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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Derrick Rose injured in Game 1

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rosesuffered a left knee injury while trying to leap off his left foot in the lane with 1:10 left in Saturday's playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Rose was helped off the court. He had 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists when he was injured.
The Bulls won 103-91, and Game 2 is Tuesday, giving Rose a couple of extra days to rest.
"I hope he's not seriously hurt," 76ers coach Doug Collins said. "I admire him so much. I think he's one of the young, bright lights in this NBA. And I hope he's going to be back and he's going to be able to play, because I admire greatness, and he's a great player."
The 23-year-old Rose played in just 39 of the Bulls' 66 regular-season games because of an assortment of injuries, including turf toe, back spasms, pulled groin and foot injury. He hasn't played more than two games in a row since suffering a foot injury March 12.

Filipino twins develop assault rifle

CALIFORNIA – Law enforcement agencies in the US and other countries are using a new assault rifle designed and created by Filipino siblings Ferdinand and Francis Sy.
Fascination for guns and a dream of once joining the military are what led the twin brothers to the arms industry.
But it was a controversial armed robbery in the Philippines in the 90's wherein robbers outgunned police that made Ferdinand and Francis pursue their passion.
“The mission of Ferfrans way back in 1994 was to really give an edge to the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force. To give them the edge in combat through weaponry,” said Francis.
Born and raised in Cebu, the Sy brothers wanted to come up with a modern firearm that is accurate, easy to use and durable.
Ferfrans SOAR
After four years of rigorous research and development both in the US and the Philippines, Ferdinand and Francis launched their very own weapon, derived from their first names—the Ferfrans Special Operations Assault Rifle or the Ferfrans SOAR.
“The heart of the weapon really is the rate reduction system. What it does is it reduces the rate of fire, full auto fire to about 550 to 600 rounds per minute. A regular M4 will fire around 900 to a thousand rounds per minute,” said Ferdinand.
“The rifle in full auto, it tends to climb up on you. With the rate reduction system in junction with the muzzle break, what it does is you have a better control of the weapon because it controls the muzzle rise and at the same it slows down the full auto fire, so now you can control it and point the weapon on fire at exactly the same place even in full auto fire. It will not climb up on you. So it's the combination of the rate reduction system and the muzzle break,” he added.
Ferdinand said their rate reduction system patented to Ferfrans also controls the heat and wear and tear of the weapon, making it more durable and reliable, giving the user a higher chance of survival.
SWAT rifle
With its unique features, Ferfrans SOAR not only achieved the needs of Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Malaysia, Indonesia, and Peru have already ordered the rifle that is now used by the several Special Weapons and Tactics or SWAT teams in the US as well as the Chief Protection Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Ferfrans SOAR is also currently being tested by the United States Army.
Through the years, Ferfrans has developed other models of firearms that are mission specific.
But more than just the weaponry, Ferfrans offers a complete program called STEPS, which is Service, Training, Equipment, Product, and Support.
Ferfrans products are all made in the US. They also now have a service center in Cebu to support their Asian clientele.
For Ferdinand and Francis, they say for as long as there is threat to peace and security and a need to save the lives of the innocent, Ferfrans will continue to design and develop their special weapons and equipment for as long as they can.

