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Saturday, July 14, 2012

GMO in sport: Genetically Modified Olympians?

PARIS — As athletes get ready to smash Olympic records in London, scientists are in a high-stakes race of their own to develop a test that will unmask anyone altering their genes in a desperate quest for gold.

Observers said science will not prevail in time for the games that start on July 27.

While no-one is sure whether "gene doping" is actually happening yet, the theoretical possibility of people fiddling with their DNA to boost power and endurance is one that scares sport officials.

"Today, no, it cannot be tested. If a genetically modified athlete wins the 100m sprint at the London 2012 Games, we won't know -- at least not immediately," bio-ethicist Andy Miah told AFP.

"In some years, a test may show that gene doping took place and (we) will have to confront the possibility of retracting medals."

In theory, gene doping could see athletes injecting lab-fabricated DNA into their bodies through a carrier, like a virus, to stimulate the production of muscle-growing hormones or red blood cells that shuttle oxygen to the muscles.

A virus works by forcing its own DNA into human cells, which then replicate the DNA containing biological instructions.

"You could take a full-fledged, developed athlete and you could fiddle around with their genes to make them stronger and better," said Don Catlin, a medical doctor who helped set up the first drug testing lab in the United States.

But is it happening?

"Not that I know of, but then again, nobody will call me up and tell me. We are concerned about it because it is a theoretical possibility. We know people will try it and probably are trying it," said Catlin.

In 2006, the sporting world was forced to sit up and take notice when a German athletics coach was accused of seeking to obtain an experimental gene therapy called Repoxygen ahead of the Winter Olympics.

Considered a possible treatment for anaemia, Repoxygen contained a synthetic virus that carries a gene for erythropoietin (EPO) -- a hormone that tells the body to make more red blood cells.

EPO is a favorite doping agent of cyclists and runners.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) added gene doping to its list of prohibited substances and methods in 2003, and has spent millions of dollars on developing a test.

"We've engaged the gene therapy specialists in the world and we've been working with them since 2002," WADA director general David Howman told AFP, adding there was "no evidence" of athletes using gene manipulation.

Yet, "nobody has examples of this, but it doesn't mean it isn't happening," said Miah, who has published several papers on Olympic doping. "That is the problem with doping generally. It isn't very well known what athletes are doing."

Observers like Miah, Catlin and sport genomics expert Alun (SUBS: CORRECT) Williams say there will be no accurate gene doping test in place for the Olympics, a topic WADA would not be drawn on.

A growth-booster gene injected directly into the muscle would be near impossible to trace in the blood or urine, said Williams of the Manchester Metropolitan University.

"If you were to take a muscle biopsy from an athlete, you'd have a much better chance of (finding it), but that is a much more invasive procedure ... and you'd have to do it in every muscle" -- a technique that is unlikely to ever be approved.

Using existing techniques, the odds of finding foreign DNA in an athlete are "probably similar to finding a needle in a haystack", said Williams, but added it should be possible "within a few years".

Under the new rules, an Olympic athlete's blood and urine samples can be kept for up to eight years, meaning it can be retrospectively tested for gene doping once an accurate test is in place.

More than 6,000 blood and urine samples are to be taken at the London Olympics.

The experts warn that gene therapy, even in tests for treating diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes, is still in its infancy and risky.

"In several studies, patients have experienced serious adverse effects and several have died," Theodore Friedman, director of the University of California's gene therapy program and head of WADA's gene doping panel, told AFP.

Added Catlin: "One crude way to learn about it is if athletes started to drop dead."

But while gene doping may still be in the starting blocks, this is unlikely to stop determined cheaters.

"The technique works in clinical settings. It is not perfect, it is not without risk... but athletes will try lots of things that are risky," said Williams.

"Even if there is a very high risk, if there is a chance to improve their performance, some will take that risk."

As cheaters run out of drugs that the authorities don't have a method to detect, gene doping is the next frontier.

"It is make or break for the world of sport," said Miah.

