Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Duterte defends claim shabu shrinks brains with tirade

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday disputed claims that shabu or methamphetamine does not damage the brain, saying users of the “virulent drug” have committed violent acts.
United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, a critic of Duterte’s war on drugs, recently tweeted a statement by African-American professor Carl Hart, who claimed that there is no evidence that shabu leads to violence or causes brain damage.
Hart, the chairman of Columbia University’s Psychology department, made the statement during a forum on illegal drugs at the University of the Philippines last week.
In a talk last week, he said that the "myth" that shabu shrinks the brain is from animal tests where animals that were given "large doses" of methamphetamine—higher than users normally take—had damage to their brain cells. He said, however, that the test animals developed a tolerance for the drug.
Hart, who co-wrote a text book called "Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior,"  said that animals that were later exposed to larger doses over several days did not exhibit the "toxic effect."  
His statement went against Duterte’s  claim that the constant use of shabu shrinks the brain.

'She should go on honeymoon'

Asked to react to the claim, Duterte said Callamard and Hart should go on a “honeymoon.” 
“She should go (on) a honeymoon with that black guy, the American. I will pay for their travel,” the president told reporters at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
“They should be together and discuss (these things)… If shabu were good, (if it) is really in consonance with their pronouncement, you can be sure that beginning tomorrow, I will provide shabu in the streets. You may get your fix if you want,” he added.
Neither Callamard nor Hart claimed that shabu is good or that illegal drugs are not a problem.
Duterte called Hart a “fool” who peddles “b***s***.” He said his statement about shabu was based on an American forensic study. 
“That's all b****s*** to me. That is why I will not talk to them because my experience until now and 23 years ago when I became the mayor of Davao City was always a lot of violence and killing because of shabu,” the president said.
“He (Hart) said shabu does not damage the brain. Kaya pala pumunta dito ‘yung p***** i**** ‘yon, sira na ang ulo at mag-a-announce dito (That’s why that son of a b**** who has gone crazy came here to make announcements),” he added.
Hart did not say that shabu does not damage the brain.
Duterte said those who claim that shabu does not damage the brain have “prejudged” it as a harmless chemical
“Why would you sue me before the ICC (International Criminal Court) if you yourselves, son of a b****, claim that shabu does not harm people?” he said.
Nobody has said that shabu does not harm people but critics of the drug war suggest treating drug dependence and abuse as a health problem, an approach advocated by the Philippine Dangerous Drugs Board and that the government claims to also be doing alongside law enforcement operations. 
“You have prejudged everything and you are referring to the core of the complaint against me. Why would I go there and hang myself?”
Last month, the lawyer of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato has asked the ICC to hold Duterte and other Philippine officials accountable for “crimes against humanity” that stemmed from the government’s war on drugs.
In a 77-page complaint, Jude Sabio said there are death squads running after suspected drug offenders and that law enforcers are aware of their activities.
Philippines Star

VP Leni, female leaders gather in Tokyo for women's empowerment

Female government and business leaders from over 60 countries gathered at a forum in Tokyo that began Thursday to discuss how to accelerate women's economic progress worldwide.

The forum, which continues through Saturday, has attracted a record attendance of more than 1,300 people, mostly women -- including Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo, Vietnamese Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and Japan's Yuriko Koike, the first female governor of Tokyo.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the 27-year-old Global Summit of Women, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hailed the forum's long-lasting efforts to promote women's empowerment and gender equality and said his administration is committed to creating a "society where women shine."


"In the face of falling population, Japan needs the power of women," Abe said. "I believe women's advancement in the society can contribute to create a stronger, diversified society," he said, pledging to reform Japan's work culture, including notoriously long working hours, to make it easier for women to play a more active role in the economy while raising children.

Around 30 former or current Cabinet members of governments around the world are attending this year's forum with the theme "Beyond Womenomics: Accelerating Access," which Japan is hosting for the first time.

Summit president Irene Natividad said at a press briefing Thursday that women can have a "considerable" impact on the economy. The forum offers opportunities to explore ways to improve women's economic status at ministerial and business levels, as well as to foster business alliances among participating entrepreneurs, she said.