Pinoy documentary bags top award in Dutch film fest

NETHERLANDS - A documentary film about a Filipino-Spanish teenager who was convicted in the 1997 massacre case in Cebu won the highest award in the "Movies That Matter" film festival in the Netherlands.
Pinoy producer Marty Syjuco's "Give Up Tomorrow," a documentary film with a controversial and sensitive theme, won the Audience Choice Vara Awards in
The Hague.
Syjuco was coy but very happy to receive the award.
“This is my first film. I was not a filmmaker prior to this film. We are so honored and grateful,” Syjuco told ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau.
“Give Up Tomorrow” centers on the case of Paco Larranaga, one of the 7 who were convicted for the kidnapping and murder of sisters Mary
Joy and Jacqueline Chiong in 1997.
Paco, the son of Spanish pelotari Manuel Larranaga and a member of the influential Osmena clan in Cebu, has been serving a life sentence for 15 years now.
It was on Feb. 3, 2004 when Paco and his other six co-accused were sentenced to death by lethal injection in a Manila court.
His death penalty was then commuted to life when capital punishment was abolished in the Philippines two years later.
Paco was then transferred to a prison in Spain in October 2009 under the Transfer of Prisoner Treaty between Madrid and Manila.
Apart from the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Paco’s appeals for a reinvestigation of his murder case and release reached the Fair Trials International and different human rights bodies in Europe.
The documentary film attempted to show the many loose ends in the trial of Paco’s case.
A young Dutchwoman who watched the film at the festival was very touched.
"I think he [Paco] is innocent especially if you look at what Amnesty International said and what the U.N. said about it and I believe he should be free,” said Jorinde.
Syjuco is related to Paco because his brother is married to Paco's sister.
Syjuco said that the VARA award is very meaningful because it comes from the very prestigious Movies that Matter Festival, which is associated with Amnesty International and one of the biggest and most important human rights festivals in the world.
“It also brings further attention to the injustice that Paco continues to suffer and our ‘Free Paco Now’ campaign. To receive the award in the international city of peace and justice is incredible, especially since we have a campaign to bring justice to an innocent man,” Syjuco said.
“Also this award means that our film will have a television broadcast in Holland and we're so thrilled that the entire country will get to see our film,” Syjuco added.
The documentary film received a huge amount of support from those who are petitioning for the pardon and release of Paco.
During the Movies That Matter festival, the “Free Paco Now” petition collected 500 signatures.

Akon says Jessica overqualified for 'Idol'

MANILA, Philippines – International R&B artist and record producer Akon is ready to offer a record deal to Filipina-Mexican-American Jessica Sanchez should her stint on "American Idol" ends before the final showdown.
During the recent Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami, Akon told entertainment website E! News that he hopes Sanchez would be voted off the reality singing contest, so he can offer her a recording contract ahead.
As in past seasons, the winner of “Idol” gets to sign a record deal with a major music label under the management of 19 Management, which is affiliated with the show.
"I know I shouldn't be saying this, but I kind of want her to get voted off so I can sign her," Akon said. "She's beyond the talent that's supposed to be there. I think she's overqualified, I really do."
"And she's only 16," he added. "Like, I've been around a lot of superstars. I haven't seen anyone at that age sing like that."
Recounting Sanchez’s almost-elimination from the show, Akon said the Pinay’s supporters had become complacent because of her seemingly top spot-ensuring performances.
"[People] naturally assume that she's been voted for because she's so good. So they chose to vote for someone else to kind of even the balance and she's not getting the votes."
Following the dramatic save, Sanchez has since advanced twice in the show, securing a spot in the top five.
Sanchez will continue her “Idol” journey on Wednesday 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Derrick Rose, Evan Turner set to rekindle rivalry in NBA playoffs

Derrick Rose began earning his reputation as an understated, humble basketball star back in high school. He’s carried it with him into college and the NBA.
But there was one opponent who seemed to get under his skin, and it’s someone he may be seeing a lot of very soon: Philadelphia’s Evan Turner, who played at St. Joseph.
The Rose/Turner rivalry heated up this week when Turner was asked about finishing eighth in the Eastern Conference and playing the Bulls instead of the Heat.
“That means we’re dodging the tougher team,” he told the Delaware County Times.
Rose shook off Turner’s comment, but there is little question that the rivalry is for real.
It started, at least publicly, in March of 2007. It was of one of the biggest games of the year, a showdown between Simeon and St. Joseph at Northwestern.
Rose was regarded as the top player in the state. Turner was challenging Rose for player of the year honors.
At halftime, standing near center court, Turner said “Derrick Rose ain’t [crap].”
Not everyone heard it, and it didn’t seem to be directed at anyone in particular, but it was unmistakable.
In the second half, Rose and Turner really went at it, jawing back-and-forth the entire time. Late in the game, Turner scored on a layup and was fouled. Before shooting the free throw, Turner turned around and said something to Rose. An official approached Turner at the line and defused the incident.
Turner scored 29 points, including 20 straight during one stretch, doing his best to back up his bold words. Rose scored 29 as well, and Simeon won 74-66.
After the game, Turner’s quotes raised plenty of eyebrows.
“I was better than Rose,” Turner said. “With me guarding him he didn’t do much. He knows that, and I know that.”
Simeon has a tight media policy, rarely allowing players to speak with the media during the season. Rose and the other Simeon players had not been available after the game.
I texted Turner’s quote to Simeon coach Robert Smith while I wrote the game story. Just as I was finishing up, Smith called and asked me to meet him behind a curtain just outside the locker room.
I hurried over, and waiting behind the curtain was Rose, his older brother Reggie and Smith.
“Read him the quote,” Smith said to me.
I did, and Rose’s response was one of the few times in his high school career where he showed some bravado.
“We both know who is better,” Rose said. “He’s just doing this to get a little bit of publicity. We’ll see who does more on the next level. They called a lot of soft fouls on us when he had the ball. It wasn’t like he did anything that impressive.”
Just a few weeks later, Rose and Simeon beat St. Joseph in the state playoffs, ending Turner’s prep career. It’s a safe bet Turner wouldn’t mind returning the favor in the NBA playoffs.

