Thursday, September 20, 2012

Filipino street kid age13, wins $130,000 peace prize

THE HAGUE—A young Filipino who lived off a rubbish dump and slept in an open tomb has won a prestigious children’s award in the Netherlands for his work to improve the rights of his fellow street kids.
Cris “Kesz” Valdez, aged 13, was handed this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize at a glittering ceremony in The Hague on Wednesday, where he received a 100,000 euro ($130,000) prize.
Valdez was chosen from three finalists for the work of his “Championing Community Children” charity which raises funds to hand out gift parcels to needy children in Cavite City, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of the capital Manila.
“You are wonderful,” Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, who handed over this year’s prize, told Valdez at a press conference shortly after the ceremony, held in The Hague’s historic Knight’s Hall.
“My message to children around the world is not to lose hope” and to remember things like hygiene, said Valdez, who added that the prize would help him get an education and perhaps realize his dream of becoming a doctor.
Through his charity, Valdez has handed out more than 5,000 gifts to destitute children that included everyday articles like flip-flops, toys, sweets and clothes, said the KidsRights Foundation, the prize’s initiator.
In all, he has helped some 10,000 children in his area on health, hygiene and children’s rights, the foundation added.
Some 246,000 street children are, like Valdez was as a young child, subjected to abuse, violence and child labor in the Philippines, it said.
Asked about the prize money, KidsRights Foundation chairman Marc Dullaert said a committee was now to decide, together with Valdez, to which projects it would be donated.
Archbishop Tutu, the South African peace icon who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize is in the Netherlands for a nine-day visit.

iPhone 5 launch draws crowds at Asia Apple shops

HONG KONG — In a now-familiar ritual, Apple’s Asian fans jammed the tech juggernaut’s shops in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore to pick up the latest version of its iPhone.
Eager buyers formed long lines at Apple Inc. stores in Australia and Japan to be the first to get their hands on the latest version of the smartphone. In Hong Kong, buyers had to sign up online for the chance to pick up the device at a preset time. The first customers were greeted by staff cheering, clapping, chanting “iPhone 5! iPhone 5!” and high-fiving them as they were escorted through the front door.
The smartphone is also being launched in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France and Germany on Friday and will go on sale in 22 more countries a week later. The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, has a taller screen, faster processor, updated software and can work on faster “fourth generation” mobile networks.
Order numbers indicate the iPhone 5 has overcome initial lukewarm reviews. Apple received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing its release date, more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S in the same period when that phone launched a year ago.
Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.
Some Australian fans went to extreme lengths to be the first to own the new phone, grabbing the first spots in line at Apple’s flagship store in downtown Sydney on Tuesday — three days ahead of the release.
Todd Foot, 24, nabbed the coveted first spot and spent an average of 18 hours a day sitting in a folding chair adorned with an Australian flag, and attempting to catch a few hours’ sleep each night in a tent on the sidewalk outside the store.
Foot’s dedication was largely a marketing stunt, however. He writes product reviews for a technology website which plans to give away the phone after Foot reviews it.
In Hong Kong, not everyone who lined up was an Apple enthusiast. University student Kevin Wong, waiting to buy a black 16 gigabyte model for 5,588 Hong Kong dollars ($720), said he was getting one “for the cash.” He planned to immediately resell it to one of the numerous grey market retailers catering to visiting mainland Chinese buyers. China is one of Apple’s biggest sources of revenue but a release date for the iPhone 5 has not yet been set.
Mainland Chinese, who like to shop in Hong Kong because there’s no sales tax and because of the strength of the yuan, will probably buy it from the resellers “at a higher price — a way higher price,” said Wong, who hoped to make a profit of HK$1000 ($129).
Tokyo’s glitzy downtown Ginza district had not just one long line but two — one, in front of the Apple store and the other across the main intersection at Softbank, the first carrier in Japan to offer iPhones — both packed with Japanese determined to be among the world’s first to own an iPhone 5.
Hidetoshi Nakamura, a 25-year-old auto engineer, said he’s an Apple fan because it’s an innovator.
“I love Apple,” he said, standing toward the end of a two-block-long line, patiently reading a book and listening to music on his iPod.
“It’s only the iPhone for me.”

