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Filipino Math Wizard Wins World Competition

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BEIJING -- Farrel Eldrian Wu, a six-grader from the New Life Christian Academy in Taguig, won a gold medal and ranked first in the primiary division individual contests of the Mathematics Competition held in Beijing, China from November 2-6.  Wu was of the delegates from the Philippines to the 2011 World Mathematics Team Championship.

Farrel was part of "Philippines Team 1" along with other elementary school students Clyde Wesley Ang, Miguel Lorenzo Ildesa, Andrea Jaba, Sedrick Scott Keh and John Aries Ceazar Hingan.

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World's Symbolic '7 Billionth Baby' Born In Manila

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World's Symbolic '7 Billionth Baby' Born In ManilaMANILA -- At a packed government-run Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, a baby born on October 31 was chosen by the United Nations to be one of several children around the world who will symbolically represent the global population milestone. The United Nations named 31 October as 'Seven Billion Day."

Danica May Camacho, weighing 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilos) was delivered just before midnight Sunday as media crew of camera men and photographers waited anxiously to get a shot of the historical moment.

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Saudi Arabia Government Plans To Cap Foreign Workers' Remittances

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MANILA -- In a move to protect its economy, a Saudi Labor Ministry disclosed last week its plan to implement a "salary protection" program limiting the amount of money expatriate workers including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can remit to their home countries.

“About nine to 10 workers in the country are foreigners. This has led to millions of (Saudi) riyals being transferred back to their home countries, harming the local economy,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, quoted a high-ranking Saudi Labor official as saying.

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As Fr. Pops Was Laid To Rest Calls For Justice Echo

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MANILA – Thousands of people mourning for the passing of Italian missionary Fr. Fausto Tentorio or Fr. Pops were in attendance as his body was laid to rest in Kidapawan City, North Cotabao on Tuesday, Oct. 25.In Manila, church and other groups also marched from España to Mendiola bridge wearing black shirts and red ribbons calling for justice for the slain priest.

On Oct. 17, Tentorio was killed outside his convent in Poblacion, Greenfields, Arakan Valley while preparing to go to a clergy meeting in Kidapawan City. According to news reports, Tentorio sustained ten gunshot wounds in the head and chest. Tentorio’s body was buried beside Fr. Tulio Favalli’s tomb.

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Migrante Urges Caution To OFWs

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MANILA -- Not too fast, cautioned Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona. He warned those who intend to work in Libya and are being offered jobs by some unscrupulous local and foreign recruitment agencies for deployment to the Arab nation.

About 17,000 OFWs were repatriated from Libya since the Philippine government ordered OFWs forced repatriation at the Libyan conflict.  According to Monterona, there were about 22,000 to 24,000 OFWs before the conflict progressed.  Most of them were working the infrastructure and construction projects, while others were in oil and gas refineries. There were also quite a number of nurses and related medical workers in government hospitals.

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Senator Expects More Jobs In Libya

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MANILA -- Following the death of Libya strongman Muammar Gaddafi, Senator Manuel Villar said that more jobs in Libya are expected to thrive with the impending reconstruction of the Arab nation.

Speaking at the sideline of the Villar Foundation's feeding and medical mission for the flood victims in Barangay Tambang, Bulacan, Bulacan, Villar said that as Libya undergoes reconstruction after the war, it will need the services of many Filipinos.

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Saipan Superior Court Orders Disbarment of Filipino Lawyer

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CNMI, SAIPAN -- Superior Court has ordered the disbarment of Saipan-based Filipino lawyer Danilo Aguilar after he was found guilty of money laundering in Guam.

“The court believes that Mr. Aguilar’s misconduct has resulted in serious injuries to the legal profession, many former clients, to the public, and to the legal system in general and finds that the appropriate discipline is disbarment,” Superior Court associate judge David Wiseman said in his six-page decision.

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Kris Aquino Accepts Offer of UNHCR

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Kris Aquino Accepts Offer of UNHCRMANILA -- Kris Aquino, President Benigno S. Aquino's youngest sister and considered Queen of All Media, is now an Honorary Patron for Asia of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).  Her acceptance of the appointment was announced today by Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte.

