Monthly Archives: January 2020

BALITANG MARINO DAILY NEWS for January 21, 2020

HEADLINES

Human-to-human transmission confirmed in China coronavirus

Macron and Trump declare truce in digital tax dispute

MSI Predicts Dismal Q1 for Bulker Operators

Singapore’s Container Figures at Record High

Kidnapped Duke Crew Members Released, One Dies in Captivity

Phivolcs: Taal recharging for ‘powerful eruption’

Sandigan denies Datu Andal ‘Unsay’ Ampatuan Jr.’s bid to stop graft trial

ASEAN agrees to hold summit with Trump

PNP chief to step up drive vs drugs, scalawags

DILG shuts down businesses within Taal Volcano danger zone

Robredo to Bongbong: Accept poll results first

James Reid at Nadine Lustre, hiwalay na

‘Parasite’ wins best ensemble prize at SAG Awards

Harry and Meghan: Netflix boss interested in working with the Sussexes

Team PH is Athlete of the Year

SBP official files bill seeking to naturalize Ange Kouame for Gilas

Djokovic survives scare as rain causes chaos at Australian Open

FULL NEWSPAPER

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Human-to-human transmission confirmed in China coronavirus

BEIJING, January 21 —— The head of a Chinese government expert team said Monday that human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus, a development that raises the possibility that it could spread more quickly and widely. Team leader Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert, said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the virus from family members, state media said. Some medical workers have also tested positive for the virus, the English-language China Daily newspaper reported.

The late-night announcement capped a day in which authorities announced a sharp uptick in the number of confirmed cases to more than 200, and China’s leader called on the government to take every possible step to combat the outbreak. “The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously,” President Xi Jinping said in his first public statement on the crisis. “Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people’s lives and health first.” Xi’s remarks were reported by state broadcaster CCTV on its main 7 p.m. evening news broadcast.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization announced it would convene an Emergency Committee meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the outbreak warrants being declared a global health crisis. Such declarations are typically made for epidemics of severe diseases that threaten to cross borders and require an internationally coordinated response. Previous global emergencies have been declared for crises including the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Congo, the emergence of Zika virus in the Americas in 2016 and the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014.

The spread of the viral pneumonia comes as the country enters its busiest travel period, when millions board trains and planes for the Lunar New Year holidays. The outbreak is believed to have started late last month when people picked it up at a fresh food market in Wuhan, a city in central China. Wuhan health authorities said Monday an additional 136 cases have been confirmed in the city, raising the total to 198. Three have died. Authorities elsewhere also announced cases in other Chinese cities for the first time.

Five individuals in Beijing and 14 in Guangdong have also been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, CCTV reported Monday evening. A total of seven suspected cases have been found in other parts of the country, including in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in the southwest and in Shanghai. The late-night announcement capped a day in which authorities announced a sharp uptick in the number of confirmed cases to more than 200, and China’s leader called on the government to take every possible step to combat the outbreak. “The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously,” President Xi Jinping said in his first public statement on the crisis. “Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people’s lives and health first.” Xi’s remarks were reported by state broadcaster CCTV on its main 7 p.m. evening news broadcast.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization announced it would convene an Emergency Committee meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the outbreak warrants being declared a global health crisis. Such declarations are typically made for epidemics of severe diseases that threaten to cross borders and require an internationally coordinated response. Previous global emergencies have been declared for crises including the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Congo, the emergence of Zika virus in the Americas in 2016 and the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014. The spread of the viral pneumonia comes as the country enters its busiest travel period, when millions board trains and planes for the Lunar New Year holidays. The outbreak is believed to have started late last month when people picked it up at a fresh food market in Wuhan, a city in central China.

Source: inquirer.net

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Macron and Trump declare truce in digital tax dispute

PARIS, January 21 —— French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he had a “great discussion” with U.S. President Donald Trump over a digital tax planned by Paris and said the two countries would work together to avoid a rise in tariffs. Macron and Trump agreed to hold off on a potential tariffs war until the end of 2020, a French diplomatic source said, and continue negotiations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the digital tax during that period.

