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By the Bohol Chronicle

The recent incident involving an executive assistant of the city mayor was condemned as an "affront to press freedom."

Cebu based Boholano broadcaster Choy Torralba of dyRF-Cebu went on air last Thursday to lambast the city mayor for condoning, instead of repremanding Arlene Karaan, an executive assistant of the mayor who doused liquid of extremely offensive odor to the face of broadcaster Nestor Daarol inside the offices of station dyTR last Feb 28.

He said that the act of Karaan was unbecoming of a public servant especially that she holds a key position in the office of the city mayor. 

Since the city mayor defended the act of Karaan, then the public can suspect that she was ordered to do such act to the broadcaster, Torralba asserted.

He reminded the mayor to be transparent in his public actuations especially when they involve people's money being indiscriminately used by public officials.

"Public accountability was what broadcaster Daarol was asking, thus does not deserve such act from a public official," he continued saying that if she was indeed cleared of such accusations of unliquidated cash advances, then she has to explain in public and not resort to such dastardly act."

Torralba recalled that he got the city mayor convicted of slight physical injuries up to the Supreme Court when he was slapped  by the mayor at the City Airport in June 1988.

Because of what he knows of the mayor's personality, he was not surprised on what his top aide is also doing, the radio commentator said.

By the Bohol Chronicle

In an effort to explain the P722,643.41 unliquidated cash advances attributed to her name based the 2007 year end report of the Commission on Audit (COA), the city mayor’s Executive Assistant Arlene Karaan revealed her outstanding cash advances of P572,361 as of December 31, 2008.

Meanwhile, the city mayor remain silents on his P3 million unliquidated cash advances as reported by the Commission on Audit as of Dec.2007. The "missing" supporting document  from the 2007 COA Report was ordered release last week by COA  Chairman Reynaldo Villar.

Presenting a certification from the Office of the City Accountant during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) session on Friday, Karaan bared she already submitted a liquidation report on her cash withdrawals in fiscal year 2007.

The accounting records showed that during 2008, Karaan partially liquidated a total of P110,882.41.

An examination of the records however revealed that the said liquidation included cash advances since September and October 2007 and December 14, 2006.

Based on the city accountant’s records of liquidation, Karaan was granted a cash advance for a “City Hall family get together” worth P15,382.41 on December 14, 2006; the National Open Youth and Woomen’s Amateur Boxing Championship worth P45,500 on September 19, 2007; and Senior Citizen’s Social Assistance Program amounting P50,000 on October 30 2007.

Of the P722,643.41 unliquidated cash advances of Karaan at the end of 2007, P572,361 are still outstanding to date.

During the launching of the Sandugo celebration in 2007, Karaan was given a cash advance of P50,000 on March 16, 2007. The liquidation report had been submitted to the Accounting office but is still pending review.

P412,361 was also released to Karaan on March 20, 2007 for travel of several officials participating in a Lakbay Aral to Metro Manila and Luzon cities on March 21 to 24.

The liquidation report for this activity was submitted to the Accounting office but later returned to Karaan due to lack of supporting papers.

On June 29, 2007, Karaan again advanced P50,000 for the 41st Charter Day celebration. A liquidation report was also submitted to the Accounting office last year but is still pending review.
A P60,000 boxers’ honorarium was likewise granted to Karaan on October 30, 2007 which is also pending review at the Accounting office.

The certification presented by Karaan was not personally signed by City Accountant Kurt Adolph Bungabong.

By the Bohol Chronicle

Considering the need for an independent inquiry into alleged manipulations in the bidding for P168-million worth of heavy equipment to be purchased by the provincial government, Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera yesterday instituted the creation of a committee to conduct an investigation of the procurement process.

During the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) session yesterday, the Committee on Public Accountability was formed to immediately look into a complaint filed by Kowa Tsusho Ltd., a supplier who failed to submit its bid on time due to procedural lapses of the provincial government’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).

Lawmakers unanimously passed the ordinance creating the group chaired by Board Member Aster Piollo with Board Members Jose Veloso, Cesar Tomas Lopez, Amalia Tirol and Josil Trabajo as members.

