foreign

Us Upgrades Ph Aviation Status

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PAL (Philippine Airlines) president Ramon S. Ang commended the Civil Aviation Authority of the Phils (CAAP) on receiving a Category 1 status from the US Federal Aviation Administration. The PAL head considers this major achievement for the Philippine aviation industry. “This will no doubt boost our country’s travel and tourism sectors and the economy in general,”says Ang.

With this upgrade, the Philippines now joins the ranks of the important aviation nations in the world made up of 79 countries that meet the US safety standards. According to Ang, this means that country is definitely back on the global aviation map. The Philippines used to be on the Category 2 blacklist for six years when it failed to comply with international flight safety standards in the past.

Ang says that it is great news for Philippine Airlines, as this means that it can immediately deliver the kind of flight experience that customers would be eager to try, repeat and share via the new, state-of-the-art Boeing 777-300 ERs that will be deployed for the flag carrier’s non-stop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco. He says that PAL can finally be able to execute on future plans to expand its route network in the US, one of PAL’s biggest passenger markets.

Without a doubt, this upgrade ushers in a new chapter in the flag carrier’s trans-pacific service. “We look forward to serving our customers and kababayans both here and in the United States, and providing to them the trademark warmth and hospitality that PAL has always been known for,” the airline president says.

Filipinos In China Urged To Comply With Visa Conditions

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The Philippine Embassy in Beijing has reminded all Filipinos in China to comply with the conditions and restrictions of their visas to avoid arrest, prosecution, detention, deportation and blacklisting in the host country.

In a statement, the embassy noted that about 200 foreigners were expelled from China in 2013. Out of this number, 48 or 24% were Filipinos.

The Filipinos were apprehended and detained for holding spurious Chinese

visas or forged passports, working without proper employment visas and

permits, assuming false identity, and overstaying in the country.

Some were arrested for illegally entering China then using it as jumping-off

point for travel to other countries.

The embassy’s information campaign sought to increase the Filipinos’ awareness of Chinese immigration policies, particularly rules for foreigners entering the country on a visitor or tourist visa.

The salient points of the campaignfollow:

1. Filipinos should respect the laws of China and observe the

restrictions of their visas. If their visa is for tourism purposes

only, they should not engage in any employment without proper visa

or permit, whether they are compensated or not.

2. They should not be involved in any unlawful activities or criminal

acts, such as illegal drugs trade and prostitution.

3. They should return to the Philippines on or before the expiry of

their authorized period of stay in China to avoid violating

immigration and labor regulations of that country.

Cheap 3d Printer Raises $1m On Kickstarter

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Micro, an unusually sleek 3D printer, is about to hit $1 million in funding on Kickstarter just a day after it started raising funds. The project hits the sweet spot for anyone interested in 3D printing as it might be the first commercially viable $300 3D printer the world has ever seen.

The Micro printer is notably light, weighing just 2.2 pounds. Micro is also doing far better on Kickstarter than Foodini, the nearly equally slick-looking food-printer that created a pretty respectable media splash, but has raised just under $60,000 so far. It’s possible that the pitch of “printing different shapes to encourage kids to eat healthy foods” needs some fine-tuning, especially in a world where people are clamoring for 3D-printed chocolate.

Micro and Foodini aren’t the only popular 3D printers on Kickstarter, of course. A more industrial-looking printer called RoBo 3D reached its $49,000 goal back in early February and is now cruising toward $650,000. The price of a fully assembled RoBo 3D is more than $500, although the vendors are selling a $475 version of the device that they say is “fun” to assemble yourself.

The success of Micro and RoBo 3D seems to indicate that the market for such devices will only truly take off once their price drops to between $300 and $400, which just happens to be the price of a video game console. These current Kickstarter projects are steps toward the moment when one 3D printer will suddenly become popular and profitable enough to start driving manufacturing costs substantially lower. It is exciting to think that either 2014 or 2015 could be the breakthrough year for the nascent 3D printing industry.

Monster Rat Chews Concrete

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A Swedish family suffered the shock of a lifetime when they discovered that the ‘kitchen mouse’ that had their cat running around in circles was in fact a gigantic monster rat.

The Bengtsson-Korsås family first noticed something was wrong when their cat Enok refused to enter the kitchen in their flat in Solna, north-west Stockholm.

The rat measured 15 inches, without its tail, and had made it into the family’s flat by gnawing a tunnel between a wooden panel and concrete.

The family did not discover their gigantic guest until it was time to take out the bins.

‘I was terrified. It was so huge that I barely saw what it was and I jumped up on the kitchen table,’ Signe Bengtsson-Korsås told newspaper Aftonbladet.

The rat had made itself comfortable behind the family’s dishwasher and even caused a leak by chewing its way through the water-pipes.