As UNHCR ambassador of goodwill, Kris Aquino will travel around Asia to reach out to refugees.

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Survey: Aquino Administration Satisfaction Rating Improves

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Survey:  Aquino Administration Satisfaction Rating ImprovesMANILA --  In the latest Social Weather Station survey, conducted during the period September 4 to 7, 68 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with the Aquino administration during the third quarter than the first two quarters of the year.  Also, 12 percent are dissatisfied and 19 percent are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied for a net satisfaction rating of +54.

This rating is higher than the +45 and +46 scores recorded last June and March but is lower than the +64 seen in September and November last year.

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In Solidarity With Occupy Wall Street Protests, Filipinos Hold Their Own

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In Solidarity With Occupy Wall Street ProtestsMANILA — Filipino activists said on Monday that more protest actions should be expected after the successful global protests against corporate greed and in support of the Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York.

“The global reality we are facing is that of the growing demand for a new system that puts people ahead of private profits. The system of monopoly capital and finance oligarchy is totally bankrupt and has impoverished hundreds of millions worldwide,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr., said, “It has plunged developed countries into debt and unemployment and has kept oppressed countries like the Philippines underdeveloped.”

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Ho Chi Minh City: Filipinos' 'Promised Land'

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Ho Chi Minh City, VIETNAM -- A community of Filipino nationals is singing Ho Chi Minh City's praises for the opportunities southern Vietnam's economic capital has offered them.

Most women work as housekeepers for rich local families. Many others, both men and women, play music and sing at bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels throughout the city.

Each makes US$500-$1,000 a month, salaries they say they could never get at home, where the job market is strained and the economy slow.

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P-Noy Says ‘No’ To 'Cha-Cha' But His Liberal Party Says ‘Yes’

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Despite his denial that he supports moves to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution, President Benigno Aquino III is hard-pressed to prove that he is against charter change. A lawmaker has even said that Aquino’s own party is at the forefront of efforts to do it.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño recently revealed that since its formation, the party that Aquino leads is leading efforts to selling the Philippines to foreign interests particularly the United States. Casiño was referring to the Liberal Party which now holds majority seats in the House of Representatives.

Casiño made his charge in the wake of reports from the New York-based think tank Global Source that the latest initiatives to amend the charter has a “fair chance” of succeeding this time around despite lack of support from Aquino.

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Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle: New Archibishop of Manila

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Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle:  New Archibishop of ManilaMANILA - The Vatican has appointed Imus Bishop Luis "Chito" Antonio Tagle, as the 32nd Archbishop of Manila.  He will govern a diocese with a population of 3.2 million people, 2.8 million of whom are Catholics.  According to the terms of canon law, Tagle must take possession of the See of Manila within two months of his appointment.

Archbishop-elect Tagle's appointment was officially announced in Rome on October 13. This was communicated to the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila by Monsignor Gabor Pinter, Charge D' Affaires of the Vatican and was officially received by the Media Office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

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‘Righteous Path Not About Scrimping On Health Care And Workers’

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MANILA – If the youth and students have planking as a new mode of protest, the health workers have “owling.”

“This is pop culture made progressive by health workers here,” said Sean Vilchez, deputy secretary-general of Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD). Indeed, in the program his group and other members of the Coalition of Health Budget Increase held in front of the University of Sto. Tomas, and on the march toward Chino Roces Ave. (formerly Mendiola Bridge) this Thursday, some participants “owled” to hoots of delight from their fellow health workers and passersby.

‘Righteous Path Not About Scrimping On Health Care And Workers’But what they owled about are hardly delightful issues. The health workers have been battling against a yearly trend of cuts in health budget. Health practitioners from public hospitals and communities joined the march-protest cum owling to Malacañang in a bid to call for a P90-billion ($2.1b) health budget for next year.

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Filipino Maids Fight For Permanent Residency In Hongkong

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HONG KONG -- Filipino maid, Evangeline Vallejos is fighting for the right to live permanently in Hong Kong.