The committee is scheduled to meet this week to conduct its own investigation.
“With due respect to the probe and findings of provincial legal officer Atty. Handel Lagunay, the SP should conduct inquiries in aid of legislation to give us a clear understanding on how the bidding was carried out,” Vice Gov. Herrera said.

According to Herrera, provincial lawmakers have oversight functions in monitoring compliance on measures and whether these are properly administered by the BAC.

“We have to eliminate wastage of funds, more so, the public perception of dishonesty and corruption among government officials,” Herrera said.

The complaint of Kowa Tsusho had been the subject of a privileged speech by Board Member Lopez who urged the BAC to strictly adhere with Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Government Procurement Law, RA 9184.

The SP first referred the supplier’s complaint to the committees on good government chaired by Board Member Veloso and the committee on government properties headed by Board Member Tirol.

Both lawmakers however manifested that their committees do not have jurisdiction over the BAC and the equipment that has yet to be purchased.

By the Bohol Chronicle

Amid the furor of rampant graft and corruption in the country, City Hall officials and employees with unliquidated cash advances were urged yesterday to “come out in the open and explain to erase public doubts of anomalous use of government funds”.

“We are up to the challenge for a ‘house cleaning’ as this is the only way to get to the bottom of this controversy,” said City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso said throwing back the challenge at the city mayor whose name appeared with an unsettled cash advance of over P3-million as of December 2007.

The list of unliquidated cash advances, provided by the Commission on Audit (COA), included two top executives under the office of the city mayor – Executive Assistant Arlene Karaan with P722,643.41 and City Administrator Walter Toston with P235,715.

The details of the P6,478,903.46 unliquidated cash advances was finally released by City Auditor Teresita Irig after receiving orders from COA Chairman Reynaldo Villar who had been informed by Veloso that copies of which are withheld by the city auditor and city accountant Kurt Bungabong.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) committee on public accountability, chaired by Kag. Mariquit Oppus, “should trace the accounts and identify the underlying transactions behind the cash advances,” Veloso added in his interview over top-rated radio program “Inyong Alagad” yesterday.

According to the vice mayor, there are several names in the list and they should be summoned by the committee to check if they have already liquidated their cash advance.

“Incurring cash advances is normal as long as it is for a valid purpose and the liquidation is done on time,” Veloso stressed, “if not, then we remind them of their responsibility to settle their accountabilities.”

Under COA rules, there are two types of cash advances – regular and special. A regular cash advance are those released to disbursing officers (ex.: for salaries and wages) while special cash advances are for official travels.

Elected officials can be granted cash advances for their official travel expenses while appointive officials may be granted advances but limited to their cash bond to the Bureau of Treasury which is renewed every year.

A cash advance for local travel should be liquidated within 30 days and foreign travels in 60 days.
However, the vice mayor noted that there are several accounts in the list that are long overdue, in fact, there are a number that remain unliquidated for more than a year now.

“We cannot blame the people to entertain doubts as the city accountant and city auditor tried to conceal the list despite repeated demands by lawmakers in the minority bloc,” Veloso said.

Veloso cited the cash advance of the city mayor that showed an unsettled balance of more than P3 million which means his travel expenses must have been more than the remaining unliquidated balance.

“That’s a huge expenditure for travel. It has to be examined for what purpose the cash advances were used,” he said.

COA rules do not allow additional cash advances if there are unsettled accounts or the limit of the bond has been exceeded.

“You would wonder why the cash withdrawals were allowed. Are these justified by the official? Or, did the COA send demand letters and the accountable official still failed to liquidate?” Veloso asked.

The vice mayor added that if it is proven that there have been demands for liquidation, then there is prima facie evidence that can be a ground for charges of gross neglect of duty as prescribed by COA and civil service guidelines.

Veloso also awaits an updated audit report for fiscal year 2008 that should be considered by the committee of Kag. Oppus.

Philippine Business News / PDIC Smells Fake Deposit Claims
« on: March 04, 2009, 05:23:19 PM »
By the Bohol Chronicle

Examiners of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) are suspicious of fake money claims on insured deposits of the closed Pilipino Rural Bank (PRBank) Tagbilaran Branch.