"If they find a way to catch gene doping, it will most likely solve the doping problem forever. If they don't, then it is unlikely ever to be solved." — AFP

Okada forges $2 B casino jv with Gokongwei, Andrew Tan


MANILA, Philippines - Tycoons John Gokongwei and Andrew Tan have forged an agreement with Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada for a $2-billion project that will integrate gaming, commercial and residential operations at the Pagcor Entertainment City along Roxas Blvd.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat Jr. told The STAR that Tan’s group will handle the land development aspect of Okada’s Tiger Resorts project, one of four groups granted a license by Pagcor to operate a casino in the Entertainment City.
Okada’s project is worth $2 billion, and Gokongwei and Tan’s entry will translate to the two local groups owning 60 percent of the venture, and Okada, 40 percent. The project will have a casino as well as a residential and retail component.
Naguiat said the Tiger Resorts project, covering 40 hectares of the 100-hectare Entertainment City, will start operations at the end of 2014.
It was earlier reported that Gokongwei’s property arm, Robinson Land Corp., has offered to run the gaming and retail operations of the Tiger Resorts project, the biggest among the four licensees, in Entertainment City.
The other licensees include Bloomberry of port operator Enrique Razon, Belle Corp. together with Melco, and Resorts World, also owned by Tan.
Earlier reports revealed that the Gokongwei Group beat several local businesses, notably the Lopez Group, that vied to be a partner of Okada. The Lopezes own media giant ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. and property developer Rockwell Land.
Okada, also known as the pachinko king of Japan, broke ground on his casino in Entertainment City on Jan. 26, promising more than 2,000 guest rooms in three hotels.
On his visit to Manila in May, Okada predicted that the center of gravity of the global gaming industry would shift from Las Vegas to Asia, with the Philippines playing a significant part in attracting patrons from around the world.
“My dream is to create the best casino in the world here in the Philippines,” he said. “This is why I’m focusing on Philippine gaming – to make it the best in the world and to beat Wynn Resorts,” he said.
Tan, through his listed investment holding firm Alliance Global Group Inc., is also involved in another Entertainment City project, the $1.1-billion, 31-hectare Resorts World Bayshore project of Travellers International Hotel Group, his partnership with Genting Hong Kong Ltd.
Travellers International runs the wildly successful Resorts World, beside Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.
Gokongwei’s foray into casinos is the latest in a string of billion-dollar transactions involving investors in Entertainment City.
In May, ports mogul Enrique Razon Jr. raised P8.85 billion from the stock market to bankroll the 16-hectare Solaire Manila luxury casino and hotel-resort project of his gaming firm, Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc.
Solaire Manila is expected to be the first to open among the projects of the four licensees, with start of operations expected by the first quarter of 2013.
A few weeks ago, a consortium led by retail king Henry Sy took in Macau casino giant Melco Crown Entertainment – owned by Australian billionaire James Packer and Lawrence Ho, son of Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho – as a partner in its $1-billion, 8-hectare project.
The Belle-Melco project is scheduled to start end of 2013, according to Naguiat.
Pagcor has required all licensees to put in a minimum $1-billion investment in each integrated resort (to be spent before the term of President Aquino ends in 2016), build a minimum of 250,000 square meters of floor area and complete 800 hotel rooms with an average room area, of 40 square meters.

