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Pre-SONA forum set

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A three-part forum called “Tatak ng Pagbabago 2020: The Pre-SONA Forum” will be held ahead of the fifth State of the Nation Address (SoNA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Pre-SONA provides insights to the work, policies, programs, and accomplishments of the administration. This year’s theme is “Patunay ng Pagkalinga” to highlight the government’s response to the crises that the country has experienced and is experiencing in an effort to protect and serve the Filipino people.

The first forum that will be held on 8 July from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will be participated in by the Economic Development Cluster and the Infrastructure Cluster.

The second forum that will be held on 15 July at the same time as the first forum  will have the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster  and the Participatory Governance Cluster presenting their accomplishments.

Lastly, the third forum on 22 July also from 11 a.n. to 12:30 p.m. will feature the Security, Justice, and Peace Cluster as well as the Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, Disaster Reduction Cluster.

The Pre-SONA forum will be held at the Philippine Information Agency Auditorium and will be live streamed via the official Facebook pages of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office and its attached agencies. It will also be broadcasted live on television networks.

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Thousands join Thailand pro-democracy rally

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PROTESTERS calling for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha to step down.

BANGKOK (AFP) — Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters massed close to Thailand’s royal palace on Saturday, in a huge rally calling for PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha to step down and demanding reforms to the monarchy.

The kingdom has seen near-daily gatherings of youth-led groups since mid-July calling for the resignation of Prayut, the former army chief behind the 2014 coup, and a complete overhaul of his administration.

Some are also demanding reforms to Thailand’s ultra-wealthy and powerful monarchy — a once-taboo topic in the country due to its tough royal defamation laws.

The burgeoning movement, partly inspired by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, remains largely leaderless.

But the weekend’s demonstration is organised by students of Bangkok’s Thammasat University — a group that has been among the most vocal about the royal family’s role in Thailand.

History teacher Patipat, 29, said the government wouldn’t be able to ignore the event.

“Today is one of the turning points in Thai history,” he told AFP.

Bangkok’s Metropolitan Police Bureau said more than 15,000 protesters had gathered around the university’s downtown campus and the surrounding area by nightfall, though protest organisers claim a much higher turnout.

AFP reporters on the ground estimated a crowd size closer to 30,000.

This would make it one of the largest gatherings the kingdom has seen since the 2014 coup.

Flooding into the historic Sanam Luang field in front of the Royal Palace, LGBT activists unfurled rainbow flags as protesters marched in waving a three-fingered salute, a symbol for democracy taken from the Hunger Games film trilogy.

“We are calling for Prayut Chan-O-Cha… to resign immediately,” prominent activist and protest organiser Parit Chiwarak, also known as Penguin, told AFP.

Student leaders have also vowed to push for reform to the monarchy, asserting that they hope “to adapt it to society”.

“I believe the institution can be modernised,” said a rallygoer in his mid-20s, declining to be named.

Another protester wore a fake crown and a shirt that said “please realise this country belongs to the people”.

Demonstrators have said they will spend the night at Sanam Luang before marching to Government House on Sunday morning — a move authorities have warned against.

Some 10,000 uniformed and plainclothes police patrolled the area as the crowd grew. Tents were set up by protesters selling T-shirts, flags and beer.

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Stronger immune system is the best defense against COVID-19

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A health professional on Saturday urged the public to strengthen their immune system as this is the best defense against the coronavirus disease.

Dr. Oyie Balburias, a general internal medicine practitioner, said that nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc are some of the main components that increase the body’s defense against illness.

“Mas mahalaga na kilalanin natin ang ating immune system kasi alam natin na itong virus na ito ay highly infectious but it is not equally fatal,” Balburias said in an interview with radio station DZBB.

He noted that because a majority of the cases are only mild and asymptomatic, a large percentage of these infections are able to recover.

Balburias said in order to do so, it’s important to determine if a person has pre-existing conditions to determine what needs to be done for their own immune system.

“Karamihan doon sa mga may pre-existing condition kagaya sa lifestyle katulad ng diabetes at highblood sila yung mas maaring compromiso,” he said.

He said although not everyone is required to take supplements to get these nutrients, the public may instead opt for healthier options in their diet.

It includes choosing more colorful sets of vegetables and going for adequate amounts of seafood or dairy products that could supply vitamin c and zinc deficiencies.

