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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Factbox: Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon

Former U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82.
Armstrong grew up in Ohio with a strong interest in flight and earned his pilot's license while still a boy.
After flying combat missions during the Korean War, he became a test pilot and joined NASA's astronaut program in 1962.
As he stepped on the moon's dusty surface, Armstrong said: "“That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Armstrong's pulse was measured at 150 beats per minute as he guided the lunar lander to the moon's surface, NASA said. Asked about his experience on the moon, he told CBS: "It's an interesting place to be. I recommend it."
Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to first set foot on the moon.
A crater on the moon is named for Armstrong. It is located about 30 miles (48 km) from the site of the landing.
Armstrong took a NASA desk job after the Apollo 11 mission, becoming the deputy associate administrator for aeronautics in the office of advanced research and technology. A year later he became a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
In 2005 Armstrong was upset to learn that his barber had sold clippings of his hair to a collector for $3,000. The man who bought the hair refused to return it, saying he was adding it to his collection of locks from Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon, Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein and others.
Despite his taciturn nature, Armstrong once appeared in a television commercial for the U.S. automaker Chrysler. He said he made the ad because of Chrysler's engineering history and his desire to help the company out of financial troubles.

Following are reactions to the death of the Ohio native, who had undergone heart bypass surgery in early August.
U.S. President Barack Obama: "Neil was among the greatest of American heroes - not just of his time, but of all time. ...
"Today, Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown - including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure - sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step."
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, who along with Armstrong and Michael Collins formed the crew of the Apollo 11 mission that landed on the moon, in an interview with BBC radio: "We are missing a great spokesman and leader in the space program." Aldrin said he would remember Armstrong "as being a very capable commander and leader of an achievement that will be recognized until man sets foot on the planet Mars."
Michael Collins: "He was the best and I will miss him terribly."
John Glenn, an original NASA astronaut who became a senator from Ohio after his space career, spoke of Armstrong's aversion to the spotlight in a CNN interview: "He was willing to dare greatly for his country and he was proud to do that and yet remained the same humble person he'd always been."
Charles Bolden, NASA administrator:
"Besides being one of America's greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation.
"As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong. We mourn the passing of a friend, fellow astronaut and true American hero."
Armstrong family:
"Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.
"Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.
"He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.
"As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.
"While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.
"For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."
Mitt Romney, U.S. Republican presidential candidate:
"Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes. With courage unmeasured and unbounded love for his country, he walked where man had never walked before. The moon will miss its first son of earth.
"I met and spoke with Neil Armstrong just a few weeks ago -his passion for space, science and discovery, and his devotion to America will inspire me through my lifetime."

— Reuters

Are we ready for DNA-based computer memory?


First came floppy disks, CDs, and DVDs. And then came USB flash drives, memory cards. So what's next? Maybe DNA.

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a long string-like molecule that stores all the genetic instructions that a living organism needs to grow and to function.

As such, DNA is capable of storing vast amounts of information: theoretically, one gram can contain some 455 billion gigabytes —almost half a billion terabytes, the equivalent of over 100 billion DVDs.
 
Now, a team of Harvard and Johns Hopkins scientists was able to use DNA for the first time to encode the contents of an entire book, bringing theory into the realm of possibility.
 
The whole Internet in a thumbdrive
 
“[DNA in] a device the size of your thumb could store as much information as the whole Internet," Harvard Medicine Professor George Church said.
 
In the August 16 issue of Science magazine, the research team lead by Church came out with a study showing that they were able to use DNA to encode 53,426 words, 11 images, and a computer program.  (See the study abstract here.)
 
The team successfully collected and compressed 5.27 megabits worth of data —about what you can find in a 3.5-inch floppy disk. This is 600 times more than the largest dataset previously encoded in this fashion.
 
Church’s team showed that, while the DNA technology is still slow, it is becoming more practical.

Advantages of DNA
 
Some of the advantages of storing data into DNA are that it can be easily copied, and often still readable after thousands of years. So much for the magnetic tape and DVD.
 
Digital data is usually stored as binary code—using the digits one and zero. DNA, on the other hand, stores data using four digits: A, C, G, and T. However, to minimize errors and to avoid the need to create very long sequences of codes, Church’s team maintained the binary code using A and C as zero, and G and T, as one.
 
The team built a sequence of artificial DNA letter by letter using the strings of As, Cs, Gs and Ts coding for the letters of the book. They embedded the fragments of data onto glass chips which contains the address code showing the location of the data within the original file.

Not so fast
 
However, this process took the researchers days to complete as the the speed of the chemical reactions involved is not as fast as conventional electronics.
 
