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Duterte wants Vietnam to buy more from PH

President Rodrigo Duterte has suggested Vietnam import more of Filipino food and value-added agri-based products to help narrow down the trade deficit against the Philippines. Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who accompanied the president on his second official trip abroad since his election, reported that Duterte made this suggestion to grow trade and to improve trade balance at the conclusion of bilateral talks with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang. Since the Philippines import rice and other products from Vietnam, Duterte asked the Vietnam president to also consider buying more Filipino food and value added agri-based product, furniture, construction materials, fabricated metals. “Philippines currently has a trade deficit with Vietnam, which means the Philippines imports more than we export to Vietnam. We export mainly electronics, copper cathodes, smart cards, oil cakes …

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Hong Kong maids march against window-cleaning after deaths

Domestic helpers in Hong Kong marched in protest Sunday after several maids fell to their death from tower block windows as they tried to clean them. There are 300,000 maids in Hong Kong, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, with concern growing among rights groups over their welfare following several abuse cases. A 35-year-old Filipina domestic helper fell to her death last month as she was reportedly cleaning the outside of the windows of her employer's flat. Organisers of Sunday's rally said they believed at least three maids had died falling from windows this year. Hundreds of helpers marched in the centre of Hong Kong Sunday shouting "We are workers, not slaves!" In a city of skyscrapers, they are calling on the government to ban employers from asking maids to clean the outside of windows. "For us it's hard to say no when employers ask us to clean windows, but it's …

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China, Myanmar vow closer ties as Suu Kyi visits Beijing

BEIJING — China and Myanmar said Saturday that they have pledged to forge closer ties as "blood brothers," as Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi got set to wrap up a visit to Beijing, her first diplomatic trip since taking power in March. The neighboring countries also said in a joint statement that they would strengthen trade and cooperation on issues along the border, where fighting between Myanmar government forces and rebels have occasionally spilled over. There was no mention of progress, however, on a stalled $3.6 billion dam project in northern Myanmar primarily funded by Chinese energy interests, which was a key concern during the visit. China has been on a diplomatic charm offensive in the past year toward its fast-growing neighbor, while Myanmar under Suu Kyi has shown a willingness …

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Lawmaker seeks House probe on Php530-M fraud targeting Kuwait-bound OFWs

By Filane Mikee Cervantes, Philippine News Agency MANILA, Aug. 15 -- Albay Second District Rep. Joey Salceda on Monday filed a resolution that seeks to investigate a Php530-million fraud targeting overseas job applicants for Kuwait through a private company known as WINSTON Q8 Certification Solutions, Inc. House Resolution No. 220 directs appropriate committees of the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the new certification and medical screening process introduced by WINSTON Q8 and the Embassy of Kuwait. Salceda said that the Philippine government should not allow a foreign embassy to intrude in its policies to protect the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) through a “questionable and highly irregular medical screening and certification process.” ”Those aspiring to work in Kuwait cut across all regions, and represent workers seeking a better life. We …

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Pres. Duterte endorses craftsmanship of Marikina footwear

The Marikina shoe industry got a shot in the arm after President Rodrigo Duterte endorsed the local products for its world-class craftsmanship. The President proudly showed off his new custom boots, a present from a shoemaker family in Marikina, before some Cabinet members in Malacañang on Wednesday. “May nagpadala nito — babae. Sabi niya ginawa ng tatay niya sa Marikina. [A woman sent this pair of shoes. She said it was made by her father in Marikina],” the President said in Filipino in a video clip provided by the Palace. Duterte took off one shoe and showed his Cabinet men how well his new tan boots were well made by a local shoemaker. He even pointed out Filipino shoemakers are so talented that foreigners buy these locally made shoes, put their brands, and resell them. “Sa …

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EU takes action against China at WTO over raw materials

GENEVA — The European Union has launched dispute proceedings against China in the World Trade Organization over import duties and other alleged measures involving raw materials. After similar action against China by the U.S. last week, the EU announced the move Tuesday alleging China's measures violate WTO rules, distort the market and unfairly favor Chinese companies. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said: "We cannot sit on our hands seeing our producers and consumers being hit by unfair trading practices." The EU says China imposes duties and quotas on 11 materials it exports to the EU. They include graphite, cobalt, chromium, magnesia, antimony and indium, among 20 raw materials considered "critical to Europe's economy." The EU noted two previous successful legal actions in 2012 and 2014 through the WTO on similar Chinese measures.  

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Fisherfolk group calls for peaceful but principled resolution on West Philippine Sea issue

By Cielito M. Reganit, Philippine News Agency MANILA, July 13 (PNA) -- The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to tighten control and claim on the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS) even as it insisted that asserting Philippine rightful claim in the disputed area should be in any peaceful way possible. Salvador France, vice chairperson of Pamalakaya-Pilipinas, said that engaging in a violent war against China is the last thing the country wants. “Our fishers have been devastated as it is, and our natural resources in distraught. Active diplomacy through bilateral and multilateral talks with China and other claimants of the disputed waters is the best chance we have, provided these are founded upon the framework of the United Nations Convention on …

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Cameron heads out, May comes in: Drama in British politics

By Jill Lawless and Danica Kirka, Associated Press LONDON — David Cameron made his final appearance in Parliament as Britain's leader with dignity and humor Wednesday, turning the usually raucous prime minister's questions session into a time for praise, thanks, gentle ribbing, cheers — and a sprinkle of criticism. The warmth in the House of Commons culminated in loud applause and a standing ovation from his Conservative colleagues for Cameron, 49, who is resigning after voters rejected his advice and decided to leave the European Union. He will formally tender his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II later Wednesday afternoon and hand the post over to his successor, Theresa May. "I will miss the roar of the crowd. I will miss the barbs from the opposition," Cameron said, promising to watch future exchanges as a regular Conservative lawmaker …

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Starbucks to boost US employee pay

New York, United States | Monday 7/11/2016 - 15:39 GMT Starbucks announced Monday it will lift wages for some 150,000 baristas and other employees in its home market as it moves to address staff concerns over insufficient hours. The ubiquitous coffee shop chain will hike base pay for "partners" -- employees -- and store managers by five percent or more, chief executive Howard Schultz said in a letter to staff. The company will also increase its stock-award program. The cumulative effect will be to boost compensation by between five and 15 percent starting in October, Schultz said. Starbucks' move follows online petition signed by more than 12,800 workers that complained insufficient work hours is "killing morale". "You end up taking it personally, when corporate directs your stores to understaff, and under-schedule," the petition said "You wonder if …

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Global interest in New Zealand town with too many jobs

Wellington, New Zealand | Friday 7/1/2016 - 07:41 GMT | A tiny New Zealand town that offered property for bargain prices in a bid to attract more people has been swamped with more than 5,000 inquiries from around the world, the local mayor said Friday. Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the South Island township of Kaitangata had more jobs than people, with a population of 800 but up to 1,000 vacancies, mostly in the thriving agricultural sector. To boost its population, the town has been offering house-and-land packages for NZ$230,000 ($164,000) -- a good deal considering the national average is NZ$577,000, rising to NZ$955,000 in Auckland. Cadogan said the response had been overwhelming, with global interest from people inquiring about moving to the town, which is set in a lush valley about an hour's drive from Dunedin. "We've been smashed," he told TV3. "I think my PA's going to throttle me... there's over 5,000 …

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