Philippines is the world’s best country in business English

Well, people will now have to think twice before mocking Pinoys’ use of the English language.
The Philippines was named the world’s best country in business English proficiency, even beating the United States, according to a recent study by GlobalEnglish Corporation.
GlobalEnglish has released early this month the results of its annual Business English Index (BEI), the only index that measures business English proficiency in the workplace.
For 2012, results showed that from 76 represented countries worldwide, only the Philippines attained a score above 7.0, “a BEI level within range of a high proficiency that indicates an ability to take an active role in business discussions and perform relatively complex tasks.”
“This is particularly interesting because the Philippines, a country with one-tenth of the population of India, recently overtook India as a hub for call centers. Over 400,000 Filipinos are now employed in call centers, roughly 50,000 more than in India,” the study said.
The Philippines, which scored 7.11 and the lone country in the intermediate level, were joined by Norway (6.54), Estonia (6.45), Serbia (6.38) and Slovenia (6.19) in the top five.
GlobalEnglish noted that a country’s business English capability is an indicator of its economic growth and business success.
“It is not surprising that both the Philippines and Norway—the only two countries in the top five in both 2011 and 2012—are improving their economies, based on the latest GDP data from the World Bank,” it added.
Meanwhile, struggling economic powers (Japan, Italy and Mexico) and fast-growth emerging markets (Brazil, Columbia and Chile) scored below a 4.0 in business English proficiency, placing them at a disadvantage when competing in a global marketplace, the study said.
It also pointed out that shifts in global talent have put even English-speaking countries at risk.
“Surprisingly the BEI score for global workers in the U.S. declined from 6.9 to 5.09 since the original 2011 BEI benchmark, which is attributed to a majority of test takers being foreign-born engineers and scientists,” the report said.
Rest of the world ranked beginner and basic level
Based on a scale of 1-10, the average 2012 BEI score across 108,000 test takers around the world is 4.15 which is lower than last year’s 4.46.
Nearly four out of 10 (38.2 percent) global workers from 76 countries were ranked as business English beginners, meaning that, on average, they can’t understand or communicate basic information during virtual or in-person meetings, read or write professional emails in English or deal with complexity and rapid change in a global business environment, the study said.
Meanwhile, the majority of global workers (60.5 percent) from the represented countries scored between a 4.0 and 7.0, below an intermediate level, indicating an inability to take an active role in business discussions or perform relatively complex tasks such as presentation development and customer or partner negotiations, it added.
GlobalEnglish stressed that the 2012 BEI which showed a lack of business English proficiency is threatening the productivity of companies, industries and country-specific economies this year.
“Poor Business English skills are bad for global businesses and this year’s Business English Index suggests that many companies will be hard-pressed to achieve their desired performance goals during 2012,” said Tom Kahl, GlobalEnglish President.
“Addressing English skills gaps and ensuring that employees can immediately perform at the necessary proficiency level should be viewed as a strategic imperative for multinational businesses, as Enterprise Fluency, the ability to seamlessly communicate and collaborate within global organizations, can deliver significant financial upside,” Kahl added.
Headquartered in Brisbane, California, GlobalEnglish works with multinational companies – including Cisco, Procter and Gamble, HSBC, Phzer – to support performance in business English across the workforce around the world.
Here’s the list of the 10 best and worst countries in the world for business English proficiency based on GlobalEnglish’s 2012 BEI:
10 Best Countries:
  • Philippines
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • Australia
  • Malaysia
  • India
  • Lithuania
  • Singapore
  • Canada
10 Worst Countries:
  • Armenia
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Taiwan
  • Honduras
  • Columbia
  • Chile
  • El Salvador
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Israel
  • Brazil
(Story courtesy of Shielo Mendoza | Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom)

