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Updated: 1 hour 46 min ago

Top Asian News at 2:30 a.m. GMT

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 02:32
MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — Strong currents and bad visibility hampered rescuers Thursday in the search for 287 passengers still missing more than 24 hours after their ferry flipped onto its side and filled with cold water off the southern coast of South Korea, causing fury among families waiting for word of passengers who were mostly high school students. Nine were confirmed dead, but many expect that number will rise sharply because the missing have now spent more than a day either trapped in the ferry or in the cold seawater.

Top Asian News at 2:00 a.m. GMT

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 02:02
MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — Strong currents and bad visibility hampered rescuers Thursday in the search for 289 passengers still missing more than 24 hours after their ferry flipped onto its side and filled with cold water off the southern coast of South Korea, causing fury among families waiting for word of passengers who were mostly high school students. Seven were confirmed dead, but many expect that number will rise sharply because the missing have now spent more than a day either trapped in the ferry or in the cold seawater.

EM ASIA FX-Taiwan dollar, baht, rupiah rise

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 01:49
April 17 (Reuters) - The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0140 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0140 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move ...

Top Asian News at 1:30 a.m. GMT

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 01:33
MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — Fears rose Thursday for the fate of 289 passengers still missing more than 24 hours after their ferry flipped onto its side and filled with water off the southern coast of South Korea. A coast guard official said the death toll was now confirmed at seven, but that is expected to rise sharply because the missing have now spent more than a day either trapped in the ferry or in the cold seawater.

Watch this wine glass musician do Super Mario

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 01:31
Dan Newbie played the theme from "Super Mario Bros" using 48 wine glasses, two pencils and a frying pan - along with seven microphones, two cameras and tap water, of course. He also noted the "Super Mario Bros" theme, officially titled "Ground Theme," is one of the most recognizable pieces of game music ever recorded. The game background music was originally heard in the first stage of the Nintendo Entertainment System (Family Computer in the Philippines). "It was one of six themes composed for Super Mario Bros by acclaimed Mario and The Legend of Zelda series composer Koji Kondo, who found it to be the game's most difficult track to compose.

International Ice Skating tourney set at Megamall

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 19:02
The Philippines will host the International Skating Union (ISU) for the second straight year on April 21 to 26 at the SM Skating Rink in the newly-opened Mega Fashion Hall of SM Megamall. Organized by world-governing body ISU in partnership with the Philippine Skating Union (PhSU), the event will feature a total of 56 skaters from 15 countries including six Filipinos who will compete in the Juniors, Novice A and Novice B categories. ...

Mindanao Newsbits for April 17, 2014

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 19:02
Butuan City – A cashier in Agusan del Sur town lost  P1,453,876.98 and other personal belongings to two unidentified armed robbers in San Francisco town here on Tuesday, police said yesterday. Initial report from the Agusan del Sur Provincial Police Office identified the victim as Norma Pendon Ayaton, 60, who was in a grocery store when she was held up at 10:30 a.m. The lookout was wearing a helmet and a black jacket while the other suspect, wearing a white t-shirt, forcibly grabbed the victim’s bag at gunpoint, based on initial investigation. Davao City – Suspected rebels in southern Mindanao recently admitted to the disarming of the alleged private armed group of San Jose Mayor James Joyce Jr. in Davao Occidental. In a statement, Alex Ababa, commander of Front 71 of the New People’s Army (NPA), said they succeeded in the operation that was conducted last April 13 in Joyce’s residence at Sitio Bago in Barangay Colaman around 6 a.m. Seized were firearms and ammunitions like an M203 grenade launcher, one unit of M16 rifle, two units of caliber .30 Carbines, two units of M14 rifles, four units of 12-gauge shotguns, and a caliber .30 pistol.

Local Mayors attend World Urban Forum

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 19:02
Tacurong City – City Mayor Lina O. Montilla was among the members of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) who attended the recent World Urban Forum in Medellin City, Colombia, which is aimed at enhancing opportunities for growth, learning, and partnership. Montilla joined Balanga City Mayor and LCP National Vice Chairperson Joet Garcia, Muntinlupa City Mayor Jimmy Fresnedi, Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Uy, and Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson who attended the internal forum. ...

Diliman tops Pasargad XI

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 19:00
Pachanga Diliman pushed Pasargad closer to the brink with a tough 1-0 win Tuesday in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium. After getting an early goal from Sim Hong Bo in the 18th minute, Pachanga got scared when Pasargad’s Hossein Doustarsefidmazgi was sent to the free kick area after being downed by Jayson Cutamora inside the box during stoppage time. But Pachanga, especially Cutamora, heaved a big sigh of relief when Doustarsefidmazgi missed his penalty kick on a third try as his shot hit the crossbar.

PCG implements ‘Oplan Ligtas Biyahe’

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 19:00
Cagayan De Oro City – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) here in Northern Mindanao has announced the implementation of “Oplan Ligtas Biyahe” or Operation Safe Travel in preparation for the week-long observance of the Lenten Season. Lt. Cmdr. Eleazer Dalnay of the PCG based in this city said a “Passenger Assistance Center” has been established at the port area in Macabalan to tackle problems and complaints of travelers, and so they can be acted upon immediately. Dalnay has assured the riding public that the PCG authorities conduct inspections of all passenger vessels to make sure that the boats are seaworthy. All crewmembers of passenger vessels are also being subjected to verification and review to make sure that the licenses and eligibility of the crewmembers are in place.

