MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday said it was backing calls to change the existing immigration act, saying the law is already “antiquated” and no longer attuned to present realities.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. urged the next Congress to prioritize the passage of a new Philippine immigration law, saying that the enactment of such was already long overdue.
“We are throwing our full support behind moves in Congress to pass an immigration act that will not only spur our economic development but also bolster our ability to thwart the entry of undesirable aliens into our country,” said David Wedne...
Keep on reading: BI favors new immigration law
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines is weighing what course of action to take in the wake of the latest Chinese incursion in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) even as the country asserted its capability to defend its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday that it was already coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy to plan a response to the presence of Chinese military and fishing vessels around the Ayungin Shoal.
“We are assessing our options and no one should doubt our resolve to defend what is ours,” said DFA spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez.
Keep on reading: Philippines weighs move on China incursion
MASINLOC, Zambales—Along the northwestern coast of Luzon, poor children with claw hammers clamber aboard an abandoned fishing vessel to pry loose and steal rusty nails from its deck. It’s become a familiar sight in villages where some fishermen have been forced to give up their livelihoods since China took control of their fishing haven last year.
Fishermen say Chinese maritime surveillance ships have shooed them off Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and roped off the entrance to the vast lagoon that had been their fishing paradise for decades.
Now, they say, they can’t even count on the Chinese to give them...
Keep on reading: Filipino fishermen pay price of sea disputes
MOORE, Oklahoma—Facing an eye-popping scene of utter destruction, people in this US community turned Wednesday to the towering task of rebuilding their lives after a furious tornado killed at least 24 people.
Officials said most bodies had been recovered from the sprawling moonscape that was once an Oklahoma City suburb, where Monday afternoon's twister steamrolled entire neighborhoods and two schools. Nine children were among those who perished.
After wide fluctuations in the casualty estimates offered by officials, Oklahoma City police chief Bill Citty said 20 people had been killed in the suburb of Moore and four more elsewhere. He said the death toll c...
Keep on reading: Oklahoma tornado victims face daunting task of rebuilding lives
The Senate presidency was on everyone’s mind in Malacañang on Wednesday when Sen. Franklin Drilon met with President Aquino.
But the Palace played coy about Drilon being the presumptive Senate President.
It was the first official meeting between the President and Drilon, who served as campaign manager of Team PNoy in the just-concluded senatorial elections.
The meeting, held at the President’s office, preceded Team PNoy’s thanksgiving party, set to start at 7 p.m., at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan.
A Palace spokesperson could not confirm if the two leaders of the ruling Liberal Party would be talking about party matte...
Keep on reading: Drilon is Aquino’s choice, but they’re not admitting it
Information technology (IT) experts have observed a strange “pattern” of votes obtained by administration, opposition and independent senatorial candidates in the May 13 elections.
The IT experts have been linking with election watchdogs throughout the country to validate the so-called “60-30-10” pattern in which senatorial candidates from Team PNoy consistently obtained 60 percent, those from the United Nationalist Alliance 30 percent and the rest 10 percent of the votes cast in various precincts.
The experts, however, are not making claims that the results were manipulated. Neither have they accused the Commission on Elections (Comelec), its automation...
Keep on reading: More doubts raised about poll results
AMMAN — Britain and Qatar urged President Bashar al-Assad to step down, as major world powers gathered on Wednesday to seek ways toward a peaceful end to Syria's conflict.
And the United States urged Assad to make a "commitment to find peace" in a country whose conflict has killed more than 94,000 people and threatens to spill beyond its borders.
"It is the longstanding view of the UK that Assad needs to go, and we have never been able to see any solution which involves him staying," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in Amman ahead of a Friends of Syria meeting to discuss a US-Russian proposal for peace talks.
Qatar, a key supporter...
Keep on reading: Assad’s departure urged as Friends of Syria meet
HONG KONG—Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday despite a strong lead from Wall Street as markets awaited testimony from the US Federal Reserve chief, but Tokyo stocks finished at their highest level in five years.