Doomsday Predictions Debunked [infographic]

2012 has been a pretty good year, aside from the stigma placed on it years in advance. I’ve been fearing this year for a few years now. Not because I completely believed in the Mayan Calendar or anything of that nature, but more because the social hysteria this date has caused alone is enough to kill you alone.
For those of you who needed that one infographic to keep your hope alive in humanity, feast your eyes! Down below is a detailed description of every failed major apocalypse prediction ever made. It spans from Nostradamus to the more recent Harold Camping.
Now, I post this not to highlight the failures of others, but instead to show how someone can predict something as bold as the end of the days and it not come true. A lot of research can focus around one date all based on a hunch and many of us will ride that hunch momentarily, or to the ground. Be aware of all possibilities, but also don’t believe everything you read. The end may be predictable and it may not be, only time will tell. Live everyday like it’s your last and spread peace and happiness everywhere you go, starting with this glorious Humpday. Have a great rest of the week! [Via]

42,000 Pinoys became US citizens in 2011

Filipinos were the third largest immigrant group to acquire US citizenship by naturalization in 2011, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
A total of 42,520 Filipinos were naturalized last year, representing a 20 percent increase from a year ago.

Mexico and India were the top two countries of birth of new US citizens, says the DHS report made available to the media by the Philippine Forum nonprofit organization.
The report also indicated that the third largest number of persons who naturalized lived in New York.
“For many Filipinos here, becoming a US citizen is the ultimate goal,” immigration lawyer Cristina Godinez said.
In response, Café Migrante has scheduled a discussion on the requirements and procedure for applying for naturalization.
The forum, “How do I become a US citizen?,” will be held April 29, Sunday, at 2 p.m., at the Bayanihan Community Center in Woodside, Queens.
Godinez, who has helped hundreds of immigrants with visa, green card and citizenship applications for the past 10 years, will discuss the requirements necessary to acquire a US citizenship.
The Bayanihan Community Center is located at 40-21 69th St., Woodside, Queens.

To get to the Bayanihan Community Center, take the 7 Train and get off at 69th St. and Fisk Avenue stop along Roosevelt Avenue.
For more information, please call Melanie Dulfo of the Philippine Forum at 718-565-8862 or email at
New U.S. Citizens, 2011
Total 694,193
Mexico 94,783
India 45,985
Philippines 42,520
Source: DHS Office of Immigration Statistics

Pinoy rockstar Arnel Pineda's long 'Journey' to fame

An amazing rags to riches story. This is is the essence of the feature film “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” about the life of Arnel Pineda, the Filipino frontman of the legendary American rock band Journey.

Directed by Ramona Diaz, the film captures Pineda’s difficult yet extraordinary path to success.
It premiered on April 19 in the annual Tribeca film festival, a report of the entertainment news said.

The Tribeca Film Festival — founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff — was a response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The main purpose of the festival was to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan as well as to celebrate New York City as a major player in the filmmaking industry.

Unlikely story
The film "Don't Stop Believin" traces the unlikely story of Pineda, 40 — from how he started singing on the streets of Manila to cope with poverty, to how he was discovered on Youtube, and eventually became the lead singer of Journey, replacing frontman Steve Perry.
According to a synopsis on the film’s official site, the magical journey started for Pineda when Neal Schon, guitarist of Journey, checked out Pineda’s video on YouTube singing cover songs of the band.
Schon was half a world away from Pineda and was about to give up to his frustration of not being able to find a lead singer to replace Perry who left the band to go solo. Then, Schon chanced upon Pineda’s videos.
“After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true," Schon said.
He added: “I tried to get a hold of him and I finally heard from him that night, but it took some convincing to get him to believe that it really was me and not an impostor."
After a few screening tests, live auditions and recording sessions, Pineda was offered the gig as the legendary band’s frontman.

Meanwhile, Diaz, in a report of the news site AM New York said the magic of the story is Pineda's personal history set against the backdrop of big, familiar, anthemic ballads.

For her, Journey has now become more of an international band with Pineda, expanding their fan base to Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the process.