5 Rules for Surviving City Nightlife


You want to drink the finest spirits, hang with your friends, listen to good music and talk to pretty womenThe only way to do all these things is to experience the nightlife in your area. But the bar and club scene is rife with hazards. Stick to these golden rules and you just might make it out alive. And have a hell of an evening, too.
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When the girls start to leave the club, it’s time for you to leave the club. Seriously, what good is a drunken sausage fest?
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1. Live in the middle
Never be the drunkest or sober-est guy entering or leaving the bar. Unless you’re a designated driver, going super-sober makes it tough to relax. Meanwhile, getting super-drunk means being the guy who acts like an idiot, pukes on a car and wakes up the next morning feeling like utter crap. So stay cool, have a few drinks, get a good buzz on and enjoy yourself. Having trouble finding the middle? It’s the space where you aren’t afraid to dance but can still assemble coherent sentences.
Smoothly living in the middle. And thankfully, Malcolm is nowhere in sight.
2. Know when to call it a night
To quote How I Met Your Mother, “Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.”As soon as the girls start to leave the club, it’s time for you to leave the club. Seriously, what good is a drunken sausage fest? The amount of fightsskyrockets after the females clear out. And even if you don’t end up getting in a scrap, your best prospect for the 3 a.m. is that McDonald’s has added the 20-piece chicken nuggets to the extra value menu.
3. Plan a spot to snooze
If you don’t live downtown, make arrangements to sleep at someone’s house in the area. Make these plans before you get intoxicated. There are few things more nervewracking than trying to find a place to crash when the night wraps up. And it usually ends with you curling up on a dirty floor with your jacket as a pillow and your shirt as a blanket.
4. Be prepared
One-night stands don’t happen every week, but when fate smiles on you, you had better be following the Boy Scout motto. Carry two condomswhen you go to the bar (one may break, and if you carry more it’s weird). We recommend Billy Boy, which has slim, rectangular shaped packaging, allowing it to slip easily into the fifth pocket of your jeans rather than fattening up your wallet.
“Oh, you guys are heading out? Good thing we brought the minivan.”
5. When things go south, roll with it
Your best memories of nights out will sometimes come when ridiculously good things happen… and sometimes when ridiculously bad things happen. If you wake up in a bush three hours after last call, it may suck at the time, but chances are you and your buddies will laugh for about it for weeks. You can’t change what has happened so go with the flow, keep a smile on your face and deal with the consequences tomorrow.

Pinoy group wants National Artist award for Dolphy


MILPITAS, California - As Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon’s loved ones and fans mourn his passing, a group of overseas Filipinos called “Definitely Filipino,” thinks it’s not too late to give credit to the late King of Comedy.
The group recently launched an online petition calling on the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the body tasked to screen nominees for the National Artist Award, to finally give it to Dolphy.
Founder of Definitely Filipino Ben Totanes said, “Hindi na natin naibigay nung buhay pa siya. Ibigay na natin nung wala na siya dahil parangal din yun.”
Former NCCA executive director Cecile Alvarez-Guidote said that in 2009, Dolphy was denied the National Artist award because then Cultural Center of the Philippines Chief Nicanor Tiongson protested Dolphy’s inclusion as nominee, because of his early portrayals of gay men.
Guidote alleged that Tiongson saw Dolphy’s portrayals as demeaning to the gay community.
Despite this argument, many Filipinos agree that Dolphy still deserves the National Artist award.
Marcelina Parayno said, “Ginanap lang niya ‘yung kanyang papel ‘di ba?”
Totanes said Dolphy’s gay roles were not demeaning to the gay community, in fact, he said the King of Comedy helped raise awareness and even acceptance of the gays in the community.
The NCCA confirms Dolphy’s nomination for the award, and is now being reviewed.
Inspirational
In Las Vegas, members of Asian-American show band Society of Seven (SOS), said Dolphy was their inspiration — particularly when it came to comedy acts and dance moves.
SOS has been performing in Las Vegas for over 3 decades. The group admits that Dolphy is their inspiration when it comes to comedy acts and dance moves.
The group was flattered and honored to see Dolphy in the audience in one of their past performances.
Tony Ruivivar, SOS lead singer said, “We were so excited when he came to our show and he was cracking up during our show. It really brought tears to my eyes because it made me feel like wow! This is my idol who made me laugh, the king of comedy, gave me so many funny moments, and I make him laugh! I will treasure that moment.”
Meantime, Philippine Concert King Martin Nievera recalled the most unforgettable piece of advice Dolphy told him, particularly when it comes to treating women.
“He said, ‘Love them all. Love them all forever.’ All I know is, Dolphy — you are an inspiration to us all,” Nievera said.

OFW guide: Top 15 annoying things people do at work

In any kind of work, there are always unwritten rules to follow as a way of showing respect for co-workers.

Some people are rude, insensitive, or simply don't care. Are you one of them?

Here is a list of the most annoying things co-workers do in the office, adapted from the blog site The Daily Mind:

(1) Making loud, distracting, and unnecessary noises

For most people, it's difficult to concentrate at work when others are making loud, distracting, and unnecessary noises such as banging on the table, chatting and laughing out loud, eating noisily, and others.