FIBA Asia 2012- Philippines vs Chinese Taipei Replay




FIBA Asia 2012 Diagram to Finals

FIBA Asia 2012- Philippines VS Lebanon Replay


American Idol Live Tour 2012 on September 21, 2012, 8pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum byOvation Productions.
American Idols Live Tour 2012  features the top 10 finalists from the show’s 11th season. These include the 2012 American Idol winner, Phillip Phillips, our very own Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Colton Dixon, Skylar Laine, Hollie Cavanagh, Elsie Testone, Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick and Erika Van Pelt.
Catch your American Idol favorites performing solo, as well as showcased in duets and groupperformances on September 21, 2012 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ticket Prices:

VIP SEATED – P11,090
UPPER BOX A (UA) – P3,700
UPPER BOX B (UB) – P2,115

Pnoy sends Mar Roxas to China

President Benigno Aquino on Thursday sent Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II to China to meet with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the country’s leader-in-waiting,  in what Malacañang said was part of a diplomatic initiative to build on the “thawing” of ties with Beijing.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recommended that Roxas lead the Philippine delegation as Mr. Aquino’s special envoy to the five-day 9th China-Asean Expo in China’s southern city of Nanning, according to presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
Lacierda said the DFA was arranging the meeting with Xi. “We are hoping that we will be able to meet with the Vice President,” said Lacierda, who is part of the delegation.
The announcement of the Roxas mission followed an unprecedented tussle in the Senate over the conduct of negotiations with China on Wednesday between Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV—the same day the Inquirer reported that Trillanes, as Mr. Aquino’s backroom negotiator with Beijing, had sparked a tempest in the DFA.
Enrile accused Trillanes of being a “traitor” to the country for allegedly pushing Chinese interests, citing a purported report on Aug. 17 by Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady about her conversation with Trillanes.
One of the items in the report Enrile read referred to a supposed recommendation by Trillanes that Mr. Aquino make Roxas an alternate channel for direct communications with the President in the negotiations with China. However, Lacierda stressed that the Roxas mission was recommended by the DFA.
Roxas, who left Thursday, said he expected to meet Friday with Xi, who is widely expected to succeed Chinese President Hu Jintao as leader of China’s ruling Communist Party at its anticipated national congress soon. Xi is expected to take over as president in March next year.
Outstanding issues
Roxas told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that China had sought the meeting.
Asked about his message to Xi, Roxas said: “Without going into specifics, the message pertains to current outstanding issues.” He was obviously referring to the standoff over Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) since April when the Philippine Navy attempted to stop Chinese fishermen from poaching endangered marine life.
The meeting comes amid a “thawing” of the country’s relations with China, according to Roxas, echoing Malacañang’s pronouncement on Wednesday in the wake of disclosures that Trillanes had more than a dozen meetings with officials at different levels in the Chinese government as Mr. Aquino’s back-channel negotiator.
Roxas is expected to discuss matters pertaining to Philippine-China relations, including the dispute in the West Philippine Sea, a territory falling within the Philippine exclusive economic zone but is being contested by China, Lacierda indicated.
“It will certainly be a discussion on a higher level. So certainly we would view this as a positive development, in a positive light,” he said.
Before his departure yesterday, Roxas was briefed by Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on the nuts and bolts of the testy relationship with China, Lacierda said.
Positive aspects
One crucial issue to be highlighted by Roxas, a former senator and trade secretary, during the high-level meeting is the tendency to view the bilateral relation from a one-dimensional point of view.
“That’s one of the things that (Roxas) would convey that, as important as the outstanding issues are, there are other facets to Philippine-China relations that are working positively,” said a Palace official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the fine points of the President’s message to be conveyed by Roxas to Xi.
The Palace official said that although the “occasion involves trade issues, the message has to do with territory and other bilateral issues.”
Briefing reporters at the Palace, Lacierda explained that Roxas would relay to Xi what Mr. Aquino would have wanted to tell outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao during a scheduled meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit on Sept. 8 that was scrapped at the last minute.
“Remember, the President was not able to meet with President Hu Jintao. And so the President has given his approval to Secretary Mar Roxas to relay to the Vice President what President Aquino wanted to relay to President Hu Jintao.”
Unnecessary nuisance
Lacierda denied that the President’s decision to handpick one of his most trusted Cabinet members to represent him was an offshoot of the political storm that triggered a statement by Del Rosario that suggested activities by Trillanes were torpedoing his initiatives.
Trillanes, a former Navy lieutenant who was incarcerated for nearly seven years for leading a failed coup attempt in 2003, has accused Del Rosario of incompetence and called the foreign secretary a “war freak” for seeking the involvement of the United States in the standoff with China. Trillanes claimed his efforts eased tensions between Manila and Beijing.
“This is an unnecessary nuisance,” Lacierda said of the Enrile-Trillanes fight.
Del Rosario recommended Roxas as special envoy of the President after the DFA received a note verbale from the Chinese embassy in Manila requesting Roxas’ presence, said Lacierda.
“It is not an offshoot of the—whatever offshoot it was.  There is no offshoot, by the way. This is really Secretary Del Rosario’s recommendation and the President approved the recommendation of Secretary Del Rosario,” said Lacierda.
Damage control
Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the House committee on national defense and security, yesterday said there was a need for “damage control” in the wake of public disclosures on Trillanes’ role as a backdoor negotiator for the government.
“It may definitely affect (the ongoing talks) but that is already water under the bridge,” he told the Inquirer on the phone. “All you can do now is to effect damage control.”
Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño said the nationally televised confrontation between Enrile and Trillanes “might undermine the talks if still ongoing.”
“It might also jeopardize future back-channeling efforts because other governments might not be honest and candid since there is no assurance that talks would be under wraps,” he said in a text message. 