In a separate supplement, the group said, “At some point, storing DNA as a single large mass with extremely large barcodes is both unrealistic and cumbersome no matter the future sequencing and synthesis technologies.”
 
“This is currently something for archival storage," said Dr. Sriram Kosuri of Harvard’s Wyss Institute.
 
“It is not rewritable,” Kosuri also said.
 
However, the researchers remain unfazed from pursuing further studies on the matter.
 
"We may hit a wall, but there's no fundamental reason why it shouldn't continue,” Kosuri said. — TJD, GMA News

PHL ambassador: Saudi Arabia emir lauds Pinoys' professionalism

Some 2,000 Filipinos working in the Najran region southwest Saudi Arabia received praise from no less than the emir there, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Emir Prince Meshaal bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud relayed his high regard for Filipinos and their professionalism to Ambassador Ezzedin Tago.

Tago had paid a courtesy call to the emir last June 4, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

"The Emir of Najran lauded Filipinos working in the region, who are estimated to number about 2,000, for their excellent reputation and professionalism," the DFA added.

For his part, Tago thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, through the Emir, for the employment opportunities for Filipinos in the Kingdom.

He also cited the excellent treatment that the Filipinos received while working there.

Meanwhile, Tago invited the Emir to visit the Philippines in the near future, and informed him of business and investment opportunities in the Philippines.

Tago also voices hopes Saudis in Najran will consider the Philippines as their next tourist destination, citing the long and strong relationship between the two peoples.

With Tago in his call was Third Secretary and Vice Consul Paul Saret. — LBG, GMA News

Friday, August 24, 2012

PSE to break 2011 capital-raising record of P107.5B


Philippine-based investors are the main drivers of the local listed equities market, which the local bourse president Hans B. Sicat said, is on track to breaking last year’s record of P107.5 billion of capital raised.
 
Speaking before the  4th annual Corporate Treasury and CFO Summit in Makati Thursday, Sicat said 62 percent of average daily turnover in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) comes from a “strong local bid” largely responsible for pushing the total transactions volume to P7.35 billion daily from P5.56 billion year-to-date.
 
“I think it’s important to know, however, that on the relative share in trading, Philippine-based is still greater compared to foreign trading in related volumes,” Sicat said.
 
Foreign participation in trades is at 32 percent although these trades increased by more than four times to P89.84 billion as of (Wednesday) from P19.16 billion last year, the PSE president added.
 
Sicat said this investor profile is similar to what obtains in the BRICs emerging countries made up of Brazil, Russia, India and China, where the market performance is propped up mainly by “strong local demand with the add-on effect of foreign demand.”
 
“There are lots of reasons to remain bullish and optimistic on the PSE as an attractive investment destination. Compared to our peers, the PSE is just scratching the surface of potential," he said.
 
Raising capital
 
The PSE president said the local bourse is a growing market for generating capital, which  jumped to P91.13 billion from P60.03 billion last year.
 
“(Capital raised from the bourse) is well on its pace to break the record level (at P107.5 billion) we achieved last year,” said Sicat.
 
The benchmark of the PSEi has increased 17.8 percent as of August 22, the PSE president added. The local bourse has breached 21 record highs so far this year.
 
The PSE is now aiming for “liquidity in stocks,” as it is now requiring listed companies to maintain a 10 percent public float in order to enter the market, said Sicat. As of June this year, 27 companies haveyet to comply with the public float requirement. — ELR, GMA News

PH beats defending champ Iran in Jones Cup


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) -- Smart-Gilas Pilipinas II bounced back from a loss to Lebanon with a smashing win over defending champion Iran for a share of the lead in the 34th William Jones Cup Friday in Taipei.
Following a 91-72 loss to Lebanon on Thursday, the nationals eked out a 77-75 win against the reigning champion.
Gilas’ Gabe Norwood, who tallied 17 points, was named Player of the Game.
The Filipinos engaged the Iranians in a tight game in the first two quarters before launching a huge rally that resulted to a 58-49 lead at the end of the third canto.
Gary David’s triple and a clutch basket by Sol Mercado widened the gap to 63-51 at the start of the final quarter.
Gilas, however, had trouble finishing the job as Marcus Douthit, Jeffrei Chan and Ranidel de Ocampo missed crucial free throw shots just seconds remaining in the game.
Fortunately, the Filipinos were able to pull through after Iran’s Mahdi Kamrani missed a buzzer beating three-pointer.
“Iran is a tough team. They never die, very physical, and warriors. But we showed the heart of our team and how far we can go,” said Douthit in The Philippine Star.
Douthit scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds. The Philippines avenged the their defeat to the Iranians last year.
“They barely beat us last year, and they celebrated too much. It stuck to my head and I won’t forget it,” he said.
The Philippines is now tied with the United States and Iran on top of the standings of the tournament with a 5-1 win-loss slate.
The Filipinos can take home the title if they succeed in their final 2 assignments.
Gilas is booked to play against Chinese Taipei on Saturday and the US on Sunday.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

