Opinion & Community

11 soldiers killed by ‘friendly fire’ in Marawi

Military airstrikes aimed at Islamist militants in Marawi killed 11 of their own soldiers and injured seven others, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said in a news conference on Thursday.

In an earlier news conference, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana put the number of fatalities at 10. But Padilla updated the figure.

“A group of our military armed men were hit by our own airstrikes,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters in Manila, adding the incident happened on Wednesday.

Security forces have been battling militants flying the black flags of the Islamic State (IS) group in Marawi, a major Muslim city in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, since Tuesday last week.

The military has bombed and fired rockets from attack helicopters throughout the conflict with the militants, who have been hiding in residential areas holding hostages.

About 2,000 civilians are also trapped in the militant-held areas, according to the local government.

Fire rages at several houses following airstrikes by Philippine Air Force bombers to retake control of Marawi city from Muslim militants who lay siege for nearly a week, Saturday, May 27, 2017 in southern Philippines. Philippine military jets fired rockets at militant positions Saturday as soldiers tried to wrest back control of a southern city from gunmen linked to the Islamic State group, witnesses said. Civilians waved flags from their windows to show they are not combatants. AP

Military chiefs have repeatedly said the assaults involved “precision” and “surgical” airstrikes, and assured they were not harming any of the trapped civilians or hostages.

“It’s sad but sometimes it happens in the fog of war. The coordination was not properly done,” Lorenzana said Thursday as he announced the deaths.

He told Agence France-Presse (AFP) later via text message that seven soldiers had also been wounded.

The clashes erupted when security forces raided a house to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, a veteran Filipino militant regarded as IS’s leader in the Philippines. He is on the US government’s list of most-wanted terrorists.

Authorities said they were taken by surprise when dozens of gunmen emerged to protect Hapilon and then went on a rampage through Marawi, which has a population of 200,000.

Most of the residents had fled the city but the International Committee of the Red Cross has repeatedly expressed deep concern for those who remained trapped, and called for a humanitarian ceasefire

“I think it’s horrific for the civilian people who are in there and we really hope that both sides can agree that the civilians should be given the opportunity to come out,” the deputy head of the ICRC’s Philippine delegation, Martin Thalmann, told AFP in Marawi on Wednesday.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the entire southern region of Mindanao in response to the crisis, which he described as the start of a major campaign by IS to establish a foothold in the Philippines.

Eighty-nine militants have been killed in the fighting, and the gunmen have murdered 19 civilians, the military said on Wednesday.

The announcement of the friendly fire deaths brings the number of security forces killed to 31, and the combined death toll to 139./rga /atm

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Copenhagen cycle jams tackled with electronic information panels

 

 European affairs correspondent/The Guardian

Danish capital last year saw more bicycles enter city than cars, with almost half of residents cycling to work or school

Copenhagen now has so many cyclists that the city is installing electronic information panels along its bike lanes to help prevent two-wheeled traffic jams.

In what city hall has called a world first, an initial five screens will be fitted at strategic points on the Danish capital’s 390km (240-mile) network of protected bike lanes, the state broadcaster Danmarks Radio reported.

“There’s a need for improved accessibility for the growing number of cyclists who unfortunately in many places are now having to fight for space on the bike lane,” said Morten Kabell, head of the city’s technology and environment department.

“We’re hoping with these new information boards to give cyclists the opportunity to choose the least congested route through the city.”

Copenhagen’s residents cycled 1,400,000 km a day last year, with 41% of people – including 63% of MPs – cycling to and from work or school, and 32% of all city-centre journeys being made by bike.

Last year, the number of bikes entering the city centre exceeded cars for the first time: sensors recorded 265,700 bicycles daily against 252,600 cars – a major increase from the first survey in 1970 that recorded 100,000 bicycles and 340,000 cars.

At the forefront of efforts to make roads more cycle-friendly, Copenhagen has seen bike traffic rise by 68% over the past 20 years. But despite spending more than 1bn Danish krone on cycling infrastructure since 2005, jams are now increasing.

