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Updated: 59 min 4 sec ago

Travel far and change lives

59 min 4 sec ago

'Operation Babylift' kids, soldiers reunite 40 years later

1 hour 40 min ago

HOLMDEL, N.J. (AP) — With the Viet Cong making their final push toward taking Saigon in April 1975, the fate of thousands of Vietnamese orphans was uncertain until President Gerald Ford ordered remaining forces to evacuate the children.

Japan's views of WWII history rankles some US veterans

5 hours 24 min ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lester Tenney endured three years as a Japanese prisoner during World War II, but he has made peace with his former enemy. Yet as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares to address Congress on Wednesday, in the 70th anniversary year of the war's end, something rankles Tenney about Japan's attitude toward its past.

AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

5 hours 44 min ago
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when asked to comment on reports published by China Daily Mail that China would be deploying “ground effect vehicles” to its occupied territories in the Spratlys. “Vessels or aircraft intruding into the country’s EEZ, which includes the Kalayaan Island Group, are subject to Philippine laws and rules,” the defense official said.

US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

5 hours 44 min ago
The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the Australian tropical city of Darwin, the country’s closest city to Asia, for training.

Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

5 hours 44 min ago
Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that this year’s joint military event between Philippine and US troops is not directed towards any country but to promote stability and peace in the region. He said this year’s military drills are aimed at showcasing both forces’ capabilities in working and collaborating with each other not only dealing with a “perceived” common enemy, but also in responding to man-made and natural catastrophes.

‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

5 hours 44 min ago
The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite made the statement to allay the fears of his colleagues that the proposal, contained in the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), would violate the Charter. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part of the Philippine National Police (PNP), while the Bangsamoro Regional Police Board (BRPB) will be part of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and will carry out Napolcom’s mandate in the region,” he said. He added that under the Constitution, control over the regional police should be in consonance with Republic Act 6975, the law creating the PNP, which authorizes Napolcom to deputize mayors to exercise such control.

Noy off to KL for Asean meet

5 hours 44 min ago
President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early conclusion of the code of conduct in the disputed maritime region. Aman made the call right after a recent ASEAN ministerial meeting in Kota Kinabalu. The Philippines earlier said it would seek a collective statement from ASEAN with regard to China’s massive reclamation in the disputed seas.

Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

5 hours 44 min ago
After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as the passion for innovation of the two countries’ respective chefs. On Friday, the event started with the riveting performance of Davao-based Kalumon, giving praise to the Lord, then singing the Philippine National Anthem, which was followed by the Spanish National Anthem.

Family receives execution order, visits Mary Jane

5 hours 44 min ago
As Philippine officials continue to plead for a stay in the execution of death convict Mary Jane Veloso, the Indonesian government has sent a notice to her family ordering her execution at an undisclosed date, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Indonesian authorities also allowed Veloso’s family and her lawyers to visit her on Nebu Kambangan execution island. “The Prosecutor gave notice letter to the family of Mary Jane informing them of impending execution but there is no date indicated when it will be done,” Jose said.

‘Pinoys’ cheerful attitude backs tourism campaign’

5 hours 44 min ago
The 2015 World Happiness Report ranking the Philippines as 90th among 158 happiest countries is a validation of the government’s tourism campaign, “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” a Palace official said yesterday. The news did not come as a surprise as Filipinos are naturally cheerful, Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said.

Time to move forward after Mamasapano incident – NCMF

5 hours 44 min ago
The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) yesterday called on the country to “move forward” and focus on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s report on the Mamasapano tragedy should provide “closure” on the incident. “We need the BBL so we can establish the necessary mechanism on the ground to reduce and eliminate violence such as what happened in Mamasapano,” she said. The BBL is the product of the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. If enacted into law, the BBL will be the legal basis for the creation of an autonomous Bangsamoro entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

New technology lifts Ayala Bridge

5 hours 44 min ago
The Department of Public Works and Highways has extended the closure of Ayala Bridge to May 12 to allow its contractors to raise the structure by 70 centimeters and be able to withstand a 7.2-magnitude earthquake. Frey-Fil Corp., one of the project contractors, employed a new engineering technology that has never been used in the Philippines when it started lifting the bridge on April 22. This technology saved the government P1 billion, which would have been spent for the construction of a new bridge, Frey-Fil Corp. said. “Fluid dampers (FD), high damping rubber bearing (HDRB) and hydraulic jacks and gantries are widely used in other parts of the world but not in the Philippines,” Ana Cristina Encarnacion, business director of Frey-Fil Corp., said.