Pacquiao wins over Mayweather

Score a win for Manny Pacquiao over Floyd Mayweather Jr.
A federal judge ruled Monday (Tuesday in Manila) that Mayweather has to pay Pacquiao more than $113,000 for intentionally dodging  deposition in the defamation suit filed by the Filipino champion and boxing’s only eight-division world champion last year.
According to,  Nevada Judge Larry Hicks ordered the WBC welterweight and WBA light middleweight champion to shell out $113,518.50 for attorneys’ fees and $774.10 for court costs Pacquiao incurred in the suit meant to clear his reputation.
Pacquiao had accused Mayweather, his father Mayweather Sr. and uncle Roger, of  maligning him by issuing statements alleging that he used performance-enhancing drugs to bolster his ring performances.
Finding the suit meritorious, Hicks ordered Mayweather to appear for deposition between June and October last year, but the unbeaten American snubbed the summons claiming that he was preoccupied with training.
Several articles, photos, and videos, primarily from TMZ, however, showed otherwise as Mayweather was seen at nightclubs, gallivanting and, worse, even burning a $100 bill.
These developments prompted Pacquiao’s lawyers to demand for sanctions against the five-division champion.
Though Hicks, in a ruling last October, refused to grant Pacquiao default judgment on the basis of the blatant disregard for deposition, he ordered Mayweather “to pay deposition costs and attorneys’ fees as a sanction.”
While the sanction may not put a hole in Mayweather’s pocket as he reportedly earned $85 million last year, it further diminished his already tainted character.
Last June, Mayweather was imprisoned in a Las Vegas jail for domestic violence.

Roach will change Pacquiao fight plan vs Marquez

For trainer Freddie Roach, an overhaul of their fight straight strategy is in order if Manny Pacquiao is to finally knock Juan Manuel Marquez out on Dec. 8.
“We have Marquez three times using all kinds of strategy,” Roach told Wednesday (Thursday in Manila). “It’s time to throw logic out the window and start over.”
Roach wants Pacquiao to be much bolder and more relentless when he shows up for his fourth and last fight against the Mexican warrior at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“This time Manny will go after him like the first fight,” Roach said. “Manny told me he knows he needs a knockout. He’s never said that before.”
Having put Marquez on the canvas four times—three in the opening round of their first fight in 2004 and once in the third round of Pacquiao-Marquez II in 2008—Pacquiao definitely has the power to knock out Marquez.
Roach said he needs “to re-ignite the killer instinct Manny has lacked in the last (two) fights with Marquez,” whom he narrowly beat by split and majority decision, respectively.
There was neither fire nor anger in Pacquiao’s eyes when he dominated Timothy Bradley early on only to lay back and allow the unbeaten American to steal a split decision.
Pacquiao and Marquez, whom Roach described as “the smartest fighter of his era,” will promote their fight in Mexico City on Friday.

Pacquiao still favored over Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - If Juan Manuel Marquez thinks that three close fights with Manny Pacquiao could earn him the nod of the oddsmakers he better think again.

The betting odds for the fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez are out, and the great Filipino boxer is out of the starting gates at -400.
This means that Pacquiao remains as the favorite in his never-ending rivalry against Marquez, who was listed initially at +300 in the fight line provided by American pubicist Fred Sternburg yesterday.

In layman’s terms, you need to put in $400 just to win $100 if you’re for Pacquiao. On the other hand, a wager of $100 wins $300 if you’re for Marquez.

When they met for the third time, then supposed to be the last one, last November, Pacquiao started out at -700 but went to as high as -900 and even higher.