“Cyclists are already experiencing congestion on the city’s most used cycle paths,” city hall said in February, unveiling an eight-year, Dkr 1.1-1.8bn (£130m-£210m) cycle lane priority plan

Forecasts show daily bike traffic across Copenhagen set to grow by 25% by 2025 and by 36% in the rush hour. 

Several Copenhagen bike lanes are already reaching capacity at peak times, with one – across the Queen Louise bridge – reportedly the busiest in the world, carrying up to 40,000 cyclists a day.

“With the number of cyclists in Copenhagen now, we have a congestion problem,” Niels Agerholm, a traffic researcher at Aalborg university, told Danmarks Radio. 

“If there is an easier way through, signs like these could get people to change direction.”

The new signs, costing Dkr4.2m, will carry information on roadworks, special events, distance to destinations, queues and slow-moving bike traffic, and suggest alternative routes using different bike lanes. 

Other infrastructure changes to speed up city-centre journeys include widening existing lanes, improving signalling at intersections and building more bike-only bridges to add to the 17 already installed.

The city also recently introduced a “green” update to ibikecph, its route planning app. Besides offering cyclists a fast route, a cobblestone-avoiding alternative and another suited to cumbersome cargo bikes transporting small children, it now also suggests a quieter, more restful “green” route

With a traffic density four times lower than that of the city’s regular bike paths, some 60km of Copenhagen’s integrated bike paths are now classified as “green routes”, with a further 57km planned, city hall said. 

Typical users include older cyclists, families with children and people simply not in so much of a hurry. The app has been downloaded on to mobile phones more than 60,000 times and is consulted more than 20,000 times a month.

These new earphones will translate 40 languages in real-time straight into your ear

Lonely Planet Writer

Throw out your phrasebook and delete that app; these earbuds could be the ultimate language travelling companion of the future as they aim to translate into your ear in real time.

The Dash Pro wireless earphones from Bragi are the latest generation of intelligent audio technology but come with one huge advantage for world travellers; it can translate 40 languages in real time courtesy of the iTranslate app. As well as enabling you to understand the person, with the use of your phone – or another pair of earbuds – the other person will also be able to understand you.

The earphones use the app’s translation and speech recognition software to translate in real time. If the two people in the conversation own Dash Pro earphones, they can converse as normal. If not, the person wearing the earphones can hand their phone over to the other person and they can hear the translation through the app. Currently the function only works when online though the company promises that an offline version is in the works to save your data charges.

The real-time translator is the first on the market so while this may not be widely adopted at first, it’s likely to be an essential travel accessory in the near future. Last year, a smart earpiece was announced as an end to all our travel communication problems, but so far there has been no update on when or if it will become available to buy.

The Dash Pro earbuds can be used for more than just language translation. Image by Bragi

The language translator is not the only feature in the Dash Pro earbuds that might be of interest to travellers. The earbuds themselves have 4GB of space and works as a standalone device, meaning you can leave your smartphone safely in your room while still listening to your holiday mix.

It’s also waterproof up to one metre so you can use it while swimming. There’s an inbuilt fitness tracker allowing you can count your steps while exploring a new city or to block out some noisy hostel mates, use the noise isolation feature. The earbuds also come with 30 hours of battery life, with up to five hours if continuously playing.

The Dash Pro earphones are available to purchase online now for €349.

 

 

Use AudioShare to slice, dice, zip, and share audio files on iOS

If there was a music app that was like a kind of military tool from a neutral European country, then AudioShare would be it. 
Photo: Cult of Mac 

BY /Cult of Mac

There’s no iTunes for iOS. Thank God, some may say — after all, iTunes on the desktop is Apple’s Office, a bloated, do-it-all app that does nothing well, and is impossible to kill. But this also means that there’s no good way to save and wrangle music files on iOS — not from Apple at least. Which is where Kymatica’s AudioShare comes in. AudioShare is really a tool for musicians and other folks who work with sound, but it is so useful, and so easy to use, that everyone should have it on their iPhone and iPad to deal with audio files of all kinds.