The careful evaluation of deposit claims has delayed the releases to depositors even as the PDIC ends its first batch of payout on Friday, March 6.

This as some clients of the closed bank were alarmed that fake claimants are allegedly taking advantage of filing bogus bank documents.

A PDIC representative bared over “Inyong Alagad” yesterday that they already paid some depositors with regular savings below P100,000 and they are careful in reviewing proofs of deposit shown by claimants.

Some bank clients however complained to the PDIC representatives as their names were not included in the masterlist of depositors.

According to the PDIC, PRBank-Tagbilaran has not yet submitted complete bank records which is the reason for the absence of some clients in the masterlist.

Until all records have been examined and verified by PDIC, not all claims can be processed, the deposit insurer’s representative said.

There is no definite date when the PDIC will be back to process the next batch of claims which covers deposits above P100,000, the PDIC personnel concluded.

By the Bohol Chronicle

Broadcaster Nestor Daarol filed yesterday before the City Prosecutors Office grave coercion charges against the city mayor’s top aide, Arlene Karaan who allegedly doused him liquid of unbearable foul odor when he was about to anchor his weekly program over dyTR last Saturday.

Sworn before City Prosecutor I Viviana Bautista, the broadcaster charged Karaan for grave coercion under Article 286 of the Revised Penal Code while reserving his right to file a separate complaint as a public official for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and for violation of Republic Act No. 6713.

Daarol narrated that Karaan and her companions suddenly emerged when he entered the offices of the radio station and immediately doused the liquid that caused him to fall dizzy and disoriented and difficulty of breathing. The physical condition prevented him from anchoring his radio program which followed right after the program of the city mayor last Saturday.

The broadcaster stressed that he know Arlene Karaan because she used to facilitate the serving of refreshments among media persons during press conferences conducted by the city mayor.
Because of the incident, he could not anchor his program last Saturday.

Daarol said the “forced prevention was due to the violence done by respondent and her companions, by their material force and display of force as to produce intimidation upon me.”
After dousing, Karaan “drew a hard object that resembled a rattan stick while shouting invectives and threats against me.”

He recalled respondent telling him “Tingalig wala ka kaila nako? Nganong hilabtanon ka kaayo?” (Don’t you know me? Why are you such a meddler?)

“Because of the continuing violence and sensing that I faced danger of further physical harm, instinctively, I retreated to the adjacent news anchor’s booth as a measure of self preservation,” the broadcaster narrated.

Daarol in his affidavit stated that the “incident was triggered because I was exposing the release of the P6.5 million unliquidated cash advances incurred by officials of the city government led by the city mayor and his assistants.”

“There is no other reason for Karaan who is an executive assistant of the city mayor and her companions John Does to restrain and prevent me from going on the air than try to, and successfully, prevent me from exposing these anomalous unliquidated cash advances incurred by city officials,” he continued.

Daarol said he underwent medical examination to determine the extent of the harm of the liquid substance upon his health.

A forwarded message...

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee... You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.  Soon the pots came to boil.  In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.  She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.  She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.  Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.  The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.  The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.  The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean , mother?'

Her mother explained that! each of these objects had faced the same adversity:  boiling water.  Each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.  However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.  The egg had been fragile.
Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.  The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter.  'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this:  Which am I?  Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff ?  Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean?  The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.  When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level?  How do you handle adversity?  Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

You might want to send this message to those people who mean something to you (I JUST DID); to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down; to
those whose friendship you appreciate; to those who are so meaningful in your life.

Health and Food / How to Avoid Hepatitis
« on: March 03, 2009, 09:09:24 AM »
Patients commonly get hepatitis A after taking some infected food or having sex. Such viruses can produce acute hepatitis but the probability of appearing of a chronic hepatitis is not actually high. To prevent your body from getting hepatitis A you can execute special vaccination that is quite efficient. Patients from states of the third world have hepatitis A significantly more frequently. To evade the probability of getting infected people should keep a very exacting hygiene and do not utilize any unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables.

