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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Study shows that Chocolate lovers tend to weigh less

(Reuters) - People who ate chocolate a few times a week or more weighed less than those who rarely indulged, according to a U.S. study involving a thousand people.
Researchers said the findings, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, don't prove that adding a candy bar to your daily diet will help you shed pounds. Nor did the total amount of chocolate consumed have an impact.
But the researchers, led by Beatrice Golomb, from the University of California San Diego, said it was possible that antioxidants in chocolate could be behind health benefits including lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as decreased body weight.
"People have just assumed that because it comes with calories and it's typically eaten as a sweet, therefore it would inherently have been one way, bad," said Golomb.
She and her colleagues used data from a study on cholesterol-lowering drugs that surveyed 1,000 healthy adults on typical eating habits, including how often they ate chocolate.
The participants, who ranged from 20 to 85 years old, ate chocolate an average of twice per week and had an average body mass index, or BMI, of 28, which is considered overweight but not obese.
The researchers found that people who ate chocolate with greater frequency tended to eat more calories overall, including more saturated fat, than those who went light on the candy. But even so,chocolate lovers tended to have a lower body weight.
That was still the case after researchers accounted for age and gender, as well as how much they exercised.
The effect worked out to a 2.3 to 3.2 kg (5 to 7 lb)difference between people who ate five servings of chocolate a week compared to those who didn't eat any, Golomb said. However, it was only how often they ate chocolate, rather than the total amount, that was linked to their weight.
Past studies have tied chocolate to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and better insulin sensitivity, possibly because of antioxidants or other chemicals in cocoa.
There are a number of possible explanations for the results, said Eric Ding, a nutritionist at the Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study.
One is that poorer people stick to the basics when they're buying food and don't eat as much chocolate. Poverty has been tied to higher body weight.
Another possibility is that "people who lost weight reward themselves with chocolate, more than chocolate causing the weight loss," he told Reuters Health.
Because the new study is relatively small and couldn't prove cause-and-effect, it's hard to take any lessons from the findings, Ding said. But the key for chocolate lovers seems to be considering calories and knowing that not all chocolate is created equal.
For example, past evidence suggests that antioxidants in chocolate called flavonoids are behind any benefits tied to chocolate -- and dark chocolate has the most flavonoids.
"If you consume chocolate, consume it in place of something else, rather than adding to your net daily calories. Try to consume dark chocolate," he said.
The researchers agreed that moderation is important.
"This certainly does not provide support for eating large amounts of chocolate," Golomb said. "For those of us who do eat a little bit of chocolate regularly, perhaps any guilt associated with that might be qualified." 

OFWs contribute P2B to SSS in 2011

MANILA, Philippines - Pension fund Social Security System (SSS) collected a total of P2.17 billion in contributions from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) last year, up 17% from P1.85 billion in 2010.
SSS President and CEO Emilio de Quiros Jr. said social security coverage of overseas workers is among the agency's top priorities, adding that they want to reach out to more OFWs through additional foreign offices and expansion of e-payment and online services.
"The SSS posted a double-digit growth in OFW collection for the third straight year. It reflects the growing awareness among overseas workers of the importance of active SSS membership and saving for retirement and other contingencies," he said.
The SSS has over 738,000 OFW members at present, which it aims to expand through tie-ups with key agencies handling deployment of migrant workers such as the Department of Labor and Employment and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
"OFWs are usually excluded from social protection programs in their country of employment, even if many of them work in high-risk environments and are considered family breadwinners. This further highlights the value of SSS," he said.
De Quiros said SSS has launched various programs to entice OFWs to become active members. One of these is the Member-Get-Member promo, which offers monthly raffle prizes and a travel package for two in the Grand Draw for successful referral of OFWs.
"More than 1,900 OFWs so far have registered through SSS branches and foreign offices, as well as via the SSS website at One active participant has referred as many as 109 OFWs at present, and we are only in the third month of the promo," he said.
The SSS chief added that bilateral social security agreements between the Philippines and other countries are also underway. He said the agency wrapped up negotiations with Denmark and Portugal in 2011, and is preparing for initial talks with Japan this year. It is also eyeing other countries, including Australia, China, Cyprus, Germany and Sweden.
"By forging bilateral agreements with other nations, we also help overseas Filipinos become entitled to social security benefits comparable to those received by citizens of their host countries."

Pinay running for parliament in South Korea


MANILA, Philippines – The Filipino community in South Korea is supporting the candidacy of Jasmine Lee who is running for a seat in Parliament under the ruling party.
Jasmine became a naturalized Korean in 1998, three years after she married Korean Lee Dongho and moved to South Korea.
The ruling Saenuri Party included her in the list of 46 candidates for the proportional representative seats in the April 11 elections in South Korea.
Lee is also a popular TV host and heads the Global Resource Center (GRC) in Seoul, a non-government organization serving as a support group for foreign wives of Koreans.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said Lee “gives hope not only for Filipinos but for all migrants and immigrants”.
"We are all very proud that a full-blooded Filipino is being given the opportunity to be a member of the Korean Parliament," Binay told South Korean media. "It shows that Korea is prepared to extend the opportunity to become a public servant even to those who were not born here."
If Lee is elected, Binay said Lee will be an advocate not only of Filipino workers’ rights, but the rights of all migrants in South Korea.

Lee, who was present during the Vice President's dialog with the Filipino community at the Philippine Embassy, wrote down the concerns raised by the OFWs, among them the plight of "Stateless children," or children born to migrant parents who are not recognized by host countries.

"What we can do is to appeal to the host governments to recognize these children. But the problem is not only confined to South Korea but in other countries, especially in the Middle East where there are an estimate 6,000 of them," Binay said.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Popcorn as healthy as fruits, vegetables

Eating healthy just got a whole lot crunchier. A team of researchers from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania has found that popcorn contains more antioxidants than other fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are substances that many scientists believe help protect against cancer and heart disease. According to Joe Vinson, PhD, whopresented the findings at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, "popcorn may be the perfect snack food." Vinson is known for his pioneering research on micronutrients in chocolate, nuts and other foods.