What does AudioShare do (and what doesn’t it do)?

First, AudioShare isn’t an app for listening to well-crafted playlists. It can’t even play all the mp3s in a folder one after the other. And neither is AudioShare a way to get music into Apple’s Music app. To do that, you still need a Mac or PC running iTunes. But for almost everything else that you can do with a music file, AudioShare has you covered. Here’s a quick list of some highlights:

  • Import/export music files to and form other apps, or other devices.
  • Convert audio files into other formats (WAV, MP£, AIFF, CAFF).
  • Trim, and otherwise clean up audio tracks.
  • Record audio, from a microphone, or from another app, and even add audio FX.

Let’s take a look at these in a little more detail. To do so, we’ll record a track, edit it, convert it into a format good for sharing, and then share it, all inside AudioShare. But first, a quick look at importing already-existing files.

Importing into AudioShare

If you can think of a way to get audio into AudioShare, you can probably do it.
If you can think of a way to get audio into AudioShare, you can probably do it.
Photo: Cult of Mac 

AudioShare is a great hub for audio found elsewhere. Not only can you Open in… pretty much any audio file from another app and store them in AudioShare, you can also import files from the iOS clipboard, from Dropbox and iCloud Drive, from any other app that supports there standards iOS document picker, and — this one may be huge — your iOS Music library (for files which you’ve added yourself). AudioShare can even start up a web server to transfer files directly from computers on your local network, via their browsers. And once you have grabbed that file, you can do anything.

Recording in AudioShare

Recording is simple yet powerful.
Recording is simple yet powerful.
Photo: Cult of Mac 

Let’s begin with a recording. To get fancy, we’ll record it from another app on the iPad. This could be something like a guitar amplifier simulation app, where you plug in a real instrument and record that, but today we’ll use ThumbJam by Sonosaurus, because it is pretty much the only app on my iPad that works in split-screen view. Remember, though, that AudioShare can record quite happily in the background. It doesn’t have to be on screen to work. AudioShare can record any app that uses iOS’ Inter-App Audio (IAA) to share its output with other apps.

    1. Tap the red Record mic in AudioShare, at bottom left.
    2. In the resulting popover window, tap the + next to the mic input. Then choose your source app from the list of IAA apps. If you want to record audio from a mic, or connected hardware, you can pick that here too. You may want to record a podcast, say.
    3. Choose any audio FX you want to add, in the same way you chose the audio source. We’ll skip this today.
    4. Hit Record.*
    5. Switch to the other app.
    6. Play music!

* In many apps, you can use the IAA “transport” buttons to start recording. As you can seen in the screenshot above, these appear in the source app, and allow you to control play/record in the other, off-screen app. Because we’re working in split-screen, we don’t need that, but on an iPhone, or in apps that don’t use split-screen, it’s super handy.

When you’re done, tap Stop, and the file is automatically saved, and highlighted in the Library. If the file you want isn’t highlighted, just tap it to make it active.

Editing music in AudioShare

Simple operations are simple to achieve, making everything nice and easy.
Simple operations are simple to achieve, making everything nice and easy.
Photo: Cult of Mac

AudioShare’s editing is basic, but gives you everything you need. Tap the Tools button at top right, and you can Normalize, Trim & Fade, and Convert. Avoid normalizing the file unless you’re just about to send it to someone, and even then think twice about it. The tools you’ll be using most are the trim and convert tools. Convert lets you convert your files to another format, like MP3 for emailing, and trim lets you lop off the ends of the track. In my Thumbjam track, I recorded a little too much silence at the beginning, so I’ll remove that.

  1. Tap Tools, then Trim & Fade.
  2. Usr the handles at the ends of the waveform to select your start and end points. If you want these cuts to be smoothed off a little, then you can adjust the fade-in and fade-out time using the arrows.
  3. Fine tune your selection using Nudge, if you like.
  4. Tap Save.

