Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 17 May 2017

ARROW's Stephen Amell Makes the AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR Course Look Easy

Stephen Amell is perhaps the greatest special effect on Arrow. Amell has the look of a superhero, and he’s got the physicality and the athleticism to back it up. Amell can not only climb a salmon ladder, he’s a really compelling performer as well. It’s hard not to admire Amell’s willingness to take on challenges outside of his TV show. Two years ago, Amell took part in a match at WWE’s SummerSlam. And later this month, Amell is setting his sights on American Ninja Warrior.

Via TVLine, the first footage from Amell’s appearance on Celebrity Ninja Warrior: Red Nose Dayhas emerged. And unsurprisingly, Amell doesn’t seem to be phased at all. If anything, the famous obstacle course appears to be too easy for Amell, who actually plays to the crowd between the challenges.

Link to youtube video:

The rest of Amell’s appearance on Celebrity Ninja Warrior will air on Thursday, May 25th at 8pm, as part of NBC’s Red Nose Day programming. But Amell won’t be alone: Erika Christensen, Derek Hough, Natalie Morales, Mena Suvari, Nikki Glaser, and Jeff Dye will all make their own runs through the course, in addition to Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton and former Yankees player Nick Swisher.

The Red Nose Day special will be hosted by our very own Chris Hardwick, and the entire evening features celebrities contributing to comedic sketches and stunts while raising money for various charities. You can find out more about Red Nose Day by visiting the official site.

BY -Nerdist


12 hurt in Quezon, Laguna attacks by NPA

SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna — Twelve people were wounded in the series of attacks by communist guerillas that started in Lucban town in Quezon province and ended in Luisiana town in Laguna, authorities said Thursday.

Of the 12, five were policemen, five were Army soldiers and two civilians. They were wounded in the almost seven-hour gun battle between the Philippine Army and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Laguna
and Quezon provinces on Wednesday.

Police records revealed that Police Officers 1 Bong Himor, Romelio Lamiseria, Philip Tayaba and Richard Lumaban, and PO2 Aldrin Leonida sustained bullet wounds. All were assigned with the Quezon Provincial Public Safety Company.


The wounded among the Philippine Army soldiers were Sergeants Marvin Bagaboro, Zaldy Lebantino, Teejay Antonio and Jeff Ray Gatlabayan of the 202nd Infantry Battalion

Domingo Garcillas, a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit, was also recorded hurt in an encounter.

The names of the two civilians were not made available to media.

Private First Class Gregorio Maico was killed in the attacks, Senior Inspector Romeo Manga, police chief of Luisiana town, confirmed after the Army requested the police to conduct an autopsy.

Meanwhile, tension has remained high in the adjacent towns of Luisiana, Cavinti,and Majayjay in Laguna and in Lucban town in Quezon after the rebels ambushed two military vehicles by setting off a landmine along the Cavinti-Luisiana road around 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

The gunfight continued in the vicinity of the two municipalities until around 7 p.m.

By:  -


De Lima dares Napoles to return ‘ill-gotten’ wealth

Senator Leila de Lima dared detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles on Thursday to return the wealth she has allegedly acquired illegally from her “shady deals” with lawmakers linked to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork bark scam.

De Lima, who is  detained on drug charges, issued the challenge as Napoles camp was reportedly in talks with the government about the possibility of turning her into a state witness if the pork barrel scam probe would be re-opened.

“Mr. Aguirre is making a tempting offer for Napoles that is too hard to resist, that is to tell everything she knows against the expanded list of suspects in the pork barrel fund scam in exchange of her security, survival or political concessions,” the senator said, referring to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

“If this government really sees her as a credible state witness because it thinks she is a ‘minimal player’ in the multi-billion pork barrel fund scandal, I challenge Napoles to return the wealth she has acquired from all her illegal transactions,” she added.

De Lima was the justice secretary when the pork barrel scam was investigated and charges were filed against Napoles and other personalities, including former three senators– Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose ” Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

Like De Lima, Estrada and Revilla have been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center while Enrile was allowed by the court to post bail.

