Opinion & Community

Meet the woman who designed the Bianchi Pista…and hundreds of other bikes

by Anne-Marije Rook

May 27, 2017

Photography by Shinola

Our Movers and Shakers series features Q&As with women trail blazers in the sport and industry of cycling. These are women who often go unnoticed but make the world of women’s cycling go round.

The women we write about in this series include team owners, key industry players, race organisers, cycling advocates, journalists, inventors, designers, business owners and the professional athletes that often play a huge role in advancing their sport. Is there someone you want to hear form? We happily accept your nominations for Movers and Shakers in the comment sections of these articles.

“I GOT TO MAKE AN ENTIRE CAREER BECAUSE I FELL IN LOVE WITH BIKES. THIS WAS NOT A PLAN. I HAD NO ROAD MAP. I HAD NO IDEA THAT YOU CAN MAKE A CAREER OUT OF IT”

–Sky Yaeger, designer, bike industry veteran.

When Sky Yaeger entered the bike industry it was 1973. She was an art major living in Oshkosh Wisconsin, but she had caught the cycling bug. She walked into the only bike shop in town, and went straight to the man behind the counter. A sign behind the service desk read “no girls allowed,” but she couldn’t care less.

“I know everything there is to know about bikes, and I want to work here,” she boldly told the shop owner. And with that her 44 years in the bike industry began.

Since then Sky has done it all, from sales to bike design, marketing, production management, purchasing and supply chain management. During her 17 years at Bianchi, she introduced the now classic models like the “Pista”, “Milano” and the “San Jose.” At Swobo, she designed bikes in such a way that they can be shipped directly to consumers – derailleur-free with little assembly required. Today, she’s the director of bike development at the upscale, design-based brand Shinola, where the steel bikes are just a small asset of an all made-in-the-US product line that also includes watches, leather goods, journals, turn tables, speakers and headphones later this year.

We caught up with this industry veteran to talk about how she made her own path, and how women wanting to get into the industry can do the same.

Link to video: https://youtu.be/RwREjv9Ejwc

Anne-Marije Rook for Ella CyclingTips: Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin. How did you get into bikes?
Sky Yaeger: “I don’t know how this happened, honestly. It’s hard to imagine now that you can grow up and not be surrounded by bikes all the time. But I was in a town of 6000. There was no Internet, no bike shop, there were no bike magazines and there was nobody riding bikes. Riding bikes was considered the geekiest thing ever. At 15 and a half, you started Driver’s Ed and got a car. You did not ride a bike. That was weird. So maybe I enjoyed that part of it, too, – just being different.

But I got my first 10-speed in 1971. I bought it off somebody for $60. And for some reason I was hit by lightning. When I went to college, I met other people on bikes and I started racing and then the rest was all, well I wouldn’t say easy, but I had a path.”

Ella: A path you blazed for yourself.
Yaeger: “I’m the luckiest person in the world. I got to make an entire career and life because I fell in love with bikes. This was not a plan. I had no road map. I had no idea that you can make a career out of it. No one told me I could be a bicycle product manager one day. I was an art major. I just needed a job to get myself through school and I didn’t want to be a waitress. I thought it would be cool to sell bikes. Not for one second did I think I could make a career out of it.”

Ella: But the passion was there…
Yaeger: “The passion was there. It was something about the combination of the riding and then also the technical nature about bikes that I love.”

Ella: You were engineering minded from the get-go?
Yaeger: “My dad was an engineer but I was never taught engineering. I was an art major and I was also interested in mechanics. It’s a weird combo. I am fascinated by the engineering side but at the time I never even thought of going to engineering school because I was an artist.”

Ella: Tell us about your racing career.
Yaeger: ”I started racing on the road and on the track, in college. There weren’t a lot of women and I was somewhere in the middle. I did go to nationals on the track in ’82.  But we had some world-class riders from Madison and I couldn’t stay with them. They were world champions, and I was in awe, racing next to someone wearing the rainbow stripes. I really enjoyed racing mountain bikes, once they were invented and wish they were around, when I started racing.”

Ella: Eight years of art school and three degrees later, you graduated and then what?
Yaeger: “I had no clue! Absolutely no clue. That’s probably why I went to school for school for years –just putting off reality.”

