Opinion & Community

AT&T Ranks #1 in Telecom Globally in FORTUNE’s Most Admired Companies for Third Year in a Row

DALLAS, Feb. 16, 2017 — Today, AT&T* was recognized by FORTUNE magazine as the Most Admired Telecommunications Company in the world in 2017 for the third year in a row.

“Our industry has never been more dynamic than it is right now. And that makes this recognition particularly meaningful,” said AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. “It’s really a tribute to the hard work and customer commitment of each and every employee in the AT&T family.”

The publication also placed AT&T at #37 among the Top 50 Most Admired companies in the world. This is our fourth year on the Global Top 50 list. AT&T is also the only communications company on the list. We ranked first in all 9 attributes again, including innovation, financial soundness and quality of products/services.

FORTUNE’s Most Admired Companies lists are among the most highly respected indicators of

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Corruption 'alive and well' under Duterte: Poe

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The alleged bribery-extortion scandal that recently hit the Bureau of Immigration showed that corruption is "alive and well" under the Duterte administration, Senator Grace Poe said Tuesday.


"Corruption is alive and well. Even under this administration, there are still people protecting each other’s friends and interests,” Poe, who lost to President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 elections, said in an ANC interview.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is investigating allegations that gambling tycoon Jack Lam, through his agent Wally Sombero, bribed two former Immigration deputy commissioners to free some 1,000 Chinese nationals who were working in his casino without permits.
Atty. Al Argosino and Atty. Michael Robles allegedly met with Sombero in a casino in Pasay December last year. The meeting was caught on CCTV, and the footage was shown in the Senate probe.

Sombero, who missed the previous hearings, arrived in Manila Tuesday morning from Canada. He is expected to attend Thursday's probe.

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First FilAm Prelate to head Salt Lake City Diocese

Bishop Oscar Solis blesses images of the Infant Jesus at St. Martha Catholic Community Church in Valinda, Calif., after offering Holy Mass in celebration of the Feast of the Sto. Nino. Photo by Lydia V. Solis

First FilAm Prelate to head Salt Lake City Diocese
Bishop Oscar Azarcon Solis, DD, VG

By Lydia V. Solis
Chief Correspondent, Southern California

Come March 7, in what is known as the Beehive State (Utah), Filipino American Bishop Oscar Azarcon Solis, 63, of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, will become the tenth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. Appointed by His Holiness, Pope Francis, the announcement was made by the Vatican on Jan. 10, at 8:45 a.m. A few hours later, at 11 a.m., the bishop-elect was introduced at a press conference at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. He is the first Asian and the first Filipino American bishop to lead Salt Lake City’s diocese and he’ll be officially installed at a ticketed event in the Cathedral of the Madeleine on Tuesday, March 7, at 2 p.m., followed by a public reception at the Salt Lake City Marriott, Downtown at City Creek.
“It is a tremendous blessing and a responsibility and a privilege to be of service to the local Church in the United States of America, coming from the Philippines,” the bishop stated, according to a Diocesan spokesperson.
He is the first Asian and the first Filipino American bishop to lead Salt Lake City’s Diocese, and he’ll be officially installed at a ticketed event in the Cathedral of the Madeleine on Tuesday, March 7, at 2 p.m., followed by a public reception at the Marriott Downtown, City Creek.
The previous Salt Lake City Bishop John Charles Wester was assigned to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M., in April 2015, so Bishop Solis will fill a more than 20-month vacancy in the Diocese.

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College basketball: Filipino superstar Kobe Paras awaits his turn with Creighton

OMAHA, Neb. -- In his native country, media call Kobe Paras a "hoops sensation" and "wunderkind," and his family is known as the "Kardashians of the Philippines."

At Creighton, Paras is the 13th man on a team that suits up 14.

While fellow freshman Justin Patton has made a name for himself as a potential NBA lottery pick, Paras is the one who's been asked for a picture not just by a middle-aged woman who followed him into the locker room after a game but by a Cheesecake Factory waitress in Providence, Rhode Island, who recognized him during a team meal. He's the one who had a cheering section of more than a dozen Filipinos he didn't even know behind the bench at a tournament in the Virgin Islands.

The 19-year-old Paras boasts a social media following that includes 461,000 on Instagram and 114,000 on Twitter. A YouTube video of him winning a dunking contest drew more than 1.7 million views. Clips of Paras dunking over LeBron James in the Philippines attracted more than 2.5 million. King James wasn't trying very hard to defend, but still.

Paras has been in the spotlight his whole life. His father, Benjie, was a two-time MVP in the Philippine Basketball Association who's become a popular television actor in the country. His older brother, Andre, also is in showbiz. Paras was named after Kobe Bryant and wears No. 24.