27,823 pass Nurse Licensure Exam


MANILA, Philippines  - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced on Thursday that 27,823 out of 60,895 passed the Nurse Licensure Examination given by the Board of Nursing last June 2012.
The exam was held in the cities of Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Dagupan, Davao, Iloilo, Laoag, Legazpi, Lucena, Nueva Ecija, Pagadian, Pampanga, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga.
According to Section 16 of Republic Act No. 9173, “all successful candidates in the examination shall be required to take an oath of professional before the Board or any government official authorized to administer oaths prior to entering upon the nursing practice.”
Successful examinees should personally register and sign in the Roster of Registered Professionals.
The registration requirements are: duly accomplished Oath Form or Panunumpa ng Propesyonal, current Community Tax Certificate (cedula), 2 pieces passport size picture (colored with white background and complete name tag), 1 piece 1” x 1” picture (colored with white background and complete name tag), 2 sets of metered documentary stamps and 1 short brown envelope with name and profession and to pay the Initial Registration Fee of P600 and Annual Registration Fee of P450 for 2012-2015.
The list of successful examinees are:

Top ten (10)

Full list of successful examinees (A-G) (H-N) (O-Z)

PHL-based scientists' discovery could boost rice yields by 20 percent


Scientists on Wednesday said they had developed a strain of rice that grows well in soils lacking the nutrient phosphorus, a feat that could boost crop yields for some farmers by as much as a fifth.
 
The announcement ends a quest to pinpoint a mystery gene that helps the roots of baby rice plants tease phosphorus from the soil, enabling them to notch up strong, early growth.
 
The gene has now been transferred to modern varieties of rice using classic methods of cross-breeding, not genetic engineering, said Sigrid Heuer at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines.
 
Next week, national rice breeders from Bangladesh, India, Thailand and India will be briefed on the exciting find, which should benefit small farmers most of all, Heuer said in a phone interview from Manila.
 
"I would expect to see (an improvement in yield of) around 20 percent, but it depends so much on the type of the soil and how severe the stress is," Heuer said.
 
"But realistically, we are talking conservatively of an average of 10-20 percent, and locally a little more if the (phosphorus) stress is severe," she said.
 
The breakthrough seeks to address one of the biggest problems facing rice growers from the southeastern United States to South America, Southeast Asia and China.
 
Many soil types bond tightly to phosphorus, surrendering only a tiny amount of the precious mineral to plant roots.
 
To get around this, farmers look to phosphorus fertilisers which are spread on the field.
 
But in poorer countries, this option is often too costly, which means the plant is left undernourished at a stage when it is in competition with weeds. Ultimately this meagre growth affects yields when the plant matures.
 
The search for PSTOL-1 — for phosphorus-starvation tolerance 1 — began in the late 1990s, when researchers were intrigued that a rice strain grown in India called Kasalath grew so well in phosphorus-deficient conditions.
 
But it took nearly a decade of further work, including a full sequencing of the strain's genome, to close in on the gene that does the magic.
 
"Over the last one-and-a-half to three years, we were pretty certain that we had the gene, but then we had to carry out a lot of experiments to confirm our findings," said Heuer.
 
Poor farmers, especially those in Southeast Asia and Bangladesh, could benefit most, she said.
 
But rice growers in richer countries could also save money as they would need less fertiliser, which would also mean less damaging phosphate runoff into groundwater and the sea.
 
The research, published in the journal Nature, marks the latest laboratory exploit for boosting rice yields. Other recent finds have been genes that help rice plants cope better with drought and saline soil.
 
Arguably the most important crop in the world, rice is under pressure from rising demographic growth and the impacts of climate change.
 
Last October, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said the global population of seven billion could rise to at least 10 billion by 2100, but could top 15 billion if birth rates are just slightly higher than expected.
 
Phosphate fertilisers are typically extracted from layers of rock that millions of years ago were ocean sediments.
 
