A threat to humanity and freedom

March 18, 2015



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US begins flying deportees to Mexico City

July 11, 2013

MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. immigration authorities began flying deportees deep into Mexico Thursday in an effort to discourage them from trying to return, U.S. and Mexican officials said.

The first of twice-weekly flights from El Paso, Texas, to Mexico City left Thursday with 133 deportees aboard, all men.

ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas said the flights will accommodate up to 136 men and women but no children. Deportees fly from throughout the United States to Chaparral, New Mexico, for a short bus ride to El Paso.

The flights are not voluntary, unlike a previous program to deport Mexicans arrested by the Border Patrol during Arizona’s deadly summer heat. Mexico’s National Migration Institute said the flights will last six months, taking place every Tuesday and Thursday, and the Mexican government will pay for returnees’ travel from the Mexico City airport to their hometowns. A total of 6,800 people are expected to be returned under the program. Special accommodations are being made for minors traveling alone, Mexico said.

Under a two-month trial last year, more than 2,300 Mexicans returned on 18 flights. The U.S. and Mexico agreed in April to make the arrangement permanent.

ICE has long flown home deportees who are from countries that don’t share a land border with the U.S., most commonly Central Americans. Mexicans, who account for the vast majority people living in the U.S. illegally, are traditionally sent by plane or bus to a city along the 1,954-mile (3,145-kilometer) border with Mexico.

Thursday’s flight marks the beginning for regular air travel to Mexicans who are deported, a welcome development for authorities in Tijuana and other Mexican border cities who have complained they are getting overwhelmed by unemployed newcomers.

It comes as House Republicans are resisting the broadest changes to U.S. immigration laws in nearly three decades. The Senate has approved a plan that would offer a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

President Barack Obama has backed the proposed overhaul, while at the same time increasing deportations. His administration topped 400,000 deportations during the 2012 fiscal year.

 

  • A very welcome development, good news indeed.

After the KO, it’s all downhill for pacquiao

January 1, 2013

COMMENTARY | To many fans, the image of Manny Pacquiao falling face-first to the canvas and staying there, motionless, for an uncomfortably long period of time was quite jarring. To see a pound-for-pound elite fighter, one of the best of this era, knocked completely unconscious is always upsetting.

RICOA chocolate shorts ad falls flat on face.

However, what happens to the fighter, himself?

 

Fighters are bred to be the bravest of the brave, literally putting their life on the line to earn their living. The biggest fallacy among fans and media is that any fighter is afraid of another– especially at the elite level. Sometimes certain fights don’t make sense from a business perspective, but that by no means is an indication of fear. A fighter just doesn’t become a world class pugilist by having any sort of yellow streak among his character traits.

 

But psychologically, a crushing, brutal loss can sometimes affect a fighter and the way he engages in battle. He may be consciously willing to pick up right where he left off, but subconsciously, some doubt has been injected into his game, some hesitation is interfering with his ability to execute his pre-loss style.

 

Even a fighter as accomplished and as supremely confident as Manny Pacquiao could fall victim to this involuntary psychological drama.

 

Recently, Oscar De La Hoya spoke to radio station Power 106 about whether this might be the case with Pacquiao:

 

“…psychologically, he is always going to be feeling that punch. He’s always going to be looking out for that punch. He will be doubting himself [and telling himself] ‘can I do this again’ – even in training, even in training [he will be doubting himself]. History shows this, and I’m not making this up…history shows that it’s impossible to come back [from that kind of knockout]. Can he come back? It’s up to him. You look at Paul Williams [at how he got knocked out]. Back in the day Thomas Hearns knocked out Roberto Duran and he landed face first. You look at Ricky Hatton at how he got knocked out. You look at history in boxing.”

 

Perhaps this is all wishful thinking from De La Hoya, whose promotional company, Golden Boy, is currently engaged in a turf war with Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank, but the former 6-division world champ certainly makes a valid point.

 

The most recent example of this came when Miguel Cotto suffered a brutal beating at the hands of Antonio Margarito in 2008. The physical damage sustained in that TKO loss was healed soon enough, but the psychological damage was there. It lingered as Cotto showed subtle signs of hesitance and reluctance to go full-out in a firefight against elite-level opposition for, at least, three years.

 

The specific details of how Cotto was affected by the Margarito beating can be disputed, but there’s little debate that pre-Margarito Cotto and post-Margarito Cotto are two significantly different fighters.

 

Ask Miguel Cotto, though, and he’d likely deny any difference and scoff at the idea that something deep in the back of his psyche was holding him back.

