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February 14, 2012 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Tampakan mines is world’s most dangerous, expert says

January 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Sun Star

 

THE Tampakan Copper Gold Project operated by the Sagittarius Mines Inc. in the triboundaries of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Sarangani is said to be one of the most dangerous mining projects in the world, according to an expert who made a study on the mining project few years ago.

Clive Montgomery Wicks, conservation and development consultant specializing in the impact of extractive industries, said the Tampakan mining project is estimated to produce 2.7 billion tons of mine wastes.

He said the plan was to place the mine wastes on top of the mountain above the open pit mine site. If this is materialized, he said, the mine wastes will be stacked up to 300 meters high and will cover about 500 hectares.

Wicks said considering that the mining area is located just ten kilometers away from Mount Matutum, which is an active volcano, seismic activities within the mining area is high and thus the possibility of all the mine wastes going down to the populated area and down into the water sources is extremely possible.

He said the drilling of about 800 meters around the area of Mt. Matutum would also result to “induced seismic activity.”

He said despite the assurance by the mining corporation that their mine tailings dam will be strong enough, constant seismic activity would eventually destroy the dam and its toxic wastes would cover a very large farming area down the mountain.

In a statement, SMI corporate communications and media relations manager John Arnaldo dismissed Wicks’s doomsday scenario. He said they have complied with all the necessary measures to prevent such a disaster from happening.

“We have completed our Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies in accordance with relevant local and international standards. These robust, evidence-based studies involved both Filipino and international experts and have taken a number of years to complete as part of our integrated mine planning process. The EIA identified the proposed measures to mitigate and manage the potential environmental and social risks,” Arnaldo said.

“The EIS and ESIA document the project risks and SMI’s commitments to mitigate these risks. We are confident all risks can be mitigated,” he added.

As to the project’s proximity to the active volcano, Arnaldo said a site specific hazard assessment was completed as part of the EIS, which included consideration of volcanic hazards.

Wicks, meanwhile, urged the Philippine government to involve not just one agency in the issuance of mining permits. He said the agriculture and fisheries agencies must also have their say on allowing mining companies to operate considering that mining has a direct impact on the destruction of crops and aquamarine resources.

“We don’t think the government has the ability to control what the mining corporations are doing. And we don’t think that even if you allowed mining that you are going to make money out of it. What you are making is enormous liability. The impact on food and water is going to be huge,” Wicks said.

“You have to have an interdepartmental, no one person must decide whether to have a mine or not. There must be involvement of other agencies like the agriculture and fisheries that will also be affected by the mining pollution,” he added.

Manny Pacquiao’s Wife, Jinkee, Shows The Boxer The Ropes On Rehabbing His Image

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Written by: Martin Rogers

 

Manny Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee, has encouraged an extraordinary lifestyle change that has seen the boxing champion ditch his legendary late-night partying and gambling habits.

Shortly after his narrow victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in November, Pacquiao implemented major steps aimed at adding order and structure to his life, and improving his public image in the Philippines. Sources say Jinkee was behind the adjustments. Famous for keeping odd hours and often sleeping into the afternoon, Pacquiao has now taken to rising early in the morning, along with his wife, and throwing himself into an array of political, social and religious projects.

In the Philippines, it is hoped the new approach will improve Pacquiao’s sporadic attendance at congressional sessions, a spotty record that has given his political rivals ammunition. In 2011, he was the fourth most absent congressman in his homeland, attending just 27 of 59 session days. Of his 32 absences, official notice was given for only 21.

He also drew fire for failing to attend a House of Representatives plenary session on the impeachment case of controversial Filipino political powerbroker and ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, receiving so much criticism he was forced to temporarily delete his Twitter account.

“I do not neglect the responsibilities that others think I forget,” Pacquiao said last year. “Just like when I met Barack Obama during my promotional tour, I may be absent in the Lower House but I still carried our country’s name.”

Still he is repairing his reputation in other ways, as well. Pacquiao is selling the huge farm in Sarangani where he kept thousands of chickens and roosters used for cockfights, upon which the 33-year-old would regularly wager large sums of money.

Religion has become a focus for him, and he and Jinkee take bible study classes with a preacher several times a week. The fighter discusses religious verses and their meaning with Pastor Jeric Soriano and has encouraged his driver, bodyguard and other members of his entourage to take part. On his next trip to the United States, he will again seek out a local man of faith, Pastor Rice Brooks, whom he has turned to in the past.