Also, people may opt to bathe in the sun in recommended hours of the day to get some Vitamin D.

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Lebanon army surveys 85K building units post-Beirut blast

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A building near Beirut port with broken windows and wrecked furniture after the August 4 explosion that ravaged the Lebanese capital (AFP)

Lebanon’s army said Saturday it has carried out a survey of more than 85,000 dwellings, businesses, and other building units damaged by the massive Beirut port blast last month.

The August 4 explosion of hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut port killed more than 190 people, wounded thousands, and ravaged large parts of the capital.

“A total of 85,744 affected units have been surveyed,” the army said.

It had surveyed 60,818 housing units, 19,115 businesses, 1,137 heritage units, 962 restaurants, 82 teaching institutions, and 12 hospitals, among other unis.

It recorded almost 550,000 square meters (half a square kilometer) of glass ravaged, and well as 140,000 square meters of glass facades broken.

More than 108,000 doors had been damaged, the survey showed.

The army said it was still looking for nine people — three Lebanese, five Syrians and an Egyptian — still missing after the blast.

The survey “is considered to be sufficient, and there is, therefore, no need for further surveys by donor countries”, it said in a statement.

The army said the donors, non-governmental organizations, or volunteers could request access to the results.

On August 9, international donors pledged over 250 million euros (around $300 million) in emergency aid, in a video conference jointly organized by France and the United Nations.

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed in early September during a second visit to Lebanon since the blast to host a second conference in Paris in the second half of October.

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US Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg dies at 87

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US Supreme Court Justice and liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday, opening a crucial vacancy on the high court expected to set off a pitched political battle at the peak of the presidential campaign.

Affectionately known as the Notorious RBG, the 87-year-old Ginsburg was the oldest of nine Supreme Court justices.

She died after a fight with pancreatic cancer, the court announced, saying she passed away “surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, DC.”

Coming just 46 days before an election in which President Donald Trump lags his Democratic rival Joe Biden in the polls, the vacancy offers the Republican a chance to lock in a conservative majority at the court for decades to come.

Trump issued a statement praising Ginsburg as a “titan of the law,” but gave no indication whether he intended to press ahead with a nomination.

Accolades flowed in for the pioneering Jewish justice.

“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” said Chief Justice John Roberts.

Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama said in a tweet that Ginsburg “fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals.”

Biden said she was “an American hero, a giant of legal doctrine, and a relentless voice in the pursuit of that highest American ideal: Equal Justice Under Law.”

In Washington, hundreds of tearful mourners laid flowers in front of the Supreme Court, where the diminutive Ginsburg sat for 27 years — even taking arguments and issuing opinions from her hospital bed after repeated bouts of illness over the past two years.

US flags flew at half-mast on each side of the court building. People lit candles on the steps of the court while others held rainbow flags.

Born in Brooklyn in 1933, Ginsuburg was a law-school star when women didn’t study law, and a law professor with a powerful impact on the establishment of rights for women and minorities.

She died on the evening that marked the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. According to tradition, those who die during the holiday are revered as a “tzaddik,” or a person of great righteousness.

Ginsburg’s death gives Trump the opportunity to tilt the court to the right, potentially for decades, with media reporting that a new nomination could be quick.

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Abe visits war shrine, days after leaving office

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Japan’s outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) holds a bouquet of flowers as he bids farewell to staff members after the last cabinet meeting in Tokyo. (AFP)

Shinzo Abe, who stepped down this week as Japan’s prime minister, on Saturday visited a war shrine seen by neighboring countries as a symbol of Tokyo’s past militarism.

Abe last visited the controversial shrine in December 2013, sparking fury from wartime foes Beijing and Seoul and earning a rare diplomatic rebuke from close ally the United States.

Abe posted a picture of himself in a dark suit walking along a wooden corridor at the shrine in central Tokyo on Saturday, escorted by a Shinto priest in a white robe.

“Today, I paid my respects at the Yasukuni Shrine and reported to the spirits of the war dead my resignation as prime minister,” the nationalist politician tweeted.

The former premier had refrained from paying tributes at the shrine in person since his 2013 visit despite other conservative politicians doing so, in particular on August 15 to mark Japan’s surrender in World War II.

Four ministers from Abe’s cabinet paid tributes at the shrine last month in the first such visit since 2016.

