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US demands ‘robust’ intl. probe into Covid-19 origins

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 06:29
    WASHINGTON - The United States wants a "robust and clear" international probe into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in China, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday. Speaking to reporters, she said it was "imperative we get to the bottom" of how the virus appeared and spread worldwide. Psaki highlighted "great concern" over "misinformation" from "some sources in China." The coronavirus has killed more than two million people, infected at least 100 million and hammered the global economy since first being detected about a year ago in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Earlier this month, a team of experts from the World Health Organizati...

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Prepare for the next pandemic like a ‘war,’ says Bill Gates

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 06:22
  LOS ANGELES - Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has warned that the world must prepare for the next pandemic as it would for war, including the investment of tens of billions of dollars each year, in a letter released Wednesday. "We can't afford to be caught flat-footed again," wrote the Microsoft co-founder and his wife Melinda in an annual missive. "The threat of the next pandemic will always be hanging over our heads -- unless the world takes steps to prevent it." To avoid future destruction on the scale of that caused by Covid-19, "pandemic preparedness must be taken as seriously as we take the threat of war," Gates said. "Stopping the next pandemic will...

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Pasig first city to have approved Covid-19 vaccination plan

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:52
MANILA, Philippines -- Pasig City is the first local government in the country to have a vaccination plan approved by the Department of Health and the World Health Organization, Mayor Vico Sotto announced on Tuesday. Under Pasig's approved vaccination plan, 16 schools, hospitals, and government buildings will be used as vaccination centers, while 74 medical and support staff will be deployed per site. The city's first priority for the inoculation program would be its 5,930 health workers in the rural health unit, city health department, and private and public hospitals. They will be followed by the vaccination of around 80,000 senior citizens, 107,291 people with disabilities and indigen...

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Hands, feet, tongue can show early signs of covid

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:46
MADRID---Changes to the tongue, the hands, or the soles of the feet could give an early indication of COVID-19 infection, Spanish researchers found in a study presented on Tuesday. The conclusions emerged from research carried out among 666 patients with Covid-19 at Madrid's IFEMA field hospital set up during the first wave of the pandemic, the regional government said. One in four patients said they had noticed changes to their tongue, while four out of 10 spotted unusual signs on the palms of their hands or soles of their feet. 'Research letter' The study was carried out in April by health-care professionals from Madrid's La Paz hospital and primary care services, with the find...

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Ponytails and lipstick: US women soldiers get style

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:36
  WASHINGTON---Women in the U.S. Army are going to be able to dress up a little. The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that female soldiers would be able to grow their hair long, color their nails, and don earrings. Revisions to army grooming policies expanded the number of hairstyles women could adopt, including wearing their hair long. In the past, women with longer hair had to tie it in buns, which many said was uncomfortable and interfered with their helmets. Under the new policy, long hair needs to be worn in ponytails or braids in training and tactical situations. A broadening of styles especially accommodated African American female soldiers, who wanted more...

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‘Tracing czar’ Magalong admits own lapse in Baguio hotel party

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:34
  BAGUIO CITY---Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Wednesday said health measures were breached during the recent birthday celebration of social media personality Tim Yap in Baguio City. Magalong, the government's lead contact tracer, said he was invited to Yap's 44th birthday party on Jan. 17 at The Manor inside Camp John Hay and admitted "outright violations" of health measures to prevent transmission of the new coronavirus. The mayor said that when he arrived around 8 p.m., he was satisfied that mandatory health protocols, like wearing of masks and physical distancing, were being observed. Some guests removed their masks when food was served in the open park while a traditio...

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PNP probe finds no drugs, no rape-slay in Dacera death

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:32
MANILA, Philippines -- Contrary to earlier claims of police investigators and the family of Christine Angelica Dacera, the 23-year-old flight attendant died of cardiac arrest and could not have been raped, according to new police findings submitted to Makati state prosecutors. A police forensic report also showed that a sachet found in the hotel room where Dacera stayed did not contain crystal meth or any party drug, but table salt. The Philippine National Police presented the additional evidence to the city prosecutor's office upon the resumption of its preliminary investigation into the rape with homicide complaint filed by the local police and the woman's family on Wednesday. ...

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Agriculture shrank 1.2% in 2020

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:26
The country's agriculture sector contracted by 1.2 percent in 2020 as production declines across all commodities in the last quarter pulled down the gains made in previous months. For the last three months of the year, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that agricultural output declined by 3.8 percent---the biggest contraction recorded for the industry in 2020---as crops, livestock, poultry and fisheries registered lower output. The tightening of supplies is especially being felt by consumers this month as prices of key food items in the market continue to rise. The livestock industry, affected by the African swine fever (ASF), continued to register cuts in production ...

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Senator accused of mischaracterizing his military service

CNN Top Stories - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:25
CNN's Brianna Keilar reports on accusations that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) mischaracterized his military service by claiming he was a ranger when he is only ranger qualified.
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‘None of our business’? Locsin files protest after ‘reflection’

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:22
MANILA, Philippines -- After saying that China's approval of a law allowing its coast guard to fire on foreign ships in Chinese-claimed waters was "none of our business," Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. changed his mind on Wednesday and "fired" a diplomatic protest over the legislation. "After reflection I fired a diplomatic protest. While enacting law is a sovereign prerogative, this one---given the area involved or for that matter the open South China Sea---is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law; which, if unchallenged, is submission to it," Locsin said in a Twitter post. China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, including waters within the exclusiv...