The price of rock phosphate has more than doubled since 2007. According to a 2009 estimate, world supplies could run out in 50 to 100 years. — AFP

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why Skipping Meals Is Never a Good Idea

source: mensxp.com

Skipping meals is a rather common urban phenomenon that occurs either as a result of the desire to lose weight or simply because of an excessively hectic schedule.
However, people often tend to overlook the fact that missing meals, whatever the reason may be, could have quite an adverse affect on one’s health.
Let us see what the possible negative impact could be:

1. The Risk of Overeating

If you skip meals to try and lose weight, you are likely to starve yourself throughout the day. What this will result in is excessive hunger and the need to eat just about anything, especially something with high calories. Now, this would not only defeat your purpose of attempting to lose a few kilos, it will also steer you toward unhealthy eating habits.

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2. Metabolism Malfunction

Skipping meals to lose weight can affect your metabolism. When you eat regular or designated meals at the appropriate time of the day, your metabolism breaks down the food at a certain pace. Irregularity in meals, skipping meals and not eating too often results in the rate of metabolism slowing down. This is why it is advised that you eat smaller quantities of food at frequent intervals throughout the day. This is the best way to keep your metabolism active and your digestion good.

3. Lack of Nutrition

The human body needs a certain amount of nutrition every day in order for all bodily functions to operate smoothly. When the nutrition received is not sufficient, the body falls more prone to sickness and diseases. While supplements exist to balance these needs, there can be no comparison to the richness of green vegetables and fresh fruits.

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4. Drop in Levels of Blood Sugar

One of the hazardous effects of skipping meals is the possibility of the blood sugar levels dropping drastically. Food consumed is broken into parts by the body, some of which get stored as fat, while others flow into the blood stream, giving the body the energy it requires to function through the day. If the consumption of food will be less, so will the levels of energy produced by the body, resulting in tiredness and lethargy.
So, are there no positive effects of skipping meals? Well, there could be, but only if the same is done under supervision or guidance of a medical expert. Moreover, the meals need to be skipped in a planned manner. If a meal must be skipped, let it be dinner. Due to the rush to get to work, you may often tend to skip breakfast. However, that is the most important meal of the day and must never be missed. A healthy breakfast ensures that the metabolism functions properly and the body receives its required nutrition.
Losing weight and trying to stick to a busy schedule are aspects that must not be allowed to prove obstacles to healthy living. If you must skip meals, follow a diet plan after consulting a professional. If you feel you lack time to eat, make it a point to rise early or set an alarm for your meals, especially lunch. After all, health is foremost when it comes to existence, isn’t it?

3 foods all men should eat

A varied, balanced diet is the cornerstone of healthy living for everyone, yet healthy eating can sometimes mean different things depending on your gender.

While there are some foods we should all be eating more of, men and women also have their own set of dietary requirements as well as their own unique health concerns. Here are three foods all men should eat.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are possibly one of the best "superfoods" around, and the popular fruit has particular benefits for men. Studies have suggested that the lycopene found in tomatoes may reduce risk of colorectal cancer, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease; the leading cause of death in men. Research has also shown that men who frequently eat foods rich in lycopene may drastically reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer.

BroccoliBroccoli - along with other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and sprouts - contains a strong cancer-fighting chemical, sulphoraphane, which research has suggested may reduce men's risk of developing bladder cancer (a cancer more commonly affecting women than men), prostate cancer and colorectal cancer.


Oysters

Oysters are the highest natural source of zinc; an essential requirement for men's fertility and sexual health. Zinc not only helps to maintain healthy testosterone levels in men, but it is essential for healthy sperm production. On top of this, zinc deficiency may be responsible for hair loss in men, so an increased intake may benefit men's appearance as well as health.

Marked by song, two new bird species discovered in the PHL

What made them unique are their songs. Two new owl species have been discovered in the Philippines, after bird scientists analyzed recordings of them singing in the wild.

"When we first heard the songs of both owls, we were amazed because they were so distinctly different that we realized they were new species," said zoologist Pamela Rasmussen, the lead author of the scientific paper announcing the findings.

"The owls don't learn their songs, which are genetically programmed in their DNA and are used to attract mates or defend their territory; so if they're very different, they must be new species," she added (listen here to Philippine Hawk Owls).

One of the new species, the Camiguin Hawk Owl, often sing in duet while facing each other, with a distinct growling tone instead of the high-pitched melodious song usually associated with birds. The other new species is the Cebu Hawk Owl, of which there has been only one specimen sighted. 

Reputed to be a center of global biodiversity, the Philippines is home to nearly 200 endemic bird species, or birds found only in the archipelago.

"More than 15 years ago, we realized that new subspecies of Ninox hawk-owls existed in the Philippines," said Rasmussen. "But it wasn't until last year that we obtained enough recordings that we could confirm that they were not just subspecies, but two new species of owls.”
 
Philippine Hawk Owls are a type of "earless" owl that is common and endemic—or native—to various parts of the country. Earless owls are those without ear tufts, or feathers around their ears. The owls do have ears and use them to communicate and hear themselves.