De Lima stood pat on her decision not to allow Napoles to become a state witness, saying the latter appeared, “as she still appears now” as the most guilty in the pork barrel fund anomaly.

“When we asked her to identify legislators, she asked us instead who among the senators and congressmen we wanted included in her PDAF list of clients. That is when I knew that Napoles cannot be relied upon and is only too willing to fabricate her own testimony to save her skin at the expense of innocent senators and congressmen,” she said.

The detained senator also maintained that the Duterte administration might only use Napoles “to get even with its critics and opponents.”

“This government is using Napoles to blackmail and bully its critics and opponents. It will stop at nothing unless it can silence its dissenters and have their merry way of plunging our country into disaster,” De Lima said. CBB/rga




Sun Life’s mutual funds breach P60B

The mutual fund unit of Sun Life of Canada – which is increasingly targeting millennials or young adults as investors – has breached the P60-billion mark in terms of assets under management (AUM).

This AUM level, a record high for Sun Life Asset Management Co. Inc. (SLAMCI), gives it a market share of about a quarter of the P240-billion Philippine mutual fund industry. This also makes it the second largest player in this segment of the fund management business.

Gerard Bautista, SLAMCI head for bank and alternative channels, said the AUM level as of Tuesday breaching the P60-billion mark was a new milestone for the company. The company has a base of 131,000 clients who are invested in 11 mutual funds managed and distributed by the group.

SLAMCI’s AUM level has expanded by around 20 percent from the end-2016 level of close to P50 billion.

About 30 percent of SLAMCI’s client base consisted of millennials and the number is still growing, Bautista said. Each millennial investor has an average investment of P8,000 to P10,000.

SLAMCI has tapped Sun Life group’s brand ambassador, 27-year-old actor Matteo Guidicelli, to launch a new investment campaign that explains investing in mutual funds in a language and visual presentation appealing to young people.

Mutual funds pool people’s money into funds that are managed by professionals, giving investors the benefit of diversification and expert fund management. In the case of SLAMCI, investors typically keep their investment for at least three years.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Bautista noted that Guidicelli was invested in equity funds and was meticulous in monitoring which companies his funds were invested in.

The actor said he automatically sets aside 10 percent of his earnings to investments.

Mylene Lopa, chief marketing officer at Sun Life Financial group, said eight out of 10 millennials claim to budget carefully but four out of 10 would like to spend their money even before they get it.

Citing results of the group’s previous surveys, Lopa said one out of three millennials believes that credit card would enable him to buy what he wants.

As a positive indicator, Lopa said 80 percent of millennials believe that it’s important to invest for the future. However, she said 87 percent of them don’t own any financial investment.

Only less than 1 percent of millennials invest in shares of stocks and managed funds, Lopa said.

As such, Lopa said the Sun Life group would like to reach out to millennials. “They are the next leaders. They will be the shapers of the Philippines in the next few years. They will be raising kids in the next few years. If we start with them, we’ll start the virtuous cycle of financial literacy,” she said.

Of SLAMCI’s P60 billion AUM, almost half consisted of equity funds while money market funds accounted for 30 percent. The rest consisted of US dollar-denominated funds and other funds.

By:  - 



Fiery Blatche carries Gilas to Seaba sweep

Gilas Pilipinas made true to its word and punched a ticket to the Asian championships, beating Indonesia, 97-64, to sweep the 2017 Seaba Championship on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Andray Blatche paved the way for the Philippines’ successful title defense, going 7-of-12 from the field and 4-of-7 from threes to finish with 21 points and 10 rebounds in just three quarters to lead the home team to the victory.

Undefeated going to the final game of the tourney, the Indonesians posed the biggest threat to the country’s throne.

But Blatche and Jayson Castro William were quick to bring Indonesia back to Earth as the duo buckled down to work early and anchored the Philippines’ offensive flurry, stringing 12 straight points to set the tone for the game with an early 22-point cushion, 34-12 late in the first quarter.