Love Talk / How to Win Back Your Ex
« on: March 02, 2009, 03:54:53 PM »
For example, if your ex is ignoring you and does not pick up the phone, a common mistake is to call your lover again and again hoping that he/she will eventually pick up the phone.

To read the whole article, please click the link below:

How To Tips / Tips on Saving Money
« on: March 02, 2009, 10:54:53 AM »
The first thing you should do after reading this article is grab a notebook, PDA or some other way to keep track and start recording your spending. Write down every purchase you make, even a soda or snack from a vending machine. Keep it up for at least a month and then look at where your money goes.

Please click the link below to read the whole article:

Health and Food / Lung Cancer: How Will You Know If You Have One
« on: March 02, 2009, 10:49:53 AM »
But if lung cancer is detected early, according to American Cancer Society a survival rate of 47 of the most frequently performed X-ray examinations. Unfortunately the random detection of lung cancer in early stage (Stage 1) with an X-ray image is difficult. It is known that a shadow of around 5-10 mm can be easily overlooked.

To read the full article, click the link below:

Published by the Bohol Chronicle

Another broadcaster became a victim of "media harassment"  in a water-throwing tantrum courtesy of a top aide of the city mayor yesterday.

Radioman Nestor Daarol was soaking wet of foul smelling water, believed to be taken from the toilet bowl,  hurled at him by Arlene Karaan, an executive assistant to the city mayor, inside the offices of Station dyTR, shortly before he was to board his weekly radio program yesterday morning.

A police blotter filed by Daarol at the City PNP stated that around 10:15 yesterday morning, the unsuspecting mediaman entered the radio station unaware that Karaan had been waiting for him, allegedly together with some companions.

The city hall official who is a known trusted aide of the mayor attacked Daarol while shouting invectives as he was about to go on air for his weekly radio program “Kasayuran” aired right after the city mayor’s weekly report in the same radio station.

"Basig waka kaila nako" (you seem not to know who I am), the mayor's aide shouted at the broadcaster. Karaan was identified as the same lady who was looking for the broadcaster last Thursday afternoon after his other program "Silab" over dyRD.

Daarol said the incident could have been triggered by his unrelenting expose on the P6.5 million unliquidated cash advances of city officials and employees which listed Karaan with an unsettled account of P722,643.41 as of December 2007. However, he said he has never mentioned the name of Karaan since he did not have a copy of the list of names of city hall officials involved with the P6.4 unliquidated cash advances when he anchored his noontime program last Thursday. He only said that "according to reports, a cook at the city hall is among those with unliquidated cash advances amounting to almost half a million pesos."

The unliquidated funds had been the subject of inquiries by city lawmakers belonging to the minority bloc after it was cited by the Commission on Audit (COA) among other questionable items in its 2007 audit report of the city government’s financial transactions.

Shortly after the incident, Daarol disclosed in his radio program “Silab sa Udtong Tutok” over Station dyRD that Karaan also attempted to assault him using a rattan stick.

According to Daarol, he sought shelter at the anchorman’s booth after he saw several men accompanying Karaan even as he failed to go on air due to the unbearable stench coming from the polluted water splashed at him.

 “I am dismayed by this cowardly rude behavior of a government employee but this will not stop me from exposing anomalies at city hall,” Daarol stressed.

He said that someone from dyTR called his residence yesterday morning to warn him of Karaan’s intentions. However, Daarol had already left his home when the telephone call came. The security guard of the radio station likewise tried to warn him but did not saw the broadcaster entering dyTR.

On several occasions, Daarol noticed the city mayor had called on listeners over the airlanes to turn-off their radio sets after his radio program urging them not to listen to Daarol’s commentary.
The mediaman said he is contemplating on filing charges against Karaan.

The other crusading broadcaster harassed by city hall was Kagawad Roberto "Batchoy" Alba, anchorman of the top-rated Pulso over dyRD. His advertisers were pressured by city hall to terminate their sponsorships with the program while his house in barangay San Isidro was subjected to an attempted arson last Nov. 1, 2008.