 
Rasmussen is the lead author of a paper on the Philippine Hawk Owl (Ninox philippensis) and its various subspecies. She is an assistant professor of zoology at Michigan State University and assistant curator of mammalogy and ornithology at the MSU Museum.

MSU said in a statement, "Announcing the finding of a single bird is rare enough. But the discovery of two new bird species in a single paper is so rare that Rasmussen and the other researchers couldn't recall the last time it happened.”

This study is featured in the current issue of Forktail, the Journal of Asian Ornithology.

One owl species, the Camiguin Hawk Owl, was found at the foot of Mt. Timpoong in northern Mindanao’s island-province of Camiguin. The study described the hawk owl as having a distinct bluish-grey to whitish eyes, and a recognizable and unique song.
 
“It is vocally highly distinct, normally giving a rapid, low-pitched duet, the two birds facing and leaning towards each other while very close together, with white throat puffed out and pulsating, wings drooped,” said the study.

"At night, it gives a long solo song that builds in intensity, with a distinctive low growling tone. Pairs of owls give short barking duets that start with a growl,” MSU said in a statement.

The other owl was the Cebu Hawk Owl, which was first thought to be extinct due to deforestation. The study described it as the “sole known specimen in existence,” which is closely related to the Mindoro Hawk Owl.

According to the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, the country has "an astounding mix of more than 600 species of resident and migratory birds, of which almost 200 species are endemic."

A team of scientists and contributors helped to confirm the owls’ existence. The team included people from BirdLife International, the Oriental Bird Club, Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc., and Birdtour Asia, with additional support from National Geographic.

Philippine rainforests are also home to 102 species of amphibians, 179 mammals, 254 reptiles, 20,940 insects, and 15,000 kinds of plants. — BM/DVM/HS, GMA News

Kidlat Tahimik wins the 2012 Fukuoka Arts and Culture Prize

Kidlat Tahimik, a Filipino and leading Asian independent filmmaker is one of four Fukuoka Prize winners this year. He won in the Arts and Culture category.
The Baguio based artist is only the fourth Filipino to receive the Fukuoka Prize since it started in 1990. The first Filipino to be awarded was architect Leandro V. Locsin in 1992. He was followed by film director Marilou Diaz-Abaya, historian Reynaldo Ileto in 2001 & 2003 respectively.
Other notable awardees have been director Akira Kurosawa, Ravi Shankar, Nam June Paik, Ju Ming, Zhang Yimou. Also Tang Da Wu from Singapore.
The other laureates include Vandana Shiva from India. She’s an Environmental Philosopher and Activist. Charnvit Kasetsiri from Thailand is a Historian. G.R.Ay. Koes Murtiyah Paku Buwono from Indonesia is a Court Dancer, Director of the Foundation Cultural Education Kraton Surakarta, Chief of Sasana Wilapa Kraton Surakarta.
Kidlat who involves himself in every single step of filmmaking, from script-writing through shooting, editing, acting, and producing to directing. By doing this, he has made a great contribution to global filmmaking culture, and has won international acclaim for his unique style of presenting?a distinctively Filipino combination of third-world self-consciousness and pride, wrapping this up in his own individual sense of humour.
He was born in Baguio in 1942. After graduating from the University of the Philippines, he studied at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania and received an M.B.A. He worked as a researcher for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, and then returned home to start his career as an independent filmmaker. In 1977, his first film, “Perfumed Nightmare” received the FIPRESCI Award (International Critics Award) at the Berlin International Film Festival, and was shown in the USA in 1981.
This film won him fame in the international world of film production, and had an enormous influence on younger Asian filmmakers. By applying an original method of intermingling fiction with elements of documentary, he presents a naive Filipino driver who is suddenly sent to Paris with his jeepney?(a kind of taxi named after ‘jeep’ and ‘Jitney’) by an American company, and rushes around the city in total confusion. Amidst the laughter, there are some sharp barbs at the self-righteousness of the developed countries and at the underside of development.
This film was followed by a series of idiosyncratic films, including Who Invented the YoYo, Who Invented the Moon Buggy? and I am Furious Yellow’94; Why is Yellow Middle of Rainbow? The former is about a young man who is possessed by a wild fancy that he should play yo-yo (a Philippine invention) on the moon, and?makes a successful lunar voyage in a home-made rocket constructed from ordinary household goods. The latter reveals the turbulent recent history of the Philippines through a home movie recording a son growing up. As a standard-bearer for independent filmmakers, he has continued to be active in making and screening films. At screenings of his films, he performs sketches and dances with a company from the Igorot people. In the field of art, too, he often stays in Takedera in Hanno city (Saitama prefecture) and Echigo Tsumari (Niigata prefecture) to make installation art and films. His artistic work is borderless. Since?co-founding the Baguio Arts Guild in 1986, he has done much to help train young artists. In Fukuoka, too, he has performed in Ohori Park, and mounted an exhibition and a film show at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
Mr. Kidlat Tahimik has thus achieved many successes as a leading Asian independent filmmaker. He has also been an inspiration to the young generation as well as working constantly on diverse artistic projects. For such a contribution, he deserves the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pinoy artists Quiccs, Bjornik to join art exhibit in Mongolia