Yasukuni honors 2.5 million war dead, mostly Japanese, who perished in the country’s wars since the late 19th century.

But it also honors senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes by an international tribunal after the war.

Abe announced late last month that he was stepping down due to health problems and was replaced by Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday.

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BTS, Coldplay, etc. seal 2020 iHeart Festival

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Less than a month after they hit VMA 2020, Korean boy-group superstar BTS is “driving through the city with a little funk and soul”.

This when the group closed this year’s iHeart Festival with renowned artists Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Thoma Rhett, and Migos.

The festival opened on 18 September but every performer and audience were rocked by the news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed. Nonetheless, the artists showed what they got as a tribute to the icon.

Alicia Keys was the opening act with “So Done”, her collaboration with Khalid and was followed by Migos’ 2020 EDM hits mash-up and was balanced by Thomas Rhett’s country hit “Look What God Gave Her”.

Sealing the entire festival, BTS unleashed their funk with ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Boy With Luv’.

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Siomai King lets you enjoy, experience authentic Chinese food while at home

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Craving authentic Chinese dimsum and beef noodles but afraid to leave your home as the infectious coronavirus is still lurking everywhere?  Don’t fret, Siomai King online ordering portal will bring you what you crave right at your doorstep.

Siomai King Express has recently launched its seasonal products for you to cook, enjoy and experience the unique taste of Taiwan Beef Noodles, Pork Gyoza, Vegetarian Kuchai and regular Pork Dumplings, the oriental zesty taste of Spicy Chicken, Spicy squid and Spicy pork when you order through its ordering portal.

Don’t skip the spicy chicken, spicy pork and spicy squid when you place your order.

You may also include in your order list the Siomai King Express’ unique Taiwan Asado and Bola bola siopao that boast about their rich taste.  And don’t forget to order  Manthou with four choices to choose from.

These seasonal products are easy to prepare, with cooking instruction indicated on every product you ordered, so you will surely turn your dining room into a Chinese restaurant in no time!

 

Don’t forget to try Mantho, where you have four flavors to choose from.

Siomai King, the first food franchise brand in the country that introduced an innovative “Online” franchise business approach to help people to earn extra cash while the country is baffled with the continued threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

Both Siomai King franchisees and customers alike can enjoy delectable frozen oriental choices, and giving the former additional earnings while at the comfort and safety of their homes.

As the demand continue to grow, Siomai King commits to develop and innovate more of its services and providing its growing customers more options by strategically adding quality frozen food products in its menu.

So the next time you want to experience that distinctive Chinese food, just grab your phone, and order online! Let Siomai King satisfy your oriental appetite!

 

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Two killed in hurricane-like storm in Greece

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Greece braces for a hurricane-like storm lashing the Ionian Sea. (Twitter)

Two people died and one was missing on Saturday after central Greece was lashed by a rare hurricane-like storm known as a “Medicane”.

Hundreds of people had to be rescued from flooded buildings as heavy rain and high wind wrecked homes, shops, and warehouses in regions north of the capital Athens.

Mediterranean cyclone Ianos hit islands off western Greece on Friday, forcing flights and ferry services to be canceled.

Emergency teams were searching for a boat carrying 55 migrants on Saturday after receiving a distress signal a day earlier, but the coast guard told AFP the vessel may have changed direction after receiving no help.

The city of Karditsa about 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of Athens was badly hit overnight, with mudslides, falling trees, and power cuts.

Local reports said a man was found dead on his farm in the area.

In nearby towns, a woman was found dead in her inundated house and another went missing after her car was swept away by a flooded river, firefighters said.

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Lady Gaga tackles own mental health in ‘911’ MV

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Lady Gaga tackles her own experience with antipsychotic medication through  911’s music video released on 19 September.

The video with over five million views as of  posting time was highly inspired by 1969 Armenian film ‘The Color of Pomegranates’.

The video splayed out on an Egyptian desert with characters wearing vibrant outfits. Gaga, meanwhile, is still at her A-game channeling her early career identity with elaborate make-up and outfits.

Little Monsters were shook to the core when the plot twist played out in the end giving a glimpse of Gaga hallucinating after a car accident.

The ‘Chromatica’ mastermind shared to Billboard that the process of making this music video was really personal to her and she felt alive doing it than any other track from the album.

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