Though the offense seemed to have soured in the second frame, Gilas came out sniping anew in the next two periods, with Terrence Romeo and Matthew Wright soon finding their range to open the floodgates and cruise to its sixth straight win.

Castro wound up with 14 markers, seven boards, and five assists, while June Mar Fajardo saved his best offensive game for last with 13 points, four rebounds, and two blocks.

Gilas commanded the boards, 53-25, and dominated the paint, 40-22, which helped the squad extend the lead to as high as 38, 95-57, with the game already secured.

Coach Chot Reyes expressed glee with how his team responded to the challenge of the field as the Philippines brandishing once again its dominance in the region by winning by an average of 58.6 points.

“We knew we were going to be tested, and I felt we were ready for it,” he said.

With its eighth Seaba Championship in the bag, Gilas will now prepare for the Asia-Pacific heavyweights as it advances to the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup on August in Lebanon.

Arki Wisnu captained Indonesia with 11 points and four assists, while Mario Wuysang got 10 markers, five dimes, and two boards.

Naturalized player Jamarr Johnson was limited to just four points and two rebounds in his 17 minutes of play.

The Scores:

PHILIPPINES 97 – Blatche 21, Castro William 14, Fajardo 13, Wright 9, Rosario 9, Aguilar 6, Jalalon 6, Romeo 6, Pogoy 5, Abueva 5, Maliksi 3, Almazan 0.

INDONESIA 64 – Wisnu 11, Wuysang 10, Sitepu 8, Grahita 8, Pratama 8, Kurniawan 7, Sitorus 4, Johnson 4, Nugroho 2, Dhyaksa 2, Lakudu 0.

Quarters: 34-14, 51-30, 78-47, 97-64.


By:  -


  • Published in Sports

Duterte signs order banning smoking in public

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte signed the executive order banning smoking in all public places and prohibiting cigarette consumption by minors, it was learned on Thursday.


Under Executive Order 26, which the president signed on May 16 and made public only Thursday, smoking is already prohibited in “enclosed” public places and public utility vehicles regardless if they are moving or stationary and is allowed only in designated smoking areas.

Individuals who allow or tolerate smoking in these places will be held responsible.

Selling, distribution and purchasing of tobacco products from minors are also prohibited, according to EO 26. Individuals caught selling or distributing cigarettes to minors cannot use not knowing the real age of the minor as a defense, according to the order.

The seller of the cigarette could also not claim that he did not know that the cigarette product was for the consumption of the minor to defend himself, the EO says.

Minors will also be prohibited from smoking, selling and buying cigarettes and other tobacco products, the EO says.

In addition, ordering, instructing or compelling of a minor to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver and promote tobacco products will likewise be prohibited.

The EO says that the selling or distribution of tobacco products in a school, public playground, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors or within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of these places is also not allowed.

Selling cigarettes to minors and selling them near a school have actually been illegal since 2003 under the Tobacco Regulation Act. Smoking indoors is already prohibited by the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999.

No tobacco ads near schools

The advertisement of tobacco products within 100 meters from the perimeter of these places is also banned, according to the presidential order.

“Placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products, such as but not limited to leaflets, posters, display structures and other materials within 100 meters from the perimeter of a school, public playground, and other facilities frequented particularly by minors, hostel and recreational facilities for minors, including those frequented by them, or in an establishment when such establishment or its location is prohibited from selling tobacco products,” one of the provisions of the order reads.

The placement of any form of tobacco advertisement outside of the premises of the point-of-sale retail establishments is also banned, as well as the placement of any stall, booth and other displays concerning tobacco promotions to areas outside the premises of point-of-sale locations or adult-only facilities.

Designated smoking areas

The said order also enumerated the requirements needed for designated smoking areas as well as those that cannot be used as such.

According to the order, the following standards should be followed for DSAs:

  1. DSAs should have no opening that will allow air to escape from the DSA to smoke-free area of the building or conveyance, except for a single door equipped with an automatic door closer, provided that, if the DSA is not located in an open space, such door shall open directly towards a non-smoking buffer zone.