A copy is saved, with “trimmed” appended to the filename. Other file operations you can carry out on this screen are creating a copy of the file, emailing the file, sharing it to another app, or uploading to SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Foursquare.

Before we do that though, lets zip ups few files, ready to send.

Organizing music in AudioShare

Many operations are available with a long press.
Many operations are available with a long press.
Photo: Cult of Mac 

On the left, you see the Library panel. Here you can browse ands organize your files, renaming them, adding them to folders, an mots more. To get started, long-press a file. You get a list of options, as seen in the picture. Moving and renaming are probably the ones you’ll use most, but you can also a attach a text note, export the file, and zip several files. Let’s zip and share some files right now.

  1. Tap the multiple-selection checkmark above the Library panel.
  2. Select the files you want to zip by tapping on the little circles that appear next to each file.
  3. Tap the Move icon, the green inbox at the bottom of the Library panel, then tap the New Foldericon.
  4. Name the new folder.
  5. Tap Move items here.
  6. Long press the new folder.
  7. Tap Make Zip Archive in the list.
 

AudioShare can only zip a single item, like a file or a folder, which is why we had to make a folder first. The bonus of this approach is that anything you zipped is now nicely organized. The resulting zip file can now be shared, just like any other file.

Bonus tip: If you tap a zip file in the Library panel, AudioShare will offer to unzip it. That’s handy for when you receive a zipped folder of audio files, because you can open the zip in AudioShare and go from there.

There’s a lot more

AudioShare really is the handiest, do-it-all tool around when it comes to music on iOS. I’ve been using it for years, but even now it surprises me. Often I find myself looking for an app in the app store to do a specific task, before I think to try AudioShare. Usually it does what I need. What’s more, the app is only $5, and is Universal, so all this works on your iPhone too. You should probably go download it right now.

 

Watch SpaceX carry NASA's pulsar-observing instrument to the ISS

 

NASA

Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer will help shed light on mysterious pulsars.

 -Mariella Moon/Engadget

On June 1st, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry supplies and new instruments to the ISS, including one designed to observe some of the strangest objects in the universe: neutron stars or pulsars. The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) will be installed outside the ISS, where it will look for and study the extremely dense objects. Neutron stars begin their lives as stars around seven to 20 times the mass of our sun. When they collapse and cause a supernova explosion, they turn into a sphere that's only 12 miles across, with twice the mass of our sun squeezed inside. They're also called "pulsars" when they rotate hundreds of times per second. only objects denser than neutron stars are black holes, and they typically happen when stars over 20 times the mass of our sun explode. NICER principal investigator Keith Gendreau likens its density to Mount Everest squeezed into something like a sugar cube. Project deputy Zaven Arzoumanian says the objects pretty much "represent a natural density limit for stable matter that you can't exceed without becoming a black hole."

Scientists still have no idea what happens to atoms in that density, and that's what they're hoping to find out with the help of the new instrument. NICER will use X-ray to look for hot spot emissions caused by a pulsar's fast rotation and strong magnetism. Its observations will help scientists figure out a pulsar's interior structure and to find out the mass threshold needed for a star to become a black hole instead of a pulsar.

You can watch SpaceX's Falcon 9 lift off from Kennedy Space Center's historic 39A launch pad on NASA TV. The agency will broadcast the pre-launch briefing at 4PM and the event itself starting at 5:15PM on June 1st. SpaceX will also try to land the rocket's first stage at Cape Canaveral if the launch is a success, so keep an eye out for a video of the attempt, as well.

I've learned that it's okay to be alone, even when I'm uncomfortable

Lauren Rearick/http://hellogiggles.com

This year I find myself spending an unexpected amount of time with someone new, a person I never fully knew until I was forced to be in a room with them – myself. For the first time in my life, I’m learning to embrace these moments of solitude and to be okay with being alone.

Whether spending time with the ones we love or crammed into cubicles with the ones we work with, we’re always surrounded by people. Even our smartphones prevent true isolation, with friends on social media remaining just a touch away. But what happens when you leave behind the office for a life of working at home, or your friends begin moving away to pursue their own new beginnings? As adults, we don’t always have the comforts of parents or roommates greeting us when we return home, and our days aren’t promised to be filled with the friendships that school afforded us as children.