"If women's economic potential is fully harnessed, their productivity will be equal to China's and India's economies combined," Natividad said. "So I hope here at the summit we can help unleash that potential economic power."

The forum presented this year's Global Women's Leadership Award to Abe, who has made female empowerment a major pillar of his economic growth strategy as Japan faces a shrinking workforce and aging society.

As part of his efforts to promote female economic advancement and gender equality, Abe launched a similar symposium on women's empowerment, called the World Assembly for Women, in 2014 and has since hosted it annually.

Abe pledged in his address to encourage Japanese men to participate more in child-rearing, such as by obliging government workers to take at least five days off after the birth of a son or daughter. That is an uncommon practice in Japan where difficulty in balancing childcare and work is a major reason many women abandon careers after having children.

Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko and Japan Business Federation Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara explained business opportunities in Japan to the participants.

Koike told a pre-forum session that as the first female governor of Tokyo, she is strongly committed to women's empowerment, saying in English "women's power is not well utilized in Japan."

Referring to Japan's low level of women's participation in politics -- evidenced by the few female parliament and Cabinet members -- Koike, who is a de facto head of a regional political party, said she plans to field as many female candidates as possible in Tokyo's assembly election in July.

Japan is constantly ranked low in international reports on female empowerment. The 2016 edition of the Global Gender Gap Report, compiled by the World Economic Forum, ranked Japan 111th out of 144 countries.

Robredo, only the second woman to assume the post of Philippine vice president, said Thursday that she is proud of what her country has achieved in terms of gender equality, with the gender gap report ranking the Philippines as the only Asian country in the top 10.

"We still have a lot of women who do not have enough access to economic opportunities," Robredo said at the press briefing. "We're very excited to share our success in the Philippines and also excited to learn from experiences from every one of you, (and from) best practices in many other countries here."

Kyodo News

Bato on running for senator: Why not?

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Thursday said he is not closing the door on running for senator in the 2019 midterm elections.

“Hindi po ako plastic na tao. Sino bang hindi gustong maging senador? Pero hindi ko sinasabi agad directly na ako’y tatakbo. 'Yung akin lang, maganda 'po yan, makakatulong pa ako sa bayan. Why not?” dela Rosa said in an interview with DZMM Teleradyo.


He said he has no plans yet regarding it but he is open to the idea.

“You have to leave options open. 'Pag sinabi kong open ako, open for giba na naman ako. Lalo na 'yung mga gustong tumakbong senador, hahanap ng paraan yan, gigibain ako,” he said.

When asked if he will try to improve his performance ahead of the 2019 elections, Dela Rosa said he's not trying to please anyone.

"I’m not trying hard, hindi ako nagpapa-impress. Hindi ako nagpapa-pogi. Ang akin lang, pag nakita kong dapat trabahuhin, trabahuhin ko. Pag nagustuhan ng tao eh 'di maganda," he said.

As for his plans after retiring on January 21, 2018, he said he will go home to Bato, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur and go fishing.

De la Rosa also said he is open on being appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in his Cabinet.

“Depende kay Presidente Duterte kung may balak siyang gamitin pa ako. Kung kinakailangan pa niya serbisiyo ko, nandyan pa naman ako eh. I’m very healthy to answer,” he said.

“Bahala na siya kung saan niya ako gusto ilagay pero hindi ako magde-demand.”


Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Democrats want any Russia investigation kept clear of Trump's 'heavy hand'

Republican majority leader says additional scrutiny would only impede existing probes



The U.S. Senate majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, does not support any additional investigation into whether Russia influenced the 2016 U.S. election, saying as he opened the Senate Wednesday that it would "impede" probes already under way.

But the chamber's Democratic minority leader, Senator Chuck Schumer, reiterated his calls for a special counsel to look into the matter. Schumer said the need was more urgent after Republican President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey on Tuesday.

"'If there is ever a time … it is right now."

Schumer said Comey's firing "establishes a very troubling pattern," and any investigation needs to be "far away from the heavy hand" of Trump's administration. 

