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Vol. 2. No. 21


A Balita Media Publication

Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013

California Latinos to overtake whites within year LOS ANGELES, Jan 31, 2013 (AFP) – Latinos will outnumber nonHispanic whites in California by early next year for the first time since it became a US state, according to official forecasts released Thursday. The number of Latinos will equal the white population by mid-2013, when each group is expected to be about 39 percent of the western state’s population, the Department of Finance predictions showed.

“Early in 2014, the Hispanic population will become the plurality in California for the first time since California became a state,” it added. By 2060, Hispanics will comprise nearly half – 48 percent – of the

population, while non-Hispanic whites will have fallen from 39 percent now to 30 percent, and blacks from six percent to four percent. Asians will grow only slightly as a proportion of the population, from just under 13 percent now to just over 13 percent in 2060. California is the most populous US state, and if it were a country would be the world’s eighth or ninth biggest economy. Overall, its population will grow to 52.7 million, about 40 percent more than currently, the latest forecasts said. As the white post-World War II baby boomer population goes into retirement, Latinos and Asians will become the mainstay of the labor force and economy in California, according to the study. California became the 31st US state in 1850, two and a half years after the United States signed a treaty to end the Mexican War with its southern neighbor. By 2060, Hispanics will comprise nearly half – 48 percent – of the population, while non-Hispanic whites will have fallen from 39 percent now to 30 percent, and blacks from six percent to four percent. Asians will grow only slightly as a proportion of the population, from just under 13 percent now to just over 13 percent in 2060, reports say.

Militants free Filipinos seized with Jordanian journalist BY JASON GUTIERREZ

MANILA, Feb 3, 2013 (AFP) – Islamist Abu Sayyaf militants have freed two Filipino television crew members seized along with a Jordanian journalist nearly eight months ago in the southern Philippines, police said Sunday. Looking frail and gaunt, audio technician Roland “Buboy” Letriro and cameraman Ramil Vela walked free Saturday on Jolo island where they had been held since June last year, regional police chief Noel de-

President Benigno S. Aquino III addresses the 5th Global Conference of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) Opening Ceremony at the Reception Hall, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Thursday (January 31, 2013).GOPAC is an international network dedicated to good governance and combating corruption throughout the world. GOPAC has provided information and analysis, established international benchmarks, and improved public awareness through a combination of global pressure and national action. (MNS photo)

Palace vows safe, orderly midterm polls ANILA, Feb 4 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang assured that it will go after politicians who maintain private armed groups as the country prepares for the midterm election this May. The campaign of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to dismantle private armed groups and account for all loose firearms continues to

make the upcoming election safe and orderly, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Monday. It was reported that some members of Congress, particularly in the Zamboanga Peninsula, maintain private armies and the proliferation of unlicensed guns remains a con-

See JOURNALIST, page 6

Human rights victims will have to wait

Palace: No date yet for martial law compensation bill signing MANILA, Feb 2 (Mabuhay) -Malacañang on Saturday said there is no definite date yet for the signing of the newly ratified bill that will provide compensation to human rights violations victims during Martial Law. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that as of Saturday morning, the Palace has yet to receive the transmittal of the bill from Congress. “Wala pa... [itse-]check namin,


See HUMAN RIGHTS, page 6

New Asian, Pacific Islander report says immigration reform ‘most pressing’ LOS ANGELES – California’s fastest growing racial groups, Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) have considerable needs that should be addressed by policy makers, according to a report released today by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and Asian Law Caucus (ALC).  Using the latest data from numerous federal, state, and local agencies,  A See PACIFIC ISLANDER, page 6 A performer smiles as she awaits their turn to dance during the Pasinaya CCP Open House Festival 2013, a multi-arts shows from music, theatre, dance, visual arts, film, and literature focusing on Chinese Filipino arts and culture, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila February 3, 2013. (MNS photo)

Saudi Arabia spares OFW death-row inmate MANILA, Feb 1, 2013 (AFP) – A Filipino sentenced to death by beheading in Saudi Arabia for killing a man he said tried to sexually abuse him is to walk free after blood money was paid to the victim’s family, officials said Friday. Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza is expected to be released after more than 12 years in prison following the Saudi government’s decision to pay 2.3 million riyals ($615,000) to the victim’s family, Vice President Jejomar Binay said. “I am glad to announce that our

compatriot has been spared from the death penalty,” Binay said in a statement. The remaining $245,000 of the compensation sought by the victim’s family was raised by Lanuza’s relatives, he added. The Saudi embassy in Manila confirmed the deal, saying in a statement that Riyadh “has paid the balance of the blood money”. Under the Saudi legal system, acceptance of blood money leads to the signing of a waiver by the victim’s family signifying forgiveness, See DEATH-ROW INMATE, page 6

Two minors rescued in Inland Empire child exploitation raid

Released Filipino hostages Rolando Letrero (left) holds Ramil Vela as he stands up inside a hospital in Sulu province, southern Philippines February 3, 2013. Gunmen freed the two Filipino television crew hired by a Jordanian journalist after nearly eight months in captivity in the troubled southern islands Philippines, local media reported (MNS photo).

Jan. 29 – An Inland Empire task force and multiple local departments in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties conducted a two-night operation in the cities lease of the two Filipino camera- of Hemet, Ontario, and Riverside men and, of course, we hope that over the weekend that focused on all the captives will be released but, the identification and recovery of again, that will take some time,” victims of sexual trafficking, anPresidential spokesperson Edwin nounced Bill Lewis, the Assistant Lacierda said in a press briefing in Director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. ADIC Lewis made Malacañang. Abu Sayyaf bandits released the announcement on behalf of cameraman Ramel Vela and au- multiple departments in the two

Palace welcomes release of two Filipino hostages in Sulu MANILA, Feb 4 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang on Monday welcomed the release of two Filipino crewmen of Jordanian television journalist Baker Abdulla Atyani who were kidnapped last year by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) hoping that the reporter and other foreigner captives will be released soon. “We certainly welcome the re-





From boob jobs to Botox, plastic surgery is on the rise

Ethel Booba gets another shot at hosting ‘Wowowillie’



President Benigno S. Aquino III is received by GOPAC’s chief executive officer John Williams, chairman Dr. Nasser Al Sane and secretary Mary King upon arrival for the 5th Global Conference of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) Opening Ceremony at the Reception Hall, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Thursday (January 31, 2013).

MOTORING ‘Hypercar’ from Beirut on show in Qatar See MOTORING 4


Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013



Congress urged to pass laws for deaf community’s welfare MANILA, Feb 4 (Mabuhay) – Some 30 members of the deaf community on Monday trooped to the House of Representatives to ask lawmakers to pass more bills protecting their welfare. Dean Veronica Templo-Perez of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies called on Congress to have a “sense of urgency” in passing laws for hearing-impaired Filipinos. “The deaf community hopes that someday, we will have a Philippines that accommodates everyone – not just the majority of Filipinos but every Filipino, and that’s including the deaf. This can only happen if we have lawmakers who are aware of the issues of the deaf and persons with disabilities and will work for their brighter future,” Templo-Perez said in a speech on Monday afternoon. The deaf community set up an exhibit at the north wing of the Batasan Pambansa building to promote awareness of the problems being encountered by its members in the Philippines. Templo-Perez particularly urged the legislature to immediately enact bills that will institutionalize sign language insets on

news programs in the country, as well as the measure declaring Filipino sign language (FSL) as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf. However, ACT Teachers’ party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, author of House Bill 6079 declaring the FSL as the national sign language, admitted that the current Congress has no more time to pass his measure. “The struggle to have Filipino as our national language, which lasted for over a century, is parallel to our struggle for the Filipino sign language. There is a mistaken notion that the American sign language is the international sign language, when in fact it is not,” Tinio said in a separate speech. In a report published in The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dr. Liza Martinez of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center described the FSL as “the ordered and rule-governed visual communication which has arisen naturally and embodies the cultural identity of the Filipino community of signers.” The party-list lawmaker likewise pledged to re-file his bill, which only reached the committee level in the current legislature, next Congress.

President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomes Malaysia Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary His Excellency Dato Mohd Zamri Bin Mohd Kassim during the Presentation of Credentials at the Music Room, Malacañan Palace on Monday (February 04, 2013). Malaysia is considered as one of the country’s important partners, the 7th largest export market and 8th largest import market of the Philippines. In photo is Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. (MNS photo)

Aquino welcomes new ambassadors of Malaysia, Cambodia and Italy • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Labor Certification (PERM) Nurse and P.T. Petitions Specialty Workers (H1B) Treaty Traders & Investors (E) Adjustment of Status (I485) Family Petitions (I130) Employment Petitions (I140) Intercompany Transfer (L1) Extraordinary Ability (O1) Investor Visa ($1M. $500K) Artists & Athletes (P1, P3) Religious Workers (R1) AAO Appeals & MTR

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Request for Evidence (RFE) Notice of Intent to Deny/Revoke Fiancé & Spouse (K1/K3) Student Visas (F1/M1) J1 Waiver (212e) Visitors (B1, B2) Crewman & Transits (C1, D1) Battered Spouse/Child (VAWA) Child Status Protection (CSPA) Removal of Conditions (I751) Citizenship and Naturalization All other Related Matters

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MANILA, Feb 4 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed the new ambassadors of Malaysia, the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Italy, who presented their respective credentials to the Chief Executive in Malacanang Palace on Monday. The President first welcomed His Excellency Dato’ Mohd Zamri Bin Mohd Kassim, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Malaysia at the Music Room of Malacanang Palace. He was accompanied by Deputy Chief of Mission/Minister Zakaria Nasir, Minister Counsellor Adnan Ababs, Defence Attache Colonel Hamzah Ali and Export Promotion Counsellor Har Man Ahmad. The Philippines and Malaysia have a long standing and good diplomatic relations and the new ambassador to the Philippines has expressed his government’s interest in further promoting the whole range of bi-

lateral cooperation. Her Excellency Tuot Panha, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipontentiary of the Kingdom of Cambodia, presented her credentials to the President. The presentation of credentials was witnessed by Charge d’ Affaires Tan Chandaravuth, First Secretary Roth Phally and Accountant and Attache Vong Sopheap. Panha reiterated her country’s commitment to bolster relations with the Philippines. His Excellency Massimo Roscigno, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Italy met the Chief Executive to present his credentials. He was accompanied by his wife Agnes Ventura-Roscigno, of Filipino descent, Deputy Head of Mission Dr. Alfonso Tagliaferri, Administrative Attache Dr. Anna Maria Salvini and Head of Consular Office Dr. Antonio Gallo.

