Archive for March, 2009

Finding the right term for the global war on terror

March 27, 2009

The Obama administration wants to retire the phrase “global war on terror” and replace it with “overseas contingency operation”—- This is political correctness pushed by critics who think the old term used by Pres. George W. Bush “justifies human rights abuses including detention and interrogation methods.”

In a directive to administrators and speechwriters, the Obama government seeks to avoid terms like “long war” and “war on terror.” Not everyone supports this fancy recommendation though. Those who know that “a spade is a spade” dismiss this as a wimpy change which lessens the real threat posed by terrorists.

Americans cannot protect themselves by “softening” the terminologies of war. It is dangerous to assume that their enemies will be kind to them by such naive gesture. (Photo Credit: MrMoonKe88; lonesome:cycler) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuffs Obama’s peace message” Posted by mesiamd at 3/22/2009

==========================================================

Corruption charges for 17 DPWH officials in World Bank collusion scandal

March 26, 2009

Coming from a belabored delay on what to do with the World Bank’s (WB) report of corruption in the bidding of road projects in the Philippines, the office of the Ombudsman and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) investigate corruption charges on former sec. Florante Soriquez and 16 other officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH.)

If proven they are liable for violations of Section 3 (e) and (i) of Republic Act (RA) 3019, or the Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act; Section 4A (a) and (b) of RA 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Government Officials and Employees; grave misconduct; dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service; and neglect in duty, in connection with the bidding for two projects under the $150-million National Roads Improvement and Management Project-Phase 1.—Business Mirror (03/25/09, Solmerin, Z)

17 Officials Charged

1. Florante Soriquez—former sec. DPWH
2. Manuel Bonoan, chairman of Bids and Wards Committee (BAC) for Visayas and Mindanao projects
3. Bashir D. Rasuman, BAC assistant secretary
4. Salvador Pleyto, BAC assistant secretary
5, Juanito Abergas as BAC members;
6. Mocamad M. Raki-in Sr., vice chairman for the Mindanao area;
7. Rafael C. Yabut, vice Chairman for Operations for Area III.
8. Emersson L. Benitez, BAC member, project manager III and head of the BAC-Technical Working Group;
9. Baliame P. Mamainte, project director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development-Project Management Office (IBRD-PMO);
10. Lope S. Adriano, the project director of the IBRB-PMO;
11. Joel I Jacob, officer-in-charge (OIC) of the legal service;
12. Camilo G. Foronda, OIC of the Comptrollership and Financial Management Services;
13. Antonio Manalo, Jr., Bureau of Research and Standards
14. Director Walter R. Ocampo, director of the Bureau of Construction;
15. Leonora Cuenca, , OIC of the Comptrollership and Financial Management Services;
16. Mario Bandelaria, project director of the IBRB-PMO
17. Florencio I. Aricheta, a representative of the National Constructors Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Construction Association.

“Graft investigators found sufficient documentary evidence to show that a violation of the Procurement Law has been committed. All 17 DPWH officials are being charged for approving bids that went beyond the approved budget of the $150-million National Road Improvement and Management Project-Phase 1“—-Mark Jaladoni, assistant Ombudsman. Philstar (03/26/09, Punongbyan, M)

The scandal linked Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo, of bid rigging, causing a lot of public embarrassment when Philippine officials appear to stall the probe in spite of the leads given by a foreign lending bank like WB.

With competence and integrity in question, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who is saddled with an impeachment case against her, was heavily criticized for not acting on the corruption charges expeditiously. Sen. Miriam D. Santiago also led a “probe to nowhere” on the anomaly which disappointed the public. (Photo Credit: Mannan3) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “WB-funded road contracts & the US State Department’s charges of graft and corruption.” Posted by mesiamd at 2/28/2009; “Who bears the shame in the senate investigation of WB corruption scandal?” Posted by mesiamd at 2/16/2009; “World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates” Posted by mesiamd at 2/13/2009

=========================================================

Robot fish in London Aquarium

March 26, 2009

It took three years for scientists from Essex University to make a new version of robotic fish which is now on display in a tank in London Aquarium. The carp-like contraption with improved artificial intelligence swims with the aid of self-moving sensors and controls, bringing delight to visitors.