Although earlier research had already discovered antioxidants called polyphenols in popcorn, Vinson's study measured the exact amount and found that it contains about twice as many as fresh sweet corn or fruit per serving. Polyphenols are diluted up to 90% in most fruits and vegetables because of their high water content. They are more concentrated in popcorn because it only contains about 4% water. And those annoying hulls that get stuck between your teeth? "They are nutritional gold nuggets," declares Vinson. He points out that dried fruit also contains more antioxidants than fresh fruit based on the same principle.

The study also extols popcorn as a whole grain. "It's the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain," says Vinson. "One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70% of the daily intake of whole grain. The average person only gets about half a serving of whole grains a day, and popcorn could fill that gap in a very pleasant way."

Vinson cautions against replacing fruits and vegetables, which contain many other important nutrients, with popcorn. He also warns that drowning it in butter or sugary flavorings is going to offset the nutritional benefits. To get your daily dose of antioxidants and whole grains, its healthiest to stick with plain, air popped corn. The second best option is microwave popcorn.

La Niña causing weird summer weather


MANILA, Philippines – The hot and dry weather of the summer season may come late this year as heavy rains continue to drench different parts of the country.
A weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the summer rainshowers are triggered by the La Niña phenomenon.
“Unusual ito dahil nasa transition period tayo tapos may La Niña at may tail-end of a cold front. Papunta palang tayo sa summer, sa April, kung saan ito ang pinakamainit na buwan. Dapat hindi na tayo makakaranas ng ganitong kadaming ulan pero dahil sa La Niña effect kaya tayo nakakaranas ng ganitong pag-ulan,” PAGASA forecaster Julie Nimes told dzMM’s “Pasada Sais Trenta” on Friday.
Nimes said that although the weather bureau is not monitoring any weather disturbance, the public should anticipate an unusual summer season.
“Expect natin ang wet summer” she said.
The weather forecaster also said that the downpour experienced in Metro Manila the past few days is caused by cloudy skies.
“Itong nararanasan natin na mga sa ulan sa Metro Manila ay mga kaulapan na dumaan lang po. Hindi na tayo makakaranas hanggang bukas ng malalakas na ulan,” Nimes said.
“Sa loob ng linggong darating, maganda ang panahon natin sa Metro Manila. By Friday [next week], may lalabas na naman na tail end of a cold front,” she added.
Rains continue to pour in some parts of Luzon and Visayas, triggering floods in several towns.
Rains are also expected in Zambales, Tarlac and Pangasinan over the weekend.
Mindanao, meanwhile, will experience sunny weather on Saturday.

1,500 kg gold from discarded phones?


Believe it or not, 1,500 kg of gold, one million kg of copper and 30,000 kg of silver can be extracted from the 100 million discarded mobile phones in China.
People’s Daily reported Thursday that about 400 million mobile phones were discarded each year, China accounting for nearly 100 million.
 According to the daily, a mobile phone has various precious materials including 0.01 percent of gold, 20-25 percent of copper and 40-50 percent of recycling plastic.
A study shows that 150 grams of gold, 100 kg of copper and 3 kg of silver can be extracted from one tonne of discarded mobile phones.
Under current situation, 100 million discarded cell phones in China weigh 10,000 tonnes.
And this would fetch a bonanza of 1,500 kg of gold, the daily said.

The Ring hails Donaire as world's best 1-punch KO artist

MANILA, Philippines – Reigning WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. has been hailed by The Ring Magazine as today’s top one-punch knockout artist in boxing.
Donaire, a 4-division world champion, topped the list that includes Marcos Maidana, Juan Manuel Lopez, Wladimir Klitschko, and Sergio Martinez.
“Does his best work with a masterful left hook … Has KO’d nine of his last 12 opponents … Is so confident in his punch that he occasionally dabbles as a southpaw, switching his stance during fights … Scored 10 of his 18 career knockouts in the first three rounds,” said The Ring’s Don Stradley.
Donaire is The Ring's No. 4 pound-for-pound best boxer in the world.
Stradley pointed out Donaire’s stoppages over Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel as the best examples of The Filipino Flash’s knockout prowess.
Donaire won the IBF flyweight title by knocking out cold then-undefeated Darchinyan in 2007. The victory was awarded by The Ring as 2007 "Knockout of the Year" and "Upset of the Year."
In 2011, Donaire won the WBC and WBO bantamweight titles by taking out Montiel in just two rounds. It was awarded as The Ring’s 2011 Knockout of the Year.
The Filipino Flash last fought against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in February when he won the WBO super bantamweight title.
He is planning to climb the featherweight ranks in a year’s time.
Meanwhile, 8-division champion Manny Pacquiao was included in The Ring's honorable mention list.
Pacquiao, The Ring's top pound-for-pound boxer, is more known for his volume punching rather than his one-punch knockout power.