1st ‘Yakapalooza’ in PH on Valentine’s Day set MANILA, Feb 2 (Mabuhay) – The National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) is inviting everyone to gather and show their love for one another at the firstever “Yakapalooza at the Park” on Valentine’s Day at the Rizal Park. A free concert will be held before the “Yakapalooza at the Park” at 6 p.m. on February 14 near the Musical Dancing Fountain. The event will be graced by some of the country’s fast rising stars, bands and singers such as Bea Binene, Barbie Forteza, Julie Anne San Jose, Joshua Dionisio, Derick Monasterio, Enzo Pineda, DJ Joker, and all members of the group Jeepney Music led by Allan Pineda. Also gracing the event are DCOY, Ikee, Jash Bagabaldo and jazz performers Jive Disciples. Top radio jocks DJ Rico Panyero and Lala Banderas of 101.1 Yes FM will serve as hosts. NPDC spokesperson Kenneth Montegrande said 9 p.m. will be declared as the “love hour” to give emphasis on “Yakapalooza at the Park.” He said it will be the perfect time for loved ones, friends and family members to show the true meaning of love. People are invited to join the countdown to the love hour to be led by NPDC executive director Dr. Juliet Villegas and other top officials of NPDC. The event will be staged by Blitz Commu-

nications Philippines (BlitzCom) in cooperation with Unisilver TIME, Mario D’ Boro, Coca-Cola, FEMSA Philippines, PLDT, Stage Crafts and Department of Public Works and Highways. Montegrande said BlitzCom and NPDC aim to give the public a meaningful way to celebrate the day of hearts. “Valentine’s Day is one of the most important ocassions where you can show to your loved one how he or she means to you without spending a single centavo. Love knows no boundaries even in this very empirical world that we live at. We want to prove that and Rizal Park will be the mute witness for that meaningful moment,” he said in a statement. Montegrande also shared what he read from The Daily Mail, a leading tabloid in UK. According to studies commissioned by the University of Vienna, a 20-second passionate hug increases humans’ memory level, lowers stress level and normalizes blood pressure. “…Scientist found that a hormone – oxytocin – is released into the blood stream when you hold or hug a friend close. This lowers blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety and can even improve your memory.” “…According to a research from the University of Vienna, you have to be, however, selective over who you hug. Giving a polite embrace to someone we don’t know well can have the opposite effect,” the official report said. (MNS)

PNoy to join LP proclamation rally, says spokesman MANILA, Feb 2 (Mabuhay) -- Barring a last-minute change in plans, President Benigno Aquino III is to attend the proclamation rally of the administration coalition’s senatorial bets in Manila on Feb. 12, a member of the ruling Liberal Party said Saturday. Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone on Saturday said Aquino will participate in the event, which he said is “historic” for the LP as it will be held at Plaza Miranda. “’Yan ang pagkakaalam ko, dadalo siya ... Base sa ating discussion sa leaders ng LP, siya ay sasama at makikiisa sa proclamation rally,” Evardone said on government-run dzRB radio. Also, he said the Plaza Miranda venue is significant for the LP as it was where a deadly bombing occurred in 1971 – during a political campaign rally of the LP.

Aquino has been taking part in the early campaign of the administration coalition’s senatorial bets – in the coalition’s television ads, he hinted some candidates claim to be supporting him but are merely posing. He then named the coalition’s senatorial bets – some of them from the Nacionalista Party and Nationalist People’s Coalition. (MNS)

THE US ASIAN POST Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013




To merchants who have accepted Visa and MasterCard at any time since January 1, 2004: Notice of a 6+ billion dollar class action settlement. Notice of a class action settlement authorized by the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York. This notice is authorized by the Court to inform you about an agreement to settle a class action lawsuit that may affect you. The lawsuit claims that Visa and MasterCard, separately, and together with banks, violated antitrust laws and caused merchants to pay excessive fees for accepting Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards, including by: ™ Agreeing to set, apply, and enforce rules about merchant fees (called default interchange fees); ™ Limiting what merchants could do to encourage their customers to use other forms of payment through, for example, charging customers an extra fee or offering discounts; and ™ Continuing that conduct after Visa and MasterCard changed their corporate structures. The defendants say they have done nothing wrong. They say that their business practices are legal and the result of competition, and have beneďŹ tted merchants and consumers. The Court has not decided who is right because the parties agreed to a settlement. On November 27, 2012, the Court gave preliminary approval to this settlement.

THE SETTLEMENT Under the settlement, Visa, MasterCard, and the bank defendants have agreed to make payments to two settlement funds: ™ I]Z Äghi ^h V š8Vh] ;jcYº ¡ V +#%* W^aa^dc fund that will pay valid claims of merchants that accepted Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards at any time between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012. ™ I]ZhZXdcY^hVcš>ciZgX]Vc\Z;jcYº¡Zhi^bViZY id WZ Veegdm^bViZan &#' W^aa^dc ¡ i]Vi l^aa be based on a portion of the interchange fees attributable to certain merchants that accept Visa or MasterCard credit cards for an eightbdci]š>ciZgX]Vc\ZEZg^dY#º Additionally, the settlement changes some of the Visa and MasterCard rules applicable to merchants who accept their cards. This settlement creates two classes: ™ A Cash Settlement Class (Rule 23(b)(3) Settlement Class), which includes all persons, businesses, and other entities that accepted any Visa or MasterCard cards in the U.S. at any time from January 1, 2004 to November 28, 2012, and ™ A Rule Changes Settlement Class (Rule 23(b) (2) Settlement Class), which includes all persons, businesses, and entities that as of November 28, 2012 or in the future accept any Visa or MasterCard cards in the U.S.

WHAT MERCHANTS WILL GET FROM THE SETTLEMENT Every merchant in the Cash Settlement Class that ďŹ les a valid claim will get money from the +#%*W^aa^dc8Vh];jcY!hjW_ZXiidVYZYjXi^dc cdi id ZmXZZY '* d[ i]Z [jcY id VXXdjci [dg merchants who exclude themselves from the Cash Settlement Class. The value of each claim, where possible, will be based on the actual or estimated interchange fees attributable to the merchant’s MasterCard and Visa payment card transactions from January 1, 2004 to November '-!'%&'#EVnbZcihidbZgX]Vcihl]dĂ„aZkVa^Y XaV^bh [dg V edgi^dc d[ i]Z 8Vh] ;jcY l^aa WZ based on: ™ The money available to pay all claims, ™ The total dollar value of all valid claims ďŹ led, ™ The deduction described above not to exceed '*d[i]Z8Vh]HZiiaZbZci;jcY!VcY ™ The cost of settlement administration and notice, money awarded to the class representatives, and attorneys’ fees and expenses all as approved by the Court. >c VYY^i^dc! bZgX]Vcih ^c i]Z 8Vh] HZiiaZbZci Class that accept Visa and MasterCard during i]Z Z^\]i"bdci] >ciZgX]Vc\Z EZg^dY VcY Ă„aZ V valid claim will get money from the separate

>ciZgX]Vc\Z;jcY!Zhi^bViZYidWZVeegdm^bViZan &#' W^aa^dc# I]Z kVajZ d[ ZVX] XaV^b! l]ZgZ possible, will be based on an estimate of one-tenth d[ & d[ i]Z bZgX]VciÂźh K^hV VcY BVhiZg8VgY credit card dollar sales volume during that period. EVnbZcihidbZgX]Vcihl]dĂ„aZkVa^YXaV^bh[dg Vedgi^dcd[i]Z>ciZgX]Vc\Z;jcYl^aaWZWVhZY on: ™ The money available to pay all claims, ™ The total dollar value of all valid claims ďŹ led, and ™ The cost of settlement administration and notice, and any attorneys’ fees and expenses that may be approved by the Court. Attorneys’ fees and expenses and money awarded to the class representatives/   ;dg ldg` YdcZ through ďŹ nal approval of the settlement by the district court, Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees in an amount that is a reasonable egdedgi^dc d[ i]Z 8Vh] HZiiaZbZci ;jcY! cdi id ZmXZZY &&#* d[ i]Z 8Vh] HZiiaZbZci ;jcY d[ +#%* W^aa^dc VcY &&#* d[ i]Z >ciZgX]Vc\Z ;jcYZhi^bViZYidWZ&#'W^aa^dcidXdbeZchViZ all of the lawyers and their law ďŹ rms that have ldg`ZYdci]ZXaVhhXVhZ#;dgVYY^i^dcValdg`id administer the settlement, distribute both funds, and through any appeals, Class Counsel may seek reimbursement at their normal hourly rates, not to ZmXZZYVcVYY^i^dcVa&d[i]Z8Vh]HZiiaZbZci ;jcYd[+#%*W^aa^dcVcYVcVYY^i^dcVa&d[i]Z >ciZgX]Vc\Z ;jcY Zhi^bViZY id WZ &#' W^aa^dc# Class Counsel will also request reimbursement of their expenses (not including the administrative Xdhihd[hZiiaZbZcidgcdi^XZ!cdiidZmXZZY)% b^aa^dcVcYjeid'%%!%%%eZg8aVhhEaV^ci^[[^c service awards for their efforts on behalf of the classes.