Given his lineage, there's pressure on him. He said he uses it as motivation

"It's not an everyday thing that a 19-year-old is representing his country," Paras said. "It's just a blessing to me that God gave me the ability to represent a country at an early age, and the hope (Filipinos) have is pretty overwhelming."
Paras, who left the Philippines at age 15 to play high school basketball in Los Angeles, developed into a three-star recruit who originally signed with UCLA. He enrolled in the summer, but an academic issue led to his leaving and he wound up at Creighton. Websites that cover Creighton have seen a wave of traffic from the Philippines this season. At home, media report Creighton results and note when Paras doesn't play, which is the norm.

"Basketball fans see him as having the best chance to play in the NBA since he is already playing in an NCAA Division 1 school," Reuben Terrado, a reporter for the sports website Spin.ph, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Female fans adore him because of his good looks."

The 6-foot-6 shooting guard has appeared in 11 of the 24 games this season for the 23rd-ranked Bluejays. He is averaging 5.7 minutes and 1.5 points. Only walk-on Jordan Scurry, his best friend on the team, has played less. The two liven up the end of the bench with their creative celebrations of teammates' outstanding plays.

"Even though I'm not playing, I've been eyeing the game and seeing it," Paras said. "College and high school are way different. The pace is way faster, more physical. I'm learning a lot."

Paras has been wrapped in a cocoon by his former high school and club coach, William Middlebrooks, whose organization handles interview requests for Paras. Interviews are conducted with his brand manager on the phone line and occasionally offering comments or expanding on Paras' responses.

"People have different agendas, and those agendas aren't always in the best interests of the kids," said Middlebrooks, whose program includes high school, prep and travel teams.

In Omaha, Paras is able to maintain a relatively low profile. Scurry said he didn't know about his buddy's fame in the Philippines until he looked up some of his basketball highlights last July.

Because Paras is likable and humble, teammates don't give him much grief for being a matinee idol, Scurry said. On campus, Paras is known as much for his fashion as he is for basketball. Scurry called Paras' style a cross between "L.A. and the Philippines," while Paras described it as a mix of Kanye West, Russell Westbrook and Chris Brown.

RELATED: AP Poll | Reactions to poll after crazy weekend of upsets

Paras also likes to cook. Beef stew is one of his specialties, and Scurry said Paras makes a mean red sauce to go over pasta. Scurry said Paras told him he might become a chef "if this whole basketball thing doesn't work out."

Whether it's basketball, fashion, cooking or any other endeavor, Paras refers to each as part of his "brand."

"My name isn't just Kobe Paras. Everything I do is part of Kobe Paras, Incorporated," Paras said.

Mind you, there is no Kobe Paras Inc. right now.

"There probably is going to be one when I graduate," he said.

This article was written by Eric Olson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Filipino with fake Malaysian ID charged with recruiting IS terrorists

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia – A Filipino man was charged at the magistrate’s court here with recruiting Islamic State (IS) terrorists and possessing a fake Malaysian MyKad (identity card).
No plea was recorded from Nurhan Sahi Hakim, 32, who hails from Zamboanga in the Philippines, for the charge of knowingly recruiting another person into an IS terrorists group at the arrival hall of the Kota Kinabalu International airport (KKIA) on Jan 13, this year.
The offence, under Section 130E of the Penal Code, is punishable by imprisonment of up to 30 years and a fine upon conviction.

Magistrate Jessica Ombou Kakayun fixed March 8, for the case to be mention pending forensic report. No bail was offered.
However, Nurhan was sentenced to 30 months jail and fined RM1,000 in default three months jail for possessing a fake Malaysian MyKad.
Magistrate Kakayun also ordered him to be referred to the Immigration Department after serving his sentence.

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Filipino designer creates gown for ‘Fifty Shades’ lead actress

MANILA, Philippines — Internationally-recognized Filipino fashion designer, Monique Lhuiller, once again made it to Hollywood her designed gown was worn by one of the lead characters of “Fifty Shades Darker.”

In one of the notable scenes in the second chapter of the film based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” trilogy novel, Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele, dons a custom-made gown and capelet by Lhuillier.

The liquid satin sheath gown with a draped neckline and a crisscross back in a silver hue exuded femininity and sophistication, while the handmade ostrich feather capelet added exquisite glamour for Anastasia’s grand entrance in the film’s exclusive masquerade ball.

Lhuillier, known for her bridal couture, ready-to-wear line, and accessories, was even mentioned by Mia Grey, portrayed by Rita Ora, in the film.

In keeping with the essence of her brand, Lhuillier's design evoked an enchanting, yet sophisticated, vision by weaving together sensuous and modern elements for the character of Anastasia.