Playing time for Taj Gibson: A pleasant problem for Tom Thibodeau

Until Tom Thibodeau finds a way to turn Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson into one player, he’ll face the same challenge every game: how to get the most out of two players who play the same position about as differently as two players who share the same position can.
The 6-9, 266-pound Boozer is the pick-and-pop shooter who does more little things then you think, but still shouldn’t be on the court if he’s not scoring. The 6-9, 225-pound Gibson doesn’t have Boozer’s polished offensive game yet and can’t set as massive a screen, but he plays the game as if Thibodeau himself had built him from scratch: he’s a standout individual and team defender; he rebounds, blocks shots, provides precious energy and makes the most of short minutes. Gibson still might not be ready for 40 minutes a night over 82 games. But he’s never a liability on the floor.
The Boozer-Gibson combination worked as well as ever in the Bulls’ 98-77 victory over the travel-weary Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. Boozer scored 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting with nine rebounds in 30 minutes. Gibson added 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting with six rebounds in 24 minutes. And while Boozer’s production can’t be ignored, Gibson’s contribution was more valuable and bodes better for the playoffs. Simply, he took Josh Smith, one of the hottest players in the league, out of the game.
Smith, who came in averaging 26.8 points and 13.2 rebounds in his previous five games, was on his way to another big night against the Bulls in the first quarter. Defended by Joakim Noah, Smith scored nine points on 4-for-5 shooting in a 4:33 stretch to help the Hawks take leads of 13-5, 16-9 and 18-15.
But once Gibson entered the game, Smith was never the same and the tide suddenly turned in the Bulls’ favor. Smith tried bullying Gibson with a post-up move right away, only to turn and have Gibson block his shot. Smith missed his next three shots against Gibson and was totally discombobulated by the end of the half — not quite as eager to shoot as he had been and settling for outside jumpers.
By the time he scored on Gibson again, the Bulls led 83-66 in the fourth quarter. Smith finished with 19 points, but missed 11 of 15 shots after Gibson entered the game. And Gibson outscored him 11-2 in the final quarter, just as he did in the pivotal Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
‘‘I’ll take it,’’ Gibson said, ‘‘because when a guy like that gets hot late, it’s really tough to slow him down. I just tried to come in and be aggressive, try to frustrate him, push him — anything I could to slow him down.
‘‘My teammates behind me, especially on the post-ups when he would back me down low, we got good guard support, digging, making him pick up the ball and it went in our favor.’’
Thibodeau also did not want to put the focus on Gibson vs. Smith and noted that the Hawks were playing their fifth game in six nights. But Gibson deserved at least his share of the credit.
‘‘Not only his individual defense, but his team defense,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘Josh Smith is a load. He’s having an incredible season. But our second unit — Taj and Omer did a great job of anchoring the defense.’’
The Boozer-Gibson rotation bears watching in the final month of the season. Though Boozer still disappears at key times, he is healthier, more comfortable and more productive than he was last season. He has scored 20 or more points in six of his last 11 games. The Bulls need him.
But more and more, Gibson provides a dimension the Bulls can’t live without, either. His minutes are starting to creep up — 30, 27 and 24 in the last three games after averaging 19.3 in his first 46. It’s difficult to predict if Gibson will ever be as effective playing starter’s minutes as he is in his reserve role. But at the rate he’s progressing, he Bulls will want to find out for sure sooner rather than later.

UP only Asian university in mock court tilt


UP law students show they're at par with world's best

WASHINGTON D.C. - Aspiring lawyers from the University of the Philippines appeared on track on vindicating their dismal showing at the last Bar exams, today becoming the only team from Asia and the Third World to enter the “Round of 8” in the largest moot court contest here.

Some 137 teams from 80 countries – from an original field of over 600 law schools – made it to the 2012 Jessup International Law Moot Court competition that culminates with the Jessup Cup World Championship on Saturday.

“We continue to be undefeated and today we won the run-off and the ‘octo-finals’ against Greece which means we’ve qualified for the quarterfinals. We’re now in the top 8 of the world,” lawyer Harry Roque Jr., the UP team coach, told ABS-CBN News.

UP will be competing against teams from Oxford, Columbia, Hastings, Oakland and Ottawa universities as well as law schools from Russia and Melbourne, Australia.

More significantly, one of the case studies tackled by the moot court was culled from the Vinuya “comfort women” case (petition seeking compensation from Japan for abuses committed during World War II) that’s reportedly one of the bases for the impeachment of Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“The problem is based on a case that was one of the reasons why the Chief Justice was impeached, ang kaso ng mga comfort women at kung tama ba ma-invoke ang state immunity ‘pag nagkaron ng paglabag sa tinatawag na ‘jus cogens’,” Roque revealed.

He does not believe this gave UP an edge, asserting that if they enjoyed any advantage it was in the Filipino law students’ passion for what Roque calls an injustice.

“Whoever wrote the case study based this on a case in the Philippine Supreme Court that still has not been resolved with finality,” he explained.

Roque said he doubts this was a coincidence because the Vinuya case has earned international notoriety for its various twists and turns – especially after Supreme Court Justice Mariano del Castillo was accused of plagiarism in the Vinuya “ponencia”.

The High Tribunal tried to sanction the UP College of Law after it called for Del Castillo’s resignation.

“The Vinuya case has garnered international attention because of the findings of plagiarism and the punishment imposed on the UP law faculty where there was an international appeal for the Philippine legal community,” Roque said.

“Human right defenders should not be victim themselves of human rights violations,” he added.

The UP law students’ impressive run in the moot court competition – said to be the biggest ever held – “is not only a vindication, it’s a better measurement of the quality of legal education we have in UP.”

For the first time in memory, none of the most recent Bar topnotchers were from UP.

UP beat Ateneo, San Beda, Silliman and the University of the Cordilleras to earn the right to compete in the Jessup international moot court contest.

The six-person UP team bested Boston College last Tuesday, Japan and Kenya last Wednesday and Greece and Argentina yesterday.

“We’re here competing with the best in the world,” Roque said.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

DFA warns Pinoys vs online Canadian immigration scams


MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warned Filipinos against bogus websites offering "immigration deals" and claiming to be affiliated with official Canadian government websites.
In a statement, the DFA said it received a report from the Philippine Embassy in Canada that several websites have been targeting would-be immigrants in the country by offering immigration deals and high-paying jobs with fees. The websites even use the Citizenship and Immigration Canada logo.
"The DFA wishes to inform the public that the only people who may charge a fee to represent or advise people in connection with a Canadian immigration proceeding or application are authorized immigration consultants, lawyers, Quebec notaries, and paralegals regulated by a law society," it said.
"Under Canada's immigration program, everyone is treated equally, whether they hired someone to represent them or not," it added.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Competition Bureau offers advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of immigration fraud:
  • Be wary of websites advertised in unsolicited e-mails from strangers and do not give out personal information unless you know who you are dealing with.
  • Before hiring an immigration representative, do your homework: ask for a referral from someone you trust, check their credentials, and discuss the services they will offer. For information on how to choose an immigration representative, you may visit CIC's website at
  • There is no "immigration consultant" website that is part of, or affiliated with, the Government of Canada. If you are suspicious about a website, do a web search to see if anyone has reported any problems with that site.
  • Do not pay for offers of guaranteed entry to Canada or faster processing of your application. These claims are false.
The Canadian government has launched an advertising campaign to warn prospective immigrants, permanent residents and Canadian citizens about immigration fraud. A video on "marriage fraud" is also included on the website.
The website ( provides information on how to immigrate to Canada "the right way."
Canadian authorities encourage everyone to report immigration fraud by calling the Border Watch Tip Line at 1-888-502-9060. 