Tip: Try asking your co-worker if you are disturbing him in any way. If you do this properly he will honestly tell you if you are, without arguing.


(2) Talking loudly on the phone

Some people are unaware about the way they annoy people with their booming voice.

Nobody wants to hear what you are talking about, especially when they are focusing on work so learn to tone down.

Tip: After using the phone, ask your co-workers if your voice is too loud.


(3) Listening to music out loud

This should be obvious. The office is a place for work and not for your random music banging away at other co-worker’s eardrums.

Not only is it distracting but it also keeps co-workers on the edge. This might lead to a confrontation later on if you don’t stop being so insensitive.

Tip: Use headphones.

(4) Spreading rumors

Gossiping is what people usually do at the office when they’re bored. Never spread rumors about anyone, be it the top boss or the person who occupies the lowliest position in your company. Every person deserves to be respected.

Tip: Don’t spread rumors if you don’t want to be the subject of the next big office rumor.


(5) Making assumptions

Don't judge others. Just because the new hire didn’t go to college or dropped out from the academe doesn’t mean that he is stupid.

Treat everyone, from the new hires to the bosses with respect.

A famous proverb states: The measure of a man is how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

Tip: Treat everyone equally and with respect.


(6) Excessive bragging

People will usually congratulate you when you do a great job at work. However, if you will keep on reminding your co-workers about how good you were at one particular project, soon no one would like to hang out with you.

Tip: Be humble. Great people don’t talk about their accomplishments, other people talk about them instead.


(7) Frequently bothering other people for "help"

If we frequently disturb other people by asking to help us in our office tasks, they will soon get tired of assisting us. We should remember that others have their own tasks to finish.

Work efficiently and try not to bother your co-workers. If you do ask for other people's help, make sure that you really need it and not because you're trying to catch up with work after chatting away at Facebook with an old high school crush.

Tip: Don’t ask for help if you don't really need it.


(8) Credit-grabbing

Nobody likes credit-grabbers. Have you ever worked hard at some project only for others to take credit for what you did?

Tip: Give credit where it is due. If you are the boss, remember that the accomplishments of your subordinates reflect directly on your performance. There’s no need for you to take credit, it’s already a given.


(9) Disrespecting seniors

Respecting your co-workers, especially your seniors, will take you a long way.

If you find that they are incorrect about something, make sure that you take the time to correct them politely without rubbing their mistake on their faces.

Tip: Respect everyone -- be they older or younger than you.


(10) Arriving late for work or meetings

Getting to work or a meeting before the appointed time is a sign of professionalism.

Arriving late shows that you don’t value your time or other people’s time.

Tip: If you cannot arrive on time for work or a meeting, inform your co-workers.

 
(11) Borrowing money

Some people like to borrow money every now and then from co-workers.

This is really annoying especially if the person who borrowed from you has to be reminded several times to pay up.


Tip: Avoid borrowing if you can, unless it’s an emergency.


(12) Posting  photos of work functions on Facebook

Everyone might be on Facebook but not everyone wants you posting photos of them.

Avoid “tagging” people on Facebook. Make sure you ask permission first before you do so.

Tip: Some people are really private when it comes to these things. Just respect their decision.


(13) Sending spam emails

Working email addresses are almost-always swamped with work-related email every day.

People won’t appreciate it if you add to that swamp of emails with a non-work related email such as a spam message.

Tip: Send work emails to email addresses for work and send your personal emails to non-work emails.


(14) Eating other people’s food

This usually happens in companies where there is a common refrigerator for each department.

The bottom line is, eating food which doesn’t belong to you is wrong and is stealing.

This is far from acceptable and can even cost you your job and land you in jail.

Tip: Bring your own food.


(15) Not washing hands, poor hygiene

People share a lot of things in the office. From phones, printers, door handles and other surfaces.

It would be common courtesy to wash your hands especially after eating food like greasy French fries so that co-workers wouldn’t have to wash their hands too.

Tip: Office equipment is used by everyone so be considerate in handling them.
- VVP, GMA News

Are OFWs employed in world's best jobs?


What are the world's best jobs and are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) engaged in them?
 
