Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Repost From AFP

Zeta-Jones 'furious' at late cancer diagnosis for Douglas

(From left) Kirk Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas are seen here in 2009. Zeta-Jones reportedly is 'furious' that doctors failed to diagnose her husband, Michael Douglas's, throat cancer earlier.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - – Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is "furious" that doctors failed to diagnose her husband, actor Michael Douglas's throat cancer earlier, she said in an interview published Thursday.

But Douglas himself, who this week revealed that his cancer was more advanced than previously thought, vowed to overcome the disease, telling People magazine: "I'll beat this."

Douglas, 65, only recently revealed his diagnosis when he returned to the United States from a family holiday. This week he said it was a stage four cancer, but that he had an 80 percent chance of beating it.

But British actress Zeta-Jones, who married Douglas in 2000, voiced anger that his chances of beating the cancer are reduced because it was only diagnosed three weeks ago.

He had spent months seeking a cause for persistent throat and ear pain, before a walnut-sized tumor was discovered on the base of his tongue in early August, the couple said.

"He sought every option and nothing was found. I knew something was up. He knew something was up," Zeta-Jones told the US weekly, adding: "It makes me furious they didn't detect it earlier."

Douglas was more philosophical about how soon he was diagnosed, saying: "Without having to blame anybody... these things sometimes just don't show up."

And he was upbeat about his chances of overcoming it. "I'm treating this as a curable disease," he said. "It's a fight. I'll beat this."

Douglas is a pillar of Hollywood, having starred in more than 40 films, including such hits as "Fatal Attraction" (1988), "Wall Street" (1988), "War of the Roses" (1990), "Basic Instinct" (1992) and "Traffic" (2001).

Douglas's latest film, the sequel to the 1987 box office hit "Wall Street" called "The Money Never Sleeps," directed by Oliver Stone, is due to hit movie theaters in the United States later this month.

Douglas has a son from an earlier marriage, Cameron Douglas, who was sentenced in April to five years in prison for drug-trafficking.

Reposted Form AFP

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Repost From Kimberly Tan Of GMA News.TV

Aquino on hostage tragedy: 'I am responsible for everything'

President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III said Friday he is taking full responsibility for the bungled handling of the August 23 Manila hostage crisis that claimed the lives of eight tourists from Hong Kong.

"At the end of the day, I am responsible for everything that has transpired," Aquino said in an interview with reporters in Manila.

The President made the statement in defense of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who faces possible grilling from the Commission on Appointments on the outcome of the hostage-taking incident. The Philippine National Police, which handled the hostage crisis, is an attached agency of the DILG.

On Thursday, Senator Francis Escudero said Robredo might have a hard time in getting the nod of the bicameral body because of his poor handling of the hostage incident.

Escudero said Robredo will have to explain why there was a need to divide the functions of the DILG, making it difficult to handle the hostage tragedy.

In the interview Friday, Aquino was optimistic that "Secretary Robredo will be able to explain."

Robredo was reportedly in charge of matters concerning the local goverment while DILG Undesecretary Rico Puno was in charge of police matters and public safety issues, including critical incidents such as hostage-taking.

The President explained that when he appointed Robredo, they were still undecided on how to best handle the department. He said that during that time, there was a need to "improve" local government units (LGU) and "consolidate" the security forces.

Aquino admitted that he asked the DILG chief to "concentrate" on the LGUs. "There are so many things that have to be tackled by that agency especially in delivery of services, I asked him to concentrate on that," he said.

On the other hand, Aquino said he would retain direct supervision of the Philippine National Police (PNP) until such time that they have "addressed other concerns specifically promises to the informal settlers of our country."

"There's a need for a comprehensive plan there," he said. - with Kimberly Tan, VVP, RSJ GMANews.TV

Reposted From Kimberly Tan Of GMA News.TV

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Repost From Min Lee Of Associated Press

Hong Kong: Bodies of Manila bus victims mixed up

HONG KONG – Philippine authorities mistakenly sent the bodies of three of the victims in the Manila bus hijacking to the wrong families, Hong Kong said Thursday, the latest in a series of missteps in the handling of the crisis.

The bodies of eight tourists killed in the attack were shipped back last Wednesday to Hong Kong, where tearful relatives laid wreaths on the coffins of their loved ones in an airport ceremony _ but three families were paying their respects to the wrong bodies.

The three families discovered the mistake when they opened the coffins at the morgue later that night, Hong Kong's Security Bureau said in a statement. The families had identified the bodies in Manila, so it's possible that funeral parlor workers in the Philippines mislabeled them, the statement said.