However, the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee said there's no need for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's ties to the Trump campaign after Comey's firing. 

Republican Richard Burr said his committee has the jurisdiction and responsibility to continue its Russia investigation and "we are going to do that."  

Burr reiterated questions about the FBI director's firing.

"The timing of this and the reasoning for it doesn't make sense to me." 

Burr said that the firing "made our task a little more difficult, but it didn't make it impossible so we'll continue." 

Burr said he spoke to Trump but wouldn't detail the exchange. He said they didn't discuss his committee's investigation


With files from CBC News and The Associated Press

  • Published in U.S.

Great White Sharks Spotted Off California Coast



 Be Careful Swimming in California Waters

More than a dozen Great White Sharks have been spotted off the coast, and beach-goers are encouraged to exit the ocean in ‘calm manner.’


A school of approximately 15 Great White Sharks has been spotted off the coast in Southern California, the OC Register reports

Video from the Orange County Sheriff's Department helicopter showed the cluster Wednesday of the exotic, potentially deadly sea animals. 



"We haven't had any reports of anyone being bumped or charged, just observations of them either swimming or breaching," OC Lifeguards Chief Jason Young told the Register. 

The sharks were spotted in the vicinity of a recent shark attack that left one woman injured, but alive. Doctors are hopeful the injured -- Leeanne Ericson, a mother of three -- will walk again. 

"All of the back of her leg was kind of missing," EMT-trained resident Thomas Williams, who rushed to the scene as it happened, told the Register. "If she didn't receive immediate care, it was life-threatening."

Area authorities are warning residents of the dangers.

"Shark advisory is in effect until further notice ⚠️ Please contact Lifeguard HQ: 562-570-1360 for additional info. or stay tuned for updates," the Long Beach Fire Department tweeted Wednesday. The fire department noted the "shark advisory" is still a magnitude lower in severity than an "aggressive" shark warning and two magnitudes lower than a situation which would prompt authorities to close the beach. 

In March, a shark sighting near Newport Beach in Orange County did prompt a beach closure.


By Curt Mills, Staff Writer

US News


Tags: animals,  California,  water safety,  safety,  Pacific Ocean

  • Published in U.S.

Philippines to host FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2018

The FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2018 will be held in Manila, Philippines.

The Philippines Basketball Federation (SPB) will organise the fifth edition of the most prestigious 3x3 national team competition.

The country has been a pioneer in the development of 3x3, hosting two stages of the professional season - the FIBA 3x3 World Tour - in 2014 and 2015 and bringing stars like Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final.

"We are very proud and honoured to be hosting the FIBA 3x3 World Cup next year," SPB Executive Director Sonny Barrios said. "Our two previous experiences hosting FIBA 3x3 events have been a success and 3x3 has become a centrepiece of our development programme."

All games at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2018 will be played on the same court with 20 men's and 20 women's teams competing in a team event and in three individual contests (men's dunk contest including professional dunkers, women's skills contest and mixed shoot-out contest).

"We are delighted to bring the FIBA 3x3 World Cup to the Philippines," FIBA 3x3 Managing Director Alex Sanchez said. "We are positive SPB and the passionate Filipino fans will make it an unbelievable experience for the best 3x3 players in the world and everyone watching on all platforms."

The selection of teams for the tournament is based on the FIBA 3x3 Federation Ranking at the cut-off date of 1 November 2017. The Ranking includes sport and development criteria, allowing both the strongest teams on the field as well as the most active countries to participate in the event, which fulfills a key aim of 3x3 - diversity. At least 30 different countries and territories will be represented at the event.

Serbia's men and Czech Republic's women are the reigning FIBA 3x3 World Champions following their success at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2016 in Guangzhou, China.

The 2017 edition of the FIBA 3x3 World Cup will be staged in Nantes, France on 17-21 June.

More information regarding the exact location and dates will be communicated at a later stage.

