Feb 282014

MANILA, Philippines – Total Corp. on Saturday slashed the prices of its LPG product by P4.50 per kilogram.

Effective 6 a.m. Saturday, consumers should expect a P49.50 reduction for a regular 11-kilogram LPG cylinder.

Petron has also rolled back the prices of its LPG products.

The oil companies said that the price adjustment reflects the drop in international contact prices for the month of March.

Feb 282014
Tokyo bitcoin exchange files for bankruptcy

TOKYO — The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Tokyo filed for bankruptcy protection Friday and its chief executive said 850,000 bitcoins, worth several hundred million dollars, are unaccounted for. The exchange’s CEO Mark Karpeles appeared before Japanese TV news cameras, bowing deeply. He said a weakness in the exchange’s systems was behind a massive loss of the virtual currency involving 750,000 bitcoins from users and 100,000 of the company’s own bitcoins. That would amount to about $425 million at recent prices. The online exchange’s unplugging earlier this week and accusations it had suffered a catastrophic theft have drawn renewed regulatory attention to a currency created in 2009 as a way to make transactions across borders without third parties such as banks. It remains unclear if the missing bitcoins were stolen, voided by technological flaws or both. “I am sorry for the troubles I have caused all the people,” Karpeles, a Frenchman, said in Japanese at a Tokyo court. Karpeles had not made a public appearance since rumors of the exchange’s insolvency surfaced last month. He said in a web post Wednesday that he was working to resolve Mt. Gox’s problems. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 The loss is a giant setback to the currency’s image because its boosters have promoted bitcoin’s cryptography as protecting it from counterfeiting and theft. Bitcoin proponents have insisted that Mt. Gox is an isolated case, caused by the company’s technological failures, and the potential of virtual currencies remains great. Debts at Read More …

Feb 282014
Chapo’s Rise: From poor, abused to cartel kingpin

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman sits inside a federal police helicopter at a navy hanger in Mexico City, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. A senior U.S. law enforcement official said Saturday, that Guzman, the head of Mexicoís Sinaloa Cartel, was captured alive overnight in the beach resort town of Mazatlan. Guzman faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. and is on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted list. AP It was nighttime in May of 1990, in the heyday of the cocaine boom across America. Twenty Mexican federal police officers and a handful of U.S. Customs agents, acting on a tip, descended on a stucco home on the edge of Agua Prieta, Mexico — a stone’s throw from Arizona. “Policia,” they yelled, guns drawn, before busting down the front door. The house was empty but looked lived in, with dishes in the kitchen and toys in the backyard. The officers moved quickly to a spacious game room, complete with a bar and a pool table, set atop a 10-by-10 foot concrete panel on the floor. An informant had told them that what they were looking for was under the pool table. With a jackhammer, the officers went to work. Then, a stroke of luck: One of them turned the knob of a faucet and suddenly the floor and the pool table rose into the air — like a hydraulic lift in an auto shop. A metal staircase led down to a stunning discovery: Beneath the house, connecting to a warehouse in Read More …

Feb 282014
BSP: Refund to ATM scam victims banks’ call

Photo from bsp.gov.ph and AP FILE PHOTO The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is leaving it to the discretion of individual banks whether to refund the victims of automated teller machine (ATM) fraud. The BSP said it could not at this time require banks to give a refund because of the complexity of the issue. According to BSP Assistant Governor Noe Ravalo, on one hand, the BSP agrees with the view of Sen. Grace Poe that banks should be accountable for the security concerns affecting their customers. Competing interests On the other hand, however, it can be difficult to verify the accuracy of customers’ claims that they have been victimized by ATM fraud, Ravalo said. “If the issue is one of accountability, we (BSP) support that. But how does one manage the competing interests of [banks and complaining customers]? Anyone can always claim that they lost money,” said Ravalo, who heads the central bank’s customer protection unit. Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public order that is conducting a hearing on the increasingly serious incidents of ATM fraud, said on Thursday that she favored the passage of a law that would require banks to reimburse depositors who had been defrauded by ATM cloning. At the committee hearing last week, bank officials said depositors lost some P220 million to ATM fraud in 2013. Ravalo said he was confident that most, if not all, banks would positively respond to suggestions that they give refunds to clients who have been victimized. Based Read More …