Sometimes we’re forced to be alone, but that isolation doesn’t mean we have to shut down, hide away, or be afraid to do the things we enjoy.

It took me a while to learn that lesson. Following a series of serious life changes, I’m getting better at being alone, even when that solitude proves uncomfortable. 

After years of working for others, I made the transition to self-employment. For the first time in my life, I don’t have an office to report to. Instead, I work from home as a freelance writer, where I spend my days with my dog and my laptop. Initially, this change proved freeing, and I loved it,but then the loneliness began to creep in. There was no one with whom I could dissect last night’s television or explore new spots for lunch. Instead, I was absolutely alone and had no idea how to cope.

I wanted to work from coffee shops, explore unknown places in my hometown, and enjoy the freedom of setting my own hours. Unfortunately, the first time I tried to branch out and beat the loneliness, I felt completely terrified. I tried to set up a workspace at the local coffee shop, but the initial visit made me feel like I was back in a high school cafeteria. I felt like everyone was staring at me, wondering why I was alone and what I was doing. That fear proved even more menacing when I tried to find solace in my favorite places like Target and Dunkin’ Donuts. Everywhere felt off-limits to me.

Maybe it was my generalized anxiety disorder or the perpetual looming dread of what others thought, but I started to actively avoid going places alone.

Instead, I made excuses to work from home, or I would breeze through my trips into the outside world. On more than one occasion, I cried on my way home.

Though I was desperate to change my situation, loneliness continued to linger, and I felt incapable of altering my days. I wanted to be strong and independent, to enjoy my time with myself, by myself. I thought back to when I was younger and reveled in being by myself. I once prided myself on being single and claimed Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Woman” as my anthem.

 

I had forgotten how to be alone, and I was too scared to relearn. 

There wasn’t an a-ha moment, or a sudden inspiration that made me want to change. Instead, I grew tired of being afraid. I wanted to treat myself, to discover new things and to reward myself for being me – even on the days when I was anxious. Instead of shutting myself off and staying in, I realized I needed to afford myself the same kindness and love I so often show others.

At first, I started with short trips. Instead of claiming a coffee-house as my own for a full day, I went for just an hour. Rather than packing in a day of shopping, I went to one store and stayed as long as I wanted. If I only stayed a few minutes, that was okay. I took any trip as a victory.

As I looked around, I realized that I wasn’t the only person alone — and that, more than likely, no one was really paying attention to me.

Phil Payne Photography/Getty Images

There were, and still are, moments when I am fearful, and I wonder if people are staring at me, asking themselves why the curly-haired brunette is sitting all alone reading a magazine. When I start to feel uncomfortable, I take a deep breath and stay just a second longer. I try to take the pressure off myself, and let my heart and thoughts control the trip, deciding on a whim where I’ll go for the day, or what I’ll see. It’s in these difficult moments that I’ve learned more about myself than I ever did when surrounded by others. I discovered new places that have a killer iced coffee, purchased a makeup palette that has shades beyond my comfort zone, and found a quiet nook of the library where, even among others, I can be alone.

 

No one plans to be alone. I certainly didn’t. There are some days when I’m still lonely and I cry, but with each day that passes, I’m learning I can do things by myself. I may not always enjoy shopping for a purse alone, and some days I prefer to write from the comforts of my bedroom, not the bustle of a coffee shop. But when I do venture outside to see the world, I know that I can do it on my own.

 

 
 

 

Food Exchange

New Zealand pushes more of its premium homegrown products into the Philippine market, while a Filipino chef gives Kiwis a taste of Filipino food

By Angelo G. Garcia/http://lifestyle.mb.com.ph

When New Zealand basketball team Tall Backs received boos from Filipino fans last year during their traditional haka dance performance, it showed how clueless most Pinoys were to the culture of the Kiwis. The only thing Filipinos probably know about the South Pacific country is Hobbiton, thanks to The Lord of the Rings movies.