The Security Bureau didn't identify which victims were mixed up.

Philippine Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said she would investigate, adding, "If there was a mix-up of those names, we apologize."

Hong Kongers have been outraged that Philippine police bungled negotiations last week with the hostage-taker, a former police officer seeking reinstatement, as well as the rescue operation. Thousands of Chinese tourists have canceled their flight and hotel bookings to the country.

Hong Kong's 60-member Legislative Council on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution that declares that the rescue operation suffered from "serious failures."

Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that investigators will begin questioning senior officials on Friday, starting with the deputy interior secretary and top police commanders.

However, some in the Philippines argue that the country has already shown enough remorse and shouldn't be reduced to self-flagellation.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer said in an editorial on Thursday that the country has already asked for forgiveness and wants a proper investigation as well.

"We are in solidarity with the women and men who offer prayers, flowers and lighted candles ... but we see no point in prostrating ourselves further, or in insulting the Philippine government as though in a continuing kowtow," the newspaper wrote.

Reposted From Min Lee Of Associated Press


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Repost From ABS-CBN News

Another fire hits Chin-Chin's house in QC

Another fire hits Chin-Chin's house in QC

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - The house of award-winning actress Chin-Chin Gutierrez at Loyola Heights in Quezon City caught fire Tuesday morning.

Authorities said the fire, which occurred shortly after midnight, was triggered by faulty electrical wiring. The firefighters put the blaze under control after almost an hour.

Gutierrez' neighbor, singer-composer Jim Paredes, was among the first to arrive in the area.

No one was reported hurt in the incident. The actress was not home when the fire broke out.

According to Angela Ureta, Gutierrez’s artist manager, the actress is attending an out-of-town ecological workshop since August 27. Ureta said Gutierrez only learned about the incident Tuesday morning.

“Her helper was present at the time of the incident, but said she was fast asleep in her own quarters and did not notice anything unusual until she heard shouts from the neighbors,” Ureta said in a press statement.

She said the house was burned to the ground and none of Gutierrez’s personal belongings were saved.

“The fire was contained within an hour or less and no other portions of the premises were destroyed, nor were there any damages to neighbors,” she said.

“No one was hurt and we are now in the process of organizing things to secure the continued wellbeing of Chin-Chin and her domestic staff,” she added.

They are also trying to secure the final report of investigators on the incident.

This was the second time that Gutierrez's house, which was made of light materials, burned down.

Her house burned down in 2006 when the actress suffered second-degree burns on her hands and feet. She also got minor burns on her face and a back injury after she tried to save her mother, Cecilia, from the burning house.

The actress's Loyola Heights residence was her "temporary shelter" after the 2006 fire.

No media interview

Gutierrez’s manager said the actress could not grant interviews at the moment.

“We regret to inform you that aside from issuing this statement, we are declining any further interviews with Chin-Chin at this moment. We hope you understand that this is a very trying time for her and that her attention is needed in more immediate concerns,” she said.

Ureta added that Gutierrez “appreciates the expressions of concern that have been pouring in through various means of communication.”

Gutierrez also sent her personal message through Ureta.

“God’s primacy and will for me is of utmost importance. We are unified in prayer. Right now, my focus is on taking care of the immediate concerns and obligations that this unfortunate incident has brought. I really cannot make any long-term plans at this point, yet certainly there is Divine Plan. I know everything has a purpose,” the actress said.

Gutierrez, one of the most beautiful faces in local show business, made her television debut as Maria Clara in the Cultural Center of the Philippines' mini-series "Noli Me Tangere" in 1993.

She supports the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and environmental watchdog Greenpeace. She graced the cover of TIME Asia's 2003 issue on "Asian Heroes."

Reposted From ABS-CBN News

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Repost From ABS-CBN News

Cristine, Zanjoe iron things out after boob 'incident'

Cristine, Zanjoe iron things out after boob 'incident'

MANILA, Philippines – “Kristine” stars Cristine Reyes and Zanjoe Marudo have patched things up following a brief misunderstanding over the actor’s “offensive” Twitter posts.

"Nag-usap kami noong nagkita kami sa taping. Nag-sorry ako sa kanya. In-explain ko din na oo mali nga ako doon. Binura ko na ang Twitter account ko," Marudo told “The Buzz.”

Reyes has cried foul after reading malicious exchange of tweets between Marudo and his director friend Willie Cuevas.

In Marudo’s Twitter account, he and Cuevas talked about the August 20 episode of “Kristine” that saw the actor’s character inadvertently touching Reyes’s left breast in one scene.