Heejun leaves, Jessica stays in Idol Top 8


MANILA, Philippines - Filipino-Mexican-American belter Jessica Sanchez continued her ascent in the American Idol rankings as she landed in the top 8 of the hit talent show.
Heejun Han, the 22-year-old nonprofit organizer from New York, got the boot after receiving the fewest viewer votes. Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanaugh completed this week's bottom 3.
Sanchez has consistently won praise from the AI judges for her vocal control, excellent song choices and great fashion.
AI judge Randy Jackson earlier predicted that Sanchez and Nashville native Colton Dixon might be competing at the finale in May.
Many of the show's followers, as well as critics, have expressed their desire to see a female contestant take the “American Idol” crown this year.
"I hope that a female wins this year. If not me then one of the other girls. But everybody here has been amazing so I really don't know," Sanchez said.
Male contestants typically get higher vote turnout due to the show's popularity among young female fans.
“I hope that changes but whatever happens, we're all going on tour," said contestant Elise Testone.
It's been five years since Jordin Sparks, the last female “American Idol” winner, took home the title and Sanchez’s fans are hoping that she will be the one to break the guys' winning streak.
This week, the “American Idol” Top 9 contestants got to sing their own idol's songs with rocker Stevie Nicks as the mentor.
Most of the Top 9's performances impressed the judges.
Sanchez picked "Sweet Dreams" by Beyonce and reinterpreted it as a ballad.
The judges were impressed and Jackson said Sanchez is the best singer he's heard in years.
"I've learned so much from the judges, from the other contestants, from this whole experience,” Sanchez said. "It just brought a lot more confidence out of me, more of a performer. I love everybody here so much and they've taught me so much. I don't ever wanna leave." 

Eight health mistakes to avoid


There are many different things that can be detrimental to your health - but here are eight health mistakes you really need to avoid

1. Substituting the gym for daily activity
It’s great that you go to the gym three times a week, for an hour a time, but overall, that amounts to three hours a week of activity out of a potential 168! It’s not so great when you put it like that, is it? In a fascinating study at the University of Maastricht, researchers found that gym-goers burn fewer calories on an overall weekly basis than people who are generally active (walking and cycling to get around and performing normal daily activities) but do no ‘official’ exercise. The researchers speculated that gym goers in the study subconsciously used less energy the rest of the time, believing that they had ‘done their bit’ already. So by all means, keep up the gym visits, but don’t think it gives you carte blanche to spend the rest of the day on the sofa!

2. Thinking ‘low fat’ means ‘low calorie’
If more of us made ‘always read the label’ our mantra, we’d be a healthier nation! Lots of us scoff down foods flagged up as ‘reduced fat’ or ‘low fat’, believing that they must be low calorie. But here’s the thing: firstly, just because the fat has been ‘reduced’, it doesn’t mean the product is actually low in fat. For example, if the original fat content of a standard product is 20g, and in the reduced-fat version it has been reduced to 15g, it is still five times higher than the ‘3g of fat per serving’ that officially qualifies a food as ‘low fat’. Secondly, lost flavour is often replaced by sugar in reduced fat products, and calorie count remains high. Don’t diet in denial — read the label!

3. Social smoking
You might think that the ‘odd cigarette’ that you have with a few drinks on a night out is pretty harmless, but you are treading on dangerous ground with a drug as addictive as nicotine. It only takes seconds for nicotine to reach the brain, but its effects — including increased nervous system activity, elevated heart rate, blood sugar elevation and narrowing of the blood vessels — can last for an entire day. And it doesn’t matter if you smoke only one cigarette a week or one pack — the damaging effects start right away and get worse as you continue smoking. Also, people who only smoke occasionally are less likely to ever stop than heavier smokers. And what if your occasional smoke is a joint? Well, while it’s unlikely that you would smoke as many joints as cigarettes, marijuana has three times the amount of tar as tobacco and three to five times the amount of carbon monoxide.

4. Drinking too much caffeine
There is nothing wrong with the odd cup of tea or coffee, but if the staff in Starbucks know you by name, you may be overdoing it! Excessive caffeine intake overstimulates the adrenal glands so that they become ‘switched on’ all the time, and therefore make you feel constantly nervy or edgy. Caffeine also increases the heart rate, affects sleep patterns and can cause headaches and tummy upsets. Also, bear in mind that if you drink cappuccinos or lattes, you are taking in quite a considerable number of calories in every cup. The best advice is to go for quality rather than quantity and to really savour a few cups of tea or coffee, rather than to drink it mindlessly throughout the day.

5. Keeping water in a re-used plastic bottle
Drinking plenty of water contributes to good health, but re-using a plastic bottle to store water in isn’t a good idea. While the jury is still out on whether there is any danger from potentially carcinogenic substances ‘leaching out’ from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles after they have been opened, a University of Calgary study found bacteria thriving in water samples taken from students’ bottles that had been used and then refilled without being cleaned. If you do choose to re-use a plastic bottle — or use a sports drink container — wash it out with hot soapy water and dry it thoroughly between uses to keep germs at bay.