“They agreed to give a chance to negotiations until the end of the year,” the source said. “During that time period, there won’t be successive tariffs.” France decided in July to apply a 3% levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with revenues of more than 25 million euros ($28 million) in France and 750 million euros worldwide. Washington has threatened to impose taxes on French products in response. French authorities have repeatedly said any international agreement on digital taxation reached within the OECD would immediately supersede the French tax.

The White House said on Monday both Trump and Macron agreed it is important to complete successful negotiations on the digital services tax.

Source: reuters.com

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MARITIME NEWS

MSI Predicts Dismal Q1 for Bulker Operators

January 21 —— Dry bulk carrier operators don’t seem to have a lot of reasons to be jolly as they enter 2020 with higher fuel costs, weaker demand, and a supply-side influx swirl into a perfect storm.  According to the latest Dry Bulk Freight Forecaster from Maritime Strategies International, increased fuel costs impacted vessel earnings in December 2019 as owners loaded up on compliant fuel ahead of the deadline.  This was reflected in market assessments reported to the Baltic Exchange, which saw $/ton spot freight rates increase in December for all major Capesize routes apart from Australia to China.

However, the Baltic’s Capesize 5TC average time charter equivalent (TCE) measure declined by 7.8% month on month. This dynamic has been magnified early in 2020: whilst C5 and C3 $/ton rates have fallen by less than 5% so far this year (to 13th Jan), the 5TC assessment has dropped by 35%.  MSI believes that a combination of demand and supply issues will continue to shake and stir the market in the early part of the year. As explained, further problems with Vale’s iron ore production in Brazil have squeezed the supply of iron ore, pushing up global ore prices and undermining Chinese import demand.  “In recent years, freight market dynamics during the first quarter of the year have been dominated by steel and iron ore markets and signs continue to mount that steel demand has weakened in China,” says MSI Dry Bulk Analyst William Tooth.  “Stockpiles are high with rebar up 6.6% year on year on January 9, and production, although still high by historic levels, has been falling, to 80.3m tons in November, down 1.5% month on month.”

Supply-side dynamics don’t look promising either as they are expected to undermine bulker freight rates in the near term. Deliveries are set to up sharply in the first three months of the new year, and fleet growth will accelerate to 4.8% annualized, from 2.2% in December.  Growth will then subside to 2.9% over the following three months as scrapping picks up to 4.1m dwt (just 1.2m dwt was scrapped in the last three months of 2019) and deliveries drop to 10.3m dwt, MSI said.  “Among the dregs of comfort are that a successful conclusion to a trade deal between the US and China could provide a modest boost to seaborne grains trade,” adds Tooth.  “However, MSI forecasts average earnings for March will be below December averages for all benchmarks. Earnings will recover marginally by June, particularly for geared bulkers supported by strong grains exports from Europe and FSU.”

Source: worldmaritimenews.com

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Singapore’s Container Figures at Record High

January 21 —— The Port of Singapore’s container throughput in 2019 hit an all-time high of 37.2 million TEUs, amidst challenging global economic conditions driven by geopolitical tensions and trade wars.  The port’s container throughput increased 1.6% from the 36.6 million TEUs registered in 2018, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said.  Overall, the port handled a total of 626.2 million tons of cargo in 2019, with the vessel arrival tonnage hitting 2.85 billion Gross Tonnage (GT).

The port’s bunkering performance was steady, registering a bunker sale volume of 47.5 million tons in 2019. When compared to the figures from the previous two years, the bunker sales were somewhat down as the bunker sale volume stood at 49.8 million tons in 2018 and 50.6 million tons in 2017.  Singapore, one of the biggest bunker ports in the world, is reportedly experiencing heavy queuing at the port as vessels wait in line to bunker compliant fuels now that the IMO 2020 regulation has entered into force.

What will be the impact of the new regulation on the port’s bunkering performance this year remains to be seen.  “The Singapore Registry of Ships continues to rank amongst the top ship registries in the world, reflecting Singapore’s reputation as a quality flag of choice for international ship owners,” the MPA added.  The total tonnage of ships under the Singapore flag reached 97.3 million GT in 2019.