According to the actress, the scene called for it. She got irked, however, after reading Cuevas and Marudo’s tweets about the episode.

Cuevas said: “Z (Marudo) kwento mo naman sa amin ung lasa nung pagkakahawak mo ng boobs ni Cristine, please... wag mo na kami pahirapan mag-imagine!”

In another post, Cuevas asked Marudo how many times the scene was shot. “naka-ilang take 'yung hawak mo boobs ni Cristine? hahaha! sana nakarami ka ng take!”

To which, Marudo replied: “Konti lang direk! Hahahahah.”

Through her Twitter account, Reyes retorted back, “WOW LANG SA TWEET AH! UHM HELLO NASA TWITTER AKO. Try nyo magtxt na lang. Try lang.”

In another post, she said: “I don't wanna ruin my night. Ganun talaga pag ungentleman. Tsk tsk tsk.”

“All I want is a gentleman. I'm sick to bloody death of bastards,” she also tweeted.

Reyes also hinted that she got an apology from Marudo, but she initially questioned his sincerity. “can't believe hindi pa rin niya dinedelete ang tweets na yun. di ko makita yung sincerity sa sorry nya kung di nya intensyon maka-offend.”

According to a reliable source, Marudo didn’t know his tweets can be read by the public, including Reyes, since he is just new to the social networking site. This prompted Marudo to delete his account.

All is well now between the two parties. In fact, they were seen together during the recent ABS-CBN Trade Launch event.

After the incident, Reyes said she and Marudo became closer. “"Ang importante okay na kami. And parang actually mas lalo kaming naging close.”

Reyes also confirmed that she is now convincing Marudo to go back to Twitter since it will enable him to directly communicate with his fans.

"Makakatulong din yon sa kanya and siyempre para maka-communicate din niya ang mga fans niya," she added.

Reposted From ABS-CBN News

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Repost From Gerry Plaza Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Venus Raj supports use of interpreters

By Gerry Plaza – August 30th, 2010
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Venus Raj

Showbiz Eye by Gerry Plaza, Special to Yahoo! Southeast Asia

For Maria Venus Raj, even her perceived debacle in the final question and answer portion of the Miss Universe pageant last week was really not a “major, major problem” for her either.

In fact, Venus’s answer to Hollywood actor and pageant judge William Baldwin’s question on what was her biggest mistake in her life and what she did about it was what she really wanted to say.

“You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence I can say that there is nothing major, major, I mean, problem that I have done in my life,” she said in the Miss Universe stage last August 23.

Explaining what happened to showbiz talk shows over the weekend, Venus said it was all a result of her jitters before a large crowd and the noise in the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Hindi ka conscious sa mga sinasabi mo. Hindi ko siguro narinig na inulit ko na siya pangalawang beses,” she told ABS-CBN’s The Buzz on Sunday.

”Parang siguro kung gusto mong bigyan ng emphasis ang isang word. Like salamat, salamat. But hindi ko siguro masyadong narinig ang sarili ko while talking. Sobrang dami ng tao ro’n at nagsisigawan sila,” Venus said on GMA-7’s “Startalk” on Saturday.

Because of this, Venus said she had realized she lost the crown. Ximena Navarrette of Mexico won the Miss Universe crown, a title Venus said “she deserves.”

“After the question and answer (I knew I will settle as fourth runner up). Parang naglalakad ako, ‘fourth runner up, fourth runner up.’ Pero positive pa rin na sana nga matawag pa rin. Pero realistic pa rin. Nakita ko yung reaction ng mga tao, ng mga judges,” she said on “The Buzz.”

She would have said the same thing but probably in a clearer and concise statement, such as “I haven’t made a major mistake in my life,” which would really sum up that most talked about pageant Q&A response from a Filipina contestant since Charlene Gonzales’s 1994 “High Tide, Low Tide” remark.

But she said she was still elated that her purported verbal slip up became “really big” that people are using it in everyday conversation, whether leaving a message on social media or making a statement on broadcast networks.

“At least every time pag sasabihin ng mga tao siguro kahit matanda na ako, may pamilya na ako, pag sinabing ‘major, major’ ay yan anak, yan (galing) sa (akin),” Venus said.

However, not only local observers but even celebrity watchers in Hollywood commented that if Venus had given a better answer, she would have won the Miss Universe 2010 crown.

There is an ongoing debate about Filipina beauty contest candidates utilizing interpreters in international pageants—something that has not been done before but seen to really spell the difference in our chances of winning.

Venus says she supports it.

