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Two members of the House of Representatives have sought the help of the US government in the investigation into the alleged underpayment of excise taxes and other related illegal trade practices of a local cigarette manufacturer. In separate letters to US embassy officials forwarded to this reporter, Reps. Estrellita Suansing…

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The Aquino administration is having a hard time addressing the power shortage in Mindanao weeks after the region was hit by a massive blackout on February 27. The palace pointed to the breakdown in the German Steag coal-fired power plant in Misamis Oriental as hampering government efforts in restoring electricity…

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More than 10,000 people, most of them women, formed the astrological symbol for the female gender at the Rizal Park in Manila on Saturday to highlight the celebration of International Women’s Day. The exact number of participants —10,168—could qualify as a new world record, according to the event’s organizers. Representatives…

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HANOI: Rescuers from several nations including the Philippines mounted an air and sea search Saturday for a Malaysia Airlines jet that has gone missing over Southeast Asia, with grave fears for the 239 people on board. Vietnam authorities said contact with Flight MH370 was lost near its airspace, but its…

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Last week, the House of Representatives quietly passed on second reading a bill that allows an American playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA) to become a naturalized Filipino. If it finally hurdles Congress, House Bill 4084 will make 6-foot-11 Andray Blatche, who plays center for the Brooklyn Nets, eligible…

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SUSPECTS in the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam won’t win in the 2016 presidential race, said Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Herminio Coloma a day after Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago urged the public to spare the 2016 ballot from the lawmakers facing plunder charges over the pork barrel. Three of…

Business

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IF the first few trading days of 2016 are any indication, it’s going to be a very long, unpleasant year for Chinese stock markets. On Monday, after China’s two main markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen experienced steep drops, a new “circuit breaker” instituted at the beginning of this year went…

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Data shows govt still underspending – analyst THE national government registered a budget surplus of P6.03 billion in November even as both revenue collection and expenditure saw double-digit increases in the month, data released by the Department of Finance (DOF) showed on Thursday. A market analyst said the latest data…

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The World Bank Group maintained its growth forecast for the Philippine economy at 6.4 percent this year, citing public-private partnership (PPP) projects and election-related spending as economic drivers. The Washington-based lender’s expectations are below the official 7 percent to 8 percent target of the government. The WB released its forecast…

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Soured loans incurred by the country’s big banks remained low in September 2015, the central bank reported on Thursday. Figures released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed the non-performing loans (NPL) ratio of universal and commercial banks (U/KBs) declined to 1.82 percent from 2.04 percent a year earlier.…

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THE country’s gross international reserves (GIR) at the end of 2015 rose slightly to $80.61 billion but missed the $80.7 billion forecast of the central bank, data released on Thursday showed. Although below forecast, the reserves are ample enough to finance 10.3 months’ worth of imports or maturing obligations. According…

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The Philippines is definitely joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said during a press conference on Thursday. Being a part of the TPP is a significant component of our international trade strategy which has been in place over the past…

Regions

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BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya: The President (Benigno Aquino 3rd) has signed a law establishing secondary schools for the Indigenous Peoples in this province. The schools, according to the Department of Education (DepEd) officials are for secondary students, mostly from the indigenous tribes of Ayangan, Kalanguya, Ibaloi and Kankanai, to name a…

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LEGAZPI CITY: The economy and tourism industry of Bicol is expected to perk up as the province of Albay is set to host major economic meetings beginning in 2014 until the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) here. Albay is hosting for the first time at least ten major ministerial economic…

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ILOILO CITY: Four local governments in Iloilo including the capital city here will serve as pilot test area for the door-to-door payout scheme of social pension starting tomorrow June 4, for the elderly 77 years old and above. Judith Marte, focal person for the Social Pension Program of the Department…

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GAMU, Isabela: The popularly known rebel commander Libre or Layden in the military intelligence was among those killed on Sunday’s firefight between the New People’s Army (NPA) and government troops in a remote village of Ifugao province, Army reports said. The Army’s public affairs office of the Fifth Infantry Division…

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Brig. Gen. Felicito Virgilio Trinidad Jr. took over as the general officer-in-command of the Philippine Army’s First Infantry Division in Zamboanga del Sur province following the death of Brig. Gen. Daniel Lucero. Trinidad is the assistant divi-sion commander of Lucero, who drowned on Sunday during scuba diving with…

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SIBUYAN ISLAND, Romblon: An environment group in Romblon scored Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep.-elect Lito Atienza’s anti-life background on environmental protection. Backed by a strong Catholic charismatic renewal group El Shaddai, Buhay party-list got three seats for the next congress as it gained victory garnering 1,265,992 votes equivalent to…

World

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BEIJING: The plight of a Chinese boy with the HIV virus, reportedly pushed to leave his home by 200 villagers who signed a petition, sparked intense online soul-searching in the country on Thursday. The case has highlighted the stigma attached to HIV in China, where many sufferers face widespread discrimination.…

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WASHINGTON D.C.: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio vowed on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) to block confirmation of anyone who might be nominated as US ambassador to Cuba, saying President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with the Castro regime is “an illusion.” “I reserve the right to do everything within the rules…

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UNITED NATIONS, United States: The Palestinians on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) presented a draft UN resolution laying out terms for a final peace deal with Israel but sought to avoid a clash with the United States by saying they were open to negotiations on the text. The draft resolution obtained…

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PARIS: People around the world lived on average to a ripe old age of 71.5 in 2013, up from 65.3 in 1990, a study said on Thursday, noting the gains came despite big increases in liver cancer and chronic kidney deaths. Global life expectancy rose by 5.8 years in men…

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MAIDUGURI, Nigeria: Boko Haram militants killed 32 people and kidnapped scores of others in an attack on the village of Gumsuri in the restive northeast, local officials and a witness said on Thursday. The two officials, who requested anonymity, said locals were still counting those abducted in the attack on…

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KIEV: Ukraine’s pro-European leaders and Kremlin-backed rebels agreed on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) to hold long-delayed peace talks that were backed by Russia in the heat of its devastating currency crisis. Sunday’s meeting in the Belarussian capital Minsk was announced hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel placed a late-night call…

Today's Breaking News

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VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis’s pivotal role in a landmark breakthrough in US-Cuba relations was the latest coup for a pontiff whose personality and popularity have made him an influential player on the global stage. As the world digested news of the historic rapprochement, it emerged that the Vatican had played…

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BUTUAN CITY: The National Housing Authority (NHA) turned over a total of 553 housing units for the uniformed and non-uniformed in the services personnel, Wednesday, here in the city. The inauguration and turn-over ceremony was done at the Dorico Ville AFP/PNP Housing Project Phase 2 (PNOY Housing Project) located at…

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Most parts of the country will be cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers Thursday as three weather systems continue to affect the country. Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said that tail-end of a cold front is affecting Central and Southern Luzon while…

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PHNOM PENH: Cambodian health authorities on Tuesday said more than 80 people — including children and the elderly — who tested positive for HIV/AIDS in a single remote village may have been infected by contaminated needles. Hundreds of panicked residents of the village in Battambang province in the country’s west…

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NEW YORK: Latter-generation punks Green Day won spots in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday, joining older legends in the band’s first year of eligibility. Other 2015 inductees into the hall of fame include Bill Withers, the soul singer best known for his 1972 song “Lean on…

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NEW YORK: A Hungarian singer from the Roma community is suing Beyonce over the smash hit “Drunk in Love,” saying the superstar sampled a folk tune without permission. The song off Beyonce’s Grammy-nominated self-titled album begins with an Eastern-sounding a cappella voice that gradually fades out after around 40 seconds…