To receive payment, merchants must ďŹ ll out a claim [dgb#>[i]Z8djgiĂ„cVaanVeegdkZhi]ZhZiiaZbZci! and you do not exclude yourself from the Cash Settlement Class, you will receive a claim form in the mail or by email. Or you may ask for one Vi/ lll#EVnbZci8VgYHZiiaZbZci#Xdb! dg XVaa/ &"-%%"+'*"+))%#




Merchants will beneďŹ t from changes to certain MasterCard and Visa rules, which will allow merchants to, among other things: ™ Charge customers an extra fee if they pay with Visa or MasterCard credit cards, ™ Offer discounts to customers who do not pay with Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards, and ™ ;dgb Wjn^c\ \gdjeh i]Vi bZZi XZgiV^c Xg^iZg^V to negotiate with Visa and MasterCard. Merchants that operate multiple businesses under different trade names or banners will also be able to accept Visa or MasterCard at fewer than all of the merchant’s trade names and banners.




Merchants who are included in this lawsuit have the legal rights and options explained below. You may: Â&#x161; <_b[WYbW_cjeWia\ehfWoc[dj$You will receive a claim form in the mail or email or ďŹ le online at: lll#EVnbZci8VgYHZiiaZbZci#Xdb# Â&#x161; ;nYbkZ[ oekhi[b\ from the Cash Settlement 8aVhhGjaZ'(W(HZiiaZbZci8aVhh#>[ndj exclude yourself, you can sue the Defendants for damages based on alleged conduct occurring on or before November 27, 2012 on your own Vi ndjg dlc ZmeZchZ! ^[ ndj lVci id# >[ ndj exclude yourself, you will not get any money [gdb i]^h hZiiaZbZci# >[ ndj VgZ V bZgX]Vci and wish to exclude yourself, you must make a written request, place it in an envelope, and mail it with postage prepaid and postmarked no later than CWo(."(&') to Class Administrator, EVnbZci 8VgY >ciZgX]Vc\Z ;ZZ HZiiaZbZci! E#D#7dm'*(%!EdgiaVcY!DG.,'%-"'*(%#I]Z written request must be signed by a person authorized to do so and provide all of the [daadl^c\ ^c[dgbVi^dc/ & i]Z ldgYh š>c gZ EVnbZci 8VgY >ciZgX]Vc\Z ;ZZ VcY BZgX]Vci

9^hXdjci 6ci^igjhi A^i^\Vi^dc!Âş ' ndjg [jaa name, address, telephone number, and taxpayer identiďŹ cation number, (3) the merchant that wishes to be excluded from the Cash Settlement Class (Rule 23(b)(3) Settlement Class), and what position or authority you have to exclude the merchant, and (4) the business names, brand names, and addresses of any stores or sales locations whose sales the merchant desires to be excluded.  Note: OekYWddejX[[nYbkZ[Z\hecj^[Hkb[ 9^Wd][i I[jjb[c[dj 9bWii (Rule 23(b)(2) Settlement Class). Â&#x161; EX`[Yj je j^[ i[jjb[c[dj. The deadline to dW_ZXi ^h/ CWo (." (&'). To learn how to dW_ZXi! hZZ/ lll#EVnbZci8VgYHZiiaZbZci#Xdb dg XVaa &"-%%"+'*"+))%# CdiZ/ >[ ndj ZmXajYZ yourself from the Cash Settlement Class you XVccdidW_ZXiidi]ZiZgbhd[i]Viedgi^dcd[i]Z settlement. ;dgbdgZ^c[dgbVi^dcVWdjii]ZhZg^\]ihVcYdei^dch! k^h^i/lll#EVnbZci8VgYHZiiaZbZci#Xdb#





Members of the Rule Changes Settlement Class are bound by the terms of this settlement. Members of the Cash Settlement Class, who do not exclude themselves by the deadline, are bound by the terms of this settlement whether or not they ďŹ le a claim for payment. Members of both classes release all claims against all released parties listed in the Settlement Agreement. The settlement will resolve and release any claims by merchants against Visa, MasterCard or other defendants that were or could have been alleged in the lawsuit, including any claims based on interchange or other fees, no-surcharge rules, no-discounting rules, honor-all-cards rules and other rules. The settlement will also resolve any merchant claims based upon the future effect of any Visa or MasterCard rules, as of November 27, 2012 and not to be modiďŹ ed pursuant to the settlement, the modiďŹ ed rules provided for in the settlement, or any other rules substantially similar to any such rules. The releases will not bar claims involving certain speciďŹ ed standard commercial disputes arising in the ordinary course of business. ;dg bdgZ ^c[dgbVi^dc dc i]Z gZaZVhZ! see the settlement agreement at: lll#EVnbZci8VgYHZiiaZbZci#Xdb#

THE COURT HEARING ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT On September 12, 2013, there will be a Court hearing to decide whether to approve the proposed settlement, class counselsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; requests for attorneysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fees and expenses, and awards for the class representatives. The hearing will take place at: United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York ''*8VYbVcEaVoV 7gdd`anc!CN&&'%& You do not have to go to the court hearing or hire Vc ViidgcZn# 7ji ndj XVc ^[ ndj lVci id! Vi ndjg own cost. The Court has appointed the law ďŹ rms d[ GdW^ch! @VeaVc! B^aaZg  8^gZh^ AAE! 7Zg\Zg  BdciV\jZ! E8! VcY GdWW^ch <ZaaZg GjYbVc  9dlY AAE id gZegZhZci i]Z 8aVhh š8aVhh 8djchZaÂş#

QUESTIONS? ;dg bdgZ ^c[dgbVi^dc VWdji i]^h XVhZ In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, MDL 1720), you may: 8Vaaidaa"[gZZ/&"-%%"+'*"+))% K^h^i/lll#EVnbZci8VgYHZiiaZbZci#Xdb Write to the Class Administrator: EVnbZci8VgY>ciZgX]Vc\Z;ZZHZiiaZbZci E#D#7dm'*(% EdgiaVcY!DG.,'%-"'*(% :bV^a/^c[d5EVnbZci8VgYHZiiaZbZci#Xdb EaZVhZ X]ZX` lll#EVnbZci8VgYHZiiaZbZci#Xdb for any updates relating to the settlement or the settlement approval process.

w w w. P a y m e n t C a r d S e t t l e m e n t . c o m    sINFO




Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013


Palace: Economic gains achieved purely through Aquino administration’s efforts MANILA, Feb 2 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang said the economic gains posted by the Aquino administration were solely the result of the present government’s initiatives and not from the momentum set by the previous administration. In a statement, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday commended President Benigno Aquino III over the 6.6-percent growth in the country’s gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2012. Arroyo’s Friday statement is a complete turnaround from her previous comments two years ago saying President Aquino obscured the economic gains of the Arroyo presidency to allegedly make up for his own shortcomings. In a radio in interview over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the recent development is “a classic case of the student already surpassing the teacher.” President Aquino was a former student in economics at Ateneo de Manila University by President Arroyo. But Valte said the former President’s statement isn’t true particularly on her claim that President Aquino’s administration just sustained the gains of the previous government after the former leader left office in 2010. Arroyo said she welcomed the development in the country’s economy noting the President is on track to restoring the growth of 7.9 percent where it was before the first half of 2010. “But, we all have to remember that 2010 was an election year, and historically, if you look at all the data, simulan natin: Kapag election year, mataas talaga ang growth, mataas talaga ang GDP. Bakit? Because of election spending, and ask any economist, they’ll tell you the same thing,” Valte said. Based on historical figures, Valte said election years really have high GDP growths. For instance in the 1988 election, the GDP was 6.8 percent; in 2004, the GDP was 6.7 percent; and in 2007, it was at 6.6 percent. “But if you take out all the election years noon, when you look at the GDP, if you exclude all the election years, ‘yung 6.6 percent natin for 2012 is the fastest growth the Philippine economy has seen in the past 30 years, surpassing all the past presidents, beginning from the former President Cory Aquino,” she added. Commenting on criticisms saying the government’s campaign against corruption must uphold the rule of law, due processes and the independence of the judiciary, Valte said the anti-corruption fight of the administration is within the bounds of the rule of law. “The anti-corruption fight of the President has always been within the bounds of the rule of law with respect to other institutions, which is why it translates into good governance, and good governance translates to good economics,” she said. (MNS)

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A Once undocumented immigrant reflects upon BY ADRIAN AVILA Silicon Valley De-Bug / New America Media

