long-suffering citizens, rather than weapons of mass destruction.”

The reclusive state has long been seeking to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five atomic tests, two of them last year.

Pence vowed Wednesday that the US would counter any attack with an “overwhelming and effective” response after a senior North Korean official pledged weekly missile tests and “all-out war” if the US took any action against it.

In Sydney, Pence maintained calls for Pyongyang’s sole ally China to do more to rein in its neighbor.

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also urged China to use its leverage over the hermit state, describing the North Korean regime as “reckless and dangerous.”

He added that Australia and the US were “absolutely united” in their determination to achieve a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

Supercarrier Carl Vinson is due to start joint exercises with Japan’s navy on Sunday, Tokyo’s defense ministry said, with the drills expected to last several days and involve two Japanese warships.

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Temer vows Brazil to survive corruption scandal
The Manila Times Online

4 hours ago

BRASÍLIA: President Michel Temer insists that a growing corruption scandal in his government will not paralyze Brazil as it struggles to emerge from its deepest recession in history.

“Brazil doesn’t stop,” he said in an interview broadcast Saturday on Spanish television TVE ahead of a visit Monday by Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. “So it won’t be corrupt acts that paralyze the country.”

Temer, who is alleged to have chaired a meeting where the corruption-riddled engineering giant Odebrecht agreed to pay a huge bribe to his PMDB party, said the accusations were unfortunate.

However, he took pains to voice support for the investigative judge, Sergio Moro, who is leading the massive probe known as “Car Wash.”

Moro is “fulfilling” his role, Temer said, adding that he would avoid criticizing a wave of new investigations because it “could be construed as wanting to shut down Car Wash.”

Eight of Temer’s ministers were placed under investigation last week for alleged participation in a sprawling embezzlement and bribery network in which Odebrecht and other companies paid politicians to get them contracts with the state oil company Petrobras.

A third of the Senate and 39 lower house deputies were also singled out for probes.

The developments are complicating Temer’s push for Congress to approve far-reaching austerity reforms, including a shrinking of the country’s hugely expensive pension system.

The scandal has also contributed to investor nerves. One of the world’s biggest emerging markets, Brazil is forecast to exit a more than two-year recession this year, although only just.

Temer came to power in 2016 after President Dilma Rousseff was impeached for illegally manipulating government accounts to mask the depth of economic problems. He says he will serve until a new president is elected in October 2018.|

As president, he has immunity from prosecution for alleged crimes committed before his term started. But although he is not under formal investigation, he has been put on the defensive by allegations that Odebrecht agreed to a bribe worth at least $40 million during a meeting in his office in 2010.

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MRT maintenance provider cries foul over blame on train glitches
ABS-CBN - Business

4 hours ago

MANILA- Busan Universal Rail Inc., the maintenance provider of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) cried foul over the blame it has been receiving for recent train glitches.


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Peza rejects online gaming
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