“I tried to be an artist for a while. I don’t know what concept I had. I moved to New York and I moved to Japan. But I ended up always coming back to Wisconsin because you could ride these glorious county roads. And I didn’t really enjoy living in New York City and just riding around in circles in Central Park. So I moved back to Wisconsin,  went back to the bike shop, with eight years of college loans to pay off.”

Ella: That shop job, however, soon led to a marketing role at Suntour Components and then to your career-defining job at Bianchi. When you look back at your time at Bianchi, what are you most proud of?
Yaeger: “There were some early to market ideas I’m really proud of like the Milano, the Pista, the cross bikes and the ten model years of single speed mountain bikes.”

Ella: Your name and the Bianchi Pista are frequently said in tandem. It’s also a very iconic bike as so many of us started urban fixie riding or track riding on a Pista. What’s the story behind the Pista?
Yaeger: “When I was living in New York in ’81 I had seen messengers on fixed-gear track bikes and I thought, ‘this is crazy’. I had been a track racer but I would never ride a fixed gear in traffic. I was super impressed. And then in ’96-’97, I started seeing them in San Francisco, and I was inspired to make a track bike that was affordable.”

“I wanted people who want to get into track riding to be able to buy a cheap bike, a bike that kids could get started on and also for tracks that have a fleet of bikes that they lend to new riders. So the first Pista was true to the track bike racing concept, which is a steeper seat angle, steeper head angle, shorter fork offset, higher bottom bracket, etc. I wanted to create a bike that hit all those data points, but then could also be the messenger bike if somebody so wanted to do that. At that time there were only high-end Campy and Shimano track components, so I had to try to convince the Taiwanese to make us some cheaper hubs and cranks. They had no idea what I was talking about.”

The Bianchi Pista | Creative Commons 

 

Ella: Do you she still own one?
Yaeger: “I don’t. I worked on like a hundred bikes at Bianchi so if I kept them all I’d literally have a garage full.”

Ella: But I do hear that you have quite the collection?
Yaeger: “It’s all funny stuff and I’m trying to whittle it down. I think I have 27 or 28 bikes in the garage. I am on this new kick where I think you should ride the bikes that you have. So I am starting to cull the herd. But I’ve got a couple unique bikes that I just simply can’t get rid of.”

Ella: Like what?
Yaeger: “Some mountain bikes that were really early in the development from when I raced mountain bikes. They don’t mean anything to anybody but me.”

Ella: You left Bianchi to start something from scratch, and to do something quite different. Tell us about Swobo and the direct sales model.
Yaeger: “At Swobo my focus was trying to understand if we could develop bikes in a way that we could sell directly to customers. And I think we were one of the first companies that figured out how to sell bikes directly to customers.”

“So the first three bikes I designed were specifically designed to show up in box on your doorstep after it was bought on the internet, and you’d be able to put them together.”

The key? “No derailleurs.”

“There was a 26-inch wheeled, single speed with coaster bike, a Sanchez like the Pista but for the road and with brakes, and an internal three-speed. So none of them had derailleurs, which allowed the end user to put them together and be safe.”

Ella: But why? Why sell direct? Why cut out the bike shop?
Yaeger: “Because of the internet. The horse was out of the barn, so we thought let’s get on top of this because this is where it’s going to go. The end user makes the decision as to where they are the most comfortable buying from. We didn’t cut dealers completely out of the equation, but we wanted to engage the person who feels totally comfortable buying a bike on the Internet at 1 in the morning if they want to. I wanted to learn how to do that.”

Ella: And so would you say it was successful?
Yaeger: “It was. We learned how to do it and by the time we sold the company, there were 10 models of bikes so I am very proud of that.”

Ella: You’ve been at Shinola for five years now. Tell me about Shinola and the bikes you’re doing.
Yaeger: “The larger presentation of our brand – which is not a bike brand – is an American brand, heavily-design and craft based, with the goal of trying to make as many of our products in the U.S. Our amazing leather goods, our audio, our jewelry and our bikes all fit into that same overall brand presentation.

“We’re exposing people to bikes that would never go into a bike shop. Our customers want to be part of our story, which is bringing back US manufacturing, especially to Detroit. So there are a lot of assets in the story that people can get behind. Bikes are just part of that overriding design.

“The design sense of this company is something that just blew my mind away. It’s so strong. With my art background that’s something I can appreciate. At first you might see these watches and leather goods and turntables and bikes and wonder what ties it all together, and then you go into one of our stores and see the overall strong design language and you get it.”