Japanese investors welcomed the weakening yen, with stocks ending up 1.60 percent, or 246.24 points, at 15,627.26, the best finish since late December 2007.
The market maintained early gains after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) wrapped up a two-day meeting with a unanimous vote to keep its monetary policy unchanged, as the country attempts to tackle years of deflation.
Seoul climbed 0.64 percent, or 12.74 points, to finish at 1,993.83, whil...
Keep on reading: Asian shares mixed, Tokyo ends at 5-year high
MIAMI — An FBI agent Wednesday fatally shot a Florida man who allegedly had ties to one of the Boston bombings suspects, US media reported.
Ibragim Todashev, 27, was shot in the city of Orlando, Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.
Todashev became violent while being interviewed by the FBI, NBC News reported.
Todashev was reported to be a friend of deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whom he knew through their shared hobby of mixed martial-arts fighting.
The FBI -- which so far has neither released the name of the suspect who was shot nor confirmed a possible connection to the Boston bombing suspects --...
Keep on reading: FBI shoots, kills man linked to Boston bomb suspect—report
BUTUAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Philippines – Private sector workers in the two Agusan and Surigao provinces and their component cities got a post-election gift in the form of the P10-minimum wage increase that the Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Caraga region has approved.
Joel Gonzales, director of the Department of Labor and Employment in Caraga, said the National Wages Productivity Commission (NWPC) has concurred with the increase that was approved as early as March for minimum wage earners.
Gonzales said while the increase was approved months back, it would only take effect on Friday (May 24) because several requirements had to be satisfied firs...
Keep on reading: P10-daily minimum wage hike approved for private sector workers in Caraga
CANNES, France — Boos rang out at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday for a blood-spattered revenge tale starring Ryan Gosling as a US fugitive running a Bangkok drugs racket and Kristin Scott Thomas as a cross between "Lady Macbeth and Donatella Versace."
"Only God Forgives" left many in the auditorium wincing or unable to watch, although some lines sparked unintended laughter.
In one scene, Gosling's character Julian tells his crime boss mother (Scott Thomas) that his brother Billy has raped and killed a 16-year-old girl.
"I'm sure he had his reasons," Scott Thomas replies, unrecognisable in long blond wig, fake eyelashes and garish clothe...
Keep on reading: Ryan Gosling’s violent new crime movie booed at Cannes
MANILA, Philippines—The government is shoring up its peace-building efforts in Mindanao with the release of P42 million to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).
Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in a statement P25 million of the amount accounted for the BTC’s operating expenses and P17 million would answer for the salaries and benefits, particularly for 16 officials appointed to the commission.
Abad said the fund release would cover the BTC’s initial budgetary requirements, adding that P29 million of the total has been given out as cash.
He added that the P42 million was part of P100 million that President Benigno Aquino III earmar...
Keep on reading: P42M released to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission
CANNES—Fighting jet lag and stress, the Filipino contingent remained gung-ho—attending marathon meetings at the Film Market, lining up for screenings at the Palais under the heat of the sun or in pouring rain and gracing dusk-till-dawn parties on Croisette.
Some of the Filipinos arrived in time for the film festival’s opening night and caught “The Great Gatsby,” watching it with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, jury president Steven Spielberg and jurors Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore at the Palais’ Grand Lumiere on May 15.
The whirlwind of activities for most Filipinos began with the premiere of the digitally restored version of Lino Brocka’s “Mayn...
Keep on reading: Soaked, sleepless on Croisette
Welsh actor Luke Evans is growing vampire teeth.
In a media gathering in Makati City on May 16, Evans announced he would be playing the lead character in the 2014 movie version of the 1897 Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker. “I have a special diet because I’m training right now for ‘Dracula.’ I already have fangs! It’s bound to happen at some point,” quipped the 34-year-old actor. “I’m happy to say that I’m staying with the Universal [Pictures] family.”