Source: worldmaritimenews.com

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Kidnapped Duke Crew Members Released, One Dies in Captivity

January 21 —— Nineteen crew members of the oil tanker Duke, who were kidnapped by pirates off Benin in mid-December 2019, have been released while one seafarer died in captivity.  “(W)e can confirm that 19 of the crew members taken hostage were released by the criminal gang holding them,” Union Maritime and V.Ships Management (India), the ship’s owner and manager, confirmed in a statement.  “It is with great regret that we have to report that one valued crew member, an Able Seaman, was evidently taken ill and died shortly after capture.” 

The companies added that they were seeking further information from the released sailors and that a full investigation into the seafarer’s death would be launched.  As informed, the nineteen crew members have undergone medical checks and are reported to be well. They will soon return home to their families.  As World Maritime News reported last month, the sailors, all Indian nationals, were kidnapped some 110 nautical miles off the coast of Benin after the 19,100 dwt Duke had been attacked and boarded by six pirates.  Following the attack, a Togolese naval patrol boat made contact with the vessel and escorted new sea-staff that resumed command of the 2003-built ship.

Source: worldmaritimenews.com

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PHILIPPINE NEWS

Phivolcs: Taal recharging for ‘powerful eruption’

MANILA, Philippines, January 21 —— Taal Volcano is swelling, a portion has sunk and the entire volcano island has tilted slightly, indicating a “resupply” of magma or molten rock rising to the surface that presages a powerful eruption amid the ongoing lull. This was according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, whose official said Taal appeared to be “recharging.” Phivolcs has maintained Alert Level 4 meaning a destructive eruption is imminent within days or even hours.

“There is resupply of magma from below based on earthquakes and ground deformation,” Science Undersecretary and Phivolcs officer-in-charge Renato Solidum Jr. said. Solidum also said the silent activity beneath Taal has significantly altered the landscape of the volcano island. He said some parts of the northeastern portion of the volcano have sunk while the entire volcano has swelled. “The island has slightly tilted while being pushed. Some portions in the northeastern side are sinking. Maybe the houses there are already under water,” Solidum said.

Phivolcs volcano monitoring and eruption prediction division chief Mariton Bornas said the ground around the volcano has swollen except in the northeastern part. Swelling of a volcano signals an accumulation of magma near the surface. Even before its eruption on Jan. 12, Solidum said they had warned the public regarding the volcano island’s being a permanent danger zone.

“We have been warning for years that permanent settlement is prohibited on the island,” he said. He again appealed to the public to stay away from the volcano’s 14-kilometer radius danger zone. “If it reaches the crater, it could cause a strong explosion,” Solidum said, referring to the magma buildup. Alert Level 4 is the second highest of the five-step alert on Taal. He said more than 600 volcanic tremors have been recorded since Sunday, signifying a continued rise of magma.

The Phivolcs chief also noted the high concentration of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which means that magma is actively degassing beneath Taal. The SO2 was measured at 4,353 tons yesterday. SO2 is a major gas component of magma.

Source: philstar.com

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Sandigan denies Datu Andal ‘Unsay’ Ampatuan Jr.’s bid to stop graft trial

January 21 —— Convicted murderer Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. suffered another legal setback in two months after the Sandiganbayan denied his bid to stop his trial over graft charges in connection with the P238 million worth of fuel lubricants purchased by the Maguindanao provincial government from gas stations owned by Ampatuan Jr. The Sandiganbayan issued the Resolution less than a month after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court convicted Ampatuan Jr. and 28 others for the killing of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists, in what has been known as the Maguindanao massacre. The victims were part of the convoy of then Buluan Vice Mayor Toto Mangudadatu, a rival of the ruling Ampatuan clan.

The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division noted that while the Ombudsman’s July 11, 2016 Resolution ordering the filing of graft charges against Ampatuan Jr. and his co-accused did not state his full name in the dispositive portion, the body of the Resolution clearly stated that “Respondents Ampatuan Jr., Dollosa, AmpatuanSr, were charged for violation of Section 3(g) of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on the basis of the spurious procurement of fuels and lubricants from Sheriff Aguak Petron Station owned by respondent Ampatuan Jr.”