Ella: The steel bikes fit well with the whole classic, mid-century feel of the Shinola brand. Playing devil’s advocate here, why buy a new steel bike when there seems to be a resurgence of buying old, 1980s steel bikes?
Yaeger: “The technology today is so much better! I remember the low-end 1980s French bikes and how crappy they were.”

“What cracks me up is that you see a lot of these old bikes riding around but how many people ski on skis they had in the ’70s? Likewise, you would no more use a 20-year-old computer. And that can’t kill you!

“The bike is a piece of sporting goods and you don’t know the five owners and what they did with that bike. If you could strip it down to the raw frame and you could x-ray it, you could maybe find out where the stresses are. But sometimes things fail catastrophically and you don’t have a warning. And aluminum is one of those things that fails catastrophically. Steel at least will usually give you a little bit of a warning.

“If you want to ride an old bike, that’s great! Just keep looking at your frame to make sure there aren’t any hairlines or fractures. And I would definitely replace the handlebars, stem too. And check the fork! Because if a fork breaks….

I get it, though; every generation romanticizes some things from previous ones.

Ella: You’ve got 40 years of industry experience under your belt. It was male-dominated world then and it continues to be so today. It can’t have been easy. What’s it been like for you, as a woman, coming up in this industry?
Yaeger: “When I got my first shop job it was 1973, and I make fun of it now, but at the time I just thought, well, girls aren’t allowed in the back of the shop, ok, but I just walked through the gate’.”

“But I made a point of really knowing what I was doing so I could talk the talk and more or less stay on [the guys’] wheels when we were riding. Just so that there was a little bit of respect there.”

“Of course I know the challenges. I worked for an Italian company and it was really hard. I worked for a Japanese company and it was the same thing: you’re sitting in a meeting with 15 guys, you say something and they don’t even hear you. A guy says the same thing 10 minutes later and they’re all clapping their hands. I get it. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m just saying that, if this is something you want to do, let’s do it!”

Ella: So how do we get more women in the industry?
Yaeger: “I think people respect anybody who does their homework, and knows their sh$t. To get into a technical field, you have to be able to prove that you know what you’re doing.”

“So this is what I tell anybody wanting to work in the industry: you’ve got to start in a shop. You’re going to learn how the industry works, you get to learn a little bit of mechanics, you’re going to learn all about bikes, and you’re going to meet people through that shop job who are in the industry. So you’re going to hear about the opportunities in companies from reps and at trade shows.”

“The shops need women and we, as women, we have to go in and just get over feeling intimidated. We have to take responsibility to show that this is what we want to do.”

Ella: But shops are struggling as we’re selling more and more product online…so now what?
Yaeger: “True. But that’s a good thing, right? Because shops have to adapt. They have to understand the new retail environment, which is service based, and they have to become more welcoming –to women, to older folks and to kids. We have to realize that service is the most important thing we can do as an industry, and make people that are typically uncomfortable in shops feel comfortable.”

“Like I was saying before, the consumer decides which channel they want to buy from. So the fact that the bikes are now being sold over the Internet is a fact, a reality. The shops have to recognize that what they can bring to the table is an amazing level of service. Because all people who buy a bike need service.”

Ella: Do you still ride?
Yaeger: “Yes, I still turn the pedals. It’s essential. I live in a great place called Marin County where you can ride on the road, on the mountain and everything in between.  Riding preserves whatever tenuous grasp I sill have on sanity.”

Ella Question: what is one thing that you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started riding?
Yaeger: “That I could make a career out of my love of bikes.”

This originally appeared in : https://cyclingtips.com/ 

 

 

Grand slam-seeking Beermen ‘have all the tools’

Champion coach Yeng Guiao sees Ginebra as the biggest hurdle to San Miguel’s Commissioner’s Cup title bid

By: Musong R. Castillo - Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

 

Yeng Guiao and his NLEX Road Warriors have been at the bottom of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup totem pole right from the start.With a nine-game losing streak in the import-spiced conference and a 13-game spell dating back to the Philippine Cup, they know what it feels like looking at everything from below.

But the mercurial champion coach has an idea how the skirmishes at the top will end.“I think it’s San Miguel Beer,” says Guiao, whose squad notched its first win in the tournament on Wednesday night. “They have the tools and the experience. They (Beermen) are a solid contender.”

The only thing that Guiao doesn’t have a quick answer to? Who would likely be the Beermen’s foes in the Finals.