Feb. 3 –In a packed high school gym in Las Vegas, Nevada, President Barack Obama calmly spoke on the real possibility of comprehensive immigration reform. As I sat in my chair just 15 feet away from the president, I was trying to understand what was going on in front of me. As an individual that was undocumented for 22 years here in the United States, I couldn’t believe that I was about to hear a speech that I have dreamed of my entire adult life. Only four months prior, I would have not been allowed in to this event since I wouldn’t have been able to provide proper identification. Back then, I was an undocumented immigrant with very little opportunity in this country. Words can’t and never will truly explain what it means to be undocumented. It would be like describing what a marathon feels like to someone who has never ran more than a mile. But as someone who has seen both side of the undocumented line, I am hopeful that, this time, change will come. After surviving as an undocumented immigrant since the age of six, I am now a current U-Visa holder, which grants me legal status in this country for four years. I also now have a path to permanent residency and one day citizenship. I am following the path that millions of hopefuls would walk if the plan Obama proposed on January 29th passes. That plan includes a background check with biometrics, and penalty fees for entering the country illegal – all things I was more than willing to partake in. As the president gave his speech recounting stories as to why reform is needed, I thought of some of my older relatives who raised me, as they worked and lived with little hope that their status would ever change. I had images of them driving to their jobs, better new jobs, with a new drivers license they always needed but were always denied. That ability of being able to share the road with all the other citizens of this country, without the fear of prosecution, is a freedom that really feels life-changing. What some – even advocates for immigration reform – may not know is that legalization is not only about

basic privileges, like being able to drive and work legally, but that it relieves the unbelievable, and at times debilitating, stress of being undocumented. Becoming legal transforms a person’s being. I know because I’m experiencing those feelings now. I can have moments now that I’ve always dreamed of – being able to drive my wife around, being able to present proper identification when asked, and being seen as a human being while doing so, and not some kind of Mexican boogie monster. Now imagine the 11 million undocumented immigrants who will be given the same opportunity – it will change this country in ways that are practically unimaginable. You will have millions of individuals that are willing to work harder than ever before. It would be one of the best investments that this country could make for its people. When the president introduced deferred action this past June of 2012, it was a small step toward achieving this long awaited aspiration. That policy allowed qualifying undocumented youth who came here before the age of 16, and are under the age of 31, to get a work permit. But the change it brought is small compared to what we have on our hands – a broken immigration system that is a big problem needing big solutions. We need to fix the old broken down laws that govern our immigration system and allow access to individuals of all ages that meet the requirements to be Americans. One never knows at what age they will achieve greatness. So to say, through the deferred action, that America only validates young smart people, is wrong. I know that the road to victory is a long one, one that will have to travel through the craziness that is the U.S. legislative process, but I hope and pray that the same opportunity that was afforded to me will be given to those individuals wanting to be a positive part in this nation. One thing that many forget is that not all of the 11 million want to be citizens in this country. But for those persons willing to go through the process, whatever it may be, I know that the rewards will be more than worth it. You can’t benefit from anything you don’t put work into, and compared to what immigrants face on the daily, this battle should be a walk in the park.

Asian Pacific American caucus unveils immigration priorities Washington, DC – Today, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) unveiled its top priorities for a common sense immigration process.

2. Support America’s Long-standing Tradition of Family-Based Immigration In November 2012, there were 4.3 million people in “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a critical stake the family immigration backlog, nearly half of whom in the immigration debate, but all too often their voices are not were from Asian countries. Asian Americans and Pacific heard,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair of Islanders sponsored over 40 percent of all family-based the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “Today, visas in 2010. Some Asian immigrants have been forced CAPAC is announcing our immigration priorities to high- to wait as long as 23 years to be reunited with their familight the community’s most pressing concerns. To create an lies in the United States, largely due to the limitations immigration process that works, we must provide a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans, keep families together, and inefficiencies of our legal immigration system. Any strengthen our economy and workforce, promote integration, effort to address immigration reform must prioritize the and pursue smarter and more effective approaches to enforce- unity and sanctity of families. We need to reduce visa ment. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Con- backlogs, reunite divided families, and recognize samegress to fix our broken immigration system and establish a fair sex, bi-national partnerships as family ties and permaprocess that reflects our values and furthers our interests as a nent relatives. nation.” 3. Strengthen the U.S. Economy and Workforce “Asians and Pacific Islanders are now the largest group of   Immigration is not a threat to the U.S. economy – new immigrants emigrating to the U.S.,” said  Congress- if anything, it makes us stronger. Immigrants fill critiman Mike Honda (CA-17), Chair of CAPAC’s Immigra- cal gaps in our workforce, invest in new businesses, and tion Taskforce. “Our communities face a broken system that is bring much needed skill sets in science, technology, enparticularly harmful to families stuck in immigration backlogs gineering, and math (STEM). In 2010, nearly one in and graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. As CAPAC Immigration five Fortune 500 companies had at least one immigrant Taskforce Chair and Silicon Valley’s representative, I am com- founder. In 2007, Asian-owned small businesses alone mitted to ensuring that our families, students, and workers are had sales and receipts of over half a trillion dollars and not left out of immigration reform. Our communities deserve employed 2.8 million people. Any plan for immigration a comprehensive fix to our broken system that strengthens reform should include provisions to attract and retain the these families and honors their contributions to our economy.”  best talent from around the world, especially those with CAPAC’s priorities are outlined below and available on- backgrounds in much needed STEM fields. It must also line at provide legal routes through which aspiring citizens can Immigration Priorities for the Asian American & fill gaps in the U.S. workforce, as well as labor protecPacific Islander Community Creating a common sense tions to prevent employers from exploiting and abusing immigration process is a top priority for the  Congres- immigrant workers. sional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and the 4. Promote the Integration of New Americans diverse constituencies that we represent. America has always Nearly three-fourths of Asian American adults are been a nation of immigrants. Over the last few years,  Asians foreign born and more than 4.6 million Asian Amerihave become the single largest demographic of new im- cans report speaking English “less than very well.” migrants moving to the U.S. and make up the fastest growOur immigration process must promote the full inteing racial group in the country. gration of new Americans by supporting programs that The Members of CAPAC are committed to working provide for English language acquisition, civic education, towards fair, bipartisan solutions for our broken immi- and affordable healthcare and social services. gration system. We support comprehensive immigration 5. Establish Smarter, More Effective Enforcement reform and believe it must: Immigration enforcement should be focused on keep1. Provide a Roadmap to Citizenship for Aspiring ing our borders secure, targeting serious criminals, and Citizens stopping those who pose threats to our public safety Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immi- and national security. Smart enforcement should avoid grants residing in the U.S., 1.4 million identify as being imposing burdensome mandates on local police forces, of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. Asian Americans prohibit the use of racial profiling, and end practices that and Pacific Islanders also account for one in ten youth place undue strain on legitimate travel and commerce. who would qualify for the DREAM Act. Enforcement policies should also reflect our values by Immigration reform must include a roadmap to per- respecting the civil liberties of those who are detained, manent residency and citizenship for immigrants who reducing undue hardships on children and families, and work hard, pay their taxes, and undergo criminal and na- operating with full transparency and accountability. Simtional security background checks. This is especially true ilarly, the use of mandatory employment verification sysfor those who were brought to this country at a young tems should only be implemented widely after important age through no fault of their own, and who are already privacy, civil liberty, budgetary, and technological flaws Americans in every sense except for on paper.  have been resolved.

THE US ASIAN POST Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013



UTREACH Schwarzenegger This Valentine’s Day, don’t get carried calls for ‘hip, sexy’ away – Tie your metallic balloons down environmentalism Customers reminded that helium-filled metallic balloons can cause power outages

VIENNA, Jan 31, 2013 (AFP) – Arnold Schwarzenegger called Thursday for an end to “doom and gloom” environmentalism as he hosted the first conference of his new green movement fostering action by local governments and individuals. “If we want to inspire the world, it is time for us to forget about the old way of talking about climate change, where we crush people, where we overwhelm people with data,” the former California governor, bodybuilder and film star said. “There is a new way, a more sexy, a more hip way. Instead of using doom and gloom and telling people what they can’t do, we should make them part of our movement and tell them what they can do,” he said. “I mean I still drive my Hummers but now they are all on hydrogen and biofuel ...We need to send a message that we can live the same life, just with cleaner technology.” Following his success implementing environmental legislation in California ahead of federal US action, Schwarzenegger’s created the R20 Regions of Climate Action movement in 2010. It is aimed at getting other regions, states and cities to follow the Golden State’s example in the absence of effective national and international agreements on reducing carbon emissions widely blamed for the Earth’s climate becoming more volatile in recent decades. “The old way was to wait for the capitals, or an international agreement to create a sustainable energy future, is over,” Schwarzenegger, 65, told the conference of around 800 people in his native Austria. “We believe in a new way, in moving forward at a subnational level. We can’t be paralysed, waiting for an international agreement or federal action or anything else,” Schwarzenegger said. “I believe we should move forward at a subnational level, in the states, in the provinces, in the cities, in the private sector, in the academic sector and in the non-profits. These should be defined by our momentum, not our hesitation.” Attendees in Vienna included Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, but absent were green pressure groups such as Greenpeace or WWF, who complained last week that the event risked being “elitist” and “Greenwashing”.

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Jan. 29, 2013 – This Valentine’s Day, think of your loved ones with chocolates, flowers and maybe some jewelry. And if your gift of choice is a Mylar, or metallic balloon, make sure to tie it down. That’s because helium-filled metallic balloons, often given as gifts during this special day, can float into power lines and cause outages that could last from a few minutes to hours at a time. Southern California Edison (SCE) asks that customers keep the balloons inside or keep them tightly secured to a weight heavy enough to prevent them from drifting away.