 

Manny Pacquiao would likely have the same reaction to this idea, but nobody will know what’s what until that first moment when the 8-division former world champ gets hit, slightly buzzed, and/or pushed to retreat.

 

Pacquiao’s style depends so much on launching himself into attacks, daringly darting in and out of range to quickly inflict his punishment. Confidence is the key to Pacquiao’s offense. It’s the blind leap of faith that he can launch himself into attack mode, score his shots, and then get out of range.

 

The last time he darted in for the attack, a big right hand was waiting for him and it laid him out. Maybe next time he doesn’t rush in so fast, doesn’t take that chance. If that happens, Manny Pacquiao ceases to be Manny Pacquiao.

 

It can happen..It has happened. And all it takes is that sliver of a doubt to bring down a fighter.

UK not hiring pinoy nurses

November 22, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Bad news for Filipino nurses harboring the hope of landing on a job at the United Kingdom.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced on Thursday that the UK has not opened new job opportunities for nurses.

“Except for a few, old job orders in our accreditation database, the POEA has not received nor approved fresh job orders for nurses from UK employers,” POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said.

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) earlier announced that a total of 27,823nursing graduates passed the June 2012 Nurse Licensure Examination.

A total of 60,895 examinees took the examination nationwide.

Considering that the demand for nurses in the UK has remained stagnant for almost two years now, many Filipino nurses were forced to look for other job opportunities in other countries.

Cacdac said, however, there are a few National Health Services trusts and care homes that were able to hire nurses and senior carers in recent months.

He added that other Filipino nurses can also look for other job vacancies in other host countries like Japan, Saudi Arabia and other European countries.

2011 Honda CRV

October 3, 2012

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Thank you God for this durable SUV. I love my CRV.

Sienna 2012 by Toyota

October 3, 2012

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This is my next car. Always buy last year’s car to save money.
With 8 seats, it can seat more people. Ideal for highway driving.

Barbaric rage

September 18, 2012

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Look at the ugly, barbaric, demonic faces infected by an evil religion that has no tolerance for others. Civilization has no place for this backward idea.

Intolerance

September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012

U.S. Envoy to Libya Is Killed in Attack

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, ALAN COWELL and STEVEN LEE MYERS

CAIRO — The United States ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed along with three of his staff in an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi Tuesday night by an armed mob angry over a short American-made video mocking Islam’s founding prophet, the White House and Libyan officials said on Wednesday.

In a statement confirming the four fatalities, President Obama said he strongly condemned the killing — the first death of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades — and had ordered increased security at American diplomatic posts around the world.

The attack at the compound in Benghazi was far more deadly than administration officials first announced on Tuesday night, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said one American had been killed and one injured.

Mr. Obama’s statement did not disclose details of the attack. The ambassador, Christopher Stephens, arrived in Libya earlier this year after serving as an envoy to the Libyan rebels who overthrew Libya’s leader, Mohamar el-Qaddafi last year. The other three killed were not immediately identified.

‘“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants,” Mr. Obama said, calling Mr. Stevens “a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States” who had “selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi” and, as ambassador, “supported Libya’s transition to democracy.”

“The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward,” the statement said.

The killingsthreatened to upset Washington’s relations with the new Libyan government that took over after the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and sour American public opinion about the prospects of the democratic opening of the Arab Spring.

Mr. Stevens, a veteran of American diplomatic missions in Libya, served in Benghazi during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi, and he was widely admired by the Libyan rebels for his support of their struggle.

The news of his death emerged on Wednesday after violence spilled over the American consulate in Benghazi and demonstrators stormed the fortified walls of the United States Embassy in Cairo.

Few details of the events in Benghazi were immediately available, but the killing of the ranking American official in Libya raised questions about the vulnerability of American officials at a time when the profound changes sweeping the Arab world have hardly dispelled the rage against the United States that still smolders in pockets around the region.

Tuesday’s violence came on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and were inspired by Egyptian media reports about a 14-minute trailer for the video, called “Innocence of Muslims,” that was released on the Web.

Earlier, an unidentified Libyan official in Benghazi told Reuters that the American ambassador in Libya and three other staff members were killed in Benghazi “when gunmen fired rockets at them.” It was not clear where in the city the attack took place. The Libyan official said the ambassador was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire, Reuters said.

In a message on Twitter, Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur of Libya said on Wednesday that he condemned “the cowardly act of attacking the U.S. consulate and the killing of Mr. Stevens and the other diplomats.”

Agence France-Presse quoted the Libyan Interior Ministry as saying Ambassador Stevens and three staff members were killed when a mob attacked the consulate in Benghazi. Al Jazeera’s English-language Web site said Mr. Stevens died of smoke inhalation after a mob set fire to the building.