“Okay lang po, sa totoo lang. Pag tinanong ka ng isang tanong, hindi ka ma-sho-shock kung anong words ang gagamitin ko parang ganoon. Alam mo, kasi spontaneous ang pag-iisip mo, parang lahat ng gusto mong sabihin, masasabi mo,” she tells GMA-7’s “Showbiz Central.”

Looking back, Venus agreed that the tides could have changed to her favor if she used an interpreter but said in the end that if that happened she might not have reached the top five.

“May chance po talaga. Kung yun ang tanong tapos Tagalog ang isasagot ko, may mag-iinterpret po sa akin, definitely maganda po yung sagot na maibibigay ko. Mas madali pero ang kaba ko naman doon, tatawagin nga ba ako sa top five kung may interpreter ako.”

Will she recommend to the Binibining Pilipinas organization to use interpreters for candidates, a first in the 46 years of its existence?

“Depende po rin po sa kandidata. Kasi may iba, gusto nila pero sa tingin nila kaya din naman nila at kaya nila matuto hanggang sa duration ng pageant. Well, okay din naman na di sila magdala but kung gusto din ng organization na bigyan ng interpreter, definitely mas maganda po.”

Reposted From Gerry Plaza Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A rPOST From Peter Brieger Of Agence France Presse

Hong Kong stages march over hostage bloodbath

By Yahoo! Southeast Asia Editors – August 29th, 2010
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By Peter Brieger
Agence France Presse

HONG KONG — (UPDATE2) Thousands of people joined a rally in Hong Kong on Sunday to demand justice for victims of the Manila hostage bloodbath, as the city’s Filipino community staged its own memorials for the dead.

Demonstrators voiced their anger over the Philippine government’s handling of the siege in the heart of Manila on Monday, which left eight Hong Kong tourists dead amid widespread complaints of police bungling.

“It’s too late for the governments to do anything, but Hong Kong people hope that, at the very least, the Philippine authorities could tell us the truth,” Daisy Kwong, a telecoms firm project manager, told AFP.

“I cried for hours after watching the tragedy played out live on TV,” she said.

The sea of demonstrators observed three minutes of silence as they gathered in a Hong Kong park, many wearing yellow ribbons and carrying white flowers, the traditional Chinese colour of mourning.

The Hong Kong political parties organising the rally, the latest in a series of events marking Monday’s tragedy, said it could draw as many as 50,000 people.

“I am furious,” 56-year-old Law Wai-hing said. “I don’t think we will ever be told the truth when the (Philippine) president (Benigno Aquino) is as appalling as he is.

“I hope the Chinese government and the United Nations can exert pressure on the Philippine government.”

Members of the city’s 200,000-strong Filipino community, the vast majority working as low-paid domestic helpers, have voiced fears of retribution.

Rally organisers asked demonstrators not to carry racially charged placards or chant discriminatory slogans.

Filipino groups are staging their own events on Sunday in remembrance of the victims, including a candlelight vigil.

Philippine vice consul Val Roque said a text message was sent to members of the community asking them to “set aside what they are doing” and attend memorial masses on Sunday.

“Being mostly Catholic, it was the best way for us to express our solidarity with the people of Hong Kong,” Roque told AFP.

He downplayed fears about possible reprisals on Filipinos, saying there had been no confirmed reports of harassment or physical abuse.

“We trust our friends in Hong Kong would not do anything untoward against Filipinos here… But we understand the anger must be released. We hope as the days go by that anger will dissipate.”

A Facebook site to remember the victims has attracted thousands of signatures, and a flood of criticism directed at the Philippine government.

Disgraced ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza, armed with an assault rifle, hijacked a busload of Hong Kong tourists on Monday in an apparent bid to win his old job back and be cleared of extortion charges.

Eight tourists and the gunman were killed in the final stages of the 12-hour ordeal, when ill-equipped police launched an assault on the bus in a drama that unfolded live on television screens around the world.

Philippine police said Sunday they were certain that the Hong Kong tourists were killed by Mendoza, rather than by police bullets during the ill-fated rescue operation.

Hong Kong undersecretary for security Lai Tung-kwok said on Saturday autopsies had been carried out on all eight victims, which may lead to an official inquiry.

Five senior Manila policemen who took part in the assault have been suspended and their commanding officer has also taken leave.

Hong Kong’s Sunday Morning Post newspaper reported that a letter containing an offer by the Philippine police to suspend Mendoza’s dismissal and try to end the hostage crisis had arrived at the scene too late.

But this claim was dismissed by country’s national police spokesman.

Reposted From Peter Brieger Of Agence France Presse


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