  2. DSAs should not be located in or within 10 meters from entrances, exits, or any place where people pass or congregate, or in from of air intake ducts.

  3. The combined area of the DSA and the buffer zone should not be larger than 20 percent of the total floor area of the building or conveyance, provided that in no case shall such area be less than 10 square meters.

  4. No building or conveyance shall have more than one DSA.

  5. The ventilation system for the DSA other than in an open space and for the buffer zone shall be independent of all ventilation systems servicing the rest of the building or conveyance.

  6. Minors shall not be allowed inside the DSA and the buffer zone.

  7. The DSA shall have the following signs which are highly visible and prominently displayed:

    1. “Smoking Area”

    2. Graphic health warning on the effects of tobacco use

    3. Prohibition on the entry of persons below 18 years old

  8. Other standards and specification to better ensure a smoke-free environment as may be prescribed by the Inter-Agency Committee-Tobacco under Republic Act 9211 provided that such standards and specifications are consistent with the order and that persons-in-charge are given 60 days to comply.

The EO says that the following places cannot be used as DSAs:

  1. Centers of youth activity such as schools, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors

  2. Elevators and stairwells

  3. Fire-hazard locations such as gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials

  4. Buildings and premises of hospitals, medical, dental and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories

  5. Food preparation areas




Chris Cornell, Soundgarden frontman, dies aged 52

Chris Cornell, lead singer of American hard rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, has died aged 52 in a possible suicide.

n a statement to the Associated Press, his representative, Brian Bumbery, said Cornell died on Wednesday night in Detroit.

Bumbery called the death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family were shocked. The statement said the family would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause, and asked for privacy. 

Cornell was found dead in the bathroom of his room at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel, after Cornell’s wife asked a family friend to check up on him. Detroit police spokesman Michael Woody told Associated Press that the death was being treated as a possible suicide. 

Cornell had been touring with Soundgarden, and was tweeting upbeat messages about a sold-out concert the band played in Detroit just hours before his death.

His rock peers paid tribute, such as Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy PageMark LaneganBilly Idol and Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro.

Soundgarden were part of the Pacific Northwestern grunge scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s, coming up alongside bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam – Cornell recorded a 1991 album with the latter under the name Temple of the Dog. Like Nirvana, Soundgarden were first signed to indie label Sub Pop before making the jump to a major, taking their heavy, angsty sound into the mainstream with singles like Black Hole Sun.

The band sold more than 10m albums in the US alone, and were nominated for nine Grammy awards, winning two. They broke up in 1997, but reformed in 2010; their most recent album was King Animal in 2012, and they had been working on new songs over the past year.

Following the breakup of Soundgarden, Cornell recorded a solo record, before being recruited as the singer for Rick Rubin-produced supergroup Audioslave, which also featured former members of Rage Against the Machine. Featuring a glossy yet robust update of the bands’ 1990s sound, their 2002 debut album was a big success, eventually going triple platinum in the US.

Cornell also recorded You Know My Name with composer David Arnold, which was used as the theme for the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale, which introduced Daniel Craig as 007.

He had struggles with addiction to drugs and alcohol, checking into rehab in 2003 and going sober ever since. “I actually like rehab a lot. It’s like school; it’s interesting. I’m learning that I can be teachable at age 38,” he told Spinmagazine that year. “I would sometimes drink before we played. It wasn’t a big deal. It became a bigger deal when I stopped doing the other things I liked to do. I used to ride mountain bikes around with my friends, and we’d keep 40-ouncers where the water bottle was supposed to be. But once I removed the mountain and the bike, there was just the drinking.” 

He later told Details magazine: “When I transitioned into adulthood – high-stakes emotional responsibilities – I did everything I could get my hands on. It happened without me really noticing it. The thing is, when you pick up the pipe for the first time, you don’t know that that’s your fate. The moment isn’t that dramatic. And then that was it – I didn’t want to care anymore.”