A report of the news site Wall Street Journal, citing a research from CareerCast with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said the top jobs in the United States, based on five criteria (income, stress and hiring outlook, physical demands, work environment) are:
 
(1) Software Engineer
(2) Actuary
(3) Human Resources Manager
(4) Dental Hygienist
(5) Financial Planner
(6) Audiologist
(7) Occupational Therapist
(8) Online Advertising Manager
(9) Computer Systems Analyst
(10) Mathematician

The United States is the top destination of Filipinos overseas. Based on the Stock Estimate of theCommission on Filipinos Overseas, there were about 3,166,529 Filipinos in the US as of 2010.
Meanwhile, a report from news site Business Insider said a survey from Manpower of over 40,000 employees in 41 countries show that the following are the most in demand jobs: 
 
(1) Skilled Workers
(2) Engineers
(3) Sales Representatives
(4) Technicians
(5) Drivers
(6) Laborers
(7) IT Staff
(8) Accounting and Finance Staff
(9) Chefs/Cooks
(10) Management/Executives

 
Popular occupations of OFWs
 
On the other hand, based on the 2010 data of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration(POEA), the top OFW occupations in the top five destination countries of Filipino workers are:
 
United States
Estimated Filipino population: 3,166,529*
Total number of deployed OFWs in 2010:  1,080
 
(1)   Professional Nurses: 83
(2)   Teachers: 81
(3)   Housekeepers: 80
(4)   Waiters: 80
(5)   Service Workers: 79
(6)   Doctors: 41
(7)   Technologist (Life Sciences): 29
(8)   Engineer: 28
(9)   Domestic Helper: 24
(10) Computer Programmer: 22

 
Saudi Arabia
Estimated Filipino population: 1,512,539*
Total deployed for 2010: 119,275
 
(1)   Domestic Helper: 11,582
(2)   Professional Nurse: 8,513
(3)   Cleaner: 6,869
(4)   General Helper: 5,950
(5)   Electrical Wiremen: 4,871
(6)   Laborer: 4,543
(7)   Plumber: 3,462
(8)   Bricklayers: 3,276
(9)   Housekeeper: 3,133
(10) Service Worker: 3,002
 
 
Canada
Estimated Filipino population: 667,674*
Total deployed for 2010 – 2,954
 
(1)   Caregiver: 1,452
(2)   Waiter: 451
(3)   Cook: 114
(4)   Production Worker: 98
(5)   Pharmacologist: 81
(6)   Butcher: 80
(7)   Cashier: 63
(8)   Professional Nurse: 58
(9)   Bartender: 58
(10) Welder: 46
 
 
United Arab Emirates
Estimated Filipino population: 636,154*
Total deployed for 2010: 46,779
 
(1)   Domestic Helper: 13,184
(2)   Cleaner: 3,710
(3)   Service Worker: 2,534
(4)   Waiter: 2,204
(5)   Salesmen: 2,188
(6)   Laborer: 1,534
(7)   Cook: 1,365
(8)   Production Worker: 1,185
(9)   Clerk: 1,095
(10) Housekeeper: 1,027
 
Australia
Estimated Filipino population: 345,592*
Total deployed for 2010: 403

 
(1)   Butcher: 33
(2)   Welder: 27
(3)   Mechanic: 26
(4)   Production Worker: 21
(5)   Mach Assembler: 21
(6)   Sales Worker: 20
(7)   Cook: 19
(8)   Metal Worker: 18
(9)   Toolmaker: 16
(10) Engineer: 14

*Data based from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas
- VVP, GMA News

PNoy: PHL likely to breach 4.6M tourist influx goal this year

With 1.8 million foreign tourist arrivals already recorded since January, President Beningno Aquino III said he expects the second half of the year to see an even greater surge of visitors from the rest of the world.
 
"This number (1.8 million) is also 39.6 percent of the 4.6 million tourist arrivals we hope to get this year—and historically, we get even more visitors in the second half of the year. If all goes as planned, it seems that we will achieve, and maybe even breach this target," Aquino said.
 
The President gave these remarks in his address to delegates from the 7th North American Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour.
 
"Tourism is one of the sectors we are paying particular attention to, because it is one in which we can successfully pursue our agenda of inclusive growth, given the multiplier effect on jobs and the amount of money it brings into our country," Aquino said.
 