6. Not checking yourself out
Ladies — when did you last check your breasts? Sorry to be so personal, but performing these simple self health-checks could save your life. For example, research shows that the majority of breast cancer symptoms are first spotted by the women themselves. The best time to check your breasts is just after your period, when they tend to be softer. Use the flat side of your hand to move gently over each breast in a circular motion, checking under the armpits as well as across the entire surface of each breast. Also, look in the mirror with your hands on your hips and then on your head to check for symmetry, and look for any dimples, bulges or other irregularities. Men should regularly check their testicles in the bath or shower, feeling for any lumps or swelling, tenderness or change in size. And see your doctor immediately if you spot blood in your urine.

7. Failing to set up your workstation properly
A chair that’s too low or too high, a flickering screen, a desk set-up that means your spine or neck is twisted — all these workstation faux pas take their toll on your musculoskeletal system, causing everything from headaches and neck pain, to hunched shoulders and backache. The thing to bear in mind when setting up your workstation is right angles. You want your hips and knees at a right angle, with your feet supported by the floor or on a footrest, then you want your elbows at a right angle, forearms supported by the desk or keyboard support. Your eyeline should be level with the top of the screen. No matter how perfect your desk set-up, you should also get up at least once an hour to walk around and stretch.

8. Bottling up stress
A life without stress would be a life lived in a sealed, sterile box — but there are ways of learning to deal with stress which work better than the ‘stiff upper lip’ approach. And learning a few coping mechanisms is well worthwhile, as the evidence that stress can be detrimental to your health is now irrefutable. High levels of stress are associated with heart disease, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome as well as a compromised immune system and weight gain. Research at Ohio University found that couples undergoing marital conflict took 60 per cent longer to heal from blisters than they did when they were getting on well, while other research found that stressed people exposed to a cold virus were more likely to catch a cold than non-stressed folk.

Half of all cancers are preventable—study


Half of all cancers could be prevented if people just adopted healthier behaviors, US scientists argued on Wednesday.
Smoking is blamed for a third of all US cancer cases and being overweight leads to another 20 percent of the deadly burden that costs the United States some $226 billion per year in health care expenses and lost productivity.
For instance, up to three quarters of US lung cancer cases could be avoided if people did not smoke, said the article in the US journal Science Translational Medicine.
Science has shown that plenty of other cancers can also be prevented, either with vaccines to prevent human papillomavirus and hepatitis, which can cause cervical and liver cancers, or by protecting against sun exposure, which can cause skin cancer.
Society as a whole must recognize the need for these changes and take seriously an attempt to instill healthier habits, said the researchers.
“It’s time we made an investment in implementing what we know,” said lead author Graham Colditz, an epidemiologist at the Siteman Cancer Center at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.
Exercising, eating right and refraining from smoking are key ways to prevent up to half of the 577,000 deaths from cancer in the United States expected this year, a toll that is second only to heart disease, according to the study.
But a series of obstacles to change are well enshrined in the United States, which will see an estimated 1,638,910 new cancer cases diagnosed this year.
Those hurdles include skepticism that cancer can be prevented and the habit of intervening too late in life to stop or prevent cancer that has already taken root.
Also, much of the research on cancer focuses on treatment instead of prevention, and tends to take a short-term view rather than a long-term approach.
“Humans are impatient, and that human trait itself is an obstacle to cancer prevention,” said the study.
Further complicating those factors are the income gaps between the upper and lower social classes that mean poor people tend to be more exposed to cancer risk factors than the wealthy.
“Pollution and crime, poor public transportation, lack of parks for play and exercise, and absence of nearby supermarkets for fresh food hinder the adoption and sustained practice of a lifestyle that minimizes the risk of cancer and other diseases,” said the study.
“As in other countries, social stratification in the United States exacerbates lifestyle differences such as access to health care, especially prevention and early detection services.
“Mammograms, colon screening, diet and nutrition support, smoking cessation resources and sun protection mechanisms are simply less available to the poor.”
That means any bid to overcome deep social imbalances must be supported by policy changes, said co-author Sarah Gehlert, professor of racial and ethnic diversity at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and the School of Medicine.
“After working in public health for 25 years, I’ve learned that if we want to change health, we need to change policy,” she said.
“Stricter tobacco policy is a good example. But we can’t make policy change on our own. We can tell the story, but it requires a critical mass of people to talk more forcefully about the need for change.”
A separate annual report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other major US cancer groups found that death rates from cancer in the United States continued to decline between 1.3 and 1.7 percent from 1998 to 2008.
New cancer diagnoses also decreased less than one percent per year from 1996 to 2006 and leveled off from 2006 to 2008.
However, the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer also highlighted the problem of obesity-related cancers, such as colorectal cancer, as well as cancer of the kidney, esophagus, pancreas, breast and endometrial lining.
“If you watch your diet, exercise, and manage your weight, you can not only prevent your risk of getting many lethal forms of cancer, you will also increase your chances of doing well if you should get almost any form of cancer,” counseled Edward Benz, president of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

St. Luke’s Medical Center is one of world’s most beautiful hospitals

St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) Global City in Taguig is one of the most beautiful hospitals in the world, according to a health website., which describes itself as “a health care information network and daily publication focusing on trends and issues facing executives working in the health care industry,” ranked St. Luke’s 11th in its list of 25 hospitals.
Hospitals from the United States dominated the list, with Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, California getting the top spot.
Other hospitals in the list are based in Hong Kong, Dubai, Thailand, England, Lebanon, Switzerland, Australia, Panama, and Austria.
“SLMC has received international accreditation and is recognized as one of the best hospitals in Asia and the entire world. As such, it regularly receives patients from around Asia, Micronesia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States,” the website said.
“This hospital holds 650 patient beds, with almost half of those available as fully-furnished, private suites with televisions and other modern conveniences to make every visit as comfortable as possible,” it added.
SLMC Global City, a high-end hospital, opened in January 2010. The first St. Luke’s hospital is located in Quezon City.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jessica Sanchez 'sensational' in Beyonce cover


MANILA, Philippines - Fil-Mexican singer Jessica Sanchez again wowed the American Idol Season 11 viewers and judges with her slow burn performance of Beyonce's hit song "Sweet Dreams" Wednesday night (US time).