Marquez was at +500 close to the fight, and if you’d base your thoughts on the odds, the only way the Mexican could win is if Pacquiao didn’t show up at the MGM Grand.

But Marquez, now 39 and almost six years older than Pacquiao, proved a lot of people wrong. He gave the world one hell of a fight, and many thought he won the fight.

Pacquiao and Marquez were in New York yesterday for the press tour, and by the end of the week they head separate ways, straight to their respective training quarters.

The next time they will meet is perhaps on the week of the fight, in cold December in glittery Vegas.
Marquez is once again out to prove these people wrong.

Pacquiao, Marquez look for KOs in 4th rivalry fight

BEVERLY HILLS, California — Three compelling bouts in eight years haven’t resolved the rivalry between Pacquiao and Marquez, so they’re stepping in the ring together for a fourth bout on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
And this time, they’re both looking for the only decisive ending to any fight: a stone-cold KO.
“I want to erase the doubt of the last three fights,” Pacquiao said. “There’s so many people still asking if I won the fights. I think to myself, ‘Something is wrong. I have to do it again.’ This time, I will train hard to put this fight up in the history of boxing. I want to make this fight short. I want to knock him out.”
Although they’re extending a rivalry to rare lengths in modern boxing, the fighters and promoters believe fans will warm to the matchup when they remember just how good the first three fights were.
Pacquiao and Marquez fought to a draw in 2004, while Pacquiao won by split decision in 2008 and again by majority decision last year. The bouts featured knockdowns, wild momentum swings and fascinating contrasts in technique — but Marquez and many fans still believe he won all three fights, while Pacquiao says he clearly won the last two.
“It’s been an incredible ride,” Top Rank promoter Todd duBoef said. “People ask me whether it’s going to be hard to sell a fourth fight. Did you see the first 36 rounds? There wasn’t a dull moment.”
With a combination of unfinished business and unmatched financial reward, Pacquiao and Marquez both had plenty of incentive to get together again. They have fought at 125, 130 and 144 pounds, and their fourth fight will be a straight welterweight contest at 147.
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) is coming off his first loss since 2005, a wildly disputed decision to Timothy Bradley. Still stinging from that embarrassment, he says he’s going back to the ferocious, relentless style of fighting that made him an eight-division champion. Pacquiao hasn’t stopped an opponent in more than three years, a once-unthinkable drought for a relentless puncher.
“I want to be the other Manny Pacquiao, like when I was 24, 25 years old,” Pacquiao said. “I want people who watch this fight to be satisfied. I don’t care about a belt. I don’t care about the money. I want the win.”
Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) has tested Pacquiao more than any opponent, with counterpunching skills and comprehensive boxing knowledge that can negate many of Pacquiao’s strengths. But Pacquiao also is a nightmare matchup for Marquez, whose relentlessness hasn’t been enough to overcome Pacquiao’s once-in-a-generation combination of speed and strength.
While Pacquiao has a plan to recapture his best form, Marquez believes the only way to be sure he’ll finally get his hand raised is to stop the Filipino congressman. Marquez swore off the rivalry and nearly retired in frustration immediately after Pacquiao’s victory last fall, but agreed to return after a few months to cool down.
“I won all of the last three fights,” Marquez said. “I would like the referee to raise my hand. Everybody knows I won the fights, and I don’t know what happened with the judges. I have to take it out of the judges’ hands this time.”
Pacquiao won’t train in Baguio, the high-altitude northern Philippines city where he has traditionally started training camp before heading to trainer Freddie Roach’s gym for the final few weeks.
Instead, Pacquiao and Roach will be in Hollywood for their entire training camp, dramatically reducing the number of distractions for the Philippines’ most famous person.
Pacquiao and Marquez will join the short list of rivalries that couldn’t be contained by a mere trilogy, including Sugar Ray Robinson’s six fights with Jake LaMotta and Robinson’s four bouts with Gene Fullmer. More recently, Israel Vazquez’s sensational rivalry with Rafael Marquez, Juan Manuel’s brother, extended to four fights, concluding with Marquez’s third-round stoppage of Vazquez in May 2010.