“Every team has to prepare itself in stopping San Miguel,” Guiao says, noting that the Beermen look invincible in their quest for the second jewel of an anticipated Triple Crown sweep. “They would have to know how to beat San Miguel.”

The Beermen don’t actually have the best record as of this writing. Star leads the pack with an 8-2 record but the Hotshots are not yet sure of nailing one of the two twice-to-beat privileges in the first round of the playoffs.

That is because San Miguel defeated Star in the eliminations. And with Barangay Ginebra also in the running for a top-two finish, the Hotshots could ultimately be denied the bonus.

“I am seeding San Miguel in the Finals,” Guiao says. “What we want to know is who the Beermen would be playing, unless something drastic happens to them. But with the way they are playing, their confidence is truly high.”

There’s no doubt that the firebrand mentor envies the fact that his Road Warriors won’t be among the eight teams that will continue playing past this round. He terribly wants another shot at the Beermen with the revamped nucleus that he now has.

The former Pampanga representative says that Rain or Shine—which he guided to the championship of this tournament last season with the lowest-scoring import to ever win a title in the PBA—has suddenly looked good with the arrival of import Duke Crews.

“I don’t discount upsets,” Guiao explains. “Rain or Shine is picking up again; they just played a great game (in beating Ginebra). The other finalist will be a toss-up among Ginebra, Meralco and Star.”

Blessed with the finest local crew in the league, San Miguel strengthened its tag as the favorite here with the improved play of Charles Rhodes, who came over early minus the fanfare but has turned out to be a solid Best Import candidate, if not the overwhelming pick at this time.

Rhodes plays both ends well and has shown the attitude that complements the play of the local Beermen, as well as the chemistry the team needs to go deep in the playoffs.

San Miguel was also the title favorite of the Commissioner’s Cup last season, only for import Tyler Wilkerson to blow his top during the most crucial phase of the playoffs and cause a ruckus the Beermen weren’t able to recover from.

Coach Leo Austria believes that he won’t have a problem of that sort with Rhodes. “He’s very coachable,” he said in a recent interview.

And that’s a crucial aspect that makes San Miguel even more dangerous.

Guiao believes that the lack of championship experience of the Meralco and Star rosters could ultimately tell on the Bolts and the Hotshots. But he concedes that both are capable of pulling out an upset.

Pressed as to which team could ultimately scuttle the talented Beermen in a championship series, the firebrand Guiao, uncharacteristically, searched for an answer.

“Someone with a chance [of beating San Miguel]?” Guiao repeats the question, obviously considering a judicious reply.

“Ginebra, because they have the size and the experience,” he says. “In terms of experience and manpower, I really think it’s Ginebra.”

If Guiao is proven right, that would make for a great box-office draw for a tournament that needs one.

And that would definitely make for a perfect footnote to the Beermen’s quest for the Grand Slam.

Apple opens first official store in Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE—Apple opened its first Southeast Asia store in Singapore on Saturday, drawing hundreds of excited fans to the swanky two-story site in the city’s upmarket shopping district.

Located on the affluent Orchard Road, the new shop — easily distinguished by its iconic glass facade — is expected to be one of the most popular Apple stores in the world according to the US tech giant.

Merchandise such as the iPhone and MacBook were strategically placed on display across the spacious first floor, while the upper level acted as a classroom for customers to participate in hands-on sessions.

Hundreds of shoppers camped out in anticipation of the launch, while more than a thousand thronged the store soon after the doors opened, an AFP reporter observed.

First in the queue was Xiang Jiaxin, a twenty-five-year-old Chinese national working in Macau who had queued for more than 12 hours overnight and planned a holiday to Singapore specially to coincide with the opening.

“I am very happy and excited to be part of this. I have participated in the official store openings in Macau, Guangzhou and Nanjing,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Apple, which has a staggering $256.8 billion cash stockpile, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. The Silicon Valley legend sprang out of Steve Jobs’ garage to reshape modern life with trend-setting gadgets.

Most of its earnings come from the iPhone, which faces increasingly tough competition in a saturated market.

The tech behemoth has almost 500 stores globally with more than a million visitors daily. Aside from Singapore, its Asia shops are located in Hong Kong, China and Japan.

A regional transport, business and financial hub, Singapore attracted 16.4 million visitors last year.