The same Resolution also said that, “allegedly, the purchases of fuels and lubricants amounting to P238.318 [sic] million were not subjected to public bidding, thereby circumventing the requirements of Government Procurement Act.” “As shown in the body of the Resolution dated July 11, 2016 in OMB-C-C-14-0124, the Office of the Ombudsman, after discussing the involvement of accused Ampatuan that he was the owner of Shariff Aguak Petron Station from which the Provincial Government of Maguindanao made the questionable purchases of fuel and lubricants, in no uncertain terms held that there is probable cause to indict therein named respondents, including accused Ampatuan, Jr., for violation of Sec 3(e) of Anti-Graft and Corrupt and Practices Act,” the Sandiganbayan said.

“Considering the voluminous records involved, the number of respondents, and the various charges against them, it is not implausible for the Office of the Ombudsman to have omitted accused Ampatuan’s name from the dispositive portion of said Resolution. But there is no indication that the dispositive portion intended to dismiss the charges against him. Wherefore, accused Ampatuan’s Motion is hereby denied for lack of merit,” the anti-graft court added.

Source: gmanetwork.com

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ASEAN agrees to hold summit with Trump

January 21 —— Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Monday said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has reached a consensus to accept the invitation for a summit with United States President Donald J. Trump in Las Vegas in March. “The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat adopted the consensus to hold the ASEAN–US Summit with US President Trump,” Locsin said in a tweet. Earlier, Malacañang announced that Trump invited President Duterte and 11 other ASEAN leaders to a summit through a letter dated January 9, 2020.

Trump also wrote a separate letter addressed to the ASEAN leaders dated Nov. 1 which was circulated among the regional bloc leaders during last year’s ASEAN summit in Bangkok. “I would also like to take this opportunity to offer an invitation to the leaders of ASEAN to join me in the United States for a special summit meeting at a time of mutual convenience in the first quarter of 2020,” Trump was quoted saying in the letter to the ASEAN leaders. It is not yet known whether President Duterte will attend the summit following the passage of the US 2020 budget that contains a provision banning certain Philippine officials implicated in the questionable detention of Senator Leila De Lima from entering the United States.

It was recalled that in April 2017 during the Philippine hosting of the ASEAN Summit in Manila, Trump personally invited Duterte to visit the US.

Source: mb.com.ph

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PNP chief to step up drive vs drugs, scalawags

MANILA, Philippines, January 21 —— Newly appointed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa was sworn in yesterday by President Duterte in Batangas, the province worst affected by Taal Volcano’s continuing unrest. Residents displaced by the volcanic eruption witnessed the oath taking, which was held at a gymnasium in Sto. Tomas City. The President also conferred the four-star rank on Gamboa before posing for photos with the police chief and his family.

Gamboa, who was appointed by President Duterte as the 23rd PNP chief last Friday, vowed to press forward in the campaign against illegal drugs and weeding out scalawags from the organization. He promised to focus on high-value targets, such as large-scale drug traffickers. Since Gamboa will turn 56 – the mandatory retirement age for the uniformed service – on Sept. 2, he will serve as PNP chief for only eight months. He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986.

Prior to his appointment, Gamboa was the PNP’s officer-in-charge for three months after his classmate, former police chief Oscar Albayalde, went on non-duty leave amid allegations of protecting “ninja cops” or police officers who recycle seized prohibited narcotics. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said honesty was Duterte’s consideration in choosing Gamboa as PNP chief.  Also present during the oath taking were Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Sen. Christopher Go. A ceremonial giving of government assistance to families affected by the volcanic eruption immediately followed.

Source: philstar.com

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DILG shuts down businesses within Taal Volcano danger zone

MANILA, Philippines, January 21 —— The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday warned businesses in the Taal Volcano danger zone to stop operating or face losing their business permits. Citing the danger that the volcano could explode any time, the DILG also ordered a halt to the daily visits by residents to their homes in the danger zone to feed their pets and livestock. The DILG had issued a memorandum banning any commercial activity within the 14-kilometer radius danger zone as long as the alert level on Taal remained at 4, a notch below hazardous explosive eruption.