By ABS-CBN Sports 

  • Published in Sports

Microsoft Debuts the Invoke Smart Speaker

Microsoft's would-be rival to's Echo home speaker has a name: Invoke. The cylindrical tower, built by speaker and electronics firm Harman International, was teased by the Samsung subsidiary and Microsoft in short blogposts on Monday. The speaker will come in black and white [pictured above] when it is released in the U.S. this fall. Pricing details haven't been announced.
The gadget is the clearest Microsoft response yet to the success of Amazon's Echo, which is powered by the Seattle company's Alexa digital assistant. The Echo functions as a speaker and can answer a range of voice commands, from toggling audio tracks to adding items to a shopping list and reading the news, among others.

Analysts have said that the Alexa software could radically change how people interact with machines in the home and become a profit engine for Amazon. Its utility isn't limited to the Echo, as builders of refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances are rushing to make their own machines compatible with Alexa's voice commands.

Google got in on the action in 2016, a year after the Echo, with a similar device, the Google Home, that uses the company's own take on voice-activated software.

Microsoft hasn't yet joined the party with a speaker. The company's Cortana digital assistant is primarily a resident of Windows 10 personal computers. Microsoft has said it will rely on other hardware makers, like Harman, to match the range of applications Alexa is finding.

Harman's Invoke will come with Cortana, as well as calling with Microsoft's Skype voice and video chat service.

  • Published in Tech

Napoles to DOJ: High-ranking officials behind threats to my life


Duterte pitches for inclusive growth in ASEAN

MANILA, Philippines – At a World Economic Forum event in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, President Rodrigo Duterte underscored the need to bridge the development gap in Southeast Asia.

Duterte, representing the Philippines as this year's chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), was speaking at the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN on Thursday, May 11.

He said that despite the economic gains of ASEAN as a region in eradicating poverty, there is still a large gap between the rich and poor.

"While the region had seen poverty levels decreased by half in the last 50 years, development remains skewed," Duterte said in the presence of other Southeast Asian leaders.
"There remains a huge disparity in our GDP per capita: from a low of $1,200 to a high of nearly $53,000," he said.

Duterte said that for ASEAN to succeed in improving the quality of life of its people, governments should consider people from all walks of life when crafting economic policies.

"ASEAN is cognizant of the need for more inclusive participation in the community building process. We want to ensure that the benefits of integration are felt by all our peoples in the region. But we face a development gap that must be addressed," he said.

A young ASEAN

Duterte highlighted the large youth population in ASEAN as an opportunity that the regional bloc must seize.

ASEAN, along with India and Africa, are among the regions in the world where a significant chunk of the population is young. Southeast Asian countries with a relatively young population include the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

The median age in these countries are 22.3, 26.9, and 28.5 years old, respectively.

"Analysts point out that the Philippines, together with Southeast Asian countries, is in a demographic sweet spot and is likely to post Asia's fastest economic growth rates in the coming years. The youth is certainly a key sector that we must invest in," said Duterte.

He called for the full implementation of the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth 2016-2020 which includes programs for youth entrepreneurship and employment.

Duterte, a professed hardliner against illegal drugs, also stressed the importance of combating drugs in protecting the ASEAN youth.
"We cannot turn a blind eye on the scourge of illegal drugs that threatens our youth and the future of our societies. We need to take a committed stand to dismantle and destroy the illegal drugs trade apparatus," he said.

WEF events bring together political and business leaders to talk about economic trends and outlooks, with the aim of promoting cooperation between the public and private sectors. –


Año to focus on internal security problem at DILG

“Of course solving issues and problems is a whole-of-government approach and a whole-of-nation initiative…Always a part of our initiative,” he added, is in “solving the internal security problem.”

Año made the remark following President Duterte’s announcement that he will be the next Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary.

“Whatever job is offered to us…then I will do my best to be able to contribute,” Año said.

Año said that he was surprised to be named this early, considering that his retirement is still in October, or five months away.

“It will depend on Code 1, on the President,” he said.

“I cannot answer specifically (when it will be) but on my part I’ll prepare (for it). It will depend on the President when I will assume the position. If it’s earlier than October, of course, I have to retire early,” Año added.


By Francis Wakefield

 The Manila Bulletin

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