Pacquiao - Marquez 4 is confirmed

LOS ANGELES - Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao will fight Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time on December 8, promoter Bob Arum confirmed on Friday, September 14.
Pacquiao and Mexico's Marquez will embark on a three-city international media tour touting the fight starting on Monday in Beverly Hills, California.
Between them Pacquiao and Marquez have won world titles in 12 weight divisions and they will add another chapter to their intense rivalry when they fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas -- scene of their first and third fights.
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) was also in negotiations for a rematch against Tim Bradley, who claimed Pacquiao's welterweight world title with a controversial split-decision victory in Las Vegas on June 9.
Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto was also a possible opponent for Pacquiao, but he announced on Twitter last month that he would fight junior middleweight world champion Austin Trout on December 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Pacquiao defeated Marquez in a majority decision in November -- a third gut-wrenching result for Marquez against his Filipino foe.
In the build-up to that fight, Marquez had taunted Pacquiao with claims that he was the true winner of their first two clashes -- a 2004 draw and a 2008 rematch that went to Pacquiao by a single point on a single scorecard. 

Toni Gonzaga on kissing scene with Vice Ganda: "Worst I've ever had"

In Star Cinema's upcoming comedy film "This Guy's In Love With You, Mare," the comedian-host portrays a suitor of actress Toni Gonzaga's character.
"Lalaki siya sa pelikulang ito kaya nakakatawa, pero lalaking-lalaki siya, convincing ah," Gonzaga told reporters on Wednesday night.
Asked about their kissing scene, Gonzaga said in jest: "Pinakamalalang nagawa ko sa buong buhay ko, na magka-eksena kami ni Vice na hindi ko alam kung paano namin nagawa!"
"First time ko ma-experience 'yung ganung klaseng kissing scene, kakaiba, hindi ko mai-describe. Nakakabaliktad ng sikmura," she added, laughing.
Directed by Wenn Deramas, "This Guy" is Vice Ganda's follow up to the 2011 comedy film "The Ukabogable Praybeyt Benjamin," which went on to become the highest-grossing local film of all time.
Referring to the achievement of the film, Gonzaga admitted she feels "pressured" to replicate its success, especially since she co-stars with Vice Ganda.
"Lagi namang may pressure, every project na ginagawa natin. Siguro mas may pressure lang dahil nga doon sa pelikula ni Vice," Gonzaga said.
"Pero hindi namin iniisip 'yun sa ngayon eh. Ine-enjoy lang namin ngayon 'yung pelikula," she added.
Known to be a close friend of the "It's Showtime" host, Gonzaga also said she has noticed Vice Ganda's evolution as an actor over the course of filming for their comedy flick.
"Mas mahusay siya ngayon, mas magaling, mas mabilis, at saka iba na 'yung kumpyansa niya sa sarili niya dahil alam niya na mahusay siya talaga at maraming nagmamahal sa kanya," Gonzaga said.
Also starring actor-host Luis Manzano, "This Guy's In Love With You Mare" is expected to hit theaters nationwide in October.

70 Filipinos get $1M for speaking tagalog

DELANO, California—Dozens of Filipino hospital workers in California will share a nearly $1 million settlement in a lawsuit claiming they were targeted by a rule requiring English only at work, federal officials said Monday.
The settlement involves nearly 70 nurses and medical staff members who accused Delano Regional Medical Center in California’s Kern County of banning them from speaking Tagalog and other Filipino languages while letting other workers speak in their native languages, including Spanish, the US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission announced.
The lawsuit, filed jointly by the commission and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in 2010, accused the hospital of creating a hostile working environment for Filipinos by singling them out for reprimands and by encouraging other staff to report them.
The medical center defended its English-only policy as essential to patient care. In a written statement, officials said the hospital did nothing wrong.
Under California law, employers can require workers to speak English if there is a business necessity.
For decades, thousands of nurses from the Philippines have migrated to the United States to alleviate the nursing shortage. More than half of American nurses trained abroad are from the Philippines.
Filipino nurses in Delano said they were called to a special meeting with hospital managers in 2006, warned not to speak Tagalog, and told surveillance cameras would be installed, if necessary, to monitor them. No other language groups were included in the meeting, the lawsuit states.
Since then, workers said, they were told on a daily basis by fellow staffers to speak only English, even on breaks. The workers allege they were targets of undue scrutiny, discipline, harassment and threats over the issue.
The hospital’s policy, which requires the use of either English or the patient’s preferred language while care is provides, remains in effect, the hospital’s statement said, though it has been updated.
As part of the settlement, the hospital also agreed to develop strong protocols for handling complaints of harassment and discrimination; adopt a language policy that complies with the Civil Rights Act; and conduct anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all staff with additional training for supervisors.
Delano Regional Medical Center is a 156-bed hospital located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Bakersfield.