Two Filipino artists who go by the names "Quiccs" and "Bjornik," will join the Global Tiger Translate Festival Ulan Bator, Mongolia on August 24.
 
The festival, with the theme “STREETS,” will highlight the energy of Asian cities, a news release of event curator Kult said.
 
The two Filipinos will be joining other artists from other countries such as Australia, Mongolia, and the United States for the three-day event.
 
During the first two days from August 22 to 23, the artists will go on a cultural tour of Ulan Bator to gain inspiration for the exhibit.
 
On the last day, the visiting artists will team up with Mongolian artists in interpreting Ulan Bator’s energy through their art.

The artists will portray Ulan Bator’s potential as an Asian megacity.

During the Tiger Translate main celebration on August 24, the artists' works will be featured in a show that includes performances by local and international DJs.
 
Tiger Translate is Tiger Beer’s global initiative to uncover Asia’s brightest rising artists and musicians.
 
The platform is currently on its sixth year and features several international artists like Rostarr, Faile, Jeremyville, Surface To Air, and Jon Burgerman, to name a few.

Best of the best
 
For Quiccs and Bjorniks, it wasn’t easy being selected for the event.
 
Quiccs, an art director and co-founder of Burnwater Design Studios, won a series of live art battles in bars around Manila.
 
He said the competition was a good way to spread awareness about environment protection.

“Tiger Translate is all about reversing the bad society of abusing nature’s resources for personal gain, and going beyond that and acknowledging the fact that we do not own mother nature, and that in fact we belong to her,” he said.
 
In February, he bested Anjo Bolardo in the final Manila bar battle with his bold and innovative graphics art style, making him qualify for the Mongolia bound trip.
 
Quiccs is a finalist of the art contest CE Planet 2012 and believes in the fusion of graffiti art and electronic media where he bases his unique style from.
 
On the other hand, Bjorniks who is an architect in training and considers himself as a storyteller through the lines he draws.
 
In a Tiger Translate contest he joined, his submission garnered the most votes in the Fan Favorite category. The "fans" voted via Facebook.
 
He describes his submission entitled “Must Love Manila” as something which is animated.
 
“As always the Manila cityscape comes alive with its charming vibrance and delightful chaos. Never can you find streets overcrowded with eclectic mix of culture and revelry like Manila,” he said.
 
“So when the sun sets beautifully by the bay, it means the party’s just getting started,” he concluded.
 
Bjorniks has drawn millions of "lines" as an artist which he has used to tell "stories."
 
He has won several international competitions and joined the Yahoo! Purplescape campaign.

He feels that, as an artist, he still has a lot of lines to draw and stories to tell. - VVP, GMA News

PH makes Top 10 list of 'fastest growing' economies


MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is predicted to be one of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world in the next 40 years, according to Knight Frank and Citi Private Wealth's 2012 Wealth Report.
The Philippines is seen to be the 6th fastest growing economy in the world between 2010-2050, with gross domestic product (GDP) at 7.3%.
The Wealth Report's list of fastest growing economies is topped by Nigeria with 8.5% growth rate, followed by India with 8%, Iraq 7.7% and Bangladesh and Vietnam both with 7.5%.
On 7th spot is Mongolia with 6.9%, Indonesia with 6.8%, Sri Lanka with 6.6% and Egypt with 6.4%.
In contrast, the 10 countries that are predicted to grow the least in the next 40 years are Spain, France, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Japan.
Citi research forecasts that developing Asia's share of world real GDP will increase to 49% in 2050 from 27% in 2010. Meanwhile, North American and Western European countries' share of global GDP will fall to 18% in 2050 from 41% in 2010.
China's economy is expected to overtake the US as the world's biggest economy by 2020. However, India is seen to overtake China by 2050.
"Citi research shows that while China and India are likely to grow rapidly over the next 40 years, there are other key countries with promising chances for growth that do not necessarily match the traditional assumptions about where future growth will emanate from," Grainne Gilmore, head of UK Residential Research at Knight Frank, said, in the report.
"For example, Russia and Brazil, which make up the so-called BRIC nations alongside China and India, do not make it on to Citi’s list of Global Growth Generators – or '3G' countries. Instead, Citi includes countries such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam on this list," she added.
The report also quoted Citi chief ecnomist Willem Buiter: "All of these (3G) countries are poor today and have decades of catch-up growth to look forward to. Some of them, including Nigeria, Mongolia, Iraq and Indonesia, also have large natural resources that we hope will be more beneficial than they so often have been in the past."
The Wealth Report noted that Asian economies, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, are projected to be the world's richest economies on a per capita basis by 2050.
Singapore topped the list in 2010 and is expected to keep the top spot in 2050, when the city-state's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita would reach $137,710. Taiwan and South Korea were not even in the top 10 in 2010.
Gilmore said there are now around 18,000 "centa-millionaires" -- those with $100 million or more in assets -- in the region covering Southeast Asia, China and Japan, more than the 17,000 in North America and 14,000 in Western Europe.
By 2016, Southeast Asia, China and Japan are expected to have 26,000 centa-millionaires, compared with 21,000 in North America and 15,000 in Western Europe, Gilmore wrote, citing data from Ledbury Research. - With Agence France-Presse