But some hotels and restaurants in Tagaytay, a prime tourist destination, reportedly resumed operations during the weekend when Taal appeared to be cooling down. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said earthquakes rocking the region indicated that magma was pushing up from the volcano’s belly and a hazardous explosive eruption could happen any time. Speaking to reporters in Malacañang on Monday, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said the DILG would check out the reports, but stressed that the agency had issued the same memo to the Tagaytay City government. Tagaytay is within the danger zone, he said.

“If they defy the memorandum, again we will order the local chief executive to close them down, cancel their mayor’s permit, their operating permits,” Densing said. “There are barangays below that need total evacuation. Those in the higher places, in the high side, we told them to stop operations so that there won’t be any tourists or locals loitering,” he said. The DILG issued the memo on Tuesday last week after reports came that Taal Vista Hotel continued to operate even though other businesses in Tagaytay had halted their operations. Safety first“We have to write the mayor telling her, directing her to close it down. If ever Taal Vista did not close down, we would send the [police] there to implement the closure,”  Densing said. “There have been meetings and [the] businessmen are really feeling the pinch, we understand that. But safety first before profit,” he added.

The daily visits by residents to their homes in the danger zone would also be banned. Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the mayors of the towns and cities in the danger zone to strictly enforce the lockdown imposed on their communities. Año also called on the evacuees to listen only to announcements from Phivolcs, following reports that some people had been claiming that the alert level on Taal had been downgraded and it was now safe for them to go back home. He said that while local officials had allowed their constituents a few hours a day to visit their homes and feed their pets and livestock, this has to stop.

“We only allowed that for humanitarian consideration but this time we will be very strict,”Año said. “We really do not know when Taal will erupt. As long as we have alert level 4 we must impose the lockdown and the mandatory evacuation [in the danger zone].”

Source: inquirer.net

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Robredo to Bongbong: Accept poll results first

MANILA, Philippines, January 21 —— Learn to accept election results, or don’t run. This unsolicited advice was dished out by Vice President Leni Robredo to her political rival, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday. “If he wants to run again, he should do so, it’s his right. But if he runs again, he should make sure that he would accept the results of the elections,” she said in an interview.

Robredo is facing an electoral protest filed by Marcos, whom she defeated in the 2016 vice presidential race by over 200,000 votes. “Those running for public office should accept the results of the elections. Because if you run and lost, and won’t accept it, maybe you should no longer run,” she said. The Supreme Court, convened as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has finished the vote recount in the three pilot provinces identified by Marcos in his protest. Robredo said she increased her lead over Marcos by almost 15,000 votes, following the revision and recount of ballots from the pilot provinces – Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental – Marcos chose. 

Under PET Rule 65, the protest may be dismissed “without further consideration of the other provinces” if the protestant fails to make a “substantial recovery” in the three pilot provinces. Marcos, son and namesake of the late dictator, earlier announced he will run for a national post in 2022. “I can be a congressman, I can be a senator. If I retire, I can be governor in Ilocos Norte,” he said.  Meanwhile, Robredo laughed off Marcos’ call for a revision of history textbooks that cast a shadow over their family and his father’s regime.

Marcos said his family’s recent court victories proved decades-old criminal accusations against them were false. “That one is slightly hilarious,” Robredo said in Filipino. “I agree that there is (something) lacking in our education system, in the sense that our students were not taught well on the effects of the dictatorship before. Because if it’s effective, the things that happened during those days should no longer be happening now.” The Vice President also said she is not yet thinking of her political plans in 2022, maintaining that the presidency is a matter of destiny. “Politics is not an ambition. For me, no matter how much you prepare, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you,” she said in an interview with GMA 7.

Source: philstar.com

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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

James Reid at Nadine Lustre, hiwalay na

January 21 —— Kinumpirma nina James Reid at Nadine Lustre sa kanilang joint statement na ipinadala sa Tonight with Boy Abunda na hiwalay na sila. “It’s true that we have split up but not for all the reason that are being spread on the tabloids and social media but because after quiet and mature conversations, we decided to focus on ourselves not only for our careers but more for our personal growth as we are still young and we want to achieve as much as we can.”