But she does not plan to stay, if she wins this battle which has already deeply divided the former British colony and sent jitters across Asian nations that have hundreds of thousands of foreign domestic helpers in their countries.

Vallejos, 59, has been employed as a maid in Hong Kong since 1986.

Last week, a Hong Kong court ruled as unconstitutional a law banning foreign maids from permanent residency in a landmark move sparking heated debate in the Asian financial hub.

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Constitution Needs Enabling Laws, Not Amendments

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Constitution Needs Enabling LawsMANILA – Eighty-two of the Philippines’ 130 constitutional provisions still have no enabling law; for the economic provisions in particular, at least eight articles still have no enabling law up to now, said Philippine Constitutional Association’s Manolo Gorospe during this week’s hearing in congress on charter change or cha-cha. The economic provisions that have no enabling law, according to Gorospe, include Articles 2 to 4, 8, 14, 16, 20 and 22.

The laws that have been passed serve only to push to maximum levels the further and wider liberalization of some sectors of the economy, said Sonny Africa, head of the research department of non-government think-tank Ibon Foundation at the public hearing. The nationalist economic provisions of the Philippine Constitution have not been implemented, he said, adding that this helps to explain why unemployment is at its worst today, as do the country’s persistently stunted agriculture and manufacturing.

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Plan To Shut Down 12 Embassies ‘Insensitive to OFWs’ , says Migrante

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MANILA -- The plan of the Benigno Aquino III administration to close a number of foreign posts is impractical and insensitive to the plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

This was the stand of Migrante International, a global alliance of OFWs and their families, in the wake of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) announcement that it will to close down 12 Philippine embassies and consulates by the end of 2012.

Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, said the planned closures were highly impractical and goes against the best interests of OFWs.

“We already have a shortage of Philippine posts abroad as it is. It is unfortunate that the Aquino administration is attacking embassies and consulates as part of its austerity measures. These same posts, despite their weaknesses and frequent failure to protect OFWs, are still what consists of a support system for OFWs abroad,” he said.

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Teachers ‘Chalk Walk’ To Malacañang

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Teachers ‘Chalk Walk’ To MalacañangMANILA — “We are overworked but underpaid, but even so, I never think of quitting my job,” said Michelle Silva, a teacher of five years at the Demetrio Tuazon Elementary School.

On this year’s World Teachers Day, Silva, like other hundreds of teachers from across the country, joined the nationally-coordinated mobilization to push for a ten-point demand, including an increase in their salary.

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HK High Court Overturns Immigration's Decision On OFW

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MANILA — Celebrate the small victories and continue to fight for migrants’ rights in Hong Kong.

The Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) in Hong Kong hailed the positive decision of the Hong Kong High Court on the case of a Filipino domestic helper who applied for permanent residency in the former British protectorate. Last week, after a judicial review of the case,the High Court decided to overturn the Immigration Department’s denial of right of abode for foreign domestic workers who have worked in HK for seven or more years.

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TUCP To Filipino Nurses: Go Saudi!

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MANILA -- Filipino nurses may not only look to the U.S. or England for gainful employment.  They may also set their sights on the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia where the foreign labor market remains highly favorable, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said.

According to TUCP secretary-general and former Senator Ernesto Herrera, Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer has emerged as the most aggressive recruiter of Filipino nurse practitioners, overshadowing economically troubled America,

“Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East are definitely still hiring Filipino and other foreign nurses,” said Herrera, former chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development.

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The Girl From Muntinglupa Is Miss World Philippines 2011

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The Girl From Muntinglupa Is Miss World Philippines 2011MANILA -- After all what numerology buffs say about number 13, a statuesque French Filipina International Runaway Model from Muntinglupa City proved them wrong.  Her being candidate 13 didn't matter.

Gwendolyn Ruais was named 2011 Miss World Philippines at the Philippine Convention Center.

The 5'9" 21-year-old will represent the Philippines in the 61st Miss World pageant to be held on November 6 at the Earls Court Exhibition Center in London. Ruais has set her eyes to win the first Miss World crown for the Philippines.

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