Monday, August 20, 2012

OFWs may soon file claims online for bills abroad - Philhealth


MANILA, Philippines - Overseas Filipino workers may soon be able to file their claims online so they can be reimbursed for hospital bills incurred abroad.
The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) is exploring strategies to provide better service to its OFW members.
"We want covered OFWs to receive immediate financial relief in the event they become ill and seek hospitalization in their host countries... Our plan is to install by next year a system that will allow OFWs to simply submit online their individual claims for repayment," Dr. Eduardo Banzon, Philhealth president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Philhealth is mulling the possibility of contracting primary care physicians abroad to care for its OFW members.

"We hope to start doing this in selected foreign cities with large concentrations of OFWs," Banzon said.

At present, covered OFWs hospitalized abroad may file claims for reimbursement only by submitting hard copies of the necessary paperwork inside six months to the Philhealth office nearest their Philippine residence.

The papers to be submitted are Philhealth Claim Form 1; a photocopy of the claimant's latest Member Data Record, or contribution payment receipt; a medical certificate with complete diagnosis, period of confinement and services rendered; and a hospital statement of account and/or official receipts with itemized charges and other supporting documents in English.

Philippine-based dependents of OFWs may readily avail of benefits via accredited local hospitals and outpatient service providers.

Philhealth helps pay for the room and board, medicines, laboratory exams, as well as operating room and professional fees for every hospital confinement of not less than 24 hours of the OFW's spouse and other dependents.

Qualified dependents of OFWs who are active Philhealth members are entitled to a separate coverage of up to 45 days confinement per calendar year. The 45 days allowance is shared among all dependents.

Eligible dependents include the OFW's legal spouse who is not a Philhealth member, or whose membership is inactive; the OFW's children below 21 years of age, unmarried and unemployed; and the OFW's parents who are 60 years old and above.

The spouses and children of male OFWs also receive ample medical subsidy in the form of prenatal, maternity and newborn care benefits.
 
A 1995 law requires all citizens of the Philippines "to enroll in the National Health Insurance Program in order to avoid adverse selection and social inequity."

"We at Philhealth are duty-bound to carry out the law, which mandates compulsory membership and coverage of all Filipinos, including to our OFWs... Even if we wanted to, we are not in a position to exempt our OFWs from compulsory coverage and contributions. Otherwise, we will be remiss in the performance of our duties," Banzon said.
Philhealth now covers some 2.52 million OFWs plus 2.48 million of their dependents.
To enlarge benefit payments and cope with the rising cost of hospitalization and out-patient services, Philhealth has adjusted annual premium contributions.
In the case of OFWs, their more than 10-year-old annual premium of P900 (or P2.50 per day) has been revised in phases to P1,200 (or P3.30 per day) effective January 1, 2012, and to P2,400 (P6.55 per day) starting January 1, 2013.

"The cost of all goods and services has drastically gone up over the years. This includes the cost of health care paid for by Philhealth," Banzon said.

"The fine-tuning is long overdue and reasonable, considering it merely reflects over a decade of health care cost inflation, and in view of the expanded benefits Philhealth has been rolling out as we speak," he said.
However, Philhealth's plan to increase annual premium contributions has sparked protests from OFWs.