Manny Pangilinan called Senator Trillanes a liar

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan called Trillanes a “liar” for insinuating that he has instigated the anti-China tirade to protect his business interest.
“I can tell him this to his face  ‘you’re a liar,’” Pangilinan said in a phone call from Tokyo late Wednesday night.
Pangilinan admitted that Trillanes came to see him asking him to ask Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario to tone down his rhetoric against China. “I told him I will tell him (Del Rosario) but he is only my friend and I cannot dictate on him what to do,” Pangilinan told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
He also denied as “rubbish” Trillanes’ claim that he funded a lobby group to prod the US into siding with the Philippines against China on the territorial dispute.
Pangilinan said he was one of only several prominent businessmen who formed the US-Philippine Society in order to enhance ties between the two countries with no “sinister plan.”
“I do not meddle with Del Rosario’s business or schedule nor does he meddle in mine,” said Pangilinan.
Pangilinan also dismissed as pure speculation Trillanes’ claim that he wanted to create a diversion to prevent China from releasing its findings that the Recto Bank find of Forum Energy was not as big as advertised. Trillanes had claimed that  fueling the anti-China sentiment would allow Pangilinan the time to look for another buyer to sell the rights to Recto Bank.
Pangilinan said that Forum has only stated that the Recto Bank could possibly be the biggest gas find in the country based on initial studies but nowhere did the company claim that this was the “bible truth” as this was subject to further studies.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jessica Sanchez and American Idol Top 10 in Philippines for Asian Concert Tour

“There are lots of casinos, and pretty girls,” quipped Heejun Han, one of the Top 10 finalists of “American Idol” Season 11, when asked of his first impressions upon landing on Philippine soil.
Heejun, 23, joined the rest of the youthful, bubbly “Idols” at a press conference Tuesday at the Manila Hotel for their concert on Friday, at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The show is the last and only Asian date of the group’s 45-city tour of the United States.
In 2010, the “American Idol” live tour—which featured grand winner Scott McCreery and 10 others, including 11th-placer Filipino-American Thia Megia—debuted in Manila for two nights, also at the Big Dome.
Friday’s concert is made more significant by the presence of another Filipino-American, Jessica Sanchez, the 2012 “Idol” runner-up who almost snagged the title from her main rival, Phillip Phillips.
Born and raised in the United States to a Filipino mother and a Mexican-American father, Jessica—easily the most popular among the Idols due to her local lineage and jaw-dropping vocal power—said she would be staying behind for about a week after the concert.
“I’ll be shooting some product endorsements,” she said, but expressed regret that she might not be able to visit her mom’s hometown in Bataan province.
She held back when the Philippine Daily Inquirer asked whether she would be doing a commercial for leading food chain Jollibee, explaining that she couldn’t reveal anything yet, except for clothing brand Bench which announced it recently on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.
Jessica likewise did not confirm whether she was indeed being considered to play the lead role of Kim in the film version of the award-winning stage musical “Miss Saigon,” although she said: “I would love to try (auditioning).”
Just turned 17
Regarding reports that she was set to appear in the popular musical-comedy-drama TV series “Glee,” Jessica replied: “Nothing’s confirmed … But it’s in the works.”
The petite powerhouse singer, who just turned 17 last month, showed none of the trappings of fame that came with her worldwide exposure on “Idol.”
Dressed in a simple, cut-off denim shirt and black shorts, the only noticeable pop-star item in her wardrobe was her pair of silver spikes-studded high-heeled shoes.
She pointed out that she ate more Filipino food than Mexican fare at home in San Diego, California. Asked what her favorite Pinoy dish is, she struggled with her Tagalog: “Sinigang na … the one with pork.”
She admitted that she couldn’t learn the Filipino language because it was not spoken at home, “although my grandpa does, but he speaks so fast.”
Life-changing status