In Italy, the Corriere della Sera newspaper Web site showed images of what it said was the American Consulate in Benghazi ablaze with men carrying automatic rifles and waving V-for-victory signs, silhouetted against the burning buildings. One photograph showed a man closely resembling Mr. Stevens apparently unconscious, his face seeming to be smudged with smoke and his eyes closed.

Mr. Stevens arrived in Tripoli in May 2012, as United States Ambassador to Libya, according to the State Department Web site, after serving two previous terms in Libya since 2007 as an American envoy before and after the 2011 revolution that overthrew Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Mr. Stevens, conversant in Arabic and French in addition to English, worked at the State Department since 1991 after a spell as an international trade lawyer in Washington. He taught English as a Peace Corps volunteers in Morocco from 1983 to 1985, the State Department Web site said. The immediate cause of the anti-American outburst was the trailer of an amateurish, American-made video, which opens with scenes of Egyptian security forces standing idle as Muslims pillage and burn the homes of Egyptian Christians. Then it cuts to cartoonish scenes depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a child of uncertain parentage, a buffoon, a womanizer, a homosexual, a child molester and a greedy, bloodthirsty thug.

The trailer was uploaded to YouTube by Sam Bacile, whom The Wall Street Journal Web site identified as a 52-year old Israeli-American real estate developer in California. He told the Web site he had raised $5 million from 100 Jewish donors to make the film. “Islam is a cancer,” Mr. Bacile was quoted as saying.

The video gained international attention when a Florida pastor began promoting it along with his own proclamation of Sept. 11 as “International Judge Muhammad Day.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the pastor, Terry Jones of Gainesville, Fla., called the film “an American production, not designed to attack Muslims but to show the destructive ideology of Islam” and said it “further reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”

He said the embassy and consulate attacks illustrated that Muslims “have no tolerance for anything outside of Muhammad” and called Islam “a total deception.”

Mr. Jones inspired deadly riots in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 by first threatening to burn copies of the Koran and then burning one in his church. He also once reportedly hanged President Obama in effigy.

In Benghazi on Tuesday, protesters with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades attacked the United States Consulate and set it on fire, Libyan officials said. Some news reports said American guards inside the consulate had fired their weapons, and a brigade of Libyan security forces arriving on the scene had battled the attackers in the streets as well.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed late Tuesday that a State Department officer had been killed in the Benghazi attack, and she condemned the violence. “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” she said. “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

The death in Benghazi appears to be the first such fatality in a string of attacks and vandalism against foreign and especially Western diplomatic missions in Libya in recent months. Since the fall of Colonel Qaddafi, Libya’s transitional government has struggled to rebuild an effective police force, control the weapons that have flooded the streets and restore public security.

Local Islamist militant groups capitalizing on the security vacuum have claimed responsibility for some attacks, and some reports on Tuesday suggested that one such group, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility for that day’s assault.

In Cairo, thousands of unarmed protesters gathered outside the embassy during the day. By nightfall, some had climbed over the wall around the embassy compound and destroyed a flag hanging inside. The vandals replaced it with a black flag with an Islamic profession of faith — “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet” — favored by ultraconservatives and militants.

Embassy guards fired guns into the air, but a large contingent of Egyptian riot police officers on hand to protect the embassy evidently did not use their weapons against the crowd, and the protest continued, largely without violence, into the night.

A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, the mainstream Islamist group and the sponsor of Egypt’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi, urged the United States government on Tuesday to prosecute the “madmen” behind the video, according to the English-language Web site of the state newspaper, Al Ahram.

The spokesman asked for a formal apology from the United States government and warned that events like the video were damaging Washington’s relations with the Muslim world. He also emphasized that any protests should remain peaceful and respect property.

There should be “civilized demonstrations of the Egyptian people’s displeasure with this film,” the Brotherhood spokesman said, according to the newspaper Web site. “Any nonpeaceful activity will be exploited by those who hate Islam to defame the image of Egypt and Muslims.”

Bracing for trouble before the start of the protests here and in Libya, the American Embassy released a statement shortly after noon that appeared to refer to Mr. Jones: “The United States Embassy in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” It later denounced the “unjustified breach of our embassy.”

Apparently unaware of the timing of the first embassy statement, the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, put out a statement just before midnight Tuesday saying, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Mr. Romney also said he was “outraged” at the attacks on the embassy and consulate.

Responding to Mr. Romney’s statement, Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman, said, “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.”