He claimed that the Pocket Open Skies Policy caused the number of incoming and outgoing flights to rise by 15 percent from January to June this year.
 
Aquino added that underway are investments in key infrastructure that would improve the mobility of tourists such as airports, seaports, and highways. — ELR, GMA News

Sylvester Stallone's son found dead at Hollywood home

LOS ANGELES — Aspiring actor and filmmaker Sage Stallone, the son of action movie star Sylvester Stallone, was found dead on Friday at his home in Hollywood, authorities and his attorney said.

Police and a lawyer for Sage Stallone, 36, gave conflicting accounts of how he was found, but police said there was no sign of forced entry or foul play.

The case was turned over to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, Los Angeles police spokesman Lieutenant Andy Neiman said.

Neiman said police found the younger Stallone in the home while responding to a "welfare check." Attorney George Braunstein said he was found by a housekeeper.

"It's a tragedy. He was a young, talented extremely good filmmaker and a lovely person," Braunstein said.

"We don't know any of the details but it must have been some sort of tragic accident. He was full of life and working on projects," Braunstein said. "He wasn't at all depressed or anything like that."

Braunstein said he believed that Sylvester Stallone was returning to Los Angeles from the Comic Con pop culture convention in San Diego. — Reuters

Friday, July 13, 2012

Nine dance crews from PHL to join 'Olympics' of hip-hop competitions in US

LOS ANGELES — Nine dance crews from the Philippines will be joining the so-called "Olympics of hip hop dance competitions" — the World Dance Championships of the Hip Hop International dance organization in Los Angeles from July 30 to August 5.

The competition will be held at the Red Rock Resort and Orleans Arena.
 
The nine dance crews from the Philippines include:

  • Fresh Fusion,
  • Legit Status,
  • A-Team,
  • The Crew,
  • The Project,
  • Philippine Allstars,
  • UP Street Dance Club, and
  • La Salle Dance Company.

The dance crews will be competing in the varsity, adult, and megacrew divisions.
 
The nine Philippine teams have passed the semi-final and final rounds of their divisions.

The most successful of all the teams so far is the Philippine Allstars, which has won gold medals in 2006 and 2008. They also brought home a bronze medal in 2007. 

The Philippine Allstars winning performance in 2008 was widely praised by dance crews from France, Uruguay and South Africa. 

The other notable Filipino crews are Legit Status and Fresh Flow.
 
Legit Status has been competing at the Hip Hop International since 2009 in various divisions. 

This year, Legit Status will compete in the varsity and megacrew divisions.

Although they haven't won a medal yet, Legit Status member Rammy Bitong said: "We're getting closer and closer to those medal positions. In, 2009 we were 7th place overall, 2012 6th place, and last year in 5th place."
 
Bitong also said: "It's important for Philippine crews to participate because we have so much to offer. There's dancing everywhere you go in the Philippines and it's a good way of representing our nation."
 
For more information and real time results during the competition visit hhi.pacificrimvideo.com or hiphopinternational.com. - VVP, GMA News

Jason Farol makes it to "Duets" top 3


Kelly Clarkson and Jason Farol

LOS ANGELES, California – Before the announcement that he made it to the Top 3, Filipino-American contestant Jason Farol thought it was the end of his "Duets" journey with partner Kelly Clarkson.
“I was about to pass out. I was a nervous wreck the whole day. I thought it was my time,” Farol said.
Before being handpicked by Clarkson for "Duets", Farol only performed before his own camera for his YouTube singing videos.
“Yeah! Top 3! We're making the finale,” said Clarkson.
“We have conspiracy theories going behind the scenes. Uh-oh, he's closing. He can't possible close both shows because we closed last week, so we were like 'you're totally going home.' We were nervous,” Clarkson said.
Even the superstar-mentor of Farol’s competitors was impressed by the young singer's transformation from a timid contestant to a confident contender.
Jennifer Nettles said it's Farol’s Filipino side that gives him the extra boost in his performances.
“He has this soulful, soulful sound coming out of his body, it's like 'who, what is this?'" Nettles said.
Farol will be facing off with Nettles’ amateur-protégés, frontrunner J Rome and soulful singer John Glosson.
Farol said he owes his success to his loyal fans, especially fellow Filipinos who have been reaching out to him online.
“Thank you for getting me this far. I'm glad you guys are supporting me and hopefully I'll make you proud. Hopefully, I'll take the title for you guys,” he said.
Clarkson said Farol’s appeal is not limited to the teenage voters, like her fellow judges insinuated.
“I think its derogatory thing. They keep saying just the little teenagers like him. There are people who like him that are grown women and men. People in my band love Farol and they're 40-year-old men,” she said.
Next week, the amateur contestant with the most votes from Facebook, phone, and abc.com will bring home the title.