If there was any instance during the “Idol” competition that made her realize that joining it had changed her life, Jessica paused for a moment before saying: “The gruelling moments … when we were all pushing to do something that we really wanted.”
Asked what would they be doing if they didn’t get into the show, each of the “Idols” gave different answers—except for Jessica, who said, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s been in my head since I was 10.”
The rest of the “Idols” affirmed the life-changing status they felt during and after the show.
“(After) being eliminated, we appeared on talk shows and people started noticing,” said sixth placer Elise Testone. A veteran of the South Carolina music scene, Elise, 29, is a vocal coach aside from being a talented musician who can play the piano, guitar, drums, cello and tambourine.
“Meeting the fans while on tour was definitely memorable,” admitted 10th placer Erika Van Pelt, a native of South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Apparently the most adventurous fashion-wise, Erika, 26, said she dyed her hair red because she was “feeling fiery” en route to the Philippines.
“Idol” title holder Phillip Phillips—who revealed that his debut solo album is due for release in December—confessed that “everything still isn’t real for me. I still get nervous when performing.”
But the 21-year-old singer-songwriter from Leesburg, Georgia, who stood out in the competition for his ability to arrange his material, added that “the tour has made me feel at home in the cities that we visit. It’s been a long year but a lot of fun.”
Eighth placer DeAndre Brackensick, 17, said he “can’t wait to eat balut.” Born in San Jose, California, to a European-American father and an African-American mother, DeAndre did not join the group interviews because he was not feeling well, organizers said. He is currently the apple of Jessica’s eyes.
Seventh placer Colton Dixon, 20, appreciated the fact that he has collaborated on some songs with Jason Wade of the Los Angeles rock band Lifehouse. He said he’s looking forward to the eventual release of the songs.
Of the 10 Idols, it was third placer and Louisiana native Joshua Ledet who greeted the Philippine media with “Mabuhay!” He added that he learned another Filipino word, but couldn’t remember it at the moment.
New ‘Idol’ judges
It remains to be seen whether this batch of Idols would pull in a capacity crowd at the Big Dome concert on Friday.
Although “Idol” has been highly rated since it debuted on television in 2002, audiences are now only about half the more than 30 million who watched regularly in the show’s 2005 and 2006 heyday.
The last season finale in May drew a record low of 21.5 million viewers and “Idol” lost its prestige as the most-watched program on US TV to “Sunday Night Football.”
Controversial rapper Nicki Minaj and country singer Keith Urban joined a new set of judges that includes Mariah Carey (with Randy Jackson retained) as the show seeks to boost its star power and recapture sliding audiences in a crowded TV talent competition field.
The show’s 12th season will air in January 2013.

Motorola's first Intel phone launches in UK

Google's Motorola unit has released its first Intel-powered smartphone.

The Razr i is based on a mid-range model sold in the US that features an ARM-based Snapdragon processor.
Motorola said the change of chip meant improved camera performance. However, it has also meant Google's Chrome browser is not installed on the device.
Intel recently cut its sales forecasts citing weaker demand. Although it dominates PC chip sales it is a niche player in the smart device sector.

So, Intel's tie-up with Google - which also makes the Android system - is widely seen as its most significant effort to crack the market to date.
Its existing smartphone partners - ZTE, Lenovo, Lava, and Gigabyte - are all relatively minor smartphone forces in Western markets.
The handset will be offered in the UK, France, Germany and Latin America.
It has a 4.3in (10.9cm) display making it bigger than Apple's iPhone 5, but smaller than Samsung's top-selling Galaxy S3 and HTC's One X.
Chrome compromise
The Motorola device features a new Intel Atom chip which runs at 2 gigahertz - an improvement on the 1.6GHz model included in an Orange-branded model launched in the UK in May.
Intel said the chipset also included a new image signal processor that had been specifically optimised to work with Motorola's technology.
"You can be ready to take a picture in less than one second, which is about twice as fast as other products on the market," Eric Reid, general manager of Intel mobile and communications group, told the BBC.
"A lot of times you want to take multiple pictures - and you can take up to 10 pictures in a second, which is faster than many DSLRs (digital single lens reflex) cameras on the market today."
However, the inclusion of Intel's technology has meant that Google has not been able to offer Chrome as the default web browser, as it does with the handset's US counterpart, the Droid Razr M.
"Chrome is not ready for pre-loading on this device," acknowledged Jim Wicks, senior vice president of consumer experience design at Motorola.

He added that users would be able to download the software from the Google Play store as an option. The firm markets the software as having "hardware-accelerated page rendering" on ARM-based chips.
"We don't want to do that unless we have complete chipset optimisation at that level."
Battery life
Intel opted to use a single-core CPU (central processing unit) design for its latest chip, bucking an industry trend for dual or quad-core models.
Multiple cores allow handsets to maximise battery life by only using all of the cores when they are carrying out processor-intensive tasks, but switching some of them off at other times to save energy.
Intel said it had instead used a technique it called hyper-threading which allowed its single core to carry out two tasks in parallel. It said this allowed it to complete calculations more quickly, and thus shut down the processor down faster.
"Not all cores are created equal," said Mr Reid.
"It's really about what the architecture can do and how you do it in the most efficient fashion.
"We found with the Atom processor we can deliver performance on our processor that actually beats many of the dual core processors on the market today."
Motorola said it had also included its own Smart Actions software to help the device achieve about a 20-hour lifespan between charges. The utility is not offered to other Android device makers.
"You might get up to 15% to 20% more battery life out of our devices as a result," Mr Wicks said.The software studies how each owner uses their handset and then suggests times it can automatically switch off functions such as bluetooth connectivity and GPS location functionality.
Mid-range mobiles
One industry watcher said it was noteworthy that Intel had deliberately decided not to target its chip at Motorola's top-end handsets.
"It may look strange that a computing company like Intel would position itself with a mid-range device," said Malik Saadi - principal analyst at Informa Telecom.
"But there is less competition in that segment, and many of the other device at that price point are lower performance, so it will get noticed.
"Intel is trying to enter the mobile market in a modest way... We expect it will launch a more expensive multi-core processor in 2013, although we don't know the partner."
Mr Wicks confirmed that Motorola planned to offer further Intel-based handsets over the coming years, but would not discuss whether they would also be restricted to markets outside the US.
Mr Reid added that Intel planned to announce further tie-ups with manufacturers before the end of 2012.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