Sports and Fitness / Who Stole Manny Pacquiao's Money?
« on: March 01, 2009, 01:01:57 AM »
By Joseph Lariosa

Chicago - The bookkeeper of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao was sentenced Friday (Saturday in Manila) afternoon to serve a minimum of 16 months in a state prison after pleading no-contest during the continuation of the preliminary hearing of the case.

Shiara Davila-Morales, spokesperson of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office in California, told this reporter over the phone that Pia Anatalia Quijada was sentenced by Commissioner Henry Hall of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Quijada pleaded no-contest to grand theft of personal property after the Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Linda Kwon agreed to drop the other felony charges of 32 counts of forgery.

Commissioner Hall also ordered Quijada to pay $89,383.49, the approximate amount of money she stole from Pacquiao.

Contacted by phone by this reporter, Deputy Public Defender Jacqueline Baskerville, who represented Quijada at the hearing Friday, merely said: "I have no comment."

Philippine Showcase / Filipino Farmer Honored in Norway
« on: March 01, 2009, 12:55:45 AM »
By Gloria Grejalde

Norway honored a Filipino farmer for his discovery of high-yielding and pest resistant rice during the first year celebration of the Svalvard Global Seed Vault on Thursday, February 26, 2009.

Norway Minister of Agriculture and Food Lard Peder Brekk praised Tay Gipo who was “one of the most memorable voices” during the first global seed vault seminar one year ago where 150 guests representing 33 countries and five continents were present, among them the president of the European Community, Jose Manuel Barrosso; the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Jacques Diouf; and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai.

“He was a farmer who, despite having only four years of formal education, discovered a rice variety that proved to be high-yielding and pest resistant, the sample of which is among the thousands of seeds kept at the global seed vault,” he said.

The Philippines through the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the highest donor to the global seed vault. It reportedly contributed 70,000 different varieties of rice from 120 different countries.

“I (mentioned) his name for two reasons. (First), to illustrate how the field-level knowledge of our farmers continues to be the most important element of crop conservation and second, to keep his memory alive. Just days ago, we received word that our fellow agriculturalist, Tay Gipo, passed away this month at the age of 64.”

“His legacy remains in the fields of the Philippines - where his “Bordagol” is grown by his neighbors - and their neighbors. And his legacy remains here in Svalbard where seeds of his “Bordagol” are safely stored for the future.”

Minister Brekk recounted how Tay Gipo discovered the rice which he himself named as “Bordagol.”

“During a particularly tough year, he noticed one plant in his field that did not succumb to the virus “tungro.” He literally had to pull the plant from the mouth of a farm animal who was planning to have it for a snack – he saved the seeds, replanted them and the next season he harvested 25 kilograms just from the seeds of that one plant.”

“With his incredible success, the rice he himself named “Bordagol” was born. He shared his success by sharing his seeds with his neighbors. The word spread and, in spite of his lack of education, he was invited to join a research institute where he learned rice breeding and improved his “Bordagol”, increasing its yield and resilience and therefore increasing the yields of the other farmers in his area.”

“When he spoke here last year, he ended his talk by asking - and then answering - a question that obviously was on his mind when he made his Odyssey to Svalbard - he asked how the Seed Vault would help him and his family. He answered it himself - frank and straightforward - “I don’t know. I don’t know if it will.”

“I call upon all of us in this room and countless others who have been involved in this process at all of its levels - the gene banks, the plant breeders, the international organizations, the research institutions, the governments - to remember his question because his answer was in many ways the correct one.”

“No one knows if the Seed Vault ever will be needed and no one knows if and when the seeds will be sent back to their depositor to restore a seed collection that has been lost.”

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is described as the ultimate safety net for the world’s seed banks. The Seed Vault is part of an international network for storage and use of genetic resources. It serves as the ‘central bank” of seeds.

“No country is entirely self-sufficient when it comes to genetic resources. Food security in every country depends on food crops that originate from other continents. Global collaboration is therefore essential to ensure correct storage and fair distribution of the value generated by their use in research and development. Safeguarding the genetic diversity of food plants is also fundamental to our ability to adapt to climate change. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a concrete and important step in this kind of global collaboration, and the initiative is supported by the United Nations,” Ola Westengen, operation manager of NordGen/Svalbard Global Seed Vault said during an interview with him a year ago before the opening of the seed vault.