Despite attempts from Mrs Bengtsson-Korsås and her two children to scare the rodent, the ‘Viking rat’ only grew bolder and eventually dared to venture out on the kitchen floor.

Exterminators were called in and placed industry-sized traps to catch the rat, and less than a day later one of them snapped.

However, when the family checked, the trap was gone. The rat was so powerful that it had carried the trap with it, snapped around its neck.

‘It didn’t die when it went into the trap, but scurried away. It went underneath a wooden plant, where it got stuck and choked itself to death,’ Mr Bengtsson-Korsås said.

‘It was the biggest rat I have ever seen, and it looked like it was in good shape as the fur was nice,’ he added.

(Sara Malm/Daily Mail)

Man Lets Hyena Eat His Genitals

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He was told it would make him rich

A man allowed a hyena to attack him and eat his genitals after being told it would help him to become rich.

Chamangeni Zulu said he was mauled by the animal in the African bush.

As well as eating his genitals, Zulu also said it ate three of his toes.

It happened after he arrived in Chipata, where he says he met a witchdoctor who told him that sacrificing body parts was the best way to become rich.

Speaking to the Times of Zambia, Zulu, who is aged between 20 and 24, said: “I came from Malawi and when I arrived in Chipata I met someone who told me that the best way to become rich was to sacrifice parts of my body…I went to a bush where I was instructed to be naked and a hyena came to me and started eating my toes and eventually my manhood was eaten.”

After being attacked, he crawled to a road and was taken to a hospital by passing police officers. He is now being treated at Chipata General Hospital, who confirmed he had lost his genitals following the incident on March 24.

(Daily Mirror)

The Ultimate Warrior Dead At 54

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THE Ultimate Warrior – a wrestling legend who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this weekend before making an appearance at Wrestlemania 30 on Sunday – died last April 8, of an undisclosed cause.

He was 54 years old.Few details are available at this time, but WWE confirmed The Ultimate Warrior’s passing in a statement, saying of the man whose real name was James Hellwig:

“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior.”

The statement continues:

“Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Warrior became WWE Champion at WrestleMania VI, defeating Hulk Hogan in an epic encounter. We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was also able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and Monday Night Raw to address his legions of fans.

“WWE sends its sincere condolences to Warrior’s family, friends and fans. Warrior was 54 and is survived by his wife Dana and his two daughters.”

The Ultimate Warrior had not wrestled professionally for many years, instead making headlines for a few bizarre video rants.

But he actually appeared this week on Monday Night Raw and his death has left many within the WWE universe in shock.

“RIP WARRIOR. Only love,” tweeted Hulk Hogan, while Triple H added:

“Saddened to announce the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Icon and friend. My sympathy to his wife Dana and his daughters.”

(Hilton Hater/ Hollywood Gossip)

Setting New Sails On Rp-China Relations

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This is in the spirit of “Welcome” to the new Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianua. I’ll highlight the significant elements from the excellent 4,862 word article written by the Chinese Embassy in Manila’s spokesperson and deputy chief of the Political Section, Mr. Zhang Hwa, in response to the Philippine’s filing of its “memorial” to the Arbitral Tribunal.

China’s Position

The Chinese Embassy spokesman’s paper made ten essential points:

1) The Philippines’ push for international arbitration undermined China-Philippines relations as it disregards China’s position;

2) China does not accept the arbitration because “direct negotiations is the most common and preferred way to resolve such disputes… “ and China has successfully solved the boundary issues with 12 of its land neighbors…. 20,000 kms. Of boundary… In 2000, China and Vietnam equitably delineated the maritime boundary in the Beibu Gulf and …. signed the Agreement on Fishery Cooperation….China sees no reason to abandon such successful practices….” Refusal of arbitration is a right under international law which many invoke, denying China this right is “double standard”;

3) China wishes disputes to be settled through bilateral negotiations … “Forcing the arbitration is not conducive to the settlement … “;

4) China’s Basic Position on the South China Sea issue… “the Chinese side has always adhered to resolving relevant disputes with sovereign states directly concerned…. through consultations and negotiations. … and conforms to the consensus that China and ASEAN countries reached in the DOC (Declaration of Conduct)… “;

5) On “The Nature of China-Philippines Disputes… China…. was the first to discover, name, develop and operate on the Nansha Islands….exercised… sovereign jurisdiction….Philippines’ territory was determined by a series of international treaties,… (that) state that the border line of… .the Philippines is 118° East in longitude.… Nansha … and the Huangyan… do not lie within…”

Distance Is Not Relevant

“Some people believe that these islands and reefs are closer to the Philippines, and therefore they belong to the Philippines. This has no basis in international law. Geographical proximity has never been a criterion that determines the ownership of territory. Many countries in the world possess territories far away from their mainland or closer to other countries. .…” 6) Focuses on previous “Consensus” reached in agreements between China and the Philippines … the Joint Statement-PRC-RP Consultations on the South China Sea …. in August 1995 …. The Joint Statement between China and the Philippines on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation… in May 2000… In 2002, China and the ASEAN… signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties…. (DOC),… adhering to negotiations as the mode and not arbitration.