“Southern California Edison wants customers to enjoy their Valentine’s Day, but would like them to keep in mind that metallic balloons can easily float away into power lines causing shortcircuits and outages,” said Bill Messner, SCE’s manager, Cor-

porate Health and Safety. “We don’t want avoidable outages to ruin this special day.” In the last several years, SCE has experienced close to 2,000 power outages caused by balloons. In 2012, there were 583 balloon-related outages, with a 110 percent increase in outages in February compared to January. The number of outages in 2012 was the highest since 2007. SCE recommends some simple safety tips for handling metallic balloons:

Keep metallic balloons indoors, and never release them outside. Helium-filled metallic balloons can drift and come in contact with high-voltage lines and cause power outages, so be sure to attach a weight heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Never attach streamers to any balloon — latex or metallic. If you buy and fill your own balloons with helium, be sure to tie them securely to a weight heavy enough to prevent them from drifting away. Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon or any foreign object tangled in power lines. Instead, call SCE at 800-611-1911 and report the problem. More information on metallic balloon safety can be found at Follow us on Twitter ( and like us on Facebook ( About Southern California Edison An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

At least 8 killed in California bus accident LOS ANGELES, Feb 04, 2013 (AFP) – At least eight people were killed and more than 30 were injured in a multiple vehicle accident in southern California that involved a passenger bus from Mexico, officials said. The accident occurred at about 6:30 pm local time (0230 GMT Monday) in a rural area north of of the town of Yucaipa. The bus, operated by InterBus Tours, a Tijuana, Mexicobased company, apparently hit two other vehicles and rolled over, local fire department chief Ronald Walls told reporters. In all, 43 people were involved in the crash, 38 passengers and the driver on the bus and two people in each of the other vehicles, according to Walls. It took firefighters more than two hours to extricate all the injured from the wreckage. In all, 27 were taken to area hospitals, at least six of them in critical condition. Some of the injured were children. A representative of the Mexican consulate was at the scene. According to media reports, the bus was headed back to Tijuana after visiting Big Bear Lake, a popular mountain ski resort northeast of San Bernardino. Witness Betty Harvey, a local resident, was driving behind the bus and thus was one of the first to arrive at the scene. “People were waving and screaming,” she said. “It was quite horrific.” Details of the tragedy remain sketchy. “It happened so fast, I don’t know how it all happened,” one unnamed passenger told The San Bernardino Sun newspaper. “This was supposed to be a good day out with my companions and then this happened.” InterBus official Jodi Garcia said initial examinations point to brake failure as the cause of the crash. “The information that we have is that the bus’s brakes failed and the accident occurred,” Garcia said. San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman Eric Sherwin said some people were trapped inside the overturned bus and had to be removed by emergency personnel. “Those injured range from minor to life-threatening,” Sherwin explained. A spokesman for Loma Linda University Medical Center told The Los Angeles Times that the hospital had received four victims from the crash—two adults and two children. One adult and one child were in critical condition. “We’re expecting more people from the crash,” the spokesman, Herbert Atienza, is quoted as saying. Highway 38, where the accident occurred, was closed for traffic in both directions.

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MID TERM POLLS From page 1

cern. “Yes. Loose firearms are certainly frowned upon. We are going to strengthen the security in that area,” Lacierda told reporters. “We are going to go after all those individuals who are holding loose or unlicensed firearms. Dismantling private armed groups is part of the directive of the President. He said the PNP should go after private armed groups regardless of who they are,” he added.

The President has ordered the PNP to make sure that firearms are accounted for and the gun ban should be strictly enforced particularly in Zamboanga. “Walang sinasanto ang Pangulo. Pag sinabing private armed groups, di ba bawal yan? Yan ang instruction ni Pangulong Aquino. We had a meeting several months back on the private armed groups and the President made it clear that these groups must be dismantled” Lacierda said. (MNS)

JOURNALIST From page 1

los Reyes told AFP. Delos Reyes said there was “no word” on the fate or exact whereabouts of the Jordanian journalist, Bakr Atyani, of the Dubai-based Al Arabiya network. “Shortly after they were freed they called their families from a hotel room in Jolo,” delos Reyes said. “They were then taken by authorities to the provincial hospital to be checked up.” As they lay on their hospital beds, the two tearfully recounted their ordeal in the hands of the militants in Jolo’s harsh jungle terrain, according to Jolo deputy provincial police chief Roy Gabor. “We went through so much difficulty. We didn’t know whether we would make it out alive,” Gabor quoted the two as saying as they were fed bread and water. He described the pair as very emotional, and said they emerged from the jungle looking thin and with unkempt hair and beards. “They were a bit confused. They said they were just told to leave the hostage lair,” Gabor told AFP. He said the two related that they were separated from Atyani on the fifth day of their captivity, and that they had not seen him since. The gunmen gave them a horse because Vela could not walk due to a swollen leg, and both left the jungle hideout unescorted until they reached a highway. They then rode a tricycle to Jolo’s main port where went to a hotel and sought help, Gabor said, adding that they would soon fly back to Manila to be reunited with their

families. Delos Reyes denied a ransom was paid for their release. The two travelled with Atyani to Jolo island in June of last year after they were locally hired in Manila by the Jordanian to film the militants. They went missing a day after they arrived, and police subsequently said the trio were held captive by the Abu Sayyaf—a group of self-styled militants blamed for the country’s worst terrorist attacks as well as other kidnappings. The group was founded with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network to fight for an independent Islamic state, though it later degenerated into a criminal gang. US special forces have been rotating in the southern Philippine for over a decade to train local troops in crushing Abu Sayyaf which is on Washington’s list of wanted foreign terrorist organisations. At least four other foreign hostages are believed still held in the south by Abu Sayyaf and other militant outfits—a Dutchman, a Swiss national, an Australian and a Japanese man. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr last month welcomed news that Warren Rodwell, 54, was alive after being held hostage for more than a year, but said his prolonged captivity was a “major concern”. European birdwatchers, Dutchman Ewold Horn, 52, and Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 47, were kidnapped in February last year. The Japanese man, Toshio Ito, was seized in July 2010.


Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in California, 2013 counters perceptions of these groups as universally successful. The need for humane immigration reform is among the most pressing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 3.1 million Asian Americans and 47,000 NHPI in California are foreign-born. Data from the Department of Homeland Security show that one million immigrants from Asia and the Pacific obtained legal permanent resident (LPR) status in California between 2000 and 2010 alone, making up 40% of all LPRs statewide. There are roughly 416,000 undocumented Asian Americans living in California, 15% of the state’s undocumented residents. “Issues that affect immigrants and the undocumented in California affect Asian Americans and NHPI,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of APALC in Los Angeles. “Our communities urge President Obama and Congress for reform that promotes family unity, provides a path to legalization and citizenship for the undocumented, and creates a process for immigrant students who have lived here for most of their lives to obtain legal residency.” The report can be found on APALC’s website: The report also notes the impact of the economic crisis on Asian American and NHPI communities. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed Asian Americans in California grew 196% between 2006 and 2010, the most of any racial group statewide. Data from

Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013


the U.S. Census Bureau show the number of NHPI and Asian Americans living below the poverty line statewide increased 138% and 50%, respectively, over a similar period. Today nearly 540,000 Asian Americans and nearly 27,000 NHPI in California live in poverty. “Asian Americans and NHPI in California were hit hard by the recession,” said Hyeon-Ju Rho, executive director of ALC in San Francisco. “As the state legislature begins to tackle a new policy agenda, safety net programs remain critical to those in our community who are trying to get back on their feet.” Healthcare is another critical issue. Approximately 14% of Asian Americans and 15% of NHPI in California do not have health insurance, rates higher than Whites (10%). Among ethnic groups, 27% of Korean Americans and 25% of Samoan Americans statewide lack coverage. As California works to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it should ensure accessibility to the limited English proficient; just over one in three Asian Americans and one in 10 NHPI statewide experience some challenge communicating in English that impacts his or her ability to access basic services, including healthcare. “We hope the report promotes a better understanding of our growing and diverse communities,” said Joanna Lee, senior research analyst at APALC. “California can’t craft good public policy on Asian Americans and NHPI without good data.” The report was made possible through the generous support of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the Cyrus Chung Ying Tang Foundation, and Bank of America.


FBI South Sound Gang Task Force arrests subjects wanted for takeover-style bank robberies The FBI South Sound Gang Task Force (SSGTF) has arrested five subjects believed to be responsible for takeover-style bank robberies in Washington. The subjects entered banks in groups, covered head-to-toe in loose clothing and gloves, and demanded money while jumping over teller counters. The SSGTF arrested Anthony V. Mosley, 46, of Tacoma, Washington; and four residents of Los Angeles, California: Kevin L. Brown, 38; Curtis W. Smith, 22; Douglas L. Smith, 22; and Jeanine M. Daniel, 32. Per the arrest warrant, investigators are still pursuing two additional subjects from Los Angeles, California: Charles A. Williams, 39, and Janalisa Estrada, 33. According to the federal criminal complaint, the seven individuals conspired to commit the crime of bank robbery and committed at least three bank robberies in Washington state: on September 6, 2012, a U.S. Bank Branch in Lakewood, Washington; on October 22, 2012, a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Seattle, Washington; and on December 20, 2012, a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Kirkland, Washington. The SSGTF continues to investigate the possible connection between these subjects and additional bank robberies conducted with similar methods – a Septem-

ber 13, 2012 robbery of a Washington Federal Bank in Federal Way, Washington; at least 10 bank robberies in Michigan committed between August 2011 and August 2012; and at least one bank robbery in Ohio in 2012. FBI agents initially arrested the five subjects on December 22, 2012, on state bank robbery charges. The SSGTF arrested the subjects as they prepared to board a 2:55 p.m. Greyhound bus to Los Angeles, California. Investigators were waiting at the bus station, based on information that the group frequently traveled to Los Angeles by Greyhound bus within days of a bank robbery. The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The defendants will make their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 1:30 p.m. today. The case is being investigated by the FBI South Sound Gang Task Force, in partnership with the Lakewood Police Department’s Gang Unit and the FBI Seattle Safe Streets Task Force. FBI entities nationwide collaborated in the investigation, including the Ann Arbor, Toledo, and Los Angeles offices.