Meanwhile, Minister Brekk stressed that the world is now facing an unprecedented challenge “a challenge that threatens the quality of life on every continent – the climate change.”

”I want to emphasize that the challenges we face can only be met through our joint efforts. Climate change and food insecurity are closely linked, and hence our policies must reflect this reality and be mutually supportive. The sustainable management of our resources will serve to mitigate the effects of climate change but sustainable management also must be seen as the most critical pre-requisite for development.”

Agriculture depends on the diversity of plant and animal genetic resources, and on their ability to adapt to change. As we face climate change, all of us in the global community need to dedicate ourselves to initiatives to preserve and ensure sustainable use of these resources – initiatives like the Seed Vault, the Minister explained.

“As science tries to keep up with the looming threats of changing climates and weather patterns, increasing temperatures and melting ice caps, we here in Svalbard are well aware that the most important use of crop diversity in the coming decades will be helping agriculture adapt to these changes.”

At the macro level, I call your attention to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture that now has been signed by 119 nations. It is a compelling example of what can be achieved through collaborative action.

The Treaty establishes common rules to make crop diversity freely accessible and to ensure that any benefits derived from that access are shared. It recognizes farmers’ rights - the contribution to the conservation and development of crop diversity that has taken place in the fields of farmers like Tay Gipo and his neighbors over the millennia - farmers who still use local crops in traditional agricultural systems.

Trade is another area where the links to both climate change and food security are undeniable. The Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture stated quite firmly that all Members needed to make commitments to non-trade concerns and specifically mentioned food security and the need to protect the environment.

“This is a thought that should guide our future work. We cannot solve the global challenges of climate change, poverty reduction and food security by leaving food production to a handful of powerful exporters. It is increasingly important, and acknowledged, that all countries should maintain an appropriate level of self sufficiency.

By expressing his uncertainty; Gipo also expressed the notion that until now, gene banks, have been a “secret” treasure. Who outside of the small community of plant geneticists understood the importance of collecting, cataloguing and conserving our agricultural heritage - a heritage that is also our future food supply? I do not think it is so secret anymore! I think the Svalbard Global Seed Vault has raised understanding and awareness: that we must - and we will - protect crop biodiversity in order to feed a warming world.

Of course Gipo was not sure whether he - as a subsistence farmer - would ever benefit from access to genetic resources. After all, he was the end of a chain coming from Svalbard, from the gene banks, from the plant breeders, from the seed dealers. Gipo might also have been concerned for his future ability to produce and sell his own locally adapted rice varieties on the local markets.

Norway believes that to give positive answers to the kinds of challenges the hundreds of millions of other farmers like Gipo are facing, it is necessary to be pro-active.

“I want to emphasize that the challenges we face can only be met through our joint efforts. Climate change and food insecurity are closely linked, and hence our policies must reflect this reality and be mutually supportive. The sustainable management of our resources will serve to mitigate the effects of climate change but sustainable management also must be seen as the most critical pre-requisite for development,” he said.

Philippine Laws / Deadly Roads in the Philippines?
« on: February 28, 2009, 06:36:11 PM »
By Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The country’s roads are the most dangerous in Asia, Senator Francis Escudero said in a statement released Saturday.

Citing a study conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund last year, he said that three of five road accidents involved child pedestrians and road accidents were the leading cause of injury admissions to hospitals.

Escudero’s statement came after a 10-year-old pupil from Ateneo died this week after being run over inside the school parking lot.

A separate study by child safety groups in the country shows that six children die from accidents in the country daily, the senator said, adding that the country has a total of 2,500 vehicular accidents monthly involving both children and adults.
Citing another study by the Asian Development Bank in 2006, Escudero said: “Overall, the 7.8 percent of the 100,000 people who die as a result of traffic-related accidents a year is one of the highest in Asia according to the Asian Development Bank.”

