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UNTV, MCGI extend assistance to stranded Filipinos in Hong Kong

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

A UNTV volunter distributing snack packs to stranded Filipinos in Hong Kong International Airport.

HONG KONG – Some Filipino tourists were robbed of their dream vacation after a strong signal number 10 Typhoon Mangkhut battered the island state over the weekend.

Some of them were first time travelers who did not expect that their excitement would end up in dismay because instead of a comfortable hotel bed, they were compelled to sleep on chairs and eat at the airport.

“Ang hirap po dahil, ang mahal po ng pagkain dito. Tapos wala man lang pong nag-assist sa amin, ni tubig or mahigaan man lang dahil napakalamig po ng sahig dito,” said one Filipino who refused to be identified.

Some of them were vacationing Filipino workers.

Janice Ebo was supposed to take a vacation home in the Philippines. But she did not hear any advisory from her airline company regarding the cancellation of her flight. She was only informed upon her arrival at the airport.

“Hindi ako naabisuhan na na-cancel pala iyong 11:30 na flight, so nakapunta na ako dito,” she said.

Janice was just among the few stranded Filipinos at Hong Kong International Airport who received assistance from volunteers of UNTV and Members, Church of God International (MCGI). Aside from providing them with snacks and drinks, the group also coordinated with the concerned airline companies for immediate rebooking of flights of the stranded Filipinos.

“Napakaswerte namin, kahit ganito ang nangyari sa amin. Hindi pa rin po kami pinababayaan ni Kuya Daniel, salamat po Kuya Daniel sa tulong ninyo po sa amin. Nawa’y magpatuloy po ang kabaitan mo sa ibang tao sa katulad naming OFW na nagtatrabaho, dito. Sana marami pang blessings na darating sa iyo,” Janice said.

Susan Degula and Venus Ragragio, also among the stranded Filipinos, expressed gratitude to the UNTV and MCGI for their assistance.

“Kung hindi po dahil sa inyo, hindi po kami makakauwi agad. Maraming-maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat,” said Susan. – Marje Pelayo (with report from Ferdie Petalio)

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Argentines struggle as ‘unprecedented’ power failure strikes country

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Argentine President Mauricio Macri called the massive blackout that left tens of millions in South America without power on Sunday (June 15) “unprecedented,” and promised a thorough investigation.

Argentina’s grid “collapsed” around 7 a.m. local time (1100 GMT), leaving the entire country without power, Argentina’s Energy Secretariat said.

The outage also cut electricity to much of neighboring Uruguay and swaths of Paraguay, and shut down YPF’s La Plata refinery, Argentina’s largest.

Macri said the blackout had been prompted by a failure in the country’s coastal grid but said that officials still did not know what had caused the problem.

Half of Argentina had power by mid-afternoon, Macri said.

Energy distributors in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, whose populations total nearly 55 million, said power was being quickly restored to major cities and heavily populated coastal regions, including Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

The blackout comes amid a deepening economic crisis in Argentina that has left nearly a third of the country in poverty, pushed interest rates skyward and sent the peso tumbling against the dollar, prompting mass protests throughout the country.

The massive blackout on Father’s Day left Buenos Aires dark early this morning, hobbling public transportation, cutting off water supply and crippling phone and internet communications across the city. (REUTERS)

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Netanyahu’s wife admits criminal wrongdoing in meals catering case

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

Sara Netanyahu | Courtesy : Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, appeared in court on Sunday (June 16) to admit criminal wrongdoing over the misuse of state funds to order catered meals, in a plea bargain carrying no jail time.

“Mrs. Netanyahu was convicted today after pleading guilty in a criminal offense using 175,000 shekels (48,570 USD) of public money for private expenses, and all this happened in the prime minister’s house. This result was achieved through a plea bargain in which she admits and pays a fine of 55,000 shekels (15,265 USD),” said prosecutor Erez Padan.

Under the agreement, a fraud charge was reduced to a lesser offense and she will pay the state 45,000 shekels ($12,490) in reimbursement and a 10,000 shekel ($2,775) fine.

According to the original indictment, Sara Netanyahu, along with a government employee, fraudulently obtained from the state more than $100,000 for hundreds of meals supplied by restaurants, bypassing regulations that prohibit the practice if a cook is employed at home.

Smiling broadly, Netanyahu faced a phalanx of cameras in the courthouse before the session got underway.

At the hearing, a judge ratified the plea deal, convicting her of the criminal charge of intentionally exploiting another person’s mishandling of state money for her own benefit, after prosecutors dropped the more serious offense of fraud.

“The verdict means that a person with access to the public funds, regardless of how senior they are, cannot treat them as its own. Taking public funds in significant amounts, throughout several years, against the rules and instructions, is a criminal offense that carries conviction and concrete financial punishment,” said prosecutor Jenny Avni. (REUTERS)

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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong released from jail

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong walked free from prison on Monday (June 17) after serving nearly five weeks for contempt of court, pledging to join a mass protest movement demanding that the city’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, to step down.

His release comes a day after organizers of the protest calling for Lam to quit over a controversial extradition bill said almost two million black-clad people joined Sunday’s march to government offices.

“Millions of Hong Kong people joined the demonstration and protest within the past few weeks. It shows the spirit and dignity of Hong Kong people. What we ask for is to urge Carrie Lam the evil chief executive should withdraw the extradition amendment,” he said.

“And what we are trying to do is just through civil disobedience and direct action and let the whole world, let the international communities to realize that how Hong Kong people will not keep silence under the suppression of President Xi and the Chief Executive Carrie Lam,” he added.

Wong continued with: “Carrie Lam must step down, otherwise I believe in the next few weeks before the 22 anniversary of Hong Kong transfer of sovereignty, more and more Hong Kong people not only one million or two million people will come and join our fight until the day we get back our basic human rights and freedom.”

Before he was jailed, both Wong, 22, and his supporters had called for the Hong Kong government to scrap the extradition proposal.

Wong who was one of the leaders of the 2014 “Umbrella” pro-democracy protests that blocked major roads in the Chinese-ruled city for 79 days presenting China’s Communist Party rulers in Beijing with one of their biggest political challenges in decades.

While Lam delayed the bill at the weekend, it has yet to be completely shelved, despite widespread concern that the status of Hong Kong as a financial hub could be eroded by changes to the rule of law. (REUTERS)

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