Gano’n pa man, nilinaw naman ng dalawa na maayos ang kanilang paghihiwalay at magkaibigan pa rin sila hanggang ngayon. Sinabi rin ng dalawa na patuloy pa rin ang kanilang mga proyekto lalo na sa musika. Matatandaang pumirma sa Careless Music si Nadine, ang record label ni James.  “We agreed that going separate ways was the best for both of us. We are in good terms and are still really good friends and will continue to work on each other especially when it comes to music.”

Pinasalamatan din nila ang kanilang fans na sumuporta sa kanila. “Thank you for all the JADINE FANS for their undying support and we hope you continue to support us now and in the future. We shall forever be grateful to them for their love and understanding. Thank you.” Matatandaang nitong mga nakaraang linggo ay napabalita ang kanilang paghihiwalayan. Matapos nito ay nakita rin sila ng kanilang mga fans sa Baguio. Sabay din nagpunta ang dalawa sa Brazil.

Source: push.abs-cbn.com

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‘Parasite’ wins best ensemble prize at SAG Awards

January 21 —— History was made once again by Korean film “Parasite” after it became the first foreign-language film to win the best ensemble prize at the 26th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on Sunday night. Actors Park So-dam, Lee Sun-kyun, Choi Woo-shik, Lee Jung-eun and Song Kang-ho were among the cast members who took the stage to accept the coveted award.

“Although the title is ‘Parasite’, I think the story is about coexistence and how we can all live together,” said Song, as translated by interpreter Sharon Choi. “But to be honored with the best ensemble award, it occurs to me maybe we haven’t created such a bad movie. … I am so honored to receive this award in front of such amazing actors that I admire. I will remember and never forget this beautiful night. Thank you so much,” he added.

With its latest win, Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” a dark comedy film about the wealth gap in South Korea, just cemented its role as a front-runner at this year’s Oscars, where it stands to win up to six awards at the ceremony set on February 9—best picture, best director, best international feature film, best in original screenplay, best in production design, and best in film editing.

Source: push.abs-cbn.com

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Harry and Meghan: Netflix boss interested in working with the Sussexes

January 21 —— A top Netflix official has said the streaming giant is keen to work with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Following a bombshell statement a fortnight ago, Harry and Meghan will be stepping down as senior royals and move to Canada. In line with their “progressive new role”, the couple will drop their HRH title and relinquish an annual Sovereign Grant which currently makes up 5% of their income. Instead, they will work to be “financially independent” and pursue their own sources of income.

While it’s not yet known how they will make their cash, some brand experts have predicted they could be bigger than the Beckhams and their friends the Obamas. Former US president Barack and his wife Michelle signed a multi-year production deal with Netflix back in 2018 to make their own movies, series and documentaries. The couple also have their own production company, Higher Ground, gaining their first Oscar nod this year. Now, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos has said he’d like to work with the soon-to-be former royals.

Speaking at an event in Los Angeles, he told the PA news agency: “Who wouldn’t be interested? Yes, sure.” Former Suits-star Meghan is already rumored to have signed a voiceover deal with Disney in return for a donation to an elephant charity. Earlier this year Prince Harry was caught on camera touting his wife for a voiceover job to Disney chairman Robert Iger at the Lion King premiere. Harry has some steaming giant experience already, having worked with Oprah Winfrey on a documentary on mental health for Apple TV+. There is also speculation that Harry could work the lecture circuit, sharing his travel experiences and giving insights into his military career.

Source: news.sky.com

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SPORTS NEWS

Team PH is Athlete of the Year

January 21 —— Count on the Filipino athletes to deliver when the going gets tough. Amid the distractions and doubts hovering over Team Philippines’ preparations and campaign for the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the Filipinos remained poised and kept their focus on the task at hand, resulting in one of the most inspiring moments in the country’s sporting last month.

The 1,115-strong Philippine bets delivered a total of 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals out of the 56 sports played in the entire duration of the 11-day competitions held in three major clusters in Luzon. The numbers were the highest ever tallied by the country since it began competing in the biennial meet in 1977, and more than enough to clinch for the host the SEA Games overall championship just for the second time in 42 years.