Technology / Facebook Comment Blamed on Job Loss
« on: February 27, 2009, 11:08:32 PM »
A 16-year-old girl from Essex was fired after she described her office job as "boring" on her Facebook page.

Kimberley Swann, 16, of Clacton, had been working at Ivell Marketing & Logistics, in Clacton, for three weeks before being fired on Monday.

"I think they've stooped quite low," she said.

The firm's Steve Ivell said of the decision: "Her display of disrespect and dissatisfaction undermined the relationship and made it untenable."

Miss Swann said: "You shouldn't really be hassled outside work. It was only a throw-away comment.  - BBC

Health and Food / Kiss Can Kill
« on: February 27, 2009, 10:57:44 PM »
A newborn baby girl may have died when her mother kissed her, an inquest in Lancashire has heard.

Jennifer Schofield was 11 days old when her vital organs failed after contracting a strain of herpes in November 2006.

The baby's mother, Ruth, 35, of Binyon Court, in Lancaster, transmitted the virus by kissing her or breastfeeding.

Coroner Dr James Adeley recorded a narrative verdict, and said nobody was blamed for failing to spot the virus.

The inquest heard the infection herpes simplex virus (HSV) was the type passed on through a cold sore. - BBC

General Topic / What Is Your Name?
« on: February 26, 2009, 03:00:07 PM »
What do you call some of the most unlucky people in Britain?

Justin Case, Barb Dwyer and Stan Still.

It sounds like a bad joke, but a study has revealed that there really are unfortunate people with those names in the UK.

Joining them on the list are Terry Bull, Paige Turner, Mary Christmas and Anna Sasin.

And just imagine having to introduce yourself to a crowd as Doug Hole or Hazel Nutt.

The names were uncovered by researchers from parenting group after trawling through online telephone records. - BBC

Business and Economy / Philamlife On Sale
« on: February 26, 2009, 12:07:49 PM »
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said it expects whoever wins the bidding for Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philamlife) to unconditionally honor all of the firm's benefit obligations to its more than one million policyholders.

"Our union members, many of whom are policyholders of Philamlife or wholly owned subsidiary Philam Plans Inc., are counting on the acquirer to immediately assure policyholders that all their valid policies will remain intact and unchanged," said former Senator and TUCP secretary-general Ernesto Herrera.

"We must stress that the prospective new owner of Philamlife is absolutely duty-bound to honor all insurance and pre-need contracts, without in any way altering or amending the terms and conditions of the original policies," Herrera said.

"We are counting on both Philamlife and the future new owner to promptly write to all policyholders to this effect," Herrera added.

Herrera was reacting to reports that three "preferred bidders" for Philamlife have emerged, namely: Ayala-owned Bank of the Philippine Islands in alliance with Britain's Prudential plc; Henry Sy's Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. and partner Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A of Italy; and Canada's Manulife Financial Corp.

Philamlife has been put on the auction block for $800 million to $900 million (P37.6 billion or P42.3 billion) by its New York-based parent, the American International Group Inc. (AIG).

Herrera said TUCP was counting on regulators "to exercise some oversight with respect to the sale of Philamlife, to ensure that the prospective new owner categorically pledges to unconditionally honor all binding policy contracts entered into by Philamlife."

Both the Insurance Commission (IC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) "should see to it that the hopes and dreams of Philamlife's over one million policyholders are adequately protected in the transaction," Herrera said.

"Many policyholders, mostly salaried workers, have been asking us about their savings in Philamlife. We've been telling them they should stand still. Their money in the trust funds of Philamlife or Philam Plans, which are outstanding brands, cannot be touched by anyone. That even the new owners cannot touch the funds, except to pay maturing policies or valid claims," Herrera said.

According to filings with the SEC, Philam Plans alone, which has more than 300,000 plans in-force, had over P30-billion worth of assets in its trust funds as of December 31, 2008. - The Bohol Standard

Bible Study / Sending Jokes in E-mails
« on: February 26, 2009, 09:58:35 AM »
Isn't it strange how we send jokes in e-mails and they are forwarded right away, but when we are going to send messages about God, we think about it twice before we share it with others?

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