Modesto man indicted for seven armed bank robberies FRESNO, CA, Jan. 31 – A federal grand jury returned a nine-count indictment today charging Anthony Edward Fuerst, 51, of Modesto, with seven counts of armed bank robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. According to court documents, Fuerst was arrested after he robbed two Modesto banks in less than two hours. During those robberies, he brandished a sawedoff shotgun. Further investigation revealed that he was responsible for five other armed bank robberies in Modesto. They are as follows: Citibank, 1340 Oakdale Rd.: March 9, 2012; June 12, 2012; and August 27, 2012; Farmers and Merchants Bank, 901 N. Carpenter Road, August 13, 2012; Chase Bank, 2609 McHenry Avenue, on September 17, 2012; Farmers and Merchants Bank, 3001 McHenry Avenue, January 18, 2013; and BBVA Compass Bank, 2601 Oakdale Road, January

18, 2013. This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Modesto Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Melanie L. Alsworth is prosecuting the case. If convicted, Fuerst faces a maximum statutory penalty for each count of armed bank robbery of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The mandatory minimum statutory penalty for the first count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence is 10 years’ imprisonment, with a maximum of life imprisonment. A subsequent conviction for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of 25 years, with a maximum of life imprisonment. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


dio technician Roland Letriro last Saturday in Jolo, Sulu. The two, together with Atyani, have been held by the notorious bandit group since June last year. Authorities believed that Atyani is still alive and is still in the hands of the ASG. Vela and Letriro, meanwhile, were brought to Camp Crame in Quezon City to undergo further

investigation. The two earlier said that they were clueless why they were released by the bandit group and there was also no information whether ransom money was paid for their freedom. The Abu Sayyaf reportedly had demanded P130 million ($3.1 million) for the release of Atyani and his team. Meantime, Malacanang

said the government will continue to impose a news blackout in efforts to save the remaining hostages of the ASG. “Any sensitive operation would require government not to disclose to the public for operational reasons and I’m sure the public would sympathize with why we do not disclose sensitive operations,” said Lacierda. (MNS)


counties. The member agencies whose officers and agents participate on the Inland Empire Child Exploitation and Prostitution Task Force (ICEP) include: the Ontario Police Department; the Pomona Police Department; the Riverside Police Department; the Riverside County Sheriff ’s Department; the San Bernardino Police Department; and the FBI. The task force investigates matters of child exploitation, primarily the sexual trafficking of minors. On Thursday and Friday night, the ICEP Task Force coor-

dinated and led several operations to identify and recover victims of sexual trafficking, resulting in the recovery of two juveniles, as well as multiple arrests on charges including pandering, pimping, prostitution, and human trafficking. The various investigations are ongoing. The ICEP Task Force coordinated these efforts with the Riverside County Anti Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT), as well as with the Hemet Police Department; the Upland Police Department; and the Chino Police Department. The cases for those arrested will

be presented to the District Attorney’s Offices in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The ICEP is part of the FBI’s National Innocence Lost Initiative, established in 2003, to address criminal enterprises involved in the domestic sex trafficking of children. The program combines the resources of state and federal law enforcement agencies; prosecutors; social service providers; and nongovernmental organizations, and training is provided with the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.


Binay’s office said. Lanuza, a 39-year-old draughtsman, went to work in Saudi Arabia in 1995. He was sentenced to death after he admitted stabbing his victim to death in 2000. However, Binay said another Filipino death row prisoner, Joselito Zapanta, is expected to be beheaded soon unless more than $800,000

in blood money is paid to the family of his Sudanese landlord, who he murdered in 2009. The construction worker won a four-month stay of execution in mid-November to give him more time to raise the amount but is still believed to be a long way short of raising the required funds. Labour rights monitor Gary

Martinez, who runs Migrante International, a migrant workers’ rights group, said about 125 Filipinos were on death row abroad – most of them in China on drug convictions. About nine million Filipinos work overseas. Their remittances are a mainstay of an economy that has struggled to create well-paying domestic jobs.


hindi pa namin na-receive ang transmittal,” she said on government-run dzRB radio, when asked if the bill would be signed into law on Feb. 25. Feb. 25, 2013 is the 27th anniversary of the EDSA-1 People Power revolution, which ousted Marcos and installed President Benigno Aquino III’s late mother Corazon to the presidency in 1986. Some reports had said President

Aquino might sign the bill into law on that date. Valte also said the Palace is still waiting for another measure, the bill for the K-to-12 basic education program, to be transmitted after its ratification. Earlier this week, both houses of Congress ratified the human rights violation victims’ compensation bill, a landmark measure that will finance claims by victims of Martial

Law. Under the measure, a P10-billion fund plus interest is to be appropriated to the claimants. The fund will be sourced mainly from funds transferred to the government by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court and held in escrow. On the other hand, both houses of Congress also ratified the K-to12 Basic Education Reform program. (MNS)

THE US ASIAN POST Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013



Magsasakas hope for coconut craze windfall MANILA, Feb 5, 2013 (AFP) – Struggling Philippine farmer Liezl Balmaceda has never heard of Madonna, but the US pop star’s endorsement of coconut water may help change her life for the better. After centuries of replenishing Filipinos, the mineral-rich liquid has become a musthave health drink thanks to aggressive marketing by a beverage industry looking to offset soda sales that have lost their fizz. Balmaceda, 33, and her husband process truckloads of coconuts at their backyard each week to get the meat that is turned into vegetable oil. The arduous labor earns the family of five about $9 a day, barely enough to get by on. “We just throw the water away when we extract the copra (coconut meat). But if you tell me people actually pay money to drink it, we could use the extra cash,” she told AFP in rural Mulanay town, four hours’ drive south of Manila. In his most recent state of the nation address, President Benigno Aquino hailed coconut water as one of the country’s most promising new export opportunities. He cited industry figures showing exports jumping more than nine-fold to 16.76 mil-

lion litres (4.4 million gallons) in 2011. Manila-based Fruits of Life is one local business to have started profiting from the growing appreciation in the West for coconut water as an alternative to sugar-laden carbonated drinks. “People have become more health-conscious in general,” said Phoebe de la Cruz, sales manager for Fruits of Life. “Athletic types have taken to coco water for its natural electrolytes.” Fruits of Life, which began exporting its own branded product in 2006, now exports about 240 tonnes in cans and tetra packs a year directly to supermarket chains in the United States and Canada. The biggest players in the global beverage industry, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have also jumped into the coconut water health drink craze in recent years. ZICO, a US coco water brand majority owned by Coca-Cola, has supermodel Gisele Bundchen and basketball star Kevin Garnett as its endorsers. Meanwhile, pop stars such as Madonna and Rihanna, as well as baseball player Alex Rodriguez, are among celebrity shareholders in Vita Coco, one of the other major brands

now dominating the world market of coconut products. Its 0.33-litre (11-ounce), $3 drink is touted as a healthier alternative to energy drinks for athletes and the company boasts an office in New York’s Flatiron District. Held back by logistics The Philippines is already the world’s biggest exporter of coconut products. Big Philippine mills have for years processed desiccated coconut meat and turned it into powder for baking biscuits, snack bars, cakes and pastries. Coconut flesh is also turned into vegetable oil used for cooking and in a range of common household products, including bath soap. Supply is not a problem in the Philippines with 350 million coconut trees growing from the beaches up to its hills and yielding 15 billion fruits a year, according to industry regulator the Philippine Coconut Authority. In the Philippines, coconut water remains a popular, cheap drink, with stalls selling it straight from the fruit—a common site throughout the big cities as well as the countryside. However, because of a lack of demand as

well as the costs required to process and preserve it, the water had never been profitable enough to sell overseas, Philippine Coconut Authority chief Euclides Forbes told AFP. “From mere waste it’s being turned into gold,” Forbes said. Nevertheless, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that while coconut water holds the potential of improving the lot of impoverished Filipino coconut farmers, logistical issues held the industry back. “The demand is huge. The only problem is how to bring the liquid to the processing centres before it spoils, since most coconut farms are in hilly areas without good roads,” Alcala said. Meanwhile, some farmers remain skeptical that they will cash in on the Western craze, citing the fact they have remained poor for decades while big business has profited from other coconut exports. Among them is Rodolfo Aquino, 68, who is paid by traders to haul coconuts by oxdrawn cart about two hours’ drive from Manila. “Whether they want the meat and water or just the meat, we get paid the same,” Aquino told AFP.

Philippine Supreme Court again blocks the new cybercrime law MANILA, Feb 5, 2013 (AFP) – The Philippine Supreme Court has again stopped the government from enforcing a controversial cybercrime law, officials said Tuesday, amid concern it would severely curb Internet freedoms. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said a fresh “temporary restraining order” (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court meant the law passed last year could not take effect. “We submit to the court’s discretion and respect such decision to extend the TRO,” she told AFP in a text message. “It’s not a total defeat. It’s just a TRO pending determination of the merits of the petitions.” President Benigno Aquino signed the law in September last year, amid huge on-

line protests, to stamp out cybercrimes such as fraud, identity theft, spamming and child pornography. But opponents swiftly sued over provisions that authorize heavy prison terms for online libel and give the state powers to shut down websites and monitor online activities. The court in October issued a fourmonth injunction that was to have lapsed this week, as it scrutinised the law for possible violations of constitutional provisions on freedom of expression. De Lima did not say how long the new injunction would be in force and Supreme Court officials declined to comment. Aquino spokesman Ramon Carandang

said the government acknowledged the public’s concerns. He noted that even its chief lawyer, Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza, had publicly acknowledged that shutting down websites may be illegal. “As the president said, it’s not a perfect law and even ( Jardeleza) had questions about the takedown provisions,” Carandang told AFP. Jardeleza however has also said this provision was not enough reason to strike down the entire law. Democracy.Net.PH, a Philippine online group advocating Internet freedom, in a statement applauded the court’s “responsiveness to public sentiment”.

“While we hope that the Supreme Court will settle the unconstitutionality of the (law), the ultimate resolution lies with Congress,” it said, urging parliament to pass a law promoting online rights and security. Aquino specifically backed one of the most controversial elements of the law, which mandates that people who post defamatory comments online be given much longer jail sentences than those who commit libel in traditional media. “I do not agree that it (the provision on libel) should be removed. If you say something libellous through the Internet, then it is still matter what the format,” Aquino, son of assassinated Sen. Ninoy Aquino, told reporters.