“I am so delighted to partner with Universal Pictures’ 'Fifty Shades Darker' to design for the character of Anastasia Steele,” Lhuillier said.

“Like the Monique Lhuillier woman, Ana radiates confidence and femininity, and so the gown I imagined for this iconic scene encapsulates that modern sophistication,” she added.

The film’s costume designer, Shay Cunliff, said she always imagined Johnson in Lhuillier’s stunning gown as a “beautiful siren of simplicity.”

“We sent Monique ideas and images that evoke old Hollywood, and she and her team took the inspiration from there—crafting this stunning confection. Ana’s cape itself was a challenge—each feather was sewn by hand—but I felt it would magnify Ana’s show-stopping entrance at the ball, harking back to the 1930's screen sirens. Monique also beautifully resolved our need to create a gown which can effortlessly slip to the ground…another feat of engineering,” Cunliff said.

For “Fifty Shades Darker,” Jamie Dornan and Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

The sequel, distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures, opened in Philippine cinemas on Wednesday. On its first day, it already surpassed the original "Fifty Shades of Grey’s" P15 million first-day gross with an P18-million first-day take.

The Movie & Television Rating and Classification Board gave the flick an R-18 rating, which means the movie is strictly for 18 years of age and above. It was also approved in its original US version – without cuts, blurs, and blacked-out parts.

"Fifty Shades" fans may anticipate the last part of the trilogy, “Fifty Shades Freed,” on Valentine’s Day of 2018. —Rosette Adel

Supervisor Canepa appoints Filam as chief of staff

REDWOOD CITY, California--- Newly-elected San Mateo County Supervisor David J. Canepa (Dist. 5-D) recently announced the appointment of Filipino-American Antonio ‘Tony’ Bayudan, as Chief of Staff.

Canepa sits as one of the five-man Board of Supervisors in San Mateo County. Daly City,-- the largest city under District 5 with an estimated 106,502 population based on 2015 Census-- is home to some 33.2 percent Filam families that forms part of the dominating Asian race of about 55.6 percent population.

Bayudan, meanwhile, who hailed from Ilocos, (a province North of Manila, Philippines), and a long-time resident of Daly City, has worked for various local businesses and volunteered to help Canepa advance his political career through constituency.

Preferred to be called by his nickname, “Tony’, Canepa said he had witness how Bayudan had dedicated his time during the election campaign through the spirit of volunteerism in reaching out to the local Filam community. During a courtesy call by Philippine News Publisher, Francis E. Espiritu on Jan. 23, he sited that some seniors in the community who have applied for Section 8 housing “ are getting frustrated “ waiting in line and that, “ more education and reaching out in regards to these applications are most likely needed.

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Russia: Wreckage of crashed jet found in Black Sea


Doyle Rice , USA TODAY 8:12 p.m. EST December 26, 2016

A search team from the Russian Emergency Ministry continued the recovery operation for debris of a plane which crashed into the Black Sea near Sochi on Sunday. (Dec. 26) AP

EPA (FILE) RUSSIA AIRCRASH PLANE SOCHI DIS TRANSPORT ACCIDENT RUS
(Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky, EPA)
Wreckage from the Russian jet that crashed Sunday in the Black Sea killing 92 people has been found, the Russian officials said Monday.

Pilot error or a technical fault — but not terrorism — were likely to have caused the crash, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said in a statement.

Divers located several fragments of the plane Monday afternoon about one mile from the shore and 82 feet under the sea, the Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement. Some of the debris was recovered, and divers were going back into the water to search for more.

Finding the jet’s flight recorders may be difficult because the devices lack underwater locator beacons that are common in more modern planes.

Everyone aboard the Russian military’s Tu-154 plane are thought to have died when the jet crashed two minutes after takeoff Sunday from the southern city of Sochi en route to Syria, the Associated Press said.

The nation held a day of mourning Monday for the victims. Flags flew at half-staff, and TV stations removed entertainment shows from their schedules, Reuters reported.

"This is a terrible tragedy and irreplaceable grief for the families of the victims," Sokolov said. "I express my deep condolences to the families and friends of the victims."

In all, some 45 ships and more than 3,500 rescue workers are involved in the search for remains and plane debris, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Searchers used helicopters, drones and submersibles to look for bodies and debris.

Rescue teams had recovered 11 bodies as well as fragments of bodies, Russian officials said. Those were flown to Moscow, where the remains will be identified.

Church services were held Monday in the Russian city of Sochi for those who died in the Russian military plane crash on Sunday. (Dec. 26) AP

The passengers included dozens of singers in Russia’s world-famous military choir, nine Russian journalists and a Russian doctor known for her charity work in war zones, the AP reported.

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