iPhone 5 is out in the US

SAN FRANCISCO—Apple on Wednesday introduced its new iPhone 5, a lighter, thinner and more powerful version of its iconic mobile device
Apple chief executive Tim Cook called the launch “the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since the iPhone.”
At a packed launch event in San Francisco, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said of the new iPhone: “It is an absolute jewel. The software and engineering that went into this product is the most challenging our team has ever taken on.”
Apple will start taking orders for the phone Friday and begin shipments September 21 in the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia and Japan, and would be available in 100 countries by the end of the year. Pricing for US customers will start at $199.
The introduction has been among the most keenly anticipated in the tech world, with rumors and leaks over several months about the new device from the biggest company in the sector.
“It is the thinnest iPhone we have ever made, it’s the world’s thinnest smartphone and weighs just 112 grams,” just under four ounces, Schiller said.
“It is 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S.”
Schiller said the new, taller iPhone, made of glass and aluminum, features a new design to nestle in one’s palm to naturally align with thumbs and works on the faster mobile Internet networks known as LTE.
“When you carry your phone it should fit beautifully in your hand, that is just how we designed iPhone 5,” he said.
“Everything you do looks gorgeous on this beautiful widescreen display,” he said, describing the so-called Retina high-definition four-inch (10 centimeter) display used on other Apple devices.
The new device features Apple’s own new A6 processor, which according to Schiller doubles the speed for loading Web graphics.
He also said the phone would address consumer complaints by extending battery life, to eight hours use with mobile phone and browsing and 10 hours if Wi-Fi connections are used.
The iPhone 5 includes an improved camera with “new dynamic low-light mode,” and “a precision lens alignment,” Schiller noted.
Apple has also installed its own mapping software, upgraded its voice-activated assistant known as Siri and incorporated Facebook in the iOS software.
Analysts expect Apple to sell tens of millions of the new iPhone in the coming months, luring in smartphone buyers who have been waiting to upgrade.
“This iPhone 5 will turn out to be Apple’s biggest home run yet. This will be the biggest and most successful Apple iPhone launch so far,” independent analyst Jeff Kagan said.
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said it is possible Apple may ship between 48 million and 53 million iPhones in the fourth quarter and “up to 266 million” in 2013.
She said the company could sell eight to 10 million in the third quarter, or in just the opening days it becomes available.
Apple has fierce customer loyalty and has been rapidly gaining users, but has lost market share to the faster-growing segment of smartphones powered by Google’s Android operating system.
Smartphones powered by Android software continued to dominate with 52.2 percent of the US market in the past months, but Apple’s iOS was the second most popular smartphone platform with 33.4 percent, comScore reported.
Samsung mobile phones remained the most popular in the United States with 25.6 percent of the market, but third-place Apple gained ground to claim 16.3 percent as of the end of July, according to comScore.
Apple is engaged in litigation with Samsung over patent infringement and is seeking to ban US sales of some Samsung devices after a major court victory in California last month.
Nicholas Carlson of the website Business Insider said the new iPhone launch represents “the most pivotal moment” for the sector.
“Companies that are, collectively, worth a trillion dollars — Samsung, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and more — have bet billions of dollars building competitors to the iPhone,” he said.
“Today, they find out if Apple has once again leapt way ahead of them, or if finally, the battleground is growing even.”
Apple shares, which hit record highs this week and extended the company’s position as the world’s most valuable firm, edged up 0.7 percent to $665.36 on the news.
Apple is widely expected to launch a smaller version of its market-leading iPad tablet computer later this year.

Apple unveils iPhone 5; thinner and more powerful


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