$7.69-M net hot money outflow recorded in June


MANILA, Philippines - Foreign portfolio investments – also called “hot money” for the ease with which they enter and exit economies – posted a net outflow last month as uncertainties in Europe resulted into risk aversion, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.
Hot money – placed in investments such as bonds and stocks – registered a net outflow of $7.69 million in June, reversing the $353.79 million net inflow recorded in the same period last year.
“Registered investments declined by 20.3 percent from the previous month’s $1.5 billion as uncertainties about the eurozone affected global markets and induced heavy sell-offs,” the BSP said.
This was the second net outflow for the year, following February’s $305.30 million.
Last month’s negative result trimmed the year-to-date net inflow to $871 million compared with the $2.393 billion net inflow a year ago. Gross inflows amounted to $8.247 billion, while gross outflows reached $7.376 billion.
Most hot money went to listed shares at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), BSP said.
“The main beneficiaries of investments in PSE-listed shares were: holding firms ($311 million); food, beverage and tobacco manufacturers ($213 million); telecommunication companies ($152 million); banks ($145 million); and property firms ($103 million),” the statement said.
Most inflows came from the United Kingdom, the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and Luxembourg. The US continued to be the main destination for outflows, it added.
BSP last month revised its 2012 outlook for hot money net inflows to $4.5 billion from $5.7 billion due to continued risks posed by the eurozone crisis. Such inflows totaled $4.077 billion last year.
Hot money forms part of the country’s balance of payments, which measures our capacity to settle obligations and meet external requirements.

Friday the 13th: Wish you good luck!


Friday the 13th: Wish you good luck!Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Theory of bad luck coming in threes has been around since we were kids. And 2012, having earned infamy the world over for being the ‘armageddoneous’ year for the whole of mankind, thanks to Mayan theology, the date today - Friday the 13th, apparently which is the 3rd in the year holds special significance.
Conventionally, it is believed that Friday the 13th brings bad luck and the date bears evil connotations. People have various superstitions pertaining to Friday the 13th with some even refraining from venturing out and getting scared to their wits if they happen to watch a black cat or a crack on the road.

Psychology academic Krissy Wilson, an expert on superstitions from Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, believes that today may be particularly unlucky for some.

"Friday the 13th usually doesn`t occur very often, about twice a year but this year we have already had two and 13th July would be our third," Dr Wilson said.

“Scientifically, there`s no evidence that a Friday falling on the 13th day of the month is any unluckier - but there are more recorded road accidents on Friday the 13ths purely due to how people view the day,” Dr Wilson said.

"People believe that it is actually unlucky so they wait for something bad to happen ... They drive anxiously and have accidents," she said.

"We are not entirely sure how the superstition started. You have two issues: both the number 13 and Friday are seen to be unlucky," Dr Wilson explained.

The main theory behind the Friday the 13th phenomenon is that it is heavily based in Christian mythology.

"The number 13 is seen to be unlucky because there were 13 people at the last supper ... and Friday because Jesus was crucified on a Friday," Dr Wilson said.

Dr Mason said the stigma associated with the day was deeply ingrained into our culture.

"When a superstition is passed down from generation to generation and from culture to culture it is hard to stand up against it and say that it isn`t true."

Dr Mason, however offers respite for those who are feeling particularly anxious about today.

"For those people who are genuinely worried about the day the best thing is to wake up thinking that the day will be an incredibly lucky one rather than unlucky ... otherwise it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you think that something bad will happen the more you think about it the more likely it is to eventuate."