Universal Pictures produced Evans’ current film, the Justin Lin action-thriller “Fast and Furious 6” that will be shown in theaters nationwide starting tomorrow.
Keep on reading: Luke Evans: There’s more talent in PH
MANILA, Philippines — So what should incoming Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada's priority be when he assumes the post in June?
For former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, the answer is ... nothing because the mayor should not prioritize one problem over the other.
Atienza said Estrada should not "sway from one problem to another" if he wanted the city to be restored to its former glory.
"You cannot say I'll prioritize the economy--you need to fix everything so that there can be a confluence of impact," he told reporters at the weekly Fernandina forum in San Juan City on Wednesday.
Atienza suggested that Estrada "declare the truth"-- includ...
Keep on reading: Atienza gives Esrada tips in restoring Manila to former glory
GENEVA — Swiss-based global food giant Nestle said Wednesday that it had expanded its research and development operations in Singapore, amid robust Asian market growth.
Nestle said that it invested almost 4.0 million Swiss francs (3.2 million euros, $4.1 million) to extend its research facility, and would this year add 20 jobs to the current team of 100.
The group's goal, it said in a statement, is to "allow greater focus on its fastest-growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region."
The Singapore center, which employs experts from 17 countries, specializes in fields including mechanical engineering, analytical chemistry, microbiology and sensory...
Keep on reading: Nestle expands Singapore R&D amid Asia market growth
DUBAI — As debt-laden Dubai's economic recovery continues, with grandiose projects making a comeback, the emirate faces some near-term maturity of debt racked up during pre-crisis years but the prospects are not gloomy, analysts say.
Dubai is likely to manage the forthcoming obligations, part of total debt amounting to 100 percent of its gross domestic product, according to Masood Ahmed, the Middle East director at the International Monetary Fund.
"Yes, it can manage," he told AFP, highlighting the need to be open about the process.
"There is a substantial amount of debt that is coming due in the next few years, and it will be important to man...
Keep on reading: Recovering Dubai faces billions of maturing debt
MANILA, Philippines—Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II reiterated Wednesday that police only followed the standard operation when they tried to chase a group of armed men who allegedly sought refuge in the residential compound of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. on Election Day in Bacoor City, Cavite.
Contrary to Revilla’s claim, Roxas said that there was nothing political on the order for the police to surround the senator’s compound, stressing that the DILG won’t exempt anyone when it comes to enforcement of the law.
“Kung may tumakas na suspek, susundan nila [pulis] ang suspek. Ayon sa batas, kailangang pumayag ang may-ari ng gusali na pumasok [ang mga pulis],” Roxas sa...
Keep on reading: Roxas defends police in Revilla compound standoff
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) will formally decide on Monday, May 27, whether to approve the application of 344 private colleges and universities to increase their tuition and other fees this school year.
The various CHEd regional offices have already forwarded their recommendation to the five-member Commission.
Initial reports that came out of the CHED said that of the 451 applications, the regional offices have approved the petitions of 344 and denied those of 107 that were not able to justify their plan to increase fees.
"That's not yet official. We still have to meet en banc. But over 400 schools applied f...
Keep on reading: CHEd to decide Monday on tuition hike petitions of 451 schools
MANILA, Philippines — After making his first two freethrows in the second half of the game on Wednesday, University of the East's center Charles Mammie couldn't help but let out a loud "Yes!"
It was a frustrating night from the stripe for the Sierra Leone native, who even airballed one freethrow attempt before misfiring on the next four.
Mammie finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds but only 2-of-7 from the freethrow area in the Red Warriors’ 82-72 win over Lyceum Pirates in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
And for someone like Mammie who spends bulk of his time throwing his weight around in the paint, such ugly freethrow shooting could be one of the Warriors' weakne...
Keep on reading: UE’s Mammie working extra to overcome freethrow shooting weakness