Territories Lost In R.P. Maps

The 7th, on the Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) issue, the paper states “The Philippines once clearly stated that the island is not within its territory. First, a series of international treaties defining the domain of the Philippine territory provide that the Huangyan Island is outside the territory of the Philippines. The then Philippine ambassador to Germany explicitly stated in 1990 in his letter to German radio amateurs that the Huangyan Island is not within the territory of the Philippines. The documents issued in 1994 by the Philippine National Mapping and Resources Authority …. all confirmed …. The Philippine official map issued in 2011 also marked the Huangyan Island outside the Philippine territorial border limits.”

The 8th point on “The Issue of Ren’ai Reef (Second Thomas Shoal)” recalls the commitments of previous Philippine government administrations to “tow away” the stranded Philippine navy derelict there. But the DFA, China states, “on March 14 openly stated the vessel ‘grounded’ 15 years ago was actually meant to occupy the reef, which proves that the Philippine side has been lying for 15 years….The sitting Philippine government was not the one 15 years ago, but as a country, the Philippines is obliged to honor its commitment. A public denial …. will make it lose credibility to the international community.” The 9th point, “Freedom and Safety of Navigation”, states that the “…South China Sea is the main sealane for China’s trade and transportation .… actions taken by China in safeguarding its sovereignty and maritime interests …. do not affect other countries’ freedom of navigation and overflight….”

South China Sea Peace

The paper ends with a Commitment of China to “a South China Sea of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation”, highlighting a measure it proposes to the harmonious climate over the shared waters: China setting up US $ 500-Million maritime cooperation fund to promote maritime cooperation, science, navigation, safety, connectivity, and combating transnational crime; and establishment of a maritime emergency hotline. It concludes: “So long as all parties earnestly implement relevant consensus, adhere to consultations and negotiations, promote practical maritime cooperation and joint development, the South China Sea will become a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. “

The winds of change in the China-Philippines relations seem to be rallying on change not only in theory but in reality. The surest sign of this was revealed in the April 2 AIM forum “Understanding 21st Century China: All Under Heaven?” sponsored by such big-named institutions as Asia Society, Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Association of the Philippines, Tufts Fletcher School Alumni Association-Philippines, the hangers-on Ramos Peace and Development Foundation Inc. (where did FVR get the money?), and Former Senior Government Officials (hangers-on to hangers-on-governments dragged along by Uncle Sam). Three speakers highlighted the forum: Prof. Marwyn Samuels of Syracuse University ; Dr. Liping Zheng of the Asian Development Bank; and Chito Sta. Romana , the fountainhead of wisdom on China for Filipinos.

Puzzled Patriots

Public reactions at the forum were emailed to us by Internet journalist Jerry Quibilan: from Alex to Jerry : “I noticed something very different from the forum today compared to the forum of anti-China activist Raffy Alunan, Roilo Golez and President Ramos also at the AIM in December … They got ex-commodores and ex-commanders of the US 7th Fleet to tell us Filipinos we have to prepare for war with China and shed our blood …We got videos on recycled airplanes and ships to buy for the coming war with China… videos on the Korean war where 10,000 Filipinos allegedly killed 40,000 Chinese. Today President Ramos laughed at the Philippines’ decision to buy 12 new jet planes …. That shook me up. My impression is that Raffy Alunan and President Ramos have noticeably lost their belligerence … They were as nice to China as apple pie. Both said Filipinos should try to understand China and restore normal relations soonest. I am quite puzzled to say the least.”

I suggested an answer to Puzzled Alex: The P20-billion deal to buy the used FA-50 from South Korea has already been signed and sealed; and so the syndicate can now relax the propaganda scare-mongering. Then came this quip from one reactor in the forum, Wilson Lee Flores: “We were colonized four times–the Spanish, the British, the Americans, and the Japanese … Filipinos were killed and …. plundered. On the other hand, what have the Chinese done in over a thousand years here? They just traded and gave us siopao, siomai, mami, and lomi.”

(Tune in to “Sulo ng Pilipino” on 1098 AM, dwAD, Tuesday to Friday, 5 p.m.; catch GNN’s Talk News TV with HTL on Destiny Cable Channel 8, SkyCable Channel 213, and http://www.gnntv-asia.com, Saturday, 8:00 p.m. and replay Sunday, 8 a.m., this week on “Meralco siphoning capital out of the country” with Butch Junia and “Consumer protection groups: Unite!”; visit http://newsulongpilipino.blogspot.com; text your reactions to 0917-8658664)

BMW debuts X4 compact crossover

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SO you want the BMW X6 but think it’s too big for you? Well, the German carmaker has the perfect solution: Put the midsize crossover under a shrink ray to produce the X4 compact crossover.