Her favorite Pineda-fronted Journey songs are “Change for the Better” and “City of Hope”.
Early life and hardships
The film's website tells how fate did not seem kind to Pineda as a boy, having lost his mother at age 12.
He would hang out with his friends, singing in exchange for food, and sleeping at a park at nighttime with other homeless kids.
Pineda then found work in a Manila Bay pier, scavenging scrap metal, bottles and newspapers for the mere eight pesos (about 20 cents) a day.
When darkness falls, he would roam the bars of Manila, singing his heart out and meeting other fellow musicians whom he will form and dissolve bands with through the years.
He then moved to Hong Kong in 1991 where he performed for 15 years.
Pineda lost his voice twice, once in 1995 due to drug and alcohol abuse and in 2005 due to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD).
He decided that it was time to return to the Philippines, hoping to make it big in his home country.
His dream to become popular in the Philippines never happened since something bigger came up, Schon phoned him and the rest is history.
A long Journey
On a report of the news site The FilAm, Pineda related how the film opens with the story about his first concert with Journey in Chile.
“I still get goose bumps thinking about that very first show. Nakakatakot. I wanted to just get to the first flight out but when I saw the people, I was overwhelmed. I will never forget that day.” said Pineda.
He added: “This movie took four years to make.” “They really followed the tour and took time to know the people behind the scenes. “Journey gave me the go signal. They said it would be good for people to know my story.”

Pineda has been with Journey since 2007 and has released 2 albums with the band:

  • 2008 - Revelation
  • 2011 - Eclipse
Pineda said he intends to stay with the band “for as long as they want me.” - VVP, GMA News

Now in Top 5, Jessica Sanchez moves closer to being best Fil-Am on 'American Idol'

Filipino-Mexican Jessica Sanchez made it to the Top 5 of the reality singing competition "American Idol" as the show said goodbye to contestant Elise Testone of South Carolina.

Sanchez moves closer to being the best contestant with Filipino blood to make it on the show after Jasmine Trias, who came in third in "American Idol’s" third season. 

Sanchez on Wednesday evening (Thursday morning in Manila) wowed judges with her two performances:

  • "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the band Queen, and
  • "Dance with my Father" by the late singer Luther Vandross.

According to a report of, after Sanchez sang "Dance with my Father," judge Randy Jackson said: “You know what’s wrong with it? Absolutely nothing.” 
Sanchez dedicated the song to her father, a military man.

On the other hand, "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez said, "“That may have been the best I've ever heard that song sung."

Another judge, Steven Tyler added: “I don't think you could sing a song bad.”

On Sanchez's Twitter account, one of her fans, @NatashaRakiah, said: "'Dance With My Father" made me AND my father cry last night, that's been our song since I was little. Thank you."

Another fan, @booyah_imshan said: "your second performance made me cry, wow that was so beautiful ♥"

Calling for votes

After her performance, Sanchez, on Twitter, said: "Really scared about tonight."

She urged people to vote for her saying, "There's no more save... Each vote really makes a difference!"

Sanchez was nearly eliminated from the show two weeks ago when she received the lowest number of votes.

The three "American Idol" judges — Jackson, Lopez, and Tyler — used their one and only save for the season to save her from being booted out of the show.

Top 5 of Season 11

Apart from Sanchez, the other four contestants in the Top 5 of Season 11 of "American Idol" are:
  • Hollie Cavanagh, 18, of McKinney, Texas
  • Joshua Ledet, 19, of Westlake, Los Angeles
  • Phillip Phillips, 21, of Leesburg, Georgia, and
  • Skylar Laine, 18, of Brandon, Mississippi.

Sanchez of San Diego, California, is the youngest remaining contestant at 16 years old.

Inspired by Beyonce, Celine Dion

On her profile on the official site of "American Idol," Sanchez said she counts singers Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Etta James, among those who have influenced her musical style.

Sanchez said Beyonce is her favorite female artist for being a "very empowering woman, amazing performer and vocalist."

On her favorite male artist, Sanchez said:  "I love Eminem. He isn't a singer but he raps with so much conviction and feeling. I love artists that just do what they do with so much passion and emotion."

Second best achievement so far

So far, among the contestants with Filipino blood, Sanchez has the second best achievement.

Trias ranked third in "American Idol’"s third season. 
Before Sanchez, latest "Idol" contestant of Filipino descent was Thia Megia who finished in the Top 11 of last year's competition.

Before Megia came Ramiele Malubay who placed ninth in the seventh season. 
- with Andrei Medina, Veronica Pulumbarit, GMA News