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From boob jobs to Botox, Japanese permanent hair plastic surgery is on the rise straightening sytem at Teri (Relaxnews) – For plastic surgeons around the globe, business is booming, at least according to the latest market report. Thursday in Paris, the IMCAS, a congress dedicated to plastic surgeons and dermatologists, kicked off its annual meeting, and, in conjunction with the event, has released the latest industry figures. The global market for plastic surgery and anti-aging techniques – including Botox and fillers, lasers and equipment for body contouring, and breast implants – was about €4.4 billion in 2012, up by 10 percent compared to 2011. The world market is expected to hit as high as €5.2 billion this year, according to the report. From 2013 to 2017, estimates show that Europe’s interest in plastic surgery will continue to grow, despite a tough economic climate, by about 6.6 percent. The US and Latin America market will grow at a rate closer to 10 percent a year, while Asia-Pacific region will grow at a rate of more than 14 percent per year. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported this month that men account for almost 10 percent of plastic surgery procedures in the US, a 121 percent increase from 15 years ago. According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, plastic surgeons in Kabul, Afghanistan, are seeing an increasing number of patients who want a nip and tuck. Plastic surgery clinics are reportedly a growing trend, reflecting both a rise in independence for women and the influence of Bollywood.

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The global market for plastic surgery and anti-aging techniques was about €4.4 billion in 2012, according to industry reports. Photo: CandyBox Images/

Anti-aging surgery has soared in the UK as well, according to The Guardian this week. A total of 43,172 surgical procedures were carried out last year, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. The majority of those procedures were breast augmentation surgeries, but last year saw a rise in brow lifts and face and neck lifts. According to the report, Americans underwent nearly 14 million cosmetic procedures in 2011.

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Flu sufferers can spread germs up to nearly two meters away (Relaxnews) – Turns out that flu sufferers can emit small virus particles into the air at greater distances than previously thought – at a whopping six feet, or nearly two meters. Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina screened 94 patients with flu symptoms admitted to the emergency room or care center of Wake Forest Baptist Medical during the 2010-2011 flu season. “Our study offers new evidence of the natural emission of influenza and may provide a better understanding of how to best protect health care providers during routine care activities,” the researchers wrote in the report. The team collected air samples from around the patients at varying distances, and also jotted down the number of times the patients coughed or sneezed, rating the severity of the symptoms. The study authors found that 65 percent of the patients tested positive for the flu. Of this group, 43 percent released particles containing the virus into the air. What’s worse is that the sickest people released the highest levels of virus into the air. Plus some were “super emitters,” as the researchers described, emitting up to 32 times more virus particles into the air than other patients.

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Research finds that sex burns on average 21 calories. Photo: Andrey_Popov/ The late Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, was a leading campaigner for cruelty-free beauty. Photo: PR NEWSWIRE EUROPE

EU bans animal testing for cosmetics (Relaxnews) – After decades of lobbying from animal rights groups, the European Union is set to ban sale of animal tested cosmetics from March 11 this year. The European Union will ban the import and sale of animal-tested cosmetic products (including ingredients) for member states from March 11; from this date onwards anyone selling new cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU will not be allowed to test them on animals anywhere in the world. This isn’t just for high-end products: all toiletries and beauty products, from skin cream to toothpaste, will be affected. The ban has been planned since 2009, but some activists feared a delay to the decision. EU Commissioner Tonio Borg wrote an open letter to animal testing campaigners informing them that the ban is due to go ahead as proposed, and stating that he was “not planning to propose a

postponement or derogation to the ban.” Earlier this year, Israel also passed a ban on animal testing. Chief Executive of charity Cruelty Free International Michelle Thew said: “This is truly an historic event and the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning. Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead.” One of the world’s largest markets, China still demands animal testing as a safety precaution. According to PETA, Chinese companies are required by law to pay for testing before some cosmetics can be marketed to the public. The animal rights group has recently been working in Beijing, training scientists to test cosmetics with alternative in-vitro methods. L’Oreal earlier has given $1.2 million to the Environmental Protection Agency to help develop chemical tests which do not involve using animals.

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‘Sexercise’ burns a paltry 20 calories per session (Relaxnews) – If you consider sex the same as a good workout, think again. You’re (sadly) only burning on average 21 calories, researchers claim. David Allison, a biostatistician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, tested the “sexercise” theory—that sex can be exercise – but found that sex lasted only six minutes on average, burning a paltry 20 or so calories. Despite the many times you’ve likely heard that sex burns between 100 and 300 calories, that’s based on an old, small study, the researchers say. The findings, published online Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, claim that false assumptions like this are part of the reason for the obesity epidemic. Other misconceptions include the concept that eating a little less and exercising a little more, over the long term, won’t produce large, long-term weight changes. Recent data, the authors say, shows that people lose much less weight when they burn it over a longer period of time. Also while some believe that skipping breakfast can cause weight gain, the research team found that that depended on whether or not people were used to skipping breakfast. Marriage is good for the heart: study Married people are less prone to heart attacks than singletons and more likely to recover if stricken, according to a Finnish study published Thursday. Researchers collected data on 15,330 people in Finland between the ages of 35 and 99 who suffered “acute coronary events” between 1993 and 2002. Just over half of the patients died within 28 days of the attacks. The team found that unmarried men in all age groups were 58-66 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than married ones. For women the nuptial benefit was even greater -- single women were 60 to 65 percent more likely to suffer acute coronary events, the Finnish researchers wrote in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. For both genders, wedlock also considerably lowered heart attack mortality. Unmarried men were 60-168 percent and unmarried women 71-175 percent more likely to die of a heart attack within 28 days, compared to their unhitched counterparts.

Novartis drug Exjade first treatment approved by FDA for chronic iron overload in patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia Patients with NTDT accumulate excess iron increasing their risk of complications, including liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, blood clots, and bone and vascular disease East Hanover, N.J., January 23, 2013 – Novartis announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Exjade (deferasirox) for the treatment of chronic iron overload in patients 10 years of age and older with non-transfusiondependent thalassemia (NTDT) syndromes and with a liver iron concentration of at least 5 mg of iron per gram dry weight and a serum ferritin measurement greater than 300 micrograms per liter. Exjade is the first treatment indicated for patients with these types of thalassemia in the United States. The approval is based on results from the first prospective placebo-controlled study of iron chelation in NTDT patients, THALASSA, which showed a significant dose-dependent decrease in iron burden compared to placebo (p<0.001). In this pivotal study, Exjade significantly reduced the concentration of iron in the liver, known as liver iron concentration (LIC), as well as the amount of iron anywhere in the body, measured by serum ferritin. The overall adverse event rate for Exjade was similar to the placebo arm. “Patients with NTDT can suffer severe and life-changing complications from chronic iron overload,” said Elliott Vichinsky, MD, Medical Director, Hematology/Oncology, Children’s Hospital and Research Center, Oakland, California. “In these thalassemia patients, excess iron starts to accumulate at birth yet is often undetected until serious symptoms appear in early adulthood. With this approval of Exjade, physicians will be able to offer NTDT patients a treatment option, helping fulfill a critical unmet need.”

Thalassemia refers to a diverse group of genetic disorders that affect red blood cell production, causing anemia. Unlike patients with other types of thalassemia, those with NTDT syndromes don’t require regular transfusions, a significant cause of chronic iron overload. However, even without transfusions, NTDT patients still accumulate excess iron through intestinal absorption, leading to debilitating health complications like liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, blood clots, bone disease, pulmonary hypertension, and vascular and endocrine diseases. “For years, Exjade has effectively treated chronic iron overload in transfused thalassemia patients,” said Alessandro Riva, Global Head, Oncology Development and Medical Affairs, Novartis Oncology. “Now, for the first time, thalassemia patients who do not receive regular transfusions but suffer the same debilitating effects from chronic iron overload, have an approved treatment option.” According to published studies, at least three quarters of a million people worldwide have NTDT syndromes, although as understanding of the disease increases it is probable the number will grow. Because NTDT patients are not symptomatic at birth, when most thalassemias are diagnosed, they are often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Many complications associated with chronic iron overload begin to appear as early as age 10 and become increasingly common as patients reach their 20s or 30s. Most NTDT patients are of South and Southeast Asian, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern origin, with immigration broadening the global prevalence.

THE US ASIAN POST Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013





Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013


MOTORING ‘Hypercar’ from Beirut on show in Qatar A man walks past the first Arabian supercar, LykanHypersport, during the third International Qatar Auto Show on January 28, 2013 in Doha. Created by Beirut-based W Motors the LykanHypersport is labeled as the most exclusive, luxurious and technologically advanced Hypercar in the world that boasts never seen before cuttingedge technologies inside and out. AFP PHOTO / AL-WATAN DOHA / KARIM JAAFAR

(Relaxnews) – The Arab world’s first true supercar, the LykanHypersport 2013, is turning heads in its official debut at the Qatar Motor Show this week. Designed and developed to redefine the concepts of performance, luxury and exclusivity, the LykanHypersport 2013’s creators, Beirut-based W Motors, claim that its flat-six, twin-turbocharged engine

delivers 750hp and will propel the car from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 2.8 seconds to reach the breakneck maximum speed of 390 kilometers per hour. In doing so the car is entering Bugatti Veyron territory in terms of performance levels. But to be a true hypercar, performance and luxury must go hand in hand, and so for those who demand


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the finer things in life, the car’s LED headlights are diamond-encrusted while the seats feature real gold stitching. The instrument panel uses a revolutionary 3D virtual holographic display and many of its functions and commands are motion- and gestureactivated. Only seven examples of the LykanHypersport 2013 will ever be produced and each one will come with a 24/7 concierge service and a special edition $200,000 Cyrus Klepcys Watch also limited to seven examples. Of the car, Ralph Debbas, W Motors’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said: “We only worked with the best in the field, and not by coincidence, a majority of these companies are based in Italy, a country with a proud tradition of producing some of the most iconic sports cars in history. And now, through this partnership, not only did we produce a one-of-a-kind car, but also, with great pride, the first exclusively Arab brand of hypercars, an icon about to mark the industry forever.” The LykanHypersport 2013 will retail for $3.4 million with the first orders expected to be fulfilled in September 2013.