The unfamiliarity, however, goes both ways. Auckland-based Filipino chef Leo Fernandez says that New Zealanders, too, know little about the Philippines. Most of them don’t know that we speak English and they don’t know nothing about the food. When he opened a restaurant after finishing second place in New Zealand MasterChef in 2015, Kiwi diners have no clue what to expect about Filipino cuisine.

 

 

“Because they (people in NZ) are unaware of Filipino food, they were thinking that it might be like Indonesian, Vietnamese, or Thai. Some are disappointed because it didn’t meet their expectation,” says Leo. “But some are blown away because of the flavors. Filipino food is quite polarizing at times, it’s either you like it or hate it.”

The celebrity chef recently visited the country for Food Connection Manila, a one-day trade show of New Zealand export products, organized by the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). Chef Leo was a practicing veterinarian here in the country when he migrated to New Zealand in 2008. He worked for a dairy farm and then in a pig farm before landing a spot in the reality television show.

He admits that everything he knows about cooking was self taught, considering that he comes from a family of food connoisseurs. Chef Leo was forced to cook when his cravings started for Filipino food.

“I was forced to learn because as a migrant, I had to teach myself how to cook Filipino comfort food,” he says. “I took my family by surprise when I told them I was joining MasterChef.”

One of his main goals in the competition was to introduce Filipino cuisine to the Kiwis, cooking Pinoy dishes like arroz caldo, escabeche, bilo-bilo and, other dishes in the challenges. His plan worked because it got the audience curious of Filipino fare.

Last year, along with fellow Pinoy partners, chef Leo opened Azon. With this restaurant, he tries to elevate Filipino food by creating contemporary dishes but keeping with the roots in terms of flavors and service.

“The restaurant’s concept is contemporary Filipino. It’s more on tweaking Filipino dishes, just presented in a different way but the flavors are still there. It’s a family oriented restaurant, a sharing concept, which is very Filipino,” he says.

According to him, the challenge is getting the ingredients. He has suppliers that import Filipino ingredients but the challenge comes from local fresh ingredients. For instance, he uses goat in his caldereta, a meat that is not popular in New Zealand. There are a few but he has tough competition from other restaurants that cook foreign cuisines like Indian food that also use a lot of goat meat. The seafood is expensive, too, since the country observe sustainable fishing.

But this is also what Chef Leo loves about NZ, that you could just go to the coast and pluck muscles from the rocks on the beach and it’s safe to eat. The country also produces a lot of quality and premium products from dairy to wine to fruits, which is a dream come true for any chef.

He says that the restaurant trend now in Kiwi country is offeringsustainable and organic eats. It’s all the about farm-to-table trend. New Zealand prides itself for its clean and safe products. The country makes sure that products are safe and traceable, after all, it exports majority of its products.

“We export 70 percent of what we produce,” explains NZTE trade commissioner to the Philippines Hernando Banal II. “By default, everything we produce in New Zealand should be traceable and sustainable.”

During the Food Connection Manila, the South Pacific country showcased its best like Antipodes, a premium bottled water brand that was judged as the “World’s Best Water”; New Zealand Natural, maker of premium ice cream; Charlie’s Fruit Fix Smoothies; Phoenix Organics’ juices and sodas; Whittaker’s chocolates; Palm corned beef; Annie’s Fruit Bars; Schubert wines; Babich wines; Tohu wines; Te Pa wines; and Anchor products.

The total trade between NZ and PH has been steadily growing reaching NZ$1B in export products last year. Hernando says that the Philippines is New Zealand’s 18th largest export market.