Feb 282014
ALI opens Fairview Terraces

MANILA, Philippines – Ayala Land, Inc. yesterday unveiled public Fairview Terraces, its latest mixed business and commercial development in Quezon City. Fairview Terraces is a 5.8 hectare mixed –used development along Quirino Highway in Novaliches with 68, 700 square meters of lease space in its shopping complex and 10,000 square meters of lease area in its soon-to-rise corporate center. Bearing Ayala Mall’s signature architectural and green design, the shopping and corporate center features gardens that lend a relaxing ambiance to alfresco dinning, an activity center for concerts and other activities and a business center that would open in the middle part of the year. Ayala Land officials said care was taken in designing the complex to preserve the existing trees in the complex. The shopping and dining complex offers a lively mix of 420 establishments that include popular foreign fashion brands such as Superdy and American Eagle to name a few, as well as home-grown apparel brands like Team Manila. Dining options in the mall complex range from casual venues to concept restaurants. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 The shopping complex also hosts a Puregold supermarket. The Fairview Terraces Corporate Center promises to be a viable office address for professionals north of Metro Manila who are looking for a balance between work and play. “This is our latest and one of our best developments,” said Ayala Land president and CEO Antonio Aquino during the mall launch yesterday. Ayala Land has established a firm foothold in the Read More …

Feb 282014
Corpses still being found in Tacloban

U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce and USAID staff encourage Tacloban residents whose home was completely destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda. Royce (R-CA) with seven other members of U.S. Congress visited and assured continued U.S. humanitarian support for the people of Tacloban. (MNS photo) MANILA, February 27, 2014 (AFP) – Bodies are still being found under the wreckage almost four months after Super Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines as survivors struggle to rebuild their lives, officials said Thursday. The government’s confirmed death toll of 6,201 has not been updated for a month, as officials investigate whether the recently-discovered corpses are among the 1,785 listed as missing. This development came in the way of a U.S. congressional visit led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce visited and assured continued U.S. humanitarian support for the people of Tacloban, the Philippine city devastated by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on Nov. 8. Accompanied by Mayor Alfred Romualdez during the visit to the city and surrounding areas, Chairman Royce visited U.S. and international-funded aid projects for residents, many of whom had their homes completely destroyed. At a rice distribution site, Chairman Royce and the delegation were briefed on aid efforts by representatives from the U.S.  Agency for International Development (USAID), which along with the World Food Program (WFP) and Samaritan’s Purse are distributing food aid to those in need. Chairman Royce and the delegation also visited a USAID shelter and settlement site, at which aid organizations such as Catholic Relief Services and PLAN Read More …

Feb 282014
Palace defends expenses in Napoles’ check-up

A doctor checks the condition of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles at the PNP General Hospital in Camp Crame on Wednesday, February 26. Napoles, alleged mastermind in the P10-B pork barrel scam, has been diagnosed to have ovarian cyst.(MNS photo) MANILA, Feb 26 (Mabuhay) – Malacanang defended the government’s expenses whenever alleged pork scam queen Janet Napoles travels to Manila. The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it spends roughly P120,000 every time Napoles leaves her detention cell in Laguna to attend to a business here. On Wednesday, Napoles had her check-up at the PNP-General Hospital. “Kailangang gampanan ng PNP ang ‘custodial duty’ bilang pagsunod sa utos ng hukuman,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said. Today, Napoles was again escorted by the Special Action Force to the hospital in Camp Crame. She is considered a “high-risk detainee”. Napoles, a central figure in the P10 billion pork barrel scam, is facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman. She is detained at the Special Action Forces (SAF) facility in Fort Sto. Domingo for a separate charge of serious illegal detention filed by her former aide, pork barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy.(MNS)

Feb 282014
Ghost applicant can still be sponsored

by Attorney Henry Moyal MOYAL & MOYAL Canadian Immigration Lawyers (screenshot courtesy of www.moyal.com) Q. My name is Corazon. I applied to obtain a visa to visit Canada three times and I was refused each time. I then met someone who was able to obtain a fake passport in someone else’s name (Sharon) but with a real Canadian visa in it. I entered Canada as “Sharon” in 2008 and have lived in secret the last six years. In 2010 I met a Canadian man and we married. We have three children together. I have been afraid to do anything up to now because I basically do not exist in Canada. I no longer have Sharon’s passport and I am not able to tell anyone my real story. What can I do? A. There are some key issues here. I understand that you are somewhat of a ghost in Canada. I also understand that you feel stuck but I hope, for your sake, that you did not make matters worse after arriving in Canada. Let me elaborate. Ok, I see that you entered Canada using a fraudulent passport under the name of Sharon. So what did you do after that? Did you try to extend your visa or apply as a refugee or work with Sharon’s passport? Further, you said you married a Canadian man. I assume you have a marriage certificate. Under what name is the marriage certificate? My point is that if you continued your lies after arrival then Read More …

Feb 272014

Henry Motte Muñoz and his childhood friend Happy Feraren are on a crusade against corruption, the small-scale pervasive kind that bedevils the life of every Filipino. They founded Bantay PH, which focuses on educating the customer, so they can better guard themselves against paying bribes, and know what to do when they’re asked for one. READ FULL STORY