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Official count gives Widodo election victory in Indonesia

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Indonesian president Joko Widodo speaking during a field visit, interview with Widodo’s supporters | Courtesy: (c) 2019 Thomson Reuters

Incumbent President Joko Widodo won last month’s Indonesian election with 55.5 percent of votes against 44.5 percent for his challenger, retired General Prabowo Subianto, the election commission’s official count announced early on Tuesday (May 21).

“The valid ballots voted for presidential candidate number one, Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, is 68,650,239 or 44.5 percent of the total national votes,” said Commissioner Evi Novida Ginting of Indonesia’s National Election Commission.

The official result released by the General Election Commission (KPU) confirms unofficial counts by private pollsters of the April 17 election, giving Widodo a comfortable victory, though it could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating.

Widodo won with over 85 million of the total 154 million votes cast in the world’s third-largest democracy.

“The valid ballots voted for presidential candidate number one, Joko Widodo and Maruf Amin, is 85,607,362 or 55.5 percent of the total national votes,” Ginting said.

An election supervisory agency earlier on Monday (May 20) dismissed claims of systematic cheating because of a lack of evidence and independent observers and analysts have said the poll was free and fair.

The losing party can lodge a legal challenge at the constitutional court. Otherwise, the commission will officially declare the winner by May 28. (REUTERS)

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Heatwave hits Brussels with temperature over 30 degrees

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Various people filling water bottles at a fountain | Courtesy : Reuters

Temperatures soared in Brussels on Monday (June 24) kicking off a heatwave with temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius expected in the Belgian capital from Tuesday, up to 34 degrees in the north of the country.

The Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute said high temperatures were caused by the circulation of subtropical air between a depression located over the Atlantic Ocean and an anticyclone covering an area ranging from Iceland to Russia.

On its website, the Walloon government issued a series of recommendations including drinking more than a liter of water per day and avoiding alcohol, closing the windows and curtains in rooms exposed to the sun, wearing light clothes and a hat.

The Brussels regional government wrote on Twitter that pollution levels will increase but not go beyond the 180 micrograms per cubic meter threshold above which the public has to be informed of risks. (REUTERS)

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Magnitude 7.5 quake shakes Australian City

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

Evacuated people standing outside | Courtesy : Reuters

A deep earthquake of magnitude 7.5 struck off the coasts of East Timor and Indonesia on Monday (June 24) with the shaking felt in Australia’s northern city of Darwin, about 700 km (435 miles) from the epicenter, but no damage was reported.

Witnesses in Darwin told of shaking and trembling, as they were evacuated out of buildings in the city center.

The quake, initially recorded at a magnitude of 7.2, hit out at sea at a depth of 220 km (136 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

There is no tsunami threat because of the quake’s depth, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement. (REUTERS)

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PBA and PBA Legends Foundation sign MOA to support former PBA players

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the PBA Legends Foundation officially signed a contact on Thursday (June 20) that seeks to aid former PBA players in need of assistance.

The PBA Legends Foundation will provide financial assistance including medical help to former PBA players. The foundation can also grant assistance for the education of their children.

PBA Board Vice Chairman Dickie Bachman has vowed to support former players. The PBA has also authorized the foundation to use the PBA name and logo.

“We are basically glad that finally now we get organized with the PBA Legend Foundation Inc., and moving forward will support the past PBA players,” he said.

Meanwhile, UNTV Cup Commissioner and PBA Legends Foundation Chairman Fortunato Atoy Co is excited about upcoming projects to raise funds for the foundation.

Ako po ay malugod na nagpapasalamat sa PBA, kay Commissioner Willie Marcial, kay Dicky Bachman. Pinayagan na rin kami ng PBA na gamitin iyong lumang logo noong panahong naglalaro pa kami, (I am humbly thankful to PBA, to Commissioner Willie Marcial, Dicky Bachman. They also allowed us to use the old PBA logo that was used during our time),” Co said.

Former PBA legends are elated with the news. Ronnie Magsanoc hopes that this will be the beginning of new projects between PBA and the PBA Legend Foundation.

“Ito iyong hudyat ng belief ng tamang pagkakaisa between the league and the players. Sana mabuksan pa ng maraming proyekto, (This marks the belief of proper unity between the league and the players. I hope this opens more projects),” Magsanoc said.

One of the board of directors, Allan ‘The Triggerman’ Caidic hopes that this will also encourage active players to participate in the foundation’s upcoming projects.

“I hope someday we can link the present PBA players, iyong mga active players to join and help this cause. Kasi in the future magbe-benefit rin sila dito. So thank you again sa support ng lahat para mabuo ito, UNTV Group, Kuya Daniel Razon and siyempre mga PBA team, salamat po (Because they will also benefit from this cause in the future. So again, thank you for the support of everyone who made this happen: the UNTV group, Kuya Daniel Razon and of course the PBA team. Thank you),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Bernard Dadis)

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