It was indeed a "sweet dream" for Sanchez as the slowed down version of the Beyonce hit earned the nods of the American Idol judges.

Judge Randy Jackson was lavish in his praise, saying Sanchez had "unbelievable talent."

"I look forward to hearing you every night. I think you're one of the best singers I've heard in many years. Unbelievable, sensational," he said.

Jennifer Lopez said she loved Sanchez's version of the song because it left her wanting more. "If I was Beyonce, I would slow that one down," she said.

Steven Tyler also complimented Sanchez for holding back on the song. "I think you're a star no matter what," he said.

Aside from her solo performance, Sanchez also performed a Madonna medley with Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine.

Young Filipino artist wins billboard competition


LONDON - An artwork created by a young Filipino student from Amsterdam will soon be up on giant billboards across the UK after being chosen as one of the winners of an art competition.

Seventeen year old Antonio Perez from International School of Amsterdam submitted two of his artwork for the “Who Are You?” competition by The Arts University College at Bournemouth (AUCB) and JCDecaux.

One of his works, a vibrant image of the sun rising behind clouds, was among the 25 shortlisted entries chosen by a panel of judges from the creative industries, including award-winning designer Morag Myerscough, urban artist Soap, arts writer Gavin Lucas, set designer Rhea Thiersten, creative agents Jono Hilt and Nick Mustoe, JCDecaux’s PR Manager Janet Guest, AUCB Deputy Principal Professor Jim Hunter, and AUCB Communication Manager Simon Pride.

“I love Antonio's bold use of color and graphic style. The idea of the sun shining from behind clouds is one that artists have looked at for hundreds of years, it has an iconic quality, reminding me that however hard it may be in the moment to stay positive, the sun is still there and will reappear. It is a really simple, strong illustration that will look fantastic on a billboard,” said Pride.

Following a public vote on social media Facebook, Perez’s work was revealed as one of the Top 10 winning entries, racking up an impressive 1,143 Likes at the time of publication, ahead of all the other entries.

“I felt shocked and overwhelmed of the outcome of the votes, not knowing there will be a lot of people that will be supporting me,” Perez told ABS-CBN Europe.

“I want to think that I won because they believe in my work and my belief, that there will come a time our countrymen will soon get out of their shell and work for the good of our Fatherland. I also have never won any public competitions before so this is a new experience to me especially winning something that I love to do best.”

On his inspiration for the winning piece, he said: “I thought about what the contest was all about, Who Am I? And thought, I am a Filipino and so I imagined my painting to be similar to the Philippine flag, which is one of the clearly familiar image of my country. So I used the sun and the colors of the flag to paint my piece with extra symbols showing that Philippines will soon reveal itself from concealment.”

Perez’s parents, Marino and Milagros, came from General Santos and Caloocan respectively, before settling in Cainta, Rizal after marriage. In 2006, the family moved to Singapore due to work commitments, followed by a relocation to Amstelveen in The Netherlands in 2010.

“We did not know that he entered his art work in a contest in UK. He only informed us when he received an e-mail from the school that his work was shortlisted as one of the top 25 and that it will be posted in Facebook,” recalled Mr. Perez.

“I was just so proud of his achievement. This is a rare event and it does not happen everyday. And the fact he was the only Filipino able to enter the top 10 spot, our kababayans in the UK should know that there will be billboards in the country and the artist is a 17-year-old Filipino.”

Other winning entries included works by young artists based in the UK, exploring their identities through photography, painting and digital art, using mixed images from fashion to forensic science, snapshots to body art, and words to nature.

“What immediately stood out was the quality and then the variety,” observed Pride, who conceptualized and organized the competition with his team at AUCB.

“Inevitably there will be as many answers to the question ‘Who Are You?’ as there are people, but we didn't expect such diversity. The energy, the humor, the charm, the cleverness, the beauty, the positivity and the skill all remind us what it is to be young, talented and fearless.”

He concluded: “The project was designed to give young people a giant platform for them to express and develop their talent, but much more than that, we got a wonderful story.”

"Who Are You?" is an art competition launched by AUCB, providers of specialist arts education in the UK, in association with JCDecaux, the largest outdoor advertising company in Europe. It aims to nurture young creative talent by providing a large-scale platform for their work.

This year’s Top 10 winning entries will be shown in billboards across England on 16-30 April, including spots in Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Brighton, Guildford, Oxford, Bath, Bristol and Exeter.

A public exhibition will also be held on 25-28 April at The Arts University College at Bournemouth, in Dorset, southwest England.

Bull crack: Was the Nuggets loss an aberration or a reason for concern?


The 40-11 Bulls still have the best record in the NBA and, more important, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. So even though they’re in the throes of a one-game losing streak, it’s too early to overreact. But with Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton still out indefinitely, it’s getting too late to underreact, too.

The Bulls’ 108-91 loss Monday to the Denver Nuggets was just one game. But heading into the game Wednesday against the Hawks in Atlanta, it remains to be seen if it was just one of those nights when Ty Lawson not only outscored C.J. Watson 27-17 but outrebounded 6-11 Joakim Noah 9-5.

Even coach Tom Thibodeau
acknowledges it was his team’s third consecutive subpar effort. While no one disputes that shooting comes and goes, when the Bulls’ vaunted energy-and-effort fails them in three consecutive games, it might be time to take this thing off automatic pilot and see if there’s a bigger problem.

The Bulls have been ahead of the pack through a challenging post-lockout season. But their injuries and the laser focus that Thibodeau has instilled in his players might be catching up to them. The biggest red flags that bear watching:

1. Derrick Rose

The Bulls’ playoff fate hinges on the return of the reigning MVP. But considering the nature of his latest injury and Rose’s insistence that ‘‘when I feel I’m 100 percent or close to it, I’m going to play no matter who says what,’’ it might be more worrisome that he comes back too soon rather than too late.

