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A public disservice

It is appropriate that the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) look into Liberty Telecoms’ non-disclosure of the reassignment of its radio frequencies to Bell Telecommunications. Such a move by Liberty, a San Miguel Corporation (SMC) subsidiary, is considered a material information that should have been disclosed to the public after all, since it significantly affected shareholder value. Both the PSE chief operating officer Roel Refran and the SEC’s officer in charge of the Office of the Commission Secretary Amando A. Pan Jr. confirmed a review is ongoing. The SEC’s Markets and Securities Regulation Department, in particular, is probing the supposed failure of Liberty Telecoms to disclose the information to the investing public. It was already determined that Liberty Telecoms transferred the frequencies to BellTel in March, 2015, …

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GOP strategists: Clinton is in good shape with 3 weeks left

Des Moines, Iowa  — With roughly three weeks to Election Day, Republican strategists nationwide publicly concede Hillary Clinton has a firm grip on the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House — and may be on her way to an even more decisive victory over Donald Trump. “He is on track to totally and completely melting down,’’ said Republican pollster Whit Ayers, who is advising Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s re-election campaign. Like many Republican strategists, he was willing to speak publicly about the GOP nominee’s rough road ahead at the end of an unprecedented campaign. Things can change before Election Day. There is one more presidential debate, and Trump has rallied before. His core supporters remain strongly committed. But along with indicators such as polling, campaign travel, staffing, and advertising, …

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‘Crazy’ hike in Saudi visa fees could impact business ties

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  — A seven-fold hike in visa fees to do business in Saudi Arabia risks deterring the foreign investment needed to transform its oil-dependent economy, diplomats and other sources say. But a senior Saudi business leader has dismissed such concerns, insisting the country’s most sought-after business partners could easily afford the new charges. “It’s incredibly short-sighted,” a Riyadh-based diplomat said of the changes which took effect this month. “They’re obviously bleeding and they want to put the cost on foreigners as much as they can,” he said, asking for anonymity. “It’ll end up costing them a lot more than what they gain in visa payments.” Higher visa fees are one of many moves adopted by the kingdom to cover a loss in oil revenue which has slumped by 68 percent over the …

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Forging 13 deals with China

President Duterte’s state visit to China has resulted in the signing of 13 agreements, ranging from trade and investments to maritime security and fisheries. Here come the fruits of back-to-normal and “full recovery” of the two countries’ friendship and bilateral relations, authorities said. *** In ceremonies in Beijing, the two Asian countries also agreed to strengthen partnership and cooperation in law enforcement against illegal drugs, transportation infrastructure, and tourism, among others. Ties have returned to “normal level” after the straining South China Sea disputes erupted, they claimed. *** President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of the agreements after “fruitful” bilateral talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, with the assistance of their respective official parties. So it’s party time again for Manila and Beijing, diplomats and businessmen must have joked. *** Duterte …

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Cure of a crippled woman on the Sabbath

LUKE 13:10-17 Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, He called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid His hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the Sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or …

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Is there really a ‘Yellow’ army out there?

President Duterte has blamed much of criticism against him as coming from or is orchestrated by what he calls the “Yellow.” What the eitch is “Yellow”? It turns out “Yellow” are supposed to be millions of admirers of former President Benigno Aquino III, whose signature color yellow he inherited from his parents, the murdered politician Ninoy Aquino and former President Cory Aquino. If you’re active in social media then you know that there are “Yellowtards” and “Dutertards.” Leave it to Pinoys to come up with silly names. To non-social media types, Yellowtards are supposed to be Aquino supporters and Dutertards are Duterte fans. From what I gather from Facebook, Dutertards don’t seem to mind that they’re called that. In fact, they seem proud to be called that, and they carry the name as a …

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‘Independent foreign policy’; bad airport, worse traffic

These days, it appears, that matters about foreign policy is the most talked-about government initiatives of any country – from the halls of the US State Department and Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, to the corridors of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Padre Faura. We, mortals, watching from the sideline could just imagine how difficult it is to formulate a country-to-country program. It is not like a walk in the park, nurturing this kind of overseas concern on countries that we are not even sure are our friend or foe. Here at home, as observers, we can tell that critics of the government’s foreign policy tend to label that program either “unsuitable” or “good but brittle.” We could sense that President Rody is already “sold” on his brand of “independent foreign …

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Tiny island

READ: Titus 3:1-7 Speak evil of no one... be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. v. 2 SINGAPORE is a tiny island. It’s so small that one can hardly spot it on the world map. (Try it, if you don’t already know where Singapore is.) Because it is densely populated, consideration of others is especially important. A man wrote to his fiancée who was coming to Singapore for the first time: “Space is limited. Therefore… you must always have that sense of space around you. You should always step aside to ensure you are not blocking anyone. The key is to be considerate.” The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, a young pastor: “Remind the people… to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be …

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Coming challenges

Not only are the continuing pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte giving challenges to the Philippines but global developments are going to subject the Philippine economy to more challenges. The economic downside in the Middle East brought about by the significant declines in oil prices is causing a stoppage in infrastructure projects, a dent in the governments’ funds for development programs and forcing the authorities to adopt a “hire locals policy.” The immediate effect is mass layoffs for Filipino overseas workers of which a significant number are stranded without means for transport and subsisting on meager savings for their daily needs. Remittances from these workers which have been long considered as one of the pillars of Philippine economic growth will expectedly drizzle and finally stop. And if they finally come home, the ranks …

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Justin Trudeau, Sophie, and the kids: Canada’s political family

By Marc Braibant Montreal, Canada— Justin Trudeau hasn’t been alone as his star rises in the political world – whether visiting China’s Great Wall, dining at the White House, or marching in Toronto’s gay pride parade, he’s often joined by his family who have helped cement his reputation as a down-to-earth everyman. Upon taking office one year ago, the prime minister set the tone: Although he’s Canada’s leader, he’s also a father with a young family. Wife Sophie, nine-year-old Xavier, seven-year-old Ella-Grace, and two-year-old Hadrien have done their part to bolster dad’s political career. The children seemed unaffected by the glare of the media at Trudeau’s swearing-in, while trick-or-treating on Halloween, or during foreign trips on government business. “Justin explored the world when he was young,’’ when his father Pierre Trudeau was prime minister and …

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