“What we are promoting are our brands these are value added products. We would like to see more New Zealand brands in local supermarkets,” Hernando says. “The awareness is growing, the interest about the Philippines. Of course, the economic performance of the Philippines in the last six years help, it’s becoming more obvious now to business people. The dream is to use the Philippines as a launching pad, we are a good entry point to Southeast Asia.”

 www.newzealandfood.co; Facebook @NZ_Global; and @NewZealandFood; Instagram @NZ_Global

Corned beef hash rice croquettes with caldereta sauce by Chef Leo Fernandez

NZ Natural ice cream

Kiwi-Pinoy celebrity chef Leo Fernandez

 

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Syjuco and Collins Team Up Again with Almost Sunrise

Syjuco and Collins Team Up Again with Almost Sunrise 
By Cristina Osmeña
 
 
Next month, it will be 30 years since the double rape and homicide of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong in Cebu, Philippines changed the landscape of my family’s grief.  My second cousin, Paco Osmeña Larrañaga, was arrested and convicted of this crime and sentenced to death despite overwhelming evidence that he was enjoying the night with two dozen friends at a bar in Manila.  Yet, despite an extensive collection of relatives connected to government, some who were in positions to have spoken for him more proactively, it was Manila-born Marty Syjuco who decided to do something for his brother-in-law.  (Syjuco’s brother is married to Larrañaga’s sister.)
 
Marty Syjuco and Michael Collins (director) made a widely acclaimed documentary called Give Up Tomorrow.  The documentary won 10 film awards, including the Audience Award at the 2011 TriBeCa Film Festival, and received nominations for countless others.  While the film called much attention to Paco’s plight, it did not result in a revocation of the guilty verdict.  However, the attendant impact campaign, Free Paco Now, swelled public sympathy for his release and catalyzed the abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines.
 
Read more...

Star deals Alaska another heartbreaking loss in overtime

-Jane Bracher

HUGE COMEBACK. Paul Lee (L) helps Star complete a 21-point comeback against Alaska. Photo from PBA Images 

MANILA, Philippines – The Star Hotshots fought back from 21 points down and frustrated the Alaska Aces in overtime, 102-98, in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Wednesday, May 31, at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Hotshots made one cold-blooded shot after another in response to the Aces trying to salvage the victory after blowing a 17-point lead entering the fourth period.

Ricardo Ratliffe posted 35 points, grabbed 28 rebounds, and blocked 5 shots in almost 50 minutes of play as Star finished the eliminations with a 9-2 record and on 5-game win streak, still in the running for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.

Paul Lee displayed his lethal clutch gene once more with 18 points off the bench, including a booming 3-pointer from way out that gave Star a 4-point lead with over a minute left in overtime.

Justin Melton was likewise clutch with a couple of treys in the extra session, the second one proved to be the dagger as the Hotshots regained the 100-98 advantage for good with 26 seconds to go. Ratliffe then iced the game with a pair of free throws.

The Hotshots went on a blistering 21-3 run in the fourth period to make it only a 3-point game with over 3 minutes remaining. They got their first taste of the lead with 5:30 left in regulation on a Jio Jalalon 3-pointer, as Star's guards finally came to life on offense.

It was another heartbreaking loss for the Aces as their tailspin now stretched to 7 straight setbacks after starting the conference at 4-0. The losing skid is now the franchise's longest since at least the era of famed coach Tim Cone, per PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III.

Calvin Abueva fought tooth and nail, through cramps and hard falls, to save his team from another painful blow. But his 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and two blocks weren't enough as Alaska continues to struggle with closing out games this conference.

Cory Jefferson, whose two free throws forced overtime at 89-all, finished with 21 markers, 13 boards, and 3 blocks.

Chris Banchero added 19 points and 7 assists, while Kevin Racal had 13 points and 8 rebounds.

Scores

Star (102): Ratliffe 35, Lee 18, Melton 12, Sangalang 10, Jalalon 7, Ramos 7, Reavis 4, Simon 4, Maliksi 3, Barroca 2, Abundo 0, Brondial 0.

Alaska (98): Abueva 22, Jefferson 21, Banchero 19, Racal 13, Thoss 9, Manuel 6, Exciminiano 4, Enciso 2, Hontiveros 2, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0. 

Quarter scores: 14-26, 34-47, 56-73, 89-89, 102-98.

– Rappler.com

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