David D.Kirkpatrick reported from Cairo, Alan Cowell from London and Steven Lee Myers from Washington. Suliman Ali Zway contributed reporting from Tripoli, Libya.

Pastors milking Pacquaio

June 24, 2012

Pacquiao milked by pastors

6:06 pm | Sunday, June 24

IS END COMING? Timothy Bradley, left, lands a punch against Manny Pacquiao in their WBO world welterweight title fight last June 9, 2012, in Las Vegas. Bradley won the fight by split decision. AP PHOTO/CHRIS CARLSON

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines—Protestant pastors have been coming in droves to Manny Pacquiao’s mansion here. And their number is increasing each day.

One day, seven of them coming from different religious factions arrived. The next day, the number rose to 10. They take a bath, sleep and eat right there as if it is their own house.

They are forming to be the Achilles’ heel of the boxing icon. They follow him wherever he goes—from here to Baguio and even the United States.

They started stalking the Filipino ring idol after the Pacquiao-Marquez fight in November 2011, when the world’s eight-division boxing champ decided to change his lifestyle and began holding daily Bible study with his family, friends and supporters.

But there were just two or three pastors then attending the Bible study.

A source close to Pacquiao told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that these pastors have been abusing the man’s kindness and generosity.

“They are making our boxing idol a milking cow. The real Manny Pacquiao doesn’t know how to say no. But if they are real disciples of God, they should be ashamed of what they are doing,” the source said.

The source said that one pastor was given an iPad but seemingly not contented with what he got, he still asked for a new service vehicle. “Now, he is sporting a brand-new pickup, courtesy of Manny Pacquiao,” the source added.

Another pastor asked for cash, while still another abandoned his flock somewhere in northern Luzon just to be with the boxer-lawmaker.

Another pastor joined the Pacquiao team during the training camp in Los Angeles. “He asked for 36 tickets in the Pacquiao-Bradley fight. The guy got what he wanted,” the source said.

“I was the one so ashamed when he asked Manny Pacquiao to get eight hotel rooms for his family in the US,” the source added.

According to the Inquirer source, it was the first time that someone asked for 36 tickets and eight hotel rooms from the boxing champ.

When Pacquiao and his entourage arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on June 16, this same pastor was seen brandishing a big Louis Vuitton bag.

“Now, there are so many pastors. I want to be a pastor, too,” the source stated.

Another source has admitted being convinced that religion is the opium of the masses.  “And the preachers are the pushers,” the source added. “Before, we were expecting that these pastors would help or guide Manny Pacquiao towards the path of salvation. We didn’t expect that they would abuse his kindness and generosity.”

The poor, the source claimed, need Pacquiao’s help more than the pastors do. “The poor people are more deserving of such blessings. I hope, one day, they will realize their mistake and that they will stop asking any kind of favor from Pacquiao.”

The sources said the preachers have been planning a “grand religious concert” for Pacquiao at the Araneta coliseum on June 28.

“They assigned Manny Pacquaio as the main speaker. From what I’ve heard during the discussion, they wanted Pacquiao to settle all the bills before the staging of the concert,” the source disclosed.

However, according to the source, Pacquiao insisted that all the bills for the venue rental, catering, transportation, etc., be settled only after the concert.

“Of course, it can be read between the lines that someone is bound to make a killing out of this concert. This is a multimillion-peso event,” the source said.

The same sources further revealed that a rift has developed among Pacquiao’s political backers, boxing circle and the pastors.

“Manny Pacquiao tends to listen to these pastors more than to his advisers and friends from political and boxing circles,” one of the sources claimed.

Those from political and boxing circles, the source said, believed that Pacquiao’s involvement in religious activities has hurt his boxing career.

Before, the source said, the distractions in Pacquiao’s life were his gambling and drinking buddies. “Now, the distractions are the pastors and they are far more costly than the previous ones.”

“The old Manny Pacquiao is gone. Atop the ring, he is no longer as ferocious as before. Unless he learns to temper his newfound passion and obsession, we would no longer see knock-out victories in his future fights,” the source averred.

Nokia Death

April 29, 2012

April 29, 2012
Analysis: Even in Emerging Markets, Nokia’s Star Is Fading
By REUTERS
NEW DELHI/HELSINKI (Reuters) – Nokia phones once took pride of place in Manish Khatri’s Mumbai store, but now models made by Samsung Electronics get the limelight.

He has nothing against Nokia, he says, but it’s better for business to push the more popular models.

That simple calculation is being made in thousands of stores across India and similar emerging markets, where Nokia’s rivals used to be relative minnows.