-AFP

 

Explosions, gunfire mar first day of Ramadan

MARAWI — The deafening sound of exploding artillery shells and the occasional rapid fire from assault rifles drowned out  the Islamic call to prayer called Adhan on Saturday for the Fajr—the dawn prayer.

 

About an hour earlier, Aminola Mitmug had just had Suhur, or the predawn meal, for the Ramadan, which came five days after troops and police launched deadly fighting against a combined force of Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf and Maute group fighters.

Some of the food he cooked for Suhur came from the relief pack—which consisted of canned goods and noodles—that the local government had given them a few days earlier.

What’s important, he said, was that he performed one of the main practices of Islam and that was to fast—whenever and wherever a Muslim could during Ramadan. In this case, it was inside a cramped evacuation camp inside the provincial capitol compound.

“On the first day of Ramadan, our main problems were water and electricity. But we need to sacrifice. As Muslims, we accept all the trials with patience and we don’t blame anyone for our situation today,” Mitmug told the Inquirer.

About a stone’s throw away from Mitmug’s tiny spot, Moshmerah Dipatuan, 44, cooked some of the food that her family managed to bring when they evacuated as the city came under heavy fire.

Dipatuan said it was a painful Ramadan because aside from lack of food, her family’s home had been torched by rampaging gunmen.

“Our house was burned by Maute men. Now I heard officials are planning to transfer us to another evacuation center in Iligan City,” she said.

“It’s so painful because we do not feel the spirit of Ramadan. The fasting month here was normally festive, particularly at night,” Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. said.

Adiong explained that Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims and not observing it properly was more than just disheartening. For the devout, it would be a disaster to miss sawm, or fasting.

It was during Ramadan when the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad happened, according to Islamic beliefs.

“We should be happy but how can you celebrate with the current situation?” Adiong said.

Despite the situation, Muslims displaced by the fighting here continued to perform their religious obligations no matter how difficult it had become, Sambu Datu Dirampatan said.

What’s important, he said, was that they were still alive and able to fast.

“We have to make sacrifices,” he said.

The military has deployed bombers and helicopters for what it called “surgical airstrikes” meant to dislodge the enemy from hiding, and for ground troops to recover parts of Marawi still under terrorist control.

Muslim soldiers, who would otherwise be granted a Ramadan break, were also under instructions to continue with the fight. —WITH DJ YAP IN MANILA

 

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Nigerian nabbed for online scam

MANILA  — The National Bureau of Investigation- Cyber Crime Division (NBI-CCD) operatives arrested an Nigerian national for allegedly perpetrating an online scam.
NBI identified the suspect as Joseph Kamano, who was arrested in an entrapment operation in a mall in Manila on Tuesday.
According to the NBI cybercrime division, Kamano's arrest stemmed from a complaint of a victim who requested anonymity.
Kamano and the complainant met through social media wherein the suspect offered a business deal.
Kamano informed the complainant that they will send the latter a package full of money as capital in their business. The complainant was also instructed to open a new e-mail address so they can monitor the package. A photo package was likewise sent to prove that it is real.
Moreover, Kamano told the complainant that she will receive the package after paying the processing fees of the documents for the package such as certification of ownership, payment of taxes for three years, signing of documents and for the delivery of the package at the complainant’s house.
The complainant then paid P949,619 to the suspect through bank and and money transfer. The complainant however did not receive the package.
When Kamano called the complainant and asked to pay another P240,000 for the delivery charge, the complainant already sought help from the NBI.
Under strict orders from NBI Director Dante A. Gierran to promptly act on the matter, NBI-CCD operatives together with the Complainant, conducted the entrapment operation resulting in the arrest of Kamano.
The Nigerian national already presented for inquest proceedings before the Office of the Prosecutor of Manila for violation of R.A. 315 otherwise known as Estafa. -- PNA
 
 
 
 
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Ex-PNP chief ordered arrested

MANILA -- The Sandiganbayan has ordered the issuance of arrest warrant against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and 10 other individuals for a graft case in connection the alleged anomalous courier service deal that the PNP entered into in 2011.
 
In a minute resolution promulgated on May 18, released to the media on Thursday, the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division said that after evaluating of the information of the case, as well as the evidence submitted by the Office of the Ombudsman, it found probable cause to order the arrest of Purisima and his co-accused for the court to hold them on trial.
 