In 2012, he and his wife Vicky created a foundation that works with vulnerable children facing poverty and homelessness. The couple had two children, Toni and Christopher Nicholas; Cornell also had a daughter with first wife and former manager Susan Silver.

-The Guardian.



Pinoys can expect easier time applying for multiple-entry visa to China —envoy

Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santa Romana on Wednesday said Filipinos can expect that it will be easier to apply for a multiple-entry visa to China, a report on Unang Balita on Thursday said.

More and more Filipinos are going to China these days, Santa Romana added, according to GMA News' Sandra Aguinaldo's report.

Santa Romana said there are also new jobs that China can offer to Filipinos, such as English teachers and skilled workers.

"The Chinese middle class is growing real fast and there is a Chinese elite that is becoming more prosperous. And so they are able to pay higher salaries compared to what's prevailing for example in Hong Kong," he said at a press conference in Beijing.

Relations between China and the Philippines have improved but the issue on the territorial dispute in the South China Sea remains unresolved.

On Friday, the Philippines and China will have their first meeting on the bilateral mechanism tackling the matter.

The arbitral ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration nullifying the claim of China over a part of the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea may be tackled in the right time, the report said.

The meeting will also not touch on the structures built by China on reefs in the South China Sea.

"To ease the tension so that the South China Sea will not become a flashing point and will not be a cause of tensions or lead to possible confrontations or another possible standoff. And I think we have already achieved to a limited degree some of that. There's still issues that remain. But as I said, for example, the fishing rights at Scarborough. Preserving, preventing reclamation at Scarborough. For one year, we've been able to prevent it," Santa Romana said. —KG, GMA News


PHL GDP grows slower than expectations at 6.4% in Q1


The Philippine economy grew slower than expectations, expanding by 6.4 percent in the first quarter, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Thursday.

It was the slowest phase of growth for the gross domestic product (GDP), since it registered at 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia attributed the deceleration mainly to the absence of election-related spending. "Growth last year was high due to election spending, impact of which has already dissipated," he said.

"Changing of the guards of the government really took time to settle," the Cabinet official noted.

Pernia said government spending also came in at a slower pace in the first three months of the year.

Overall the economy was slower that what was desired ... "and, for this, we are somewhat downcast because we were expecting something around the midpoint of the growth range 6.5 to 7.5 percent," Pernia said.

Financial markets react

The first quarter GDP compares with the revised 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2016, and 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year.

Frustrated by the GDP results, financial markets reacted with a negative note. The peso weakened and shares prices faltered during the morning trade.

COL Financial Vice President and head of research April Lyn Tan noted the declines were a direct reaction to the GDP results. "The market is reacting negatively with the lower-than-expected number," Tan said.

The peso opened 8 centavos weaker at P49.840:$1 from Wednesday's close of 49.760. "Essentially, the peso's decline was a reversal of its prior gain, which was due to initial expectations of strong GDP growth in the first quarter," Land Bank of the Philippines market economist Guian Angelo Dumalagan told GMA News Online.

Pernia, who last month said the economy likely grew by 7 percent in the first three months of the year, noted on Thursday the Philippines remains one of the strongest performers among the major emerging economies in Asia.

"For the first quarter, we overtook Vietnam and Indonesia which grew by only 5.1 percent and Thailand by only 3.3 percent. We are only second to China’s growth of 6.9 percent while India’s number hasn’t come out yet," Pernia told reporters during the press briefing on the National Accounts.

Growth momentum

Pernia is adopting an optimistic view to things. "Moving forward, the domestic economy is poised to maintain growth momentum," he said.

"Government has also been busy laying down a strong foundation," he added, noting the administration plans to invest heavily in infrastructure.

The government intends to spend P8.2 trillion to finance the country's "golden age of infrastructure" over the next six years, with P860.7 billion allocated to big-ticket projects this year.

"Among the many reforms and programs are infrastructure spending as well as other government programs including capital development program," Pernia said.

"We expect construction activities and public spending to pick up sharply," he added. — with Ted Cordero/ VDS, GMA News

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