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2 Filipino-Americans named to US gov’t posts

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:22
  MANILA, Philippines -- Moving to fulfill campaign promises, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has named two Filipino-Americans to government posts ---one born of migrant parents in the United States and the other an migr who spent 40 years in the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The young Jason Tengco, born in San Francisco to Filipino migrants, was named White House liaison officer of the US federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Tengco, an alumni of the University of California in Los Angeles, has been an active member of the US Democratic Party since graduation and served as interns for Democratic congressmen and worked on the ca...

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Imports, exports down 18.2% in 2020

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:22
Amid a global recession and international border closures at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines' external trade in goods fell by 18.2 percent to $149.37 billion in 2020. The latest preliminary Philippine Statistics Authority data released on Wednesday showed total trade with the rest of the world last year slipped from $182.52 billion in 2019 as both merchandise exports and imports posted double-digit declines. From January to December 2020, the Philippines exported $63.77 billion worth of products, down 10.1 percent from $70.93 billion in 2019. Imports, which included not only finished goods but also capital equipment and raw materials for domestic manufacture...

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P140B in T-bills, bonds up for grabs next month

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:20
The Bureau of the Treasury will sell P140 billion in government securities in the domestic debt market next month, including bonds with longer tenors, amid a low-interest rate environment. In a Jan. 26 memorandum to all government securities eligible dealers (GSEDs), National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said the Treasury would offer P20 billion in short-dated T-bills---P5 billion each in the benchmark 91-day and 182-day plus P10 billion in 364-day---on Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22. The Treasury would also sell P30 billion each in 10- and three-year IOUs on Feb. 2 and 16, respectively. The total offering volume for February matched January's program. The Treasury not only exceeded it...

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Ex-DFA chief lauds 2 US appointments

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:20
MANILA, Philippines -- Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Sung Kim, saying they would be instrumental in managing the prevailing challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. "In the midst of the emerging challenges in Asia, this is an opportunity for us to proffer our congratulations to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Acting Assistant Secretary Sung Kim, who represent our country's sole treaty ally and longtime defense partner," Del Rosario said in a statement. Old friends "I recall that (former Philippine) Ambassa...

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PH GDP seen contracting by 9.6% in 2020, growing by 7.7% in 2021

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:18
The Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) likely fell the fastest in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) last year but its growth would be the strongest in the region this year as the economy emerges from pandemic-induced movement restrictions, UK-based Oxford Economics said. In a report on Wednesday, Oxford Economics lead Asia economist Sian Fenner and economist Sung Eun Jung projected that the Philippines' GDP contracted by 9.6 percent in 2020 but would grow 7.7 percent in 2021, a similar growth rate they estimated for Vietnam. The government is scheduled to report on the 2020 GDP performance today, Jan. 28. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Wednesday sa...

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Court upholds decision favoring hotel owner in tax dispute

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:14
Grand Plaza Hotel Corp. (GPH), owner and operator of The Heritage Hotel in Pasay City, has scored another legal victory against the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) which was running after an alleged tax deficiency worth P508.1 million. The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) upheld an earlier ruling that declared null and void the BIR's tax deficiency assessment for fiscal year 2008. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday, GPH said it had received a copy of the resolution rendered by the CTA on the tax dispute. The CTA en banc, in its resolution, decided in favor of GPH and "found no cogent reason to warrant reconsideration of the decision of the CTA en banc on Se...

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Heavy foreign selling drags PSEi down

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:12
Fresh lockdown jitters caused a bloodbath in the local stock market on Wednesday, making the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) the worst performer among emerging markets in the region. The local stock barometer slid by 113.55 points or 1.63 percent to close at 6,863.61. Heavy net foreign selling, which hit P1.37 billion, dragged down the market. Foreign funds have been flowing out of the market for the last nine sessions. "The PSEi declined further led by substantial losses in large-cap property stocks. The sentiment continues to deteriorate on concerns of rising COVID-19 cases which may lead to a tightening of current restrictions. The daily case rate has begun picking up ...

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Sotto’s stint with Gilas Pilipinas dims after scrubbed PH hosting, but SBP has plans for teenager when he planes in

Inquirer Breaking News - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:10
Kai Sotto's stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia qualifiers will hinge on whether the international basketball federation (Fiba) can find an alternative country to host the third window in the same schedule as the scrapped Philippine staging. But the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is still flying in the 7-foot-3 prodigy in the hopes that Sotto can train with the national pool and sponge up the system that is being put in place by the coaching staff. "It's not a lost cause," SBP president Al Panlilio told the Inquirer over the phone on Wednesday. Sotto's stint with the national five, something the teenager had been looking forward to with unbridled excitement, hit a...

Keep on reading: Sotto’s stint with Gilas Pilipinas dims after scrubbed PH hosting, but SBP has plans for teenager when he planes in
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Analysis: How Trumpism explains the GameStop stock surge

CNN Top Stories - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 05:08
At the core of Donald Trump's angry populist appeal was -- and is -- this sentiment: The elites think they know better than you. They think they can tell you how to live and what to believe. But guess what? We the people are smarter than the elites!
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Republicans plan to filibuster Bidens' nominee for Homeland Security chief

CNN Top Stories - Thu, 01/28/2021 - 04:28
Senate Republicans plan to object to any efforts to quickly confirm Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of Homeland Security, further delaying his confirmation as the department grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, national security concerns and President Joe Biden's ambitious immigration plans.
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