“This work has many real-world applications, including seabed exploration, detecting leaks in oil pipelines, mine countermeasures, and improving the performance of underwater vehicles,”
project leader Huosheng Hu told the Associated Press. —http://news.nationalgeographc.com/news/2005/

Propelled by battery which lasts about 5 hours, the fish is 50 x 15 x 12 cm. and comes with an undulating body and shiny scales. Three of the mechanical fish, supposed to be the smartest and most lifelike, will live with real ones. A competition is set for children to give them their names.(Photo Credit: Adrian and Sarah x 2) =0=

===========================================================

April yard sale of Michael Jackson’s glitzy memorabilia in Beverly Hills faces lawsuit

March 25, 2009

Controversy has been sparked by forthcoming auction of some 2,000 items of Michael Jackson’s interesting memorabilia from his once-glorious 2,800 acre fantasy estate, the Neverland. The sale pieces which have been exhibited in the Newbridge Silverware Museum in Ireland drew crowds of Jackson’s curious fans and admirers.

Set in April in Beverly Hills in California, Darren Julien, president of the the Julien Auctions said it is moving ahead with the 4-day sale slated on April 22 to 25, 2009, in spite of demands from Jackson’s representatives and lawyers to postpone the sale because of “danger” posed on the auctioneers. The company handling the sale hopes it will prevail over in a lawsuit in which Jackson asserted he did not give permission to sell many of his personal belongings.

Included in the sale are Jackson’s personal items, decorative arts, and fascinating antiques which are estimated to raise $10 to $20 million—- cash that the legendary King of Pop badly needs at this time of financial difficulty. Five percent of the sale will be allotted to charity. (Photo Credit: LA Times/ AFP/ Getty Images x 2; European Pressphoto Agency)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Michael Jackson’s white sequined glove for sale” Posted by mesiamd at 12/15/2008

==========================================================

TB patients without treatment, lowered hunger rate & recent joblessness data

March 24, 2009

135,000

Tuberculosis, the chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis has reportedly gone down in prevalence in the Philippines, but there are an estimated 450,000 people still suffering from the disease. Of this number, a staggering 135,000 don’t seek medical treatment offered by the government. In spite of free diagnostic and treatment programs available, about 30% with TB choose to ignore the disease until the condition becomes complicated and hard to treat. Cultural barriers and stigma are reasons offered for the people’s refusal for TB treatment.

P11.3 billion

For the full automation of the 2010 national election, Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo signed the budget of P11.3 billion. Although it is unclear how the government will implement the modernization, the upgrade of the electoral counting system is hoped to prevent the rampant cheating in the election process. At the late hour of the Arroyo’s presidency, many still doubt her winning in the last ballot.

15%

According to the SWS, 15% of Filipinos (2.9 million families) reported of being hungry for at least once in a period of three months. The survey taken in February 20-23 was an improvement from December’s finding of 23.7% (4.3 million families.) It is unclear what kind of food poor Filipinos eat with their meager food budget.

$280-290 billion

The World Bank estimates this amount of remittance to developing countries by OFWs—-gains from employment abroad. This is lower and less rosy than the expected amount of $305 billion—an effect of the global financial crisis. In 2008, 1.376 million Filipinos went abroad to work in more than 190 host nations. They sent back an estimated US$16.4 billion to the country, the highest in history so far.

41,000

The number of workers who lost the jobs, raising the unemployment rate to 7.7% in January, 2009, according to Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo. This adds up to the 2.9 million of jobless individuals which rose by 0.3% from last year’s data. As a cost-saving measure, the president announced the cancellation of the independence parade this year which costs P30 million to stage. (Photo Credit: =0=

=========================================================

More OFWs leave the country for jobs abroad

March 24, 2009

It should tbe consolation to the Philippines that more Filipinos work outside the country in January this year than last year. Philippine Overseass Employment Administration (POEA) reports that 165,737 compared to 132,285 left the country for jobs abroad.