The motivation for the Filipino superstar’s makeover seems to be primarily political. He is currently Congressman for Sarangani province, but seeks higher office. He is expected to become Governor of Sarangani later this year, having struck a deal with reigning governor Miguel Rene Dominguez that will result in them effectively trade places. A future run for the Filipino presidency seems virtually certain.

However, it is unlikely that any change of lifestyle would have taken place without the efforts of Jinkee, with whom he has four children.

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“(Jinkee) is a smart young woman and she knew it was time for Manny to put himself in a better position,” said respected veteran Filipino broadcaster Ronnie Nathanielsz, a longtime friend of Pacquiao and columnist for the Manila Standard newspaper in a telephone interview with ThePostGame. “Manny knew it too, that it was time for the late nights and the gambling and the extracurricular things to stop.

“He is no spring chicken and Jinkee sat him down a couple of months ago and said that if he aspired to big things in politics it was time to change, to start saving money, investing well, and looking good in public.

“Of course as a boxer there is a lot of publicity, but in politics your life becomes an open book. It was time to clean it up, straighten it out, get a new lifestyle and a new image. The cockfighting has stopped and the farm is being sold. Now when we speak he always talks about his Bible studies and how they are helping him.”

The “new” Pacquiao appears more committed than ever to domestic matters. Even though the inability of boxing’s two biggest names, Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, to arrange a showdown has frustrated fight fans for more than two years, Pacquiao recently cancelled a trip to the U.S. to meet promoter Bob Arum. Instead he insisted the 80-year-old Arum to travel to the Philippines to present the champ with a four-man list of prospective opponents.

“Manny told me he is already preparing for when Congress returns to session,” Nathanielsz said. “He is filming a television commercial this weekend but wants to have it all wrapped up so that he can be in the House on Monday.”

Atop Pacquiao’s political agenda is attempting to eradicate illegal mining and logging activities that are depriving Sarangani province of preserving its natural resources.

“He has always cared deeply for his people,” Nathanielsz said. “But now he is more dedicated than ever, and he is much happier because of it.”

And hopefully for Pacquiao the populace of his homeland will recognize his renewed commitment. And thank Jinkee for it.

Colombian city gets giant, outdoor escalator

December 27, 2011 2 comments

  • People use outdoor escalators, newly installed at Comuna 13 shantytown as part of an urbanization plan to improve living conditions of residents, in Medellin, Colombia, Dec. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides)BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Officials in Colombia’s second-largest city on Monday inaugurated a giant, outdoor escalator for residents of one of its poorest neighborhoods.

    For generations, the 12,000 residents of Medellin’s tough Comuna 13, which clings to the side of a steep hillside, have had to climb hundreds of large steps authorities say is the same as going up a 28-story building.

    Now they can ride an escalator Medellin’s mayor says is the first massive, outdoor public escalator for use by residents of a poor area.

    “It turned out very well,” said Mayor Alonso Salazar, adding that he has not heard of any such project elsewhere in this world.

    Salazar said officials from Rio de Janeiro plan to visit Medellin to see if such an escalator would work in that city’s favelas, which also cling precariously to hillsides.

    Comuna 13 residents came out to celebrate and study the $6.7 million escalator which officials say will shorten the 35-minute hike on foot up the hillside to six minutes. Use of the escalator is free.

    “This is a dream come true,” homemaker Olga Holguin told RCN television.

    Cesar Hernandez, head of projects for Medellin, said the electric stairway is divided into six sections and has a length of 384 meters (1,260 feet). An escalator goes up and a second goes down. Authorities plan to build a covering for inclement whether.

    Salazar described Comuna 13 as the city’s district that has “suffered the greatest urban violence… but lately this has been receding and we hope this social package will help it move forward.”

  • Luis Hernesto Holguin, front, second from right, accompanied by relatives, uses outdoor escalators, newly installed at Comuna 13 shantytown as part of an urbanization plan to improve living conditions of residents, in Medellin, Colombia, Dec. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides)
  • Luis Hernesto Holguin, front, second from right, accompanied by relatives, uses outdoor …

 

Categories: Etc.

Floods batter Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines – Severe flooding in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro has left at least five people dead and affected more than 40,000 families, disaster councils said Monday.

