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FIRST METRO FORECASTS:

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The Philippine economy may grow 7.0 percent to 7.5 percent this year, driven by a strong private sector and a recovery in government spending and public construction, according to a forecast by First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC), the investment banking arm of the Metrobank Group. FMIC’s forecast is within the…

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The government has decided to lower its growth target for next year to between 7 percent and 8 percent from an earlier target range of 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent due to volatilities in the international markets. It is, however, keeping this year’s growth target at 7 percent to 8…

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CHEERED by the lower-than-expected December inflation figure of 2.7 percent, investors continued to support the local stock market despite declines abroad. The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed Wednesday’s trade up 0.44 percent or 31.96 points at 7,309.70, while All Shares index climbed 0.39 percent or 16.88 points to finish…

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Before the previous year ended, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced yet again another extension of the Strengthening Program for Rural Banks (SPRB) Plus. The project, supposedly set to lapse last year, will now run until the end of December 2015. The SPRB Plus is an enhanced version of…

WILL PASS UNDER EDSA

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The 75-kilometer subway that will pass under EDSA and link Laguna and Bulacan is feasible, officials from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said. MMDA Chairperson Francis Tolentino the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is expected to finish this June the…

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The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said that the closure of major routes in Manila during the visit of Pope Francis may result in port congestion anew. To avert the possibility of congestion, port officials are asking companies to get their cargoes from the yards as soon as possible. Atty. Juan…

Regions

World

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MUSCAT: US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday discussed a $2.1-billion deal with Omani leaders to supply an American-made air-defense system to the Arab state facing Iran in the Gulf. Kerry told Oman’s Defense Minister Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi that the United States was “excited” about the deal and “very…

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WASHINGTON: A sweeping overhaul of the US immigration system took a major step toward viability on Tuesday when a Senate panel gave bipartisan approval to a landmark bill offering a path to citizenship for millions. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the contentious and potentially historic legislation by a 13-5 vote,…

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AMMAN: Backers of the Syrian uprising meet in Amman on Wednesday to discuss a US-Russian proposal for peace talks, as the brutal two-year conflict escalates close to the border with Lebanon. “This meeting . . . in Amman is to bring together all of the key players in the region…

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GENEVA: The world is unprepared for a massive virus outbreak, the deputy chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday, amid fears that H7N9 bird flu striking China could morph into a form that spreads easily among people. Keiji Fukuda told delegates at a WHO meeting that despite…

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BEIJING: A top official and confidante of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday met a senior Chinese official in Beijing, at a time of strained relations and ahead of a China-US summit. Choe Ryong-hae, director of the Korean People’s Army politburo, flew to Beijing with a handful of senior…

Today's Breaking News

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Scientists expressed “surprise and delight” on Thursday after a new humpback dolphin species was identified off northern Australia, with genetic mapping singling out an animal not previously known to science. A global team led by the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society made the discovery after examining almost 200 dead dolphins and…

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US espionage chiefs on Tuesday said reports that American spies agencies snooped on millions of Europeans were “completely false” in a dramatic twist to a transatlantic surveillance row. General Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, said that in many cases European spy agencies had turned over phone call…

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The U.S. National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links connecting Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. The newspaper cited classified documents leaked by former defense contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials to disclose the NSA operations against…

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The Supreme Court on Thursday confirmed that former Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa has passed away. He was 84. According to his son Atty. Ogie Narvasa, his father died at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday. Narvasa was the 19th Chief Justice of the Republic. He served from Dec. 1, 1991 up…