This resoundingly affirms the sustained global preference for our skilled and semi-skilled overseas Filipino workers (OFW), and their productive role in staving off the adverse effects of the global slowdown in the greater portion of the world’s economies,” said Labor Secretary Marianito Roque.—GMA TV News (03/24/09, Tan, JT)

The exodus of workers to foreign land has brought about US$16.4 billion dollars to the Philippine economy. In spite of the economic benefits, working abroad has caused a lot alienation, family displacement, and separation.

Filipinos still need to develop local placements and not rely on foreign work opportunities which disrupt local labor. There are many jobs with difficult working conditions abroad and Filipinos are forced to take them for lack of employment in the country. It is not hard to imagine that many of these jobs are menial, dangerous, and demanding that many locals of host countries refuse to take. (Photo Credit: Atsibatsi)=0=

============================================================

Lance Armstrong fractures a collarbone in a cycling race in Spain

March 23, 2009

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong joined Spain’s Vuelta of Castilla and Leon, a race held on March 22, 2009, but was tossed in a bike pile-up which caused him injury—- a fracture on right collar-bone. Falling from his bike about 12.5 miles from the first stage finish, the 37-year old cyclist was helped by an ambulance which brought him to the hospital.

“The collarbone is broken, and I have a little bit of road-rash abrasions,” Armstrong said as he left Valladolid University Hospital. “I’ve never had this happen before; it’s pretty painful. I feel really miserable.”—Lance Armstrong. AP (03/24/409)

The clavicular bone fracture raises the question whether the champion will be well enough to compete in the Tour de France from July 4 to 26. The acclaimed cyclist and cancer survivor said he’ll need to go back to the United States to consult with his doctors. =0=

==========================================================

Lance Armstrong fractures a collarbone in a cycling race in Spain

March 23, 2009

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong joined Spain’s Vuelta of Castilla and Leon, a race held on March 22, 2009, but was tossed in a bike pile-up which caused him injury—- a fracture on right collar-bone. Falling from his bike about 12.5 miles from the first stage finish, the 37-year old cyclist was helped by an ambulance which brought him to the hospital.

“The collarbone is broken, and I have a little bit of road-rash abrasions,” Armstrong said as he left Valladolid University Hospital. “I’ve never had this happen before; it’s pretty painful. I feel really miserable.”—Lance Armstrong. AP (03/24/409)

The clavicular bone fracture raises the question whether the champion will be well enough to compete in the Tour de France from July 4 to 26. The acclaimed cyclist and cancer survivor said he’ll need to go back to the United States to consult with his doctors. =0=

==========================================================

Filipino doctors in USA, 2nd to India among IMGs

March 23, 2009

We are quick to assert that among the international medical graduates (IMGs) in the United States, Filipinos are 2nd to doctors from India as the most represented ethnic group in the profession. This is a very good record for our country who has distinguished itself as one of the most prolific doctor suppliers of America. About ¼ of doctors in USA are IMGs.

Top Ten Countries of Medical Education for IMG Physicians

2007
India———————————— 19.99%———————-47,581
Philippines——————————8.7%————————-20,861
Mexico———————————-5.8%————————-13,929
Pakistan———————————4.8%————————-11,330
Dominican Republic——————3.3%————————–7,892
Russia———————————-2.5%————————- 6,039
Grenada———————————2.4%————————–5,708
Egypt————————————2.2%————————–5,202
Korea————————————2,1%————————–4,982
Italy————————————–2.1%————————–4,741
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2007

2008
India————————————-21%————————–41,247
Philippines—————————— 9%—————————21,081
Mexico———————————- 6%—————————13,980
Pakistan———————————-5%—————————11,901
Dominican Republic——————-3.7%—————————8,618
Russia————————————2.7%—————————6,293
Grenada———————————-2.7%—————————6,299
Egypt————————————-2.2%—————————5,301
Korea————————————-2.1%—————————5,031
China————————————-2.1%—————————5,087
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2008

The 2008 American Medical Association (AMA) IMG record shows the Filipino doctors rank second to India in number—-9% and 21% respectively of the total number of foreign medics who train in the United States. That’s a total of 21,081 Filipinos vs. 41,247 Indians. Because of the sharp difference (double) in numbers between the two groups, Filipino physicians in USA looks scarcer compared to the Indians.