For that momentous feat in a December to remember, Team PH will be bestowed with the 2019 Athlete of the Year award in the coming SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards Night. The traditional gala honoring the top sports heroes and heroines of the year just passed is set on March 6 at the Centennial Hall of Manila Hotel.

Source: sports.inquirer.net

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SBP official files bill seeking to naturalize Ange Kouame for Gilas

January 21 —— ATENEO slotman Ange Kouame is being eyed to be a part of the naturalized players pool as Gilas Pilipinas starts the process of forming a new core in the buildup for the 2023 Fiba World Cup. Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) vice-chairman and Antipolo First District representative Robbie Puno has filed House Bill No. 5951, seeking to grant Philippine citizenship to the Ivorian center. “We marveled at his performance that helped clinch a 16-0 sweep for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the 82nd Season of the UAAP. Mr. Kouame may have had little knowledge of basketball before he came to our shores, but we cannot deny the immense potential he has shown by now,” said the lawmaker.

Kouame, 20, averaged 12.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, and 1.4 assists this past season as the Blue Eagles completed a perfect run to a third successive UAAP title. The SBP is seeking to form a pool of naturalization players, giving the national team flexibility in terms of who to tap for specific international tourneys. Resident Ginebra import Justin Brownlee and former San Miguel reinforcement Chris McCullough were earlier tipped as potential naturalization prospects. Fiba Internal Regulations allows national teams to enlist one naturalized player for its sanctioned tourneys, one that the Philippines has utilized before with Marcus Douthit and Andray Blatche.

Puno also filed the bill for Blatche’s naturalization. Puno sees Kouame’s entry to the naturalized players pool as a big boost for Gilas Pilipinas, especially as it prepares for the global hoops showcase three years from now. “This pool of players would be valuable to our national team because the team would have more naturalized players to field in the case of injuries,” he said. “Such a resource would be useful because we would be able to match what we need to win from a roster of naturalized players. The choice would never be just one player. We could have Mr. Kouame and many other promising athletes there, ready to be assigned to a match as needed.”

Source: spin.ph

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Djokovic survives scare as rain causes chaos at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia, January 21 —— Novak Djokovic survived a scare to join Roger Federer and Serena Williams in the Australian Open second round as heavy downpours caused chaos, forcing organizers to postpone a swathe of matches. Defending champion Djokovic was made to sweat before beating Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in 4 sets on Monday, January 20, when fears over air pollution were replaced by disruption caused by rain. While play continued at the 3 stadiums with retractable roofs, half of the 64 scheduled matches were postponed, ensuring a big backlog for Tuesday.

Wet conditions are unusual for the Australian Open, which is more used to extreme heat and was plagued by smog from bushfires during qualifying, when players suffered coughing fits and breathing problems. Air quality was rated “good” as the first round started on Monday, but about 4 hours later, play was suspended on outside courts when the heavens opened in Melbourne. World No. 3 Federer was briefly hauled off court while the roof was closed on Rod Laver Arena before returning to complete a routine 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over American Steve Johnson.

Williams, on the hunt for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title, won the opening set against Anastasia Potapova in just 19 minutes as she cruised to a 6-0, 6-3 win in less than an hour. “I feel like I can still improve and get better throughout this tournament, for sure. This is a good stepping stone for right now,” Williams said. However, Williams’ elder sister Venus was ousted in stunning fashion by 15-year-old Coco Gauff, who won 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 in a repeat of her first-round upset at Wimbledon last year. In the late match, defending champion Djokovic dropped his first set since 2006 in the opening round before recovering to beat Jan-Lennard Struff, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. “There is a lot of pressure and a lot of different emotions involved. I definitely try to remind myself to stay present and really enjoy,” said the seven-time Melbourne winner, who brought up his 900th Tour-level victory. Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens was the biggest women’s casualty on Day 1 when she crashed out in 3 sets to Zhang Shuai of China – her fourth first-round exit in Melbourne.

Source: rappler.com/sports