“After judicious scrutiny and evaluation of the [case] Information and resolution of the prosecutor, the evidence in support thereof and the records of the preliminary investigation attached thereto, the Court finds that sufficient grounds exist for the finding of probable cause and the for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against all the accused charged in the instant cases,” the court’s ruling read.
 
Aside from Purisima, ordered arrested were the following former police officials:
  • Former Civil Service Security Group chief Gil Meneses
  • Former Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) chief Napoleon Estilles
  • Former FEO assistant chief Allan Parreño
  • Former FEO Education and Enforcement Management Division chief Melchor Reyes
  • Servicing Legal Officer Ford Tuazon
Also ordered arrested were five private individuals who were incorporators of the courier service company Werfast Documentary Agency, Inc., namely; Mario Juan, Salud Bautista, Enrique Valerio, Lorna Perena and Juliana Pasia.
 
The Ombudsman earlier recommended P30,000 bail bond for each accused in exchange for their provisional liberty.
 
In its resolution, the 6th Division said the respective motions for judicial determination of probable cause with prayer for the dismissal of the case, recently filed by Purisima and the other respondents are now rendered “moot and academic” as the court has made its own determination of probable cause even before the respondents filed their motions.
 
“The Court, has, in fact, independently determined for itself the existence of probable as to merit the arrest of the accused, acquire jurisdiction over their persons, and to proceed to trial,” the ruling read.
 
In his 34-page motion filed with the Sixth Division last week, Purisima maintained that the case filed against him lacked evidence and was done in haste to prosecute him and the other police officers.
 
“This case best exemplifies the classic obsession or passion of the Ombudsman, riding on slanted news reports concocted by paid spin doctors, to indict with undue haste public officials who have been subjected to trial by publicity,” Purisima’s motion read.
 
The court, however, said that the arguments raised by Purisima and the other respondents in their motions were “matters of defense that are best raised and threshed out during trial”.
 
Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan on May 6, the graft case stemmed from the courier service contract that the PNP entered into with Werfast in 2011 for the delivery of firearms licenses of applicants.
 
Based on the information of the case, the contract was awarded to Werfast without holding a public bidding and despite the company’s supposed lack of track record and qualifications as a courier service firm.
 
The Ombudsman said Werfast was not yet registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when the contract was entered in May 2011. The Ombudsman said the company was also not authorized by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to offer courier delivery service. —NB/APG, GMA News
 
 
 
 
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Free De Lima campaign launched

MANILA -- Supporters of Senator Leila De Lima on Tuesday, May 23, launched a signature campaign to demand her immediate release from detention.
Led by the Free Leila Movement, the supporters aim to collect at least one million signatures in the campaign and submit it to the Supreme Court to show a strong call for De Lima's freedom.
 
"Kami po... ay nandito ngayon upang ilunsad ang Signature Campaign para sa kagyat na pagpapalaya kay Senator Leila De Lima," Ma. Regina Mabalatan of the Free Leila Movement said during a press conference in Quezon City.
 
"Nananawagan din po kami sa Supreme Court na mag-desisyon base sa substance ng kaso, at hindi sa mababaw na teknikalidad," she added.
 
 
De Lima is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, over allegations that she let the illegal drug trade to proliferate inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her term as justice secretary, supposedly exchange for funds for her senatorial campaign last year.
 
The senator had turned to the Supreme Court to nullify the arrest warrant and the court proceedings for her cases.
 
Mabalatan believes that the evidence against De Lima, who is a vocal critic of the Duterte administration, were defective.
 
"Wala ni isang matibay na ebidensiya ang naipakita... tanging mga fake deposit slips lamang po," Mabalatan said.
 
She added that despite claims that De Lima got millions of pesos from the illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary, no bank accounts were shown to prove this.
 
Groups such as the Filipino Advocates for Integrity, Transparency and Honor, The Silent Majority, the Democratic Alliance Movement of the Philippines - International (DAMPI), the Coalition Against Darkness and Dictators, among others, have also thrown support for De Lima's release.
 
Aside from her drug-related cases, De Lima was also charged with disobedience to summons for allegedly advising her former driver Ronnie Dayan to skip the House of Representatives justice committee's hearing on the alleged proliferation of illegal drug trade at the NBP.
 
 
The Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 34 currently handles this case.
 