The current distribution of Filipino doctors will probably stay for a while since the boom of the nursing profession in the Philippines has lured more doctors to come to USA as nurses. Former Sec of Health Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan confirmed this trend when he revealed in 2007, “My latest study, there are 9,000 doctors who have become nurses. Six thousand of them (6,000) have left the Philippines mainly for the U.S. to work as nurses.” Majority of these MD-nurses come from government hospitals, keeping the pool of United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) takers and residency seekers from new graduates relatively intact.

A coincident fall of medical student enrollment, as much as 40% in some schools, has caused the lack of physicians in the Philippines, but not so much in USA since it remains to be a favored job destination of Filipino health professionals for more than 50 years. What is astounding is even if Filipino IMGs are second to the Indians, their number is small—less than half of the latter.(Photo Credit: Jandentonchua) =0=

=========================================================

Filipino doctors in USA, 2nd to India among IMGs

March 23, 2009

We are quick to assert that among the international medical graduates (IMGs) in the United States, Filipinos are 2nd to doctors from India as the most represented ethnic group in the profession. This is a very good record for our country who has distinguished itself as one of the most prolific doctor suppliers of America. About ¼ of doctors in USA are IMGs.

Top Ten Countries of Medical Education for IMG Physicians

2007
India———————————— 19.99%———————-47,581
Philippines——————————8.7%————————-20,861
Mexico———————————-5.8%————————-13,929
Pakistan———————————4.8%————————-11,330
Dominican Republic——————3.3%————————–7,892
Russia———————————-2.5%————————- 6,039
Grenada———————————2.4%————————–5,708
Egypt————————————2.2%————————–5,202
Korea————————————2,1%————————–4,982
Italy————————————–2.1%————————–4,741
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2007

2008
India————————————-21%————————–41,247
Philippines—————————— 9%—————————21,081
Mexico———————————- 6%—————————13,980
Pakistan———————————-5%—————————11,901
Dominican Republic——————-3.7%—————————8,618
Russia————————————2.7%—————————6,293
Grenada———————————-2.7%—————————6,299
Egypt————————————-2.2%—————————5,301
Korea————————————-2.1%—————————5,031
China————————————-2.1%—————————5,087
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2008

The 2008 American Medical Association (AMA) IMG record shows the Filipino doctors rank second to India in number—-9% and 21% respectively of the total number of foreign medics who train in the United States. That’s a total of 21,081 Filipinos vs. 41,247 Indians. Because of the sharp difference (double) in numbers between the two groups, Filipino physicians in USA looks scarcer compared to the Indians.

The current distribution of Filipino doctors will probably stay for a while since the boom of the nursing profession in the Philippines has lured more doctors to come to USA as nurses. Former Sec of Health Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan confirmed this trend when he revealed in 2007, “My latest study, there are 9,000 doctors who have become nurses. Six thousand of them (6,000) have left the Philippines mainly for the U.S. to work as nurses.” Majority of these MD-nurses come from government hospitals, keeping the pool of United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) takers and residency seekers from new graduates relatively intact.

A coincident fall of medical student enrollment, as much as 40% in some schools, has caused the lack of physicians in the Philippines, but not so much in USA since it remains to be a favored job destination of Filipino health professionals for more than 50 years. What is astounding is even if Filipino IMGs are second to the Indians, their number is small—less than half of the latter.(Photo Credit: Jandentonchua) =0=

=========================================================