Sec. Robredo found dead


MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The body of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo was found Tuesday morning, Transport and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas II said.
"At 8:15 a.m. kumpirmadong ang isa sa mga katawan ay kay Sec, Robredo," Roxas said.
Reports have yet to be confirmed if the bodies of Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese Kshitiz Chand have already been retrieved.
Divers found the plane's fuselage around 7:30 a.m. Robredo's body was found inside the fuselage at 7:45 a.m. His body was brought to shore at 8:40 a.m.
Roxas said the remains of the Interior secretary was found 800 meters off Masbate at 180 feet deep.
Robredo's wife, Atty. Maria Leonor Gerona-Robredo, has been informed personally by President Aquino, according to Roxas.
"The president was very quiet, he sought absoulute confirmation. Nung kumpirmadong-kumpirmado na, he wanted to make sure na may malapit kay Ma'am Leni na katabi niya. Ma'am Leni was in her house at malayo pa ang mga kilala naming malapit sa kanya, pinagpasyahan na sabihin kay Ma'am Leni na direkta," he said.
"Iyung dalawang pilot nakasubsob sa cockpit, so si Sec. Robredo ang unang nakuha at dahan-dahang inakyat," Roxas said.
Roxas said a technical diver was able to identify Robredo after being briefed of the Cabinet official's last attire.
"The diver could not come up directly, so he sent up his slate with information that the fuselage was found and 'yun ang sinabi na may indications na si [Sec. Robredo ang natagpuan]. Binigyan siya [ng information] sa bihis ni Sec. Jess, ang sunod na balita na pinaabot niya ay si Sec. Jess nga," he said.
Jun Lavadia, the family's spokesperson, is not available for comment at this point. The house of the Robredos was also closed to the media, a radio dzMM report said.
Robredo's older brother, Butch, also asked for more time before the family could release a statement.
Bahinting's wife Margaret, meanwhile, said: "I have just been thankful to God because this morning I was praying na ma-retrieve na ang mga katawan nila na sana hindi na matagal. Whether they are dead or alive, as long as makita ko ang katawan."
The small Piper plane carrying Robredo, his aide, and two pilots crashed 150 meters away from Masbate airport around 4:30 p.m. Saturday as it attempted to make an emergency landing due to engine trouble.
Robredo’s aide, Jun Abrazado, survived the crash and was rescued from the site on Saturday.
Robredo’s plane came from Mactan, Cebu and was headed to Naga City when it encountered trouble. He was rushing home so he could attend an afternoon awarding ceremony for his daughter, Jillian, who won a swimming competition in the Palarong Panglungsod.
President Benigno Aquino III went to Masbate early Sunday morning to oversee the search and rescue efforts.
The 54-year-old Robredo was appointed by President Aquino as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government on July 9, 2010.
Robredo finished his undergraduate at the De La Salle University with a degree on Industrial Management Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
He finished his Masters in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman before taking up Public Administration at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Robredo was elected mayor of Naga City in 1988 at the age of 29. When he took office, Naga was a poor third-class city with low revenues and a stagnant economy.
Robredo partnered with private businesses to revitalize the city’s economy and re-organized Naga’s transportation systems. By 1990, Naga had become a first-class city and Robredo was re-elected.
Robredo was a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000, Asia's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Robredo was cited by the board of trustees as “giving credence to the promise of democracy by demonstrating that effective city management is compatible with yielding power to the people.”
Robredo is survived by his wife, Atty. Maria Leonor Gerona-Robredo, and his three children, Aika, Patricia and Jillian Therese.

Pinoy coconut drink is named America’s healthiest beverage


An organic coconut water drink once named by Health magazine as “America’s healthiest beverage” is proudly made in the Philippines.
O.N.E. organic coconut water is manufactured in the Philippines but is sold in export markets such as the US.
The product was praised as an example of how the Philippines’ coconut product exports can be packaged in an attractive way for the foreign export markets.
O.N.E. organic coconut water is made with coconuts from the Philippines and packaged in shiny blue Tetra Pak cartons. The stylish but eco-friendly Tetra Pak packaging allows the coconut water to remain fresh and can be stored for months without refrigeration.
According to its website, the coconut water drink is a product of O.N.E. One Natural Experience, an all-natural beverage company founded by Brazilian businessman Rodrigo Veloso. He launched the company in Los Angeles, and introduced O.N.E. organic coconut water at Whole Food Markets in 2006.
The drink quickly became the number one alternative beverage sold in the supermarket chain’s outlets in southern California.
The website said Health magazine even named the drink as “America’s healthiest beverage” for providing enhanced hydration, essential nutrition and all five essential electrolytes (calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and sodium).
A dozen 11-oz O.N.E. coconut drinks is being sold for $21 on Amazon.com.
Coconut products are one of the Philippines’ top exports.