Transport Summit slated on April 23

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 19:00
The country’s major ports, logistics and import/export enterprises will hold a Transport Summit on April 23, 2014 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza to discuss problems and prospects for the local cargo industry, the transport sector and allied industries. Organized by the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) and PortCalls, Transport Summit 2014 will have for its theme, “Removing Barriers in Cargo Transportation and Customs”.  It aims to examine cargo industry prospects amid the country’s economic growth, alternative transport solutions to the Manila truck ban, and new Customs processes in support of greater trade facilitation. Socio-economic Planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Bureau of Customs commissioner John Sevilla and other port and economic experts will address the summit, along with Sean Perez, vice president of Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI).

World record feat honors survivors

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:59
Oton, Iloilo – Victims of super typhoon Yolanda were honored during the April 14, 2014 event that broke the world record for largest flaming image using lighted candles. The 2014 Light of Peace event at Savannah City in Oton, Iloilo included a multi-religious memorial service for Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of the Archdiocese of Jaro, Buddhist monk Most Venerable Phrarachpawanajan, Imam Abdul Nasser Langco of the Muslim community, and Baba Karam Singh of Sikh temple Nanak Darbar led the memorial service. Prayers offered were said in different languages. ...

PH, Afghan peace developments cited

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:59
An Asian political organization welcomed “favorable developments” in the Philippines and Afghanistan, saying that these should serve as an inspiration for further peace talks in other Asian countries. The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), co-chaired by founding chairman Jose de Venecia Jr., expressed hope that the recently signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) would lead to peace and reconciliation in the long-troubled Mindanao. ...

Memory tourney tests brain power

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:59
The Philippine Mind Sports Association, Inc. is organizing the first ever AVESCO Philippine International Memory Championship from May 31 to June 1. Backed by, W.I.N. International, Rotary Club Of Pasig City, Hotel Sogo and Eurotel, the two-day tournament will be held at the Eurotel Corporate Center in Quezon City. Some of the world’s top memory athletes from India, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, USA and powerhouse  Germany are coming to pit wits and brain power with the country’s cream of the crop. ...

Teen swimmer in Aussie meet

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:59
Fifteen-year-old swimmer Martin Jacob Pupos of University of Perpetual Help will represent the Philippines in the 2014 Australia Swimming Championship on April 19 and 20 in Perth, Australia. A fourth-year Business High School coed, Pupos was chosen to represent the country after ruling the 57th leg of the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) recently in Quezon City. He was hailed as the Most Outstanding Swimmer in the 15-year-old boys’ category of the said competition after winning four golds and two silvers. Pupos won the 200-meter individual medley (2:24.28), 100-meter freestyle (57. ...

Cebu draws interest as religious tourism site

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:59
Cebu City, Cebu – Cebu’s attractions goes beyond world-class beaches and resorts, as the province has also become a magnet for special interest tours. Cebu Provincial Government Tourism Affairs Consultant Patria Aurora Roa said while Cebu is a popular destination for leisure activities among foreign and local tourists, there is also a growing awareness of activities here for special interest tours like visits to century-old churches, and retreat houses, especially during the Holy Week. “Many tourists have seen the potential of the province in terms of special interest tours like pilgrimages and heritage tours, especially now that we are celebrating the Holy Week,” Roa said in an interview with Manila Bulletin. Religious tourism has “growing prospects” in the local tourism industry since Cebu has been regarded as the seat of Christianity in the Philippines, she said.

Luzon Newsbits for April 17, 2014

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:59
Summer Job Lucena City, Quezon – Gov. David Suarez gave 100 students jobs this summer at the provincial government offices -- in a joint undertaking with the Department of Labor and Employment and the Provincial Employment Service Office under Special Program for Employment of Students, officials said. Quezon PESO officer lawyer Melojean Puache said this is part of the employment facilitation of Serbisyong Suarez selected program aimed at developing the intellectual capacities of poor families and harness their potentials.

MILF involvement in Basilan clash probed

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:58
The government is looking into the alleged involvement of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in last week’s deadly clash between the military and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan. “The operations undertaken by the military in Basilan was in pursuit of the Abu Sayyaf Group involved in terrorism in the province. Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista earlier confirmed that some MILF fighters were aiding the ASG in the clash with government troops in Basilan. Bautista, however, made it clear that the MILF members were apparently helping their relatives in the ASG targeted by the military operations.

Historical awareness of pupils, students advocated

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:57
To help raise the level of historical and cultural awareness and consciousness of elementary pupils and secondary students relative to the significance of the national commemorations, the Department of Education (DepEd) has urged both public and private schools to carry out meaningful activities integrated in related subjects. Education Secretary Armin Luistro, in DepEd Memorandum No. 43, Series of 2014, released to all Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Bureau Directors, Directors of Services, Centers and Heads of Units, Regional Directors, Schools Division Superintendents, and Heads of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools, issued the guidelines to the “2014 Conduct of National Observances and Commemoration of Historical Events.” The “2014 Conduct of National Observances and Commemoration of Historical Events,” said Luistro, is pursuant to Administrative Order No. 23 entitled “Creating a Steering Committee on National Observances” with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHP) as the lead agency.

Obama to firm up ties with PH, other Asian allies

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:57
United States President Barack Obama will commence his four-nation trip in Asia on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) to increase America’s diplomatic, economic, and security engagement with countries in the region. Amid the backdrop of lingering territorial disputes in the region, President Obama will set out to reaffirm Washington's commitment to strong alliances with the US allies that he is visiting. In a statement issued yesterday (Manila time), the White House National Security Council (NSC) confirmed that the US President will visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Three of the countries Obama is scheduled to visit are currently embroiled in separate sovereignty row with China – Japan over islands in East China Sea: Malaysia and the Philippines over parts of the South China Sea.