For what it’s worth, the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, struggling since returning from a groin injury, turned it up against the Bucks on Monday night — and tweaked his groin. It’s one of those years.

2. Fatigue

The Bulls lead the NBA in
rebounding but were outrebounded for the second consecutive game Monday night, 45-32. They had a season-low five offensive rebounds (they average 13.6). The Bulls lead the league in mental toughness but faded in the second half. After the Nuggets scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to take a 64-52 lead, the Bulls never got closer than eight points.

The Toronto Raptors and Nuggets threw the Bulls out of whack with an up-tempo game. It’ll be interesting to see if future foes, knowing the Bulls have been going all-out all season, pick up on that.

3. Luol Deng

The Bulls’ second-most valuable player still finds a way to contribute since returning from a left wrist injury, but it seems to be affecting his game more recently. Deng is shooting 34 percent (38-for-113) in his last eight games and is 4-for-26
on three-pointers in his last six — missing badly on many of them. He has had a total of nine rebounds in the Bulls’ last three losses.

4. Joakim Noah

He’s still playing with great
energy, but Noah’s production has declined without Rose creating
opportunities by penetrating the lane. In his last five games, Noah is averaging 5.3 points and 5.3
rebounds and is shooting 36 percent (10-for-28). He has no offensive rebounds in his last 35 minutes over two games.

5. Richard Hamilton

Though Hamilton appears closer to returning than Rose, the Bulls might want to be even more patient with his sprained shoulder. The Bulls are good at acclimating quickly to different players and lineups. They’re not so good at staying healthy.

‘‘The smart teams play to their strengths and cover up their weaknesses,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘I think we have a smart team.’’



The Talk n Text Tropang Texters kept their dominating performance in the Philippine Basketball
Association, repulsing the Petron Blaze Boosters, 107-80, Wednesday to secure elimination-round top
honors for the fifth time in the last six conferences.

The Texters left nothing to chance, pummeling the Boosters for a league-best 7-2 win-loss record in
the 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup elim plays.

Thus, the reigning champs gained automatic passage into the semifinals, leaving Barangay Ginebra and
B-Meg to dispute the other outright semis berth in a playoff Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Before a good Wednesday crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Texters dished out their usual
steady game, making it four in a row versus the Boosters in their head-on duels dating back to the
Philippine Cup finals.

“It was intense, and it was important for us to pull through. What made it possible was our win in
Cebu when I wasn’t around,” said Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes, paying tribute to his deputies
who held the fort for their team in their game versus Rain or Shine in Lapu-Lapu City Saturday.

The Boosters lost their last four outings, sending them to a poor 3-6 wind-up – tied with the Rain
or Shine Elasto Painters and the Air21 Express in the bottom.

Petron went 0-2 with Will McDonald and, like last year, failed to advance to the Commissioner’s
Cup playoffs.

Injuries to Jay Washington, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Dondon Hontiveros and Chris Lutz obviously took its
toll on Petron.

“Petron is really a strong team just caught by bad breaks this conference,” said Reyes.

Talk n Text simply outclassed Petron with the Texters imposing their game, outscoring the Boosters,
16-6, on fastbreaks and, 20-12, on second-chance points.

Jason Castro topscored for the Texters with 19 points while playing off the bench.

Jared Dillinger, Donnell Harvey, Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Williams added at least 10 points each for
the Texters who, with their early semis entry, will get at least a 10-day rest.

“The thing for us now is to how make good use of the break. Of course, the idea is how to stay
sharp,” said Reyes.

The Texters were sharp almost all elims long, losing only their game versus the Barangay Ginebra
Kings and the Air21 Express. (SB)

The scores:

TALK N' TEXT 107 - Castro 19, Dillinger 16, Harvey 15, Alapag 11, Williams 10, Aguilar 9, Reyes 7,
Fonacier 6, Carey 6, De Ocampo 5, Gamalinda 3, Raymundo 0.

PETRON 80 - Mc Donald 20, Santos 16, Yeo 11, Miranda 11, Ildefonso 6, Guevarra 4, Tugade 4,
Al-Hussaini 2, Reyes 2, Lanete 2, Cabagnot 2, Rizada 0.

Quarters: 26-21, 49-39, 82-63, 107-80



BARANGAY Ginebra already has its own motivation against Air21 Wednesday and didn't need Express Ogie
Menor to add on to it.

But Menor did and the result was the Kings getting fired up even more for a 103-87 victory that
assured the Kings a playoff spot for an automatic semifinals slot in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at
the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Barangay Ginebra did not lose composure despite a fracas involving Menor, who was reactivated only
last Friday in the course of Air21's 91-101 loss to Meralco.

Menor, relegated to reserve status just before the team formerly known as wound up its
winless debut in the Philippine Cup, again showed his toughie side by incurring the ire of Kings
import Jackson Vroman with a hard bump in the last 45 seconds of the second period.

The hard-nosed guard got a technical for that and was again teed up and promptly ejected following a
confrontation with Ginebra forward Willie Wilson and assistant coach Allan Caidic while the teams
were on their way to their respective dugouts at halftime.

Barangay Ginebra seemed to have gotten stoked up even more due to the incidents, putting on a mighty
second half show that resulted in as much as a 22-point fourth quarter lead for the perennial crowd

Vroman did not see action in the last 25 minutes of the game but the Kings' locals, led by Mike
Cortez, proved up to the task of carrying on the fight enroute to their third straight win ending
the nine-game eliminations.

The victory jacked Ginebra's win-loss record to 6-3, tying it with B-Meg.

Defending champion Talk N Text aims for the outright semis berth and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs
when it faces Petron Blaze later in the evening. Should the Boosters win it will be the Llamados
claiming No. 1 and Ginebra plays off with the Texters Friday for the No. 2 slot and the lone
remaining automatic semis seat.