Honda eyes the future with Apple on models for US market (Relaxnews) – The Japanese carmaker’s US arm follows Mercedes and Chevrolet by becoming the third company to offer Apple’s Siri Eyes Free feature on a number of its upcoming 2013 models. The feature, which will be offered as a dealer-installed option on the 2013 Honda Accord and Acura RDX and ILX models, enables owners with an iPhone to connect their devices via Bluetooth and direct its Siri personal assistant to perform a number of specific tasks without having to press the smartphone’s home key. “iPhone has become so integral to people’s lives that they continue to use them in their vehicles,” said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of automobile product planning, American Honda. “Offering Honda and Acura owners Siri and its Eyes Free mode via Bluetooth is an incredible opportunity to provide next-generation connectivity and meet our customer’s ever-changing needs.” Apple debuted Siri’s Eyes Free mode, a feature aimed at the automotive market, at the 2012 World Wide Developers Conference. In its showcase demonstration, a driver could access, via the press of a dedicated button on a car dashboard, a number of the iPhone’s features and use voice commands to instruct Siri to make searches or to read back emails and take dictation.

THE US ASIAN POST Wednesday - Tuesday, February 6-12, 2013





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Ethel Booba gets shot at redemption with ‘Wowowillie’ hosting gig It was no surprise that many of the questions during Wednesday’s press conference for the launch of “Wowowillie” were addressed to Ethel Booba, a surprise addition to the show’s bevy of female co-hosts. Willie Revillame, the main man behind “Wowowillie”, told her pointblank: “May talent ka, gamitin mo ng tama. I am giving you the chance uli. Sana, huwag mo na sayangin!” The singer-comedienne arrived very early for the presscon – a good sign that she was taking this shot at redemption seriously. This might be the last chance she’ll get to revive her career. Ethel used to be the funniest woman on television. She shot to stardom a decade ago as one of the hosts of “Extra Challenge”, a reality adventure show whose phenomenal success owed much to her comic antics. But her career went south even before the show ended in 2006, Ethel Booba thanks to the notoriety she achieved with her tempestuous personal life. Thanks to “Extra Challenge”, the word “pasaway” became synonymous with her with its original positive connotation – naughty, yes, but mostly adorable. But when she became pasaway in real life in a reckless, self-destructive way, the public

stopped laughing and turned away. Is she ready to turn over a new leaf ? Ethel is confident that her talents as an entertainer remain as bountiful as the bosom that gave her her stage name. “Nasisira lang naman ako when it comes sa love life ko, eh. Pero ngayong binigyan ako ni Kuya Willie uli ng chance rito, excited na akong mag-work uli. At maintriga,” she quipped. She added, “Celebrity na ba ang peg ko now? Ano ang ipinangako ko? Sabi ko, magiging mabait na ako. Hindi naman ako salbahe. Natuwa ako nung tumawag sa akin si Kuya Willie. Sabi niya, pumunta raw ako sa kanya. And ito na pala ‘yun.” Ethel did not exactly disappear from showbiz. Besides the occasional TV guestings, she became a fixture on the comedy bar circuit and, as she put it, “May mga booking pa rin naman sa mga shows here and there.” She recalled the first time she worked with Willie. That happened on a taping of “Extra Challenge” in Bali, Indonesia where the main host, Paolo Bediones, had to leave after only one day. Willie had come as a guest but pinch-hit for Paolo. “Ang ending, siya ang naging host, at ako ‘yung gumawa ng mga challenge. Pinag-bungee jumping niya ako. Sabi niya, tanga nga ako, eh. Pumayag ako. Pero ‘yun ang isa sa

Eddie Garcia joins Coco in ‘Juan dela Cruz’ Veteran actor Eddie Garcia joined the cast of muchawaited series “Juan dela Cruz” which stars Coco Martin. “Well I’m really looking forward to it dahil si Coco he has a lot of following and he is a good actor. So, sa palagay ko ay magkakasundo kami and we will try to make the best for ‘Juan dela Cruz,’” Garcia said as he signed a contract with ABS-CBN for the said soap. Garcia, said that he is physically ready for the actionpacked series. “I was sick for about two weeks, OK na naman. Still alive and kicking,” he said. In the series, the veteran actor will play the role of the lead character’s grandfather. “Lolo ako ni Coco, parang mentor niya ako dito,” he said. “Juan dela Cruz,” Garcia’s first series with Kapamilya network. The series will pilot on Monday (February 4) after TV Patrol. As one of the best actors of his generation, Garcia also

gave unsolicited advise to young stars. “Well mahalin mo ang trabaho mo , huwag mong bigyan ng sakit ng ulo ang co-stars mo especially the directors. Be prompt, know your role and avoid tsismis,” Garcia said. “Ang paggawa ng pelikula o telebisyon ay trabaho lang, dapat pagbutihin mo because it would be your best recommendation for your next assignment,” says Garcia, who’s also a good director. Last year, Garcia won two best actors awards for his performance in the film “Bwakaw.” He is also hoping to bring home the best actor trophy from 7th Asian Film Awards Eddie Garcia this March. (MNS)

Anne Curtis gearing up for new movie Fans of actress Anne Curtis will once again see her on the silver screen this year as she is gearing up to do another movie. In an interview during People Asia magazine’s People of the Year Awards, Curtis said she is working on a movie but is not allowed to re-

Anne Curtis

veal any details about the project yet. “I’ll be doing an upcoming film starting soon. Abangan niyo na lang ‘yung announcement kung what it is. We don’t know yet if it’s gonna be a (romantic-comedy) so we still have to see. Surprise,” she said. Curtis’ last big screen project was “A Secret Affair” which was shown in October last year. Prior to that, she starred in the blockbuster movie “No Other Woman.”

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Her last romantic-comedy project, however, was “Babe I love You” in 2010 with her former boyfriend Sam Milby. Meanwhile, Curtis said she is “very grateful” for the People of the Year recognition given by the magazine. Having been recognized for two years in a row, Curtis said such recognition always gives her a sense of achievement. “I’m actually very, very happy. This is my second year. Thank you to People Asia talaga for yet again making me People of the Year. It makes you feel appreciated in this industry. You can’t help but be thankful that there are people who appreciate your craft,” she said. (MNS)

nagkaroon ng highest ratings na episode ng show. Kaya ako ngayon, pasalamat na lang sa mga gaya ni Kuya Willie. Na naaalala kaming mga minsang nakasama niya,” she said. For Ethel, “Wowowillie” marks not only a reunion with Willie but also a return to the TV channel where she actually got her start. The year before “Extra Challenge” launched her career, Ethel had made her TV debut as a singing champion on the ABC-5 talent contest “Sing Galing”. So, can we expect to see the nasty rumors about her laid to rest from here on? “Pagdating naman sa trabaho ko, hindi naman ako pasaway. Nagiging pasaway lang ‘pag naloloka sa pag-ibig. Pero ngayon, wala muna ‘yun. Napagod na muna ang puso ko. Tama, sarili ko naman ang isipin ko. Alam n’yo naman ang pagka-tao ko. Na hindi naman ako masamang tao. Pasaway na kung pasaway. Sa puso. “Sa trabaho eh, raket na lang nang raket. Para maka-ipon pa. Lahat ng kanegahan, tapos na, burado na. Ibang Ethel Booba na ito. Pero ‘yung istura ‘yun pa rin, ha? Parang may kalong lang na puwet ng bata sa dibdib. tattoo sa buong likod. Basta!” Ethel declared on Saturday during the premiere telecast of “Wowowillie”: “I’m back!” Willie then told her, mindful of the 70 countries and territories reached by global channel Kapatid TV5, “O say hello around the world. She quipped, funny as ever, “Around the world, hello!” If Ethel can continue to be at her best behavior, Filipinos everywhere might want her to greet them “Hello!” everyday from now on. (MNS)

Vice Ganda, Maricel to team up for new film Vice Ganda will portray four characters in an upcoming comedy film co-starring Maricel Soriano and Gabby Concepcion. Following the blockbuster success of “Sisterakas” and “The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin,” Vice Ganda and director Wenn V Deramas will work together anew for “Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy.” The Viva Films production will see the first teamup of the “It’s Showtime” host and Soriano. “Sobrang masayang masaya ako dito sa paparating na project ko kasi kasama ko si Inay Maria (Soriano). Eh noon ko pa ‘yun wini-wish eh,” Vice Ganda said. The comedian-host related that he had been asked in an earlier interview on what he wants to achieve in his career. “Sabi ko, ‘Dream ko masampal ni Maricel Soriano.’ ‘Di ba kumpleto na ‘yung pagiging artista ko ‘pag masampal ako ni Maricel Soriano? Sa movie lang ah, hindi sa totoong buhay,” he said, laughing. Referring to his four characters in the movie, Vice Ganda said his roles “Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy” may be his most challenging to date. “Gusto ko pag lalaki ako, gusto magpalaki ng katawan. Gusto ko pag girl ako, bigyan sana nila ako ng time magpapayat ulit, para mukhang babae,” he said. According to Vice Ganda, Soriano and Concepcion will play his parents in the movie. “Pinangarap ko ‘to, pinagdasal ko ‘tong pelikulang ito, kaya gagalingan ko,” the comedian-host said. The big screen project, which is set to start filming on February 12, comes after a recent controversy involving Soriano and actor Gerald Anderson. Last week, reports on Soriano’s alleged outburst on the set of the upcoming drama series “Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin” circulated online. Soriano’s manager and ABS-CBN – which is producing the TV series – have since decided to exclude the “Diamond Star” from the cast. Actress Dawn Zulueta will replace Soriano in the project. Commenting on the controversy, Vice Ganda said, “Lahat naman tayo, Filipina actress lahat naman and model ng tao, Morada marami Winnie “Ina, Kapatid, pagkaAnak” star pang kataong darating pa. Hindi naman natatapos ang lahat sa isang pangyayari lang.” (MNS) Vice Ganda

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