For 14 years the world’s biggest seller of mobile phones, it was overtaken by Korea’s Samsung in the first quarter of this year, having already watched both Apple and Samsung leapfrog its lead in the lucrative smartphone segment last year.

In the popular narrative of Nokia’s eclipse, it is Apple’s iPhone that steals the light, but the company is also losing its shine in the basic phone market, which had been a reliable generator of profits and carried the promise of years of strong growth in emerging markets.

No more.

Its basic phone sales fell 16 percent in the first three months of 2012, and have fallen in four of the last five quarters, while competitors like China’s ZTE and Huawei have been growing fast.

In India, the world’s second-biggest mobile phone market, with more than 900 million subscribers, Nokia’s market share has halved in the three years to 2011, when it sold 31 percent of the total 183 million handsets sold, according to Indian researcher CyberMedia.

Analysts say it has failed to keep up with the changing tastes of the growing middle class, and, in a country where the thin-margin network operators don’t tend to subsidize phones, is losing storeowners like Khatri, who influence buyers’ choices.

“For dealers like us, we face a lot of problems from Nokia for getting even the basic (demonstration phone) dummies to show to the customer,” he said. “There is no push from the company.”

He said his store, which sells around 500 phones a month, is probably not a priority for Nokia, but Samsung has been sending staff to visit.

LOCAL FAVOURITES

In China, the world’s largest cellphone market, operators have started to play a bigger role in selling phones, and that trend is working against Nokia.

“They prioritize domestic vendors over international companies,” said analyst Pete Cunningham from Canalys.

In January-March its sales there shrank 62 percent from a year ago. Its share of the market had dwindled to 24 percent last year from 39 percent two years earlier, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

In Africa, too, its market share slipped to 51 percent last year from 62 percent two years before. It’s still ahead of rivals because of its superior distribution on the continent, says Neil Mawston at Strategy Analytics, but it has to act to arrest the decline.

“Nokia is drying up like a puddle in the sun and urgently needs new products to refill the puddle,” he said.

In the meantime, it is racking up losses, its shares have lost more than three quarters of their value in a year, and this week two agencies cut its credit rating to junk status.

Nokia says it is continuing to invest to attract customers in these markets.

“Our mobile phones portfolio continues to be strong, especially in key markets like India, Nigeria, Brazil and Mexico where the Asha products are receiving record high scores from consumers,” said Mary McDowell, EVP Mobile Phones.

She said the company would be announcing data plans for the new Asha 202 basic phone model with five operators in India on Monday.

MISSING TOUCH

Analysts also say Nokia can be slow to react on popular technology.

In emerging markets, for example, multi-SIM models have been a draw for people who want to take advantage of freebies doled out by competing carriers, but Nokia lacked such phones until mid-2011.

Another costly gap in its basic phones offering is a full touch-screen model. Around 105 million such phones were sold last year globally, according to Strategy Analytics.

“Nokia left the door wide open for Samsung and others by not delivering a full-touch feature phone. The Koreans figured it out three years ago, yet Nokia still does not have a product,” said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight.

“In the meantime, prices of Android smartphones have dropped, and Nokia’s window of opportunity is almost closed.”

Nokia is due to unveil a full-touch 306 feature phone model in the coming months.

SLIPPED HALO

“Nokia’s main challenge this year is to arrest the sharp decline in its flagship smartphone portfolio and use it to rebuild a positive halo-effect for the overall Nokia brand,” said Mawston.

The company abandoned its own Symbian smartphone operating system last year in favor of the largely untried Windows Phone alternative after Stephen Elop joined as chief executive from Windows maker Microsoft. Symbian sales have nosedived before the Windows models got off the ground.

This month it started sales of the first Windows smartphones in China with an aggressive marketing campaign and huge ads at subway stations, in magazines and newspapers.

There are some positive noises coming from customers.

“I just bought a new Nokia Windows phone and wasn’t very used to its tile design, but the experience was quite good after half an hour. All the basic functions I need are there, and I’m beginning to think that Windows phones will make it,” Wang Xiao said on his Sina microblog.

“Having an operating system which is Windows-based doesn’t excite me,” said 22-year old student Akshay Johar in New Delhi, looking at one of Nokia’s new Lumia models, but added: “The phone has great features, it looks good, the touch screen is very responsive.”

He is considering buying one, he said.

About 27 million people need to make that decision this year, 55 million next year, and 94 million in 2014, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

That only 2 million did in the first quarter shows how steep is the mountain that Nokia must climb.

(Additional reporting by Lee Chyen Yee in Hong Kong; Editing by Will Waterman)