Should TNT win, Ginebra and B-Meg square off for the No. 2 position.

Kings coach Siot Tanquingcen is just glad his team is just one more win away from an outright semis
berth and said he just relishes the opportunity given them.

"Wala kaming mapagpilian," said Tanquingcen. "Kung sino malalaglag. May oportunidad sa outright kaya
kahit sino matapat, buhos na lahat."

The Kings won over TNT by three but lost to B-Meg by 16, but Tanquingcen one is as tough as the

"Both of them have different strengths," he said. "It should come down to how we basically defend.
Kahit sa B-Meg game namin, last four minutes or so we lost steam lang. Against Talk N Text naman,
they played more of a Ginebra-type of game."

Barangay Ginebra's win also meant Barako Bull nabs No. 5 and will be playing off in the
best-of-three quarterfinals against No. 4 seed Alaska. The No. 3 seed takes on the winner of the
do-or-die playoff, set also Friday, for No. 6 between Powerade and Meralco.

Marcus Douthit scored 19 points and grabbed 23 reboundes for Air21, which absorbed its fourth
straight loss and wound up at 10th and last place for the second straight conference.

RJ Jazul also finished with 19 points, anchored on six triples, while Nelbert Omolon, James Sena and
Ren-Ren Ritualo each had at least 10 points for the Express. But all of their collective efforts
paled to the more balanced attack of their Ginebra counterparts.

Vroman scattered 19 points and 13 rebounds while Cortez had 18 points and a game-high nine assists.

Mark Caguioa's 13 points was the only other double-digit output by a King but eight of the nine
other players fielded by Tanquingcen scored and five of those had at least eight each.

Barangay Ginebra's sustained attack was at its fieriest in the second half and capped by a 17-6
assault starting the fourth period that gave the Kings their biggest lead at 95-73.

What Tanquingcen was proudest of was the way his players stepped up on defense, holding the Express
to just a 33-for-87 field shooting.

"Sa depensa kami talaga nakakuha ng energy," he stated. "I think iyun ang key para sa amin."

The aftermath of the Menor incidents immediately took concrete shape as Barangay Ginebra padded a
53-42 at the turn to 17 points twice, the last at 78-61, before going to the final canto with an
11-point spread.

Then the Kings let loose all stops. (NC)

The scores:

BARANGAY GINEBRA 103 - Vroman 19, Cortez 18, Caguioa 13, Ababou 9, Raymundo 9, W. Wilson 8,
Villanueva 8, Hatfield 8, Labagala 6, J. Wilson 3, Canaleta 2, Mamaril 0.

AIR21 87 - Douthit 19, Jazul 19, Omolon 15, Sena 11, Ritualo 10, Hubalde 7, Isip 4, Escobal 2, Sison
0, Espiritu 0, Menor 0, Duncil 0.

Quarterscores: 26-25, 53-42, 78-67, 103-87

Study Suggests that Too Much Sitting Can Kill You


(HealthDay News) — For better health, try standing up more, a new study suggests. Those who spend 11 or more hours a day sitting are 40 percent more likely to die over the next three years regardless of how physically active they are otherwise, researchers say.

Analyzing self-reported data from more than 222,000 people aged 45 and older, Australian researchers found that mortality risks spike after 11 hours of total daily sitting but are still 15 percent higher for those sitting between 8 and 11 hours compared to those sitting fewer than 4 hours per day.

“The evidence on the detrimental health effects of prolonged sitting has been building over the last few years,” said study author Hidde van der Ploeg, a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney. “The study stands out because of its large number of participants and the fact that it was one of the first that was able to look at total sitting time. Most of the evidence to date had been on the health risks of prolonged television viewing.”

The study is published in the March 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Average adults spend 90 percent of their leisure time sitting down, van der Ploeg said, and fewer than half meet World Health Organization recommendations for 150 minutes of at least moderate-intensity physical activity each week.

The data was collected as part of Australia’s 45 and Up Study, a large, ongoing study of healthy aging. Strikingly, the elevated risks for dying from all causes remained even after taking into account participants’ physical activity, weight and health status.

Sixty-two percent of participants said they were overweight or obese (a similar proportion to Americans), while nearly 87 percent said they were in good to excellent health, and one-quarter said they spent at least 8 hours each day sitting.

Inactive participants who sat the most had double the risk of dying within three years compared to active people who sat least, van der Ploeg said, and among physically inactive adults, those who sat the most had nearly one-third higher odds of dying than those who sat least.

Because many people must sit for long hours at their jobs, they should make sure a greater portion of their leisure time is spent standing, walking or engaging in other movement, said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

“Yes, you have to work, but when you go home it’s so important you don’t go back to sitting in front of the computer or television,” Steinbaum said. “After the 8-hour mark, the risks go up exponentially. It’s really about what you’re doing in your leisure time and making the decision to move.”

Several workplaces in Australia are testing sit-stand work stations, van der Ploeg said — a generally well-received initiative that may be a future option for other offices. “Try ways to break up your sitting and add in more standing or walking where possible,” she suggested.

While the study uncovered an association between total sitting hours and death risk, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study was limited by the relatively short follow-up period of less than three years, experts said, which may have obscured undiagnosed health problems among participants that could have led to earlier death. Dr. David Friedman, chief of heart failure services at North Shore Plainview Hospital in Plainview, N.Y., said those who sit longer “tend to be sicker, have obesity issues and cardiovascular problems. Perhaps they’re less ambulatory in the first place.”

Van der Ploeg acknowledged these limitations and said more studies will need to replicate the findings and focus more on sitting’s influence on developing conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

“Studies that measure sitting time with activity monitors instead of questionnaires will also help build the evidence base,” she said. “All these studies will further inform us of the exact relationship between sitting and health conditions, which ultimately will result in public health recommendations like we already have for physical activity.”