Phl, US turn over geographic maps to Batanes

5 hours 44 min ago
The Philippine government and the United States have turned over Geographic Information System maps to Batanes province to serve as a guide of the provincial government in planning for low-carbon development that is more resilient to climate change and natural disasters. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) mission director Gloria Steele and the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission (CCC) Secretary Mary Ann Lucille Sering turned over the GIS-generated maps to provincial officials.

Indonesia informs death row convicts execution just days away

6 hours 5 min ago
By Heru Aspirhanto CILACAP, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesia has informed two Australians, one Nigerian and four other death-row drug convicts that they will be executed in a matter of days, possibly as soon as Tuesday. The Attorney General's office said notices that they would face a firing squad after 72 hours were delivered to the seven on the prison island of Nusakambangan, despite last-minute appeals for clemency from the Australian government and others. "There is no date specified for the execution, but families will have time to visit Nusakambangan until Tuesday 2 p.m., this could mean that it will be carried out on later on Tuesday, probably in the evening or after midnight." Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, two Australians arrested as ringleaders of the 'Bali Nine' drug-smuggling group, were among the seven, lawyers said. Indonesia has harsh punishments for drug crimes and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap.

Indonesia informs convicts of execution, Frenchman excluded

7 hours 42 min ago

Indonesia said Saturday it has officially notified eight foreign drug convicts that they will be executed, but a Frenchman was granted a temporary reprieve after Paris stepped up pressure on Jakarta. The eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- have been transported to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan where they will face the firing squad along with an Indonesian prisoner, despite strident international criticism. "Today, just now, we just finished notifying every convict, nine people except for Serge," a spokesman for the attorney-general's office, Tony Spontana, told AFP, adding it would be at least three days until the sentences are carried out. Officials said earlier that Frenchman Serge Atlaoui, who was expected to be among the group being put to death, will not be included in the forthcoming batch as he still has an outstanding legal appeal.

Australia says executions of two nationals in Indonesia 'imminent'

8 hours 40 min ago

The Australian government on Saturday said it has been told by Indonesia that the execution of "Bali Nine" drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan was "imminent". "Indonesian authorities today advised Australian consular officials that the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be scheduled imminently at Nusakambangan prison in central Java," Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement. Consular officials had earlier Saturday been summoned to a town near Nusakambangan, the high-security prison island where Indonesia carries out its executions by firing squad. Bishop said she would continue to press Indonesian President Joko Widodo for clemency.

Double Celebration

8 hours 50 min ago

Ropali Corporation, one of the top multi-brand motorcycle dealers in the Philippines, now holds two Guinness World Records. In the span of four days, Ropali Corporation broke two records, namely: The Largest Parade of Motorcycles with Sidecars and The Largest Simultaneous Motorcycle Burnout. As such, it also became the first motorcycle dealer in the Philippines to become a two-time Guinness World Record holder. The record for The Largest Parade of Motorcycles with Sidecars was previously held by the Bullfroggies Beijing Sidecar Club of China with a parade that featured 317 motorcycle units.

Top Asian News at 10:00 a.m. GMT

11 hours 41 min ago
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A powerful earthquake struck Nepal Saturday, killing at least 71 people, as the violently shaking earth collapsed houses, leveling centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches in the Himalayas. It was the worst temblor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years. The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.9 struck before noon and was most severely felt in the capital as well as the densely populated Kathmandu Valley. Aftershocks continued to ripple through the region for hours.

Top Asian News at 6:30 a.m. GMT

15 hours 11 min ago
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Thousands of South Koreans marched in Seoul for the second straight day Saturday to protest government labor policies and handling of a ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people a year ago. A spokesman for the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, Park Seong-shik, said that more than 30,000 people were expected at a series of afternoon rallies denouncing policies they fear will reduce wages, job security and retirement benefits for state employees.