Volunteers helps the victims of the flood

State weather agency Pagasa said the rains that inundated many areas in the region were caused by a cold front.

The victims drowned while battling through raging waters. State-run Philippine News Agency reported that three died in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro and two in Gingoog City.

The flooding submerged parts of the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog and 13 tows of Misamis Oriental, disaster councils said. Authorities said 186 houses were damaged, 96 of these were swept away by rampaging waters.

Hardest hit was Cagayan de Oro City. Authorities said at least 29,000 families were severely affected by flash floods in the city’s 32 barangays.

In Misamis Oriental and Gingoog City, at least 18,650 families in 13 towns were displaced by flooding.

The disaster also destroyed two bridges in Opol town in Misamis Oriental and another two in Agay-ay, Gingoog City.

State of calamity

Also Monday, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. urged President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to declare a state of calamity in the provinces in Northern Mindanao that was affected by flooding.

“If she has not yet done so, the President should declare a state of calamity in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental and other parts of Northern Mindanao and move government aid to thousands displaced by the unusual flood,” Pimentel said.

Flood Victims waiting for the relief goods from the government and other charitable institutions

The senator, who hails from Cagayan de Oro City, said the declaration of a state of calamity in the areas in Northern Mindanao would help facilitate the release of government assistance to the victims.

He said almost 20 percent of Cagayan de Oro City was submerged in water when the nearby Kagay-an River swelled within minutes.

Local disaster officials blamed logging and river quarrying for the flood. They said the floodwaters came from the mountains of Lanao and Bukidnon.

Pimentel said since the forests in the mountains have been denuded, there are no more big trees to absorb the water during heavy rains, causing flooding in downstream areas.

He said that Cagayan de Oro City and other low-lying areas became the holding basin of water flowing from the upland areas. On the other hand, the almost unregulated quarrying in the Kagay-an River has caused siltation and destroyed the natural flow of water.

Pimentel expressed alarm that the people in many parts of Mindanao are now suffering from the disastrous consequences of the wanton destruction of the forests by illegal loggers that have been going on over the last several decades.

Flash floods seen in Visayas, Mindanao

A tail-end of a cold front threatens to bring flash floods and landslides to parts of Visayas and Mindanao, state weather forecasters said Monday afternoon.

In its 5 p.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration also said the northeast monsoon is affecting Luzon.

Casualties after Sendong pass on Cagayan de Oro

“The eastern section of Luzon will experience mostly cloudy skies with light rains. Visayas and Mindanao will be cloudy with scattered rain showers becoming widespread rains over Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao which may trigger flashfloods and landslides,” it said.

It added the rest of Luzon will have partly cloudy to at times cloudy with isolated passing showers.

Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast will prevail over Luzon and Visayas and the coastal waters along these areas will be moderate to rough.

Elsewhere, winds will be moderate coming from the northeast with moderate to seas, Pagasa said. – GMANews.TV

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Satellite gets pic of Chinese carrier

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment

APBy DAN ELLIOTT 

DENVER (AP) — A commercial U.S. satellite company said it has captured a photo of China’s first aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea off the Chinese coast.

DigitalGlobe Inc. said Wednesday one of its satellites photographed the carrier Dec. 8. A DigitalGlobe analyst found the image Tuesday while searching through photos.

Stephen Wood, director of DigitalGlobe’s analysis center, said he’s confident the ship is the Chinese carrier because of the location and date of the photo. The carrier was on a sea trial at the time.

DigitalGlobe, based in Longmont, Colo., sells satellite imagery and analysis to clients that include the U.S. military, emergency response agencies and private companies. DigitalGlobe has three orbiting satellites and a fourth is under construction.

China's first aircraft carrier, the former "Varyag" of Ukraine, is under restoration in a shipyard in Dalian in northeastern China's Liaoning province.

The aircraft carrier has generated intense international interest because of what it might portend about China’s intentions as a military power.

The former Soviet Union started building the carrier, which it called the Varyag, but never finished it. When the Soviet Union collapsed, it ended up in the hands of Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.

China bought the ship from Ukraine in 1998 and spent years refurbishing it. It had no engines, weaponry or navigation systems when China acquired it.

China has said the carrier is intended for research and training, which has led to speculation that it plans to build future copies.

China initially said little about its plans for the carrier but has been more open in recent years, said Bonnie S. Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“It wasn’t until the Chinese actually announced they were sending it out on a trial run they admitted, ‘Yes, we are actually launching a carrier,'” she said.