Atty. Lorelee Margaret Granado, De Lima's counsel, said during the press conference that they have already filed a motion for reconsideration urging the trial court to dismiss her case resolution on this motion before June 9, the scheduled start of the trial proper for the disobedience to summons case. — GMA News
 
 
 
 
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More direct China to PH flights expected

MANILA  — Direct flights from China’s Guangxi Province to the country's top tourist destinations Davao, Cebu and Clark can soon be expected to bring in additional tourists from China.
This after the Department of Tourism (DOT) recently closed a deal with Chinese state-owned Guangxi Tourism Development Group Co., Ltd. to mount these additional flights during the recent “Belt and Road Forum” in Beijing.
“This undertaking will open up secondary gateways in the Philippines to the Chinese market and bring in additional tourists from mainland China,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said in a statement.
Teo, who was with the entourage of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, said the chartered flights add to the list of air carriers that directly service 13 Chinese cities for trips to Manila, Kalibo, Cebu and Laoag.
It was not mentioned which airline will be providing the services or when the services will start.-- PNA
She, however, described the deal as a “win-win” situation for both parties and expressed excitement for the launch of the said flights.
“We are excited about Guangxi’s commitment, as we tap its 55 million population of what is considered the Asian center of economy and finance,” she added.
Meanwhile, tour operator Sun Fair International, which has offices in Xiamen and Hong Kong, has already committed additional ten thousand Chinese tourists coming from the cities of Shanghai, Xiamen, Chongqing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, and Beijing, starting this month.
The additional Chinese tourists will make up a diverse group of leisure travelers, divers and adventure seekers to rollers, businessmen, culinary travelers to shoppers, and even employees on company paid tours, Sun Fair International said in a statement.
Proposed local destinations include Manila, Palawan, Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Surigao, Subic, and Negros Occidental. (Azer N. Parrocha/PNA)
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Sweet Surprise: McDonald’s Unveils a Change to its Vanilla Soft Serve

Removal of an artificial flavor from vanilla soft serve which already had no artificial colors or preservatives – positively changed Vanilla Cone, McCafé Shakes and McFlurry

OAK BROOK, Ill. — (May 22, 2017) — McDonald’s USA announced that its vanilla soft serve – featured in its popular vanilla cone, McCafé Shakes and McFlurry desserts – is made with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The introduction of the soft serve began in Fall of 2016 and has nearly completed its transition to all 14,000+ restaurants nationwide. A popular destination for cold, sweet treats, this change impacts 60% of the desserts McDonald’s serves.   

In addition, the chocolate and strawberry McCafé shake syrup has no high fructose corn syrup and the whipped topping served on all three flavors of shakes is made with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

“This summer we have a sweet surprise,” said Darci Forrest, senior director of menu innovation at McDonald’s. “We’ve been raising the bar at McDonald’s on serving delicious food that our customers can feel good about eating. Soft serve now joins other changes we have made, such as removing artificial preservatives from McNuggets, committing to cage-free eggs by 2025 and only serving chicken made from chicken not treated with antibiotics important to human medicine*. This, combined with the fact that 100 percent of the milk used in our soft serve is U.S. sourced, makes this classic treat even more enjoyable during the hot summer months.”  

Desserts have been a favorite at McDonald’s for nearly 60 years. Last summer alone, McDonald’s customers enjoyed 68 million cones. This summer, guests can continue to enjoy their classic cone, but also celebrate the return of a fan favorite from 2012 — the Rolo McFlurry. For a limited time, the company is making summer more delicious with the rich combination of chewy caramel and smooth milk chocolate pieces to its iconic vanilla soft serve. The Rolo McFlurry will be available nationwide for a limited time from May 24 to Sept. 11.   

“We are proud to partner with McDonald’s to bring our dairy products from thousands of dairy farmers across the U.S. to their millions of customers daily,” said Barb O’Brien, president of Dairy Management Inc.

Over the past two years, McDonald’s has made a series of changes to its menu, including the launch of All Day Breakfast and updated Chicken McNuggets, a new premium salad blend and using real butter on its English Muffins, bagels and biscuits, among other significant changes. The updated soft serve is part of McDonald’s food journey and another way the company is helping customers feel good about the food they’re enjoying.  

*Farmers still use ionophores, a class of antibiotics that are not prescribed to people, to help keep chickens healthy.

About McDonald’s USA 
McDonald's USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. Customers can now log online for free at approximately 11,500 participating Wi-Fi enabled McDonald's U.S. restaurants. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonaldsand Facebook www.facebook.com/mcdonalds.

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