At 4,671mm long, the X4 is just 14mm longer than the X3 but, at 1,624mm high, is 36mm lower to the ground “and cuts a dynamic profile with its perfectly balanced proportions and distinctive sporting character.”

Although the X4 is based on the same platform as the X3, it does have a character of its own. The large air intakes on the front corners, for example, not only give the vehicle a muscular and agile appearance, but also lower the car’s center of gravity visually. In addition, the coupe-like roofline reaches its apex over the front seats, supposedly reflecting BMW’s traditional driver focus on its vehicles, before it drops toward the boot lid.

Inside, the X4’s driver-focused cabin has electroplated accents, high-gloss black panels, and aluminum strip in the wood paneling to give it a luxurious ambience.

The X4 will be made available with three gasoline engines and three diesel powerplants, all Euro 6-compliant, including the X4 xDrive20d’s new-generation 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine, paired with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.  Delivery of the BMW X4 to global dealerships will begin in July this year.

Ford Mustang Goes Hi-Tech

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Ford Motor Co. has packed the redesigned Mustang with new technologies to boost its global appeal.

The 2015 model is equipped with a standard backup camera and push-button ignition; cross-traffic alert, which warns drivers of oncoming traffic when backing out of parallel and perpendicular parking spaces; forward collision warning; and adaptive cruise control.

Drivers also will be able to individually monitor the pressure of each tire on the cluster for the first time, and toggle through four selectable driving modes that fit them best.

To top it off, the Mustang will be the first Ford vehicle available with the next generation of the AppLink smart phone connectivity system.

The 2015 Mustang goes on sale in the fall.

But even with a plethora of new gadgets to give it a global shine, Ford made sure the Mustang retained its essence, Scott Lindstrom, Ford’s driver assist technologies manager, said during a Mustang tech briefing today.

“Mustang has always been a great car, always had a big V-8, always been fun to drive, but as we looked to make it a truly global sports car we recognized we really had to add some technology,” Lindstrom said. “Right now, it’s definitely the most technologically advanced Mustang we ever made.”

Steve Ling, Ford car marketing manager, said the technology on the new Mustang is all driver-focused.

The Track Apps feature, a set of applications in the instrument cluster that collects performance data, has been given a global touch. The system, available since 2013, now has a metric system translator. Track Apps comes standard in the Mustang EcoBoost and GT.

Jon Ohland, a Ford electrical systems engineer, said Track Apps “provides an indication to the driver of how the vehicle is performing, and it also can give an indication of when the vehicle performance is degrading or improving.” (Vince Bond Jr./ Automotive News)

Volvo Gets Serious On Driver Sensing Tech

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Volvo has always been known for its stance on car safety. Whether that’s through headrests, airbags or seatbelts, or simply building cars tougher than the objects they’re likely to smash into, it’s given Volvo one of the safest reputations in the industry.

Modern safety thinking is a lot more high-tech, and concentrates as much on preventing accidents as surviving them. Ensuring the driver is alert is a big part of that, and Volvo’s latest technology allows the car to sense when the driver is tired or not paying attention. The system bathes the driver in infrared light, undetectable by the driver but enough for infrared sensors to pick up the driver’s position and eye movements.

Start to drift off to sleep, and the car will spot your inattentiveness, the periods with your eyes closed, perhaps your body position changing–and prevent you falling asleep entirely. Even if you’re just not paying attention–maybe you’re adjusting the radio, or arguing with a passenger–the system will notice and alert you, perhaps encouraging you to keep your eyes on the road. In the meantime, the car’s other safety systems can prevent you straying from your lane or getting too close to the car in front.

But there’s more to it than that. Driver sensing also has other, less safety-orientated benefits. By recognizing the person sitting behind the wheel, the car could feasibly organize the car’s various adjustable features–seat, wheel, mirrors–to that particular driver. Okay, so plenty of cars do the same with a mere button press, but that’s not very 21st-century, is it? More unique is the ability to adjust the car’s exterior lighting in the direction the driver is looking–taking adaptive lighting to a whole new level.

Volvo notes that these systems aren’t capable of photographing the driver, nor do they have a “surveillance” function–so even if your car recognizes you, it’s only appreciating your good looks. Volvo has already installed the various systems in test vehicles, so it may not be far from reality. More pertinent still, the technology could eventually serve a purpose in autonomous cars–determining whether a driver is ready to take the wheel again before the autonomous functions cede control. (Anthony Ingram/Motor Authority)