China publicly announced two sea trials for the carrier that occurred this year, she said.

The carrier’s progress is in line with the U.S. military’s expectations, said Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Defense Department spokeswoman.

A Defense Department report to Congress this year said the carrier could become operationally available to the Chinese navy by the end of next year but without aircraft.

“From that point, it will take several additional years before the carrier has an operationally viable air group,” Hull-Ryde said in an email.

She declined to comment on the DigitalGlobe photo, saying it was an intelligence matter.

Categories: Technology

Great Gifts for Under $25

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

By Becky Worley | Upgrade Your Life

ick Tock: The holiday countdown is in full swing. You have just a few days to come up with the perfect gift without breaking the bank. So here are my best bets for under $25.

Touchscreen Gloves  $19-22
Taking off your gloves to text or dial is a pain. So glove makers have figured out how to put special material on the index finger and thumb that lets you swipe away at the screen without getting cold fingers. In years past, these gloves have cost over $70. Now, Amazon is offering Manzella Touch Tip Gloves for just $19, and Swypegear has a cute green pair for just $22.

Wireless iPad Keyboards $25 
Another item that’s dropped way down in price: wireless iPad keyboards. The cheapest I could find was a $39 version from Targus but then I got crafty. The HP Bluetooth Keyboard was intended for the now discontinued HP TouchPad, but it works with both iPad and iPhone, and its price has been slashed. I found it online for just $25.

Cocoon Grid-it  $15
The Cocoon Grid-it is an ingenious way to keep all your tech gear organized. It is a flat board with about 20 overlapping elastic bands. Tuck you earphones, gum, lip gloss and pens in there, then throw it in your purse.

Sip N’ Go Collapsible Water Bottles $17.50 for 4
Carrying a bulky water bottle that you’ve drained to the last drop is a pain, so the collapsible water bottles form a site called Fab are pretty smart. When you’re done you just roll up the plastic water bottle, snap it shut and it could even fit in your pocket (but the hard plastic spout might bug you if you sit on it). You have to create a log-on with fab.com, but you can find the bottles here, on sale until Dec 20th.

Fun Kids’ Cleaning Tools $8
Getting your kids to pitch in on the cleaning is tough, but make it a gift and a little more fun and you might have a chance. Fab.com (sign-in required) offers super cute cleaning tools, like a Walrus Dustpan and Broom, a Skunk Duster, and a Flamingo Dish Brush.

Aerolatte $20
When it comes to latte, I am a foam snob. I think the foam from my fancy espresso machine is too airy and not creamy enough, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Aerolatte delivers that creamy, perfectly-peaked foam just like a professional barista.

Urban Ears Bagis Locking Earphones
The Bagis in-ear headphones come in cool colors, have great sound and they lock together like Legos so you can wear them around your neck or wind them up and snap shut for easy storage. They retail for $35 but I found them at Barnes and Noble for $24.

Skull Candy Uprock On-Ear Headphone $25
On-ear headphones are back in style… and expensive. Beats by Dre start at over $150, making this$25 pair from Skull Candy look like a steal. They also come in blue, pink, and standard black.

Star Trek Baby Feeder $19
Parents who love Star Trek will love receiving this replica Enterprise with an attachment where you change out the included baby spoons. If you know a devotee who wants to start brainwashing their kid early in preparation for their first trekkie convention, this is a must-have gift.

Jakks B.I.G. Power Hand $18
This foot-and-a-half long glove turns any kid’s hand into a gargantuan mechanical hand. Little fingers go into a glove that then pulls the massive fingers and gives very lifelike, responsive control over themega hand. Excellent for creeping out older sisters.

Awkward Family Photos Game $24
You love the website awkwardfamilyphotos.com, so why not play the game? Great fun with older teenagers and adults. The photos will have you laughing hysterically, and the game play elicits great storytelling from the players.

Prank Packs 3 for $20
I couldn’t resist prank packs. These are fake gift boxes; you pack a real gift in there — something nice — but the recipient sees the box and thinks you’ve given something ridiculous, like a whole-family Snuggie or an in-shower coffee machine. Prank Packs were created by alumni of the comedy site The Onion, and they certainly live up to the premise of the product: “Just pack your real gift inside, sit back, and revel in their half-hearted enthusiasm.” That is, until they get the joke.